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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
02RANGOON1592 2002-12-13 09:13:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rangoon
Cable title:  

DRUGS, THUGS AND FACTS

Tags:   SNAR PTER PINS BM 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 001592 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INL AND EAP
USCINCPAC FOR FPA
NSC FOR BEERS
DEA FOR OF, OFF

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/02/2012
TAGS: SNAR PTER PINS BM
SUBJECT: DRUGS, THUGS AND FACTS

REF: A. (A) BANGKOK 8488

B. (B) BANGKOK 08493

C. (C) CHIANG MAI 0302

Classified By: COM Carmen Martinez. Reason: 1.5 (d).



1. (C) Summary: Embassy Rangoon wants to provide
clarification and counterpoint to reftels reporting on Burma
counterterrorism and counternarcotics issues. When discussing
drugs and thugs, accurate information is absolutely crucial
to framing USG counternarcotics stategy in the context of
Burma-Thai relations. Reftels draw some unwarranted
conclusions that distort the discussion of narcotics and
terrorism issues in Burma and Thailand. Post also encourages
more support for Burmese/Thai cooperation on the
methamphetamine problem as, in contrast to opium (which is
being attacked effectively at its source in Burma), it is a
regional problem which must be dealt with through regional
strategies. The Thaksin government appears to understand this
but, to judge from recent reports, that understanding is not
yet wide-spread within the ranks of Thai officials. End
Summary.

Terrorism



2. (C) Reftel A concludes that the evidence suggests the SPDC
is bombing Burmese embassies as part of a "dirty tricks"
campaign against pro-democracy groups in Thailand. There is
no doubt that defaming these groups is a priority for the
SPDC. However, more facts, and an examination of the motives
of all parties involved, are needed before basing such a
conclusion solely on information provided by an FTUB (Free
Trade Union of Burma) contact with "allies" at the Thai NSC.
Right now, saying the letter bombs are just "dirty tricks" is
unwarranted.



3. (C) Two points in particular stand out. First, aside
from initial press mention of the receipt of the letter
bombs, the GOB has not heavily publicized the mail bombing
campaign against their embassies. If the SPDC was trying to
blame the FTUB or any other Thai based pro-democracy groups,
one can bet they would be mounting one of their heavy-handed
media blitzes and accusing those groups of terrorist acts.
Secondly, the reason the GOB has not turned the bombs over to
the Thais is because, according to our sources, the bombs
were either destroyed (in some cases), or turned over to the
host-country authorities where the targeted Burmese embassies
are located. These embassy letter bombings are now under
investigation by Burmese and, according to Ref A, Thai
authorities. Once that investigation is complete the guilty
parties can be named. Right now the word of the FTUB should
not be considered the final word on the letter bomb incidents.

Counternarcotics



4. (C) Comments by high ranking RTA officials that the
Burmese army is flooding Thailand with a billion tablets of
methamphetamines have morphed from allegations to "fact".
Although the "billion tablet" allegations were subsequently
denied in the press by RTA spokesmen, that number has become
imbedded in the Burma-Thai counternarcotics discussion and
it distorts any clear picture of Burmese counternarcotics
efforts as well as Thai interdiction programs. In Ref B,
Bangkok reports discussing the RTA statement with senior Thai
ONCB officials who are quoted as telling Bangkok NAS that
"any estimates of next year's amphetamine production were
obviously based on speculation and varied widely" (the RTA
officials' predictions of one billion methamphetamine pills
into Thailand this year is also incompatible with available
data from DEA and ONCB). According to Reftel C, seizures in
Thailand's northern provinces totaled about 22 million pills
- a number that suggests either unusually inept Thai
interdiction efforts or that the flow of methamphetamines is
well below a billion tablets.



5. (C) Comment: When discussing drugs and thugs, accurate
information is always absolutely crucial to framing USG
counternarcotics and counterterrorism strategy - so should it
be in discussing these issues in the regional context of
Burma and Thailand. Post offers our views as counterpoint and
clarification to reftels and makes this observation: in
contrast to opium, which is being attacked effectively at its
source in Burma, methamphetamine production and trafficking
are regional problems and they must be treated through
regional strategies and cooperation. The same applies to
counterterrorism efforts. The Thaksin government appears to
understand this but, to judge from recent reports, that
understanding is not yet wide-spread within the ranks of Thai
officials. End Comment.
Martinez