Bangkok Post on Anthony Chai case

10 09 2011

The Bangkok Post has a longish report on Anthony Chai’s lese majeste case that has led to a court case in California against a web-hosting firm that released Chai’s details to the Thai authorities. There’s not a lot that is new in the Post report, especially as the story has now been covered in several dozen stories across the globe. So there’s no need to summarize the story in the Post and readers can get the whole document that is the basis for most of these stories from PPT’s earlier post.

There are a couple of oddities in the Post story that deserve attention. The first is the use of a question mark in the headline: “A question of freedom of speech?” The question mark seems to refer to parts of the story that are, in our view, garbled by innuendo. There is a statement that seems to suggest that if Chai was really wanting to protect his family, he wouldn’t file this case. There’s other innuendo, seemingly disparaging of Chai, his motivations and his claims. The author says this of the site Chai is alleged to have used:

The Manusaya website was an openly contemptuous and taunting forum and propaganda site run for a brief time from Sweden, with Netfirms supplying the server. Blocked to Thai internet users from its inception, the site was helmed by a former southern separatist, and most of its content was anti-government and anti-monarchy.

The implication is that perhaps the site deserved to be closed and censored.

Even more interesting is the miraculous disappearance of “Palace Representative Joe Kashemsant” from the Post story. There it is claimed that:

Two months later [2-3 November 2006], Pol Col Yanaphon and two more DSI agents arrived in Los Angeles to interrogate Mr Chai. He says he met them twice at a hotel in Hollywood _ with witnesses.

This is a fabrication. In the court documents, Chai claims he was interviewed by Department of Special Investigation officer Yanaphon Yongyuen, a public prosecutor and the palace man. The Post is probably diplaying its usual weak-kneed and/or groveling attitude to any item of truth and news that may reflect even slightly negatively on someone associated with the palace.

Joe Kashemsant listed in a Wikileaks cable as being in the Office of the Principal Private Secretary. He’s still there now. No lese majeste in mentioning his role in a report that is meant to be investigative. But, no, the Post runs for cover.

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