Cablegate: Army Alert to Possible Signs of Rural Opposition
PP RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHCHI #0160 2690738
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260738Z SEP 06
FM AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0281
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK PRIORITY 0554
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 0319
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS CHIANG MAI 000160
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM TH
SUBJECT: ARMY ALERT TO POSSIBLE SIGNS OF RURAL OPPOSITION
REF: A. A) CHIANG MAI 159 (AFTER HELPING TO PLOT COUP, THIRD ARMY COMMANDER CALLS THE SHOTS)
B. B) CHIANG MAI 157 (SUPPORT FOR THAKSIN MUTED IN CHIANG MAI FOLLOWING COUP)
1. (U) Media sources report that 2nd and 3rd Army commands have
put troops on alert to block counter-coup moves by local
organizers of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai
Rak Thai (TRT) party in the two regions most densely populated
by party supporters.
2. (SBU) According to a journalist at 3rd Army headquarters in
Phitsanulok, which covers Thailand's northern region, coup
leaders in the Council on Democratic reform under the Monarchy
(CDRM) are concerned that TRT activists and officials at the
district (tambon) level are organizing Thaksin supporters to
mass in Bangkok for a planned Sept. 28 protest. These TRT
activists are said to be reacting to rumors that the CDRM will
recall funds for village-level development projects, originally
distributed under the Thaksin government and immensely popular
in Northern and Northeastern rural areas.
3. (U) The Bangkok Post reported Sept. 26 that Third Army
Commander Saprang Kalayanamitr ordered soldiers to set up road
checkpoints after hearing that groups of Thaksin supporters from
the north had earlier reached Bangkok.
4. (U) Meanwhile, former MPs from northern districts have been
asked to report to 3rd Army headquarters (ref a). Thaksin's
brother, former MP Payap Shinawatra, complied on Sept 25.
No-shows include Thaksin's sister Yaowapha Wongsawat as well as
Pakorn Buranupakorn and Boonsong Teriyapirom; all three are
believed to be out of the country. .
5. (SBU) COMMENT: Whether or not rural TRT supporters have
been mobilized by rumors of cuts in popular programs, the fact
that 3rd Army officials are alert to suspicions of such action
suggests that the muted reaction in Thaksin's northern
stronghold to the coup (ref b) may not be as docile as it seems.