On 5 September 2006, U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce met with Pansak Vinyaratn, described as “one of Thaksin’s closest advisors and political strategists.” This Wikileaks cable describes the meeting.
Pansak is reported as saying that:
Thaksin’s enemies — and specifically Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda — hoped for his ouster in September. Prem and his allies hoped to get rid not only of Thaksin, but also Thailand’s democratic system, Pansak asserted. The royalist oligarchy wanted to return to a prior era in which the Palace, not democratically elected politicians, would reign supreme.
See Pansak’s earlier comment on this here.
Pansak also claimed that Thaksin’s enemies:
“… want to assassinate him.” They envisioned that this act would force the King to intervene in politics and prompt a restructuring of the current system of governance.
Pansak further claimed that:
Prem had signaled his intentions and intimidated two cabinet members (Cabinet Secretary Borwornsak Uwanno and Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam) into resigning in June. Pansak claimed that Prem had sent a clear signal by asking their view on whether constitutional provisions allowing the King to take on a political role might be invoked in the event of Thaksin’s death.
It seems that Pansak reckoned that the “machinations” out of the palace were odd in that “Thaksin had consistently shown respect for the royal court and had defended the King’s interests.”
Interestingly, the first example Pansak draws on is the publication of Paul Handley’s The King Never Smiles:
Thaksin had sought to protect the King’s reputation when an American author recently published a tell-all book about the royal family.
More importantly, Pansak adds,
Thaksin had taken steps to promote and protect the assets of the Crown Property Bureau (CPB). Thaksin had substantial assets of his own with Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), in which the CPB was a major stakeholder — and an SCB figure who was also a relative of the Queen (NFI) had even represented Thaksin in negotiating the highly controversial sale of Shin Corp to Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.
Pansak reckoned that royalists “feared that Thaksin’s policies, which benefited and empowered the rural majority, would erode their own standing.” He added that they “were against democracy…”.
In a later reported comment, Pansak laments that:
Tragically, while the royalists and oligarchs were undermining Thaksin, the political landscape was bereft of credible alternative leaders. Given the King’s age, it was imperative for the Thai population to begin preparing psychologically for the King’s passing and for a transition to a system increasingly reliant on democratic structures rather than royal authority. The current crisis forestalled such preparation, however.
He reportedly added: “It’s all about Prem becoming Regent…”.
Turning to the military, Pansak gives an indication of why it was that Thaksin was prepared to travel overseas in September, despite all of the ongoing rumors of a pending coup. He is reported to have
acknowledged the military was split along political lines, and this lack of unity would prevent a move by Army Commander Sonthi Boonyaratglin against Thaksin.
How wrong he was! But this is also contextualized in Boyce’s comment that, despite “a defiant tone,” Pansak “seemed resigned to the eventual triumph of those whom he considers to represent Thailand’s old order.”