Army hits out at Thaksin's lawyer

The army on Friday hit back at Robert Amsterdam over a scathing article on his blog, labelling the red-shirt legal adviser "narrow-minded" and accusing him of seeking to discredit the military.

Several Thai-language media outlets ran reports about the article penned by Mr Amsterdam, best known in Thailand as one of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s lawyers, on Thursday.

Entitled "Life Under a Coup — the Thai Army's Continual Threat to Thai Democracy", the article accuses the military of having a "long and ignoble tradition of stymieing democracy, attacking civilians and meddling in politics".

Responding to the media reports, army deputy spokesman Winthai Suwaree said on Friday the opinion of Mr Amsterdam was based on his "bias against the Thai army" and could never be regarded as honest criticism.

The article was defamatory and consisted of groundless accusations by a person who was "narrow-minded" and who had a hidden agenda to discredit the army, Col Winthai claimed.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 12/01/2014 at 12:32 AM
So police meddling in politics is any better? how ironic. Perhaps thats something robert amsterdam can write about too, how most of the corruption starts from the police, and if he opens his eyes wide enough he will see one having coffee with him.
Discussion 2 : 12/01/2014 at 12:29 AM
Your statement: "just imagine how weak Thailand's economy would be without overseas tourists". With 78% of tourists coming from China Malaysia, Russia, Japan, Korea & India (source: Ministry of Tourism and Sports for arrivals January - March 2013) are you sure these countries worry about "Thailand is for Thais" and feel the Thais have not been able to find their way? The remaining 22% from Germany, UK, USA & Australia might (just might) somewhat reduce travelling to Thailand for the reasons you state but that certainly won't damage the Thai economy. The historically powerful West is just no longer a factor in this argument.
Discussion 3 : 11/01/2014 at 09:18 PM
GT200?
Discussion 4 : 11/01/2014 at 08:12 PM
This manufactured fear of the words 'Army' and 'coup' is quite ridiculous. The Army is comprised of the true sons of Thailand and are more likely to care about a peaceful future for their families than some airhead politician on a power trip with ulterior motives. When they see *any* politician intentionally hurting the country through malfeasance, or bypassing laws, or a blatant nepotistic free-for-all, they are duty bound to expel the threat and protect their country from theft and abuse if no one else will. Thank You sons of Thailand for minding the store. You are the heart of the people.
Discussion 5 : 11/01/2014 at 06:00 PM
Its only meddling when the army steps in on the opposing side.
Discussion 6 : 11/01/2014 at 05:26 PM
Something entirely missing from Amsterdam's contentions. Regardless of the military role in political affairs, the military will respect the expressed will of the King. This is something Thaksin despises and Amsterdam, as many foreigners, tend to make light of. Let us not forget who stopped the Black May coup.
Discussion 7 : 11/01/2014 at 05:12 PM
Even in the west, the army stepps in occasionally to help overwhelmed police forces.
Discussion 8 : 11/01/2014 at 04:33 PM
By all means, follow the money!
Discussion 9 : 11/01/2014 at 02:28 PM
Amsterdam is a nobody and has little or no understanding of Thai culture; just a sad little P.R. lawyer on the Thaksin payroll... Like all and anybody in league with T.S. and his ilk. The Thai military on the other hand seeks to protect and serve the Thai people as it has always done and continues to do; not meddle from a far away land making defamatory and inflammatory remarks from the safety of an air conditioned luxury office.
Discussion 10 : 11/01/2014 at 01:56 PM
Ever heard of mutual benefits? That is exactly what has been the case. Thais are not dumb and know when not to be nationalistic.
Discussion 11 : 11/01/2014 at 01:55 PM
6 peole like this, why? Thailand is struggling but which democracy does not have its struggles. You love Thailand and Thai people and thats why there are so many tourists, Most industrializing countries are now dependent on tourism, and on joint-ventures for infrastructure. I don't get your point, Sure there is xenophobia, narrow-mindedeness, and they could do much better and they are now a wealthy country, but we have globalization now and in many ways Thailand are open and supportive of foreign influence more than others.
Discussion 12 : 11/01/2014 at 01:30 PM
As much as I love Thailand and Thai people, the truth is Thais have simply not been able to find their own way ... and unfortunately Thai solutions just haven't worked so far ... "Thais will do what Thais want to do and I'm glad of it" "Thailand is for Thais" ... ok then, just imagine how weak Thailand's economy would be without overseas tourists and without help from foreign companies on major infrastructure projects [for example Skytrain, MRT, expressways ... ]
Discussion 13 : 11/01/2014 at 01:16 PM
Thats true, in Germany at least its forbidden by law to use army for any internal conflicts. Its also matter of equipment, with life ammunition you should not try to disperse demonstrations, that has to be done by police with tear gas, water cannon etc., max. rubber bullets. Only police is trained on such equipment.
Discussion 14 : 11/01/2014 at 01:03 PM
If Amsterdam responds by setting out the supporting evidence, year, after year, after decade, after decade, that substantiates his unpleasant statements about the Thai military, will that make the Thai army happy? Do they want Amsterdam and others to present their strong case? Unfortunately, not all truths about us are what we might wish them to be. The solution is not to censor or threaten the truth speakers, but to change for the better. The Thai army now has an opportunity to prove that Amsterdam's unpalatable statements, whatever might have been the case in the past, are no longer true today. Is the Thai going to take up this opportunity?
Discussion 15 : 11/01/2014 at 12:45 PM
In Thailand the Army is the protector of the People against corrupt governments!
Discussion 16 : 11/01/2014 at 12:42 PM
Only if that government is doing the good jobs for the majority of the people. And on the other hand, if there is no legitimate way to get rid of that government through democratic process when the government is doing harmful jobs to the country and its citizens, the military forces seem to be the best hope for the people. That is the situation we are in right now.
Discussion 17 : 11/01/2014 at 12:37 PM
As a lawyer, Amsterdam is only going to speak the words his client Thaksin will be happy with. Otherwise he will lose Thaksin as a client and the money that comes with it.
Discussion 18 : 11/01/2014 at 12:32 PM
To be frank also, he is the international Lawyer of Thaksin, well paid to write and say whatever Thaksin is paying him for.
Discussion 19 : 11/01/2014 at 12:31 PM
Don't you think the National Guard in the US had no role in the Kent State University student's demonstration during the Vietnam War? Whenever the police is overwhelmed, the military forces are usually called in to help out. The "West" is no exception.
Discussion 20 : 11/01/2014 at 12:23 PM
What is Amsterdam's hidden agenda? The answer is to serve his master irrespective of the damage made by a foreigner on the mother land of his master. His master appears to have love it for his personal sake. That is why we need the reform now.
Discussion 21 : 11/01/2014 at 12:23 PM
Armies in the west are brought in to quell civilian unrest when the police can't cope or essential services can't be provided because of striking policemen/firemen, etc. not just to protect from outside!
Discussion 22 : 11/01/2014 at 12:02 PM
'the article accuses the military of having a "long and ignoble tradition of stymieing democracy, attacking civilians and meddling in politics".' This is not news. It might be annoying and bad for the military but, it is nor news nor untrue.
Discussion 23 : 11/01/2014 at 11:53 AM
Thailand is for Thais OK, then scrap democracy altogether and go back to your feudal ways as you have one foot firmly planted there anyway and refuse to get it out to walk forward into the 21st century. Just create your old Thai feudal system. But if you want to join the club of modern-day democrat, play by the rules. Or quit the club. Nobody forced Thailand to pretend.
Discussion 24 : 11/01/2014 at 11:50 AM
Mr Amsterdam should be forgiven because he comes from the 'West' where the role of the Army is usually considered to be to protect the nation from OUTSIDE FORCES, not from the internal population. Many Westerners are puzzled to understand why the Thai Army is required to do anything at all in this political crises (and that they should concentrate on defending Thailand from threats to its border!). Armies in the West gain their respect from THIS function, not by meddling in internal issues.
Discussion 25 : 11/01/2014 at 11:41 AM
It's funny in Thailand that the army holds the balance of power. I thought the army is paid by the taxpayers's money so they should listen to whoever is the government. But it is different in Thailand, it is the army maybe they should rule the country just like Myanmar.
Discussion 26 : 11/01/2014 at 11:39 AM
Unfortunately folks outside of Thailand get their news from Thai government sources and PR firms like Amsterdam's. As a result their understanding of things is slanted towards the government's version of everything.
Discussion 27 : 11/01/2014 at 11:28 AM
the system is already set up that if the army is too scared to stage a coup, the Supreme Court will do it for them. Perhaps Mr Amsterdam should now go after the Court system for their threat to Thai Democracy
Discussion 28 : 11/01/2014 at 11:23 AM
Amsterdam's agenda is hardly hidden. He is being well paid to support the self-centred Fugitive.
Discussion 29 : 11/01/2014 at 11:16 AM
I agree with snark. The American government is rarely neutral about anything, and our media is heavily politicized and slanted. This a maturing country, not a maturing western country. Thais will find their own way, and their solutions will be Thai. People talk about western interference, but Thais will do what Thais want to do, and I am glad of it. The Great Man said, "Thailand if for Thais." That is truth.
Discussion 30 : 11/01/2014 at 11:07 AM
The Thai army cannot deny those facts and perceptions said in the article. What they can do is to immediately stop doing things that only endorse those facts and perceptions said in the article.
Discussion 31 : 11/01/2014 at 11:01 AM
Without the Army there would have been a civil war long before now.
Discussion 32 : 11/01/2014 at 10:56 AM
Who says we have democracy now, Thaksin dose not understand the meaning of it.
Discussion 33 : 11/01/2014 at 10:56 AM
This is one of the root causes of all the mess in Thailand, Thai males have too much pride and self bravado to just keep quiet and let these silly comments and criticisms pass by unnoticed. Forget about Robert Amsterdam and his personal opinions. Who the hell cares what he says. The more noise and publicity is exactly what the guy wants, Thai Army you just don't get it.
Discussion 34 : 11/01/2014 at 10:39 AM
Interesting he didn't deny the possibility of another coup... wonder exactly what he actually was denying? I can't tell.
Discussion 35 : 11/01/2014 at 10:13 AM
Regardless of the truth of these accusations, I have had personal correspondence with three of these inner circle Americans who make the claim to be authorities of Thai politics. One an adviser to the US Senate and another who teaches Asian politics at a very reputable US University. What is most notable is all three expressed the opinion in no uncertain terms.their bias in stating, paraphrased, that Thaksin was the one that was wronged and his regime was not corrupt. I'm not saying the army is always in the right but I have serious justified doubts about the neutrality of the American Gov.
Discussion 36 : 11/01/2014 at 09:55 AM
"army deputy spokesman Winthai Suwaree said on Friday the opinion of Mr. Amsterdam was based on his "bias against the Thai army" and could never be regarded as honest criticism".....Really?....What is 'dishonest' criticism?...Me thinks he protest too much.....At least that is their opinion......The UDD/RS, electoral majority agree with Amsterdam's opinion about an army using their tax money, and theoretically protecting and representing their interests......Were their interests protected at R'song?.....At least I give the BKK. Post credit for drawing attention to this thing, including a link.....Will increase its exposure significantly
Discussion 37 : 11/01/2014 at 09:53 AM
Oh boy! It is going to get messy now, mr. Thaksin's Lawyer
Discussion 38 : 11/01/2014 at 09:51 AM
So am I to understand that the army has never intervened in Thai politics? And if there have ever been any coups (20+), these interventions have only occurred for the purpose of safeguarding democracy.
Discussion 39 : 11/01/2014 at 09:50 AM
The truth hurts, doesn't it, Mr Suwaree ?
Discussion 40 : 11/01/2014 at 09:33 AM
That is as good and accurate a piece on the Army as you'll see. All these 18 coups we've had... they were all in the same direction and to benefit the same poeple with connections that the mass of the population don't have. Army need to be protecting the rights of the millions who voted PT and not re-installing Abhisit again. each Coup it is getting harder to justify, Thanksins name has to be mention in order to get their supporters to discredit it an dislike it, but this is how most people outside of their elite clique and fan base see it. The fact the Army complaint has backfired as and given the article publicity
Discussion 41 : 11/01/2014 at 09:29 AM
"long and ignoble tradition of stymieing democracy, attacking civilians and meddling in politics" I was confused about who he was talking about for a second.
Discussion 42 : 11/01/2014 at 09:27 AM
Amsterdam's sole function is to discredit all who disagree with or oppose Thaksin. While Amsterdam is technically a lawyer, his primary function in life is creating squeaky clean images for rather tarnished individuals. Unfortunately he is good at what he does, after all look at the drivel that the red brethren believe.
Discussion 43 : 11/01/2014 at 09:09 AM
To be frank he actually seems to be talking the truth for a change.
Discussion 44 : 11/01/2014 at 09:01 AM
The Thai army plays a vital role in Thai democracy, making sure that civil war isn t the result of Thai democracy. The Thai army are therefore the saviours of democracy. Mr Amsterdam, obviously doesn t understand Thailand and the conflict that his client is causing in this country. He needs to come to Thailand and study the situation, rather than living abroad and expressing what the far left press is advocating.

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