Updated: The royalist rubble that was human rights

22 07 2015

Readers will know that PPT has little time for the ridiculous National Human Rights Commission. In the period since Amara Pongsapich has been chair of the organization it has been a joke. Being responsible for human rights should never be a joke, but working with the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime, Amara made the NHRC a biased and useless organization.

Amara and friends

Amara and friends

The only current commissioner who has made a public effort to do anything remotely serious about human rights abuses, of which there are many, was Niran Pithakwatchara.

So PPT expected the worst when the names of the proposed new commissioners for the NHRC. We were surprised to see one high-profile activist, being Angkhana Neelaphaijit, who has criticized the military at various times. Most of the rest are loyal royalist bureaucrats.

More significant for the future of this useless organization, however, is the nomination of ultra-royalist Boworn Yasintorn. Both Khaosod and Prachatai have stories regarding the nomination of this campaigning yellow shirt.

Boworn, as well as supporting anti-democrats campaigning against elected governments, has formed and led several royalist groups that not only promote the monarchy but actively hunt those they consider anti-monarchists or republicans, seeking to have them jailed. His Thai Facebook page provides a vivid illustration of his ultra-royalism.

At various times, Boworn has been described as a leader of the “multicolors” who were yellow shirts without their royal colors and organized to support the Abhisit regime and oppose red shirts and the electoral prospects of any pro-Thaksin Shinawatra Party. Later, he was reported as forming the “Students Centre of Thailand” that was made up of adults and former student activists rather than current students. Its role was as a “disorganizer” and spoiler organization to undermine the Students Federation of Thailand.

He was behind other groups, mostly royalist vigilantes, including being reported as President of the Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy on Facebook and Citizens Volunteer For Defence Of Three Institutes Network. Both groups have brought lese majeste complaints against political opponents.

In fact, as we think about it, Boworn is probably the most suitable appointment to this hopeless organization. He is a living, breathing symbol of its destruction.

Human rights in Thailand are a pile of royalist rubble.

Update: Prachatai has another perspective on the demise of the NHRC.


Updated: Yingluck pulls the 112 trigger

10 04 2014

Of course, the reason we posted the VICE clip was to allow readers to see it. We knew that Wuthipong Kachathamkul or Ko Tee was being investigated on lese majeste charges arising from the interview he does in the VICE story.

As might be expected, it is going to be blocked as much as possible in Thailand by the thought and lese majeste police: “The TCSD [Technology Crime Suppression Division] was instructed to contact the Information and Communication Technology Ministry to block access to the clip…”. Worse, the police have been threatening and have “warned the public not to share the video clip as those doing so will also be subject to punishment under Section 112. Those found guilty are liable for a three- to 15-year jail term.”Ko Tee 1

The Bangkok Post reports that “Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has ordered police to charge Pathum Thani-based red-shirt leader … Ko Tee, for an alleged lese majeste offence committed in an interview with a foreign journalist,” meaning the VICE interview.

The Post reports that a “video clip was circulated online showing the interview in which Mr Wuthipong made the offensive remark about the monarchy.” In fact, for PPT, it was hardly offensive. Ko Tee simply stated a matter of fact/conjecture [readers choose] that has been spoken of for about a decade now.

That royalists find his statement about the power of the palace and the king behind the various anti-democratic movements from PAD to be offensive is because this is meant to be unsayable in public. That he names his enemy is both courageous and frank, but immediately allows the royalists to paint the government and red shirts as anti-monarchy.Ko Tee 2

The Post reports that “Prime Minister’s secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva said Wednesday the premier had ordered him to submit a letter to national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew calling for action against Mr Wuthipong.” Of course, the police have sprung into action on Article 112.

Pol Gen Adul has been “informed by the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) that Mr Wuthipong’s remark in the clip shared on YouTube violates Section 112 on lese majeste in the Criminal Code.” There you go, as in most lese majeste cases, the conviction is already in place.

Not unexpectedly the leader of the failed monarchist party known as the Democrat Party Abhisit Vejjajiva, acting like a toady prefect running to the headmaster, “has also instructed the party’s legal team to file a complaint against Mr Wuthipong for lese majeste…”.

Update: As is usual in lese majeste cases, the crazies get to work. Khaosod reports thatgroup of royalist activists … demanded that the authorities investigate any possible links between the Canada-based news agency [VICE] and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.” It continues: “under the name Citizens Volunteer For Defence Of Three Institutes Network” – that’s a new bunch of monarchist crazies as far as PPT can tell, but we suspect it is the usual suspects – “met with police officers at the Crime Suppression Division HQ…. The group brought a DVD copy of the Vice News interview as evidence.” Hmm, in this surreal world of monarchists and lese majeste, this could probably constitute an act of lese majeste itself? (see above)

The leader of the mad monarchists Baworn Yasinthorn “asked the police to investigate whether Vice News is related to Mr. Roberts Amsterdam, a Canada-born lawyer and lobbyist hired by the former Prime Minister, who is also facing a separate lese majeste charge filed by an anti-government activist on Monday.” Below we print the only corporate information for VICE we can find. But really, how silly is this? Baworn is born in Thailand, so does that make him an ally of Thaksin or a red shirt because of place of birth?VICE

Updated: The danger and fear in lese majeste

16 01 2011

Pravit Rojanaphruk and Napaporn Jamtaptim have an interesting article in The Nation outlining the debate on student organization that has emerged with the December formation of a yellow-shirted Students Centre of Thailand (SCT).

The Students Federation of Thailand (SFT) is considered pro-red shirt, so a bunch of well-known yellow shirts have decided to form their own student organization. This is the SCT. A well-known SCT founder is Boworn Yasinthorn, “a leader of the multicoloured movement that became active … last year…”.

The article says that “most members of SCT are adults and former student activists” rather than current students. Interestingly, and not unexpectedly, the SCT has an “explicit goal of protecting the … monarchy…”. They also claim to support “democracy.”

The choice of the name SCT has caused considerable controversy “because its name in Thai is almost identical to a now-defunct left-leaning student body, which existed back in the 1970s.” That is the National Student Centre of Thailand.

The controversy, mainly online, has Thammasat University lecturer Somsak Jeamteerasakul ridiculing Boworn’s claim that the NSCT was “leftist, but was also royalist.”

The SCT’s “first public symposium to discuss what students and citizens could do to protect the monarchy and how democracy would work with His Majesty as head of state.” Is that an admission that it doesn’t work now? Of course, it doesn’t, but we find it unbelievable that the SCT would even need to discuss the issue. If they do, it indicates that the yellow shirts believe that students are not finding all the royalist propaganda attractive.

Boworn has been busy forming pro-monarchy groups, “to protect the monarchy,” seems to acknowledge this, claiming that “most students were too busy playing computer games and having fun” but identifying “the few engaged in serious activities face allegations of disseminating ‘anti-monarchist propaganda’. The former student activist, who fought back in the 1970s, has accused some left-leaning academics and anti-monarchist websites of feeding students ‘false information’.” False information is considered anything that isn’t promoting palace propaganda.

More disturbingly, Boworn is resurrecting other images of the 1970s by urging “rectification” that is an attack on alleged “leftists” in the academy. He shouts that “Many students who do not like such [leftist, anti-monarchist] academics don’t know what to do, but the SCT will help rectify that. Some academics are leftists who lost the battle in the 1970s and want to get even. We must change history and make it right…”.

Surprisingly, Boworn also claims that  the “younger generations do not really know about His Majesty’s contribution to society and are exposed to distorted information.” We can only wonder how students don’t know of the claims of the king’s super-human efforts that gush out of every crevice of Thailand’s mainstream media, educational institutions and government offices.

PPT guesses that they are simply sick of hagiography.

Update: For a somewhat humorous take on lese majeste, with a serious intent, readers will be interested in this from FACT.

Become a volunteer cyber-spy

16 12 2010

Prachatai has a post that sounds like a story in Not The Nation. What can we add?:

The Ministry of Justice is inviting people to join its ‘Cyber Scout’ training programme in order to build a network of volunteers to protect the monarchy in the online world.

According to the ministry’s website, training for the first two generations of cyber scouts will take place on 20 and 21 Dec at Kasetsart University, with a whole-day session for each generation.

Boworn Yasintorn, president of the Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy on Facebook, will speak about the issue of the monarchy and Thai politics, and how to protect the monarchy.

Asst Prof Dr Nuanwan Sunthornphisat, lecturer on computer science at Kasetsart University, will discuss computer-related laws, ethics in computer use, and case studies of unethical use.

Asst Prof Patcharaporn Suwannakut from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Valaya Alongkorn Rajabhat University will talk about HM the King’s genius in various fields and important royal activities and projects.

And Dr Pakaket Wattuya, lecturer on computer science at Kasetsart University, will lecture on the right way to use computers and the internet, provide tips on basic maintenance and solutions to computer problems, recommend interesting websites, explain computer crimes and introduce preliminary measures to prevent crime.

Those who are interested in joining the training can contact justice_cyber@hotmail.com.

Genius mixed with Fascist tendencies, vigilantes and the “ethics” of censorship. Fabulous. Thanks Mr. Abhisit.

Lese majeste and yellow shirt pressure

13 10 2010

Prachatai tells readers that the activist yellow shirt group the People’s Volunteer Network for the Protection of the Monarchy, led by Boworn Yasintorn,has been tramping about Government House demanding more and stronger action to protect the “highly revered” monarchy. If they are to be believed, reporters may have to change “highly revered” to “highly reviled.”

This group is responsible for lese majeste complaints against singer Tom Dundee and an earlier complaint lodged a complaint with Air Chief Marshal Naphreuk Manthajit, chair of a Senate committee monitoring the enforcement of laws and measures to protect the monarchy, demanding that serious legal action be taken against those who offend the monarchy.

This time, these mad monarchists have presented another complaint of official laxness on lese majeste, submitting a “petition to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, ICT Minister Juti Krairiksh, and Justice Minister Peerapan Saleeratwipak, asking them to take measures against lèse majesté content on Facebook.” The group demanded that the government “protest against Facebook for allowing users to post pictures, video clips, and messages containing inaccurate facts deemed offensive to the Monarchy in order to mislead the public without any kind of content-filtering or controlling measures.”

Boworn said his group was convinced that Facebook allowed anonymous users to commit “offences against national security under the Penal Code and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act, and the number of offences had been on the rise.”

Mad monarchists are especially driven in their displays of support for the institution. But, as Andrew Spooner shows, this yellow shirt fervor has negative consequences. His article regarding a Thai living in exile overseas is worth reading.

Mad monarchists

19 09 2010

Prachatai reports that on 14 September, Boworn Yasinthorn, “a former student leader during the 14 Oct 1973 incident and President of the Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy on Facebook, lodged a complaint with Air Chief Marshal Naphreuk Manthajit, chair of a Senate committee monitoring the enforcement of laws and measures to protect the monarchy, demanding that serious legal action be taken against those who offend the monarchy.”

Boworn complained that the 14 October 1973 student-led uprising has been used and “distorted to slander the monarchy for being involved in the event…”.

Boworn was the leader of the group that “previously asked the DSI to prosecute red-shirt singer Tom Dundee, who, he alleged, offended the monarchy in a public speech in Ratchaburi on 8 June.”

Seemingly maddened by “Two unidentified persons have posted a link to the YouTube clip on their Facebook pages from abroad,” Boworn is demanding that his group’s website be protected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from nasty overseas posters. Crackpots are usually ignored by governments in normalized societies, but not in Thailand, as Boworn will have the support of yellow shirted royalists.

While PPT might wish that it could dismiss these kinds of monarchist as crackpots, it is clear that the Abhisit Vejjajiva government, several ministers, the political police at the Department of Special Investigation, and a bunch of yellow shirts take these crackpots seriously. Of itself, this shows how deeply this government is mired in authoritarian political practice.

Another royalist claim of lese majeste

31 08 2010

Prachatai includes a report of rabidly royalist group Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy on Facebook having met with the Director of the political police – the Department of Special Investigation – to demand an investigation of country and blues singer Tom Dundee for speaking at a red-shirt rally in a manner that they claim constitutes lese majeste.

Here’s a video of Tom at a red shirt rally and this is him on stage at a rally, singing. There are more at YouTube.

Prachatai states that “Boworn Yasinthorn, President of the Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy on Facebook met Tharit Pengdit, Director-General of … DSI…, urging him to prosecute singer and actor Tom Dundee for his public speech at a red-shirt rally in Ratchaburi province. The group submitted as evidence a clip of Tom Dundee’s speech which had been posted on the Youtube website…. They also asked the DSI to prosecute those who had disseminated the clip.”

Ever reliable on lese majeste, Tharit told the royalists “that the DSI would accept the case and investigate whether this can be construed as a conspiracy or not.  The information will be added to the database of the DSI team investigating the plot to overthrow the monarchy…”, meaning that Tom joins PPT’s ever growing list of pending cases.

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