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Tue, January 2, 2007 : Last updated 19:44 pm (Thai local time)



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Home > Headlines > Who set the bombs? The mystery can only deepen





ANALYSIS
Who set the bombs? The mystery can only deepen

As residents of the City of Angels pick up the pieces after the string of deadly bombings that killed three and injured nearly 40, casting a grim shadow over New Year festivities, speculation has been rife at to who the perpetrators were.

Whoever was behind it has succeeded in sending a brutal shock wave throughout the country that has been enduring not only the daily insurgent killings in the deep South, but also the post-coup political turbulence, commonly referred to as the "undercurrent".

The first series of six near-simultaneous blasts struck at random locations across Bangkok at around 6pm. The last two came at around midnight. At least nine foreign visitors were injured in the last two explosions. Casualties as of last night were three dead and 43 injured.

While Muslim militants in the predominantly Malay-speaking South were not entirely free from suspicion, most of the fingers pointed to the September 19 coup as the likely catalyst for the deadly bombings.

The same forces have also been suspected of torching some 30 public schools in the North and the Northeast. Authorities believe the arson attacks were part of the "undercurrent".

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said yesterday domestic politics rather than the Muslim insurgency was behind the bombings.

"From the evidence we have gathered, there is only a slim chance it is related to the southern insurgency. It is likely related to people who lost their political benefits," Surayud told a press conference, alluding to the ousted regime of Thaksin Shinawatra.

He described the attackers as "ill-intentioned people" looking to inflict "political damage" on the country.

"The kind of bombs used, the places they picked, and the timing show their intention was to cause panic and fear," Surayud said.

On top of the list of those who lost out from the coup were obviously Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai Party members, including former premier Chavalit Yongchaiyudh.

In keeping with his reputation of jumping ship when things get too hot, Chavalit had first supported the September 19 coup but quickly became a turncoat when none of his associates got any positions in the new government or state enterprises. Most of the portfolios were given to supporters of Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda, and of premier Surayud.

International terrorism is low on the list of suspicions. Global terrorist attacks in recent years have tended to cause great physical damage and the targets are usually high-profile places. The warning by way of the first of the six blasts, not to mention its small size, essentially rule out this possibility.

Separatism and insurgency in the South also did not figure highly in the deliberations of the security community as officials pointed to the nature of the militants' tactics in the restive region. While explosive ingredients for the bombs are more or less the same, as they can be purchased in just about any hardware store, militants in the deep South tend to carry out their bombings on the roadside, followed by a brief gunfight.

Bombs in the South have often been placed in public places, normally targeting restaurants and eateries frequented by security personnel and officials. The attack in downtown Pattani last May that ripped through a teashop frequented by police officers and the Unimog military transport vehicle in front of it was a case in point.

Though the bombs in Bangkok were quite small in size and weight, one cannot deny the symbolism and timing of the acts - the last hours of the last day of the year when tens of thousands of revellers were getting ready to party the night away.

The psychological cost was tremendous and the political cost could be just as brutal. If the police fail to close this case in a timely manner, the Council for National Security (CNS) will undoubtedly bear the brunt of the blame.

It's an open secret that there is some opposition to the plans of the CNS to carry out a structural reform of the police force. Any reform would take away a lot of the powers of the police.

Police General Ajiravid Subarnbhesaj said all eight bombs were placed in 3x5-inch boxes and detonated by digital alarm clock. The most interesting part was that traces of M4 high explosive booster were found in all of the bombs.

The fact that M4, officially a controlled item, was found to have been used lent weight to the theory that the bomb attacks may have been an inside job - either rogue military or a police clique looking to discredit the junta and the current administration.

For the time being, nothing has been totally ruled out. The "undercurrent" theory is quickly gaining momentum. And if this turns out to be the case, Bangkok could become a battle ground for power.

Revellers will have to keep their fingers crossed and hope next New Year's Eve will turn out differently.


 
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Anang  05/01/2007 19:28

I think the CNS itself who plotted that crime in order to set blame over the deposed leader-Thaksin
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noi  04/01/2007 00:45

What is better or worse than existing bad news--a bigger bad news! Illegal land grab,one god two wives(registred), digging deep but no bone,financial mismanagement(defending baht), extra financial reward to the CNS ( one house in the US and one in Swizerland)- What had taksin has to gain from bombing his own people!?--He did not come to power with the guns--he came to govern by the ballot boxes. Taksin from all account wants to come home to his family--Who has to fear his from return most? Who is losing control of recent events and need to do something to reverse the trend? Who has the most ready facilities to carry out such act of cowardy violence? Thai loves to gossip and guess without facts nor figures which can make an easy target to be influlent and manipulant(Koa pood wa) One day truths will come out-No body is 100% right or wrong ,good or bad. Let the people choose who makes more credit,good and benefit to our nation. Let the world see that we are not a single file follower of the leader. Some of these generals will not retire with honours.
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Kenny  03/01/2007 10:52

Yet a thorough and independent investigation into the bombings should also include a probe into the possibility that renegade elements inside the CNS itself may have masterminded the crude attacks to discredit new Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and provide Byzantine justification for a counter coup action that ousts Surayud's interim civilian administration and ushers in a period of total military control. ' Once you start to think along the lines of who has expertise with making bombs and ready access to explosives you cannot overrule disgruntled police either. The junta has let heads role in the police department. There is no love lost between the military and the police. The TRT are geared up for bribery and financial coercion. The police and the military are better prepared for cold-blooded murder. Agreed with this.
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International Observer  02/01/2007 23:56

I totally agree with JD williams comments, the answer to all his Qs is WHO is ..this is the same international group who is trying to invade Thailand and lots of other asian countries with their capitalist powers..and who also lost thier interests with the past govt ..this group has done the same way in other countries too liike spain train bombings and India train bombings and in Uk train bombings ..this is not a alqaida or any stupid terriost group ..but this is more bigger than alqaida ..with lots of international power and links all over the world ...think about it .. This is the group who wants to divide and rule in asia ..so that people in asia should not be in unity and become more powerful than this group ..and thats the truth ..what ever u say .
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Toon  02/01/2007 23:04

EO, Take your investment and run out of the country ASAP. Thailand does not need cowards or scaremongers, we have our lot already.
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A guy at work  02/01/2007 21:34

EO, Muslim fanatics usually claim responsibility for their attacks in the name of their cause. They wouldn't be true to their religious beliefs if they didn't. The attacks are typical of them, true. Nobody's claimed responsibility though.
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European observer  02/01/2007 21:19

This type of coldhearted attacks and murder is typical of muslim fanatics, and it is plainly stupid for the actual gvt to point out elsewhere It is because Mr; Sondhi is muslim himself and this ennoys obviously the gvt. Thailand is on a bad track and I will probably quit the country soon and take my investments with me back I m sorry .
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arnie  02/01/2007 19:24

jfl, I do agree and it has to be investigaterd from all angles. The way the govt behaves is outrageous if not criminal. Sonthi and Surayud hand in hand denying an islmaic involvement. No arrests were made, no concrete evidence, only assumptions, while in meanwhile according to the latest headlines the kiiling spray in the South continues. When were the last arrests made there?
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jfl  02/01/2007 19:15

<a href="http://atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/IA02Ae01.html">Thai bombs expose dangerous new divide</a> By Shawn W Crispin ' Speculation in the mainstream Thai and foreign media has variously pointed to either Muslim militants who have waged a violent insurgency against the government in the country's southernmost regions, or disenfranchised politicians and soldiers still loyal to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by the CNS in a bloodless military coup on September 19. Yet a thorough and independent investigation into the bombings should also include a probe into the possibility that renegade elements inside the CNS itself may have masterminded the crude attacks to discredit new Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and provide Byzantine justification for a counter coup action that ousts Surayud's interim civilian administration and ushers in a period of total military control. ' Once you start to think along the lines of who has expertise with making bombs and ready access to explosives you cannot overrule disgruntled police either. The junta has let heads role in the police department. There is no love lost between the military and the police. The TRT are geared up for bribery and financial coercion. The police and the military are better prepared for cold-blooded murder.
Delete  

krabong66@yahoo.com  02/01/2007 18:51

Definitively, "cui bono" is the criterion to find the culprits. Politics, like religion, is an excuse to look good and "holier than thou". The real motivation is the lost (un)holy baht by career or by corruption or by both. Krabong Kuverakorn
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Be objectove  02/01/2007 18:24

Where is the evidence? None of this is anything more than guesses based on a very selective memory of the past. Remember the bombings in Hatyai?? These seem pretty close to the Bangkok bombs. Why not remember these? It might not be southern separatists, but why immediately reject this possibility in order to look for "undercurrents"? These guys are the experts at bombing in Thailand. Why not them?
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arnie  02/01/2007 16:35

Are the Thais so much in love with their interior troubles to not to see the real danger it contains? Who are the real gainers? Investigation has turned in the same night and hour of the attack into a political issue and fingerpointing , western medias and governments will not keep it ignored.
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arnie  02/01/2007 16:30

If that proves true and the former power elite has its stake in the bombings, cofidence in Thailand will be gone and foreign investment will be poured out of the country wich is expected soon to happen. It's in any case a setback of 30 and more years. Has anyone ever thought about the gainers of this terror attack? - and wouldn't it be too stupid to carry out such an attack when everyone in that group must bei aware of being suspect. Who are the real gainers? Any suggestion? Ideas?
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JD Williams  02/01/2007 16:04

2 Jan07 - Everyone has come to about the same conclusion -- -- The group responsible for these cowardly, ugly blasts has just managed to further alienate itself from the mass of Thai citizens -- They feel they are so smart, and can use their unlimited financial power to bend Thailand to their will -- it will never happen, as, now, most Thai citizens are more sure than ever which group is behind the various disruptions which have been taking place in the KIngdom of Thailand, and the disgust which most Thai people hold for such groups has just been massively elevated after these senseless, cowardly, and small-minded bomb blasts -- Questions asked - 1. Which group has the money to finance such acts of sabotage? 2. Which group has a big enough organization to carry out such acts of sabotage? 3. Which group hates the present government enough to carry out such acts of sabotage? 4. Which groups have no interest in bombing innocent citizens in Bangkok? 5. Which group seeks power at any price? 6. Which group is getting their toes stepped on by the current cleanup of corrupt politicians? 7. Which group wishes to destroy the Monarchy? 8. Which group has just alienated most of their supporters throughout Thailand? Go figure! Various answers will give a pretty good idea of which group is behind these cruel, and inhuman acts against the interim government, the Thai people, and the Monarchy--
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