Monthly Archives: December 2006

Bombs Shake Bangkok Thailand – New Year’s Events Cancelled

There have been a number of unexpected attacks in the capital:

A senior police spokesman says at least 12 people have been injured in Bangkok after four bombs exploded in the Thai capital as revellers were preparing to bring in the New Year.

The four explosions are thought to have happened within 90 minutes of each other across the capital, beginning at 5:30pm (local time) at central Bangkok’s Victory Monument.

“I have received reports of bombs at Victory Monument which injured four people. The second site was at Klong Toey which injured six people, two of them children,” Ajiravid Subarnbhesaj, national police spokesman, said on Thai television.

Some violence was predicted but Bangkok wasn’t the expected target:

The government had warned of an attack over the New Year holiday, but it was widely believed the warnings related to the troubled southern provinces of the country, where insurgent groups have waged an ongoing battle against the government for many years.

Now reports are mentioning grenade and bomb attacks:

Early reports said there were six explosions in various parts of the capital. Two were reported near the Klong Toey market, where one person was killed, and near the busy Victory Monument, where two people were reported killed and more than a dozen wounded.

Graphic footage shown on television showed damaged vehicles and blood-stained streets and pavements.

TV reports said a man was seen throwing a grenade off a pedestrian overpass near a police box in the Saphan Kwai area of Bangkok, injuring several people in the explosion.

At Seacon Square in eastern Bangkok, Asia’s largest mall, an explosion in the outdoor parking lot sent hundreds of shoppers scrambling, but no injurites were reported.

Islamists may be behind these attacks but it’s difficult to tell at the moment:

In addition, some intelligence sources had suggested in the past two weeks that Islamist extremists leading the southern insurgency might try to spread their attacks to the capital. They have never operated out of the deep South.

The Bangkok bombings, however, bore little resemblance to bomb attacks in the South, which usually involve improvised explosive devices (IEDs) copied from the Iraq model, and set off by mobile phones, and vehicle bombs, especially in motorcycles.

The BBC believes it’s coup-related:

Our Bangkok correspondent says many Thais suspect the bombs were the work of opponents of the current military government, which forced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from office in September.

Thailand’s internal conflicts are confusing as hell. Wikipedia does a pretty good job of summarizing everything.

Counterterrorism Blog: The low profile targets at first led me and other analysts that I spoke with to discount the involvement of Muslim militants from the deep south. While I have long argued that they have never taken the option of targeting Bangkok off the table, nor are they ideologically against it, at the time they really don’t need to change their strategy. At this point the insurgents are winning (they certainly are not losing). What the attack seemed to reflect was ongoing elite strife over the 19 September coup. There have been several bombings in Bangkok in the past few years, but all have been linked to elite conflicts, not the insurgency. The higher profile bombing of the Siam Paragon – which this author was in shopping with his children a few hours before the blast – might mean something altogether. Then again, it could be the police or other forces disgruntled with the military’s takeover and simply be an attempt to discredit and destabilize the regime. The police are wildly unhappy about the reforms that the military is going to soon force on the police. Yet one of the bombs was placed at a small police kiosk wounding several police officers.

Also Blogging:
Michelle Malkin
Jihad Watch

Video: Saddam Hussein’s Execution – Hanging Shown

They say that he died with fear in his eyes but you can’t really tell in this grainy cell phone video:

The deposed leader, 69, shuffled to the gallows about 2pm Melbourne time carrying a copy of the Koran.

Hands bound behind his back and his ankles shackled, he asked guards to loosen his manacles but refused to let authorities cover his head with a black hood.

Then he was led to the trapdoor of the gallows, where, five minutes later, he died in “the blink of an eye”.

Among his last words was a Muslim profession of faith: “There is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet.”

There is an official high-definition version but it still hasn’t been released:

The Iraqi government photographer who filmed this morning’s execution of ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein used a Sony High-Definition video camera, according to wire reports.

There was no word when — or if — the execution video would be broadcast in high-def in Iraq and elsewhere. Newsweek reports that the video is 15 minutes long and shows Hussein from “close quarters” during his final moments.

The photographer has commented on the scene.

CNN breaks down the audio:

But a crude cell-phone video leaked less than 24 hours later goes much further — showing bitter exchanges between Hussein and his Shiite guards.

After Hussein offers prayers, the guards shout praise for Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose father is believed to have been murdered by Hussein’s regime.

They chant, “Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!”

Hussein smiles.

“Is this how you show your bravery as men?” he asks.

“Straight to hell,” someone shouts back at him.

“Is this the bravery of Arabs?” Hussein asks.

A sole voice is heard trying to silence the taunts.

“Please, I am begging you not to,” the unknown man says. “The man is being executed.”

Another shout, “Long live Mohammed Baqir Sadr” — referring to Muqtada al-Sadr’s father-in-law and a founder of the Shiite Dawa movement who was executed by the Hussein regime. Dawa is al-Maliki’s party.

The taunts continued, and the trapdoor dropped shortly after 6 a.m. Saturday. Hussein was hanged. (Watch Hussein’s last moments Video)

Immediately after, Shiite witnesses danced around his body, chanting celebratory slogans.

He was buried in Tikrit:

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was buried Sunday in Awja, near Tikrit, according to a CNN journalist who witnessed the ceremony.

About 100 people, including the governor of Salaheddin, clerics, tribal leaders and relatives attended the event, which took place at 4 a.m. (0100 GMT).

Saddam Hussein’s relatives, including sons Uday and Qusay, are buried in the same cemetery. His sons were killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in 2003.

Iraq’s state-run television network, Al-Iraqiya, reported that the Iraqi government formally handed over Hussein’s body to Sheikh Ali al-Nida, leader of the Bou Nasser tribe, and the governor of Salaheddin. It was transported by the U.S. military.

The body was then taken to Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, north of the capital, where members of the Bou Nasser tribe and clerics prayed over it, said a reporter for CNN who saw the body in Tikrit.

Blogs of War reader Greatcanine emails:

I thought you would like to post this. I put it together from the clandestine cellphone video filmed at the execution. The cellphone recorded flash photography during the post-hanging sequence and Saddam’s face is lit up for a second here and there. The sequence is chilling as it shows Saddam closing his eyes for the last time. I can get you larger files

You can see the image here. Shokk.com has one too.

Update 1/3/2006:
The person who recorded this video has been arrested by the Iraqi government.

Hot Air: I don’t know whose bright idea it was to let three punks in leather jackets and balaclavas take care of business instead of the Iraqi army, but the more I watch it, the more it looks like a hit instead of a state execution.

Video: Ramsey Clark Calls Execution “A Tragic Assault Upon Truth and Justice”

Not a suprising comment from the man who defended him and whom Salon called “the war criminal’s best friend“:

The former U.S. attorney general has become the tool of left-wing cultists who defend Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Rwandan torturers as anti-imperialist heroes.

…Those who know him will be less surprised that the inspiration for this circus is former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, whom one long-standing colleague described as “a good man gone ga-ga — at least 25 years ago.” Many liberals and leftists cut Clark a considerable degree of slack. For a start he is almost the only person the American left has had in high public office since World War II, even if it was a retrospective success, since his long march leftward only began afterward. His views as the former attorney general are listened to with a respect that would be accorded to few others with such eccentric opinions. As a revered spokesman of the left, he is a perfect symbol for its near-impotence in American politics today.

Everyone who has dealings with Clark uses the word “nice” to describe him. But he often sides with people whom no one with a full deck would call nice. (Clark did not respond to a Salon News interview request.) Many former friends, more in sorrow than in anger, trace his present positions to the company he keeps: the International Action Center, which proclaims him its founder but seems entirely in the thrall of an obscure Trotskyist sect, the Workers World Party. Whoever writes his scripts, there is little doubt what Ramsey Clark is against now — any manifestation of the power of the state he once served at the height of the Vietnam War.