What a story!

20 03 2017

The junta’s minions have come up with a remarkable story regarding the weapons “seized” in Pathum Thani.

In our earlier post we did express some skepticism about the report and added a note about Thai Rath saying the weapons were for an assassination plot. We expressed skepticism about that claim as well.

There has been a lot of skepticism, and not just from us. (The yellow-shirted royalists and anti-democrats believe all the stories.)

So the junta has come up with a story of a “plot” that suggests a remarkable effort to weave together a range of moral and political panics by the junta and among its anti-democratic supporters.

We cannot say that there is nothing in the “plot” claims – after all, all “plots” have to have some aspect to them that will convince true believers to believe. However, the royalists and anti-democrats have concocted a remarkable number of plots over the past decade to justify their political actions. Think of the Finland Plot, the infamous republican plot diagram and the “Khon Kaen model.” None of these has ever been shown to be other than a political concoction.

More recently, there was the claimed republican plot to murder The Dictator. We mention this, because it seems that the junta is using this to weave its current plot:

Police believe the huge cache of mostly military weapons retrieved on Saturday were intended to be used against authorities who had laid siege to Wat Phra Dhammakaya, including a plot to kill Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Add to this remarkable aggregation of Wat Dhammakaya and a plot to assassinate The Dictator, the weapons are located at a “house linked to hardcore red-shirt leader Wuthipong Kochathamakun, alias Kotee.” Then stir in a claim that “some of the seized weapons had been taken from soldiers during the violent red-shirt political rallies in mid-town Bangkok in 2010.”

Even the words in that quote are meant to reinforce the notion that red shirts are still “violent” and a political problem.

The cops reckon that the “weapons were being prepared for a potential attack against officers that had surrounded and were searching Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Pathum Thani’s Khlong Luang district…” and “were prepared to ‘harm or assassinate’ … Gen Prayut…”.

A police chief says that something he called “[a]n investigation” that “found people in Kotee’s group were preparing to use weapons to assassinate the government’s leading figures including Gen Prayut…. We found a rifle with a scope. We guarantee that this is not to shoot at birds but was going to be used to assassinate the leader of the country…”.

That’s a remarkably frivolous piece of evidence gathering and imaginative supposition.

He goes on: “If the government uses forces to suppress people in Wat Phra Dhammakaya, the armed group would be ready to help the temple and hurt officers.”

Evidence? It seems that “police and the DSI have always suspected that political groups have operated in Wat Phra Dhammakaya and intelligence from both agencies points to allegations they had tried to cause unrest.” Confirming this for the authorities, “[0]fficials found people in Mr Wuthipong’s network had been entering and leaving the temple prior to the siege and had been meeting him in the neighbouring country [Cambodia].” In fact, of the nine people so far arrested, the police say “[o]ne … was found to have showed up to the temple before…”.

It is a flimsy story. But there’s more: “Pol Gen Chakthip [Chaijinda] said Mr Wuthipong has played a role in inciting people to fight against the monarchy, and he is a supporter of Wat Phra Dhammakaya.”

And still more: The nine “suspects” had “joined the 2010 red-shirt political rally in central Bangkok.” The implication that the public is meant to draw from this is that the suspects might be “men in black.”

So far there’s red shirts, republicanism, Wat Dhammakaya, assassination, war weapons, men in black and monarchy involved in the plot. What more could there be? How about the frustration of the regime unable to extradite those they hate?

While Ko Tee has denied the arms belonged to him, the cops admit he’s been on the run since early 2014 (not since the coup as we said in our earlier post). “Pol Gen Chakthip said police had tried to contact … Cambodia … for Mr Wuthipong’s extradition, but had received no helpful reply.”

Now the police can claim that Ko Tee “allegedly played a leading role in gathering weapons to support the temple and as such must be considered a threat to national security…”. This “plot” will presumably help with gaining his extradition.

The next step for the police will be to parade the “suspects” before the media where they will presumably admit their guilt and “confirm” the “plot.” They may even be made to re-enact some “crime.” That’s the pattern.





Junta intimidation

20 03 2016

The Nation reports that the intimidation of lawyer Benjarat Meethien continues.

Benjarat is the lawyer for Thanakrit Thongngernperm, who has been alleged to have been involved in the so-called Khon Kaen model or plot to carry out attacks after the 2014 coup. Later, a warrant was issued for Thanakrit, accused of another plot to attack a royal event and/or The Dictator. At the time, while claimed to be “on the run,” he was actually incarcerated in a Khon Kaen jail and had been there since mid-2014.

Deputy Prime Minister, coup maker, Defense Minister and General, Prawit Wongsuwan brushed his incarceration aside and came up with a response that was so deliciously dumb that terrified us that such morons are able to keep Thailand under the military boot. General Prawit said that “although Thanakrit was in prison he must have done something against the law, otherwise the court would not have approved the warrant for his arrest.” Prison authorities confirmed Thanakrit was in jail and could not have been involved, but what the heck, this is the junta’s Thailand.

None of the original Khon Kaen 26 arrested in mid-2014 has yet been convicted and many remain in jail. PPT has always thought the military concocted the “plot” as a part of its drive to consolidate military dictatorship following the coup.

Some of those involved with the second “plot” – again we seriously doubt that it existed, not least because the junta has produced no evidence – have been charged with lese majeste.

All of this bizarre background brings us back to Benjarat, who “has sought help from the European Union (EU) over alleged intimidation by authorities.” She says she has “suffered intimidation by police and military officers after she filed a petition against authorities under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) for dealing with a case involving her client.” And she’s the lawyer; just imagine what they must be doing to Thanakrit.

In her letter to the EU, Benjarat made the all too obvious point “that the NCPO and authorities treated people unfairly.” How could it be otherwise? This is the nature of military rule in Thailand.

She also complained about the dictatorship’s preference for moving detainees into the temporary prison at a Bangkok military camp – a prison for civilians that is essentially a military prison – “claiming that they suffer from poor treatment and tough conditions.” She had earlier petitioned the United Nations.

Benjarat claims she was followed, threatened and detained by military officers and that her residence has been watched by police and military officers. She “filed petitions against police and military officers involved in the issuing of an arrest warrant for her client.” Several weeks later, “the officers involved sued the lawyer for defamation. In response she lodged a counter-suit against the officers for making a false accusation…”.

Because she has dared stand up to the military, she is now a declared enemy of the junta and will continue to be harassed.





Lese majeste repression continues in 2016

6 01 2016

2015 was something of a record year for lese majeste cases, charges and allegations. We say this despite a recent article in the Bangkok Post was potentially misleading.

LM casesIn that article, a graphic was included (reproduced here), a casual reader could be excused for thinking that lese majeste cases have eased under the military dictatorship.

Nothing could be further from the truth for the data seem to be only for cases in civilian courts. Under the junta, however, all cases now go to a military court.

That said, 2012, under the Yingluck Shinawatra government, pressured by the military and monarchy, represented an inglorious record under an elected government.

At the website of iLAW, a rights advocacy group, 62 persons have been charged with the lese majeste under the junta. We think this is also an underestimate of those accused/charged and those convicted.

The real figure is in excess of 110. Lese majeste cases associated with to crackdowns on palace-connected persons number around 30 to 40 alone. On average, when sentenced, the length of jail time has increased substantially.

Under the military, even criticizing the lese majeste law is dangerous and can land critics in jail.

On new lese majeste cases, Prachatai reports on what might be the first case in 2016.

One of the men accused of being a part of a plot to assassinate unnamed persons at an unknown spot in December, is now charged with lese majeste.

Thanakrit Thongngernperm has been transferred from Khon Kaen Provincial Prison to the 11th Military Base in Bangkok.

He is alleged to have defamed the monarchy while talking to other inmates in Khon Kaen Prison.

The military and police earlier “accused Thanakrit of being one of the nine suspects in a terrorist plot around Bike for Dad, a cycling rally to honour … the King on 11 December 2015.”

Of course, Thanakrit is the accused who has already been in jail for more than a year and is accused of being involved in the “assassination plot” while in jail.

Lawyers say that all nine alleged “plotters” have been charged with lese majeste.





Dumb, dumber and stupid

30 11 2015

Sorry folks, but we are having trouble taking any pronouncement from Thailand’s ruling body, headed by its  most senior military leaders and supported by many in the middle class, the palace, mad monarchists and the powerful Sino-Thai tycoons. We can even see that the grand old man General Prem Tinsulnonda supports the military junta.

But, really, is this the stupidest government of all time? And, we do realize that stupidity does not eliminate the fact that it is an unpredictable nasty, vindictive and repressive government.

All of this is to preface the response from these dullards to the warrant they had issued for Thanakrit Thongngernperm, a suspect in the “terrorism plot,” claimed to be “on the run,” who has actually been incarcerated in a Khon Kaen jail since mid-2014.

So here we go, with the response to this revelation of Thanakrit’s incarceration from Deputy Prime Minister, coup maker, former current Defense Minister and loyal General, Prawit Wongsuwan. Based on what is currently known, his response is so deliciously dumb that we are amused and, at the same time, terrified for Thailand under this boot of this bunch.

General Prawit said that “although Thanakrit was in prison he must have done something against the law, otherwise the court would not have approved the warrant for his arrest.”

“He might have been in some communication (with outsiders). Ask him. He must have done something wrong. The court must have gone through all the requested warrants individually before approving them. A warrant can’t simply be issued without legal backing…“.

There are possibilities that Prawit could be right. After all, the judicial system and the Corrections Department are riddled with corruption, so Thanakrit might have been out on visits to friends.

In fact, though, Prawit is responding as the corrupt and arrogant thugs in the military have responded for years. They think that because they are powerful and armed, they can say any stupid thing they like and the gullible and frightened must believe them.

We can’t wait for the next story saying that they have discovered that Thanakit was, in fact, free.





Dumb and dumber

29 11 2015

We know almost all of our readers will have seen the latest and widely circulated stories on the “Khon Kaen Model Plot.” Even so, we feel we must post on the military’s most recent demonstration of its stupidity and disdain for the Thai people, if only as a matter of record.

Yes, we refer to the suspect, claimed to be “on the run,” who has been incarcerated in a Khon Kaen jail since mid-2014.

It was the junta – the so-called National Council for Peace and Order – that filed the complaints that led to the police warrants for Thanakrit Thongngernperm and eight others. They were accused of “terrorism,”  lese majeste and computer crimes.

None of the original Khon Kaen 26 has yet been convicted and many remain in jail. PPT thought the military concocted that “plot.”

We can now be sure that they have concocted the most recent “plot.”

The military dictatorship is full of such dunces, brought up to operate on unquestioned hierarchical obedience, its leaders are unable to concoct a believable lie. That’s obviously good for those who oppose them because the regime is composed of thugs rather than “thinking thugs,” who are infinitely more dangerous.

At the same time, this episode of political nastiness also displays how the military regime considers every single Thai to be stupid or gullible.

 





Further updated: Faking it

24 08 2014

Several reports in various media refer to 26 persons in Khon Kaen, arrested and held in detention since 23 May, being indicted by a military court “on charges including weapon possession and conspiring to commit terrorism.”

PPT has long expressed reservations about this military dictatorship claim that there was a “Khon Kaen plot” or a “Khon Kaen model.” We have seen too many false “plots” concocted by the military and other elements of the royalist elite for political advantage. Others have expressed skepticism about the “plot” in Khon Kaen.

The lawyer for the Khon Kaen 26 stated that those indicted include two women and 24 men, aged 40 to 72 years. They are “farmers, a bank security guard, a school director and business owners.” Some were red shirts but some were not.

The junta claims they arrested them with “guns, hand grenades, knives – things you’re not allowed to have without permission,” and they are said to have been planning a “large-scale attack in Khon Kaen, one of the largest northeastern cities.” There haven’t been many large-scale attacks in Thailand using knives, at least not since the early 19th century, if we take knives to mean swords.

The report claims that unnamed “[e]xperts say there are armed elements on both sides of Thailand’s bitter political divide.” We understand that the military is well-armed and that it has gunned downed scores of its political opponents, but there has been no particularly reliable or convincing evidence produced of red shirt “armed elements.”  If there were, we doubt they’d be old people with weapons that include knives.

PPT has seen to much military fakery over too long a period to believe the lame tales it repeatedly concocts. Its tales are for its true believers and we doubt that the Khon Kaen 26 were “men in black” plotting insurrection.

The only groups that repeatedly plan insurrection in Thailand are military personnel and its top brass, and this is especially clear when the current military brass led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha is considered. They have plotted, planned and murdered opponents since 2001. The result is the 2006 and 2014 putsches, the military dictatorship and thousands of their opponents dead and injured.

Update 1: The Bangkok Post has an excellent and detailed article on the so-called Khon Kaen model, also asking serious questions.

Update 2: Fixed a typo in the third paragraph.