Scary charter

27 07 2016

The proponents of the military’s anti-democratic draft charter have engaged in dirty tricks, repression, threats, arrests and have now turned to scare tactics.

Military boot licker and elite posterior polisher Meechai Ruchupan has become Nasty Clown for the junta.Nasty clown

The Bangkok Post reports that Meechai has declared that “[t]he rejection of the draft constitution in the Aug 7 referendum will lead to political instability and spur anti-coup elements to seek the ouster of the prime minister…”.

In effect, Meechai is seeking to scare anti-democrats, royalists and rightists to get out and vote for a repressive authoritarian future.

He is using Meechai code words to threaten them with the unspoken devils of Thaksin Shinawatra, red shirts and, worst of all, the prospect of electoral politics and evil elected politicians. His message is: Support the junta and the military or all is lost.

Meechai expressed his own affection for the erratic dictator as he scared his side:

If the draft charter fails to pass, Uncle Tu [Gen Prayuth’s nickname] will leave even sooner since those people will take to the streets to oust him as all the processes will be left in disarray….

Meechai whined that “the harsh criticism of the draft charter and the CDC was unfair…”. To be honest, we have yet to see any harsh criticism. Meechai is disingenuous when plays victim. In fact, he is a rent old boy of the elite and for a regime with immense power that arrests and detains at will.

He does seem desperate.





Still seeking political voice

27 07 2016

Various groups continue to ask/request/demand that the military junta allow/permit/sanction some/any open discussion of the military’s draft charter prior to the referendum. That referendum is only 11 days away….

One of the recent demands has come from the “United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, today condemned the alarmingly high number of arrests and charges over public and social media expression brought under military orders and the Constitutional Referendum Act in Thailand.”

He stated:

I am seriously concerned that military orders and the Constitutional Referendum Act restrict expression and access to information about the draft constitution…. The idea of a referendum is to allow for full debate followed by public vote, and particularly where the subject is of extraordinary public interest, a wide range of opinions should be encouraged, freely expressed, and open to rigorous debate.

Kaye is a little confused; the junta’s idea for a referendum is about manufacturing legitimacy, not allowing debate or discussion.

The notion that the “Thai government [he means the junta] should encourage an open environment for public discourse to ensure an informed participation during the constitutional referendum,” is outside the regime’s comprehension. No such idea has ever been countenanced.

Thailand’s inequality extends well beyond the discussion of income and wealth. Political inequality has been re-entrenched under the junta, most notably through the suppression of political voice for those at the bottom of the social hierarchy.





Nitirat and the referendum

26 07 2016

Nitirat, which some time ago issued an analysis of the flawed military charter, recently held a meeting Thammasat University that made demands of the military junta.

The Bangkok Post reports that Nitirat and others demanded a more participatory charter-drafting process. More interestingly, they also demanded that the “regime must step down and let the people take part in a process to draw up a new constitution if the draft charter is shot down in the Aug 7 referendum…”.

The call was from “[f]orty-three civil, academics and student groups [which] also issued a statement opposing the draft charter.”

Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, a Thammasat University law lecturer and member of Nitirat, “told the seminar the regime must relinquish its power and must not be involved in the process to draft a new constitution if the draft charter is voted down.” He added that, if the referendum fails, the “2014 interim charter … must be abolished and replaced by an interim charter drawn up by the public to pave the way for the general election.”

His colleague Worachet Pakeerut warned that it is still “unclear if the referendum will take place as planned given that the leader of the National Council for Peace and Order [junta] has power under Section 44 … to decide whether to postpone the referendum.”

One journalist stated:

… it was Nitirat group leader Mr Worachet who stole the show not just for explaining clearly how the draft charter is undemocratic but also for rekindling the fight for democracy and rule of law that seems to have weakened after years of repression.

If the regime was watching how people reacted to Mr Worachet’s speech — the standing ovation and cheers — it should be worried, very worried.

The response on Worachet’s role initially came from Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam. He declared that the law professor “might be prosecuted under the Referendum Act for campaigning for ‘vote no’.” Wissanu said that Worachet “told the audience while he was on stage that they should vote against the draft constitution, which could be viewed as a violation of the Referendum Act.”

In his speech, Worachet also remarked, that: “If the draft charter fails to pass the referendum, the legitimacy of the NCPO will be called into question…”.

Our view is that “win” or “lose,” the junta, its draft charter and the referendum are all illegitimate. At the same time, we agree with the groups at the seminar that a No vote is necessary as well as a close watch on the junta “fixing” the result.





Still on the downward slope

26 07 2016

The junta’s manic actions on the referendum for the military’s constitution draft, much of it in the realm of the political bizarre, has gained the attention of many.

Ratings for Thailand are on the decline. The Eurasia Group claims to be a “firm devoted exclusively to helping investors and business decision-makers understand the impact of politics on the risks and opportunities in foreign markets.”

Like others who rate economies and risk, it is increasingly negative about Thailand. This is a clip from the summary of its latest note on the country:Europa Group





Military must end judicial harassment of human rights defenders

26 07 2016

Torture, intimidation, repression and oppression are the stock-in-trade of the military in Thailand, under all regime types. As we often do, we reproduce an urgent appeal from the Cross Cultural Foundation, forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission.

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-FUA-006-2016

25 July 2016

THAILAND: Military must end judicial harassment of human rights defenders

ISSUES: Human rights defenders; Military; Rule of law; Threats and intimidation; Torture

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to forward an appeal from the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) regarding the three human rights defenders who are to meet with an inquiry official at the Muang Pattani Police Station on July 26 in the defamation case filed against them by the ISOC Region 4 Forward as a result of their launching a torture report about the Deep South.

For more information, please contact:
1. Mr. Abdulawae Puteh +66 81 898 7408 Attorney of the three alleged offenders
2. Mr. Preeda Nakphew +66 89 622 2474 CrCF’s attorney
3. Ms. Nutthasiri Bergman +66 85 12 08077 CrCF’s attorney

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
—————————— —————————— ———–
THAILAND: Military must end judicial harassment of human rights defenders

On 17 May 2016, the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 (ISOC 4) has reported a case with the inquiry official at the Muang Pattani Police Station alleging that Mr. Somchai Homlaor, Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet and Ms. Anchana Heemmina, three human rights defenders, had committed criminal defamation and a violation of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.

The three rights defenders were accused of publishing and distributing a report on the torture and ill, degrading and inhumane treatment in the Deep South between 2014 and 2015 and for bringing into the computer system false information via the website https://voicefromthais. wordpress.com/. The summons were issued for them since 8 June 2016, and they were supposed to turn themselves in on 26 June 2016, though they had asked to postpone it to 26 July 2016.

On 26 July 2016, the three defenders will meet Pol Lt Col Winyou Thiamrat, inquiry official of the Muang Pattani Police Station to hear the charges against them and carry with their defence later on.

The report “Torture and ill treatment in The Deep South Documented in 2014-2015” was an attempt to echo the situation in the local area and by doing so, the three HRDs hope it will help to solve the problem of torture in the Deep South. Since the start of unrest, a range of special laws have been enforced including Martial Law and the Emergency Decree on Government Administration in States of Emergency B.E. 2548 (2005) to bestow on the authorities extra power to carry out the arrest and detention of people. Even though it aims to quell insurgency, but undeniably, it has also led to the situation in which some officials have executed their power arbitrarily giving rise to the acts of torture and/or violations of rights and liberties in various forms. The facts are attested to be incidences of tortures committed by state officials as reported now and then including some suspects in security related cases have been found dead while in military custody or other official custody. If the problem fails to be tackled, it will simply ramp up more violence in the Deep South.

This case has attracted extensive attention from national and international rights organizations since the three activists have been playing important roles in the protection of human rights in the Deep South for a long time. Still, they are being taken to court by the authorities. It will also be another test of the Thai judicial system as to how much understanding they have toward the roles of HRDs and the issue of torture in Thailand.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)





Dictatorship for dummies

25 07 2016

In our last post, commenting on the now maniacal search for opponents of the military’s draft charter, we asked: How low can the junta go?

We thought arresting and prosecuting children was really low. We thought investigating monkeys was a low point too. But, no sooner did we ask than we got an answer – real low.

Coffee has oozed its way into the already slippery mental processes of officials befuddled by the junta’s fear and demented and frenzied squeals and attacks.Gano

The Bangkok Post reports that doltish officials in Srisaket saw signs they imagined urged people to vote No. They collected up 47 signs to stymie the imagined charter opponents.

Guess what? The signs were for a brand of 3-in-1 coffee, easily identified on the web. The signs were “put up to direct its salespeople to a meeting venue being held in the district…”.

On hearing reports of the signs, the province’s gullible governor Tawat Suraban reportedly “rushed to the district and called a meeting to find who put up the flags.”

We imagine the junta breathed a sigh of relief that another threat has been seen off.

Dictatorship really is for dummies.

 





Threatening children II

25 07 2016

After charging two 8-year-old girls for referendum offenses after they took some voter lists because they liked the paper, police and election officials have gone after more children.

How low can the junta go? As one of our readers reminds us, military dictatorships make officials appear the dumbest of the dumb. The need for repression and the fear associated with military rule means the good sense goes out the window and officials become brainless and fearful automatons.

This is exemplified in the latest attacks on children. The Bangkok Post reports that “[e]lection officials … detained and charged two high school students who tore down voter lists in what they thought was a clean-up.”

The two students are reported to have “confessed” to taking “down three lists of eligible voters for the charter referendum attached to a notice board at a polling station in Rayong’s Klaeng district.”

The local Keystone Cops heard that teh lists had been removed and immediately interrogated “four students playing in the area on Friday,” believing that they might have been “hired by someone to rip the documents.” Perhaps red-bummed macaques?  (The red is a giveaway.)

The two students who “confessed” also “told police there was no one behind their acts, adding they thought these were old documents.”

The remarkably brainless officials and police decided the students should be “sent to Rayong juvenile court to face prosecution.”

Eight-year-olds, young high school students and monkeys are all in the junta’s sights. While this might be bizarre, it is also reflective of the mindset of dictatorships.








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