Bangkok denies report of al-Qaeda interrogations at base

Bangkok denies report of al-Qaeda interrogations at base - The Nation, June 10, 2003
[Thailand denies the story below... BTW: the international press has been reporting the al-Qaeda interrogations in Thailand since last year, but this is the first denial we have heard.]


Thailand Tiptoes in Step With American Antiterror Effort - New York Times, June 8, 2003
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has secretly been helping in the campaign against terrorism in several significant ways... But Mr. Bush will receive Mr. Thaksin for several reasons, officials said. For one, the administration wants Thailand's promise not to turn over any Americans to the International Criminal Court, a pledge the administration has been seeking from other countries as well.
Thailand is also important in the Pentagon's new strategy of "forward positioning," establishing sites where American forces can store equipment and from which they can come and go as needed.
One such place in Thailand is Utapao Air Base, 90 miles south of Bangkok. During the Vietnam War, Utapao was humming 24 hours a day as a base for B-52's carrying out bombing raids over North Vietnam. Despite Thailand's studied neutrality on the war in Iraq — one Thai foreign affairs official said during the war that the country had no position — Mr. Thaksin allowed Utapao to be used by American warplanes flying into combat in Iraq, as he had earlier, during the war in Afghanistan.
Utapao is also probably where Qaeda operatives have been interrogated, retired American intelligence officials said, explaining that the base had facilities for sophisticated interrogations.
Last year, according to other American officials, at least two senior Qaeda operatives were brought here for interrogation — Abu Zubaydah, thought to have been Al Qaeda's operations chief, and Ramzi bin al- Shibh, a planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks...
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