Suthep’s claims

18 03 2011

The Bangkok Post has a fascinating story that summarizes Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban’s statements made in the censure debate. Suthep was responding to Puea Thai Party MP and United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leader Jatuporn Promphan.

Jatuporn made the point that “the prime minister and the deputy premier in charge of security affairs responsible for the deaths of at least 13 people during last year’s political unrest.” Jatuporn is being conservative in this claim referring only to the 13 deaths that are mentioned in leaked reports from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) as likely killed by government forces.

An AP photo from the Telegraph: Protesters surround the coffins which will be used for the bodies of their comrades killed in clashes with troops.

Conveniently for Suthep and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the DSI has now repudiated those leaked reports following considerable pressure, not least from the army.

Suthep responded to Jatuporn’s claims with an array of charts and video exhibits. Essentially, Suthep has stuck with the state’s story as it has been presented for local and international consumption from the beginning. Quite remarkably, his position seems to be that the army is not responsible for a single death.

During the extended state crackdown that began in April 2010 and extended through May, as director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation, Suthep was responsible for operations against UDD-led protests. Suthep claims it was “men in black” who “were involved in clashes between army soldiers and the red-shirts.” He identifies 4 groups of “black shirts” and says they are responsible for violence, linking them to Jatuporn: “Therefore, it can be said that those operating under Mr Jatuporn’s orders were responsible for the killing of civilians, soldiers and journalists…”.

There is evidence for “black shirt” operations, available in a series of videos and photos. These are widely available but are relatively few in number and tend to show the same persons. There is little new evidence to support Suthep’s claims of 4 organized and trained groups, the size of the groups or their activities. There is also evidence of unidentified gunmen also operating in concert with the army. In short, all of the this remains murky.

Turning to the six people killed inside Wat Pathum Wanaram on 19 May 19 2010, Suthep claims that two of the dead “were found to have gun powder residue on their hands.” We are not sure if Suthep implies they (bizarrely) committed suicide or that they somehow deserved to be killed as they were “black shirts” who had engaged in shooting with the military. Suthep goes further. He “admitted that some of the six were hit by military bullets, but the bullets were from the weapons stolen from soldiers in the April 10 clash…”.

In other words, while presenting little in the way of evidence, new or otherwise, Suthep seems content to continue to claim that the military killed no one and that all deaths can be attributed to red shirts.

Such a position may seem untenable for many, it is clear that the state, through the military and DSI, has been working to ensure that the evidence for anything else is eliminated or neutralized. A review of PPT posts on DSI and the military point to this (see here and here). For more on how the evidence and investigations are mishandled, see here, and the recent story on “missing” evidence discussed at Asia Provocateur.


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12 06 2017
Washing away the blood | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Abhisit and Suthep have repeatedly claimed that soldiers weren’t responsible for any deaths, blaming “men in black.” This despite the fact that, for example, courts finding soldiers responsible for many of the deaths […]

12 06 2017
Washing away the blood | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Abhisit and Suthep have repeatedly claimed that soldiers weren’t responsible for any deaths, blaming “men in black.” This despite the fact that, for example, courts finding soldiers responsible for many of the deaths […]




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