July 18, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – The Western media is claiming “pro-democracy” protests are taking place in Thailand.
English-language paper Bangkok Post in their article, “Hundreds rally for democracy,” would claim:
Several hundred people led by a group called Free Youth gathered on Saturday near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok to call for the dissolution of the House and a rewrite of the constitution.
Little information is provided as to who “Free Youth” is or where they are getting their money to organize this event at a time when the vast majority of Thais are struggling to get back to business after the COVID-19 crisis.
But there were clues.
The article included photos of the protest at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, as well as professionally printed “missing” signs attempting to attribute a large number of missing activists to the current government.
However, at least one poster is of an activist - Somchai Neelapaijit – who went missing under the government of Thaksin Shinawatra -a politician favored by the US but long since ousted from power – who is one of several sponsors of the current protests. His “red shirt” mobs are visibly present in the ranks of recent protests.
Another poster is of Cha Lee Rakchongcharoen aka “Billy” who went missing under Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra’s regime whom many in the current government helped oust from power.
Another poster still is of Surachai Saedan – a convicted murderer and terrorist who helped lead Thaksin’s militant “red shirt” street front in past episodes of violence.
The photo of the posters was courtesy of “Thai Lawyers for Human Rights” (TLHR). The Bangkok Post never mentions who TLHR is or that one of their members – Anon Nampa – is leading the current protests.
Also not mentioned is that TLHR is funded by the US government.
TLHR, Prachatai, others – All US-funded, All involved in Recent Protests
The US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has funded TLHR since 2014. Bangkok Post in a 2016 article titled, “The lawyer preparing to defend herself,” would admit:
…[TLHR] receives all its funding from international donors including the EU, Germany and US-based human rights organisations and embassies of the UK and Canada.
One of the founding members - Sirikan “June” Charoensiri – was later awarded the US State Department’s “2018 International Women of Courage Award.” She is also regularly accompanied by US and European embassy staff on her to hear charges regarding her overt foreign-funded sedition.
Prachatai – which claims to be “an independent, non-profit, daily web newspaper” is also funded extensively by the US government as well as various European govenrments and multiple corporate-funded foundations including convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society.
To date, Prachatai has only made one disclosure regarding its foreign funding and ties and has not updated it since 2011 (9 years ago). Virtually all of the 8 million baht it disclosed came from the US government or affiliated corporate and government foundations.
It is still listed by the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as a recipient of funds (1.5 million Thai baht) as of 2019 under the “Foundation for Community Educational Media” after previously being referred to as “Prachatai” in previous NED disclosures.
Prachatai’s “executive director” – Chiranuch Premchaiporn – is still listed by the US NED as an NED “Fellow.”
Thailand – with a population of 70 million and the second largest economy in Southeast Asia – has been expanding its relations with China for years.
It has begun replacing its aging US military hardware with new Chinese systems including VT4 main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, naval vessels including Thailand’s first modern submarines as well as joint defense projects like the DTI-1 guided missile launcher.
Thailand and China also are now holding joint military exercises in Thailand – balancing out joint drills carried out with the US since the 1980s.
Thailand is also a key One Belt, One Road (OBOR) partner with a section of high-speed rail meant to connect China, Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia already under construction in Thailand and neighboring Laos.
China is also Thailand’s largest and most important import and export partner, the largest source of foreign direct investment and the largest source by far of tourists. Chinese FDI in Thailand is 13 times higher than America’s. Chinese tourists account for more tourism in Thailand than all Western nations – including the US – combined.
It is safe to say that Thailand has much stronger ties with China than it does with the US – a trend the US has sought to rectify not by offering Thailand better economic, political, or military partnerships – but through the sort of political meddling now playing out in the streets of Thailand today and meddling that has destabilized Thailand politically since US proxy Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in 2006.
US efforts to return Thaksin and his political allies to power have defined Thai politics ever since, including two attempts in 2009 and 2010 by Thaksin and his supporters to take power by force. In 2010 these efforts included hundreds of armed militants with war weapons resulting in nearly 100 dead and widespread arson.
2019 elections saw Thaksin and his allies lose both the popular vote and fail to create a larger coalition than the current ruling government.
Among Thaksin’s allies is fellow billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. His party – Future Forward – came in distant third with 2 million fewer votes than the current ruling party. He is openly backed by the US and has openly expressed policies which include abandoning the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway and reducing military spending – parenthetically on Chinese weapons.
|Image: US, UK, and EU embassy staff accompany Thanathorn in Bangkok in an open act of support as he faced various criminal charges for corruption and election law violations.|
Protests today are designed to either affect regime change – seeking to place either Thanathorn or another nominee of Thaksin’s into power – or to create enough chaos to reduce Thailand’s ability to function as a reliable partner for China’s economic rise regionally and globally.
Thanathorn has previously, openly supported US-backed sedition in Hong Kong and has openly planned to employ similar tactics in Thailand.
The US finds itself attempting to claw back regional primacy in Asia-Pacific and around the globe – leveling a growing number of sanctions against nations like Russia and China, battling Chinese companies directly, sowing chaos in streets in and around China – most recently in Hong Kong – and attempting to sabotage relations between China and its growing list of partners and allies.
In the days, weeks, and months ahead the US and its partners will continue attempting to seek leverage in Thailand to do just this – and the protesters the Western media claims are “pro-democracy” but clearly paid by and working for Washington are just the beginning.
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