2014 military coup: assessing and forgetting

21 05 2018

There’s currently a plethora of stories and op-eds that assess the results of the 2014 military coup.

Despite limited resources, Khaosod is usually a news outlet that is better than others at reporting the events of the day and in trying to be critical of military rule. However, one of its assessment stories is rather too forgetful.

Teeranai Charuvastra is the author and begins with the sad statistic that The Dictator Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has been directing the state since he seized it 1,641 days on Tuesday. In fact, he effectively seized power a couple of days earlier and the official coup announcement then followed.

That long four years is, Teeranai observes, “longer than any other coup leader since the Cold War.”

We are not exactly sure when the Cold War ended. Perhaps its late 1991 when the Soviet Union itself dissolved into its all those republics. Perhaps it is the fall of the Berlin Wall two years earlier. It matters only because if it is December 1991, then there’s only been two military coups in Thailand in that period, both involving roughly the same military crew as is in power now. If it is 1989, then add one more coup.

Two or three coups in Thailand’s long history of military seizures of the state doesn’t necessarily amount to establishing a pattern, although Teeranai’s thinks it does. The claim is that:

Every ‘successful’ military takeover of the last four decades has followed the same script: The generals who led the putsch quickly install a civilian prime minister, ostensibly to give the appearance of democratic rule, before retreating into the shadows. Typically, general elections have been organized within a year.

For one thing, that time period takes us back to about 1978, when Gen Kriangsak Chomanan was in the premier’s seat, having seized power in late 1977 from the ultra-royalist/ultra-rightist regime of civilian and palace favorite Thanin Kraivixien.

But back to Gen Prayuth, who is claimed to have gone off-script. Military junkie/journalist Wassana Nanuam is quoted in support of this claim: “He tore to pieces the rules of the coup.”

Back to the dates. Is there a script. In our view there is, but it isn’t the version proclaimed by Wasana. Rather, the script for the military is in seizing and holding power. When Gen Sarit Thanarat seized power in 1957, he put a civilian in place but in 1958 took power himself. He and his successors held power until 1973. When the military again seized power in 1976, it reluctantly accepted the king’s demand for Thanin to head a government. He failed and Kriangsak seized power in late 1977. Kriangsak held the premiership until 1980, when the military leadership convinced him to handover to palace favorite Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, who stayed until 1988.

Now there’s a pattern. We think its the pattern that Prayuth’s dictatorial junta has had in mind since they decided that the 2006 coup had failed to adequately expunge Thaksin Shinawatra’s appeal and corral the rise of electoral politics.

So Wassana’s triumphalism about The Dictator “breaking a mold” is simply wrong. The military regime is, like its predecessors in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, about embedding the military and throttling electoral politics.

Wassana’s other claim is that Prayuth’s coup and plan to hold power was risky. We think that’s wrong too.

In fact, after 2006 was declared a failure, Prayuth and his former bosses, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and Gen Anupong Paojinda, had worked with various rightist and royalist agents to undermine the likely opponents of another military political victory: red shirts and politicians of the elected variety.

ISOC was an important part of that as it systematically destroyed red shirt operations and networks.

In addition, the courts and “independent” agencies had all been co-opted by the military and its royalist and anti-democrat allies.

There was never any chance that Prayuth would hand over to an appointee.

Teeranai’s piece also asks; “So how did Prayuth’s National Council for Peace and Order, or NCPO, manage to stay this long?”

The response is: “The reasons are many, … [that] range from the junta’s use of brute force to Prayuth’s personal influence.” But a “common thread has to do with what the junta is not. The regime’s success, according to most people interviewed, lies in convincing people it is a better alternative to the color-coded feuds and churning upheaval that have plagued the nation.”

We think this is only true for some people and certainly not all. And the people who were convinced are the anti-democrats. Those interviewed are mostly yellow shirts who define “the people” as people like them.

When Suriyasai Katasila says that “The people felt there was only instability… So people accept the NCPO’s [junta] intervention, even though it cost them certain rights,” he speaks for some of Bangkok’s middle class and the anti-democrats.

Other anti-democrats are cited: “people don’t see the point of calling for elections, because they think things will just be the same after the election. People are sick and tired.” Again, these are words for the anti-democrats and by the anti-democrats.

If elections were rejected, one would expect low turnouts for them. If we look just at 2011 and 2007, we see voter turnout in excess of 80%. The anti-democrats propagandize against elections and speak of “the people” but represent a minority.

We’ve said enough. The aims of the current military junta are clear. And the anti-democrats are self-serving and frightened that the people may be empowered by the ballot box. That’s why the junta is rigging any future vote.





Assessing the king after the funeral

11 11 2017

In an article we should have commented on earlier, authors at Foreign Policy look at the monarchy’s future.

Like many of the accounts following the dead king’s funeral, there’s a ridiculous glorification of the deceased king in order to show the new king in a poor light. This devise is unnecessary and devoid of any serious analysis of the past reign.

Yet this report does gently point at some of the “missing” details in the official discourse of the “good” and “great” king:

The king’s good deeds abounded: talking to the poor, directing countryside renewals, instructing students. Not pictured were his political interventions, occasionally on behalf of the military, sometimes keeping a fragile democracy afloat. By the time of the 2014 seizure of power by the current ruling junta, he had been far too frail to act.

While this position on the king’s interventions is common, it is not necessarily true. The two events usually said to reflect “keeping a fragile democracy afloat” are October 1973 and May 1992. Neither fits the bill.

In 1973, there was no democracy to keep afloat and with the military splitting and with murderous attacks on students, the king moved to restore “stability.” His support for the new democracy drained away quickly when he couldn’t get his way. The October 1976 massacre followed, perpetrated by enraged royalists and the military, a part of a coup.

In 1992, there was no democracy to protect or sustain. That’s why there was an uprising. People rose against the military junta’s efforts to maintain their power following the 1991 coup and appointing the junta leader premier. Is The Dictator listening? The king’s intervention was late, after it was clear the military could not restore “stability” and had murdered scores of protesters.

It is interesting to read this:

Along the urn’s procession route, a row of truncheon-wielding police blocked the way to the 1932 Democracy Monument. Their presence was noticeably heavier than at any point along the route, perhaps cautious of the possibility for protest gestures at a site that had been a locus for political uprisings since the 1970s.

That area was central to both the events of 1973 and 1992 and the military knows that history of anti-military dictatorship and seeks to suppress those memories.

Interesting too is the response of devout royalists to questions:

But when we asked about what, exactly, the king had done for them, there was a moment of puzzlement, and then the same answers every time: “Well, there were the visits to the countryside and the ‘sufficiency economy.’”

The authors are right to note that:

The king’s countryside trips were part of a 1960s and 1970s anti-communist campaign, dating from well before these kids were born, the concept of the “sufficiency economy” another 1970s buzzword dragged back up in 1997 to remind Thais to be happy with their lot, even amid the financial crisis.

The sufficiency stuff was recycled from E.F. Schumacher and stripped of any progressive content.

Yet, as the authors note, these events and notions have been made royal lore and have been so nauseatingly repeated that they become “truisms.”

The report is also commended for noting that there were many Thais who tried to ignore the funeral, its militarization and all of its repetitions of propaganda.

Turning to Vajiralongkorn, the story notes that on the evening of the cremation:

… the mood soured. Following the symbolic cremation at 6 p.m., the real event was supposed to take place at 10 p.m. — broadcast live as everything else had been. Just beforehand, though, the feed was suddenly cut, and journalists were ushered out of the press center. The crowd was disappointed and unhappy; rumors spread that the decision had been made by the current king, the 65-year-old Maha Vajiralongkorn, who had attended the cremation accompanied by both his ex-wife and his mistress. The cremation remained unbroadcast, with the palace putting out the story that it had been decided it was a “private event.”

Privately, however, some saw it as an act of spite by the new king against his father….

The story then runs through the usual bad and odd deed associated with Vajiralongkorn, well known to all readers of PPT, and his protection under the lese majeste law.

In concluding, the article muses on the future:

The role of the new king is still uncertain. His coronation has been delayed until an unspecified future date, although he has already taken on monarchical duties.

The king is indeed still defining his role, scheming, sacking, disgracing and having the junta do his bidding. In fact, though, delaying coronation is not at all unusual, in Thailand or elsewhere. The article continues:

Although he backed the authoritarian new constitution imposed by the generals, his relationship with the military reportedly is not that close. With most of his time in recent decades spent out of the country, he hasn’t built up the close rapport with particular units that older royals did, despite his own air force training. Practical power will remain in the junta — and the symbolic power of the monarchy may have drained away with the old king.

While we agree with the view that “practical power” will remain with the military, we are not convinced by the idea that the king and military are not close, whatever that might mean. The claim that he has not built a “rapport” might be true, but he has built a relationship and he has allies. After all, as prince, he was associated with, first, the Army, and then with the Air Force. That relationship has been consistent over five decades.

The story then wonders about image:

Looking at the image of Vajiralongkorn, with his mouth seemingly always open in a mildly idiotic gawp, it seems hard to imagine a new [public] faith taking hold.

We are not so sure that the image will matter all that much. Coming to the throne when there’s a military dictatorship means the new king has the kind of “stability” his father always promoted. He seems content not to fill his father’s shoes and seems to favor repression and fear as much as he craves power and wealth.





In for the long haul II

13 11 2014

Some time ago, PPT posted on the military dictatorship being in position for the long haul. Then we were observing that despite claims about “democracy” and an “election” in about 12-15 months, the military dictatorship was likely to maintain control for a very long time.

Wassana Nanuam a senior reporter at the Bangkok Post now seems to agree with us, setting out the path to deep military involvement in Thailand’s post-junta regime.

She focuses on “speculation is growing over a plan by the men in green to form a new political party, or perhaps a nominee party with military backing.”

Previous military regimes that decided not to rule more directly tried this. Some past efforts have failed. In the post 2006 period, the military backed Newin Chidchob’s Bhum Jai Thai Party, and it did poorly in the 2011 election. Before that, when General Suchinda Kraprayoon tried a military party, it resulted in the 1992 rebellion.

She details moves that might politically position the military for the long term. The important considerations seems to be the observation that “[s]ome people in the military believe the Democrat Party will never win the next election, so the military might have to step in, or at least throw its support behind a party to challenge Pheu Thai.”

As a footnote, Wassana’s discussion of the dealings between General Prawit Wongsuwan and Thaksin Shinawatra put a different spin on this part of the story, worth considering.

In terms of transition beyond the military dictatorship, 12 years has often been mentioned as the period required to get back to full electoral democracy. It was 12 years from the coup in 1976 until Prem Tinsulanonda finally stepped aside in 1988.





More publications available

14 08 2012

Some time ago the journal Critical Asian Studies made their special issue on the 1976 military coup in Thailand available for free download. In recent days the Journal of Contemporary Asia has followed suit, making available its special issue on Thailand from 1978. This issue became the edited book Thailand: Roots of conflict, edited by Jonathan Fast, Andrew Turton and Malcolm Caldwell and published by  Spokesman Books, but long out of print.

The articles available at the Taylor & Francis website are:

  • Editorial, pp. 3-4
  • Malcolm Caldwell, Thailand and imperialist strategy in the 1980’s, pp. 5-20
  • David Elliott, The socio-economic formation of modern Thailand, pp. 21-50
  • Peter F. Bell, ‘Cycles’ of class struggle in Thailand, pp. 51-79
  • Marian Mallet, Causes and consequences of the October ’76 coup, pp. 80-103
  • Andrew Turton, The current situation in the Thai countryside, pp. 104-42
  • Patrice de Beer, History and policy of the communist party of Thailand, pp. 143-57

The website has other articles available for free download and readers may look around the site for free articles. We may have missed some, but found the following on Thailand:





Wikileaks cables, truth and Thailand

28 06 2011

A PPT reader has sent us his account of Andrew Macgregor Marshall’s Thailand’s moment of truth, which is the first narrative trying to make sense of American diplomatic cables regarding Thailand made available through Wikileaks.

The first volume (the second just out) has been published as a free electronic book. Marshall’s work and his perspective received some media attention, particularly in the UK and there has been considerable discussion among circles interested in events in Thailand, notably on some of the blogs.

Marshall’s work weaves together a review of Thai history over the last century, including the life of the king, excerpts from credible works by Paul Handley and Duncan McCargo as well as William Stevenson‘s questionable biography, and of course dozens of the leaked cables.

This first volume has considerable value for people with limited knowledge of Thailand and its society. The selection of cables will be especially interesting to observers who focus on elite perspectives. For those who take a broader view and are open to the possibility of the common person, or phrai, being an active force in these heady times, Marshall’s work will be but of less interest, perhaps as an occasional reference for reasons which will be elaborated.

It is perhaps courting trouble to consider and critique only the first volume when the three subsequent volumes have yet to be published. The first volume does not provide a clear introduction to the subsequent three volumes. Therefore, it is only possible to consider the first volume as it is and assume it sets the approach, perspective and tone for the subsequent volumes.

In brief, the cables that form the spine of the account are accounts of discussions between American diplomats and figures from royal circles as well as Thaksin. The volume reports there are several significant fissures within the amart, doubts and debates over the succession, and concerns for the future of the monarchy and by implication the current structure of power, and some confusion within the elites. In short, no groundbreaking insights, perspectives or explanations on what is or might be happening in Thailand.

If the cables are the basis for the book, it is how the cables are understood and interpreted that matters. It is here where the book falls a little short. The cables are lightly classified. They represent only a part of the information available to the American government. No access has been provided to highly classified cables, nor do we know the range of electronic and human intelligence assets that are reporting to the American government. Therefore the cables must be treated with care and caution.

Marshall sets them up as gold. Some of them may be lead. A thorough assessment and interpretation will only be possible in the years ahead after events have unfolded and historians are able to go to work. Only then may it be clear if what has been told to American diplomats was accurate. For now, they must be considered preliminary. Moreover, consideration has to be given to the motives of the elite interlocutors and their agendas. This is absent from the first volume.

The cables often appear to peddle the rumors that surround what one U.S. ambassador calls an opaque monarchy. This is seen in accounts attributed to elite actors on the health status of the heir to the throne and his young son. Some of which is conveyed in the cables. However, in person they appeared healthy to American diplomats. Of course it might be said that there is no smoke without fire. The prince, and perhaps even his son, may not be 100%. We simply do not know and should perhaps treat such claims coolly until proven otherwise. Indeed given the distaste for the prince among privy councillors (and many not in the elite) it is hardly surprising if ill thinking about the prince translates into whispers and gossip.

The cables presented are exclusively about discussions with elite actors. Several interpretations arise. It seems that American diplomats are not sending many cables about the state and change in mass society. This leads Marshall to a bias towards elites and an implicit discounting of the agency and power of subaltern actors, experiences and perspectives.

Those with some knowledge and experience of Thailand and its society, especially the dramatic changes in life and economy over the last decade or so, will see numerous weaknesses in Marshall’s elite-centric perspective. The masses barely exist, whether by accident or design the book implies politics and political change in Thailand are solely the business of the elites. In so doing, the work, unwittingly perhaps, tacitly accept claims made by the elite and some other observers that the mass is incapable of thinking or acting or being anything other than bystanders and buffalo to be lead in as muscle when needed. The most striking recognition of the great changes in society is a cable reporting a discussion with a friend of the prince who points out that people under 40 may be less enamoured with the monarchy because of pressures and entertainments of modern life.

The king is portrayed as honest, wise and a victim and universally adored when in fact there are several good accounts and arguments of why he is an active player and backs the winner in disputes such as 1973, 1976 and 1992. It is curious that early in the book Marshall discusses 1973 and 1992 as examples of the king supporting change and progress (questionable in any case) while ignoring the monarchy’s support for the fascist backlash in 1976.

His repetition of the tired media line, itself a mindless broadcast of elite propaganda, that all Thais love the king and respect the monarchy is simply bizarre given recent events. The monarchy is, among significant segments of the masses, looked upon with disdain. Such developments are not always obvious but are built up through countless conversations with ordinary people and by watching the reporting of the past couple of years.

Thailand is in period which might be described as one of paradigmatic or revolutionary change. The coup of 2006 was unusual, even unique. It toppled a prime minister with unparalleled popular legitimacy expressed through winning two consecutive elections (leaving aside the odd 2006 election). Part of this legitimacy stemmed from the innovation of campaigning nationally on a policy manifesto attuned to the needs and interests of the masses and then acting upon it. Many people perceived they were benefitting directly from government policy for the first time. This is a new era.

The coup against a prime minister holding such legitimacy can be interpreted as a move by the amart to contain and halt this change that could have fundamentally restructured the distribution of power in society. The coup was a reaction against the change heralded by the action of the majority of voters in selecting and delivering power to the prime minister through their votes. So while it might be said that most of the time in most societies the masses don’t matter a great deal it might be said that when it comes to big change they matter absolutely because it is they that collectively hold the power to force change in one way or another including de facto alliances with certain elements of the elite.

Thus the cables and Marshall’s work is important background, especially for what elements of the elite were telling American diplomats and policymakers. What is needed is a more thorough, comprehensive and nuanced account that uses the cables and situates them within the context of a country living with great uncertainty and the politics of subaltern revolt.





Military and monarchy, together in perfect harmony?

18 05 2011

Jon Ungphakorn’s column in the Bangkok Post is well worth a thorough read. He comments on a recent post at New Mandala that has caught attention in the blogosphere for the unstated comparison it draws between allegedly reformist monarchs and the current conservative royalist regime.

There are some controversial interpretations as well. Jon says: “It has always been the military that has been keen to enforce absolute reverence towards the monarchy, and all military coups in recent history have cited alleged threats to the monarchy as justification for military rule.” He adds: “It is the kings themselves who, from time to time, have made attempts to reform the monarchy to be more in line with democratic society.”

PPT was scratching its collective head on this. Yes, the military has often played the royal card in maintaining and reinforcing its role in Thailand’s political system. But what are the reforms that enlightened kings have brought. We assume that Jon is referring to the post-1957 period. This means that there has been not “kings” but one king; the present one. What great democratic reforms has he fostered?

Jon refers to “the maximum prison sentence for lese majeste was increased from SEVEN to 15 years after the military coup of 1976; while on the other hand our present king is on record in his birthday speech of 2005 as requesting that lese majeste be used judiciously and that criticism of the king should be allowed.”

Well, yes, but wasn’t that 1976 government headed by Privy Councilor and a king’s favourite in Thanin Kraivixien? Wasn’t it this monarchy that was involved in supporting the coup. Wasn’t it the king and queen who welcomed a former dictator back and set off the events of massacre and coup? Wasn’t it the current price and princesses who provided moral support for the perpetrators of the massacre? And hasn’t lese majeste gone through the roof since a coup that was clearly implemented with palace connivance in 2005 and 2006? Need we go on?

Jon is right when he observes that the “present actions of the military [on lese majeste] are clearly intended to influence the results of the elections by once again implying that a threat to the monarchy is involved. In their actions, they have moved the boundaries of lese majeste accusations to an extreme never reached before at a time when demands for reform of lese majeste law are reaching a peak.” He adds: “This is a very tense and explosive situation which, as history clearly tells us, cannot possibly be beneficial to the monarchy.”

PPT agrees, but doubts many of the old duffers in the palace see it this way. We doubt that those responsible for royalist political ideology and propaganda see it this way. We think that those who protect and “ancient institution” that is also the country’s largest and most conservative capitalist conglomerate believe that reform is in their interests. Rather, they have shown a capacity for support to the most reactionary elements and an incapacity for making historically significant compromises with the subaltern masses.

Commenting on the lese majeste charge against Somsak Jeamteerasakul, Jon argues that “critical comments among academics and intellectuals on the monarchy as an institution have been tolerated. This is why Sulak Sivaraksa has never gone to prison for his consistently outspoken observations. Now, there seems to be no refuge left.”

PPT has a vague memory of Sulak being arrested and in jail. Sulak’s website says this: “In 1984 he was arrested in Bangkok on charges of criticising the King, but international protest led to his eventual release.” That international protest was led by international academics and Buddhist organizations, amongst others. Sulak has been charged several times and currently has charges pending. That said, it is true that Sulak has never been convicted. But he is also not the only academic to have been threatened. Think of Giles Ji Ungpakorn who now lives in exile.

Jon goes on to refer to the “unfairness of the lese majeste law,” commenting, as many reformers do, that a problem is that “anyone can file a complaint and there are no guidelines as to the interpretation of the law.” He then makes this observation: “The only peaceful solution to the political explosion that is building up as more and more people are charged and sentenced under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, is to reform the lese majeste law and the monarchy as an institution in line with democratic principles.”

That’s not the only solution: abolishing the law and allowing the monarchy to use existing defamation laws, just like anyone else is also a peaceful solution.

Jon argues that the reason there is not reform is that politicians “don’t dare to do anything [because] … they are afraid of reprisals from the royalist movements such as the People’s Alliance for Democracy, the multi-coloured shirt activists and, in particular, the military establishment.”

He concludes with these observations: “It is the avowed protectors of the monarchy who are actually destabilising the monarchy and preventing the reforms badly needed to sustain the monarchy. Will the military establishment recognise this fact in time and learn to stop meddling in Thailand’s political affairs?”

PPT can agree with the first point. No doubt about it. They are bringing themselves undone. But the protectors are necessarily blind to this. The second point is one that can also be agreed. At the same time, it is not the monarchy that binds the military to intervention. After all, when its commanders were pretty much anti-monarchy the military also took a prime political position.

It seems to PPT that in the current period there is probably a pretty good alignment between the ideas of the military leadership – General Prayuth Chan-ocha is known to have excellent links to the queen – and the palace and monarchy. Chulabhorn’s recent comments on the threats being akin to the Burmese sacking of Ayudhya attest to the kind of thinking and discussions that must be going on in both military and palace circles. We see considerable harmony of interests.

And, just as a footnote, this post began with the New Mandala story on prostration and the reforms Chulalongkorn made. For all of those who are touting him as the great reformer, add to this the fact that his regime was probably the most absolute of the Chakkri dynasty….





Piling on the royalist nonsense

9 07 2010

They keep saying it. AFP states that Thailand’s “82-year-old king has been a stabilising force…”. The agency refers to 1992. The evidence is, however, that the monarchy and this king has also been a force that has encouraged partisanship and instability. Just a few examples: 1946 regicide, 1947 coup, 1957 coup, destabilization of governments in 1973-76, 1976 massacre and coup, 2006 coup. Why do they keep saying this?

This error is made in an article citing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on the political role of the monarchy. He says that his government’s position “had always been that the monarchy should remain above partisan politics…”. As PPT has pointed out several times, and will do again below, this is a misrepresentation. In fact, the Abhisit regime has and continues to use the monarchy for political gain.

Abhisit also had to deny “speculation that the palace had sought to influence his administration during the recent crisis.” The reason he is forced to state this is because the assumption of palace involvement is widespread in the country. Abhisit states: “I can definitely say, categorically, that all the decisions during the protests were taken by the government. The palace does not interfere in the matter…”.

Even if one accepts this assertion, the proximity of Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda to the civilian-military junta – called the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation – during the red shirt demonstrations would raise questions. Abhisit’s private audience with the king raises questions and so does the king’s speeches to judges.

When Abhisit says: “The institution plays the same role as in other constitutional monarchies” he’s just parroting royalist nonsense. His statement on lese majeste, where he claims “We have to make a distinction between people who make comments on the monarchy, maybe academic discussions, from people who clearly show intent in terms of undermining the institution, which would be a threat to national security…” simply and clearly confirms his adherence to the status quo.

In any case, the actions of the government are far louder than the premier’s bleating. The ever more Gestapo-like Department of Special Investigation is reported to have “begun its operations dealing with the anti-monarchy movement, setting up nine teams comprising nearly 300 agents from various agencies to do the task.” That’s three hundred!

The DSI doesn’t seem too bothered about issues like the presumption of innocence, but has decided to identify “people whose behaviours are considered ‘detrimental or ill-minded’ to the monarchy…”. How will it determine who these people are? It will rely on the so-called “Mind Map composed by the government’s Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), which indicted 27 key figures released during the run-up to the red shirt protests in Bangkok.” This is a wholly discredited document, but the DSI is interested in destroying the government’s political opponents. It’s a witch hunt or worse.

The DSI’s director-general Tharit Phengdit makes things worse when he makes the government’s conspiracy even bigger by considering the “blacklisted 83 people whose assets had been frozen by the CRES were taking part in the [red shirt] movement.” Ahem. They are accused. But the political Tharit – he’ll get piles of royal honors and awards for sure – is going to try to make connections. Tharit also targets those who joined the UDD are in the Puea Thai Party and those who “took part in arranging the red-shirt protests in May…”. This is the flunky officer really wanting to show he can protect the monarchy better than anyone else. Such slithering individuals are the most dangerous. He says there is no deadline for the “completion of all lese-majeste and anti-monarchy cases.” This is because the cases involve “a large number of people through complicated networks of operations. The overall DSI investigation will be lengthy…”.

The ever-vigilant DSI has “identified two types of wrongdoing: online publication of lese-majeste content; and public statements in various forms, including public interviews, speeches during rallies and distribution of hard copies. The wrongdoers involved are divided into three levels: the leadership and commanders, who allegedly funded the anti-monarchy operations, gave directions and tactics and issued ideological themes. The second level are the ‘operatives’, who delivered lese-majeste content or speeches as directed by the leadership – individually, as groups, or systematically as a whole. The third level are ‘the masses’, who used public activities or gatherings to support the people in the second level.” They are going to be filling the jails!

International human rights groups need to look far more critically at the DSI as a politicized agency, operating with government mandate, Abhisit’s support, and regularly infringing on human rights. The potential is for it to get far worse and the rabid royalists and drooling yellow shirts urge them on.