Thai Coup Leaders Block Facebook, Claim They Didn't, As Gov't Official Admits They Did

from the sensing-a-pattern dept

We recently wrote about how the leaders of the latest military coup in Thailand (one of many that have happened there) summoned ISP officials to tell them to start censoring the internet, though they were adamant that it was not actually censorship. It appears that these coup leaders really like to flat out deny exactly what they are doing. Today, for example, they completely blocked access to Facebook for a few hours, and then blamed it on a "technical problem."
"We have no policy to block Facebook and we have assigned the ICT ministry to set up a supervisory committee to follow social media and investigate and solve problems," said Sirichan Ngathong, spokeswoman for the military council.

"There's been some technical problems with the internet gateway," she said, adding that the authorities were working with internet service providers to fix the problem urgently.
Not that such an excuse was believable, but it was made even less believable when the country's Information Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry came out and admitted that it had censored the site -- and will be asking other social media sites to censor themselves as well:
"We have blocked Facebook temporarily and tomorrow we will call a meeting with other social media, like Twitter and Instagram, to ask for cooperation from them," Surachai Srisaracam, permanent secretary of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, told Reuters.

"Right now there's a campaign to ask for people to stage protests against the army so we need to ask for cooperation from social media to help us stop the spread of critical messages about the coup," he said.
In other words, there was no "technical problem." There was just out and out censorship, and the government is expecting much more of that, because they don't want anyone saying anything critical about the coup. That's pretty clear, good old-fashioned censorship, no matter what the coup leaders would like to claim. Also, given how much people seem to like things like social media, it seems like a pretty silly strategy to take that away from people, hoping it will somehow make them more willing to support the coup.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 4:07pm

    If I had to guess I'd say the clampdown on social media(among other sources of communication) is divided between making sure the only story available is the 'official' one, and keeping people from being able to organize effectively, it has nothing to do with trying to drive more support for the takeover.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 4:33pm

    In other news

    I read a headline earlier today, I think, that a court in Iran had ordered Mark Zuckerburg from Facebook to appear before them. I did not read the details.

    Funny how certain behaviors by certain governments sparked the idea that other governments could behave the same. And it's spiraling, downward, but spiraling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    alanbleiweiss (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 4:39pm

    How permanent is permanent

    "permanent secretary of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry"

    So exactly how permanent is such a position in a country like this? I mean is it "permanent as long as this coup lasts" permanent? Or is it "permanent even if some other group stages a coup later" permanent?

    I think before they shut down all social media entirely (because you know - fomenting unrest during such an important period of unrest is wrong), they should be more clear in the titles they issue to people...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 6:30pm

    Memba Luther? Not that one. The one after MLK was named. The Revolutionary.

    How he managed to pull his stunt and separate 2/3 of Europe from Catholic criminal syndicte in Rome? Mass communication called printing press.

    Holy Church came up with a solution: censorship.

    Now, replace words "printing press" with "Internetz".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 9:38pm

    Shut down social media and fire up State own propaganda news sources. It's a time-honored tradition!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 11:49pm

    Re: How permanent is permanent

    There's a group of shadow ministries which view themselves as answerable to the king not the elected government or the people.

    'Permanent' means until the king changes him.

    In this instance Prayuth has seized the kings authority and those agencies answer to him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2014 @ 1:21am

    Thailand coup 2014 A-Z

    The way Thai coups work:

    a) There is a planning meeting between military (loyal to king), Democrat party (loyal to king), and permanent civil servants (loyal to king).

    b) They decide if this will be a military coup or a people's coup. This time it was a people's coup.

    c) A mob of people are assembled, and they protest the elected government with the aim of bringing down the elected government.

    d) Prem Tinsulanonda is the man who arranges these coups. He controls the Privy Council and with it the palace and the king. He controls many of the people in the civil services and chooses the leader of the Democrat party. He stays in the shadows.

    e) Prem's group Pitak Siam, was first to try a mob, but this group failed to have an impact.

    f) Suthep was next to raise a mob. He tried to block elections, and with the help of Prem's newly appointed Election Commssioners, he succeeded.

    g) Grenades are used against the little people in the mob, and that is used by the army as justification for the coup. 'to keep the peace'. The grenades are blamed on the government, but actually come from the military or the mob. The grenades only ever hit innocent bystanders, never the leaders or their loyal mob.

    h) This time, video footage showed the grenade was thrown by their own guard next to their lead car. A second grenade thrower caught on CCTV, was recently spotted among Sutheps personal guards!

    i) The army hesitated, as these attacks were believed to be from Sutheps own people to justify the coup.

    Many such protests are attacked by many grenades, but all the grenades miss the stages, miss the large protest mob, and hit bystanders.

    In Trat, one of these grenade misses the protest stage, and the mob and instead hits a noodle stall nearby killing a little girl.

    How does a rocket propelled grenade manage to miss a ten thousand square meter protest and hit a food stall nearby?!

    j) So the coup was switched from a peoples coup to a judicial coup. Now Prem made lots of calls to his agents in the courts, and civil service to find some was to remove the Prime Minister with law.

    k) The anti corruption agency decided to prosecute for negligence in the rice program. The appointed Senate opted for removing the government for moving a civil servant, Thawil from office.

    l) The charter court then removed the Prime Minister for the Thawil case ruling it was a political decision. They also removed 9 other ministers who attended the meeting. None of the 9 were listed on the case, or had been given their right to testify in their defense. The court heard the last witness on Tuesday afternoon and gave a verdict the next day.

    m) The PM stepped down, and the deputy PM was assigned her duties. The coup fails, the government still stands.

    n) The anti corruption agency then steps in, recommends the government by removed for negigence and says it may also bring criminals charges for possible corruption (if it can find any corruption that is).

    o) The Prem Election Commission pretended the deputy PM didn't have authority to issue the election decree and so there could be no election.

    p) Suthep's numbers were dwindling. The army gave him government house to use for meetings, to look like he was the government.

    q) The coup senate tries again to find a way to remove the PM and appoint their own PM. This fails, legally there is no way.

    r) Suthep demands all the civil servant heads meet him at government house on Monday and demands a strike of all the civil service.

    o) No civil service visit him, they continue to answer to the elected government. The government agencies predict no strike.

    p) That evening General Prayuth steps in and declares Martial Law. Something he legally can only do if there's war or riot. But he has guns and so nobody stops him.

    q) He holds talks, demands the government hand over power, they refuse. He declares a coup and soldiers seize them.

    r) General Prayuth claims he has the kings backing, shows a piece of paper, with no stamps. It is likely the king is behind this, but to maintain a pretense of distance, the paper is not stamped.
    The kings silence is confirmation of his involvement.

    s) The constitution is cancelled. the courts, government, police, civil service, all are claimed by General Prayuth.

    t) He will redraft the constitution to ensure the Democrats win the next election.

    u) Censorship is heavy. We cannot speak the truth, because the truth is we're under a totalitarian government run by a despot, with guns pointed at us to cover the injustice.

    v-z) The future, probably like the past: In 2010 people protested in large numbers. General Prayuth seeded them with blackshirts - army black operatives. They threw a grenade, killed a soldiers, and that was used as justification for a massacre of the pro-democracy protestors. The grenade trick again, its a favorite of Prem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), May 29th, 2014 @ 3:10am

    It happens with every single dictatorial system.

    - It's for your safety.
    - We are doing it to catch the bad guys.
    - It's a technical failure.
    - It's for the development of our nation.
    - It's needed to maintain social harmony.

    Etc. And I swear I won't mention things from 1940 that should have taught humanity a lesson.

    Of course, some dictatorships are more subtle.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2014 @ 3:57am

    Re: Thailand coup 2014 A-Z

    Sondhi Limthongkul, who was the leader of PAD, was arrested for breaking his bail terms.

    He was on bail for his role in the 2008 coup. He was not supposed to get involved in these protests, and yet got involved in the 2014 version of this coup. So his bail was revoked and he was ordered to be arrested.

    He stated that if he was jailed, or killed, then the story of who was behind this latest coup would be released. (Really he will confirm Prem/Suthep/Military planning for this coup).

    So they let him go today, he's a free man again!

    PAD was like the PDRC of the 2008 coup, the mob raised to be the 'people's coup' part. It's all very familiar, same people, same tricks, same lies...:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Alliance_for_Democracy

    "The government called on the Royal Thai Army to restore order at the airport.[109] The Army did not follow the orders. In a press conference on 26 November, Army Commander General Anupong Paochinda [NOW PART OF THIS LATEST JUNTA] proposed that the PAD withdraw from the airport and that the government resign. He also proposed that if the PAD did not comply, that they be subject to "social sanctions", whereas if the government did not comply, that the bureaucracy stop implementing government orders. A written copy of the proposal was sent to the government. Neither the PAD or the government complied with the proposal.[110]"

    [SEEM FAMILIAR? Army doesn't clear protestors, instead it demands the elected government resign without a fresh election]

    "At 4:30 AM on the morning of 26 November, three explosions were heard on the fourth floor of Suvarnbumi on the outside of the passenger terminal.[111] Another explosion was reported at 6 AM.[111] Several people were injured. It was not clear who set off the explosions.[112] The PAD did not allow the police or forensics experts to investigate the explosions.[27]"

    SEEMS FAMILIAR? It justified the army presence. Yet the army was surrounding the airport, so how did a grenade get fired at them? Army did it of course. They pretend to be the good guys, but that needs them to cast the elected government as the bad guys.

    "Shortly after the Constitutional Court dissolved the three parties of the government coalition on 2 December 2008, the PAD held a press conference where they announced that they were ending all of their protests as of 10 AM on 3 December 2008.[129] "We have won a victory and achieved our aims," said Sondhi Limthongkul."

    THAT CORRUPT COURT AGAIN DID A JUDICIAL COUP, they banned the elected government, let Abhisit of the Democrat party form a government representing a minority of Thailand, and that was how the military last put their Democrat party in power after losing an election.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2014 @ 8:19am

    Belgian tourist arrested

    A Belgian tourist took a selfie in front of the soldiers while wearing a 'peace please' t-shirt.

    He's been arrested by the military and taken off to the army camp.

    Note to tourists: if you're dumb enough to visit Thailand, stay away from anyone in uniform, don't say anything, don't look at anyone funny. It's a coup, if you don't know what that is, this video from 2010 might help you:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=276152109230133

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2014 @ 11:26am

    i'm waiting for some stupid idiot in the UK government to come out with a 'this is censorship and must stop immediately'! statement. considering how it has given every supposed 'democratic country' the reason to follow down the censorship road, like China, Iran, N.Korea and others, i look forward to the equally pathetic response when called out over it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2014 @ 2:18pm

    "Technical issues"

    Yeah, the on/off switch got stuck

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2014 @ 2:44am

    Re: Belgian tourist arrested

    Ahh Facebook video has already gone....

    Well imagine this 1976 killing of pro-democracy protestors by the Thai army, updated to 2010 and its very similar

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siO2u9aRzns

    They usually kill a few foreigners on these coups, 1992, and 2010 had quite a few. Turns out we're all red inside.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Support Techdirt - Get Great Stuff!

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.