One week on and what more do we know?


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It's been more than a week since the US Embassy clumsily announced that Bangkok was in danger of a terror attack. I'm still dumbfounded at the complete lack of respect that has been shown to the general public. It's basically a guessing game with the media hamfistedly uncovering new snippets of information from one day to the next.

Are we in danger or not? And what exactly are we in danger from? The vague warning from the US Embassy came out of nowhere and hasn't been followed up with any real clarification of what the heck is going on. The Thai authorities, on the other hand, have been telling people not to panic and that everything is fine. Who are we supposed to believe when it appears nobody is being fully straight and open with us?

Bomb-making materials were found first in one house, and then in another:

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. (Bangkok Post)

Hussein Atris claims he was ste up Mossad, the Israeli Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations. Thailand has been saying that the bomb-making materials were to be exported and that Thailand wasn't the target. Meanwhile, tourism operators have threatened to march on the US Embassy if the terror warning isn't revoked.

Surely there will be a movie about this some day, especially with headlines like this: Hizballah planned Mumbai-style attack on Habad Bangkok, Khao San restaurants.

The Thai police's capture of a Lebanese-Swedish Hizballah suspect, who was charged Monday, Jan. 16, thwarted a terrorist attack on Bet Habad in Bangkok, involving the taking of hostages and blowing up the building. It was to have followed the same lines as al Qaeda's 2008 assault on the Mumbai Habad center which killed 8 Israelis and Jews – only more ambitious. The Habad Bangkok is much larger: its hostel has rooms for dozens of lodgers. A second team was to have hit the Khao San Road restaurants popular with Israelis and Americans in a coordinated operation. (debka)

For the US to refuse to revoke its warning despite pressure from the Thai authorities sends a message to the public that something is wrong, but we still don't really know what.

As safe as Bangkok may or may not be right now, we shouldn't forget that in the past five or so years there's been a coup, an airport takeover, numerous protests and clashes between civilians and the army, and several bombs detonated, including on New Year's Eve 2006. It's not totally inconceivable that something terrible could happen in Bangkok. It's not as if Bangkok is immune to bad things, as we've seen many times, most recently with the poorly managed floods.

Getting good, reliable information to the public isn't one of the strong points of the Thai government. Who can we trust?

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