Saturday, January 20, 2007
A JI LINK TO NEW YEAR'S EVE BOMBS?
he lack of forthcoming information on investigations into the New Year's Eve bombing attacks in Bangkok may soon be coming to an end. National Security Council chairman Sonthi Boonyarakgalin has said that the conclusions of the police investigation would be delivered to himself and Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont within the next few days. A parallel investigation by military intelligence services is also expected to conclude soon.
In a new development early this morning, police commandos raided locations in Bangkok and nearby provinces, detaining around 15 persons for questioning, including a number of military officers, for questioning at the Crime Suppression Division. Under the martial law provisions. suspects can be detained without charge for seven days. An interesting tidbit from The Nation's report indicates that someone shares my interest in possible linkage with the "hoax" (as most people seem to view it) bomb threat against former PM Thaksin last year:
CSD-beat reporters witnessed the questioning and noticed that interrogators demanded the suspects to provide their alibi when a car bomb plot against former Thaksin Shinawatra was foiled late last year.But the big news today is an apparent leak from Thai intelligence agencies to The Australian newspaper. In documents seen by that paper, the agencies report that a key Jemaah Islamiyah leader in southern Narathiwat province was directly involved in planning the attacks. This would be a direct contradiction to the government's own previous statements that southern separatists were unlikely to have been involved, but that the bombs were an attempt to destabilise the interim government by "those who lost political benefits" following the coup.
The leaked reports seem to indicate otherwise -- but then it gets really strange.
The reports say a meeting in December between the head of JI in Narathiwat province and a representative from the Patani United Liberation Organisation made the final preparations. Bomb materials were to be supplied from Cambodia. "Masae Useng, the head of the Jemaah Islamiah in Narathiwat province and Ruslan Yumuraenae, the commander of the PULO Sabotage Unit had met in the (informant's) home in Kuala Lumpur towards the end of December 2006," the report says.The mention of Cambodian jihadi involvement reminds me of something I'd forgotten to mention in my previous post on the radicals preaching in Saudi-funded British mosques. One doesn't tend to think of Cambodia and Islamic fundamentalists in the same context, but there are a number of Saudi-funded Islamic schools in that mainly Buddhist country (as there are in southern Thailand). Hambali himself spent some time hiding out in Cambodia before his capture.
The meeting's purpose was to select personnel for deployment to Bangkok "where they would commit acts of sabotage aimed at intensifying the dispute between the Government and the former regime", it said. "Such attacks would provide a significant boost to Separatist Front morale and would put the Siamese infidels off balance."
The commander of the sabotage unit was Lohmueli Yusoh, alias Rusdi Pohseng, a 38-year-old former Communist Party guerilla who had received military and sabotage training in Libya in 1983.
Jemaah Islamiyah has demonstrated considerable sophistication in its attacks in this region, and it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that they might plan an attack which would have an ambiguous origin, even intending that it would be attributed to competing Bangkok political elites only three months after the coup. The intention could be simply to shake the interim government, hoping to spark suspicion and distrust which could bring it down, thus helping their cause without taking credit for the attacks. In their own words (if the quote is correct), to "put the Siamese infidels off balance."
But then at the end of this article comes a strange addition:
Intelligence sources said the bombings were instigated by supporters of the former Thaksin administration during a meeting in late November on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi.Would these be other intelligence sources, or did the writer mean that intel sources had previously stated this contradictory theory? Because if this is coming from the same reports which found JI involvement, it appears to be saying that Thaksin supporters co-instigated the attacks with Islamic militants! And wouldn't that be a hoot?
For a good look at the sophistication and foresight of one of JI's more prominent former chiefs (now in US custody), see this brief look at the Indonesian terrorist Hambali, who masterminded a number of the major attacks in Southeast Asia since 2000. Hambali was arrested in the ancient capital of Siam, Ayuthaya, in August 2003.