From the Thai-language press: Thaksin hiring foreign press lobbyists

One of American lobbyists in Ai Maew's portfolio is James Baker - the right hand of Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. - translated and summarized from Phujatkan, January 8, 2009

Today [January 8, 2007] the Democrat Party’s executive member Korbsak Sabhavasu gave an interview to the “Phar Arthit Pier Forum” TV program broadcast on ASTV in the morning. He said he believes that the reason Police Lieutenant Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister, hired lobbyists in the United States, especially the company of the US’s former Finance Minister and Minister of the Foreign Affair James Baker, is to lobby the US government and the Congress. Thaksin's intention is to seek asylum and support for him to return to his powerful position in Thailand.

Mr. Korbsak observed that James Baker has influence on the incumbent US government as he was former key member of government under former President George Bush who is father of the current president of the US. He believes that Thaksin spent a great amount of money to hire the foreign company.     

“The hiring of the company is believed to be a political ploy between countries as Mr. Baker is former head of the US’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs [Secretary of State] and a law and trade expert,” said Mr. Korbsak. He adds that the case is worrying Thais as it means the case for help is run by someone who is antagonist to Thailand’s government and also Thai people.

The Democrat executive member also states that the lobbyist company hiring is possibly related to the scheme to allocate money to the US’s Republican-led government without objectives set for how the money will be spent. This is because financial support directly donated by foreigners to the government is against US law.

Democrats: Deposed Premier Thaksin is hiring foreign press lobbyists to discredit Thailand’s image - translated and summarized from Phujatkan, January 5, 2008

The Democrat Party Spokesperson Dr. Buranat Samutrak reveals that the the party has concerns over the political factors involved with solving the national crisis and especially on the case involving the country's national image. He added that deposed Premier Thaksin Shinawatra has hired foreign press lobbyists to discredit Thailand--especially over the image of the judicial system and the state of democracy. He adds that Thailand is now on the verge of gaining foreign confidence. However, the Democrat Party acknowledges Thaksin’s movement in hiring the foreign press lobbyists to discredit Thailand will impact foreign confidence and the country’s good image.

According to the Democrat spokesperson, four foreign companies are being hired [or were hired--this point is not clear]. These are Edelman, based in Washington D.C. and Hong Kong, BGR Company (Barbour Griffith & Rogers) from the US, the Bell Pottinger Group in Manchester and Baker Botts in Washington D.C. The Bell Pottinger Group is the only company that withdrew its contact to work for Thaksin.

Furthermore, the Democrat Party spokesperson also revealed that Thaksin assigned three people to work on the matter on his behalf. These people are former advisor to the Prime Minister Pansak Winyaratana, former Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Phrommin Lertsuridetch and former Deputy Secretary to the Prime Minister Poomtham Vetchayachai.

[As far as we can tell from the US online disclosure information, there are no current Thaksin lobbyist in the US.
Edelman at one time worked for Thaksin and, among other things, specializes in creating fake lobbying organizations as part of its PR efforts. Edelman created the short-lived USA for Innovation to lobby against the coup government.
BGR Company apparently worked for Thaksin in 2007.
Bell Pottinger Group apparently worked for Thaksin in 2008.
Baker Botts worked for Thaksin in 2007.]

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