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Wikileaks and Thailand

What are specific Wikileaks revelations on Thailand? The most interesting so far cites the case of Russian businessman and alleged arms smuggler Viktor Bout who faced trial in Thailand before being extradited to the United States this year. Documents from the Wikileaks revealed the concern of the U.S. about the attempt of Bout’s associates to bribe local Thai officials. Below is a sample dispatch from the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, uploaded by Wikileaks

Lately, however, there have been disturbing indications that Bout’s xxxxxxxxxx and Russian supporters have been using money and influence in an attempt to block extradition. The most egregious example was the false testimony of xxxxxxxxxx that Bout was in Thailand as part of government-to-government submarine deal. Thus, we felt it was time to once again raise the matter at the top of the government and make clear that, while we understand the judicial process must take its course without political interference, we insist that the process be free of corruption and undue influence. We will continue to do so in the months ahead.

Citing news reports, Bangkok Pundit summarized the total number of secret cables referring to Thailand

…there are 2,941 cables from the US Embassy in Bangkok and another 278 from the Consulate in Chiang Mai – slightly higher figures are also quoted elsewhere. You will also have cables from the State Department about Thailand. There could be some information in the cables that would be very embarrassing and revealing particularly on reports by US Embassy staff after meetings with senior Thai officials and members of the elite.

Worried that Wikileaks would be permanently inaccessible in Thailand, the website Thai Cables was established to continue providing relevant information about Wikileaks documents

We do not believe in censorship and think that everyone in Thailand should get access to any information available on the internet, which also includes Wikileaks. This is the reason for this blog.

How many cables about Thailand are expected to be published by Wikileaks

A total of 2985 (other sources state 3516) Cables sent from the US Embassy in Bangkok will be published. While between 1989 and end of 2004 only 7 Cables will be leaked, the number increases 2005 immensely. Until end of February 2010 an average of approx. 580 Cables are sent a year which means 1 to 2 Cables a day.

They cover a wide range of topics from Arms Controls and Disarment to Refugees and Human Rights Issues, Democratization, Human Trafficking, Nuclear Issues, Terrorism and Military Operations, Foreign Trade, Internal Government Affairs, Relations between Saudi Arabia and Thailand, Foreign Investments, Intellectual Property Rights and even Thai Prime Minister and Thai Rak Thai. Even Cables talking about War Crimes, Thai Elections, Intelligence, Corruption, Political Parties will be published.

Musings from Thailand published the statement of outgoing American Ambassador Eric John about Wikileaks

I cannot vouch for the authenticity of any one of these documents. But I can say that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential. And we condemn it. Diplomats must engage in frank discussions with their colleagues, and they must be assured that these discussions will remain private.

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