Truth for Reconciliation report on Battle for Bangkok

13 09 2012

Pravit Rojanaphruk at The Nation reports on the Truth for Reconciliation Commission final report on the violence associated with the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime’s several attempts to clear red shirts protesters in April and May 2010. Pravit states that he received an advance copy of the report, so PPT hasn’t seen it.

We won’t comment in detail on Pravit’s report, but as far as PPT can ascertain, there is nothing particularly new in the TRC’s account, and it’s methodology is unclear until the report is released.

Pravit focuses on claims that “men in black” were involved in the violence and that they “may have got cooperation from red shirts.” Neither claim is new, and in his account, Pravit sheds no light on the claims.

The report states that “security officers eventually used live bullets, deployed snipers and were likely responsible for the six deaths at Wat Pathumwanaram on May 19, 2010.” Again, nothing new in this, but as it is a  515-page report, PPT would expect that something original might be in there somewhere.

What isn’t at all clear is how the TRC concludes that: “Both [sides] believe they were victims. The operation by the ‘men in black’ were very instrumental in creating and elevating the violence with the aim of provoking the Army to use weapons against protesters and wanting to exact the loss of lives…”. The claim that the death of Colonel Romklao Thuwatham “led to the confusing and out-of-control use of weapons by soldiers”, seems to excuse the already confused and deadly actions by the army prior to that incident.

That the TRC is able to say that “soldiers then used rifles and fired ‘many’ live bullets in the direction of the red-shirt protesters” but is unable to “explicitly link… the deaths to soldiers” is bizarre.

The report’s claims about events at Wat Pathum Wanaram seem curiously outdated by recent events, at least as reported by Pravit.

We are sure that the report will unleash further discussion when it is released next week.


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