Privy councilor inspects new army “war room”

16 01 2011

Thanks to Thai Intelligence News, PPT’s attention was drawn to a very significant article in the Bangkok Post that reports the official opening of a “new, modern war room … built at the 1st Army Region headquarters as a command post to cope with situations on parts of the border with both Cambodia and Burma, and internal political crises…”. PPT suggests that repressing internal dissent is the main task of this so-called war room. Indeed, that is the principal role of the army (and has been since its modern formation).

Interestingly, a senior privy councilor inspected the “war room.”

The 1st Army Area Command is responsible for Bangkok and the Central provinces, “including the adjoining Thai-Burmese border in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Kanchanaburi provinces in the west and the lower half of the Thai-Cambodia border, operating out of Prachin Buri. It controls as many as three infantry divisions, plus cavalry and artillery.” The reason it is pretty clear that the “war room” is to stifle internal political mobilization is that it was established on the orders of army commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha after he became boss in October 2010. He has spoken often of his main task as involving protecting the monarchy from opponents.

It is the 1st Army Region headquarters “where army chiefs and senior government figures hold meetings to monitor particular situations and give orders at times of political unrest…”. It is noted that “Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who is in charge of security affairs, frequently used the First Army headquarters in Bangkok as a situation monitoring centre.”

Privy councilor Pichitr

The Bangkok Post report notes that the new “war room” recived visits from a bunch of senior figures associated with the military, the current regime and it backers, including “Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, Gen Prayuth, [and] former army chief and 1st Army region commander Gen Anupong Paojinda…”.

The list of official visitors also included privy councilor General Pichitr Kullavanijaya. While privy councilors, like the monarchy, are expected to be “above politics,” like others of his ilk, Pichitr has been reasonably outspoken in recent years on a range of political topics. He has attacked Thaksin Shinawatra, accusing him of creating all of the political problems facing the country. On one occasion he invoked the name of former US ambassador Ralph Boyce in claiming  that Thaksin had been involved in money laundering. On another occasion he became directly political, attacking and warning the red shirts against a petition campaign for a royal pardon for Thaksin (whatever happened to that petition of millions of sigantures?). That petition caused considerable politicking by the privy council.

PPT assumes that Pichitr’s visit was meant to be symbolic of the link between the army and the monarchy in alliance against domestic opponents like the red shirts.



2 responses

16 01 2011
Tweets that mention Privy councilor inspects new army “war room” | Political Prisoners in Thailand --

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Igor Christodoulou, อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร. อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร said: Privy councilor inspects new army war room: Thanks to Thai Intelligence News, PPT’s attention was drawn to a ver… […]

9 09 2011
Wikileaks: Privy councilor on Thaksin and the prince | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] from Pichitr (for earlier posts mentioning him, see here (with a Boyce link too), here and here). He has been public and outspoken in attacking Thaksin. That the relationships within the family […]

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