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Censorship Government News

Thailand Jails Dissident For What People Thought He Would Have Said 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-mime-no-evil dept.
patiwat writes "A Thai court has convicted a man for censoring himself. In a 2010 anti-government rally, Yossawarit Chuklom said several people were against the dissolution of Abhisit Vejjajiva's government. He mentioned a few names, and then put his hand over his mouth and said he wasn't brave enough to continue. A court ruled that he would have mentioned King Bhumibol Adulyadej — thus earning him a conviction for insulting the King, who is constitutionally banned from any political role."
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Thailand Jails Dissident For What People Thought He Would Have Said

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  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:32AM (#42625235) Journal

    King Bhumibol Adulyade enjoys licking my toes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      King Bhumibol Adulyade enjoys licking my toes.

      Ha, ha! You got the short end of the deal. You should see what parts of me he licks.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:35AM (#42625259) Homepage Journal

    But Thailand is still where a huge chunk of consumer goods in the U.S. come from? How are the communists so much worse than monarchist totalitarians?

    • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:39AM (#42625293) Homepage Journal
      I haven't seen a "Made in Thailand" mark in, it has to be, 15 years. I just looked around at everything in my immediate vicinity, and it is almost all "Made in China", except for this pad of sticky notes that is "Made in USA" and my shoes which are "Made in Philippines"
    • by Coisiche (2000870) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:42AM (#42625311)

      Presumably because people are taught from birth that communism is evil but it's okay to invite monarchist totalitarians to the barbeque? And if they're rich and likely to bring plenty booze, so much the better.

      • by ericloewe (2129490) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:51AM (#42625371)

        communism tends to be aggressive towards you.

        your average monarchist totalitarian couldn't care less, as long as he lives as king and you don't piss him off.

      • by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:42AM (#42625755)

        Presumably because people are taught from birth that communism is evil but it's okay to invite monarchist totalitarians to the barbeque? And if they're rich and likely to bring plenty booze, so much the better.

        One of the fundamental principles of communism is that it must spread and take over the entire world. Marx himself said that. Communism inherently cannot co-exist peacefully with non-communist countries, not if they are sticking to their ideology even moderately. That's why people are taught from birth that communism is evil. Because it is.

        The relevant quote from the end of the Communist Manifesto (Chapter 4 if you want to find it yourself):

        The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.

        OTOH, most monarchical totalitarians are perfectly willing to let everyone else live in peace so long as their power isn't threatened. Pragmatically speaking, most countries are fine with that so long as they keep their humanitarian fouls to a relative minimum. Other countries only turn their attention towards them when they either a) expand their power by conquering other countries (or threatening to), or b) start murdering lots of people in cold blood. And even those can be ignored if it's politically convenient, since starting war over someone else's problem is... well, frowned upon, at least after the fact, when people notice the bill.

        • One of the fundamental principles of communism is that it must spread and take over the entire world. Marx himself said that. Communism inherently cannot co-exist peacefully with non-communist countries, not if they are sticking to their ideology even moderately. That's why people are taught from birth that communism is evil. Because it is.

          Sounds a lot like some organized religions or at least a few of their denominations...

    • by alen (225700) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:46AM (#42625339)

      Florida has lots of ex-cubans who hate castro. florida is a battleground state
      if a candidate supports lifting sanctions the ex-cuban population is enough to guarantee the loss of those electoral votes

    • Cuba has an embargo because they nationalized property owned by US citizens and corporations. I assume there wasn't much US investement in Thailand when it went communist. There was also that whole thing with the nuclear missles. I don't think Thialand has ever been a security risk to Florida and Texas.
    • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:05PM (#42627051)
      Because the neo-cons are still pissed about that whole missile deal from back in the beginning of the 1960's. On the other hand, they're rather fond of lady-boys.
  • by DarkOx (621550) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:37AM (#42625277) Journal

    Okay maybe he "thought about it" but clearly did not form the intent to name the rest of those names including the kings because he self censored after all.

    It would be kinda like being charged with conspiracy to commit a felony here for talking with some friends about how you go about robbing a bank; in a purely hypothetical manor.

    • by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:44AM (#42625325) Homepage

      I can easily see this sort of thing happening in the US. Imagine a group of olive-skinned young men sitting in a cafeteria talking, in a purely hypothetical manor, about potential local terrorist targets and how they would go about hypothetically attacking them.

      • by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:55AM (#42625411) Homepage

        Hmm... I typoed. Manor should be manner. A hypothetical manor is where I live.

      • by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:59AM (#42625451) Homepage

        That is completely different.

        The guy in TFA was sent for a predefined amount of time to a jail within the border of the country that convicted him in a legal trial.

        I'm sure none of that would happen to those olive-skinned young men in the US.

      • by OzPeter (195038)

        I can easily see this sort of thing happening in the US. Imagine a group of olive-skinned young men sitting in a cafeteria

        Given things like two imams pulled from plane bound for North Carolina [cnn.com] I doubt your hypothetical group wouldn't have to do much more than just sitting around before someone called the cops on them ".. because"

      • by macbeth66 (204889)

        They wouldn't even have to be olive-skinned. They could even be black. Or lily-white. A bunch of guys, sitting around in public discussing how to attack potential targets, would be rounded up and questioned.

    • It would be kinda like being charged with conspiracy to commit a felony here for talking with some friends about how you go about robbing a bank; in a purely hypothetical manor.

      The sad part about that comment is that this kind of thing does happen in the US. Try walking into any major airport and casually discussing with a friend how could "hypothetically" blow up the airport.

      • The sad part about that comment is that this kind of thing does happen in the US. Try walking into any major airport and casually discussing with a friend how could "hypothetically" blow up the airport.

        It just occurred to me that our country is so sensitive about that, there is a very real possibility one could find themselves in trouble simply for posting about talking about hypothetically blowing up an airport.

    • by Dishevel (1105119)

      Thought Crime.

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:37AM (#42625279) Homepage Journal

    The injustice here is that he's being imprisoned for expressing an opinion that involves the King and his role in politics. That's rotten.

    I suspect most people here will assume, instead, that the injustice is that he didn't name the King explicitly, but courts tend to make reasonable inferences that people using certain language and gestures intend to communicate a concept even if they don't state it explicitly in ${language}. Just as you couldn't say "One of my co-workers is a pedophile and it's not" ${list of everyone except the person you're refusing to name} without being at serious risk of being sued for libel, likewise it sounds like the dissident made gestures that would only be interpreted in one way by the crowd.

    • by macbeth66 (204889)

      The injustice here is that he's being imprisoned for expressing an opinion that involves the King and his role in politics.

      Missed the point? I'm sure we all get the point. There would never have been a posting if it weren't for the point you made.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Your reasoning is wrong.

      While it is true that a court can make reasonable inferences, as in your example, that is not what the court did at all. They made a huge jump. While the court claimed to be doing such a reasonable inference, the court was in fact lying through it's fascist, censoring teeth. Only a fool believes the word of a fascist censor.

      The question is not what a Thailand, fascist, censoring court would do, but instead what a fair court would do.

      The main problem is that the law he is being acc

      • Generally I agree, but there's one point that we may not see.
        It may be a common way in Thailand to refer to the king by covering your mouth, and this may be a known way of referring to him while not referring to him. Sorta like saying "the F-word" in the US.
        I don't know, but if it is,the sentence would make sense

        PS: Bush hasn't been President for four years. Either use the current one in your analogy, or choose a doozy, like Millard Fillmore ;)

      • by ozydingo (922211)

        No, the law says you can't actually insult or defame the king.

        He stopped short of insulting the king. It does not matter that he communicated what he felt about the king, what matters is did he actually insult or defame him.

        Yes it was clear he was talking about the king.

        Here's where you lose me. If it was expressing obvious that he was talking about the king, whether by gesture or even simply highlighted omission, then let's look at why your next premise is or is not true: that it matters exactly what words he said and if he explicitly mentioned the king. Why? I'll grant you that if you try to objectively define the law, then it probably matters. But who says laws have to be enforced or defined objectively? I mean, I personally think they often should for several reasons,

    • The injustice here is even worse. He's imprisoned for NOT expressing it but the court THINKING he wanted to.

    • by SleazyRidr (1563649) on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:37AM (#42625725)

      Most of us are concerned about both injustices. We've become a bit desensitized to people being beheaded for criticizing the king of Siam. Someone being jailed for /not/ criticizing him is a new development which can both bring up dormant disgust at the previous crimes and fresh disgust at the new crimes.

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      Can't we just agree that both points are valid?

      You should not be punished for thinking something. Period. No exceptions.

      You should not be punished for "insulting" or "disrespecting" the king, or any other public figure. Period. No exceptions.

  • Damned (Score:3, Interesting)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:39AM (#42625295)
    They are damned if they do, damned if they don't. Since they are now a country filled only with criminals, they may as well act like it and make sure all of the government is represented by criminals like themselves.

    Of course, I don't have much room to talk... as I live in America, land of the arbitrarily scheduled herbs and weapon restrictions set up to make sure that everyone has bomb making supplies or some other contraband in their homes.
  • What? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wisnoskij (1206448)

    I do not see why the court would be against his self censorship.
    I can see jailing someone who was forcibly stopped from saying something that was illegal, there are tons of laws in the west where what someone thinks you would of done is applicable (even if you have not yet committed any crimes).
    But it sounds like Thailand wants its citizens to self censor, so why punish it?

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:44AM (#42625327) Journal
    His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the ninth incarnation of Lord Rama [wikipedia.org], who himself was the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver of the Universe. His Majesty is omniscient and He knows what everyone is thinking. It might look odd to the West with its mechanistic interpretation of the observable universe. But, rest assured, they know what was on his mind and they know what he would have done. The only thing that perplexes the holistic Eastern minded Thai people is, "Why is His Majesty using the mechanistic physical instruments like courts and jail, like the simple minded Westerners, and is not using His omnipotent powers to punish him directly and demonstrate His powers over nature for all to see?"
    • And His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the ninth incarnation of Lord Rama, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver of the Universe, sayeth unto his people: "why have a dog and bark?"
    • Look at all the titles and decorations he has. Everything from the Grand Cross to the Order of The Peacock, second class.

      Look! even the Collar of the Grand Cross of the Order of a Million Elephants and White Parasol (Kingdom of Laos)

      Bhumibol has received numerous royal and state orders appropriate to his status. He is the Grand Master of all twelve Thai royal orders. Foreign decorations Cambodia: Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Cambodia, 1954 Burma: The Most Glorious Order of Truth (Thiri

    • by rwa2 (4391) * on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:24AM (#42625637) Homepage Journal

      Actually, the king of Thailand is just as censored as anyone else. He's not allowed to speak to his people, and is always silent and muted in public and on TV. All the lese majeste laws are created and enforced by parliament. The Thai monarchy is very much a symbolic post... the only political thing the royal family appears to do occasionally is send flowers to their favored candidates, or sometimes the news media picks up on a certain color they're wearing and interprets it to mean that they support this group - which has led to some hilarity as everyone else starts wearing whatever color to associate themselves with whatever support.

      The king is just some Harvard-educated jazz musician. He's probably pretty groovy, we'd never know. Some people blame the queen for starting some of the political upheavals, but I'm guessing it's mostly due to misogyny.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:34AM (#42625701)

      Nobody in Thailand believes the King is omniscient. Nor do they believe he is the reincarnation of anybody. They are just really uptight about having him disrespected or made into a political football. Which actually isn't as irrational as it sounds, when you consider that it is about the only way you could possibly cause a civil war in this country.

      But while laughing at the stupid "easterners", remember that your President and 80% of your countrymen purport to believe that after death they will be brought back to life by a magical carpenter who was nailed to a tree 2000 years ago, that a 900 year old man fit a breeding pair of every single animal species on a boat he built himself, and that the greatest ethical issue of our time is whether or not the government should issue marriage certificates to two blokes. Significantly stupider convictions than the invented ones the parent post finds so amusing.

      Also check out what happened (and how many people died) when the dissidents he was addressing tried to burn down Bangkok shortly after this. Then try and tell me they wouldn't have found something to convict him for in the US too.

    • I would mod your comment slightly funny, overwhelmingly ignorant. Good job playing off of broad stereotypes.

      Firstly, Adulyadej doesn't enforce these rules. He has publicly stated he that invites criticism [nationmultimedia.com].

      Disingenuous? Perhaps, but when you take that comment in context -- the fact that he is a figurehead without any actual power, and he has demonstrated a nobles oblige [bbc.co.uk] that, I am guessing, few contemporary monarchs have matched-- then I tend to believe he is speaking honestly.

      From what I have read about hi

    • Oh please, it's also true in western courts that an insult does not have to be explicit. An implied insult, or embarrassing someone in a way everyone understands without spelling the name out is perfectly liable to prosecution unless protected by free speech rights (which may not be the case if it is repeated, connected to a financial loss or just slander).

  • Reminds me of kids (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:45AM (#42625331)
    My daughter used to tease my son when they were little calling him "monkey face". One day a monkey came on children's TV and my son turned round and said "mum, dad, can you tell her off ... I know what she's thinking".

    Seems some people don't grow up
  • By convicting people for insulting the king, isn't the judge implying that the king isn't strong enough to stand up for himself? If someone did that to me, I'd be pretty insulted. Throw the judge in jail!

    Right? If no one is allowed to say or even IMPLY anything critical of the king (which the king himself said should be allowed, according to a quote in Wikipedia) then that should apply to the judges as well.

    • It's more like a trademark: if you won't protect it, it becomes void.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:21AM (#42625615) Homepage Journal

    But don't try to joke, suggest, or even imply the word "bomb" in an airport or a plane. Even mentioning a related joke on Twitter [washingtonpost.com] could give you troubles.

    • by spike1 (675478)

      "Now where did I put that thing to blow up the aeroplane?... "
      Pulls out a hand pump and an inflatable toy plane.

    • Defamation (includes libel and slander).

      Obscenity: The Supreme Court test for obscenity is as follows: (a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
    • And don't give your opinion of the latest movie, or of Windows 8, since that could invoke the B-word.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Yeah, you can't joke about a bomb! Well why is it just jokes? What about a riddle? How about a limerick? How about a bomb anecdote? You know, no punchline, just a really cute story. Or suppose you intended to remark, not as a joke, but as an ironic musing. Are they prepared to make that distinction? Why, I think NOT.

      -George Carlin

  • That's basically what this amounts to...

    Okay, it's not exactly the same as what was in the book 1984,but they still arrested him only for what he was thinking (in actuality, really only what they believe that he thought, but even giving them the benefit of the doubt that they were right, this still amounts to arresting somebody because of what they were thinking).

    Putting that aside for a moment, the point that the court really needs to consider here is that he DIDN'T.... period. Even if they are entir

    • by sconeu (64226)

      You have the right to remain silent. However anything you DO NOT say can and will be held against you in a court of law.

  • Sir Thomas More.
  • It's a horrible unfair law, yadda yadda.

    Quit thinking about law when you ought to be thinking about power. In this situation, you have a government so bullshit that it can make a law against insulting someone. In that context, it is ridiculous, whenever they decide to act against someone, to get bogged down in technicalities about whether their chosen victim obeyed or violated the law. What they wrote doesn't matter; the ACTUAL LAW is: "stay on my good side." Their chosen victim violated that law.

    The

  • A man is walking around in the streets of [insert dictatorial state] and loudly shouting: "What a shitty government!" Needless to say, it is not long before state security arrests him.

    "I never said which government I was talking about," he defends himself.

    "You said 'shitty'. There is only one shitty government," the secret policeman retorts.

  • if every Thai citizen have an assault rifle.

  • His mother was a binturong and his father smelt of durians.

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