Further updated: Mad, mad, monarchism III

2 09 2022

For those wanting an update on the mad royalist effort to prevent serious academic study of the monarchy in Thailand, Prachatai has it.

The story there opens with this:

Chaiyan

After it was disclosed that an investigation report into allegations that historian Nattapol Chaiching falsified information in his PhD thesis may itself contain falsehoods, political scientist Kullada Kesboonchoo Mead has published an open letter to the Chulalongkorn University Council, calling on it to reject the report.

Much of the royalist fervor can be attributed to Chaiyan Chaiyaporn, of the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, who has proclaimed himself a defender of everything royal. In claiming “errors” in Nattapol’s work (since corrected), Chaiyan has himself made errors. In the mad world of royalists, however, his error is an “honest mistake” by a “good person.”

Update 1: PPT has yet to obtain a copy of the Bangkok Post article published on 18 December 1950, which the Post stated it had reproduced. Any reader have a copy they can send us?

Update 2: While on the topic of academic research and monarchism, we noticed that Pavin Chachavalpongpun’s recent article “On His Majesty’s Service: Why is the Thai Foreign Ministry Royalist?” is available for free download.





The attacks on 112 exiles

16 08 2022

The Japan Times has an op-ed on attacks on Pavin Chachavalpongpun in Kyoto and Aum Neko in Paris. It uses these cases to speak more broadly to attacks on dissidents overseas by several regimes.

On Pavin’s case:

Appearing at the Kyoto District Court in May to deliver a statement, Pavin, 51, who is living in exile in Japan, asked the defendant sitting in front of him, “I don’t even know you. I want you to tell me who asked you to attack me, and what was the purpose?”

The culprit, 43, is an unemployed Japanese man. According to the indictment, the man broke into Pavin’s apartment in the city of Kyoto in the early hours of July 8, 2019, and injured him and his partner with tear gas while they were asleep. The man pleaded guilty to the charges of intrusion and causing injuries and was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison on June 8 this year….

The defendant said his motive was that a “senior colleague had repeatedly asked” him to carry out the attack. He did not reveal the name or identity of his “senior colleague.”

On Aum;s case:

Aum when in Bangkok

An attack targeting a Thai national also took place in Paris in November 2019. Aum Neko, 28, was suddenly beaten by a group of men upon leaving a restaurant with an acquaintance. Three Czech nationals in their 20s were arrested and sentenced to prison terms in November 2021, but their roles and motives remain unclear.

Both Pavin and Aum face lese majeste charges.

Instilling fear into dissidents is meant to silence them. For Pavin and Aum, that seems unlikely.

 

 





Palace discipline

15 06 2022

At 112 Watch, there is a list compiled by Pavin Chachavalpongpun where he has gone through Royal Gazette announcements from 3 August 2016 to 31 August 2020.

Given the manner in which King Vajiralongkorn has used the Gazette, often in furious language, to instill “discipline” and fear, this is a very useful listing. It details the causes of dismissal, demotion, de-decoration, de-robing and imprisonment of each individual under King Vajiralongkorn.

86 individuals are listed.





Death of King Ananda

9 06 2022

On the anniversary of his death, in addition to the usual books and blogs on the death of King Ananda Mahidol – Marshall, Pavin, etc. – readers may find this old book of interest: Alexander MacDonald, Bangkok Editor. An account of the first major royalist coup, the death of King Ananda and the politics of the period, available at Library Genesis.

The most recent effort is by Pavin Chachavalpongpun in his Love and Death of King Ananda Mahidol of Thailand. It is also available at Library Genesis.





On 112

4 06 2022

Readers will be interested in a recent post at 112Watch. In “A View from Australia on Article 112” the University of Queensland’s Patrick Jory is interviewed. It is a long piece, so we suggest reading all of it.

Jory asks if “the Thai monarchy can be reformed, and survive. If one thinks about it carefully, at a bare minimum, reform of the monarchy would have to mean the reform or abolition of the lèse-majesté law.”

PPT has added 112Watch to our blog roll. It is said to be “a coalition of people and an organisation that value human rights and democracy. 112Watch aims to halt the Thai authorities’ escalating use of Article 112, Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, which is used to punish, to sideline and to silence citizens.” It appears that the organizing force in it is Pavin Chachavalpongpun.

In addition, PPT has been adding 112 cases to our Pending & acquitted page. We are still a long way behind on this, including for major activists who face multiple charges, but we are doing our best to catch up.

Readers may also want to look at our Lese majeste and the monarchy page, which we have also updated.





Updated: Horsing around

20 09 2021

We recently posted on the declining royal Princess Sirivannavari. Known for being remarkably tone deaf on social issues, even if she’s unpopular, it doesn’t stop her from living a globetrotting life of luxury.

According to a Facebook post by Pavin Chachavalpongpun, while Thais are still facing restrictions due to the virus, Sirivannavari is off traveling the world, staying in 5-star hotels, and spending taxpayer money.

We stress that there is no independent confirmation of Sirivannavari’s touring, but have to admit that Pavin’s short details fit her modus operandi. Pavin states: “Amid the covid epidemic Sirivannavari still squanders tax on people who travel as if playing. Now in Denmark, she’s there to buy a horse.”

Clipped from Thailand Tatler

He says she’s stayed at the D’Angleterre Hotel. We looked at the hotel’s website and we guess her room’s costing about 17,000 baht a night. We don’t know how many hangers-on she’s got, which would inflate the cost of hotel substantially. It is also said she’s renting four limousines. Then there’s meals and other local expenses as well as the cost of flights.

The horses she’s interested in is apparently from a stable that handles horses for the Danish royals. We can’t even guess how much that will cost the ever-suffering taxpayer.

Sirivannavari’s travel, while most Thais are stuck, would seem poor PR, but not for the thick-headed princess. It is one of her traits that she flaunts her (dad’s) great wealth. We guess that she’s gotten bored with Thailand, and has decamped to her mansion in Paris and is again living like a princess of yore.As she’s previously gushed, “Greece and the South of France are at the top of my favourite destinations list…. And I love Paris, so I visit all three quite often.” And she screws the plebs.

Update: A reader asks if the king is in Europe as well. We have no idea, but can confirm he hasn’t appeared in the royal news for a very long time. His last engagement promoted by the Royal Office was on 26 July.





Faking fake news

11 09 2021

The regime’s efforts to stifle dissent and anti-monarchism has long targeted online discussion. Because of the way that international apps and sites work, this now involves loyalist, royalist courts issuing orders under legislation that delineates so-called fake news. This resort to the courts has been a constant since the 2014 military coup, deepening since the rise of student-led protests.

Prachatai, using work by The Reporters, show that “between 16 – 22 August, the MDES [Ministry of Digital Economy and Society] reported that they have found 44 URLs which they claimed to be spreading fake news, and that they are in the process of requesting a court order to block at least 145 URLs.” Of course, this is in additon to hundreds and thousands already blocked.

In this latest bunch, most are Facebook pages. While it is no surprise, many of these pages are by political activists. What is something of a surprise is that well-established online news sites and those of journalists are also being targeted. This suggests a growing appetite to further censor the media. We would guess that the confidence to take such steps is to bolstering the regime’s more aggressive street-level tactics to repress demonstrators.

Among them is Prachatai’s own Thai language Facebook page and the Facebook profile of their reporter Sarayut Tungprasert. Other media included are “Voice TV’s Talking Thailand Facebook page and the Progressive Movement’s Facebook page.” Other pages listed are:

The Facebook pages for academic in exile Pavin Chachavalpongpun, photographer Karnt Thassanaphak, actor and pro-democracy protest supporter Inthira Charoenpura, and activist Parit Chiwarak are all included on the list, as well as the Facebook pages for activist groups Free Youth, United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD), Dome Revolution, and Thalufah. The Facebook group [belong to Pavin] Royalist Marketplace is also listed.

17 Twitter accounts appear, including those of human rights lawyer and activist Anon Nampa, Thalufah and UFTD, as well as @ThePeopleSpaces, an account which often runs discussions relating to politics and the pro-democracy movement on Twitter’s Spaces platform.

Prachatai states that it “does not know which piece of news led to the Facebook page and Sarayut’s Facebook profile being included on the list.”

While the king has not been seen for several weeks – is he in Thailand or holidaying in Germany? – his minions are hard at work erasing anti-monarchism.





Royalist university censors students

29 08 2021

University World News reports that administrators at Thailand’s most royalist of universities, Chulalongkorn, have declared that they will “take disciplinary action” against student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, who is President of the Chulalongkorn University Student Union. The “disciplinary action” will extend to other leaders of the university’s student union “for organising an orientation for incoming students that featured outspoken critics of the Thai monarchy.”

Netiwit in 2017. Clipped from The Nation

That “disciplinary action” follows pressure from royalist “alumni groups” that were supposedly outraged by the 20 July orientation that “featured three well-known figures as speakers: Thammasat University student leaders Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak and Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul from the pro-democracy movement and Pavin Chachavalpongpun, an academic and critic of the monarchy, now in exile and teaching at Kyoto University…”. All three face lese majeste charges.

The university’s Office of Student Affairs states that “the content of the orientation was considered ‘radical’ and ‘rude’ and was not approved by the university.” Apparently, “student handbooks published by the student union, which included critiques on certain university traditions and interviews with liberal student activists, were ‘not appropriate’ for new students and their guardians to refer to.”

It is known that university leaderships have been made royalist over the past few decades and that, like the corrupt police and murderous military, prefer hierarchy and paternalism.

Netiwit “said he received a letter from the deputy dean at Chulalongkorn reprimanding him for inviting the activists as speakers, as well as for producing and distributing the student handbooks,” while a deputy dean has reportedly “submitted the case to a university committee for investigation and to decide on the punishment against the student organisers involved.”

The activist chastised the university’s royalist leadership:

Instead of being the last fortress to defend freedom, the university is assisting in the decline of freedom. If Chulalongkorn actually takes disciplinary action against us, not only are they refusing to defend freedom, but they also set a norm for other universities to follow, diminishing liberty in this society and affecting young people’s future….

Who pressured the university? According to the report, it was Chaiphat Chantarawilai, who claims to lead a conservative royalist alumni group, “Defending the Honour of Chula.” Defending the university is defined as “protecting” the monarch and monarchy. On 26 July, Chaiphat “submitted a letter to the university’s dean calling on administrators to take action against the student organisers of the orientation, including a demand to involve the police in a formal investigation.”

In other words, the royalists are hankering for lese majeste charges.

Chaiphat threatened the dean if no action was taken against the students.

After several clashes with university authorities in the past, Netiwit and his colleagues “won in landslide votes in April 2021” when standing for the student union.





Targeting Facebook on anti-monarchism

5 07 2021

About three weeks ago, it was reported that the regime’s No. 2 had ordered the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to crack down on “fake news.” We assume he got his orders from higher up because the DES immediately ordered dozens of URLs closed within 48 hours. Many of the sites were not really fake news sites, but gambling or pornography sites. But the real target anti-regime and anti-monarchy sites.

Three weeks later and not much has happened apart from the regime getting ever more twitchy, again suggesting that there’s very high-level pressure on them.Facebook-Dislike-Button

As Thai PBS has reported, the regime has resumed its battle with Facebook, over the content it still deceptively claims is “fake news” when they mean sites that provide information about the monarchy:

These accounts – all operated from overseas – are registered to Pavin Chachavalpongpun, his discussion page Royalist Marketplace – Talad Luang, Andrew MacGregor Marshall, Suda Rangkupan, Pixel Helper, DK Ning, Aum Neko, and Kon Thai UK. Several of the account owners are wanted in Thailand for lese majeste.

Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn is flustered, saying: “Despite negotiations, Facebook has refused to follow orders to block eight accounts. I will bring legal action against Facebook in Thailand and its headquarters…”.

He demanded that Facebook “show responsibility towards Thailand’s issues and comply with the country’s regulations, given the fact that Facebook has many users in the Kingdom.”

There’s two things to note here. First, the minister demands that the whole of Facebook follow royalist norms and the regime’s illegitimate use of draconian laws. In other words, he seems to be going beyond the usual demand for geo-blocking of popular anti-monarchy  sites. Second, he seems to be threatening Facebook with exclusion from the Thai market, which would require that the regime descend further down the Chinese road and come up with state-approved, state monitored social media platforms.





Facebook and monarchy panic

25 06 2021

About two weeks ago, it was reported that the regime’s No. 2 had ordered the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to crack down on “fake news.”

DES sprang into action, ordering dozens of URLs closed within 48 hours.Many of the sites were not really fake news sites, but gambling sites and more significantly, anti-regime and anti-monarchy sites.

Two weeks later and not much has happened.

Now DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn “has threatened legal action against Facebook for refusing to close the accounts of users deemed to have disseminated fake news and criticised the monarchy.”

Most of the sites he’s worried about are anti-regime and anti-monarchy.

The regime’s latest tactic in shutting down anti-monarchy sites is to have local courts – fake courts? – rule them illegal. This then permits a “legal” censorship, with DES sending demand “letters to the internet service providers and Facebook in Thailand to make them comply.”

The big concern is for social media accounts that spoof and report on the monarchy: those associated with Pavin Chachavalpongpun and Andrew MacGregor Marshall, which have yet to be shut.

Minister Chaiwut lamented: “Despite the negotiations, Facebook has still refused to follow orders to shut down eight accounts. I will bring legal action against Facebook in Thailand and its headquarters…”. He seemed to threaten Facebook’s existence in Thailand: “As there are many users in Thailand, Facebook must also be responsible for the country’s issues, as well as comply with Thai regulations…”.

Watch this space.








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