“As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know."
-- U. S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, February 12, 2002.
By John E. Carey
January 4, 2007
Last week in the Muslim south of Thailand, two dead teachers would have greeting school children if authorities had not found the badly burned bodies first.
The incident occurred in the far south of Thailand on the eastern coastline nearer to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia than the Thai capital in Bangkok.
Despite aggressive action of the part of the Thai military and police to end the Muslim insurrection and violence in this region, mutilations, shootings, bombings and arson continue to plague the southern Thai population.
More than 1,800 people have died in the Thai Muslim insurrection.
When up to eight bombs exploded in Bangkok of New Year’s Eve, many journalists and “Thai Watchers” anticipate that the military government of Thailand, which took control of this Asian nation in a coup last September, would quickly reveal evidence that the Muslim insurgency was to blame.
But, as if often the case in Thai politics, the unknown unknows seized the day.
The military government of Thailand is insisting that the Bangkok bombings were the work of police, military and political people loyal to the former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.
Defense Minister General Boonrod Somtat told reporters that every possible group has been ruled out as responsible for the New Year’s Eve attacks, except for those loyal to the previous government. "So, there are only those inside the country left -- the civilians, police and armed forces both in khaki and green," he told reporters.
"There was no evidence whatsoever," one diplomat said. "It was not exactly enlightening."
It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the Thai military government is trying to use the bombings to solidify its own power by disgracing the Shinawatra loyalists.
Mr. Shinawatra has denied the allegations that his agents were responsible for the bombings and the government of Thailand has offered almost no proof to back up its claim.
Mr. Shinawatra's overbearing approach to putting down the Muslim trouble is blamed for the new militancy of the insurgency. The region surrounding Yala was an autonomous Malay sultanate annexed by Buddhist Thailand in 1902. Periodic uprising have occurred in the region ever since.
The Muslims want their own religious state in southern Thailand and they have been harassing, murdering and forcing the relocation of the local Buddhists.Wantanee contributed to this report for Peace and Freedom.