Wikileaks: Thaksin’s Chamlong and palace problems

23 12 2012

PPT finally has time to get back to Wikileaks cables and is trying to look through the 6,000 or so cables and see what we missed in our past searches of them. We are doing this in a systematic way, trying to ensure that we don’t double-up and re-post something we’d commented on previously.  At present, we have worked through 2005 and are now slowly getting through 2006.wiki

In a cable dated 21 February 2006, Ambassador Ralph Boyce discusses Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s political problems, including mounting opposition from the palace. He concludes that “[t]hings are getting worse for the Prime Minister.” Boyce states that Thaksin’s options are few as “the opposition,” while “not enormous, just won’t quit.”

Boyce sees the “anti-Thaksin coalition” as boosted by “Chamlong Srimuang, a retired general and former governor of Bangkok, was a prominentpolitical figure in the 1980’s and 1990’s” and a “prominent leader of the 1992 democracy movement” joining. He says Chamlong has “star power” and adds that his “criticism of Thaksin is especially noteworthy as he was the PM’s first political mentor…”.  Chamlong’s “Dharma Army” was set to participate in an upcoming anti-Thaksin rally. Boyce says the opposition “smells blood.”

Part of the reason for this change and polls showing a decline in Thaksin’s popularity is attributed, Boyce says, to “the modest but notable shift in the media…. Papers that formerly ignored political stories or toed the government line are cautiously increasing their coverage of criticism, particularly of the Shin Corp deal.”

Boyce then refers to “a surprisingly candid comment from a Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defense…. Admiral Banawit … noted that the [anti-Thaksin] demonstration on Sunday would be big and that ‘the government would fall’ because ‘Chamlong is very effective.’ He seemed pretty cheerful about it.” PPT assumes this is Admiral Bannawit Kengrian for Boyce comments: “Banawit is an acolyte of Privy Council Chairman Prem Tinsulanonda, which makes his enthusiasm for Thaksin’s downfall doubly interesting.” This move to palace and Prem opposition is what Boyce sees as “interesting.”

Boyce also mentions a meeting with Thaksin adviser Pansak Vinyaratn where the ambassador asks “what would happen if the situation got worse and something provoked an intervention by the Palace.” Pansak is reported to have said “TRT would not allow this to happen, tacitly acknowledging that such an intervention would be inimical to Thaksin’s interests.”

While Boyce says he can’t see any “sign as yet that the King or his closest advisors want to get drawn into this kind of political role,” the simple fact that he asks Pansak and the link to Bannawit and Prem says that the palace is deeply involved in political scheming and suggests a link to the anti-Thaksin opposition.


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4 04 2013
Stashing loot | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Vnet Capital International Co., Ltd in 1998″ with 2006 coup connections and who is described in a Wikileaks cable as an acolyte of Privy Council President General Prem […]

4 04 2013
Stashing loot | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Vnet Capital International Co., Ltd in 1998″ with 2006 coup connections and who is described in a Wikileaks cable as an acolyte of Privy Council President General Prem […]

6 04 2016
Panama papers II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Vnet Capital International Co., Ltd in 1998” with 2006 coup connections and who is described in a Wikileaks cable as an acolyte of Privy Council President General Prem […]

6 04 2016
Panama papers II | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Vnet Capital International Co., Ltd in 1998” with 2006 coup connections and who is described in a Wikileaks cable as an acolyte of Privy Council President General Prem […]