Wikileaks Fallout – Lesse Majeste Charges
Source: Voice TV 6/1/11 http://goo.gl/pahNt
Prem, Anand, Siddhi Sued On Lese Majeste Charges
Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, Anand Panyarachun and ACM Siddhi Savetsila were Thursday sued on lese majeste charges.
Thai Privy Council feature in latest WikiLeak – but did they commit lese majeste?
Source: Siam Voices Dec 16, 2010
By Andrew Spooner
In the latest round of WikiLeaks’ cable releases by The Guardian a potential hand grenade was thrown directly into the maelstrom of Thai politics [because of Thailand’s draconian lese majeste laws no link to the cable can be given here].
The cable in question describes a meeting between former prime minister, Anand Panyarachun, two members of Thailand’s Privy Council – General Prem Tinsulanonda, the head of the privy council and another former prime minister and Air Chief Marshall Siddhi Savetsila – and US Ambassador Eric John.
If we believe that what is in the cable is an accurate reflection of the conversation between Ambassador John, former PM Anand and the Privy Council members, what will create the biggest shock is these three pillars of the Thai establishment’s candour and outright attacks and criticism of a very important person. As the meeting was on the record with a senior US Government representative and that the three men likely knew that their views would be passed on to other members of the US Government, one must pose question if these three could now be charged with lese majeste?
But by far the most shocking extract is when Siddhi talks of the succession. Unfortunately this particular comment by Siddhi is too explosive to refer to in any way here at this moment but suffice to say, if he did make the comments as described, then how could Thailand’s lese majeste laws not be applied?
Unfortunately most commentators on Thai politics know that when those who are deemed pro-establishment make lese majeste statements they are very unlikely to be face much penalty. Put on a Red Shirt, show any kind of allegiance to Thaksin or seek to create a more progressive and democratic Thailand, such as Prachatai editor, Chiranuch Premchaiporn, and you’ll face a hefty prison sentence.
In other parts of the cable the relationship between ex-prime minister Thaksin and a prominent Thai figure is also discussed –
“Prem acknowledged XXXXX probably maintained some sort of relationship with fugitive former PM Thaksin, ‘seeing him from time to time’. Prem, clearly no fan of either man, cautioned that Thaksin ran the risk of self-delusion if he thought that the XXXXXX would act as his friend/supporter in the future merely because of Thaksin’s monetary support; ‘he does not enjoy that sort of relationship.’”
Expect denials, expect all Thai media to ignore this and expect nothing much to happen to any member of the Privy Council or former PM Anand.
Yet, in the international media and community, where information flows more freely, a light is being shone directly into some of the murkiest corners of the Thai establishment. And there is almost no way that the full content of these cables can be prevented from being circulated in Thailand.
The long-suspected true conditions of Thailand are fully emerging – what happens next is anyone’s guess.