(27 July) Top intelligence official said the video of 3 men claiming to be Al-Qaeda operatives and placing bounty on former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is definitely fake.
In a video posted to Youtube website, 3 individuals clad in Arabic-looking costumes identified themselves as members of the Salafi network at an unknown location.
One of them was holding portrait of Mr. Thaksin, while the man in the middle read out a statement in English detailing their intention to avenge deaths of Muslims in the 3 border provinces of Southern Thailand who were allegedly killed by Thaksin′s heavy-handed policy to quell the separatist insurgency there in 2004.
Although the region, an independent kingdom called Pattani before it was incorporated into modern Siam, was long known for separatist insurgencies, the latest wave of violence flared in 2004 when Mr. Thaksin was the Prime Minister of Thailand.
The self-proclaimed militant denounced policies toward the Southern region conducted by the government of Mr. Thaksin′s sister, Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra. He warned that Mr. Thaksin′s time is over, and that Al-Qaeda′s "Dead Squads" would always hunt him.
"We will try to assassinate you at any time and any place. You will no longer be safe in any corner of this world," the man promised.
The video was posted on 26 July – Mr. Thaksin′s birthday. It was circulated widely by anti-government social network users for a while, but it is now set as "private" and not accessible to general public.
Lt.Gen. Paradorn Pattanatabutr, secretary-general of the National Security Council, told Khaosod that the "amateurish" video is clearly not a work of Al-Qaeda or any other Islamist organization.
"The people who made this clip are no other than the same group who want to overthrow Mr. Thaksin," Lt.Gen. Paradorn declared.
The secretary-general added that the ongoing insurgency in the Southern border provinces is also not connected to Al-Qaeda or Mr. Thaksin. In fact, he said, it concerns the Thai authorities and local separatists.
Asked if the Thai government would have to clarify details about the videoclip with Malaysian government – who is mediating a ceasefire between the Thai security forces and the insurgents – Lt.Gen. Paradorn said the Malaysian government is well aware that the troubles in Southern Thailand are not related to Al-Qaeda.
"They are also aware that right now there is anti-democracy movement campaigning against the government," Lt.Gen. Paradorn said tartly.
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