The Nation has two reports about deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s phone-in to the red shirt rally on Friday. In the first report (27 March 2009: “Gen Prem is ‘influential person’ behind the coup”), Thaksin is said to have named Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanond as being the so-called influential person who was active in trying to bring Thaksin’s government down. The report can be quoted at length:
“[Thaksin] criticised Prem during his video broadcast from unknown location that Gen Prem had intervened into the politics and did anything to bring him down.
Thaksin was speaking to thousands of red shirt protesters who gathered in front of the Government House.
He repeated his accusations that Prem, former PM Gen Surayud Chulanont, Privy Councillor Charnchai Likitjitta, Supreme Administrative Court President Akkarathorn Jularat and Pramote Nakhonthap attended a secret meeting which discussed about the coup.
Thaksin said HM the King was not aware of the meeting.”
At the time he first made these accusations, Thaksin used the term “influential person” or “person of charisma” and refused to name names, although the speculation was that it was Prem or the king himself. Thaksin even mentioned this “influential person” in a letter to then U.S. President George Bush. The letter was first mentioned by then senator and now Democrat MP Kraisak Choonhavan, who had close links with U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce. The letter and Bush’s reply were eventually published in Thailand and the debate on them filled the newspapers in July 2006.
In the second article (27 March 2009: “Thaksin called for Prem and Surayud to stop intervene in politics”) Thaksin called for Privy Councilors Prem and Surayud to “stop intervening in Thai politics, saying that is the only way to bring peace and stability to the country. Thaksin said that their interventions in the politics have brought country into chaos.”
The Bangkok Post (28 March 2009: “PM refuses to dissolve House”) also has a brief quote from Thaksin: “He (Gen Prem) put on the military uniform and went on a tour to attack me. Gen Surayud was also there,” Thaksin said. It is highly improper for a privy councillor to get involved in politics. It misleads people into thinking that the King is involved politically…”.
Channel News Asia (28 March 2009: “Former Thai premier Thaksin points finger of blame”), via AFP, reports on Thaksin’s speech. The report ends with a senior defence ministry official warning: “The army will not allow him to drag the institution (into politics)…”.