brain farts

Coup D’Etat Part Deux

Posted on: September 20, 2006

I just dropped my dad off at the airport, and contrary to rumors, cars, planes, and trains are still very much on the move. Well, sort of. There was literally nada traffic along Viphavadee-Rangsit, which, under normal circumstances, is almost unheard of at this time of hour. In general, the scenes on the streets are calm and, with the exception of the eerie absence of traffic, everything seems perfectly normal.

The latest rumors say that Thaksin and his family have been reunited in England, and General Sondhi will be making a televised statement at 2 PM.

I’ll try to keep updating as, ahem, rumors/news become available. Might be a bit sporadic, though, as I have other things to do today.

EDIT @ 10:18 AM: Thai TV is back on air. At least their regular programming is. News has yet to make an appearance, except for ITV which is currently airing a newscast of an event. CNN, BBC et al are still MIA.

EDIT @ 10:29 AM: The Nation will be updating continuously throughout the day.

EDIT @ 10:33 AM: The popular forum, Ratchadamnern, at Pantip.com has been suspended. Also, many Thai sites have been difficult to access, probably due to the sudden surge of visitors overnight.

EDIT @ 10:46 AM: I forgot to mention this earlier, but on my way back from the airport, I flipped on the radio to 102.5 and SexyBack by Justin Timberlake was on, followed by silence, then Nelly Furtado’s Maneater, and then…more silence. For some reason I have this mental image of a military dude sitting in a closed radio booth trying to decide on what to turn on next — Stars are Blind by Paris Hilton or Buttons by the Pussycat Dolls? Oh, the dilemma!

In the meantime, all other radio stations have resorted to playing hotel elevator music.

EDIT @ 11:06 AM: New Mandala talks about the importance of the number nine, since the coup occured on 9/19 at 9 pm.

EDIT @ 11:15 AM: Thai New Yorkers speak out — New York City Network for the Defense of the People’s Constitution of Thailand.

EDIT @ 11:21 AM: To whoever posted this and this, thanks so much for the shout-out! This is insane — I have gotten over 500 hits in the past three hours; normally I only get 100 a day. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep the updates going as regularly as I can.

EDIT @ 11:21 AM: I just saw my uncle on Thai TV (channel 3), which is weird because my mom just called him last night at his hotel in Italy. Like all ministry senior officers, he was called back to report in at the army headquarters.

EDIT @ 11:31 AM: Check out live pictures at Bee’s flickr page.

EDIT @ 11:34 AM: According to latest updates from The Nation, “An AMC spokesman reads an order of AMC leader Gen Sonthi for the Information and Communication Technology Ministry to check and censor any type of information dissemination that could affect the works of the AMC.”

If my blog suddenly disappears, you’ll know why.

EDIT @ 11:43 AM: Make way for the “new prime minister.”

EDIT @ 11:54 AM: Let me reiterate that so far this has been a bloodless revolution. While both anti and pro-coup supporters have taken to the streets, there hasn’t been any apparent violence as of yet.

EDIT @ 12:01 PM: Looks like the rumors were correct — Thaksin has taken up residence in London, though the whereabouts of his children is still unknown.

EDIT @ 12:17 PM: My friend just called saying that he’s spotted a humvee parked in front of the Shinawatra building along Viphavadee Rangsit. Also, another friend heard that General Sondhi is asking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to revoke Thaksin and Potjaman’s passports.

EDIT @ 1:21 PM: Sorry for disappearing; I couldn’t log onto blogger for almost an hour. Latest rumors say tanks are rolling in not far from where I live along Viphavadee Rangsit Rd. Also, the Don Muang airforce military base I use as a short-cut on my way to uni everyday has set up check-points upon entering and exiting. And finally, a friend who lives around Sanam Bin Nam says that oodles of soldiers have taken over the streets right outside her house.

EDIT @ 1:26 PM: I’m off to find some lunch. If I can get onto blogger when I return, then I’ll definitely try to continue updating. In the meantime, Bkkpundit, take it away! :)

EDIT @ 2:01 PM: CNN, BBC, et al are BACK!!! Now if only we could just get the tanks off the streets…

Oh, and I just found out that uni’s going to be up and running again tomorrow. Le sigh.

EDIT @ 2:09 PM: Is anybody else in BKK having phone troubles? I’m having problems contacting people and vice versa. Also, I can’t seem to log onto MSN at all…

EDIT @ 2:12 PM: Check out Steve’s comment on the current happenings here in Thailand.

EDIT @ 2:27 PM: CNN and BBC may be back on air, but strange things are going on here: just now, a reporter was analyzing the current situation in Bangkok when all of a sudden UBC cut them off due to another “sun *cough* bullshit *cough* outage.” When I switched over to BBC, another similar “sun outage” occured the second the reporter started talking about Thaksin’s cancelled UN speech. A quick switch back to CNN showed that UBC had replaced the sun outage notice with video clips of… CELEBRITIES. (!!!!!) No, I’m not even kidding. I wish I were making this stuff up, folks, but alas, looks like this is how it’s gonna be until things blow over. Anyway, CNN coverage is finally back now that they’re talking about, um, stocks.

EDIT @ 3:28 PM: Some dude just made an announcement on TV saying that meetings or get-togethers with five people or more discussing anything political are banned. I want to say something really catty now, but will refrain from doing so; I think I stand enough risk of getting my ass censored as it is. Still, 1984, anyone?

EDIT @ 11:00 PM: Sorry for disappearing, but I was busy, uh, studying. (Hey, I have a really scary Biochem exam this Friday, okay?) Anyway, moving on. My dad, who’s in Phuket, says that things are as normal as can be down there. Here, on the streets of Bangkok, things have remained relatively peaceful in what CNN has dubbed a “bloodless revolution.” I wish I could say more, but we’re still getting the lovely celebrity montages whenever clips about Thaksin’s popularity in the provinces comes on. In the meantime, Thai TV says that the internet is to be approached with caution since malicious content and rumors are most likely to be found there, as opposed to Thai TV, which says it has only been reporting “the truth.”

Oh, and in case you were wondering, UBC’s now infamous celebrity montage includes the likes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Britney Spears, Ashlee Simpson, and Scarlett Johansson. Oh, and Joshua Jackson, too. Again, I’m not even kidding. I wish I were, because, dude, if you’re going to make a cheesy celebrity montage, why oh why would you ever think of including a now defunct Dawson’s Creek star?

I’m just saying. That’s all.

19 Responses to "Coup D’Etat Part Deux"

We appreciate the updates. Triangulating blogs, newspapers, and official statements is a useful way to get at the truth.

I couldn’t agree more, Steve. With all the BS that’s been circulating on Thai TV, I’m just thankful that the internet hasn’t been taken away from us yet.

The General launched the coup while the Prime Minister was away. He could have launched the coup while the PM was in the country, he could have and placed the PM under house arrest and kept an eye on him, but evidently chose not to. The advantage of a coup while the PM is away is a coup with reduced odds of bloodshed. The disadvantage of a coup while the PM is away is a PM in exile with increased odds of making inconvenient noises.

The PM can draw attention to the fact that he is the duely and popularly elected president of an internationally recognized state. That he is currently at the UN will make it easier for him to launch and cultivate a campaign of international condemnation. After all, many of the representatives in New York can claim even less legitimacy than Thaksin, and if there is one that that frightens a politician, it is the threat of a coup.

It is not clear to me how other regional powers such as China, India, and Indonesia will react to the coup in Thailand.

That the General chose to act while the PM was away suggests that he knows that his actions are unpopular. That the announced removal came by way of a coup rather than a revolution is additional demonstration of unpopularity. In his unpopularity, the General is not alone. The Thai Left is also unpopular and they know it. The PM called their bluff and demonstrated their unpopularity by announcing elections in April. The Thai Left revealed they were bluffing when they refused to participate in the elections. This presents a problem for the General and his allies, the Thai Left.

The General can either hold elections or delay elections. If he holds elections, he will loose domestically. If he delays elections, he will lose internationally. The Thai Right is in a strong position here. If the General delays elections, they can demand elections and thereby gain international credibility. If the General holds elections, they can either boycott the elections if they think they will loose or participate in the elections if they think they will win. The precedent for annulling the results of an election that the party of opposition boycotts has already been set by the Thai Left, so the Left will have a difficult time deflecting a boycott by the Right.

The likely result will be that the General will delay elections until international pressures builds to a point where a rigged election must take place. The General may face an insurgency, or another coup. Purges will be the most likely be next step. The General will need to do something to shore up his legitimacy so that he can fend off any effort by Thaksin to garner support for his case abroad. Here is where the King comes in handy.

Your thoughts?

Thai bloggers’ chance to shine!

Here I was thinking Lynn had given up blogging. Welcome back.

I agree with every word you said, Steve. In fact, I’m putting a link up to your comment right now…

Kitty: Chai laew!! :D

Thanks, pundit!

The prospect of a counter-coup seems remote, at least until Thaksin makes his next move.

The man Thaksin named as a replacement after he “reassigned” General Sonthi yesterday is now the Supreme Commander of the junta.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/read.php?newsid=30014115

The main division in Thailand is between the city and the countryside. Any news from the provinces?

good work, internet help us a lot!

stay calm, beautiful pictures

All sounds quiet from my room, i wonder what tomorrow will bring. Keep up the good work ;)

Fantastic work. Thanks for keeping us updated!

Thai Left? Unpopular Army Chief? I have to disagree with you here. Leftist and Rightist are not usually associated with Thai politics in years. It’s more for describing Western politics. Follow the actions of former PM Thaksin, and you’ll know why this has happened. There will not be a counter coup. Thaksin’s support base has dwindled by either detention or by leaving the country. What country will recognise his exile government if he decides to form one? I doubt any. Think of Fernindan Marcos and his outster.

Thaksin is welcome back to Thailand if he is ready to face the current charges against him. These chrages varies from tax-evasion to perjury to lese-majeste. No new charges will occur, but let’s face it the OAG and the NCCC have enough to prosecute him until his next life time.

Most people support and welcome this coup. Though, I have my fears, but I’ll put that aside until I see any reason to react on that fear. If the military doesn’t leave power with in 2 weeks, then it’ll become unsupported by the mass. This is not a coup about the military wanting power. It’s about stopping an megalomaniac from ruin the country any further. The military can have my support if it can keep it’s words.
It’s time to clean up. It’s time to create a stronger Constitution that will allow independent bodies and agencies to be what they are intended to be: a check and balance. Thaksin has poisoned these independent bodies so badly that they no longer can be trusts as a check and balance. Gen. Sondthi said within one year. I’ll give him that benefit of the doubt. I’m hoping it will be sooner. You see, there’s no more Constitution, Parliament, Constitutional Courts, MP, Cabinet, etc. Therefore an election cannot happen. We must wait until a new constitution is ready and passed the referrendum. Let’s hope the military will keep it’s words about within one year.
Thaksin, Sudarat, Sita, Newin, etc. come back to Thailand. If you are innocent then you shouldn’t be afraid.
I’m not pro-Thaksin, nor am I anti-Thaksin. I’m pro-Thailand. I know about politics and what goes around in the backroom. Politics has never been clean nor will it ever be clean. All I want from any leader is for him to think about the people and nation before thinking about himself. I don’t can about bribes or corruption as long as it is low-key and reasonable with the end result equating to benefits of the nation as a whole. Is that hard to ask for? Apparently, it was hard to ask of Thaksin.
Now this is where this country stands. A step back for hope of a leap forward. I’m a Thai that loves Thailand.

Hi Lynn, your French teacher would be proud — you’re in Le Monde:

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3216,36-815050@51-804284,0.html

-MIKE

She and a number of other Thai bloggers are also mentioned at Harvard’s Global Voices site.

http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2006/09/20/thailand-coup-update/

Thanks for the updates, Lynn!

“Leftist and Rightist are not usually associated with Thai politics in years”

“Left” and “Right” are a natural consequence of multi-party parliamentary democracy, which is what Thailand was until a day or so ago. The TRT Party is a party of the Right coalition. The Democrat Party is a party of the Left coalition.

“Think of Fernindan Marcos and his outster.”

Thaksin is critically unlike Marcos, he is popular whereas Marcos was not. And General Sondhi is no Cory Aquino.

If the announced elections are free and fair, the TRT will win and Thaksin will have his second chance. If the elections are not free and fair, the DP will win and Thaksin will have his second chance. Inertia is a powerful force in human affairs. The coup changes little.

“Most people support and welcome this coup.”

Any man with a gun is popular while he waves his weapon at you.

“Though, I have my fears, but I’ll put that aside until I see any reason to react on that fear.”

Which is another way of saying that support for the coup is a mile wide and an inch deep. .

Much of the commentary on the coup so far seems to assume that Thaksin will simply toss in the sponge. There is no evidence of this.

“Any man with a gun is popular while he waves his weapon at you.”

AMEN!

“If the announced elections are free and fair, the TRT will win and Thaksin will have his second chance. If the elections are not free and fair, the DP will win and Thaksin will have his second chance. Inertia is a powerful force in human affairs. The coup changes little.”

The last election was neither clean nor fair. Voting buying was rampant and the EC which are close friends of Thaksin refused to persecute or delayed investigation amid strong evidence. Talk to any taxi drivers and they will tell you voting buying is rampant in the provinces and certain districts of Bangkok. I trusts would trust Sonthi more than Thaksin. At least with Sonthi, the people knows what they will face if he refuse to yield power. Everyone knows there will be blood if that’s the case.

“Any man with a gun is popular while he waves his weapon at you. ”

True to that, but a gun can be waved only for so long before something is done. Even before the coup began, people were softly voicing intervention of some kind from Prem.

The fact of the matter, like it or not, is a coup happened. I don’t condone the notion of the coup. I support the goals of the coup leaders. If they can keep their promise and create the necessary reforms in the Constitution, then this is a historical event. Thaksin had refused to to amend the Constitution amid strong support for the amendment. That’s one reason that Sanoh left the TRT. I give Gen Sonthi the benefit of the doubt. I want to see him do the right thing. So far, he doing the right things. He reinstated Khunying Jaruvan as Auditor General, picked good members of the NCCC, reinstated the EC with the board members unchanged as they wre elected prior to the coup, seeking reputable candidates. Supachai would be a great PM, but his commitments with UNCTAD will be prohibited. 2 weeks. Gen. Sonthi asked for 2 weeks. I’m willing to give him that time. Two weeks is a short time considering it’s been months and years since the rampant abuse of power from Thaksin.

who do you work for? Gen Sonthi?
Anybody who takes away democracy from over 65 million thais does not deserve praise!

giving Gen Sonthi the benefit of the doubt does not equate to praise.

I’ll be working for the people soon enough. 2 weeks is 2 weeks. See you in the streets.

Abusing power and rampant corruption does not dserve praise either. 5 years of that can make anyone sick.

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