Home > World News > WikiLeaks’ US embassy cables: Thai Queen Sirikit encouraged 2006 coup against Thaksin

WikiLeaks’ US embassy cables: Thai Queen Sirikit encouraged 2006 coup against Thaksin

Crown Prince Vijiralongkorn, Queen Sirikit and Princess Chulabhorn.
* guardian.co.uk,
Tuesday 14 December 2010
Wednesday, 01 October 2008,

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002977
SIPDIS
EO 12958 DECL: 10/01/2018
TAGS PGOV, KDEM, KJUS, PINR, TH
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES WITH FORMER PM SAMAK HIS
DOWNFALL,
REF: BANGKOK 2778 (SAMAK UNDERCUT)
BANGKOK 00002977 001.2 OF 002
Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reason: 1.4 (b, d)
Summary

1.
This cable from October 2008 alleges former prime minister Samak
Sundaravej claimed to the US ambassador that Queen Sirikit encouraged
the Thai coup in September 2006. Key passage highlighted in yellow.

2. Read related article

1.
(C) Summary: Former Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej resigned from his
position as Party Leader of the People’s Power Party (PPP) September
30. He remains free on bail as he continues to appeal a years-old
defamation conviction. Samak told the Ambassador September 26 that he
believed Queen Sirikit, working through Privy Council President Prem
Tinsulanonda, supported the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)
protest movement. Samak viewed himself as loyal to the King, but
implied that the Queen’s political agenda differened from her
husband’s. Separately, XXXXXXXXXXXX confirmed to the Ambassador October
1 that he had begun direct negotiations with the PAD and suggested that
he and the current Somchai administration had 90 days to produce
results.

2. (C) Comment: XXXXXXXXXXXX’s expectation that his term in office may be short-lived tracks
with a widespread view among Thais that the PPP will be fighting
against the odds for its survival in upcoming party dissolution
proceedings. Although XXXXXXXXXXXX provides proof that senior Thai
politicians can often revive careers, we believe Samak has lost
virtually all of his influence and has little prospect of staging a
political comeback. PM Somchai Wongsawat appears likely to succeed
Samak as PPP Party Leader. End Summary and Comment.

SAMAK QUITS PPP POST, HEADS TO DISNEY WORLD

——————————————-

3.
(C) On September 30, a PPP official told the media that former PM Samak
Sundaravej had formally resigned from his position of PPP Party Leader.
This resignation followed an Appeals Court’s September 25 ruling
upholding a previous conviction of Samak on defamation charges, and
affirming the two-year prison sentence for Samak. In a September 26
lunch with the Ambassador, Samak explained that he expected to remain
free on bail while continuing to appeal this case through other
channels; he predicted his legal battle could continue for
approximately two years before he might have to face incarceration.
Samak planned to join unnamed associates for an extended North American
vacation starting withDisney World, criss-crossing the United States and parts of Canada by car.

4.
(C) Note: Once Samak lost face after PPP legislators signaled their
unwillingness to support his reelection as Prime Minister (reftel), it
would have been awkward for Samak to retain the position of Party
Leader. PPP immediately named PM Somchai as acting party leader.
Political parties typically nominate their Party Leaders for the
position of Prime Minister; it would be logical to assume that Somchai
will formally take the top job in PPP. Samak’s resignation will not
protect Samak from a five-year loss of political rights in the event
that PPP is dissolved. Party dissolution by the Constitutional Court
entails sanctions against the executive board that was in place at the
time of the dissolution-warranting offense.

SAMAK DISCUSSES HIS DOWNFALL, CRITICIZES THE QUEEN

——————————————— —–
5. (C) Samak described to Ambassador the political pressure against him during his seven months in office.
He showed disdain for Queen Sirikit, claiming that she had been
responsible for the 2006 coup d’etat as well as the ongoing turmoil
generated by PAD protests. He alleged the Queen operated through Privy
Council President Prem Tinsulanonda who, along with others presenting
themselves as royalists, worked with the PAD and other agitators.
Citing his own regular meetings with King Bhumibol, Samak claimed he —
rather than his opponents — was sincerely loyal to the King and
enjoyed the King’s support. In his discussion of the BANGKOK 00002977 002.2 OF 002monarchy, Samak made no mention of the Crown Prince.

6.
(C) Samak, a former journalist, lamented his opponents’ success in
manipulating media coverage of his administration. Samak noted that
jockeying for control over the media had often caused rifts within Thai
Rak Thai and, subsequently, the People’s Power Party.

7. (C)
Samak’s eyes became misty as he recalled that, when he was
contemplating returning to the premiership after eviction fromoffice by
the Constitutional Court, his wife and one of his daughters had pressed
him to abandon this quest. “I told them to get out,” he related. “I
didn’t need to be betrayed by them.”

Out with the Old, Out with the New?

———————————–

8.
(C) XXXXXXXXXXXX indicated to Ambassador October 1 that he expected the
Somchai administration to be short-lived, though he hoped it could be
extended if it proved successful in addressing the serious challenges
facing the country. XXXXXXXXXXXX If Somchai’s administration were to
prove effective, he hoped the Constitutional Court might delay
dissolution proceedings against various coalition parties to allow the
government more time inoffice (note: the Attorney General announced
later on October 1 that he had referred the first case, against Chat
Thai, to the Constitution Court for review).

9.
(C) On the ongoing PAD occupation of Government House, XXXXXXXXXXXX
said he had twice spoken with PAD XXXXXXXXXXXX, most recently on the
night of September 30. XXXXXXXXXXXX described his approach toward the
PAD as similar to that which he had taken toward communist
insurgents in the 1970s and 80s: he would initially stress
commonalities while deemphasizing differences, which would be sorted
out later. (Septel will report XXXXXXXXXXXX’s views on mediating the southern insurgency.) JOHN

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