Heroes and villains I

23 12 2017

Thailand’s politics under the despotic military regime has been one-sided but marked by impunity and double standards. The regime has been repressive, grasping and opaque. The military junta has used feudal laws and absolutist decrees to grind down its opponents while building its own political base.

Thailand’s villains are relatively easy to identify. Most of them wear uniforms (and expensive watches). They sit in puppet assemblies and courts or at the top of ministries. They collect allowances and advantages that build wealth and status. The faces may change over the years, although there’s remarkable longevity, but their politics remains the same: royalist anti-democracy.

Heroes are those who challenge the anti-democratic status quo. They pay dearly for it. Somyos Prueksakasemsuk has been jailed for almost seven years. Hundreds have been jailed or “re-educated,” others have died in prison and thousands have been intimidated and silenced. Some have fled into exile and hundreds find themselves ostracized from a conservative, royalist and hierarchical society.

There is little good news for the heroes. This makes a recent report in the Bangkok Post a bittersweet article.

Already serving a jail term on an unfair and concocted lese majeste conviction by a junta court, student activist Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa “posed for a photo in a graduation gown of the KKU’s Law Faculty with his parents.” He was prevented from attending his graduation ceremony because he was locked in a junta jail.

With seven other heroes, Jatuphat appeared in a court at the villainous 23rd Military Circle to deny charges “of holding a public assembly to protest against the military regime at Khon Kaen University (KKU) in 2015.”

While Chartthai Noiunsaen, Phanuphong Srithananuwat, Chatmongkol Jenchiewchan, Narongrit Uppachan, Natthaporn Arthan, Duangthip Kararit and Neeranut Niemsap were released on bail, Jatuphat went back to prison.

Another hero, Rangsiman Rome, failed to appear. We understand that he refuses to recognize the court. If that is so, it’s a brave act. Anything that challenges the villainous regime is brave.

On Constitution Day

10 12 2017

Constitution Day remains a holiday, but most of the meaning of the event has been drained away by palace propaganda aided and abetted by decades of royalist governments.

Pravit Rojanaphruk at Khaosod asks: “what’s really left to really celebrate?” It is a good question.

Eight and a half decades after the 1932 revolt put the “constitutional” into constitutional monarchy, the kingdom has seen too many charters discarded. The current one is No. 20. Divide that by 85 years, you get an average lifespan for Thai constitutions of just slightly over four years.

An average car is more durable. A typical refrigerator is going to get more use.

He argues that almost no one in Thailand has “a strong attachment to the Thai constitution.”

That’s only partly true. There are those who have an attachment to the first 1932 constitution. That is the one that represented the spirit of 1932 before the royalists began rolling it back and replacing people’s sovereignty with royalism.

Of course, there’s no reason to celebrate the junta’s 2017 Constitution. This document is the spirit of military despotism, paternalism and anti-democracy. We at PPT would celebrate this military charter cast into history’s dustbin, along with the aged flunkies who crafted it.

One Bangkok Post story that caught our attention for Constitution Day concerns a group of political activists who “will petition the Constitutional Court to lift one of the junta’s orders on the grounds that it is an outright violation of the constitution.”

Violating constitutions is pretty much stock-in-trade for the junta.

The Democracy Restoration Group of the New Democracy Movement, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights and “representatives of people affected by NCPO Order No.3/2558 announced the move at Thammasat University on Saturday.”

That order “bans freedom of assembly and empowers soldiers to summon any person to testify and to detain people for up to seven days, among others.”

The activists seem determined to keep the pressure on the junta for its illegal rule.

And then there was another Bangkok Post story – indeed, an editorial – that seemed to fit Constitution Day for its gentle push-back on the royal re-acquisition of the old zoo, consolidating royal property and privatizing it.

It begins with what seems like a justification for the new zoo which is expected to begin construction around 2019. But then it carefully changes tack, referring to “a few concerns about the new site.” Distance, entrance fees,  lack of public transport. It then gets really interesting:

One key question remains about the future of the old Dusit Zoo after the relocation is completed….

But the [zoo] agency should be aware that any decision on the future of the zoo should be based on the history of the place.

Acknowledging that history, the Post calls for the old zoo to become “a botanical garden or a park for public use.”

That’s a rare call in a neo-feudal military dictatorship.

It feels like 1962

2 10 2017

Back in 1962, General Sarit Thanarat had his boot on the neck of Thailand’s politics. He had taken control of everything, including police and personally meted out “justice” against “communists,” “elected politicians” and others.

In other words, the military dictatorship had strong control over the bureaucracy, the military, the police and over broader society. One academic referred to Sarit’s rule as “despotic paternalism,” but the emphasis was really on despotism.

It feels like that now, and recall that Sarit’s military regime went on for a total of 11 years.

What prompted these observations is the story in the Bangkok Post where it is reported that the Minister for Defense and Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan has is now putting himself in charge of crime-fighting.

He has “ordered widespread crackdowns on mafia gangs to stop them causing trouble to Thai and foreign tourists across the country.”

It seems that the Defense Minister is now controlling Pattaya (which is supposed to have its own administration), “key police agencies, including the Crime Suppression Division and the Immigration Bureau…”.

Following their “success” with political repression, “joint investigation between military officers and local police” will become common.

Nothing will escape the Deputy Dictator: the drug trade, prostitution, extortion, visa overstays, and down to bag snatching. After Pattaya, the Ministry of Defense plans to cover the country.

The militarization of Thailand continues apace.

Activism and ingrained despotic paternalism

22 02 2017

Prachatai has a series of reports that deserve attention.

Anti-military base activism:

The military in southern Thailand have summoned villagers campaigning against a junta development project to a military base.

On 19 February 2017, the Assembly of the Poor, a civil society organisation advocating for marginalised communities in Thailand, reported via its Facebook page that 15 soldiers have visited villagers of Tha Sae District in the southern province of Chumphon.

Activists call for justice:

Human rights defenders accused by the military of criminal defamation for exposing torture in the Deep South have urged prosecutors to seek more witnesses.

On 21 February 2017, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Director of the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF); Somchai Homla-or, Advisor to the CrCF; and Anchana Heemmina, President of the Duay Jai group, submitted a letter to the Prosecutor Office of the Deep Southern Province of Pattani.

The letter asked the prosecutors to demand police officers interrogate 14 more witnesses, reasoning that the police have only questioned some 10 witnesses even though there are more than 20 witnesses willing to testify in the three’s defence.

Activist calls for a counter-coup:

A leader of the recent protest against a coal-fired power plant has urged a high ranking general to stage a coup against the ruling junta if it does not keep its promise to postpone the power plant project.

On 20 February 2017, ML Rungkun Kitiyakara, one of the leaders of the recent protest at Government House, posted on his Facebook urging Army Region 1 Commander Lt Gen Apirat Kongsompong to side with protesters if the junta breaks its promise to delay the power plant project.

While the first two stories refer to political activism defending human rights, the final story suggests how yellow shirt activists continue to rely on the military. This is an elitist “activism” of rightists who seem unable to dispense with the military’s despotic paternalism.

That story went on, indicating the elitist activists identifying splits within the military:

Rungkun posted that if the junt[a] pushes the power plan project forward, he will ask for more than bus tickets.

“I believe the junta won’t dare to break the agreement. But if it does… in addition to the bus tickets, there’s a high chance that we will need your [Apirat’s] tanks,” read Rungkun’s post.

[Ultra-nationalist yellow shirt] Veera Somkwamkid, the secretary-general of Anti-Corruption Network and an opponent to the power plant project, also posted a similar message on his Facebook.

“Dear ‘Daeng’ (Apirat’s nickname), I believe you’re a soldier, a soldier of the King. If the junta betrays the people and the nation, you will not let it remain in power and keep ruining the country, will you? You will not disappoint the people, right?”

The monarchism expressed here reinforces political notions of despotic paternalism.

No elections, more control

18 11 2016

The Bangkok Post has an editorial condemning the military dictatorship. for being anti-democratic. While the dictatorship has been anti-democratic since its birth in a military coup, the particular stimulus for the Post’s retort is the decision to “merge ‘small’ elected tambon administration organisations (TAOs)…”.

Of course, from July 2014, just after it illegally seized power, the junta suspended the election of local administrators. This was part of its anti-democracy, anti-politics, anti-politicians agenda, which has been maintained ever since.

The Post declares that latest effort by the junta “will be a step backwards for Thailand’s devolution process, with severe political, social and economic ramifications.” We are not sure how much further backwards the junta can take Thailand. Perhaps fully-fledged neo-feudalism is the next step.

The Post observes that this move “demonstrates the current regime’s hidden agenda to lessen the political and social roles of these elected local administrators and pave the way for the central administration to regain greater control over the sovereign power of local people and their representatives.”

That’s no hidden agenda. It has been obvious and in process since the May 2014 coup.

The will now engage in a “nationwide dissolution of every TAO which represents less than 7,000 people and generates an annual revenue of less than 20 million baht…”.

The Post states that:

the latest bill shows the regime’s step-by-step approach to gradually strip away the right of local people to have a greater say in the development and administration of their localities. This means those who make key decisions to address their plights and problems will be based in Bangkok and a distant municipal office.

We suspect that this is exactly what the junta’s anti-democrat constituency, based mainly in Bangkok’s condos, townhouses and shophouses, wants. After all, letting rural locals decide what is best for them is fraught with all kinds of noxious notions about sovereignty and self-determination that fly in the face of the preferred hierarchical and despotic paternalism. As the Post observes, it also “risks” the “chances of local politicians with a larger base of influence to take control of new local administration bodies.”

The Post suggests that the military dictatorship should allow “local democratic governance develop and mature.” It seems the editorial writer still doesn’t understand the most basic point of the junta as an anti-democratic hammer, beating notions of sovereignty and self-determination out of Thailand’s politics.

The Dictator on “law” and “democracy”

14 12 2015

The Dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha has spoken in his weekly television speech, declaring that he wants “little or no conflict,” something he calls “democracy” and a country where “people must know the law.”

Coming from the boss of a thuggish gang this may seem more than a little rich. After all, the military junta broke the most basic law when it overthrew the constitution, provokes conflict by, for example, using military personnel to instigate violence and it murders citizens. In addition, junta members are, like little kings, seemingly above the law.

But what does The Dictator mean in his calls?

He reportedly “expressed concern over people breaking the law during the holiday period.” He asked: “If people do not follow the law, the law will be less sacred. Please do not break the law. How can we live in a lawless land?”

He is explaining that the nation’s “children” must follow the law as determined by its “elders,” who seem above the law, at least if they are fabulously wealthy or wearing a uniform of a senior officer. “Good people” are by definition “moral,” so they are not required to be controlled by the law. The lower classes are subordinates and are subject to the lures of politicians and must be controlled and subject to the law.

The Dictator “said people must know the law and, as such, should be aware if they break the law.” He explained: “You want to express your political opinion, claiming democracy. But is it time to do that?”

It is only time to express political opinions if “children” are directed to do so by their betters. So demonstrating at the US Embassy is fine, but pointing out military corruption is verboten. Nazism and fascism come to mind. In Thailand, it is called despotic paternalism.

The Dictator also explained that “some Thais did not believe in the justice system because they did not understand justice procedures.” While we are sure that Prayuth hasn’t a clue about justice, what he means is that double standards need to be better understood. Again, he is declaring that the nation’s “children” must understand that their “betters” and “elders” will not be treated the same as they are.

Intimidation continues

3 08 2015

One of the characteristics of military dictatorship is paternalism, and that is clear in the manner in which it seeks to intimidate the Dao Din students (and their parents). The paternalism is packaged with persistent acts of intimidation.

The Nation reports that:

The parents of one of the anti-coup activists arrested in June claim they have been told by an official to “take their son out of school” to stop him from “mingling” with his friends and participating in anti-junta activities.


To encourage this “suggestion,” the Roi Et Governor Somsak Changtrakul as well as “soldiers and state officials,” have “offered their son a job as a defence corps volunteer in exchange for him dropping out of the university in Khon Kaen, where he and his Dao Din friends flock together to stage social and political activities.”

The governor has denied making such suggestions but that is horse manure.

Chalermsak and Neeranuch Soontararak, parents of Apiwat or “Noi”, state that the “governor told us to encourage our son to quit school and he said he would take care of him. He invited our son for a meal at his official residence and offered him the volunteer job…”. Intimidation.

They also point out that the authorities “have been visiting us very frequently after there was a legal case in which our son and his friends held up a protest banner against the junta…”. The father stated that “[m]ore than 40 soldiers and state officials have also visited him at his workplace. The students as well as his colleagues were panic-stricken…”.

That’s the aim. Intimidation.

The paternalism of this intimidation is evident in the “blaming” attached to the parents: “They asked how we raised our son…”.

The soldiers also prowl their neighborhood. Intimidation.

They show up at family events. Intimidation.

One parent wrote: “You are unforgivingly intimidating our personal space…”.



More paternalism

7 07 2015

In an earlier post PPT wrote of The Dictator’s paternalism as a marker of military dominance and rule in hierarchical Thailand.

Of course, Thak Chaloemtiarana wrote about this many years ago, analyzing the Sarit regime that many have seen as setting a political tone for the current dictatorship.Thak book

Prachatai reports on more paternalism from the military dictatorship. This time it comes from Maj Gen Weerachon Sukontapatipak, spokesman for the junta. Last time we posted on delusional spokesmen for the junta was a story on rights. Weerachon joins the “team” with a remarkable piece of paternalist nonsense tinged with a statement that dismisses the heroic student uprising in October 1973, indicating that the military dunces still smart about that defeat by the people.

Weerachon stated that international organizations wanting the release of the 14 students “lack a true understanding” of the political context of the arrest of the students. We think that what is not understood is the paranoia of the military junta.

According to Weerachon, “the Thai political context of the arrests” is that the junta:

is concerned about certain groups who hope to take advantage of the student activists’ protest by turning it into a situation similar to the 14 October 1973 student uprising, stated Weerachon. Therefore, international organizations pressing for the activists’ release must first understand the Thai political context and goals of various interest groups….

In other words, 1973 wasn’t a brave student uprising but that the students were dupes of political conspirators. Consider this clip from “Thailand 1973,” by now dedicated royalist Jeffrey Race, writing in Asian Survey, 14, 2, 1974:


It seems the internal culture and learning of the military rejects anything but the memories and hallucinations of dictators.

Weerachon displays the arrogance and paternalism of the military when he says: “The students came to protest with pure intentions, but they are still children. They can think on some level.” Even if that statement is taken at face value, that the students can think on any level seems to locate them as intellectual giants when compared with the military leadership. But such claims are nothing more than the arrogance of fools.

Weerachon also referred to the pro-junta activists who have been permitted, at the behest of the junta, to protest against the students’ actions. Weerachon then claimed that the junta had public legitimacy, saying the students needed to “why most Thais still accepted the junta’s regime.” He added: “We’ll have to discuss with the students why they don’t accept laws that everyone else does.”

The junta seems to have convinced itself that it is popular. General Thanom Kittakachorn and Prapas Charusathiarana made similar claims. They were wrong then, and the junta is delusional today.

Business as usual?

8 09 2014

Andrew Stevens is a CNN journalist who is said to have been “a specialist business correspondent and has extensively covered news and business stories across the region.” He is said to have “interviewed many of the world’s political and business leaders and has reported on Asia-Pacific for more than two decades.” He is also said to have “covered elections across many countries and reported on many of the most significant events across the region in the last 20 years.”

Readers will recall that we posted on another foreign propagandist for the military who is some kind of property salesman. That person had some kind of personal interest in propagandizing for the junta. What is in it for Stevens when, at the China Post, this business journalist turns his attention to Thailand and writes as if he is doing a paid promotion for the military dictatorship?

Remarkably, as a business journalist used to praising “Bangkok’s free-wheeling capitalist system,” he seems on a job for the military dictatorship when he writes of  “a public crackdown on illegal businesses, corruption and organized crime.” Given that about 60% of Thailand’s working population is in the “informal sector,” we wonder if such crackdowns are winning “hearts and minds.” Stevens continues on his advert for the junta:

It’s been a little more than three months since a bloodless military coup ousted the government of Yingluck Shinawatra and in that time Thailand has slipped from the front pages and is returning to business as usual [well, not quite, he just told us that]. Not the business that was constantly under the threat of disruption from endless and sometimes deadly street protests or political deadlock in the capital, but business operating in conditions of relative stability and certainty.

Tell the filthy rich, who have gotten richer during the period of political crisis, that they can now reap more profits!

Stevens has been out talking to every single person in Bangkok:

Talk to Thai people in Bangkok and there is an overwhelming view that the coup was a positive development to break nearly a decade of political paralysis. Admittedly Bangkok has always been an anti-Thaksin stronghold and public dissent has been closed down by the military but there is still a sense of calm, even of optimism that the suspension of democracy may reap longer term benefits.

Perhaps if you are an anti-democrat, you would be over the moon at the junta’s decisions to repress, take power into the hands of a tiny military cabal, ban elections, and demand happiness.

When The Dictator takes over national television is a propaganda harangue each Friday, in Orwellian doublespeak, Stevens sees this as a “type of transparency” that he says is “a key policy of the new leadership…”. Stevens “source” for this remarkably stupid claim is “advisers close to the General.” Of course!

Stevens continues on this propaganda line: “Senior leaders of the new administration regularly meet with so-called ‘stakeholders’ — politicians of all affiliations, and business and civic leaders — to talk about the key issues they face.” Focus groups? We suspect they might have told Stevens that these “meetings” were what was really happening in the military detention centers.

After promoting the junta’s “business plans,” with not a single mention of their plagiarism of the Yingluck Shinawatra government policies or the adoption of the “populist” they want to “ban,” Stevens turns to politics:

The leadership talks of a “Thai-style” democracy which is essentially putting the interests of the country before the interests of the individual. It’s about a more inclusive and more equitable society. Advisers say it reflects the moral compass of the man now leading the country.

Of course, this is propaganda with piles of buffalo manure. Thai-style democracy is no democracy at all. Whichever way one spins it, Thai-style democracy is about the military-palace political alliance dominating in a paternalistic system known as “despotic paternalism.”

Finally, Stevens gets down to the main point, where the junta’s “advisers” tell him to propagandize for longer term dictatorship:

But the biggest problem facing this new leadership is one of time. There is a roadmap for elections to be held as early as next year to return Thailand to the democratic process but that will only happen if the leadership deems the country sufficiently recovered from its recent traumas.

We suspect the military junta is just beginning to work the international propaganda circuit and that there will be a lot more of this buffalo dung strewn about.

The Leader and despotic paternalism

7 07 2014

There’s an “unofficial translation” of another weekly speech-cum-announcement by military junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha available: National Broadcast By Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). We look for the “models” being used by the junta, and we thought of 1959.

Prayuth began with a warning to the already junta compliant media warning of the need for total compliance while also asserting the legality of his military dictatorship:

I would like to firstly touch on the issue of the mass media and other types of media. The NCPO does not wish for any more conflicts and misunderstandings between the media – be they television, satellite television, radio, social media, or print – and the NCPO or officials who are legally performing their duties.

Today the country is not in normal times. Therefore it has been necessary to request the media to curtail presentation of information that could intensify tensions, including unverified news.

Of course, the legality of the regime is based on nothing but the regime’s own orders and the king’s acceptance of the coup. The next constitution, which will be drawn up by the military’s flunkey lawyers and academics, will absolve them of their illegalities.

The justification of censorship and repression is “abnormality.” That abnormal political situation owes much to the military’s mutiny against elected governments over several years and its support for the anti-democratic movements.

The Leader continues:

As we have seen in the period before 22 May, Thai people have consumed information from all forms of media. We must recognise that some media have chosen sides and some are neutral. The society and the general public became confused and filled with hostility, as each group chose only to listen to their own set of information. This included criticisms posted and shared in social media which attempted to cajole others to take sides.

He conveniently forgets that the media he prefers is biased, not neutral and has chosen the side of the royalist elite. When he claims that there is “print media that is making Thai society more decadent, such as explicit pornographic material,” he could be speaking of earlier eras. For pornography, the print media is an outdated media. When he says there are “publications that defamed the highest institution in the country which is illegally sold in many areas,” he gets to his real point. He only wants compliant, royalist rags. As he states later in his issuance of orders on order:

I have been informed that certain community radio stations do not broadcast the Thai national anthem or Thai Royal Anthem. I have instructed relevant agencies to monitor and investigate on this matter. I ask that they do not repeat such violations as the radio stations may be suspended from broadcasting for not respecting social norms.

In other words, the conservative hierarchicalism of the junta demands compliance with royalist norms.

In the best of Orwellian traditions, shutting down all of the red shirt media and other media considered “suspect” by the dictatorship is somehow defined, as: “We have not interfered or violated the freedom of the media.”

The Leader recognizes that controlling the media is more difficult now, and seems to promise more internet censorship:

In a world with fewer borders, news and information can be spread rapidly. When incorrect or inappropriate information and hate speeches are used, this could elicit pillory of Thailand in the eyes of foreigners. It may also have domestic impact in which conflicts are never-ending. This can negatively affect the mind of our youth – the future of this country.

If we let this go on, social rifts will deepen. Instances of younger people disrespecting their elders and rival groups pitting offensive remarks against each other will make society lose trust and confidence in each other on all levels…. Good people who were vilified are disheartened in performing their duties.

A conservative society where the old men are respected is necessary.

Violating the dictatorship’s rules means trouble: “Should any media continue to provide false information or information that is damaging to the country, then you will have to be accountable for the media under your responsibility.”

Bizarrely, and in the worst traditions of dictatorships everywhere, The Leader declares: “The NCPO has no intention of using its power to restrict rights or freedoms of the media.”

Prayuth cannot bear criticism of any kind. He states:

The NCPO is tackling most of the issues head-on while others are in the process. As for the 3-stage roadmap, I have referred to it many times before. Still, there are comments and criticisms from analysts, writers and academics about whether the roadmap will be achieved. Sometimes I feel a bit slighted. I am not sure whether you have heard me or listened to the information that we have sent out. However, we are aware of your concerns and good intentions for the country. We ask that you hear us out as we try to inform you of our work progress. We had already clarified a lot. If you make comments without taking into account our clarifications, then it will fail to be constructive. Instead, it would be destructive even though we have not done anything yet or the work is still ongoing. So I appeal to you again.

In other words, shut up and accept what we say and do.

On the economy, again the junta sounds like (and is) a throwback regime, emphasizing growth rates as a measure of “success”: “Today we have stimulated the economy. The Bank of Thailand has assessed that Thailand’s economy will grow by 1.5% this year. However, we will push for a growth rate of over 2% with the following measures.”

On the necessity for hierarchy, Prayuth naturally stresses leaders and says: “My principle is that superiors have to look after their subordinates, not the opposite.” Recall that the anti-democrat mantra included an attack on nepotism. But, as Prayuth points out, there is good nepotism and bad nepotism. When his side does it, it is, by force of arms, good.

Prayuth only understands hierarchical forms of organization: “The operation of all agencies and organisations must be integrated according to a chain of command, involving commanding officers, colleagues and subordinates.” Society and its organization is to be a military-like structure. He wants a “strong bureaucratic system and personnel so that they are good civil servants of His Majesty the King.” Again, this is a regime determined to return Thailand to a previous era.

If there is a “model,” it seems to be a return to the “despotic paternalism” of an earlier royalist regime: “My principle is for the state to look after people of all ages – be they children, youths, adolescents, adults, and elderly people, in an equal and comprehensive manner.” Despotic paternalism involves:

We need to formulate plans and preparations, create a systematic thought process, be rational, putting the country before ourselves, create a sense of conscience and ideology of nationalism. Youths should be taught lessons in Thai history, customs and tradition. We could move forward in line with the contemporary world without destroying our rich past.

Despotic paternalism is also about father knowing best, and this means Prayuth knows best, even giving advice on proper parenting for the creation of conservative and compliant hierarchy. He talks like the former dictator Sarit Thanarat in establishing responsibilities to the nation.

On rooting out the “Thaksin regime”: Prayuth knows that the anti-democrat desire, based on the so-called failures of the 2006 coup, requires purges. He refers to the “transfer of top level civil servants was done under the authority of the NCPO, as we do not yet have a Cabinet. This is according to suitability…”. He gets out of shape in describing the double standards: “In reassigning officials, it is not the intention of the NCPO to carry on power or shift interest groups.” But, of course, this is nonsense, as he himself knows and states: “… it is difficult to find individuals who were not involved in any way in working with previous administrations.” Later, referring to state enterprises, where the military is hogging all the posts, and states: “It is difficult finding people who had not worked under past administrations.”

On the control and limits to civil society: The military dictatorship does not trust civil society organizations and wants them to be more aligned to the model adopted in other authoritarian states, where they are broadly supportive of the regime. So it is that Prayuth says they “will be encouraged to support reconciliation at community level together with the Village Health Volunteers, Social Development and Human Security Volunteers, volunteer teachers, etc.” All of these “volunteers” are essentially state functionaries. Control will be extended as, just like the days of fighting the communists, the “Governor and representative of ministries in each province will be urged to establish people networks on the level of district and sub-district to integrate with reconciliation network founded by the NCPO.” Civil society is not an independent sphere, but a part of the all-embracing fascist regime.

On international criticism: Same nonsense repeated: “The military has taken control over national administration to end violence. There was a trend towards chaos, conflicting groups were using war-grade weapons in many areas…”. The interpretation of arbitrary detentions is that the armed military, wearing full battle gear and armor, dragging anti-coup protesters off is “inviting individuals with conflicting views and involved in the conflict to report themselves” to the junta. That they face up to two years in jail for not “accepting the invitation” is conveniently forgotten.

Again the Orwellian-Saritian mix is invoked:

The NCPO and all Thai citizens uphold and have faith in democratic system with His Majesty the King as Head of the State. NCPO fully realizes that the military intervention may be perceived by the West as a threat to democratic system and against the liberty of the people. However, this military intervention is inevitable, in order to uphold national security and to strengthen democracy.

You can tell that the military is strengthening democracy by how much they limit it.


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