State denies relay station in Udon Thani is secret prison

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lee
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State denies relay station in Udon Thani is secret prison

Post by lee » November 6, 2005, 9:41 am

YUWADEE TUNYASIRI & YUTTHAPONG KAMNODNAE

Curiosity surrounding secret CIA prisons has fuelled rumours of a remote Voice of America (VOA) relay station in Udon Thani operating as a front for a ``black site''.

Reporters and curious observers flocked to the station in Ban Dung district after the ifWashington Post nf on Wednesday reported the US Central Intelligence Agency was holding top al-Qaeda suspects in ``black sites'' in Thailand, Afghanistan and several other countries.

The remoteness of the securely-fenced station sitting on a huge 3,200-rai land plot has aroused suspicion that the facility could harbour secret activities.

The station is guarded around the clock by 15 security employees. Located on the premises are a garage and a storage shack without any sleeping quarters. About a dozen staff members at the station stay in the town and commute to work every day, according to one security guard interviewed by reporters.

Udon Thani Governor Jaruek Prinyapol said the district chief assigned to inspect the station confirmed there was no secret prison there.

Some observers, however, felt the suspicions could have grounds as the station was located in the middle of nowhere, away from the public eye.

The government dismissed the rumours as baseless. Government spokesman Surapong Suebwonglee said it defied logic that a media facility in charge of investigating facts would double as a prison.

``The ifPost nfreport is not something we can hide. It has spilled into the public domain and most people know about it. It's just impossible to put the radio station [up as a front for a secret jail] and be able to cover it up,'' he said.

PM's Office Minister Suranand Vejjajiva, who oversees the Public Relations Department (PRD), insisted no such prison existed at the station. All of the parties he talked to _ the PRD, the Udon Thani governor, the VOA station manager and the US embassy _ maintained there was nothing out of the ordinary going on.

The facility required plenty of space to operate because of the large transmitters used for powerful broadcasts around the world.

Mr Suranand added he had spoken to VOA station director Denis Wover who promised to open the site for checks. He said the station was normally off-limits to unauthorised individuals although entry could be granted if requested in advance. The access controls were in place for se curity reasons.

``What we've heard is plain rumour,'' he said. ``The government will not let anyone conduct activities which break the rules and America is well aware of this,'' Mr Suranand said.

Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon said the Thai ambassador to Washington would tell the newspaper that the report was damaging to the country's sovereignty. The facts needed to be straightened out.

His ministry would ask the State Department and the Pentagon to inquire into the source of the ifPost nf article, and it may take legal action against the paper.

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BangkokButcher
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Post by BangkokButcher » November 7, 2005, 3:38 am

Whether true or not, it sure makes an interesting read :shock: x-files eat your heart out :lol:

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wokkawombat
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Post by wokkawombat » November 7, 2005, 7:12 pm

Lots of helicopter traffic in Udon today. Hmmmmm
Gurgle, Gurgle...

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Maybe?

Post by Garnet » November 8, 2005, 11:04 am

One of the E-mail newsletters I get featured a piece today--November 8--by American Robert Bauman, who has been in Thailand on a business tour that has him heading on to China next. Here's his comment on this secret detention facility:

Over the last few days the leading newspaper, The Bangkok Post, has front-paged the allegations that Thailand has hosted a secret CIA
detention facility where terrorist suspects were interrogated. In the alleged group were two top al-Qaeda operatives.

The Thai government denies this emphatically, but governments lie. If the CIA had such a facility here it was to allow interrogations using torture and other means illegal under US laws to force terrorists to talk -- not unlike what is alleged to have happened at the US military base at Guantแnamo Bay, Cuba.

Thailand is a nation that acts as a close ally of the US in the so-called "war on terrorism." It is also a nation where, as I said last week, 2,500 alleged drug dealers were executed last year without trials. It's not too far fetched to suppose that the Thais and the CIA struck a deal to ring information from terrorists, no matter what that required.

But it is more than disturbing for a visiting American, such as myself, to travel the world only to be confronted by accusations against my home country that certainly do not engender pride in being an American. That such charges are even believable is a measure of how far the US government has fallen in the eyes of the world.
Last edited by Garnet on November 8, 2005, 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Garnet & Jack

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Post by Bandung_Dero » November 8, 2005, 5:37 pm

It's best not to ask questions about this facility. There is MUCH more to it than meets the eye:-

a. The Phen road which only has a few cars and samlors is long and wide enough to take a large military aircraft in the middle of no where.
b. I cannot receive VOA broardcasts with a good quality radio with any clarity and live within 20 km of the site.
c. IMO it's an old x-Vietnam war site used for more covert operations.
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VOA Transmitter Station, Ban Dung

Post by dxc_chappie » January 24, 2006, 9:52 pm

Bandung_Dero wrote:It's best not to ask questions about this facility. There is MUCH more to it than meets the eye:-

a. The Phen road which only has a few cars and samlors is long and wide enough to take a large military aircraft in the middle of no where.
b. I cannot receive VOA broardcasts with a good quality radio with any clarity and live within 20 km of the site.
c. IMO it's an old x-Vietnam war site used for more covert operations.
Sorry to disappoint you Bandung_Dero, the site was built in the late 80s following President Reagan's approval for a multi-million dollar VOA modernisation programme. It was one of several sites built for this programme - others include Tangiers, Botswana, Sri Lanka.
a. The wide road was necessary for the site building trucks and other vehicles necessary (e.g. transporting electrical transformers weighing several tons). No sign of runways!
b. The low quality VOA reception you get is probably transmissions from other worldwide VOA sites. The antenna radiation patterns at Ban Dung are such that radio energy is directed skywards to achieve maximum reception in the desired locations e.g China, Russia etc. 20kms from Ban Dung is not, I believe, an intended audience for VOA. Plus it is shortwave radio transmission which is inherently low quality. You would need to check broadcast schedules to ensure you're listening to Ban Dung transmissions.
c. Interesting opinion on x-Vietnam war site/covert operations, but before the site was constructed it was basically paddy field. (Research the CIA use of Udon airfield in the 60s if you're interested in US covert operations.)

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Re: VOA Transmitter Station, Ban Dung

Post by Bandung_Dero » January 25, 2006, 9:24 am

dxc_chappie wrote: Sorry to disappoint you Bandung_Dero, the site was built in the late 80s following President Reagan's approval for a multi-million dollar VOA modernisation programme. It was one of several sites built for this programme - others include Tangiers, Botswana, Sri Lanka.
a. The wide road was necessary for the site building trucks and other vehicles necessary (e.g. transporting electrical transformers weighing several tons). No sign of runways!
b. The low quality VOA reception you get is probably transmissions from other worldwide VOA sites. The antenna radiation patterns at Ban Dung are such that radio energy is directed skywards to achieve maximum reception in the desired locations e.g China, Russia etc. 20kms from Ban Dung is not, I believe, an intended audience for VOA. Plus it is shortwave radio transmission which is inherently low quality. You would need to check broadcast schedules to ensure you're listening to Ban Dung transmissions.
c. Interesting opinion on x-Vietnam war site/covert operations, but before the site was constructed it was basically paddy field. (Research the CIA use of Udon airfield in the 60s if you're interested in US covert operations.)
You may well be right but:
The buildings look much older than 15
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valentine

Post by valentine » January 25, 2006, 11:13 am

In the last world war, a whole secret service dept was set up to read newspapers and record news broadcasts. The sole purpose to counteract any snippets appearing that could be of assistance to the enemy or be used by them to discredit the allies. This was located in Cheltenham England. There wasn't much computer communication in those days. Now this has made me think about dxc_chappie.He/she joined this forum on 14thJuly. Now isn't it prudent if your going to carry out a clandestine operation in an area to put someone to monitor local talk?He didn't post until 13thSept, to complain he couldn't access parts of the forum. The next postings were not until today, both replying to the same topic, in which he displays considerable knowledge of the technical aspects of the site, including road widths and where they terminate, not general knowledge for someone who hasn't a local connection, as displayed by not knowing the width of the connecting public roads.
It is of coincidence that the people working at the Cheltenham centre also reguarly referred to each other as Chappies.
Now is my mind working overtime? Or is my military training coming to the fore?
If its my vivid imagination coming to the fore no doubt we will get a rapid denial. However if there is a grain of truth in it, a reply may take longer coming, having to be okayed by others first!!
Good fun what?

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Post by BobHelm » January 25, 2006, 4:43 pm

Some nice thoughts there Val.. :D
The one thing that I can assure you of is that GCHQ in Cheltenham looks nothing like the VOA site in Bandung - I don't think that even HM government could afford a site the size of VOA in Cheltenham and put so little on it!! :D
I believe that Cheltenham itself doesn't actually "listen" to much, it just takes feeds from listening posts around the world and does the analysis. I know that there is a listening post in Wiltshire but I have never been past it so can't comment if it looks like a mini VOA site. Might be a nice day out though if the weather gets good over the next couple of weeks!!!

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Post by yorkman » January 25, 2006, 7:42 pm

:lol: X-Files!!

On the plausible side is that VOA do transmit on Short Wave, as do lots of stations in China and Russia, they must have short wave receivers there or why would anybody bother. And the antenna, very long, do sound like directional short wave antennas which are multiples of wavelengths. Plausible deniability may come into play though I guess.

A listening station looks just like Menwith Hill in the UK, which of course is an RAF base, and is absolutely definately not a listening station operated by the NSA (despite the fact it is paid for by the NSA and operated by US Personnel, and just try stopping your car by the fence for 1 minute) :wink: That is covered, a huge area, with massive satellite, vertical and wire antenna.

The wierd bit is that "road", although if the stuff was flown in it's not so wierd I suppose. Or maybe it's still maintained and usable after 20 years for the RTAF to operate from as dispersal, in the same way as the Swedish and Swiss Air Force operate.

As Val said, Good Fun. The "chappie" must be getting instructions

John

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Re: VOA Transmitter Station, Ban Dung

Post by dxc_chappie » January 26, 2006, 3:35 am

[quote="Bandung_Dero"]
The buildings look much older than 15

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Post by dxc_chappie » January 26, 2006, 3:48 am

valentine wrote:In the last world war, a whole secret service dept was set up to read newspapers and record news broadcasts. The sole purpose to counteract any snippets appearing that could be of assistance to the enemy or be used by them to discredit the allies. This was located in Cheltenham England. There wasn't much computer communication in those days. Now this has made me think about dxc_chappie.He/she joined this forum on 14thJuly. Now isn't it prudent if your going to carry out a clandestine operation in an area to put someone to monitor local talk?He didn't post until 13thSept, to complain he couldn't access parts of the forum. The next postings were not until today, both replying to the same topic, in which he displays considerable knowledge of the technical aspects of the site, including road widths and where they terminate, not general knowledge for someone who hasn't a local connection, as displayed by not knowing the width of the connecting public roads.
I confess! I am a lurker. Apologies for not introducing myself formally.

My "considerable knowledge of the technical aspects of the site" are from first hand experience - I was responsible for commissioning the transmitter subsystem there in 1993. I most certainly do have a local connection - my wife's from Udon. Not suprising I can't remember the widths of the connecting roads - I was usually asleep when arriving at the site in the early hours, and enjoying a cold sundowner when leaving! (And it was a long time ago.) Last time I went past there was about 5 years ago...
valentine wrote:It is of coincidence that the people working at the Cheltenham centre also reguarly referred to each other as Chappies.
Now is my mind working overtime?

Maybe.
valentine wrote:Or is my military training coming to the fore?
If its my vivid imagination coming to the fore no doubt we will get a rapid denial. However if there is a grain of truth in it, a reply may take longer coming, having to be okayed by others first!!
Good fun what?
Lol. Is this reply too soon?<g>

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Post by yorkman » January 26, 2006, 3:59 am

Yes, your reply is much too soon, you spoilt all the speculation and fun.

However, in this day and age, given that you have email, online conferencing to your masters, satellite uplinks in the Soi etc.....its still not convincing.

Not a straight answer about the road problem........ :wink:

I suspect a Scandanavian dwarf.... good one if it is :lol:

John

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