Thailand Coup

The fucking phone lines are down.
I can’t call Nam.
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UPDATE: I got through. Everything is cool but nobody knows what the hell is going on. Nam and her family are watching Fox and CNN because the local channels have all been taken over by the military and are airing looped messages calling for civil stability and respect for the king.
In other news, I feel slightly stupid for having bought my ticket to Bangkok less than four hours ago.
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Thaksin Overthrown In Army Coup, Thai Constitution is revoked by military
As of this morning, Nam is saying that nobody has any idea what’s going on. Satellite TV channels have been blocked, Internet access is severely congested or blocked, and there is no news yet from her university (the occupying forces declared all schools closed, but didn’t specify if it was just in Bangkok or not – Nam’s uni is far, far away from the confusion there).
On top of this, all the money I sent to my Bangkok Bank account is now inaccessible. I’m gonna stay home from work all day and see how hard I get fucked when the currencies market opens. But that shit is secondary, of course. Why does this shit happen now? I was weeks away from seeing Nam again – I hope that’s still possible.
I will keep this thread updated throughout the day. I have no desire to do anything else today and by now have seen most of the relevant links. I offer the best of those below.
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This is the thread to watch:
2Bangkok forum thread on coup
note: I made small spelling corrections to the following post by a well-informed Thai poster there

“Well durign the coup, Channel 11 of PR Dept was seized as usual …. in addition to Thai Com UBC and ITV
Now the cavalrymen are guarding Pap Prem at his house in Thewet
Durign the communication between Moh Liab (Prommin Loedsureedej) and Thaksin, Moh Phrommuin is asking Thaksin to go down to Manila at 1 AM of September 20, (Thailand time) instead of BKK
The coup is coming from the following units
1) The 1st Army -> 5 battalions from the 31rd Infantry Regiment (Royal Guard from Lopburi)
2) The 3rd Army -> at least 4 cavalry battalions from the 1st Cavalry Division
3) Special Warfare Unit (the 5th Army – Lopburi)
4) Some of Royal Thai Navy
5) The 2nd Cavalry Division (the 23rd Cavalry battalion and the 24th Cavalry battalion) from Sanam Pao (near channel 5)
They come to seize Government House and Donmuang Airforce Base at Midnight of Sept 20 through the disguise as the troop rotation to the South.
The 9th Infantry Division (Fort Surasi Kanchanaburi) has gotten the order to make internal control when violence broke out .. either by the insurgent of Ai Yognyut and the barbarians from Newin ..
The coup start from 9PM of Sept 19 … when 3 companies of Special Warfare going into Army HQ and Channel 5 Mobile Unit going out of Army HQ
Initially, the 9th Infantry Division and 2nd cavalry division (both belong to Class 10) seized the control …. but Armed Force Chief REFUSED to make cabinet meeting …. and the real coup has seized control …
At that time he rushed to go back to Thailand … about to reach BKK at 5:30 AM of Sept 21 (Thailand time)
and the mobs that cheer Thaksin hadnt gone against thaksin make skirmish in Both NY City and BKK …
Thaksin said he go against the coup by Gen. Sondhi ….

“Papa Prem Arriving the Coup by Gen Sondhi
TV Pool Made annoucement of the coup at 11 PM of Sept 19 … with official announcement by the Veteran Coup Speaker at 11:15 PM
Now, the fences are erected at Sri Ayutthaya road and Ratchadambnoen Nok avenue … even though many people have taken a photograph of the tanks at Equestrian Plaza
Army has seized the control at Shinnawatra Building, ITV and Chansong Lah palace.
More than 60 soldiers from the 6th Anti Aircraft Battalion in GMC trucks and AA tanks have seized Thai Com Sattelite Station at Kae Rai
Chidchai and Ruengroj are going to make counter coup … by seizing chaeng watthana road …
Now, 2 tanks, 6 HUMVEEs and 300 soldiers from the 1st Division (Royal Guard) are seizing Nang Loeng Intersection
10:10 PM 3 tanks from the 4th cavalry battalion (Royal guard) and 20 cavalrymen are guarding Papa prem house at Thewet”

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Stickman reports that cameras were being confiscated last night… I’ve had a couple e-mails from people going to take photos, but my personal opinion is that getting photos ain’t worth your ass, yo.
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Another good thread that ended last night, from reddit:
http://reddit.com/info/j30d/comments/cj38o
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Thailand coup photos on flickr


Another set on flickr


More photos from last night

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I’m getting a lot of hits to this entry from Bangkok and requests for updates via e-mail. I know this is partly because some of the bigger blogs and especially those in Thailand are being inundated with traffic. I understand your desire to be anonymous and will keep any correspondence confidential:
cosmicbuddha AT gmail.com
D, the video you sent was corrupted and the replies I sent are bouncing.
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Update at 2Bangkok:

“A coup in Thailand does not mean that everything comes to a stop for an extended period. During Thai coups and even outright paralysis of top Thai governments organs in past decades, the Thai bureaucracy remained in place providing all basic government services through days and weeks of crisis. During this present incident mobile phone and internet connections were never offline (except for when some sites were overwhelmed by heavy traffic). International broadcast media was cut–most likely for fears that the tenacious Thaksin would attempt a speech that would then find its way back to his rural supporters on television.
Patriotic images of the King were used in conjunction with announcements from the new regime to show that its activities were not being made at the expense of royalty. Even the junta’s name, “Committee for Democratic Reform under the Monarchy as Head of State,” emphasizes this. Using royal imagery and the prompt audience with the King at midnight Tuesday is intended to pacify die-hard rural Thaksin supporters who might otherwise oppose the new order…
…The nature of the junta’s plans should be known by midday Bangkok time as there is a meeting at 9:00am with university presidents, permanent secretaries of ministries, and other key government bureaucrats for an expected explanation of the military government’s plans.”

Go read the whole thing.
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Watching the coverage of the news in Thailand between CNN International, BBC International, and Japanese news stations last night, I noticed the following:
BBC was the quickest with coverage. CNNi had Rachel fucking Ray preparing an organic tofu “stoop” or whatever while the BBC had live footage of tanks running. The Japanese news channels didn’t start airing anything for hours. This trend continues with the coverage today. The BBC breaks some news, CNN follows five or ten minutes later, with insipid commentary, then a great while later, the JP news bits recycle translated news feeds or something. I don’t particularly like the Beeb or anything, I’m just calling it like I see it. Quite honestly, the blogs and message boards are getting the info out accurately and a lot faster than the big media channels.
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If you can read Japanese and have a Mixi account, the thread you want to see is here:
http://mixi.jp/view_bbs.pl?page=1&comm_id=3230&id=10547670

It’s always good to get the 15 year old Japanese schoolgirl side of things… Just kidding, thanks for sending the link.
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Nam says that some of the local news channels in the northeast region have started broadcasting again.
On the broadcasts, they say that everyone is worried that Thaksin will come back to Thailand, which might set off a clash between his loyalists and anti-Thaksin factions. They also report that his wife is in Singapore, but the whereabouts of his son and two daughters is unknown.
Nam’s university is on mandatory holiday today, so the closure of banks, government offices, and schools does seem to be nationwide, although she was informed from word of mouth and not directly contacted by the university.
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Perhaps the most informative article by big media do far is this article over at The Nation
This article, also over at The Nation, provides details about the Thai Rak Thai (Thaksin’s political party) officials who have been arrested: LINK
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The Thai Baht is remaining amazingly stable so far.
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Updated timeline of the coup at the Nation
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There have been no major updates for a couple hours now. Maybe it will stay like this for a while. Word on the streets in Bangkok is that it’s quiet.
Out of everything I read about yesterday, the most disturbing bit of news was this:

“8:00PM 191 police receive M16 rifles to prepare for an antiriot assignment.”

A riot shield is anti-riot. A fire hose is anti-riot. Even a shotgun is anti-riot. An M16 is kinda Kent State, you know? And in the hands of Thai police? I don’t even want to think about that.
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Over on this thread at the Paknam Web forums, the Managing Director, Richard, says:

“I have just come back from Bangkok. Traffic there was very light. Like early sunday morning. I managed to get right into the center of things to take pictures. Very relaxed atmosphere. People having their pictures taken in front of the tanks and with the soldiers. Elsewhere in Bangkok things are as normal. Shops are open and tourists are walking around. Seems very safe at the moment. I will be posting a report with pictures soon at thai-blogs.com.
Thai tv is now back with normal programmes and new information is starting to come out…..”

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Straight from The Nation’s timeline:

10:58 am The ARC issues its 11th announcement to appoint members of the council as following:
1 Supreme Commander Gen Ruangroj Mahasaranon becomes chief adviser of the ARC.
2 Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin becomes chief of the ARC.
3 Navy Commander-in-Chief Adm Sathiraphan Keyanon becomes first deputy chief of ARC.
4 Air Force Commander-in-Chief ACM Chalit Pookpasuk becomes second deputy chief of ARC.
5 Police Commissioner-General Pol Lt Gen Kowit Wattana becomes third deputy chief of the ARC
6 National Security Council secretary-general Gen Winai Phatthiyakul becomes secretary-general of the ARC.

The ARC = Administrative Reform Council, the interim government until, presumably, elections can be held. It would appear the members are all in a position to keep each other in check.
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New Photos up at 2Bangkok
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BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) “The army chief leading the coup in Thailand has said there will be a general election in October 2007”

Can it all end so happily? I hope so.
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Best Photo set yet over at Stickman’s
Oh, man. It’s hard to believe that it’s a coup! That’s so… Thai, and so cool.
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