Declassify: The 7th Anniversary of the 2006 Coup? What the Wikipedia & Wikileaks did not say?

Frontpage of the Bangkok Post, 20 September 2006

Frontpage of the Bangkok Post, 20 September 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Terence Chulavachana

Many are talking about the 7th anniversary of the 2006 Coup. A local news station, Spring News, went to interview Dr Phromin, who was a key figure in the Thaksin government, and was active in the counter-Coup moves by Thaksin. According to Dr Phromin, after the Thai military under general Sondhi, began the 2006 Coup, Thaksin responded by appointing a new head of the Thai Army, replacing Sondhi. Once appointed the new head of the Thai army, according to Dr Phromin, Thaksin had a chance to scuttle the Coup, and the 2006 Coup by Sondhi, could have failed. Then at the Thaksin camp, the group of soldiers who supported Thaksin, arranged for a meeting with the (censored for lese majeste concern), to tell of the situation. The group of soldiers who supported Thaksin went to meet the (censored for lese majeste concern), but at the place the (censored for lese majeste concern) was, Sondhi and his Coup leading soldiers also went to meet the (censored for lese majeste concern), meaning the two groups of soldiers, one staging the 2006 Coup and the other backing Thaksin against the coup, met waiting to meet the (censored for lese majeste concern). What happened next is history, as the Thai TV, back then, broadcasted, general Sondhi, and those soldiers who staged the Coup, meeting the (censored for lese majeste concern) and getting the blessing.

  • From the Wikipedia:

Planning for the coup started in approximately February 2006.[4][5][6] Rumors about unrest in the armed forces and possible takeover plots unfurled for months leading to the pronunciamiento. In May 2006, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin issued assurances that the military would not seize power. On 20 July 2006, around a hundred middle-ranking army officers said to be supporters of Thaksin were reassigned by the army high command, fuelling rumors that the army was divided between supporters and opponents of the prime minister. In July 2006, 3rd Army Area Commander Saprang Kalayanamitr gave an interview where he stated that Thai politics was below standard and that the Kingdom’s leadership was weak. He also claimed that Thailand had a false democracy.[7] The public was becoming alarmed with each fresh rumor. On 15 July 2006 a democratic activist, Tavivoot Chulavachana, posted an open letter in Thailand’s most popular political webboard, citing military sources, saying the military and Sondhi Limthongkul were conspiring to stage a takeover to rid the country of Thaksin, and then return power to the people—after a period of cleansing the country.[8] In August 2006, there were reports of tank movements near Bangkok, but the military attributed these to a scheduled exercise.[9] In early September, Thai police arrested five army officers, all members of Thailand’s counter-insurgency command, after intercepting one of the officers with a bomb in a car allegedly targeting the prime minister’s residence.[10] Three of the suspects were released after the coup.[11]

In December 2006, former National Security Council head Prasong Soonsiri claimed that he and five other senior military figures had been planning a coup as early as July. He claimed that Sonthi was one of those figures, but that Surayud and Prem were not involved at the time.[12]

The 2006 Thai coup d’état took place on Tuesday 19 September 2006, when the Royal Thai Army staged a coup d’état against the elected caretaker government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The coup d’état, which was Thailand‘s first non-constitutional change of government in fifteen years, followed a year-long political crisis involving Thaksin, his allies and political opponents and occurred less than a month before nation-wide House elections were originally scheduled to be held. It has been widely reported in Thailand and elsewhere that General Prem Tinsulanonda, Chairman of the Privy Council, was the mastermind of the Coup. The military cancelled the upcoming elections, abrogated the Constitution, dissolved Parliament and Constitutional Court, banned protests and all political activities, suppressed and censored the media, declared martial law nationwide, and arrested Cabinet members.

The new rulers, led by general Sonthi Boonyaratglin and organised in a Council for Democratic Reform (CDR), issued a pronunciamiento on 21 September setting out their reasons for taking power and giving a commitment to restore democratic government within one year.[1] However, the CDR also announced that after elections and the establishment of a democratic government, the council would be transformed into a permanent Council of National Security whose future role in Thai politics was not explained.[2] The CNS later drafted an interim charter and appointed retired General Surayud Chulanont as Premier. Martial law was lifted in 41 of Thailand’s 76 provinces on 26 January 2007 but remained in place in another 35 provinces.[3] Elections were held on 23 December 2007, after a military-appointed tribunal outlawed the Thai Rak Thai party of Thaksin Shinawatra and banned TRT executives from contesting in elections for 5 years.

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