Updated: Thanapol arrested

30 06 2022

Thai Newsroom reports that on 29 June 2022, Technology Crime Suppression Division police arrested Fa Diaw Kan Publishing House editor Thanapol Eawsakul. He is charged with “disclosing documents and other material related to national security and violating the Computer Crime Act…”.

Clipped from Prachatai

The police took Thanapol to Technology Crime Suppression Division headquarters “without waiting for a lawyer to show up but a lawyer is now following up the case.”

In January 2022, “more than 30 policemen had brought a warrant to search the publishing house and in doing so went through the books and confiscated mobile devices and computers belonging to Thanapol.”

Later, on Facebook, Thanapol explained the situation (with apologies for hurried translation).

He explains that it has more or less been normal for the police to “visit” the offices of Fa Diaw Kan since the journal was established some two decades ago. Following the 2014 military coup, the “visits” increased, then dropped off around the time of the 2019 election, but then expanded again as the monarchy reform-democratization movement expanded. In this latter period, the police became interested in various books published by Fa Diaw Kan, most of them associated with aspects of the monarchy, historical and contemporary.

This heightened police “interest” meant that Thanapol was being closely monitored.

On 21 November 2020, Thanapol posted a message about a National Security Council document ordering to tracking down of a former ambassador. The police filed a complaint on 31 December 2020 and then went quiet.

On 20 January 2022, some 30 police and officers from the Technology Crime Suppression Division searched the publisher’s office, seizing including Arnon Nampa’s The Monarchy and Thai society (which is not a Fa Diew Kan book), computer equipment and Thanapol’s mobile phone. The officers presented two search warrants and an order granting access to computer data, issued by the Nonthaburi Provincial Court.

On 18 April 2022, the Technology Crime Suppression Division said the earlier document seized was classified and disseminated illegally. An arrest warrant was sought even though Thanapol had agreed to report to police. He says: “On June 23, 2022, I made an appointment to go to the TCSD on July 4, 2022 at 1 p.m., but during that time, on June 28, the TCSD requested the court’s approval to issue an arrest warrant….  As a result of issuing an arrest warrant, The police came to arrest me today, 29 June 2022, when I was taken to the police station and to the TCSD…”.

Lawyers from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights and efforts by Move Forward Party, MP Rangsiman Rome led to bail being granted.

So far, few details of the charges are available.

Update: Thai Enquirer has a story on the arrest and bail.





Further updated: “The end of Thailand as an open society”

21 01 2022

Referring to the regime’s efforts to control and delete NGOs it despises for their independent political line, a Bangkok Post editorial states the obvious: “NGOs in society might be entering a dark age.”

It observes:

The government is jumping on the bandwagon of nationalist governments, like the one in China, or those increasingly looking inward, like India’s, to tighten monitoring of foreign NGOs….

Like it or not, the anti-NGO sentiment might signal the end of Thailand as an open society, too….

So far, society has tolerated NGOs. Even if some of their campaigns touch on politically sensitive issues, the government has never expelled any NGO.

Yet the bill — which is to be tabled in parliament for its final reading soon — will become a game-changer that turns Bangkok into a second Beijing…. If passed, it will give the authorities the power to further audit and regulate NGOs.

Under military and military-backed regimes, political space has always been limited and controlled. In general terms, these regimes – including the current despots – have concentrated on locals identified as enemies of regime, status quo and monarchy. At times this has let to massive bloodletting in order to maintain the status quo of the Cold War and post-Cold War eras.

As the (usually hopeless) National Human Rights Commission points out, this backward-facing regime has made the so-called justice system a political weapon. The NHRC reports that “violations of people’s rights in the judicial process were the most common form of complaints lodged with the … NHRC … last year.” It added that the “complaints concerned the Royal Thai Police, the Department of Corrections and the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc).”

We are unsure how the military-political agency ISOC fits into to a justice system. But this is the military’s and royalists’ Thailand.

On the ground, repression continues unabated, mostly in the name of the keystone of the ruling class, the monarchy. A recent example is the police raid on one of the truly independent publishing outfits in the country, Same Sky, publisher of Fa Diaw Kan.

Some 30 police – yes, 30 – “raided the Same Sky publishing house on Thursday, but failed to find a book deemed a threat to national security.”

They mean the monarchy.

The police were desperate to find a book “Sathaban Phra Maha Kasat and Sangkhom Thai” (The Monarchy and Thai Society). The “book contains the speech human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa delivered at a rally at the Democracy Monument on Aug 3, 2020 calling for reform of the [monarchy].”

Yes, that’s a book the authorities fear is somehow threatening to bring down the whole ruling class and its state. All very Nazi-like, or borrowing from the Post above, rather more like the Chinese Party-State versus the independent media in Hong Kong.

The hordes of brown-shirted cops “did seize mobile phones and editor Thanapol Eawsakul’s computer, to search for incriminating evidence.” Maybe they’ll just put this evidence on his machines, as they have been known to do in the recent past.

Same Sky stated: “The publishing house does not distribute the book…”. But Same Sky is popular among those who oppose the military-backed regime and has a history of critical and well-researched analysis of the monarchy.

Add this to recent efforts to further constrain the already cowed media and Thailand’s future looks like a dark age, and not just for NGOs.

Update 1: This post marks PPT’s 13th Anniversary. It is not an anniversary to celebrate. Things are getting worse and there are more political prisoners than when we began this blog. PPT remains dedicated to those who are held in Thailand’s prisons, charged with political crimes.

Update 2: Prachatai has posted on the raid targeting Same Sky and Thanapol Eawsakul. PPT has posted the English version of the book the police want here.





Mad, mad monarchism II

13 11 2021

Priyanandana is seeking compensation of 50 million baht for the “damage” done to the dead relative, Prince Rangsit:

She initially asked the Court for a temporary injunction stopping the circulation of both books, but later withdrew her request, noting that there was no point to a temporary injunction as the books have been widely circulated. She is also suing Nattapol’s PhD thesis supervisor, former Faculty of Political Science lecturer Kullada Kesboonchoo Mead; Chaithawat Tulathon, editor for “Dream the Impossible Dream”; Anchalee Maneeroj, editor for “The Junta, the Lords, and the Eagle”; Same Sky Books, the publisher of both volumes; and Same Sky Books editor-in-chief Thanapol Eawsakul.

Apart from the usual royalist nonsense, why Prince Rangsit? Essentially because the Prince is seen as one of the driving forces for the political and economic restoration of the palace and for steering it through the difficult times after the abdication and then the death of Ananda Mahidol and the rise of Bhumibol.

Rangsit spend several years in detention, accused of treason and of plotting a coup in 1938, but was released at the end of WW2. He became regent in 1946 and was quick to support royalists and military men opposed to the People’s Party. Even if the original claim – that Rangsit interfered with cabinet – is not supported by the Bangkok Post story in 1950, it is clear in several accounts that Rangsit repeatedly interfered, seeking advantages for the palace and for royalists.





รัฐธรรมนูญ/Constitutions

7 06 2016

On 4 June 2016, Same Sky Books or Fa Diaw Kan live streamed a seminar on the launch of a new book on constitutions (เสวนา “รัฐธรรมนูญ” ในโอกาสจัดพิมพ์หนังสือ รัฐธรรมนูญ: ประวัติศาสตร์ข้อความคิด อำนาจสถาปนา และการเปลี่ยนผ่าน).

While all in Thai, we thought readers might be interested, including the participation of Nitirat-connected academic lawyers and other academics. It is a 4 hour video…. There are individual clips for each of the speakers also available.

 





Lese majeste repression heightened

22 10 2014

PPT isn’t really sure how much deeper and tighter the repression of the lese majeste law can get. The military dictatorship’s crude use of this form of political repression has exceeded that of the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime. That regime’s wanton use of the draconian law spurred PPT into life in 2009. Things are far worse today.

Usually, the use of lese majeste to censor and repress tells us two things. The first is pretty obvious, and that is that the regime using the law is seeking to demonstrate its ultra-royalism/ultra-“loyalty”. Second, the use of the law is a measure of the regime’s fear. For the military dictatorship, the fear is palpable. The fear is that the royalist regime is not just facing  deep crisis but is in terminal decline. That existential crisis is so great that the corrupt, unimaginative and intellectually inept military regime can only lash out at those perceived as opponents.

Prachatai has three examples of the royalist military dictatorship thrashing about and lashing out.

The first story at Prachatai explains that a military court has decided to conduct two lese majeste trials in secret, “claiming that the charges were related to the monarchy and hence to the national security…”. The report states that “the trials of Kathawut B., a red-shirt radio host whose programs allegedly contained lese majeste contents, and a man who asked not to be named would be proceeded in camera.”

This is not the first time that lese majeste trials have been secret political trials (see here and here).

Representatives from the European Union and the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights who were to observe the trials were turned away.

Prachatai reports taht the next court sitting for both cases “will be around end of November.”

A second report at Prachatai notes that a military court has “rejected a bail request of a man [Opas Charnsuksai] who wrote messages mainly criticizing the junta and allegedly making reference to the king in a shopping mall’s restrooms.” Refusing bail is the norm in lese majeste cases and infringes human and legal rights.

Finally, the third Prachatai story again involves Fa Diaw Kan/Same Sky, where the military harassment is unending. This time the military has banned the publisher’s “t-shirts, one of which has the image of a dinosaur, with possible charges of lèse majesté.” The shirts, which the military thugs took away “for inspection” are described:

A white t-shirt with a Jurassic Park logo and the message “The Lost World of Monarchical Absolutism.” The image was derived from the theme of the issue of the Same Sky Journal published in 2012.
A blue t-shirt with a tree in the middle. The root of the tree reads “Constitutional Monarchy” that grows into a tree formed from the text “Absolute Monarchy”. It is an image from the journal published in 2011.
The last one is the cult symbol of “Khun Sab Sueng” or Mr Grateful with his mouth zipped shut. The symbol of Khun Sab Sueng, normally shown crying, has been used by the anti-establishment to mock the ultra-royalists.

The fear in the royalist regime is palpable.





Dopes, censorship and repression

21 10 2014

The military brass has again declared its loyalty to its boss. Why these dolts bother beats us, but there’s always a chance that one of the dopes gets sick of the dopes above him and tries to change things. But declaring loyalty means nothing for when they do decide to act, they are unlikely to declare it. What they did declare was: “We not only give our support and encouragement to the prime minister, but we will also translate his orders into actions. We will do our best.” Their “best” may be everyone else’s “worst” as the military brass engages in a political feeding frenzy.

At Prachatai it is reported that the military has “ordered the editor of anti-establishment socio-political Same Sky journal to delete a Facebook status which states the military’s attempt to censor the publishing house.”

The military ordered editor Thanapol Eawsakul “to delete the Facebook status on the conversation with Prajak Kongkirati, a renown[ed] political scientist from Thammasat University, at the annual Book Fair in central Bangkok.” Apparently the dunderheads in the military “mistook the fan meeting [with author Prajak] as [a] political seminar and requested the book fair organizer to videotape … the event which the book fair organizer declined.”

The deleted post “stated that the night before the opening of the fair, the military officials came to search the Fah Deaw Kan’s booth, claiming that some of the books have contents that could be deemed as defaming the …. Thai monarchy.” We deleted a word at … to protect our readers from royalist nonsense.

It is reported that “Same Sky … deleted the status and said it was forced to delete the status because the military felt ‘upset’.”

Also at Prachatai, it is reported that the military arrested and detained a red shirt who attended Apiwan Wiriyachai’s funeral. Military officers arrested Nueng Katesakul for allegedly taking part “in the anti-coup protest at the Victory Monument on 28 June…”.

The repression and censorship continues.





For us, against us

8 07 2014

The lines of demarcation between the junta and its opponents are reasonably clear, as two recent event demonstrate.

If you are an ally of the junta, you get special treatment.

Bangkok Pundit recently suggested that the massive Cambodian migrant worker “exodus was so quick that it has no doubt caused political problems in Cambodia, [and] … forced Hun Sen to cooperate with the junta. (Veera’s release?).” Veera is Veera Somkwamkid, the People’s Alliance for Democracy-associate ultra-nationalist member of the Thai Patriot Network, who was detained in Cambodia following a border incursion in 2011. When he was released a few days ago, all of the old hyper-nationalist, yellow shirts got together for a party to welcome back their “hero.”

As the Bangkok Post reports, the party was arranged at the at the Royal Turf Club, where General Boonlert Kaewprasit was host. Boonlert is a favorite of the military and royalist elite not least because he was one of those who managed the revival of anti-democrat street protests for the PAD lot prior to the mobilizations that became the Suthep Thaugsuban anti-democrats, who paved the way for the coup…. and the rest is history, as they say.

The military dictatorship became worried, after the fact, that the welcome party might be seen as “double standards,” not that such claims seem to bother them in other spheres. The party was attended not just by Boonlert, but a bunch of others from the military and the anti-Thaksin Shinawatra movement including “Gen Preecha Iamsuphan, former senators Prasarn Maruekpitak, Khamnoon Sitthisamarn and Rosana Tositrakul, national artist Naowarat Pongpaiboon and other activists.”

So Veera and Boonlert were called in by the junta. The result was a bit of hugging and and a public reprimand. Then, as the Post reports it, after a couple of hours, they were “allowed to go home after a meeting with a high level officer of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).” They even went on television to “explain”:

Gen Boonlert said in an interview with television reporters afterwards that Gen Paiboon Khumchaya, the assistant army chief and NCPO’s chief of legal and justice affairs section, asked him and Mr Veera to let the NCPO know before conducting any activity which may be construed as violating the NCPO’s orders including the ban on a political gatherings.

They agreed to comply with the request, Gen Boonlert said.

If you are seen as an opponent of the coup, you get very different treatment. Boonlert and Veera get mainstream media coverage for the party and its aftermath. Most of those present, as yellow shirt supporters of the coup, go about their business, political and otherwise. But not opponents. Khaosod reports the second detention of Thanapol Eawsakul, editor of Fa Diaw Kan.

A “senior army officer” says that the editor is having his attitude “re-adjusted.” Why? Because of “critical Facebook comments violated a condition he signed before being released from his first bout of military detention. That release form barred Mr. Thanapol from participating in politics or expressing any opinions that ‘incite unrest’.” Should the “military decide to charge Mr. Thanapol with violating the NCPO’s release conditions, the activist will be tried in military court and could face up to two years in prison.”

Compare the re-education and multiple detention of an activist writing on Facebook with the military junta’s freeing of Veera and the treatment of their friends Boonlert and Veera. This is not about double standards but about the nature of the military regime.





Updated: Meeting the junta

6 07 2014

There have already been several accounts of meetings with the men sent out by the junta to round up the people they consider opponents. A reader has alerted us to one such encounter in the south. We found the account by Hara Shintaro at Deep South Watch to be illuminating. Not only does it show that the military is remarkably incompetent, it also indicates that the military dictatorship is attempting to settle old scores.

The military has been an abject failure in dealing with problems in the south. It is unable to comprehend complex issues due to the extreme hierarchy it maintains, its politicization rather than professionalization and because of its adherence to feudal trappings and ideologies.

PPT won’t set out the report in detail here as it seems that it is widely accessible.

Update: Prachatai reports that the military junta has again arrested Thanapol Eawsakul, editor of Fa Diaw Kan or Same Sky magazine, “for another seven days stating that Thanapol violated his release order by posting messages deemed violating the junta’s order on Facebook.” Military operatives called him to “a talk” at a cafe on Phaholyothin Soi 7, and several plainclothes officers arrested him there. He is said to have been “taken to the King’s Guard, 2nd Cavalry Division in Sanam Pao area. Later he was taken to the Police’s Crime Suppression Division where he will be detained under the Martial Law for seven days.”

THe same report tells us that “academics from Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Science Assoc. Prof. Puangthong Pawakapan and Asst. Prof. Pitch Pongsawat were also invited for talks on July 3 and 4 and released on the same day…. The two academics led a group called Assembly for the Defense of Democracy which held anti-coup campaign and advocated for election prior to the May 22 coup.”





Releasing some, charging with lese majeste

30 05 2014

The lese majeste dragnet is finely meshed and large. It is recently reported that Pravit Rojanaphruk, a reporter with The Nation, and Thanapol Eawsakul, editor of Fa Diaw Kan (or Same Sky) magazine, and Surapot Thaweesak, a lecturer from Suan Dusit Rajabhat University were released from military detention today.

However, Apichart Pongsawat, who was arrested with Thanapol, “was to be escorted by soldiers to the Criminal Court to face a lese majeste charge brought against him before the May 22 military coup. ”

 





With a major update: Infantile politics

17 12 2013

The Bangkok Post reports that a “former Pheu Thai MP for Lop Buri on Monday lodged a lese majeste complaint against Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the anti-government [they mean anti-democratic] People’s Democratic Reform Committee.” This is about as dumb as it gets in Thailand’s politics. The report is that:

Suchart Sainam and his lawyer Singthong Buachoom argued that Mr Suthep had defamed Thailand’s monarchy by calling on the public to boycott the general election and demanding that the caretaker government step down and the poll be deferred.

Apparently the “complaint was received by Crime Suppression Division deputy chief” who said they would investigate.

Now, Suchart might be a mad monarchist or may just think it is a bit of reverse royalism to hit Suthep with a charge he happily bandied about in the past against his political opponents. But, really, isn’t it time that politicians became adults on lese majeste and assigned it to the dustbin of history.

Update: Of course, it is the mad monarchists who use lese majeste most often to attack, threaten and frighten opponents. Not long after we criticized the Puea Thai politician above, the rabid royalists have another charge to lay. Khaosod reports that the “coordinator of an anti-government network has urged the government to prosecute a Redshirts student activist for allegedly insulting the monarchy.” A related story is available at Prachatai.

The report is that:

Uthai Yordmanee, leader of Student and People Network For Political Reform of Thailand, said in a press conference that Mr. Ekkaphob Lueangra, a self-described vocational student who supports the Redshirt movements, has gravely defamed the monarchy in his speech at Rajamangala Stadium, where the Redshirts were holding mass rallies, on 28 November 2013.

PPT doesn’t know why, but while not identifying any particular item of lese majeste in the press conference, he “called on Mr. Jarupong Ruangsuwan, chairman of Pheu Thai Party, and Mr. Chaturon Chaisang, Minister of Education, to take legal responsibility for Mr. Ekkaphob′s remarks.” Guilt by association, perhaps, using the very broad and nasty lese majeste brush to smear many. Uthai seems to think that the two politicians allowed Ekkaphob to speak, so if he is committing lese majeste as alleged, then they are guilty too.

Of course, the yelling yellow also demanded that “Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra would also have to show her responsibility for the incident…”. Again, Uthai seems to be bonkers on this, but even the raving loonies can use lese majeste for ill purposes; and Uthai seems ill-tempered and ill of purpose.

Prachatai reports that:

police have charged an anti-establishment red-shirt supporter with lèse majesté for his coded speech at a red-shirt gathering at Rajamangala stadium on Ramkhamhaeng Road in late November.

A video clip of the speech was widely circulated on social media sites before it caught the attention of the law. A group of Internet users also disclosed his photo, home address and phone number as an act of political cyber bullying. They also found that he worked for a motor company and pressured the company via its Facebook page to punish him to show its “moral and social responsibility”.
The report states that the speech was at “a sideline red-shirt stage around the Rajamangala stadium…”, and that: Eakachai [note the different name used in the two reports] told a story of a family headed by “Uncle Somchai and Auntie Somjit” and the offspring of the couple. The speech attracted a loud acclaim and applause.At the end of the story, Eakachai spoke to the audience. “You guys feel a thrill of fear, but also like [the story]. But for me, I’d have to ask myself if I’ll be able to get through this. But I don’t care, because I didn’t refer to anybody. My speech isn’t illegal.” Apparently the police do not think so. Prachatai goes on to note that:
The fictional characters of Uncle Somchai and Auntie Somjit first appeared on the hard-core anti-establishment Same Sky web forum around 2010. The characters are known among people critical to the monarchy as code names used in a society where a speech can land a person in jail for several years or get them fired from their job because of political cyber bullying. The couple also feature in a song of Faiyen, an anti-establishment red-shirt pop band. The song is very popular among red shirts.
We think that Same Sky / Fa Diaw Kan is hardly more anti-establishment or hard core than Prachatai itself, so we are unsure why Prachatai chooses this description.
The anti-democratic movement has reason to hate Ekkaphob / Eakachai because he is a member of the progressive Red Siam group and “recently founded Gear of Red, which is a group of red-shirt vocational students and former vocational students.” The anti-democratic group has relied heavily on vocational students as their fighters, in the front line of demonstrations by rubber “farmers” in the south and in recent actions in Bangkok.
Vocational students are known for their violent clashes between schools and for their access to hand guns. THey are remembered for their brutality in the 6 October 1976 massacre at Thammasat University.







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