The military junta is becoming ever more repressive. We know that we have said this before, but it is sadly true that the junta is engulfed by paranoia and addicted to repression.
It is intolerant of any view that is not its own.
This is an extremely dangerous position for Thailand, with the military and its rightist, royalist allies planning and working to ensure a narrow, dark and politically paralyzed Thailand.
The media in the past couple of days have been filled with stories that should send a chill through any thinking person. We mention these in no particular order.
First, the Bangkok Post reports that the military dictatorship’s hand-picked Constitution Drafting Committee’s (CDC) has determined that “[t]he seven reasons outlined by the New Democracy Movement (NDM) as a basis for voting No in the upcoming charter referendum are intended to distort the draft charter…”.
CDC spokesman Udom Rathamarit said the NDM’s reasons for rejecting the military’s draft constitution “were peppered with intent to distort the content of the draft charter, mislead readers and spur incitement.”
As far as PPT can determine,Udom failed to explain why this was. Yet it probably matters little as this is merely another junta-inspired effort to silence critics. In this case, they seem to want to tie the students up in legal procedures if not jail them.
For an earlier NDM list of reasons for rejecting the draft constitution in the referendum, read this Thai version from several months ago, listing 10 serious questions about the charter.
The intent is clear: to prevent any information that the junta dislikes.
The Orwellian Udom “said people are free to express their views on the draft charter. However, they must take care to ensure their views do not mislead people.” Judging “misleading,” the CDC seems to consider any opposing or critical view “misleading.”
The Dictator and self-appointed Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha expressed concerns about “attempts to distort the draft charter.” He thundered:”If things do not go well, I can write the new one. I will write what people want.” He added that he was a soldier and was able to do anything he set his mind to. A day later he explained he was emotional and withdrew this claim (which we are sure he truly believes).
The same report in the Bangkok Post notes that, despite a court ruling in Peace TV’s favor, the “National Broadcasting Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) reaffirmed the suspension of Peace TV’s operating licence for 30 days starting Monday.”
The intent is clear: to silence a critical voice.
Second, at Khaosod, it is reported that “all Thai observers have been denied credentials to monitor the [referendum] vote…”.
Clown chairman of the Election Commission Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said “both the Asia Foundation and Asian Network for Free Elections, or ANFREL, had been approved.” It seems these two organizations can field a grand total of 22 monitors.
The intent is clear: restrict the possibility of complaints about cheating, fraud and intimidation by the junta’s thugs and officials.
Third, one of the main media voices that has reported extensively on the junta is Prachatai. It has been under pressure. Today, its offices were invaded by junta thugs.
The intent is clear: to intimidate.
Fourth, the military dictatorship’s thugs have attempted to intimidate a “staff of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)…”.
Not only are the intentions of the junta crystal clear, but its members truly believe, as The Dictator claimed, that they can do anything or put more succinctly, that they can get away with anything.