Internal Security Operations Command

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Internal Security Operations Command
Agency overview
Formed 1965
Type Government agency
Jurisdiction Nationwide
Headquarters Ruen Ruedi Palace, Nakhon Ratchasima Road, Dusit District, Bangkok, Thailand
Motto "Asādhuṃ Sādhunā Jine" (Pāḷi)
("Conquer the Evil by the Power of Good")[1]
Annual budget THB 7,980,125,500 (2013)[2]
• THB 8,201,570,700 (2014)[3]
Agency executives
Parent agency Office of the Prime Minister
Key document

The Internal Security Operations Command (Thai: กองอำนวยการรักษาความมั่นคงภายในราชอาณาจักร; rtgsKong Amnuai Kan Raksa Khwam Man Khong Phai Nai Ratcha-anachak) or ISOC (Thai: กอ.รมน.) is a unit of the Thai military devoted to national security issues. It was responsible for suppression of leftist groups during the 1970s and 1980s during which it was implicated in numerous atrocities against activists and civilians. The modern ISOC was implicated in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. After Thaksin was deposed in a military coup, the junta transformed the ISOC into a "government within a government", giving it wide-reaching authority over the National Counter Corruption Committee, the Department of Special Investigation, and the Anti-Money Laundering Office. The junta also authorized it to help provincial authorities in marketing OTOP products.[4] In June 2007, the junta approved a draft national security bill which would give ISOC sweeping powers to handle "new forms of threats" to the country. The ISOC revamp modelled it after the US Department of Homeland Security, and would give ISOC sweeping new powers and allow the ISOC chief to implement security measures such as searches without seeking approval from the prime minister.[5] As of June 2007, ISOC was headed by Army Commander-in-Chief and junta head General Sonthi Boonyaratglin. Apart from this the ISOC is under the authority of the Office of the Prime Minister.

Communist Suppression Operations Command

The CSOC was established in 1966 with the assistance of the United States to coordinate nationwide anti-Communist operations.[6][7]

Following the 17 November 1971 coup by military dictators Thanom Kittikachorn and Prapas Charusathian, Praphas appointed himself Interior Minister, Chief of Police, and head of the CSOC.

The CSOC was implicated in several atrocities in its 1970s war against leftist groups. This included the Red Drum Massacre, the mass murder of southern Thai activists by burning them alive in gasoline drums.

Student leader Thirayut Boonmee showed evidence that the destruction of Ban Na Sai village in the Northeast of Thailand was the handiwork of the CSOC.[8] The military had earlier claimed that the Communist Party of Thailand had been behind the villages destruction.

The ISOC succeeded the CSOC after the overthrow of Thanom and Prapas.

Operations during the 1970s

The ISOC conducted operations in cities and the Thai countryside to subvert leftist groups through propaganda and violence.[9] In 1973, the ISOC commenced a bombing campaign against hill tribe villages in the North of Thailand.

Future Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda was a senior officer of the ISOC.

The ISOC's role declined starting in the early 1980s after the downfall of the CPT. However, it still had great influence. In 1 April 1987, after Prime Minister Kukrit Pramoj claimed that the ISOC had been brainwashed by communists, over 200 Thai Army Rangers attacked the Prime Minister's residence.[10]

Plot to assassinate Thaksin Shinawatra

ISOC Deputy Director Pallop Pinmanee was sacked from his position after Lieutenant Thawatchai Klinchana, his driver, was found driving a car containing 67 kilograms of explosives around the residence of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Pallop denied all involvement, noting that "If I was behind it, I would not have missed."[11][12] Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner Lt-General Wiroj Jantharangsee noted that the explosives in the car were completely assembled, equipped with a remote unit sensor and ready to be detonated, and would have a blast radius of around one kilometre.[13]

Post 2006-coup ISOC

Thaksin planned a major restructuring of the ISOC prior to the coup which overthrew him in September 2006. Soon after the coup, the junta released three of the Army suspects in the car bomb plot.[14] Junta leader and Army Commander-in-Chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin appointed himself head of the ISOC (its previous head had been the Prime Minister) and transformed the ISOC into a "government within a government", described as being equivalent to the US Department of Homeland Security. The ISOC was given wide-reaching authority over the National Counter Corruption Committee, the Department of Special Investigation, and the Anti-Money Laundering Office. The new ISOC was criticized as being a shadowy puppet master pulling strings among existing agencies, answerable to no one but its leader.[15]

To protect people in the south of Thailand from insurgency-related violence, the ISOC produced Jatukham Rammathep amulets for distribution to the Buddhist minority. The renowned animist amulets were believed by some to have magical powers to protect their holders from violence and large sums are paid for them. The plan was developed by Colonel Manas Khongpan, deputy director of the ISOC in Yala province.[16]

The Cabinet of General Surayud Chulanont gave the ISOC staff an 84.3 million baht "reward". The ISOC had originally requested the reward in 2003, but was turned down by the Thaksin government.[17]

See also


  1. ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง กำหนดภาพเครื่องหมายราชการ ตามพระราชบัญญัติเครื่องหมายราชการ พุทธศักราช ๒๔๘๒ (ฉบับที่ ๒๖๘) ลงวันที่ 9 กรกฎาคม 2555 (pdf). Government Gazette (in Thai). Cabinet Secretariat. 129 (Special 130 D): 19. 2012-08-27. Retrieved 2013-10-23. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. พระราชบัญญัติงบประมาณรายจ่ายประจำปีงบประมาณ พ.ศ. 2556 (pdf). Government Gazette (in Thai). Cabinet Secretariat. 129 (93 A): 1. 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2013-10-12. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. พระราชบัญญัติงบประมาณรายจ่ายประจำปีงบประมาณ พ.ศ. 2557 (pdf). Government Gazette (in Thai). Cabinet Secretariat. 130 (93 A): 1. 2013-10-11. Retrieved 2013-10-12. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Bangkok Post, CNS advises extended term for AEC, 14 February 2007
  5. Bangkok Post, Cabinet approves security bill, 20 June
  6. [1] and [2] Lee, Terrence C., "The Causes of Military Insubordination: Explaining Military Organizational Behavior in Thailand", Paper presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association in Honolulu, Hawaii, March 2005
  7. Murray, Charles, "The domino that didn't fall" The Atlantic, November 1984 v254 p34(8)
  8. Anderson, Benedict, "Murder and Progress in Modern Siam"
  9. Handley, Paul M. "The King Never Smiles", Yale University Press: 2006, page 222
  10. Timeline of modern Thai history
  11. The Nation, 'If I was behind it, PM would be dead', 25 August 2006, Retrieved 25 August 2006
  12. The Nation, "Army officer arrested in alleged car bomb attempt is Pallop's driver: police", 25 August 2006
  13. The Nation, 'Bomb plot to kill Thaksin foiled', questions linger, 15 August 2006
  14. The Nation, Car-bomb suspects get bail, 30 September 2006
  15. The Nation, Thailand's Dept of Homeland Security, 12 December 2006
  16. The Nation, Amulets to 'help protect' Buddhists in South, 14 March 2007
  17. Bangkok Post, Cabinet backs B84.3m in Isoc 'rewards', 23 July 2007