Wikileaks and the 2006 coup

15 12 2010

More from The Guardian based on leaked US Embassy cables.

US embassy cables: Thai king’s relaxed reaction to Thaksin Shinawatra’s downfall

* guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 14 December 2010 20.07 GMT

Summary

1. This cable recounts Thai king Bhumibol’s relaxed reaction to the 2006 Thai coup, in which former prime minister and Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted. It details a conversation which took place the day after the coup between US ambassador Ralph Boyce and General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, commander-in-chief of the Thai armed forces between 2005 and 2007. Sonthi, one of the leaders of the coup, tells Boyce about his meeting with Bhumibol the previous night. Sonthi claims Bhumibol was “happy, smiling throughout.” Key passages highlighted in yellow. [PPT- that is, highlighted by the Guardian. No highlighting here. It was sections 2 and (first sentence of) 7 ].

Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 12:29

C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 005811

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

TREASURY PASS TO FRB SAN FRANCISCO/TERESA CURRAN

EO 12958 DECL: 09/19/2016

TAGS PGOV, PHUM, TH

SUBJECT: THAILAND: MY MEETING WITH GENERAL SONTHI

Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce, reason 1.4 (b)(d)

1. (C) I met with General Sonthi privately directly after he addressed the diplomatic corps this afternoon. He thought the session had gone well (see septel for details; I doubt most of the Western diplomats, at least, will share his assessment).

2. (C) I began by asking Sonthi about the audience with the King last night. Who had attended? He said Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda had brought him, Supreme Commander Ruangroj and Navy Commander Sathiraphan in to meet the King. Sonthi stressed that they had been summoned to the palace; he had not sought the audience. He said the King was relaxed and happy, smiling throughout. He provided no further details.

3. (C) Turning to the US reaction, I reminded him of our conversation, August 31, when I told him any military action would result in immediate suspension of assistance programs such as IMET, FMF and numerous others. I told him he could expect us to announce such a measure shortly. He understood. I added that the restoration of such assistance could only come after a democratically elected government took office. In the meantime, I stressed that the coup group needed to make every effort to demonstrate a sincere intention to return to civilian rule as soon as possible. His announcement today that an interim constitution and civilian government would be installed within two weeks was a good example. I reiterated these points several times.

4. (C) Sonthi responded by saying the military had truly acted in order to improve Thai democracy, not destroy it. The prevailing situation had become untenable. Had Thaksin only been willing to announce publicly that he would not return as Prime Minister, this action could have been avoided. But his unwillingness to do publicly what he had repeatedly told many privately had led people to fear that his true intention was to seek a renewed mandate and return to power. Thus the military had acted. But they did not seek sustained political power and would return to barracks as soon as possible. The sooner the better, I repeated. I told him to expect fairly broad international criticism, as military coups were generally seen as a thing of the past.

5. (C) Was he going to seize Thaksin,s assets? No, he stated flatly. Would Thaksin and his family and colleagues be allowed to return to Thailand? Yes, unconditionally. What is the officially approved English rendition of the coup group,s title? &Council for Democratic Reform Under Constitutional Monarchy,8 or CDRM.

6. (C) Why had the military chosen to act at this particular point in time? Smiling slightly, he leaned forward. &Thaksin was at his weakest and we were at our strongest.8

7. (C) Comment ) Sonthi was relaxed and calm. Clearly the royal audience was the turning point last night. (Septel reports Thaksin,s defiant attitude dissolving completely when he learned of the audience.) For now at least, the CDRM appears to be taking the high road as far as how they will treat Thaksin. We have ready access to this group and will press them to implement their announced intention to return to civilian rule as soon as possible. Meanwhile, a coup is a coup is a coup and we believe a strong U.S. statement announcing the suspension of assistance and a call for an early return to civilian rule and eventually elections is entirely warranted and will submit suggested text via septel.

BOYCE BOYCE


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18 responses

29 12 2010
PAD and Wikileaks | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] anti-Thaksin opposition at the time, including regular contact with the coup planners (see here, here, here). […]

4 03 2012
Wikileaks: Briefed by the junta « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] an audience with the King and Queen,” but no details are provided in this cable. For those, see this cable posted some time ago, where Sonthi claims the king was “happy, smiling throughout” the meeting […]

5 03 2012
Wikileaks: Briefed by the junta « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] had an audience with the King and Queen,” but no details are provided in this cable. For those, see this cable posted some time ago, where Sonthi claims the king was “happy, smiling throughout” the meeting […]

5 03 2012
Wikileaks:Briefed by the junta « KHAMERLOGUE

[…] had an audience with the King and Queen,” but no details are provided in this cable. For those, see this cable posted some time ago, where Sonthi claims the king was “happy, smiling throughout” the […]

25 03 2012
Cleaning up the palace’s mess « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] invited the respectful and loyal generals to the palace for a meeting that Sonthi has commented on at Wikileaks, in discussion with U.S. Ambassador Ralph […]

25 03 2012
Cleaning up the palace’s mess « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] invited the respectful and loyal generals to the palace for a meeting that Sonthi has commented on at Wikileaks, in discussion with U.S. Ambassador Ralph […]

5 06 2012
Washing the palace’s coup laundry « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] appropriate Wikileaks cable, referring to the meeting between the junta and the king and queen, has Ambassador Ralph Boyce […]

5 06 2012
Washing the palace’s coup laundry « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] appropriate Wikileaks cable, referring to the meeting between the junta and the king and queen, has Ambassador Ralph Boyce […]

19 09 2012
Remembering the 2006 military-palace coup « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The king’s relaxed and laughing attitude to the coup […]

19 09 2012
Remembering the 2006 military-palace coup « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] The king’s relaxed and laughing attitude to the coup […]

24 05 2014
King and coup | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] PR/political error, born of the palace’s support for the coup, as revealed in Wikileaks cables, led to the deeper politicization of the monarchy and contributed to the ongoing political struggle […]

24 05 2014
King and coup | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] PR/political error, born of the palace’s support for the coup, as revealed in Wikileaks cables, led to the deeper politicization of the monarchy and contributed to the ongoing political struggle […]

19 09 2015
The 2006 military coup remembered | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The king’s relaxed and laughing attitude to the coup […]

19 09 2015
The 2006 military coup remembered | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] The king’s relaxed and laughing attitude to the coup […]

19 09 2017
2006 military coup remembered | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The king’s relaxed and laughing attitude to the coup […]

19 09 2017
2006 military coup remembered | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] The king’s relaxed and laughing attitude to the coup […]

19 09 2018
2006 as royalist coup | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The king’s relaxed and laughing attitude to the coup […]

19 09 2018
2006 as royalist coup | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] The king’s relaxed and laughing attitude to the coup […]




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