Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes*

(* Juvenal, Satires. ‘But who will guard the guardians themselves?’. Alternative Georgian translation: ‘But what protection will the protection get?’

The government, military and right-wing groups have been taken aback by the generally negative reaction to Article 112 bis, recently enacted by parliament.

As pressure mounted for amendment or even repeal of Article 112 of the Criminal Code, often referred to as the lèse majesté law, the government took an intransigent line. It declared that any change in the law would be tantamount to opening the monarchy to malign and scurrilous criticism and vilification and constitute a threat to national security. It was quite reasonable, they said, for the country with the best loved monarchy in the world to require the harshest laws in the world to protect it.

However, this refusal even to engage in a discussion seemed only to stoke the flames. On the one side, pro-amendment groups proliferated, including one group of royal rank (or ‘traitors to their class’ according to the no-change side).

The basic argument was that both the content and practical implementation of the article violated the right to freedom of expression, a right that is enshrined in the Constitution and one that Thailand committed itself to promoting and protecting when it ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

On the other side, royalists claimed that even to question the nature or application of the lèse majesté law itself constituted an offence. In the end, the government took the same view and attempted to stifle the debate by passing Article 112 bis to protect Article 112 from criticism.

Known colloquially as the ‘lèse “lèse majesté law” law’, in its final version it reads:

‘Whoever defames, insults or threatens Article 112 of the Criminal Code shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.’

The original version, drafted by the military, proposed a punishment of revocation of Thai nationality and/or exile for the remainder of the offender’s natural life. This was rejected by the Council of State as unconstitutional and incompatible with Thailand’s obligations under international law.

In response, the military filed charges against the Council of State with the Constitutional Court, asking the Court to exile and revoke the Thai nationality of all members of the Council of State for listening to what farangs say rather than protecting Thai institutions.

This case may take some time to be resolved. ‘It’s very complicated,’ said one Constitutional Court judge, giving his opinion under conditions of anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the press or to have his own opinions. ‘We are afraid that if we get the verdict wrong, the military will bundle us all on a plane to Pyongyang with no passports.’

‘And it’s very cold in Pyongyang at this time of year,’ he added.

The government had clearly hoped that passage of Article 112 bis would end the debate and allow this particular hot potato to cool while the Nitirat group and a few hundred thousand people who had signed anti-112 petitions were safely under lock and key in the quickly expanded lock-up for political prisoners in Laksi. But it seems only to have provoked an even more furious debate about Article 112 bis itself.

Even some who had no quarrel with Article 112 found Article 112 bis too much to swallow. Newspaper letters columns were swamped with criticisms of the new law as uncalled for, unworkable and a violation of basic constitutional rights.

Perhaps predictably, nationalist groups called on the government to protect Article 112 bis from criticism. ‘If the government cannot protect this law, it clearly harbours republican sentiments and must be deposed with its members treated to the various punishments advocated in our comments section,’ said an ASTV-Manager editorial.

The government, while broadly agreeing that some way must be found to halt the condemnation of Article 112 bis, was at a loss as to how to achieve this. Some in the cabinet proposed an Article 112 ter, which would make criticism of Article 112 bis an offence in much the same way as Article 112 bis made criticism of Article 112 an offence.

This was seen by others as a false step since there would then need to be a fourth, fifth and possibly infinite number of laws, each outlawing criticism of earlier laws. The PM wanted to ask the Council of State for advice but this was not possible since the Council of State was suspended while proceedings at the Constitutional Court continued.

Eventually, Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung proposed that the current approach was too negative, in that it sought to ban comments. He won agreement for a more positive strategy where the government would issue a list of things that people could say. Anything not on the list could not be talked or written about.

Deputy PM Chalerm magnanimously offered to draft this list. He asked the people not to worry about it. ‘It won’t be a long list,’ he promised.

Pretty good. For just an

Pretty good. For just an instant I thought wow! they've actually passed an Article 112 bis?!

They might well have, this shameful, pusillanimous tribe known as the PT.

Their betrayal at this point reminds me of a sad old tune, one they ought to be serenaded with by the majority of red shirts at this sorry point in time ...

Indeed. I doubt there will be

Indeed. I doubt there will be a coup, now that Uncle Sam is trying to weasel itself further into SE Asia, bringing its wallet with it. The good generals will know that a coup could not be accepted by the USA - not because they have a problem with coups, invasions, suborning elected governments and other illegalities, but because they would not want to be seen to be complicit, and thats the way it would appear.

So - I'm sure there will be no coup. The PT government is cuddling up to Prem, the Palace and the military not because it fears a coup but because it thinks that doing so will somehow give it longevity of power, and in true Thai fashion, the longer you have at the trough, the more of the nations wealth you can plunder. The present PT government is desperate to hang so they are actually in power when the old boy karks it. The fact that they rode to power on the backs of the UDD and are now turning their backs on that same UDD should surprise nobody. although the duplicity of Chalerm and a handful of others has been startling in its obviousness.

I would have expected Thaksin to know better than to climb into bed with the same old cabal that saw him off 5 years ago. But it seems not.

" that Uncle Sam is

" that Uncle Sam is trying to weasel itself further into SE Asia."

So it is not a conspiracy theory that the US seeks hegemony over Asia? Of course it isn't, we have US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's signed confession in Foreign Policy magazine enumerating her strategy to do so.

The US made it clear that PT is their party of choice, and in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, both long time servants to Wall Street and London - in fact, in many ways, creations of foreign financier interests. This is demonstratively proven through financial and political support lent to both Thaksin and Suu Kyi over at least a decade.

So Postman, how is it not a conspiracy theory to say Uncle Sam is weaseling into SE Asia, but it is a conspiracy theory to begin exposing just how, and through whom they are weaseling through - especially when there is verified, documented evidence proving this???

By the way, Thaksin is Peua Thai, is UDD, is Nitirat, this is beyond dispute - the organizations are led from top to bottom by Thaksin and his political lackeys. Nitirat and UDD are as independent of Thaksin as his left and right hands are.

Sorry my friend, I do not

Sorry my friend, I do not engage in futile and circular conversations with trolls.

You might not understand reality very well, but I'm sure you'll understand being shunned just fine.

yet another cop out.

yet another cop out. Intellectual cowardice suits you well. Keep it up! And by posting an utterly irrelevant, personal attack, you surely are not "polluting discussion." Hypocrisy suits you well too.

Uncle Sam has no problems

Uncle Sam has no problems with the Generals, they've been dealing with them - helping them grab power - since 1946. The generals throw Yet Another Coup and treat the US nice - buy US weapons - as usual... no problem.

The 1%'ers in the USA prefers dealing with dictatorships... their only wish it that they could do so directly at home without having to waste the few billion they do buying politicians in elections.

You need to actually show us

You need to actually show us where the money is going and how the military is carrying out the 1%'s agenda... instead of referencing a war fought decades ago and the result of Thailand trying to spare its population the genocide brought to 3 of their neighbors and slowly creeping over their borders.

The US funds and sells weapons to armies around the world, and believe it or not, even their enemies. They literally gave LIFG Libya after LIFG spent a decade killing US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This is to get a closer look at what any given nation is doing, to co-opt officers where possible, so at the moment they make a big move they have people on the inside.

This is actually articulated quite clearly in regards to both Iran and Pakistan, in US foreign policy.

US gives billions to Pakistan, yet on record, plan to invade, occupy and strip them of their nuclear deterrence. Why? They need to know who to trust, where the nukes are, and how to proceed. Classic gambit of keeping your enemies closer.

I have illustrated where the money and support is going - Thaksin, Prachatai, UDD, Nitirat, and how the agenda is being carried out - undermine and overthrow Thailand's sovereign institutions - looking at UDD-Nitirat's recent activity it couldn't be clearer this is what's unfolding.

Besides weapons sales and training, how is the US supporting the military when they use their media machine to smear and undermine them every chance they get? Besides paying money for weapons, and allowing US to co-train with Thai troops, what is the Thai military doing on behalf of Wall Street and London?

No more sloppy rants JFL, give us some facts, make your case. If you have one, I will be the first to cover it.

This is an excellent time for

This is an excellent time for democrats of all persuasions, especially including those who never could stomach the Shinawatra clan, to unite and to build a real democratic party for Thailand ground-up, to eliminate Article 112 and other 'laws' enacted by the Royal Thai Military that terrorize the Thai people and suppress reasonable discussion of politics in Thailand, and to put in place a real peoples' constitution - one which first and foremost enshrines the people themselves as sovereign in Thailand.

Longterm, the most likely casualty of this hate campaign against the people is going to be the party that wanted it both ways : that pusillanimous tribe, the PT. As well, of course, as those who have expropriated the yellow flag of the monarchy and wrapped themselves in it in their last, desperate attempt to cling to power and privilege.

No individual or single group has a monopoly on good ideas. The people, united, can never be defeated!
No power on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one, but in union we're made strong!