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... BLOODSHED - Thailand Drops to DEFCON 2 (December 1, 2013)


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Brutox's mostly arbitrary and doubtfully scientific Thai Civil Threat Scale:


DEFCON 5 - Business as usual

DEFCON 4 - Demonstrators from one side in the streets

DEFCON 3 - Demonstrators from both sides in the streets ... potential for confrontations

DEFCON 2 - Demonstrators confronting each other in the streets ... somewhat controlled by police/military

DEFCON 1 - Widespread confrontations ... out of control ... major police/military deployments





... the forum is filling rapidly with individual articles about the civil violence here in BKK last night, and continues throughout today ... too many reports to track individually ... that's all the local media is reporting.


... in my first report on this subject on November 5, I moved Thailand's status from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 4, on my informal scale of cilvil violence (above) ... the Yellows had mobilized large numbers to their Democracy Monument beach head ... I then degraded Thailand down one level to DEFCON 3 on November 10, when the Reds responded with a sizeable.show of numbers at their Muang Thong Thani, and subsequently Ramkamhaeng University Stadium, beach head ... sizeable numbers were then on both sides, but no direct confrontations at that time ... ceremonial 'combat' only (shows of numbers, shows of colors, claiming strategic ground about BKK).


... today, I downgrade Thailand's situation to DEFCON 2 ... these sides have both been agitating for confrontation ... the long-expected bloodshed broke last night when a Yellow-allied student protester was killed, allegedly at the hands of a Red security guard ... CAPO claimed another was killed ... Red's claim 5 of their members were killed last night, but still unconfirmed ... the running street battle allegedly involved 3,000 protesters.


... I've been unable to track in detail the days activities, but what I see on the local Thai news ain't good ... rumors abound on Twitter ... while shopping over on Ramkhamhaeng Road this afternoon, I witnessed a parade of 200-300 Yellows parade by ... slowed traffic, but no signs of violent intent ... just parading and showing their colors ... 2 of my 3 school-aged kids schools have cancelled classes for Monday and Tuesday ... otherwise, my day out and about BKK was unremarkable ... we all just got home from family dinner night ... except for the mind-numbing traffic, you'd not notice that Thailand's social fabric is again tearing apart.


... the Army has been deployed from barracks (for the first time), which represents a significant step up by the government ... the Police traditionally serve as the sacrificial phalanx, with limited capability ... the Army has has the juice and does the heavy-lifting.


... this is noteworthy, I believe ... the Army's injection into the fray represents an additional level of threat, as long-rumored divisions in the ranks of the general staff could turn this into Thai-ugly stuff ... the old guard senior generals traditionally side with the aristocrats ... the recently appointed generals groomed for the last 10 years by the Thaksins now take their seats in the war plan rooms ... the rumors in barracks must be interesting, the military politics intense.


... how far and for how long this will escalate is anyone's guess ... my bet is that it continues ... (i) retribution is in the nature of these sides; (ii) the Yellows only hope of a return to power is through a military coup, wherein they negotiate their way back with an enticingly generous slice of the corruption for the Army (their traditional play) ... I'd bet the Army will do most anything to avoid getting involved, as the risk of divisions in the military ranks would be just f*%kin' disasterous.


... the Yellows need a coup badly, and have so far made no overtures toward negotiating a settlement ... as a matter of fact, their hard line leader Suthep has declared today "V Day", claiming it "will all be over in the next 3 days" ... a bit optimistic, I think ... they are pushing the government to the max, hoping for the worst, beckoning the Army to take-over.


... this is the point at which a face-saving settlement is negotiated and everyone withdraws ... or, a coup is thrown ... this appears as new territory, with neither customary alternative favored by anyone.... so, there it is men ... the intransigent progression toward bloodshed is right on-track, and quite consistent with the history of Thai civil conflict ... after conflict ... after conflict.


... holiday-makers, I'd still come ... BKK will be safe for now, as long as you avoid the well-publicized and demarked conflict zones ... passing through Suvarnabhumi Airport, to your bus, or car, and onward to whatever resort you favor should be without any incident ... at all.


... while here, just be aware ... keep abreast of the daily media reports several times daily, unless it all goes Thai-ugly ... don't get too curious and too close, unless you have super situational awareness, instincts for serious trouble, a gas mask and LW body armor ... and for Christ's sake, avoid any political discussions at all with any locals.


... unless and until we hit DEFCON 1 (more about that as events unfold), BKK is still rockin' and rollin' ... bring it on, guys ... seems anti-intuitive, but I'd do it ... absolutely.


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