Matichon: Report on Army’s Role in 2010 Crackdown
There has been significant discussion inside Thailand today with regard to two articles published by the newspaper Matichon, summarizing the conclusions of a report commissioned by a member of the Thai Army and published in Saenathipat Journal year 59 , third edition September-December 2010. This article was written in order to present a documented of study of how to resolve the recent unrest of protesters in the urban environment. This idea for this report was put forward by Lt.Gen. Singseuk Singprai in order to determine the role of the army in solving the this new form of urban unrest.
The article was authored by a cadet under the 32nd Army Calvary Unit under the pen name “Huana Kuang,” and offers some startling revelations and confirmations (such as Abhisit’s specific orders to disperse the protesters with no negotiations, as well as other details) from the inside perspective. More commentary to come soon.
Key content concluded by Matichon:
1.While Suthep insisted in Ratchaprasong rally Abhisit wasn’t involved in ordering the crackdown operation and claiming he, himself, was responsible for it this article clearly states that Abhisit ordered the army to start the operation in a CRES meeting on May 12.
Moreover, it states that the government policy was always been clear that they would use the army to pressure UDD protesters – the clear policy was to disperse the protesters in order to “end the protest” not “to open the negotiation.”
Matichon stated they might be one of the reasons that the senator’s offer to negotiate was declined on May 18.
2. The writer concludes that one of the main reasons for the success of the operation was the death of Seh Deang and the withdrawal of UDD leader, Veera.
3. The document states that “snipers” were one of the first units deployed during the crackdown [ on May 19] and they were stationed in high buildings such as Keeannuang (Wireless Road) and Bangkok Cable (Sarasin Rd).
And it states many times in the document that this sniper unit was used against UDD snipers
4. The document states that live round bullets was being used throughout and that the plan was to enact a fullscale urban warfare military operation.
5. CRES believed there were 500 armed men among the UDD protesters.
6. In the strategy suggestion part, it says the army should attempt to save innocent people’s lives, be calculated and not to shoot people with anger
Below are some translated extracts from the report itself, which we were able to obtain:
The crackdown was divided into 3 parts ; 1) May 14 was preliminary crackdown 2) May 15-18 was tactical withdrawal and 3) May 19 was final crackdown which started from 3 am. to 1.20 pm. until the surrender of UDD leadership.
The reasons for the successful operation on May 19, 2010 are down to a clear policy;
1. The govt policy was to crackdown in order to end the protest and not to open negotiations. The political will was very clear and the PM directly ordered the operation therefore it was much easier for the army to enact a military operation. When the PM ordered the operation on May 12 during a CRES meeting the army were then able to begin their planned strategy.
2. A new word was invented in order to make society feel at ease. “Tighten the area” was invented to replace the word “crackdown”
3. The tactic of cutting off water, electricity, phone signal and prevent more UDD from going into Ratchaprasong area were used by the govt and CRES to pressure the protesters physically and mentally.
4. The unity of the govt and army.
5. There was no time limit pressures on the army as there were on April 10.
6. The efficiency of our information operations designed to communicate with both locals and international community.
7. The control over TV signals when the govt/army leadership made an announcement
8. Efficient explanations of all information that was published or broadcasted on local or international media outlets eg the use of weapons, live round bullets and sniper.
9. Control all communication such as shutting down facebook and twitter of Thaksin’s network.
10. DSI announcement to stop money transactions of those who were suspected of supporting UDD helped this operation.
11. The transfer of the UDD terrorism cases to DSI to make any investigation against them more effective.
12. The weakness of UDD strategy which became the govt’s strength was the withdrawal of Veera and the death of Seh Daeng.
Strategy and the army unit that was involved in Ratchaprasong crackdown.
The operation started at 3 am. on May 12th. The first unit that was sent in were snipers in order to seize the higher areas on the buildings on Wireless Road (Keeannuang building ) and Sarasin intersection bridge ( Bangkok Cable Building) – high building on Wireless Road was seized before 5 am. But the one on Sarasin Road was unable to be seized.
Then, 2nd division of Calvary ( the King’s guard) manoeuvred in 3 directions along Wireless, Silom and Surawong Rd. – the tanks were manoeuvring along with foot soldiers as in an urban warfare operation.
The fact that tanks were slowly running over the fortress of UDD in Saladeang had been planned for months by using lesson from April 10. This tactic had been planned carefully and was based on the most likely situation and was consistent with army strategy and politics.
A document was published which stated that the UDD had weapons and there were 500 terrorists among the protesters.
The document also indicated that the army, air force and navy were being deployed for this operation.