Abhisit joins the campaign accusing red shirts of lese majeste

18 04 2011

Confirming that lese majeste is a part of the royalist regime’s election strategy, the Bangkok Post reports that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has joined the bandwagon accusing red shirt leaders and the Puea Thai Party of disloyalty.

It seems that Abhisit has “lese majeste fever,” the source of which is still being traced, but one parliamentarian who stands accused of lese majeste claims it is from Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda.

Abhisit goes a step further by wanting to add a new regulation, to be issued by the Election Commission, “banning politicians from mentioning the monarchy in political debates.”

Abhisit says: “[By law] the monarchy is above politics and no party should bring the royal institution into political conflicts. Those who violate the law must face legal action.” Apparently, he has already asked the Election Commission to “protect the monarchy from being dragged into politics.”

Making a regulation that prohibits politicians even mentioning the monarchy would be a huge expansion of the lese majeste repression that is already in place. PPT can only imagine that claims that a politician spoke of the monarchy would be subject to closed door hearings, with the statements not detailed (as repeating the statement might constitute lese majeste), and electoral red cards being issued against (mostly) opposition politicians. What a boon for the Democrat Party and their allies!

Of course, seemingly unaware that he is committing just the breach he accuses others of, the premier then says that “some politicians and parties are suspected of being involved in activities deemed as offensive to the monarchy.” Yep, that’s right, the very thing he complains of he does himself! Now, Abhisit is not a buffoon, so the message is clear on who is being targeted and why: the red shirts and Puea Thai Party.

Anti-monarchy graffiti

30 09 2010

About a week ago PPT posted on the political graffiti that appeared on 19 September. This kind of anti-monarchism, like the internet, is not at all easy to control, and is disturbing the royalist elite. As is their penchant, they are seeking ways to control it, and this will inevitably mean threats, coercion and more repression. Thailand under the royalists is always a darker, more repressive place.

Prachatai has an article that is short and worth posting in full, not least for its aside regarding the politicking between Newin Chidchob and the red shirts, again demonstrating why he is so critical to royalist rule:

Matichon Online, September 29, 2010 – Website MeechaiThailand.com owned by Meechai Ruchupan, former President of the Senate, veteran government legal advisor, and former President of the Council of the State, answers a law-related question on lèse majesté from Kraiwan Kasemsin.

The question is “I used a toilet in this gas station and found this writing that insults the Monarchy. I would like to know if the owner could be charged for letting that happen. How can I file a complaint against the owner or request them to remove the writing? What if the owner does nothing and lets the writing remain? How can the owner be charged?”

Meechai answers: “If the owner acknowledged the complaint and did not remove the writing then they might be guilty. Whoever finds this kind of thing should tell the owner to remove it, or report it to the police.”

Kraiwan Kasemsin is chairman of the Taxi Club in Mor Chit and Don Muang. He was a friend of Chupong Teetuan of Norporchor USA. Kraiwan recently moved to host a pro-monarchy radio programme under Newin Chidchob’s direction.

The need to buy back “Protect the king”

6 12 2009

Also available as ไปซื้อ “Protect the king” กลับมาเสียนะ

How embarrassing. Bangkok Pundit was right and the government’s outspoken protectors of the monarchy blame officials for screwing up. At the end of a post on 5 December, PPT pointed out that Bangkok Pundit had pointed out that the government was getting excited about its Protect the King site being hacked. He pointed out a simpler explanation.

Now the government agrees (see Bangkok Post, 7 December 2009: “Official forgot to relist protecttheking site”). As suggested, the website expired and was taken over by someone else. No hacking. An investigation found that this was a “bureaucratic bungle” as a “parliamentary official did not renew the registration of the domain name allowing other users to take over the site.”

Who claimed hacking and who was going to track down the dastardly hackers? None other than PM’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey and acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn. Maybe they were protecting themselves of protectors of the king?

The site now shows a rudimentary finance page and “an illustration of a fairytale king instead of the website’s usual entry page.” It is said to be owned not by some Thaksin Shinawatra-loving red shirt but by “a Liverpool-based British businessman.”

Now the PM’s Office and the “subcommittee of a house panel on military affairs, which handles issues like lese majeste website suppression” are befuddled because they had wanted the site to be a pro-monarchy site that was also a “part of a crackdown on websites with content deemed insulting to the monarchy” by encouraging “citizens to register lese majeste complaints.”

Now they are telling the government to “buy back the domain name from the current owner or register the new domain name as http://www.protecttheking.go.th.”

PPT suggests that the self-proclaimed protectors of the monarchy – Panitan and Sathit – and not the lowly official should resign and enter the monkhood as penance for this heinous crime of losing a key element in the Abhisit government’s politically-charged fight against “traitors” and republicans.

Royalist fears

3 06 2009

The celebrations in 2006 for the 60th anniversary of the king’s reign saw royal power and pride reach a crescendo. The flood of royalist images, reverence and the publicity for the hugely lavish ceremonies seemed never ending and yellow – the king’s birth colour – was everywhere. Even the troops carrying out the coup later that year were decked out in yellow showing where they stood.

For royalists, these celebrations were a triumphal celebration of decades of hard work restoring the monarchy to its “rightful” position. The royalists’ work had begun as soon as the absolute monarchy was overthrown in 1932.

Before King Prajadhipok abdicated, they tried rebellions, assassinations and all kinds of political plots to regain, if not absolute power, then at least concessions from the People’s Party governments. After that they concentrated on regaining control of palace affairs while taking political opportunities as they arose.

But the real work began following General Sarit Thanarat’s coups in 1957 and 1958. With the backing of the military, the palace’s prestige was restored and the current king garnered considerable political power over his six decades on the throne.

How quickly things have changed.

Now royalists are warning that the monarchy is threatened.

More than at any time since the communist victories in Indochina, those who surround and advise the palace are frightened.

On 30 May, one of the king’s most loyal servants, Dr. Sumet Tantivejkul, who is Secretary-General of the king’s Chaipattana Foundation, made one of the most public statements of the royalist’s great fear.

Prachatai (1 June 2009: “‘Next month, they will do it again…”) has translated a report of Sumet’s speak on “Monarchy and Buddhism” at a workshop of the Project of Reconciliation for National Security and Buddhism that was originally published in Matichon which also includes a video clip of the talk.

Sumet is worried. He said that he recently visited Russia, where the communists overthrew the monarchy. Sumet claims: “Now the Russians are yearning for a king, missing Tsar Nicholas II, but, not knowing what to do, they have brought the ashes of Tsar Nicholas to be placed at the royal chapel, canonizing him a saint, which is too late as they have already destroyed what they now need the most.”

He urges Thais to think about their own king, who Sumet says is “much more than a saint…”. He’s been there for 60 years and his accomplishments are huge, “but we do not cherish what we have.” This failure is worrying for Sumej, who declares: “When the day comes, we will be sorry. I want you to think…”. He added: “It’s a pity. We have the ultimate guru and sage in our land, but we never listen [to him]. Instead, we listen to whom we shouldn’t. Someday we will be sorry. I can say just that. It’s not too late. Don’t be discouraged…”.

Why have Thais gone wrong and what can be done about it? Like the King, Sumet’s diagnosis is that, like good children, Thais need to listen more intently to the king’s sage and fatherly advice. If they do, they will be united and things will be better.

The king, is of course, not just wise and saintly, but practicing the kingly virtues, is never angry when things go wrong and his children mess things up: “His Majesty has never got angry. He sometimes probably was discontented, but never angry, because anger never makes things better.”

And here’s the main point. Sumej says that anger “makes a society as it is now. Next month, they will do it again. They’re not exhausted yet. So annoying!”

The red shirts have annoyed Sumet. The Songkhran Uprising has frightened him and other royalists. He does seem to acknowledge one of the red shirt demands: democracy. But, these foolish children are misguided, for the king has always been promoting democracy!

Taking a leaf out of PAD’s democracy book, Sumet observes: “HM’s goal is democracy, which everybody is now talking about without much understanding. They just understand that democracy means elections, but it is much deeper than that.”

So the palace is concerned that the calls for “real democracy” have considerable power and that it challenges to the palace’s (and PAD’s) ideas about Thai-style democracy as real democracy. More, like Russia, the whole ideological and political edifice may crumble and fall.

The royalists have good reason to be frightened. But, as Sumet says, it’s not too late for the royalists. The military and the bureaucracy are now back under control, and the old-fashioned ideological campaigns are back in full swing. Look at all the blue billboards around the country exhorting people to “protect the monarchy” – the same slogan on the blue shirts in Pattaya in April.

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