'Car bomb' a govt ploy, ex-security chief alleges
Government critic Prasong Soonsiri said yesterday that the arrest of a man allegedly driving a car laden with explosives near caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's home was set up to give the government the opportunity to declare a state of emergency and uproot political opponents.
Prasong said it was an obvious set-up due to conflicting evidence given by witnesses. Circumstantial evidence also made it unbelievable that this was a real assassination attempt on Thaksin, he said.
Prasong, a former National Security Council secretary-general, said the "bomb" had not been assembled and that the military official who was arrested was an administrative soldier who knew nothing about it.
"The set-up was timed to coincide with the rumours spread by the Thai Rak Thai Party over the past month," he said.
He said that Thaksin did not trust the Internal Security Operation Command deputy director, General Pallop Pinmanee, because Pallop was protecting Chamlong Srimuang, a leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), and a long-time friend.
Prasong said that Thaksin's dismissal of Pallop and his attempts to interfere with the military reshuffle might cause a confrontation between him and the military.
Prasong warned that the political situation was reaching breaking point after Thaksin announced he would wipe out his political opponents after the general election.
"The set-up of the 'car bomb' plot may lead to the declaration of a state of emergency. Incidents like these can be handled without passing through normal legal procedures," he said.
PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila also said it was possible that the "car bomb" was a state set-up because police gave conflicting and suspicious statements.