Thaksin lobbying in May 2010

Statement: War crimes expert joins investigation of Bangkok deaths -, May 31, 2010
..."The Thai junta's crackdown against its own people has not stopped," Mr Amsterdam said. "At least 140 people have been arrested. Most have been held for more than a week without charge and have been denied access to a lawyer, in breach of basic human rights and international law. The military-backed Abhisit regime is flagrantly breaching its obligations as a member of the international community and the United Nations Human Rights Council. It is thumbing its nose to the international community and trampling on the rights of its people..."

Thaksin lawyer prepares war crimes case -, May 31, 2010
...PETER CAVE: Can I take you up on just one point, the use of weapons. The Thai Government says it faced an armed uprising - that the Red Shirts were shooting at them.
ROBERT AMSTERDAM: That is completely bogus and I can tell you as a witness who was in their compound, that is completely bogus and you can ask any of the independent observers that were there and that is why they went around murdering journalists...

More press releases from Thaksin's lawyer
Thailand and the Criminalization of Dissent -, May 25, 2010
...This kind of conduct drags Thailand down to the level of countries like Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, where the criminalization of protest reigns supreme. The Red Shirts risked their lives and suffered considerable casualties because their democratic choices and popular will had been repeatedly disqualified and stolen. Until that central grievance is addressed, all other accusations are only distractions...
Statement from Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra -, May, 2010
Statement: The Mask Comes Off the Thai Junta -, May 25, 2010

Thaksin: Thailand must observe rights of arrested protest leaders -, May 20, 2010
...I resolutely reject all allegations with regard to any illegal or violent activities in the Kingdom of Thailand, and underscore the fact that this heroic and inspiring grassroots movement is completely autonomous and independent from myself. Let me state this clearly: the struggle of the red shirts is a struggle for the democratic rights of the citizens...

Former Thai PM's lawyer condemns crackdown - BBC, May 19, 2010

Red Shirts had good reason to protest - The Australian, May 19, 2010
[This is an editorial by Robert Amsterdam. There has been so much thoughtful writing and analysis of the Thai situation it seems strange one would contend that the government flip flopped on elections or that the Red Shirts wanted to avoid violence. It is also unbelievable that this editorial makes no mention at all of the arson and rioting.]
...The unlawful deployment of force used by the Thai authorities against the protesters, their flip-flopping on the issues of elections and their unwillingness to meet the protesters' pleadings for negotiations to avoid violence speaks volumes about their legitimacy to govern...

Thaksin should ask for his money back
- May 19, 2010
We are still waiting for some world-class pressure to be delivered by Thaksin's lobbyist Robert Amsterdam.
So far it has been bland blog posts (A Sense of Injustice in Thailand), sloganeering tweets ("It's not too late to avoid this human rights atrocity through principled intervention. There exists a choice for govt."), and an interview with Al-Jazeera in which he was clearly unprepared for the reporter's questions. Not surprisingly, the interview is not highlighted on his blog.
It may be that a poor or simplified understanding of the situation combined with being hired too late (the first advice spin doctors always have is "you should have called me sooner") have resulted in this anemic performance so far.

Thailand Report: Big firms shutter Bangkok offices and Thaksin hires Amsterdam - AM Law, May 19, 2010
...As for Amsterdam, he's trying to muster international support for the Red Shirt cause after the group's leaders turned themselves in to avoid more casualties...
Amsterdam says he flew to Hong Kong early Wednesday (EST) with several of Thaksin's Thai lawyers because "we could no longer function in Bangkok."
"The [Thai] government is going to use these protests as a pretext to try to go after my client, because they are just deathly afraid of him," Amsterdam says. "Now we are going to investigate and document the absolutely extra-legal behavior of the Thai government and military."
Amsterdam says the Obama administration has been "incredibly quiet" about what is unfolding in Thailand.
"The writing is on the wall that this [Thai] government is not long for this earth," Amsterdam adds. "Abhisit has to resign and they have to call for elections."

Statement of Thaksin Shinawatra -, May 19, 2010

Thailand has a chance if Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva can stop the killings - CSMonitor, May 18, 2010
...Dissolve parliament now and give Thailand a chance to reset itself before it is far too late.
[This article probably indicates the present Thaksin strategy on an international level. We think it is no coincidence that a former Thai Rak Thai government official is coming out with the same Robert Amsterdam talking point about the government randomly shooting people and international law being violated.]

Al-Jazeera asks: Is Thaksin funding this protest, Mr Amsterdam? -, May 18, 2010
Surprisingly tough questioning of Robert Amsterdam by Al-Jazeera. Before Amsterdam comes out again to breezily meet the press, he will have to be ready with better responses to any tough or skeptical Thaksin-related questions. Among other thing he says Thaksin is both "absolutely not" funding the protests and later that he has "no idea."
Among the points he returns to: "international tribunal," "random attacks on civilians," "international mediator" and "international third parties brought in." These would be things to stall the cessation of the rally, but at the same time they are things no nation would normally assent to.
We are not sure if the Al-Jazeera questions are representative of the international press' understanding and view of the situation. If they are, Thaksin's lobbying effort will have to become more sophisticated. It may not be possible for a Thaksin-appointed lobbyist to have the expectation that he can avoid mentioning Thaksin while trying to reduce the present situation to a government shooting innocent people.

Here comes the lobbying - May 17, 2010
As we had previous noted, get ready for a lot of aggressive "analysis" from Amsterdam in an attempt to reframe this debate as government violence against peaceful protest. At the same time they will rebooting Thaksin's image to be a wronged elder statesman railroaded by false charges.

Video: CNN interview with Robert Amsterdam in Bangkok - CNN via, May 16, 2010

The temporary Thai-ification of this blog -, May 16, 2010
Given the serious political crisis unraveling in Thailand and the fact that Robert Amsterdam is currently on the ground in Bangkok, we are planning to publish quite a lot of related content on this space in the coming days until a new platform is decided upon.

Statement from Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra - PRNewswire, May 16, 2010
...I call for the United Nations to immediately engage to act as facilitator for this negotiation. That organization should not allow itself to be silenced by a prime minister who failed to understand that a right to life is a core universal value that unites us all as one.

Thaksin sending his lobbyist to Bangkok: "Press Release: Time for International Community to Act on Thai Political Crisis, says Thaksin Lawyer" - May 15, 2010
[It is interesting how this exactly mirrors the immediate claims of the Red Shirt leadership that they are "unarmed, peaceful protestors." Although the press release is dated May 12, it was released on May 15.]
...Observing events in Bangkok, Amsterdam stated that the use of live ammunition without warning on unarmed, peaceful protestors represents "a disproportionate response" in violation of the Thai constitution and basic human rights under international treaties...

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