Above: New Year’s Eve bombings in Bangkok at Saphan Kwai on December 31, 2006
Tom notes: Good focus today on the latest Chalerm “revelations”. Asia Times had a good interview with Prasong right after the coup in 2006, where he freely admitted being one of the original plotters (Grumbles, revelations of a Thai coup maker – Dec 22, 2006).
More on Chalerm’s comments from the Thai-language press:
10 areas must be kept under watch to protect against bombs during the New Year – Thairath, December 13, 2011
The bomb situation on Ratchadumnern Road escalated. Chalerm is frightened of a repeat of the 2007 bombing during the New Year Festival. He will create a security center to watch over 10 areas in the city. He revealed that four groups are possible bomb culprits.
He also confirmed that the killer of Seh Daeng was killed by police and the men in black group are made up of police who were supported by politicians as well. [Seh Daeng, the Red Shirt militant leader killed by a sniper – more on the killing of Seh Daeng: Colonel Romklao’s Revenge and Divining the Plan]
Mr. Pracha Promnok revealed that the leader of a bombing movement was a Parkinson’s victim–General “P” [meaning Prasong Soonsiri]. The police will hurry to investigate and found a fingerprint on the bomb and DNA on a shirt. They prepare to compare to people who are involved in bomb making.
Chalerm revealed that Bangkok is likely to be disturbed by a gang during the New Year festival – Daily News, December 13, 2011
Mr. Chalerm revealed that there might be a bomb planning conspiracy during the New Year festival. He specified the 10 locations of the 2007 bomb crisis as a pattern and a standard to prepare for future incidents. The Royal Thai Police force will be used as a command center during the New Year festival.
[We are not sure what the tenth location is, but according to our records from 2007, blasts went off at Saphan Kwai, Victory Monument, Central World Plaza, Seacon Square, Sukhumvit Soi 62, a seafood restaurant near Central World Plaza and Petchburi Road, Khae Rai intersection, and Na Ranong intersection]
Mr. Chalerm boasted that he will chase persons (which he believes are police officers) who shot Red Shirt supporters because the charges [for the crime] will be valid for 20 years.
[This is the interesting move by Chalerm. He is apparently splitting with Red Shirt dogma and his own earlier threats to expose the military, and even those above, as the villains behind the shooting violence at the Red Shirt rallies of 2010. Each player has their own individual power motive in using these revelations as a lever for political ambitions. It will be interesting to see what politically motivated verdict is reached by the police in the upcoming report on the violence.]
There is a plan to propose a cabinet minister to purchase a equipment which costs around 400 million baht to block and catch persons who commit lese majeste. There is a guarantee that this equipment is worthwhile to purchase because it is very effective and ready to be employed immediately.
Mr. Pracha Promnok disclosed that a soldier general is a person who is behind the bomb-planning conspiracy at the government lottery office. He also further stated that this person will definitely be under surveillance.
Also the Democrat Party spokesman contended that the meaning of political prisoner must not be a person who violates criminal law.
Update: Interesting that the Nation reports the news of the ten sites at risk of bombs (Ten sites face bomb threats: police) as a straight warning from police as opposed to its actual context in a game of political grandstanding.
That is not to say that there is no real danger from bombings. Most bomb attacks in Thailand are either politically motivated (political intimidation bombings) or copycat incidents to settle disputes where one side must resort to violent symbolism because of their Thai-style “dissatisfaction.”
The current high political tension–fighting for cabinet positions, anxiety over more surprise moves for Thaksin amnesty (in the guise of reforms of the constitution or military), and the continued perceived weakness of PM Yingluck as a government leader could well lead to opportunistic bombings.
Looking Back: The 2007 New Year’s Bombings in Bangkok
New Year’s Eve bombings in Bangkok
Front pages after the bombings
Post-New Year’s Bombing Editorial Cartoons
New Year’s Bombing Scapegoat
New Year’s Eve bombings in Bangkok at Victory Monument
New Year’s Eve bombings in Bangkok at Saphan Kwai