Questionable reform plan

Last week's quiet revelation of a reorganisation of the army's most secretive unit raises startling and important issues. According to a source within the Internal Security Operations Command, there are plans already afoot to make Isoc, in effect, in charge of strategic security. That includes all intelligence gathering, immigration policy, the battles involving terrorism and transnational crime, and the war against illicit drugs. This deserves greater public airing.

Isoc is known as the army's "dirty tricks" division. Even most of the men and women in the command are shielded from identity. Isoc is top-heavy with "army specialists", a job description that obviously can cover a lot of territory and cover up a lot of missions.

Former Isoc specialist and three-star general Manas Kongpan showed what Isoc can get up to. At the time of the coup in 2014, he was the military's man in charge of dealing with the influx of Rohingya boat people from Myanmar. He "dealt with" the hapless asylum seekers by helping to organise one of the most brutal human trafficking gangs in the region's history. Dozens or maybe many more died in the ring's jungle camps, starved to death or worse, when their relatives or friends were unable to come up with enough extortion payments for the traffickers.

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