Suspicious bombs

9 09 2010

Suddenly, the authorities are finding bombs and disarming them. This has not happened for some time. Could this be because they have soldiers back on the streets, “maintaining security”? Perhaps, but our guess is not for the obvious reasons.

AFP reports that police “defused three unexploded bombs discovered in Bangkok and surrounding suburbs over a matter of hours, one of them in front of a school and one in a shopping mall…”. The other was apparently at the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi.

Of course, and almost immediately, the discovery and defusing have “raised further doubts over the speed at which emergency rule can be lifted in the Thai capital…”. More conveniently, these bombs come right after security officials, led by Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban and new army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha  suddenly put armed troops back on the streets. At about the same time a royalist police chief was appointed, and he is close to Prayuth and his clan. This action led to considerable and sustained criticism. There was also growing criticism of the maintenance of the emergency decree.

Suthep launched into a tirade against “government opponents” saying the bombs “indicates that government opponents do not want our country to return to normal…. Emergency rule is necessary to keep peace and order in Bangkok…”. And, not to be outdone by his senior but lesser minister, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva claimed: “More attacks on the government are anticipated in the very near future…”. He added: “Many people, including myself, have assessed the situation and decided we’ll have to be more cautious over the next two weeks…”. Why this time period? Abhisit says the “attacks to be symbolic, to mark the fourth anniversary of the Sept 19 [2006] coup.”

We at PPT have some real doubts about the time line and the sudden success of the security forces. Sure, the government might have been prescient, had a warning, been preparing and, finally, had some success in the bombings. However, this falls completely outside the pattern seen so far, where government warnings have not coincided with bombings and the government had seldom located unexploded bombs.

At the same time, the Democrat Party is under pressure in the courts, there are continuing accusations of corruption against the government, the Saudi murders case is putting pressure on the government (as Kasit Piromya continues to scramble the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and the Bout case has the ruling party in a spin. Meanwhile, Jaruvan Maintaka’s royalist illegality, the politicization of the Department of Special Investigation and its remarkable failures, and the military enjoys the monetary fruits of its coup-making in a very public and corrupt manner all make the government look partisan and water buffalo-like. Reducing some of the pressure by creating incidents seems a reasonable strategy.

So there may be something in red shirt criticism, led by Jatuporn Promphan, suggesting a government conspiracy. This find is just so convenient and so timely. Jatuphorn says: “The perpetrators did it because they do not want the state of emergency in Bangkok to be revoked and this act is aimed at creating a feeling that the special law is still needed…”. That view cannot be rejected out of hand.



One response

21 09 2010
Abhisit’s political chaos « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] on the army’s missing weapons. Not surprisingly, exactly the weapons involved in recent “bomb attacks” in Bangkok and nearby. Just today, even more stunning revelations and actions have left PPT amused […]

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