cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16

11.03.2009

corruption in Thailand linked to bigger picture

1. a bank's insolvency, in retrospect - opinion

The writer is Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University. This two-part article will conclude tomorrow.

excerpts:

Had Mr Krirkkiat and his BBC lieutenants concentrated on debt recovery, consolidated their loan portfolios and emphasised quality lending from around 1988 onwards, the BBC's crisis in the 1990s could have been averted. Yet the bank's financial position and operational performance were chronically weak because it traditionally served a handful of elite, well-connected families.

...

In some cases, the overdrafts were also obtained by politicians to purchase obscure provincial land plots, whose prices were then inflated and put up as collateral at the BBC for yet more loans. The overvaluation of land was a by-product of the country's property boom at the time.

In other cases, such as the City Trading Corp., BBC loans were simply redirected to off-shore personal bank accounts.

During the three years after the Song scandal until late 1995 when the BBC's problematic balance sheets came into the public spotlight, the bank's financial schemes both on-shore and off-shore developed into a complex web of bank loans extended to questionable local and foreign individuals and companies for the share price manipulation of the SET and other fraudulent transactions both in Thailand and abroad.

read more @ bangkok post


2. no simplistic solution to the southern conflict - opinion

excerpt:

Gen Chavalit seems too optimistic, too certain that the southern problem can be easily solved with just the idea of giving some sort of local self-government to the people down there. Moreover, despite all the recent hype about semi-autonomy as suggested by the Malaysian premier, which was accepted in principle by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, and now embraced by Gen Chavalit, we are yet to hear the voices of the people in the three southernmost provinces. Do they really support the idea? Do they truly believe it would bring an end to the spiraling violence?

Then there are the militants themselves. No one seems to have a clue who their bosses are, or about their real objectives.

Would these violence-pronet trouble-makers accept the idea of a semi-autonomus Pattani City, or would they demand a totally independent state for the largely Muslim region?

We are yet to hear their voices on this or any other settlement proposal.

And then there are the other criminal elements who also prey on the people in the far South and are responsible for much of the violence -- to the extent that it is difficult to deferentiate which incidents are committed by separatist militants and which by criminal thugs pushing their own agenda..

read more @ bangkok post


3. surveillance plan grounded


Equipping the airship bought in the US for patrol and surveillance work in the lower South with a pair of state-of-the-art spy cameras will face further delays, the army says.

Spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd yesterday said deployment had been complicated by the US reluctance to supply the two high-resolution surveillance cameras for the plane-shaped balloon.

"High-definition security cameras are considered to be warfare equipment and can't be acquired without going through strict procedures," Col Sansern said.

"The US first needs to be confident that the cameras will not be misused or fall into the wrong hands when they arrive." Internal coordination between the manufacturer of the airship and the US administration is required before the endorsement for the export of the cameras.

The army signed a contract for the purchase of the airship with Aria International Inc this year. The deal was announced on April 30.

An army source yesterday said the army would consider terminating the purchase if the cameras could not be delivered

read more @ bangkok post


about Aria International: http://www.aria-int.com/company/about.html

Aria International Incorporated is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aria International Holdings, Inc. (“Aria”). Aria is focused on providing specialized surveillance and communications solutions to a global customer base. Aria operates as a solutions provider, systems integrator, and operator of surveillance and communications systems. Working closely with our clients in a flexible and responsive manner, we are able to provide highly effective solutions that respond well to our customers' defense and security requirements.

The founders of Aria previously supported surveillance and communications projects with the U.S. Department of Defense. They possess vast experience designing, executing, and operating security and surveillance projects in the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Thailand. Collectively, they bring this unique experience and knowledge that well supports Aria’s growth in the increasing global marketplace for homeland defense, surveillance and communications systems.


4. no penalty for Swedish man who filmed naked children and fled to... THAILAND

A 29-year-old counselor caught secretly filming naked children at a Swedish summer camp won’t be punished for his crimes. The man was arrested in June 2007 after being discovered making recordings of children while they were taking saunas at a summer camp in the archipelago outside of Norrtälje, north of Stockholm, the Metro newspaper reports.

But just before prosecutors brought formal charges against the 29-year-old, he managed to slip out of the country and escape to Thailand.

Since then, the man has been hiding out in the Asian paradise, ignoring repeated summons and waiting until the statute of limitations for his crime expired.

And just a few hours after the former camp counselor could no longer be charged with a crime, prosecutors had no choice but to grant his request that they return the recording equipment and computer confiscated when he was arrested.

“Obviously, you can get upset over how easy someone can have criminal suspicions against them written off,” prosecutor Eva Thunegard told the newspaper.

The man was able to leave the country so easily in part because he had a protected identity due to having been the subject of earlier threats.

According to Metro, the man currently works as a school teacher in another country.

"It’s disgraceful that it’s so easy to avoid a trial and possible conviction,” a parent of one of the children filmed by the counselor told the newspaper.

source

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