Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

A Buddhist scholar and foreign correspondent both warn in recent books of the rising specter of Buddhist nationalism in Thailand.

Buddhist scholar Suraphot Thaweesak recently warned that a bid to enshrine Buddhism as the national religion would increase the kind of extremism that French journalist Arnaud Dubus writes about in his recently released book “Buddhism and Politics in Thailand.”

“They think the state must protect Buddhism. … It’s difficult to make them see other points. We have to invite them to think about the teachings of Buddhism, that the Buddha talks about cessation of suffering,” Suraphot said, adding that establishing a national religion would spark more conflict with Thais of other faiths.

Dubus’ evidence of growing Buddhist extremism includes calls to burn down mosques in the predominantly Muslim-Malay Deep South, where soldiers have ordained as monks, equipped with both alms bowl and heavy weapons.

Continue reading: Khaosod English


Security Camera Footage Goes Missing.

An inquest in Thailand into the death of a teenage ethnic Lahu activist ended today without an answer to a critical question: What happened to the missing security camera footage the army claims justified the shooting?

Chaiyaphum Pa-sae, 17, was shot dead on March 17, 2017, by soldiers from the army’s 5th Cavalry Regiment Task Force and the Pha Muang Task Force after they arrested him for alleged drug possession in Chiang Dao district of Thailand’s northern Chiang Mai province.

The investigation into Chaiyaphum’s death has been hampered by shoddy police work. In April 2017, the army gave police a computer hard drive containing footage from security cameras at the checkpoint where soldiers arrested and shot Chaiyaphum. But Chaiyaphum’s family found during the inquest at Chiang Mai Provincial Court that the March 17 footage was missing. No one explained how the footage – which the army had claimed proved the shooting was justified – went missing. Police, prosecutors, and judges responsible for this case did not demand that the army hand over this critical evidence even after they knew it was missing.

Continue reading: Human Rights Watch

Thailand’s Appeal Court should uphold a lower court’s ruling tomorrow to dismiss a criminal-defamation complaint against the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) and four Thai journalists, Fortify Rights said today.

Thai mining firm Tungkum Limited filed complaints against Thai PBS and four journalists in November 2015 in response to a news report that included allegations that the company’s open-pit gold mine caused adverse environmental impacts in Loei Province, northeast Thailand.

In November 2016, the Criminal Court in Bangkok dismissed the complaint. The company appealed the decision and, at a hearing tomorrow, the Appeal Court will issue the findings of its review of the Criminal Court’s decision.

“This case remains an affront to press freedom in Thailand,” said Amy Smith, Executive Director of Fortify Rights. “Invalidating this case would send a message to powerful private entities that seek to erode freedoms protected under Thai law.”

Continue reading: Fortify Rights

The election commission on Monday rejected the formation of a communist party on grounds that it was unconstitutional.

Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn on Monday rejected the formation of the “Communist Party of Thailand” saying the name violates the law and the constitution, said Sawaeng Boonmee, the commissioner’s secretary.

The request and application forms were submitted and signed by a person identified as Pathom Tanthiti.

Somchai could not immediately be reached for a comment.

Maj. Gen. Peerawat Saengthong of the Internal Security Operations Command said any activity that could divide the country must be closely monitored.

It’s unclear whether the movement is connected to the party of the same name active between 1942 through the 1990s, which launched a guerrilla war against the government in 1965.

Continue reading: Khaosod English

Junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha urged the public on Friday to be critical while consuming news and information from social media.

Speaking during his nation-wide address, he said the public must be critical when consuming news and information from social media and when talking to others. He said the public should think after listening or reading and ask questions before restating or concluding what they heard.

“I would like to plead everyone to maintain the best environment and the best foreign views toward Thailand as we move toward elections. We can see that today, [foreign governments] pay attention to national development, politics and democracy which is moving ahead. I give moral support to businesses, look after the people and human rights,” Prayuth said.

With the majority of mainstream media in the country exercising a level of self-censorship since the May 2014 military coup, social media has become the most used space to publish content critical of the junta.

Continue reading: Khaosod English

The secret American “black site” for interrogating suspected terrorists in Thailand was known to the CIA as “Detention Site Green” but for its first detainee, it was decidedly white.

Four halogen lights blasted the white walls 24 hours a day, according to Steve Coll in his book Directorate S, about the Pakistani spy service and those it arrested.

At other times, alleged terrorist Abu Zubaydah was kept in a coffin-sized box for hundreds of hours and waterboarded until he passed out, according to the Washington Post.

“Interrogation techniques such as slaps and “wallings” (slamming detainees against a wall) were used in combination, frequently concurrent with sleep deprivation and nudity,” stated a US Senate report in 2014.

Continue reading: ABC News

A challenging month, a hectic schedule. However I’m glad to have this opportunity to unwind and travel to rejuvenate. It is always good to leave the urban madness, even for a while.

Pattaya is not a tropical paradise but it does offer somewhat a change of scenery. It’s no longer a bustling spot like about five years ago. Communities are still struggling from poor income and low livelihood opportunities. Hopefully things improve. Maybe after the election next year. Maybe they will be able to enjoy a prosperous year then.