Thailand: Outrageous Outsiders


December 21, 2009: In the south, what appears to be a small group of terrorists (a few hundred) regularly carry out shoot and run (gunmen on motorcycles) attacks that generally kill no one. In addition, the terrorists plant small bombs around and about. The bombs are often poorly constructed, and are kept small so they can easily be smuggled (vehicles that can carry big ones are more likely to be searched by the police.)

The weapons laden Il-76 jet transport seized last week turned out to be the third such aircraft to pass over Thailand recently. U.S. intelligence has been tracking cargo transports flying out of North Korea, and an increasing number of these flights take the southern route (rather than via China and Central Asia.) A more thorough inspection of the cargo on the seized Il-76 found components for North Korea's Taepodong-2 ballistic missile. This weapon has three times the 2,000 kilometer range of Iran's current largest missile. If Iran is building their version of the Taepodong-2, they will be able to hit targets throughout Europe. The Il-76 apparently planned to make stops in Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Ukraine, before delivering the missile parts to Iran.

The pro-democracy "red shirts" continue to mass in the capital and demonstrate in favor of new, and fair, elections. The Red Shirts also have a lot of support because of the continuing corruption in the government. The current anti-corruption campaign, which generally can't touch senior officials, did prosecute 225 lower ranking, and often local, ones, who were accused to stealing over $52 million worth of government funds. It's not just stealing, but participation in criminal enterprises. Two army colonels were recently sentenced to life in prison for belonging to a drug gang that manufactured and distributed methamphetamine.

The government is applying a new "Internet crime" law to government opponents. Those who spread rumors, or whatever, can have their Internet access cut off and be prosecuted.

December 19, 2009: In the south, Islamic terrorists attacked a mainly Buddhist village and killed three civilians.  

December 15, 2009: Malaysian police arrested three Thai men for running a bomb making workshop in a village near the Thai border. The three men pretended to be fishermen, but their house was full of bomb making materials, and six finished bombs. Since no one is setting off bombs in Malaysia, it is believed that the bombs were being sold to Islamic terrorists in Thailand.

December 14, 2009:  In the south, police received a tip about a terrorist hideout, and discovered it was accurate. The terrorists refused to surrender, and two were killed in the subsequent gun battle.

December 12, 2009: The U.S. alerted Thailand that a Georgian Il-76 transport, flying from North Korea, would stop to refuel in Thailand, had false documentation, and other problems worth looking into. When the transport arrived, and Thai police checked, they found that the manifest listed the cargo as oil drilling machinery, but the stuff was actually 35 tons of weapons. The crew was arrested, for carrying weapons, and false documents, and the cargo was removed to a safe location for more through inspection.

December 11, 2009: In the south, a motorcycle bomb went off, by remote control, killing three civilians.

December 10, 2009: In the south, five bombs injured 14 soldiers and police. Islamic terrorists were trying to disrupt a three day tour of the south by the Thai prime minister, who also met with his Malaysian counterpart to dedicate a bridge between the two countries.




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