Friday, May 11, 2007

Deconstructing Thanong Khanthong: Wahh! America is Picking On Little Thailand Wahhh!


Adelman spin the latest attack in the 'war from outside'

Thanong Khanthong

The Nation

Kenneth L Adelman has emerged almost out of nowhere to establish himself as the number one enemy of the Kingdom of Thailand.

He has set up a website,, to defend US intellectual-property rights. If you visit the website, you'll find all the wonderful things he has to say about Thailand, from the country's alleged violation of US intellectual-property rights to his campaign against the Thai military regime.

I've actually read the website. I admit that there is some spin that is not flattering to Thailand, but it is hardly a declaration of war. Much of the criticism against Thailand is true.

Adelman urges readers to sign a prepared letter addressed to US President George W Bush to protest what he calls the "attack on American jobs".

I agree that this is a little far-fetched. When Thailand steals US intellectual property et al, it affects jobs in America. But I wouldn't call it a deliberate attack on American jobs.

"The removal of election provisions, the threatened kidnapping of American tourists, the abrogation of American assets and the latest compulsory licenses of American medical innovations are proof that Thailand's government is going in the wrong direction," read the letter.

Bangkok Pundit mentions the whole kidnapping thing at his blog. I can't disagree with the rest of the statement, because it is truthful. Thailand has been going in the wrong direction ever since the coup.

He also urged those visiting his site to call upon the US ambassador to Thailand and tell him to "stop the Thai theft and censorship of American innovation".

There is nothing wrong with this statement. The US ambassador, Ralph Boyce, is a Siamophile who cares more about pleasing the Thais than he does about representing the interests of the United States.

This kind of stuff makes you raise your eyebrows. Has anybody heard about a Thai threat to kidnap American tourists? You need to phone the Tourism Authority of Thailand to ask about the existence of a covert operation to kidnap American tourists in exchange for free US medical innovations. Then you also have to ask Krirk-krai Jirapaet, the Thai commerce minister, about his dark plot to abrogate American assets through his attempt to pass amendments to the Foreign Business Act.

I agree that the kidnap thing is far fetched. Again, see Bangkok Pundit. I think the part about the Thai government's dark plot to steal foreign assets through changes in the FBA is true. But, at the same time, foreign investors should never trust the Thai government when it comes to protecting their assets. The Thai government won't protect the assets of the poor, why should it give a damn about foreigners?

You have to pinch yourself to make sure that you're not watching "Spiderman 3".

So who is Kenneth L Adelman? He is the executive director for USA for Innovation. He currently serves as a member of the Defence Policy Board. Under president Reagan, he was director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1983 to 1987. He served as deputy US representative to the United Nations in the early 1980s, and as assistant to former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld from 1976 to 1977.

Since his background has been in the field of defence, with close ties to hardcore American conservatives, you must wonder why he dislikes the Thai military regime so much. Don't they belong to the same species - more power and higher military budgets?

Adelman is a right-wing Reagan/Bush Republican. Yes, I agree, that is a good reason to despise him. But that doesn't make his arguments about Thailand any less true.

Also, Thanong makes a good point. You would think that the Thai military would be his natural ally. He was at the Defense Department when Thailand was at its darkest point in history. I'm surprised he wasn't buddies with all the corrupt Thai generals back then.

But wait a minute, his bio says that he is senior counsellor at Edelman Public Relations. Do you know why now?

Thaksin Shinawatra, the ousted prime minister, hired Edelman Public Relations to represent him and to help prop up his international image. The Nation earlier reported that he signed a public-relations contract with Edelman in a deal worth US$300,000 (Bt10.3 million).

The term "senior counselor" really means nothing. Adelman is what you call a rain maker, a former official who can get top clients because of his past work in government service. He gets a fancy title and he brings in clients. That is it. I seriously doubt that Adelman has anything to with the running of Edelman and probably has no relationship with Thaksin. But, just to prove how lazy and incompetent Thanong is, I have to ask, instead of speculating on the Adelman, Edelman, Thaksin connection, why doesn't he pick up a telephone, call them for comments, and actually verify if they all are working together. But, you see, this is how lazy and incompetent Thai journalists operate: Speculation, innuendo, conspiracy--but no fact checking.

Edelman Public Relations was responsible for most of Thaksin's media exposure with CNN, Time magazine, The Wall Street Journal and the like earlier this year when he launched a PR blitz to boost his international image.

Again, this may or may not be true, but Thanong is too lazy to actually verify this as true. And the reason why Thanong's editor doesn't call him on his lazy bullshit is because his editor is just as lazy and incompetent as he is. At any real newspaper in a civilized country, an editor would actually force his reporter to verify his facts. But, because this story is about bashing America, and America doesn't defend itself in the Thai media, the Thai media normally just prints whatever it wants.

When Edelman wrote an article to attack Thailand in the Washington Times earlier this month, charging that the country was on the verge of becoming another Burmese-style regime, Korbsak Sabhavasu, a senior member of the Democrat Party, came out to expose the sinister link. He charged that Thaksin was behind the campaign to tarnish the image of the Thai government at a time when Thailand was having problems with the US over trade issues, particularly patent coverage of US pharmaceutical products.

Korbsak, a wacky conspiracy prone member of the anti-American wing of the Democrat Party, made an accusation without actually calling anybody in the US to verify his conspiracy.

Afterward, on Sunday, Noppadol Pattama, Thaksin's lawyer, came out to reveal that Thaksin had decided to terminate his contract with Edelman.

You would think that this means Thaksin doesn't want anything to do with this mess.

But a US official told me that USA for Innovation's campaign has nothing to do with the US government. "It is just a private warning group [that represents US pharmaceutical companies]," she said. She did not believe that Thaksin was behind USA for Innovation's campaign.

Again, Thai journalists are so ignorant about the outside world that it really is frustrating. A "non-profit" shell for the pharmaceutical industry run by a has been Reagan era official has nothing to do with the US government. Thais need to understand that a lobbyist is not an agent of the US government. A lobbyist lobbies for its particular interests. There are thousands of different lobbies, ranging from NRA(the gun lobby), the AFL-CIO(the unions) to the NAARP(old people's lobby). Some lobbyists are good, some are bad, and some are really evil. Most foreign countries have lobbyists. But Thailand, for some reason, doesn't think it needs one, because Thais are under the delusion that their diplomats are world class and can handle the big PR game. To Washington, Thailand is small potatoes. If Thailand wants to be treated with any significance, it needs to grow up and hire a lobbyist like everybody else.

That's fine. On second thought, you may not want to link the ousted prime minister with every attack against Thailand from abroad as that might not be fair to him.

No, Thanong psychologically needs to blame Thaksin for all of Thailand's problems, because without Thaksin, who will Thanong blame? Uh Oh. Maybe it is time to shift blame from Thaksin to the US.

However, since the beginning of this year US for Innovation has been issuing a series of press releases to denounce Thailand's stance on intellectual-property rights. It has also launched to publicise the alleged deceit of the Thai Public Health Ministry's policy on patent protection.

Thanong doesn't actually refute anything on the website. If Thanong was an actual journalist in search for the truth, that is what he would do, search for the truth.

Eventually, Thailand had to pay the price, as the US government finally downgraded its trade relations with Thailand by placing the Kingdom on its Priority Watch-List. In doing so, the US cited its concerns over Thailand's lack of progress on intellectual-property rights protection, as well as the impending amendment of the Foreign Business Act, the impending introduction of the Retail Business Act, the capital control measures [to limit speculation on the baht] and the compulsory licensing of US pharmaceutical products.

The truth is that Thailand has been slacking in all areas of enforcing the law concerning IP and now it finally has to pay the piper for all that slacking.

If you read between the lines, the downgrade of Thailand's trade status has more to do with the Thai Public Health Ministry's move to enforce compulsory licensing on drugs to deal with Aids.

This is bullshit. See, Thanong can't acknowledge that Thailand steals US IP outside the realm of the Aids drugs.

By the way, former US President Bill Clinton applauded Thailand's stance on compulsory licensing on drugs to treat Aids.

Again, another lie. I have not seen Bill Clinton actually say that he supports Thailand's moves on compulsory licensing.

However, I am not defending the Thai Public Health Ministry's position on compulsory licensing nor do I try to protect the poor track record of the military regime. Those issues would require more space than afforded by this small column.

More lies. Thanong is a right-wing nationalist who routinely rants against foreigners. See below. More of the same.

But at the moment, the campaign against Thailand, which is coming from overseas, is harsher than the country's sins. We have not only faced a war in the South and the spectre of civil war arising from political turmoil, but we have also faced a larger battle from the outside.

This is laughable. Having a coup and ripping up the constitution is a bigger sin than anything a foreign country has done to Thailand. Also, the FBA, the change in the visa laws, the confiscation and nationalization of iTV, the tourist scams and growing violence against foreigners is not exactly Thai hospitality at its best. And the attacks from the outside and the inside are all self-inflicted.

We are at loss over how to deal with YouTube, the US drug firm Abbott, or a dubious organisation like the USA for Innovation. We are very innocent in the New World Order, which calls for us to embrace free trade and to open up our country without any restrictions. It also tells us to abide strictly to protect intellectual and patent properties.

The outsiders set the rules - freedom of expression by YouTube, free trade by the US, high drug costs by pharmaceutical companies - we only have to follow.

Increasingly, we'll face more and more people like Ken Edelman, who has hardly ever set foot in Thailand, but who is willing to crush us to the ground with his black heart.

Now I love these last three paragraphs. They all say Thailand is a victim of big bad America. Thailand can do no wrong. Thailand has no responsibility for its own actions or its role in the world. Wahhh, US led globalization is going to destroy Thailand. Wahh, YouTube is evil and out to get our king. Wahhh, US pharmaceuticals wants to deprive Thais of their free medicines.

Instead of crying like a little girl and blaming everybody else for Thailand's problems, he should be calling for the country to saddle up and get its shit together. This is the year 2007. It is time Thailand grew up and acted like the ancient civilization that it is.


hobby said...

I wonder if Adelman also thinks this latest battle will also be a 'cakewalk'.

Adelman's hypocrisy is stunning

Anonymous said...

(From Matty)

Hobby I get my amusement reading Ponzi the Shark I hardly pay attention to Adelman!

BTW Ponzi I asked you once a question that you've not adequately answered: "Are you Thai Ponzi?" (Our encounter about Thaksin's old AirFoce One - - remember?)

Deconstruct yourself Ponzi, the scammer.

Because there is visibly growing malice towards Thailand and the Monarchy in your every post in this 'Shark' website of yours. I do notice your anti-Thailand article gets longer each day and makes me wonder whether Thaksin pays by piece-rate rather than content.

Shouldn't we instead talk about how to meet our rent Ponzi? Now on mundane subjects like rent, we should find matters we can agree upon . . and again maybe not.

Anonymous said...

It seems like you have rattled somone's cage Fonzi. The reactionary forces are massing on the horizon perhaps?

I wonder who pays him to post like this? And how much.

Hey Matty! Got room for another one in there? I dont write cheap but I sell my soul for next to nothing at all.

Should fit right in.

Anonymous said...

I get paid by Sondhi and Thaksin. It is so cool, I write both pro and con stuff under two names and get paid by both idiots. So fantastic deal!

I know for fact that Matty is paid by pandas in Chiang Mai, the old power ground of Thaksin but now infiltrated by secret forces of the military backed government.

Anonymous said...

Here's a couple of good ways not to bullied by the big boys in the playground:
1. Dont poke thgem in the eye with your finger.
2. Dont pick their pockets.

Simple really, if you are a little fish, dont pretend to be a killer whale.