Michael's Dispatches

Andrew MacGregor Marshall, Former Journalist.

This tweet is indicative of the way that Marshall's mind works.  He does not pass up the opportunity to mock a handicapped man:


This stunned many readers:


A member of Marshall's fan club defended by doubling down:


We expect a Reuters journalist to be like this:


Not like this:


Marshall cannot seem to help himself.  He often derides victims for physical handicaps, or for obesity, or because they do not meet his standard for personal beauty.


image051In this 2011 video, at the 5'20" mark, Marshall describes how nobody should have to endure gratuitous insults.


Marshall the former journalist demanded that I debate him.  It is noteworthy that he did not ask privately, which would have been the professional approach.  Instead, Marshall attempted to create a public spectacle. This is a pattern for Marshall.


When Marshall’s work in Thailand became too whacky, Reuters washed their hands of him.  Marshall countered, claiming that he resigned as a matter of conscience.  A former friend said he would crash parties, often in a cold sweat, shaking, bewildered.  Friends began to abandon him due to his verbal abuse.

Marshall is not setting himself up for future success. Marshall has little expertise of commercial value, and Marshall has badmouthed virtually everybody in Thailand, with an inclusive vitriol spanning all hues of the political spectrum. Marshall has no network, no serious sources. Clearly Marshall is self-destructive, but nothing underscores this more than Marshall's true claim to fame: When Marshall is not obsessing over bar girls, insulting the unattractive and mocking the handicapped, Marshall insults the Royal Family of the Kingdom of Thailand.

It is not just boorish to disparage the Thai Royal Family here, it is illegal, and it profoundly upsets good Thai people.  Those who do not reside in the Kingdom, or who have not spent considerable time here, cannot understand the fervency of the personality cult of His Majesty the King.

The personality cult of the King of Thailand is pervasive, and it is as potent as a system of religious belief, though it is important to note that the Thai do not worship their King as a deity. They know that he is a man, and the Thai are familiar with many gods. But foreigners often misinterpret the love that the Thai feel for their King, and the nearest phenomenon that they can compare it to, is a profound religious belief.

Marshall's criticisms of the Thai Royal Family are personal, speculative, abusive, and dismissive, and they are light years beyond sober observations.  Marshall does not seek to inform but to incite.

Some Muslims are provoked to furious anger over any slight directed at the Prophet Mohammed, or any disrespect for Allah.  Fatal riots are not uncommon. This is the closest comparison that I can draw, though the personality cult of the King is not as volatile.  Muslims and Christians in Thailand deeply revere the King, in part because of his support for religious freedoms. Mocking His Majesty the King will not incur a death sentence, but fines and incarceration are common.  For foreigners who disparage the Thai Royalty, banishment, expulsion and blacklisting typically follow a stretch in prison.

For the Thai people, His Majesty the King is more than a beloved Grandfather.  The Thai people deeply love him and he has been a very good king for Thailand. Marshall's insults are supremely disrespectful, incredibly inconsiderate, and deeply wounding. What Marshall does on a small scale on social media, abusing and insulting strangers, he also does on a vaster scale, insulting and antagonizing an entire culture, belittling the Thai Royalty, and the Thai people.

But what better way to explain getting booted from Reuters, where Marshall worked for 17 years and was a bureau chief?  Marshall could simply write words that he knew his bosses would never publish, statements that are illegal in Thailand, allegations that would get him, and Reuters, banned and blacklisted, and he could claim that he resigned as a matter of conscience.

Thai laws on lèse majesté may seem draconian by Western standards, but foreigners who wish to remain in the kingdom comply with them.  By way of comparison, in America most political commentary is protected by the First Amendment. Americans can say almost anything that is not false and defamatory, with the exception of threatening the life of the president.

Americans can castigate our president for his policies or his behavior, and no one will pay much attention. But if someone threatens the life of the president, he can expect a visit from the Secret Service.  Prosecution is common. So we can say that America enjoys freedom of speech, up to a point.

In the US, lawsuits over defamation are common. Some litigants lose everything that they own, including future earnings. In Thailand, the Royal Family cannot sue its own subjects, so laws prohibiting lèse majesté are the remedy.

Under Thai laws of lèse majesté, criticism of the King and the Royal Family is off-limits. It is important to note that only the monarchy is so protected. While it may be rude to call the Prime Minister of Thailand a hooker, it is not prevented. This actually happens every day, even though it is defamatory and untrue.  There are typically no consequences.  Like America, Thailand enjoys much freedom of speech.  Up to a point.

These laws on lèse majesté are, moreover, a matter for the Thai people to address in their own time.  Simple respect dictates that foreigners avoid commenting on them.  All countries and cultures have taboos which should not be violated. It goes without saying that Marshall should not abuse such laws to whitewash his manipulations.

Note that Marshall set up his dispute with Reuters in the most public way possible.  In a standard Marshall maneuver, he tried to pit Reuters against the Kingdom, transgressing the laws against lèse majesté as a publicity stunt to garner attention for his book.

image055Typical Marshall post.

Marshall’s book is allegedly scheduled for release in October.   He knows that his odds of success are small.  He knows that audiences rarely read his work, they read the work of Reuters, or the work of a “former Reuters bureau chief.”   Marshall does not have a standalone name that will translate into book sales.  His writing skills are generic.  So generic that nobody can recall a single piece that Marshall wrote during his time in Baghdad.

There is no mass audience for speculations about the succession in Thailand, a subject about which Marshall is obsessed.  While it is an important subject for the Thai, and there is an academic niche market addressing what may happen in Thailand in the future, Marshall lacks credentials and credibility as an academic.

Marshall’s banishment from the Kingdom of Thailand was his own manufactured stunt to cover his downfall from Reuters.  If his actions were not a stunt, and he did not intend to damage the reputation of Reuters for his own personal gain, Marshall could have quietly resigned, departed the Kingdom, and gone on his way.  But true to form, Marshall fomented yet another spectacle.

image057Marshall's stalker-club photoshopped my missing cat King Kong, and me, into a photo from a conference. Marshall wanted me to come to the Thai conference in Australia to debate him.

Marshall needs to get a hold of himself.  I will not debate a poor writer who was manipulative with Reuters and who habitually insults and mocks the handicapped.

Marshall mocked the health of the 86 year-old King of Thailand.

The King has been a blessing to this country.  Mocking him for ill health is sickening.

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