Friday, October 21, 2011

A-Holes In Holes

By now, you’ve all heard the big news:  Khadafi  is dead!  Earlier this week, rebel forces in Libya seized control of the Khadafi stronghold of Sirte where they captured and killed Khadafi, ending his brutal 42 year reign.

Here’s how it went down:  Libyan officials said that Kadhafi was hiding in some sort of hole or tunnel network.  And that he was pulled from the hole/tunnel network alive and that he was killed by the rebels.

Now if you recall, American troops pulled former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, out of a hole in December 2003.  Also remember that in the lead-up to the July 3 vote in Thailand, the former Deputy Prime Minister of that country, Suthep Thaugsuban, said that he might have to burrow and live underground if Jatuporn Prompan, whom he brands as a terrorist could win a seat in Parliament and grab power.  Jatuporn won his seat.

So evidently, totalitarian style thugs who order the brutal killing of their own people are a nocturnal burrowing species.

 All A-holes please raise their right hand.

Karma catches up with everyone eventually! Two down, one to go.

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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Justice and Free Speech Fight Back Against Lèse Majesté

I have to apologize for my previous posting. The gang rape of justice and free speech wasn’t a very uplifting message. The subject and cartoon was sad, frustrating and downright depressing.  It suggested that “all is lost” and that there is nothing that can be done to stop the “Thai royalist bastards” from doing what they want and getting away with it.  

I turn to the words of the great American Poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

And in despair I bowed my head.
There is no peace on earth I said.
For hate is strong and mocks the song,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

But we shouldn’t despair.  All is not lost.  Justice and free speech don’t have to be victims. They are the only forces which can actually fight and defeat Thailand’s lèse majesté laws and those who use them for their own personal gain.

If we all speak out loud and strong and insist on freedom of speech and justice then lèse majesté laws can be eliminated and placed in the dustbins of history. 

Then rang the bells more loud and deep,
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right, prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.

On that note, I offer the following cartoon depicting the symbols of free speech and justice victorious over the forces of evil.  Consider this scene as happening moments after the scene depicted in the cartoon of my last post.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lèse Majesté: The Rape of Justice and Free Speech

A rape is an act of plunder, abuse, despoliation and violation. Rape is about power and control.

Anyone can file a police complaint of lèse majesté in Thailand. If arrested bail is routinely denied thus also denying those accused of adequately being able to defend themselves. 

They are often detained in jail for several years awaiting trial. This lengthy incarceration is a form of pressure to force the detainees to plead guilty. They are repeatedly offered deals to do so and if they don’t plead guilty, then the authorities drag out the case so that the accused simply languishes in jail. 

A charge of lèse majesté carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. And with each charge, multiple counts are added, increasing prison sentences exponentially.

Trials for lèse majesté are traditionally held in secret, for reasons of  'national security.’ Closed secret trials translate to mock trials. According to some sources, conviction rates in lèse majesté cases are at around 98%.  

Justice has been raped!

By its very nature lèse majesté represents a gross and vicious attack on freedom of speech and freedom of expression.  It is used as a potent political weapon.  Royalists in the military, the bureaucracy, and the Democrat Party have used it to crush dissent.  Many people are in prison in Thailand for merely expressing their beliefs in a peaceful way.

The climate of fear that lèse majesté causes has fueled increases in censorship of all types, as well as self-censorship in the print and online media in Thailand.

Free Speech has been raped!