"My name is Joe Gordon"

 On Friday Prachatai reported that dual Thai/U.S. nationality Mr. Joe Gordon had been charged "with lèse majesté, inciting unrest and disobedience of the law in public, and disseminating computer data which threatens national security… The DSI allege that he owns a blog which offers a link to download 'The King Never Smiles', a book banned in Thailand."

There have since been reports that Mr. Gordon is alleged to have been involved in the online publication of a Thai-language version of the same title. So too that he had been charged as a Thai, rather than a U.S. national. If found guilty, he could face up to 22 years in prison.

"My name is Joe Gordon. I am a citizen of the United States," he says, immediately, on picking up at the prisoner's phone. He speaks quickly, short on time and energy: there are four others waiting to speak in this fifteen-minute allotment.

"My name is Joe Gordon.

"(Last Tuesday) the DSI (Department of Special Investigations) came to arrest me. They brought twenty officials with them, to my house. I'd just come out of the bathroom. I was only wearing a towel around my waist. So I asked them, 'Can I put some clothes on, please?' They said, "No! Sit right there," as they went through my things.

They searched through everything. Then they took all my money; my computer, my hard drive, and my phone."

"They kept using my old Thai name. That's what they had on the warrant. And that's what they kept calling me! I told them: "I don't use that name, anymore! I have not used that name in years. My name is Joe Gordon."

"I had no intention of getting involved in politics, here," he says. "Red shirt, yellow shirt?" He shakes his head.

"I taught some people how to make a blog," he says. "In America. I taught those people how to cut-and-paste material. I think a blog is more like a personal diary. I had no intention of getting involved in this."

"I feel as though I'm being held hostage," he says. "That the DSI could invade my privacy - that they could plant anything they like on my computer - with me, having no way to prove my innocence."

"I want President Obama and (Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton to intervene in my behalf - to pay attention to what's happening to me," he says. "To help me. I'm a citizen of the United States."

A siren sounds, signaling an end to this brief, fraught interlude. He presses the receiver to his lips. "I want to be out of here," he says, again. "I want my freedom back. In the United States, I can express my views freely, like any other American."

A visiting friend, weary and distressed, watches as he leaves. Dust on the glass, like the grain of film, lends this scene a surreal, almost cinematic quality. Joe W. Gordon struggles to his feet, but his arthritic knees hold up the passing parade. With a strong grip on a neighborly shoulder, he turns. He gives the two-fingered signal - 'peace!' - before stumbling, limply, through the exit.

US Embassy officials would not comment on the conditions under which Mr. Gordon entered into Thailand. DSI officials and Mr. Gordon's lawyers have yet to release the full nature of those charges; nor could they be reached for comment.

Comments

For what it's worth, I have

For what it's worth, I have lodged strenuous concerns with the Embassy and have talked with an officer working on Mr. Gordon's case. As most of us are aware, and which was briefly highlighted during my contact with the Embassy, facts are important and there are several versions of what may or may not have transpired.
That Thai authorities are hardly cognizant of minimally acceptable international human and civil rights protections is redundant to emphasize.
I contacted the Embassy to lend support to Joe and briefly to discuss my own case where I am accused of criminal defamation because of information I published on a US-based website that two individuals here in Thailand evidently felt so defamatory that they filed charges with police but never asked for the material to be removed. Opposed to this is the inverse treatment being handed to Ms. Chiranuch for not removing offensive material quickly enough. This is a clear police double standard.
I point to the US Speech Act made into law on 10 August 2010 that supposedly protects American citizens (and possibly anyone in the US) from foreign defamation suits that violate the First Amendment. See http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ223.111. Section "2 (1-5) of this Act are of particular interest, but the entire act is obviously designed to protect Americans from such foreign suits. This aspect of Mr. Gordon's situation was one I brought up, and of course permutations arise among conflicting interests of the United States. Readers are welcome to email me at raybradburyfan@yahoo.com for interchange on this and related legislation and approach for dealing with what possibly appears to be clear Thai intrusion into First Amendment rights within the borders of the United States.

"appears to be clear Thai

"appears to be clear Thai intrusion into First Amendment rights within the borders of the United States

Or look at it in reverse ..you want American intrusion into Thai legal affairs within thailand !
americans do not rule the entire world, you cannot ignore the laws of an independent nation when you are in their country.

Mike, I am sure you won't shy

Mike, I am sure you won't shy away from clarifying your argument. Rather simplistic, is it not? Intrusion into Thai legal affairs? You mean Thai jurisdiction over free speech exercised in the United States? If you call that US intrusion into Thai affairs you might have a seat on the many little shops here that are scanning the Internet to imprison one person after another. Don't forget Thailand is claiming jurisdiction over speech inside the United States. Read the Speech law. And why not consider it protection rather than intrusion?
Advice:
Read the law.
Read the constitution.
Understand what they provide for.
Don't introduce nonsense to prove a point.

Mike is right that the USA

Mike is right that the USA insists that other states follow its laws... examine its record with its 'sanctions' on Iraq and Iran. Third countries that do not follow US declared sanctions are themselves open to retaliation by the US for not obeying its decrees.

But as Frank points out here the 'crimes' that Joe Gordon is charged with were committed by a US citizen in the USA, where they are certainly not crimes at all. Joe Gordon is a US citizen now charged in Thailand with committing non-crimes in his own country, not in Thailand. And, as is habitual and routine in Thailand, he is in prison without trial and denied bail.

From my perspective the number one human rights abuse in Thailand is remand imprisonment, the routine imprisonment of people presumed innocent prior to trial. And trial is years and years away in Thailand... if the authorities want it to be.

    On 7 June six police in Kalasin

  1. Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj. Angkarn Kammoonna
  2. Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj. Sutthinant Noenthing
  3. Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj. Phansilp Uppanant,
  4. Pol. Lt. Col. Samphao Indee,
  5. Pol. Col. Montree Sriboonloue, and
  6. Pol. Lt. Col. Sumitr Nanthasathit

are finally coming to trial for the murder of 17 year old Kiettisak Thitboonkrong... on 16 June 2004! Nearly seven years ago! And the concern now is that Kiettisak's aunt, Mrs. Pikul Phromchan, a witness in the case will be murdered before testifying tomorrow at their trial. See Call for observers in the case of torture and murder of Mr. Kiettisak Thitboonkrong; strengthening Witness Protection is needed.

In the meanwhile, Joe Gordon needs at the very minimum to be bailed out of prison... as do Somyos, and Surachai, and Amphon... and all the other remand prisoners in Thailand!

And the old-guard in Thailand need to stop abusing people's rights in the name of HM Bhumiphol Adulyadej. HM told them point blank they were wrong to do so... but the self-declared 'royalists' obviously despise HM King Bhumipol, so little do they heed his wishes.