The Useful Mr Red


The media have had a lot of joy dramatizing the recent events surrounding Seh Daeng – army specialist Major General Khattiya Sawasdipol, who today reported to the police to hear charges against him. He is accused (inter alia) of being in possession of ‘war weapons’ – you can always tell who is going to be painted as the bad guy when the phrase ‘war weapons’ comes out; I recall when the police were trying to disperse the violent, heavily armed PAD mob that was illegally occupying Government house they were suddenly accused of using ‘war weapons’ against civilians. What weapons have been found? (As ever, I rely on what information has been put in the public domain – perhaps there is secret evidence to which I am not privy). Apparently, there is a .38 calibre pistol and a ‘number of bullets’ – well, he is a major general and TIT (This is Thailand) so it does not seem very surprising that he should have a gun at home. He is also said to have one, just one M26 grenade – and of course we immediately think of the grenade attack on General Anupong’s quarters the other day (and perhaps grenade attacks against at least one of the PAD’s fascist rallies). Just one grenade? Khun Khattiya himself denies all charges and says he has been framed. He also claims that comments he made (supposedly death threats against judges and others) were distorted or taken out of context – well, as far as I can see, he is a bit of a loose cannon so he might well have said some rash things. He has, I believe, form. In any case, he seems to have performed the role that the establishment might have wished him to perform – there is now some pretext for the jackboots to step up security, repress free speech even further and so on because of the supposed threat from the crazed red-shirt faction and its supporters. He has been very useful to the state, in that sense.