With a major update: Infantile politics

17 12 2013

The Bangkok Post reports that a “former Pheu Thai MP for Lop Buri on Monday lodged a lese majeste complaint against Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the anti-government [they mean anti-democratic] People’s Democratic Reform Committee.” This is about as dumb as it gets in Thailand’s politics. The report is that:

Suchart Sainam and his lawyer Singthong Buachoom argued that Mr Suthep had defamed Thailand’s monarchy by calling on the public to boycott the general election and demanding that the caretaker government step down and the poll be deferred.

Apparently the “complaint was received by Crime Suppression Division deputy chief” who said they would investigate.

Now, Suchart might be a mad monarchist or may just think it is a bit of reverse royalism to hit Suthep with a charge he happily bandied about in the past against his political opponents. But, really, isn’t it time that politicians became adults on lese majeste and assigned it to the dustbin of history.

Update: Of course, it is the mad monarchists who use lese majeste most often to attack, threaten and frighten opponents. Not long after we criticized the Puea Thai politician above, the rabid royalists have another charge to lay. Khaosod reports that the “coordinator of an anti-government network has urged the government to prosecute a Redshirts student activist for allegedly insulting the monarchy.” A related story is available at Prachatai.

The report is that:

Uthai Yordmanee, leader of Student and People Network For Political Reform of Thailand, said in a press conference that Mr. Ekkaphob Lueangra, a self-described vocational student who supports the Redshirt movements, has gravely defamed the monarchy in his speech at Rajamangala Stadium, where the Redshirts were holding mass rallies, on 28 November 2013.

PPT doesn’t know why, but while not identifying any particular item of lese majeste in the press conference, he “called on Mr. Jarupong Ruangsuwan, chairman of Pheu Thai Party, and Mr. Chaturon Chaisang, Minister of Education, to take legal responsibility for Mr. Ekkaphob′s remarks.” Guilt by association, perhaps, using the very broad and nasty lese majeste brush to smear many. Uthai seems to think that the two politicians allowed Ekkaphob to speak, so if he is committing lese majeste as alleged, then they are guilty too.

Of course, the yelling yellow also demanded that “Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra would also have to show her responsibility for the incident…”. Again, Uthai seems to be bonkers on this, but even the raving loonies can use lese majeste for ill purposes; and Uthai seems ill-tempered and ill of purpose.

Prachatai reports that:

police have charged an anti-establishment red-shirt supporter with lèse majesté for his coded speech at a red-shirt gathering at Rajamangala stadium on Ramkhamhaeng Road in late November.

A video clip of the speech was widely circulated on social media sites before it caught the attention of the law. A group of Internet users also disclosed his photo, home address and phone number as an act of political cyber bullying. They also found that he worked for a motor company and pressured the company via its Facebook page to punish him to show its “moral and social responsibility”.
The report states that the speech was at “a sideline red-shirt stage around the Rajamangala stadium…”, and that: Eakachai [note the different name used in the two reports] told a story of a family headed by “Uncle Somchai and Auntie Somjit” and the offspring of the couple. The speech attracted a loud acclaim and applause.At the end of the story, Eakachai spoke to the audience. “You guys feel a thrill of fear, but also like [the story]. But for me, I’d have to ask myself if I’ll be able to get through this. But I don’t care, because I didn’t refer to anybody. My speech isn’t illegal.” Apparently the police do not think so. Prachatai goes on to note that:
The fictional characters of Uncle Somchai and Auntie Somjit first appeared on the hard-core anti-establishment Same Sky web forum around 2010. The characters are known among people critical to the monarchy as code names used in a society where a speech can land a person in jail for several years or get them fired from their job because of political cyber bullying. The couple also feature in a song of Faiyen, an anti-establishment red-shirt pop band. The song is very popular among red shirts.
We think that Same Sky / Fa Diaw Kan is hardly more anti-establishment or hard core than Prachatai itself, so we are unsure why Prachatai chooses this description.
The anti-democratic movement has reason to hate Ekkaphob / Eakachai because he is a member of the progressive Red Siam group and “recently founded Gear of Red, which is a group of red-shirt vocational students and former vocational students.” The anti-democratic group has relied heavily on vocational students as their fighters, in the front line of demonstrations by rubber “farmers” in the south and in recent actions in Bangkok.
Vocational students are known for their violent clashes between schools and for their access to hand guns. THey are remembered for their brutality in the 6 October 1976 massacre at Thammasat University.



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