In this post we begin with a 5 January 2007 cable, where Ambassador Ralph Boyce indicates what he seems to have seen as an exceptionally close relationship with HRW’s Sunai Phasuk.
At the time there had been a spate of bombings in Bangkok on New Year’s eve in 2006. There were many rumors, including worries about another coup. The cable says:
rumors were rife that Council for National Security (CNS) member General Saprang Kalayanamitr was behind the movements, due to his dissatisfaction with the current regime’s “softness” against those seeking to undermine the interim government (e.g., former Thai Rak Thai officials).
Saprang denied everything but the Embassy saw a conflict between the royalist Saprang and former prime minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh who was identified as pro-Thaksin Shinawatra.
This is where HRW’s Sunai comes in, pointing his finger at Chavalit as the one responsible for the bomb blasts:
Sunai firmly believes that political actors — most likely with ties to former PM Chavalit Yongchaiyudh — were behind the bombings. According to Sunai, the bomb attacks were designed to discredit the government and to distract the public from the ongoing corruption investigations of former Prime Minister Thaksin and his supporters.
With no evidence presented, this accusation is one that matched a claim made by yellow shirt support and 2006 coup plotter General Saprang.
Sunai went on to say that he “personally believes that the government and CNS are ‘good people’ but are increasingly ineffective.” Again, that is a comment that Saprang would have appreciated.
No one has ever claimed responsibility for the bombings and no one has ever been charged. What isn’t clear is why HRW should be informally finger pointing at Chavalit, effectively repeating stories circulated by yellow shirts like Saprang who have a record of plots (such as the 2006 coup).
Again, readers can draw conclusions on relationships, accusations and apparent political bias.