The king and the crackdown

19 05 2010

Shawn Crispin, who often writes of deep and dark conspiracies, has some interesting comments on the monarchy and the political crisis at Asia Times Online, worth citing at length:

UDD leaders have repeatedly appealed to King Bhumibol to intervene in the crisis, as the revered monarch did to conciliatory effect in 1973 and 1992 after soldiers shot and killed pro-democracy demonstrators pitted against different military-run governments.

“Repeated” is an exaggeration, but the call was made, most notably by General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, chairman of the Puea Thai Party.

… King Bhumibol has not commented publicly on recent events, but sent a strong signal in favor of rule by law rather over privileged amnesties when in a nationally televised address he urged newly appointed senior court judges to rule with righteousness in the cases in which they adjudicate. After Thaksin systematically undermined the many checks and balances on executive power embodied in the progressive and now defunct 1997 constitution, King Bhumibol has emphasized the importance of an independent and moral judiciary.

This is another exaggeration. The king has actually urged several particular kinds of decision by judges and his palace has been implicated in attempts to steer judges to particular politically-inspired decisions. “Independent” means something quite different to this. Thaksin also manipulated various bodies, but the condemnation he received should also be made of an interfering monarch.

This, however, is the most interesting comment:

A palace insider told this correspondent that King Bhumibol advised Abhisit in a meeting days before the UDD launched its street protests on March 12 that under no circumstances should Thaksin be granted an amnesty for his criminal corruption conviction. As behind-the-scenes talks have foundered, the question now is whether the government will move to add terrorism charges against Thaksin for his presumed role as the UDD’s chief financier and strategist.

That statement is worth considering. The king does interfere in politics and he’s done it again. And, the terrorism charges came on the very day that the government crushed the red shirts at Rajaproasong. However, the seeds planted by this action will need to be harvested for some time to come.



One response

20 05 2010
Why is Thaksin a terrorist? « GJBKK Blog

[…] has this interesting article Death before amnesty in Thailand. Political Prisoners in Thailand (PPT) has commented on Shawn’s report here and in my opinion has drawn the right conclusions on […]

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