Human Rights: Thai military leads Thai government into les mejeste onslaught on the opposition political party

  • By Ranger, Thai Intel’s political journalist

Today the Thai government has followed the Thai military in using the Thai royalty issue.

“There is a political party involved in lese majeste, ” said the Thai army spokesman, yesterday.

First the military attacked the Red Shirts for lese majeste, and also the opposition, and then today the government attacked the opposition party, questioning the opposition party’s loyalty to Thai royalty.

  • Who is running Thailand? The military or the government? Or is it a shared mission?

The barometer, most used to answer that question is how much autonomy does the Thai government has, and who is the real leader of the country-the military or the government?

  • The events of this week, on the subject of Thai royalty, can help answer some questions.

Those that argue that the Thai government is in fact, just a junta head, would point to history of the formation of the government.

Apart from the Yellow Shirts destabilizing tactics and the court’s rulings against several parties, Matichon, a Thai newspaper reported way back that the formation of the government was done by the Thai military by pressuring a Taksin political supporter to switch side. And then the government itself was formed inside a military camp, organized by the then Thai military chief.

In between that past and today, it has been a mixture with the government mainly in control of the politics and the economy, and the military in control of foreign policy and national security-where justice system and law enforcement is coordinated between the two.

However, in Thailand, foreign policy and national security, along with the justice system, has a great deal to do with the opposition and the Red Shirts-since Taksin, leader of the opposition party, is close to Cambodia and the Thai national security sees the Red Shirts as a threat to Thailand.

For example, during the last April crack-down on the Red Shirts, the Thai prime minister spend months living inside a military camp and conducted the government from there, which includes working with the military on the crackdown.

Here, apart from a bloody crackdown, the Thai intelligence apparatus doing psychological warfare activity on the Thais themselves, namely in pacifying the Red Shirts on the grassroots level. The Red Shirts supports the opposition. Therefore, the pacifying of the Red Shirts, with government allocated budget, is a political move.

Thus, from the above examples, the Thai military gets involved in both dealing with the Red Shirts and the opposition-meaning the Thai military becomes highly politicized.

 From the above, Thai Intel readers can conclude that the Thai military and government work hand in hand-sharing the same goals and objectives.

  • One of those goals is to see to it that the government wins the election and remain in power.

Already as Thai Intel has reported, the military has set up a special election strategist unit and is throwing its weight all over Thailand where the opposition is strong.

  •  Yet, as Thailand is heading into an election, most polls continue to say it will be a close election.

As the election nears, the Thai military has recently made a major issue on protecting Thai royalism. Similar to before major events, such as before launching the bloody crackdown and the 2006 coup, the Thai military raised the issue of protecting the Thai royalty.In fact, before every extreme righ wing turn of Thailand, the royalism card is used.

The government, a political instrument, clearly cannot begin using the Thai Royalty card, as it would be charged with politicizing the institution.

However, if the military initiated the using of the Thai Royalty card, that could pave and lead the way for the government to do the same.

And the government indeed is picking up after the military lead, with a host of Thai royalism related issues being bought up against the opposition.

In the final analysis, is Thailand democratic?

The answer is absolutely, no.

In the final analysis, is the Thai royalism politicized?

The answer is absolutely, yes.

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