THAILAND IS BECOMING AN ESTABLISHED MILITARY DICTATORSHIP.THAI JUNTA LEADER PRAYUTH CHAN - OCHA IS A COUP LEADER, THAI'S AUTOCRATIC LEADER, HE JUSTIFIED THE PUTSCH, SAYING THAT HE HAD TO ACT AFTER HALF - YEAR OF INCREASINGLY VIOLENT CONFRONTATIONS IT'S SUPPORTERS OUSTED GOVERNMENT. CIVIL SOCIETY, HUMAN RIGHTS ARE UNDER ATTACK FROM THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT.
Thailand people live under a military dictatorship which has effectively unlimited power to do as it pleases. Since seizing power in 2014, the military junta has banned protests, jailed critics and ramped up prosecutions under the lese-majeste law, which makes it a crime to criticize the monarchy.The military has sought to limit the protests by detaining figures who might play leadership roles. The junta has defended the detentions of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, most of the deposed government’s Cabinet, and dozens of politicians and activists.It also has ordered dozens of outspoken activists, academics and journalists to report to military authorities. More than 200, the majority considered opponents of the new regime.A new constitution that critics say was tailor-made for the military to retain effective control has been approved by popular referendum although without open debate. Elections have been repeatedly pushed back and are not expected before 2018. All political parties are restricted.No one should expect any substantial discussion about the deterioration in Thailand’s human rights situation since Prime Minister Prayut took power via a coup in 2014. The ugly political realities of the visit that Thailand is ruled by a military junta. Thailand is the United States’s “oldest ally in Asia”; that the relationship is the product of a diplomatic “friendship” forged in 1833. Both sides will praise the nations’ “enduring” ties. Someone may even recount the old chestnut about King Mongkut offering to send war elephants to President Abraham Lincoln at the start of the US Civil War.There is nothing for Thailand or the US to celebrate these days. The Trump administration has shown near-complete apathy toward human rights and the rule of law abroad, and the president has embraced increasingly discriminatory, rights-violating policies at home. He has railed against the media, been dismissive of courts, and ignored values of equality that are central to a pluralistic, rights-based democracy.Thailand, for its part, has been going from bad to worse. The military-controlled government has detained thousands of people for criticizing the government, the military, or the monarchy even for parodies and satire. More than 1,400 civilians await trial in military courts for refusing to obey the junta’s orders that violate freedom of expression and assembly. The government prohibits assemblies of more than five people. A junta-sponsored constitution protects junta members from accountability for abuses. Thailand’s once lively environment for the media and public debate has been battered into silence.The junta’s promises to hold elections and restore democracy have repeatedly been broken by constantly sliding deadlines. There are no indications that any election would occur in a free and fair atmosphere. In Aug. 2016, the junta organized a constitutional referendum under severe restrictions on freedom of expression, and dozens of activists are now in the courts, facing long prison sentences for advocating a “no” vote. Under the new constitution, an election would at best produce a pseudo-democracy, with a junta-appointed senate quite possibly becoming the largest political force in the parliament, holding a direct role in selecting the prime minister meaning the military could essentially select any new “democratic leader.”Despite some tough statements and imposing the “coup clause” cuts, the Pentagon has begun to reboot its engagement with Thailand, even as other assistance remains banned. He justified the putsch, saying that he had to act after a half-year of increasingly violent confrontations between the now-ousted government and its supporters, and demonstrators backed by powerful businessmen who had struggled to overthrow it.“The most important thing right now is to keep peace and order in the country,” Prayuth said. “When the conflict intensified, and there was the threat of violence, we had to act.”Thai junta leader gets a blessing from the king.Thailand’s coup leader, that the country’s king had officially endorsed him to run the nation after the armed forces seized power last week. The announcement came one day after the junta warned protesters it was ready to crack down on civilian opposition to its takeover.The day after her verdict was pronounced, a new anti-corruption law concerning holders of political positions came into force which says there is no expiry date for the statute of limitations of cases against holders of political positions if he or she escapes while being tried by the court or while the case is still pending. The new Criminal Procedure Act also bars appeals in absentia.The Thai system is certainly draconian. It would have been nice if Trump, the free world’s most powerful person, insisted Thailand needed to steer itself back toward a democracy, re-establish basic human rights, ensure laws comport with generally accepted norms, and not merely work to restore a trade balance with the US.
Dictatorship is about control. They control you through propaganda and fear. Dictatorship is most effective when it makes you obey without questioning its lack of legitimacy.The powers were granted on March 29 by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a retired army general who as the head of the junta known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has overseen feverish persecution of political dissent.Spokesman Col. Piyapong Klinphan last week told the Bangkok Post the order was aimed at preventing and suppressing crimes that imperil the peace and public order, or that could sabotage the economy. Under the terms of the new order, soldiers from the rank of sub-lieutenant and above have the authority to arrest and detain anyone suspected of one of 27 crimes, including extortion, human trafficking, and labor abuse. They are also permitted to search properties without a warrant.