Saturday, December 10, 2011

Guess This Means I Can Never Visit Thailand

This is a rather disturbing story out of Thailand.  

"Thailand has jailed a US citizen for two and a half years after he admitted posting web links to a banned biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Joe Gordon, a used car salesman from Colorado who was born in Thailand, admitted lese-majeste, or insulting the king, at an earlier hearing.

Gordon, 55, reportedly translated parts of the widely available biography, The King Never Smiles by Paul Handley, several years ago and posted them on a blog while he was living in the US.

He was arrested in May when he visited Thailand for medical treatment."

Think of the ramifications of this.  The Thai government can throw you in jail, even if you are a citizen of another country, for what you say about the Thai monarchy outside of Thailand.  The person in question here didn't even write original content criticizing the Thai king, but merely linked to and translated portions of someone else's writings.

This means that if the Thai government reads this post of mine and discovers my true identity, they can arrest me and throw me in jail if I ever visit Thailand. 

To that, all I can say is that King Bhumibol is still a dick. 


Robert the Skeptic said...

On the up side, he's probably getting all this Panaeg Curry and noodles in peanut sauce every day for free!

Seriously, ours is the only country that has anything like the First Amendment... and we are barely hanging onto that ourselves.

Tommykey said...

I have a feeling I wouldn't enjoy the Pad Thai they serve in their prisons.

soubriquet said...

Well, you might consider the U.S. stance on foreign prisoners in Guantanamo and other places around the globe. At least the Thais allowed him legal representation and a chance in court. Whereas prisoners of the U.S. don't appear to have any such rights or safeguards.

If I as a foreigner, made threats against the U.S., or even appeared to have any tenuous connection to someone who did, or maybe did none of the above, but just became a 'person of interest' for reasons never explained to me or anyone else, then there's a chance that I might be abducted from non-U.S. territory, interrogated using methods that if used by anyone else on U.S. citizens, would be universally agreed to be torture under international law, shipped via various third party jails, to Guantanamo, used expressly because its position outside of the U.S. provides an 'anything goes' loophole in the safeguards of the U.S constitution, and held in solitary confinement, and abused daily with no chance to challenge the detention in court.

Maybe I'd die in custody. Maybe I'd be released, after an unknown number of years, without explanation or apology.

Whereas 'Joe Graham', who was born Lerpong Wichaikhammat, in Thailand, knew that what he was doing was viewed as a serious crime in Thailand, he wasn't an american who was ignorant of Thai laws, yet he chose to travel to Thailand, after doing something that, to us, seems no big deal, but to Thais is seen as a very serious crime.
The Thais consider someone who insults the King to be as bad a threat to their country as a heroin smuggler, and they execute those.

Tommykey said...

Soubriquet, I could at least understand if he had committed his offense in Thailand as a Thai citizen. He did not. His "crime" was committed in the United States, where Thailand has no jurisdiction.

Lese majeste laws are wrong because they end up making it a crime to criticize someone, even if the criticism is valid.

Mik PIKACHU Pokki Pokki Fan said...

Tommykey or should I better say Thomas Morpheus Mumbasa Corleone Kingston IV., your identity has been exposed now! You better run, before you get caught by the furry dickhead

Tommykey said...

Mik Pikachu, how dare you expose me like that! LOL!