American Civil Liberties: Straight Outta Thailand

American Civil Liberties: Straight Outta Thailand


This week an American citizen was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison for ‘threatening’ the royal family of Thailand in a trial that no one outside of that country would think was remotely just or fair. Joe Gordon, a 55 year old Thai-born American citizen and used car salesmen, was found guilty of violating lese-majeste: a wide ranging law that allows the government of Thailand to jail people for vast sums of time for any perceived threats or insults against the monarchs.

How far reaching is this lese-majeste law?

Recently a 60 year old man was sentenced to 20 years in jail for supposedly sending out text messages that insulted the Queen.

In Gordon’s case it was even more esoteric. He was found guilty of translating the book “The King Never Smiles” a critical assessment of the monarchy, several years ago and posting passages online. In a recent visit to Thailand for a medical procedure they arrested him for these postings made years ago, from the United States. What a horrible police state right? What a violation of civil liberties!

Well before you get indignant consider what is being done in the United States.

Last night in typical form it took John Stewart and the Daily Show to point out the continued corrosion of our American civil liberties while the mainstream press does nothing but follow the presidential dog and pony show. Last night, with minimal debate, the Senate added a rider to the provisional defense bill allowing the U.S. to permanently detain any American found guilty of terrorism without trial.

Read that again: The ability to permanently detain ANY AMERICAN for terrorism without a trial to actually prove they’ve committed a terrorist act.

Detention without trial is the textbook definition of a police state. Hopefully, the State Department will do all they can to release Joe Gordon and he can come back home safely to the United States. But if he was hoping to breath air that was a little freer than what he experienced in Thailand he better take some quick breaths because we’re steadily moving in their direction.