Royalism: USA State Department warns tourist on Thai lese majeste risk

  • By Tammy Thai Intel’s humanity journalist

The other day, I was having a conversation with the top USA diplomat in Thailand. It was off record, and so I can not mention the person’s name. But my friend, the famous expatriate, Freaking Cat, asked the USA diplomat, quote: “Should not the USA warn tourist on lese majeste on their vacation in Thailand?”

  • The top diplomat said, quote: “We have.”

Then the discussion shifted to the USA “Iranian Hostage” crisis, way back, where the radical Iranians captured about 100 Americans are held them hostage. It was big news in America, and on TV, ABC had a “Nightly News” on the hostage crisis.

Well, after things cooled down, the hostages were released one by one, and the last hostage to be released, were those hostage with families that went on ABC and criticized the Iranian government.

  • “We are focusing on a pardon,” said the top USA diplomat to Thailand, asked by Freaking Cat, what is the USA doing to help Joe Gordon, the American imprisoned for lese majeste in Thailand.

But then, perhaps, the USA can do more to help Joe Gordon.

I really do not know. These hostage situations are very complex. If Kristie Kenny, the USA ambassador to Thailand, bitch at the Thai government too much, then surely, the Thai establishment will treat the “Pardon Attempt” negatively.

  • But then again, to hear the latest out of the State Department, that the Thai USA relations will not be hurt by the Joe Gordon hostage situation, is really discouraging. It is like the USA, showing its hand, even before the game is play out. And clearly, it means, other dimensions, of Thai USA relations is more important.

That message came out of Washington DC, and so perhaps, Kristie Kenny, did not approve it. Thai Intel’s must say, that the impression Thai Intel got, from that top USA diplomat in Thailand, is that the USA does care about Joe Gordon. But the real question is, how much?

  • The following is from Travel State Gov website:

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are in Thailand, you are subject to Thai laws and penalties, even if you are a U.S. citizen. If you violate Thai laws, even unknowingly, you may be fined, arrested, imprisoned or expelled. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own.

For example, Thais hold the King and the royal family in the highest regard, and it is a serious criminal offense in Thailand to make critical or defamatory comments about them. This particular crime, called “lese majeste,” is punishable by a prison sentence of three to fifteen years.

The offenses include actions that in the U.S. would be sanctioned as the exercise of free speech. If you use the Internet for this crime, you may be subject to additional criminal sanctions of up to seven additional years in prison. Thai authorities actively search for and investigate Internet postings, including blog entries and links to other sites, for lèse majesté content.

They have arrested and charged U.S. citizens and others with lèse majesté offenses for actions that occurred outside of Thailand. You can also be charged if you do not remove a potentially offensive item fast enough from an Internet site you control. Purposely tearing or destroying Thai bank notes, which carry an image of the King, may also be considered a lese majeste offense, as can spitting on or otherwise defiling an official uniform bearing royal insignia.

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