Ko Tee dead?

8 08 2017

Following reports of Wuthipong Kachathamakul’s enforced disappearance in Laos there has been little information available. However, reports in the media and on social media make two points that are at odds with each other.

The military dictatorship states that it has heard nothing from Lao authorities to confirm anything about the case. That’s according to General Thawip Netniyom, secretary-general of the National Security Council. Then Thawip said “he personally believes that Wutthipong is still in hiding.” In fact, such claims by the authorities are common following enforced disappearances.

The diverging social media account is that Ko Tee is dead: “Photos purportedly of Wutthipong’s body have gone viral on social media.”

It is incumbent on the Lao government to investigate the matter, but it is doubtful that the secretive regime there will make any statement.

Updated: National security debased (again)

6 05 2017

With all the repressive ridiculousness of the military dictatorship, it is easy to miss a report at the Bangkok Post regarding the never-ending campaign to capture and jail Wuthipong “Kotee” Kochathamakun.

National Security Council secretary-general General Thawip Netniyom has reportedly sent a third request to Laos for the arrest and deportation of Ko Tee. He has done this because “Lao authorities had not been responsive to previous requests…”.

With all of its important work protecting the country, now to be (eventually) supported by submarines, the National Security Council seems to rank the capture of a minor anti-monarchist at the top of its security agenda.

One of the reasons for this is that the yellow shirts clamor for him to be taken down. Another reason is that the new king apparently demands that his protection from words, photos, video and more is one of the highest concerns of national security.

General Thawip “described Mr Wuthipong as being a dangerous person because he had violated the lese majeste law and allegedly planned attacks on national leaders.” We do not dispute the first claim, but the second is buffalo manure. It is a wild claim concocted by the military dictatorship so that it could then concoct a claim for extradition from Laos.

Anyone seen any of the so-called terrorists arrested in the highly publicized operation fronting a court? It was almost two months ago.

The junta now claims it has “21 arrest warrants for a series of serious offences” out on Ko Tee.

It seems that the police, military, junta, NSC, cabinet and many other state agencies are now essentially devoted to nothing more than tracking down and concocting lese majeste, including entrapping and jailing curious citizens who, for example, are interested in the king’s bizarre fashion choices.

Update: A reader points out that Ko Tee has made threats of attacks in his podcasts. That’s not in dispute. The manure mentioned above is the concoction of an actual plot rather than an internet-based rant.

As we said… a junta ruse

7 02 2017

Just a couple of days ago PPT posted on the sudden revelations of “death threats” to The Dictator and Deputy Dictator and their claims that the “assassination” social media posts came from red shirt, republicans “overseas.”

We speculated that the claims were whiffy and suggested to us a plot by the junta to go to the Lao government with “crimes” against the anti-monarchists that did allow extradition. (Lese majeste is not covered by the current extradition treaty.)

As the Bangkok Post reports, that speculation turns out to be pretty accurate.

The junta has determined that “Thai people who fled to Laos to escape lese majeste changes have issued the death threats against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon…”,

That’s according to National Security Council chief General Thawip Netniyom.

We can add at this point in the discussion that General Thawip was appointed only a little over a week ago “to seek a meeting with Laotian officials and work out a deal, which could include the exchange of people sought by each country.”So we can assume, if our speculation is good, that it is General Thawip who has come up with this “brilliant” plot.

So it is no surprise that Thawip says “up to six” Thais in Laos are involved. That’s probably the six he was told to get.

And, of course, “Gen Thawip plans to visit Laos to follow up on the government’s extradition request…”. He adds, “[d]eath threats against important people could lead to another criminal charge.”

Of course they are, whether real or concocted.

“Dangerous” people and cajoling Laos

1 02 2017

There have been several stories of late that report that the military junta is cajoling Laos into handing over a small number of allegedly anti-monarchist refugees.

In a recent account, the Bangkok Post claims that General Thawip Netniyom, the “head of the National Security Council, said Tuesday that the people being sought used social media to attack the monarchy.”

He affirmed that the Ministry of Defense “has assigned him to seek a meeting with Laotian officials and work out a deal, which could include the exchange of people sought by each country.”

We understand that net-ignorant General Prawit Wongsuwan has been pressing Laos for some time to get the dissidents silenced and to have them deported to Thailand. In November 2016, he claimed some success by working military channels in Laos.

The claimed success involved using the late king’s death for political gain. On his passing, the junta promptly asked Lao authorities to warn the Thai dissidents. It was claimed that the Lao authorities warned them “about risky activities and asked them to keep a low profile, at least during the grieving period.”

It is claimed that “[s]ome YouTube channels such as ‘Media Force’ disappeared…”. As far as we can tell, it is still operating. as are other channels including Faiyen.

In the most recent report Defence Minister and Deputy Dictator Prawit is cited as having spoken “with his Lao counterpart Lt Gen Chansamone Chayalath, who reportedly agreed to consider deporting the wanted Thai dissidents…”.

Among the earlier “negotiations” it was stated that:

Thailand and Laos signed an extradition treaty in 1999 but the pact cannot be enforced for the junta’s purposes due to the political nature of the lese-majeste offence. Laos is a socialist republic where insulting the monarchy is not a crime. The extradition treaty does not allow offenders to be sent home for political crime or crimes that are not listed by the contracting parties.

Has the Lao government changed its mind and its policy and law? Contradicting earlier reports, it is now stated by the Thai junta’s General Thawip that:

Although Thailand and Laos do not have an official agreement to extradite suspects, we can proceed in terms of mutually beneficial cooperation. If Laos wants a criminal who violated the law in Laos and is hiding in Thailand, they may ask Thai officials to make an arrest and send that person back….

Another minion, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Kongcheep Tantravich said the people it wants deported “are causing divisiveness to another country. They are smearing the government and smearing the institution, which is dangerous.”

Helpfully, the Post adds: “The monarchy is often described with respect as ‘the institution’.” In fact, it is not always said with respect.

Maj Gen Kongcheep claimed: “They are not suspects, they are dangerous people.”

He then indicated that the military junta is cajoling its neighbors: “This is more of an exchange of prisoners between one country and another…. They have some and we have some. We are exchanging information and we will see what we get out of it.”

Cajoling for a deal. That’s a bit like ensuring that one gets a commission is a corrupt deal. Its history suggests that the most dangerous people are the Thai military.

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