Updated: How much did an unlamented CRES spend?

23 12 2010

A couple of days ago the story was that Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha declared a question on the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation budget was met with an accusation that the questioner was essentially traitorous (see the Update below).

In the Bangkok Post it is reported that Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has defended CRES spending during its eight months of repressive operations.

Suthep said “that all the CRES’s expenditure was transparent.” Transparent apparently is an Orwellian synonym for “opaque,” for Suthep then admitted that “he had no actual figures on the centre’s expenses.” And recal that Suthep is claimed to have headed CRES….

The army apparently says it has “records to show the CRES’s bills came to just over 2 billion baht,” but others, including army sources, say that “figures … might have been much higher.”

General Pirun Paewponsaeng had “earlier revealed when he was army chief of staff that the CRES’s expenses between April7 and May 25 alone stood at 1.9 billion baht. The Internal Security Operations Command, which was then under CRES supervision, spent another 2.08 billion baht during the same period.”

It seems that the taxpaying public must wait for the government to make a report to parliament. Suthep also said he was waiting for more details.

Now that CRES is officially disbanded, the government has made “156 million baht [available] for the Situation Monitoring Centre,” which replaces CRES and is headed by a general.

As academic Kevin Hewison points out in the Bangkok Post, the “military, through its control of the CRES and its success in protecting the government, was now stronger, better funded and less accountable than at any time since at least 1992…. The military is now the shell that protects a regime rather than just a government…. Arguably more than ever before, the military is now a force for internal control and repression.The CRES became a tool for a more intensive repression of opposition. It crushed the red shirt uprisings. It organised state violence. It censored the media and internet. And it used draconian laws with considerable enthusiasm and Orwellian rationalisation.”

Update: Siam Voices has a very important companion piece for this post, with the interview by Prayuth and a translation. Also at Prachatai for another version of the Prayuth interview.


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5 01 2012
DSI investigates monarchy conspiracy map « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] protests. It spent a fortune on “controlling” and repressing, with an early estimate exceeding 4 billion baht over a period of a few months. The real figure is likely to be far more as CRES wasn’t […]

5 01 2012
DSI investigates anti-monarchy conspiracy map « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] protests. It spent a fortune on “controlling” and repressing, with an early estimate exceeding 4 billion baht over a period of a few months. The real figure is likely to be far more as CRES wasn’t […]