thaicables – It's Your Right to know the Truth!

Overview of referenced cables in #thaistory

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Overview of published Thai Cables

31.8.2011 With the release of the full archive of US Embassy Cables, which include all cables sent by the Embassy in Bangkok and Chiang Mai we will discontinue publishing

those cables on the Thaicables Blog.

DOWNLOAD THAISTORY PART 3 as PDF file on the box on the right side!

You can find the full Wikileaks Cablegate Archive here: www.wikileaks.org

If the above link is blocked in Thailand, please go to: www.wikileaks.ch or any other mirrorsite

All cables which originated from the US Embassy in Bangkok can be found here while you can check here cables from the Consulate in Chiang Mai.

To download the full, unencrypted, Cablegate2 archive:

Cut and paste the following URL into a “magnet” compatible Bittorrent download client:

magnet:?xt=urn:btih:AUHKVFRXREM7DCVK54MBDBGHQNPHLG5J

Or for older Bittorrent clients:

http://88.80.16.63/torrent/cablegate/cablegate-201108300212.7z.torrent

The files are compressed with “7zip”(http://www.7-zip.org/) and unpack to 60Gb.

If you have 60Gb or more of web-server space, unpack the material and tweet a link to it, prefixed by #wlmir

If you downlaoded the encrypted file we announced previously, you don’t have to download the unencrypted torrent Instead, decrypt the encrypted file, name it cablegate-201108300212.7z and put it into your torrent client’s download directory. Then tell your client to add the torrent athttp://88.80.16.63/torrent/cablegate/cablegate-201108300212.7z.torrent and it will be automatically seeded.

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Your Thaicables Team


Written by thaicables

June 22, 2011 at 9:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Thai Cables – It’s Your Right to Know the Truth!

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Thai Cables

Between 2005 and February 2010 a total of 2985 (other sources state 3516) Cables have been sent from the US Embassy in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

This tremendous amount of information cover a wide range of topics from corruption by Thailand’s political parties and politicians to the involvement of Thailand’s Royal Family in politics. The inhumane treatment of Refugees, Human Trafficking and military spendings are exposed.

Thailand’s media apply apply self-censorship and distort news to aid government propaganda. An army of “cyber-scouts” have blocked over 400.000 websites all under the pretense to protect “The Royal Family” or for reasons of “National Security”. A witch-hunt after everyone who dares to speak their mind has been started, often using Article 112 or the Cyber Crime Act to prosecute and jail people, who used their Right of Freedom of Speech. Hundreds of arrests have been made in the last years and harsh sentences often up to 15 years been handed out. People have been jailed for sending SMS messages, for selling DVD’s with a public available ABC documentary or posting comments on Facebook. The web-master of Pratchatai is threatened with 50 years in prison for not removing quickly enough an anonymous user comment deemed “lesse majeste”.

A climate of fear and denunciation has taken hold of Thailand, democracy became an empty word. Those in power do everything to remain in control and power. Even elections have been announced to be held in June 2011 many do believe that they won’t take place or their result will be ignored, pushing Thailand once more close to a military dictatorship.

The 3000 “Thai-Cables” belong to the Thai People as they give a quite detailed account over years about the situation in Thailand. It’s the Right of the Thai People to know about the People in Power and to make up their own mind, uninfluenced by propaganda and fear.

We do not believe in censorship nor in laws which have been abused to intimidate everyone who exercises their right of free speech. The Thai Cables you find published here are unedited and only names of informants or journalists have been censored in order to protect them.

We will publish every day a small balanced assortment of important “Thai-Cables”. A certain part of the cables consist of routine information which might only be interesting to certain groups. Those will be made available in bulk to download.

We encourage every website to mirror the content of our website and spread it all over the internet.

Thaicables

It’s Your Right to know the Truth!

Written by thaicables

March 28, 2011 at 9:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

05BANGKOK3588 NOMINATION OF MICHAEL D. SWEENEY FOR THE POWELL FELLOWS PROGRAM

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 003588

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/EX, EAP/BCLTV

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: APER

SUBJECT: NOMINATION OF MICHAEL D. SWEENEY FOR THE POWELL

FELLOWS PROGRAM

 

REF: A. STATE 92063

 

¶B. STATE 79836

 

NOMINATION STATEMENT

 

¶1. (U) I nominate Michael D. Sweeney for consideration as

one of the EAP Bureau’s nominees for the Powell Fellows

Program. Michael is a tenured FS-03 Foreign Service

generalist who has distinguished himself while working in the

Consular and Political sections in Embassy Bangkok. He is

the type of officer whose strong qualities should be nurtured

early in his career, and the Powell Fellows Program is an

excellent opportunity to provide him with exposure and

development that will redound to the Department’s benefit.

 

Mike’s contributions to the Mission in his current position

as the Embassy’s human rights officer have been exceptional.

He is known for his initiative, insightful written work,

astute cultivation of government and NGO contacts, and

general ability to stay far ahead of the curve on reporting

or any of the many projects for which he is responsible.

Mike is widely respected by American and Thai staff for his

maturity and motivation, and for his openness to people and

ideas.

 

Examples that highlight Mike’s performance and abilities come

easily to mind. Mike’s Thailand 2004 Chapter for the Human

Rights Report (HRR) was praised as one of the best in the

region. His early drafts were balanced, detailed and clearly

written. He negotiated careful edits with the Department.

Mike also authored several of the most relevant cables sent

from Bangkok, including an analytic piece, “Thaksin’s Victory

– Credit the Man, Innovative Policies, and the Thai Rak Thai

Political Machine.” That cable in particular illustrated

Mike’s great versatility. When the tsunami disaster strained

the Political section’s ability to properly cover the

national elections, Mike easily stepped up to a central role

in reporting on domestic politics, adroitly drawing on

knowledge gleaned from being our lead reporter on Thai civil

society. Mike’s cable on the views of the new foreign

minister toward Thai-Burma relations, “New Face, Same

Policy,” also influenced Washington. In updates to senior

colleagues, briefings to visitors on his areas of

responsibility, and exchanges with Thai officials and

politicians, Mike’s verbal skills mirrored his writing; he

was always organized, informed, articulate and to the point.

Remarkably, Mike could make such presentations in either Thai

or English — he is by far the best Thai language speaker in

the Political section and is rivaled by only a handful of

other Americans in the entire Mission.

 

Mike’s leadership potential is especially impressive. He is

relatively new to the Foreign Service, but entered after over

10 years of work experience, most of it overseas, in

community development, human rights and refugee work. He

brings good judgment and a seasoned background to his efforts

to improve the way goals are achieved in the Mission. He has

organizational and managerial skills equal to much more

senior officers, and time and again in Bangkok has made

superior contributions to the work of the Consular and

Political sections. He implemented a Department grant

supporting Thai citizenship for hill tribes. Working closely

with USAID, he was the prime shaper of a USD 1 million

program to improve freedom of the press in Thailand.

 

PERSONAL STATEMENT OF NOMINEE MICHAEL SWEENEY

 

¶2. (U) I would like to participate in the Powell Fellows

Program because I want to broaden my leadership skills,

including the ability to find creative solutions to problems,

enhance openness in our profession to innovation, and

ultimately to become a more effective diplomat. Since

joining the State Department in 2001, I have learned that

leadership requires the ability to see problems and solutions

to those problems in a multidimensional way, beyond the

traditional top-down bureaucracy that holds our many

administrative and decision-making systems together. Being

part of large regional missions like Manila and Bangkok,

which constitute a vast array of agencies, I have experienced

the need to contrast and compare different work cultures from

various offices and agencies at post. I have had to learn to

make meaningful contacts with key officers from other

agencies that helped me do my job better. Lastly, I learned

the importance of promoting the State Department’s key

programs and policy initiatives within the context of the

interagency Mission team. All of these efforts required

leadership.

 

One recent of example where my own leadership skills were

called to task was during discussions about Economic Support

Funds (ESF) for Burma. I was tasked with organizing

logistics for a joint State Department – USAID team visiting

the Thai-Burma border and Bangkok. The goal of the trip was

to find out the best way to spend funds earmarked by Congress

to support pro-democracy groups working for democratic change

inside Burma. Yet even as closely as State and AID work

together, I found a real culture gap: in work vocabulary,

budget cycles, and even the mundane details of protocol at

meetings. At the end of the trip, after a week of traveling

and 12-hour days of site visits and office calls, team

members were asking the question, “What now?” For a while,

it appeared that no one wanted to make the suggestion we were

all dreading: another meeting. I found myself in a

situation where leaders can often find themselves thinking,

“Who is going to ask the question, speak up and make a

suggestion and get the ball rolling?” Well, I did. Almost

overnight, rather than letting the joint team just get on a

plane the next day and go back to DC, I organized a late

afternoon meeting of all the relevant offices and section

chiefs (including the Ambassador and AID Mission Chief) to

get a summary of the findings of the team and to learn more

about the many offices at post that work on Burma. If I had

not looked beyond my control officer role and seen the larger

interagency picture, that meeting and the possibilities for

further interagency and interoffice exchange on one of the

most important issues to this Mission and to the U.S., would

not have taken place.

 

I think broadening this experience even further through a

program of contacts with leaders in politics, academia,

research centers and other sectors would be an excellent

chance to build on the leadership skills I have achieved thus

far.

 

As I come near the end of my second tour as a Foreign Service

Officer, I look forward to the challenges facing me as

Consular manager in Vientiane, Laos. My goal following that

is to seek increasing management responsibilities at a larger

Consular post, such as Guangzhou or another larger post in

another geographic region. I would also like to pursue work

in either the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

(DRL), or Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), where I

can use my background and personal interest in human rights,

civil society and refugees to lead others in our shared task

of implementing the management of human and other resources

to accomplish our foreign policy objectives.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

August 28, 2011 at 6:17 am

Posted in Unclassified

05BANGKOK3522 COMMUNITY RADIO IN THAILAND: CRACKDOWN OR CROSSED SIGNALS?

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 003522

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV, USPACOM FOR FPA HUSO

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PHUM KPAO TH

SUBJECT: COMMUNITY RADIO IN THAILAND: CRACKDOWN OR CROSSED

SIGNALS?

 

REF: 02 BANGKOK 7237

 

¶1. (U) SUMMARY: An estimated 2,000 (maybe 3,000)

unregistered community radio stations continue to broadcast

popular news and “call in” talk shows without a legal

regulatory framework. Appointment of a National Broadcasting

Commission (NBC) remains stalled in the Thai Senate.

Although the Royal Thai Government (RTG) air traffic control

agency has complained that some community radios are

interfering with aviation safety, recent government attempts

to enforce interim regulations on community radio stations

are regarded as intimidation by popular radio personalities

and Thai media freedom watchdogs. END SUMMARY.

 

 

BACKGROUND ON COMMUNITY RADIO IN THAILAND

 

¶2. (U) The current legal basis for community radio in

Thailand is the 1997 reformist Constitution, which, under

Section 40, states, “Transmission frequencies for radio or

television broadcasting and radio telecommunication are

national communication resources for public interest.” The

Constitution calls for the establishment of an “independent

regulatory body” to distribute these frequencies for “utmost

public benefit”. In late 2004, the Thaksin administration

submitted a list of 14 nominees for a proposed National

Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to the appropriate Thai Senate

subcommittee for vetting. That subcommittee is tasked with

selecting 7 committee members from the 14 nominees for

further processing, but its consideration of the list is

still pending. The Thaksin government previously submitted a

nominee list for the NBC in 2003. That list was rejected on

appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court due to a lack of

transparency in the selection process and claims of conflicts

of interest between nominees and members of the selection

committee which came up with the names. Senator Chirmsak

Pinthong recently told journalists that the selection process

for the names submitted by the Thaksin government was

tainted. He claimed that many of the nominees submitted both

times were not qualified to sit on a NBC regulatory body; he

reiterated claims of conflicts of interest amongst selection

panel members and NBC nominees.

 

A REGULATORY VACUUM

 

¶3. (U) Under interim regulations established by the Public

Relations Department (PRD) in March 2003, community radio

stations are allowed to continue “extra-legal” operations

until the proposed NBC enacts regulations. These interim

rules limit stations to 30 watts of power, a 30-meter antenna

and range of 15 to 18 kilometers. In January 2005, the PRD

issued an additional regulation allowing the stations to air

6 minutes of commercials a day. PRD officials have told

Embassy officers that there are approximately 1,793

registered community radio stations. This number includes 500

stations in the Community Radio Network, an alliance of

station managers formed to defend the rights of community

radio operators nationwide. But privately both the PRD and

NGOs admitted that the true total number of stations is

unknown. Estimates range from 2,000 to 3,000. (Note: The

RTG owns and controls 524 officially registered “regular” AM

and FM radio stations in the country. The military and

police services control 230 radio stations, PRD and the Mass

Communications Organization of Thailand (MCOT) control over

170 stations combined. Nearly all of these stations are

leased to commercial companies. End Note.)

 

BUT MONEY TO BE MADE?

 

¶4. (U) Uajit Virojtrairatt, of the media watchdog group,

Civil Media Development Institute, stated in The Nation

newspaper on May 24 that some stations are making handsome

profits on untaxed commercial air time, claiming that one

station made up to 200,000 baht ($5,128) per month.

Meanwhile, Uajit noted, registered commercial radio stations

are complaining of declining advertising revenue as

businesses turned to cheaper airtime on community radio.

Because only government operated broadcast entities are

allowed to transmit paid advertising in Thailand, this newly

granted authority allowing community radio stations to sell

advertising time may have accelerated the rapid growth of the

medium in recent months, and prompted operators to stretch

the envelope of allowable frequencies and transmission power.

 

¶5. (U) Suranand Vejajiva, the media savvy Minister to the

Prime Minister’s Office and former spokesman for the Thai Rak

Thai (TRT) party, has been assigned the public relations

portfolio in Thaksin’s office. He reportedly ordered the

PRD to review all community radio stations operations to

ensure they are following the interim guidelines. Press

reports indicated that the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand

(Aerothai), the RTG-run air traffic control agency,

complained to Suranand that some community radio stations

broadcasts interfered with air traffic communications. On

May 25, the chairman of the Thai Parliament’s House

Telecommunication Subcommittee and TRT party list Member of

Parliament Suphap Khlikhachai confirmed to Embassy officers

that Aerothai had contacted his committee with similar

complaints. Suphap said Aerothai had provided him with a

letter stating that over 80 incidents of radio interference

had occurred since January, all in Northeast Thailand. Most

incidents occurred near an airport in Buriram province. No

claims of interference in Bangkok were stated in the letter.

 

POLICE PAY A VISIT TO COMMUNITY RADIO ICON

 

¶6. (SBU) Controversy over RTG regulation of an estimated

2,000 FM community radio stations came to public light the

week of May 18 when Royal Thai Police (RTP) “visited” the

broadcasting studio of a popular Bangkok radio host, Anchalee

Paireerak. Anchalee’s political programs, though not

virulently anti-government, are noted for their critical

analysis of the Thaksin administration. Anchalee confirmed

that police came to her station on May 18 and requested to

see the tower. They were turned away since they did not

possess a search warrant, and the owners of the building

decided not to let the police into the studio or to inspect

the tower on the rooftop. Poloff contacted Anchalee who

stated that the PRD has now ordered her station to lower its

broadcast antenna from atop the Thai Petrochemical Industry

(TPI) tower and to place it no more than 30 meters above the

ground by May 25. She reported that this would effectively

shut down the station on May 25 until technical arrangements

can be made. She said that the signal strength of the

station is no more than 30 watts and that the antenna itself

is not more than 30 meters long. However, since the

transmission tower sits atop a multi-story modern office

building, it is more than 30 meters above the ground.

Anchalee stated that she had attempted to confirm with

Aerothai if her station or other community radio stations

were interfering with air traffic signals but no one at

Aerothai would confirm such claims directly to her. She said

the response of most community radio operators was that the

RTG’s claim of radio interference with aviation was just a

ruse for a crackdown on radio stations critical of the

Thaksin government.

 

¶7. (SBU) Poloff also spoke with Supinya Klangnarong of the

NGO Campaign for Popular Media Reform (CPMR). Supinya is the

defendant in a criminal and multimillion-dollar civil libel

lawsuit filed by Shinawatra Corporation (Shincorp), founded

by PM Thaksin and currently owned by members of his immediate

family. In 2003, Supinya had published a study claiming that

the PM’s net worth increased exponentially as a result of

Thaksin’s increased hold on power in the Thai Parliament

increased. Supinya stated she had spoken out recently in

public in support of Anchalee and others as she “could not

stand by and watch the government make excuses” to suppress

other critical voices. She said that even though her libel

trial is set to begin in 2 months time, she has a

responsibility to support others who face interference from

the RTG. She noted how surprised she was at the growth of

community radio, reflecting upon a time only 4 years ago when

one of the first stations opened in Kanchanaburi province.

By 2002, there were several hundred and now she stated that

no one knows for sure the real number nationwide but that it

could be up to 3,000. She dismissed claims of radio

interference with air traffic as baseless, noting that if

there were a real safety issue with aircraft communication,

especially with Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok,

the RTG, especially the military, would not wait so long to

shut down stations.

 

¶8. (SBU) COMMENT: The regulatory void that has allowed

community radio to flourish in the last few years has been a

mixed blessing. Industrious Thais have taken advantage of

the relatively “free market” of airwaves to fill them up with

hundreds of small locally run stations. They continue to

operate “under the radar” of the Government to some degree,

while offering a critical alternative to the voice of

RTG-controlled stations. The current spat over reported

interference with air traffic communications is part of a

larger battle to come over the establishment of the NBC.

Once that independent body is up and running and clearly in

charge, its directives will set the tone for the Thaksin II

administration’s commitment to freedom of the press for

community radio and all broadcast media. END COMMENT.

ARVIZU

Written by thaicables

August 28, 2011 at 6:16 am

05BANGKOK3521 THAILAND: NATIONAL COUNTER CORRUPTION COMMISSIONERS RESIGN AFTER CONVICTIONS FOR UNAUTHORIZED PAY RAISES

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 003521

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV. HQ USPACOM FOR FPA HUSO

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV TH NCCC

SUBJECT: THAILAND: NATIONAL COUNTER CORRUPTION

COMMISSIONERS RESIGN AFTER CONVICTIONS FOR UNAUTHORIZED PAY

RAISES

 

 

¶1. (SBU) Summary: On May 30, eight commissioners of the

National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) resigned under

a cloud. A ninth commissioner had resigned earlier, shortly

after the Supreme Court of Justice’s Criminal Division for

Persons Holding Political Positions ruled (6 to 3) on May 26

that the NCCC had wrongfully and dishonestly abused their

office by intentionally skirting the law and awarding

themselves a pay raise. The Court sentenced all nine NCCC

commissioners to 2-years imprisonment but suspended the jail

terms in recognition of previous long-standing service to the

country. Incredibly, most of the commissioners apparently

thought they could stay in office, but parliamentary and

public outcry — and pressure from Prime Minister Thaksin –

forced them out. This case focuses attention on and raises

questions about other constitutionally-mandated “watchdog”

bodies which have also given themselves raises. End Summary.

 

PARLIAMENTARIANS ISSUE PETITION AGAINST NCCC

 

¶2. (U) On May 26, the 9-member Supreme Court of Justice’s

Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions

ruled by a vote of 6 to 3 that all 9 members of the National

Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) had wrongfully,

dishonestly and intentionally awarded itself pay raises. The

case had been simmering since September 2004 when Senator Dr.

Chirmsak Pinthong discovered during a budgetary debate that

NCCC had issued a “regulation” in July 2004 giving all

commissioners a pay raise, including an additional monthly

allowance of Baht 45,500 for the Chairman and Baht 42,500 for

the others. These new allowances raised the total monthly

salary and allowances to Baht 154,000 for the Chairman and

Baht 147,000 for the other commissioners, levels above those

received by the Prime Minister (Baht 115,920) and all other

ministers, senators and congresspersons. As a consequence of

this discovery, 203 Parliamentarians (108 senators and 95

members of Parliament, including one MP from the Thai Rak

Thai Party) led by Senator Pratin Santiprabhob, Chairman of

Senate Extraordinary Committee Investigating Corruption, sent

a petition through the President of the Senate on October 6,

2004 to the appropriate court to initiate proceedings against

the NCCC.

 

CONVICTION AND SUSPENSION OF SENTENCE

 

¶3. (U) The Supreme Court reviewed the case and focused

principally on the charges as contained in the petition, i.e.

malfeasance charges and alleged abuse by the NCCC of its

authority in awarding itself the pay raises. After

investigations, and testimony by the commissioners, the

Court found that the NCCC had given itself new benefits even

though it understood it had no legal authority to do so. The

Court noted that Article 253 of the Constitution provides

that “salaries, emoluments and other benefits of judges shall

be provided by law,” not by the method of “regulation” used.

Article 253 specifically stipulates that its provisions apply

to NCCC commissioners. The Court therefore convicted all

NCCC members and sentenced them to 2-years imprisonment. The

Court suspended the jail sentences for two years in

recognition of the commissioners’ pervious positive records.

 

 

NCCC COMMISSIONERS LINGER DESPITE VERDICT

 

¶4. (U) This landmark verdict initially threw the NCCC into

a state of confusion because it did not specifically remove

all nine-members of NCCC from office. One commissioner

resigned on May 27, but the others clung to office, with

their supporters citing a Constitutional Court precedent from

1999 involving Newin Chidchorb, who then (as he is now) was

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives. In 1999,

the Provincial Court of Buri Ram had convicted Newin on a

defamation charge, given him a sentence of six months’

imprisonment, but suspended it for one year. The

Constitutional Court had then judged the suspended term to be

merely nominal, which allowed Newin to remain in office.

Some NCCC Commissioners and their supporters initially argued

that the Newin judgment was applicable in their case and that

they could continue in office, despite conviction, in

accordance with the Articles 260 and 298 of the Constitution.

The problem of the NCCC commissioners was further compounded

by Article 300 (para 3) of the Constitution which specified

that once a case is referred to the Supreme Court of

Justice’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political

Positions for trial and adjudication (which Newin’s had not

been), the accused shall not perform their duties until this

Supreme Court dismissed the case. In the NCCC matter, the

Supreme Court had handed down a verdict. Armed only with

these thin technical arguments, NCCC members seemed ready to

try to remain in office after conviction and when the law

prohibited them from performing their duties.

 

ALL RESIGN AFTER PUBLIC OPINION TURNS

 

¶5. (SBU) The convicted NCCC commissioners weathered a few

day of fierce public debate — probably the most intense

debate on contradictions in the 1997 Constitution since it

was adopted — before stepping down on May 30. Although the

opposition Democrats (DP) led the calls for resignation, PM

Thaksin weighed in heavily for resignation as well despite

the fact that all the commissioners were selected during his

first administration and were generally regarded as choices

he had favored. The NCCC resignations open the way for

selection of new commissioners, but the process is likely to

be difficult. Article 297 of the Constitution requires

selection of new nominees to be made by representatives of

five political parties with members in the Parliament. After

the overwhelming TRT victory in last February’s elections,

only four political parties have members in Parliament,

including Mahachon which only elected two MPs. To proceed

with selection of new commissioners, the Constitution will

have to be amended beforehand.

 

¶6. (SBU) Comment: This involvement of the NCCC in

controversy is a blow to the prestige and credibility of

other constitutionally-mandated independent “watchdog”

bodies. It is open knowledge that the Election Commission of

Thailand, the Constitutional Court and the Office of the

Ombudsman have all awarded themselves income increases using

similar methods to those of the NCCC. All seem vulnerable to

formal charges. Though for some observers, the dispute over

the raises was complex and fell into a gray area in which the

constitutional bodies might have been understood to be

empowered to direct their budgets, the court decision and the

public outcry were very black and white and condemning. End

Comment.

ARVIZU

Written by thaicables

August 28, 2011 at 6:15 am

05BANGKOK3500 THAILAND: ICJ ELECTIONS

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BANGKOK 003500

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

DEPARTMENT FOR IO, EAP/BCLTV

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL TH

SUBJECT: THAILAND: ICJ ELECTIONS

 

REF: STATE 80697

 

¶1. (SBU) Per reftel instructions, on May 16 Poloffs

delivered diplomatic note seeking RTG support for the

reelection of Judge Buergenthal to the International Court of

Justice (ICJ) to the MFA North America Division.

 

¶2. (SBU) Poloff subsequently discussed reftel talking

points with Phasporn Sangasubana, Administrative Affairs

Director of the MFA’s International Organizations Division.

Phasporn said that our diplomatic note had been forwarded to

their “National Group” in the Permanent Court of Arbitration

for consideration. Phasporn noted that the MFA had received

similar demarches from other countries in support of their

candidates and said the Thai National Group would meet soon

to assess the candidates. Phasporn said she could not

comment on which candidate the Thai National Group would

likely support, but noted that Judge Buergenthal was

favorably known at the ICJ.

ARVIZU

Written by thaicables

August 28, 2011 at 6:14 am

05BANGKOK3471 THAILAND: TRT FACTIONAL TENSIONS FLARE OVER AUDITOR-GENERAL CONTROVERSY

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 003471

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV. HQ USPACOM FOR FPA HUSO.

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV TH TRT

SUBJECT: THAILAND: TRT FACTIONAL TENSIONS FLARE OVER

AUDITOR-GENERAL CONTROVERSY

 

REF: (A) BANGKOK 3381 (B) BANGKOK 2347

 

¶1. (SBU) Summary: Opposition to Thai Senate efforts to

replace popular Auditor-General Charuvan — up to now led by

the Democrat Party (DP) — has been taken up by one of the

ruling Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party’s key factions. Powerful

TRT faction leader Sanoh Thienthong has drawn Prime Minister

Thaksin’s ire by spearheading a petition by some 60 TRT MPs

to the Senate against submitting to the King the nomination

of former Finance Ministry Deputy Permanent Secretary Wisut

Montriwat as Charuvan’s replacement. Prime Minister Thaksin,

whose administration may be vulnerable to Charuvan’s drive to

root out government malfeasance, has reportedly retorted that

MPs should not meddle in actions by the Senate. The bold

move by Sanoh in an atmosphere of heightened attention to

allegations of bribe-taking by politicians in the awarding of

new airport construction contracts cracks the facade of unity

that the TRT had hoped to present to its critics in academia,

the press, political opposition and the general public. End

Summary.

 

MOVE TO REPLACE CRUSADING AUDITOR-GENERAL SPARKS CRITICISM

 

¶2. (U) As noted in ref. A, a decision in 2003 by the

Constitutional Court that Khunying Charuvan Methanaka’s

appointment as Auditor-General was unconstitutional led the

Senate on May 12 to name a successor, former Finance Ministry

Deputy Permanent Secretary Wisut Montriwat. This decision

sparked accusations — largely from opposition DP officials

– that the Thaksin administration influenced the nominally

non-political Senate to get rid of a troublesomely efficient

corruption investigator. Critics of efforts to replace

Charuvan say that the upper body has no constitutional

grounds on which to remove her and appoint a new successor.

Wisut’s supporters disagree.

 

THAI RAK THAI FACTION LEADER GETS INVOLVED IN CASE

 

¶3. (U) On May 26, reportedly up to 60 TRT MPs (of 377 total

TRT congresspersons in the 500 seat lower house of

Parliament), headed by disgruntled TRT Wang Nam Yen faction

leader Sanoh Thienthong, appealed for Senate Speaker Suchon

Chaleekrua not to submit Wisut’s name to the King as

replacement for Charuvan. In their letter to the Deputy

Speaker’s office, the MPs reasoned that the Constitutional

Court,s ruling, which declared the unconstitutionality of

the Senate’s earlier selection of Charuwan as the

Auditor-General, did not stipulate that she be removed from

the office. Therefore, they argued, the royal appointment of

Charuvan as the Auditor-General was still in effect, and that

presenting Wisut to the King as new Auditor-General would be

both unconstitutional and disrespectful to the King by

involving him in the controversy.

 

¶4. (U) Thaksin has reportedly scathingly rebuked some of

the MPs, telling a group on May 26 that the Senate’s actions

are not the business of the lower house and that they have to

follow the rules. Thaksin has had tense relations with Sanoh

Thienthong from the period of his first administration

(2001-5), when Sanoh regularly complained that he and his

faction were being eclipsed by a rival faction headed by

Thaksin’s sister Yaowapha Wongsawasdi and not receiving

sufficient senior appointments in the Thaksin government.

The complaints of ill-treatment became louder following onset

of Thaksin’s second term earlier this year and selection of

Thaksin’s new cabinet.

 

POLITICS IN THE BACKGROUND

 

¶5. (U) Sanoh has not attempted to conceal his unhappiness

over what he considers the slighting treatment that he and

his faction members and allies have received from Thaksin in

the awarding of offices following February’s election (ref.

B). Sanoh’s Wang Nam Yen, and allied Wang Nam Yom and the

Suchart factions, feel that they were

“awarded” a relatively small number of cabinet posts compared

to Yaowapha Wongsawasdi’s Wang Buam Ban faction and the

Bangkok faction headed by Agriculture Minister Sudarat

Keyuraphun. Sanoh’s public show of support for Charuvan, a

bureaucrat considered potentially embarrassing to Thaksin’s

government, strongly reflects factional fissures and

jockeying for position and leverage within TRT.

 

POTENTIAL PROBLEM FOR THAKSIN

 

¶6. (SBU) Comment. No one is predicting the collapse of

Thaksin’s coalition. However, the bold move by Sanoh amidst

the furor over the allegations of bribe-taking by politicians

in the awarding of new airport construction contracts damages

any show of unity the TRT hoped to present to its critics in

academia, the press, its political opposition and the general

public. Sanoh is hardly the ideal champion for

anti-corruption. He has never enjoyed an untainted

reputation and his public support for Charuvan, and by

extension her campaign to uncover government malfeasance, is

a clear shot by Sanoh across Thaksin’s bows for his own

political reasons. It is a strong signal to the Prime

Minister that Sanoh and his allies can cause trouble if they

do not receive more generous treatment in the next Thaksin

cabinet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARVIZU

Written by thaicables

August 28, 2011 at 6:13 am

05BANGKOK3206 THAILAND ISSUES STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR NEW IRAQI GOVERNMENT

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BANGKOK 003206

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/BCLTV, NEA

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL KPAO TH IRAQ

SUBJECT: THAILAND ISSUES STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR NEW IRAQI

GOVERNMENT

 

REF: BANGKOK 3107

 

¶1. (SBU) The MFA has informed Post that the RTG has issued

a public statement in support of the Iraqi transitional

Government. The MFA has posted the announcement on the

Ministry’s website (www.mfa.go.th). In addition, MFA North

America Division provided post with a copy of a

congratulatory Diplomatic Note the MFA sent to the Iraqi

Foreign Ministry. A copy of the public statement and

diplomatic note follow.

 

¶2. (U) BEGIN TEXT OF PUBLIC STATEMENT:

Thailand welcomes the formation of the new democratically

elected Iraqi government. This political milestone comes as

a result of perseverance and the collective strength of the

Iraqi people, who deserve full praise and admiration for

their efforts, despite the numerous difficulties and

obstacles in their way.

 

Thailand recognizees that the new Iraqi government will have

the important task of rebuilding an environment of peace and

stability in Iraq, as well as to provide for the well being

and prosperity of the people of Iraq. The successful

management of this period of political transition will be

crucial for the future political stability of the country, as

well as the region.

 

Thailand reaffirms its intention to work with the United

Nations and the international community in rendering support

to the government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafri, for

the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the country. To

this end, Thailand looks forward to strengthening existing

cooperation and relations between the two countries

END PUBLIC STATEMENT

 

 

¶3. (SBU) BEGIN TEXT OF DIPLOMATIC NOTE:

Excellency,

I have the honor and great pleasure to extend to Your

Excellency my sincere congratulations and best wishes upon

Your Excellency’s resumption of duty as Minister of Foreign

Affairs of the Republic of Iraq.

 

I am confident that, with Your Excellency at the helm of

Iraq’s foreign policy, the relations between Iraq and

Thailand will continue to be further strengthened for the

mutual benefit and prosperity of our two countries and

peoples.

 

I have further the honor to reaffirm the commitment of

Thailand to support the international community in providing

humanitarian assistance to Iraq, and encourage the new Iraqi

government in working for progress towards the reconstruction

of the country.

 

Accept Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

 

Kantathi Suphamongkhon

Minister of Foreign Affairs

END DIPLOMATIC NOTE

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

August 28, 2011 at 6:11 am

05BANGKOK3145 NATIONAL RECONCILIATION COMMISSION RELEASES FULL REPORTS FROM TAK BAI AND KRUE SE INCIDENTS

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 003145

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV, USPACOM FOR FPA HUSO

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PHUM TH HUMAN RIGHTS NRC

SUBJECT: NATIONAL RECONCILIATION COMMISSION RELEASES FULL

REPORTS FROM TAK BAI AND KRUE SE INCIDENTS

 

REF: A) 04 BANGKOK 5360 B) BANGKOK 687 C) 04 BANGKOK

 

3111 D) 04 BANGKOK 2941

 

¶1. (U) SUMMARY: The National Reconciliation Commission

(NRC) recently released the complete texts of reports

authored by two government-authorized “Independent

Commissions” which investigated separate high casualty

incidents in 2004 in southern Thailand involving Thai

security forces. In April 2004, 32 armed insurgents were

killed at the Krue Se Mosque and 85 demonstrators were killed

at the Tak Bai Police Station in October 2004. No startling

new facts were revealed about either event. However, the

full reports do provide more details about the shooting of 7

of 85 demonstrators killed at Tak Bai and actions of military

commanders shortly after the crackdown began. Muslim leaders

generally reacted positively to the NRC’s release of the

reports but again voiced concern that promised compensation

to families of those killed has not been dispersed. The NRC

met again on May 9 to set up sub-committees to pursue

specific goals more systematically. END SUMMARY.

 

ONE YEAR LATER: THE (IN)-COMPLETE STORY OF APRIL 28, 2004 AND

KRUE SE MOSQUE

 

¶2. (SBU) After completing a three-day fact-finding trip in

Narathiwat Province on April 20, the 48-member NRC released

the complete texts of the reports from separate Independent

Commissions (authorized by the Thai government) on the

controversial Tak Bai and Krue Se Mosque incidents. During

the fact-finding trip, NRC members had been urged to release

these reports by religious leaders and families of victims

from the violence in the South, many of whom argued that

doing so would clear the air significantly. The NRC also

consulted with police and military officials in the South

(and perhaps the issue was discussed privately with the Prime

Minister). The Thai media aired the debate over the value of

releasing the full texts. On April 20, after a closed

session meeting of the NRC, Chairman and former Prime

Minister Anand Panyarachun appeared at a press conference and

provided copies of the 52-page Tak Bai report and the 38-page

Krue Se report to the media. “We insist on transparency,” he

said. English versions of the reports can be found on the

Internet site of The Nation newspaper at:

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/specials/takb ai.

 

¶3. (U) The Krue Se report covers only one of several violent

incidents that occurred in three different provinces on April

28, 2004. As noted in the report, “Some 100 militants staged

simultaneous assaults on seven targets in Yala, three in

Pattani, and one in Songkhla.” The full report provides

details about the weapons used by the militants and security

forces, names of persons involved on both sides and a

detailed timeline. This is in contrast to the four-page

summary report released on August 4, 2004 by the RTG. The

authors of the full report state that autopsies were not

performed on the bodies of the 31 militants killed by Thai

Special Forces at Krue Se Mosque. However, samples of body

fluids were taken and later tests concluded that no narcotics

or other “illegal substances” were present. (Note: This

appears to contradict an official RTG statement of April 29,

2004 stating, “the perpetrators were under the influence of

drugs and were instigated to resort to violence. It was

disclosed that those arrested were subject to urine test

(sic) and found to have taken drugs.” See Reftel C. End

Note.) The full report criticizes General Panlop Pinmanee,

Deputy Director of the Internal Security Operations Command

(ISOC), who ordered the raid on the Mosque, as well as

then-4th Army Commander General Pisan Wattanawongkhiri, for

failing to negotiate with the insurgents. “In their

negotiations with the militants, anti-riot forces conducted

no talks, but simply announced a series of warnings to

encourage surrender.”

 

SOME TAK BAI DEMONSTRATORS SHOT FROM A DISTANCE

 

¶4. (SBU) In contrast to the Krue Se report, the full Tak Bai

report is much more detailed and offers more specific

accounts and recommendations (Ref B). The full report

reveals that after examining the bodies of the demonstrators,

forensic scientist Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunan concluded that,

“it was clear the victims (at the Tak Bai police station)

died of gunshot wounds caused by bullet shot from distance

(sic).” Another part of the report reveals that Queen

Sirikit summoned General Pisan to an audience at Narathiwat

Palace at 12 midnight on October 26. The report notes that

Gen. Pisan, the 4th Army Commander, also met with PM Thaksin

at a hotel in Narathiwat the same night. Among the

recommendations not previously revealed is the suggestion

that the RTG produce radio and TV programs in the Malayu

(Yawi dialect) language to create understanding between the

local populace and the government. The report also suggests

that the RTG “avoid the implementation” of martial law and

employ “the Emergency Administration Emergency Situation Act

B.E. 2495 (1953),” which provides for some civilian control

over the military.

 

MUSLIM REACTION: RTG GETTING BETTER, BUT WHERE’S THE MONEY?

 

¶5. (U) Muslim leaders welcomed the release of the reports.

Some Embassy contacts from the Islamic Committees of Pattani

and Yala complained that the reports were not released in

Yawi and therefore many Thai Muslims, particularly older

religious and community leaders, still did not have full

access to them. Media reports quoted families of those

killed on April 28 as stating that they have not yet received

20,000 baht ($512) in compensation promised to them by the

RTG last year. The families of the young members of the Ban

Suso soccer team in Saba Yoi, Songkhla are among those with

this complaint. One reported eyewitness of events at Saba

Yoi was quoted in The Nation newspaper as saying, “Of the 19

dead bodies we found at the scene, 14, including my younger

brother Kamaridin, were shot in the head.” The policy of

providing compensation for the families of those killed by

security forces on April 28 is controversial among military

commanders. (Note: Five Thai security forces were killed and

21 injured in the affected areas on April 28. See Reftel D.

End Note.)

 

NRC CREATES SUBCOMMITTEES

 

¶6. (U) On May 9, the NRC held its third full, formal meeting

at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Bangkok. The

one-day meeting followed a weekend trip by Chairman Anand to

Narathiwat to meet with victims from the Tak Bai incident and

some of the families of those killed in Saba Yoi, Songkhla on

April 28, 2004. At this meeting, the NRC decided to set up

five subcommittees charged with responsibilities as follows:

1) Promote Justice and Human Rights, to be chaired by Deputy

Prime Minster Chaturon Chaisaeng; 2) Solve Conflict through

Peaceful Means, to be chaired by Phra Paisarn Wisaro, a

well-know Buddhist monk; 3) Study the Development of Human

Security, to be chaired by Amnar Siamwalla; 4) Promote

Cultural Diversity in Thailand, to be chaired by Prawes Wasi,

a leading public intellectual and social activist; and, 5)

Promote Local Harmony and Cooperation, to be chaired by

General Narong Denudom, a Muslim former 4th Army Commander.

It was also announced that PM Thaksin would recommend for

cabinet approval on May 10, a resolution to drop pending

criminal charges against 58 Tak Bai demonstrators. The NRC

will next meet in Narathiat on May 20.

 

¶7. (SBU) Comment: The NRC under Anand’s leadership has taken

a bold first step by releasing the full reports. This move

is responsive to calls from human rights NGOs and the Muslim

community for a more open process in its investigation of two

of the most important cases of claimed human rights

violations committed against Thai Muslims in the last year.

To his credit, PM Thaksin has not objected to the release of

these controversial documents, although his administration

had earlier explicitly refused to do so. Significantly, the

first year anniversary of the events of April 28 passed

without any major violence or separatist attacks. End

Comment.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

August 28, 2011 at 6:10 am

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