WikiLeaks, Clinton and Yingluck

24 03 2016

WikiLeaks now has a Hillary Clinton Email Archive. Its pages states:

On March 16, 2016 WikiLeaks launched a searchable archive for 30,322 emails & email attachments sent to and from Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was Secretary of State. The 50,547 pages of documents span from 30 June 2010 to 12 August 2014. 7,570 of the documents were sent by Hillary Clinton. The emails were made available in the form of thousands of PDFs by the US State Department as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request. The final PDFs were made available on February 29, 2016.

A simple search for “Thailand” produces 73 results, several of which seem barely relevant, with Thailand simply mentioned. PPT hasn’t been through all of these cables as yet.

One that has gained some social media attention, not least via a Facebook post by Andrew MacGregor Marshall, is about Yingluck Shinawatra, the 2011 floods and a visit by Clinton. It is originally from Karen Brooks and forwarded by Kurt Campbell, and dated 16 November 2011. Some interesting bits of this cable are clipped and included below.

Yingluck Clinton

On the politics of the floods:

To keep momentum, Yingluck will need to make changes in her team. Given the poor performance of the past two months, a cabinet reshuffle is a must do. Top of the list is Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut, who hails from the Chart Thai Pattana party – a coalition partner but at best a fair-weather friend. Not only has Theera been inept in his handling of the crisis since Yingluck took office (water management being part of his portfolio), but he also served as Agriculture Minister in the previous Abhisit-led government. He is thus seen (correctly) as guilty of either malice or incompetence (or both) for his failure to appropriately manage water levels at the country’s two biggest dams in the months preceding the inauguration of the Yingluck government – which greatly exacerbated the current crisis.

On Yingluck and her work:

She is tired…. Very tired. I saw her last night at her house at 11pm and she told me that she is up around the clock with very little support and a cabinet team that has proven weak (her words were less diplomatic) and unable to rise to the occasion. She said she always expected the job would be hard, but that learning everything about government, while managing. the complexities of the relationship with the palace and the military, while being slammed with a major national crisis – AND doing it all with a weak team – has taken its toll. Even so, she is determined and has fire in the belly. She emphasized that she had won an absolute majority for only the second time in thai history, and that she would not let the millions of thais who supported her down. If it means not resting until her term is over, so be it. She can handle it, she said, because she believes in what she is doing. She will make some changes in her cabinet in the coming weeks once the water has been drained, and then look forward to getting the A Team back in May of next year, when the ban expires on the 111 Thai Rak Thai politicians removed from politics by the courts in 2007 after the coup.

Yingluck on reconciliation:

She made a point of saying that she is ENORMOUSLY grateful that Sec Clinton is coming today. “It’s been six long years of turmoil in this country,” she said. “I’m determined to use my mandate to bring people together and foster reconciliation, like I said in the campaign. I’m working hard to win over the military and help them see they have a real place here without interfering in politics. I’m working hard to do the same with the palace. But let’s face it: democracy here is still fragile. We need the US engaged.”

On General Prayuth Chan-ocha and not bringing down the government (just then):

Yingluck tell me she has gone out of her way to work cooperatively with Prayuth, and Prayuth seems to have come to appreciate her sincerity and hard work.

On the relationship with the palace:

The Palace, similarly, has not shown any inclination to use the crisis to bring down the government. The King has given three audiences (made public) to PM Yingluck since she took office. (In the opaque world of the Thai monarchy, this is one key tea leaf to read.) Moreover, other members of the royal family have given the PM private audiences in recent weeks (not publicly known) – including the Crown Prince and two of the princesses. Perhaps most telling, however, is the recent appointment by the government of two palace favorites, Dr. Sumet [Tantivejkul] and Dr. Veerapong [Virabongsa Ramangkura], to the new reconstruction and water management committees. Sumet, who is a long time advisor to His Majesty and runs one of his foundations, would never have accepted the appointment if the King had not explicitly blessed the move. Two others on the water committee are similarly associated with His Majesty.

To be honest, PPT had not previously seen Virabongsa mentioned as a “palace favorite.”

On Thaksin Shinawatra and amnesty or pardon:

Yingluck told me big brother remains in a dialogue with the palace described as “constructive” and expressed hope that this would yield an amicable end to the five+ year drama of his exile – either through a royal pardon or through a parliament sponsored amnesty law, with support from the palace. This is, at best, a delicate dance, and any mishandling or miscalculation on Thaksin’s part could yet trigger another cycle of political drama here.

Updated: Damning the interfering US

11 05 2010

Also available as บ้าชะมัด กับการก้าวก่ายของสหรัฐฯ

The Nation (11 May 2010) has one of those reports that make jaws drop in disbelief. The Bangkok Post has a similar report.

The Nation reports that “Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya yesterday summoned US Ambassador Eric John to express disappointment over the meeting between US Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and Thai politicians associated with the red-shirt protesters and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.”

A report on that meeting was carried yesterday, noting thatCampbell stopped in Bangkok on his way to Burma and met Chaturon Chaisang, Noppadol Pattama and Pongthep Thepkanjana. As The Nation says, “Senior government officials reportedly declined an invite to join the briefing.”

Kasit told Ambassador John that the “US Embassy should not arrange gatherings with opposition politicians linked with an illegal protest…. The opposition and red-shirt protesters might claim that the US supported their political activities, he said.” PPT wonders about Kasit’s own involvement with illegal rallies?

Kasit reportedly “told the US envoy the government was democratic and allowed freedom of expression and assembly.” He’s ignoring a whole range of issues, but presumably the US government is aware of these and is unlikely to accept such bland statements as anything other than Kasit blather.

Interestingly, Kasit also saw fit to explain that the “April 10 clashes changed the situation and the protest, as ‘terrorists’ had infiltrated the reds’ movement.”

We find this interesting because it was only a few days ago that Shawn Crispin, in deepest and darkest conspiracy mode, reported in Asia Times Online (8 May 2010) that the US embassy had “met with UDD co-leaders … to impress on them Washington’s perception that the UDD has provoked much of the violence, including the events of April 10.” He also reported that red shirt fears that the US embassy was against them and that the US was providing intelligence to the Democrat Party-led government.

Crispin seems to think such claims have credibility (and Avatar-like has the white guys saving the Thais). PPT has reservations. If they ever did have such a relationship and position on the red shirts, then Kasit must have suffered brain failure (again) in now attacking the US so publicly.

Apparently AmbassadorJohn told “Kasit Washington fully backed Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s five-point road map to restore normalcy and never condoned violence.He also appealed to the government to avoid using force against the protesters.”

%d bloggers like this: