The debate on the 2006 military coup has been given increased public attention in a quite spectacular way. PPT and many others believe that the palace was deeply involved in the planning and implementation of the coup. Yesterday, Major-General Sanan Kachornprasart, and soon to retire “de facto leader of the Chart Thai Pattana Party,” asked a very direct question.
Military leader at the time and junta leader, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who now heads a tiny party in parliament and is chair of the House Committee on National Reconciliation, according to The Nation, was asked:
Were Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanond and the bureaucratic elites behind Sonthi and the coup, as had been alleged by red shirts?… Who was behind the coup?
… Was it you or did you not have any personal motivation? Please speak the truth, or else the public will continue to doubt. Before we can reconcile you must speak the truth and clear the doubt.
What was Sonthi’s response? According to the report,
He began by saying no one should ever doubt his loyalty to His Majesty the King, and then added: “I don’t think I can answer. For some questions, you can’t answer even if you are dead. When the time comes it will reveal itself.”
Interestingly, the report argues that to know the truth, “[p]erhaps you can try to read between the lines on what Sonthi said yesterday and decide.”
At the Bangkok Post, the report is a little more revealing, with Sanan asking:
“After the coup, Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda took you to have an audience with His Majesty the King, didn’t he? And was Gen Prem aware of the coup plot? Did you inform Gen Prem about the coup before you launched it?”
Perhaps the answer is not to be found between the lines but in Wikileaks cables that PPT has published on the coup. We won’t list them all here; there’s quite a few. The search function works. Alternatively readers could look at this photo in the Bangkok Post (at the link above) for clues on who might have been behind the junta.
Update: Prachatai has made a translation of the executive summary of the King Prajadhipok Institute report on reconciliation – the site of the questioning of Sonthi – and it makes interesting reading.