September 24, 2006

Sept. 24, 2006: Happy Thoughts

The Soviet Anti-Plague System, Center for Nonproliferation Studies

[....] Throughout the Soviet era, the anti-plague (AP) system appears to have worked effectively, preventing major epidemics from claiming the lives of Soviet citizens in regions where diseases such as anthrax, brucellosis, bubonic plague, Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and tularemia are endemic. In the 1960s, however, the AP system was directed to undertake tasks under the Soviet biological warfare (BW) program. [....] A second report, to be published later in 2006, will concentrate on the situation of the AP system after 1992, and provide an analysis of the proliferation threat stemming from the AP system in 11 republics of the former Soviet Union.

The first report was originally published as five separate but connected articles in the journal Critical Reviews of Microbiology, vol. 32, no. 1 (2006), which may be viewed at In addition to these five articles, we add here an Annex compiled by Alexander Melikishvili that provides brief biographies of scientists and other public figures who played important roles in the evolution of tsarist Russia's anti-plague system. [....]

Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). [....]

More Happy Thoughts

The Nonproliferation Review: Summer 2006, Volume 13 • Number 2 Table of Contents

Taylor & Francis web site -- more information here


Bloodless coup unfolds in Thailand , a series of articles from around the world pointed out by various posters.

The Rise & Fall of Imperial Democracies

From the Beltway to Bangkok, Moscow to Manila, elected leaders are using the threat of terror to grab more power—and making the threat worse.
, By Joshua Kurlantzick, Washington Monthly January/February 2006

Joshua Kurlantzick is special correspondent for The New Republic and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In most parts of Thailand, it's difficult to avoid the vibrant nightlife. At dusk, food vendors wheel their carts out into public squares and start cooking phat thai, stir-fries, and grilled fish. Thais nibble until late: Night markets .... and Bangkok has a reputation as one of the world's after-dark capitals. [....]

Up until the turn of the twentieth century, much of southern Thailand was an independent Muslim sultanate called Pattani. When Bangkok annexed the region in 1902, anger in the Muslim population began to slowly simmer. By the 1960s and 70s, it was boiling over, and southern separatists formed a group called the Pattani United Liberation Organization, or PULO. In response, the military governments that ruled Bangkok dispatched battalions to the South, leading to constant skirmishing over the course of two decades. Still, even in the midst of the worst violence, PULO never had a strong religious component—it was instead a Malay nationalist organization. After the end of the Vietnam War, the Thai government finally focused on its problems in the south. And as the country moved to democracy in the 1980s and 90s, Bangkok utilized wise policies to pacify its southern citizens.

Thai prime ministers during this period promoted decentralization, investing local and provincial officials with more decision-making power. They also created an institution called aw baw taw, a task force comprised of local officials, military and policy commanders, and citizen representatives that provided an outlet for grievances—the aw baw taw allowed local journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists to uncover abuses and make them public. [....]

In the late 1990s, the prominent sociologist Saroja Dorairajoo found that most Thai Muslims considered themselves Thai first and Muslims second. Perhaps most importantly, PULO had become wildly unpopular with the southern population and essentially dissolved.

In the run-up to the 2001 national election, .... Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais). [....]

Early on, Thaksin displayed some authoritarian tendencies. His flagship company, Shin Corporation, purchased Thailand's most independent television station, iTV, and promptly fired 23 journalists who had been critical of the new prime minister. Shin also pulled advertising from print publications that did not back Thaksin. [....]

Media intimidation was one thing; the fate of Thaksin's political opponents was even harsher. Human rights workers reported that during the same period, at least 100 anti-government activists in southern Thailand had disappeared. [....]

Search: May 2003, alone, Human Rights Watch reported, an astonishing 2,275 people were shot , at least 100 anti-government activists , disappeared , A mini Afghanistan , Jemaah Islamiah , channels from the Middle East , used the cover of the war on terror to turn their nations into imperial democracies , Putin only tightened his control , Indonesia, President Megawati Sukarnoputri , appeals to nationalism , an inherent weakness of democracies

Lengthy, roams the East. You might want to consider cutting down on your use of Middle East Oil ... even buy a commuter train or bus pass.


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