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Cablegate: Red-Shirts Call for U.S. To Boycott Rtg

VZCZCXRO8808
PP RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHCHI #0172/01 3200950
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 160950Z NOV 09
FM AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1209
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 1300

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 CHIANG MAI 000172

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/EX, AND DS/IP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ASEC TH
SUBJECT: RED-SHIRTS CALL FOR U.S. TO BOYCOTT RTG

REF: A. NOVEMBER 16, 2009 SPOT REPORT
B. CHIANG MAI 106 (REDSHIRTS PROTEST AT CONSULATE)

CHIANG MAI 00000172 001.2 OF 003


Sensitive but unclassified; please handle accordingly.

-------------------------------
Summary and Comment
-------------------------------

1. (SBU) Capitalizing on the on-going visit to Chiang Mai of
former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, over 50 members of red-shirt
groups protested in front of Consulate Chiang Mai on November
16, strongly criticizing the current Royal Thai Government
(RTG), and asking the U.S. to "boycott and not support" the RTG.
The demonstration was peaceful, and ended shortly after
representatives handed a letter to a Consulate officer conveying
the group's views about the state of democracy in Thailand.
Separately, the same group abandoned plans to "greet" Minister
for Public Health Witthaya Kaewparadai as he arrived in Chiang
Mai for meetings.

2. (SBU) This is the second red-shirt demonstration at
Consulate Chiang Mai since July. It was clearly timed to
coincide with the visit of FPOTUS Carter, who is in Chiang Mai
heading a Habitat for Humanity delegation that is building 82
houses in the Province, and to capitalize on the publicity his
presence has generated. Both demonstrations have been peaceful,
and we have no indication these events are intended to stir up
anti-American sentiment. Nonetheless, we will monitor future
protests carefully. End Summary and Comment.

--------------------
Abhisit Get Out
--------------------

3. (SBU) At approximately 10:40 local time on November 16,
60-70 red-shirted supporters of fugitive former Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra belonging to a group named Lanna Red (a
reference to the former independent Kingdom of northern
Thailand)began protesting at Consulate Chiang Mai. Dressed in
red t-shirts sporting the "Truth Today" logo, they shouted
"Abhisit Get Out," (Note: The current PM is Abhisit Vejjajiva.)
and displayed several placards with a variety of messages
including "Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is the present and
future," "We do not support double-standard no justice
government," "puppet of the aristocratic government," and "Give
democracy back to Thailand." The demonstration was peaceful,
and ended at approximately 11:05 a.m. local time after
representatives of the group handed a letter addressed to FPOTUS
Carter to a Consulate officer that expresses the group's views
about the situation in Thailand. The full text of the letter is
at para 6.

4. (SBU) Comment: Truth Today refers to a talk show hosted on D
Station, a satellite television channel set up by the UDD
(United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship -- the umbrella
organization for Thailand's pro-Thaksin red-shirt groups). The
references to no justice and double-standard convey the
red-shirts' view that numerous court cases involving Thaksin and
other figures of his now-banned Thai Rak Thai Party were decided
on political rather than legal grounds. The words "puppet" and
"aristocratic" take aim at the leaders of the 2006 coup that
deposed then Prime Minister Thaksin, and, in the eyes of the
red-shirts, paved the way for the current coalition to take
office. They also target Thailand's elite bureaucracy and
influencial figures, most of whom support the current governing
coalition.

---------------------------- ------------------
No Danger to Consulate or Personnel
---------------------------- ------------------

5. (SBU) As was the case during the July 2009 demonstration
(Reftel), the protest was peaceful throughout. Post received
excellent support from the Royal Thai Police, who dispatched
several dozen officers to man barricades and otherwise augment
security. Separately, RSO briefed U.S. Secret Service Personnel
about the demonstration before it took place (Post had been
informed on November 15 of the likelihood of the protest), as
well as FPOTUS Carter's personal staff.

6. (U) Begin text of letter:

Chiang Mai Province
16 November 2009

To Former President of the United States, Mr. Jimmy Carter
Thru the United States Consulate in Chiang Mai

Subject: Explanation of current situation in Thailand


CHIANG MAI 00000172 002.2 OF 003


For your plans to come join the charitable project for Thai
people
through Habitat for Humanity in building houses for poor,
underprivileged
people in Chiang Mai, we are thrilled and thank you for the
honor of selecting
Chiang Mai as a site for this charity. On behalf of the people
of Chiang Mai, we
are very pleased to welcome you and your wife.

Thailand is governed by a democratic system like the United
States. However, when a coup on 19 September 2006 overthrew the
democratic
government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which was
elected by a
majority voice of the people because it was able to truly work
for the benefit of the
people to the extent that it was able to form a single party
government for the first
time in Thai history, it was revolted against by military
dictators and he has been
unjustly hunted for arrest ceaselessly ever since. The current
situation is that the
government of Aphisit Wetchachiwa lost the election and did not
come from the
direct acceptance of the people. He became the prime minister
from stealing
power from the people and cooperating with a clique of military
leaders who had
seized power, destroyed the government of the people, and
established a
government that was not in accordance with the democratic
process. The actions
of these military dictatorial warlords, who were all intimate
associates with the
President of the Privy Council, have been working to destroy the
country ever
since the coup against the government of the people on 10
September 2006. Over
three years have passed, and at present they have not ceased.
They are still
enforcing a silent coup, holding the country, the Thai people,
and the monarchy,
which is deeply respected by the people, hostages so they can
maintain power to
govern the affairs of the country in their hands, by
establishing a nominee
government to come in and maintain their own interests, without
any
consideration of the people and the world at large that is
interested in the affairs
of Thailand at the present time.
Inasmuch as you once held the position of President of the
United States, which is the pattern of democratic rule by the
power of the voice of the people, and are well-known and
accepted internationally for dedicating yourself after leaving
office to working to solve disputes in society, fostering human
rights and democracy all over the world, to the extent that you
won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, you probably already know the
truth about the terrible situation of the Thai people. They are
unable to peacefully live their lives. They lack love and
harmony in their country. They don't have the opportunity to
develop their country and don't have the ability to develop the
quality of life of the people to overcome poverty and lack of
opportunity according to the purpose of the charity that you,
President Mr. Jimmy Carter aspire to.
On behalf of the Thai people, we request through Former
President Mr. Jimmy Carter to take the facts of the current
troubles of the Thai people and present them to the people and
president of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, as well as the
people and leaders of civilized countries all over the world, to
boycott and not support the government of Mr. Aphisit
Wetchachiwa, which would not have been formed through a
democratic process, if it had not had a military dictatorship
supporting it behind the scenes. It is deceiving the world.
Please do not join in the activities of and do not recognize
this dictatorial and evil government

Respectfully,
Citizens of Chiang Mai who Love Democracy
The Thai People

End Text.

7. (SBU) We note that the Thai language version of the letter,
which was delivered at the same time as the English text,
included some sentences not present in the English translation.
In paragraph two, the Thai version contains a sentence berating
the government for appointing as Foreign Minister a "terrorist
and criminal," who was allegedly involved in the 2008 seizure of

CHIANG MAI 00000172 003.2 OF 003


Bangkok's two airports by the Peoples' Alliance for Democracy.
The Thai version also stated that the current aristocratic
government seized power to look after its own "vested" interests.
MORROW

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