With a major update: ASTV/Manager as lese majeste vigilantes and purveyors of concocted nonsense

28 01 2012

PPT has noticed that much of the excitement and agitation associated with Nitirat’s proposals has been stirred by the ASTV/Manager, the mouthpiece of the People’s Alliance for Democracy and Sondhi Limthongkul. It seems that the mainstream media is generally ready to take up the PAD claims and run them as if they were from a reliable news source.

It is thus useful that the ASTV/Manager surrogate channel in English, TAN Network has produced a translation of a column that has been central to the most recent case of a cameraman working for the red shirt-supporting satellite-based Asia Update TV channel being investigated for alleged lese majeste.

The ASTV/Manager account states that it has, since the Yingluck Shinawatra government won the election in July, a focal point for “numerous complaints about controversial comments made on social networks and the cyber world … comments that could be deemed as violating lest majeste laws.”

As self-appointed cyber vigilantes, ASTV/Manager reports that a “recent incident involves an individual who calls himself ‘Tanan Maneewong’ on Facebook.”

Reporters at he Government House are said to have “received complaints” – probably from the Manager itself –  about controversial statements on Facebook. Unnamed sources are said to have seen that some of these comments “could be deemed to violate lest majeste laws and Thailand’s Computer Act.”

Somehow it came to be known that the Facebook page belonged to “a cameramen employed by the Asia Update television station and [who] is assigned to cover the prime minister’s beat.”

Conspiracy! Up goes the shout! “The station is operated by Democracy News Network Company Limited and is widely known for its support of the Yingluck administration and the red shirt movement.” The Facebook poster is then anonymously claimed not to “have a very good opinion of the institution of the monarchy and has been known to make several strong criticisms in the past.”

Of course, this is inciting hatred against the unfortunate cameraman with not a named source in sight. The conspiracy angle is meant to show the government is somehow implicated in the whole thing. As we noted above, this is vigilantism, not journalism.

The ASTV/Manager report claims the “controversial post was made on his Facebook wall on the night of January 22, but was later erased on the 23rd when his associates warned him that it could be against the law.” But this person is seen to be insincere because he commented “I can’t even have an opinion. This is so Thai.” Indeed it is, but truth is not a factor here.

And, of course, it is all reflective of the fact that the Yingluck government is “disloyal.” This alleged crime is further “evidence” for ASTV/Manager maniacal claims about “the failure of government officials to curb the anti-monarchy movement.” Note that the idea that there is a “movement” is taken as a given for the vigilante media. Even Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung is not doing enough.

And it is all to clear for the PAD that this is a pattern of behavior by the hated red shirts because Asia Update television is not only red shirt but is claimed – no evidence presented – that it was “founded” by now Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Anudith Nakornthap,with red shirts also involved.

The implication is that the an anti-monarchy conspiracy is proven. We assume that investigations of the cameraman is being undertaken based on ASTV/Manager’s accusations.

Update: At the Manager, the ever more bizarre Sondhi Limthongkul has yet another “plan” revealing how Thaksin Shinawatra is allegedly to take over Thailand and overthrow the monarchy. Prachatai has a summary of this truly deranged concoction.

In essence, Sondhi plagiarized the nonsensical ideas of “Tony Cartalucci” who runs a pretty much unknown blog that draws on anti-globalist ideas and marries them with U.S. Tea Party, libertarian and  ideas that originate in extreme right-wing conspiricist groups that Sondhi has long been connected, including  Lyndon LaRouche.

“Cartalucci” is a frequent “commentator” posting at Prachatai, continually posting essentially the same “comment,” attacking Prachatai as part of a Thaksin-U.S. conspiracy. “Cartalucci” modus operandi is to “discover”  well-known facts from the web and builds them into a global conspiracy. He is connected with, amongst others, Sam Bushman’s Christian conspiracist Liberty Round Table, which invites “all Liberty-Loving Americans to join with us to restore the principles of our Founding Fathers and promote God, Family and Country in the media and our lives!”

“Tony Cartalucci’s” take on Sondhi’s bizarre rant is here.

Yellow-shirted activists have been circulating “Tony Cartalucci” material for some time and it seems that the heightened political temperature around the Nitirat, lese majeste and “loyalty” issues has given Sondhi and opportunity for these more extremist claims. Sondhi’s hope is such a concocted threat can provoke a response from ultra-nationalists. He apparently believes that the great fear will mean that royalists will grasp even extreme conspiracy nonsense more palatable. Remarkably, he’s probably right as the level of hysteria is truly amazing.

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