Khaosod reports that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “has issued six pages of talking points for diplomats around the world to discuss Thailand’s charter referendum and military regime. The talking points are titled, “Thailand – Towards Reform and Sustainable Democracy: The Need for Public Order and Social Harmony.” The cheat sheet outlines “arguments to defend and justify recent authoritarian measures taken by the military regime…”. It was issued on 20 March to deal with Watana Muangsook’s “provocation.”
Readers can look at the Khaosod article for the details. PPT thought we’d translate them from junta speak. In the notes below, we reproduce the military junta’s propaganda demands and then translate this in italics:
Thailand – Towards Reform and Sustainable Democracy
Thailand – The Return to Military Authoritarianism
“The Need for Public Order and Social Harmony”
“Re-establishing Military Authoritarianism is only possible through Repression”
1. Thailand is in a crucial period of transition, in which the Government’s efforts are focused on seeing through the Roadmap for Reconciliation, Reform and Elections in partnership with all sectors of society.
Thaksin threatened the control of the military and royalist elite. The military and the royalist elite got rid of him through military and judicial coups. The military fears that Thaksin’s influence will return if his influence is not erased. To erase Thaksin, the military junta feels it best to erase electoral democracy for voters cannot be trusted. Reconciliation is a process of political erasure, and the military junta is now focused on eliminating everything it thinks has anything to do with Thaksin and red shirts (or any other person, practice or institution that the junta fears or dislikes).
2. A draft Constitution will be submitted to the public in a referendum set for 7 August 2016. General elections are scheduled to take place in 2017. At the same time, preparations for comprehensive reforms of Thai politics, society and the economy are being laid.
The junta has drafted a Constitution that will return Thailand to a time where the lower classes knew their place and the military was free to pillage the country’s wealth in cooperation with royalists and the business class. The junta’s constitution mean that an election – the schedule is up to the military and has already been changed several times – will mean nothing as the military and its allies will control a myriad of unelected positions and institutions that will neuter any government produced from an election.
3. Public order and social harmony are key for the Government to be able to see through the Roadmap. The Government has, therefore, promulgated a number of laws to ensure that public order and social harmony prevail.
Repression is the key to these regressive plans (known as a “Roadmap”). To facilitate this repression, the military junta has announced a series of decrees and “laws” that allow it to arrest and incarcerate anyone it pleases. The junta can abduct, terrorize and threaten at will and call this “legal.” The junta can be corrupt and engage in nepotism and call this “normal.” No warrants are required to abduct opponents. No bail is required. Military courts are used to maintain “public order.”
4. These laws do not impinge on general freedom of expression — which we believe to be a fundamental element of a democratic society — as long as such expression does not undermine public order and social harmony. In fact, the Government has been receptive to all views regarding the current process of reconciliation and reform.
There is no freedom of expression or speech in Thailand. The media is repeatedly threatened and harassed. Academic freedom has been obliterated. Political expression is outlawed. Thailand is a military dictatorship with all relics of its brief democratic pasts ground under the military boot. The military junta rejects all views that do not accord with its own narrow, fascistic, thuggish and hierarchical view of Thailand’s social order. All “reform” is regressive.
5. However, in recent days, a certain individual has acted in violation of those laws — and repeatedly so despite warnings from the authorities. His actions are politically motivated and are designed to incite discord and division, domestically and internationally. This is a grave obstruction to the process of reconciliation and reform in Thailand which, up till now, has been proceeding apace.
The junta hates Watana Muangsook because he says things it doesn’t agree with. The military would prefer to “disappear” him but interfering foreigners watch his activities. The military believes Watana is acting for Thaksin. The junta also believes Thaksin is the devil. In fact, any critic is considered part of a Thaksin conspiracy to overthrow the narrow, fascistic, thuggish and hierarchical social order.
6. The Government has, therefore, been obliged to take action in accordance with the law. As in all other countries in which the rule of law is upheld, the law in Thailand is held to be sacrosanct.
The junta has repressed Watana by taking him into custody and threatening him. In fact, the military has done this for hundreds of opponents. There is no law under the junta, just its opinions and needs. All Thais are subject to the junta’s demands. If there is more criticism, the military will hit even harder.