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Thailand is facing “hybrid warfare” by “ill-intentioned politicians” – Army chief Gen Apirat

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Thailand is facing “hybrid warfare” by “ill-intentioned politicians” – Army chief Gen Apirat | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Screenshot – Matichon TV

Thailand’s Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong is warning that Thailand is facing what he described as a “hybrid warfare”.

The ultra-loyalist Army chief says the ‘war’ is being waged by a collection of “ill-intentioned politicians”, remnants of communist ideologues and “foreign forces” against the country’s major establishments. His speech was aimed fairly and squarely at opposition politicians who he accused of “soliciting foreign interference in Thai domestic affairs”.

His comments were heavily politically weighted for a man who is meant to represent the country’s Army, a position usually associated with political neutrality.

General Apirat was speaking at the army’s southern headquarters where he outlined what he claimed to be a conspiracy among several groups of people bent on “destroying the country and its major establishments.”

General Apirat referred to a recent visit to Hong Kong by a leading Thai opposition politician during which he met with pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, claiming it was an “illustration of how anti-government forces are trying to solicit foreign interference in Thai domestic affairs”.

He did not mention names specifically but showed a picture of Wong taken with the silhouette of someone understood to be Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit, the fire-brand leader of Future Forward Party. Thanathorn admitted that he was in Hong Kong recently for a panel discussion and a picture he took with Wong wen tviral. He also admitted that he was inspired to enter politics by the fight for democracy in Hong Kong.

He accused opposition figures of targeting young people and trying to indoctrinate them with “destructive ideas.”

“Joshua Wong visited Thailand and then this businessman-turned-politician went to Hong Kong. Were they up to something? I want to ask whether these young (Thai) people would go out on the streets if called upon one day,” he said.

Thailand is facing “hybrid warfare” by

PHOTO: Future Forward’s Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit and HK pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong

General Apirat, a key supporter of the Prayut government, took aim at politicians and academics who he said are trying to use the situation in southern Thailand for political gains. He singled out Dr. Chalita Bundhuwong from the Kasetsart University, who proposed, during a recent panel discussion in Pattani, that Article 1 of the Constitution which guarantees Thailand as a single and indivisible state, be amended.

General Apirat opined that the proposal has a “hidden motive that would threaten the country’s security”. “Amending Article 1 of the Constitution would pave the way for amendments of other articles concerning the monarchy,” he said without elaborating but vowed to block any attempts to have the article in question amended. The general didn’t outline the means by which he would be able to ‘block’ the process of amendments to Thailand’s constitution.

The army chief also recalled the presence of a group of western diplomats who showed up at Pathumwan police station in April when Thanathorn was summoned to hear a sedition charge against him. He alleged that it was part of a larger plot to internationalise the issue.

The ‘western diplomats’ were staff from foreign embassies stationed in Bangkok whose governments had openly expressed concerns over the sedition charges against the Future Forward leader.

“All these incidents were not coincidental,” he said, referring specifically to Thanathorn’s meeting with Wong, the support shown by western diplomats to the Future Forward leader, the controversial panel discussion in Pattani and the frequent mobilising of anti-military rallies.

“They were orchestrated.”

Gen Apirat also accused some of the “foreign educated” academics with leftist views of being “masterminds” behind many of the anti-government and anti-military activities.

He claimed, without evidence, that they had been working in cahoots with politicians “who harbour ill intentions toward the country’s major establishments, foreign elements, and businessmen born with silver spoons in their mouths” to wage a “hybrid warfare” against the country.

Gen Apirat clarified that a “hybrid war” is a modern form of warfare that employs a range tools and players designed to destabilise and bring about changes in a society.

“They include inciting local unrests, propaganda, foreign interference, cyber-attacks, economic pressure, and discrediting of the executive and judiciary branches.”

“Their ultimate aim is to win elections, seize executive power, and to change the Constitution.”

The General’s lecture was entitled “Our Land from Security Perspectives” and was full of theatre punctuating some of his points with a produced Power Point presentation and military music.

When challenged by the media if a dialogue with these groups of dissenting voices was possible, General Apirat said “I don’t think so. They are bent on pushing their agenda regardless of what we say.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Politics

Companies pull out from Trump brand after storming of Capitol incident

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Companies pull out from Trump brand after storming of Capitol incident | The Thaiger

Corporate America is adding its weight in response to the insurgency at the Capitol building on January 6, and are pulling out from any association with the Trump brand after the storming of the capitol incidentwhich economists say will have a profound medium and long-term effect on his business interests. Recently, Signature Bank closed Trump’s personal accounts and the PGA of America stopped plans to hold its 2022 championship at Mr. Trump’s New Jersey golf course.

Such a parting of ways signals the business community’s weariness in being associated with a political figure that has attracted worldwide attention and is indicative of what may happen to the Trump brand. The president’s role in the incident, confirmed by his impeachment by the House this week, has gained criticism from the Business Roundtable to the AFL-CIO labour federation.

Michael D’Antonio, the author of a Trump biography, says the capitol incident has been a game-changer for the support of extreme politics.

“Trump’s name is really an albatross. He is the most disgraced president in history. This is a person who’s synonymous with a mob attacking the US Capitol. I just think this went a step too far.”

Other experts like Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, say Trump’s brand will inevitably suffer long-term.

“Before his term, Trump stood for wealth, success and over-the-top luxury. Now the brand has associations with anti-government views, racism and extremism. This makes the brand fairly toxic.”

Deutsche Bank, to which Trump reportedly owes around $400 million, is also planning to stop engaging in business with him. But the president dismissed any business challenges in an October 15 televised event by saying that the $400 million he owed was “a tiny percentage of my net worth.”

It appears true that some of Trump’s properties have benefitted from his presidency as taxpayer revenue has continuously flowed into his golf courses and clubs where he stays with his family, the secret service and the White House staff.

In fact, CREW estimates that Trump’s properties took in over $100 million from more than 500 visits by the president, according to a report in September 2020. But even that business transaction has received widespread criticism as many say Trump should not have mixed politics with his personal businesses.

D’Antonio predicts that Trump may sell current assets to pay off his Deutsche Bank debt, which means there could be fewer to none Trump hotels, golf courses or towers in the next 10 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Thailand’s emergency decree extended again

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Thailand’s emergency decree extended again | The Thaiger
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Thailand’s nationwide Emergency Decree has been extended again, this time until the end of February. The decree gives the Thai government the ability to set policies and procedures to prevent the control the spread of Covid-19… things like restricting travel, setting up road checkpoints and introducing other restrictions without having to consult the parliament.

All the latest articles about Thailand’s Covid-19 situation are on one page HERE.

Government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri says it is just an extension of the decree that is currently in place that was initially set to end on January 15. The extension, adding on another 45 days, was proposed by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and approved by the Thai Cabinet this week.

The initial emergency decree was enacted in March last year and has been extended ever since.

The number of local Covid-19 infections has spiked since the outbreak at the Samut Sakhon seafood market last month, spreading to 55 of Thailand’s 77 provinces. The ‘second wave’ has stemmed from a cluster of migrant workers in the nation’s seafood industry and markets in the Gulf of Thailand coastal province, as well as cluster of infections focussed on illegal gambling dens, principally in the eastern coastal provinces and Bangkok.

Here’s a video about the new Mor Chana app which you will probably be required to use if you are travelling around Thailand at this time…

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Politics

YouTube blocks music video with pro-democracy protest footage after legal complaint

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YouTube blocks music video with pro-democracy protest footage after legal complaint | The Thaiger
PHOTO: R.A.D.

A music video by a pro-democracy movement band was blocked on YouTube in Thailand due to a legal complaint from the government, according to the message posted on the video’s page.

The band Rap Against Dictatorship, also known as RAD, made a post on their Facebook fan page saying that the music video for their song “Reform” was blocked on YouTube.

“Happy New Year everyone. Our new music video has been blocked. This is obviously the ‘New Year Gift’ from the government.”

The band members are active in the pro-democracy movement and 2 of them are currently facing criminal charges relating to a protest in July.

The song conveys a definition of the word ‘reform’ in the Thai language and mentions the current problems in Thailand, including politics, social inequality and the right of protesters to seek justice.

The music video had footage from recent protests in Bangkok including clips from rallies in October and November where water cannons were deployed, some spraying tear gas on pro-democracy protesters.

The music video was first released in about mid-November and reached over 300,000 views on YouTube within 9 hours. It now has over 9 million views. The band was told that the music video is against the law without any other explanations from YouTube or government agencies.

RAD made a reputation with its previous work “Prathet Ku Mi” (“Which is My Country”) released last year and it went viral across the country. The group was also recognised one of the three winners of the 2019 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent that was presented in 2019 at the Oslo Freedom Forum.

SOURCE: Facebook|Prachathai English

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