Inside sucking noises

7 07 2017

PPT hasn’t previously commented on the junta’s decision to spill the Election Commission and create a new Commission with new members. The main reason we have ignored this is because it is like watching a movie with no good characters. It’s bad guys vs. bad guys; no white hats, just black hats.

The military junta is an abomination and the EC is a bunch of self-important jerks who did all that they could to prevent and election in 2014. The EC is anti-election. So what is there to support in any of this? Its going through the swill at the bottom of the barrel.

However, a report at Prachatai is of some interest. The EC, which has seen its members jumping about and saying how terrible it is that they are losing their positions, has decided on a counter-attack.

The report states that on 4 July 2017, the EC “initiated an investigation into 90 members of the NLA [that’s the puppet National Legislative Assembly] over alleged conflict of interest in their stock holdings.”

Up until this point, as far as PPT can recall, the puppet EC has had no interest in the puppet NLA. Thus, its action can only be interpreted as some inside politicking to keep lucrative posts.

It might be said that this action has only become possible after the passage of the junta’s constitution, but that also means that the action can only apply to activities by the NLA since the constitution was promulgated. So probably not much action possible at all. It is mostly bluster by the unhappy EC members.

One of the most reprehensible anti-election commissioners is Somchai Srisuttiyakorn, who must be especially miffed as he did more than others in binning the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, facilitating the anti-democrats and getting the military in place.

He says his lot is forming a committee “to investigate the issue with a two-month time frame. If the commission find reasonable suspicions, the ECT will submit the case to the Constitutional Court for a final judgement.”

At the very same time, the EC continued to make up rules that make any “elected” government that is not military-backed weaker than ever before.

The EC is a waste of political space and of taxpayer funds. Its a remora that seems to have lost its host.





Ditching parties

10 12 2016

The anti-democrats working for the military dictatorship to come up with its constitution are chosen because they hate electoral politics and can’t abide elected politicians. This is because such institutions and individuals provide the citizenry with an alternative notion of sovereignty that challenge the hierarchical regime of the “good” and the “great” who claim Thailand for themselves.

A series of articles have appeared in the Bangkok Post discussing the implications of the changes proposed by the anti-democrats working for the military junta.

The first is in the Saturday feature, About Politics. Usually critical, the column this week is pretty much uncritical. We wonder if it is by different journalist or if the regular journalist is self-censoring or under threat or warning.

The report says that the Constitution Drafting Committee’s (CDC) draft organic law on political parties “is wrapped up and almost ready for submission to the palace, with many fearing the contents will build an iron-clad cage around parties big and small.”

Reflecting the ideological beliefs of anti-democrats, one section seeks to rid parties of “puppet masters” claimed to be “lurking behind the scenes and pulling the strings.” This is how you say Thaksin Shinawatra without actually using his name. The idea that a “law” is designed to prevent one person from being politically influential is remarkable. Other individuals in the military and among the great and the “good” are permitted, of course.

The draft “law” allocates tremendous power to the politicized Constitutional Court, which will be able to dissolve parties more or less at any time the powers that be decide the court should do so. Again, Thaksin’s name is not mentioned but they mean him when parties are forbidden to allow “a non-member or a ‘prohibited person’ from directing its administration, however discreetly…”,

Of course, “good” people will be outside this “law.”

The “final version of the draft organic law demands greater accountability from political parties for their actions and their role in forging national reconciliation by tolerating and accepting different political opinions and helping to resolve political conflicts through peaceful means…”.

That means following the junta’s orders and those set out in the so-called 20-year road map. Failure means dissolution.

The law also prevents some persons – such as those convicted by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions – from involvement with a party. Of course, this is another anti-Thaksin “law” and is aimed at the Puea Thai Party. Essentially, this “law” will be used to dissolve the party if it does well in any election the junta decides might be held. Thaksin has been made illegal.

Once the draft organic law comes into force, anything amounting to a “Thaksin factor” in a party’s affairs will be illegal, and the price for breaching the law will see the party cease to exist.

An earlier Bangkok Post report says that the “newly drafted bill on political parties may see the number slashed to 10 from the present 72 based on their records of financial support…”. That’s the word from anti-election election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn.

The plan is to ditch parties 3-4 years because each party must “recruit 20,000 members and collect annual supporting fees of at least 2 million baht.” Somchai giggled that only 10 parties can do that.

Silly Somchai stated that the “draft organic law on political parties … was intended to encourage strong parties with the potential to produce quality work and become institutions.” Perhaps he forgets that this was the plan under the 1997 constitution, and that it was rather good at creating “strong parties.” Of course, one of those strong parties has been dissolved following the 2006 coup – Thai Rak Thai.

The requirement for all party members to contribute funds to the party every year will mean that the less well off members of the population will be excluded.

Yet another Bangkok Post report indicates many of the complaints of political parties, including the anti-democrat Democrat Party. That party babbled about vote-buying. That’s another anti-Thaksin line for the anti-democrats all believe – wrongly – that TRT and Thaksin bought all their votes.

The party might be better looking at why it never gets elected and why it is so keen to get in bed with the military and rabid rightists.

The “law” is meant to recreate political parties that are weak and dependent, as they were under General Prem Tinsulanonda’s military-backed “semi-democracy.”





Clods and clots I

19 07 2016

BootlickerThe junta and its acolytes and bootlickers are becoming increasingly strident and decidedly maniacal as the referendum on the military’s draft charter.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights have usefully detailed the acts of repression by the junta.

Much of the nastiness is conducted by clots and clods who are automatons in the service of the thuggish junta. Two examples demonstrate these defining features.

First, nasty clown Somchai Srisuttiyakorn, from the anti-election Election Commission, is one of the hardest working clods, seemingly assigned all kinds of authority to determine when and how Thais are permitted to speak on the military’s draft charter. He prefers they don’t and polices all those who seek to speak.

Most recently, he has been seen as judge, prosecutor and enforcer. Somchai makes declarations as if he is the law, but he speaks for his boss-in-boots. In relations to a publication from Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University, he has declared its “infographics explaining about the upcoming referendum to pass the junta-sponsored draft constitution “contained biased information about the draft constitution.” He threatens them with the draconian Referendum Act.

Bravely in the face of the junta’s minion’s threats, Eakpant Pidavanija, Director of the Mahidol Institute, “denied the claims of the ECT, saying that the infographics explaining about the draft constitution do not contain distorted or biased information as alleged…”. Eakpant stated:

It’s not likely to violate the Draft Referendum Act, for it does not contain information, which deviate from facts…. It depends on the understanding and judgement of readers. We will continue to publish the infographics until Chapter 6 as initially planned.

The clots are also hard at work. The Bangkok Post reported that junta spokesman Colonel Piyapong Klinpan blamed the junta’s political opponents for the destruction of some voter lists. He reportedly said:

… the destruction of the lists put up on a notice board [in Kamphaeng Phet] was unprecedented. It was … an act against the government who was inviting people to cast their votes in the Aug 7 charter referendum.

“It is believed that it was an act of those with different stances from the government’s,” Col Piyapong said.

Col Piyapong said the destruction of voters’ lists, letters containing lies about the content of the draft charter, and false information in social media about the draft and the referendum were orchestrated by the parties which were losing their interests.

The junta issued nationwide orders to prosecute any person damaging lists and seemed to be preparing cells for the culprits. Within a few hours, the same newspaper reported:

… Kamphaeng Phet police chief Damrong Petchpong … said an investigation concluded that two eight-year-old girls who were running around at the polling unit had pulled down the lists from the board and ripped them into pieces without knowing they were an official property.

Clots and clods all, but nasty and dangerous.





End judicial harassment of pro-democracy activists and reporter

18 07 2016

This is a post of an Asian Human Rights Commission appeal. It refers to the now well-known detention of students and a Prachatai reporter. We reproduce the appeal in full, not least because it includes significant detail on the case. The original is here.

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-089-2016

18 July 2016

———————————————————————
THAILAND: End judicial harassment of pro-democracy activists and reporter

ISSUES: Administration of justice; arbitrary arrest; freedom of expression; military
———————————————————————

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) regarding the arrest of activists who attempted to exercise their right of expression. On 10 July 2016, the Ban Pong police searched the vehicle of the New Democracy Movement (NDM) activists, and found campaign material about the Constitutional Referendum and “Vote No” fliers. They were then held in custody for questioning, together with a reporter from Prachatai. No charges were initially pressed against them, but afterwards the Commander of the Provincial Police Region 7 instructed the officer to charge them with violating the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559’s Section 61 for preparing to distribute the fliers.

CASE NARRATIVE:

On 10 July 2016 at around 11:30 a.m., police officials from the Ban Pong Police Station, Ratchaburi, searched the vehicle of Mr. Pakorn Areekul, aka “Man”, an activist of the New Democracy Movement (NDM). Mr. Pakorn had gone to Ban Pong District earlier to give moral support to some residents who had been summoned to acknowledge their charges. The local people there have been charged as a result of opening a referendum monitoring center. In the back of the activist’ pickup truck, the officials have found documents featuring reasons against the Draft Constitution, ‘Vote No’ stickers, and fliers made by the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT). Mr. Pakorn, along Mr. Anan Loket and Mr. Anucha Rungmorakot, his fellow NDM activists as well as Mr. Thaweesak Kerdpokha, a reporter from Prachatai, were about to board the vehicle when they were summoned for questioning. Mr.Thaweesak was interrogated, despite showing his press ID card.

Initially, the officials did not press any charges against, simply informing them that they had to put the information into the daily record and had to seize the documents. But later, at around 12:00 p.m., the police informed them that they had just sent the information to the Provincial Election Commission and local military authorities for review. During the initial questioning, Mr. Thaweesak revealed that the officials tried to establish that Prachatai online news has been the funder behind the NDM, including giving the activists money to print the material to campaign against the Draft Constitution.

Then, the Deputy Superintendent of Ban Pong Police Station had made the phone call to the Election Commissioner on electoral affairs, Mr. Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, who informed the police that if the documents were simply in the possession and not yet distributed, the activists could not be held accountable. But if they had distributed them, whether it would violate the Order of the Head of the NCPO No. 3/2558 or not, this would be subject to the discretion of the police on a case by case basis. Nevertheless, according to the police, the Commander of the Provincial Police Region 7 insisted that the act could be actionable as the activists were getting prepared to distribute the material and hence decided to press charges relating to the Constitutional Referendum Act’s Section 61, paragraph two against them. Mr. Somchai also added that the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) was still reviewing the referendum campaign material of the NDM, but insofar could not determine if by simply having them in possession would constitute an offence or not.

In the Arrest Memo, the police noted that around 11:00 a.m the arresting police have received a report from people who acted in good faith and via the police scanner of the Ban Pong Police Station that a group of individuals were driving a pickup truck carrying with them documents and gears in the back of the truck. From their behavior, it was believed they were there to distribute the documents, the fliers, and brochures to campaign against the vote to endorse the Draft Constitution in Ban Pong District. From further investigation, it was found that the vehicle had pulled over on Songphon Road, Ban Pong Municipality, Tambon Ban Pong, Ratchaburi. The officials have thus identified themselves and asked to search the vehicle.

From the search, the evidence no. 2-14 were recovered, and from asking Mr. Pakorn Areekul, they have learned that he had travelled there with Mr. Thaweesak Kerdpokha, Mr. Anan Loket and Mr. Anucha Rungmorakot in order to visit their friends who have been summoned in the case of the unlawful assembly of five persons and upward or a political gathering without permission and to run the campaign about the Draft Constitution. Regarding the evidence no. 2-14, Mr. Pakorn accepted that they belonged to the New Democracy Movement (NDM) and they had been loaded into his vehicle.

The officials have thus seized the evidence and informed the arrestees of the charge against them for “having transmitted a text, or an image, or sound through the print media, or radio, or television, or electronic media, or other channels, which are inconsistent with the truth or are violent, aggressive, rude, inciting or threatening and aimed at preventing a voter from casting a ballot or vote in any direction shall be considered as disrupting the referendum”, which is an offence of the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559’s Section 61 paragraph two.

The 14 items of evidence seized by the officials include the pickup truck, Vinyl banner reading “Any Thai Prime Minister is subject to mocking” (one copy), a loudspeaker and microphones, ‘Vote No’ bookmarks, document ‘Seven reasons why the Draft Constitution should be rejected’. brochure “How to cast your votes”, document “A dissenting opinion”, document ‘Release the Seven Referendum Prisoners’, public statement of the Nitirat Group on the Referendum, document “How to apply to vote outside your constituency” and ‘Vote No’ stickers.

The four suspects pleaded not guilty to the charge and refused to sign their names in the Arrest Memo. Later at 16.00, the police also searched in the passenger cabin and seized five more items on top of the documents already seized including a NDM donation box made of paper with 2,571 baht inside and a booklet “In the name of the NCPO’s (in)justice” by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).

Around 18:00 p.m., the police have brought the four suspects to a holding cell at the Ban Pong Police Station and denied them bail at the police level. They were informed that the interrogation shall take place that night and they would be brought to the Provincial Court of Ratchaburi for a remand hearing on 11 July 2016 which TLHR attorneys filed a motion objecting the remand then.

Of late at 20.20 p.m., it was reported that four vehicles of police officials have laid siege to the residence of Mr. Panuwat Songsawatchai, student of Faculty of Political Science, Maejo University Phrae Campus – Maejo University, another suspect in the same case who was summoned to turn himself in at the Ban Pong Police Station as a result of his activity at the referendum monitoring center in the morning. He was pressed with the same charge as the four individuals.

On 11 July 2016 at 9:00 a.m., all five were brought to the pre-trial remand hearing at the Provincial Court of Ratchaburi. The police investigator of Ban Pong Police Station asked the Court to have them remanded for 12 days and the Court approved as submitted by police. However, six alleged offenders have been released by the order of the Court, by placing bail bond at 140,000 Baht (around 3,975 $) each.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Previously, on 23 June 2016, other NDM activists and union activists, 13 of them, were arrested while distributing campaign material in the public to urge them to vote during the Constitutional Referendum in Samut Prakan province. They were pressed with charges relating to the violation of the Order of the Head of the NCPO No. 3/2558 and the Constitutional Referendum Act’s Section 61 (please see Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-075-2016 for more information). In addition, seven other student activists from the Kasetsat Liberals were apprehended while organizing a ceremony to mark the anniversary of Thailand’s democracy “24 June: Dusting off Democracy” at the Lak Si Monument on 24 June and their ‘Vote No’ campaign material of their car were also seized. The seven activists were pressed with charges relating to the political gathering of five persons and upward, the violation of the Order of the Head of the NCPO No. 3/2558, though they were not charged for violating the Constitutional Referendum Act’s Section 61.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to the authorities below, asking them to immediately withdraw the case and end any ongoing investigation into the 4 activists and 1 reporter from Prachatai.

Please note that the Asian Human Rights Commission is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion expression and seeking his urgent intervention into this matter.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

THAILAND: End judicial harassment of pro-democracy activists and reporter

Name of victim: 1. Mr. Pakorn Areekul 2. Mr. Anan Loket 3.Mr. Anucha Rungmorakot 4.Mr. Thaweesak Kerdpokha 5. Mr. Panuwat Songsawatchai

Names of alleged perpetrators: Military Officers and Police Officers

Date of incident: 10 July 2016 to the present

Place of incident: Ratchaburi province, Thailand

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the arrest of the New Democracy Movement (NDM) activists and a reporter on the offence against the Constitutional Referendum Act as a result of the documents recouped from their vehicle, even though they were not yet distributed, emerged in the wake of puzzlement by the suspects in the case.

While the international community has frequently described freedom of expression as one of the essential foundations of a democratic society because it guarantees the right of every person to exchange information, debate ideas and express opinions, the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559’s Section 61 paragraph and its implementation have shown contradictory results. Because it intends to restrict people’s right who need to discuss – and to criticise – decisions about their country.

Moreover, generally Article 19 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) prohibits the state from interfering with freedom of expression. This would prevent, for example, the government attempting to ban particular forms of political or artistic expression. The prohibition is not limited to the government but also includes all public bodies such as local authorities, schools and universities which Thailand, as a State party, should respect it.

Therefore, I would like to urge:

1. The Commander of Royal Thai Police to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against the 4 activists and 1 reporter who were trying to campaign and report around the referendum on the draft constitution;
2. The Commissioner-General of Royal Thai Police and the Attorney General of Office of Attorney General to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the 4 activists and 1 reporter and unconditionally drop all charges against them;
3. The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission to urge The Royal Thai Police and The National for Peace and Order (NCPO) to take prompt action to protect the 4 activists and 1 reporter who were trying to campaign and report around the referendum on the draft constitution;
4. The NCPO to cease obstructing, threatening, and arresting those who campaign around the referendum and express differing views about the draft constitution in an orderly, peaceful and open manner, and allow the free presentation of views to accept or reject the draft constitution through various channels.

Yours Sincerely,

……………….

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. General Prayuth Chan-ocha
Prime Minister
Head of the National Council for Peace and Order
Rachadamnoen Nok Road
Bang Khun Phrom
Bangkok 10200
THAILAND
Tel: +662 283-4000
Fax: +662 282-5131
Email: panadda_d@opm.go.th

2. Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda
Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police
Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan,
Khet Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
THAILAND
Tel: +662 2516 831
Fax: +662 2053 738

3. Pol.Sub.Lt. Pongniwat Yuthaphunboripahn
Deputy Attorney General.
The Office of the Attorney General
The Government Complex Commemorating His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary 5th December, B.E.2550 (2007), Building B 120 Moo 3
Chaengwattana Road
Thoongsonghong, Laksi Bangkok 10210
THAILAND
Tel: +662 142 1444
Fax: +662 143 9546
Email: ag@ago.go.th

4. Mr. What Tingsamitr
Chairman of National Human Rights Commission
The Government Complex Commemorating His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary 5th December
B.E.2550 (2007), Building B 120 Moo 3
Chaengwattana Road
Thoongsonghong, Laksi Bangkok 10210
THAILAND
Tel: +662141 3800, +6621413900
E-mail: help@nhrc.or.th





Limiting charter debate

18 07 2016

The military junta’s repression of alternative voices on the military’s draft charter continues as its illegitimate referendum approaches.

The Bangkok Post reports that the junta’s chief spokesman at the anti-election Election Commission, Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, has warned and threatened Mahidol University’s Institute of Peace and Human Rights Studies over a document it has released on the draft charter.

Remember that this is the regime that repeatedly declares that it does not restrict freedom of expression.

Nasty clown Somchai declared that the higher education institution was “skating on thin ice following the release of its latest charter document.” He reckoned that the Institute’s document “was close to violating the referendum law.”

As is now common under the deeply Orwellian dictatorial regime, Somchai didn’t explain how or why the Institute’s document potentially violated the draconian referendum law.

Somchai complained about three “documents” that he considered “were clearly in violation of the referendum law.” These are the “New Democracy Movement’s ‘Seven Reasons to Reject the Charter’ leaflet; several thousands of letters mailed to residents in Chiang Mai, Lampang and Lamphun [which may have originated within the regime]; and a summary of the draft charter in eight lines on the StopFakeThailand Facebook page.”

Responding to the vague claims by dangerous dolts like Somchai, the NDM’s Rangsiman Rome urged Somchai to “explain why the group’s document infringed on the referendum law, saying the group cannot defend or explain itself if Mr Somchai does not elaborate.”

The Nation reports the NDM’s seven points:

First, the booklet said, Article 52 of the draft gives the military overwhelming power by giving it a role in developing the country.

Second, Clause 2 of Article 279 legitimised every action carried out by the junta regardless of possible human rights violations.

Third, the coup-makers would also have influence in appointing the Constitutional Court judges and key figures in independent agencies, which will be selected by the junta-appointed Senate.

Fourth, the charter could not be amended without military approval because one-third of the Senate must approve amendments.

Fifth, the draft allows the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to continue in power until the new government is appointed, while the prime minister could continue to resort to utilising the broad powers of Article 44.

Sixth, Article 65 stipulates that the national strategic committee, appointed by the current junta government, would have the authority to make suggestions and issue warnings to future elected governments in line with junta-designated strategic plans.

Finally, the draft would create a “military party” in Parliament because there would be 500 MPs and 250 junta-appointed senators, meaning the military would have the power to legislate and screen laws.

NDM says it will “continue distributing copies of the document to the public ahead of the referendum.”





No, no, no! No debate or discussion I

12 07 2016

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.





Unceasing repression

3 07 2016

Anti-election Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn has a remarkable capacity for supporting anti-democratic campaigns while being disingenuous about his motivations.

Most recently, Prachatai reports that the EC’s chief bozo has “told the media at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand that the Commission never suppressed a free discussion on the draft charter or the August referendum.”

This comes just days after the very same Somchai, jubilant that the Constitutional Court had upheld the draconian referendum law, chortled that “the EC will from now on strictly enforce the referendum law.”

Apparently neglecting this threat and believing that his audience was composed of a gaggle of klutzs, he  exonerated his own EC.

Even for this clown, he provided a quite astonishing set of false statements made with a deliberate intent to deceive. He blamed the public and the media for the lack of debate. His falsifications included a claim that “the public inclination to self-censoring their opinions on the charter draft because of a climate of fear was not the commission’s fault…”.

He added “that if people want to know exactly what they can or cannot do during the referendum, they had better ask the junta.” This is the junta that Somchai has assiduously and slavishly supported. It is the same junta he worked so hard to get in place.

Meanwhile, repression deepens.

As the Bangkok Post reports one important junta attack, “The 19 core red-shirt figures were hit with summonses by security authorities after they appeared together at the conference inside a department store in the Lat Phrao area.” The junta’s plan seems to be to keep red shirts “so tied up in mounting their legal defence against the accusations that they are unlikely to have the time or the stamina to go after any cheats in the run-up to the Aug 7 draft charter referendum.”

The Dictator is warning “politicians” not even to meet in public events. He referred to opposition politicians as “the enemies of the law…”.

Even campaigning for a fair referendum and for the right to campaign on the referendum is considered suspicious. It is reported that “[f]ive activists were briefly detained and later let go by police on Saturday after leading 50 people to release balloons with a message calling for fairness in the Aug 7 referendum on the draft constitution.”

The intimidation in areas the junta considers “opposition strongholds” continues unabated.

Seven of the 13 activists arrested in Samut Prakan on 23 June for “distributing leaflets urging citizens to vote ‘no’ in the Aug 7 referendum” remain incarcerated. Their lawyer, Krisdang Nutcharut, argues that the “military court does not have the authority to remand these students.” He also explained that the seven “did not actually refuse to seek bail but that police and the military had apparently made clear before the court that they should be detained and were preparing objections to any bail.”

Krisdang went on to say that the detained students: “… are sacrificing their freedom to tell the public that they don’t recognise the ill-defined authority of the military court. Legally, they simply refuse to recognise the temporary detention…”.

The junta’s repression will continue and will deepen as the charter referendum gets closer still. The junta’s minions in the EC will play their assigned roles, threatening, intimidating and censoring.