Wikileaks, Bowornsak and the military junta

27 03 2012

In a Wikileaks cable dated 25 September 2006, Ambassador Ralph Boyce comments on a meeting with Bowornsak Uwanno. The meeting is described this way:

Constitution drafter Borwornsak Uwanno briefed the Ambassador September 25 on the intentions of the Council for Democratic Reform Under the Monarchy (CDRM)….

We find this kind of relationship intriguing, for Bowornsak is seen in the cables as a regular commentator for the embassy and ambassador, and in this instance, was to offer “an unsolicited update on progress in creating theinterim constitution.” While Boyce describes him as “Former Cabinet Secretary and highly respected legal expert…”, he makes no mention of Bowornsak’s capacity for side switching and remarkable “pragmatism” in this. As the cable proceeds, it seems that Bowornsak is at best acting as a messenger for the military junta. A more cynical reading is also possible.

Bowornsak: junta messenger

Bowornsak told the Ambassador that the “interim constitution (which he was helping to draft) would be … finalized for issuance within a week…”. He detailed the interim constitution and mumbled about “protections of civil liberties.” Of course, only a fool would have believed that the military leadership, acting illegally, would protect any human rights other than their own.

In his role as junta messenger, Bowornsak tells Boyce that:

the reference to the monarchy in the CDRM’s name [Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy] had led to confusion concerning the King’s role in the coup, and the CDRM would therefore change its name to the National Security Council.

He “explained” that CDRM had to remain in existence for two reasons: first, “Thaksin’s extraordinary wealth and strong political network engendered reasonable and strong fear of a counter-coup.” Of course, by this time, it was clear that there was no such possibility. The second reason related to the south. Referring to a bombing in Hat Yai, he says “security forces wanted to be able to deal with it without resorting to martial law.” Perhaps that was one of the reasons for the unexplained bombing?

Boyce claims he “stressed that world attention was focused on the two-week deadline that the CDRM had announced for its transfer of power to civilians.” PPT finds Boyce’s statements on this to be little more than friendly advice to the junta. Transferring power to civilians under the tutelage of a junta doesn’t  alter its nature or its illegal path to power.

Bowornsak polished Boyce’s ego by stating that he considered the “Ambassador’s emphasis on this point was ‘very sound’, and he urged the Ambassador to make this point directly to CDRM members…”.

The junta messenger confirmed that “his direct contacts with General Sonthi [Boonyaratglin] confirmed his sense that the General and his cohorts were not seeking to prolong their time in power.”

Boyce seemed relieved to “hear assurances that the interim constitution is near completion, and that the CDRM is close to transitioning power to a civilian government.”

Yep, having a puppet civilian regime would like fool the whole world and Thais into thinking they hadn’t had a military coup.

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2 responses

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

[…] Bowornsak Uwanno as a messenger for the junta […]

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

[…] Bowornsak Uwanno as a messenger for the junta […]


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