Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

US Citizen Visiting Thailand Arrested For Blog Posting

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the otherwise-I'd-like-to-go dept.

Censorship 456

societyofrobots writes "A US citizen, upon visiting Thailand for medical treatment, was arrested for lese majeste (insulting the king) and computer crimes ('entering false information into a computer system'). He is charged for posting a link on his blog to a banned book, The King Never Smiles, and for translating excerpts of it. He made the posting four years ago in 2007, while in the US. Trials for lese majeste are traditionally held in secret, for reasons of 'national security'. AFP has more information."

cancel ×

456 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

"lese majeste" (4, Insightful)

koreaman (835838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281862)

Latin for "law that let's us put whoever the fuck we want in jail"

Re:"lese majeste" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281976)

This is french: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A8se_majest%C3%A9

Re:"lese majeste" (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282046)

Even the king himself has been censored under these rules. He gave his blessing to a biography that was later banned for insulting the king.

He's also against these rules and has sworn to pardon anyone tried under these rules, so we can at least hope the US guy gets off scot-free.

Re:"lese majeste" (5, Interesting)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282100)

The problem with Thailand is that the king himself has spoken out about the use of les majeste against the population, but the political parties ignore him. The king claimed (before he became as ill as he is now) that anyone can comment on the family, just not be abusive about it.

There's a bigger problem brewing though. When the king dies, which won't be far off judging by his health, the crown prince will take over. This guy is an idiot, thinks he's some sort of playboy. He is the total opposite of what a Thai royal should be, so there will be a lot of anger against the crown. The only thing that keeps Thailand together at this stage is the current king, so it will be interesting where this goes.

As for this American guy, well, he shouldn't have gone to Thailand if he's going to be linking banned books and posting excerpts. There's enough information on how Thailand's authorities view both the book and it's claims. Feeling sorry for him is like feeling sorry for the drug smugglers in a Bali prison, they knew the laws of the country, and if not, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

Re:"lese majeste" (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282190)

While I agree about avoiding travel to shithole jurisdictions whose laws I'm on the wrong side of, I have to wonder whether this guy has some backstory that made him more interesting to the locals.

Unless the Thai authorities are way ahead of the game, they must have about a zillion other cases that they could be taking an interest in(or local troublemakers they feel like beating down, it isn't stability city over there), rather than some random Yank who said something mean four years ago, and (seeing as he went there for treatment) will either be leaving when recovered or going out the back door, depending on what he is being treated for. He seems like a low-priority case.

Is this just a matter of some google-using authoritarian jackoff justifying his job by bring cases, no matter how cold and irrelevant, or is the american in question of interest for some other reason(suspected enthusiasm for underage ladyboys, dubiously ethical business dealings, meddling in local revolutionary politics, or something) and this is just the easiest way to bring him in?

Re:"lese majeste" (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282194)

The problem with Thailand is that the king himself has spoken out about the use of les majeste against the population, but the political parties ignore him. The king claimed (before he became as ill as he is now) that anyone can comment on the family, just not be abusive about it.

Don't be so fucking naive.

The political parties doesn't ignore him. He's not the Queen of England and he has a traditional influence in Thai politics and has interfered in public life since he's come to power. The lese majeste laws are useful to him, so he keeps it around. He just pardons expats or minor abuses so he can pose as a nice guy. When it's useful, you're fucking going to be judged in secret and then will be DEAD.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej is an ASSHOLE. Let's put the truth out there!

Bhumibol ascended the throne following the death by gun-shot wound of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, on 9 June 1946 in mysterious circumstances, prompting suggestions that Bhumibol had been involved in or responsible for his death.

That evening, Sarit Dhanarajata seized power, and two hours later Bhumibol imposed martial law throughout the Kingdom.[33] Bhumibol issued a Royal Command appointing Sarit as "Military Defender of the Capital" without anyone countersigning this Royal Command.

Bhumibol retains enormous powers, partly because of his immense popularity and partly because his powers - although clearly defined in the Thai constitution - are often subject to conflicting interpretations. This was highlighted by the controversy surrounding the appointment of Jaruvan Maintaka as Auditor-General. Jaruvavn had been appointed by The State Audit Commission. However, the Constitutional Court ruled in July 2004 that her appointment was unconstitutional. Jaruvan refused to vacate her office without an explicit order from Bhumibol, on the grounds that she had previously been royally approved. When the Senate elected a replacement for Jaruvan, Bhumibol refused to approve him.[75] The Senate declined to vote to override Bhumibol's veto.[76] Finally in February 2006 the Audit Commission reinstated Jaruvan when it became clear from a memo from the Office of the King's Principal Private Secretary that King Bhumibol supported her appointment.

He's the effective ruler of Thailand, he plays around with the military coups to keep his power (Thailand has a military coup every other day) and he likes the fucking lese majeste laws.

Stop with this the King is a nice guy propaganda bullshit. The Thai might like to have a dictator in power and that's their problem but he's not a powerless king that loves his people. He's a politician like every other.

You're comparing drug smuggling and free speech? (1, Insightful)

accessbob (962147) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282202)

You're comparing drug smuggling and free speech? Which planet are you from again?

Re:"lese majeste" (2, Informative)

MechaStreisand (585905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282208)

As for this American guy, well, he shouldn't have gone to Thailand if he's going to be linking banned books and posting excerpts. There's enough information on how Thailand's authorities view both the book and it's claims. Feeling sorry for him is like feeling sorry for the drug smugglers in a Bali prison, they knew the laws of the country, and if not, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

No. He did that years ago, in the US, and he's a US citizen. Translating part of a book shouldn't ban you from a country forever. Equating what he did with smuggling drugs is absurd. You should kill yourself to make the world a better place.

Re:"lese majeste" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282272)

Translating part of a book shouldn't ban you from a country forever.

Don't worry about that, there's no chance of him being banned from the country. In fact he'll be lucky if they let him leave at all.

Re:"lese majeste" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282312)

"He did that years ago, in the US, and he's a US citizen. Translating part of a book shouldn't ban you from a country forever."

Yeah, and I'm sure US will be really happy to let you in if they'd known you're been translating and promoting "terrorist" and anti-US books before.

He is lucky it was the authorities who catched him. If he was going around talking bullshit about the king there would had been a really good change the locals would have seriously kicked his ass or even beat him up so much that he dies.

And don't start talking about how speech is free in the US (except when it's not), because different cultures value different things. US has some serious problem with trying to make everyone think and do what they say. Would you just leave rest of the world fucking alone?

And frankly, I love living in Thailand. But I'm not a little kid who has to do something just because he is told he is not allowed to.

Re:"lese majeste" (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282332)

If you want to head to Bumrungrad for medical treatment, then you should not be stupid about the implications of what you say. There should be some level of statute of limitations, but I would vote for a backstory here.

On a side note, RIP Charlie, of Scuba Junction, son of Sang Tip, the king of Koh Tao. 1997ish to today.

Re:"lese majeste" (2, Insightful)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282340)

The parent posted something that you disagree with and you advocate for his death? That sounds absurd to me too.

Translating a book shouldn't ban you from a country forever. Posting a comment on slashdot shouldn't sentence you to death.

Re:"lese majeste" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282350)

No. He did that years ago, in the US, and he's a US citizen. Translating part of a book shouldn't ban you from a country forever.

No, that would be as ridiculous as banning someone from a country because they were only arrested (not charged) with a minor drug offence twenty years previously.

Their country, their (stupid) rules.

Re:"lese majeste" (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282246)

Here in England, we can say what we like about the Queen, and the last time an English monarch complained about it, we cut his head off for treason!  Prince charles says that when he becomes king he will use his position for political dissent.  Yeah, try it mate...  actually nobody will listen to the pro-homeopathy nutcase with a business selling overpriced biscuits (cookies)

Re:"lese majeste" (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282348)

The current Thai king isn't like say european kings, good or bad kings they come and go with a bit of scandal and that is all. In Thailand it's more like:

Deity
|
King
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
People

Rest of world:

Deity
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
King
|
People

I really hope that country doesn't go to hell because the people there are very nice, very friendly. A lot of people to fool money out of tourists, but very little violence, robberies and other shit you get in many poor countries. And they try to keep foreigners out of their own problems, even when it comes to riots.

Re:"lese majeste" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282376)

Actually, it's French.

dumb fuck (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281878)

expecting that the world is a free place. Action - consequence.

Re:dumb fuck (5, Informative)

zonky (1153039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281920)

Summary is not clear, but he is a Thai Citizen as well as US.

Re:dumb fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281972)

Summary is not clear, but he is a Thai Citizen as well as US.

And thus has no excuse for not knowing better.

Re:dumb fuck (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282270)

No one has an excuse for not knowing the local laws. Being foreign won't get you off, ever. But consider yourself lucky - in ancient Rome it was actually against the law for the plebs to know the laws, although of course they could be judged and executed by them.

Re:dumb fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282074)

Ah so maybe it wasn't a sex trip.

Re:dumb fuck (2)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282316)

Is anyone else absolutely sick of sensationalized headlines?

Re:dumb fuck (2)

OutLawSuit (1107987) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281936)

Except it looks like he made the post 4 years ago while in the United States. Just making a critical statement about a country then getting arrested for it years down the road while visiting isn't a very good precedent. I'm sure since this guy is a US citizen, the State Department will work something out though.

Re:dumb fuck (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281984)

*cough* [wikipedia.org]

Re:dumb fuck (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282040)

I think that is what the statute of limitations is for.

Re:dumb fuck (2)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282248)

You can be sure if Julian Assange visited the US now he'd be arrested and charged with breaking US laws(or at least pissing off powerful members of the US government which is basically the same thing) despite being in a different country at the time and not being a US citizen.

because ultimately "patriots" tend to believe that since their own country is the best it's laws are the best and since it's laws are the best they should apply to everyone, everywhere, always and it's only a matter of if you can get hold of people to punish them.

If you publish information no matter how legal it is to publish from where you live or where you're posting from- keep the hell away from any fascist governments which you may have offended for the rest of your life.

It may be the the Chinese government, it may be the government of Thailand or it may even be the US government but if you're smart just stay the hell away.

I have this important message (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281912)

The king of Thailand is a dirty bastard who fucked a chicken. On multiple occasions. In the ass.

Re:I have this important message (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281986)

The King of Thailand throws puppies at the elderly. Not intended to be a ...

Re:I have this important message (2)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282050)

The King of Thailand absolutely loves découpage

Re:I have this important message (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282212)

Oooh, kinky...

Re:I have this important message (1, Redundant)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282278)

So?

Re:I have this important message (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281990)

My real name is Anonym Cowerd, you insensitive clod. How will I now visit Thailand?

Re:I have this important message (0)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282060)

The king of Thailand is a dirty bastard who fucked a chicken. On multiple occasions. In the ass.

Yet you're too much of a coward to post with your real name?

Re:I have this important message (2)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282136)

Or, not everybody who posts here bothers to have an account. The hating on AC thing is retarded.

Re:I have this important message (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282236)

THANK YOU!!! I would have said it myself, but I was too scared.

._. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281914)

This is why you research the laws of the place you are visiting before you make the actual visit.

Re:._. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281928)

This is why you dont visit dirty, impoverished third world countries.

Re:._. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282112)

Absolutely. That's why I avoid the U.S.

Re:._. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282186)

But then you won't score the Thai ladyboys.

Re:._. (1)

flowwolf (1824892) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282182)

Not insightful at all. People don't even read the summary any more before making silly assumptions. He didn't make the post inside the country. He made it 4 years earlier from America and they arrested him when he came to the country. What ever happened to people understanding context? Why are younger generations throwing this concept out the window? These are rhetorical of course. I feel I have to underline that as context isn't enough to distinguish these things any more.

Careful now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281922)

Remember to be careful with your comments if you ever want to go to Thailand...

Re:Careful now (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281934)

Why would I ever want to visit that country again?

Re:Careful now (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281968)

Why would I ever want to visit that country again?

Because you like to fuck little boys?

Note to self: (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281956)

Add Thailand to the list of countries that are unsafe to visit until the revolution.

Re:Note to self: (1)

agge (1244568) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282038)

The depressing thing is that it is few countries that don't deserve a place on that list.

Re:Note to self: (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282338)

Sure there are! Like... no.... maybe not them... no...definitely not...well...

Aha! Somalia! Absolutely no censorship, if only because there's no real government to enforce it. And they apparently have pretty good comms, compared to most of that continent. I'll just pack some self-defense gear (is it possible to buy a Mk 19 on the civilian market?), and telecommute to work. Hell, the way outsourcing is going...

Re:Note to self: (1)

terbo (307578) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282124)

the revolution where everyone understands that the map is not the territory?

Re:Note to self: (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282220)

The cool thing about Thailand is that they've been through 17 constitutions(and more governments) since 1932, and basically all of them have afforded at least theoretical deference to the king. Your heuristic might have hit a corner case here.

Re:Note to self: (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282304)

I wasn't talking about a local revolution...

jurisdiction? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281958)

I take it places like that assume their laws apply globally?

Wonder what kind of an argument that would make in a real court there, bringing up a scenario where someone from Thailand had an affair while in Thailand and then flew to somewhere in the middle east where that was a capital offense, and got arrested at risk of execution?

But then it's a "secret trial" which usually translates to a "mock trial". I'd expect those trials have a 99.999% conviction rate. I wonder why they bother with them? it's not like it's helping their image...

The only way they could legitimately say they have any sort of jurisdiction is if he make his posts on a server IN Thailand. But I rather doubt that's what happened.

Re:jurisdiction? (4, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281998)

"places like that"?

Like the US? India? UK? All countries currently trying to extract (or recently did) people for committing a crime that didn't break any local laws.

Re:jurisdiction? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282068)

Agreed. This is a good and relevant story that needs more attention. When people in the US are routinely indignant, offended, upset or even outraged by this sort of behavior of other governments, we then need to point to our own US government which has done similar and even worse things quite recently.

There is a lot of "people don't want to believe we are bad" going on here which shows us more of people being blinded to the facts by belief. Hell, I still want to believe that the US is "the good guys."

Re:jurisdiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282150)

Hell, I still want to believe that the US is "the good guys."

That one died a long long time ago.

Re:jurisdiction? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282224)

There is a lot of "people don't want to believe we are bad" going on here which shows us more of people being blinded to the facts by belief.

I finished reading this [bestrussianbuy.com] (a text, not the audio book) just yesterday. It's quite on topic.

Spoiler alert or not, the story is pretty sad. A common guy from the modern world magically, against his wish, ends up being a "Dark Lord" in a magical land. However he is a "Dark Lord" in name only - he is not doing anything bad at all, and he is maintaining his kingdom as well as he can. He has a magical artifact that allows him to kill, but he doesn't have to use it.

It then appears that the rest of the world (all kingdoms) decided to wage a PR campaign against him, as they did against his predecessors. They accuse him of unspeakable crimes, dark magic (of which he isn't even capable of, outside of the use of his artifact) etc. etc. This is done because those kingdoms want his death because they need an external, convenient enemy to keep their people in check; they need a version of Emmanuel Goldstein.

The kings gather a 150,000 army and call it "the army of the light." The army marches toward the guy's kingdom and barbarically kills and destroys everything and everyone in their path. When they arrive at the citadel of the guy they send a dragon against civilians who are hiding in underground caves, and the dragon burns them all. The army of the light goes on like that for a while, driven by political ambition and not concerned about morality. At the same time "the Dark Lord", a pacifist, contemplates his willingness to open a certain Pandora's box and release forces that are likely to kill everything and everyone. In the end the citadel falls, everyone around the guy is viciously murdered.

The idea of the story is that it's not enough to declare yourself "a good guy." You also need to be a good guy. But too many people and countries don't bother to do the latter; they only focus on PR, correctly believing that most people are fools. In the end the evil, under the name of "good guys," is victorious.

Re:jurisdiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282062)

May I remind you of the killing of some guy called Bin Laden who hadn't been in the US for years, and wasn't even given a trial?

Re:jurisdiction? (0)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282090)

I take it places like that assume their laws apply globally?

Well, ignoring countries that abduct people from other countries to try them locally (North Korea, Israel, etc), in this case the Thais arrested a Thai citizen.

Dmitry Sklyarov was not a U.S. citizen, yet he had the misfortune of travelling to the U.S., where he was immediately arrested, despite not breaking any crimes while in the U.S.

The King of Thailand Sucks Wet Stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281962)

The king of Thailand is an inbred pedophile nazi with no education and a very nasty infectious disease which he is spreading via sexual relations with his sister and aunts and male cousins.

AFP (1)

amnesia_tc (1983602) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281966)

Am I the only one who read "AFP" as Amanda Fucking Palmer first?

Re:AFP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282022)

Yes.

Re:AFP (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282028)

Yes. The rest of us know it stands for Agence France Presse.

That's the consequence of using your real name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281970)

That's the consequence of using your real name for everything on the Internet. I always wondered why people started this stupid fad.

-- AC

Re:That's the consequence of using your real name (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282002)

Well, it is not really a fad started by someone. Anyway, personally I always try to do so whatever possible, but know in the real world that it is not always possible.

Re:That's the consequence of using your real name (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282020)

And that there are many reasons why. Some of the problems can be easily fixed of course (for example the move to PR 2.0 fix a lot of the problems relating to companies), some not so easily.

Thai Citizenship (3, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282010)

It seems this guy was a Thai immigrant who earned US Citizenship.
However, he might still hold Thai Citizenship, and in that event, the guy will have no US Protections

Obey local laws (1)

david_craig (892495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282024)

When abroad obey local laws. I haven't even been to Thailand and I know not to insult the king there.

He did something that was illegal in the country that he was visiting. He was born there so knew that it was illegal. I don't see where the story is.

Re:Obey local laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282084)

The point is that he didn't do something that was illegal in the country he was visiting while he was visiting it.

The comments were posted while he was in the USA. This would be the same as you visiting England and getting busted for firearms offences because you own a gun legally in the USA - even though you didn't take it with you.

Re:Obey local laws (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282310)

... or like making a PDF decryption system while living outside the US, and then get arrested for it when visiting the US?

Or what would happen to Julian Assange if he ever set foot on US soil? Pretty much the same thing as this guy, I bet -- a quick arrest, and a certainty that any trial would be far from fair. Assange didn't insult Bumbledore, but American generals and politicians, but the indignation about being exposed and resulting power abuse would be the same.

Once we in the US stop applying our laws to the rest of the world, we can expect the rest of the world not to apply their laws to us. Not before. Stop being fucking bigots.

Re:Obey local laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282094)

When abroad obey local laws. I haven't even been to Thailand and I know not to insult the king there.

... He was born there so knew that it was illegal. I don't see where the story is.

In a country where his act wasn't a crime, he did something that [is] illegal in the country that later, he was visiting.

The issue here isn't the above, as for example, no one bats an eye at convicting child sex tourists. The issue is the lunacy of the crime itself. It's reasons like this that I don't like visiting countries run by arbitrary regimes.

Re:Obey local laws (2)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282096)

He obeyed local laws. What he failed to do was to obey the local laws of a country he wasn't in at the time.

Re:Obey local laws (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282296)

If as they say he had Thai citizenship it doesn't matter, then Thailand can pass extraterritorial laws over him. That is for example how child sex tourism laws works, you can be tried and convicted in your home country even if you complied with local law of the country you were visiting. Now you may disagree with this particular law, but the principle that countries can pass laws over their own citizens that apply outside their own borders is well established.

Re:Obey local laws (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282116)

He wasn't abroad, he was at home. He posted that while in the U.S., the country in which he resides and is a citizen.

Re:Obey local laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282342)

He did it knowing full well that it was illegal in Thailand since he was 35 years old when he left Thailand. Premediation in the act, double the time in jail.

Re:Obey local laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282118)

Summary. Third sentence.

Similar laws in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282036)

While I'm all for freedom of expression and speach, we should note that similar laws exist in the US as well, although the boundaries are in different place. Threatening the president of the United States [wikipedia.org] , such as saying "I'm going to kick your ass, President" counts as a class D felony under US Code.

Just sayin' before the shitstorm hits the fan.

Re:Similar laws in the US (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282196)

Threatening the president of the United States, such as saying "I'm going to kick your ass, President" counts as a class D felony under US Code.

Considering that 9% of those who reached that office were assassinated while in power, I think this is not a totally injudicious law.

Insulting the POTUS, however, is not a felony, feel free to do so.

Re:Similar laws in the US (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282266)

While I'm not a huge fan of the fact that threatening the president is more serious than threatening other people, there is kind of a large difference between "threatening" and "insulting".

You can insult the president all you like(in practice, even in situations where private citizens or celebrities might reach for the libel suit, presidents don't seem to bother), you just can't threaten to kill, injure, or kidnap him. Even then, because of the first amendment concerns, the secret service typically ignores many of the less dangerous looking cases.

This Just In: Not All Countries Have Are Free (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282044)

For those who don't live in a Monarchy, for loyalists, insulting the King is equivalent to insulting the country, and can lead to civil war. Not all countries have freedom of speech. Be grateful if you do, and protect it. Hell, even in the US there are people being held without trial, all for associating with someone who's major crime is embarassing the government. Is this news?, yes, but we shouldn't be surprised when less-free countries have LESS FREEDOMS.

Also, something everyone seems to be skipping over is the fact the he left the US for Thailand for medical treatement.

LEFT THE US FOR THAILAND. I think that's a bit more of a news story, that the US health care system is so bad that he has to fly to Thailand to get treated.

Re:This Just In: Not All Countries Have Are Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282244)

Since he's also a Thai citizen, perhaps he's just entitled to free medical care there or something.

Re:This Just In: Not All Countries Have Are Free (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282306)

LEFT THE US FOR THAILAND. I think that's a bit more of a news story, that the US health care system is so bad that he has to fly to Thailand to get treated.

That's not unusual at all. Plenty of people who immigrated to US, go to their countries of origin for medical treatment. Unless it's something urgent, or a treatment that is only available in US, it's almost always cheaper with the same level of quality.

Re:This Just In: Not All Countries Have Are Free (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282354)

I'm sure that I'm just tilting at windmills here; but I don't think that the US medical situation is news to anybody: As with schools, if you have deep pockets you can get among the best, hence the steady stream of foreign dignitaries and suits(some amusingly embarrassing in retrospect) showing up for the purpose. If you don't, though, quality can often drop off much faster than cost(with a little bump up down at the very bottom, where the ER people are legally obligated to scrape your ass off the street even if they can't collect). In a number of other countries, the price/quality drop off is far less steep, and thus much more sensible(and, if this guy was thai, he may also have had handy things like helpful family...)

Born in Thailand (1)

ad454 (325846) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282056)

This man was born in Thailand, and was treated as Thai citizen. Why on Earth would this idiot expect that also having a US passport would automatically exempt him from Thai laws (no matter how stupid and repressive they are) that other Thai citizens are subjected, when we was on Thai soil?

Consider the case of Iranian Canadian Hossein_Derakhshan who was thrown in jail because he visited Israel:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hossein_Derakhshan [wikipedia.org]

At least in both cases, these individuals had at least some minor assistance from their foreign embassies, which locals do not get.

Pressure needs to be applied globally to force *ALL* countries to support human rights, privacy, freedom of speech + movement, etc.!

Re:Born in Thailand (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282336)

"Human rights" is currently a code word for "puppet government loyal to US". As long as this is the case, I suggest keeping your human rights initiatives WITHIN your own country.

Re:Born in Thailand (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282344)

Pressure needs to be applied globally to force *ALL* countries to support human rights, privacy, freedom of speech + movement, etc.!

Encourage? Yes. Lead by example? Yes. Assist with revolution? Yes. Force to change? No. It is up to the people of a sovereign country to decide what they want their country to be. It is not the place of another country to impose their views and morality on another country. That is merely war by another means.

Fuck Thailand (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282070)

What a shithole.

Boundaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282098)

Life, globally, is now officially gray. There is now no delineation between the physical and digital worlds. Consider yourself warned!

Freedom? Something defined by the moment. Nothing more.

Charged at eight, pardoned by dawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282122)

The King doesn't think very highly of this law, which could be one of the reasons a lot of Thais love the guy. He's pardoned people who were convicted of this ludicrous offence and has even said publicly that it disappoints him to see it used. This guy will plead not guilty, then he'll be talked to by some government people, then his plea will miraculously change to "guilty", he'll be slapped with some meaningless sentence which the King will commute to a fine and deportation. Next story please.

Re:Charged at eight, pardoned by dawn (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282274)

While it is helpful for the specific guy in question, laws that are selectively enforced to the point of meaninglessness are, perhaps, among the most dangerous. Because they have such a ceremonial feel to them, and usually don't come down hard on people who matter, they stick around; but you can blow the dust off them and give somebody a good hard whack any time you like...

Correlation? (1)

EricX2 (670266) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282154)

I don't understand what happened here. He was born in Thailand. Lived there for 35 years. Moved to the United States. Lived there for 30 years. During that time he posted a blog that if he was in Thailand when he posted it, he would have gotten in trouble. Later, he traveled to Thailand for a medial procedure (wtf can he get done in Thailand that he can't get done in the US, maybe a brain transplant?).

Is there part of the medical paperwork where it asks for your blog posts in the past 10 years? Was he on a 'blog watch list' and apprehended as he entered the country?

There is part of the story that is being left out, what I think is the most important part.

Screw anyone who dismissed privacy. (1)

WoollyMittens (1065278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282158)

This, people, is why privacy IS important after all.

Re:Screw anyone who dismissed privacy. (1)

TheChromaticOrb (931032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282234)

No, this is why human rights and freedom of speech are important. If you want privacy, don't make public statements (like posting on a blog).

Should have known better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282164)

Am I supposed to garner sympathy for this guy? Maybe he should go hiking in Iraq next. I know not to visit many counties simply because I am an Atheist and the locals might find out and burn me. This guy involved himself in the politics of a nation that will imprison you for spitting on money that has an image of their king.

Fleshlight Nightlight Keeps Kings Happy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282180)

does The King fancy fleshlights?

Enemy Combatant/Lone Wolf (2)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282192)

If the US can do it so can everyone else.

Oh Yeah, USA, Bastion of freedom of speech (3, Interesting)

ross.w (87751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282250)

Julian Assange will be watching this case with interest, and would be amused at all the "how dare they, he's a citizen of a free country" posts.

Plus ça change... (1)

frisket (149522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282252)

It seems little has changed.

Read Pepys' Diary for the 17th August 1666 [pepysdiary.com] , where he quotes a friend describing the King of Siam out hunting, and the European visitors not knowing they should fall on their faces as he passed..."Their druggerman did desire them to fall down, for otherwise he should suffer for their contempt of the King." At the end of the hunt, the dragoman told the King's emissary how much the foreigners liked it, which was quite untrue; but no matter, said the dragoman, "for our King do not live by meat, nor drink, but by having great lyes told him.”

Whatever about the personal feelings of the king about lèse-majesté being thwarted by a traditionalist administration, he needs to get his act together.

There now, I've blown any chance of ever going to Thailand.

Monarchy is an abomination. (1)

steve buttgereit (644315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282254)

"A hereditary monarch, observed Thomas Paine, is as absurd a proposition as a hereditary doctor or mathematician."

The most common use of such figureheads is to put the sheen of legitimacy on of those who take power in their names; there are times when this is the figurehead themselves and then there are those times when the figurehead is merely a puppet or even a religious symbol. In all cases that I'm aware of it's merely an excuse for man to dominate his fellow man... when no real reason to do so exists.

Re:Monarchy is an abomination. (1)

opinionbot (1940160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282356)

Whilst I generally agree with this sentiment, there are aspects of constitutional monarchy (e.g. in the UK) which are very useful. The main one is to separate the head of state from the head of government: the king/queen has little to no power in practice (though may do in theory), but is a figurehead. This means people can criticise the head of government (prime minister) without appearing unpatriotic. This in contrast to presidential systems where the head of government is also head of state. Having a monarchy (and institutions like the Lords) is a little odd, and ideologically not very democratic. In practice though it has some good points, and seems to work well enough most of the time.

How is this different? (1)

ashwinsawant (1940290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282260)

Move on ppl.. The US does this to citizens of other countries all the time and then tortures its own citizens who help reveal the abuse. Just because thailand is poor doesn't make it's laws less acceptable than those of the US.

hark, what's that i hear? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282318)

cue the sound of a million angry bloggers inventing insults for the king of thailand.

How about a car analogy? (1)

Biff Stu (654099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282330)

Is the king allowed to use self-depricating humor? If not, would a show on NPR centered on discussions about cars be illegal in Thailand if hosted by the king?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?