Archive for the ‘Asia’ Tag

Pakistan arrests US security contractor as rift with CIA deepens | World news | The Guardian   Leave a comment

Pakistan arrests US security contractor as rift with CIA deepens | World news | The Guardian.

Supporters of the religious party Jamaat-e-Islami rally against CIA employee Raymond Davis, accused of murdering two Pakistanis. Photograph: K.M.Chaudary/AP

Pakistani authorities have arrested a US government security contractor amid a worsening spy agency row between the countries, with Pakistani intelligence calling on the Americans to “come clean” about its network of covert operatives in the country.

Posted February 25, 2011 by dmacc502 in global

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Arms trafficking in Thailand not a new phenomenon   Leave a comment

Royal Thai Army Infantry Soldiers practice bre...

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Robert Karniol
The Straits Times
Publication Date : 18-10-2010

A decade ago, I wrote a conference paper on arms trafficking in the Golden Triangle region. Recent events in Bangkok bring to mind some of its salient points.

The Golden Triangle is that loose area where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet. A portion of Yunnan province in south-west China may be included as well.

The paper saw this ethnically diverse region as a single geographic, social and cultural entity that transcends these formal borders. Historically, national governments that putatively have sovereignty over portions of the Golden Triangle had little influence there.

The semi-autonomy contributed to lawlessness and this, in turn, produced a profusion of arms and private armies – partly for self protection and partly connected to trade activity, the latter including substantial quantities of opium and other illicit material. The arms trade supporting this dynamic had Thailand as its hub, though sourcing from China has become more apparent in recent years.

Arms trafficking from Thailand fell under two categories: covert and criminal, with the two often overlapping. Covert activity involved supplies and support from the Thai security apparatus under a strategic policy in place until the early 1990s, to maintain buffer zones along border areas. Criminal activity was, of course, commercially driven.

The weaponry and ammunition originated domestically or simply transited through Thai territory. Materials in transit were sourced from Cambodia ( reduced in recent years); from Viet Nam or the former Soviet bloc. There were also reports of involvement by middlemen based in Singapore.

Most of this war material went overland to insurgents in Burma and Laos, but some was destined for further afield, including to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka and secessionist fighters in India’s north-east. But it is the domestic sourcing that is likely most relevant to the unsettled atmosphere now prevalent in Thailand.

Weaponry obtained in Thailand and destined for the black market trade originated mainly from local military stocks or from unscrupulous arms dealers. At least one incident involved theft from an American stockpile maintained in the country for training use.

“According to a Bangkok-based intelligence source,” I wrote in 2000, “one method of siphoning from Thai army stocks involves over-reporting the amount of ammunition consumed during training exercises.”

The paper further notes: “Locally- sourced military equipment is largely purloined from Royal Thai Army stocks. This includes material simply stolen from storage areas and material obtained with the collusion of corrupt military personnel who over-report usage and siphon off the excess.

“Some licensed arms dealers also support the trade, under-declaring the volume of legally imported material and selling the surplus stock so obtained to illicit arms traffickers. Published reports also suggest that some contraband war material confiscated during police raids has reappeared on the market.”

However, conditions inevitably fluctuate. “One Bangkok-based intelligence source says that a single round of ammunition for the M-16 assault rifle is now selling in the Golden Triangle for 15 baht as compared with the previous price of five baht,” the paper states. “This indicates tight supply.”

And how does all this relate to events currently unfolding?

Bangkok has been rocked by over 70 bombings since violent confrontations between the military and red-shirt protesters in April and May, and another 43 explosive devices have been defused by police. Thailand’s special investigations department, meanwhile, alleged on October 11 that a number of red-shirt militants have received weapons training in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which Phnom Penh denies.

“Some 32 rocket-propelled grenades, 8,000 bullets for United States-supplied M-16 assault rifles and other weaponry disappeared from an army arsenal during September. A similar mysterious theft of 69 hand grenades and 3,100 bullets for assault rifles occurred at a different army depot in March,” Bangkok-based journalist Richard Ehrlich further noted in a recent article.

The intention behind such activity is unclear. Some suggest the bombings are rooted in radical red-shirt efforts to destabilise the administration, while others suspect a government hand. Commenting on the latter view, Ehrlich stated that “the red shirts and their supporters portray Bangkok’s bombings as a shameless conspiracy by the government to entrench the military, justify the government’s ongoing state of emergency decree and smear innocent (red shirts).”

Neither position has as yet been substantiated, with no hard evidence uncovered. Or at least made public.

But one thing is nevertheless clear: the siphoning of small arms and ammunition from Thai military arsenals has been prevalent for years and is not a new phenomenon. Neither has the local availability of this material posed a significant problem.

Where this trade has traditionally fed the illicit export market, it can just as easily fulfil domestic purposes. If circumstances require.

Posted October 18, 2010 by dmacc502 in global, violence

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Korean War   Leave a comment

On War: Korean War 60th Anniversary


Korea war communist prisoner exchange non repatriates released, Jan. 20, 1954 the North Korean prisoners Load into the flat cars which ill take them southward to the reception centers after they came across from the DZ to the U.N. Receiving point. (AP Photo/Sweers)

On War: Korean War 60th Anniversary


A Korean, with an ‘A’frame carrier strapped to his back, pauses on a Seoul, Korea, street on Nov. 28, 1952 to read sign posted in English and Korean in anticipation of a visit by President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower. (AP Photo/George Sweers)

On War: Korean War 60th Anniversary


The Korean Kids at the elementary school at Tongduch’on ni, set up by GIs camped nearby in Korea on June 21, 1952, are learning baseball as well as their abc’s for a well-rounded education. Sergeant Kenneth D. Henry, of Memphis, Mo., and Sergeant Jess R. Adkins, of Peru, Indiana, are giving instruction in the great American game to two of the older students of the school. (AP Photo)

On War: Korean War 60th Anniversary


An army corporal at Panmunjom took this picture in Korea on Oct. 8, 1952 as the last jeep of the United Nations convoy departed for Munsan, after Korean truce talks at Panmunjom had been recessed indefinitely. Somebody had just put the identifying sign on the rear of the jeep. The picture has just become available on November 10, by air from Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo)

On War: Korean War 60th Anniversary


Three American Marines, left to right are: Pfc. Clarence Hara, Alumbank, Pa.; Cpl. Jean Holland, Americus, Ga.; and Pfc. Carl Toker, Mt. Wolf, Pa., destroy their bunkers on a forward observation post on the western front preparatory to withdrawal from the demilitarized zone under terms of the armistice in Korea July 28, 1953. In background is what was once no-man’s land. (AP Photo/CLH)

On War: Korean War 60th Anniversary


Apparently calling cadence, the North Korean Communist military policeman, at right, stands to the side of the read leading to the Panmunjom military armistice site on Oct. 28, 1951, as two armed Communist military policeman march in single file. Both, American and Communist military policemen spread about the Korean neutral zone, keep their eyes open for possible violations of the U.N.-Communists sire agreements. (AP Photo)

On War: Korean War 60th Anniversary


ROK soldiers look back at their former positions as their truck moves southward out of the demilitarized zone following the truce agreement on July 30, 1953. (AP Photo)

On War: Korean War 60th Anniversary


A line of soldiers on a United Nations patrol mission plod through deep snow up a hill in the central front of Korea on Feb. 3, 1951. (AP Photo/Max Desfor )

On War: Korean War 60th Anniversary


A U.S. First Cavalry Division tank takes on the appearance of a Times Square subway train at the rush hour as GI’s pile aboard, on March 14, 1951 for a ride across the Hongchon River near the former Red supply base of Hongchon. (AP Photo/Jim Pringle)

On War: Korean War 60th Anniversary


Korean women weep as they identify bodies on Oct. 28, 1953. The army said the victims were among political prisoners killed by suffocation by the Communists outside Hambung, Korea. The Army said the victims were forced into caves which were then sealed off. (AP Photo)


Posted October 17, 2010 by dmacc502 in American, government, war

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