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

Archive for the ‘PM Abhsitit’ Category

10BANGKOK344 “LET THE MAGIC AMULET BREAK YOUR NECK” – THAILAND ABUZZ OVER HUN SEN’S LATEST HARSH RHETORIC

leave a comment »

“247938”,”2/9/2010 11:44″,”10BANGKOK344″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

“VZCZCXRO9657

PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #0344/01 0401144

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 091144Z FEB 10

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9888

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 2355

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 8012

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 6203

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0427

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 7627

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 000344

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, NSC FOR WALTON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/09/2020

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PREF, PHUM, SMIG, TH

SUBJECT: THAILAND: \”LET THE MAGIC AMULET BREAK YOUR NECK\” –

THAILAND ABUZZ OVER HUN SEN\’S LATEST HARSH RHETORIC

 

BANGKOK 00000344 001.2 OF 002

 

Classified By: Political Counselor George Kent, reason 1.4 (b,d)

 

1. (C) Summary. Thai refusal to allow Cambodia\’s Prime

Minister Hun Sen to bring armed soldiers to visit Ta Muen

Thom, border temple ruins long under Thai control, February 8

apparently led to Hun Sen\’s most recent scathing denunciation

of Thai PM Abhisit, with the colorful insults dominating Thai

media headlines February 9. Thai officials sought to avoid

escalating the rhetoric publicly. However, with Thai

attention increasingly on the potential for street unrest in

the lead-up to an expected February 26 Supreme Court decision

on fugitive former PM Thaksin\’s frozen assets, some contacts

told us that they suspected Hun Sen may have picked the

timing of the visit as a favor to Thaksin, whom he has

appointed as adviser to his government, to put additional

pressure on Abhisit. End summary.

 

Thai scramble in advance of Hun Sen\’s border traverse

——————————————— ——

 

2. (SBU) Thai officials went into crisis planning mode

starting February 4, in advance of Cambodian Prime Minister

Hun Sen\’s planned toured of hot spots along the Thai-Cambodia

border on February 6-8. PM Abhisit convened a rare night

executive session of the Thai National Security Council to

consider two issues: domestic security arrangements in

advance of expected red-shirt protests, and how to handle Hun

Sen\’s border traverse, in particular his request to visit

contested temple ruins at Ta Muen Thom, long under Thai

control accompanied by up to 20 armed military escorts.

Abhisit and the NSC directed an interagency team of military

commanders, local governors, and MFA officials to meet Hun

Sen February 6 and 7 near Preah Vihear temple and in the

so-called \”Emerald Triangle\” between Thailand, Laos, and

Cambodia. Royal Thai Armed Forces Border Division Commander

LTG Nipat Thonglek told us February 5 that Thailand would

reinforce the expected border visits locations with

additional troops to prevent any potential mischief-making.

 

3. (C) In the aftermath of the Preah Vihear visit, Si Sa Ket

Governor Rapi Phongbuphakit told us February 8 that he had

talked with Hun Sen for five minutes as a member of the Thai

delegation led by Second Area army Commander LTG Veerawit

Jornsumrit. Rapi said that Hun Sen had expressed his desire

to see the border situation return to normal and that he had

showed no interest in visiting the 4.6 square kilometers of

disputed territory adjacent to the temple. (Note: The

International Court of Justice ruled that Preah Vihear is

located in Cambodian territory in 1962; the decision did not

address the contested area adjacent to the temple, which is

claimed by both countries. End Note.)

 

Final leg canceled, Hun Sen blasts Abhisit, Thai media

——————————————— ———-

 

4. (SBU) Thai officials announced publicly that Hun Sen would

be welcome to visit the Ta Muen Thom ruins February 8, but

only as a tourist; he would not be allowed to bring 20 armed

military escorts. Colonel Thanet Wongcha-um, Chief of Staff

for the Suranaree Task Force that oversees the Thai side of

the disputed border, told us February 9 that Thai officials

had also advised Hun Sen not to visit the ruins due to the

presence of approximately 150 protesters from the People\’s

Alliance for Democracy, who were opposing Hun Sen\’s visit.

Hun Sen chose not to visit on those terms, Thai FM Kasit\’s

Secretary Chavanond Intarakomalyasut told the Thai media,

which reported that Hun Sen instead went to a village four

kilometers away to rename it after Ta Muen Thom. (note: Ta

Muen Thom temple is claimed by both nations but, unlike Preah

Vihear, the Thai military has maintained control over the

area around the temple for decades.)

 

5. (SBU) Thai headlines February 9 focused on Hun Sen\’s

subsequent harsh denunciation of the Abhisit government, with

DPM Suthep, also a target of Hun Sen\’s rhetoric, suggesting

to the Thai media that the outburst came as a result of Hun

Sen\’s aborted attempt to visit the runs. The speech as

reported in the media included a variety of insults and

curses directed towards Abhisit, with Hun Sen calling on

 

BANGKOK 00000344 002.2 OF 002

 

Abhisit to tell the truth about Thai troops in the area

around Preah Vihear or risk letting \”magic amulets break your

neck; may you be shot, be hit by a car, may you be shocked by

electricity, or shot by misfired guns.\”

 

6. (SBU) According to reports, Hun Sen also referred to

Abhisit as a \”power thief,\” \”crazy,\” and without \”family

honor\” for denying the Cambodian accusation that Thai troops

had invaded Cambodian territory in July 2008. Hun Sen also

lashed out at Thailand\’s two English language newspapers

distributed throughout mainland Southeast Asia, the Bangkok

Post and the Nation, for presenting what he claimed was false

information about his visit to the border areas and for

describing his visit as inappropriate.

 

Thai reaction cautious, with some private suspicions

——————————————— ——-

 

7. (SBU) RTG officials were quick to respond to Hun Sen\’s

reported statements, though they sought to calm the waters

February 9. FM Secretary Chavanond initially condemned Hun

Sen\’s comments, suggesting they would make it difficult for

Thailand to restore normal diplomatic relations with

Cambodia. However, Chavanond insisted that Thailand would

make every effort to avoid a conflict between the two

nations. Government Acting Spokesman Panitan told the media

February 9 that Thailand would not respond in kind to Hun

Sen\’s rhetoric, and that the international community could

draw its own conclusions. For his part, DPM Suthep said

Thailand would decline to respond to Hun Sen\’s allegation of

a Thai \”invasion\” of Cambodian territory, and told the media

he would not speculate about links between Hun Sen and

red-shirts calling for the downfall of the Abhisit government.

 

8. (C) Private commentary to us also downplayed the

possibility for an escalation of border tensions, though some

suspicions remained about potential links between Hun Sen,

Thaksin, and the upcoming red-shirt protests. XXXXXXXXXX

XXXXXX, a retired professor at Thammasat University, told

us that he believed that Thailand would not allow the dispute

to lead to a military conflict. Both XXXXXXXXXXX and

Senator Prasong shared their suspicion with us, however, that

former PM Thaksin had pushed Hun Sen to make this border

traverse with the hopes of further instigating the

Thai-Cambodian conflict, open another front in Thaksin\’s

effort to bring down the Abhisit government, and thus open

the door for Thaksin\’s return. DPM Suthep publicly tried to

put a more positive spin on the matter, voicing hope to the

media that Thai-Cambodian relations would improve once

problems related to Thaksin were resolved.

JOHN

Advertisements

Written by thaicables

July 22, 2011 at 9:46 am

05BANGKOK2087 AMBASSADOR CALLS ON NEW DEMOCRAT PARTY LEADER APHISIT

leave a comment »

“29382”,”3/23/2005 9:16″,”05BANGKOK2087″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,”05BANGKOK1933″,

“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 002087

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV, INR/B

PACOM OF FPA (HUSO)

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, TH, Political Parties, Southern Thailand, US-Thai FTA, BIO Info

SUBJECT: THAILAND: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON NEW DEMOCRAT PARTY

LEADER APHISIT

 

REF: BANGKOK 1933

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On March 21 the Ambassador met with

newly installed Democrat Party (DP) leader Aphisit

Wetchachiwa. Aphisit spoke candidly about mistakes made by

the DP during the election and discussed how he hoped to form

the party into an effective opposition to Prime Minister

Thaksin\’s Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party. Acknowledging the

seriousness of the situation in southern Thailand, Aphisit

said the creation of a National Reconciliation Commission

(NRC) offered the Thaksin administration a rare opportunity

to change its current failing policy; but the DP was not

convinced Thaksin would turn from populist calls for a

continued hard-line approach. Aphisit said Free Trade

Agreements would continue to be the government\’s highest

external priority. Aphisit is young, smart, telegenic,

articulate, and ambitious and could develop into a serious

future challenger for Thaksin. END SUMMARY

 

AFTER THE ELECTION DISASTER, A NEW DEMOCRAT LEADER

 

2. (U) On March 21 the Ambassador met with newly installed

Democrat Party (DP) leader Aphisit Wetchachiwa at the party\’s

headquarters. Aphisit assumed leadership of the DP after

Banyat Bantadtan stepped down (along with the entire DP

Executive Board) on February 8, 2005 following the party\’s

staggering defeat in the general election. The DP\’s 96 seats

in Parliament leave them unable to raise censure motions

against Prime Minister Thaksin\’s ministers.

 

3. (U) The DP, with more that 3.8 million registered

members, is Thailand\’s oldest active political party and has

deep roots in modern Thai democratic history (reftel).

However, the party has struggled with its current role as the

opposition party and has developed few successful approaches

to confront Thaksin and the TRT. During the election, the DP

was unable to pose a strong alternative to Thaksin, offering

policies that mimicked the TRT\’s while virtually conceding

defeat more than a year in advance.

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DEMOCRATS IN THE ELECTION?

 

4. (SBU) Discussing the recent election, Aphisit admitted

the DP never offered a credible alternative to Thaksin and

Thai Rak Thai (TRT). He said the DP had \”no clear message,\”

and didn\’t offer policy ideas clearly different from

Thaksin\’s populist measures. Aphisit said the DP would not

be an effective opposition party until they convinced the

public that they could effectively govern the country. He

promised that the DP would start offering alternatives to

Thaksin and TRT, instead of just criticizing from the

sidelines.

 

5. (SBU) Aphisit has indicated publicly that he is serious

about restructuring the DP to be more pro-active and capable

of dealing with the new style of politics that Thaksin has

introduced. He has also set a target of attracting at least

14 million votes in the 2009 general election; almost double

the votes the party received in February of this year.

Aphisit told the Ambassador that the DP would learn from

Thaksin and TRT\’s sophisticated campaign methods.

 

BECOMING AN EFFECTIVE OPPOSITION

 

6. (SBU) Aphisit agreed that Thai politics is evolving into

a two party system. However, the DP has a long way to go

before it is a credible alternative to Thaksin\’s TRT.

Aphisit said that the DP\’s goal was to establish a \”shadow\”

cabinet within two years, and within four years to have

developed enough credibility with the public to be viewed as

a real alternative to TRT.

 

WILLING TO WORK WITH THAKSIN ON THE SOUTH

 

7. (SBU) The Democrats won decisively in southern Thailand,

winning 52 of the region\’s 54 seats. They did especially

well in the three troubled provinces of Pattani, Yala, and

Narathiwat, winning 10 of 11 seats — including six held by

TRT incumbents. The DP\’s strong regional victory seems to

indicate a popular backlash to the Government\’s heavy-handed

security policy. Following the election, Aphisit has

traveled to the region, and has publicly discussed

alternatives to Thaksin\’s policies.

 

8. (SBU) Aphisit told the Ambassador the situation in

Thailand\’s far south is a \”national problem,\” and that he is

willing to work with the Thaksin administration. He said

there had been some hopeful recent developments in the South,

leading to a more conciliatory atmosphere. Aphisit said as

members of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) are

publicly announced — and as new policies were presented —

the DP would offer suggestions and would not be overly

critical.

 

9. (SBU) Aphisit opined that the creation of the NRC gave

the government a small window of opportunity to change its

approach to the problems of southern Thailand. Aphisit said

Anand Panyarachun, the universally respected former Prime

Minister and designated Chairman of the NRC, will give the

government good advice, and would not be unduly influenced or

bullied by Thaksin. Aphisit is worried, however, that

Thaksin will \”respond\” to public opinion — which clamors for

a hard-line approach — and end up ignoring the NRC\’s

findings.

 

10. (SBU) Aphisit blames Thaksin for the deteriorating

situation in the south and the widening gap between the

Buddhist and Muslim communities. He cited Thaksin\’s decision

to dissolve the combined civilian, military and police

command (CMP-43), which had been successful in building trust

among the local populace and coordinating security forces,

and his insensitive statements about Muslims. He said

Thaksin\’s hard-line approach plays right into separatist

hands by further alienating the population.

 

U.S./THAI RELATIONS – FOCUS ON THE FTA

 

11. (SBU) Turning toward the state of U.S./Thai relations,

Aphisit noted that much of the public\’s perceptions of the

U.S. would be influenced by developments in Iraq. He said

the government, however, is focused on the FTA. Aphisit

believes that Thaksin wants Thailand to become the first

country to have an FTA with China, India, Japan, and the U.S.

He said that the FTA will be the focus of our bilateral

relationship, and is correspondingly at the top of the DP\’s

agenda.

 

COMMENT

 

12. (SBU) Aphisit is very articulate and speaks in a crisp

English accent. He has made for TV good looks, and appears

even younger than his 40 years. With his appearance,

intellect, and experience, Aphisit could evolve into a

formidable political presence. However, he has yet to

demonstrate a forceful personality needed to counter

Thaksin\’s. Aphisit also has a huge challenge in crafting the

often fractious Democrats into a real opposition party, with

national reach, that can stand up to Thai Rak Thai and

recapture Government House. END COMMENT

 

BIOGRAPHIC NOTE

 

13. (U) Aphisit was born on August 3, 1964, in Bangkok.

His father, Dr. Atthasit Wetchachiwa, was Deputy Public

Health Minister in the Anand Panyarachun Administration. He

completed junior and senior high school at Eaton College,

England. Aphisit continued his studies in England, receiving

a bachelor\’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

(with First Class Honors) from Oxford University in 1986.

Upon returning to Thailand he taught economics for two years

at Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, earning the rank of

Army Sub-Lieutenant. During this period he earned a LL.B.

from Ramkhamhaeng University. Aphisit then returned to

England where he completed a master\’s degree in Economics at

Oxford University, ranking first among 200 graduates.

 

14. (U) Due to his extraordinary academic record Aphisit

was admitted to the Economics Faculty of Thammasat University

in 1990 without undergoing the normal written examination.

During his two-year teaching stint at Thammasat he was well

regarded by both colleagues and students. During a one-year

period after the 1991-coup d\’etat Aphisit joined the

well-known economist and TV commentator Dr. Choemsak Pinthong

in running a political-oriented TV program \”Mong Tang Mum\” or

\”From Different Angles\”. Aphisit was an active academic

during this period, and publicly stood against the

military-dominated regime.

 

15. (U) Aphisit began his political career in March 1992

when he won a close race over a Phalang Tham Party candidate

to become the DP\’s only Bangkok MP. His decision to enter

politics came as no surprise to colleagues familiar with his

political ambition. He won successive elections in September

1992, July 1995, and November 1996. In the January 2001 and

February 2005 elections, he was elected from the DP Party

List.

 

16. (U) Aphisit was Government Spokesman from 1992-1994,

Deputy Secretary to the Prime Minister in 1995, Chairman of

the House Standing Committee on Education during 1996-1997,

and Minister attached to the PM\’s Office from 1997-2001 —

his first ministerial assignment. At the DP\’s general

meeting on April 20, 2003, he lost a bitter leadership

contest to Banyat Bantadtan after former Prime Minister Chuan

Leekpai stepped down as DP leader. In that meeting, he was

chosen as the first deputy party leader.

 

17. (U) Following the TRT\’s landslide victory in the

February 2005 general election, the DP General Assembly

elected Aphisit as the new Party Leader with veteran southern

MP Suthep Thuaksuban as the Party Secretary General.

 

18. (U) Aphisit is married to Phimphen, the daughter of a

political scientist of Chulalongkorn University, Phongphen

Sakuntaphai, and a Bank of Thailand Assistant Governor,

Praphaiphan. They have 2 young children. END BIOGRAPHIC NOTE

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

09BANGKOK208 TH CHECK: AMBASSADOR\’S INTERLOCUTORS DISCUSS PM ABHISIT\’S START, EX PM-THAKSIN/OPPOSITION

with one comment

“188954”,”1/27/2009 10:18″,

 

“09BANGKOK208″,”Embassy Bangkok”,

 

“CONFIDENTIAL”,”08BANGKOK3226″,”VZCZCXRO5778

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #0208/01 0271018

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 271018Z JAN 09

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5826

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9379

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 2580

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1339

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1853

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6715

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5228

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 6108

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 000208

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2019

TAGS: PGOV, KDEM, KJUS, TH

SUBJECT: ONE MONTH CHECK: AMBASSADOR\’S INTERLOCUTORS

DISCUSS PM ABHISIT\’S START, EX PM-THAKSIN/OPPOSITION

 

REF: 2008 BANGKOK 3226 (HOPE FOR MEDIATION)

 

BANGKOK 00000208 001.2 OF 003

 

Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reason: 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

SUMMARY AND COMMENT

——————-

 

1. (C) One month into the government of PM Abhisit Vejajjiva,

a series of interlocutors shared generally positive

impressions of the new PM\’s initial weeks in office with

Ambassador but seemed more animated discussing the

opposition, particularly ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra\’s lingering

influence from abroad. Privy Council President Prem

Tinsulanonda told the Ambassador that PM Abhisit was

well-qualified to lead the government and could perform well;

Prem believed former PM Thaksin, a fugitive overseas, was

seeking to maintain his public profile and should be

imprisoned if he returned to Thailand. Separately, former PM

Anand Panyarachun told the Ambassador that Abhisit had done

well during his first month in office. Anand praised Army

Commander Anupong Paojinda for having refrained from

intervening in politics, claiming Anupong had understood King

Bhumibol\’s desire for a peaceful political transition without

military interference. Separately, Noppadon Pattama, who

served as Foreign Minister in the (pro-Thaksin) Samak

administration, predicted that protests against the current

government would remain essentially peaceful. Noppadon

believed pro-Thaksin figures should not risk discrediting

themselves but should allow time to erode Abhisit\’s positive

image. Noppadon also bemoaned the lack of capable

politicians able to lead the Puea Thai party, as most of

Thaksin\’s allies among senior politicians had been

disenfranchised by Constitutional Court rulings.

 

2. (C) Comment: The Ambassador\’s conversations with these

significant interlocutors reinforced our own view that PM

Abhisit is off to a reasonably good start, but that his

government faces significant policy challenges given the

current economic situation in Thailand and globally, and that

Thaksin and \”redshirts\” remain forces to be reckoned with.

Given that the \”redshirt\” anti-government protesters have

thrown eggs at a former Prime Minister and rocks at Democrat

MPs\’ cars, we are unsure whether Noppadon spoke with

authority or simply expressed his own hope when he claimed

these demonstrators would remain within reasonable bounds to

preserve their credibility. End Summary and Comment.

 

PRIVY COUNCILORS PRAISE ABHISIT, STILL WARY OF THAKSIN

——————————————— ———

 

3. (C) In a January 22 lunch with Ambassador, DCM, and

PolCounselor, Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda

described PM Abhisit as \”clean\” and \”one of the best we

have.\” Prem hoped the government would get off to a good

start. Prem and Privy Councilor Siddhi Savetsila were

considerably more animated about ex-PM Thaksin and his

supporters. Prem stated that Thaksin would not stop his

political efforts; he would keep trying to protect and

promote himself. Siddhi claimed that anti-government

protestors were losing credibility as a result of their

actions, such as throwing eggs at their opponents (such as

former PM Chuan). He suggested the tactics were designed

simply to keep the protestors, and by extension Thaksin, in

the news. Prem added that this type of motive was also

behind Thaksin\’s talking up an alleged assassination plot

(possibly that in reftel).

 

4. (C) The Ambassador said he could easily imagine two

scenarios for Thaksin going forward: stay abroad and fight,

while slowly losing influence here in Thailand; or come back,

go to jail, and hope for a pardon as part of a deal. Prem

replied that he considered it \”almost impossible\” for Thaksin

to come back, because he did not think Thaksin would ever

agree to go to jail. Prem added that Thaksin was a very

dangerous man and should be jailed, not traveling abroad.

Prem claimed that the Chinese Ambassador had told him that

the PRC would not welcome Thaksin visiting China again (note:

after the 2006 coup, Thaksin spent significant time in Hong

Kong, occasionally traveling to Beijing).

 

BANGKOK 00000208 002.2 OF 003

 

EX-PM ANAND: ARMY HEEDED KING\’S WISHES; ABHISIT GOOD START

————————————— ——————

 

5. (C) Separately, former PM Anand Panyarachun remarked to

Ambassador in a January 23 office call that the political

situation seemed to have stabilized. A peaceful change of

government was the outcome he had long hoped for, with no

need to resort to military power. Anand said he gave great

credit to Army Commander Anupong — in the past, military

leaders interpreted the King\’s or Queen\’s remarks in a way

that furthered their selfish interests. But Anand believed

Anupong had correctly understood a \”signal\” from the King

that no coup should take place.

 

6. (C) Anand said it was a pity there was not sufficient

appreciation that the King helped to usher in this peaceful

change — in his \”shrewd, diplomatic\” manner, the King had

resisted attempts to pressure him to send a signal he favored

change. (Comment: Anand may have been referring to

widespread stories that the Queen pressed for a coup, but he

was not explicit. End Comment.) The Ambassador noted that

he had explained to his audiences that the December

transition was consistent with parliamentary practices; Anand

enthusiastically agreed and said many people in other

countries did not understand parliamentary systems.

 

7. (C) Anand spoke well of Abhisit, saying he had been \”quite

adept\” so far, with no gaffes. Anand predicted Abhisit\’s

government would last two years; he was not very worried

about the impact of \”redshirt\” anti-government protesters,

but he said one key issue would be how Abhisit and the

Democrats would be able to restrict the corruption of their

coalition partners, especially as some huge infrastructure

projects would be forthcoming. Anand praised Finance

Minister Korn Chatikavanij (a close friend of Abhisit) as a

\”man of action\” who should do well in his current role. As

for Thaksin, Anand scoffed that Thaksin said publicly that he

wanted a \”quiet life,\” but he kept giving interviews that are

\”self-damaging.\”

 

PRO-THAKSIN EX-FM PREDICTS MODERATE PROTESTS

——————————————–

 

8. (C) Former FM Noppadon Pattama, who had previously served

as Thaksin\’s spokesman and lawyer, told Ambassador in a

January 20 call at the Residence that Abhisit was trying to

do a good job, but it was unclear whether the government

would be able to stimulate the economy. If the ruling party

failed in improving the economic climate, political

instability would likely return, and Puea Thai would be

well-positioned to form a government.

 

9. (C) In the short-term, Puea Thai was hamstrung by its

struggles to find a good leader, Noppadon said. Court

rulings against executives of the Thai Rak Thai and the

People\’s Power Party had created a void in the top ranks of

politicians allied with Thaksin. Yongyuth Wichaidith had

only reluctantly accepted the Puea Thai leadership position,

as he did not like politics. Puea Thai hoped that the Thai

Pride Party (Phumjai Thai), the Democrats\’ largest partner in

the government, would push for an amnesty that would restore

political rights to those banned from political office for

five years by Constitutional Court decisions. It was

doubtful this would be pursued within the next six months,

however, as the ruling coalition would most likely seek time

to solidify its power before considering allowing banned

politicians back into politics.

 

10. (C) With its own internal issues to deal with, Puea Thai

was not planning to attack the government during the first

few months of the year, Noppadon said. It was likely that

public opinion would turn against Abhisit, and the press

would start to attack the government. If this happened, Puea

Thai would become an attractive alternative without having to

tarnish its image by attacking the government.

 

11. (C) Noppadon said that the \”redshirts\” would protest at

the upcoming ASEAN summit, but the protests would be polite.

 

BANGKOK 00000208 003.2 OF 003

 

Protest leaders planned to take the high road and not follow

the example of the People\’s Alliance for Democracy.

Disruptive protests would cause the redshirt movement to lose

legitimacy, a dangerous prospect considering that the elite,

some members of the Privy Council, and the Army were already

aligned against the redshirts.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

June 23, 2011 at 3:10 am

09BANGKOK2289 THAI DOMESTIC POLITICAL ROUNDUP: ABHISIT,S POLITICAL CHALLENGES, POLICE CHIEF UPDATE, RED-SHIRTS ON 9/19

leave a comment »

“224175”,”9/9/2009 10:03″,”09BANGKOK2289″,”Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,”09BANGKOK1491|09BANGKOK2125|09BANGKOK2180|09BANGKOK2260″,”VZCZCXRO1321

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2289/01 2521003

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 091003Z SEP 09

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8191

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 7432

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9939

RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 5766

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5758

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1887

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0089

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 6952

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 BANGKOK 002289

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, NSC FOR WALTON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/08/2019

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, TH

SUBJECT: THAI DOMESTIC POLITICAL ROUNDUP: ABHISIT,S

POLITICAL CHALLENGES, POLICE CHIEF UPDATE, RED-SHIRTS ON

9/19

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 2260 (QUASHING THAKSIN PARDON SUGGESTIONS)

B. BANGKOK 2180 (RED SHIRTS ARE COMING)

C. BANGKOK 2125 (ABHISIT LOSES POLICE BATTLE)

D. BANGKOK 1491 (BELWETHER BY-ELECTION)

 

BANGKOK 00002289 001.2 OF 005

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR ERIC G. JOHN, REASON: 1.4 (B) AND (D).

 

SUMMARY AND COMMENT

——————-

 

1. (C) Above and beyond the challenges associated with

steering Thailand out of the economic morass, PM Abhisit

continues to grapple with a seemingly endless litany of

political problems both inside and outside his party,

including in-fighting with Deputy PM Suthep. Questions about

possible election timing remain unresolved, with growing

evidence building that the Democrats and Phumjai Thai will

try to delay elections for at least another six months.

Hoping to accelerate that timeline, the \”red-shirts\”

announced they would hold their next protest on September 19,

a particularly auspicious date in red-shirt land as it marks

the third anniversary of the 2006 coup that toppled Thaksin.

Meanwhile, Thaksin was reported to be in good health, while

Deputy PM Suthep\’s hard charging pace has apparently begun to

take its toll. Rumors of a burgeoning Puea Thai-Democrat

alliance appear to be fanciful, however, and reports of

Yingluck Shinawatra\’s growing influence within Puea Thai

likely overstated. On an upbeat note, the PM\’s attempt to

push through his candidate for Police Chief may have taken a

positive turn with a rumor that the Queen has trumped the

Crown Prince\’s objections and backed Abhisit\’s nominee.

 

2. (C) Comment: PM Abhisit finds himself in a precarious

political position. Not only must he contend with the

constant drumbeat of criticism from Puea Thai and the ever

present specter of \”red-shirt\” protests on one side, but he

also faces growing pressure from within his own party and his

coalition partners. We are struck by the fact that his

\”allies\” in the coalition — Phumjai Thai — dismiss him as a

lightweight in private and mock him in public, while his

colleagues in the Democrat party are becoming increasingly

bold and assertive in their own public critiques of his

performance.

 

3. (C) Comment, cont: That said, PM Abhisit remains the only

politician in Thailand with favorability ratings that

approach those of ex-PM Thaksin. In fact, Abhisit is in many

ways the glue that holds this fragile house of political

cards together, and those complaining lack other viable

options. Whether his political partners wish to acknowledge

it or not, without his popularity, the government would be

hard pressed to fend off calls for an election much longer.

With Abhisit as the public face of the administration and the

2010 budget to be implemented, we suspect the administration

will be able to last at least another six or seven months

before calling for new elections. If Abhisit survives

another seven months in office, he will have served

approximately 15 months total, a term that is roughly average

by pre- and post-Thaksin era PM standards. End Summary and

Comment.

 

COALITION DYSFUNCTION, NOT FATAL (YET)

————————————-

 

4. (C) Tensions continue to persist in the political marriage

of convenience between Prime Minister Abhisit\’s Democrat

party and coalition partner Phumjai Thai, according to

multiple mission contacts. Deputy Government Spokesman and

Phumjai Thai stalwart Suphachai Jaismut claimed to us

September 3 that PM Abhisit was responsible for most of the

inter-party dysfunction, dismissing him repeatedly as \”a

young man,\” who (only) \”speaks well.\” According to

Suphachai, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban served as

the real brains behind the Democrat party operation and

routinely had to run interference for Abhisit and fix his

mistakes. Revealingly, Suphachai also referred to Phumjai

 

BANGKOK 00002289 002.2 OF 005

 

Thai at one point in the conversation as \”the only party in

the coalition that matters.\” (Note: The Democrat party has

171 seats in Parliament while Phumjai Thai — the junior

coalition partner — holds just 32 seats.)

 

5. (C) Suphachai\’s assessment of coalition tensions with PM

Abhisit tracked with what journalist Suranand Vejjajiva (PM

Abhisit\’s cousin, but political opponent) told us on August

28. Suranand predicted that PM Abhisit\’s indifference to

coalition maintenance would eventually come back to haunt

him. He suggested that his cousin was interested in

practicing a \”new brand of politics\” and said that the PM

believed that maintaining relations with Phumjai Thai was

essentially beneath him. According to Suranand, the PM had

all but given up on any pretense of harmony with Phumjai

Thai; he argued that, by sub-contracting coalition

maintenance to the Deputy PM, Abhisit had weakened himself

politically and made powerful enemies in the process.

 

6. (C) Former Deputy Prime Minister and close Thaksin ally

Sompong Amornvivat gleefully confirmed the wide-spread rumors

of Democrat-Phumjai Thai tensions, telling us September 3

that he could easily envision a scenario in which the Puea

Thai party and Phumjai Thai would coalesce again following

the next round of elections, thereby relegating the Democrats

to the political wilderness. (Note: Phumjai Thai and the

Thaksin-affiliated Puea Thai predecessor — the People\’s

Power Party (PPP) — were partners in the last government.

End Note.)

 

7. (C) According to Sompong, PM Abhisit was likely taken

aback by the greed and rapaciousness of PhumjaQThai\’s

appointees in the Ministry of the Interior: Minister (and

Party leader) Chavarat Charnvirakul; and recently appointed

Permanent Secretary Manit Wattanasen, seen as close to

Phumjai Thai de facto leader Newin Chidchob. Sompong told us

that Chavarat and Manit had instructed Phumjai Thai lackeys

at the provincial level to pocket 25 percent of all Interior

Ministry funds designated for developmental purposes, a

staggering percentage even by Thai standards.

 

PROBLEMS WITHIN PM\’S OWN PARTY

——————————

 

8. (C) Abhisit\’s political problems do not end with coalition

management headaches and constant sparring with the

opposition, as reported in Refs C and D. The PM has had to

deal with friendly fire from within his own party,

particularly from powerbroker party Secretary General, Deputy

PM Suthep. The two have been at odds on a range of issues,

including the approach on dealing with the south, and both

have had to fight the widespread perception that Suthep has

worked to undercut several aspects of the PM\’s agenda. When

we asked Deputy PM Suthep\’s Special Assistant Akanat Promphan

(Suthep\’s step-son) on September 1 about relations between

the two, Akanat\’s reflexive — and very revealing — response

was: \”they are still talking.\”

 

CORRUPTION COMMISSION DECISION TOPPLES POLICE CHIEF

——————————————— ——

 

9. (SBU) On September 8, the National Counter Corruption

Commission (NCCC) brought formal criminal charges against

Police Commissioner Patcharawat Wongsuwon for his role in the

October 7, 2008 crackdown on People\’s Alliance for Democracy

protestors (aka \”the yellow-shirts); also charged were then

PM Somchai, then DPM Chavalit, and then Bangkok Police Chief

Suchart Mueankaew. PM Abhisit reacted to the NCCC

announcement September 9 by transferring Patcharawat — who

was set to retire at the end of the month in any case — to

the Prime Minister\’s office. PM Abhisit then appointed

Deputy Police Chief Thanee Somboonsap to serve out the

remainder of Patcharawat\’s term; Thanee will also retire at

the end of the month and is therefore not eligible to replace

him on a permanent basis. The decision likely will add an

even greater sense of urgency to the PM\’s efforts to

 

BANGKOK 00002289 003.2 OF 005

 

designate Patcharawat\’s eventual successor (REF C).

 

POLICE CHIEF IMBROGLIO — DOES QUEEN TRUMP PRINCE?

——————————————— —–

 

10. (C) The simmering feud over the National Police Chief

position continues to exacerbate the bad blood between the

Democrats and Phumjai Thai and expose the Abhisit-Suthep

fissures. Though PM Abhisit routinely asserts that he will

forward Police General Prateep Tunprasert\’s name for

consideration again as the nation\’s top cop, there are

indications that Phumjai Thai will not easily fall in line.

This time, however, they are looking to hide behind the

apparent desire of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn to see Police

General Jumpol Manmai appointed Chief (Note: It is widely

believed former PM Thaksin, while in office, used Jumpol as a

bag man to deliver funds skimmed from the state lottery to

the Crown Prince\’s office to fund his lifestyle. End Note.)

 

11. (C) Phumjai Thai\’s Supachai coyly told us that Phumjai

Thai would \”support whomever Suthep and Niphol do.\” The

Crown Prince, currently in Germany, had recently summoned

Niphol Promphan, who handles his finances but is also a

Democrat MP and Secretary General of PM Abhisit\’s office, to

Germany to receive instructions to support Jumpol\’s

candidacy, according to a wide array of contacts and press

reports. (Note: Phumjai Thai Party Leader Charawat\’s son

Anutin, the Chair of construction giant Sino-Thai, is also

seen as very close to the Crown Prince, as a \”friend\” and

financier. End Note.)

 

12. (C) Intriguingly, the Crown Prince may not be the only

member of the Palace interested in shaping the race for the

Police Chief position. Deputy Democrat party leader Kraisak

Choonhaven told us September 5 that he had appealed to

several influential members in court circles to have Queen

Sikrit trump the Crown Prince\’s support for Jumpol. The

Queen had conveyed her support to Abhisit for Prateep,

Kraisak claimed; Supachai acknowledged to us September 4 that

they had heard the Queen may indeed be backing Prateep.

According to Kraisak, with the Queen\’s support in hand,

Abhisit would be able to push Police General Prateep through

at the next Royal Thai Police Office Board. Niphol\’s overt

promotion of the Crown Prince\’s desires was dangerous for

Niphol and the party, Kraisak fumed.

 

ELECTION TIMING: NOT SOON

————————-

 

13. (C) For all the inter-party discord between the Democrats

and Phumjai Thai, there does appear to be at least one point

on which they agree: the longer the delay before elections

the better. Suthep aide Akanat told us that the Democrats

would try to delay elections as long as possible; they needed

time to allow their reforms and initiatives to take root, as

well as to develop a governing record they could be proud of.

Up to this point, Akanat added, the Democrats had been

pre-occupied primarily with jumping from one disaster to the

next. Now that the triage phase of their stint in office had

ended, the government could begin to carry out its agenda.

According to Akanat, Deputy PM Suthep believed that the

Democrats needed at least another six to seven months before

they would be ready for elections. If elections were held

tomorrow, Akanat believed the Democrats would fare poorly.

 

14. (C) Supachai told us that Phumjai Thai\’s calculations

mirrored those of the Democrats. Phumjai Thai wanted time to

spend the new budget funds, revise the constitution, and

develop a strong governing record. Supachai freely admitted

that Phumjai Thai would do its part to delay elections until

the last possible moment, conceding that Phumjai Thai was

enjoying its current political positioning and would gain

nothing from re-shuffling the deck. When we asked whether

Phumjai\’s delay strategy was partially influenced by the

party\’s lackluster performance in recent by-elections (REF

D), Supachai purported to be unfazed by the results and

 

BANGKOK 00002289 004.2 OF 005

 

confident in the party\’s prospects going forward.

 

15. (C) Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has given conflicting

public signals on the election timing issue. Following the

August 20 setback on the Police Chief vote, PM Abhisit

publicly claimed that he was ready to call an election at any

moment. On other occasions, he has been far more

circumspect, arguing that Thailand would not be ready for

elections until the economy was stabilized, all parties were

satisfied with the electoral ground rules, and the security

situation had improved. Most of our contacts believe the PM

will do his best to delay elections as long as possible as he

is well aware that dissolving Parliament would benefit Puea

Thai more than anyone else. Puea Thai contacts, for their

part, have all told us they would like to see elections as

soon as possible.

 

RED-SHIRT RALLY

—————-

 

16. (C) According to media reports and contacts within the

anti-government United Front for Democracy against

Dictatorship (UDD), the \”red-shirts\” will stage their next

big rally on September 19. UDD leader Vira Musikapong has

announced that the red-shirts plan to assemble in the Royal

Plaza area of Bangkok in the afternoon, before marching to

former PM Prem Tinsulanonda\’s house (adjacent to the Royal

Plaza) and then finally dissolving early the next morning.

The red-shirts had initially planned to stage a protest on

August 30 (REF B), but later re-scheduled it for September

19, the third anniversary of the 2006 coup that toppled

former PM Thaksin. As was the case in the lead-up to the

planned August 30 rally, the government has signaled that it

intends to invoke the Internal Security Act in conjunction

with the September 19 rally.

 

THAKSIN FIT AS A FIDDLE – WHAT ABOUT SUTHEP?

——————————————–

 

17. (C) Contrary to the widespread rumors about former Prime

Minister Thaksin\’s deteriorating health (some speculate he

has had prostate cancer), Sompong claimed to us that Thaksin

is in fact in excellent shape. Sompong reported that Thaksin

had no health concerns and was as energetic and active as

ever. Sompong said he visits Thaksin in Dubai an average of

twice a month and has never seen any evidence of a health

concern.

 

18. (C) On the other hand, Deputy PM Suthep has begun to show

signs of the stress associated with juggling his job as

Deputy and role as Democrat party heavyweight, his aide

Akanat confided. Between the intractable battle with the

red-shirts, the discord within the Democrat party, coalition

fence mending, and dealing with problems in southern

Thailand, Suthep had been operating on overdrive since the

beginning of the year. Making matters worse, Akanat said

that Suthep refused to take any days off to rest and worked

late into the night almost every day. As a result, Suthep

was looking increasingly haggard and unhealthy, and his

family was urging him to dial back his unsustainable pace.

Akanat worried aloud about the possibility of serious health

problems in the near future if Suthep did not heed the

advice.

 

OPPOSITES UNLIKELY TO ATTRACT

—————————–

 

19. (C) Last week there was wide spread media speculation

about the possibility of an imminent deal between the

Democrat party and Puea Thai (REF A). Our contacts uniformly

dismissed this as far fetched. According to Sompong, though

Puea Thai leaders maintained a more or less constant dialogue

with the Democrat party leadership, because \”we all know each

other,\” there was almost no chance the two parties could bury

their differences and work together as part of a governing

coalition. Sompong noted that such a proposal would be met

 

BANGKOK 00002289 005.2 OF 005

 

by widespread rebellion within the Puea Thai party ranks as

the average PuQ Thai party member had been conditioned to

view the Democrats as enemies. As a result, it would be much

easier to work together with any other party, including

Phumjai Thai.

 

YINGLUCK OUT OF LUCK?

———————

 

20. (C) When we asked Sompong about the apparent upward

trajectory of Thaksin\’s youngest sister — Yingluck

Shinawatra — within the Pheu Thai party ranks, he told us he

did not envision a big role for her in the party. (Note: When

we met with Yingluck last month at Pheu Thai party

headquarters, she was joined by former Foreign Minister

Noppadon Pattama, who repeatedly referred to her as a rising

party star. End Note.) According to Sompong, Thaksin

himself was not eager to raise her profile within the party,

and was more focused on finding ways to keep his own hand

active in politics. According to Sompong, Yingluck had no

experience in politics and didn\’t even have a formal job in

the party as of yet. Other contacts, including Suranand

Vejjajiva, were similarly dismissive of her political

prospects, noting that in some ways she had the worst of both

worlds: the burden of inheriting reflexive animosity from

influential circles because of her name, coupled with none of

the charisma and charm that allowed her brother to develop a

groundswell of support.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

June 23, 2011 at 2:14 am

09BANGKOK2125 PM ABHISIT LOSES POLICE CHIEF BATTLE…FOR NOW

leave a comment »

“221971”,”8/24/2009 10:28″,”09BANGKOK2125″,”Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,”09BANGKOK2009″,”VZCZCXRO9507

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2125/01 2361028

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 241028Z AUG 09

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8042

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 7385

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9900

RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 5743

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5717

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1848

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0061

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 6907

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002125

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, NSC FOR WALTON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/23/2019

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, TH

SUBJECT: THAILAND: PM ABHISIT LOSES POLICE CHIEF

BATTLE…FOR NOW

 

REF: BANGKOK 2009 (SIX MONTH CHECK-UP)

 

BANGKOK 00002125 001.2 OF 002

 

Classified By: DCM James F. Entwistle, reasons 1.4 (b, d)

 

SUMMARY AND COMMENT

——————-

 

1. (C) In the latest sign of Prime Minister Abhisit

Vejjajiva\’s tenuous political positioning, the Royal Thai

Police Office\’s 11-member board rejected Abhisit\’s nominee

for the National Police Chief job August 20. The vote

represented not only an embarrassing public rebuke for

Abhisit, but it also dramatically underscored Abhisit\’s

inability to dictate his agenda on even core issues like law

and order. Two members of the Phumjai Thai party (a crucial

member of the governing coalition) helped thwart Abhisit\’s

candidate by casting decisive \”no\” votes, amidst stories that

Democrat Party power broker DPM Suthep was siding with

Phumjai Thai rather than backing his own party leader,

calling into question the long-term viability of the Democrat

Party\’s Faustian pact with Phumjai Thai and Abhisit\’s

leadership of his own party. While we believe Abhisit will

ride out this latest political storm and perhaps even secure

approval for his Police Chief candidate, it is clear that, at

least for now, Abhisit remains on a very short political

leash. End Summary and Comment.

 

ABHSIT\’S MISCALCULATION

———————–

 

2. (SBU) On August 20, PM Abhisit sought to end several weeks

of speculation about the National Police Chief position by

putting his preferred candidate — Police General Prateep

Tunprasert — to a vote before the 11-member Royal Thai

Police Office Board. Prateep enjoys a reputation as a

relatively clean cop and seemed to represent a natural choice

for Abhisit and his ongoing good governance campaign.

 

3. (C) Current Chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan (the Defense

Minister\’s brother) faces compulsory retirement at the end of

September but has been dogged by controversy ever since the

October 7, 2008 police-People\’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)

clash in front of parliament left two dead and hundreds

injured. Allegations by a ruling party MP that a Patcharawat

ally was selling positions on the upcoming promotion list,

and complaints by an assistant Police Chief that Patcharawat

was preventing an investigation into the attempted

assassination of PAD leader Sondhi, further undermined

Patcharawat. PM Abhisit concluded he had the executive

prerogative to name Patcharawat\’s replacement. Unfortunately

for Abhisit, he did not line up the votes on the Board ahead

of time.

 

4. (C) The 11-member Board rejected Police General Prateep by

a five to four vote (Abhisit and another Board member

abstained) thanks in large measure to \”no\” votes from two

Phumjai Thai associates represented on the Board: Interior

Minister (and Party leader) Chavarat Charnvirakul; and

recently appointed Interior Permanent Secretary Manit

Wattanasen, seen as close to Phumjai Thai de facto leader

Newin Chidchob. Both had publicly supported another

candidate — Police General Jumpol Manmai — for the

lucrative money generating position, and criticized the Prime

Minister after the fact for not allowing board members to

choose from multiple candidates. According to Embassy

contacts, however, the real reason they sabotaged Abhisit\’s

candidate was more straightforward: Phumjai Thai wanted a

Police Chief it could control.

 

ABHISIT STAYS THE COURSE

————————

 

5. (SBU) In the wake of the Police Chief vote debacle, calls

for Abhisit\’s resignation were swift and more or less broke

down along predictable political lines, with former PM

Thaksin\’s allies leading the charge. Thaksin\’s proxies in

the Pheu Thai party argued the vote provided clear evidence

 

BANGKOK 00002125 002.2 OF 002

 

of Abhisit\’s inability to govern effectively and control his

own cabinet, with some members forcefully calling on the PM

to dissolve parliament.

 

6. (SBU) Meanwhile, Abhisit brushed off the vote setback and

publicly vowed to try again, declaring: \”this kind of

situation has happened in the past. Pratheep still has a

chance because the law says the Prime Minister is entitled to

propose a new police chief for the approval of the board.\”

Abhisit also suggested he would pursue a compromise with the

Interior Minister in the interest of putting his candidate in

place. In public appearances and media events subsequent to

the vote, Abhisit remained composed and even playfully

characterized media coverage of the issue as overblown.

 

A CAPTAIN NOT FULLY IN CONTROL OF HIS SHIP

——————————————

 

7. (C) Despite assurances to the contrary, the vote setback

amounted to a political belly flop for Abhisit. At a

minimum, the vote demonstrated Abhisit\’s political naivete

and/or inability to count heads before a relatively

straightforward up or down vote; he badly miscalculated the

support he could expect for his candidate. Embassy contacts

from across the political spectrum have privately

characterized this latest setback as an alarming repudiation

of Abhisit and perhaps an ominous harbinger of things to come

for him. The incident made Abhisit look weak the moment most

would agree he could least afford it.

 

8. (C) The vote debacle also served to re-focus the media

spotlight on two fundamental political realities for Abhisit,

namely: Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban seems to

routinely place coalition management over his own Prime

Minister\’s agenda, as well as the fact that the coalition

itself is nothing more than a messy marriage of convenience

with all the attendant risks and downsides. Mission contacts

confirm DPM Suthep — who also doubles as the Democrat

party\’s Secretary General — has maintained a zealous focus

on keeping the coalition in place, with a particular emphasis

on tending to relations with Phumjai Thai and the army. At

the same time, Newin and Phumjai Thai party appear perfectly

content to milk their relationship with the Democrats for all

its worth, secure in the knowledge Newin and Phumjai Thai

amount to Kingmakers.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

June 23, 2011 at 2:11 am

Bangkok Pundit on WikiLeaks: US ‘can’t trust Thailand on extraditions’

leave a comment »

Source: http://asiancorrespondent.com/bangkok-pundit-blog/us-embassy-we-cannot-trust-the-thai-court-on-high-profile-extraditions-[cablegate]

BP: There was mention of the submarine deal in a NYT story that BP blogged about here where a Thai naval officer testified that “he had been told to expect a Russian expert to assess whether a particular Thai port was suitable for docking submarines” and that an Russian involved in the procurement came to Thailand and was arrested (ie implying it was Bout). Interesting to know the US says it is false (seemingly confirmed by a letter mentioned in the second cable mentioned below). It was a Thai naval officer who testified too…. BP has mentioned in the past based on what BP has heard and that is the Russians were very involved before the lower court ruling.

¶7. (C) We will make clear to the RTG that we expect Bout to remain incarcerated during the appeals process, as specified under Thai law and the August 11 court ruling. Given that the same judge will rule on any bail motions brought by Bout (we expect Bout’s attorneys to push hard on bail), however, his custody status during the pendency of the appeal is a genuine concern. We also intend to make clear to the Thai government (the Ambassador is seeking to call FM Kasit, in Malaysia August 13-14 on a working visit, and will engage the highest available MFA official in Bangkok)that we expect this deficient ruling to receive a comprehensive and meaningful review by the appellate court. Moreover, the Ambassador plans to tell Kasit and other senior Thai officials that, given that the Thai government arrested Bout and sought his extradition to the U.S., the Thai government should be as alarmed by the judge’s ruling as we are. Therefore, we would encourage the RTG to issue a public statement expressing disappointment in the judge’s decision, its intention to win on appeal, and a reiteration of Thailand’s commitment to both the struggle against international terrorism and to its extensive law enforcement relationship with the United States. The Ambassador intends to make similar points to newly appointed NSC Secretary General Tawee and to key figures at the PalaceWithout being counter-productively heavy-handed, we will make clear that we see Thai executive branch reaction to the ruling as a test of the relationship.

BP: Making the point to key figures at the Palace. Why ever would there be a need to do that given that key figures would never be able to play a role given they do not interfere with politics as we have been told many times (we haven’t been misled, have we?)

Agree with John that the lower court ruling was dubious as blogged about here.

Cable continues:

¶8. (C) At the same time, however, we believe it is important to remember that our partners in the Royal Thai Police, the Office of the Attorney General, the Foreign Ministry, and even the Royal Thai Navy, largely did everything we asked them to do on the Bout case, including going the extra mile to facilitate our requests. Our posture and actions thus should make clear that we are disappointed with the judge’s ruling but not with Thai government cooperation in the Bout case.

¶9. (C) That said, coming on the heels of the September 2008 Thai appellate ruling affirming a lower court’s denial of our request to extradite Iranian Jamshid Ghassemi, who was in Thailand to procure controlled technology in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, the question has to be asked whether we can count on the Thai courts to do the right thing on high-profile extradition cases that will affect Thailand’s relations with third countries (we continue to have a perfect record on routine extraditions from Thailand to the United States). Our reluctant conclusion is that we cannot.

¶10. (S) The Department will recall that in February of this year, after significant indications that the Russians were trying to use bribes to influence the outcome of the case, the Ambassador made representations to Prime Minister Abhisit (reftel) that we expected the process to be free of inappropriate influence and Abhisit undertook to do so. The Ambassador also intervened at the same time with Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and the Royal Thai Naval Commander Khamtorn Pumhiran to insist that false testimony by xxxxxxxxx  (that Bout had been in Thailand as part of a routine naval procurement) be rebutted. The Thai Navy subsequently issued a letter to that effect. We will remind the Thais of their commitment to a clean process and ask that they assure us again on the front.

BP: Telling that the US Ambassador doesn’t think they can trust the court in regards to high profile extradition cases that will affect Thailand’s relations with third countries. One hope he isn’t implying that politics somehow influenced the lower court ruling and thus casting aspersions about the Thai judicial system (a Bangkok Post editorial denouncing the Ambassador is probably being drafted now)….

¶11. (C) Given the above, we are undertaking the following steps here in Bangkok, most of which should also be reflected when the Department calls in Thai Ambassador Don Pramuwinai, a move we fully support: — The Ambassador will immediately seek a meeting with Foreign Minister Kasit and other appropriate senior Thai officials to make clear that, while we appreciate the cooperation on Bout over the past year and a half, we are disappointed and mystified by the judge’s ruling, which is flawed on several key points. — In particular, the judge’s characterization of the FARC as a legitimate political actor would suggest that insurgent groups in southern Thailand are likewise political in nature, perhaps outside the scope of Thailand’s new counterterrorism laws. The ruling also suggests that anyone seeking to send them arms from a third country could not be extradited to Thailand on political grounds. — Moreover, the judge’s misguided analysis of the “dual criminality” standard suggests that fugitives cannot be extradited from Thailand unless a Thai court actually had jurisdiction over the alleged crime, not whether the alleged conduct is viewed as criminal conduct under the laws of both countries. This decision comes at the same time Thailand is pursuing extradition of fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra for abuse of power/corruption-related charges; the judge’s ruling would also seem to undermine RTG positions in their Thaksin extradition effort. — Therefore, we expect that the AG’s office will vigorously pursue the appeal of the ruling and that Bout will remain incarcerated during the pendency of the appeal. — We seek assurances that the case will be afforded a comprehensive and meaningful appellate review, presumably handled by serious, experienced Thai judges. (Note: Appeals are normally handled by a panel of three judges. End Note.) — We ask that the Thai government issue a statement making clear its own disappointment with the judge’s ruling and reiterating its commitment to the fight against international terrorism and to the law enforcement relationship with the U.S. — We will continue to make our points to the press and we are pulling together a “FARC fact sheet” for public distribution that we will send in to Washington for comment and clearance today.

BP: John clearly knows how to push Kasit’s buttons by including the reference to Thaksin…. How can the choice of judges be affected and why would it matter given all Thai judges are honest……

¶12. (C) We suggest that Washington strongly consider the following actions: — In addition to the Department calling in the Thai Ambassador, we recommend that Attorney General Holder also call him in. AG Holder could point out the extensive U.S. commitment of law enforcement resources to Thailand (DEA and other), as well as our judicial training efforts, and that a statement from the RTG as outlined above would be very helpful as the U.S. decides where best to commit its law enforcement resources around the world. A senior DEA official might also wish to sit in to highlight the massive DEA commitment to Thailand. (Note: Our DOJ Attache who has led our legal efforts on Bout here will be in Washington on August 20-21. End Note.) — Discussion of a POTUS telcon to PM Abhisit has been under way for some time; they have not spoken in the seven months both have been in office. We suggest that the call be accelerated and that it include a serious discussion of our concerns over the implications of the Bout verdict, as outlined above. We believe POTUS involvement on Bout would have significant effect here. — We suggest Washington engage the Colombian government on the implications of the Bout verdict. We suggest inquiring whether Colombia considers the FARC to be a terrorist organization, whether it would be willing to submit a brief in the appeals process, and also make public statements to that effect. We also suggest exploring whether Colombia would be willing to ask Thailand for Bout’s extradition while he (hopefully) is still in detention during the appeals process. (Note: There is no Colombian Embassy in Bangkok; the Embassy in Kuala Lumpur covers Thailand. We understand the Thais cover Colombia from their Embassy in Lima. End note.) It would be useful if the Government of Colombia also raised its concerns in Moscow. — We also suggest exploring the possibility of whether governments whose citizens have borne the bloody results of Bout’s activities over the years, such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo, would be willing to publicly express dismay/engage the Thai government on the verdict and whether any affected government would be willing to ask for his extradition. — While the Bout focus is now on Thailand, this is at heart a U.S.-Russian matter. The Department may wish to make clear to Moscow our concerns on Bout’s activities and seek assurances that they will cease. Also, 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. — The Thai ruling seems inconsistent with several United Nations determinations on Bout’s nature over the years (see below). We suggest our USUN call in the Thai Permrep and lay out how we view the issues in terms of Thailand’s standing with the United Nations. Better yet would be for the appropriate UN official to call in the Thai Permrep and seek an explanation of how the verdict can be justified in light of Thailand’s support of relevant UN resolutions: – UNSCR 1521 (2003) – Liberia – UNSCR 1343 (March 2001) – Liberia – Report of Experts Panel under 1343 – Final Monitoring Report on Angola Sanctions (2000)

BP: Most of this is not surprising – well at least from what BP has heard. The US role behind-the-scenes increased dramatically after the lower court ruling after taking a more hands-off-approach earlier on…. It is pity we don’t have the Russian cables too.

BP: Follow up Article of 2/12/2010

Wikileaks: Whose testimony was being procured?

http://asiancorrespondent.com/bangkok-pundit-blog/whose-testimony-was-being-procured

Written by thaicables

December 2, 2010 at 3:17 am

09BANGKOK1998 2009-08-13 09:09 2010-12-01 23:11 SECRET Embassy Bangkok

leave a comment »

NEXT STEPS ON THE VIKTOR BOUT EXTRADITION CASE 

IN THE WAKE OF LOWER COURT DEFEAT

VZCZCXRO1498 OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM DE RUEHBK #1998/01 2250918 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O 130918Z AUG 09 FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7869 INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA IMMEDIATE 0839 RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE 3439 RUEHFN/AMEMBASSY FREETOWN IMMEDIATE 0009 RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA IMMEDIATE 0029 RUEHMV/AMEMBASSY MONROVIA IMMEDIATE 0171 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 1633 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 5442 RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEAWJL/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 BANGKOK 001998 

SIPDIS 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, NSC FOR BADER 

EO 12958 DECL: 08/13/2019
TAGS PTER, KCRM, TH, RS, CO
SUBJECT: NEXT STEPS ON THE VIKTOR BOUT EXTRADITION CASE IN
THE WAKE OF LOWER COURT DEFEAT
REF: BANGKOK 385 (NOTAL)

Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary and comment. The disappointing August 11 Thai Lower Court 
ruling against the extradition of Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, and 
its dubious legal reasoning, requires a multi-pronged effort to seek a 
successful reversal during the appeals process. The lead judge’s foray 
into foreign policy, rejecting the terrorism label and in effect embracing 
the FARC’s activities as purely political in nature, not criminal or acts 
of terrorism, has implications for Thailand. His confusion of the “dual 
criminality” concept with jurisdictional issues similarly raises questions 
for efforts by Thailand to extradite fugitive former PM Thaksin to face justice. 
The Embassy is working with Thai authorities to file an appeal of the lower 
court’s ruling and to press home the implications of the court ruling were 
Bout to walk free. In the early afternoon on August 13, we were assured 
that the notice of intention to appeal has been filed.


2. (C) At the same time, the Embassy recommends the State Department, 
Attorney General Holder, and the US Mission to the UN in New York engage 
the Thai Ambassador in Washington and the Thai PermRep in New York in parallel. 
In addition, the Department should seriously consider asking Belgium, which 
issued an arrest warrant for Bout in 2002 for money laundering and conspiracy, 
Colombia, in the case of the FARC, and African countries which have suffered 
greatly from Bout’s arms trade in the past to weigh in with the RTG. Finally, 
we recommend consideration of laying down a marker in Moscow about Bout, 
looking forward to the possibility that Bout may end up back in Russia were 
the appeal of the Lower Court ruling might not succeed. End Summary and comment.


Thai Lower Court rules against Bout extradition
--------------------------------------------- -- 

3. (C) On August 11, the judge in the Viktor Bout extradition case ruled 
against U.S. and Thai government efforts to extradite Bout to the United 
States. Two key elements of his reasoning were: that the FARC in Colombia, 
to which Bout was conspiring to send weapons, was a political rather than a 
terrorist group; and that the “dual criminality” standard of our extradition 
treaty with Thailand had not been met since Bout could not be prosecuted in 
Thailand on the charges which the U.S. wants him to face in the U.S. In 
our view, the judge was wrong on both counts.


4. (C) After the verdict, as the Department has seen, the DCM spoke on the 
record to press outside the court room and expressed disappointment and 
mystification over the ruling and stated that we would fully support RTG 
efforts to appeal the decision. We have continued the same themes in 
subsequent interactions with the press.


Engaging the Thai immediately
----------------------------- 



5. (C) The Ambassador called Foreign Minister Kasit immediately after the 
verdict on August 11 and expressed deep disappointment, noting that the 
verdict was not justified on legal grounds and that the judge had clearly 
been in error on several key points. He reminded Kasit that over the past 
year and a half since Bout’s arrest in Bangkok, the USG had repeatedly 
underlined the importance of the case, all the way up to the Secretary of 
State and POTUS levels. In the short-term, the Ambassador told Kasit, we 
need the Foreign Ministry to do its part in forwarding the necessary 
documentation to the Attorney-General’s office so that the intent to 
appeal can be filed in the requisite forty-eight hours. (Note: Although 
the court’s ruling and a new extradition law specify that the appeal must 
be filed within 72 hours, the applicable extradition law sets forth the 
shorter time frame, which we have followed.) Kasit assured the Ambassador 
that he had already instructed his legal department to do so. The Ambassador 
also told Kasit that we expected Bout would remain in detention during the 
appeals process. The MFA’s Legal and Treaties Department faxed the Attorney 
General’s office late evening August 11 supporting the appeal; at the request 
of the Office of the Attorney General, the Embassy sent a diplomatic note to 
the MFA and the OAG on August 13 requesting that the RTG appeal the lower 
court verdict prior to the forty-eight hour deadline (note: the RTG was 
closed August 12 for a National Holiday, the Queen’s Birthday.) 
At approximately 1:25 p.m. on August 13, the MFA and OAG advised the 
Embassy that the requisite notice of intention to appeal had been filed 
and received by the court.


Next steps
---------- 

6. (C) The Embassy’s “Bout team” met August 13 to review next steps that 
will help us prevail on appeal. Our immediate priority was to ensure that 
the notice of intent to appeal was filed on time (within 48 hours of the 
verdict) and that the appeal itself is filed within thirty days of the verdict.


7. (C) We will make clear to the RTG that we expect Bout to remain 
incarcerated during the appeals process, as specified under Thai law 
and the August 11 court ruling. Given that the same judge will rule 
on any bail motions brought by Bout (we expect Bout’s attorneys to push 
hard on bail), however, his custody status during the pendency of the 
appeal is a genuine concern. We also intend to make clear to the Thai 
government (the Ambassador is seeking to call FM Kasit, in Malaysia 
August 13-14 on a working visit, and will engage the highest available 
MFA official in Bangkok) that we expect this deficient ruling to receive 
a comprehensive and meaningful review by the appellate court. Moreover, 
the Ambassador plans to tell Kasit and other senior Thai officials that, 
given that the Thai government arrested Bout and sought his extradition 
to the U.S., the Thai government should be as alarmed by the judge’s 
ruling as we are. Therefore, we would encourage the RTG to issue a public 
statement expressing disappointment in the judge’s decision, its intention 
to win on appeal, and a reiteration of Thailand’s commitment to both the 
struggle against international terrorism and to its extensive law 
enforcement relationship with the United States. The Ambassador intends 
to make similar points to newly appointed NSC Secretary General Tawee and 
to key figures at the Palace. Without being counter-productively 
heavy-handed, we will make clear that we see Thai executive branch 
reaction to the ruling as a test of the relationship.

8. (C) At the same time, however, we believe it is important to remember 
that our partners in the Royal Thai Police, the Office of the Attorney 
General, the Foreign Ministry, and even the Royal Thai Navy, largely did 
everything we asked them to do on the Bout case, including going the 
extra mile to facilitate our requests. Our posture and actions thus should 
make clear that we are disappointed with the judge’s ruling but not with 
Thai government cooperation in the Bout case.


9. (C) That said, coming on the heels of the September 2008 Thai appellate 
ruling affirming a lower court’s denial of our request to extradite Iranian 
Jamshid Ghassemi, who was in Thailand to procure controlled technology in 
violation of the Arms Export Control Act, the question has to be asked 
whether we can count on the Thai courts to do the right thing on high-profile 
extradition cases that will affect Thailand’s relations with third countries 
(we continue to have a perfect record on routine extraditions from Thailand 
to the United States). Our reluctant conclusion is that we cannot.


10. (S) The Department will recall that in February of this year, after 
significant indications that the Russians were trying to use bribes to 
influence the outcome of the case, the Ambassador made representations 
to Prime Minister Abhisit (reftel) that we expected the process to be 
free of inappropriate influence and Abhisit undertook to do so. The
Ambassador also intervened at the same time with Defense Minister Prawit 
Wongsuwan and the Royal Thai Naval Commander Khamtorn Pumhiran to insist 
that false testimony by xxxxxxxxx  (that Bout had been in Thailand as part 
of a routine naval procurement) be rebutted. The Thai Navy subsequently 
issued a letter to that effect. We will remind the Thais of their commitment 
to a clean process and ask that they assure us again on the front.


What We are Doing here/What We Suggest Washington Do

--------------------------------------------- ------- 

11. (C) Given the above, we are undertaking the following steps here in 
Bangkok, most of which should also be reflected when the Department calls 
in Thai Ambassador Don Pramuwinai, a move we fully support: -- The Ambassador 
will immediately seek a meeting with Foreign Minister Kasit and other 
appropriate senior Thai officials to make clear that, while we appreciate 
the cooperation on Bout over the past year and a half, we are disappointed 
and mystified by the judge’s ruling, which is flawed on several key points.
 
-- In particular, the judge’s characterization of the FARC as a legitimate 
political actor would suggest that insurgent groups in southern Thailand are 
likewise political in nature, perhaps outside the scope of Thailand’s new 
counterterrorism laws. The ruling also suggests that anyone seeking to send 
them arms from a third country could not be extradited to Thailand on 
political grounds. -- Moreover, the judge’s misguided analysis of the 
“dual criminality” standard suggests that fugitives cannot be extradited 
from Thailand unless a Thai court actually had jurisdiction over the 
alleged crime, not whether the alleged conduct is viewed as criminal 
conduct under the laws of both countries. This decision comes at the same 
time Thailand is pursuing extradition of fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra 
for abuse of power/corruption-related charges; the judge’s ruling would also 
seem to undermine RTG positions in their Thaksin extradition effort. -- 
Therefore, we expect that the AG’s office will vigorously pursue the appeal 
of the ruling and that Bout will remain incarcerated during the pendency of 
the appeal. -- We seek assurances that the case will be afforded a comprehensive 
and meaningful appellate review, presumably handled by serious, experienced Thai 
judges. (Note: Appeals are normally handled by a panel of three judges. End Note.) 


-- We ask that the Thai government issue a statement making clear its own 
disappointment with the judge’s ruling and reiterating its commitment to the fight 
against international terrorism and to the law enforcement relationship with the U.S. 
-- We will continue to make our points to the press and we are pulling together a 
“FARC fact sheet” for public distribution that we will send in to Washington for comment 
and clearance today.

12. (C) We suggest that Washington strongly consider the following actions: 
-- In addition to the Department calling in the Thai Ambassador, we recommend that 
Attorney General Holder also call him in. AG Holder could point out the extensive U.S. 
commitment of law enforcement resources to Thailand (DEA and other), as well as our 
judicial training efforts, and that a statement from the RTG as outlined above would 
be very helpful as the U.S. decides where best to commit its law enforcement 
resources around the world. A senior DEA official might also wish to sit in to highlight 
the massive DEA commitment to Thailand. (Note: Our DOJ Attache who has led our legal 
efforts on Bout here will be in Washington on August 20-21. End Note.) 


-- Discussion of a POTUS telcon to PM Abhisit has been under way for some time; they 
have not spoken in the seven months both have been in office. We suggest that the call 
be accelerated and that it include a serious discussion of our concerns over the 
implications of the Bout verdict, as outlined above. We believe POTUS involvement on 
Bout would have significant effect here. 


-- We suggest Washington engage the Colombian government on the implications of the Bout 
verdict. We suggest inquiring whether Colombia considers the FARC to be a terrorist 
organization, whether it would be willing to submit a brief in the appeals process, 
and also make public statements to that effect. We also suggest exploring whether 
Colombia would be willing to ask Thailand for Bout’s extradition while he (hopefully) 
is still in detention during the appeals process. (Note: There is no Colombian Embassy 
in Bangkok; the Embassy in Kuala Lumpur covers Thailand. We understand the Thais cover 
Colombia from their Embassy in Lima. End note.) It would be useful if the Government 
of Colombia also raised its concerns in Moscow. -- We also suggest exploring the 
possibility of whether governments whose citizens have borne the bloody results of 
Bout’s activities over the years, such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo, would be 
willing to publicly express dismay/engage the Thai government on the verdict and w
hether any affected government would be willing to ask for his extradition. 


-- While the Bout focus is now on Thailand, this is at heart a U.S.-Russian matter. 
The Department may wish to make clear to Moscow our concerns on Bout’s activities 
and seek assurances that they will cease. Also, 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. 


-- The Thai ruling seems inconsistent with several United Nations determinations 
on Bout’s nature over the years (see below). We suggest our USUN call in the Thai 
Permrep and lay out how we view the issues in terms of Thailand’s standing with 
the United Nations. Better yet would be for the appropriate UN official to call 
in the Thai Permrep and seek an explanation of how the verdict can be justified 
in light of Thailand’s support of relevant UN resolutions: 
- UNSCR 1521 (2003) 
- Liberia - UNSCR 1343 (March 2001) 
- Liberia - Report of Experts Panel under 1343 
- Final Monitoring Report on Angola Sanctions (2000)


-- Finally, despite the listing by the US and EU of the FARC as a terrorist 
organization, we understand that the FARC is not listed as such by the UN. 
A move to have the FARC listed formally by the UN would assist the effort 
to keep Bout in custody. JOHN


Source: http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/cable/2009/08/09BANGKOK1998.html

Written by thaicables

December 2, 2010 at 3:02 am