The Royal Thai Navy should be making war on genocide in Burma, not journalists, he says.
British Ambassador Mark Kent
Could I draw your attention please to the article linked below and the Open Letter to the Chiefs of Four Allied Navies - Britain, the US, Australia and New Zealand?
As you will see, the letter calls on the British Navy to cease making visits to Thailand and end its support in Thailand until such time as the Royal Thai Navy withdraws an intimidating court action - employing both criminal defamation and the Computer Crimes Act - against me and another journalist.
The concept of the military suing the media should be anathema to all right-thinking naval officers, especially as this case is so closely linked to the continuing genocide of the Rohingya people in Burma.
As Thai Navy officers may need to be reminded, the allied forces of Britain and other nations tried to obliterate genocide in World War II. It is my belief that all good soldiers and sailors should continue to take a stand against genocide, not journalists.
I understand the visit of HMS Daring may have been organised too far in advance for this Open Letter to have achieved the impact it deserves.
I now humbly request that the Open Letter's contents are passed on at your earliest convenience to the Royal Navy's First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, and senior officers now visiting Thailand, and that British visits cease until these charges are withdrawn.
January 4, 2014
The Chief of the Australian Navy -
Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO
The Secretary of the Navy, United States -
The Chief of Defence Staff, Great Britain -
General Sir Nick Houghton
Chief of Navy, NZ Defence Force -
Rear Admiral Jack Steer
As four women who support peace, not war, we are pleading for your help. Our brother Alan Morison, who has been working as a journalist in Thailand, is being sued for criminal defamation by a captain on behalf of the Royal Thai Navy.
The captain is also using the Computer Crimes Act, an outrageous law designed to sink free speech and all it means. We ask your help because this is all about democracy. We believe the reputable navies of the world all support free speech and a free media in a free world.
We are peace loving sisters but our father John Morison went to World War II to fight for democracy in the Pacific and both our grandfathers fought in World War I at Gallipoli. One grandfather was wounded and shipped home, the other went on to the Western Front where he was gassed.
Our brother Alan was ready to fight in Vietnam. As a family, we've done our bit for the free world and democracy. Now Alan, it appears, is being condemned by the Royal Thai Navy for his award-winning work writing about the Rohingya, a stateless people who are being subjected to genocide in Burma and forced to flee to the sea.
We are certain we don't have to tell you gentlemen about genocide, or why WWII was fought. Thailand, you will recall, is where thousands of Allies died during that same war on the Burma railway, the Death railway.
We would hate to think they died in vain and that the lessons of democracy have not been learned in Thailand, of all places. But that appears to be the case.
It's understood in all democracies that no military should be beyond criticism. No military should be a law unto itself.
In defence of our brother, the United Nations human rights representative, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand and Australia's Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance have all called on the Royal Thai Navy to withdraw its criminal defamation action.
Because you four gentlemen understand so well the parallel roles of the military and the media in a democracy, we ask all of you to please suggest that the Royal Thai Navy calls off this inappropriate court action. If the action is not brought to an end, we suggest you suspend all military cooperation with Thailand until such time as this action against free speech and democracy is halted.
Yours respectfully in peace,