Military corruption and politics

14 10 2014

When the story of three serving and retired naval officers being caught with millions of dollars of counterfeit U.S. banknotes in Cambodia, PPT didn’t have an opportunity to post about it. Now a longer and more detailed story at the Bangkok Post is available, we thought it warranted a brief comment.

As has become clear in recent days, the military brass in Thailand is riddled with corruption. Naval officers seem particularly adept at becoming “unusually wealthy,” as our clip from an earlier post indicates, there are at least four whales that need to explain their huge wealth.Navy

Of course, there may be no connection at all between whales and beached naval officers in Cambodia hauling around $7 million in counterfeit currency in cardboard boxes brought from Thailand.

Yet the U.S. Secret Service seems to think that “the huge bust points to a well-oiled and growing counterfeit operation in neighbouring Thailand, where identical notes had previously been seized.”

The navy has yet to comment in any detail.

We are reminded that the navy played a critical role in supporting and protecting the anti-democrats as they prepared the ground for a military coup. Prior to the coup in May, Naval Special Warfare Command (SEAL) commander Winai Klom-in was a strong supporter of the anti-democrats, providing serving and retired Seals as guards. All of this costs money, and we are sure that there is a need to pay some of this back.

The idea that the military brass is trying to cash up again following the coup is worthy of consideration, and this is sure to involve both personal and institutional funds expended in preparing for the coup through the support of the costly anti-democrat demonstrations.





Execution by hanging at the yardarm

16 03 2014

Everybody knows that Naval Special Warfare Command (SEAL) commander Winai Klom-in has been a mutinous supporter of the anti-democrats. So PPT wonders if it does him any harm when his strong ties to the most extreme of this movement are exposed.

Certainly, the recent report that the extremists of the Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) has “asked the navy to review its impending transfer” of Winai is no surprise. Perhaps it is a little more startling that the extremists would “picket outside the navy headquarters” and petition the navy.

When the People’s Alliance for Democracy and student’s “adviser” Nittithon Lamlua rails that Winai should not be transferred for allegedly providing guards and perhaps even training, shooters and weapons to the anti-democrats because this is “allow[ing] politics to interfere” the alliance between Winai and the extremists is made especially clear. Nittithon fears losing a significant supporter, backer and strategist.

Winai says that if he doesn’t like his new position, he’ll quit the Navy. In the old days, mutinous naval officers faced “[e]xecution by hanging at the yardarm…”, not a gentle transfer.





Promoting fascists I

7 03 2014

What do you do with a mutinous military fascist who has sent his forces into the streets in support of anti-democrats? According to the Bangkok Post, you promote him!

This may not be as ridiculous as it sounds. Navy Seal commander Winai Klom-in has been the subject of numerous recent reports as he has declared loudly in January that no Seals at all were acting as guards despite Seals having been arrested acting as guards. No one believed him. Undaunted, he displayed his racism and fascism, declaring “Cambodians” responsible for shootings near anti-democrats.  Only dopey anti-democrats believed this, including Suthep Thaugsuban. By the end of February is was clear that Winai had sent his Seals into battle for the anti-democrats; and act of mutiny.

In Thailand’s paralyzed politics, charging Winai and taking him to court martial is never going to happen. The military brass operate with impunity in politics and Winai will have plenty of supporters remaining in the royalist military.

So it is that demands for Winai’s head are likely to result in his transfer-cum-removal but no military court and months or years in the brig.

Navy chief Admiral Narong Pipattanasai has tried to “manage” removal through promoting him to vice admiral as he rolls into retirement!

Narong is said to have apologized to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra “for any troubles the Seals had caused.” He promised to solve the “problem.”

Perhaps, then, this seemingly crazy suggestion of promoting a mutinous fascist is a step down by the brass…. Perhaps.





Updated: Navy guards

26 02 2014

There have been several accusations of serving military personnel acting as guards for the anti-democrats. Khaosod has a report that seems to confirm that at least one of Rear Admiral Winai Klom-in’s Royal Thai Navy SEALs is helping the anti-democrats.

The report claims police have arrested active Petty Officer First Class Sompong Thaennark “who served as a security guard for anti-government protests.” When arrested he allegedly had “two Glock handguns, along with … ammunition … an ID card for security teams of the People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) and another ID card of the Navy Special Warfare Command…”.

The admiral and navy has “repeatedly denied the allegation that its force is involved in the current anti-government protests in any way.” What will Winai say now?

Update: Khaosod has a new story on this situation that now reports two Navy SEALs apprehended. Both were armed and were guards for the anti-democrats and driving around in a pickup with no license plates. The two claimed to have been “hired to protect PCAD leaders at the rally site near Lumpini Park.”





Further updated: Going over the brink

24 02 2014

The attack on people at an anti-democrat rally in Trat and a grenade attack at Rajaprasong suggests yet another step has been taken that moves Thailand’s politics over the brink. We stress that the perpetrators of these two acts have not and are unlikely to be identified. While there might be claims of “third hands,” “police revenge,” and so on, the targeting of the attacks is clear.

The anti-democrats have always and falsely portrayed themselves as “unarmed” and “peaceful,” but this has never been the case. One of the base tactics employed by the extremists amongst the anti-democrats has been to provoke violence from the authorities. There has been relatively limited responses to these provocations.

Early on, when red shirts were holding competing rallies in Bangkok, and the anti-democrats attacked them, it seemed that demonstrator on demonstrator violence might get out of had. However, red shirts quickly dispersed, and the Yingluck Shinawatra government soon adopted a light-handed approach, and in the face of extreme provocation, when there were clashes, seemed to withdraw and compromise on territory, sometimes to the point of appearing very weak.

The brief battle between police and anti-democrats last week, for its deaths and injuries was still within the pattern of anti-democrat attacks on authorities.

What had changed, was the identification of military-like teams of shooters who attacked authorities with military-style weapons and grenades. This raising of the stakes pushed the conflict towards the brink.

The decision by the Civil Court that effectively prevented the authorities from using any emergency measures against the anti-democrats demonstrated more of the blatant double standards in the judiciary.

The anti-democrat’s provocations not only continued, but Suthep Thaugsuban began taunting red shirts to essentially “come out and fight.” He promised they would be shot down by his militants. As might be expected, those supporting the anti-democrats blame red shirts for provocation, a clearly untenable claim given that the official red shirts have been quiescent since late November.

Such provocations appear to have pushed the conflict over the brink and opened the way for those associated with both sides – anti-democrats and red shirts – to battle each other in events that could easily spiral out of control, leading to the military, judiciary and the shadowy old men to seek to intervene more directly and quickly than the plan they seem to have been following.

Update 1: The Army stakes a claim for intervention/ More concern about the economy/ Monk calls for media accuracy, forgetting Blue Sky, ASTV and other anti-democrat media/ Bangkok Post’s Veera proves monk’s double standards/ red shirts finally rally/ Navy officer again blames “foreigners” for violence

Update 2: Spooner on terror/ trading accusations/ deals/ 21 dead, 762 injured/ Bangkok Pundit on violence/ McCargo backgrounder/ mad navy guy on “foreigners”/ CNN on violence/ Democracy Now! on violence/





“Cambodian” shooters

6 02 2014

Readers may recall the claims made by anti-democrats like the Suthep Thaugsuban and Navy Seals commander Rear Admiral Winai Klom-in, who is close to Suthep. As loopy as these claims are, many anti-democrats seems to believe them and set about “proving” them.

One bizarre way of doing this is reported at Khaosod, where the “daughter of the elderly man paralysed by gunfire in pre-election violence has denounced the accusation that her father was a Cambodian gunman.”

Yes, Arkaew Saelew, aged 71, and probably shot by an anti-democrat gunman has been converted on anti-democrat social media into a dangerous Cambodian gunman, getting what he deserved from the “unarmed” anti-democrat gunmen!

More ludicrous, “[s]ome accusations also specifically identified Mr. Arkaew as a close aide to Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen.”

His daughter, Euangfah Saelew, has “filed complaint … urging the police force to prosecute those who spread ‘baseless’ online rumours about her father.”

She felt the need to explain that “her father was a Thai-Chinese resident of Songkhla province before he moved to Bangkok′s Laksi district where he settled down and made a living by selling soft drinks in front of a local school.”

The anti-democrats do appear to be descending into the depths of a Fascist nonsense world of lies and propaganda that only they believe.





Suthep at the Bangkok Post

27 01 2014

Suthep Thaugsuban has been interviewed at the Bangkok Post. There’s a lot of rather surprising stuff in it, suggesting that Suthep is beginning to believe his own propaganda.

The government of Ms Yingluck Shinawatra will try to hold an election this Sunday. The Pheu Thai Party may win more than 400 House seats because this election, in fact, has Pheu Thai as the only actual contender. Other political parties play supporting roles and they can transfer their votes to one another.

It is not at all clear to us what he means when he claims that parties “can transfer their votes.” Anyone who can enlighten us, please do. That the Puea Thai Party can win “more than 400 seats” can only be blamed on the Democrat Party, which has refused to stand candidates (again).

If Pheu Thai wins a decisive amount of seats, it can use the election to claim its legitimacy to continue with national administration.

Again, blame the Democrat Party. They could have run a Vote No campaign, but didn’t. They could have taken on Puea Thai, but they are electoral failures.

We will have another huge campaign before polling on Sunday [to stop people voting]. We may campaign in front of polling units but we will not block the election. Voters may find it difficult to enter polling units. The main objective of the PDRC is to prevent the government from proceeding with this election.

Not blocking but preventing people from voting? No difference really. Same anti-democratic stance. Here they are in action, assaulting a little old lady trying to vote and far more violence was used elsewhere:

When asked about the possibility of a postponement of the election, Suthe is clear: “A postponement of one year or one year and a half will do.

On the warping of reality:

The government will fight to its last. Pol Lt Col Thaksin will not compromise but will fight until the last minute. I learn that Pol Lt Col Thaksin wants a civil war. They take action and make challenges every day to provoke the military to stage a coup but we do not want one. I was informed that Pol Lt Col Thaksin will arrive in Cambodia in a few days to give direct commands.

What is the evidence for this claim about civil war? Is Suthep just making this up like the other plots “revealed”/concocted in the past? Think Finland Plot and the anti-monarchy diagram of a supposed republican plot? PDRC concerned about any possible violence?

Then this:

We are seriously worried about violent attacks by foreign armed men. I coped with them in 2010. Soldiers’ posts were attacked. We know they are professionals. However, I am glad the military are alert. Those who are patriots will not let any party use armed foreign forces to kill Thai people.

We do not believe that Suthep has made this claim previously, linking 2010 – does he mean mysterious men-in-black? – to foreign insurgents.
If nothing else, this claim reveals the very close links with Rear Admiral Winai Klom-in, who made the same evidence-less claim a few days ago.

In any case, this claim might be compared with another. At Khaosod it is reported that:

Chinnarat Karnchanavichian was arrested at a police checkpoint in Pathum Thani province in the early hours of 25 January, after police uncovered a number of weapons and military hardware in his vehicle.

The search on his vehicle reportedly turned up 1 AK-47 rifle, 60 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 1 RPG launcher with ammunition, 2 pocket knives, 1 cellphone, 2 safety helmets, 1 grenade, 22 caltrops, 1 flashlight, and a set of military camouflage uniform.

Mr. Chinnarat told police he had been hired by a military officer to deliver these weapons to another agent on Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok Road in exchange with 5,000 baht reward….

[A] high-ranking police officer said the police have received reports that Mr. Chinnarat might be one of the armed militants involved in the spree of violence in Bangkok in recent weeks, such as the grenade attacks and shootings on anti-government protesters.

 





Does he protest too much?

23 01 2014

As anyone reading social media on Thailand knows, Navy Seals have been copping plenty of comment on their undercover role apparently working with the anti-democrats. That chatter also has the Seals commander a relative of Suthep Thaugsuban.

True or not, the commander, Rear Admiral Winai Klom-in, seems to be proclaiming his and his Seals just a little too loudly and if  a report at the Bangkok Post is any indication, rather too bizarrely.

Now the military brass often sounds bizarre in denials of things because they are used to saying whatever they like and getting away with it. Even so, Winai is getting the prize for nonsensical denials amounting to admissions. No wonder his boss has told him to shut up.

But back to Winai’s very load complaints and claims.

Winai reckons “he had received intelligence reports that ‘foreigners’ [he means Cambodians] from across the eastern border were transported on Monday in 10 passenger vans in order to instigate violence in Bangkok.” This claim, reminiscent of claims made under the Suthep-Abhisit Vejjajiva regime about red shirts, like back then, has no evidence. It did have a link to Suthep.

Of course, the anti-democrats hate Cambodia and Cambodians (and fear their alleged skill with “black arts”).

Making very similar claims to Suthep & Co. back then, Winai opined: “Those who brought in foreigners to kill Thais should not have been born in Thailand,” and we assume he means, as before, Thaksin Shinawatra. But, no evidence now or then.

But Winai was on a roll:

Winai said he had evidence [but hasn’t made it available to a single person] that during the 2010 political violence, 39 members of “a foreign force” were shot dead during the clashes with security officers and red-shirt protesters had used a refrigerated lorry to remove their bodies from the scene.

This was all a smokescreen for the real story in this:

Rear Adm Winai denied allegations that three members of a Seal team were linked to the recent bomb attacks on the anti-government protesters, as pictures of the perpetrators were released on social networks.

He said the three Seals were not involved as they were at Sattahip naval base when the incidents happened.

[But] Rear Adm Winai admitted he had sent several Seals to the protest sites on missions to suppress foreign drug gangs and protect the protesters amid reports that “foreign forces” could be infiltrating the protest sites.

PPT is still looking for fairies at the bottom of our garden.

He said he has now ordered six of the Seals to withdraw from the protest sites to return to their base at Koh Samae San in Chon Buri.

Right…. now we get it. There weren’t three Seals but six! And they were helping out the anti-democrats. As the admiral explained: “… we’re ready to go there again if we need to look after the people…”.

No, wait, at The Nation it is reported that there was “a 10-member team officially working undercover to gather intelligence and information about the smuggling of drugs from the east to the capital.”

The arrested group had “security cards” from the extremist “Students Network.” Another officer explained this “was necessary for the men to have them to facilitate their investigation at rally sites.”

PPT might be too conspiratorial, but there seems enough smoke here to suggest a raging fire.