Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha has been insistent: in April and May 2010, the military didn’t murder anyone. He and his spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, both deeply involved in those crackdowns, have repeatedly made absurd claims in spite of remarkable visual evidence.
In recent days, both have been on the warpath, sprouting more absurdities and, in Prayuth’s case, threats. At The Nation, Prayuth is reported as having required an “apology” from Department of Special Investigation chief Tharit Pengdit “for his agency’s pointing the finger at the Army for the deaths of many people during the unrest…”. The Army wants its impunity to remain in place, and even a half-hearted investigation could threaten that.
The Army chief yesterday angrily commented on the remarks by certain DSI officials pointing the blame at the Army.
Prayuth demanded that DSI not make statements about the military’s snipers and so on.
Prayuth then babbled again: “Who were responsible for these casualties?” … My subordinates did not kill anyone, but they were shot at…”. Forget all of the evidence to the contrary.
Not to be left out, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva “warned the government of possible legal action for alleged political persecution in connection with the 2010 unrest and riots.” Abhisit seemed to think it a revelation that “certain politicians in power” linked his party to “the deaths of many red-shirt protesters in April and May 2010.” Wow, who would have thought!? Given the efforts at the International Criminal Court, Abhisit is sounding more thanalittle dull on this. We suspect that he just wants to prevent discussion and investigation of his role. If he was still in power, he’d be locking opponents up.
At the Bangkok Post, it is said that the DSI had “revealed earlier that state officers were involved in the deaths of red shirt demonstrators.” Perhaps the Post might have added that this was in legal proceedings. Why Tharit should be apologizing for his officers giving evidence seems only clear to pea brains.
Prayuth is cited: “I am not against anyone but my position needs to be understood because soldiers, police and people were killed and it is clear that officials did not fire at them…”. Further, he “also denied the army had used a sniper to shoot anyone during the crackdowns,…”. That is only clear only if one is deaf, dumb and blind and thinks everyone else is too.
Update: Prachatai (and reproduced at Thai E-News) has produced documentary evidence of the brass ordering the use of snipers. We won’t repeat it all here, but the implications for the Army leadership and the civilian leadership of the government are clear if there is any serious investigation.