We get the impression that the military dictatorship remains confused and anxious. The story on the “assassination” plot is changing by the minute.
Yesterday the “authorities” claimed that they had foiled a royal assassination plot and arrested three men. Today, according to Khaosod, a police general says “he was no longer sure about their [the “plotters”] objective.” And, there’s only two in custody and another seven being “hunted.” It turns out that these two have been in military custody for a week.
Confused? You bet!
More significantly, The Dictator, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha and his police say red shirt activists are behind what is now described as “a disrupted terror plot.”
They appear to be making political capital from the tragic events in Paris and hoping that by calling the so-called plot an act of “terrorism,” the rest of the world may believe them.
Bizarrely, the “authorities” are also claiming that the “red shirt cell” is one they said they destroyed last year when they arrested two dozen persons who have still not been brought to trial after 17 months.
Deputy police chief Sriwarah Rangsipramkul said the military detained “two Redshirt supporters” for “an unspecified conspiracy to cause ‘unrest,’ possibly by assassinating junta chairman Prayuth.”
Confused? You bet! It gets worse:
“They have targets, but we cannot confirm what those targets are,” Sriwarah said. However, he believes the group could have been thinking about seizing army barracks in the northeast as a starting point to unleash their alleged campaign of terror.
Confused? You bet!
Red shirt leaders say the alleged plot is “a work of fiction” meant to “distract the public from ongoing embarrassment over alleged corruption in the army’s Rajabhakti Park…”. Weng Tojirakarn said the story was a “farce.” Worachai Hema said it was “absurd.”
Just to make the whole thing more theatrical, The Dictator “told reporters today he’s undeterred by the alleged threat and will continue visiting northeastern provinces for government affairs.” He puffed out his chest and declared: “I can visit any area. I’m already risking my life these days anyway. I’m not afraid. Don’t you think I’m not risking my life now?”
Confused? Maybe not. Prayuth gets to show he is a tough guy and the Army has interference running for it.
Update 1: A Bangkok Post report updates the confusion. It continues to report that the arrested men have been “charged with violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law, and the Computer Act.”
Pol Maj Gen Chayapol Chatchaidej “said that apart from Pol Sgt Maj Prathin and Mr Nathapol, there were seven other people involved in a plot to stage terrorist attacks and capture military and police camps as well as government installations in many northeastern provinces.” Many? Really?
Of course, the “two had confessed to the crime…”.
The seven others in the “team” are listed as: Phitsanu Promsorn, 58, Wallop Boonchan, 33, Chatchai Sriwongsa, 24, Meechai Muangmontree, 49, Thanakrit Thongngernperm, 49, Veerachai Chaboonmee, 33, and Pahiran Kongkham, 44.
Update 2: The military dictatorship is following a familiar path in the claims they are making regarding this so-called plot. First a plot. Second, a claim involving monarchy. Third, a fumbled “story.” Fourth, blame is directed to red shirts. Fifth, opponents exiled overseas are claimed to be “involved.”
Prachatai has reported on the final element of this construction: “The police also announced that two suspects caught said during the interrogation that certain anti-monarchy figures overseas who posted messages defaming the monarchy on social media are involved in the plot.”
So all the military’s pieces are put in place. Now all they have to do is convince others that this “plot” actually existed.
The Prachatai report also seems to “answer” a question PPT raised when the “plot” was first “revealed.” We wondered how the “plot” resulted in lese majeste charges. The report “explains”:
The police chief added that the suspects also face charges under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese majeste law, for contacting each other via Line Chat Application to prepare the terrorist plot on the auspicious event for the King.
Lese majeste is now to be used for king, royal family, regent, dead kings and events….