Fact and Fiction: Men-in-Black

Bodies of the Fallen, MIB walks by

The year, 2010. The location, Bangkok.

The military crackdown of the Red Shirt protesters was ruthless and cruel. More than 90 people were killed and over 2000 were injured. Bangkok was a city on and under fire. What started as a peaceful demonstration of thousands of Thais in the Red Shirt movement against the injustices and human rights violation during the military coup of 2006 had turned into a street war. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva was the prime minister at that time. Without his consent and influence, the army could not have entered the city. Instead Abhisit facilitated the stage, a violent intervention that pitted Thai against Thai, military against the people. 

A soldier without his uniform

To overcome the demonstration, the military had sent soldiers in midst of the movement. It was common to find soldiers in civilian clothes. Many wore red and black, disguising themselves in the furtherance of their espionage and sabotage missions. Even when unproven allegations about stacks of military weapons were “found” on the side of Red Shirts, such accusations were supported by emotionally-charged, bias people. But what about the murders of the protesters? Are soldiers not bound to any ethics or code of conduct when faced against fellow Thai nationals?  Is oppression and violation of human rights a standard of dignified civilization?    

Authority in disguise

Despite the presence of the Red Shirt protesters, did this justify the call for violence to suppress and kill? Freedom of assembly is a right of everyone. This is seen in many democratic nations. The use of violence to disperse a crowd is a terrible violation of human rights. The use of the military and any cowardly acts of destruction against the people is the work of tyrants. 

The Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand [TRCT] is not independent, that is the obvious TRUTH. It was established by the government that had approved the violence in the first place. It is interesting to know that there are biased elements of the commission. None of the decision-making members of their many subcommittees are from the Red Shirt movement. Instead of accountability and fairness, the TRCT had recruited [with “meeting allowances” provided] people who helped whitewash the crimes against humanity.    

Couple of Men in Black with the Army

What about these “Men-in-Black” among the army as documented by hundreds of amateur and professional photographers, local and foreign? Are soldiers allowed to wear civilian clothing for the purpose of suppressing protesters? If they are allowed, then why are some quarters accusing that the Black Shirts came from the protesters?  

Red shirt soldier with the army
Army "Man-in-Black" invading Watson

In a time when people from all around Thailand come to openly display their right in assembly, the authorities had shown scorn towards democratic rights. Instead of acknowledging that the army coup of 2006 was wrong and illegal, and Abhisit’s “government” that replaced a legally-elected Prime Minister Mr. Thaksin, the authorities had caused bodily and mental harm to members of the Red Shirts. The deliberate harm and criminalizing the exercise of human rights is a crime against humanity.


Posted on: 05/10/2012, by : Areva Aamy
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