Fans, Fertilizer, and False Flags

I’d like to look more closely at the alleged Hezbollah terror plot announced last week in Bangkok.

Thai police said they had broken up a terror plot aimed at tourist sites in Bangkok, after U.S. warnings triggered in part by worsening tensions with Iran following the killing of a nuclear scientist in Tehran.

National police chief Gen. Priewpan Damapong said a man in custody for questioning on Saturday said the bomb plot had been called off when authorities caught wind of it. Gen. Priewpan described the man as of Lebanese descent, with links to the Iranian-backed, Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah. Another suspect is still at large, he said.

Last April, in what was billed as an unprecedented step, Mossad issued a warning (leaked to the media) to Israelis overseas about an imminent Hezbollah plot. Among those implicated in this imminent plot that apparently never came to fruition was Lebanese businessman Naim Haris, who was allegedly in charge of recruiting for Hezbollah overseas. Reportedly, some time last year Shin Bet–also in an unusual move–released a picture of Haris, though I haven’t found any public record of it in a quick Google search.

Then, on December 18 of last year, Israel alerted US and Thai officials about the presence of two Lebanese terrorists in Bangkok. Those two alleged terrorists are presumed to be Haris and Atris Hussein.

On December 18, Israel reportedly told the US and Thailand about the presence of at least two Hezbollah members in Bangkok. The three countries then began a secret, three-week-long hunt of the terror suspects

Last Friday, the US Embassy in Thailand issued a warning that foreign terrorists might be trying to attack tourists in Bangkok.

This message alerts U.S. citizens in Thailand that foreign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future.  U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution when visiting public areas where large groups of Western tourists gather in Bangkok.


Note:  Due to a technical error, some recipients received this message – followed by a recall message – a few minutes later.  Please disregard the recall message.

Israel’s Counterterrorism Bureau did the same.

I checked with a friend who lives and works–at a US multinational–within blocks of one of the alleged targets, and he got no specialized warning.

By the time the Israeli warning, at least, went out, Thai police had already arrested Atris at the airport. By Sunday, YNet news had published an image of Atris’ Swedish passport (issued in 2005), along with these details:

An examination of the passport, which was obtained by Ynet, revealed that Atris was born in southern Lebanon and married a Swedish woman in 1996. The marriage made him eligible for a Swedish passport, which he allegedly exploited for the benefit of Hezbollah’s terrorism apparatus.

According to reports by Swedish media, Atris previously owned a hair saloon in Gothenburg, before returning to Lebanon more than 10 years ago. Moreover, one of his relatives, Germany resident Muhammad Atris, was involved in the past in the Iranian assassination of four Kurdish opposition figures in 1992.

Note the chronology: Atris marries a Swedish woman three years after his brother is arrested in Germany for forging passports in association with a 1992 terrorist attack in Berlin that–if not for an emergency call at the last minute–would have targeted four very senior Swedish politicians as well. According to the Israeli press, Atris moved back to Lebanon in 2001, yet renewed his Swedish passport in 2005.

Hezbollah has denied that Atris is a member of the organization.

In addition, YNet reported,

Police in Bangkok published the suspect’s composite portrait, which bears great resemblance to Hezbollah operative Naim Haris. The latter’s photo was unusually published last year, by the Shin Bet, which at the time identified him as an operative in charge of recruiting Hezbollah agents worldwide.

Here are some other details I find interesting about this plot.

On Monday, when Atris brought the police to the location where he was warehousing 8,800 pounds of urea and ammonium nitrate, he had a ski mask on, but no visible bullet-proof vest. On Tuesday, when Atris was brought to court (he’s being held for 12 days on charges of illegal possession of restricted chemicals), his face was completely visible but he wore a bullet-proof vest. (I’m agnostic whether the figure in both photos is the same person–both have hairy forearms! But note the masked figure hides his forearm with his shirt.)

The original tip-off (reportedly from the Americans) claimed the attack was scheduled for last Friday or Saturday, focused on Jewish targets in Bangkok. Some reports say Atris confessed a plot had been planned for Bangkok. But according to more recenlt reports, Atris intended to ship “the explosives” out of Bangkok. In addition to the explosives fertilizer, Thai police also found 500 electric fans at his warehouse, which would seem to have no terrorist use.

Now, I have no idea whether or not this was really an attempted terrorist attack or was, instead, two Lebanese businessmen trying to export fans.

But I do know that on January 11, Israeli surrogates killed an Iranian scientist, by all candid accounts in an effort to incite the Iranians to do something stupid so we will, in response, attack them. On January 13, Mark Perry published a story based on two US intelligence officials and another four “currently serving or recently retired intelligence officers” alleging that Israel was recruiting Muslims to conduct false flag attacks. Laura Rozen quoted a former senior CIA officer saying Israel’s false flag operations go even further.

The Mossad “do false flag ops posing as everything you can imagine,” a former senior CIA officer who has worked extensively on the region told Yahoo News Friday on condition of anonymity, adding that he found the “false flag” report “very” credible. “They have even recruited Arabs in the U.S. posing as [Central Intelligence] Agency and carrying fabricated credentials.”

In other words, on the very same day this terrorist alert–seeming prepped by Israel last year and purportedly implicating Iran’s ally Hezbollah–the intelligence community came out in droves to admit that Israel conducts false flag ops “posing as everything you can imagine.”

Now that we’ve admitted that Israel lies–even to us–to achieve its strategic objectives, can we show some skepticism when they cry “terrorist”? Particularly when such cries are so … conveniently timed?

21 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    Btw, in what is probably totally unrelated move, on November 17, the US seized an Iranian ship that had been listed as a designated foreign national in Mundra, India. That ship carried 60,000 tons of urea, apparently designated to Iran.

    The ship is still there in Mundra, apparently with all its urea still on board.

  2. Jim White says:

    Just as an FYI, recall that ammonium nitrate mixed with diesel fuel was the basis of the Oklahoma City bomb. Urea also can be used in an IED, but requires the intervening step of treatment with nitric acid, which takes a bit of expertise and equipment to carry off properly.

    Both urea and ammonium nitrate, on the other hand, can be used as is as fertilizers, and that is by far the most common use of these materials.

  3. orionATL says:

    @Jim White:

    urea as a fertilizer makes a lot more nitrogen available to feed plants than ammonium nitrate +-40% vs +-20%.

    ammonium nitrate makes soil more acid than does urea, requiring more lime (in acid soils). in alkaline soils the acidification might not be as great a problem.

    no reports of nitric acid on hand in bang-kok for bomb making apparently.

    could this be another scary iran plot – this time from our co-conspirator, israel?

  4. emptywheel says:

    @Jim White: Eh, it’s pretty cool in Thailand. Or maybe they should just wait for the next 100 year flood, which by my count (I was in a pretty bad one in Bangkok in 2006) come every 5 years now.

  5. Gitcheegumee says:

    National police chief Gen. Priewpan Damapong said a man in custody for questioning on Saturday said the bomb plot had been called off when authorities caught wind of it.

    Well, they must have forgotten to turn those fans off.

  6. orionATL says:

    @Jim White:


    oh the things i learn on emptywheell street.

    then there is this “opposite” reaction involving ammonium nitrate:

    ” What Chemicals Are Used in Instant Ice Packs?

    Michael Hinckley Michael Hinckley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in US history from the University of Cincinnati, a Master of Arts degree in Middle East history from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Hinckley is conversant in Arabic, and is a part-time lecturer at two Midwestern universities.

    By Michael Hinckley, eHow Contributor updated September 12, 2011

    Instant ice packs are a good first aid solution to sprains, strains, and other minor injuries and thus are included in most first aid kits available today. But the way that ice packs generate cold so quickly, or how they are able to be stored at room temperature for so long, often remains a mystery to most consumers. Understanding the chemicals used in chemical ice packs will allow you to use them safely and effectively in an emergency.

    Ammonium Chloride (NH4CL) is a common ionic compound used in chemical ice packs to react with a non-ionic compound to create that “cold” sensation.

    Alternate ionic compound

    Ammonium Nitrate (NH4NO3) is used in older chemical ice packs, but interacts with the non-ionic compound in the same manner. Ammonium Nitrate is also used as a common chemical fertilizer.


    Water (H2O) is the non-ionic compound used in both kinds of chemical ice packs. Water is both safe and common, thus making an ideal non-ionic compound for ice packs

    Read more: What Chemicals Are Used in Instant Ice Packs? |… “

  7. orionATL says:


    “liquid ammonium nitrate (hot solution)” refers to a mixture of ammonium nitrate and water which is not explosive by itself, but is a “multiplier” for explosive chemicals.

    “liquid ammonium nitrate” also refers to a liquid used for fertilizer that includes urea nitrogen and, i believe, one other nitrogen chemical combination.

    whether this form could be useful in explosives, i haven’t found any info.

  8. jo6pac says:

    I’m going to check under my bed every night from here on out because there might be something other than dust bunnies under there.

    This just like the old days under gwb the lesser when every they need a lift crazy been loudon would send a new tape and another right was taken away from us citzens.

  9. joanneleon says:

    Risky to be in the fertilizer business these days. Or the fan business, apparently. Never know who will scoop you up for their own convenience.

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