A catalogue of threats against the Khana Nitirat

Yesterday [22 Jan], the Khana Nitirat, the group of seven lecturers at Thammasat University who work to put law in the service of the people, held a public seminar on the nullifcation of the 2007 Constitution.  The Sriburapha Auditorium at Thammasat University was overflowing with people listening inside, and exchanging ideas, browsing books and doing political performance art outside. Read reports summarizing the seminar here, here, and here, and view video of the seminar here, here, and here.

Yet rather than write about the important proposal of the Khana Nitirat here, what I want to do instead is to flag the threatening response that their work has generated. In particular, I turn to the comments section of an article about yesterday’s seminar posted on the online version of ผู้จัดการ/Manager newspaper. The article was the ผู้จัดการ/Manager take on the seminar and the Khana Nitirat proposal.  The comments are full of unconstructive misreadings of the Khana Nitirat proposal, but more than that, a virulent thread of hatred.These comments do not seem to be in the interest of furthering debate about democracy, rule of law, and monarchy, but rather shutting it down, by making the possible risks for entering it grave and unpredictable.

Perhaps if I read the comments on ผู้จัดการ/Manager articles more frequently, I would be inured to comments which suggest that people be murdered or burned alive. But I do not, and I am not, so I offer a catalogue of the comments posted, circa 12 noon Thailand time on 23 January 2012.

At that time, there were a total of 227 comments. While several comments took the proposal of the Khana Nitirat seriously, many comments chose to forgo engagement and instead engage in harassment and threats against the members of the Khana Nitirat. Of primary concern here, commentators cast the members of the Khana Nitirat as less then human, called for the involvement of the military, called for surveillance, called for their deaths in a vague sense, and called for murderous vigilante violence against them. Many other comments suggested that the members of the Khana Nitirat were not-Thai and should leave the country. In what follows, the number in [ ] refers to the number of the comment which corresponds to the content noted.

Less than human
•    Comparison of the members of the Khana Nitirat with dogs [50]
•    Members of the Khana Nitirat are aliens [23]
•    Members of the Khana Nitirat are not human [186]

Call for involvement of the military:
•    What are soliders doing about this [31, 110]
•    Call for a coup [148]
•    Where is the Army’s pride [150]

Call for surveillance:
•    For the names, addresses, phone numbers, and maps of the house location of the members of the Khana Nitirat to be published [41, 86,117]
•    Listing of the names of the members of the Khana Nitirat with the admonition to remember it well [159]
•    Request for other commentators to be the eyes and ears, i.e., to be an informal surveillance network [78]

Call for vigilante and/or state violence, including murder:
•    Soldiers should disappear the members of the Khana Nitirat by throwing them from helicopters [45]
•    Along with their families, the members of the Khana Nitirat should be necklaced and burned alive in front of their houses [44]
•    Members of the Khana Nitirat should die a violent death (ตายโหง) [4,10]
•    Members of the Khana Nitirat should be beheaded [29]
•    Members of the Khana Nitirat should be beheaded and their heads put on stakes outside the front of the entrance to Thammasat University [85]
•    Ajarn Worachet should be executed [111]
•    Take care of the members of the Khana Nitirat with an eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth [105]
•    General death threats [24, 37, 79, 102, 153]
•    Thammasat University should be burned down [111]
•    Trash should be thrown at the members of the Khana Nitirat [179]

To be clear: my point is not to suggest that the proposal of the Khana Nitirat should not be engaged critically.  But the comments posted on ผู้จัดการ/Manager  are neither critical nor about engagement. They are about calling for violence. In what universe is it appropriate to call for someone whose ideas one disagrees with to be beheaded and their head put on a stake outside a university? This is an attempt to intimidate and threaten the members of the Khana Nitirat, as well as shut down, not open, criticism and conversation. I would further ask, what does this mean – for the present and future of politics, about the possibility of the rule of law, about the protection of human rights, and about the status of the freedom of expression in Thailand? Does dissent – no matter the form – remove one’s claim to be human? In the present political moment, perhaps.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald is the pen name of an observer of Thai politics and history. She can be reached at lizziefitzy@gmail.com.

Comments

Shocking really, but not

Shocking really, but not surprising to many. Thailand should be as ashamed of and embarrassed by these people as the Brits are of the National Front or the Americans are about the Ku Klux Klan.

But they won't be because in general, in spite of their pre-occupation with self-esteem and 'face', Thais have little pride and no dignity.

From time to time I make accurate but politically incorrect observations about the average IQ and level of emotional development of Thais. Occasionally I get criticized for this, not because the information is wrong but because it is politically incorrect.

What is amazing is that the people who criticize me appear not to recognize the link between the average IQ and emotional development of Thais, and behavior such is described in this article.

Go figure.

Lynn & Vanhanen's book on

Lynn & Vanhanen's book on national IQ in 2006 had Thailand's national average IQ at 91, below UK, US and Israel at 100, 98 and 95 respectively. They are above middle of the pack of all the nations. Do you have a different figure? I don't disagree with your assessment of the fact that Thais are by and large challenged in terms of maturity and emotional development.

This same piece was posted at

This same piece was posted at NM where stuart made an interesting observation...

One can’t give up hope for these hotheads. Privileged people who find themselves trapped in a corner often resort to bad language. But rarely does it spill over into all-out total violence because rich people simply have too much to lose in a sustained military campaign of mutual destruction. Only desperate poor people do that.

As an example, the average privileged and educated white South African voiced similar sentiments in the 1970s and 1980s at a time when the ANC was threatening white dominance. Yet in the 1992 referendum some 69% of them voted “yes” to reforms that they knew would lead to a voluntary capitulation and handover of power. I was one of them.

Let's hope along with stuart that in the end their greed does prevail over their fear and that they go along to get along. That is, after all, not an unusual strategy among members of such mobs.

Have to take issue with

Have to take issue with stuart's comment.

What happened in Bangkok in 2010? Thammasat 1976? All the other massacres and deaths over the planet over the last 40-odd years, particularly in Central America were numerous peasant-led revolts were put down by wealthy elites in the most horrific manner?

Well of course they could

Well of course they could (try to) do it again. My hope is that they don't have the nerve to assassinate the Niti Raat, and that the Niti Raat are well surrounded and protected from an assassination attempt in any case.

It would be good if there were a massive, joyous demonstration of the people's embrace of discussion and debate of both the 112 issue and a roll-back/re-do of the coup and a rewrite of the constitution.

It's going to have to come from the people, the UDD or a new group would be the logical organizer, because the present PT regime seems more hopeless everyday.

It was absolute numbers that won out in South Africa and its going to have to be the same here. There is no need to assemble only in Bangkok, although a good turnout in Bangkok would be essential. A 'peoples picnic' day, with music, food, and political speeches throughout the realm would be good.

Red District Movement Expands

Red District Movement Expands into Khon Kaen

[W]here in Udon Thani many of the villages in these Red Districts had been previously inaugurated as Red, in Khon Kaen’s Ubolrat district, prior to Sunday’s ceremony only three villages had been established. This sudden surge of support, Red District Officer and local businessman Sirisak Nojit explains, is a sign of the country’s changing political tides.

“Before people were scared [to show themselves], but now time has passed and people are showing that they’re red,” he said.

Coupled with the news from Lanna, things are looking up.

I read this: "In what

I read this: "In what universe is it appropriate to call for someone whose ideas one disagrees with to be beheaded and their head put on a stake outside a university?"

Well...in the same universe that committed the same sorts of atrocities in Thailand in the mid 70s and 90's and which saw the perpetrators get away with it. The images we can see of some of the population participating with glee are akin to the worst of horror or futuristic sci-fi films.

They could, and would do it again as long as the boys in uniform stand behind them.

Today again Yingluck repeated her starch support of the LM laws and suggested it was nobody's business to question LM or discuss it.

An odd idea in fact. A law that pertains to all citizens, can create nazi-style surveillance and witch-hunting and incarcerate people for 15 - 20 years for thinking out of the box.

Yet...in Yingluck's POV it is nobody's business or concern. And people should get busy rebuilding the economy.

The PTP in part got voted into government by their openly stating they would take a look not only at the LM laws but those convicted and accused post-2006 coup. Instead, they have actually accelerated the hunt and given a clear "nod" to those who would commit the atrocities suggested by the ผู้จัดการ/Manager newspaper.

I have always been and still am very pessimistic for Thailand. And the international community (itself full of [getting there first, Tony] double standards) is lame. Recent apologies and tucking of the tail between its legs of the US embassy is a case in point.

If violence does break out we know from past experience what will happen. The two sides will be called for a meeting, reprimanded for dividing Thailand, the generals will be given the power and the others told to go home in shame and start loving others again. But definitely....to shut up.

Nitirat are disingenuous fake

Nitirat are disingenuous fake academics working hand in hand with the UDD and a concerted foreign agenda to undermine Thailand's indigenous institutions and ultimately replace them with a foreign reign of tyranny led by stooge of choice, Thaksin and his own hereditary, autocratic dictatorship.

Sorry, if Nitirat was objective and noted the abuses on both sides, or recognized the necessity of the 2006 coup as well as the need to keep those who led it in check, I would be supportive of them. When they come out clearly in favor of the UDD and thus in favor of Thaksin and his foreign-funded treason, they resign all legitimacy - especially when they refuse to acknowledge the necessity of removing such a man from power and the inability to have done so with anything but a military coup.

They are yet another group of seditious traitors working behind the facade of progressive reform, much like the treasonous US State Department funded Prachatai who can never report enough on Nitirat's activities. With so much happening in the world, I have no choice but to be suspicious of a news agency like Prachatai that is myopically obsessed only with 112 and supporting overtly compromised organizations like Thaksin's UDD and Nitirat.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/08/exposed-indy-newspaper-funded-by-us.html

Thailand needs real change, not a bunch of foreign-funded imposters peddling hope and change, but simply preparing to replace a flawed system with one purposefully designed for oppression, tyranny and exploitation - because that's ALL Thaksin and the UDD is really about, from top to bottom.

PS - Elizabeth Fitzgerald - a

PS - Elizabeth Fitzgerald - a frequent commentator here on Prachatai - maybe you should browse through your own beloved Prachatai's comment sections and see threats from your own peers toward dissenting views. I have been repeatedly threatened, abused, name-called, censored, and threatened with acts of violence including being hanged.

I laugh at all of these not just because of the immense hypocrisy, but because of the feckless nature of such threats. BOTH sides threaten each other, Liz, and in fact the Thaksin/UDD mobs have murdered people, including hacking one man to death with machetes, as well as acts of wide scale arson and theft. This is not a battle between progressive and regressive. This is a battle between old regressive, and new and expanded regressive. You are not dazzling anyone but those in your own camp with your one-sided observation of threats from one side, when your own side has actually carried such threats out to their deadly conclusion.

I condemn violence on BOTH sides. Violence and threats are unacceptable on BOTH sides. Anyone calling for acts of violence or carrying them out resign all legitimacy on BOTH sides.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/12/mainstream-propagandists-tale-of.html

Nitirat have certainly caused

Nitirat have certainly caused apoplexy amongst the royalists.

It is good that Tony is back with his lies, repetitions and fabrications. And he is painting himself as some kind of hero. What nonsense.

Here's the one today: "I condemn violence on BOTH sides. Violence and threats are unacceptable on BOTH sides." This is a lie. Tony uses language that calls for red shirts to be jailed as traitors, defends military murderers and refers to his various correspondents as scum (amongst other terms of denigration).

He really is breathtakingly shameless in his claims about himself. For example, he mentions UDD as violent but, while demanding evenhandedness fails to say anything about military murderers or PAD violence. He can't even keep up with his own rhetoric.

The claim that Nitirat are Thaksin-funded is not based on anything other than Tony believing royalist propaganda. Not a fact in sight.

Never said Nitirat is funded

Never said Nitirat is funded by Thaksin - though it is a good possibility. What is clear is that UDD, Thaksin and Nitirat are working in tandem.

Nitirat's one-sided, transparently politically motivated agenda derides their legitimacy entirely. How can you condemn the 2006 coup but not the mass-murdering autocrat (Thaksin) who was rewriting the laws that were supposed to judicially remove tyrants like him from power? The military in all democratic societies is charged with serving as the check and balance of last resort. The Thai military served that purpose.

Nitirat also loses out when they myopically focus on 112 - when it is clear that 112 is being used to target not Thais in general, but Thaksin and his political movement. It is clear that Thaksin is working for foreign powers - he has literally registered with several of the largest lobbying firms on earth serving Wall Street and London's interests. For a nation to react and defend against foreign funded sedition is not a transgression against someone's rights - those seeking to undermine the sovereignty of an entire nation are guilty of that.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/06/corporate-funded-peoples-movement.html

Please don't feed the troll

Please don't feed the troll Albert. Even though it was probably my remarking that he had finally pissed off that bought him back. Bugger. Elementary demonology - should hav known better. The stupidity demon. once summoned, cannot return empty-handed. He must return with someone's cortex in his hands to justify his existence.

Nitirat's brave attempt to

Nitirat's brave attempt to draw attention to lese majeste and the repression that flows from it deserve support and attention. Lies and fabrications don't.

TONY: I have several times

TONY: I have several times asked you what you SUGGEST and what you think are the solutions. You have never answered me. In fact, I do not recall a single comment from you making statements about who you support or what you want to see in Thailand.

Every single comment (three or four sometimes on a single subject) are ALL provocation. The only things you do are: stalk; condemn; provoke; denigrate; offend; defame, and; slander.

Then you claim nobody engages in discussion with you.

It appears in fact eery time someone addresses you, you copy and paste from your list of favorite cliches. It would not be difficult to imagine your comments are all pre-written and then just chosen according to your whim, allowing you to spend a few seconds per response. Nothing is novel from you. It is repetitive and boring. Are YOU not bored with yourself by now?

And you claim your freedom of speech is being denied here. Yet you attack those very people that fight for freedom of speech and worse, you ABUSE your own freedom of speech and turn yourself into a raving lunatic who seems to be burying himself alive with a grudge.

Improved practical education

Improved practical education (even if it means grassroots homeschooling if a national education system consistently fails the people), technological progress, economic decentralization through entrepreneurship (by buying and selling locally and boycotting big corporations), self-sufficiency & self-reliance - not socialist dependency or endless political infighting: this is what I see as a solution not just for Thailand but for people around the world. And people are already catching on and doing this - real progressives.

Of course I have written about this in the comment sections before - you simply have refused to read or recall them, and I have extensively written about this on my blog which you have also apparently failed to read before condemning me.

In fact, I have a whole category titled, SOLUTIONS.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/search/label/solutions

And for someone who accuses me of filling up the comment sections with nonsense, you have yet again written a whole comment that is off topic, without substance or references. Instead of contributing to any sort of dialogue, it appears you are instead attempting to justify reasons to censor me. I fully understand though - this is the typical reaction of those who are incapable of defending themselves intellectually. I forgive you.

Well Tony although sympathize

Well Tony although sympathize with your need crying out I believe you make a few of the usual assumptions.

One is: believing being right is always right and must therefore be the only way. The louder you scream the more you scare people away. Stealth can be important. Knowing how to get people to make a small step in the right direction through indirect action is better than losing the war by running into battle fully decked out with flags flying and screaming at the top of your lungs. You make an easy target out there in front.

This is Thailand, and no matter how much you might have some valid points and be able to see the bigger picture, by forcing that down people's throats (without any reservation or room for leaving even a slight benefit of the doubt for others of even a shadow of self doubt) you are not only scaring people off but, giving fire power to the very reactionary groups that are looking for any excuse to pull the rug out from under the feet of change.

You will not create a situation in Thailand that jumps a few decades ahead of itself historically. Step one is getting rid of the power of the military and LM laws. The rest can wait. Trying to get it all at once will only play into the hands of the oppressors who already know well how to play the game.

I'm a little dismayed that

I'm a little dismayed that you are actually arguing against improved education and pragmatic solutions carried out by the people instead of politically motivated agendas executed by manipulating them.

Thailand doesn't need to "go through steps." We are all humans, we are all of equal potential - if people around the world can begin to boycott and decentralize corporate-financier power, so can Thais. There is no need for them to first replace the current system with a regressive, autocratic corporate fascist dictatorship before finally freeing themselves for all forms of elitism.

It's like saying African countries need to use telegraphs, Morse code, and carrier pigeons before installing 3G or 4G networks! If they have it now and can learn how to use it, why not skip ahead?

The "feet of change" you talk of are not reformers, they are usurpers wearing the mask of progress. They seek power and serve foreign interests - they will bring only a more refined tyranny with greater resources to oppress the people. This is a fact. Thaksin is just another type of elitist - and by no means the lesser of two evils. In fact, the dangerous way in which he masks his autocracy (in the same fashion Wall Street and London's fascists do) represents a greater, not lesser threat to the people of Thailand and their best interests.

So again, I disagree. We don't have to wait for better education, better infrastructure, decentralized manufacturing and improved entrepreneurial opportunities, we can start doing that (and are) today and we don't need crooked politicians in a fraudulent, dressed up tyranny to do it.