Another lese majeste case under new king

8 12 2016

The neo-feudal regime is being set in place. Following the recent lese majeste case against Neo-Democracy/New Democracy Movement activist Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa, there has been the junta-palace agitation over the BBC.

Now, as reported at Prachatai, the military dictatorship “has threatened a prominent anti-junta activist from the New Democracy Movement (NDM) with the lèse majesté law over her Facebook post.”

Chanoknan Ruamsap states that “the military contacted her family while she is in Brazil.” Apparently the military’s goons are policing a post on the monarchy that they determine may constitute lese majeste.

Her family warns her that she “might be detained at the Airport” when she returns to Feudal Thailand.

It seems that on “3 December, she shared on Facebook the biography of King Vajiralongkorn, Rama X, published by the BBC Thai and on 5 December she shared another article published by the Telegraph about King Rama X.”

The military goons are using lese majeste to mop up student activists and to ensure that the new king’s dastardly and violent history can be erased. We don’t doubt that the “new” palace is in cahoots with the fascist goons on this.

Chanoknan already faces a trial at a military court of Bangkok on 23 December on a “charge of defying the Thai junta’s ban on political gatherings.”


BBC on BBC Thai lese majeste allegations

8 12 2016

The junta’s goons have been chasing the BBC’s office in Bangkok on allegations that its stories on the new king constitute lese majeste. No formal charges have been laid as yet.

BBC News reports that The Dictator has declared that the “BBC could be prosecuted in Thailand if a profile it published of the new king is found in breach of lese majeste laws…”.

Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha states: “As they have an office in Thailand and Thai reporters work there they must be prosecuted when they violate Thai law…”. In fact, being “Thai” has nothing to do with the law, but we can’t expect legal dunces like Prayuth to understand the draconian and feudal law.

Prayuth is angry that the BBC had reports that were accurate, factual and rather meek on the new king’s dark past.

A BBC spokesperson stated:

BBC Thai was established to bring impartial, independent and accurate news to a country where the media faces restrictions, and we are confident that this article adheres to the BBC’s editorial principles.

The report reveals details about the “investigation”:

It began after complaints about the article – which was published in the UK and has since been blocked online in Thailand – by royalists who accuse the BBC of defaming the king.

We are in no doubt that this is the future of Thailand under the new king and the royalist military junta. That future is feudal, repressive and regressive.

We leave in the BBC’s links in the story:

Profile: Thailand’s new king

Thai crown prince proclaimed new king

Thailand’s lese majeste laws explained

More of the same II

7 12 2016

The new reign is just like the old reign in terms of lese majeste repression. Indeed, we think the two overlap considerably. If one looks at the lese majeste cases over the last year or so, it is clear that the focus had shifted to the then prince. We fear that the repression is now going to be deeper and darker.

The cases of lese majeste are likely to be many as the palace and junta attempt to erase all critical commentary on the new king.

The Bangkok Post reports that the “government [they mean the military junta] plans to take legal action against the Thai team of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for its recent online report on the profile of … King … Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.”bbc

General Prawit Wongsuwan said “the target was people behind the report on the BBC Thai website.” This is the report that has caused a lese majeste charge against activist student Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa.

The pudgy royalist general “confirmed he ordered authorities to investigate into the matter.” He also stated that the military junta is “monitoring them [foreign news agencies] and check[ing] the accuracy of such reports” that offer critical commentary on the new and prickly king.

The junta’s minions have been hard at work blocking “stories both in Thai and English on the BBC and BBC Thai websites…”. The BBC Thai Facebook page is still operating.

PPT has also noticed considerable effort to block us.

It is also reported that police goons have been to the “BBC Thai office at Maneeya Building on Phloenchit Road in Bangkok on Tuesday and found it closed.” The Post has an unnamed source saying that “the Technology Crime Suppression Division under the Royal Thai Police said the division was gathering evidence regarding the BBC Thai report, which could be deemed violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law, and the Computer Crime Act.”

It will only get worse.

Updated: BBC on king’s health

23 11 2014

As readers will know, the king went back into hospital on 3 October this year, and since then there have been several official reports stating that he has had relatively minor ailments related to stomach inflammation and related issues.

The BBC has reported that the king has “failed to appear for a scheduled event, raising fresh concern about his health.” He was scheduled to “preside over the confirmation of two ministers appointed by PM [they mean The Dictator and general] Prayuth Chan-ocha…”. The king’s minders canceled.

The report notes that the king’s “health is a sensitive issue in Thailand” and adds that “[a]ny discussion about the royal succession is tightly constrained by a stringent lese-majeste law.”

That sounds like a death watch is established.

The report then makes this somewhat odd claim that warrants a footnote: “BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok says he is accorded a revered status that is considered vital to the country’s stability.” That is the usual media claim, but here the BBC seems to be disowning it.

Update: BBC Television is now reporting that the king met with The Dictator and his two ministers last evening for 45 minutes.

BBC and the junta

10 07 2014

According to the BBC World Service, it will “run a ‘pop up’ news operation in Thailand from Thursday 10 July. It will launch at 18.30 Thai Time (GMT +7).” Here’s the rest of their story:

The operation will be digital-only and ‘social first’, that is, a news stream on social media, with both Thai and English content, and it will run for an initial period of three months.

The move follows the military coup in May after which international channels, including BBC World News TV, were taken off air

Liliane Landor, Controller of Language Services for the World Service, said: “One of the fundamental principles of the World Service is to bring impartial and accurate news and to countries when they lack it. We think the time is right to trial a new Thai and English digital stream to bring trusted news and information to people inside Thailand.

“Thailand is one of the most digitally advanced societies in South East Asia and this means we can set up this operation quickly and cost-effectively.”

The World Service’s Thai Service closed in 2006 after more than 60 years on air.

The BBC has sought and received approval from the Foreign Secretary for this move, as set out in the Operating Licence governing the relationship between the World Service and the Government.

Hugo Swire, the Minister for South East Asia, said the move was an “excellent idea” which would “help support the freedoms of expression and thought which are such critical parts of any successful democracy”, and that “this initiative embodies what the BBC is all about”.

Background: The news stream will launch tomorrow on Facebook, with Thai, regional and international news in Thai and English.

Thailand has 96m mobile subscriptions out of a population of 67m.

Thailand has 24m Facebook users, with over 13m in Bangkok alone (a growth of 320% in last 12 months).

PAD, the monarchy (again) and a beat-up (?)

24 11 2011

The Bangkok Post reports that while the People’s Alliance for Democracy cancelled its anti-Thaksin Shinawatra-cum-anti-Yingluck Shinawatra rallying, it has “vowed to hold a prolonged mass rally against the government if there is a renewed bid to seek a royal pardon for ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.”

But PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul went further than this. He vowed to also have PAD rallying if the Yingluck government “fails to stop the anti-monarchy movement…”. Sondhi promised protesters numbering in the “hundreds of thousands.” Why the push on the monarchy?

Sondhi claims “the anti-monarchy movement was still active with websites with lese majeste content prevalent on the internet.” He claims that “PAD is gathering evidence to prove the government is insincere in protecting the monarchy.” Further, PAD is going to “submit a petition asking the government to take action against anti-monarchy elements.” If the government doesn’t act within 14 days, “PAD will stage a mass rally…”.

PPT has a feeling that PAD is just getting warmed up. Sondhi is going to bank on protecting the monarchy as the rallying cry. More importantly, now that a pro-Thaksin government is in power, the tawdry anti-Cambodia rallies of last year, which failed to draw crowds, can be left aside and the “true believers” – including the Democrat Party – can be brought out under the royalist banner to fight the devil and his followers. The issues are now much clearer and the target makes better sense for a broader group of anti-Thaksinites.

Interestingly, PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongpan warned the red shirts and the government, blaming them in advance for any confrontation. He also warned: “Thaksin has no land [in Thailand] to live on. Ms Yingluck may end up like her brother…”.

In a kind of footnote to this story, it is interesting to see the BBC’s comments on the whole royal pardon debacle. It seems the BBC finds something in the claim by Justice Minister Pracha Promnok “that the speculation had been dreamt up by a ‘frantic’ media.” The report states: “The current amnesty plan covers only serving prisoners, and excludes people found guilty of fraud. But local media claimed the government, led by Mr Thaksin’s sister Yingluck, was trying to change the rules of the amnesty to include the former prime minister.” It then appears to lash the Bangkok Post: “The Bangkok Post newspaper fuelled the speculation last week when it quoted a government insider as saying a secret cabinet meeting had been held to discuss the issue.”

Was it a beat up? Probably not entirely, for Chalerm Yubamrung was involved, seemingly intent on causing some kind of mini-crisis, but then PAD’s Panthep is cited in The Nation making some claims that seem to suggest the BBC is on to something: “The PAD said it did not believe what Pracha [Promnok] said [on the royal pardon decree] but as there was no clear evidence suggesting otherwise and no independent figure who had seen the draft, the PAD would give the government a chance to prove it was telling the truth. If the document was submitted to the Council of State, the government’s legal advisory body, the PAD may have a chance to see the content of the draft to verify that Thaksin would not really benefit…”.

The BBC documentary that everyone should be talking about

10 08 2011

As Andrew Spooner mentioned in a recent post, the BBC has a particularly hard-hitting documentary – “Thailand – Justice Under Fire” – that examines the Battle for Bangkok in 2010. It has been difficult to locate. However, thanks to several regular readers, PPT now has the links. They are: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

The BBC asks, amongst many, many good questions: will those who have killed with impunity at last face justice? And it examines the cover-up that has occurred under the royalist government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva. The blurb adds: “Award-winning correspondent Fergal Keane investigates the struggle of victims’ families as they seek the truth about what happened to their loved ones. He explores claims of cover-up and impunity for the powerful.” As Keane says: “The powerful have never been held to account.”

As Spooner points out, the brief interview with Abhisit, in part 4,  is revealing of a damaged leader, with blood on his hands. The interview with Army Spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd is revealing of a culture of lies and murder by the military.

Given recent debate about who controls who, Thongchai Winichakul’s description of the military-monarchy relationship as one of collaborators in the political system is worthy of consideration.

This documentary deserves widespread attention and the movement for justice demands support or “what’s covered up will be repeated.”.