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Terror suspect planned Bangkok attack, says website

Hezbollah planned Mumbai-style attack on Chabad Bangkok, Khao San restaurants

A detained Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist suspect was part of a planned attack on the Chabad Jewish community centre near Khao San road in Bangkok, according to a news website which specialises in intelligence reporting.

Debkafile said on Tuesday that its sources confirmed that Hussein Atris, who was arrested by Thai police at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday night, was part of a planned attack along the lines of al Qaeda's attack on the Mumbai Chabad [Jewish] centre in 2008, involving the taking of hostages and blowing up the building. Eight Jews were killed in the attack.

The Debkafile website also has pages in Hebrew.

According to the sources quoted on the English language page, the planned attack would have been even deadlier because Chabad Bangkok is larger.

The sources also said that two or three ''Hizballah'' (sic) groups were to launch coordinated attacks simultaneously this month, and one of them was to strike at restaurants that are popular with Americans and Israelis on Khao San road.

350134.jpgDetained Lebanese Hizballah suspect Hussein Atris (Photo by Surapol Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn)

On the arrest of Mr Atris, Debka sources said, "Thai police were waiting for the suspect at the airport after receiving alerts from US and Israeli counter-terrorist agencies, which had advance information about the coming attack.

"The tip-off originated with Lebanese nationals living in Bangkok who had been approached for assistance. Those informants, who did not trust the local authorities to act, went straight to Western and Israeli contacts, who then published terror alerts to US and Israeli travellers."

As for other suspected Hezbollah members in Thailand, the website believed they "managed to escape by plane from Bangkok or by crossing into Laos and catching a flight there, although other sources believe they are still hiding out in Thailand waiting for another chance to strike".

National Security Council secretary-general Wichean Potephosree said the US embassy should issue its terror warning in a more subtle manner.

Pol Gen Wichean said the US embassy should have had contacted the Foreign Affairs Ministry first.

The former national police chief also questioned whether the Lebanese man carrying a Swedish passport was actually a terrorist.

"Authorities must be careful when labelling someone a terrorist as it could bring about serious consequences," he said.

Israeli authorities had warned the Thai government about possible terrorist acts each year following a terrorist bomb attack in Thailand in 1994. Both sides had been keeping in touch regularly, Pol Gen Wichean said.

Yesterday, police raided a three-storey commercial building in the Mahachai area of Samut Sakhon after Mr Atris confessed that explosive materials were hidden there.

They found 4,380 kilogrammes of urea-based fertiliser and 290 litres of ammonium nitrate, used in making explosives, but the suspect told investigators that they were not intended for use in any planned attack in Thailand. They were to be exported. Investigators were reported to have said they believed him.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/275565/terror-suspect-planned-bangkok-attack

Totally contradicts the Thai perspective. Wonder how accurate this one is?

Edited by Stramash

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Interesting development of the story. Just two days ago, one of the suspects could be detained due to "immigration law violations" while the other one (not ones) had been set free because of lack of evidence.

So who is trying to hide what or who is trying to mak up what?

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The part that seems really strange is that the Thai government has not met with the US embassy but has issued some strongly worded statements warning the US to shut the fuck up. This is really, really retarded. Any country has the right to warn its citizens about potential threats (in fact, the citizens demand it). Thailand issued similar shut the fuck up sort of warnings to countries that alerted their citizens against traveling to Thailand during the floods. The government also threw around a bunch of "warnings" to the German government when they seized the prince's private plane.

In mid-July, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya personally traveled to Berlin to secure the release of the plane. According to the Bangkok Post, he warned that German-Thai relations would be damaged if no satisfactory solution were found, and said German authorities were making a "huge mistake."

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,776718,00.html

Wichean sceptical about bomb suspect attack plots

Published: 18/01/2012 at 12:00 AMNewspaper section: News

National Security Council secretary-general Wichean Potephosree has admitted he is unsure if Swedish-Lebanese terror suspect Hussein Atris is actually involved in planning terrorist attacks.

Pol Gen Wichean, former national police chief, yesterday warned officials to be more careful in handling the case and not to jump to any conclusions.

Arresting and detaining the suspect without bringing a charge of terrorism against him could have adverse repercussions, Pol Gen Wichean said.

Mr Atris, a Lebanese man carrying a Swedish passport, was arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thursday. Police believed he had links to the Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon.

On Monday, police seized a huge cache of bomb-making material during a raid at a building in the Mahachai area of Samut Sakhon after questioning Mr Atris. They found 4.4 tonnes of urea-based fertiliser and 290 litres of ammonium nitrate. Investigators said the suspect told them they were not intended for use in any planned attacks in Thailand and were to be exported.

Police have charged Mr Atris with possession of prohibited substances in violation of the Arms Control Act.

Pol Gen Wichean said Israel had issued terror alerts for Thailand several times since 1994. He also urged the US to be more subtle in dealing with the issue by liaising with the Foreign Ministry first before announcing alerts.

"I want the US to have some manners by talking to the Foreign Ministry first," Pol Gen Wichean said.

Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkaew yesterday invited Judith Cefkin, deputy chief of mission at the US embassy, to discuss the US warning about possible terror attacks.

Meanwhile, Mr Atris was yesterday taken to the Border Patrol Police Bureau on Phahon Yothin Road for further questioning. Deputy national police chief Pansiri Prapawat, head of the investigators handling the case, said officers would summon more witnesses for questioning and check the law to determine if the case is terrorism-related.

Assistant national police chief Charamporn Suramanee said police believed there could be other people involved, although Mr Atris is the only person facing charges at present.

A source at the Metropolitan Police Bureau said Mr Atris had admitted to ordering and buying the seized chemicals, but insisted he did not know they were prohibited under Thai law.

Mr Atris told investigators the substances were supposed to be shipped to the Middle East and Africa for medical use, the source said.

The Criminal Court yesterday approved a police request to continue detaining Mr Atris pending further inquiries.

He will remain in custody at Bangkok Remand Prison for 12 days, starting from yesterday.

Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Winai Thongsong said that no charge of terrorism had been brought against Mr Atris and that the US and Israel had not been in contact to seek the extradition of the suspect.

Pol Lt Gen Winai also said an investigation based on intelligence reports from the US and Israel found that six months ago another group of three Lebanese men had also arrived in the Mahachai area.

Police believed the three may be linked to Hezbollah, although there was no confirmation if they were still in the country, Pol Lt Gen Winai said, adding that Thailand would only be their resting point, not their target.

A police source said US authorities had asked to attend the questioning of Mr Atris, but Thai investigators have turned down their request.

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The part that seems really strange is that the Thai government has not met with the US embassy but has issued some strongly worded statements warning the US to shut the **** up. This is really, really retarded. Any country has the right to warn its citizens about potential threats (in fact, the citizens demand it). Thailand issued similar shut the **** up sort of warnings to countries that alerted their citizens against traveling to Thailand during the floods.

I'm afraid this is a policy that is run in Thailand and that really does not make life easier for especially but not only expats. This "I don't see you so you are not here" policy is utterly dangerous and also annoying. If there is a issue (whatever it is - floods, terrorist threats, bush fires - you name it), it has to be addressed as soon as possible in order to minimize damage. This obviously is a thinking that has not got through to the highest level of those who are responsible for the country.

I have experienced this behaviour on the "normal citicen's" level, which might be incurred due to cultural and traditional reasons but I strongly oppose politicians who close their eyes to the obvious.

Of course, there are some issues that are overrated by media and some groups that try to take benefit of certain circumstances. Nevertheless - increasing security measures on crowded places as long as there is a given (not only alleged) suspicion of possible terrorist threats would help a lot. Although police is widely seen as corrupt, people read newspapers and if they see an increased presence of police, they rather would be reassured than irritated (if police is doing a proper job).

Edited by kaunitz

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I'm afraid this is a policy that is run in Thailand and that really does not make life easier for especially but not only expats. This "I don't see you so you are not here" policy is utterly dangerous and also annoying. If there is a issue (whatever it is - floods, terrorist threats, bush fires - you name it), it has to be addressed as soon as possible in order to minimize damage. This obviously is a thinking that has not got through to the highest level of those who are responsible for the country.

I have experienced this behaviour on the "normal citicen's" level, which might be incurred due to cultural and traditional reasons but I strongly oppose politicians who close their eyes to the obvious.

Of course, there are some issues that are overrated by media and some groups that try to take benefit of certain circumstances. Nevertheless - increasing security measures on crowded places as long as there is a given (not only alleged) suspicion of possible terrorist threats would help a lot. Although police is widely seen as corrupt, people read newspapers and if they see an increased presence of police, they rather would be reassured than irritated (if police is doing a proper job).

On the other hand, we have to face that US government very often is overreacting. Anyhow, this does not justify Thai authorities to tell them to "shut up" but they should go for more detailed information in order to get a more detailed picture.

Geeeez, JC2X is failing, as I see!

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On the other hand, we have to face that US government very often is overreacting. Anyhow, this does not justify Thai authorities to tell them to "shut up" but they should go for more detailed information in order to get a more detailed picture.

Geeeez, JC2X is failing, as I see!

I'm less concerned about whether or not the US is correct or not. It's the Thai government's threats. I think I mentioned this in a post a few months ago but the next time you're reading The Bangkok Post or The Nation notice the number of times they use the word "warned." Not in the, "Hey, we're warning citizens not to play in traffic" sort of way but in the "We're warning you that if you don't give us our plane back we'll retaliate" way.

Even during the red shirt protests, they put out some video of Abhisit meeting with the red shirt leaders and at least twice he was "warned" by the red shirts to be more respectful because he was addressing someone elder to him. Meanwhile they acted like a bunch of immature idiots rolling their eyes and making faces whenever Abhisit responded to anything they said.

Like you said in your previous post, it all boils down to the tendency of the government to not act on anything until there is a problem (or there's money to be made). However, it also reeks of the same sort of cover up that happened in Chiang Mai with the five people who died at the Downtown Inn. How else can they explain how some foreigner came into possession of 4,500 kg of bomb making materials right under the Thai police's noses?

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I'm less concerned about whether or not the US is correct or not. It's the Thai government's threats. I think I mentioned this in a post a few months ago but the next time you're reading The Bangkok Post or The Nation notice the number of times they use the word "warned." Not in the, "Hey, we're warning citizens not to play in traffic" sort of way but in the "We're warning you that if you don't give us our plane back we'll retaliate" way.

Even during the red shirt protests, they put out some video of Abhisit meeting with the red shirt leaders and at least twice he was "warned" by the red shirts to be more respectful because he was addressing someone elder to him. Meanwhile they acted like a bunch of immature idiots rolling their eyes and making faces whenever Abhisit responded to anything they said.

Like you said in your previous post, it all boils down to the tendency of the government to not act on anything until there is a problem (or there's money to be made). However, it also reeks of the same sort of cover up that happened in Chiang Mai with the five people who died at the Downtown Inn. How else can they explain how some foreigner came into possession of 4,500 kg of bomb making materials right under the Thai police's noses?

Well, for your last paragraph, I don't know but it's frightening enough.

For the rest, yes, you are right, and it obviously is the way, whether we (farang) can understand or not. In my opinion, noone ever addresses the real threat but only the threat to seniority and/or his own dignity. Action never is taken, just warning, as you said. and obviously, everyone knows what this means and does whatever he wants.

There is a similar thing going on in Kosovo with a movement called "self determination" under its leader Albin Kurti. Funny enough, they always claim that they would protest peacefully but ONLY their protests turn out to end up with scores of injured - police as well as their own supporters.

Is it really necessary to have injured and dead, might it be out of protests or attacks, to change views from an "extremely soft approach" to what it really would need to be?

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Atris' Swedish passport in doubt

The government of Sweden cannot confirm that detained Lebanese Hezbollah terror suspect Hussein Atris is a Swedish national, Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Anders Jorle said in a report posted on the New York Times website.

There was some uncertainty about Atris' documents, the NY Times said. Thai authorities said he was travelling with two passports, one Lebanese and one Swedish.

Anders Jorle, a spokesman for the Swedish Foreign Ministry, said the Swedish passport had expired, despite an image of the main page of the passport circulating in the Thai media that appears to show expiration in 2015, the report said.

Swedish officials had asked to meet with Mr Atris. “We have not seen this person or met him,” Mr. Jorle said by telephone from Stockholm. "We cannot confirm whether he is a Swedish national."

The report also cites Bangkok as a major hub for passport counterfeiting, drug trafficking and other illicit activities. American officials say that Hezbollah does have a footprint here; using Bangkok as a centre for a cocaine and money-laundering network, according to the NY Times report.

Meanwhile, United States ambassador Kristie Kenney said on Twitter that the US will not revoke its warning to US nationals to beware of a "real and credible" threat of a terrorist attack in Bangkok.

Ms Kenney said the embassy had been in close touch with Thai authorities and that US citizens in Bangkok should avoid Khao San road and Sukhumvit soi 22.Both areas that are popular with foreign tourists. There is also a large Jewish community centre in a side street off soi 22.

However, Supreme Commander Thanasak Patimapakorn was adamant Wednesday that Thailand is not a target of terrorists.

"In the past 10 years, Thailand has not seen any terrorist incidents.

"Although Thailand is an open country for travellers, I'm confident that the various agenmcies have efficient measures in place [to deal with terrorism]," Gen Thanasak said.

He also praised the police for uncovering the large cache of bomb-making materials in Samut Sakhon's Mahachai area on Monday. The discovery came after detained Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist suspect Atris confessed to the hidden bomb warehouse.

"The police are working efficiently and I ask the people not be worried because security and intelligence units always work closely together," said the former chief of staff of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters.

Thai police arrested Mr Atris at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday night after receiving alerts from US and Israeli counter-terrorist agencies of an immediate terrorist attack threat in Bangkok.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/275711/sweden-atris-nationality-unclear

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In all of this there is one important fact that almost upholds the Thai statement of nothing planned in Thailand, and it was all to be shipped out.

For an ammonium nitrate bomb to work the fertilizer has to be saturated, and soaked in deisel fuel, and not just have it poored over the fertilizer at the last minute. In all the video of the authorities with their 200 man task force emptying the warehouse there was absolutely NO deisel fuel found. For this to be a bomb making location there would have been at least one 55 gallon barrel with deisel fuel in it. They found the fan boxes, and printing paper, they were very thorough in showing the media all the things they found, but there was no deisel.

Without this key component the fertilizer is not an explosive, and with all the high ranking officials there if they found any it would have been presented to the media.

There was also no mercury blasting caps found, which is needed to set it all off, another key component, and they would have showed them off if they found any, or if they were smart they could hide them, but they would not have been able to hide the amount of deisel needed.

Because of this fact I am tempted to believe that there was not a plan to bomb Thailand, at least not Bangkok. I am more inclined to believe this was all to be shipped, and was being shipped to the deep South. The last few bombs going off there have been ammonium nitrate bombs. I do believe inadvertently they found where the supplies for the Southern terrorists were coming from.

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In all of this there is one important fact that almost upholds the Thai statement of nothing planned in Thailand, and it was all to be shipped out.

For an ammonium nitrate bomb to work the fertilizer has to be saturated, and soaked in deisel fuel, and not just have it poored over the fertilizer at the last minute. In all the video of the authorities with their 200 man task force emptying the warehouse there was absolutely NO deisel fuel found. For this to be a bomb making location there would have been at least one 55 gallon barrel with deisel fuel in it. They found the fan boxes, and printing paper, they were very thorough in showing the media all the things they found, but there was no deisel.

Without this key component the fertilizer is not an explosive, and with all the high ranking officials there if they found any it would have been presented to the media.

There was also no mercury blasting caps found, which is needed to set it all off, another key component, and they would have showed them off if they found any, or if they were smart they could hide them, but they would not have been able to hide the amount of deisel needed.

Because of this fact I am tempted to believe that there was not a plan to bomb Thailand, at least not Bangkok. I am more inclined to believe this was all to be shipped, and was being shipped to the deep South. The last few bombs going off there have been ammonium nitrate bombs. I do believe inadvertently they found where the supplies for the Southern terrorists were coming from.

An alternative explanation would be that they either did not have all of the components of a full bomb or the components which you describe were at a different location. The date for the attack could have been weeks or months off and so soaking the fertilizer in fuel would have been premature, thus no reason to purchase fuel today.

Likewise, drug dealers don't keep all of their inventory in one location in case a location gets raided. They have stash houses in several locations so they can be up and running with little or no disruption to operations. The caps and fuel could be stored at another location.

Also, just because two terrorists are working together doesn't mean that they're friends and trust each other. The second suspected terrorist could have been the one holding the fuel and caps. Thus the fertilizer was useless without his parts and his parts were useless without the fertilizer.

It also supports a plausible legal defense as individually they could both claim some innocent use. If I have a few fifty-gallon barrels with diesel fuel in them sitting around and also happen to have some blasting caps I don't have all of the components for making a bomb so if I'm caught with them I can always claim that the fuel was for some legitimate purpose. Likewise, if I just have a huge quantity of fertilizer but no diesel fuel or blasting caps I can always claim I was using it for legitimate farming purposes.

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An alternative explanation would be that they either did not have all of the components of a full bomb or the components which you describe were at a different location. The date for the attack could have been weeks or months off and so soaking the fertilizer in fuel would have been premature, thus no reason to purchase fuel today.

Likewise, drug dealers don't keep all of their inventory in one location in case a location gets raided. They have stash houses in several locations so they can be up and running with little or no disruption to operations. The caps and fuel could be stored at another location.

Also, just because two terrorists are working together doesn't mean that they're friends and trust each other. The second suspected terrorist could have been the one holding the fuel and caps. Thus the fertilizer was useless without his parts and his parts were useless without the fertilizer.

It also supports a plausible legal defense as individually they could both claim some innocent use. If I have a few fifty-gallon barrels with diesel fuel in them sitting around and also happen to have some blasting caps I don't have all of the components for making a bomb so if I'm caught with them I can always claim that the fuel was for some legitimate purpose. Likewise, if I just have a huge quantity of fertilizer but no diesel fuel or blasting caps I can always claim I was using it for legitimate farming purposes.

Sure it's possible, but with your attempted drug analogy it is not the case. In all my years of dealing with that element at all levels the main stash is kept at one place, and manufactored at one place because of trust issues, and security. The only time it is divided is in the smuggling operation, and then only if it is a huge operation. Most of the time it is smaller smugglers moving it all in one lump, or payed off border agents so it is again all moved in one lump. This greatly reduces the risk. It is not a question of sending smaller amounts though because one of them might be busted, but the majority will get through. If one is busted then that smuggling mode is known, and not another will get through by doing it that way. That is how it is really done.

In your reference to separating the components, you keep refering to the blasting caps as being able to be passed off as innocent materials in your possession that by themselves mean nothing. This is not the case. They are illegal in, and of themselves, with no legal consumer use. You will be busted just for having them in most every country in the world. The same with the ammonium nitrate liquid it is not available in pure form to the consumer. There are ligitimate uses for fertilizer, but not in large quanities (over 100 pounds), unless you have a large farm. Then pure liquid ammonium nitrate is not available to the average consumer period. Because of the Oklahoma city bombing any large quantity of ammonium nitrate (and urea fertilizer is just the name for solid ammonium nitrate) is monitored in most of the world. Thailand is so corrupt it was possible for him to buy the illegal liquid material here in Bangkok. In the South you can't buy them for obvious reasons in any quantity if you are not a farmer, then if you are you are watched by the military.

Terrorists do not operate in a manner that anyone they don't trust is allowed into their circle of details because of security issues. Parts aren't stored at different locations until needed. It is not secure doing that. T

hey might recruit outside the circle, but those recruited are not trusted with any information. That is why no details came about until the police questioned the person that was identified to them, and don't for a minute think the USA was not part of the questioning. They would not blindly make that kind of an alert without solid confirmed details. A few unconfirmed people telling them about someone isn't enough until they confirm it, and those people would not know about anyone else in the circle, yet there was a second person identified.

The Thais say they are mad at the USA for issuing the warning without consulting them, but the USA had no way of confirming the details without Thai help, so that part is the coverup to protect Thailand. The USA was fully involved in the initial investigation of the suspect, and Thailand increased the level of police coverage in the areas suspected of being the targets because of that investigation. Look at the timings of when the arrest was supposedly made, and the warning was made. Also consider the Swiss were never allowed to see him, even though he was on a Swiss passport. He could say nothing to anyone about his treatment, even his supposed Embassy. Those involved in this know how to tell fake passports if they really look at them in detail, not just the quick pass through immigration at the airport. Why else would they refuse to allow the Swiss access to this person to confirm his identity?

I still firmly believe the other components for these bombs were in the South of Thailand. This is the only component not freely available there, and the other suspects identified from being here 6 months ago left through the South of Thailand from reports.

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Sure it's possible, but with your attempted drug analogy it is not the case. In all my years of dealing with that element at all levels the main stash is kept at one place, and manufactored at one place because of trust issues, and security. The only time it is divided is in the smuggling operation, and then only if it is a huge operation. Most of the time it is smaller smugglers moving it all in one lump, or payed off border agents so it is again all moved in one lump. This greatly reduces the risk. It is not a question of sending smaller amounts though because one of them might be busted, but the majority will get through. If one is busted then that smuggling mode is known, and not another will get through by doing it that way. That is how it is really done.

I don't agree on this. I'm talking about the wholesalers. The guys who are on the receiving end of hundreds of kilos of cocaine and/or other drugs. It would make zero sense for them to stash it all in one location and hope that location never gets busted. You would have multiple stash houses.

It also cuts down on the amount of suspicious traffic to the location that might be reported to neighbors or noticed by law enforcement.

You can google around a bit and see news articles that mention multiple stash houses involved in narcotics arrests.

In your reference to separating the components, you keep refering to the blasting caps as being able to be passed off as innocent materials in your possession that by themselves mean nothing. This is not the case. They are illegal in, and of themselves, with no legal consumer use. You will be busted just for having them in most every country in the world. The same with the ammonium nitrate liquid it is not available in pure form to the consumer. There are ligitimate uses for fertilizer, but not in large quanities (over 100 pounds), unless you have a large farm. Then pure liquid ammonium nitrate is not available to the average consumer period. Because of the Oklahoma city bombing any large quantity of ammonium nitrate (and urea fertilizer is just the name for solid ammonium nitrate) is monitored in most of the world. Thailand is so corrupt it was possible for him to buy the illegal liquid material here in Bangkok. In the South you can't buy them for obvious reasons in any quantity if you are not a farmer, then if you are you are watched by the military.

Terrorists do not operate in a manner that anyone they don't trust is allowed into their circle of details because of security issues. Parts aren't stored at different locations until needed. It is not secure doing that. T

hey might recruit outside the circle, but those recruited are not trusted with any information. That is why no details came about until the police questioned the person that was identified to them, and don't for a minute think the USA was not part of the questioning. They would not blindly make that kind of an alert without solid confirmed details. A few unconfirmed people telling them about someone isn't enough until they confirm it, and those people would not know about anyone else in the circle, yet there was a second person identified.

Again, true or untrue in this particular case, it is the hallmark of terrorist cells to keep information segregated and cells from knowing everything about what the other cells are doing. It's not a matter of trust. It is a matter of operational security.

If you have two guys operating in Thailand and one has connections to buy fertilizer and the other guy has contacts in construction who can get him blasting caps you don't need those two people to be fully aware of what the other is doing. You just tell fertilizer guy, "Hey, when we're ready we'll call you and tell you to meet with a man. He will give you blasting caps and . . . " Same with the blasting cap guy. He doesn't need to know the fertilizer guy or the location where the fertilizer is being stored.

If only one person (besides yourself) knows where the fertilizer is and where the blasting caps are that's much more secure no matter how well you trust both of them.

Contrary to all of that bullshit you see in Hollywood movies, every single human being on earth will eventually crack. After Vietnam the US Department of Defense radically changed all of that macho stuff. Now soldiers take an oath to resist enemy interrogation to the best of their abilities.

Today's military SERE (Search, Escape, Resistance, and Escape) training, includes things like giving out classified data in order to halt or lessen the severity of torture. The idea being that you're going to crack eventually, but if you can hold on by giving up small bits of information, you might buy enough time to escape or be rescued.

So, if the US military is ready to admit that anyone can crack, I'm sure terrorist cells have it figured out too. If fertilizer guy and blasting cap guy can't rat each other out because they don't know each other then that increases the operational security of the mission.

Is that true here? We'll see. Even if it's not, it doesn't mean that it isn't a superior strategy.

The Thais say they are mad at the USA for issuing the warning without consulting them, but the USA had no way of confirming the details without Thai help, so that part is the coverup to protect Thailand. The USA was fully involved in the initial investigation of the suspect, and Thailand increased the level of police coverage in the areas suspected of being the targets because of that investigation. Look at the timings of when the arrest was supposedly made, and the warning was made. Also consider the Swiss were never allowed to see him, even though he was on a Swiss passport. He could say nothing to anyone about his treatment, even his supposed Embassy. Those involved in this know how to tell fake passports if they really look at them in detail, not just the quick pass through immigration at the airport. Why else would they refuse to allow the Swiss access to this person to confirm his identity?

I still firmly believe the other components for these bombs were in the South of Thailand. This is the only component not freely available there, and the other suspects identified from being here 6 months ago left through the South of Thailand from reports.

Your last sentence may be the case. It may not. We may never know since there's a good chance most of what the US, Thai, and Israeli intelligence know or find out will never be made public.

However, it is still plausible that the target was US or Israeli citizens. Nothing we've seen or heard so far dispels that possibility.

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US 'wants to question suspect'

Ex-NSC chief says terror alert aims for joint fight

Published: 19/01/2012 at 12:00 AMNewspaper section: News

The US has refused to lift a terror alert in Thailand because it wants to pressure the country into allowing its authorities to take part in the questioning of a Swedish-Lebanese terror suspect, a former National Security Council secretary-general says.

Kachadpai Burusapatana said he believed the US warning about possible terror attacks here remains in place because the US wants Thailand to collaborate more with it against terrorism.

The US wants Thailand to lets its investigators join in the questioning of terror suspect Hussein Atris, who was arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport last Thursday.

Police suspect he might have links to the Hezbollah militant group.

Mr Kachadpai also said police should avoid publicising the issue too much if they had not gathered clear evidence.

In his view, evidence was insufficient to point to terrorist plots in Thailand, and careless handling of the issue could get Thailand embroiled in a conflict between the US and terrorists, he said.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, a security analyst at Chulalongkorn University, said he had detected signs of a possible problem in communication between the US and Thailand.

He noted a report on Tuesday which said Thai investigators had not allowed US authorities to take part in the questioning of the terror suspect.

The next day, US ambassador Kristie Kenney posted a message on her Twitter account that the US terror alert for American citizens in Bangkok had not been lifted.

Mr Panitan believes the US may want Thailand to give a reassurance that American people are safe before considering lifting the alert.

"A superpower like the US will not easily bow to a demand by Thailand to lift the alert straight away," he said.

He also said Thai authorities must show tact and diplomacy in dealing with the US. Summoning the US ambassador to discuss the terror alert may ruffle Washington's feathers.

Mr Panitan said it would be best if the foreign minister met the US ambassador and told her what Thailand was doing about the terror threat. He believes the US will understand and eventually lift the warning.

Meanwhile, police have denied setting up the seizure of a huge cache of bomb-making materials in the Mahachai area of Samut Sakhon on Monday.

Police raided the building after questioning Mr Atris.

They found 4.4 tonnes of urea-based fertiliser and 290 litres of ammonium nitrate.

Deputy national police chief Pansiri Prapawat, head of the investigators handling the case, yesterday rejected claims by Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut that police had set up the raid to clear themselves of suspicion in the cache.

Mr Chavanond said it was widely known among residents that it was actually police who rented the building.

Pol Gen Pansiri insisted Mr Atris had rented the building for 15,000 baht a month for two years and was close to reaching a deal to buy the building for 6 million baht.

Checks had found a policeman also rented the building for workers to stay, but only for two months.

Mr Atris had told them the materials were not intended for use in any attacks in Thailand, and were to be exported.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/275749/us-wants-to-question-suspect

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Just to back up Bill on the drugs angle. At the sales level; be it the wholesaler with a ton, the next level with 10 kilos, etc etc all the way down to the local dealer, the majority of people will stash their drugs at more than one location. The only people who will keep it in one place are either idiots or the lowest street level of dealer who only gets 10 grams or half an ounce at a time.

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Swedish-Lebanese Terror Suspect Explains Himself

"I am 100 percent not guilty in the terror crimes, I am accused of," says Atris Hussein, who was last week arrested in Bangkok suspected of preparing to carry out a terrorist attack in Thailand.

In an interview with the Bangkok based Swedish report Jan Kallman of the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, who visited him in prison, the 47 year old Hussein says he became a Swedish citizen in 1994. But in 2005, he and his family moved back to Lebanon where he has lived since.

He claims the chemical ingredients that was found in the house that could be used to make bombs was placed there by the Israeli secret service Mossad.

"Much of the material police found in my store had been placed there, probably by the Israeli secret service Mossad," said Atris Hussein to Aftonbladet's reporter Jan Kallman.

Jan Kallman met Hussein early on Thursday morning local time in Bangkok Remand Prison which lies with the huge prison complex Klong Prem in the northern outskirts of Bangkok.

Atris Hussein was wearing blue prison clothes, sat down behind the armored glass, took the phone and looked surprisingly fresh.

"I feel pretty good inspite of the situation. And I miss contact with my family in Lebanon. It is only now here in the prison that I have been able to read some papers and get to know more details of my arrest. I have been treated well by the Thai police. But this is a conspiracy. I deal only with ordinary business operations."

Hussein was arrested last Thursday at Bangkok International Airport Suvarnabhumi Airport when he was going to fly back to Lebanon. He was placed in the Immigration Department custody, interrogated, and on Monday he showed police his warehouse, where - among other things - there turned out to be fertilizer and ammonia that can be used to manufacture explosives.

On Tuesday Hussein was placed in remand prison for another twelve days. This detention period can be extended six times with another 12 days before the public prosecutor must either bring charges against him or he will be released by the court.

Hussein explained in Swedish his own version of the events and a few so far unknown details.

"One evening I was taken out of prison, was placed in a car that drove off with me to a house somewhere. In there, I was interrogated by three men who apparently came from the Mossad. I have their first names. They claimed that I lied about various things," says Atris Hussein.

Israel warned already on 18 December last year, both the U.S. and Thailand that Bangkok might be a target for terrorists. One possible reason was America's deteriorating relations with Iran, writes Aftonbladet.

Israel then received information that the group Hezbollah in Lebanon was about to attack U.S. interests in Thailand seen as a close US ally.The speculation that Aftonbladet presents is, that the attacks would be a revenge for the murder of a nuclear scientist in Iran. Iran has accused the U.S. and Israel of being behind this.

Atris Hussein believes Mossad pointed him out because of his religious and political sympathies.

"I am a Shiite Muslim, but not part of the Hezbollah. However, I live in an area outside Beirut where they are strong. I also have sympathy on the left, I also voted for the Social Democrats when I lived in Sweden. Maybe it made me suspicious in Mossad's eyes. They kept an eye on me."

When did you come to Sweden?

"I moved there in 1989 and became a Swedish Citizen in 1994. I was married in Lebanon and my family then later also came to Sweden. I worked as a hairdresser for ten years in Gothenburg."

"The whole family moved back to Lebanon in 2005. I have four children, two boys who are 15 and 12 years, two girls who are 17 and 7."

You have dual citizenship?

"Yes, in Lebanon and Sweden. I got a new Swedish passport in 2005, which was then valid for ten years. I traveled to Sweden in 2010 to obtain a passport with fingerprints.

What did you do in Lebanon after the move from Sweden?

"I started my own business of selling miniature trees, like Japanese bonsai. I imported them from Pakistan. But it was not so good. I started looking for other business opportunities."

It was in this way you ended up in Thailand?

"Yes, I had a partner in Lebanon who imported goods from Asia. But his Lebanese passport created a lot of trouble for him when going on purchasing trips. I had a Swedish passport and was able to travel freely without the hassle. Three years ago we started doing business in Thailand. I have rented a store here for two years now."

What type of business do you do?

"We bought goods in Asia and exported them to other countries, including Lebanon. It was fans, photocopier paper and cool-packs used to relieves pain. These bags contained ammonia. It wasn't more complicated than that. We have never dealt with chemical fertilizers. It must have been placed in our store room by someone, probably the Mossad."

Why were you in Thailand at this time?

"Firstly, I had to check the warehouse after the floods in November and December, and secondly I should arrange a shipment to Liberia, that we had problems with. The cargo is now booked on a freighter. In addition, I was sick three days with a bad stomach."

What happened last Thursday when you were arrested?

"I was just about to fly home. When I went through all the controls and got my bag, I was x-rayed. They took me to a detention center at the airport and interrogated me. I only had a bag with some clothes and gadgets like fake iPhones, some USB flash drives, hard drives and memory sticks with me. I usually sell them in Lebanon. And then I was accused of being a terrorist. But I am 100 percent innocent."

http://www.scandasia.com/viewNews.php?news_id=10037&coun_code=se

Wait, Mossad was able to sneak 4500kg worth of fertilizer into your warehouse? WTF?!?!

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Tourism agencies eye march on embassy over US terror warning

The Nation

Tourism operators yesterday threatened to march on the US Embassy to meet with the ambassador if the United States refuses to withdraw its terrorism warning for Thailand within two days.

"Those concerned operators will join forces to submit their demand to US Ambassador Kristie Kenney to learn more about the impacts of maintaining the warning," said Watchara Kannikar, spokesman of the Tourism Ministry.

"They will also present information that they got in cooperation with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the National Police Office and other security agencies, which shows that Thailand is not a terrorist target," he said after a meeting of the National Tourism Policy Committee.

With the raising of a terrorism-threat warning by the US, those operators are facing business losses as tourists mainly from China and India have changed their plans to skip Bangkok.

Reluctance to visit

The committee to monitor the situation after the posting of the terrorism warning in Bangkok by the US is also concerned about the impacts on tourists, especially those from China and India who are sensitive to news about terrorism, flooding and Suvarnabhumi Airport.

"Those news reports have made tourists reluctant to enter Thailand," Watchara said.

However, cancellations of hotel-room and air-ticket bookings are not that high now, as the problem is still limited to the three areas in Bangkok mentioned in the US warning. Tourists have avoided Bangkok and proceeded directly to their destinations after taking off from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Chiang Mai and Phuket.

The ministry will inform tourists of the facts. It projects visitor arrivals will reach 19.55 million, up slightly from 19 million last year. They are expected to generate at least Bt760 billion of income for Thailand.

Tourism Minister Chumpol Silapa-archa went down to Khao San Road, where crowds of Israeli and American tourists gather, to convince them of Thailand's security measures.

Waranchai Chokchana, an activist, called on the US Embassy to cancel the travel alert.

"Thailand is not a target of terror attacks at all. But the US has issued the warning, which has now hurt Thailand's economy and tourism," he said.

US Embassy officials took a letter of protest from Waranchai, who then left.

Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said the ministry's permanent secretary had explained the recent high-profile terrorism case to the United States.

"We believe the warning will be revoked," he said. "It will just take some time."

Surapong also expressed confidence that foreign terrorists would not stage any attack in Thailand because the country had been friendly to all.

This month, Atris Hussein was arrested at Suvarnabhumi for his alleged link to a terrorism network.

A police investigation suggested that Hussein was planning to export bomb-making materials such as urea fertiliser and ammonium nitrate to a third country. Ammonium nitrate is a prohibited chemical in Thailand and Hussein is now facing charges of unauthorised possession of the controlled substance.

Hussein has two passports, Lebanese and Swedish. He had rented a shophouse in Samut Sakhon for about two years to keep the large stash of ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser, which have now been seized.

National Police chief Priewphan Damapong said police were seeking an arrest warrant for a second suspect in the case.

"We have drawn up a sketch based on the description given by Hussein and the shophouse owner," the general said.

This suspect had lived in the shophouses with Hussein for months, he said.

Maj-General Anuchai Lekbam-rung, deputy Metropoli-tan Police commissioner. identified this new suspect as James Sammy Paolo, a 40-year-old Lebanese.

"We believe there's solid evidence against him," he said.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Tourism-agencies-eye-march-on-embassy-over-US-terr-30174149.html

Maybe we need to create a new forum for "Unintentional Comedy" and we could post nearly every story that features a government spokesman's comments.

Where was the Tourism Ministry during the red shirt protests? Did they march to Ratchaprasong and demand the red shirts leaders stop protesting because it was harming tourism?

And these stories don't make sense. Hussein told the Swedish press that he had no idea how those chemicals ended up at his warehouse. But this story, based on government information, says that he was planning on exporting the chemicals to another country. It can't be both. Either he was planning to export the chemicals OR he had no idea they were in his warehouse.

How about the Thai police resolve that little inconsistency before the US lifts its travel warning? I mean, getting a straight story on what exactly happened might be a prerequisite, no?

Surapong also expressed confidence that foreign terrorists would not stage any attack in Thailand because the country had been friendly to all.

You know, because terrorists always respect countries that are friendly to them. They would never dare think of attacking American and Israeli citizens in Thailand because they don't wish to upset those nice Thais who have treated them so well.

What planet is this guy living on (or what is he smoking because I need me some of that)? Terrorists attack where it's easy. And the fact all of this was going on right under their noses sounds like Thailand was making it very easy for them to accumulate large amounts of explosive chemicals.

"They will also present information that they got in cooperation with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the National Police Office and other security agencies, which shows that Thailand is not a terrorist target," he said after a meeting of the National Tourism Policy Committee.

Considering the fact that the police had no idea that this guy accumulated 4,500kg of bomb making materials, I'm not so sure I would rely on their analysis of whether or not Thailand is a hard or soft target. What are they supposed to say, "Hey, we really fucked up and, to be totally honest, there could be other threats that we're unaware of. We don't even know what we don't know."

"Thailand is not a target of terror attacks at all. But the US has issued the warning, which has now hurt Thailand's economy and tourism," he said.

Really? This travel advisory has hurt Thailand's economy? Thailand was humming along just fine until a few days ago and now the economy is spiraling out of control?

This is just so comical on so many levels. When Thailand creates their own problems like improperly preparing for floods, letting protesters take over the city, closing the airports, rampant scamming of tourists, spiking foreigner's drinks, stabbing of tourists, jet ski scams, calling five deaths at the same hotel a coincidence, etc, etc, etc, nobody says a word. When the US creates a ripple in the pond by issuing a travel advisory which attempts to protect the lives of their citizens people can't stumble over themselves fast enough to get down to the US embassy and complain.

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http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Tourism-agencies-eye-march-on-embassy-over-US-terr-30174149.html

Maybe we need to create a new forum for "Unintentional Comedy" and we could post nearly every story that features a government spokesman's comments.

Where was the Tourism Ministry during the red shirt protests? Did they march to Ratchaprasong and demand the red shirts leaders stop protesting because it was harming tourism?

And these stories don't make sense. Hussein told the Swedish press that he had no idea how those chemicals ended up at his warehouse. But this story, based on government information, says that he was planning on exporting the chemicals to another country. It can't be both. Either he was planning to export the chemicals OR he had no idea they were in his warehouse.

How about the Thai police resolve that little inconsistency before the US lifts its travel warning? I mean, getting a straight story on what exactly happened might be a prerequisite, no?

You know, because terrorists always respect countries that are friendly to them. They would never dare think of attacking American and Israeli citizens in Thailand because they don't wish to upset those nice Thais who have treated them so well.

What planet is this guy living on (or what is he smoking because I need me some of that)? Terrorists attack where it's easy. And the fact all of this was going on right under their noses sounds like Thailand was making it very easy for them to accumulate large amounts of explosive chemicals.

Considering the fact that the police had no idea that this guy accumulated 4,500kg of bomb making materials, I'm not so sure I would rely on their analysis of whether or not Thailand is a hard or soft target. What are they supposed to say, "Hey, we really f**ked up and, to be totally honest, there could be other threats that we're unaware of. We don't even know what we don't know."

Really? This travel advisory has hurt Thailand's economy? Thailand was humming along just fine until a few days ago and now the economy is spiraling out of control?

This is just so comical on so many levels. When Thailand creates their own problems like improperly preparing for floods, letting protesters take over the city, closing the airports, rampant scamming of tourists, spiking foreigner's drinks, stabbing of tourists, jet ski scams, calling five deaths at the same hotel a coincidence, etc, etc, etc, nobody says a word. When the US creates a ripple in the pond by issuing a travel advisory which attempts to protect the lives of their citizens people can't stumble over themselves fast enough to get down to the US embassy and complain.

typical ******* know-it-all farang .... who just doesn't understand Thai culture !!!

if u don't like it here why don't u just **** off back home !!!

ehhhhhhhh ... scrub that last bit !!!

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Police chief rejects Atris set-up claim

Suspect in terror alert fingers Israel's Mossad

Claims by a Swedish-Lebanese man arrested for possession of restricted materials that he was an ordinary trader set up by Israel's secret service were dismissed by the Bangkok police chief yesterday.

Pol Lt Gen Winai Thongsong rejected the man's claim that Mossad or Israeli diplomats were involved in the Thai investigation.

In an interview in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Hussein Atris, who was arrested last week after fears were raised of a terrorist attack in Bangkok, said his detention was a conspiracy.

"I am 100% not guilty in the terror crimes I am accused of," Mr Atris, 47, told the newspaper.

He also claimed that when he was taken out of prison on Monday to go to Samut Sakhon, he was placed in a car and interrogated by three men who "apparently came from the Mossad".

He alleged the restricted chemicals found in a shophouse raided on Monday were planted by Mossad.

Pol Lt Gen Winai said Mr Atris could maintain his innocence but police insisted his arrest and the seizure of the chemicals were not a set-up by any security agencies.

"The suspect led the investigators to the rented house himself. How could it be a set-up? The suspect told the police about the house and led them there without any Israeli involvement," Pol Lt Gen Winai said.

A source in the investigation team said the chemicals and other materials found in the suspect's shophouse in the south of Bangkok were packed, apparently for overseas shipping.

The source said police were confident there was no plot to attack targets in Bangkok as Mr Atris and the others, who allegedly have links with the Hezbollah group in Lebanon, had rented containers destined for three countries.

Mr Atris was detained at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Jan 12 as he was about to leave for Lebanon. On Monday, police took him to a shophouse in Samut Sakhon's tambon Mahachai where 4,380kg of urea-based fertiliser and 290 litres of ammonium nitrate were found.

On Thursday, the Criminal Court approved an arrest warrant for another Lebanese man called Jieme Paolo, 42, on a charge of colluding with Mr Atris to possess military supplies - ammonium nitrate - without permission.

The suspect is not the person in the sketch shown to the media earlier by police spokesman Piya Uthayo.

Metropolitan deputy police chief Pansiri Prapawat said Mr Paolo was Mr Atris's flatmate in Mahachai.

Pol Gen Pansiri said a police team on Thursday searched another house rented by Mr Atris and his associates in 2009 and 2010. They did not find any evidence as there have been three tenants because the suspects had already moved out.

Another police source said Mr Atris and his accomplices planned to ship the materials for bomb assembly via a shipping company on Sukhumvit Soi 3.

According to the source, Mr Atris was paid about US$5,000 (160,000 baht) for the delivery by an unnamed man.

Over the past two years, Mr Atris has entered Thailand 11 times. During those times, he and the others - the latest suspect Jieme Paolo and two others only known as Abass and Alaa - helped pack the materials into the boxes found at the rented shophouse.

His trip to Thailand was to check whether the materials were ready to be sent off, the source said.

Since the arrest, 17 governments have retained their security warnings about a possible terrorist attack in Bangkok. The United States insisted it will maintain its alert even though another arrest warrant has been issued.

Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday suggested the government issue an official statement stating there is no reason for the security warnings to be kept in place.

"Otherwise, citizens of those countries will believe in the information issued by their governments. The key is for the government to explain that it has handled the threat that led to the warning being issued. That confidence will prompt those countries to review their warnings, " Mr Abhisit said.

He urged Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul to work harder to resolve the situation and restore public confidence.

-----

China gives travel OK for Thailand

China has withdrawn a travel advisory warning its citizens not to visit Thailand because of security concerns, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said yesterday.

Mr Surapong thanked Beijing for rescinding the warning. The withdrawal came after he and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra joined Chinese New Year celebrations at the Chinese embassy this week.

He said Chinese ambassador to Thailand Guan Mu had been asked to consult the Chinese government and the warning was lifted yesterday.

Mr Surapong said the withdrawal will help tourism because many Chinese are expected to visit Thailand during next week's Chinese New Year holiday.

He said he also hoped 19 other countries which issued warnings would follow suit.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/276097/police-chief-rejects-atris-set-up-claim

This just gets funnier every day.

So, the guy who you got a confession out of and told you he had no plans to bomb any targets in Thailand is . . . a LIAR?!?!?! But, you still believe the part about him not having plans to bomb any targets in Thailand, hmmmmm.

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http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/276097/police-chief-rejects-atris-set-up-claim

This just gets funnier every day.

So, the guy who you got a confession out of and told you he had no plans to bomb any targets in Thailand is . . . a LIAR?!?!?! But, you still believe the part about him not having plans to bomb any targets in Thailand, hmmmmm.

Bill, please! What is a newspaper article worth nowadays? Most probably it is not researched and just made up to get people's attraction.

Sad to say, but this is the way nowadays "journalists" are working.

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As one could easily predict, the story gets a little muddier. Now, there are two locations where this guy was storing bomb making materials.

Terror case suspect 'had explosives in two houses'

POLICE DENY SETTING UP LEBANESE MAN

Police have found bomb-making materials in another house rented by Swedish-Lebanese terror suspect Hussein Atris in the Mahachai area of Samut Sakhon.

Deputy national police chief Pansiri Prapawat, head of the team of investigators handling the case, said in a press conference that officers searched another house rented by Mr Atris and found bomb-making materials similar to those found in the first shophouse raided on Monday in the same area.

Investigators also found that Mr Atris moved the explosive materials from the first house to the second house, Pol Gen Pansiri said.

He said investigators had questioned several witnesses who confirmed that Mr Atris had entered Thailand several times, that he had bought the materials and knew where he had been during his stay in Thailand.

Pol Gen Pansiri said the witnesses could more easily recognise and remember his distinguishing features because they were also Arabian.

Pol Gen Pansiri insisted that the seizure of the materials was not a set-up as claimed by the suspect.

"It is not a set-up. Everything proceeds according to evidence," he said.

On Thursday, the 47-year-old terror suspect with alleged links to the Hezbollah militant group told a reporter from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet at Bangkok Remand Prison that he is an ordinary hairdresser and trader who was set up by Israeli agents.

He told the tabloid that the restricted chemicals found in a shophouse raided on Monday were planted by the Israeli secret service Mossad.

He said his detention was a conspiracy.

Mr Atris was arrested on Jan 12 at Suvarnabhumi airport as he was about to leave for Lebanon.

On Monday, he led police to a shophouse in Samut Sakhon province, about 30km south of Bangkok, where police found more than four tonnes of urea-based fertiliser, 290 litres of ammonium nitrate and several plastic containers containing unidentified yellow liquid.

Pol Gen Pansiri said yesterday that forensic police had examined samples of the yellow liquid and found that the liquid also contains ammonium nitrate substances that can be used to make explosives, he said.

Pol Gen Pansiri said the liquid was probably a home-made explosive but it could not explode by itself.

About 30% of the seized materials have been examined so far, he said.

On Thursday, the Criminal Court approved an arrest warrant for another man called Jieme Paolo or Sami Sam, a 42-year-old Lebanese national, on a charge of colluding with Mr Atris to possess restricted supplies _ ammonium nitrate _ without permission.

Since the arrest, 20 governments have retained their security warnings about a possible terrorist attack in Bangkok.

China became the first nation to cancel the warning on Friday. The United States insisted it would maintain its alert even though another arrest warrant has been issued.

US Senator John McCain commented yesterday on the US travel advisory, saying it was a standard practice.

"It's standard operations [putting out an alert] when they have the basis to put out the alert since the US feels it's our responsibility to share information with our citizens and friends," he said during his official visit to Thailand.

Meanwhile, a recent Abac poll showed that 73.3% of respondents did not think the government could measure up to the task of dealing with terrorism.

The poll questioned 1,174 people in Bangkok between Wednesday and Friday.

Of the respondents, 58.1% said they believed terror attacks could possibly take place in Bangkok because, they said, state authorities were lax and inexperienced in enforcing security and it was easy for terrorists to enter and leave the country.

Some 55.9% said information on terrorism provided by the US was more credible, while 44.1% trusted the Thai government's information.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/276220/terror-case-suspect-had-explosives-in-two-houses

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Bangkok police on terror alert

Police are on 24-hour security watch at tourist locations and places of foreign interest in Bangkok as officers investigate supposed links between an arrested Lebanese man and terrorist plots.

Security has been heightened at various locations including Khao San Road, commercial areas of Sukhumvit Road, the Israeli embassy and the American School of Bangkok in Soi Sukhumvit 49/3.

Pol Maj Gen Supisarn Pakdinarunart, chief of the Crime Suppression Division, said officers were patrolling the areas around the clock.

The security beef-up follows the arrest of Swedish-Lebanese terror suspect Hussein Atris at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Jan 12.

Security guards at the premises under watch have been told to report any suspicious character or activities.

The guards are also distributing pictures of some key suspects thought to pose a security threat. Footage from surveillance cameras in the areas is also being reviewed regularly.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/276337/bangkok-police-on-terror-alert

What?!? I thought there was nothing to be concerned about. I'm guessing someone finally said, "Hey, you know, if something actually does happen we'll look like the biggest idiots on the planet."

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Bangkok blasts prompt more accusations against Iran, a day after bombing attempts target Israelis

By Joel Greenberg, Simon Denyer and Debbi Wilgoren, Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 7:23 AM

JERUSALEM — Israel ratcheted up security levels in public places and at key strategic targets on Tuesday, a day after accusing Iran of responsibility for twin bombing attempts aimed at Israeli embassy personnel in New Delhi and Tbilisi, Georgia.

In Thailand, meanwhile, an Iranian man sustained severe injuries when a grenade he was carrying exploded on the street. Several Thai residents also were hurt, and a top Israeli government official said the incident was part of Iran’s ongoing efforts to spread violence around the globe.

Police in Thailand told reporters that the Iranian man, whose passport identified him as Saeid Moradi, was wounded when a stash of explosives apparently detonated by accident inside his house.

He left the residence, as did two other foreign men who did not appear to be hurt. Moradi allegedly threw a grenade at a taxi cab that refused to stop for him, badly damaging the vehicle, and then hurled another at police when they approached. The second grenade exploded before it reached the officers, blowing off Moradi’s legs, according to Thai news and wire service reports .

More explosives were found inside the house, the Associated Press reported, and police detained and were questioning an Iranian man who went to the international airport Tuesday night to board a flight to Malaysia.

In Singapore, visiting Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak told reporters that the series of explosions in Bangkok “proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to perpetrate terror.”

Barak offered no evidence that the man in Bangkok was acting on behalf of Tehran, and no information about who the explosives might have been targeting. His remarks reflected Israel’s increasing concern about a recent wave of international attacks, and the intensifying confrontation between Israel and Iran over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

In New Delhi, meanwhile, the Israeli embassy employee injured in Monday’s bombing underwent surgery to have shrapnel removed from near her spine, Dr. P.K. Sachdeva, a neurosurgeon treating her at Primus Hospital.

Tal Yehoshua-Koren, who works at the embassy and is married to an Israeli Defense Ministry official who is based there, “is responding to verbal commands,” Sachdeva told the Associated Press. “Her husband has met her. There is partial paralysis of the legs, but we are hoping that with time she will improve.”

Yehoshua-Koren was being driven to pick her children up at school when a motorcyclist slapped a magnetic bomb onto her vehicle and it detonated, authorities say.

Israeli investigators and forensic scientists are working with New Delhi police to investigate the attack, which India’s Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said appeared to have been carried out by a “very well-trained person.”

“At the moment, I am not pointing a finger at any particular group or any particular organization,” Chidambaram told reporters. “But whoever did it, we condemn it in the strongest terms.”

The rare coordinated attempts on the lives of Israeli diplomatic representatives came a month after the latest assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist and were set against an escalating war of words between Israel and Iran over a possible Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

The attempted attacks also coincided with the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a leader of Hezbollah, a militant Shiite Lebanese group backed by Iran.

Tehran has vowed revenge for the killing of its scientists, which it has blamed on Israel, and Hezbollah has vowed to avenge the slaying of its leader, considered a mastermind of some of the group’s deadliest attacks.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday’s incidents, but Israeli officials said they appeared to have been directed by Iran, and they warned that if the Islamic republic becomes a nuclear power, it could provide greater protection for militant groups that would be emboldened by its support. Iran denied responsibility for the bombing attempts, calling them an Israeli provocation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited places where he said attacks on Israelis and Jews had recently been foiled, including Thailand and Azerbaijan, and he accused Tehran of orchestrating Monday’s plots, calling Iran “the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world.”

“In all these cases, the elements behind the attacks were Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah,” Netanyahu said. “We will continue to act with a strong hand, systematically and patiently, against international terrorism, whose source is Iran.”

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney was more cautious, saying that the United States had “no information yet on who is responsible for these attacks” and adding, “We have not made a judgment yet.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a condemnation of the bombing incidents, calling them acts of terrorism, but she avoided any accusation of responsibility.

The United States is leading a global push for sanctions that it hopes will force Iran to suspend its uranium-enrichment program, while urging caution on Israel, which is weighing a preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. The United States, Israel and others suspect that Iran is trying to acquire the material and technology needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iran, however, says its nuclear program is aimed only at producing energy and medical isotopes.

‘Psychological warfare’

Iran’s ambassador to India, Mehdi Nebizadeh, said Iran played no role in Monday’s attack in New Delhi. Yehoshua-Koren’s driver also was slightly injured, as were two people in a nearby car.

At about the same time as the attack in New Delhi, officials said, a grenade was found taped to the bottom of the car of a driver for the Israeli Embassy in Tbilisi, capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. It was safely defused

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said Israel was behind the bombing incidents, which he said were intended to “tarnish Iran’s friendly ties with the host countries” and wage “psychological warfare against Iran,” according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. “Iran condemns terrorism,” the spokesman added.

The New Delhi attack, a few hundred yards from the prime minister’s residence, bore eerie similarities to the Jan. 11 killing of Iranian nuclear chemist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, a 32-year-old deputy head of procurement at the Natanz enrichment facility. The scientist was killed in an explosion after an unknown assailant on a motorcycle slapped a magnetic bomb on his car as he commuted to work.

Iran has openly threatened retaliation for the recent killings of its nuclear scientists and has blamed the assassinations on Israel and the United States. Clinton has categorically denied any U.S. involvement; Israeli officials have refused to comment.

Already on high alert

Netanyahu offered no specific evidence for his claim that Iran was responsible for Monday’s incidents. But Israel had put its foreign missions on high alert in recent days because of the anniversary of the death of Mughniyeh, the Hezbollah mastermind, who was killed in Damascus, Syria, on Feb. 12, 2008, when a bomb planted in a headrest in his car was detonated.

Yuli Edelstein, the Israeli minister of public diplomacy, said Hezbollah and other militant groups sponsored by Iran would gain additional protection if Tehran were allowed to obtain a nuclear bomb.

“If the umbrella is based on a strategic weapon — a nuclear weapon — then it will be very difficult to penetrate that umbrella,” he told Israel Radio. “As terrorist groups, it will be very comfortable for them to be under that umbrella.”

But Shlomo Brom, an analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, drew a distinction between Monday’s incidents and the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. He said the bombing attempts were part of a shadow war that has been going on for years between Israel and Iran and the militant groups it supports.

“This is part of the covert war between the two sides,” Brom said. “The secret war is a separate playing field and is not something new. As long as both sides want to keep it there, it won’t affect the general tension.”

Denyer reported from New Delhi. Wilgoren reported from Washington. Correspondents Thomas Erdbrink in Tehran and Kathy Lally in Moscow contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/bangkok-blasts-prompt-more-accusations-against-iran-a-day-after-bombing-attempts-target-israelis/2012/02/14/gIQAHqCLDR_print.html

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