Friday, October 14, 2011

Thailand’s Political Prisoners and Halloween Party at Don Muang

The lack of effort and response of the US embassy in Thailand in protecting the rights of American citizen Joe Gordon and procuring his release is downright shameful. Instead of righteously condemning lèse majesté and demanding Mr. Gordon’s release, the best they could muster was to register "public disappointment" on the filing of the formal charges three months after his arrest.

Of course, some embassy officials did visit him in jail and did attend some of his hearings, but this was all just to keep up appearances. Bail was denied on eight different occasions until Joe finally gave up fighting for his innocence.

Joe knew the score. He couldn’t win. After over four months of being incarcerated, a disheartened Joe Gordon, wearing handcuffs and ankle shackles, entered a Thai courtroom to plead guilty. His lawyer said that he wanted the penalty to be lessened and intended to ask for a royal pardon.

Gordon told the reporters that pleading innocent was futile. “How can I fight?” he said, adding that the justice system in Thailand is “not fair.”

I want the American government to help me because this is about freedom of expression,” Gordon said.

But there will be no help from our American diplomats in Thailand.  Joe has nothing to offer in return for their aid.

The Thai government, on the other hand, has plenty to offer the US government to maintain a low profile in this case and for not criticizing their draconian lèse majesté law. For instance, how about allowing the US Central IntelligenceAgency a private torture chamber at Don Muang Airport to interrogate Libyan prisoners?

It seems the inaction of Ambassador Kristie Kenney and her staff at the embassy fulfills the US government’s part of the bargain.  Party on.

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