Thailand's Red Shirts: How to Hide an Army Under the Nose of the World

by Tony Cartalucci

The "red shirts" in Thailand, as they stand off with armed Thai troops in the center of Bangkok, have been portrayed by the mainstream media as freedom fighters for democracy. BBC and CNN have repeatedly reported that the protesters are unarmed, or lightly armed with only slingshots, rocks, and Molotov cocktails, giving the illusion of a "David vs. Goliath" epic.

The illusion begins to breakdown as photos and videos begin to trickle out. LIFE magazine featured a photo gallery with a red shirt leveling a revolver from a covered position, and journalists have released tweeted photos of several other pistol wielding protesters.

New York Times also reported that gunfights were raging throughout the city along with grenade attacks aimed at government forces, suggesting that Thai army forces are up against more than just slingshots and rocks. Thais and foreign journalists call the mystery gunmen the "men in black," referring to the black garbed, heavily armed militants working on behalf of the red shirt protest leaders.

The "men in black" or "black shirts" debuted on April 10th, 2010, when the worst violence in decades cost the lives of 20+ protesters and soldiers. April 10th saw the government's first serious attempt to disperse the red shirt protesters after they attempted to storm a military base in Bangkok. Army Colonel Romklao led the operation against the protesters.

A seasoned veteran, Colonel Romklao had dispersed this very same mob last year, in April 2009 without a single loss of life. The strategy was the same; shots fired into the sky, tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd and an advance with shields and batons on protesters. It was night and the army was playing soothing music before beginning the operation. Soldiers firing into the sky, began to advance on the protesters when an M79 round landed into the middle of their front line. Several vans reportedly pulled in behind the protesters' line, and black garbed gunmen piled out brandishing AK-47's, more M79 launchers, and M16's. Videos on YouTube show the spectacular explosion of the first M79 from several perspectives, including one directly behind the blast, leaving Thai soldiers on the ground, bleeding, injured and dying.

Another M79 came in, followed by another. A green laser marker swept the troop lines and stopped on Colonel Romklao's command unit. M79's and gunfire erupted, locked in on the green marker. It was an ambush. What happened next was unmitigated violence; confusion amongst retreating troops with their leadership decapitated, elation and boldness amongst protesters who began clubbing injured soldiers, and panicking soldiers firing back while trying to recover their dead and wounded, leaving behind armored personal carriers, weapons, and equipment behind in their haste.

Snipers, covering the black shirts moving on the ground targeted army troops and protesters alike. Someone within the UDD red shirt movement wanted to make sure a bloodbath took place this April 10th night, even if it meant bringing it upon themselves. As diabolical and unbelievable as that may seem, the proof comes from the UDD red shirt leadership itself.

From a Reuters report: “Red shirt spokesman Sean Boonpracong told Reuters the shadowy black clad gunmen seen at the April 10 rally were there to protect the red shirts. “They are a secret unit within the army that disagrees with what’s going on. Without them, the black clad men, there would have been a whole lot more deaths and injuries.”

After initially denying there were even gunmen present that night, other UDD red shirt leaders began echoing Boonpracong's sediments, thanking the black shirts for their dark deeds that night. Major General Khattiya Sawasdipol, also know as Seh Daeng (Red Commander), of the UDD red shirts, shed further light on the gunmen.

"The Age" reported: "Sawasdipol was formerly a Thai ranger and recruited many former rangers to be security guards for the UDD tented city in Bangkok. In one recent interview he declared that he had 300 armed men trained for ''close encounters'' and armed with M79 grenade launchers. In other interviews he denied he was the leader of the military wing of the UDD.

When a senior military officer was killed by sniper fire last month [Colonel Romklao], he told the media that it was the work of a shadowy unit supporting Thaksin inside the military, dubbed the Ronin Warriors (a reference to the era of Samurai warriors in Japan)."

One would wonder why gunmen, admittedly working for the UDD red shirts, would instigate such violence and what the UDD red shirt leadership hoped to gain from such a bloodbath. Amazingly, Sean Boonpracong, UDD's official spokesman, explains in detail how the resulting violence was meant to be the impetus to call Prime Minster Abhisit's resignation and snap elections, the only real demand being made by the protesters.

Now, with the death toll mounting, many have believed the Thai army to be heavy handed, with snipers and rifle squads setting up bunkers throughout the streets of Bangkok. Clearly though, if there are black shirt death squads supporting Thaksin's manufactured "people's revolution," and considering what happened to Thai troops on April 10th, nothing less would be prudent.

Bangkok's Lumpinee Park, adjacent to the UDD red shirt's main protest site, has been the scene of some of the most brutal gunfights in the conflict and the scene of several journalist shootings. Those seeking refuge inside the park are using the same assault rifles and M79 launchers employed on April 10th.

Running gun battles are taking place at several other hot spots around the city. Red shirt protesters, cheer every time an M79 explodes in the distance, as they burn tires, throw rocks, and fire improvised weapons.

As the battle rages on, footage and photographs will continue to trickle in. UDD red shirt leadership have already slipped up several times, stating that they would withdraw "militant fighters" from the streets if the government returns to the negotiating table. Despite the foreign media's best efforts to portray the movement as organic, grassroots, and unarmed, it is the UDD red shirt leadership itself that has contradicted them along with the help of YouTube videos and Twitter photos taken on the streets of Bangkok.

Breathtaking misinformation, selective reporting, and careful wording by the mainstream media has turned the reality of an armed globalist backed insurrection, into the lie of a brutal, merciless military crackdown on unarmed peasants. This is how an army of mercenaries is hidden under the nose of the entire world. But the alternative news exposes the facts and gives us a better insight into the events playing out on the streets of Bangkok as well as an anatomy lesson on mass media misinformation. It also gives us a sober warning about the potential folly of violent resistance. Protesters who truly believe in their hearts they are fighting for their future are nothing more than pawns for men intent on dooming them instead.