Archive for the ‘The Nation’ Category
05BANGKOK5419 MORE CONCERNS ABOUT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AS RTG RADIO STATION, SUES LEADING ENGLISH-LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER
“Embassy Bangkok”,”UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,
“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 005419
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM, PROP, SOCI, KPAO, TH
SUBJECT: MORE CONCERNS ABOUT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AS RTG
RADIO STATION, SUES LEADING ENGLISH-LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER
REF: BANGKOK 04723
1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Two recent moves by the RTG against media
operations critical of Prime Minister Thaksin\’s government
have renewed concerns within the human rights community that
the government is once again resorting to legal measures to
intimidate the country\’s press. After being warned twice,
and seeing its website shut down in June, community radio
station 92.25 was raided on August 9 and formally charged
with violating national broadcasting regulations. On August
15, RTG authorities filed a criminal libel lawsuit against
the Bangkok Post after the newspaper published a story on
August 9 (which it retracted one day later) alleging serious
structural problems at Bangkok\’s new airport. The
government\’s lawsuit, which seeks 1 billion baht in damages
and a series of apologies, will be heard in September. END
2. (U) Controversial community radio station Khon Rak
Prachathipatai (People Who Love Democracy) FM 92.25 was
raided in the afternoon of August 9 by thirty officers from
the Royal Thai Police,s (RTP) Crime Suppression Division,
the Public Relations Department and the National
Telecommunications Commission. The station was charged with
(a) transmitting radio frequencies and possessing radio
transmitters without permission, (b) interfering with
mainstream airwaves and (c) a criminal charge of interfering
with aviation transmissions. The station was also verbally
accused of \”broadcasting false information\”, although the
authorities stopped short of charging the station with
slander. Officers also confiscated the station\’s transmitter
(effectively closing the station down) in a search that
lasted approximately two hours. Thai authorities also
confiscated the station ID cards of some members of staff,
who were told they would be arrested if they continued
broadcasting. A spokesman for the Thai Prime Minister\’s
office defended the government\’s actions, arguing the station
had already been warned about these violations in April and
June. The station insists they had already adjusted their
broadcasts to comply with the regulations.
WARNING SIGNS LAST JUNE
3. (SBU) 92.25 is no stranger to trouble. Its website was
briefly shut down on June 20. Embassy contacts believed the
station would cease being a target of government enmity after
the departure of controversial radio host Anchalee
Paireeraka. Ms. Anchalee, a prominent political activist and
fierce critic of the Thaksin administration, frequently
accused the government of corruption in her programs. She
quit on June 23, alleging that she had been followed and
physically threatened and was quitting \”to save (her) life.\”
In a July 2005 meeting, XXXXXXXXXX of XXXXXXXXXX
XXXX told Poloffs that Anchalee personally believed that she
was the government,s primary target and that the station
would be left alone after she quit.(Reftel A)
CRITICS RAISE CONSTITUTIONAL CONCERNS
4. (U) As of August 22, the station was not back on the air.
A Thai language statement on the station\’s website stated
that the Government\’s actions had violated the rights of the
people and may have violated the Thai Constitution. The
Association of Thai Radio and Television Journalists also
issued a statement on August 10 criticizing the raid, and
asserting that the government had \”come close\” to violating
the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of the
press. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, a media expert at
XXXX University, told Poloff she was worried this
raid was marked the beginning of a government campaign to
close down all of the nation\’s 2000 community radio stations.
BANGKOK POST UNDER SUIT
5. (U) On August 15, government-affiliated Airport Authority
of Thailand and the New Bangkok International Airport filed a
criminal libel suit against the parent company of the Bangkok
Post, one of Thailand\’s two prominent English language
dailies. The legal action was in response to an August 9
front-page story reporting the existence of severe cracks on
the new airport\’s runways and that US experts had said it
would have to be re-built. The paper quickly admitted that
the source for the story had clearly been wrong, and printed
a retraction the next day, but the RTG was not assuaged. In
addition to criminal and civil damages, the plaintiffs are
demanding the defendants pay for a massive series of
advertisements in the international print and broadcast media
publicizing the trial\’s verdict. A Thai court accepted the
lawsuit for consideration and scheduled preliminary
examinations for September 19.
6. (U) In the meantime, the Bangkok Post has launched an
internal investigation into the matter, with results expected
to be announced this week. International press freedom groups
have roundly condemned the lawsuit, including the Southeast
Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), which released a statement
announcing that \”the government\’s course of action is to
harass the press. This…will have a chilling effect on press
freedom in Thailand.\” The English language \”Nation\”
newspaper has also been highly critical of the lawsuit
against its arch-rival, calling the government\’s action \”a
very rare and staggering legal move.\”
7. (SBU) COMMENT. The lawsuit against the Bangkok Post and
the closures of the radio station and the website on legal
technicalities appear to many here to be evidence of the
RTG\’s continuing resort to use the legal system to \”punish\”
media enterprises critical of the government. The raid on the
radio station, involving thirty law enforcement personnel,
appeared gratuitous. In light of these recent developments,
some editors, broadcasters and NGOs may be tempted to
self-censor themselves to avoid incurring the wrath of the
RTG. Though some in the government may claim \”victory\”, it
rings hollow- a cowed press is hardly in the country\’s best
interest. END COMMENT.
Even this Cable did not originate from the US Embassy in
Bangkok we decided to include a blog post about it.
From “The Age”, Australia, 12/10/2010
Top Singapore officials trash the neighbours
Philip Dorling and Nick McKenzie
December 12, 2010
MALAYSIA’S ”dangerous” decline is fuelled by incompetent politicians, Thailand is dogged by corruption
So say some of Singapore’s highest-ranking officials, according to leaked US State Department cables
that are likely to spark intense political controversy in the region.
The cables, leaked exclusively to The Sunday Age by WikiLeaks, detail the content of separate meetings
between senior US officials and Singapore’s foreign affairs chiefs Peter Ho, Bilahari Kausikan and
Tommy Koh. The trio, who at the time of the 2008 and 2009 cables occupied some of the most senior
positions in Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, all give US officials damning assessments of Malaysia.
In his September 2008 meeting with Mr Sedney, Mr Kausikan savages Thailand’s political elite,
labelling Thaksin Shinawatra as ”corrupt” along with ”everyone else, including the opposition”.
Mr Kausikan is also critical of Thaksin’s relationship with the Thai crown prince, stating that Thaksin ”
made a mistake in pursuing a relationship with the crown prince by paying off the crown prince’s gambling
”Kausikan said the crown prince was ‘very erratic, and easily subject to influence’,” the cable states, while
also saying that Mr Kausikan warned of continued instability in Thailand.
The same article was also mirrored in the “The Sydney Morning Herald”, 12/10/2010
http://goo.gl/HQ7a5 and the “Singapore Straits Times”, 12/10/2010
The Nation reports about Singapore Cable but cuts out
Source: The Nation http://goo.gl/Vjmds 12/12/2010
The gossiping Singaporeans : Wikileaks
Thaksin Shinawatra was “corrupt” along with “everyone
else, including the opposition.: former Singaporean permanent
WikiLeaks has released latest US State Department cables exclusively to Australia’s Fairfax
Media group that allegedly carry controversial comments by senior Singapore foreign
affairs officials on Malaysia, Thailand and other countries in the region.
Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age carried the content of the cables in their
Sunday editions, Asiaone online reported Sunday.
The cables reportedly detail separate meetings in 2008 and last year between senior
US officials and their Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) counterparts Peter Ho,
Bilahari Kausikan and Tommy Koh.
Ho and Kausikan were both permanent secretaries at the MFA at the time, and the latter
still holds that position. Koh is the ministry’s ambassador-at-large.
Another cable dated November 2008, reporting the conversations of US diplomats with
their Australian counterparts, mentions former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar
Ibrahim’s sodomy case.
The cable reportedly says: “The Australians said that Singapore’s intelligence services and
Lee Kuan Yew have told Australia’s Office of National Assessments (ONA) in their exchanges
that opposition leader Anwar ‘did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted’.”
The report adds that unnamed “Singaporeans” made the assessment on the basis of
“technical intelligence”, which is likely to relate to intercepted communications.
The Australian ONA is also recorded as saying its Singapore counterparts concurred with
its assessment that Mr Anwar’s sodomy charge “was a set-up job and he probably knew that,
but walked into it anyway”.
Koh allegedly described Japan as “the big fat loser” in the context of improving ties between
China and Asean.
He attributed the relative decline of Japan’s stature in the region to Japan’s “stupidity, bad
leadership, and lack of vision.”
He also allegedly did not spare India and was equally merciless towards them, describing
his “stupid Indian friends” as “half in, half out of Asean.”
Ho alleged assessment of Malaysia according to WikiLeaks as reported by the Australian
press stated that former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been “throwing stones”
at his replacement, Abdullah Badawi.
“As for… Najib Razak, he is an opportunist. Although he has not been critical of Singapore,
he will not hesitate to go in that direction if it is expedient for him to do so.” the report
quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile Kausikan was also allegedly critical in his assessment of Singapore’s other
neighbour, Thailand reported the Australian press.
He had supposedly said that Thaksin Shinawatra was “corrupt” along with “everyone
else, including the opposition”.
He was also implicated in the cables for his assessments of Singapore’s neighbours
reported the Australian press.
He was allegedly quoted telling US Deputy Secretary of Defence for East Asia David
Sedney in 2008 that, “the situation in neighbouring Malaysia is confused and dangerous”,
fuelled by a “distinct possibility of racial conflict” that could see ethnic Chinese “flee”
Malaysia and “overwhelm” Singapore.
He supposedly also said: “A lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia,”
Kausikan said, citing the need for Najib Razak – now Malaysia’s Prime Minister – to “prevail
politically in order to avoid prosecution” in connection with a 2006 murder investigation
linked to one of Mr Najib’s aides.
The Australian press also mentioned that Kausikan had raised his worries about other
neighbouring countries and their state of affairs in his 2008 report.
He had supposedly said that Burma’s neighbours, including China and India, are “more
concerned with stability than justice” and they feared the Burmese junta’s demise could
produce “an Asian reprise of the breakup of Yugoslavia”.
Also that he would be “more comfortable with a nuclear-capable North Korea, than a
The report also finally pointed out that he had apparently said that Russia’s economy is
“Third World”, its health system a shambles and its demographic challenges almost
Article in “Bangkok Post” 12/12/2010
Bangkok Post self censoring one sentence in their article
Bangkok Post pulled that article from their website
Only the Bangkok Lite Version still shows their original article
Leaks show Singaporean diplomats’ secret opinions
Singaporean diplomats think the leaders of some close Asian allies are corrupt,
incompetent or stupid, cables from Wikileaks revealed Sunday.
Highrise office buildings are seen in Singapore. Diplomats in the city state think
the leaders of some close Asian allies are corrupt, incompetent or stupid, cables
from Wikileaks have revealed.
Confidential diplomatic notes given by the whistleblower website to Australia’s
Fairfax media group contained unflattering assessments of key figures in Malaysia,
Thailand, India and Japan.
“A lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia,” permanent secretary
for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bilahari Kausikan reportedly told US Deputy
Secretary of Defence for East Asia David Sedney in a cable dated September 2008.
As such, “the situation in neighbouring Malaysia is confused and dangerous,”
fuelled by a “distinct possibility of racial conflict” that could see ethnic Chinese
“flee” Malaysia and “overwhelm” Singapore, Bilahari was quoted as saying.
Another official, Peter Ho, reportedly described Malaysian Prime Minister Najib
Razak as “an opportunist” who “would not hesitate” to be critical of Singapore if
“it is expedient for him to do so.”
He said allegations linking Najib to the murder of a Mongolian woman in 2006,
which the leader has strongly rejected, would continue to “haunt” his political
Bilahari was also critical of the Thai government in 2008, labelling then premier
Thaksin Shinawatra as “corrupt” along with “everyone else, including the opposition.”
He also said the Thai crown prince was “very erratic, and easily subject to influence,”
and warned of continued instability in Thailand.
In another 2009 memo, Singapore’s ambassador at large Tommy Koh — known
for being mild-mannered and eloquent in public — was uncharacteristically blunt
in his assessment of Japan and India.
“Koh described Japan as ‘the big fat loser’ in the context of improving ties between
China and Asean,” a leaked cable detailing a meeting between him and US officials stated.
“He attributed the relative decline of Japan’s stature in the region to Japan’s ‘stupidity,
bad leadership, and lack of vision,'” it added.
“He was equally merciless towards India, describing his ‘stupid Indian friends’ as
‘half in, half out’ of Asean (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.)”
Further WikiLeaks revelations have shown that leaders in Singapore also believe
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had sex with a male aide in a honey
trap set by his enemies.
There was no immediate reaction from the Singapore government to the leaks but
the pro-goverA US state department cable dated November 2008 and given by the
whistleblower to Australia’s Fairfax media group detailed intelligence gathered
by Australian and Singaporean intelligence on the opposition leader’s case.
“The Australians said that Singapore’s intelligence services and (former prime
minister) Lee Kuan Yew have told ONA (Office of National Assessments) in their
exchanges that opposition leader Anwar ‘did indeed commit the acts for which
he is currently indicted’,” the cable read.
It added that Singapore reached its conclusion based on “technical intelligence,”
which a Fairfax report said was likely to involve intercepted communications.
Wikileaks alleged Russia bribed Bout witnesses
Article by “The Nation” from 2/12/2010
US diplomats alleged that Russia bribed witnesses to block the
extradition of suspected international arms traffickers Viktor
Bout to the US, according to WikiLeaks cables as reported by
Diplomats in Bangkok alleged in cables released by WikiLeaks that Bout’s “Russian supporters” had paid witnesses
to give false testimony during his extradition hearing.
Dubbed the “merchant of death,” Bout was seized by the Thai authorities in March 2008 but only extradited to the
US on November 16 this year. The US accused him of conspiring to sell millions of dollars of weapons to
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) rebels to kill Americans. The Kremlin strongly opposed his
In a cable written on February 13, 2009, US diplomats said that in the year after Bout’s arrest, extradition proceedings
in Thailand were “going in the way we want” – albeit at a “painfully slow” pace.
More recently, however, the case had taken a worryingly wrong turn: “There have been disturbing indications that
Bout’s … and Russian supporters have been using money and influence in an attempt to block extradition,” the
Bout’s claim was that he had flown to Thailand on official government business. American agents posing as Farc
rebels arrested him in a sting operation in a Bangkok hotel after he allegedly agreed to sell them millions of dollars
Guardian online reported that On February 12, 2009, the US ambassador in Bangkok, Eric John, raised his concerns
about the case in a meeting with Thailand’s prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva.
He warned that the extraditions proceedings had become “tainted as a result of the efforts by Bout’s associates to bribe
John said the Americans had uncovered several examples of influence and corruption. These included the false testimony
by a witness, an attempt to procure the personal secretary of the crown prince of Thailand to testify on Bout’s behalf, and ”
evidence of bribery schemes gathered throughout the world”.
The online reported Abhisit gave a noncommittal response, promising to examine any irregularities. In August 2009,
the judge ruled Bout could not be extradited in a stunning setback to the US embassy and its “Bout team”.
The ruling – appealed against by the US – prompted John to write a cable urging US President Barack Obama to
telephone Abhisit and initiate “a serious discussion of our concerns over the implications of the Bout verdict”.
“We believe Potus [president of the US] involvement on Bout would have a significant effect here,” he pleaded.
The ambassador suggested a gambit to shame Moscow if Bout was freed to go back to Russia. “We should consider
asking the Russians to prosecute Bout if, in the end, he walks here in Thailand. At the very least perhaps we could
force the Russians to publicly refuse to do so.”
Other cables reveal that Bout’s fleet of aircraft – allegedly used to deliver arms to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo –
are currently rusting at an airstrip in the United Arab Emirates. On 7 January 2010, the US consulate reported
several of his Soviet cargo planes were stuck at the “sleepy” Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) airport.
Article from The Guardian 1/12/2010
WikiLeaks cables allege Russia bribed Viktor
Bout witnessesArticle from Scoop - Independent News 5/12/2010Alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout is flanked by Thai police. US diplomatsallege Russia bribed witnesses to block his extradition to the US, according toWikiLeaks cablesPhotograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex FeaturesRussia tried to block the extradition of the suspected international arms trafficker Viktor Bout from Thailand to America by bribing key witnesses, the US claims. Diplomats in Bangkok alleged in cables released by WikiLeaks that Bout's "Russian supporters" had paid witnesses to give false testimony during his extradition hearing. Dubbed the "merchant of death", Bout was seized by the Thai authorities in March 2008 but only extradited to the US on 16 November this year. The US accuses him of conspiring to sell millions of dollars of weapons to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) rebels to kill Americans. The Kremlin strongly opposed his extradition. The Russian businessman, accused of running arms-trafficking networks around the world, maintains he is innocent in a case that turned into an undignified tug-of-war between Washington and Moscow. In a cable written on 13 February 2009, US diplomats said that in the year after Bout's arrest, extradition proceedings in Thailand were "going in the way we want" – albeit at a "painfully slow" pace. More recently, however, the case had taken a worryingly wrong turn: "There have been disturbing indications that Bout's ... and Russian supporters have been using money and influence in an attempt to block extradition," the diplomats reported. Bout's claim was that he had flown to Thailand on official government business. American agents posing as Farc rebels arrested him in a sting operation in a Bangkok hotel after he allegedly agreed to sell them millions of dollars of weapons. On 12 February 2009, the US ambassador in Bangkok, Eric John, raised his concerns about the case in a meeting with Thailand's prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva. He warned that the extraditions proceedings had become "tainted as a result of the efforts by Bout's associates to bribe Thai officials". John said the Americans had uncovered several examples of influence and corruption. These included the false testimony by a witness, an attempt to procure the personal secretary of the crown prince of Thailand to testify on Bout's behalf, and "evidence of bribery schemes gathered throughout the world". Abhisit gave a noncommittal response, promising to examine any irregularities. In August 2009, the judge ruled Bout could not be extradited in a stunning setback to the US embassy and its "Bout team". The ruling – appealed against by the US – prompted John to write a cable urging US President Barack Obama to telephone Abhisit and initiate "a serious discussion of our concerns over the implications of the Bout verdict". "We believe Potus [president of the US] involvement on Bout would have a significant effect here," he pleaded. The ambassador suggested a gambit to shame Moscow if Bout was freed to go back to Russia. "We should consider asking the Russians to prosecute Bout if, in the end, he walks here in Thailand. At the very least perhaps we could force the Russians to publicly refuse to do so." Other cables reveal that Bout's fleet of aircraft – allegedly used to deliver arms to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo – are currently rusting at an airstrip in the United Arab Emirates. On 7 January 2010, the US consulate reported several of his Soviet cargo planes were stuck at the "sleepy" Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) airport. "The airport is also working to distance itself from its reputation as a transport facilitator for clients such as international arms trafficker Viktor Bout, who used the RAK airport as a base of operations. The Wing Air aircraft once linked to Viktor Bout are grounded and effectively abandoned," it said. Another cable chronicled the unstoppable rise in Russia's international arms sales – up from $6.7bn (£4.3m) in 2006 to at least $8bn in 2007. It said Moscow exported large quantities of weapons to, among others, Iran, Syria and Venezuela, and was prepared to entertain the "grandiose regional visions" of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez. The then US ambassador in Moscow, William Burns, admitted that Russia was unwilling to establish "an expert-level dialogue on arms sales" with Washington and was "deeply cynical" about any US attempts to curb Russian arms exports. "Russia attaches importance to the volume of the arms export trade, to the diplomatic doors that weapon sales open, to the ill-gotten gains that these sales reap for corrupt senior officials and to the lever it provides the Russian government in stymieing American interests." On this topic the US had few instruments of persuasion, Burns added: "Russian officialdom and the public have little, if any, moral compunction about the arms trade, seeing it instead as a welcome symbol of Russia's resurgent power and strength in the world."
Wikileaks: Russian Bribes "Infected" Bout's
Extradition CaseSunday, 5 December 2010, 7:41 pm Article: Richard S. Ehrlich
Foreign Ministry to clarify WikiLeaks memos
Look at WikiLeaks’ Thailand impact
For the time being, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has survived the disclosure of confidential
cables from the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok to the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. The two
cables filed in February were related to the high-profile case of Viktor Bout, who was eventually
extradited to the U.S. last month.
The cables revealed how the U.S. former ambassador Eric John put forwarded the U.S. government’s
concern on Thailand’s judicial process over Bout and the way Abhisit responded. The Thai leader
answered the envoy’s enquiries with straightforward replies and expressed a full confidence in the
country’s administration of justice. The lengthy process was criticized by both the U.S. and Russia.
The latter thought Washington interfered and pressured Bangkok.
For the Thais, most interesting was how Abhisit responded to the U.S. diplomatic enquiries at a
critical moment. It also begs comparisons with other Thai leaders in a similar situation. Those who
are familiar with Abhist know that he would be able to respond with factual answers to any
enquiries with confidence and charm (some would say with a deadpan but nice face).
At coffee shops around Bangkok last week, questions were raised on what would be the scenario
if the same incident took place under other Thai prime ministers, say, Thaksin Shinawatra or
Samak Sundrajavej who have a penchant for loose talks.
Answers were unanimous — there would be lots of comments spurned from these leaders’ reactions
by the U.S. diplomats. “No problem” would be the quick and universal response from the Thais to
all diplomatic enquiries.
These cables harked back to the past when WikiLeaks was not in existence. Indeed, one of the
most quoted leaks within the top Thai policymakers came from former Prime Minister Banharn
Silapa-archa during his ASEAN chair at the fifth summit in 1995.
During the three-day summit, the Thai prime minister used “No problem” several times as
replies to enquiries as well as new initiatives proposed by his ASEAN colleagues during
the closed door discussions.
One of the AEAN leaders was smart enough in structuring his dialogues and presentations during
the discussion in such ways that Banharn’s replies would always be “No problem.” There could
have been more of such answers if the two interpreters, who remained anonymous, did not skip
them. In the Thai language, “No problem” does not mean much at all. It is an assurance that the
statements are heard but need follow-ups diligently. However, as a reply, when translated into
English, means “yes” and all obligations that derive from affirmative answers must fall through.
Of course, there are a lot more to come — 2939 cables left in all, not to mention additional ones
from the U.S. consular office in Chiangmai. They covered the most colorful period of Thai politics
and culture from September 2004 under Thaksin up until Feb. 26, 2010, with more from 1989 and
1998. The partial database released with the listing of dates of release plus expected generalized
topics were based on coded “tags” but without any titles or text yet. Apart from Thaksin, other
prime ministers in power including Samak Sundraravej, Somchai Wongsawat and General Surayudh
Julanonda would also be featured in these cables. Certainly, views and wide-ranging references to
taboo institutions and issues could be expected.
Luckily WikiLeaks only contacted the Western media which dwell on key issues affecting U.S.
foreign policy and global politics. That was the key reason the cables linked to Bout were disclosed
in the first place as it depicted the tension of U.S.-Russia relations over his extradition.
However, the revelations made on the Western and Middle Eastern leaders have already increased
blood pressure among the Asian leaders. One must concur that the amount of cables generated by
the U.S. embassy on Thailand demonstrated the great American interest in the country. Compared
with other countries in the Asia-Pacific, Thailand ranked sixth after Japan (5697), Taipei (3456),
China (3297), Indonesia (3059). Other two ASEAN members, Vietnam and Burma, were ranked
2325 and 1864 respectively.
At this juncture, two issues must be discerned, who have access to the leaked cables and the timing
of release. Those who read them could easily stir up hornet nests in the country on every issue and
aspect. For instance, a Western journalist, who knows Thai politics and sensitivities very well, can
literally cause havoc over here by zeroing on specific references at any point during the past five and
half years. Even just one word of description of a particular person could have a great ramification
in the land of gossips and whispers.
The timing of release of next cables and subject matters can certainly add fuel to the fire concerning
domestic politics and institutions. The concerned authorities must be prepared for any fallout by acting
rationally not hysterically as in previous cases of unexpected revelations. Abhisit must consider himself
extremely lucky as his opponents so far were unable to capitalize on the leaks by attacking him. His
comments on Bout portrayed him in a good light because they showed consistency — no difference from
his published statements in the media during the trial. However, there is no guarantee that would be
the case in weeks and months to come. Nobody knows the entire contents of what the American
envoys put in black and white about him and his country.
For the time being, the Thai media and curious watchers of Thai politics would have to wait until
WikiLeaks placed all cables on its websites and unless some explosive comments on private individual
in Thailand are made public.
Article by Elitestv.com of 6/12/2010
Wikileaks and Thailand
What are specific Wikileaks revelations on Thailand? The most interesting so far cites the
case of Russian businessman and alleges arms smuggler Viktor Bout who faced trial in Thailand
before being extradited to the United States this year. Documents from the Wikileaks revealed
the concern of the U.S. about the attempt of Bout’s associates to bribe local Thai officials.
Below is a sample dispatch from the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, uploaded by Wikileaks
Lately, however, there have been disturbing indications that Bout’s xxxxxxxxxx and
Russian supporters have been using money and influence in an attempt to block
extradition. The most egregious example was the false testimony of xxxxxxxxxx
that Bout was in Thailand as part of government-to-government submarine deal. Thus,
we felt it was time to once again raise the matter at the top of the government and make
clear that, while we understand the judicial process must take its course without political
interference, we insist that the process be free of corruption and undue influence. We
will continue to do so in the months ahead.
Citing news reports, Bangkok Pundit summarized the total number of secret cables referring
…there are 2,941 cables from the US Embassy in Bangkok and another 278 from the
Consulate in Chiang Mai – slightly higher figures are also quoted elsewhere. You will
also have cables from the State Department about Thailand. There could be some
information in the cables that would be very embarrassing and revealing particularly
on reports by US Embassy staff after meetings with senior Thai officials and members
of the elite.
Worried that Wikileaks would be permanently inaccessible in Thailand, the website Thai Cables
was established to continue providing relevant information about Wikileaks documents
We do not believe in censorship and think that everyone in Thailand should get access
to any information available on the internet, which also includes Wikileaks. This is the
reason for this blog.
How many cables about Thailand are expected to be published by Wikileaks
A total of 2985 (other sources state 3516) Cables sent from the US Embassy in Bangkok
will be published. While between 1989 and end of 2004 only 7 Cables will be leaked, the
number increases 2005 immensely. Until end of February 2010 an average of approx. 580
Cables are sent a year which means 1 to 2 Cables a day.
They cover a wide range of topics from Arms Controls and Disarment to Refugees and
Human Rights Issues, Democratization, Human Trafficking, Nuclear Issues, Terrorism
and Military Operations, Foreign Trade, Internal Government Affairs, Relations between
Saudi Arabia and Thailand, Foreign Investments, Intellectual Property Rights and even
Thai Prime Minister and Thai Rak Thai. Even Cables talking about War Crimes, Thai
Elections, Intelligence, Corruption, Political Parties will be published.
Musings from Thailand published the statement of outoging American Ambassador Eric John
I cannot vouch for the authenticity of any one of these documents. But I can say that the
United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be
confidential. And we condemn it. Diplomats must engage in frank discussions with
their colleagues, and they must be assured that these discussions will remain private.