Thursday, February 16, 2012

16-Feb-12: Bangkok: So what actually happened there on Tuesday?

The three Iranians suspected of executing the botched
terror attacks in Bangkok on 14-Feb-12. Legally they are
in a real mess with one of them no longer having a leg to stand on.

Not being able to decide whether a bombing is an act of terrorism can have a very significant impact on whether the next bombing happens or is prevented in time. We're witnessing that rather sad confusion in action today.

As of Thursday morning, 11 am Israel time, here's the latest update according to the BBC complete with its customary (and slightly mysterious) quotation marks.
Bangkok blast suspects 'targeting Israeli diplomats'          Thai police say they believe men detained after prematurely exploding bombs in Bangkok on Tuesday were intending to target two Israeli diplomats. They gave no further details of who the individual targets were. Two men, said to be Iranian, remain in custody in Bangkok. A third man is in custody in Malaysia. A fourth suspect is said to be on the run. Israel says Iran was behind the incident, but Tehran denies any role. The Bangkok blasts came a day after two attacks targeting Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia. An Israeli diplomat was injured in the Delhi attack, after a motorcycle rider attached an explosive device to her car. Around the same time a bomb beneath an Israeli diplomat's car in Tbilisi, Georgia, was found and defused. Several countries, including the US and the UK, have issued fresh travel advisories for Thailand in wake of the incident.
So it was a terrorist attack. And Israelis were the target (as in New Delhi and Tbilisi a day earlier.)

Or not. Here's what Xinhua, the Chinese newsagency, said in the last hour.
Bangkok blasts not terrorism: Deputy PM            Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapha said Thursday that the three explosions in downtown Bangkok on Tuesday were a security issue and there was no evidence to classify them as a terror attack, the online edtion of The Nation newspaper reported. "The government views the blasts as having impacted on the national security," The Nation quoted Yuthasak as saying. The explosive devices undercovered were aimed for individual targets and the blasts involving Iranian bomber suspects were individual crimes and not a terrorist attack, Yuthasak said, reaffirming statements of National Security Council Secretary-General Wichean Photephosree at a press conference on Wednesday. The police investigation has yet to determine the motive why the suspects assembled the devices before the explosions, he said. The authorities had no evidence to link the suspects to the terrorist movement. Three consecutive blasts occurred Tuesday in downtown Bangkok, injuring five people. 
Whatever the true nature of the Bangkok bombing, Xinhua at least acknowledges whom the authorities in Thailand are pursuing:
Thai police have issued arrest warrants for four Iranian nationals on charges related to the blast.
For its part, Iran's world-class PressTV news channel ("the first Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English on a round-the-clock basis. Our global Tehran-based headquarters is staffed with outstanding Iranian and foreign media professionals..") knows who was behind the attack that cost one of the suspected Iranians his two legs:

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast condemned the blasts and said that Israeli agents are often the perpetrators of such terrorist acts. 
Iran also says Israel is also the party behind Monday's terrorist attacks on Israelis in New Delhi and Tbilisi.

One of the Iranian suspects fled to Malaysia where he was arrested on Wednesday. AFP is reporting that the Thais are now seeking his extradition via their National Police Office and Attorney-General's Office. Should we expect the Iranian regime to get involved in fighting the extradition? That might make for some interesting quotations.

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