Tharit on anti-monarchy plot

27 05 2012

Most readers will be interested in a radio interview with political police/Department of Special Investigation boss Tharit Pengdit reproduced at the Bangkok Post.

An earlier postat PPT noted that Democrat Party MP, former deputy premier and formerly in charge of seeking out opponents to have them locked up as political prisoners, Suthep Thaugsuban, had accused Tharit of political opportunism in dropping lese majeste cases.

Suthep and Tharit working together

More significantly, though, Suthep claimed that the DSI decision to drop the cases “affected the honour of the royal institution.” That’s almost an accusation of lese majeste! In the interview at the Post, Tharit responds on the (never credible) “overthrow the monarchy chart.”

The DSI director-general’s basic claim was that the anti-monarchy plot diagram was ditched “because the people who drew up the chart could not be identified.” He adds that the investigation is suspended, not dropped.

Tharit states it was Suthep who “proposed that the chart be looked at and treated as a special case.” As a result, says Tharit,

Many security agencies worked together on investigating the names on that chart. We felt disturbed that a movement could be plotting the overthrow of the monarchy.

The chart provides the names of 39 juristic persons and individuals. Seven prosecutors and more than 20 DSI officials jointly worked on the case.

Apparently, as well as having propaganda value for the royalist Abhisit Vejjajiva regime at the time, all the probe found was “two names were at risk of having committed lese majeste.” It is understood that the lese majeste charges against Somyos Prueksakasemsuk came from this anonymous and discredited “plot” chart.

Tharit reckons that there are “wrongdoers among the 39” individuals and groups mentioned in the bogus chart. Nothing like keeping your political options open with false and anonymous information and politicized investigations, all surrounded by ideas about royal aura.

The slippery Tharit then returns to the chart’s provenance. He states that “as the probe deepened, no party or individual admitted to having drawn up the chart.” Not the police and not the military. PPT sees the military’s hand in the plot to allege a plot, but Tharit says that the military declined to accept responsibility. He repeats that “Suthep provided a broad picture about the significance of the chart but could not say who made it.”

He is then asked about  then Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, and Tharit states that “Sansern brought the chart to a press conference. He said the chart originated from a security agency but did not specify where it came from.” Sansern apparently added that “he has no idea because he received the chart from someone else.”

Tharit adds:

We haven’t been able to establish the source of the chart. It’s important to have witnesses before we can get to the bottom of anything. In criminal investigations, we need to prove a case beyond all doubt and this requires accounts from witnesses.

In other words, the whole episode of the bogus anti-monarchy plot diagram is an example of how the state operated under Abhisit’s government: no witnesses, an anonymous allegation, and information that was uncheckable. Even so, it was willingly and unscrupulously used to harass, discredit and silence opponents. Even now, Suthep wants investigations to continue!

PPT still thinks that the military manufactured the plot, probably in cahoots with Suthep. If we are wrong, then the finger could easily be pointed at higher authorities. After all, if the military, police and politicians disclaim authorship and refuse to name authors, then the assumption is likely to be pointed towards the palace’s offices and supporters.

It is worth concluding this post with some further comments by Tharit. When asked if the bogus plot chart was used to “discredit opponents,” he responds: “I decline to comment and I don’t confirm it. I don’t wish to pour petrol on the fire and widen the rift.” That seems like a “yes.”

On his support for the Abhisit regime’s bloody actions, Tharit states:

During the political violence of 2010, I agreed with the steps the Abhisit Vejjajiva government had taken to end the unrest. I was also a member of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) which worked to stop the bloodshed.

That’s an interesting perspective. CRES seems to PPT to have been intent on conflict and it was CRES orders that caused the first violence in April 2010. Remarkably, Tharit adds that:

I’m proud to have delivered on policies under Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep. I think both of them made timely and fitting decisions to quell the emerging unrest. If they hadn’t done what they did, the scale of damage would be unimaginable.

We wonder about a person who is proud of almost 100 deaths and 2500 injuries. At least he is aware that “[i]n 2010, … the government … preferred decisive enforcement of the law to contain the situation at hand.” In other words, Abhisit and Suthep chose violence.


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14 08 2020
Concocting a plot | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The diagram associated with this official lie presumed to show links (and funding) behind the non-existent plot to bring down the […]