FACT on Joe Gordon

20 06 2011

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand has a post well worth reading in full. It is on the American Joe Gordon, currently incarcerated without bail in Bangkok for alleged lese majeste.

PPT won’t summarize it, but there are a couple of points to highlight. Joe is alleged to have provided links on a website that go to the banned book, The King Never Smiles. As we have also pointed out, this book, in Thai translation, “has been widely available on the Web at multiple hosting sites since at least 2007.” FACT states: “… we monitor such censorship issues and can confirm that none of the sites hosting such translations have ever been blocked in Thailand by govt’s Internet censors.” It is pointed out that the site that Joe is allegedly involved with is “not blocked in Thailand despite the arrest of its alleged webmaster for its content.”

FACT makes another excellent point: “… Thai police stated that Joe Gordon was webmaster for NorPorChor USA’s website. Wait just a minute here! Wasn’t Kenny, Tantawut Taweewarodomkul, convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison March 15 for that very ‘crime’?!? So who is really NorPorChor’s webmaster? Accusing Joe Gordon throws Kenny’s conviction into serious question and makes likely grounds for a legal appeal.”

On Joe’s failed bail attempts, FACT says: “To deny Joe Gordon bail, twice so far, despite posting a Bt.1.7 million ($56,000 USD), shows govt lack of good faith in its citizens. Denying an accused bail is tantamount to crippling efforts at mounting an effective defence.”

And FACT is appropriately cynical about the self-proclaimed protectors of human rights: “There could be no clearer censorship issue than the arrest of Joe Gordon. Hillary Clinton has been talking big about Internet censorship for two years. Joe Gordon’s case will probably prove the US was just blowing smoke. Similarly, there could be no clearer ‘prisoner of conscience’ for Amnesty International. Will they speak up?”

Probably they won’t say much. PPT has carried the lamentableAI record for several years. While Benjamin Zawacki remains in his position, AI continues to take a biased, royalist, political position on lese majeste. AI in Thailand is hopeless on lese majeste. On the U.S. blowing smoke, our post on U.S. support for the current regime is worth re-reading. The U.S.’s support has barely wavered through killings, illegal imprisonments, torture and massive censorship.

FACT also notes a disturbing new trend in censorship, with the current regime now seeking to block anonymous proxies for circumvention of censorship.

PPT reckons that if the Democrat Party manages to get back into government by military hook or by judicial crook, then it is the Chinese road for censorship. Thailand seems headed in the direction of massive web control. A Democrat Party government will have to deepen censorship and deepen repression.