Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thailand Told to Toe the Line

You will need to get on a plane and then ride a bike first to get the message:

"Thai police say video captured Bangkok bombing suspect; A 2d pipe bomb explodes at pier, but none are hurt" by Nattasuda Anusonadisai and Papitchaya Boonngok Associated Press  August 19, 2015

BANGKOK — In the grainy security video, a man in a yellow shirt sits on a bench at the crowded Erawan Shrine, removes a backpack he is wearing, and leaves it behind when he walks away. 

I was told the day before it was a woman, and the yellow shirt is important. It implies a government supporter (the CIA backs the blood-soaked red shirts).

For police hunting who was responsible for Monday’s deadly bombing in central Bangkok, there was no doubt about the man with youthful, shaggy dark hair and glasses.

‘‘The yellow shirt guy is not just the suspect. He is the bomber,’’ police spokesman Lieutenant General Prawut Thavornsiri said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha called the shrine bombing near a busy intersection that killed 20 and wounded more than 100 ‘‘the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand,’’ and he promised to track down those responsible.

‘‘There have been minor bombs or just noise, but this time they aimed for innocent lives,’’ Prayuth said. ‘‘They want to destroy our economy, our tourism.’’

Bangkok was rattled again Tuesday when another pipe bomb blew up at the Sathorn Pier, which is used by tourists, although no one was hurt.

Prawut released several photos of the man, with and without the backpack, on social media. The images were apparently taken from closed-circuit video at the shrine before the bomb exploded.

Video posted separately on Thai media appeared to show the same man sitting on a bench at the shrine, taking off the backpack and leaving it behind as he walked away.

Without elaborating, the prime minister said, ‘‘Today we have seen the closed-circuit footage, we saw some suspects, but it wasn’t clear. We have to find them first.’’

Prayuth said the government will expedite ‘‘all investigative efforts to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.’’

The bomb, which police say was made from a pipe and weighed more than 6 pounds, went off about 7 p.m. in an upscale area filled with tourists, office workers, and shoppers. No one has claimed responsibility.

Prawut said Tuesday’s blast at the Sathorn Pier also was caused by a pipe bomb and could be related to the shrine attack.

Police said the bomb was thrown from the Taksin Bridge and fell into the Chao Phraya River, where it exploded. Security video showed a sudden blast of water over a walkway at the pier as bystanders ran for safety.

The Erawan Shrine is dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma, but is extremely popular among Thailand’s Buddhists as well as Chinese tourists. Although Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, it has enormous Hindu influence on its religious practices and language.

Thai authorities identified five victims as Thai and four as Chinese — two of them from Hong Kong — along with two Malaysians and one Singaporean, and said the nationalities of the other eight victims remained unknown.

The British Foreign Office said one victim was a British citizen named Vivian Chan who lived in Hong Kong. It was not immediately clear whether she was one of the two Hong Kong victims identified by Thai officials. Officials at London’s BPP University said she had studied there.

Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said authorities had no idea an attack had been planned.

‘‘We didn’t know about this ahead of time. We had no intelligence on this attack,’’ he said.

Prayuth vowed to ‘‘hurry and find the bombers,’’ though he noted there may be just one perpetrator. Speaking to reporters, he continued what has been a notoriously prickly relationship with the media since the former general took control in a May 2014 coup that ousted a civilian government.

Well, there you go. Not only another lone wolf, the use of the word coup informs you of the neo-con globe-kickers views regarding their recent actions. They don't say that about the Ukraine!

Asked if there were leads on the suspects, Prayuth bristled: ‘‘We are still investigating. The bomb has just exploded why are you asking now? Do you understand the word investigation? It’s not like they claim responsibility.’’

In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United States is offering to support Thailand in its investigation but has not received a request. He said there was no indication that any Americans were among the casualties.

Thailand has seen many violent attacks in recent years, particularly in a more-than-decade-long insurgency by Muslim separatists that has killed over 5,000 in the country’s south. Those attacks have never reached the capital, however.

Bangkok has seen politically charged violence in the past decade; the deadliest, in 2010, killed more than 90 over two months and was centered on the same intersection where Monday’s bomb went off. But none of those attacks included a bomb that seemed intended to produce mass casualties.

Matthew Wheeler, Southeast Asia security analyst for the International Crisis Group, said the bombing was a ‘‘new type of attack for Bangkok’’ that doesn’t bear the marks of typical violence in the past decade from political instability or separatists.

Welcome to the "War on Terror," Thailand.


Of course, it is clear this is about the Indian Ocean and confronting China on its southern flank since the North Pacific has already been taken care of as WWIII progresses through the pages of time.

"Thai police seek ‘foreign man’ in bombing of Bangkok shrine; Suspect believed to have had two accomplices" by Poypiti Amatatham and Thomas Fuller New York Times  August 20, 2015

BANGKOK — Thai authorities Wednesday issued an arrest warrant describing the person sought in the bombing of a Bangkok shrine this week as a “foreign man,” and said they believed he had at least two accomplices.

The motive for the bombing and the identity of the man remained unknown Wednesday. The man’s image was captured by a security camera as he placed a backpack in the spot where minutes later an explosion ripped through the crowded Erawan Shrine, killing 20 people.

Thai police released a sketch of the man with features they characterized as Caucasian, Arab, or mixed race, saying he was about 20 to 30 years old and 5 feet 7 inches tall.

Although a police spokesman raised the possibility that the man was Thai and in disguise, the warrant on charges of premeditated murder was issued for an “unnamed foreign man who appears in the sketch drawing.”

A motorcycle taxi driver said in a phone interview aired by Channel 3, a Thai TV station, that he had picked up a man matching the police description at a taxi stand a quarter of a mile from the shrine after the bomb exploded.

The driver, who gave his name as Kasem, said the man did not speak to him, just walked up and handed him a piece of paper with the words “Lumpini Park” written on it in English. Lumpini Park is a well-populated area in the commercial heart of Bangkok, about two-thirds of a mile from Erawan.

“He had a conversation on the phone,” Kasem said. “I don’t know what the language is. I don’t know, it but it is surely not Thai nor English language.

“I didn’t see anyone at where I left him,” he continued. “It was dark. There are some trees and it’s hard to see.”

The Thai police spokesman, Lieutenant General Prawut Thavornsiri, said the security camera footage showed two men who appeared to be accomplices at the shrine, including one who gave up his seat on a bench and then stood nearby as the backpack was being placed on the ground.

Although police said they were investigating a “network,” Prawut clarified that this meant that police believed the perpetrators had gotten assistance with logistics, including obtaining materials to make the explosive device in the backpack.

“We are not saying this was an international network,” he said in a telephone interview.

The attack on Monday evening struck at the heart of Thailand’s tourist economy. In addition to six Thais, the dead included four Malaysians, four mainland Chinese, two residents of Hong Kong, an Indonesian, and a Singaporean. Two other victims remained unidentified Wednesday, according to the Bangkok Emergency Medical Services. More than 100 people were wounded, and several were listed in critical condition.

The shrine, which sustained only minor damage in the explosion, reopened Wednesday. Workers filled in the small crater created by the bomb, but the gilded statue of the four-faced Hindu god Brahma at the center of the shrine was missing a large piece of chin.

Brahma took one on the chin?

Thailand’s chief of police, General Somyot Poompanmoung, told reporters that it was too early to say what had driven the perpetrators to plant the bomb.

“We haven’t come to a conclusion on the motives of the case yet, whether it is terrorism or political,” he said.

Somyot announced a reward of about $28,000 for help leading to the bomber’s arrest.


Doesn't Israel also have a presence in the country? 

I guess the Thais didn't learn their lesson.

"Thailand Blasts: Has US Pivot to Asia Become a Brawl?

by Tony Cartalucci

An unprecedented terror attack unfolded Monday evening in Bangkok, Thailand leaving 20 dead and over a hundred injured. No single attack of this scale has been carried out in Bangkok before, prompting fears that Thailand’s enemies have raised their campaign of sedition and violence to grisly new levels.

The Western media has floated several possibilities, attempting first and foremost to focus on the prospect of terrorists, either from Thailand’s troubled southern-most provinces, or from China’s Xinjiang region.

Thailand’s southern-most provinces have seen a low-level insurgency rage since in 2001 US-backed dictator Thaksin Shinawatra took office and reignited violence after a nearly 20 year truce. However, violence within this conflict rarely erupts outside of Thailand’s south, and has never struck Bangkok. While US-Saudi linked terrorist groups in the region have attempted to turn the localized insurgency into a wider front in the politically and financially lucrative “War on Terror,” such efforts have so far failed.

The West is also floating the idea that Uyghur terrorists carried out that attack – citing the fact that the attack was carried out in a location where predominately Chinese tourists gather – claiming it was in retaliation to Thailand’s decision to recently deport detained Uyghurs back to China. China claims those deported were terrorists caught being trafficked through Thailand’s south before being shipped to Turkey where they would then join NATO-backed terrorists fighting in Syria.

It should be noted that immediately after the deportations just weeks ago, the US State Department funded and Washington D.C. based “World Uyghur Congress” (WUC) organized a violent protest which attacked and destroyed the Thai consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The final possibility floated was that the bombing was carried out by US-backed, deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose violent political front has visited mass murder and terrorism systematically upon Bangkok over the past decade. In 2010, Shinawatra would deploy some 300 heavily armed militants in Bangkok, triggering gun battles that turned the capital into a warzone, killing nearly 100, and injuring over a thousand more. The violence culminated in city-wide arson resulting in billions in damage.

In 2013-2014 when protesters took to the streets to call for the ousting of Shinawatra’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who held office in his place from 2011 until 2014 when the military ousted her in a swift and bloodless coup, Shinawatra would again deploy militants into the streets. Using assault rifles and grenades, these militants would kill nearly 30 and injure hundreds more.
Since the 2014 coup that ousted Shinawatra, there have been several small bombs linked to Shinawatra’s political movement and perceived as warnings to the military to cease efforts to uproot his grip on the country and  make concessions. It was long feared that if these concessions weren’t made, deadlier blasts, like the one observed on Monday, would follow.

With the singular common denominator between all three suspects being US backing, the question remains, why Thailand?

US-Thai Relations Fading  

While Thailand is often claimed to be a stalwart ally of Washington, this comes from Cold War mythology, not current realities. The waning influence of the United States, not only in Thailand, but across much of Asia is what prompted the US in the first place to “recharge” its diplomatic ties throughout the region with its much vaunted “pivot toward Asia.”

Cold War-centric commentators like to point out what they call an “all American-made” Thai military arsenal, however much of Thailand’s US-made hardware is antiquated, including Vietnam War-era M60 tanks, M113 armored personal carriers, and relatively newer but still aging F-16s – all of which are being systematically replaced with non-US alternatives.

This includes 400 Type-85 armored personal carries from China, T-84 main battle tanks ordered from pre-Euromaiden Ukraine, and likewise over 200 Ukrainian BTR-3 armored personal carriers. Most recently, and perhaps most significantly, was Thailand’s approval of purchasing a small fleet of Chinese Type 039A diesel-electric attack submarines.

Defense News in its article, “Thai Chinese Sub Buy Challenges US Pivot,” would claim:
Thailand’s move to purchase Chinese submarines has exacerbated tensions with the US and poses a challenge to Washington’s “pivot” to the Pacific.  
The military junta, which declared a coup in May 2014 and created the National Council for Peace and Order, could turn to China for political and military support and cooperation, analysts said. The junta-led Cabinet approved the purchase of three Type 039A (Yuan) attack submarines in early July.
Thailand’s alliances have been steadily shifting from West to East for years. And part of this shift included undermining, ousting, and finally completely uprooting the political networks of Thaksin Shinawatra – cultivated and in service of US foreign policy since as early as the 1990’s.

Thailand’s Sin: Uprooting America’s Client Regime

In the late 1990’s Shinawatra was an adviser to notorious US private equity firm, the Carlyle Group and described himself as a personal friend of the Bush political dynasty. He pledged upon taking political office that he would continue to serve as “matchmaker” between US interests and Thailand’s resources. In 2001 he privatized Thailand’s resources and infrastructure including the nation’s oil conglomerate PTT – which was sold off to foreign interests including Western oil companies, Chevron, Exxon, and Shell.

In 2003, Shinawatra would commit Thai troops to the US invasion of Iraq, despite widespread protests from both the Thai military and the public. Shinawatra would also allow the CIA to use Thailand for its abhorrent rendition program.

In 2004, Shinawatra attempted to ramrod through a US-Thailand Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) without parliamentary approval, backed by the US-ASEAN Business Council who just before the 2011 elections that saw Shinawatra’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra brought into power, hosted the leaders of his “red shirt” “United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship” (UDD) in Washington DC.

Since the first coup in 2006 aimed at his regime, Shinawatra has been openly represented by US corporate-financier elites via their lobbying firms including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom HouseInternational Crisis Group,PNAC), James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR, Carlyle Group), Robert Blackwill (CFR) of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR)Kobre & KimBell Pottinger (and here) and currently Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners (Chatham House).

And from 2006 until now, both Western political and media circles have continuously provided favorable spin for Shinawatra and his political proxies. This includes the use of the above mentioned Freedom House and its umbrella organization, the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to fund and back nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and academics in Thailand to provide rhetorical and operation support for Shinawatra and serve as a constant source of sociopolitical subversion aimed at Thailand’s current ruling establishment.

Recently, with the appointment of Glyn Davies as US Ambassador to Thailand, a War College graduate specializing in nonmilitary use of force to upturn the sociopolitical order of a targeted nation, it is clear that America is still committed to installing Shinawara into power.

With the current Thai government openly committed to permanently removing Shinawatra from power, with the US lacking any viable alternatives, and with Shinawatra’s already questionable public support fading quickly, few options are left to save an increasingly desperate bid to keep Thailand in America’s geopolitical orbit.

Beyond Thailand: From Pivot to Stumble to Brawl 

Former Shinawatra lobbyist, Bush-era administrator, and US policymaker Robert Blackwill published earlier this year the latest iteration of US’ “grand strategy” toward China. A rehash of a decades old conspiracy to encircle, contain, and “integrate” China into a US-dominated “international order,” the policy paper is an important reminder of what exactly the US is truly trying to achieve in Asia.

Titled, “Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China,” the report states in no uncertain terms:
Because the American effort to ‘integrate’ China into the liberal international order has now generated new threats to U.S. primacy in Asia—and could result in a consequential challenge to American power globally—Washington needs a new grand strategy toward China that centers on balancing the rise of Chinese power rather than continuing to assist its ascendancy.
The report admits that China’s rise will benefit the Chinese people, their regional neighbors, and bring stability along China’s peripheries – and also admits this must be stopped in order to maintain US “primacy in Asia.”

Many of the report’s recommendations involve US “allies” expending significant amounts of money and political capital to confront China on Washington’s behalf. Many of the recommendations are already being carried out by America’s few remaining allies in the region – to little effect. Trade agreements like the unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are admittedly being implemented for the sole purpose of bolstering US hegemony in Asia versus China’s growing economic clout – not for any perceivable benefits – if any – the deal actually brings to its signatories. The report states:
…[the TPP will be] a vivid demonstration that the United States is determined to compete on the Asian economic playing field. By the same token, U.S. grand strategy toward China will be seriously weakened without delivering on the TPP. 
It is no wonder the “pivot toward Asia” has stumbled, where every option facing America’s “allies” or potential “allies” include unattractive compromises made simply to bolster US hegemony. Regional leaders genuinely interested in their respective nation’s best interests have attempted to walk a tightrope between provoking the US and forgoing the obvious benefits of doing business with China.

Achieving US Primacy in Asia via Client Regimes 

That Robert Blackwill is writing US policy aimed at containing China already unfolding across Asia, and was also a lobbyist for Thaksin Shinawatra who ruled over America’s client regime in Thailand for over a decade, is indicative of exactly how America plans to implement unpopular policies in nations that otherwise will not benefit from them.

Attempts to install client regimes across all of Southeast Asia through US-backed color revolutions and political subversion have taken place in Myanmar with US-British backed Aung San Suu Kyi and her “saffron” colored protesters, in Malaysia with the US-funded yellow-shirted Bersih street movement and its leader Anwar Ibrahim, and in Thailand through Thaksin Shinawatra and his “red”street mobs.

The violence that accompanies these efforts is similar to that seen during the US-engineered “Arab Spring” and more recently in Ukraine where US politicians literally took to the stage at Neo-Nazi political rallies held during the “Euromaiden.” When efforts to subvert a nation fail, violence often follows. Libya and Syria, whose governments resisted street demonstrations and US calls for sitting governments to stand down, unraveled into proxy wars waged by the US through terrorist groups.

The escalation in violence against Thailand appears to be simply the latest attempt by the US to strong-arm a world increasingly slipping out from under its long-standing global “primacy.” The US has specifically cultivated multiple vectors with which to visit violence and terrorism upon Thailand – terrorists operating under cover of Thailand’s southern violence, Uyghur terrorists it openly backs in China, and supporters of the ousted Shinawatra regime.

By targeting Chinese tourists, the attack on Monday constitutes a well-planned precision strike on Thailand’s tourist industry and in turn, its economy. Chinese tourists make up the largest demographic travelling Thailand.

Should Thailand successfully escape out from under US plans to maintain “primacy” in Asia, other nations are likely to follow. Considering how far the US has gone to prevent other nations from drifting away from its orbit and endangering it unwarranted global power and influence, Monday’s bombing comes as no surprise.

In the long run however, Thailand’s leadership surely understands that capitulating to US demands will not spare the Thai people and their future aspirations from violence and chaos. If Thailand must endure tragedy, it must do so with its sovereignty and dignity intact.

While Blackwill’s policy paper notes that any move by China to aggressively counter American moves in Asia will only drive other nations deeper into America’s arms, the same is true for American aggression driving Asian nations closer together – eventually pushing the US out completely, and establishing a more sensible “Asian primacy” in Asia.



"Bangkok blast not seen as international terror; Suspects still being sought, Thai officials say" by Poypiti Amatatham New York Times  August 21, 2015

BANGKOK — Thai authorities said Thursday that although the suspects in the deadly bombing of a shrine in Bangkok this week were believed to be a foreign man and at least 10 accomplices, the attack was not likely to be the work of international terrorists because foreign intelligence agencies had not seen any movement on the terrorist networks they monitor.

HA! If they were going to false flag you, do you think they would tell you?

Colonel Winthai Suvaree, a spokesman for the ruling military junta, said in a televised statement that the government had all but ruled out a connection to international terrorism after consulting with foreign agencies, although he did not explain how that preliminary conclusion had been reached.

The use of the word junta tells you how the agenda-pushing pre$$ views the current government.

But a police spokesman, Lieutenant General Prawut Thavornsiri, told reporters that the agencies consulted had been unable to confirm activity by known terrorist groups. “They mostly said the key international networks that are on the watch list haven’t carried out any movement yet,” he said. “People are trying to link to it, but frankly speaking, there’s no evidence yet showing it was international terrorism.”

Thai police have identified the man being sought in the bombing, which killed 20 people, as a Caucasian, Arab, or mixed race. His image was captured by a security camera as he put a backpack in the spot Monday evening where, minutes later, a blast ripped through the crowded Erawan Shrine, a Hindu site that is popular with Chinese and other Asian tourists.

The national police chief, General Somyot Poompanmoung, said Thursday that the attack was probably planned at least a month in advance and involved a team of at least 10 people, including Thais. He said it would have required carrying out a number of tasks, including surveying the target area, finding materials for building the bomb, and helping the perpetrators escape.

The motive for the attack, which struck Bangkok’s main shopping area, remained unknown. Winthai said Chinese tourists were not believed to be the direct target of the blast.

Two men shown in security camera footage from the shrine, whom police had identified as possible accomplices, surrendered to police Thursday. The men, a Thai and his Chinese friend, are not suspects and had nothing to do with the bombing, Prawut said.

Also Thursday, Prawut said police had spoken with the driver of a tuk-tuk, a type of motorized rickshaw, who reported that he had picked up a man matching the police description of the suspect and dropped him off near the shrine before the bomb went off. He was carrying a heavy backpack, and placed it on the floor of the tuk-tuk rather than on the passenger seat next to him, Prawut told Thai PBS, a Thai TV station.

He said police had also spoken with a motorcycle taxi driver who said he had picked up a man matching the suspect’s description after the bombing and dropped him off at Lumpini Park, a well-populated area about two-thirds of a mile from the shrine. But the police have been unable to identify the suspect on security cameras. “We haven’t found the footage of him afterwards from anywhere,” Prawut said....

He just DISAPPEARED, huh?


Time to ban backpacks, right?