Looking back, and looking ahead
Wednesday, 27 June 2012
In the various updates and articles on this website much criticism has been directed against Thailand and Thai authorities. The more we have researched the case the role of Thai police seems to have been exaggerated. We would therefore like to extend an apology to all the serious, law-abiding, hard-working police-officers in Thailand for some of the statements made.
The original Thai police report clearly states that the original concept designed in 2009 that Kim Eriksson was “soon” to produce methamphetamine (so called “ice”) in his house came from the US DEA. And if you work in a police force – why should you not trust what one of the world’s most powerful agencies says?
The DEA stated they had a reliable source – an informer or “under-cover agent” – who had found out all about Kim’s plans. What the Thai police probably never were told was that an arrest warrant (for Conspiracy to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance (Ecstacy).”) was issued for this DEA informer - Swedish citizen Thomas Lilius - on October 17, 2001 for his role in the Triple-X-bust (read more here)
Why Lilius was not extradited to the USA we do not know. Those convicted got up to 18 years in prison and the man who supplied the know-how (Lilius) would probably have got quite a long prison sentence.
However, on August 20, 2008 the arrest warrant was lifted. The reason given is “Dismissed on oral motion of government.”
So are we to believe that the Bush Administration while in the midst of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as “the war on drugs”, sat down and said: Hey, this Lilius seems like a nice guy, why not let him be?
Or was there maybe some other reason?
According to Swedish internal police investigation 0150-K1764-11 police officers Cecilia Fant and Staffan Jonsson at the National Bureau of Investigation in Sweden (RKP) state that some time during the latter part of 2008 a deal was made between Lilius and the DEA. Remember the date the charges against Lilius were dropped? August 20, 2008.
If Lilius were to give the DEA “a big fish” the charges against him would be dropped, Fant and Jonsson say. It is also noted that at about the same time Ms Cecilia Fant had informal meetings with the DEA. What was said during these meetings we will never know. But at about the same time Lilius got in touch with Ms Fant offering his services as an informer. Maybe the DEA had recommended Lilius to call Ms Fant? She even sees this as a possibility herself.
Staffan Jonsson, her superior, declined the offer due to Lilius being “highly unreliable”. However, from that date Ms Fant and Lilius had regular (monthly) meetings. Only whatever notes Ms Fant has kept will provide information on what was discussed (if the notes have not been “lost”). This needs further investigation (see below).
It is a well known fact that Kim once was big in production and selling of steroids in Scandinavia, and was probably like a stone in the shoe for the Swedish police. They never seemed to be able to stop his operation despite him being put in prison.
Former DEA-agent Mike Levine who now is a lecturer, author and who also trains police forces in how to work against drug syndicates has often said that the DEA do a lot of trading: let one man go in order to catch another.
In a very interesting lecture Mike Levine explains how the DEA sometimes will exaggerate a person’s criminal status and role and make them what is called “Class One” drug criminal - which once was the level used only for people like Pablo Escobar and the likes of him.
Mike Levine explains: - “But as with most commodities they will be subject to inflation. When the Escobars and Suarezes become rare, you begin to use the term for lesser important criminals. So agents would inflate a mid-level doper, or sometimes a street dealer to Class One status based on "evidence supplied by a previously reliable informant". “
An article published in the Thai magazine Maxim describes Kim as a “Class One”. Where did the magazine get all the details from? Since Thai television companies had been invited to take part in the arrest of Kim it is not hard to assume that some person in some police force provided all the details about Kim. And the police force least likely to have all the information is the Thai police. It must have come from either the DEA or the Swedish police – or both.
Based on the information from the DEA the Thai police started their surveillance on March 27, 2009. Nothing illegal ever took place during more than a year’s surveillance. The Thai police must have started wondering: is this information really true?
That would have put pressure on the DEA who in their turn would have put pressure on Lilius, reminding him of the deal made in 2008. Since Kim had decided to return to Sweden on July 17, 2010 to serve his time in prison and then begin a new life with wife and newly born daughter, time was running out. So it must have been decided that the “crime” must take place in Thailand before July 17. Evidently July 14 was selected as “Crime-day”.
Kims trial was held June 14-17, 2011. A number of strange things soon became evident.
According to the surveillance report Thai police had taken photos of Kim, his wife and a "foreigner" when they made purchases of lab equipment and fully legal chemicals. At the time the photos were taken, the police evidently had information indicating that “ice” was going to be produced. One would think that police would take an interest in this totally unknown foreigner (Thomas Lilius), but no investigation whatsoever was made. Or as Police Colonel Sivapong Patpongpanich testified to the court:
-There was no investigation about who that male farang is, where he came from and why he accompanied the Defendant.
One might ask why? Or is it so that they knew all along that this was the “informer”. It seems strange that a country such as Thailand, fighting a war against drugs does not take a greater interest in a person helping a criminal suspect to buy chemicals. It just does not add up.
According to the court testimonies of the police officers no Thai police met the informer or “under-cover agent” as they call him. But in the Official Thai Complaint against Kim -
Black case no. AorYor 4335-2553
- it is mentioned that:
On 1st September 2009
Around 9.00 am., the investigation team prepared themselves to investigate and follow the target group in Rayong province.
Around 11.00 am., the concealed officers picked up the target group together with the undercover agent in Rayong province.
Around 11.15 am., the concealed officers, the undercover agent, and the target group traveled from the target house in Rayong province heading to Bangkok.
So what is true? Did any Thai police officers meet Lilius or not?
It may be so that Police Colonel Sivapong Patpongpanich and other top officers never met Lilius, but why were they not interested in who the man on the photo was, and why were none of the “concealed officers” questioned during the trial?
The testimony of forensic specialist at the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, Miss Kanyanun Kongpasaniroj, revealed a few very compromising facts.
1) The Office of the Narcotics Control Board refused to release the test results to the Court so these could be studied and subsequent cross-examination of the witness take place. And this was also accepted by the court. How can a court deny the defendant his right to cross-examine a witness, and especially the most important one?
2) There no longer remains any of the 53 grams of “ice” that allegedly were produced in Kim's house. Acccording to a reference manual the potential number of lab-runs that could be performed with 53 grams of ice can be counted in the '000:s using either method. Still, for some reason the main evidence in the case against Kim is no longer available, AND was not even available at the time of Kim's trial.
Once again, one must ask why? Is it not mandatory to show the court the evidence? And who took the decision to discard the substance that remained after the lab-testing?
3) Another fact that was revealed is that no analysis of the “ice” was made with respect to which method had been used to synthesize it. You would think that such an analysis would be basic in all forensic work. It is a quite simple procedure since you can always find impurities which prove what method has been used in production. Why was this not done?
The crucial question to be asked is: Was there really any methamphetamine produced on July 14, 2010? Or were 53 grams of “ice” planted in the lab? Remember that Lilius was in a hurry to get the case completed by July 14, 2010. The police and the media were waiting to move in. And if the recipe that is said to have been found in the lab had been used there should have been more than just 53 grams – there should have been 120-150 grams.
On Thursday 22 September 2011, the judge at the Criminal Court of Bangkok gave the verdict and read the sentence in the case Thailand vs. Mr. Kim Eriksson Sirawan. The judge sentenced Mr. Eriksson Sirawan to death for production and possession of methamphetamine. The sentence was immediately commuted to life imprisonment due the fact that Mr. Eriksson Sirawan had been cooperative through the case and had not denied the existence of equipment suitable for chemical production in his home in Rayong.
On December 31, 2011 Kim's appeal was submitted. This focuses on a few main issues.
1) That the key witness – Thomas Lilius – could not be heard since he chose not to be there. Nor could any DEA representative be heard in order to shed some light on the planning of this case of entrapment.
2) The forensic evidence – or more correctly – the lack of forensic evidence meant that Kim's right to a fair trial was infringed. The fact is that there during the trial there was presented NO evidence of there ever having been any “ice” found in Kim's house, no evidence other than Miss Kanyanun Kongpasaniroj's word. And can that really enough for a court to condemn a man to life imprisonment?
3) No attention seemed either to have been paid to the Swedish inquiry that was submitted (and accepted) as evidence. In this inquiry Swedish police officers state quite clearly that Thomas Lilius was present in Thailand at the time of the "crime", was involved and that he had been paid by the DEA, as well as that DEA would drop the charges against him for his role in the Triple X bust. So it is beyond doubt that if there ever was any ice made on July 14, Lilius was the person who had the know-how to make it. Without him and the plan of entrapment there would never had been any illegal substance made Kim’s home – if there ever was.
Since Lilius knew Kim was returning to Sweden on July 17, 2010 and would be away for at least 3 years it is quite obvious that the DEA knew this too. But did they tell the Thai police? Kim would never be able to set up an ice-factory until possibly 3 years later – if ever. Because with Kim put away in prison in Sweden, who would Lilius give to the DEA in exchange for dropped charges?
If one had been a Thai official with knowledge of these latter facts, what would be the point of a costly investigation and trial of Kim as well as inviting a notorious drug-producer such as Lilius to the country?
Is it not so that the Thai police were kept very much in the dark concerning what was really happening? Is that fair to a country that really does have a considerable problem with for example ice? The answer must be NO.
So what happens next?
Following a complaint filed by reputable Swedish lawyers Robin Söder and Johan Eriksson an inquiry has been initiated by the Swedish Prosecutor’s International Section. Any crime committed by a Swedish citizen abroad can also be tried in Sweden, the law states. So Thomas Lilius involvement in the possible manufacturing of ice in Kim’s house on July 14, 2010 is to be investigated. Lilius as well as the Swedish police officers who are assumed to have knowledge of his activities at the time should thereby be heard. All documentation that previously has been classified as secret will be accessed and the full picture most likely revealed.
Sadly, Kim’s family were refused access to documents held by the Swedish police in Bangkok (Doc A-187-357/11) signed May 4, 2011 by Mr Per Lagerud and Ms Karin Mostad. The reason being it might interfere with an ongoing investigation and “international relations”. So quite clearly “international relations” are more important to Sweden than one of it’s citizens’ lives. Because the investigation in question had already been completed (Thai Official Complaint - Black Case No. AorYor 4335-2553).
One can only assume that the secret documents contain information which could show an active role of Swedish police officers in this case of entrapment.
One of the most interesting testimonies at a trial in Sweden will of course be that of Thomas Lilius. His testimony may well contradict some of the crucial statements made by Thai police officers during Kim’s trial, and since Lilius was not present at the trial in Bangkok the Thai judicial system may have a number of new issues to follow up and examine more closely.
For example: Did some of the police commit perjury when they claimed never to have seen or met Lilius? And is the conclusion in the sentence that Kim was alone in manufacturing the alleged ice correct? The list could be made longer.
Such revelations could be very embarrassing for Thailand as well as for the Swedish police and of course for the US DEA (but would they really care?). It may lead to inquiries and actions which could result in disciplinary actions or even criminal charges. But is this Kim’s and his family’s fault? Of course not. The DEA and whoever chooses to work with them must take their responsibility - sooner or later.
Kim has not been executed but his life and that of his wife and daughter have been ruined following this case of entrapment. Moreover, due to the unwillingness of the prison and /or the Department of Correction in Thailand he has not been able to meet his daughter for more than a year. The purpose of a prison sentence is to act as punishment for criminals and to protect society from villains. But why should an innocent girl of 2 years age be prevented from seeing her father? Whoever can gain anything by such cruelty?
It is clearly stated in Kim’s sentence dated the 22nd of September 2011 that: "…..on the 14th of July, 2010, the defendant went to his laboratory, combined chemicals and took 30 video clips of 1 min long each..."
It seems strange that the conclusion that Kim did this alone is drawn since
a) Witnesses testified that they have seen another foreigner in the lab when Kim was not there. Mr. Siri Hasap states: “…..I saw a foreigner came out of the room and pour some water from a bucket in front of the room which it produced a smoke. Then, the foreigner went back inside the room and after a while, he came back outside again and call for the Defendant.”
b) The voice of Thomas Lilius is heard on one of the video-clips made during the manufacturing process.
c) Despite clear indications in the Swedish police report 0150-K1764-11 which quite clearly state that Lilius was in Thailand at this time, that he was helping Kim with chemical processes and it was on a mission planned and paid for by the DEA, does the judge ever take this into consideration. Why?
It is quite clear that Swedish police know that the DEA use methods that are against the law in Sweden (and most other civilized countries). Is it not time for Swedish politicians to ask themselves if this kind of cooperation should continue?
The close cooperation between Swedish police and the DEA opens up some interesting ethical dilemmas. What if a Swedish hit-man were to be contracted by the DEA to assassinate a suspected terrorist in e.g a country in the Middle East and he like Lilius received payment via the Swedish police? He would probably get DEA-help to leave the country in question by use of a faked passport. He would not be put on trial in the USA of course, but would he ever be tried for murder in Sweden? And what responsibility would the Swedish police have for handing over the money for the killing?
Swedish citizens visiting foreign countries should not be purposefully exposed to moral and/or criminal hazards by the US DEA. It is an illusion to believe that one can meet high civilized standards when orchestrated methods such as those used by the DEA are being implemented.
When you read the Mission Statement of the DEA it is very hard to disagree with any of the agency’s principles. But even when you have the best intentions sometimes things can go very wrong. So despite the idea behind the DEA and the work they should carry out is good, sometimes mistakes will be made. And cases described by e.g. Mike Levine as well as that of Kim Eriksson are examples of cases that could have been managed much better – or should maybe never have been set up at all.
In Kim’s case they are simultaneously abusing the sovereignty of Thailand and taking advantage of a judicial system the US ambassador recently criticized heavily (read more here). What is that if not hypocracy?
To end this we will quote Francis Bacon:
If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.
Are we not going in the wrong direction as things seem to be developing?