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Nest of the Orange Eagle – จากพี่น้องคนเสื้อแดงที่

Definition

1 a : a crime (such as treason) committed against a sovereign power

b : an offense violating the dignity of a ruler as the representative of a sovereign power

2 : a detraction from or affront to dignity or importance

Lèse-majesté (or lese majesty, as it is also styled in English publications) comes into English by way of Middle French, from the Latin laesa majestas, which literally means “injured majesty.” The English term can conceivably cover any offense against a sovereign power or its ruler, from treason to a simple breach of etiquette. Lèse-majesté has also acquired a more lighthearted or ironic meaning, referring to an insult or impudence to a particularly pompous or self-important person or organization. As such, it may be applied to a relatively inoffensive act that has been exaggeratedly treated as if it were a great affront.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/l%C3%A8se-majest%C3%A9-2019-09-25

For most of us, living in Canada or most western countries, think that criticism of our government is a fundamental human right, acknowledged and supported by our laws and courts. Within some limits, defying authority or calling authority into question is one of the most crucial of our human rights to the maintenance of democracy.

This fundamental human right is not so fundamental if you live in Thailand. To most Canadians Thailand is just a great place to go on a vacation, not a place where human rights take a backseat to the monarchy. In Thailand, criticizing the government comes with very real consequences, including long jail terms.

And you don’t have to be the author of the criticism, just ask Chanoknan “Cartoon” Ruamsap, who made the mistake of “sharing” a controversial Facebook entry. A pro-democracy activist, Chanoknan “Cartoon” Ruamsap fled into exile on Sunday, ahead of arrest by military order for sharing on her Facebook account a BBC profile of His Majesty the King.

Chanoknan ‘Cartoon’ Ruamsap, seen here at home in Bangkok, says she had just 30 minutes to decide, then pack and flee ahead of a junta arrest order. (FB/Moo.Cartoon)

But in the end, it’s me who made the decision. The time I spent to decide was so short and quick. I had less than 30 minutes to decide whether to stay or to leave. What is difficult is the fact that I won’t return after this journey.
Then I went to say goodbye to dad and mom. Everyone was shocked but agreed. No one wanted me to be in jail for five years merely because sharing a BBC news story.
On the first day I arrived here, I only cried because I saw no way out. Everything seems puzzling and confusing. I didn’t know how to deal with them. I kept asking myself a question whether I made the right decision to seek refuge or I should go back, and I can meet family and friends as usual after serving the jail term. But I got the answer that I couldn’t backtrack now.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/politics/1403522/activist-chanoknan-flees-lese-majeste-summons

And lest you think that these laws are unique to Thailand, with its backward government and oppressive system of administration of justice, think again. There are current laws in Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, and Spain, in Europe against insulting the crown, and committing lese majeste, under which an offender could also spend years in jail, or face significant fines or other penalties. Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as the African nation of Morocco, and the Asian nations of Malaysia and Cambodia all have similar laws on the books, which are various enforced in modern times.

So why would a modern nation, like the Netherlands, or Denmark, maintain what seems like something out of medieval times. Don’t they understand civil rights, and the right to speak out to authority? Well, it turns out, not so much. Both of those countries, as well as Thailand, do allow criticism of the government, or of government policies. What they don’t allow is insulting and gratuitous attacks on the crown, or on the government leadership.

In Canada there are no lese majeste laws, as such, but even in Canada it is important to frame critical comments against the government or the crown in language that is not personally insulting to her majesty, the Queen or her family. But not because there is laws against it, but because it is unnecessary to personalize criticisms against the government or crown.

It’s fine to attack the monarchy, if you would prefer a republic, for example. Just do it with class and reasonably good manners. Most Canadians would be quite unhappy to hear someone committing lese majesty, even if its not illegal.

Even in countries like Canada or the United States freedom of speech has some limits.

https://www.bcsc.bc.ca/News/News_Releases/2019/56_BCSC_panel_imposes_lifetime_bans_and_$1_7_million_in_financial_sanctions_for_fraud/

2019/56
September 20, 2019

Vancouver – The British Columbia Securities Commission imposed a total of $1.7 million of financial sanctions on three B.C. men and two mortgage investment companies after finding that they committed fraud. 

Patrick K. Prinster and David Scott Wright were each ordered to pay $250,000 and Donald Bruce Edward Wilson was ordered to pay $150,000 for diverting investors’ funds from mortgages secured by real estate, which was the purpose described in marketing materials.

The panel also permanently banned Prinster, Wright and Wilson from the following activities:

  • Trading in or purchasing securities or exchange contracts
  • Using exemptions set out in the Securities Act
  • Becoming or acting as a registrant or promoter
  • Acting in a management or consultative capacity in the securities market
  • Engaging in investor relations 

The panel noted that Prinster, Wright and Wilson diverted the funds and carried out their misconduct “despite warnings and concerns expressed to them from multiple sources.”

The panel imposed financial sanctions of $561,479 on DominionGrand II Mortgage Investment Corporation, and $500,961 on DominionGrand Investment Fund Inc.

Almost all of the $1.1 million raised from investors was lost, though the panel did not find evidence that Prinster, Wright or Wilson had been personally enriched by the diversion of investments.

I received a notice of the Securities Commission decision this morning, and have spent the last few hours reviewing their decision and considering how to react to this disheartening news.

Whether or not to appeal the decision is pretty much moot. Neither I nor the other two individual respondents in this civil administration case had the financial resources to defend ourselves in the first place. Both of the companies named in the decision haven’t existed as legal entities for years. We certainly don’t have any more financial resources now than we did when this case first was started.

Legal processes are ferociously expensive, and lawyers fees pretty much out of reach for most people caught up in this type of hearing. If we’d actually benefited personally from the diversion of investment funds to the parties, maybe we would have had the money to defend ourselves and our reputations. We didn’t. However, as acknowledged in the decision, we were not accused of benefiting personally or receiving any significant benefits from the wrongful use of the investors funds.

In reality the pressure of being under the gun by the BC Securities Commission and the BC Financial Institutions Commission at the same time, pertaining to the exactly the same set of circumstances left me pretty much stripped of any ability to do business in the ordinary course, or to protect myself from numerous lawsuits that eventually cost me my share of the equity in my home, and in other assets as well.

A net result to me personally, is that I filed bankruptcy a year and a half ago, after pretty much losing everything I owned.

And in the middle of all of this, my health went to hell, maybe as a result of the incredible stress of the situation, or maybe just an accumulation of unrelenting pressure from almost every part of my life, personal, financial and professional.

There is a point at which I no longer functioned at any reasonable level, and much of my world collapsed around me.

For those of you who follow my blog, both this one and Rain City Review, will know that I’ve been struggling to find my way back to a meaningful future, where once again I can hope for something, and begin to work towards restoring my damaged reputation, and improving my financial circumstances.

But before I can move on I need to deal with this decision, and accept responsibility for what I have wrought. Clearly I took a wrong turn at some point, which led to the destruction of everything I built. Life is lived one day at a time, and I honestly did my best, each and every day, both in regards to these two companies and the others which failed, either in concert with these or on their own for other reasons not useful to go into here. My best wasn’t good enough.

I worked really hard to get in so much trouble, and cause so much damage to other people’s financial position, despite my every effort to contribute positively to my investors’ and clients’ financial lives. Clearly I made a number of wrong decisions, some only understood in hindsight, and not at the time.

I feel like hell for what happened, and my role in it. It is not useful to look for excuses, and it certainly won’t make my investors, family or friends feel any better. I don’t know that anything will.

All I can do at this point is move forward with my life, and vow to do better in the future. I’m sorry. I’m extremely disappointed in myself and my decisions that led to this. I will continue to deal with the consequences and fallout from this decision, and make such reparations as I can under the circumstances. I’ll do my best.

Waiting for this decision, after waiting more than half a decade for the hearings to take place, has been excruciating. But I’m sure no more for me than for the investors harmed by these transactions.

It’s not enough, I know. But its what I can do. I’m sorry. I wish things hadn’t turned out this way.

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