It has been about a month after the coup and many are asking, where is Thailand today? For the first few weeks of the coup, it was mostly about clamp-down and crack-down. For much of the past week, events relating to Thailand moved at a swift pace, mostly, about Prayuth stamping his dictator ways onto Thailand, and laying the foundation, for everything to come together, when an election is finally held, to help Prayuth’s backers, come to power. Globally, some object to the game plan Prayuth is putting in place. All in all, the most unfortunate part of Thailand, is that most of Thailand press, is serving Prayuth’s dictatorship.
Thai telcos ‘on hold’: interventionist junta’s first economic casualty
(Thai Intel Comment: Prayuth junta is taking total control of Thailand & in the process of establishing a the foundation “Beijing Consensus” polit/econ way to manage Thailand, with a net-work of people close to him, in control of everything, with also establishment new units, to like every aspect of Thailand)
Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:00pm EDT
By Khettiya Jittapong and Manunphattr Dhanananphorn
BANGKOK, June 23 (Reuters) – Thailand’s telecoms sector is fast emerging as the first economic casualty of an interventionist junta in a country that has swung between democratic and military rule more times than any other nation in Southeast Asia. The government led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha halted an auction of 4G bandwidth last week after giving its blessings to the tender in May when it came to power. Telecoms analysts say the suspension could lead to $4 billion in investment and revenue losses in a sector that accounts for a tenth of Thailand’s GDP. A prolonged delay could also cause mobile service disruptions. The decision U-turn highlights the growing regulatory risk that foreign investors face just as they are desperately being sought to revive a slumping economy. It is also a stark reminder to investors of the economic missteps of Thailand’s previous military governments.
EU raps Thailand on coup, cuts official contacts, accord
(Thai Intel Comment: As part of Prayuth’s structuring Thailand along the “Beijing Consensus” a great deal of Nationalism is being conjure up by the Prayuth’s junta, in an attempt to “Save Face” from being mostly shunned by the globe.)
23 June 2014, 12:26 CET
(LUXEMBOURG) – European Union foreign ministers on Monday condemned the military takeover in Thailand and agreed punitive measures to back up calls for an urgent return to democratic rule. The ministers halted all official visits to Thailand and suspended the signing of a partnership and cooperation accord with Bangkok, a statement said. Expressing “extreme concern” at developments, ministers said the military should restore “as a matter of urgency, the legitimate democratic process and the Constitution, through credible and inclusive elections.” They should also free all political detainees and respect human rights and freedoms, it said, adding that EU member states will review their military ties with Thailand. “Only an early and credible roadmap for a return to constitutional rule and the holding of credible and inclusive elections” would allow for the normalisation of relations, the statement concluded. Earlier this month the head of the Thai military junta, General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, said it would set up an interim government by September to oversee political reforms that will be followed by elections in about a year’s time.
The Thai Junta Is Offering $15 Rewards for Photos of Anticoup Activity
(Thai Intel Comment: The reason it is difficult for many to see how Thailand increasingly resembles Hitler’s Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, when it comes to human rights, is the modern trappings of Thailand.)
Charlie Campbell @charliecamp6ell June 24, 2014
Thailand’s ruling junta is offering 500 baht ($15) to anyone submitting a photo of anticoup activities — either taken firsthand or downloaded from social media. The sinister measure is the latest tool used by Thailand’s military to consolidate power since the May 22 coup — the nation’s 12th successful putsch since 1932. Activists, politicians and academics have been rounded up, censorship imposed and journalists threatened. “The activities of splinter groups with different views threaten to cause unrest within society,” police general Somyos Phumphunmuang told reporters on Monday. “Army and police officers will only pursue harsh measures against those who are guilty of breaking the law.” Publicly reading “subversive” literature like George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece 1984, flashing the three-finger salute from The Hunger Games or even the proffering of sandwiches — adopted as the latest anticoup protest prop — now invoke the junta’s wrath. Police officers are posing as journalists to infiltrate protest crowds, and even “liking” critical Facebook posts can result in arbitrary detention. Saksith Saiyasombut, a respected Thai political blogger and commentator based in Germany, tells TIME that the latest measure could spur “crowdfunded witch hunts.” “It really shows that the junta is not above using their own people against their own people,” he says, “and also not above giving financial incentives to that end.”
In another disturbing development, missing activist Kritsuda Khunasen — who rose to prominence aiding Red Shirt protesters injured during the 2010 military-led crackdown in central Bangkok — appeared on army TV on Monday evening claiming to be “happier than words can say.” The 27-year-old vanished after she was seized by soldiers on May 28, but now says she “requested” to remain in military custody two weeks longer than the seven-day maximum martial-law detention period for “safety” and to “feel calm by spending more time” by herself. She was speaking “under duress,” Saksith says. “Some people have compared it to a hostage video … It really shows that she is not at liberty to say what she really thinks.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday former Thai Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan launched the Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy to oppose the junta. “The military regime and its conspirators have no legitimate power whatsoever to govern the country’s economy and society,” he said in a statement.
Opponents of Thai junta launch a democracy campaign
(Thai Intel’s Comment: A so called Free Thai Movement has been established, and as expected, Prayuth’s junta is discrediting the movement, with all sort of tactics, such as cooking up charges against the leaders of the movement.)
Global Post (source)
Opponents of Thailand’s junta launched a campaign on Tuesday to restore democracy and “oppose the military dictatorship and its aristocratic network,” the first sign of organized resistance to the army since it seized power last month. Jarupong Ruangsuwan, chairman of the Puea Thai Party that led the government ousted by the military, said in an open letter to fellow Thais that the military council had no legitimacy and cast doubt on its promise to transfer power back to civilian authorities at some point. The military’s aim, he said, was to create “a new puppet structure whose sole purpose will be to re-entrench anti-democratic elements into Thailand’s body politic and to sabotage the development of Thai democracy.” “Any such structure will need to be removed before a more democratic and civilized society can be built,” he added. His movement, the letter said, sought “to oppose the military dictatorship and its aristocratic network and establish the people’s complete and unchallenged sovereignty.”
The military staged a bloodless coup in May, after months of protests had undermined the government of Yingluck Shinawatra. The protesters wanted to kick out Yingluck and change the electoral system to stop her influential brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, from ever controlling the government again. Yingluck was removed by the Constitutional Court for abuse of power on May 7, leaving a rump cabinet that was then ousted in the coup on May 22. Acting Thai Foreign Minister Sihasak Phuangketkeow dismissed the resistance group, telling reporters there was “only one legitimate government.” Most Western countries denounced the coup and demanded a return to civilian rule. The United States and European Union have cut cooperation projects and cancelling diplomatic visits. Thailand has been in crisis for almost a decade because of a power struggle between Thaksin and the royalist establishment backed by the army and the middle class in Bangkok.
Thaksin, a billionaire former telecoms tycoon, is adored by the poor in the rural north and northeast, because of cheap healthcare and village development that raised their living standards when he was in office from 2001.
He was toppled in a coup in 2006 and has lived in exile since 2008 rather than serve jail time for an abuse of power conviction, but parties led by or loyal to him have won every election since 2001. The junta moved quickly to neutralise resistance inside Thailand after its coup, briefly detaining hundreds of politicians and members of the pro-Thaksin “red shirt” movement and warning them not to work against the military government.
It was unclear how Jarupong’s movement, the Organization of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy, would oppose the junta and his letter did not reveal where it was based. Jakrapob Penkair, a former spokesman for Thaksin, told Reuters from neighboring Cambodia on June 5 that a movement was being formed outside Thailand to lead a campaign of civil disobedience. Cambodia’s long-serving prime minister, Hun Sen, is close to Thaksin, but his government has said it will not allow a Thai resistance movement to base itself in the country.
US: THAI COUP REPRESSIVE, LIKELY TO LAST
(Thai Intel’s Comment: Prayuth got to this point, mainly by lying and cheating. If the global community lessen the pressure, Prayuth will continue with his nature, like Hitler’s never ending aggression nature, Prayuth must be counter and stopped.)
BY MATTHEW PENNINGTON
ASSOCIATED PRESS (source)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Thailand’s recent military takeover is more repressive and likely to endure longer than the last military coup eight years ago, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday. The top diplomat for Southeast Asia, Scot Marciel, voiced concern over censorship of media and the Internet and detentions and intimidation of hundreds of political figures, academics, journalists, online commentators and peaceful protesters.
He was testifying at a congressional hearing Tuesday on the threat to democracy in Thailand, the oldest U.S. ally in Asia. Republican and Democratic lawmakers spoke warmly about Thailand and its alliance with America but voiced support for the Obama administration’s suspension of various assistance and military exercises after a junta took power May 22 following months of protests against the elected government and factional violence. Marciel said the U.S. wanted to maintain long-term relations with Thailand but it couldn’t be “business as usual” until democracy was restored – a process that took 16 months after the 2006 coup.
“We do not believe that true reconciliation can come about through fear of repression,” he told of a House subcommittee that oversees U.S. foreign policy toward Asia. “The deep-rooted underlying issues and differences of opinion that fuel this division can only be resolved by the people of Thailand through democratic processes.”
The junta, led by army commander Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, has characterized the military intervention as necessary to restore order and enact reforms before elections can be held after about 15 months. An interim government is due to be appointed in September.
Marciel described that road map as “quite vague.”
While the coup has been welcomed by many opponents of the toppled elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra, it’s also seen heavy-handed steps to squelch dissent. At the weekend, a man was dragged away by undercover officers for reading a copy of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” outside one of Bangkok’s most luxurious shopping malls.
Most of the hundreds of detentions have only lasted a few days – and Marciel said the U.S. was not aware of physical mistreatment of those held. But many of those released have had to sign pledges saying they will not instigate unrest.
The European Union on Monday suspended all official visits to and from Thailand and put on hold signing of an agreement to deepen political and business ties. The bloc also suspended talks on a free trade agreement.
Republican Rep. Steve Chabot, who chaired Tuesday’s hearing, said the coup called in question the effectiveness of assistance for Thailand – including about $8 million in military training and financing for sales of defense hardware and services over the past three years – in encouraging democratic values in the nation’s military.
He urged the U.S. to shift the annual Cobra Gold exercise, which is held each year in Thailand and brings together thousands of forces from a half-dozen Asian nations, to another venue, such as Australia. Marciel said no decision had been yet reached on that military drill, which typically takes place in February.
After the 2006 coup, when the U.S. also restricted military assistance, the exercise was still held in Thailand. Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said the worst thing that could happen to Thailand was if the military clings onto power, but he and other lawmakers leavened their criticism of the coup with praise for the Southeast Asian nation.
“We expect more from Thailand because they are such a wonderful country,” Chabot said. “We hope that they will in the very near future be in that category again.”
Thai junta sets up panels to crack down on critical news reports
(Thai Intel’s Comment: Many are pointing out that Thailand is similar to Orwell’s novel 1984, and here is another proof.)
BY AMY SAWITTA LEFEVRE
BANGKOK Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:50am BST
(Reuters) – Thailand’s military authorities are setting up a network of panels to closely monitor domestic and international media and crack down on criticism of what the junta sees as its efforts to right the country, a senior officer said on Thursday. Rights groups and journalists have criticised curbs imposed on the press since the May 22 bloodless coup the military says was aimed at ending six months of street protests and political paralysis. Adul Saengsingkaew, deputy head of the National Council of Peace and Order, said the military would monitor reports that were false or posed a threat to national security.
Offenders who refused to cooperate could face charges.
“There will be five committees set up to monitor local and international media that will report to the military daily,” Adul, a former national police chief, told Reuters by telephone. “Police will not pursue legal action against media so long as journalists are cooperative and help share news that is constructive and true. Those that spread inappropriate content may face criminal charges.”
He expressed particular concern about reporting on the activities of a government-in-exile that launched a campaign of civil disobedience this week, almost certainly based in a neighbouring country. Officials have made little comment on the group, saying only that there is only one legitimate government. Junta spokesman Winthai Suvaree said the panels were not intended to restrict Thais’ access to information. Instead, he said, they would help the state make the truth known faster. “We won’t close or obstruct the public’s right to know truthful news,” he added. “We ask for cooperation to write balanced and appropriate news.”
The military has shut hundreds of “inappropriate websites”, radio stations and television channels since the coup. It has promised to install a government by September and stage elections in a little more than a year, but says it must first ensure stability. The United States and European Union denounced the takeover and halted cooperation programmes.
Data released on Thursday showed exports and factory output fell more than expected in May, showing that the economy remains weak and underscoring the tough task the military faces. Further battered by lower tourist arrivals, the economy shrank 2.1 percent in January-March over the previous quarter.
Hundreds of political figures, activists, academics and business people have been detained. Most were promptly released and told to steer clear of politics and public statements. Opponents have staged a few minor protests, quickly broken up by security forces. Some largely unco-ordinated “silent protesters” were briefly rounded up. Most of those detained had links to the ousted government of Yingluck Shinawatra and her exiled brother Thaksin, who handed out social benefits to disadvantaged northern regions during more than five years as premier. He was deposed in a 2006 coup.
Yingluck was ordered by a court on May 7 to step down for abuse of power. The rump cabinet that remained was removed in the military takeover. Protesters opposed to the Shinawatras and linked to the royalist elite in Bangkok led six months of protests to topple Yingluck’s government. At least 30 people died in periodic outbursts of violence.
The junta has proclaimed national unity through “love and reconciliation” as its main aim. Round-the-clock radio and television broadcasts lionise the army’s virtues. A song the junta says was written by coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha, with lyrics such as “We will act with honesty and just ask that you trust us”, is played at the top of the hour on most broadcast stations.
Military coup gets Thailand booted from RIMPAC lineup
(Thai Intel’s Comment: Prayuth’s junta and the local press, that mostly serve the elite establishment, kept this news from distribution to the general public.)
The Star (source)
By William Cole
POSTED: 06:20 p.m. HST, Jun 25, 2014
Thailand is being refused participation in the big U.S. Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise following a May 22 military coup, the suspension of more than $4.7 million in U.S. security-related assistance, and cancellation of a military exercise and visits with the Southeast Asian nation, U.S. defense officials said.
“Thailand will not be here for RIMPAC, and that was a decision that was made by (the State Department),” U.S. Pacific Command said Wednesday. On Tuesday, Scot Marciel, principal deputy assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said the coup and “post-coup repression” have “made it impossible for our relationship with Thailand to go on with ‘business as usual.’ ”
Marciel also suggested the United States might move the big Cobra Gold military drills, the world’s largest multilateral exercise, out of Thailand in 2015, Agence France-Presse reported. Thailand was not sending any ships to RIMPAC; rather, it planned to have “component staff personnel” present. How many personnel Thailand was sending was not immediately clear.
Thailand’s absence means 22 nations will participate in RIMPAC instead of the 23 that had been advertised until Wednesday. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC is held every other year in Hawaii’s waters. The $4.7 million cut in assistance affects programs including international military education and training, which the United States provides to allies.
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement May 24: “As we have made clear, it is important that the Royal Thai Armed Forces end this coup and restore to the people of Thailand both the principles and the process of democratic rule, including a clear path forward to elections.”
Kirby noted that while the United States has “enjoyed a long and productive military-to-military relationship with Thailand, our own democratic principles and U.S. law require us to reconsider U.S. military assistance and engagements.” As a result, a visit planned this month to Thailand by Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., head of U.S. Pacific Fleet, was cancelled.
The exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2014 was stopped, and an invitation was rescinded for Gen. Tanasak Patimapragorn, chief of Thailand’s defense forces, to visit U.S. Pacific Command. Marciel told the House committee on foreign affairs subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Tuesday that last year, the United States commemorated 180 years of friendly relations with Thailand, which is one of five U.S. treaty allies in Asia.
The United States has consistently criticized the military coup and called for the restoration of civilian rule, but recent events “have shown that the current military coup is both more repressive and likely to last longer” than one in 2006, Marciel said.
Marciel said the hope is that the “strong international message” sent by the U.S.-Thai aid and military exchange cancellations, along with pressure from within Thailand, “will lead to an easing of repression and an early return to democracy.”