р╕Бр╕нр╕Зр╕Чр╕▒р╕Ю‘р╣Бр╕Фр╕З’ р╕Юр╕е.р╕Х.р╕Вр╕▒р╕Хр╕Хр╕┤р╕вр╕░ р╕кр╕зр╕▒р╕кр╕Фр╕┤р╕Ьр╕е

“Red” Army Major General Khattiya Sawasdiphol

р╣Др╕Чр╕вр╣Вр╕Юр╕кр╕Хр╣М (ThaiPost)

р╕зр╕▒р╕Щр╕нр╕▒р╕Зр╕Др╕▓р╕гр╕Чр╕╡р╣И 8 р╕бр╕┤р╕Цр╕╕р╕Щр╕▓р╕вр╕Щ 2553 (Tuesday 8 June)

Interview: 31 January 2010

(abbreviated version)

…I went to observe the Red Shirt rally at Sanam Luang and realised that PAD were simply the tools of the amaat. At that time I did not know what “double standards” meant, or the meaning of democracy. These did not cross my mind until the Prasat Phra Viharn incident became politicised (when Yellow Shirts in 2009 claimed the site near the Cambodian border to belong to Thailand causing a diplomatic furore). So I started to be involved and went on stage and met people like Da Torpedo (currently in prison under lèse majesté charges) and Suchart Nakbangsai (who managed to flee the country) and talking about monarchy and the “Saturday ‘No Coup’” (Khon Wan Sao) and “Second June Group” talking about October 1976. It is not appropriate to talk about monarchy and the police were told to take them away. Well, they should instead be talking about 19 September Coup! The red shirts do not talk about monarchy which is why they have not had charges laid of lèse majesté. Instead the police laid charges of “selling nation”; or “bringing the inside out”.

In September 2008 the taxi driver group were attacked as they tried to get into Government House (26 August PAD invade Government House). I was also criticised by (now retired General) Panlop (Pinmanee; р╕Юр╕▒р╕ер╕ер╕а р╕Ыр╕┤р╣Ир╕Щр╕бр╕Ур╕╡ 1936-, one time anti-Thaksinite and friend of Chamlong but who later changed his position and became Red Shirt supporter), then the following day ex-PM Samak declared a state of emergency over yellow shirts occupying Government House. But, Anupong (Paochinda, Army Commander in Chief) did not act. I was confused: how come the army did not act?

Saedaeng’s “Prajaotaak warriors”

I trained “Prajaotaak warriors” (so-called King Thaksin’s “warriors”) for one month on how to engage in defensive unarmed combat[1]. I realised that red shirts did not know how to protect themselves. PAD had been rallying for 193 days and was street hardened and well supplied as a tool of the amaat. As I was training the Prajaotaak I met Panlop who had not changed to red at that time. Prajaotaak helped ex-PM Somchai to escape from being surrounded at Parliament in 2008. On 14 October, boss General Anupong went on air asking ex-PM Somchai to resign. At that time we had problem with Khmer at the border. Instead of taking care of that problem he was preoccupied with asking Somchai to quit. So I attacked Anupong and as a result was then investigated. I was banned from public speaking for two years, but I did not stop. I was also asked to stop working. On 30 October 2008 I was called in and told by Prawit (General Prawit Wongsuwan, Minister of Defence) to stop training Prajaotaak. 1 November the “unknown army” throw a hand grenade at the (so-called) “Siiwichai” PAD guards. I was not blamed because I had at that time stopped training the Prajaotaak.

On 2 November the Military Police in battle gear were asked to come and protect PAD’s mob. I thought this a bit odd too. I was starting to understand about amaat regime and realised that Thaksin had been obstructed and another two PM’s after him (Samak and Somchai) had been cheated. I thought about this and reflected: Prem was PM for 8 years (two full terms- and was never even elected). So within the army itself they had an unsuccessful rebellion to try and get rid of him. Many went to prison or were removed from their positions. Then Prem supported General Arthit Kamlang-ek and General Kriangsak Chomanan; he put General Serm Na Nakhon and General Yos Thephasdin in prison. Prem then eventually discharged Arthit because he was becoming too powerful even though he had helped Prem get to Khorat during the rebellion. Now Prem is chairperson of the Privy Council. It is clear how extensive and powerful the amaat is because they can control all the mechanisms of state…But Thaksin made mistake by attacking Prem. He did not work under Prem – this was a big mistake. Afterwards Prem “killed” Samak and Somchai.

During the month of November 2008 when PAD’s mob was in Parliament, no one could get them out, either police or army. That is why they were attacked by the “unknown army”. I knew when it would happen. In April 2009 when PAD attacked I was investigated. I was behind the scenes helping the Red Shirts. At this time I got interested in politics and gave talks on stage and decided to establish my own political party. I started to think about what is democracy. Even when the military says they are the king’s army, but the citizens of the country also subjects of the king; so why kill ordinary citizens? We are dominated by conservative elements such that we cannot raise our voice and (yet) claim to be under the king. Indeed, the military are dominated like those who come out to fight with me. The people don’t know that I am also fighting my boss[2].

In April 2009 I was in Europe and there was no one to control the conflict at Pattaya (9-12 April, ASEAN Summit meeting). If I were there, I would have controlled events. But Newin Chidchob who created the Red Shirts (at the time when Newin was with Thaksin during the first yellow shirt protests) also created the Blue shirt mob (now under Abhisit). The army supported Newin’s Blue shirt mob financially. The result was inter-conflict. Newin is good at creating mobs. On 13 April I returned to Thailand and General Prawit Wongsuwan, Minister of Defence, told me not to get involved. But people came to ask me to help; I said sure, but my only duty is to suppress the “unknown army” or those who shoot the Red Shirts. I cannot fight with the army. So the Red Shirts then dispersed.

Until October 2009 I was getting involved and was pushed to the frontline and went to talk to General Piroon Paewpolsong (army chief-of-staff). I talked about democracy and was then pushed out of the army. Piroon was going to take me to the criminal court. I then went to talk with Prawit, Sonthi Bunyaratkalin (2006 coup leader) and General Chetta Thanajaro. The only person not wanting to talk to me was Anupong.

The Tahaan Phraan[3] (р╕Чр╕лр╕▓р╕гр╕Юр╕гр╕▓р╕Щ; rangers, former counter insurgency trained volunteer unit from Phak Thong Chai dissolved about five years ago) appeared in November 2009. So according to military strategy all factors for conflict were in place. The “abolishment of state power by people” is now complete; when people can no longer have a voice then it may happen like the French Revolution with assistance from factions within the military. This is contra to the communist way of rebellion. But both ways fight against the amaat. Every time, 1973 and October 1976, I would pull them down from the stage if they talked about abolishing the monarchy. We are not about that; which is why we are not charged with lèse majesté. The concern we have is about double standards in the amaat bureaucratic polity; but they say we are “selling the nation”!

When I am asked to talk, Red Leaders had to listen to me because I know the military mind. This is why Anupong went to see Tahaan Phraan. He was worried about trained Red loyalties against the state, or if the Tahaan Phraan wake up and fight – then there will be real conflict for sure. So Anupong went to see these guys in Phak Thong Chai (Khorat). They were established in 1979 but today they are mostly older folk selling lottery tickets or work as drivers. At the beginning there were three sections of Thaan Phraan to be given ten million Baht each section. After he went there they got half that amount. He called them in and about six hundred came to see him, giving up two days of work to get to the meeting. They should have been paid Baht 200-300/Day (per diems). But he did not pay them anything. They were upset. Many subsequently turned up at Rama 5 equestrian statue in Bangkok (traditional a site for institutional protest) on 10 December and so I went there to keep peace. I told them not to fight the main army; as soldiers without control are like a gang without discipline. Media again makes up a story and Anupong then told me again to cease work.

I can say that much of the army is Red, except Anupong and (army spokesperson, Colonel) Sunsern Kaewkumnerd who are clearly Yellow. On 14 January they blamed the bombing of Anupong’s office in the Royal Thai Army Headquarters on me (rockets launched by M79, left the office demolished but no person injured). Anupong also thought it was me who released information about army being attacked…Before I did not know the various elements of the Red Shirt movement and touch hands with more hard-core elements such as Arisman Pongruangrong, Yosawarit Chooklomreu (jeng dokjik), and Payap Panket. I also clashed on occasions with three stage leaders: Nuttawut Saikua, Jatuporn Prompan and Veera Musikapong; these guys tend to give speeches about nonviolence.

Today everything is coming together as three factors: firstly, the three core leaders Nuttawut, Jatuporn and Veera control the protestors from around the country; secondly, the alliance consisting of Pheu Thai Party, which are “free floating” and has not been touched because Chaloem Yoobamrung (Party President) and Chaovalit Yongchaiyudh (Party Chairperson) are there; thirdly, “hardcore forces” (Arisman, Payap, and “jeng dokjik”). The hardcore group were excited for some time and because of my presence became even more self-confident…General Panlop Pinmanee worried that the three factors coming together (e.g. protestors-alliance-hardcore) would create violence. But it was the media, ASTV Manager, the Nation, BangkokPost, Naewna, ThaiPost, Kom Chad Luek, who were all instigating the problem. The conflict between Anupong and I concerns the “nation”. It is resolvable…

How to fight against the amaat

There seven steps in the fight against the amaat, whereby we are currently at the sixth step which is the training, political education and organisation of the resistance which could lead on to open fighting. The last step is the most worrying: releasing the forces of khorng-jorn (р╕Бр╕нр╕Зр╣Вр╕Ир╕г) or guerrillas. This is comparable to the French revolution, where the elites were completely killed. This would be uncontrollable. It is the people’s army in the city; a situation currently likened to two governments, but the state having to compete with electronic cyber-war and “new generation” of (battlefield) web sites. Therefore, to prevent such a scenario of course we should talk about reconciliation.

Reconciliation and starting anew

There has never been a time in the past when a PM cannot go to the countryside, or the Ministry of Interior cannot go and give social and economic support. Let’s reconcile and dissolve Parliament, and start anew. It is true: the amaat regime still exists but we must not give in. If they ask for anything don’t give in to pressure for nominating their own cronies to ministries and heads of departments. If we can do it this way (reconciliation), we can make it. If not, then the government will have to fight the whole country. But I can say that the whole country is red. Everywhere I give a talk, there is red. In Isaan nearly everyone is red, provinces such as Mukdahaan, Mahasarakham, nearly every province, even in the south, Songkhla, Phattalung are now start to have red. Once they have arms then war will start. This is why (retired General) Panlop told me to take care of the situation and not to allow it to become so serious that fighting occurs. Therefore, whenever I give a talk I show the audience how to avoid clashing with the army.

So, firstly, in terms of strategy the reds need a leader like Napoleon then the army would not dare to shoot. In Thailand we have (retired General) Chaovalit (Yongchaiyudh, р╕Кр╕зр╕ер╕┤р╕Х р╕вр╕Зр╣Гр╕Ир╕вр╕╕р╕Чр╕Ш, 1932-) who used to say once during the Bloody May 1992 protests that the first bullet must target him first. However, when the incident took place in Bangkok he disappeared to Nakorn Phanom! So Panlop and I had to bring him back!

Secondly, we have to bring the families of the soldiers out to surround Government House and demand democracy. They would not dare to shoot their own relatives. Thirdly, we should request the army not to come out and fight their own people; soldiers should stay at home. If we cannot succeed with these first three steps and the army came out and started shooting like April last year and the Tahaan Phraan come out then civil war will start…

If reds win this conflict then Thailand will become a new prosperous society, the country will change, there will be no amaat; but if Reds lose then there’ll be a lot of killing.

Types of Red Guards

There are two types of red guards: first type is now in every province, but Tahaan Phraan is separate; they don’t depend on anyone. They will provide security when they come to Bangkok and take care of the core leaders. Tahaan Phraan will have red cloth on them, but red shirt volunteer guards will wear black – just to make them look cool! The Tahaan Phraan that comes to Bangkok will mostly be retired but there will also be younger ones. These people will have no arms. We must control these two groups; I will control the Tahaan Phraan, while core leaders will control their own red guards. I have to make sure that there will be no violence, no fighting between Tahaan Phraan and army. The consequence would be disastrous.

The strategy is that there will be the group of three core leaders (Nuttawut, Jatuporn, and Weng) who will talk on stage. This group will build a mass around the country. Then the hardcore which is divided into the moderates like Dr Weng, and radicals such as “Jeng dokjik”, and “Isaan Rambo” (Suporn Atthawang р╕кр╕╕р╕Юр╕г р╕нр╕▒р╕Хр╕Цр╕▓р╕зр╕Зр╕ир╣М), Arisman, and Payap who will coordinate together. This latter group believes there will no change without force. They just found me after I was kicked out of the army, so they are excited (Perhaps another reason for the state wanting Saedaeng dead?). However, at the same time I am very loyal to the country and never think of fighting with the mainstream army. I just want to try and protect people by conditioning without the use of force. Remember when (ex-PM) Samak ordered (Army Commander in Chief) Anupong and the latter did not cooperate and so failed to take control. When Abhisit orders the army and it does not act, then everything will be fine. Then he will call for a new election. That will be the end of my work here and I’ll seek a pardon from the new Minister of Defence and be able to return to my proper job[4].

In relation to Thaksin

The reds never actually received money from Thaksin. But the media started to make the “teasing” link. The media are in fact “massaging” the situation and waiting to see what will happen for the next elections. But the hardcore group knows very well that at the next election the amaat will still be there in control, so there will inevitably have to be violence to make change.

As for Thaksin, he is very kind; never wants the hardcore way to resolve this problem. If you ask me to analyse in relation to the seizure of Thaksin’s Baht 7.6 billion assets, there must be killings involved and judges rewarded with 25% of this wealth! I went to see Thaksin but there was nothing other than a personal interest. I had nothing to do with him. We only talked and I had my photograph with him. Thaksin is an economist; he is not very smart about security. He never understands me. He just leaves it to the core leaders to “massage” (the resistance) and inform on stage. Then after December 2011, he hopes to have an absolute win and amnesty so that he can come back home. But the hardcore group knows that this is not going to happen; this will not be a win situation.

I come out to prevent a clash of forces between Tahaan Phraan and the army. But the media made Anupong misunderstand my intention. So I was asked to stop working. But as I do things without anything in return – I am not afraid…I do this for the nation. This is my ideology. No one can stop me except my parents, and they are no longer alive. I fight against the amaat; I don’t fight with the monarchy. If there are people (among reds?) who see me they stop talking (negatively?) about monarchy. Surachai Sae Dan (core leader of the splinter group Red Siam [р╣Бр╕Фр╕Зр╕кр╕вр╕▓р╕б]) was not allowed by the three core leaders (of UDD) to get a voice on stage because he is critical of the monarchy. But he listens to me and does not criticize openly or talk about communism.

…We (Saedaeng and Panlop) try to prevent a clash between Tahaan Phraan and the army; unless something happens to me (he was of course shot a few months later after this interview). If something happens and fighting starts between these two elements, it is the government and the army who would lose as province by province is taken over similar to the way Mao Tse-tung won over the countryside as the masses worked together. Today people know about double standards of this government, they realise how the ex-PM (Thaksin) was done badly. Even one person makes a mistake, the whole party is banned. People can see things like this. People are convinced of double standards and will take it to the end. Saedaeng (first person voice) comes to help them…I admit to being eccentric otherwise how can I “fly a plane into the enemy”!? My eccentricity is for the nation.

I already applied to establish a political party (after his murder his daughter who was once Yellow Shirt took over as head). If I win a seat I will undertake the following activities: firstly, in the judicial system I’d separate investigation power (prosecution) from the power of apprehending/arresting (policing); secondly, I would make the Thai army the best in the ASEAN region, at present we are number six; thirdly, improve national infrastructure, have freeways like in Malaysia and fast trains like Vietnam (must be in the south?), have International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000), or 3G like in Cambodia; fourthly, establish improved local tambon level infrastructure.

I would not join Pheu Thai Party; better to be a dog’s head than a lion’s tail, and I would not fight with anyone except the head of the party. Well, if I can’t win, never mind. I’ll just propose an improvement in the judiciary and a court of law with a proper jury system where decisions cannot be bought by a judge alone. I’d like to combine red and yellow eventually. Both will turn against the amaat (yellow shirts used by Sondhi Lim were actually propped up by the amaat). Every day I ask Sondhi to take yellow shirt off and put on a red shirt and then we meet under the equestrian statue of King Rama V. But Sondhi is lying to himself. He has to admit that he was shot by the amaat, and the amaat are ruthless. In fact, in his own way, Sondhi wants to see democracy as well and the country to be prosperous.

In regards to the possibility of another coup, some red shirts want a coup which would lead to amnesty, but this is just a trick because on the 25 January (2010) lots of armoured vehicles came out – but it was just a threat.

Today the army is fighting with people which never happened before. Now the whole country is nearly all Red. The Yellow state is failed. Now is fighting between government’s army and people’s army because the red shirts have four (three?) full factors (mentioned earlier). Suppose the protest is suppressed in April (2010) then the core leaders would be arrested but it doesn’t matter because they will be “political prisoners” and released at the time of the next elected government. No government ever wins against the army of the people.

As for Prayut (General Prayut Chan-Ocha р╕Ыр╕гр╕░р╕вр╕╕р╕Чр╕Шр╣М р╕Ир╕▒р╕Щр╕Чр╕гр╣Мр╣Вр╕нр╕К, deputy army commander and touted by some to replace Anupong after he retires), he does not have any role yet. To attack Prayut is wrong. Although he is not bad, the situation may lead him to become bad in responding to the situation at hand. He is from 21st Infantry Regiment and comes up the ranks because he has to control forces. It is not time to attack him yet. Right now (interview conducted in January 2010) it is Anupong we should be concerned about. Maybe (General) Piroon (Paewpolsong) would come up as Commander in Chief after Anupong because he knows how to establish cost effectively the 3rd Cavalry Regiment (as Prem’s birthday request last year at a cost of 20 billion Baht, to control the Northeast Region). In regard to Prem, he is smooth, smart and cunning. No one can control him.

[Translated 16 June 2010]
[1] These were mostly homeless folk living around Sanam Luang who turned up near the front stage each night during the rally.

[2] Saedaeng seems to be making the point here that although it seems a conflict of interest as he is in the army, he is actually with the people and in a struggle together against the amaat system.

[3] The army are scared of likely conflict with Tahaan Phraan; maybe Saedaeng was shot to warn this ex-militia who respected Saedaeng not to become active?

[4] It is clear that Saedaeng did not mean harm for anyone, but only because he was loud he was a concern. Even ASTV felt bad over his killing and sent a funeral wreath on a number of occasions but was thrown out by his supporters.