Current US Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney, has made quite a reputation for herself as being someone whose main concern is making her job easy by “kissing up” to the leaders of her assigned country and for saying to hell with democracy and human rights.
In August of last year, Philippine foreign minister, Albert del Rosario, slammed the former ambassador to his country, Kristie Kenney, as a "dismal failure" in an angry reaction to a secret cable published by anti-secrecy website Wikileaks. According to the Wikileaks documents, Kenney criticized the Philippines’ revered democracy heroine, the late president Corazon Aquino, as being a weak, tarnished leader who did not do enough to fight corruption.
"She (Kenney) was a dismal failure in helping the Filipinos defend our democracy. It would seem that she preferred to be favorably looked upon by the (Philippine presidential) palace," del Rosario said. These comments about Kenney referred to Kenney’s apparent desire to curry favor with the Phillippine president of the time, Gloria Arroyo, who has been accused of vote fraud and massive corruption during her nearly 10 years in power.
Being a “dismal failure for democracy,” supporting corrupt individuals in power, and in “currying favor with those at the palace” are experiences which look great on a resume if you’re applying to be the US Ambassador to Thailand.
And Kenney has performed her job well, especially with regards to currying favor with the Palace. This can be seen in her many tweets like in August when she wrote that she was excited about going to the Palace to sign the Queen’s Happy Birthday Book or in December when she tweeted that the celebration of the Thai King's 84th birthday was her "most memorable event of 2011." Then there was the meeting her at her residence where she told a small group of newspaper editors, "We love your king."
It’s too bad the Ambassador doesn’t “love” our citizens or even the basic of human rights such as “freedom of expression.”
“The mission of the United States Embassy is to advance the interests of the United States, and to serve and protect US citizens in Thailand.” At least that’s what it says on the embassy’s website but that’s not what Ambassador Kristie has shown with regards to imprisoned American citizen Joe Gordon. To my knowledge, the Ambassador has never personally visited Joe in prison, nor has she signed his Happy Birthday Book.
For those who don’t know who Joe Gordon is, he is a Thai born US citizen and he was arrested for the bogus crime of lese majeste in Thailand on May 24, 2011. The DSI claimed that while he was in the US he was the owner of a blog which offered a Thai translation of a book banned in Thailand. For months Joe maintained his innocence but was imprisoned anyway and denied bail. Not only was a complete travesty of justice but it was a potential embarrassing incident for both Thailand and the US.
Based upon the Ambassador’s MO, I would not be surprised that some deal was struck between the US Embassy and the Thai government to better make this embarrassing incident go away. The embassy helps convince Joe that his best option is for him to plead guilty and seek a royal pardon. Everybody wins… or do they?
Joe did finally agree to plead guilty. He was convicted on December 8, 2011 without a trial – because a guilty plea only requires sentencing – and was given 2.5 years in jail, and he publicly stated that he hoped for a royal pardon.
Now it is reported that the prosecutor has been granted another month to appeal Joe’s case. That means that the prosecutor will have had 3 months in which to appeal against Joe’s “light sentence” for allegedly translating a perfectly legal book in the US, where Joe is a citizen and resident. Of course, the real reason for the appeal is to prevent Joe from getting that royal pardon. A pardon cannot be given while a case is still open and, according to Joe’s lawyer, Anon Nampha, the prosecutor can ask the court to extend the period for appeal indefinitely.
Joe has been completely double crossed thanks to Ambassador Kenney and her stooges at the US embassy.
Our US ambassador to Thailand seems determined to go down in history as the person who put the "ass" in "ambassador" although she would want everyone to believe she “advances the interests of the United States and to serves and protects US citizens in Thailand.” Unfortunately for Ambassador Kenney, her “slip” is showing.