General Anupong Stakes Position on No CIA Secret Prison in Thailand

by JW on March 4, 2009


General Anupong Paojinda, army chief and responsible for various acts in recent years, has now denied that the US government operated a secret jail in prison where prisoners were tortured. The Bangkok Post has the general saying:

“”I can confirm you that there is no such place in Thailand,” he told reporters. “I can take my post on the line that such place does not exist.”

Meanwhile: “The United States government has admitted for the first time that it had a secret jail in Thailand where suspected al-Qaeda operatives were flown in to be interrogated, including being subjected to “waterboarding”.

Federal prosecutors revealed the details in documents submitted to a court in New York as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.”

Over at MCOT, General Anupong continues: ““There’s no secret jail for torturing terrorist suspects in (the northeast Thailand province of) Udon Thani,” Gen. Anupong said. “There’s no secret place in Udon Thani. Anybody can visit every district or village.”

Gen Anupong said he could assert “one million per cent” that there was no such secret jail and he could use his position as Army chief to guarantee this.”

Strangely (i.e. it is not strange or unsurprising in any way), the Nation seems not to have picked up on this story.

Back in 2005, the Washington Post had a story including this:

“The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.

The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.”

The WorldFutures website has more details (I had not heard of this place before – it looks legitimate but who knows?):

The CIA is still running dozens or even hundreds of so-called secret prisons in different parts of the world. After the exposure of the CIA-run network of secret prisons in Europe

George W. Bush has evidently chosen to move them to Asia. One of these is in Udon, the capital of a province in Thailand, located 560 km northeast of Bangkok, the Thai capital. The Thai Air Force has a base in Udon known as “Kong Bin 203” and US military transport and private planes frequently land there with terror “suspects” of the CIA. At night these individuals from the countries of Africa and the Middle East are secretly transported in military lorries to the US listening post in Bang Dung district (Amphoe Ban Dung), about 65 km from the airport; this military site was selected and developed in the 1970s to monitor China, being camouflaged as the regional relay station of the Voice of America. Thais have no access to it with Americans controlling both its outer and inner perimeters. Prisoners brought to the station are held in an underground bunker with limited space for inmates—and thereafter what happens to them only God knows.

Many of the Thai Generals now in power actually fought in Vietnam and their ties with the US military are quite strong. As is well known, several Thai Generals studied at Army Staff Colleges in the US. So their relations with the USA remain intact and are of a durable nature regardless of the fate of the governments in Thailand that come and go one after another.”

Read the rest of the story there and make up your own mind.

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jaded March 4, 2009 at 11:19 am

The media coverage has all the signs of a disinformation campaign. But the CIA and its associates would never do anything like that would they?
The whole point of rendition is that the locals do the interrogation. US officials are present only as observers. If no Thai can even get onto the base then what would be the actual point? Given what is going on in the south, if someone wanted to take the risk and investigate where would be a likely site for a Thai military interrogation by an experienced team its fairly obvious what they would need to do, and in what direction they would need to go. The two locations that are the subject of public speculation are accessible by American personnel but not not very convenient for people who focus on events in the south. The spooks have done a nice job of distracting the lazy and the timid members of the press. And you can be sure that the consequences for anyone publicizing anything approaching the truth will be very unpleasant.

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