Archive for November, 2008

Grounded aircrafts allowed to leave… a good news, but … ?

funny_plane

The leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy have agreed to allow 88 grounded aircraft to fly out of Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The planes were stranded when they flew in as the PAD occupied the international airport last Tuesday night. Only a handful of passengers have been allowed to leave since then.

The agreement came after hours of negotiations between protest leaders and Airports of Thailand, the airport’s owner and operator.

The first of the 88 aircraft already left Suvarnabhumi shortly after dark on Sunday evening.

Under the agreement, Thai Airways International and foreign airlines can fly to airports in other provinces of the country to help evacuate tourists who have been stranded for nearly a week by the protesters. (Bangkok Post)

It’s clearly a good news. For the airlines and for the tourists stranded in Thailand… The PAD should have done it before.

On the other hand… we could see this as sign that the blockade could last… longer.

Aircrafts are very expensive and fragile machines. They need maintenance… To leave them on a tarmac, without any maintenance could have been a huge and costly liability…

Now with an airport free of airplanes… the siege could drag on. A little bit more.

Air Force flying high : “Don’t fear new elections… you could win again”

bozo

I’m wondering who is weirder than a thai general ? Maybe 2 thai generals ? Yes probably.

Air Force Commander-in-Chief ACM Itthaporn Supawong Sunday repeated the military’s call for Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to dissolve the House.

He said the call was agreed upon during a meeting of the situation monitoring committee and agreed by heads of government agencies, academics and representatives of the private sector.

The Air Force chief said the government had nothing to fear because it could win the next election again. (Nation)

Could Mister Air Force Supreme Being Chief Boss explain us what’s the point to say to the government : “dissolve the House, organize new elections and don’t be afraid because you could win again ” ?

What a twisted… and totally childish rethoric… !

And if the government “win again” then what ? Start over the process ? 😉

More seriously, it’s the third time the generals call publicly the government to dissolve the House… Those calls start to pill up…

D-2 : countdown to dissolution… or explosion ?

It seems that the sharpest angle of the Bermuda Triangle is tuesday 2 december, when the Constitution Court will achieve the legal process in the parties dissolution case… and could hand over its verdict soon after.

Day minus 2.

Many of us are trying to understand (and find out) the legal consequences of a guilty verdict, of the dissolution of the PPP (read the call from Bangkok Pundit).

The thai journalists and the foreign medias are so incompetent (or afraid or both) than it’s almost impossible to have a clear understanding of the legal texts (Constitution, elections laws etc.) and their links.

Where are the famous thai academics ? Where are the lawyers ? They are perfect to comment on frivolous and stupid issues… They love it. They love to be heard. But when confronted to serious stuff… nobody anymore. A deafening silence.

It’s unbelievable.

Because, it’s a freaking terra incognita we have ahead.

Let’s assume that the PPP is disbanded.

-unlike when the TRT was disbanded (may 2007), the PPP is in power. It leads a coalition at the House. That changes everything of course.

-it means that the coalition would collapse… The PPP would loose its MPs. The government would collapse.

Section 106 of the Constitution states :

Membership of the House of Representatives terminates upon:

(8) loss of membership of the political party in the case where the political party of which he is a member is dissolved by an order of the Constitutional Court and he is unable to become a member of another political party within sixty days as from the date on which the Constitutional Court issues its order. In such case, his membership shall be deemed to have terminated as from the day following the date on which such period of sixty days has elapsed;

-So PPP MPs would loose immediately their membership… unless -apparently- they join another party. They would have 60 days to do so.

-does it mean that the day after, all PPP’s MPs just change party, then the House convenes, and then elect a new Prime Minister… from the ex-PPP’s ranks. And back to square one ?

Nowhere we can see a clear answer to this question.

Everybody bet on a the dissolution of the PPP, but nobody dare to think about the day after.

-let’s go further. Let’s assume that PPP is disbanded, but House can’t convene (because no quorum) or all the MPs can not change party… and the process drags on… Who’s is going to handle the government ?

-and if there are real obstacles… who would be able to call for fresh elections ? No government, no House to do it.

Etc. etc. etc. I can’t list all the questions. Because I am not a lawyer.

We are left in the dark.

But beyond those (important) question marks… we could have more urgent issues to deal with.

A guilty verdict would clearly ignite the fury of the government’s supporters.

We can’t compare with TRT dissolution (at that time, Thailand was ruled by a Junta). But to disband the party democratically elected less than one year ago… is a totally different deal…

And it could illustrate the fact that no one is thinking about the legal consequences of the Constitution Court’s verdict… because it would just be pointless : with an explosion of violence between reds and yellows… the army would of course step in.

And back to Junta’s happy days with some “Council for National Security” or whatever fancy name they could find this time. 😉

Therefore, why bother to call lawyers now to try to see through the mess ?

A long siege ? A nightmare… Let’s do some math

siege

Saturday gave plenty of signs of the current confusion. The police is not organized and not very keen anyway to follow orders. The army is still silent… The PAD adamant : they won’t move.

Hidding in Chiang Mai, Somchai, the alleged Prime Minister, shows his cowardness. Not really a proper way to deal with a national crisis, is it ? … But he’s adamant too : he won’t step down.

Sunday is the… sixth day of the blockade !

One point to consider : According to AOT, it would take 48 hours minimum to reopen the airport, when the protesters will leave.

The keyword is backlog. Not very nice since we speak about people… but that’s a fact. Tourists who want to leave Thailand are pilling up. Literally. And every passing day. Plus 30 000 per day.

So because the unbelievable (a long siege of the airport) starts to be possible… it could be a massive problem. It is already one.

Olarn [Deputy Prime Minister] said it would take a month to clear all stranded tourists, who now exceeded 100,000.

Weerasak [Transport Minister] said the government was preparing international airports like Phuket and Chiang Mai for the task, aside from U-tapao airport. Some landing equipment has been transferred to these airports, and they should be ready for service in 1-2 days, he said. (Nation)

By the way, let’s talk about U-Tapao. This airport was a big military base during the Vietnam war. It is located near Pattaya. But it can’t replace Suvarnabhumi. It’s just impossible. Plus the fact that many maintenance equipments for aircrafts are located in Suvarnabhumi.

Here is a report published by a ThaiVisa Forum member who is working for the tourism industry.

I was in U Tapao this afternoon (2 to 6 PM). […] But then at 5 PM people traffic into the hall from the curb started jamming up and people with megaphones called for people who’s flight was on to come forward and they couldn’t.

It felt pretty bad. Also coach and car traffic was massive at 5 PM. I dont know I had the impression it would be going into some kind of gridlock/chaos.

[…] I hope everyone gets through but not 100 airplane loads a day.

I had exactly 12 people from over 100 make it through today (check in Centara World, get boarding pass, TG transfer to U Tapao, luggage goes through in van. Nicely done and TG made a terrific effort to get them through but at this rate, I’m starting to feel a little stressed, because more people add each day to my numbers than the number I manage to get out.

International Herald Tribune give us more details :

But the tiny airport was overwhelmed by the influx. U-tapao airport’s parking lot has room for just 100 vehicles and its terminal can accommodate only 400 people at once, according to its Web site.

And Bangkok Post achieves to kill the beast ! 😉

Built in the 1960s by the US air force and equipped with just one X-ray scanner for bags, the airbase can only handle around 40 flights a day, compared to the 700-flight capacity of Bangkok’s gleaming Suvarnabhumi international airport.

And what about… the tourists who should arrive in Thailand ?

We have very detailed statistics. In october, 749 000 international tourists arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport. 25 000 per day... And normaly, november sees higher trafic (beginning of the high season).

The losses for the whole tourism industry are already huge.

To summarize : it’s already a nightmare. And it could get worse.

Grenade attack against PAD at Government House : 20 injured


A bomb exploded inside Thailand’s Government House compound at 11.50pm on Saturday, wounding more than 20 of anti-government protesters.

People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) reported about 20 people injured, of which three are in serious condition.

The bomb, reportedly M79 type, exploded just 200 metres away from the PAD’s main stage inside the Government House.

The injured people are sent to Vajira and Ramathibodi hospitals.

There were another explosion at ASTV station on Phra Arthit Road at 00.15 on Sunday morning, just around 25 minutes away from the attack at Government House.

Two bombs are reportedly exploded at the ASTV office. Witnesses also heard the gunfire lasting about 10 minutes. No injury was reported. (Nation)

Such “incident” occurs now daily. Since tuesday, we can note that ASTV is a target “de choix”.

And the M79 grenade launcher is becoming really… iconic…

Later in the night :

A bomb exploded near a bunker made of tyres at the Don Mueang Airport early Sunday.

The explosion occurred at 3:55 am at the main entrance to the passenger terminal.

Before the explosion occurred, about 7 gunshots were heard from the direction of a warehouse deeper inside the airport compound. No one was injured in the explosion. (Nation)

I think that those attacks achieve absolutly nothing and do not scare PAD’s people… on the contrary. It reinforces their idea that the “government is a murderer”, it reinforces their victimization.

Sanity starts to disappear within the Bermuda Triangle.

The police is humiliated… again

This morning, we had this.

Now, we have that…

Riot police have fled a checkpoint near Bangkok’s main international airport after coming under attack by several hundred anti-government protesters.

About 150 police at the checkpoint jumped into their vehicles and drove away when they saw a convoy of protesters speeding toward them.

The checkpoint was about a mile (2 kilometers) from Suvarnabhumi airport. Protesters have occupied the airport since late Tuesday, forcing the halt of all flights.

Some of the protesters carried guns. Many were armed with metal rods and hit the police vehicles as they drove off, smashing windshields and throwing what appeared to be firecrackers at police.

About 2,000 police were deployed Saturday around the airport. (AP)

This is really going to end badly…

“I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore !”

1976…

30 freaking years ago. It could have been filmed yesterday. Or this morning. Because this scene, those words, those ideas are so contemporary.

I don’t know why, I was thinking about this famous scene. Thailand, PAD, yellow, red, Thaksin, airport, Somchai the llama’s friend, the insanity, the stupidity, the mediocrity, the global financial crisis… We have to get mad !

So go to the window, and yell. And enjoy this great piece of writing (and cinema).

********************

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it.

We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

We all know things are bad — worse than bad — they’re crazy.

It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.”

Well, I’m not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad!

I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad.

You’ve gotta say, “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!”

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell,

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!!”


Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.