If the information in a Bangkok Post story is to be believed, Thailand’s military dictatorship is in disarray. It may also be that its factions are coming apart. We certainly hope so, but acknowledge that the junta’s survival instincts have kept it together for three years.
The first signal of disarray is that the usually hopeless police are showing signs of even greater capacity for the inane than usual.
They claim to have “created a sketch of a person suspected of being involved in the Phramongkutklao Hospital blast…”. Yet they have not released it and cannot confirm when they might make it available even when they plan to use it to get an arrest warrant.
The police lamented that “the case is not easy to crack…”. These guys are dolts and worse.
A second signal is the claim that the military has detained a suspect. The police say they know nothing.
A third signal is that it seems that “security authorities [were] … tipped off about possible attacks. They did nothing even when three letters tipping them off were received. Maybe they are too busy seeking out lese majeste suspects to worry about bombs.
A fourth signal is that both The Dictator and the Deputy Dictator skipped town. General Prayuth Chan-ocha headed south and General Prawit Wongsuwan was in Europe for what authorities finally said was medical treatment. That’s after a cabinet meeting decided not to discuss the bombing.
Fifth, and most telling of splits, the detestable 1st Army commander Lt Gen Apirat Kongsompong made big claims.
First, he declared he had “information that up to four ill-intentioned groups are behind the explosion at the army-owned hospital.” Second, he said “he also had information that the explosion was not carried out by foreigners, but was the work of Thai citizens.” Third, he boasted about his knowledge of the bombers: “We’ve got their names…”.
Who are “we”? Why is that Apirat’s “we” are not working through legal channels to arrest the “known” perpetrators?
We think he’s probably looking around to decide which political opponents to fit them up for the crime. But let’s go with Apirat’s own story: “I am waiting for the order from the deputy prime minister [Prawit Wongsuwan]. I am ready to take action against these groups immediately and mercilessly as soon as he gives me the orders…”.
Prawit…. There you have another clue to the disarray and factional competition.
Update 1: Meanwhile, The Dictator is dancing. We are left to wonder why he reckons the bombing is unimportant when Apirat wants to slit throats.
Update 2: Of further evidence of disarray, Prachatai reports that Army Gen Charlermchai Sitthisart claims exiled red shirt Wuthipong Kachathamakul or Ko Tee is a “suspect” in the hospital bombing. He then added:
Ko Tee is just one suspect…. I can’t answer anything because we suspect everyone and I can’t say things randomly until we have enough evidence to identify … A random guess will not benefit society.