Lese majeste, anti-monarchists and the political police

17 08 2010

As a follow-up to our post of a few days ago on the Department of Special Investigation and the lack of reverence for the monarchy, Anasuya Sanyal, IndoChina Bureau Chief at Channel News Asia has a full transcript of the interview with the DSI’s Deputy Director-General Yanaphon Youngyuen. Well worth a read. Bangkok Pundit also has a comment.

There are some interesting and revealing statements:

“… during the (Red shirt) protests, a conspiracy has been quite open…. There are gangs, foreign conspiracies, financial transfers, and so on, which can be considered as connected actions to attempt to insult the monarchy.” Gangs out to get the monarchy? What could this mean?

“the words ‘insulting the monarchy’. This term was included in the National Security law. Therefore, insulting the monarchy isn’t just insulting, but also undermining national security. Because the monarchy in Thailand is highly involved with national security, and if our nation doesn’t have security, our country can become unstable. So it’s very important.” We knew this, but it is neat to have the DSI explain the “thinking” they engage in.

Yanaphon then adds his bit to rewriting Thai history: “On that day the People’s Party could have established themselves to be the president, but they didn’t do that because they knew that Thailand or Thai culture needs the monarchy, for national security, for moral support, and so on. The People’s Party saw this importance. They could have changed the system (to a presidential one) but they opted not to. They all had overseas education. So it could be concluded that even the revolutionaries knew the importance of the monarch. They included the monarchy under the law.” It is a great pity that royalists seem to have established the hegemonic historical discourse. This explains, in part, why the red shirts were so interested in 1932 and other revolutions that sent monarchies packing.

But it is this section of the interview that is most interesting, showing the royalist mindset and the orientation of the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime’s political police. When asked what the anti-monarchists want, the DSI deputy director replies at length (with PPT emphasis):

“There are many groups. The first is those who want to advance their political interests…. Another group is academics who are pro a presidential system. Another group is are the socialists. They are from the communist period in the past and they still want it to be socialist way. Another group was those who are mentally ill. For example, some people who have AIDS and are on their deathbeds, for some reason they just criticize the monarchy. Some have hallucinations, or are dreaming that some (officers) are bad, some police are threatening the civilians; therefore the institution (monarchy) has to take responsibility for that because the institution is the boss of the police. These are some examples of those who are kind of insane.” PPT wonders where the insane people are lodged? Perhaps in the leadership of DSI itself!

Also, some young people, who are in the news recently, wanted to rebel. Some of them were from broken families whose parents got divorced. Therefore, they wanted to be well-recognized by posting some messages on the website (insulting the monarchy), then others made positive comments about their postings. Those anti-monarchy people also sent some information to these young people, then they keep come back and post these kind of comments…. Some people were also disappointed from their business, or their political views, or family affairs. And they thought the failures were caused by the institution (monarchy)….

These people have very strong ideologies, sympathize with those who share them, or they are hallucinating, or have some bias that the institution abuses the people. Some people don’t think rationally. Some groups of people living overseas feel like second-class citizens there, and wanted to make a name for themselves. So they know they might be able to be the first-class citizens here in Thailand only, so they wrote or condemned the monarchy. It might derive from being depressed in the country they are living in. Another group is terrorists who have separatist aims. But people in the 3 southernmost provinces still pay high respect to the monarchy. But some think to achieve those separatist aims, they need to use the strategy to discredit the monarchy.”

So according to the stable and rational deputy director of the DSI, almost everyone who is opposed to the monarchy is in some way mentally unstable – apart from political types. He adds: “But 99.99 percent of people are still loyal to the monarch.”

On the monarchy’s political role and the political use of lese majeste, the D-G says:

“according to the statistics, the LM cases were not so numerous, but after the 19th September coup, the number reached a peak. These people misunderstood (that the monarchy was behind the coup) but no one corrected this misunderstanding. We have been trying to correct their thought but they failed to understand for some reasons. These masses don’t have the real leader so they believe whatever they hear. They create and distribute wrong messages that they have heard or read.”

And on those pesky foreigners and the monarchy:

“Foreigners mostly don’t understand why we are so loyal to the king. Their monarch may not do the same thing as ours. So they don’t feel much loyalty to their monarch and they can’t imagine this feeling. They have images from the movies that kings are brutal, jealous, or take some money from or tax people and live on that money. These are portrayals of the kings in foreign countries, unlike in Thailand…”.

PPT has to say that the statements by the D-G give cause for alarm. Not just for the usual reasons associated with the prosecution of political offenses, but for the mindset displayed by senior police.

Clearly politicized and royalist, the DSI is sometimes compared with the FBI. That comparison works very well, especially for the period of the McCarthyist witch hunts of the 1950s and 1960s, when J. Edgar Hoover headed America’s political police.



One response

17 08 2010
Tweets that mention Lese majeste, anti-monarchists and the political police « Political Prisoners in Thailand -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร, NEWSpace. NEWSpace said: Lese majeste, anti-monarchists and the political police: As a follow-up to our post of a few days ago on the Depar… http://bit.ly/bTrRnI […]

%d bloggers like this: