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Thai Commander Takes Over After Coup
http://www.comcast.net/news/international ^ | 9 19 06 | GRANT PECK

Posted on 09/19/2006 12:02:57 PM PDT by freepatriot32

BANGKOK, Thailand - The Thai military launched a coup against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Tuesday night, circling his offices with tanks, seizing control of TV stations and declaring a provisional authority pledging loyalty to the king. The army commander took over the government and declared martial law.

An announcement on Thai television declared that a "Council of Administrative Reform" with King Bhumibol Adulyadej as head of state had seized power in Bangkok and nearby provinces without any resistance.

"The armed forces commander and the national police commander have successfully taken over Bangkok and the surrounding area in order to maintain peace and order. There has been no struggle," the announcement said. "We ask for the cooperation of the public and ask your pardon for the inconvenience."

Thaksin, who has faced calls to step down amid allegations of corruption and abuse of power, was in New York at the U.N. General Assembly, and he declared a state of emergency via a government-owned TV station.

At least 14 tanks surrounded Government House, Thaksin's office. A convoy of four tanks rigged with loudspeakers and sirens rolled through a busy commercial district of Bangkok, warning people to get off the street for their own safety.

An army general, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin had used the military to take over power from the prime minister.

He said the military arrested Deputy Prime Minister Chitchai Wannasathit and Defense Minister Thammarak Isaragura na Ayuthaya _ two Thaksin loyalists _ and that Chitchai agreed to resign.

In a vain attempt to stave off the coup, Thaksin in his state-of-emergency declaration from New York had ordered Sondhi to report to Chitchai immediately, effectively dismissing him.

The coup went largely unnoticed in Thailand's popular tourist districts, where foreigners packed bars and cabarets, oblivious to the activity about two miles away. But word raced among street vendors hawking T-shirts, who packed up their carts quickly and started heading home.

In Washington, the State Department said it had seen the various reports from Thailand.

"We are monitoring developments closely, but the situation at the moment is unclear," Kenneth Bailes, a spokesman, said.

"We look to the Thai people to resolve their political differences in a peaceful manner and in accord with the principles of democracy and the rule of law," Bailes said.

The coup came a day before a major rally _ the first in several months _ was scheduled to take place in Bangkok by a anti-Thaksin coalition that has been seeking his resignation.

Massive rallies earlier this year forced Thaksin to dissolve Parliament and call an election in April, three years ahead of schedule. The poll was boycotted by opposition parties and later annulled by Thailand's top courts, leaving the country without a working legislature.

Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Party twice won landslide election victories, in 2001 and 2005 and had been expected to win the next vote on Oct. 15, bolstered by its widespread support in the country's rural areas.

In March, Sondhi sought to ease speculation that the military might join the political fray, as it last did in 1992 and more than a dozen other times during earlier crises.

"The army will not get involved in the political conflict. Political troubles should be resolved by politicians," Sondhi said at the time, echoing comments of other top military officials. "Military coups are a thing of the past."

Thaksin, who had been scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday night, switched his speech to Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT.

On Monday, Thaksin had said he may step down as leader of Thailand after the upcoming elections but would remain at the helm of his party, despite calls for him to give up the post.

In Bangkok, several hundred soldiers were deployed at government installations and major intersections, according to an Associated Press reporter.

Army-owned TV channel 5 interrupted regular broadcasts with patriotic music and showed pictures of the king. At least some radio and television stations monitored in Bangkok suspended programming.

The cable television station of the Nation newspaper reported that tanks were parked at the Rachadamnoen Road and royal plaza close to the royal palace and government offices.

"The prime minister with the approval of the cabinet declares serious emergency law in Bangkok from now on" Thaksin said by television from New York. He said he was ordering the transfer of the nation's army chief to work in the prime minister's office, effectively suspending him from his military duties.

Thaksin's critics want to jettison his policies promoting privatization, free trade agreements and CEO-style administration.

Opposition to Thaksin gained momentum in January when his family announced it had sold its controlling stake in telecommunications company Shin Corp. to Singapore's state-owned Temasek Holdings for a tax-free $1.9 billion. Critics allege the sale involved insider trading and complain a key national asset is now in foreign hands.

Thaksin also has been accused of stifling the media and mishandling a Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand that flared under his rule.

In Thailand's mostly Muslim south, separatist insurgents have waged a bloody campaign that has left at least 1,700 dead, mostly civilians, since 2004. Citizens there have complained of rights abuses by soldiers and discrimination by the country's Buddhist majority.

Bhumibol, a 78-year-old constitutional monarch with limited powers, has used his high prestige to pressure opposing parties to compromise during political crises. He is credited with helping keep Thailand more stable than many of its Southeast Asian neighbors.

He is the world's longest-serving monarch, celebrated his 60th year on the throne with lavish festivities in mid-June that were attended by royalty from around the world.

Many Thais had been counting on him to pull the country through its current political crisis, which has left it with no functioning legislature and only a caretaker government after the inconclusive election.

Bhumibol was born in Cambridge, Mass. He became the ninth king of Thailand's Chakri dynasty on June 9, 1946, succeeding his older brother, Ananda, killed by an unexplained shooting.

Since then, the beloved king has reigned through a score of governments, democratic and dictatorial. He has taken an especially active role in rural development.

In 1992, demonstrators against a military strongman were gunned down before the king stepped in to end the fighting and usher in a period of stability.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: after; bangkok; banglist; commander; coup; over; postedalready; search; searchisyourfriend; searchsearch; searchsearchsearch; seekandyeshallfind; takes; thai; thailand
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1 posted on 09/19/2006 12:02:59 PM PDT by freepatriot32
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To: freepatriot32
Thai soldiers ride in a car next to Government house in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday Sept. 19, 2006. Rumors of a military coup swept the Thai capital after an army-owned television station suspended regular programming and played patriotic songs. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
2 posted on 09/19/2006 12:04:20 PM PDT by freepatriot32 (Holding you head high & voting Libertarian is better then holding your nose and voting republican)
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To: freepatriot32

I know an expat who bought a farm in Thailand. I wonder if he is worried? (Hey, Larry! How the heck are ya?)


3 posted on 09/19/2006 12:04:38 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Peace begins in the womb.)
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To: freepatriot32

holy crap! where'd this come from?


4 posted on 09/19/2006 12:07:38 PM PDT by verum ago (To the UN:Diplomacy is useful only when backed by the threat of swift, merciless, and violent death.)
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: verum ago
holy crap! where'd this come from

I have no idea this is the first I heard that the situation had deteriorated that badly

6 posted on 09/19/2006 12:15:05 PM PDT by freepatriot32 (Holding you head high & voting Libertarian is better then holding your nose and voting republican)
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To: Jeff Chandler
I know an expat who bought a farm in Thailand.

Better a farm than the farm, certainly.

7 posted on 09/19/2006 12:15:08 PM PDT by rogue yam
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To: verum ago
holy crap! where'd this come from?

Thailand?

8 posted on 09/19/2006 12:16:03 PM PDT by rogue yam
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To: Shermy

Incoming!


9 posted on 09/19/2006 12:16:50 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: freepatriot32
"The coup went largely unnoticed in Thailand's popular tourist districts, where foreigners packed bars and cabarets, oblivious to the activity about two miles away. But word raced among street vendors hawking T-shirts, who packed up their carts quickly and started heading home."
10 posted on 09/19/2006 12:20:15 PM PDT by No Blue States
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To: dfwgator
Incoming!

Oh, dear! Are repetitive, not-so-funny inside jokes now banned from FR? I'm stuned!

11 posted on 09/19/2006 12:21:07 PM PDT by rogue yam
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To: rogue yam
holy crap! where'd this come from?

Bangkok to be precise.

12 posted on 09/19/2006 12:22:46 PM PDT by WesternPacific
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To: rogue yam
lol

Yeh, all the reports up until this have had the situation settling down!

13 posted on 09/19/2006 12:24:31 PM PDT by txhurl
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To: No Blue States

Related thread for cross reference where we have at least one FReeper there:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1704253/posts


14 posted on 09/19/2006 12:25:10 PM PDT by No Blue States
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To: WesternPacific

Maybe the Thai military can do something about the Muslim insurgency.


15 posted on 09/19/2006 12:25:27 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: freepatriot32

same here... I knew it was getting ugly, but last time I checked the leader of the coup had explicitly stated that the military would not intervene in political affairs


16 posted on 09/19/2006 12:27:18 PM PDT by verum ago (To the UN:Diplomacy is useful only when backed by the threat of swift, merciless, and violent death.)
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To: freepatriot32
"In Thailand's mostly Muslim south, separatist insurgents have waged a bloody campaign that has left at least 1,700 dead, mostly civilians, since 2004. Citizens there have complained of rights abuses by soldiers and discrimination by the country's Buddhist majority."

Religion of Hate, Death and Destruction in action.

17 posted on 09/19/2006 12:27:21 PM PDT by zerosix (Native Sunflower)
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To: freepatriot32
Maybe this is why (whats-his-name...) JonBenet Ramsey's confessor wanted out of Thailand.
18 posted on 09/19/2006 12:28:07 PM PDT by Mr. Brightside
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To: verum ago
last time I checked the leader of the coup had explicitly stated that the military would not intervene in political affairs

Gee, can't trust anyone these days.

19 posted on 09/19/2006 12:28:55 PM PDT by michigander (The Constitution only guarantees the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.)
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To: freepatriot32

Thailand has a military?... Who knew..


20 posted on 09/19/2006 12:32:20 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole.)
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To: freepatriot32
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra

The Chairman of the Board?

21 posted on 09/19/2006 12:33:05 PM PDT by BeHoldAPaleHorse ( ~()):~)>)
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To: BeHoldAPaleHorse

by the way, for anyone who is interested.

this coup has to do with one thing really.


thaskin was about to crack down on army corruption (not that thaskin isn't corrup himself!) and was days away from transferring command from the current army general staff to his own appointed general staff (who happened to be his classmates at the thai version of west points).

basically you have one group of thai generals (the army) pitted against another group of thai generals (the police).

and for those not in the know....there are more generals in thailand than there are journalists on john mccain's you know what!


22 posted on 09/19/2006 12:36:48 PM PDT by watsonfellow
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To: michigander
Gee, can't trust anyone these days.

yeah, I'm going to keep an extra close eye on all my Thai commander friends ;-)
23 posted on 09/19/2006 12:38:06 PM PDT by verum ago (To the UN:Diplomacy is useful only when backed by the threat of swift, merciless, and violent death.)
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To: BeHoldAPaleHorse; martin_fierro; Charles Henrickson
Thaksin [Shinwatra]'s Thai Rak Thai Party twice won landslide election victories

One of Thai Rak Pack?

24 posted on 09/19/2006 12:39:03 PM PDT by mikrofon (Ol' Brown Eyes)
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To: mikrofon

Thai Rak Thai means Thai Loves Thais

And before you knock off

Know that Thaskin sent troops to Iraq even though this created huge problems for him in the largely Muslim South.

So Thaskin is a loyal friend and ally who deserves our support.


25 posted on 09/19/2006 12:42:16 PM PDT by watsonfellow
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To: mikrofon

Note from family member who is there. Just Rec'd.

Before internet goes out again.. if you don't know already.. Just a few hours ago.. Thailand is engaged in a Coup d'etat, with the military taking over the govt.. The Army has seized the Airport and other strategic areas... There are tanks and troops in the streets..but because it is 2:30am in BKK. most is quiet right now..

All international news agencies have been taken off the air, radio and tv stations have been siezed also.. Think the airport transfer is the least of our (my) issues right now or the next few days..

All appears to be safe right now... but could be worse in the am..when the city wakes up to find the govt in charge..

We are safe, and will try to keep in touch as able..


26 posted on 09/19/2006 12:42:34 PM PDT by WickliffePreston
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To: BeHoldAPaleHorse
For recreation, he sails the Straits of Sinatra.

Oh..uhh...sorry. I wuz having a Firesign Flashback there.

< }B^)

27 posted on 09/19/2006 12:42:56 PM PDT by Erasmus (I invited Benoit Mandelbrot to the Shoreline Grill, but he never got there.)
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To: mikrofon

Hope they iron it out quickly....


28 posted on 09/19/2006 12:43:13 PM PDT by John Carey
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To: freepatriot32; mikrofon; Charles Henrickson
Thaksin, who has faced calls to step down amid allegations of corruption and abuse of power, was in New York at the U.N. General Assembly

Wotta Chumphon.

29 posted on 09/19/2006 12:45:14 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Burma Shaved)
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To: rogue yam

Siam?


30 posted on 09/19/2006 12:46:56 PM PDT by Petronski (Living His life abundantly.)
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To: freepatriot32

DemocRATs express jealously at news of Thai coup!


31 posted on 09/19/2006 12:51:46 PM PDT by SMM48
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To: freepatriot32
Hmmm. Did I miss it? It doesn't seem to say, or I did miss it, are the takeover artists are Muslim? Just wondering...

"The armed forces commander and the national police commander have successfully taken over Bangkok and the surrounding area in order to maintain peace and order. There has been no struggle," the announcement said. "We ask for the cooperation of the public and ask your pardon for the inconvenience."

Um, Thailand has been fairly peaceful for some time, haven't they?

Bhumibol, a 78-year-old constitutional monarch with limited powers, has used his high prestige to pressure opposing parties to compromise during political crises. He is credited with helping keep Thailand more stable than many of its Southeast Asian neighbors.

Well, we can't have peace and stability continue.

32 posted on 09/19/2006 12:53:04 PM PDT by fortunecookie
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To: fortunecookie

Bush's fault


33 posted on 09/19/2006 12:54:38 PM PDT by acsrp38 (Found: WMD Saddam didn't have before he didn't have them)
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To: martin_fierro

Thanks for the map - that helps put it in perspective. (My geography skill level is quite low.)


34 posted on 09/19/2006 12:56:13 PM PDT by knittnmom (...surrounded by reality)
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To: freepatriot32
"Arrgh! It be mutiny, I say!"
35 posted on 09/19/2006 12:56:17 PM PDT by StAnDeliver (This pun brought to you by National Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sept. 19, 2006)
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To: acsrp38
Bush's fault

Almost goes without saying! ;-) And look how deftly he handled it, what with the UN address and all.

36 posted on 09/19/2006 12:59:18 PM PDT by fortunecookie
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To: freepatriot32

Coup d'Thai?


37 posted on 09/19/2006 1:01:05 PM PDT by N. Theknow ((Kennedys - Can't drive, can't fly, can't ski, can't skipper a boat - But they know what's best.))
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To: freepatriot32

I just spoke to my son who is in Khao Lak doing Tsunami relief work, and the feeling among the fishermen is "good riddance to Thaksin" who apparently is as corrupt as they come. Pray for a peaceful coup, and that it doesn't trigger the usual stuff from the muslims in the South.

TC


38 posted on 09/19/2006 1:04:21 PM PDT by Pentagon Leatherneck
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To: freepatriot32
Awww, Phuket.
39 posted on 09/19/2006 1:05:09 PM PDT by oldleft
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To: watsonfellow

". . . than there are journalists on john mccain's you know what!"

His payroll?


40 posted on 09/19/2006 1:13:47 PM PDT by synbad600
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To: freepatriot32

TANKS for the thread,,The Thai folks treated me and the rest of the guys great when we were there in the 60's,,,
Prayers Up for the Thai's.


41 posted on 09/19/2006 1:20:45 PM PDT by 1COUNTER-MORTER-68 (THROWING ANOTHER BULLET-RIDDLED TV IN THE PILE OUT BACK~~~~~)
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To: freepatriot32

So, of the five principals (The Prime Minister, The Deputy Prime Minister, The Army Commander, The Police Commander, and the King) who are the most pro-American? Who are the most rabidly anti-American? If they're all about the same, why should I care what they do out in the middle of nowhere? Does Thailand export anything we need?


42 posted on 09/19/2006 1:22:09 PM PDT by night reader (NRA Life Member since 1962)
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To: No Blue States

It's like they had a coup an nobody cares, right, new gov't installed by the military while the PM is out of town, mind your own business, back to work.


43 posted on 09/19/2006 1:23:33 PM PDT by be4everfree
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To: WickliffePreston

Thanks for posting and welcome to you.
God bless you and yours. Stay safe.


44 posted on 09/19/2006 1:30:03 PM PDT by LadyPilgrim ((Sealed my Pardon with HIS BLOOD!!! Hallelujah!!! What a Savior))
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To: hosepipe

"Thailand has a military?... Who knew.."

Thailand has a very good military. The Officer and NCO corps are professionals. We do an excercise with them every year called Cobra Gold. With the exception of the South Korean Military, they are the best in Asia.


45 posted on 09/19/2006 1:35:56 PM PDT by sean327 (God created all men equal, then some become Marines!)
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To: freepatriot32
The coup went largely unnoticed in Thailand's popular tourist districts, where foreigners packed bars and cabarets, oblivious to the activity about two miles away.

Apparently, nothing short of a terrorist attack can stop the sex trade.

46 posted on 09/19/2006 1:36:59 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: freepatriot32

Wonder if this group will OUTLAW the children sex tourism?


47 posted on 09/19/2006 1:40:00 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: thailandistan
I would really like to know your opinion of what is going on there.

Thank you

48 posted on 09/19/2006 1:44:56 PM PDT by Steve Van Doorn (*in my best Eric cartman voice* “I love you guys”)
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To: freepatriot32

So who's the new Thaimaster? The King?


49 posted on 09/19/2006 1:48:32 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: shield

Just like how America should outlaw murder because people keep getting killed.

Oh, wait...


50 posted on 09/19/2006 1:51:44 PM PDT by Killborn (Pres. Bush isn't Pres. Reagan. Then again, Pres. Regan isn't Pres. Washington. God bless them all.)
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