Many thanks for your kind words. I am, of course, terribly sad that I probably won’t be able to visit Thailand for several years, if ever. I also understand why Reuters considered my story too risky to publish; they were quite correct to be concerned about the consequences for Thai staff. And I resigned from Reuters with great regret.
I’m glad I made this choice, though. Once I had read all the cables, and realized their importance, I just could never have been happy if I pretended I’d never seen them and never published my story. Like many journalists who have worked in dangerous and tragic situations, I have often been troubled afterwards by the question of whether I could have done more to help some of the people I encountered. If you think you had an opportunity to do the right thing, and you didn’t do it, that can haunt you afterwards. It’s a much greater personal cost.
Also any sacrifice I made has to be put in perspective, alongside the many Thais who are in prison or on trial for just saying what they believe to be true, and those who have to live in exile from their own country because they have said what they believe to be true. Plus all of the many people in the country who are suffering negative consequences because it is forbidden to publicly acknowledge things that everybody knows to be true. I’ve been really touched by the concern many people have shown for me, but I think the choice I made was the best outcome for myself, as well as the only decision I could have made that might do some good for Thailand. And also, if the day ever comes when I can visit again, that will be far more wonderful than the sadness of having to stay away for a while.
The irony is, of course, that what I write will not really be very secretive and extreme at all. Nothing in my story will stun any well-informed Thai person. You know the story already, I am sure. You just can’t publicly acknowledge it. And that needs to change.
Andrew Marshall, June 7