Unwelcome in Thailand | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Unwelcome in Thailand

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The deluge of secret documents touched Thailand last week. All airlines received a confidential directive from the British government not to fly the accused leaker of US security secrets, Edward Snowden, to the United Kingdom. Mr Snowden, 29, who has bragged he is the source of revelations about the US National Security Agency (NSA), is unwelcome, the British government said. It is a controversial but probably correct decision about what is best for British authorities. Thailand should consider doing the same. 

The UK government and several Bangkok-based airline offices became upset with the media which printed that interesting revelation about Mr Snowden. The British Home Office alert, revealed by an airline-connected source in Chiang Mai, mirrors the entire Snowden affair, if in microcosm. Secret documents reveal information about government programmes - in this case RALON, the Risk and Liaison Overseas Network, which is part of the UK Border Agency. A major part of the controversy must be: Why are such documents secret in the first place?

As for Mr Snowden, whether he is heroic or traitorous has become a worldwide debate. This is precisely why Thai authorities - government, immigration, airline executives - should not get involved. Not that there is any indication Mr Snowden would feel safer in Thailand than under the care of China's communist officials. But in case he does, he should be told to move on. That is not a comment on his action, but a matter of our national interest, which is not to get caught up in a major case of international espionage which otherwise does not touch the country.

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