Saturday, December 2, 2017

Translation of a letter by Watana Muangsook about a Pattern of Abuse of Young Soldiers

Below is a blog post of Watana Muangsook, member of the Peu Thai Party, translated by friends of Thai Alliance. The back story is that it looks like yet another young Thai soldier, this time a cadet, Pakapon Tanyakan died under horrific circumstances--based on the wounds on the body, possibly he was beaten to death. On top of that, there appears to be a coverup because his body was returned to the family with organs missing, including the brain, stomach, and bladder. This is the third notorious case of soldier abuse in 2017. Thai Alliance had just written an essay with recommendations on how to end solider abuse when this third case hit the news. The picture showing systematic abuse of Thai soldiers was shared by Watana Muangsook with his post.


โรงเรียนเตรียมทหารเป็นองค์กรของกองทัพที่ดำรงอยู่ได้ด้วยภาษีของประชาชน เป็นแหล่งผลิตบุคลากรออกไปรับใช้ประเทศชาติ แต่ทัศนคติของผู้ที่จบจากโรงเรียนแห่งนี้ เช่น รอง นรม. ที่บอกว่าการถูกซ่อมจนสลบเป็นการธำรงไว้ซึ่งวินัยและไม่ละเมิดสิทธิมนุษยชน หรือการสอบสวนสาเหตุการตายของ นตท. ภัคพงศ์ ตัญกาญจน์ ที่มิได้ปฏิบัติให้เป็นไปตามกฎหมายและไม่ยอมให้บุคคลภายนอกมาเกี่ยวข้อง สะท้อนให้เห็นถึงความป่าเถื่อนของวัฒนธรรมอำนาจนิยมของกองทัพที่ไม่เคารพกฎหมาย เป็นแดนสนธยาโดยใช้ความมั่นคงเป็นข้ออ้างเพื่อหลีกเลี่ยงการตรวจสอบ

The Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School is a joint military academy paid for by taxpayers. This institute is the first school that trains and educates new cadets, who eventually go out and serve the country. But the mindset of most alumni of this schools, such as that of General [Prawit Wongsuwon], who says that disciplinary correction to the point of loss of consciousness is necessary to maintain discipline and doesn’t infringe on human rights, or the investigation into the cause of death of Cadet Pakapong Tanyakan, which was unusual and didn’t follow the law, and outside investigators are not allowed to take part, reflects the extent of brutality of the authoritarian culture of the Armed Forces, who show no respect to the law. Thailand’s Armed Forces are a Twilight Zone who claim “security and stability” as an excuse to avoid scrutiny.

Help us End the Lese Majesty Law. Don't Put up the Picture!

จงช่วยกันล้มล้าง จงย่าแขวนรูปของเขา

Monday, November 20, 2017

Valuing the Sacrifice of Soldiers: How Thailand Could Fix a Corrupt Military System so Everybody Wins

By Ann Norman, Research by Red Eagle

If General Prayut Chan-ocha wanted to reform something and eliminate corruption, why didn’t he reform the military, which is something he was actually responsible for and is corrupt to its core?

The corruption in the military begins at the very start of a soldiers’ service. There is a draft for those young men who do not volunteer, and 1/3 of all those who go to the draft are selected for two years of service. This amounts to 100,000 conscripts per year. You can go the YouTube to see videos of the celebrations of those who are not selected and the tears of those who are. Incredibly, the rich will tell you very openly that they can avoid the risk entirely with a bribe.

I meant to write this article in April, after Private Yutthakinun Boonniam had been beaten and tortured while imprisoned in a military jail. In pictures taken at the hospital just before he died, his face was so swollen he was unrecognizable.

Then on November 12, 2017, yet another Thai conscript was beaten to death, 21-year old Adisak Noiphitak, just 10 days after he began his service. The autopsy report said he died of a sudden heart attack, but the family doesn’t believe it because when they received the body of their son, there were big bruises all over him. Pictures clearly reveal the lie by the army.

On Legends and Enlightenment: King Naresuan, King Mongkut, and Sulak Sivaraksa


Legendary Elephant Battle from Mural at Wat Suvandaram. From Wikipedia

The world is shaking its head again at the Thai government. The draconian lese majesty law is being used to defend a popular movie version of a legendary elephant duel between its own King Naresuan and Burmese Prince Mingyi Swa, which happened (if happened at all) in the 1500s. Charges of royal defamation (which threaten a possible 3-15 year sentence), have been brought against a famous intellectual, 85-year-old Sulak Sivaraksa, who apparently made some skeptical comments at a seminar in 2014. Sulak Sivaraksa is standing his ground. "My point is, if you want to learn history, you have to get all facts from the past as much as you can, and I just state the facts," he said. It may strike you as ironic that Sulak Sivaraksa, the latest victim in the escalating lese majesty witchhunt, actually describes himself as a royalist.

One is reminded of Galileo’s house arrest in 1634 after the Catholic Church charged him with heresy for arguing that the Earth goes around the Sun, contradicting the prevailing view that the Earth is the center of the universe. Not everyone knows the historical detail that Galileo was actually a devout Catholic. Galileo’s interest in correcting the Catholic Church was in part motivated by his fear that the Catholics would soon look foolish insisting that everything in the sky revolves around the Earth when people throughout the world would soon be looking up through their own telescopes and seeing, as he could see, the several moons revolving around Jupiter.

I’m also reminded that in the 1800s, King Mongkut, promoted the teaching of geography in Siam in a campaign to correct the then-prevalent belief in a flat Earth. This was a religious crisis for those Siamese who thought the Buddhist scriptures described a flat Earth. It was similarly obvious to King Mongkut that flat-Earth beliefs would appear foolish and backward to the many Westerners who were then beginning to flow into the country, and so King Mongkut actively promoted science throughout the Kingdom, most notably geography and astronomy.