A day or so ago, PPT wrote that we expected that getting a Yes vote in the referendum would depend entirely on repression and coercion.
Following calls by royalists and dedicated anti-democrats for more repression, the junta has shown our prediction to be correct. The military dictatorship of junta and military have made coordinated threats.
In a report at the Bangkok Post, the junta’s dumpy boss of bosses General Prawit Wongsuwan “said he will propose that the National Council for Peace and Order [the junta] arrange a special course to ‘re-educate’ politicians who were invited for ‘attitude adjustment’ but continued their ‘unruly’ behaviour.”
Prawit is essentially promising a gulag for political opponents.
The report states that the diminutive thug was “apparently referring to Watana Muangsook, a core member of the Pheu Thai Party … and Worachai Hema, a former Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan.” But the threat to all opponents is deadly clear. We say “deadly” because people have died in custody under this regime and because the Thai military is skilled at killing its own citizens.
Worachai is already in custody and held in some secret military detention site for mild and reasonable comments on the referendum and charter. All Watana did before being abducted was point out the unfairness of the detention of his colleague.
The ridiculous Prawit lies that these abductions and detentions are not “a violation of anybody’s rights.” Prawit is a dunce on rights; he only knows thuggery.
Prawit’s view is the the charter belongs to the dictatorship and it is right and correct on everything:
The draft charter is nearly ready. We are approaching the public referendum stage. The NCPO [junta] knows what they have been doing…
He’s right on one thing: the junta knows that this ridiculous and undemocratic charter and the junta’s grip on power that it arranges can only pass with huge repression and charlatanry. No one will be permitted to say anything negative about the charter, the referendum of the increasingly nasty and threatening junta.
Further building the case for deepened repression, The Dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha has “declared he will not tolerate politicians who have repeatedly defied the government.” The Dictator stated: “From now on, those who are summoned must attend a training session to improve their understanding.”
We weren’t aware that there has ever been a choice. The military simply arrives and spirits people away.
The Dictator huffed, puffed and trumpeted: “They will also be asked about what they did in the past — right or wrong — and what they plan to do if they form a government…”. Huh? We take it that this is just Prayuth’s inability to construct sensible spoken sentences.
He belched something about “if they [politicians] cannot think for themselves, they should no longer be politicians.” He’s fortunate that the same “logic” is not applied to the junta.
And, he added: “… the government … cannot let them criticise it.” As usual, The Dictator personalized: “I cannot accept the fact that they still keep criticising…”. When he thinks he’s under attack, Prayuth becomes very dangerous and threatening. He can get away with murder.
Adding to the threats and launching intimidation, the Bangkok Post reports that Army chief General Theerachai Nakawanich “ordered immediate crackdown on any action the government believes will lead people to ‘misunderstand’ the government’s workings before the charter referendum in August.”
Bizarrely, but par for the course for these bumptious and dim generals, the Army boss “told subordinates the country has entered an important period where public participation in the referendum on the proposed constitution was essential…”. He means to say that the junta needs a cacophony of positive statements while grinding out opposition voices.
The Army declared that “law enforcement and social order operations were being intensified, focusing their suppression efforts on influential local people and those illegally possessing military-grade weapons.”
Again, we can be confused here. It is the military that is armed. What is clear is that the military is going to crush opposition.
This is getting very ugly. In such circumstances, when US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Sarah Sewall calls for “the government to respect freedom of expression,” she sounds ridiculous.
This is a regime that is becoming increasingly brutal and rejects and barely understands notions like freedom. She’s spitting into the wind. Rights? Freedoms? There are none.
Expect more arrests, disappearances and plenty of intimidation.