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Author Topic: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??  (Read 5844 times)

superboyac

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Article here

I don't quite understand this.  This guy is an American citizen, but Thai born.  While in Colorado, he posts online a translation of a book that is banned in Thailand because it says bad things about the king.  When he goes to Thailand for medical reasons, they detain him and sentence him to prison for 2 years.  Isn't the US supposed to not allow this?  What power does Thailand have over a US citizen?

eleman

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 09:21:37 AM »
Let's paraphrase the question like this:

A Thai citizen collaborates with terrorists which plan some evil and treacherous attack on the US. Then for medical reasons, he goes to US.

Should he be arrested there? What power does US have over a Thai citizen?

I know I am making a travesty of the matter. Laws banning free speech can't be reasonably compared with laws against terrorism. But yet, nominally they are the same, just laws.

40hz

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 09:29:57 AM »
In general, you're bound by the laws and conventions of whatever place you're physically in. That's why "patriotic speech" in one country becomes "seditious plotting" in another. I can write an article saying Alexander Putin deserves to be thrown out of office, and I'd possibly be applauded for it. If I showed up in Moscow shortly after that, it might be a different story. Especially if something I said in the article gained traction with the public and caused trouble in Russia beforehand.

FWIW unless you're a highly placed individual in government, the military, or business, the U.S. government won't go much out of their way to help you out of you run afoul of the law in a foreign country. And even if they do, there's actually very little the U.S. can do if the country in question digs it's heels in about it. Sovereign nations need to observe conventions of law and acknowledge foreign sovereignty if they expect their own to be recognised in turn. Basic 'tit for tat' at work here.

I think that if you're an activist in any way shape or form, it's a good idea to check the local laws before you travel any place your activism touches on. Because with the visibility the internet provides for any viewpoint, there's no such thing as a purely 'local' audience any more.

It's the Global Village folks. And it should come as no surprise it also has a dark side.  :tellme:



superboyac

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 09:45:42 AM »
Interesting, thanks guys.

IainB

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 03:29:06 PM »
What happened to this guy probably makes a great deal of sense, only he would perhaps not have understood what he had effectively done by publishing what he did.

The Thais have long (I forget how long) had a lèse majesté law, that prohibits publishing, saying, writing bad or negative things about the King and/or the royal family generally. From experience, whilst this may limit freedom of the press and inhibit media discussion of the royal family, it does not necessarily inhibit what Thai people say/think when discussing things in a private or family context, or in anonymous comments to posts on the Internet (e.g., Google "economist Thai les majeste" or similar).

Suffice it to say that, whatever members of the royal family do/say is not generally reported by the media unless it is with the approval of the King/family.
Thailand operates a democratic monarchy.
The King is especially very highly regarded as being a good man. Probably reluctantly made king when, as next in line following the premature death of the previous heir apparent, he inherited the title, he later threw himself wholeheartedly into the responsibility of his position. In his long life he has done a tremendous amount of good for the country - the people and the economy - and been a beacon of stability in times of political and serious civil unrest in the democracy.
Like many Thai people, my Thai wife (who is a Buddhist) likes to keep a picture of the King and Queen located high up near the ceiling in our living room. This is a token of respect/honour.

The  lèse majesté law is taken very seriously and offences under it sometimes seem to be quite severely punished.
As someone who has lived and worked in Thailand, I have understood and respected that law whilst in Thailand and outside, and for that reason I would not publicly say or write anything disparaging about the royal family in this forum or in any other medium.

I think it was Dec. 2008 that the Economist magazine ran a pretty frank "no-holds-barred" briefing/analysis on Thailand that was critical in its references to the king and the royal family's influence in such a way as to put them in a decidedly less than flattering light. I read that edition of the Economist on a Qantas flight into Bangkok, and I noticed that some Thai passengers on the flight were trying to secure copies to take with them when they disembarked - this was apparently because it had been banned from circulation in Thailand, under the lèse majesté law.

I think it was an easy thing for the Economist to make such comments safely and from a distance, and perhaps it was cowardly too - as there were no named authors.

If you think this is a restriction on freedoms, then wait till the Arab-dominated UN pass the recently proposed resolution that would make it illegal to defame a religion (which religion might that be?) or cause an offense to a religion or a religious person. Inshallah.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 03:53:24 PM »
A more normal approach would be to either deny entry or deportation - but just because you are a citizen of one country doesn't mean that you can't be prosecuted in another for offences that would not be illegal in your own country.

Hell the US seeks extradition on grounds of suspicion only all around the world (including in the UK) for offences that would either not be offences in the resident country or would incur much lighter sentences. It is one of the current major arguments between the UK and US government, and EU law on human rights, because all the decisions seem to be a pretty much one way street - ie. the Americans expect the UK to send UK citizens to the US for investigation and trial but the reciprocal arrangement is exceedingly rare.

Also don't forget the US government were pretty hot on extraordinary rendition not so long ago - which is illegal even in the US -but has anyone actually been prosecuted for those offences?

By the way the US is the only developed nation (to my knowledge) that still has to ratify the international convention on human rights.

IainB

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 05:02:39 PM »
+1 from me for what Carol Haynes wrote.     :Thmbsup:

By the way the US is the only developed nation (to my knowledge) that still has to ratify the international convention on human rights.

I was unsure as to what "the international convention on human rights" was,  so I googled it and found that Wikipedia, says (in summary) that the term "the international bill of rights" is sometimes used to refer to three UN treaties:
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The US apparently signed but did not ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Presumably, the US government would have had cogent reasons for this, and are not forced/obliged to ratify it if they don't want to.
So let's not put the UN on a pedestal. A lot of what the UN do is arguably or in fact biased, ineffectual, trivial or just plain wrong, and therefore I do not infer the lack of the above ratification to be pejorative for the US. Quite the contrary, it's   :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:

Similarly, the US sensibly refused to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol - which latter in hindsight would seem to have been revealed (per Climategate whistle-blowing emails) to be a potential scam of global proportions, being driven officially through the UN IPCC and unofficially by US and UK "scientists", religio-political cranks, government depts. and pseudo-NGOs and lobbyists.

There's no doubt but that some people could make a blanket statement about all that may be bad about official US government-sponsored actions/policies, but not ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is something that probably could not legitimately be covered by that blanket.

40hz

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 05:45:41 PM »
Also don't forget the US government were pretty hot on extraordinary rendition not so long ago - which is illegal even in the US -but has anyone actually been prosecuted for those offences?

@Carol - Minor point: On this, I think you're equating the ideology and actions of one (arguably rogue) administration with the attitudes and beliefs of the rest of the government and the people of the United States.

Extraordinary rendition (i.e. kidnapping), experimental interrogation techniques (i.e. physical and psychological torture), and extralegal detention (i.e. Camp X-Ray @ Guantanamo Bay) do not sit well with the vast majority of Americans, or members of its government, virtually all of whom clearly recognise such things for the dangers they pose to the rule of law and human rights.

The vast majority of the people of the United States are not behind, or supportive in any way, of the excesses of the Bush-Cheney administration. Which is why that same administration went to such great lengths to hide these things from the American public - and to engage in a deliberate campaign of legal chicanery, misdirection, and obfuscation once they did became public knowledge.

 :)

Point two: Has anybody been prosecuted? No. And they probably never will be.

Governments generally don't turn on their own - no matter how egregious the offences committed. That's why most war and government criminals escape punishment unless an outside tribunal (Nuremberg, the ICC, et al) somehow manages to prosecute. And usually over the objections of one or more countries.

That's because many countries, including the so-called civilised law-abiding western democracies, have all been guilty of similar offences at one time or another. And realise the wisdom to be found in the biblical admonition: Judge not lest you be judged.

I think the best we can ever hope for is that an abuse or injustice, done with the authority and consent of a government, simply be stopped. Beyond that, I'm not too hopeful - either that it doesn't happen again - or that those responsible be brought to book. There's not sufficient commitment or will within the law to go after everyone who's guilty. And the general public tends to quickly tire of the spectacle after 'first blood' is obtained.

Sad really. But that's the way it always seems to go. :(
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 06:10:14 PM by 40hz »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 05:54:42 PM »
Sorry I didn't mean to suggest that the majority of Americans believe that these things are OK - I know they don't.

The point I was making is that it is difficult for Americans to take the high moral ground against other countries when the US Government often seems to display little respect for law (international or otherwise) or human rights.

I could level the same argument against the UK government too - its not so long ago that our government were arguing for the right to imprison citizens of this country without charge, access to a lawyer or any other niceties of the judicial system by just uttering the very useful words 'national security'. We aren't so far from the Patriot Act oursleves - and I suspect Tony Blair was rather sorry to have not thought of it before George W.

40hz

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2011, 06:07:58 PM »
The point I was making is that it is difficult for Americans to take the high moral ground against other countries when the US Government often seems to display little respect for law (international or otherwise) or human rights.

On this point I think you'll find across the board agreement over here.

Right now there's a crushing sense of having fallen from on high with what's happened during the last decade. There's a definite moral crisis virtually all of us feel.

Hopefully we'll see our way through it, learn from our mistakes, deal with the embarrassment and self-reproach, and eventually get back to what we're supposed to be about.

And maybe somewhere down the road, through our new actions, we'll find cause to forgive ourselves - and be forgiven.
 :)

IainB

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2011, 08:54:23 PM »
The point I was making is that it is difficult for Americans to take the high moral ground against other countries when the US Government often seems to display little respect for law (international or otherwise) or human rights.

I could level the same argument against the UK government too...
Yes. I wish you were wrong, but sadly, this would seem to be an accurate couple of generalisations.

From a distance, I've tried to keep up with US and UK/European politics and cultural changes over the years.
The last time I went to the UK was in 2003, and I didn't like what I saw - but at least I was prepared for it.

I think this probably holds some truth as well:
We aren't so far from the Patriot Act oursleves - and I suspect Tony Blair was rather sorry to have not thought of it before George W.

Since at least the late '80s, successive UK governments seem to have been pushing to get the National ID card - or something similar accepted - and there has apparently been a huge increase in camera surveillance. Police stop and search for any arbitrary or specific reason now appears to be de rigueur. It's looking more and more like a Fascist police state.
See: Mark McGowan - This Is Not A Protest
There was another YouTube vid (I can't find it) of an American guy wandering round in the Barbican square with a sign that read "This is not a protest" (OWTTE) and using a loudhailer to talk to the people around him, and he had people filming it. He was an entertainer. The pseudo-police ("security officers") tried to stop the filming, tried to throw him out, but failed, and eventually the real police arrived and chucked him out. For causing no disturbance and for entertaining people. He was very funny and his main offence seemed to be that he made a complete laughing-stock of the pseudo and the real police.

I reckon that mocking Fascism - or any similar horror of a religio-political ideaology -  is a healthy exercise of free speech.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 09:06:30 PM by IainB »

Renegade

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2011, 09:17:11 PM »
I'm feeling an almost +1 for IainB's comments above...

What happened to this guy...

But I just can't...

I just cannot get past that what one does in one country is done in that country, and for another country to prosecute you for that is overstepping its jurisdiction.

Now, if you're *IN* Thailand and say something against the King or Queen, well, that's a different matter.

I think laws need to be taken in a cultural context (with some sanity injection of course), and that what works in one place may not work in another.

From what I have seen, the limit of freedom to speak out against the monarchy in Thailand isn't really that bad of a thing. From what I've seen and understand, the monarchy in Thailand works, and that protection for it seems to work.

But I'm no expert on the topic, and I could be totally off-base or misinformed. I simply don't know.

So, as I do plan on getting back to Thailand at some point, LONG LIVE THE KING~! ;D



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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2011, 11:26:23 PM »
I'm feeling an almost +1 for IainB's comments above...
What happened to this guy...
But I just can't...
...
So, as I do plan on getting back to Thailand at some point, LONG LIVE THE KING~! ;D
Yes, I quite understand.
I'm hoping to be able return to Thailand at some point too, so...
Quote
LONG LIVE THE KING!

I think if the UK had a similar lèse majesté law, then it would have been a good thing. Then we would not have had to have been subjected to all those awful Daily Mirror and News of the World and other media reports and exposés of the royal family's goings-on over the last umpteen years - including extra-marital affairs, bonking, toe-sucking, drunkenness, mistresses and lovers, divorces, bulimia, blatant and unethical deception for financial gain trading on the royal name, profiteering, financial profligacy and squandering, misguided proselytising, tree-hugging and general daftness, all performed ultimately at the State's cost.
I would most definitely exclude the Queen and the Duke from that list - she is simply superb at what she does and is a truly beautiful person, and he is magnificently forthright and honest. It's their family that seems to be mostly a waste of space.

Small wonder the Queen looks so much older than her 45 years.

Renegade

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2011, 01:34:16 AM »
I'm feeling an almost +1 for IainB's comments above...
What happened to this guy...
But I just can't...
...
So, as I do plan on getting back to Thailand at some point, LONG LIVE THE KING~! ;D
Yes, I quite understand.
I'm hoping to be able return to Thailand at some point too, so...
Quote
LONG LIVE THE KING!

I think if the UK had a similar lèse majesté law, then it would have been a good thing. Then we would not have had to have been subjected to all those awful Daily Mirror and News of the World and other media reports and exposés of the royal family's goings-on over the last umpteen years - including extra-marital affairs, bonking, toe-sucking, drunkenness, mistresses and lovers, divorces, bulimia, blatant and unethical deception for financial gain trading on the royal name, profiteering, financial profligacy and squandering, misguided proselytising, tree-hugging and general daftness, all performed ultimately at the State's cost.
I would most definitely exclude the Queen and the Duke from that list - she is simply superb at what she does and is a truly beautiful person, and he is magnificently forthright and honest. It's their family that seems to be mostly a waste of space.

Small wonder the Queen looks so much older than her 45 years.

Now THAT is a +1 for sure~! :D

I utterly abhor celebrity gossip and all the trash that goes along with it.

Like seriously, who cares?

It's one thing to have a side-note something along the lines of, oh, say, Rob Halford just came out of the closet, or Steve Balmer had a car accident and broke his leg, or Joe Spolsky got engaged, or Kerry King came down with the flu and the concert got canceled... But the way it's all dragged out... god... Do I really need to hear about every move these people make? Can't we just leave them alone?

As for the Queen and Duke - I really don't know. She really doesn't make many public addresses that get broadcast, and as far as I can see, there's not much going on there. But like I said, I just don't know. I don't follow gossip or news about the Queen. My questions would be about what she does as queen, which again, I just don't know. But then again, I suppose that says a good thing about her or rather a good thing about her lack of bad behaviour~! :D It's too bad that news doesn't report positive and uplifting things. Sigh...

Which reminds me... I believe that Tool summed this all up very nicely and very accurately in Vicarious:



It's a horrific statement on just how sick we as a society are, in that we need to see death and misery.




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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Carol Haynes

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2011, 04:30:23 AM »
But I just can't...

I just cannot get past that what one does in one country is done in that country, and for another country to prosecute you for that is overstepping its jurisdiction.

OK here is an extreme, and deliberately silly, for instance a UK citizen writes extensively about the need for uprising, rebellion and civil war in the US. Their writing is particularly effective at increasing tensions in the US and riots break out. The author being very pleased with themselves visits the US to view their handiwork - they don't actually get involved with any of the action but would the US government not be interested in their presence.

It wasn't that long ago that a UK representative at the UN was denied entry to the US simply because he was muslim - they let his white wife and children through before he realised what was going on.

Don't forget the US go one further - they go into other countries and snatch people that they consider a threat to US security, imprison them indefinitely without due process or access to lawyers.

You can't really expect other countries to give US citizens special exemption from their laws - no one is denying freedom to write or discuss opinions of a Royal family in the US but if you visit that country afterwards that was also his choice. Even in the US freedom of speech often has consequences!

Renegade

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2011, 05:02:49 AM »
OK here is an extreme, and deliberately silly, for instance a UK citizen writes extensively about the need for uprising, rebellion and civil war in the US. Their writing is particularly effective at increasing tensions in the US and riots break out. The author being very pleased with themselves visits the US to view their handiwork - they don't actually get involved with any of the action but would the US government not be interested in their presence.

Well, I think I disagree with you on how silly that is. :P ;D

But seriously... We all know that would end very badly for the poor fellow.

There is no US law to handle that situation. That's why everyone they don't like is a "terrorist". ;D

Speaking of...



It's related if you know the issues there. Point being, they don't need a reason to do anything they want.



It wasn't that long ago that a UK representative at the UN was denied entry to the US simply because he was muslim - they let his white wife and children through before he realised what was going on.


You'd kind of think that... oh... wait... thought doesn't apply here. :P


Don't forget the US go one further - they go into other countries and snatch people that they consider a threat to US security, imprison them indefinitely without due process or access to lawyers.


Yep. It's kind of hard to expect any other country to treate US citizens nicely when the US certainly won't be so kind themselves. What can you do? :(


You can't really expect other countries to give US citizens special exemption from their laws - no one is denying freedom to write or discuss opinions of a Royal family in the US but if you visit that country afterwards that was also his choice. Even in the US freedom of speech often has consequences!


Actually, now that you mention it, the US DOES have a law similar to Thailand -- You can't talk about assassinating the US President. Someone here I'm sure knows that law better than I do.


When I think about this issue more, I can't see how/why any topic should be disallowed in an open society like what the US is supposed to be. I can understand it for Thailand, but not being an expert on Thailand, I really have no opinion one way or the other. I think that's up to the Thai people entirely. I'm all for free speech, and, well... just don't know in that case...

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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2011, 05:10:13 AM »
But I just can't...

I just cannot get past that what one does in one country is done in that country, and for another country to prosecute you for that is overstepping its jurisdiction.
Oh, sorry, I missed that.
If a US citizen goes over to Thailand on a sex tour and has sex with children, and then goes back home to the US, will he be liable for prosecution in the US for paedophilia and/or sex with a minor?
Certainly, that is the case for Australian and New Zealand citizens.
That is an example of "...what (crime) one does in one country is done in that country, and prosecuted for in another country." That would not seem to be overstepping any jurisdiction.

The difference in this Thai case would seem to be in the nature of the adjudged crime. The law of lèse majesté only exists in Thailand, but in this case it was breached by an American Citizen publishing something on an internationally accessible medium - the Internet - so it was accessible from Thailand. The Thais do not run a totalitarian state and would not want to have to resort to censoring access to the Internet for all Thai citizens. The offence was not an offence in the US, so the US authorities could be of no help.

What to do?
Presumably where he might have been when he infringed the law was irrelevant to the Thai authorities, so that when he stepped into their territory, he was now in their jurisdiction and they took advantage of that fact and simply nabbed him at that point.

That would presumably make sense to the Thai authorities, though you might not like it.

Renegade

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2011, 06:07:12 AM »
But I just can't...

I just cannot get past that what one does in one country is done in that country, and for another country to prosecute you for that is overstepping its jurisdiction.
Oh, sorry, I missed that.
If a US citizen goes over to Thailand on a sex tour and has sex with children, and then goes back home to the US, will he be liable for prosecution in the US for paedophilia and/or sex with a minor?
Certainly, that is the case for Australian and New Zealand citizens.
That is an example of "...what (crime) one does in one country is done in that country, and prosecuted for in another country." That would not seem to be overstepping any jurisdiction.


I've ranted about this before:

On Sovereignty and States (Wikileaks and Child Sex Tourism)

Quick Summary: It's a slippery slope. Best not to go there.

A line needs to be drawn. <rant>Screaming and pleading and crying about "oh, it's for the children!" is a weak and pathetic plea meant to bend weak minds that aren't capable of reasoning properly. (It's a fallacious argument.)</rant> If it were really about the children, then it's better to step in and actually address the problem and not the symptom. <cynicism>However, there's no profit in that. Like who would want to do research on what makes paedophiles the way they are? How much money can you make? None.</cynicism>

Perhaps I'm a bit cynical there. However, you KNOW that will lead into a downward spiral. e.g. "Oh, but we already do that for child sex offenses. How about these terrorist intellectuals? They're a REAL threat to security! Better arrest them!"

The Julian Assange issue is the same issue. You can't prosecute people for what may be a crime in YOUR country, but isn't in another. Or at least not in a free and open society.


Now, for Thailand, like I said... Laws need to be in a cultural perspective. I'm not qualified to speak on Thailand, so I leave it at that.



The difference in this Thai case would seem to be in the nature of the adjudged crime. The law of lèse majesté only exists in Thailand, but in this case it was breached by an American Citizen publishing something on an internationally accessible medium - the Internet - so it was accessible from Thailand. The Thais do not run a totalitarian state and would not want to have to resort to censoring access to the Internet for all Thai citizens. The offence was not an offence in the US, so the US authorities could be of no help.

What to do?
Presumably where he might have been when he infringed the law was irrelevant to the Thai authorities, so that when he stepped into their territory, he was now in their jurisdiction and they took advantage of that fact and simply nabbed him at that point.

That would presumably make sense to the Thai authorities, though you might not like it.


Yeah... I just don't know. Thailand is Thailand. I'm not qualified to make any judgement there.

Sure, I'm all in favour of free speech, but...


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40hz

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2011, 07:32:38 AM »
Presumably where he might have been when he infringed the law was irrelevant to the Thai authorities, so that when he stepped into their territory, he was now in their jurisdiction and they took advantage of that fact and simply nabbed him at that point.

That would presumably make sense to the Thai authorities, though you might not like it.

One small step from that to making a justification for rendition and allowing extraterritorial enforcement of local laws  - as the United States has unilaterally declared for certain offenses.

Not a good idea. It was the same reasoning that led Norwegian police to arrest DeCSS developer Jon Johansen at the behest of U.S. authorities acting on a complaint from the MPAA that the simple act of creating DeCSS violated US law and was a criminal offense.

So why feel the need to bend over backwards to accommodate Thailand's paranoia and self-righteousness? If a western country were to do the same - say arresting an French blogger for criticizing the British Royal Family or the Swedish King - the denunciations would be immediate - and global.


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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2011, 07:57:24 AM »
Presumably where he might have been when he infringed the law was irrelevant to the Thai authorities, so that when he stepped into their territory, he was now in their jurisdiction and they took advantage of that fact and simply nabbed him at that point.

That would presumably make sense to the Thai authorities, though you might not like it.

One small step from that to making a justification for rendition and allowing extraterritorial enforcement of local laws  - as the United States has unilaterally declared for certain offenses.

Not a good idea. It was the same reasoning that led Norwegian police to arrest DeCSS developer Jon Johansen at the behest of U.S. authorities acting on a complaint from the MPAA that the simple act of creating DeCSS violated US law and was a criminal offense.

So why feel the need to bend over backwards to accommodate Thailand's paranoia and self-righteousness? If a western country were to do the same - say arresting an French blogger for criticizing the British Royal Family or the Swedish King - the denunciations would be immediate - and global.


Thank you for that moment of clarity. I think you've hit on something very important. I had not thought of governments kidnapping people like that. But you're right there.

I suppose I was clinging to some semblance of civility... My bad. :(
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IainB

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2011, 10:32:50 AM »
Sorry, I don't think that I said in any of my comments above that I actually thought:
  • that the lèse majesté law;
  • that rendition;
  • that allowing extraterritorial enforcement of local laws (e.g., laying charges against sex pedophile tourists returning home from a perverted holiday in Thailand);
- were necessarily good things per se.

I was not seeking to justify these things or be an apologist for them, but was merely trying to communicate an understanding of them from the likely Thai perspective as applied to the US citizen who was nabbed on re-entering Thailand.
For these purposes, my opinions on these things are largely immaterial and quite separate, and I do not wish to expound on them or argue for the "rightness" of my opinions.
These things are as they are.
Thus I would not necessarily be in a position to disagree with the majority of views put in this thread.

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Re: Huh? Thailand can put an American in jail for posting internet content??
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2011, 12:25:40 PM »
Ooops. Sorry if I mistook you there. It happens. :)
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IainB

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Good news to follow-up on this: Thai-American jailed on lese majeste charges gets pardon

Spoiler
Quote
BP blogged on the Thai-born naturalized American citizen Joe Gordon who was arrested in May 2011 on lese majeste charges, then later blogged when the US expressed disappointment when he was actually charged in August 2011 for translating The King Never Smiles, and blogged again when he was jailed for two and a half years in December 2011.

Now, AP reports:
Quote
A lawyer for an American imprisoned in Thailand for translating a banned book about the king says he has been granted a royal pardon, and the U.S. Embassy says he has been freed.
Joe Gordon was sentenced in December to two and a half years in prison for translating excerpts of the unauthorized biography “The King Never Smiles” from English into Thai. It’s one high-profile example of the severe punishments given for comments deemed insulting to Thailand’s royal family.
Gordon’s lawyer Arnon Numpa says the royal pardon was granted Tuesday. U.S. Embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler says Gordon was freed that night.

BP: Because he was a naturalized American citizen, his case became high profile – although it was dwarfed by the Uncle SMS case – but in reality the pardon also stems from the fact he pleaded guilty and thus followed the traditional way of responding to lese majeste charges.  As blogged on the case of an Australian back in 2008:
Quote
I also don’t think publicity helps his case and the more publicity it receives, the more the “freedom-of-speech-loving elements” of the Thai media (i.e Sopon, The Manager et al) will make it a public issue. He has two choices (1) fight the case and spend years in jail pending his trial and appeals, or (2) plead guilty, beg forgiveness and receive a pardon and be back in Australia next year (in all lese majeste cases against foreigners I am aware of, all those who have plead guilty have been granted a pardon). Seriously, who would choose (1) over (2)? Who wants to spend a few years in a Thai jail on the grounds of “principle”?

BP: Given the way that the Thai system works (2) is the option that most people, including Gordon, to take. His pardon took a few more months than BP would have anticipated, but it was just a matter of time of when. His pardon, of course, comes just before Yingluck meets Hillary in Cambodia…..

btw, Who will receive a pardon next?