National security means monarchy

2 12 2019

We recommend two brief reports of recent days on Thailand’s new National Security Plan and Policy Guideline for 2019-2022 that was announced in the Royal Gazette on 22 November.

Both Prachatai and Supalak Ganjanakhundee at ISEAS have accounts that deserve to be read for information on this important document.

The latter observes:

The guideline foresees global geo-political changes presenting insignificant threats to the country in the years ahead. But it regards domestic issues, notably declining faith in the monarchy and political divisions, as greater concerns.

The Plan argues “the monarchy remains the main pillar of the country” – what else could it do? – while observing “that domestic and international developments pose risks to the institution [elite lingo for monarchy].”

Supalak points out that the documents worry:

that some elements in Thailand — perhaps meaning young activists and dissidents — “have linked the [monarchy and political conflict] for their political benefit, providing false information [sic.] and spreading misunderstanding [sic.] to undermine the national institution [monarchy]”. It notes, “The new generations have not had a bond to the monarchy since they lack understanding [sic.] and correct awareness of the importance of the royal institution as the national soul of the country [sic.]”.

The plan “admits that the bond to monarchy remains weak among the new generation.”

That latter bit is certainly true, but much of the fear is royalist nonsense and we guess it also reflects King Vajiralongkorn’s position.

The one-item security plan has to be read as a statement of a military that has become entranced by its own propaganda about the monarchy. This makes both “institutions” extremely dangerous.

At least the military royalists admit that “people have lost faith in the judicial system and at the same time want to participate more in government decision-making and to exercise their political rights.”

The only answer from the military and royalists is more propaganda:

The new security plan maps out policy guidelines to safeguard and strengthen the royal institution [monarchy] by providing it with more protection, and by glorifying and exalting it further. The authorities are to take more effective measures to defend the monarchy and to improve [state-sanctioned] understanding of the institution.

To these ends, the government agencies … are to campaign for public awareness and understanding of the role and value of the monarchy as the centre of the nation’s spirit. The authorities will use all possible means to preserve the monarchy. Thailand will apply King Bhumibol’s Sufficiency Economy philosophy for sustainable development and propagate such royal thinking domestically and internationally.

Vajiralongkorn’s fingerprints include the erasing of lese majeste:

In a change from the previous plan, concern over the lèse majesté law has been removed. The previous plan said the use of the lèse majesté law was important but caused concern over the violation of human rights. So appropriate use of legal measures without affecting the monarchy has been added as an indicator. Only one case has been prosecuted under Section 112 during the reign of King Vajiralongkorn, but laws relating to sedition and computer crime have been increasingly enforced.

More significantly, all activists have been threatened by bloody beatings of domestic opponents and the torture, murder and disappearance of exiled activists, probably ordered by the king.

Clipped from Thai Alliance for Human Rights website

Erasing 1932 from the collective memory is a part of this royal strategy.


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4 12 2019
Dangerous military | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] course, it is already known that the Ministry sees no external threat and wants conscripts as servants for senior military […]