Daily Archives: August 22, 2008

CNN: Conspiracy theorists ‘not swayed’ by government’s WTC7 explanation

What really happened at 7 W.T.C. on Sept. 11, 2001?  Government investigators say they know the truth.

Raw Story | Aug 22, 2008

By David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster

Fires, and not controlled demolition, caused the collapse of the tower, claims a new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The institute, a federal scientific agency which promotes technical industrial standards, is the first government agency to present an all-encompassing theory of the building’s demise.

But that theory is being met with consternation among those who believe something more sinister was afoot on 9/11.

“It has been a mystery since 9/11,” said CNN’s Deborah Feyerick in a Friday report. “Why did World Trade Center building seven collapse nearly seven hours after the twin towers fell?

“Was it diesel fuel in the building? Or planted explosives, a controlled demolition of government offices as conspiracy theorists allege in films like Loose Change?”

No, says Dr. Shyam Sunder, who directed NIST’s team of researchers in the investigation. Fire triggered a “new phenomenon” — thermal expansion of structural steel, which caused a cascade of collapsing floors, ultimately bringing the building down symmetrically, into its own footprint.

“This is the first time that we’re aware of, that a building over 15 stories tall has collapsed primarilly due to fire,” said Dr. Sunder during Thursday’s NIST press conference. Had the city’s water mane not been cut, and WTC 7’s sprinkler systems been active, the building may still stand, he said.

Still, said CNN, conspiracy theorists are “not swayed” by the report, though the news channel failed to provide any reason why some still cling to differing opinions of WTC 7’s collapse.

Richard Gage, founder of the activist group Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, is chief among those promoting alternatives to the fire theory.

“Tons of [molten metal] was found 21 days after the attack,” said Gage in an interview with a Vancouver, Canada television station. “Steel doesn’t begin to melt until 2,700 degrees, which is much hotter than what these fires could have caused.”

His group has membership of over 400 architectural and engineering professionals, who say that they have the science to back up their claims. They argue thermite, a steel cutting agent used by the military and controlled demolitions companies, was responsible for bringing the building down.

“FEMA found it,” said Gage during a press conference on Thursday. “Dr. Steven Jones found it, in the dust that landed in the entire area of lower Manhattan. And he finds it in the chunks of previously molten metal [from the towers].”

“Investigators said they did consider certain so-called ‘conspiracy theories,’ reported CNN. “But none held up.”

“Alternative theories are, really, none of them have been found to be credible,” said NIST’s Dr. Sunder.

Glenn Corbin, a fire expert interviewed by CNN, said he believes the most important thing to take away from the NIST report are means of making skyscrapers safer.

Clark Rockefeller interviewed by Today Show

Natalie Morales interviewed Clark Rockefeller on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008, at Suffolk County Jail in Boston. The interview will air on TODAY on Monday and Tuesday and on Dateline in September.

‘Clark Rockefeller’: My ex never believed my story

In jailhouse interview, he claims Sandra Boss used name to get ahead

Tune in to TODAY on Monday, August 25th and Tuesday August 26th to see the full interview.

TODAY Show | Aug 22, 2008

TODAY’s Natalie Morales previews her jailhouse interview with the man known as Clark Rockefeller, who’s in jail for kidnapping his daughter.

By Michael Inbar

The mystery man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller told NBC News that his own ex-wife never believed he was really related to the fabulously wealthy family of the same surname — but claims she used the magical moniker to advance her career just the same.

“She knew early on that I had virtually not much in common with the Rockefeller family,” the man at the center of one of the most talked-about stories of the year told Natalie Morales in an exclusive jailhouse interview set to air on TODAY Monday and Tuesday. Nonetheless, he said that Sandra Boss — the former spouse he is charged with snatching daughter Reigh from last month — “referred to me as having been descended from John D. Rockefeller and such whenever it was to her advantage.”

The man known as the ‘fake Rockefeller’ wore his prison grays as he sat alongside his lawyer Stephen Hrones for the interview. In it, he asked Morales to call him Clark Rockefeller, even though authorities say he is actually Christian Gerhartsreiter, a native German who moved to the U.S. as an exchange student in the late 1970s.

Who is ‘Clark Rockefeller’?

While Gerhartsreiter, 48, has claimed to suffer from a profound loss of memory, authorities believe they actually may be dealing with a con man who is attempting to elude prosecution by deliberately sowing confusion about his sketchy background.

That background first fell under a spotlight in July, when he became the subject of an international manhunt after abducting his daughter from Boss during a supervised visit. Now he not only awaits trial on kidnapping charges in Boston, but has been identified as a “person of interest” in a double homicide during the mid-1980s in California.

Gerhartsreiter alleges that he remembers little before that time other than brief snatches of his childhood. He told Morales that the name “Clark Rockefeller” was bestowed upon him.

“It was given to me by the one person to whom I’ve always looked up to, one person whom I’ve known since I was small,” Gerhartsreiter said. Upon advice from Hrones, he declined to identify the person.

While Gerhartsreiter exhibited the mild manner many TV viewers have witnessed during his televised court appearances, he made it clear there is little love lost between him and Boss, whom he says not only reveled in the Rockefeller name, but exploited it whenever it was to her advantage.

“She usually did so in an understated way – calling special attention to it by keeping it extra quiet,” he told Morales. “Sort of, ‘Psst, she’s married to a Rockefeller.’ It’s like saying you went to Harvard. It opens doors.”

Gerhartsreiter said that Boss climbed the corporate ladder as a management consultant during their marriage, and that “many of her colleagues believed that it had a lot to do with me and my name.” However, she herself never believed she was married to a real Rockefeller, he alleges.

“No, clearly not,” Gerhartsreiter told Morales. “Between the two of us, I don’t think it ever came up specifically as to, like, you know, let’s look up in the family tree. But she knew early on that I had virtually not much in common with the Rockefeller family.”

TODAY producers are attempting to contact Boss for her response to Gerhartsreiter’s allegations.

Suggests DNA testing

However, “Clark” himself only added confusion to the situation by refusing to dismiss the notion that he may indeed be a real Rockefeller. “From what I’ve heard lately, it might not be, but as far as I know, it’s my name,” he told Morales. “Perhaps at some point we can do a DNA test to really find out.”

Asked by Morales whether he himself used the famous last name is get ahead or curry favor in life, he responded, “I always left that ambiguous.”

He expresses confusion at authorities’ allegation that he actually Christian Gerhartsreiter, who was born in 1961 in then West Germany – he says he has fleeting memories of growing up in New York City.

While claiming he has no clear memory of his parents or his family, “there are certain things that I haven’t forgotten,” he told Morales. “For example, the garbage strike in New York, I remember that very clearly. I remember the taxi strikes. I remember going to the zoo in Central Park when it wasn’t what it is today – when it was actually a downright dangerous place to go.

While criminal charges and investigations continue to swirl around the mysterious man, he says his thoughts lie solely with his 7-year-old daughter, Reigh, commonly known as Snooks. He and Boss divorced last year, and while he was given $800,000 in the divorce, Boss received full custody of Reigh.

“I can’t predict the future, but I do think about my little girl every day, every moment I’m awake, the moment I go to sleep I think of her. The moment I wake up I think of her.

“I miss her unbelievably much – I cannot begin to tell you how much I miss her. She is the love of my life.”

In addition to airing on TODAY, Morales’ interview is slated for NBC’s Dateline in September.

50 women and 19 children killed by coalition forces in Afghanistan

US-led coalition forces killed 76 civilians – including 50 women and 19 children – in a military operation yesterday, the Afghan government said.

Telegraph | Aug 22, 2008

By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad

The attack, which included air strikes, took place in the Shindand district of Herat province in the west of Afghanistan and an investigation is now underway, its interior ministry said in a statement.

“Seventy-six people, all civilians and most of them women and children, were martyred during the operation by coalition forces,” it claimed.

But the coalition said 30 insurgents and no civilians were killed in clashes and air strikes, which came in response to an ambush on Afghan National Army (ANA) and coalition troops as they were going to arrest a Taliban commander.

If the civilian death toll is confirmed it would be one of the highest in the international fight against the Taliban.

It comes at the end of a week of bloodshed in which 10 French soldiers were killed by insurgents in an ambush near Kabul on Monday. Nine more foreign soldiers have died since.

The worsening situation in Afghanistan has prompted accusations that the Pakistan military is failing to rein in elements sympathetic to the Taliban.

Pakistan’s attempts to fill the leadership vacuum left by the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf stalled yesterday after the two main parties in the coalition failed to agree on who should succeed him.

The main ruling party, Pakistan People’s Party, proposed the widower of assassinated former premier Benazir Bhutto as the country’s next president, due to be elected on September 6.

The move makes Asif Ali Zardari the clear front-runner but it could also hasten the collapse of the ruling coalition that has struggled to tackle serious economic problems and the growing strength of Taliban militants.

The failure to reach agreement comes a day after suicide bombings hit the country’s largest weapons factory, underscoring the need for decisive leadership. The death toll from the double suicide attack climbed to 67 people and another 102 were wounded, many critically.

Both sides also struggled to reach a solution on the restoration of judges sacked by the outgoing president.

The former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, had threatened to resign from the coalition if no agreement had been reached by yesterday but he set a new deadline for next Wednesday – already the third since Mr Musharraf’s resignation last week – to restore the judges.

The PPP announced that a resolution on the judges’ resinatement will be presented in parliament next week.

“Wednesday should not be considered the final word. There could be a delay of a day or two. But you will see results in a week or so,” said Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of a small Islamist party that is a member of the coalition.

Mr Sharif argued that a simple order from the prime minister is enough to restore the judges.

But Mr Zardari, who does not want to see the chief justice who challenged an amnesty granted to him on corruption charges, has consistently blocked that, arguing that it requires a constitutional amendment.

Bush buried Musharraf’s al-Qaeda links

If there was a state sponsor of al-Qaeda, Riedel said, it was the Pakistani military, acting through its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Asia Times | Aug 21, 2008

By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON – Pervez Musharraf’s resignation as Pakistan’s president on Monday brings to an end an extraordinarily close relationship between Musharraf and the George W Bush administration, in which Musharraf was lavished with political and economic benefits from the United States despite policies that were in sharp conflict with US security interests.

It is well known that Bush repeatedly praised Musharraf as the most loyal ally of the United States against terrorism, even though the Pakistani military was deeply compromised by its relationship with the Taliban and Pakistani Islamic militants.

What has not been reported is that the Bush administration covered up the Musharraf regime’s involvement in the activities of the Abdul Qadeer Khan nuclear technology export program and its deals with al-Qaeda’s Pakistani tribal allies.

The problem faced by the Bush administration when it came into office was that the Pakistani military, over which Musharraf presided, was the real terrorist nexus with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

As Bruce Riedel, National Security Council (NSC) senior director for South Asia in the Bill Clinton administration, who stayed on the NSC staff under the Bush administration, observed in an interview with this writer last September, al-Qaeda “was a creation of the jihadist culture of the Pakistani army”.

If there was a state sponsor of al-Qaeda, Riedel said, it was the Pakistani military, acting through its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Vice President Dick Cheney and the neo-conservative-dominated Bush Pentagon were aware of the intimate relationship between Musharraf’s regime and both the Taliban and al-Qaeda. But al-Qaeda was not a high priority for the Bush administration.

After 9/11, the White House created the political myth that Musharraf, faced with a clear choice, had “joined the free world in fighting the terrorists”. But as Asia expert Selig S Harrison has pointed out, on September 19, 2001, just six days after he had supposedly agreed to US demands for cooperation against the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda, Musharraf gave a televised speech in Urdu in which he declared, “We are trying our best to come out of this critical situation without any damage to Afghanistan and the Taliban.”

In his memoirs, published in 2006, Musharraf revealed the seven specific demands he had been given and claimed that he had refused both “blanket overflight and landing rights” and the use of Pakistan’s naval ports and air bases to conduct anti-terrorism operations.

Musharraf also famously wrote that, immediately after 9/11, under secretary of state Richard Armitage had threatened to bomb Pakistan “back to the Stone Age” if Musharraf didn’t side with the United States against Osama bin Laden and his Afghan hosts. But Armitage categorically denied to this writer, through his assistant, Kara Bue, that he had made any threat whatsoever, let alone a threat to retaliate militarily against Pakistan.

For the next few years, Musharraf played a complicated game. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was allowed to operate in Pakistan’s border provinces to pursue al-Qaeda operatives, but only as long as they had ISI units accompanying them. That restricted their ability to gather intelligence on the northwest frontier. At the same time, the ISI was allowing Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders to operate freely in the tribal areas and even in the southern port city of Karachi.

The Bush administration also gave Musharraf and the military regime a free ride on the Khan network’s selling of nuclear technology to Libya and Iran, even though there was plenty of evidence that the generals had been fully aware of and supported Khan’s activities.

Journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins wrote in their book The Nuclear Jihadist that one retired general who had worked with Khan told them there was no question that Khan had acted with the full knowledge of the military leadership. “Of course the military knew,” the general said. “They helped him.”

But the Bush administration chose to help Musharraf cover up that inconvenient fact. According to CIA director George Tenet’s memoirs, in September 2003, he confronted Musharraf with the evidence the CIA had gathered on Khan’s operation and made it clear he was expected to end its operations and arrest Khan.

The following January and early February, Khan’s house arrest, public confession of guilt and pardon by Musharraf was accompanied by an extraordinary series of statements by high-ranking Bush administration officials exonerating Musharraf and the military of any involvement in Khan’s activities.

That whole scenario had been “carefully orchestrated with Musharraf”, Larry Wilkerson, then a State Department official but later Colin Powell’s chief of staff, told Inter Press Service in an interview last year. The deal that had been made did not require Musharraf to allow US officials to interrogate Khan.

But the Bush administration apparently conveyed to the Pakistani military after that episode that it now expected the Musharraf regime to deliver high-ranking al-Qaeda officials – and to do so at a particularly advantageous moment for the administration. The New Republic magazine reported July 15, 2004, that a White House aide had told the visiting head of ISI, Ehsan ul-Haq, “It would be best if the arrest or killing of any HVT [high-value target] were announced on 26, 27 or 28 July.” Those were the last three days of the Democratic National Convention.

The military source added, “If we don’t find these guys by the election, they are going to stick the whole nuclear mess up our a**hole.”

Just hours before Democratic candidate John Kerry’s acceptance speech, Pakistan announced the capture of an alleged al-Qaeda leader.

Meanwhile, Musharraf was making a political pact with a five-party Islamic alliance in 2004 to ensure victory in state elections in the two border provinces where Islamic extremist influence was strongest. This explicit political accommodation, followed by a military withdrawal from South Waziristan, gave the pro-Taliban forces allied with al-Qaeda in the region a free hand to recruit and train militants for war in Afghanistan.

Yet another deal with the Islamic extremists in 2006 strengthened the pro-Taliban forces even further.

But Bush chose to reward Musharraf by designating Pakistan a “Major Non-NATO Ally” in 2004 and by agreeing to sell the Pakistani Air Force 36 advanced F-16 fighter planes. Prior to that, Pakistan had been denied US military technology for a decade.

In July 2007, a National Intelligence Estimate concluded that al-Qaeda’s new “safe haven” was in Pakistan’s tribal areas and that the terrorist organization had reconstituted its “homeland attack capability” there. That estimate ended the fiction that the Musharraf regime was firmly committed to combating al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

Had the Bush administration accurately portrayed Musharraf’s policies rather than hiding them, it would not have avoided the al-Qaeda safe haven there. But it would have facilitated a more realistic debate about the real options available for US policy.

Wealthy Mexicans tracked by satellite with implanted chips

Reuters | Aug 22, 2008

Satellites track Mexico kidnap victims with chips

By Mica Rosenberg

QUERETARO, Mexico (Reuters) – Affluent Mexicans, terrified of soaring kidnapping rates, are spending thousands of dollars to implant tiny transmitters under their skin so satellites can help find them tied up in a safe house or stuffed in the trunk of a car.

Kidnapping jumped almost 40 percent between 2004 and 2007 in Mexico, according to official statistics. Mexico ranks with conflict zones like Iraq and Colombia as among the worst countries for abductions.

The recent kidnapping and murder of Fernando Marti, 14, the son of a well-known businessman, sparked an outcry in a country already hardened to crime.

More people, including a growing number of middle-class Mexicans, are seeking out the tiny chip designed by Xega, a Mexican security firm whose sales jumped 13 percent this year. The company said it had more than 2,000 clients.

Detractors say the chip is little more than a gadget that serves no real security purpose.

The company injects the crystal-encased chip, the size and shape of a grain of rice, into clients’ bodies with a syringe. A transmitter in the chip then sends radio signals to a larger device carried by the client with a global positioning system in it, Xega says. A satellite can then pinpoint the location of a person in distress.

Cristina, 28, who did not want to give her last name, was implanted along with seven other members of her family last year as a “preventive measure.”

“It’s not like we are wealthy people, but they’ll kidnap you for a watch. … Everyone is living in fear,” she said.

The chips cost $4,000 plus an annual fee of $2,200.

Most kidnappings in Mexico go unreported, many of them cases of “express kidnapping” where the victim is grabbed and forced to withdraw money from automatic cash machines.


Official statistics show 751 kidnappings in Mexico last year, but the independent crime research institute ICESI says the number could have exceeded 7,000.

Xega, based in the central Mexican city of Quererato, designed global positioning systems to track stolen vehicles until a company owner was kidnapped in broad daylight in 2001. Frustrated by his powerlessness to call for help, the company adapted the technology to track stolen people.

Most people get the chips injected into their arms between the skin and muscle where they cannot be seen. Customers who fear they are being kidnapped press a panic button on an external device to alert Xega, which then calls the police.

“Before, they only kidnapped key, well-known economically successful people like industrialists and landowners. Now they are kidnapping people from the middle class,” said Sergio Galvan, Xega’s commercial director.

Katherine Albrecht, a U.S. consumer privacy activist, says the chip is a flashy, overpriced gadget that only identifies a person and cannot locate someone without another, bigger GPS device that kidnappers can easily find and destroy.

She said fear of kidnapping was driving well-off Mexicans to buy a technology that had yet to prove useful.

“They are a prime target because they’ve got money and they’ve got a worry and you can combine those two and offer them a false sense of security which is exactly what this is,” she said.

President Felipe Calderon has come under heavy pressure to stamp out violent crime. He hosted a meeting on Thursday of security chiefs and state governors.

Outside of Mexico, U.S. company VeriChip Corp (CHIP.O) uses similar radio-wave technology to identify patients in critical condition at hospitals or find elderly people who wander away from their homes.

Xega sees kidnapping as a growth industry and is planning to expand its services next year to Brazil, Colombia and  Venezuela.

Thai king world’s wealthiest royal according to Forbes

HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, center left, and Queen Sirikit, center right, pose with the visiting representatives of 25 royal houses from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Thailand’s Asian neighbors in the elaborate century-old high-ceilinged Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall in Bangkok Monday, June 12, 2006. (Photo: Chiangmai Mail)


“As a group, the world’s 15 richest royals have increased their total wealth to 131 billion dollars, up from 95 billion last year,” Forbes said on its website.

AFP | Aug 22, 2008

NEW YORK (AFP) — With a fortune estimated at 35 billion dollars, Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world’s richest royal sovereign, and oil-rich Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi is far back at No. 2, Forbes magazine reported Thursday.

King Bhumibol, 80 and, at 62 years on the throne the world’s longest-serving head of state, pushed to the top of the richest royals list by virtue a greater transparency surrounding his fortune, Forbes said.

It said that the Crown Property Bureau, which manages most of his family’s wealth, “granted unprecedented access this year, revealing vast landholdings, including 3,493 acres in Bangkok.”

Forbes called it a good year for monarchies, investment-wise. “As a group, the world’s 15 richest royals have increased their total wealth to 131 billion dollars, up from 95 billion last year,” Forbes said on its website.

With oil prices soaring, the monarchs of the petro-kingdoms of the Middle East and Asia dominate the list.

Sheik Khalifa, 60, the current president of the United Arab Emirates, was estimated to be worth 23 billion dollars, on the back of Abu Dhabi’s huge petroleum reserves.

In third was the sovereign of the world’s biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, 84, who inherited the Al-Saud family throne in 2005, came in with a fortune of 21 billion dollars.

The previous king of kings, wealth-wise, 62 year old Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of tiny, oil-endowed Brunei on the Southeast Asia island of Borneo, fell to fourth place with 20 billion dollars.

“The sultan, who inherited the riches of an unbroken 600-year-old Muslim dynasty, has had to cut back on his country’s oil production because of depleting reserves,” Forbes explained of his dwindling fortune.

Fifth was Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, 58, of another Emirate, Dubai, with a net worth of 18 billion dollars.

One of two Europeans on the list, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, 63, ranked six on the list with 5 billion dollars in wealth. However the bank that is a key source of his family’s wealth, LGT, is under investigation by the United States for helping wealthy people evade taxes.

Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, 56, came in at seventh, worth two billion dollar; eighth was King Mohammed VI of Morocco, 46, his 1.5 billion dollar fortune based on phosphate mining, agriculture and other investments.

Number nine was Prince Albert II of Monaco, 50, his diverse fortune in the southern European principality put at 1.4 billion dollars.

Tenth on the list was Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, 67, worth 1.1 billion dollars.

Rounding out the top 15 were: The Aga Khan Prince Karim Al Hussein, 71 (1.0 billion); Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, 82, 650 million dollars; Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, 79, 500 million dollars; Queen Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands, 70, 300 million dollars; and King Mswati III of Swaziland, 40, with 200 million dollars.

Forbes noted that because many of the royals inherited their wealth, share it with extended families, and often control it “in trust for their nation or territory,” none of those on its list would qualify for the magazine’s famous annual world billionaires ranking.

“Because of technical and idiosyncratic oddities in the exact relationship between individual and state wealth, these estimates are perforce a blend of art and science,” it added.

. . .

Facts about King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Former US president George Bush (L) talks with Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej (2L) while Barbara Bush (2R) and Thai Queen Sirikit (R) look on during dinner at Palace in Bangkok, 11 December 2006. Former US president George Bush had an audience with Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who marked his 60th anniversary on the throne. (Photo: HO/AFP/Getty Images)

“Bhumibol has manipulated Thai politics to a degree far beyond his constitutional power. As a traditional conservative force he has hindered the democratic development of his country.”

– Serhat Unaldi, in Modern Monarchs: A Comparison of the Democratic Roles of Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyad and Juan Carlos of Spain

King Bhumibol Adulyadej “My Way”

Bhumibol Adulyadej – Wikipedia

Having reigned since June 9, 1946, he is the world’s longest-serving current head of state and the longest-serving monarch in Thai history.

Reported to be the richest man in the world… He is immensely popular in Thailand, and is revered as a semi-divine figure by the Thais.

Bhumibol was born at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States. Bhumibol finished his primary schooling at Mater Dei school in Bangkok and then left with his family in 1933 for Switzerland, where he received his secondary education at the École Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande in Chailly-sur-Lausanne. He received the baccalauréat des lettres (high-school diploma with major in French literature, Latin, and Greek) from the Gymnase Classique Cantonal of Lausanne. He was studying science at the University of Lausanne when his elder brother, Phra Ong Chao Ananda Mahidol, was crowned King of Thailand in 1935. King Ananda Mahidol then elevated his brother and sister to Chao Fa status, the most senior class of the Thai princes and princesses. They came to Thailand briefly in 1938, but returned to Switzerland for further study in Lausanne, remaining there until the end of World War II in 1945.

Sarit Dhanarajata era

Sarit Dhanarajata seized power, and two hours later Bhumibol imposed the martial law throughout the Kingdom. Bhumibol issued a Royal Command appointing Sarit as “Military Defender of the Capital” without anyone countersigning this Royal Command. The said Royal Command contained the following matters:

“The military under the leadership of Field Marshal Sarit Dhanarajata has successfully took over the administrative power and is acting as the Military Defender of the Capital. I, therefor, appointed Field Marshal Sarit Dhanarajata as Military Defender of the Capital. All the people are requested to remain calm while all public servants are to follow the Orders issued by Field Marshal Sarit Dhanarajat. Henceforth onwards”.

During Sarit’s dictatorship, the monarchy was revitalised. Bhumibol attended public ceremonies, toured the provinces and patronised development projects. Under Sarit, the practice of crawling in front of royalty during audiences, banned by King Chulalongkorn, was revived…

The CPB spearheaded a plan to turn Bangkok’s historical Rajadamnoen Avenue into a shopping street known as the “Champs-Élysées of Asia” and in 2007, shocked longtime residents of traditional marketplace districts by giving them eviction notices. Bhumibol’s substantial income from the CPB, at least five billion baht in 2004 alone, is exempt from taxes. The CPB receives many state privileges. Although the Ministry of Finance technically runs the CPB, in reality the decisions are made by Bhumibol. The CPB’s annual report is for the eyes of Bhumibol alone.

Although Bhumibol is held in great respect by many Thais, he is also protected by lèse majesté laws which allow critics to be jailed for three to 15 years. The laws were toughened during the dictatorship of royalist Premier Tanin Kraivixien, such that criticism of any member of the royal family, the royal development projects, the royal institution, the Chakri Dynasty, or any previous Thai King was also banned.

Book: The King Never Smiles

The publicity materials at the Yale University Press website originally described the book as telling “the unexpected story of (King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s) life and 60-year rule — how a Western-raised boy came to be seen by his people as a living Buddha, and how a king widely seen as beneficent and apolitical could in fact be so deeply political, autocratic, and even brutal… Blasting apart the widely accepted image of the king as egalitarian and virtuous, Handley convincingly portrays an anti-democratic monarch who, together with allies in big business and the murderous, corrupt Thai military, has protected a centuries-old, barely modified feudal dynasty.”

The New York Times noted that the book “presents a direct counterpoint to years of methodical royal image-making that projects a king beyond politics, a man of peace, good works and Buddhist humility.” McCargo praised Handley’s “understanding of Bhumibol as a political actor, as the primary architect of a lifelong project to transform an unpopular and marginalized monarchical institution—on the verge of abolition more than once—into the single most powerful component of the modern Thai state.” McCargo also praised Handley’s “brilliantly intuitive grasp of the seedy interplay between money and power,” regarding the workings of the Crown Property Bureau.

Thailand’s Royal Wealth
How Thailand’s Royals Manage to Own All the Good Stuff

Thailand: Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation
Around 80,000 women and children have been sold into Thailand’s sex idustry since 1990, with most coming from Burma, China’s Yunan province and Laos. Trafficked children were also found on construction sites and in sweatshops. In 1996, almost 200,000 foreign children, mostly boys from Burma, Laos and Cambodia, were thought to be working in Thailand. (Mahidol University’s Institute of Population and Social Research, “Trafficking of children on the rise,” Bangkok Post, 22 July 1998)

Enforced disappearances a blight on Thailand
Thailand is a democracy, or so we claim, but we have yet to face the uglier side of our society – the forced disappearances that have been occurring throughout Thailand. The Working Group on Justice for Peace (WGJP) has compiled 90 cases of disappearances throughout Thailand, six of which took place last year. It is interesting to note that Kalasin, one of the poorest provinces in Thailand, has the highest number of reported cases of disappearances, violations of human rights and extrajudicial killings. The police force in the province systematically abuses its powers with impunity. Each year, hilltribes suffer at the hands of security forces. For instance, the Lahu hilltribes in Chiang Mai’s Fang district reported 15 disappearances. Most of the cases occurred between 2003 and 2004, and the main perpetrators were said to have been members of paramilitary forces. There has not been any progress in these cases. Although the Constitution and the penal code carry punishments for those who carry out enforced disappearances through random or other means, they contain no provisions to punish the perpetrators when a disappearance is the result of dark political forces at work.

Thai State Crimes

Thailand’s King Bhumibol is a traitor
The role of King Bhumibol in the most recent and the other coups in the past in Thailand is highly questionable to me. He never really defended democracy. Because he obviously is anti-democratic if you look a little deeper. He always supported the Military or at least kept quiet when they staged another coup. Would the military ever even stage a coup without the prior approval of King Bhumibol? They for sure consult him before each coup. Bhumibol never disagrees, condems or even publicly calls for resistance in case of any of the past coups. Bhumibol, you are a traitor. Shame on you.

Who Owns the World
The hidden facts behind landownership
King Bhumibol of Thailand third biggest landowner with 126 million acres
Land ownership is an increasingly topical subject that affects us all in one way or another. Kevin Cahill’s book Who Owns the World provides an in depth and informative resource on the subject, no matter where you live on the planet.

Child prostitution, trafficking, and sex slavery in Thailand
Recent International Labor Organization research suggests a speculative figure of 12,000 children per year being trafficked for sexual exploitation in South East Asia, mostly to Thailand. Thai non-governmental organisations and the Thai government estimate that 30,000 to 40,000 prostitutes are under 18. A proportion of prostitutes over the age of 18, including foreign nationals from Asia and Europe, are also in a state of forced sexual servitude and slavery.

Royal book ban stirs debate in Thailand
Thailand’s banning of a rare “warts and all” biography of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej could risk an eventual explosion of pent-up political tension, an academic says. “Banning books is usually something we associate with fascist and repressive regimes,” Australian anthropologist Annette Hamilton told a seminar on the book The King Never Smiles at an international Thai studies conference in Bangkok on Thursday.

Thailand’s military junta tightens its hold on power
The Thai military junta strengthened its grip over the weekend by appointing a retired general as the new “civilian” prime minister and imposing an authoritarian constitution that sanctions the September 19 coup. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who supported the military takeover, approved the arrangements.

Made in Thailand, made in hell?

Thai government blocks YouTube over insult to monarch

Censorship in Thailand

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery in the Kingdom of Thailand

Thai junta wins royal blessing, begins purge

Thai king endorses coup

Sex banned on Thai king’s birthday

Thai govt toughens laws against criticism of feudal monarchy

Popular Thai website closed down for anti-monarchy comments

Sex-slave trade flourishes in Thailand