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

Archive for the ‘Victor Bout’ Category

08BANGKOK3757 AMBASSADOR ENGAGES NEW THAI FM KASIT ON ASEAN, BURMA, CAMBODIA, BOUT, THE SOUTH, REFUGEES, IPR, AND CL

leave a comment »

“184976”,”12/29/2008 11:07″,”08BANGKOK3757″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“08BANGKOK3707″,”VZCZCXRO5908

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #3757/01 3641107

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 291107Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5512

INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6652

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 9316

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 5175

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1283

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 2543

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 6015″,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BANGKOK 003757

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR PHU

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/29/2018

TAGS: ETRD, PGOV, PHUM, PREF, PREL, PTER, TH

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR ENGAGES NEW THAI FM KASIT ON ASEAN,

BURMA, CAMBODIA, BOUT, THE SOUTH, REFUGEES, IPR, AND CL

 

REF: BANGKOK 03707

 

BANGKOK 00003757 001.2 OF 004

 

Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION JAMES F. ENTWISTLE, REASONS 1.4

(b) and (d).

 

Summary and Comment:

———————

 

1. (C) Summary: On December 26, Ambassador, accompanied by

DCM and poloff, paid a courtesy call on newly appointed

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya. The Ambassador was the first

member of Thailand\’s diplomatic community to call on Kasit.

He congratulated Kasit on his appointment and took the

opportunity to highlight a range of political and economic

issues high on the U.S. policy agenda, including compulsory

licensing (CL) and intellectual property rights (IPR) issues,

Burma, refugees, southern Thailand, and Viktor Bout. While

reaffirming the importance the U.S. places on the bilateral

relationship with Thailand, the Ambassador emphasized the

need for continued forward movement on these issues. In

closing the discussion, the Ambassador told Kasit that,

although the U.S. supports free speech and peaceful

demonstrations in support of political change, the PAD,s

airport seizure had hurt Thailand\’s image. Kasit agreed.

 

2. (C) Summary continued: FM Kasit responded by saying that

he looked forward to a close and constructive relationship

with the U.S., and that he was committed to working to the

best of his ability to ensure the relationship remained

positive and strong. The new government hopes to hold the

ASEAN summit in Bangkok the third week of February. He said

clean governance and integrity were high on Prime Minister

Abhisit policy agenda. This included IPR enforcement and a

better dialogue on CL issues. He vowed Thailand\’s external

relationships would not be driven by \”vested\” interests,

including the interests of public companies like EGAT and PTT

in Burma. He said Thailand would work to constructively

engage Burma on the range of issues that affect Thai-Burma

relations, including the repatriation of refugees and cross

border issues. Kasit promised to study a non-paper on the

Viktor Bout case provided by the Ambassador.

 

3. (C) Comment: The session was a refreshing and positive

meeting with an interlocutor who appears competent and

clearly understands the issues affecting the U.S.-Thai

relationship. A former Ambassador in Washington (2004-05),

Kasit was forward leaning on all the issues we discussed and

reiterated several times his commitment to a positive and

constructive relationship with the U.S. While Kasit will

undoubtedly advocate Thailand\’s positions forcefully, his

professional focus and understanding of the complexities of

the U.S.-Thai relationship will make working with him and the

MFA on difficult issues easier. End comment.

 

Old partner in a new role

————————-

 

4. (SBU) In a meeting on December 26 with the Ambassador,

newly-appointed FM Kasit expressed enthusiasm about the new

U.S. administration and looked forward to working with the

incoming U.S. Secretary of State on a close and constructive

relationship. Noting that in the recent past, Thailand had

played a passive and reactive role in its relationship to the

U.S., just responding to U.S. requests, Kasit vowed Thailand

would now be more proactive in planning the direction of the

relationship.

 

ASEAN

—–

 

5. (SBU) Starting off with a discussion on the ASEAN summit,

Kasit told the Ambassador that the summit will likely take

place the third week of February, in Bangkok. Plans for the

summit would be finalized after the government delivered its

policy statement on December 29 or 30; the Cabinet would then

meet to approve the framework for the summit and send it to

parliament for approval on January 5 or 6. Kasit assured the

 

BANGKOK 00003757 002.2 OF 004

 

Ambassador that the RTG still planned for the U.S. Ambassador

for ASEAN Affairs, Scott Marciel, to attend as an observer.

Kasit said work on the Terms-of-Reference (TOR) for the

formation of the ASEAN human rights body was proceeding well;

he hoped a first draft would be ready by the beginning of the

summit. Kasit opined that the TOR and formation of the human

rights body would be an indication of the future direction of

ASEAN. He said it would show that ASEAN was working not just

for open markets, but for \”open societies\” as well.

 

CL, IPR, CSR, and Trade

———————–

 

6. (SBU) On economic issues, Kasit told the Ambassador that

he has been engaging the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) to

improve coordination on issues such as Compulsory Licensing

(CL); the MoC would take the lead on establishing an

interagency committee to tackle issues of intellectual

property right (IPR) protection enforcement. The Ambassador

emphasized to Kasit the importance the U.S placed on IPR and

CL and said the pharmaceutical industry had felt over the

last six months that the cards were stacked against it; the

Ministry of Health seemed to have taken advantage of

confusion within the government to add more CLs without going

through the proper process. The pharmaceutical industry

sought a better dialogue with the RTG.

 

7. (SBU) Kasit responded that he had just spoken to the

Ministry of Health on this issue. He said he believed there

would be another committee to address it, with PREMA

(Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer Association)

represented on the committee. The Democrat-led government of

Prime Minister Abhisit was very serious about IPR issues,

Kasit maintained, and there would be a strong message in the

government\’s up-coming policy statement about governance and

corporate responsibility. He pointed out that Abhisit, in

his first cabinet meeting, had emphasized nine precepts to

guide his government. The second precept was specifically

about honesty and governance. He had recently chaired a

seminar at the National Counter Corruption Committee (NCCC)

on corporate social responsibility; the NCCC planned to work

with the private sector on this issue. He hoped that a

national policy on clean governance and corporate

responsibility would translate down to private sector

business practices by linking corporate social responsibility

to a government body.

 

8. (SBU) The Ambassador rounded out the discussion on

economic issues by commenting on beef imports and trade in

general. He thanked Kasit for his forward leaning comments

on CL and IPR but stressed that import regulations in the

beef industry needed to be liberalized and brought into line

with the rest of the region. He emphasized the need to

continue moving forward on trade issues; given the global

economic climate, trade issues would likely become more

difficult to resolve before they get easier, making forward

movement essential.

 

Burma and Refugees: A Clean Slate

———————————

 

9. (C) In response to the Ambassador\’s inquiry about the new

Thai government\’s Burma policy, Kasit said that PM Abhisit

had made it clear to the Cabinet that vested interests would

not drive Thailand\’s external relationships. Kasit said he

planned on talking to Burma on a whole range of issues, and

that the vested interests that drove Thailand\’s past

relationship with Burma (including the activities of

companies and state agencies such as EGAT (the Electricity

Generation Authority of Thailand) and PTT (the Petroleum

Authority of Thailand)) would no longer drive policy. With

such interests out of the way, the Thai and Burmese would

start on a clean policy slate and spend more time addressing

cross-border issues, such as trafficking in persons, drugs,

and smuggling. Kasit said the ASEAN charter would give them

the means to address these issues in a constructive manner.

 

10. (C) On refugee issues, Kasit thanked the U.S. for the

 

BANGKOK 00003757 003.2 OF 004

 

Burmese resettlement program, which last year took 14,000

Burmese to the U.S. He said he had recently traveled to Mae

Sot and found the physical conditions in the camps \”not

encouraging,\” and not healthy. He was particularly concerned

about infrastructure issues; there was a need for more

investment in education and vocational training for children,

so they would come out of the camps with some ability to do

something. He said he planned on reviewing the entire

refugee policy approach and would have internal discussions

with the National Security Council and Ministry of Interior

on better coordination with international NGOs.

 

11. (C) Kasit added, however, that there also needed to be a

discussion with the Burmese government on repatriation.

Since the resettlement program had created a \”pull\” factor,

Thailand must work with Burma and somehow eliminate the pull

factor. On the Lao Hmong, Kasit agreed with the Ambassador

that the issue of repatriating Hmong to Laos was extremely

complicated because of the deep social divisions between the

Hmong and the Lao government. Kasit said Abhisit planned to

go to Laos in January on his first foreign visit and hoped to

address this issue. Kasit nodded when the Ambassador said

the situation of the Hmong at the Nong Kai immigration

detention center, many of them children, needed to be

resolved as well.

 

Cambodia and resolving border disputes

————————————–

 

12. (SBU) Kasit said the issue of negotiating with Cambodia

over the border dispute near the Preah Vihear temple would be

resubmitted to the cabinet for discussion. Thailand needed

to respect the early 1960s World Court decision on the

temple. There remained, however, according to Kasit, five

other spots along the border that needed to be resolved

through negotiations with Cambodia. He reaffirmed plans to

retain Ambassador Vasin Tearavechyon as the Thai co-chair of

the Thai-Cambodia Joint Border Commission. He said that he

was encouraged that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had been

the first foreign leader to congratulate PM Abhisit (by

letter).

 

Plans for Southern Thailand

—————————

 

13. (C) On possible new approaches to address the unrest in

southern Thailand, Kasit said that the forthcoming policy

statement would contain a section on a new draft law to

establish a coordinating agency, under Deputy Prime Minister

Suthep Thaugsuban, for the deep south. Kasit affirmed that

the Democrat-led government would attempt a comprehensive

plan for dealing with the insurgency that would extend beyond

security measures and focus heavily on addressing issues of

justice, economics, and culture. Foremost, he said, the

government must be sensitive to the needs of the local

people. He said that although there would be a push for

large-scale infrastructure projects, the government will

first take steps to ensure money that has been budgeted for

the south actually gets to the places where it is needed. An

additional 100 billion baht ($3 billion) would then be

allocated to deal with the situation. The money would be

used for, among other things, development of the halal food

industry and a project involving a land bridge to connect sea

ports on the Gulf of Siam to the Andaman Sea (as an

alternative to using the Strait of Malacca).

 

14. (C) According to Kasit, the government\’s approach to the

south would be marked by a willingness to talk. He said

cooperation with both Indonesia and Malaysia would be

welcome, and the RTG planned to follow-up on offers of

assistance from both these countries. He said they must also

take stock of what had happened to negotiations since Surayud

Chulanont was Prime Minister (through February 2007). There

were promises and commitments made; the new administration

needed to figure out what had happened to these commitments.

 

Bout

—-

 

BANGKOK 00003757 004.2 OF 004

 

15. (SBU) The Ambassador highlighted to Kasit the importance

the USG places on the extradition proceedings of indicted

Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, noting that the U.S.

remained patient, but looked forward to an eventual

extradition. Kasit responded by saying PM Abhisit was very

committed to the rule of law and integrity. He said the MFA

would closely monitor the proceedings (note: Bout\’s

extradition hearing went into recess December 23, scheduled

to resume on March 6, 2009, a year after he was initially

taken into Thai custody). The Ambassador gave Kasit a

non-paper on the status of the Bout case, which the Foreign

Minister promised to study.

JOHN

Advertisements

Written by thaicables

July 19, 2011 at 6:24 am

08BANGKOK2940 ENGAGING NEW THAI FM SOMPONG AT UNGA: THE CURRENT U.S. AGENDA WITH THAILAND

leave a comment »

“171603”,”9/26/2008 9:46″,”08BANGKOK2940″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”SECRET”,

“08BANGKOK2854|08BANGKOK2882″,”VZCZCXRO2249

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2940/01 2700946

ZNY SSSSS ZZH

O 260946Z SEP 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4497

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 5377

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9054

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 2437

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1738

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6367

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 4919

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1062

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 5669

RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY”,

“S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 002940

 

SIPDIS

 

DOJ FOR OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/26/2018

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PREF, PHUM, KDEM, KJUS, ETRD, UNGA, TH

SUBJECT: ENGAGING NEW THAI FM SOMPONG AT UNGA: THE CURRENT

U.S. AGENDA WITH THAILAND

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 2882 (AMBASSADOR MEETS PM)

B. BANGKOK 2854 (THAI-CAMBODIAN DISPUTE)

 

BANGKOK 00002940 001.2 OF 003

 

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

 

SUMMARY

——-

1. (C) Newly-inaugurated Deputy Prime Minister Sompong

Amornwiwat, who serves concurrently as Foreign Minister, will

make a short visit to UNGA/New York, arriving late September

27 with meetings on September 29-30. Post recommends an

appropriate USG high-level interlocutor meet with Sompong in

New York, given the wide range of important matters on our

agenda with Thailand, and in recognition of 175 years of

US-Siamese/Thai relations, our oldest formal relationship in

Asia. Issues which could be raised with Sompong include: the

extradition of Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout; the

deployment of Thai troops to Darfur; pressing Thailand to

support reform in Burma; protection of Lao Hmong in Thailand

who seek refugee status; calming Thai-Cambodian tensions;

Thailand\’s chairmanship of ASEAN; support for Thai democracy;

and the southern separatist insurgency. We recommend U/S

Burns or A/S Hill meet with DPM/FM Sompong; Attorney General

Mukasey may wish to call Sompong on the Bout case, since the

two talked during Mukasey\’s June 10-11 visit to Bangkok, when

Sompong was Justice Minister. End Summary.

 

BOUT EXTRADITION

—————-

2. (S) The Ambassador stressed to new PM Somchai September 22

that one of our top bilateral priorities is the extradition

of Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, in Thai custody since

March. In his August visit to Bangkok, President Bush raised

this matter with then-PM Samak. Attorney General Mukasey

discussed the Bout case with then-FM Noppadol and officials

from the Office of the Attorney General in June. We are

concerned by a Thai court\’s recent denial of our request for

the extradition of Jamshid Ghassemi, an Iranian who conspired

to illegally obtain controlled technology from the United

States (ref A). We have noted our respect for Thai judicial

processes but believe firmly that Thailand should extradite

Bout, a notorious arms trafficker who had targeted Americans

and supported terrorists, once the judicial review concludes.

 

DARFUR DEPLOYMENT

—————–

3. (SBU) After the Thai pledged a battalion peacekeepers for

UNAMID in October 2007, the RTG has been waiting for Sudanese

government approval for Thai troops to deploy to Darfur. We

understand that Sudanese government recently told the UN that

Thai troops could deploy after Egyptian and Ethiopian

infantry battalions deploy to Darfur. Both the MFA and the

Peacekeeping Operations Center at the Royal Thai Armed Forces

Headquarters confirmed to us that they are planning to

fulfill the pledge to UNAMID. With the long interim since

the pledge was approved by the Cabinet, however, the RTG will

need to allocate a budget for the deployment, and the Thai

military will need to re-train troops. The latest estimate

from the Thai military is that they would not be ready to

deploy before February. (Note: Septel will provide further

detail on this issue.) We have urged the RTG to begin

preparations as soon as possible so that Thai troops are

ready when authorization has been provided by Sudan and the

UNDPKO.

 

BURMA

—–

4. (C) When the People\’s Power Party (PPP)-led governing

coalition first formed an administration in February 2008,

then-FM Noppadol advocated \”neighborly engagement\” with

Burma, with which Thailand shares a long porous border,

provides refuge for hundreds of thousands of displaced

 

BANGKOK 00002940 002.2 OF 003

 

persons and employment for up to 2 million other Burmese, and

on which Thailand depends for a significant portion of its

energy needs. Thailand currently appears unwilling to press

the Burmese junta to carry out reforms, although in extreme

circumstances (such as the repression of the Saffron Uprising

last year) the Thais have been willing to criticize egregious

acts of the GOB. Thailand also helpfully pressed the GOB to

allow international aid for areas hit hard by Cyclone Nargis

and served as a platform for U.S. and UN aid deliveries into

Burma.

 

5. (C) The Thais are understandably concerned about the

negative impact on the Thai jewelry industry of the JADE

(Junta\’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act. Our hope is that

Thailand will do more to join the effort to pressure the

junta for change, and not simply see the Act as an unfair

trade matter to be taken to the WTO. We should encourage

Sompong to work with us towards a democratic transition in

Burma, while understanding their challenges in managing a

complex neighborly relationship and concerns about JADE Act

implementation.

 

LAO-HMONG

———

6. (SBU) Thailand has a long history of providing sanctuary

to people from neighboring states who are fleeing

persecution. In recent months, however, we have been

concerned by the RTG\’s return to Laos of 1400 Lao Hmong

awaiting screening for claims of refugee status. The RTG

claimed these individuals returned voluntarily, and that the

vast majority of the Hmong do not meet international criteria

as refugees, but the procedures the RTG used did not meet

UNHCR standards for voluntary movements. There was no

independent third party monitor to ensure that returnees sign

affidavits of voluntariness and had an opportunity to change

their minds. A closed government screening process to

identify those who might face persecution has been similarly

opaque. While thanking the Thais for their traditional

hospitality to neighboring populations, we have stressed the

need for transparency and proper third-party monitoring in

any return of Lao Hmong, as well as in the vetting process

undertaken without UNHCR involvement.

 

TENSION WITH CAMBODIA

———————

7. (SBU) In July and August, Thai-Cambodian tension rose

substantially after the inscription of the Preah Vihear

temple on UNESCO\’s World Heritage list. The International

Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple is situated in

Cambodia, a decision Thailand respects, but the two countries

dispute control of the surrounding territory, and the Thais

felt that the inscription provided recognition of Cambodian

claim to the area. With opposition forces in Thailand

seeking to put pressure on the RTG, and with elections

approaching in Cambodia, the issue became highly politicized

in both countries, and both governments built up their

military presence in the border area. Bilateral talks and

the passage of time helped reduce the tension, and both sides

drew down their forces at Preah Vihear, but focus has now

shifted to two other temples elsewhere along the border: Ta

Kwai and Ta Muen (see ref B). We have continually reminded

the RTG that we urge a bilateral diplomatic resolution to

this ongoing dispute.

 

THAI CHAIRMANSHIP OF ASEAN

————————–

8. (SBU) Thailand assumed the chairmanship of the Association

of Southeast Asian Nations in July. If the ASEAN Charter is

ratified by all members and comes into force, Thailand will

hold the chairmanship until the end of 2009. During this

transition period for ASEAN, Thailand can play a more

critical than usual in leading on key regional issues, such

as the Southeast Asian policy toward reform in Burma,

 

BANGKOK 00002940 003.2 OF 003

 

establishing an ASEAN human rights body, and empowering civil

society throughout ASEAN, not just in its leading

democracies. Thailand\’s domestic political turmoil has

limited its ability to launch its term as ASEAN Chair with

vigorous leadership, but we have nevertheless frequently

voiced our support for Thailand\’s chairmanship.

 

THAI DEMOCRACY – A SOCIETY DIVIDED

———————————-

9. (SBU) The current coalition has been challenged by a group

of ardent protesters, the People\’s Alliance for Democracy

(PAD), which originally formed in 2006 to push for the ouster

of then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. (Thaksin is

currently in the U.K., having chosen to flee abroad rather

than to face court proceedings relating to alleged abuse of

power.) The PAD resumed its protests over the Samak

government in May in the wake of the Preah Vihear

controversy. PAD protesters stormed Government House, the

formal seat of government, August 26, and have been ensconced

there ever since, despite Samak stepping down September 9

after a conflict-of-interest court decision. The RTG has

been reluctant to use force to evict the protesters, fearing

a violent clash, which could prompt calls for military

intervention in politics. Despite widespread Thai

appreciation for democracy, there is also significant

sentiment favoring the use of undemocratic means to block

Thaksin and his allies from power or restructure the nature

of Thai elected government. We have consistently called for

the standoff between the RTG and PAD to be resolved

peacefully, within the framework of the constitution and the

rule of law, and, when appropriate, reminded interlocutors

that we would strongly oppose any military intervention in

politics.

 

THE SOUTHERN INSURGENCY

———————–

10. (C) An ethno-nationalist separatist insurgency by Malay

Muslims in Thailand\’s far south remains perhaps the country\’s

primary security challenge. Since January 2004, over 3000

people have been killed in the conflict; the violence is

having a growing influence on the local economy as tourism,

cross border trade, and investment have declined. The RTG

maintains the situation in southern Thailand is a purely

domestic issue and is wary of any outside involvement,

particularly from the U.S. Although there have been

inquiries from disparate RTG entities regarding assistance

and training specifically for the south, these appear to not

have been coordinated at the national level. The RTG has

been somewhat successful in managing the violence in the

southern provinces through more professional actions by

security forces, but we have no indication the RTG is ready

to address the core social justice issues or to offer

concessions necessary to end the insurgency. We remain

concerned about continuing allegations of human rights

abuses. Our message has been one of willingness to help when

asked, but understanding of Thai concerns about outside

involvement.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 19, 2011 at 5:57 am

09BANGKOK888 AMBASSADOR AND FM KASIT DISCUSS U.S. TRIP, BURMA, BOUT, REDSHIRTS, THAKSIN, CAMBODIA, LAO HMONG

leave a comment »

“201096″,”4/7/2009 9:14″,”09BANGKOK888″,”Embassy

 

Bangkok”,”SECRET”,””,”VZCZCXRO1335

 

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

 

DE RUEHBK #0888/01 0970914

 

ZNY SSSSS ZZH

 

O 070914Z APR 09

 

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

 

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6666

 

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

 

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1523

 

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6929

 

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5401

 

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9576

 

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 6425

 

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

 

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

 

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

 

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

 

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

 

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2121″,”S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK

 

000888

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, NSC FOR PHU

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2029

 

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PREF, BM, TH

 

SUBJECT: THAILAND: AMBASSADOR AND FM KASIT DISCUSS U.S.

 

TRIP, BURMA, BOUT, REDSHIRTS, THAKSIN, CAMBODIA, LAO HMONG

 

BANGKOK 00000888 001.2 OF 003

 

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

 

1. (C) Summary. Ambassador hosted Thai Foreign Minister

 

Kasit Piromya April 6 for a two-hour one-on-one lunch.

 

Ambassador and Kasit discussed Kasit\’s priorities for his

 

upcoming trip to the U.S. April 19-24 and Kasit\’s desire to

 

engage the Secretary on strategic issues of interest to both

 

countries; working together on Burma with the shared goal of

 

changing regime behavior, leading to an inclusive dialogue

 

and the release of political prisoners including ASSK; the

 

effort by the judge in the Viktor Bout extradition case to

 

subpoena the MFA; Thai domestic politics, including the

 

upcoming red-shirt march on April 8 and former PM Thaksin\’s

 

seemingly narrowing options; diplomatic efforts to calm the

 

waters after the most recent round of border skirmishes with

 

Cambodia April 3; and ways of resolving the status of Lao

 

Hmong currently held by Thai authorities. End Summary.

 

US Trip April 19-24: strategic approach with S

 

——————————————— –

 

2. (C) Ambassador hosted straight-talking FM Kasit for a two

 

hour lunch at the Residence April 6. Kasit, a former Thai

 

Ambassador to Washington, expressed understanding that

 

Foreign Ministers from Southeast Asia often raise a narrow

 

list of non-strategic bilateral issues in their meetings in

 

Washington, rather than advancing a strategic dialogue. In

 

his planned April 23 meeting with the Secretary, Kasit said

 

he would discuss strategic issues such as

 

Afghanistan-Pakistan and Burma, look to engage in frank

 

dialogue, and not raise a laundry list of \”asks\” such as GSP.

 

3. (C) Thailand was supportive of the new U.S. Af-Pak

 

strategy, Kasit stressed, although it could not contribute

 

troops (note: Thailand sent a contingent of Army engineers to

 

work out of Bagram in 2003. End note). Ambassador suggested

 

that the Royal Thai Government\’s (RTG) successful experience

 

in opium eradication and crop substitution, as well as

 

decades of experience combating heroin trafficking in

 

partnership with DEA, offered the basis for Thai-U.S.

 

cooperation in Afghanistan in this area. Kasit agreed the

 

idea had merit.

 

4. (C) Note: Addressing the long-standing lack of a Thai

 

Ambassador in Washington, Kasit indicated that he was

 

attempting to get Don Pramadwinai sworn in, perhaps by the

 

Crown Prince rather than King Bhumibol, in time for Don to

 

accompany him on the trip and to be accredited at the next

 

scheduled ceremony in late April. If he could not get Don

 

sworn in prior, he would seek to have Don accompany him as

 

Thai PermRep to the UN.

 

Bout

 

—-

 

5. (C) Ambassador informed Kasit of the latest twist in the

 

extradition proceedings of Russian arms trafficker Viktor

 

Bout. Kasit had not heard about the presiding judge\’s

 

subpoena to the MFA to testify about the potential impact the

 

extradition might have on relations with the U.S. and Russia,

 

but he stated that he did not believe the MFA should testify.

 

Kasit agreed that the court should not use its quest for MFA

 

testimony as a means of delaying the case further, and said

 

he would discuss the matter with MFA PermSec Virasak Futrakul.

 

Burma

 

—–

 

6. (C) Citing the Secretary\’s introductory call to him prior

 

to her Asia trip, Kasit said he understood that Burma would

 

be high on the Secretary\’s agenda with him. He looked

 

forward to a good strategic discussion with the Secretary on

 

this topic and openly welcomed the opportunity to work with

 

us on Burma policy. Ambassador raised the challenge of

 

Burma\’s 2010 elections. If we stake out a position that

 

flawed elections would rule out subsequent cooperation with

 

the Burmese government which emerged, we might be stuck with

 

BANGKOK 00000888 002.2 OF 003

 

a fait d\’accompli. Kasit asserted that the international

 

community should attempt to work with the regime on the

 

election, but with tough criteria:

 

–push together on the Burmese to release all political

 

prisoners, including ASSK, within a certain period of time

 

(such as the end of 2009);

 

–demand a clear explanation of the election law; and then

 

–work for a better law, if necessary, and monitor the

 

process closely.

 

7. (C) Such an approach would not be perfect, Kasit

 

acknowledged, but the other path–ignoring the elections and

 

not working with the SPDC–would yield even worse results

 

inside Burma, and lock us into a difficult position.

 

8. (C) Kasit made a pitch for an expansion of assistance to

 

Burma. He said he supported additional U.S. assistance to

 

the border groups operating out of Thailand, but stressed the

 

need to expand assistance on the inside, as well, moving

 

beyond the Irawaddy Delta affected by Cyclone Nargis.

 

Northern Rakhine State should be the next international

 

priority, given the conditions of the Rohingya community.

 

Kasit suggested that his recent visit to Burma gave reason to

 

believe that the SPDC would allow this. Burma now appeared

 

much more comfortable working with ASEAN than it had before,

 

more willing to listen to opinions from other ASEAN members.

 

9. (C) Kasit expressed understanding for the need for

 

continued sanctions, particularly targeted financial

 

sanctions against the bank accounts and related businesses of

 

regime leaders and key cronies. However, he advocated

 

starting to ease restrictions on certain categories of goods,

 

such as medicines for poultry farms (he said that such

 

antibiotics had to be imported from the U.S. and were not

 

available in Thailand), that support assistance or

 

employment-generating projects going directly to the people.

 

10. (C) Kasit noted that he would meet with representatives

 

of the Karen National Union (KNU) later April 6 at a private

 

location in Bangkok, the start of his efforts to facilitate a

 

dialogue between the KNU and the Burmese regime.

 

Domestic Thai Politics, Thaksin, Crown Prince

 

———————————————

 

11. (C) Kasit did not seemed worried about the large

 

red-shirt rally planned for April 8, suggesting that the

 

red-shirts had moved too soon to mount their self-proclaimed

 

\”D-Day\” rally. He did not see a successful way out for the

 

red-shirts, short of violence. Ambassador suggested the

 

government\’s inability to ensure accountability for previous

 

protest excesses, such as the PAD\’s seizure of Bangkok

 

airports in late 2008, indicated a breakdown in the judicial

 

process and an inability to assert the rule of law in

 

bounding the limits of protest actions. Kasit agreed on the

 

need to pursue justice for all sides.

 

12. (C) Assessing the current battle of perceptions, Kasit

 

asserted that the RTG needed to do a better job of getting

 

its message out on all the airwaves/media, not just via

 

Abhisit\’s weekly appearances on government TV. The Democrat

 

Party needed to transition from a party of old-time elites

 

with a sense of entitlement to a progressive party able to

 

explain its programs effectively to the people. In this

 

sense, the recent no-confidence debate called by the

 

opposition served a useful purpose, prodding the RTG to

 

defend itself publicly.

 

13. (S) Ambassador suggested that if Thaksin thought he could

 

wait out the King and cut a deal after the Crown Prince

 

ascended to the throne, Thaksin\’s current actions, including

 

his open verbal attacks on the Privy Council, would

 

complicate any such rapprochement. Kasit agreed, noting that

 

his recent discussions with the Crown Prince suggested that

 

the Crown Prince is far shrewder than most people believed.

 

The Crown Prince clearly understood the difficulties his

 

personal habits (love of flying and women) presented, and

 

BANGKOK 00000888 003.2 OF 003

 

that he would need to change prior to assuming the throne.

 

While the Crown Prince had promised several years ago to stop

 

flying, he had not yet done so. Kasit remained confident,

 

however, that the Crown Prince could successfully transition

 

from one role to another, and that he would have no use for

 

Thaksin once he became King.

 

14. (C) Ambassador explained to Kasit that former PM Thaksin

 

may travel to the US, and that since Thaksin had a valid

 

visa, there was nothing we would or could do about it. Kasit

 

understood, noting that Ambassador\’s clear statements when

 

the issue of Thaksin\’s visa first arose in the media several

 

months ago had helpfully quelled uncertainty. Thaksin\’s

 

brief stays in each country he visited effectively ruled out

 

RTG pursuit of an extradition request, which took

 

considerable time to prepare.

 

Cambodia – calming the waters

 

—————————–

 

15. (C) On the matter of the April 3 border skirmishes with

 

Cambodia, Kasit revealed that DPM Suthep had traveled to

 

Cambodia April 5 to meet Hun Sen to clear the air. Kasit

 

offered a balanced assessment of what had happened at the

 

border April 3. Although the landmines which claimed a Thai

 

soldier\’s leg April 2 appeared to be fresh, Kasit stated that

 

both sides had subsequently overreacted; discussions over the

 

weekend had helped patch things up.

 

Lao Hmong

 

———

 

16. (C) Ambassador raised recent difficulties with the Thai

 

handling of Lao Hmong returned to Laos. Kasit, who visited

 

the Army detention facility in Phetchabun province recently,

 

said that he would check into the allegations that camp

 

commanders were using arrests on minor infractions to send

 

people back as voluntary returnees. Kasit inquired whether

 

the U.S. was monitoring returnees in Laos. He asked whether

 

the Hmong at Nong Khai who had been screened in with a fear

 

of return could possibly go back to Laos for a very short

 

period, well short of a month, and be processed as political

 

asylum seekers from Laos, as the Lao government was

 

demanding. Ambassador replied that this would not be

 

possible from the U.S. perspective. Kasit stressed that

 

Thailand needed to find some way around the impasse on the

 

Nong Khai Hmong and still maintain its much improved

 

relationship with Laos.

 

JOHN

 

Written by thaicables

June 23, 2011 at 2:19 am

09BANGKOK2455 AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES RECONCILIATION WITH ADVISER TO BOTH PM AND CROWN PRINCE; VIKTOR BOUT RAISED

leave a comment »

“227160”,”9/28/2009 5:23″,”09BANGKOK2455″,”Embassy Bangkok”,”SECRET”,”09BANGKOK2125|09BANGKOK2260|09BANGKOK2405|09BANGKOK385|09BANGKOK567″,”VZCZCXRO5490

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHBK #2455/01 2710523

ZNY SSSSS ZZH

O 280523Z SEP 09

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8408

INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 7505

RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 0849

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0006

RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 1654

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5821

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1950

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0123

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 7042

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5455

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUEAWJL/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY”,”S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 BANGKOK 002455

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, NSC FOR WALTON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/24/2019

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, TH

SUBJECT: THAILAND: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES RECONCILIATION WITH

ADVISER TO BOTH PM AND CROWN PRINCE; VIKTOR BOUT RAISED

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 2405 (THAILAND,S MARCHING SEASON)

B. BANGKOK 2260 (QUASHING THAKSIN PARDON SUGGESTIONS

C. BANGKOK 2125 (POLICE CHIEF BATTLE)

D. BANGKOK 567 (AMBASSADOR PRESSES DEPUTY PM SUTHEP

ON VIKTOR BOUT EXTRADITION)

E. BANGKOK 385 (ENGAGING PM ON BOUT)

 

BANGKOK 00002455 001.2 OF 004

 

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

 

SUMMARY AND COMMENT

——————-

 

1. (C) Summary: Ambassador met with Niphon Promphan,

Secretary-General for Prime Minister Abhisit and a trusted

advisor of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, on September 24.

Niphon expressed exasperation with the prolonged political

stalemate and what he characterized as a degradation of Thai

political culture. He nevertheless hoped for a solution to

the impasse, based on amending the constitution, ensuring

some accountability for gross violations of the law by both

yellow-shirts and red-shirts, and a reconciliation/amnesty

deal which would have to include Thaksin. Niphon believed

the latter would need to include the return of some of

Thaksin\’s frozen assets and Thaksin serving a nominal period,

as short as \”a few days,\” in jail. A deal with Thaksin was

complicated because no one trusted Thaksin; Thaksin had

further complicated matters with his incendiary rhetoric and

by allowing his proxies to repeatedly impugn Privy Council

Chair GEN Prem Tinsulanonda\’s character in the recent

September 19 rally. Niphon said that although he was one of

only several Democrats still on good terms with Thaksin and

that Thaksin wanted to talk with him, Niphon\’s current

positions with the PM and the Crown Prince made such a direct

conversation impracticable.

 

2. (C) On royal succession, Niphon asserted that when the

time came, the Crown Prince would succeed his father,

successfully reburnish his image in the mold of the King, and

secure the monarchy\’s future in Thailand. The tricky part

would come \”in the transition phase.\” He argued that the

Prince had learned from his father\’s example and would be

well-positioned to do the job; Niphon did not offer an

explanation why the Crown Prince did not start emulating the

King and Princess Sirindhorn\’s good works activities

immediately, only that he could do so. According to Niphon,

the Prince enjoyed good relations with Sirindhorn and did not

feel threatened by her popularity. Niphon offered indirect

indications of discomfort about the Crown Prince\’s meddling

in the Police Chief saga, but suggested the affair would end

shortly after PM Abhisit\’s return from the U.S. Niphon also

expressed his profound disappointment with the lower court\’s

decision in the Viktor Bout case (see paras 16-17).

 

3. (C) Comment: Niphon is the only Democrat we know of who

advocates cutting a deal with Thaksin, but given his dual

positions as PM Abhisit\’s defacto Chief of Staff and the

Crown Prince\’s chief adviser, his views cannot be discounted.

The devil, of course, is in the details, and even Niphon was

hard pressed to outline a viable path forward to

reconciliation. As it stands, we believe there are two

primary obstacles. The first challenge lies in getting all

the parties to the table. No deal seems possible without the

following actors breaking bread together at the same time:

Thakin\’s cronies in the United Front for Democracy against

Dictatorship (UDD), aka \”the red-shirts,\” as well as the

formal opposition Puea Thai Party; PM Abhisit\’s

representatives and the Democrats; the People\’s Alliance for

Democracy (PAD), aka \”the yellow-shirts;\” and representatives

from the Privy Council. As reported in reftels, the Privy

Council would appear to be the most problematic piece of this

particular puzzle, as we see no current appetite for talks.

Secondly, any hypothetical deal would need to address

Thakin\’s fugitive legal status and his confiscated assets.

 

BANGKOK 00002455 002.2 OF 004

 

Given the tense atmospherics right now, it is hard for us to

envision either side compromising on the question of jail

time for Thaksin, something Niphon freely acknowledged. End

Summary and Comment.

 

INCREASING POLITICAL RANCOR MAKES DIALOGUE DIFFICULT

——————————————— ——-

 

4. (C) The Ambassador hosted PM Office Secretary General,

Democrat Party deputy Secretary General, and chief adviser to

the Crown Prince Niphon Promphan at the residence September

24 and asked him about the political impasse that has beset

Thailand since the 2006 coup. Niphon expressed dismay with

the tenor of the current political dialogue, remarking that

it was as partisan and rancorous as he had ever seen it, a

function he believed of the selfishness of politicians. When

the Ambassador asked whether this phenomenon helped

precipitate Thaksin\’s rise to power in 2001, Niphon argued

that Thaksin had simply identified voter interests — using a

professional polling outfit — and then tailored a domestic

agenda accordingly.

 

5. (C) When the Ambassador asked whether Niphon retained any

kind of rapport with Thaksin, Niphon replied that while they

remained on good terms — he was one of only one or two

Democrats in that category — they no longer talked.

According to Niphon, Thaksin\’s intermediaries had made it

clear that Thaksin would like to talk with him, but Niphon\’s

current position in the government and especially his

proximity to the Crown Prince meant that such a talk would be

considered scandalous in the current political context.

 

6. (C) Turning to Thailand\’s formal political divide, Niphon

expressed his personal commitment to crafting a solution

through dialogue, mentioning his own engagement with former

Thaksin lieutenant, banned Thai Rak Thai executive and

ex-Justice Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana. From Puea Thai

(PT), Thaksin\’s younger sister Yingluck Shinawatra was now

Thaksin\’s conduit to PT MPs, even if she lacked a formal

position in the party. Niphon stressed the need to expand the

dialogue to include representatives from many sides,

including yellow-shirts and the Privy Council. When asked by

Ambassador to suggest who from the Privy Council would be

willing to participate, Niphon initially struggled to

identify any one, finally suggesting Air Vice Marshal Kamthon

Sindvananda and Mr. Sawad Wattanayagorn. He also added Arsa

Sarasin, the Principal Private Secretary.

 

7. (C) Niphon suggested at least three issues needed to be

addressed: amending the constitution; basic accountability

for gross legal infractions, and some package deal on

amnesty/Thaksin. The Constitution amendment process had

picked up steam, though a national referendum would be

required. Both yellow and red would also have to accept

culpability for breaking the law — the yellow takeover of

the airports in November-December 2008, the red violence in

April, in which Niphon narrowly escaped. While there was

some willingness for an amnesty of sorts, the main challenge

was how to apply it to Thaksin. Public out of hand

rejections aside, Niphon believed that this question could be

addressed in private negotiations; there were three key

issues: Thaksin\’ money; his acceptance of legal guilt; and

his future role.

 

8. (C) On the issue of returning Thaksin\’s frozen assets,

Niphon suggested one compromise would be a stiff capital

gains tax on the gains made while Thaksin was PM, returning

the balance to Thaksin. Niphon noted that Abhisit, not in

power at the time of the judicial decision, had remarked that

it was unfair for Thaksin to lose the assets he had when he

entered office in 2001. The more difficult part involved

Thaksin\’s legal standing; Niphon initially suggested a

symbolic four days in jail before suspension/pardon might do

 

BANGKOK 00002455 003.2 OF 004

 

the trick, before concluding Thaksin would likely refuse to

spend even one day in jail.

 

9. (C) An additional complication, according to Niphon, would

be a requirement that Thaksin stay out of politics. No one

really trusted Thaksin, particularly the younger generation

of Democrat MPs. Any deals with him would be viewed with

great skepticism, particularly any promises to stay out of

the political arena. Invoking the ghost of Neville

Chamberlain and the Munich agreement with Hitler, Niphon

concluded everyone was wary of making a peace with Thaksin

that he likely would fail to respect.

 

10. (C) According to Niphon, one of Thaksin\’s biggest

problems was the fact that he lacked a close adviser with

good judgment. Thaksin wasn\’t receiving sound counsel and

therefore too often made the wrong decision. He tended to,

in other words, select the wrong tools from the proverbial

tool kit; Niphon cited Thaksin\’s unleashing his proxies

against General Prem during the September 19 red-shirt rally

(REF A) as the perfect illustration. The profane attacks on

General Prem\’s character made the Privy Council less inclined

to consider reconciliation talks, Niphon stated.

 

POLICE CHIEF IMBROGLIO

———————-

 

11. (C) On the subject of the ongoing saga to name a new

Police Chief (REF C), Niphon suggested that the issue would

conclude within ten days of PM Abhisit\’s return from the

United States, by the end of the first week of October. When

the Ambassador asked how the issue would be resolved, noting

first that it was widely known that Crown Prince

Vajiralongkorn was pushing for Police General Jumpol Manmai

over PM Abhisit\’s choice of Police General Prateep Tunprasert

(note: who also allegedly has the Queen\’s backing. End

note), Niphon shifted uncomfortably and initially replied

merely that he knew who \”his choice\” was (note: Jumpol).

When the Ambassador asked whether a third choice compromise

candidate might be the solution, Niphon agreed that it might

be a possibility, though he repeated that \”his choice\” was

the correct choice, adding that he believed the matter should

have concluded long ago.

 

12. (C) When the Ambassador inquired whether the Crown

Prince\’s direct intervention in the Police Chief selection

process had implications for public perceptions of the role

of the monarchy in governance, Niphon suggested that it did.

Niphon acknowledged that the perceived intervention was

unhelpful both for the Crown Prince and the monarchy.

 

CROWN PRINCE — READY FOR PRIME TIME?

————————————–

 

13. (C) Turning to the Crown Prince and the monarchy\’s role

in Thailand in general, Niphon argued that Thailand was in

many ways at a crossroads. Niphon estimated that a majority

of Thai — including nearly all of those over the age of 40

— still strongly supported the monarchy. According to

Niphon, Thai in the 18-40 age demographic in contrast were

far more focused on their every day lives and economic well

being, without a set view of the monarchy. This group could

be swayed either way, though on balance he felt they would

ultimately be more inclined to support the monarchy if

engaged with a positive message.

 

14. (C) According to Niphon, the Crown Prince was well aware

that he would inherit the throne at a critical moment in the

monarchy\’s future, and Niphon believed the Crown Prince was

ready to rise to the occasion (note: Niphon and

Vajiralongkorn were boarding school classmates in England, at

Millfield, from 1966-70. End Note). The Crown Prince

understood the challenges — particularly the challenges

 

BANGKOK 00002455 004.2 OF 004

 

associated with following his father — but he was confident

nevertheless. Sharp and perceptive, the Crown Prince had

been learning and absorbing lessons from his father since he

was a child, claimed Niphon. The Crown Prince also had a

great memory; Niphon cited a schoolboy exchange in which the

Crown Prince described how, when he was three, he would take

note when he overheard members of the Royal Court saying

disparaging things about the King or Queen, file the

conversations away, and then report them to his parents later

that night.

 

15. (C) When the Ambassador noted that in some ways the Crown

Prince was overshadowed by Princess Sirindhorn\’s popularity

and charisma, Niphon remarked that this dynamic had not in

any way negatively affected their close relationship. The

Crown Prince was aware of what he needed to do in order to be

a successful monarch, and he would change his personality and

character overnight in order to fit the demands of the job,

Niphon claimed. Such a transformation was not without

precedent; Niphon cited General Prem\’s transition from

general to PM. Prior to assuming the PM job, Prem had

disliked businessmen to the point that he refused to allow

them on his property. After he became PM, however, he

started working very closely with the business community and

would even fly around the world on road shows with

businessmen to help drum up opportunities for them.

 

VIKTOR BOUT

———–

 

16. (S) Niphon concluded the meeting by expressing his

profound personal disappointment with the lower court verdict

in the Viktor Bout extradition hearing, a feeling he

suggested extended throughout the government, including the

Prime Minister\’s office. Niphon said he hoped the issue

would correct itself during the appeals process, and he

reiterated that the Prime Minister was closely following it.

(Note: When allegations that Bout\’s supporters were

attempting to seek favor with associates of the Crown Prince

emerged in early 2009, the Ambassador had engaged Niphon to

shut the door on that possibility. See refs D and E. End

Note.)

 

17. (C) The Ambassador thanked Niphon and noted that the RTG

had been helpful at every step of the way, from the March

2008 arrest through preparation of the recent appeal.

Policymakers in Washington understood the distinction between

the RTG\’s close cooperation on the case and the lower court\’s

decision. The latter was an outlier that did not in any way

reflect the RTG\’s spirit of overall partnership.

Nevertheless, overturning the lower court\’s decision on

appeal would be absolutely critical both on the merits of the

case and to avoid any negative impact on the overall

U.S.-Thai relationship.

ENTWISTLE

Written by thaicables

June 23, 2011 at 2:08 am

09BANGKOK206 AMBASSADOR AND CROWN PRINCE DISCUSS POLITICS, BILATERAL TIES, KING’S HEALTH, ARMS TRAFFICKER EXTRADITION

leave a comment »

“188948”,”1/27/2009 9:55″,”09BANGKOK206″,”Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,”VZCZCXRO5751

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #0206/01 0270955

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 270955Z JAN 09

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5824

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9377

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6713

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1337

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5226

RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 1566

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 6106

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 000206

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/27/2019

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINR, ECON, ETRD, KJUS, KCRM, TH

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR AND CROWN PRINCE DISCUSS POLITICS,

BILATERAL TIES, KING\’S HEALTH, ARMS TRAFFICKER EXTRADITION

 

BANGKOK 00000206 001.2 OF 002

 

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

 

1. (U) The Ambassador had a private New Year\’s audience with

Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn for 45 minutes at the Amporn

Palace in Bangkok on January 26. The Crown Prince\’s consort,

Princess Srirasmi, also attended.

 

Political Scene

—————

 

2. (C) The Crown Prince noted it was clear to the Thai public

that the Ambassador had been quite active in 2008,

particularly during the political crisis of the past six

months. The Ambassador\’s interest in Thailand was seen as

very positive, and it was good that he was seen meeting with

politicians and others from across the political spectrum,

both in Bangkok and in the provinces. Only by doing so can

one get \”the true story\” about politics in Thailand. The

Crown Prince said that it was essential that the King

remained silent throughout the political crisis. To have

done anything else would have not been proper, and would have

damaged the Monarchy. In response to the Ambassador\’s

comment that the King looked much healthier over the past

month, the Crown Prince agreed, and said that his father had

been rather sick in December. The King\’s sister\’s cremation

ceremony in November, the political upheaval and the airport

takeover all had taken their toll. With those burdens

lifted, the King was in much better spirits now.

 

Economic Engagement

——————-

 

3. (C) The Crown Prince said that the U.S. and global

economic situations certainly would have a negative impact on

the Thai economy, but he was confident that the situation

would quickly rebound – \”These things go in cycles.\” The

Ambassador noted that our bilateral economic relationship

remained vitally important for both countries. American

investment was slowing down in Thailand, but more as a

consequence of an overall drop in U.S. investment in the

region, rather than because of conditions in Thailand. The

U.S. would like to be able to increase exports to Thailand,

however, and would be exploring ways to do so, including the

potential sale of Boeing aircraft to Thai Airways this year.

The Crown Prince, an avid pilot, said that he still flew a

Boeing 737 for Thai Airways occasionally.

 

Building U.S.-Thai Relations

—————————-

 

4. (C) The Crown Prince said he was pleased that the

Ambassador and Mrs. John were so visible in the Thai media,

particularly on university campuses and with nongovernmental

groups, since it was important for a new generation of Thais

to learn the value of a strong and close relationship with

the United States. \”Our generation grew up in the Vietnam

War, and easily understood the strategic importance of having

a strong alliance with the U.S.\” The Ambassador responded

that the military alliance remained vital to the U.S.,

particularly for force projection, live-fire training, and

multilateral military exercise capabilities. Next month\’s

Cobra Gold exercises were a case in point. The Crown Prince

enthusiastically agreed, adding that it was important that

both Thais and Americans understood that.

 

Viktor Bout

———–

 

5. (C) The Ambassador raised the case of Viktor Bout, the

accused arms trafficker in detention in Bangkok awaiting

extradition to the United States. This case is extremely

important to the U.S., given that Bout worked closely with

known terrorists plotting to kill Americans. Extraditing him

would be important for the continued high level of law

enforcement cooperation we have. President Bush raised the

case directly with Prime Minister Samak in Bangkok in August

2008, and the Ambassador had raised it with Prime Ministers

Samak, Somchai, and Abhisit, as well as with four Foreign

Ministers. It was important that the United States could

count on its ally to do the right thing in a case like this.

That said, the Ambassador explained we were aware that Bout

 

BANGKOK 00000206 002.2 OF 002

 

was working every possible channel to secure his release –

legal, or otherwise – so that he could return to Russia and

avoid extradition. This would be a severe blow to our ties.

The U.S. is patient, and understands the long legal

procedures in Thailand, but expects that, in the end, those

legal procedures will result in Bout\’s extradition.

 

6. (C) The Crown Prince said he understood, and recommended

that we continue to pursue the case with the Prime Minister

and relevant cabinet officials. Samak and Somchai would not

have been able to focus on the case since \”they were too

concerned with their own survival.\” The Abhisit government

would be better placed to follow through on the case.

 

A Relaxed Prince

—————-

 

7. (C) The Crown Prince was very engaged in this rare

audience. For a man who is known to have his \”off days,\”

this was not one of them. There was no strained effort to

make conversation, in contrast to previous meetings, and he

was visibly relaxed in the session, particularly after the

media cameramen departed the room. At the end of the

session, the Crown Prince and his consort brought in their

four-year-old son, dressed in an identical suit, tie, and

pocket kerchief as his father, and amiably mused about the

difficulties of raising a child in the modern royal

environment with constant public scrutiny.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

June 23, 2011 at 1:52 am

09BANGKOK385 ทูตเข้าพบนายกอภิสิทธิ และรัฐมนตรีกลาโห

leave a comment »

เอกสารลับ กรุงเทพ 000385

SIPDIS

EO 12958 DECL: 02/13/2019
TAGS PTER, KCRM, TH
เรื่อง: ทูตเข้าพบนายกอภิสิทธิ และรัฐมนตรีกลาโหม
กรณีการส่งตัว Viktor Bout

จัดกลุ่มโดย: ทูต Eric G. John, เหตุผล 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (S) บทสรุป: ในการพบกันเมื่อวันที่ 12 กุมภาพันธ์ ทูตได้ตั้งคำถามกับนายกอภิสิทธิ์เกี่ยวกับกรณีการส่งตัวนักค้าอาวุธชาวรัซเซีย Viktor Bout และความเป็นห่วงว่า คนของ Bout พยายามที่จะแทรกแทงคำให้การของ XXXXXXXXXX อภิสิทธ์บอกทูตว่า เขาจะจัดการปัญหา ‘ความไม่โปร่งใส’ ต่างๆ ในกรณีนี้ ผ่าน ‘ช่องทางที่เหมาะสม’ ทูตยังแสดงความเป็นห่วงในคำให้การของ XXXXXXXXX ในระหว่างการโทรแนะนำตัวกับรัฐมนตรีกลาโหมประวิทย์ วงศ์สุวรรณ เมื่อวันที่ 13 กุมภาพันธ์ โดยประวิทย์บอกว่า จะไปดูคำให้การเพื่อค้นหาความจริงให้

¶2. (S) ความคิดเห็น: ตั้งแต่ที่ Viktor Bout ถูกจับตัวในกรุงเทพเมื่อเกือบหนึ่งปีก่อน และความพยายามที่จะส่งตัวไปยังสหรัฐให้สำเร็จ เป็นเรื่องสำคัญสำหรับเราที่นี่ นอกจากความพยายามของเราหลายเดือนที่นี่ ประธานาธิบดีบุชก็ได้พูดคุยกับนายกสมัครเมื่อตอนที่เยือนไทยในเดือนสิงหาคม 2008 โดยรวมแล้วเรารู้สึกว่า แม้กระบวนการส่งตัวจะเป็นไปอย่างล่าช้ามาก (และยังต้องการการดูแลจากบุคลากรของ DOJ และ DEA ทุกขึ้นตอน) แต่เรื่องก็ดำเนินไปในทางที่เราต้องการ อย่างไรก็ตาม ล่าสุด มีความพยายามที่ชี้ว่า XXXXXXXXXX ของ Bout และผู้สนับสนุนชาวรัซเซีย พยายามใช้เงินเพื่อขัดขวางการส่งตัว หนึ่งในตัวอย่างที่เลวร้ายที่สุดคือ คำให้การเท็จของ XXXXXXXXXX ว่า Bout เข้าประเทศไทยเพื่อตกลงซื้อขายเรือดำน้ำของรัฐบาล ดังนั้น เรารู้สึกว่าถึงเวลาแล้ว ที่จะยกระดับความสำคัญของเรื่องนี้ต่อรัฐบาลอีกครั้ง และทำให้กระจ่างว่า ในขณะที่เราเองเข้าใจถึงกระบวนการทางกฎหมายต่างๆ ซึ่งไม่อยู่ภายใต้อำนาจการเมือง เรายังย้ำว่า กระบวนการต้องไม่ถูกแทรกแซง และปราศจากการคอรัปชัน และจะพยายามเช่นนั้นไปอีกหนึ่งเดือน เราเข้าใจว่า ไม่ช้าอัยการจะต่อสายถึงอัยการไทยเพื่อถามในเรื่องคดี (หลังจากอัยการ Mukasey เข้ามาไทยถึงสามครั้งเมื่อฤดูร้อนที่แล้ว) เมื่อรวมกับความพยายามของเราอาทิตย์นี้ การต่อสายเข้ามาจะเป็นตัวเร่งได้อย่างดี จบสรุปและความคิดเห็น

อภิสิทธิสัญญาว่า จะดูแลความผิดปกติในกรณีของ Bout
——————————————— ————

¶3. (S) ในการเข้าพบเมื่อวันที่ 12 กุมภาพันธ์ ที่ทำเนียบรัฐบาล ทูตได้ถามนายกอภิสิทธิถึงเรื่องผิดปกติที่เกิดขึ้นในคดีส่งตัวพ่อค้าอาวุธสงครามข้ามชาติ ชื่อ Viktor Bout (บันทึก: Bout ถูกฟ้องในข้อหาผู้ก่อการร้ายในศาลของรัฐนิวยอร์ค เนื่องจากขายอาวุธมูลค่าหลายล้านดอลลาร์ให้กับกองกำลังปฏิวัติแห่งโคลัมเบีย เพื่อเข่นฆ่าทหารอเมริกัน ซึ่งเขายังถูกควบคุมตัวอยู่ในไทย หลังจากถูกจับได้เมื่อวันที่ 6 เมษา 2008 จบบันทึก) ทูตบันทึกว่า ในขณะที่อเมริกาและไทย ยินดีกับความสัมพันธ์ในเรื่องข้อตกลงการส่งผู้ร้ายข้ามแดนที่แนบแน่น ประเทศของเราต้องแน่ใจว่า ข้อตกลงดังกล่าวของทั้งสองฝ่าย จะถูกดำเนินไปเหมือนคดีสำคัญอื่นๆ เช่น คดีการก่อการร้าย เป็นต้น ในกรณีนี้ ทูตได้ย้ำกับอภิสิทธิเกี่ยวกับการส่งตัว Bout ว่าเป็นเรื่องสำคัญอันดับต้นๆ ของอเมริกา อ้างถึงการสนับสนุนของสหประชาชาติ ต่อกรณีของ Bout ทูตกล่าวว่า กรณีส่งตัวนี้จึงเป็นกรณีที่สำคัญระดับนานาชาติ อภิสิทธิบอกกับทูตว่า เขาเชื่อว่า คนในรัฐบาลไม่ได้เจตนา (มากนัก) ที่จะเข้าไปยุ่งเกี่ยวกับกระบวนการส่งตัว และยังบอกว่า กระบวนการไต่สวนถูกออกแบบมาให้ทุกฝ่ายได้ประโยชน์ และแสดงให้เห็นว่าจะไม่มีความพยายาม “ก้าวก่าย” หรือ “ช่วยเหลือฝ่ายใดฝ่ายหนึ่ง” ในกระบวนการนี้

¶4. (S) จากความเป็นห่วงต่อกระบวนการการส่งตัวที่เพิ่มขึ้น ทูตได้อธิบายถึงหลักฐานที่แสดงว่า เกิดความด่างพร้อยในกระบวนการการส่งตัว Bout จากผลของความพยายามของพลพรรคของ Bout ที่พยายามจะติดสินบนเจ้าหน้าที่ไทย โดยเฉพาะกรณีการให้การเท็จของตัวแทน Bout จาก xxxxxxxx จนถึงการที่ Bout เข้าประเทศไทย เพื่อติดต่อธุรกิจกับรัฐบาลไทย ในเรื่องเรือดำน้ำ จากบันทึกของตัวแทนของ Bout ในไทย ซึ่งกล่าวว่า เขาได้ชวน xxxxxxx เพื่อให้การในนามของ Bout โดยรูปแบบจากหลักฐานของการติดสินบนที่ได้จากทั่วโลก และครั้งที่จับกุม เจ้าหน้าที่ DEA ที่รับหน้าที่สืบสวนกรณีของ Bout แต่กลับเข้าไปมีส่วนร่วมทำผิดกฎหมาย ในวันที่ Bout ถูกจับ จนทำให้สองทูตของสหรัฐต้องอับอาย ถ้าคำให้การเท็จของ xxxxxxxx ยังไม่ถูกหักล้าง ศาลอาจจะปฏิเสธการส่งตัวโดยสรุปด้วยข้อมูลเท็จว่ารัฐบาลไทย มีสิทธิตามกฎหมายที่จะดำเนินคดีกับ Bout, นักค้าอาวูธที่ UN หมายหัว

¶5. (S) ภายใต้แสงสว่างของหลักฐานชิ้นนี้ ทูตขอให้ยกดำเนินการ เพื่อให้แน่ใจว่า กระบวนการในคดีส่งตัว Bout จะปราศจากมลทินของการติดสินบน และการคอรัปชัน โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง ทูตแนะนำให้เจ้าหน้าที่ที่มีส่วนเกี่ยวข้องจากกองทัพเรือ หรือกระทรวงกลาโหมควรขึ้นให้การด้วย เพื่อแย้งคำกล่าวของ xxxxxxxx และทำให้ชัดเจนว่ารัฐบาลไทย จะสนับสนุนคำร้องขอส่งตัวผู้รายข้ามแดน โดยทูตยกตัวอย่างกรณีของ Jamshid Ghassemi ที่รัฐบาลไทยปฏิเสธการส่งตัวให้กับสหรัฐ เนื่องจากแรงกดดันจากอิหร่าน และเน้นว่าเหตุการดังกล่าวไม่ควรเกิดขึ้นที่นี้ (บันทึก: Ghassemi อยู่ภายใต้การฟ้องร้องจากเมือง San Diego ในการฝ่าฝืนคำสั่งควบคุมการกระทำที่เกี่ยวกับการส่งออกอาวุธ และการฟอกเงินในกรณีการวางแผนซื้อเครื่องวัดความเร่งที่ใช้ในระบบนำร่องขีปนาวุธ จบบันทึก) ทูตยังกล่าวอีกว่า ถ้าไทยไม่สามารถทำให้กระบวนการส่งตัว Bout ปราศจากการคอรัปชัน และความพยายามแทรกแทรง จะทำให้ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างไทยกับสหรัฐเสื่อมถอยลงอย่างรุนแรง โดยเฉพาะในส่วนของการบังคับใช้กฎหมาย

¶6. (S) หลังจากฟังหลักฐานที่ทูตบอกเกี่ยวกับการติดสินบนซึ่งมีผลต่อกระบวนการของ Bout อภิสิทธิให้คำมั่นว่าจะหา “ความผิดปกติ” ในกรณีการส่งตัวผ่าน “ช่องทางที่เหมาะสม” ในการสรุปการเข้าพบ นายกได้หารูปพรรณของบุคคลที่เกี่ยวข้องกับการติดสินบน ผู้ช่วยกระทรวงยุติธรรม ซึ่งเป็นผู้เชิญให้ทูตเข้าพบ นำข้อมูลที่ถูกขอ ส่งให้นายก

รัฐมนตรีกลาโหมให้คำมั่นว่าจะไปตรวจสอบคำให้การ
——————————————— —–

¶7. (S) ในระหว่างการโทรศัพท์แนะนำตัวเมื่อวันที่ 13 กุมภาพันธ์ ทูตได้เน้นกับรัฐมนตรีกลาโหม ประวิตร วงษ์สุวรรณ ถึงความสำคัญของกระบวนการส่งตัว Bout ต่อรัฐบาลสหรัฐ โดยทูตกล่าวว่า รัฐบาลสหรัฐเข้าใจถึงความล่าช้าในกระบวนการนี้ และเคาพรกระบวนการยุติธรรมของไทย แต่เราเป็นห่วงความพยายามของ Bout ที่จะแทรกแซงกระบวนการ โดยเฉพาะกรณีการให้การเท็จของ xxxxxxxxxx ซึ่งเป็นเรื่องสำคัญที่กองทัพไทยหรือรัฐมนตรีกลาโหมต้องให้การแย้งต่อศาล ซึ่งการกระทำดังกล่าวจะทำให้แน่ใจได้ว่า กระบวนการตัดสินจะดำเนินไปถูกทาง และจะทำให้สาธารณชนแน่ใจว่า กองทัพไทย ไม่ได้มีส่วนเกี่ยวข้องกับนักค้าอาวุธที่ UN หมายหัวผู้นี้ ประวิตรบอกกับทูตว่า เขาไม่ทราบในเรื่องคดีมากนัก แต่จะให้ความสำคัญและตรวจสอบกรณีนี้เพื่อหาความจริงจากคำให้การของ xxxxxxxx รัฐมนตรีกลาโหมยังให้คำมั่นว่า จะตรวจสอบคำให้การของ xxxxxxxxxx ที่ผู้ช่วยกระทรวงยุติธรรมแนบมาในรายละเอียดเพิ่มเติม JOHN

Written by thaicables

April 12, 2011 at 6:03 am

Newspaper Articles and Reactions to the first 2 Thai Cables

leave a comment »

Wikileaks alleged Russia bribed Bout witnesses

Article by “The Nation” from 2/12/2010

Source: http://goo.gl/u1cZv

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

Guardian online.

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

extradition.

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

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.

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

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”.

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 witnesses

Suspected arms dealer Viktor Bout
Alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout is flanked by Thai police. US diplomats
allege Russia bribed witnesses to block his extradition to the US, according to
WikiLeaks cables
Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features
Russia 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."
Article from Scoop - Independent News 5/12/2010

Wikileaks: Russian Bribes "Infected" Bout's

Extradition Case

Sunday, 5 December 2010, 7:41 pm Article: Richard S. Ehrlich
Wikileaks: Russian Bribes "Infected" Bout's Extradition Case to U.S. By Richard S. Ehrlich BANGKOK, Thailand -- The U.S. Ambassador to Thailand warned that bribes, lies and a  plot to have two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested in Bangkok had  "infected" the extradition trial of alleged Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout to New  York, and the envoy suggested Thailand arrange testimony to correct the problems,  according to two U.S. cables released by Wikileaks. "There have been disturbing indications that Bout's xxxxxxxxxx and Russian supporters  have been using money and influence in an attempt to block extradition," said a cable  by U.S. Ambassador Eric John, with "x's" masking the identity of who the ambassador  suspected. "The most egregious example was the false testimony of xxxxxxxxxx that Bout was in  Thailand as part of government-to-government submarine deal," his cable said,  apparently indicating a different concealed name. "Bout's associates had been able to influence testimony given by xxxxxxxxxx,"  said the cable released by Wikileaks on Wednesday (December 1). Bangkok later extradited Mr. Bout on November 16 to New York where he is awaiting  trial for an alleged plot to kill Americans in Colombia with surface-to-air missiles  and other weapons, which he agreed in 2008 to sell to the two DEA agents who posed  as guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Mr. Bout pled not guilty in New York after Russia's foreign ministry denounced  Thailand for the "illegal extradition." Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva denied Moscow's complaint that Bangkok kneeled  to U.S. pressure, and said his decision to expel the Russian was correct. The U.S. cable, titled: "SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR ENGAGES PM ABHISIT AND DEFENSE MINISTER  ON VIKTOR BOUT EXTRADITION CASE," was flagged "SECRET BANGKOK 000385," dated February  13, 2009, and "Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John." Copies were sent to the U.S. State Department, the American Embassy in Moscow, the  U.S. Mission to the United Nations, DEA's headquarters in Washington, the U.S. Defense  Secretary, Department of Justice, Pacific Command in Hawaii, the CIA and National  Security Council. "Expressing growing concern about the extradition proceedings, the Ambassador then  described evidence showing that the extradition proceedings against Bout have become  tainted as a result of the efforts by Bout's associates to bribe Thai officials," the  cable said, without elaborating on how many Thais were involved or their role in the case. In a second cable, dated August 13, 2009, Ambassador John said there were  "significant indications that the Russians were trying to use bribes to influence the  outcome of the case." The first cable's use of the past tense verb -- "infected" -- made it appear that at  least one bribe may have already been paid by February 2009 when it said: "After listening to the evidence provided by the Ambassador suggesting that bribery  had infected the Bout proceedings, Abhisit committed to addressing any 'irregularities'  in the extradition case through the 'appropriate channels.' "At the conclusion of the meeting, the Prime Minister sought the identity of the  individuals involved in the bribery schemes, and the DOJ [U.S. Department of Justice]  Attache, who accompanied the Ambassador to the meeting, supplied an aide to the PM  with the requested information," the first cable said. "In particular, the Ambassador detailed...a scheme to arrest and thereby embarrass  two U.S. diplomats -- i.e., DEA agents assigned to the Bout investigation -- on  meritless charges of participating in illegal recordings of Bout on the day of his  arrest," the first cable said without elaborating. During their February 12, 2009 meeting, Ambassador John complained to Thailand's  prime minister that Bangkok failed to extradite an Iranian to America in 2008,  and warned against making the same mistake twice. "The Ambassador also reminded the PM of the recent case of Jamshid Ghassemi, in  which the Thai authorities denied a U.S. extradition request under apparent  pressure from Iran, and stressed the importance of avoiding a similar result here." Mr. Ghassemi is under indictment in San Diego, California, for alleged violations  of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and money laundering, relating to his  conspiracy to acquire accelerometers which could be used in missile navigation. The next day, Ambassador John met Thailand's defense minister. "During a February 13 introductory call, the Ambassador highlighted to Minister  of Defense Prawit Wongsuwan the importance the USG [U.S. government] places on  the Bout extradition proceedings," the first cable said. The submarine mentioned in the first cable referred to confusing statements  during Mr. Bout's trial when a Thai reportedly testified that he thought an  unidentified Russian would arrive in Bangkok to discuss a possible submarine  sale to Thailand -- but it was unclear if Mr. Bout was the Russian involved,  or if the deal even existed. Ambassador John also asked Thailand to arrange someone to testify at the  trial to correct the problems. "In particular, the Ambassador suggested that testimony from an authoritative  witness from the Royal Thai Navy or the Ministry of Defense should be offered  to repudiate the xxxxxxxxxx statement and make clear that the RTG [Royal Thai  government] supports the extradition request," the first cable said. Mr. Bout's lawyer denied his client was the unidentified Russian linked to  any submarine, and the topic disappeared from subsequent updates on the case. The last word of both cables is simply "JOHN" indicating Ambassador John  signed off on the wording, with some references to himself in third person. "When he (Ambassador John) came to meet me, he did not have any doubts or put  pressure," Prime Minister Abhisit said on Thursday (December 2), responding  to the release of the cable by Wikileaks. "He simply expressed concern over reports that 'influential people' may try  to interfere in the case. "I gave assurances to him that there will be no interference on the case,  and if the U.S. diplomat has any doubts, the Thai government will verify  the case for him," Mr. Abhisit said. In the August 13, 2009 cable, also released by Wikileaks on Wednesday  (December 1), Ambassador John revealed how the U.S. demand for Mr. Bout's  extradition was faltering. Expressing his desperation, the ambassador's second cable said the U.S.  State 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 (Royal Thai  government)," to strengthen the U.S. extradition request. "I can't comment on allegedly classified documents," U.S. Embassy Press  Attache Walter Braunohler said on Thursday (December 2) in response to  e-mailed questions about the cables. "We are committed to continued engagement with Thailand and with other  countries around the world. Our relationships are still guided by national  and mutual interests, and mutual respect. And to the extent that the trust  inherent in this engagement has been compromised, we will work as hard as  we can to rebuild this trust," Mr. Braunohler said. "Undoubtedly, the illegal extradition of Bout is a result of the unprecedented  political pressure on the Thai government and the judicial authorities by the  United States," a Russian foreign ministry statement said on November 16,  when Mr. Bout was suddenly bundled onto a plane in Bangkok for a secretive  extradition flight to New York. The Russian Embassy did not respond to e-mailed questions about the cables. ***** Richard S Ehrlich is a Bangkok-based journalist who has reported news from  Asia since 1978. He is co-author of "Hello My Big Big Honey!", a non-fiction book  of investigative journalism. His web page is http://www.asia-correspondent.110mb.com (Copyright 2010 Richard S Ehrlich) Article from Bangkok Post 3/12/2010
Source: http://goo.gl/ezsNA

Foreign Ministry to clarify WikiLeaks memos

The Foreign Ministry's Department of Information has been assigned to explain a  secret US embassy memo sent to Washington, released by WikiLeaks, expressing  dissatisfaction and criticism of the Thai court's decision to initially refuse  the extradition of Viktor Bout last year. Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said the department will publicly clarify the  issue for the Thai public as well as the international community, and give  the accurate details. "We have to look thoroughly into the [leaked US] memo and clarify it point  by point," Mr Kasit said. Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the leaked classified information  will not have much effect on Thailand. "We don't have any secrets," Mr Suthep said. "What happens in Thailand, we tell  the media and the people." Mr Suthep also said that this issue would not lead to problems between Thailand and  Russia. The government had followed legal procedure in the Viktor Bout extradition  case. Moscow had also demanded custody of the former Russian soldier and accused   weapons dealer. The leaked five-page US diplomatic memo posted on the web by Wikileaks contained a  summary, updates and analysis of the case, and steps planned by the embassy's "Bout  team" to help the US in its appeal against the Criminal Court's ruling, and the  embassy's suggestions about what Washington should do in the case. "We would encourage the Thai government to issue a public statement expressing d isappointment in the judges' 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 memo said. It said the document came from US ambassador to Thailand Eric John on Aug 13, 2009 -   two days after the Criminal Court first refused the US request to extradite Bout. The memo made it clear that the ambassador had expressed his thoughts on the matter  to Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya at a meeting in Malaysia. Article from China Post 6/12/2010

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.

Source: http://goo.gl/jhv5S

 

Article by Elitestv.com of 6/12/2010

Source: http://goo.gl/H89Di

 

Wikileaks and Thailand

By Global Voices Online • on December 6, 2010

By Mong Palatino

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

to Thailand

…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

about Wikileaks

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.

 

Written by thaicables

December 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm