Murdered by the military; Murdered by the junta

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Abdullah Isomuso, a Patani activist, has now died of injuries suffered at the hands of the Thai military and Prayut’s junta. He was murdered by the Thai military-run state.

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This is what I posted on this site at the end of July…

“Abdullah Isomuso, 32, was found unconscious inside his holding cell in the notorious “Fort Ingkhayut” military base in Patani. He was arrested the day before, suspected of involvement in an anti-Thai government insurgent group.

Local Malay Muslims in Patani have been fighting a war of liberation against the brutal Thai imperialist state for decades. [See https://bit.ly/2bemah3 ].

Doctors found an accumulation of excess fluid inside his brain, suggesting he suffered from a prolonged shortage of oxygen. No sign of physical violence was found on the surface of his body. This is in keeping with the belief that Abdullah Isomuso had been tortured by security forces at Fort Ingkhayut. Instead of water-boarding, he may well have had some kind of bag put over his head to deprive him of oxygen. He became brain-dead.

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Previously the legal rights group iLaw reported that a Bangkok detainee of the military was tortured by using a plastic bag over her face. [See https://bit.ly/2Yd9wGS ].

Abdullah Isomuso’s wife, Sumaiya Minka, said she was only informed of his condition when she went to Fort Ingkhayut to visit her husband, at which she was told instead to go to a hospital’s ICU ward. The military told her that her husband had “fallen down” in his cell.

Relatives and friends of Abdullah Isomuso, who attempted to visit him in hospital, were filmed and harassed by security forces.

It is no surprise that in parliament Generalissimo Prayut defended all the actions of these soldiers at Ingkhayut camp and attacked people who claimed that Abdullah Isomuso had been tortured, saying that they had “probably watched too many films”. He also complained about too much emphasis on “human rights”.

Lt. Gen. Pornsak Poonsawat, the 4th Army Region commander, promised to set up a committee to investigate the incident. But we should not expect any truth to come out of this military investigation. When reporters asked about the CCTV inside the Ingkhayut camp, they were informed that “they were all out of action”.

CCTV cameras at various sites where extrajudicial killings by police and the military take place are usually “out of action”. This not only occurs in Patani, but also in the north, where members of minority ethnic groups are regularly gunned down. In 2017 Chaiyapoom Pasae, a 17 year old Lahu activist, was killed in cold blood and apparently there was a fault with the CCTV cameras. [See https://bit.ly/2o4Wq99 ].”

Thai state criminals, including Generalissimo Praytut, have a long history of impunity. It is very unlikely that anyone will be brought to account for this murder.

The struggle by the Muslim Malay people of Patani against the Thai imperialist state should be supported by all those who believe in social justice and until we overthrow the present parliamentary military dictatorship there can be no justice or peace!!

 

Patani activist suffers brain damage after being tortured

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Abdullah Isomuso, 32, was found unconscious a few days ago inside his holding cell in the notorious “Fort Ingkhayut” military base in Patani. He was arrested the day before, suspected of involvement in an anti-Thai government insurgent group.

Local Malay Muslims in Patani have been fighting a war of liberation against the brutal Thai imperialist state for decades. [See https://bit.ly/2bemah3 ].

Doctors found an accumulation of excess fluid inside his brain, suggesting he suffered from a prolonged shortage of oxygen. No sign of physical violence was found on his body. This is in keeping with the belief that Abdullah Isomuso had been tortured by security forces at Fort Ingkhayut. Instead of water-boarding, he may well have had some kind of bag put over his head to deprive him of oxygen. He is now in serious danger of becoming brain dead.

The legal rights group iLaw reported that a Bangkok detainee of the military was tortured by using a plastic bag over her face. [See https://bit.ly/2Yd9wGS ].

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His wife, Sumaiya Minka, said she was only informed of his condition when she went to Fort Ingkhayut to visit her husband, at which she was told instead to go to a hospital’s ICU ward. The military told her that her husband had “fallen down” in his cell.

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[In this photo, released by the ISOC, Abdullah Isomuso, center, is shown reading documents inside Fort Ingkhayut on July 20.  From khaosodenglish].

Relatives and friends of Abdullah Isomuso, who attempted to visit him in hospital, have been filmed and harassed by security forces.

It is no surprise that in parliament Generalissimo Prayut defended all the actions of these soldiers at Ingkhayut camp and attacked people who claimed that Abdullah Isomuso had been tortured, saying that they had “probably watched too many films”. He also complained about too much emphasis on “human rights”.

Lt. Gen. Pornsak Poonsawat, the 4th Army Region commander, has promised to set up a committee to investigate the incident. But we should not expect any truth to come out of this military investigation. When reporters asked about the CCTV inside the Ingkhayut camp, they were informed that “they were all out of action”.

CCTV cameras at various sites where extrajudicial killings by police and the military take place are usually “out of action”. This not only occurs in Patani, but also in the north, where members of minority ethnic groups are regularly gunned down. In 2017 Chaiyapoom Pasae, a 17 year old Lahu activist, was killed in cold blood and apparently there was a fault with the CCTV cameras. [See https://bit.ly/2o4Wq99 ].

Last week Ja-jur Ja-Or, a 50 year old Lahu/Mussur man, was gunned down and killed by police in Wiang Hang, Chiang Mai province. Eye witnesses that saw him lying dead stated that he was unarmed. But later police moved his body and placed a gun by his side. When his mother attempted to approach his body, police pushed and kicked her away and she fell. Angry villagers then confronted the police.

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Local community groups have protested this extra-judicial killing and demanded that the police killers be immediately moved out of the area so that an impartial investigation can take place. They insist that Ja-jur Ja-Or had nothing to do with the drug trade, as claimed by police and pro-government media.

Racism in Thai society plays a big part in shaping prejudices against Malay Muslims in Patani and ethnic minority groups in the north. This weakens attempts to hold the authorities to account. [See https://bit.ly/1JaeTJY ].

Until we overthrow the present parliamentary military dictatorship there can be no justice or peace.

 

Military Party MP makes racist remark in parliament and gets away with it.

Krung Srivilai, former B-movie actor, and now MP for the Military Party, made a racist comment in parliament about Rangsiman Rome, Future Forward Party MP.

Krung Srivilai referred to Rangsiman Rome’ mixed heritage in a derogatory manner.

No one objected and the Speaker did not demand an apology or ask the racist to leave the meeting. Yet another opposition MP was expelled from the parliament for merely saying that Prayut had fixed the election, which is true.

This is just another symptom of how deeply ingrained racism is in Thai society.

Tong Jamsee, the CPT and the politics of Stalin and Mao

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Tong Jamsee (Thong Jamsri), the last Secretary General of the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) died this month at the age of 98.

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Once a beacon of hope for all those struggling against the Thai dictatorship in the 1970s, the CPT ceased to exist as an active organisation in the mid-1980s, when the student activists, who had joined the CPT in the jungle after the 6th October 1976, returned to the city. Changes in the geo-political climate, ending in the fall of the Berlin Wall, were also responsible for the decline of the CPT. [See “The rise and fall of the CPT” https://bit.ly/32wXO8v ].

At the end of 2009, a split among the old remaining CPT members occurred, mirroring the deep divisions in Thai society between the red and yellow shirts. One section joined the royalist, pro-military dictatorship, yellow shirts, under the ridiculous claim that Taksin Shinawat, as a “monopoly capitalist” was the number one enemy. To his credit, Tong Jamsee denounced these people and sided with the pro-democracy red shirts. The red shirts were mainly made up of ordinary working people in the cities and the rural areas. The yellow shirts were middle-class and reactionary.

Unfortunately Tong Jamsee’s main reasoning was that people ought to side with Taksin, as a “progressive capitalist”, rather than the need to side with workers and small farmers and to build a movement independent of people like Taksin.

Tong Jamsee wrote in 2009 that Thailand was “now” a capitalist society under the control of the “Feudal Monopoly Capitalist Class”. He argued that Thailand was a “new absolute monarchy” and that Taksin was a “liberal free-market capitalist”.

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For years the CPT had argued, along Stalinist-Maoist lines, that Thailand was a “Semi-feudal, Semi-Colonial” country and that the task of the CPT was to push forward with the “National Democratic” revolution to establish capitalism. This meant relegating the struggle for socialism to the distant future and the need to build a national alliance with the capitalist class against the feudalists. This was the same argument put forward by Stalinist-Maoist parties all over the world. It arose from Stalin’s emphasis on “Socialism in One Country” and the need to defend the Soviet Union at the expense of a world-wide socialist revolution. [See “The Failure of Stalinist Ideology and the Communist Parties of Southeast Asia” https://bit.ly/1OEfsJo ].

In a perverse and distorted way, the reasoning of the CPT members who joined with the yellow shirts also arose from the CPT’s emphasis of cross-class alliances and the rejection of the central role of the working class and peasantry in the struggle for a socialist revolution from below. This view was also shared by ex-CPT NGO activists who joined the yellow shirts.

Tong Jamsee retained much of the CPT analysis and emphasis on cross-class alliances, but argued that Thailand was no longer a colony of the USA since the withdrawal of US troops in 1976. As a result of retaining the basics of the CPT analysis, his statement in 2009 that Thailand was now “capitalist” was 140 years out of date, since the first Thai capitalist state was established under king Chulalongkorn in the 1870s. [See “Thailand’s Crisis and the Fight for Democracy ” http://bit.ly/1TdKKYs ]. His analysis that Thailand was a new absolute monarchy was also wildly inaccurate and reflects the views of those who exaggerate the power of the monarchy. [See “Wachiralongkorn’s power” https://bit.ly/2EOjsNL   “Absolutism” https://bit.ly/2teiOzQ ].

Tong Jamsee appears to have the ability to scare the Thai ruling class even after his death. Many activists who attended his funeral have been paid visits by the junta’s police.

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The strengths of the CPT and Tong Jamsee do not lie with their flawed analysis of Thai society or the lack of internal democracy within the party. Their strengths lie in the way that the CPT placed importance on building a militant mass party of the left, which was not pre-occupied with parliament, while at the same time attempting to put forward a unified analysis of politics.

Today Thailand desperately needs such a party, built by a new generation of activists who are prepared to learn lessons from the past.

 

Not even an attempt to hide the lack of democracy

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

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Generalissimo Prayut’s dictatorship continues without any attempt to hide the lack of democracy after the sham elections in March.

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Pig-face Prawit

The line-up of government ministers is the same as during the period after Prayut’s coup in 2014. The current parliamentary dictatorship merely brought in a handful of unprincipled anti-democratic politicians to act as decoration for the government. Apart from Prayut, the corrupt General “Pig-Face” Prawit is still in charge.

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Ja New

Following the recent brutal attack on the pro-democracy activist Sirawit Seritiwat or “Ja New”, Pig-Face Prawit and the chief of police made the outrageous statement that Ja New would only receive police protection if he ceased his pro-democracy political activities!

The only thing we can conclude from this is that the military organised the gangsters who attacked Ja New as a warning to opposition activists to cease their activities or face violence.

Academics and activists who have raised the issue of this violence have received visits from soldiers.

Rather than trying to catch those who attacked Ja New, the police have concentrated on tracking down people who implied on social media that the authorities were involved in the outrage.

Meanwhile Generalissimo Prayut continues to rule by decree, using article 44 of the military constitution. He seems to see no real difference between his military government, with its appointed parliament after the coup, and the present parliamentary dictatorship, and he is right.

Prayut’s parliamentary dictatorship has retained the power of the military to detain pro-democracy citizens in military camps, without charge, for infamous “attitude changing sessions” [See  https://bit.ly/30ycYc1 ].

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village land rights activist jailed

More social inequality is being perpetuated with poor villagers being thrown off their land to make way for so-called national forest parks, and then receiving draconian jail sentences, when they try to reclaim their land. Meanwhile the rich and powerful can break the law with impunity.

The General Secretary of the junta’s Palang Pracharut Party, has announced that the rise in the minimum wage that the junta party advertised in their manifesto before the election will not now take place. The supposed reason is that Thai workers are lacking in skills!

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Chatumongol Sonakul with best friend

The new Minister of Labour is reactionary aristocrat Chatumongol Sonakul, who is a member of Sutep’s whistle-blowing anti-democrats. As a former Governor of the Bank of Thailand, appointed by the Democrat Party, when they bailed out the rich at the expense of the poor after the economic crisis, he opposed Taksin’s measures to stimulate the economy and was replaced. He is clearly an extreme neo-liberal.

Both the above examples show that dictatorship is designed to reduce the democratic space and justice on a class base. Dictatorship and military coups are good for the rich and the business class. Dictatorship facilitates the use of neo-liberal, free-market policies against the interests of the poor.

As I have previously stated, it will take more than verbal opposition in parliament to get rid of Prayut’s parliamentary dictatorship.

Further reading:

Flawed Thai elections:  https://bit.ly/2RIIvrD

What now after the election: https://bit.ly/307AgpF

The Thai Junta’s Road Map to “Guided Democracy”: https://bit.ly/2QMrGf9

Guided Democracy after the Flawed 2019 Election: https://bit.ly/2Wm6bzI

Parliamentary Dictatorship:  https://bit.ly/2RTlleU

Thailand needs a movement like in Hong Kong

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Thailand desperately needs an anti-dictatorship mass social movement like in Hong Kong. When I say “like Hong Kong” I don’t mean that it should be a carbon copy of the Hong Kong movement, but it needs to be a real mass movement aiming to clear away the Prayut parliamentary dictatorship and the legacy of military rule, including the military constitution and all the institutions set up by the junta.

It is now 3 months after the so-called elections and no new government has been set up. But this means very little since the junta are still in charge with Prayut as Prime Minister.

It does not take a genius to see that there is no freedom, democracy or justice in Thailand. Those who cannot see this, chose not to see it because they favour authoritarian rule.

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The recent brutal attack on the pro-democracy activist Sirawit Seritiwat or “Ja New” and the continuing operations of military death squads in neighbouring countries, is one horrific aspect of the state of Thai politics. The fact that Generalissimo Prayut can come out and say recently that he doesn’t want to be forced to stage another coup, is another.

But what is lacking from many pro-democracy activists and politicians is a clear idea of how to bring down the junta. It is long past the time when people can still believe that the elections could change things. We all know that the constitution needs to be amended and the military reformed. But the question is how?

It is a pure pipe-dream to think that this can be done through a parliament which is a result of rigged elections. It shows a lack of responsibility to just say that the constitution or various junta laws need to be amended and scrapped and that the election laws need to be changed without saying how this can be done.

The “Long Coup” from 2006 to the present day, when elected governments were overthrown by the military and the judiciary, with the help of royalist protestors and much of the NGO movement, did not finish when Prayut held false elections earlier this year. We are now in a process of “parliamentary dictatorship”, planned and implemented by the junta. What is important to remember is that this long destruction of democracy was never carried out using an elected parliament, or by respecting the law and the constitution. It was carried out using the brute force of the military in tandem with mass mobilisations of reactionary, anti-democratic, social movements.

For this reason it should be clear that the opposition MPs in the present parliament cannot hope to make any significant changes. The illegitimate rules of the junta cannot be used to get rid of the illegitimate junta.

It is high time for a serious discussion about building a real pro-democracy social movement. Such a mass movement needs to be better than the red shirts that came before. It needs to be independent of establishment parties that seek to control and limit the struggle and it needs to be linked to youth and labour.

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Hong Kong protest movement

It takes real people, meeting face to face, in order to build the networks necessary to construct this movement. The question is: are there enough activists on the ground to achieve this?

 

Further reading:  https://bit.ly/2RTlleU

Thai politics