Agitator funded by US State Department, gets award from US State Department – or – how to make illegitimacy & foreign-funded subversion look legitimate.
March 30, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci – ATN) – Bangkok Post’s Achara Ashayagachat, herself praised by foreign interests for her service to them, has recently penned an article titled, “Chiang Mai activist wins US ‘courage award’.” In it she claims (emphasis added):
A Chiang Mai-based activist was given an International Women of Courage Ward Tuesday for her dedication to democracy and women’s rights despite undergoing “attitude adjustment” at the hands of the military.
Rodjaraeg Wattanapanit, 50, co-owner of a bookstore, Book Re:public, was one of 14 recipients lauded by the US State Department in its awards this year.
The Mae Hong Son native, also a co-founder of Creating Awareness for Enhanced Democracy (Cafe Democracy), an association dedicated to creating political awareness and empowering citizens, is the first Thai woman to receive the honour since the award was established in 2007, the organisers say.
Unfortunately Achara falls short of producing an actually objective, journalistic report – categorically failing to inform readers that Rodjaraeg’s Book Re:public and “Cafe Democracy” are both in fact funded by the US State Department, as well as now a recipient of a contrived “award” from the US State Department – a clear conflict of interests that should be disturbing to anyone interested in transparency, journalism, and “democracy.”
Achara goes on to mention Pinkaew Luangaramsri as co-founder of Book Re:public. Pinkaew herself in the wake of the 2014 coup, would openly admit that her “activism” was being underwritten by the US government through USAID and Open Society. In a leaked e-mail in the immediate aftermath of the coup which ousted mass murderer and convicted criminal Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister from power, Pinkaew would exclaim:
I have written to several donors who fund activities of Book Re:public (USAID and OSF) to see if they can do anything to help out in this situation. Although it might not have much impact since the military seems to don’t care to listen to anyone, we still hope that international pressure would at least help make it difficult for the military junta to continue their aggressive treatment towards people.
In addition to USAID and Open Society, the US State Department’s own National Endowment for Democracy (NED) also clearly lists Cafe Democracy as a recipient of US government funding. The fact that opposition to the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra is protested by a movement entirely dependent on foreign cash, but allegedly predicated on democracy and self-determination, is ironic at best.
|Images: The US State Department didn’t objectively seek out who it thought was the most effective voice promoting human rights and democracy in Thailand, it simply offloaded a contrived award on one of its own paid-agitators. The organizations leading opposition to the current Thai government hold virtually no support within Thailand|
Why are US-Funded Agitators Protesting the Coup?
It should be remembered that the 2014 coup was aimed at ousting the regime of Thaksin Shinawata – a convicted criminal, fugitive, and mass murderer who was attempting to run the country remotely from the United Arab Emirates through his own sister installed into the office of prime minister in his place.
During his sister Yingluck Shinawatra’s 2011-2014 administration of the country, the incompetence of her and her cabinet would leave the nation reeling after catastrophic floods destroyed much of the central and northeaster regions of the country. Shinawatra’s election gimmick – offering absurdly unrealistic subsidies for rice farmers – garnered many votes but quickly was plundered by her own party and upon going bankrupt and rice markets crashing, left over a million rice farmers both without their annual harvests and without promised subsidies.
Many farmers would even turn to suicide as a means of escaping the criminally-induced economic disaster the program wrought.
As protests began to swell during 2013-2014, Shinawatra’s political machine, including corrupt police and literal terrorists, set out in waves of violence to mass murder and subdue them. Twenty people would die, including men, women, and children in grenade and assault rifle attacks.
A true woman who could be considered a hero is Chitpas Kridakorn – who didn’t brave an “attitude adjustment” by the military for taking foreign cash and subverting her nation, but instead braved 40mm M79 rounds, hand grenades, AK-47s, and nearly nightly drive-by shootings to stand up to the Shinawatra regime.
The US State Department, however, sees nothing “heroic” about standing up to their own proxies – only for those shamelessly hiding behind “democracy” and “human rights” to prop those proxies up.
Indeed, Thaksin Shinawatra and his political party, for well over a decade, have proved invaluable to the United States and the corporate-financier special interests residing there.
- In the late 1990’s, Thaksin Shinawatra was an adviser to notorious private equity firm, the Carlyle Group. He pledged to his foreign contacts that upon taking office, he would still serve as a “matchmaker” between the US equity fund and Thai businesses. It would represent the first of many compromising conflicts of interest that would undermine Thailand’s sovereign under his rule.
- In 2001 he privatized Thailand’s resources and infrastructure including the nation’s oil conglomerate PTT – much to Wall Street’s delight.
- In 2003, he would commit Thai troops to the US invasion of Iraq, despite widespread protests from both the Thai military and the public. Thaksin would also allow the CIA to use Thailand for its abhorrent rendition program.
- Also in 2004, Thaksin attempted to ramrod through a US-Thailand Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) without parliamentary approval, backed by the US-ASEAN Business Council who just before the 2011 elections that saw Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra brought into power, hosted the leaders of Thaksin’s “red shirt” “United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship” (UDD) in Washington DC.
- Since the 2006 coup that toppled his regime, Thaksin has been represented by US corporate-financier elites via their lobbying firms including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom House, International Crisis Group,PNAC), James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR, Carlyle Group), Robert Blackwill (CFR) of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR), Kobre & Kim, Bell Pottinger (and here) and currently Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners (Chatham House).
It is clear then why the United States is really behind both Shinawatra and those who defend his regime, political party, and political networks under the guise of defending “democracy” and “human rights.” Citing human rights is particularly ironic considering Shinawatra’s regime was the worst violator of such rights in Thai history:
- In 2003, Shinawatra initiated what he called a “war on drugs.” Nearly 3,000 were extrajudicially murdered in the streets over the course of just 90 days. It would later turn out that more than half of those killed had nothing to even do with the drug trade. In this act alone, Shinawatra earned himself the title as worst human rights offender in Thai history, and still he was far from finished.
- In 2004, he oversaw the killing of 85 protesters in a single day during his mishandled, heavy-handed policy in the country’s troubled deep south. The atrocity is now referred to as the “Tak Bai incident.”
- Throughout his administration he was notorious for intimidating the press, and crushing dissent. According to Amnesty International, 18 human rights defenders were either assassinated or disappeared during his first term in office. Among them was human rights activist and lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit. He was last seen in 2004 being arrested by police and never seen again.
- Also throughout Shinawatra’s administration, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) claimed in its report, “Attacks on the Press 2004: Thailand” that the regime was guilty of financial interference, legal intimidation, and coercion of the press.
- In April of 2009 gunmen would fire over 100 rounds into the vehicle of anti-Thaksin Shinawatra activist, protest leader, and media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul in a broad daylight assassination attempt. He was injured but survived.
- On April 10, 2010, heavily armed professional militants deployed by Thaksin Shianwatra and his “red shirt” front targeted and assassinated Colonel Romklao Thuwatham who was at the time commanding crowd control operations near Bangkok’s Democracy Monument. Thaksin’s “red shirts” would go on to clash with the military for weeks before ending their riot with mass city-wide looting and arson.
- In August of 2013, businessman and outspoken Thaksin Shinawatra opponent Ekkayuth Anchanbutr was abducted and murdered.
Shinawatra’s “red shirt” street front, often defended by “academics” and “journalists” like Achara Ashayagachat, Rodjaraeg Wattanapanit, and Pinkaew Luangaramsri, are guilty of an equally dizzying array of atrocities and abuses:
- In 2008, red shirts shot/hacked to death by machetes an opposition community radio host’s father, after pro-Thaksin radio hosts mobilized supporters to surround his house and the father attempted to flee. Regime demagogue, Kanyapak Maneejak (DJ Aom), when asked about the incident during a “City Life Chiang Mai” interview, claimed, “the red shirts there all came following their hearts.”
- In 2009, in addition to large-scale street violence visited upon Bangkok which saw two shop keepers shot while trying to stop red shirts from looting their businesses, red shirts would violently disrupt an HIV/AIDS awareness march organized by homosexual & public health activists. “Out in Perth” reported in their article, “Chiang Mai Pride Shut Down by Protests as Police Watch On,” that organizers were locked inside a building while red shirts began throwing rocks and yelling abuse through megaphones. Police looked on until organizers decided to call off the event.
- Also in 2009, Bangkok’s English paper, “Bangkok Post” would publish a report titled, “Rak Chiang Mai 51: A pride or a disgrace for Chiang Mai?” which would describe in detail the red shirts’ methods of violence and intimidation.
- In 2010, Thaksin Shinawatra deployed some 300 heavily armed mercenaries to augment “red shirt” mobs in Bangkok. Armed with M16s, AK47s, M79s, hand grenades and other small arms, they assassinated an army colonel, killed soldiers, bystanders and even protesters among their own ranks in reckless firefights that spanned several weeks and climaxed in a campaign of mass arson across the capital. In all, over 90 would die.
- During the most recent political crisis, red shirts have frequently surrounded the homes of opponents, threatening and intimidating them from speaking out against the regime. This includes the home of Chiang Mai’s Cultural Council president, teachers and parents of Regina Coeli College, and violently attacking a peaceful protest held at Chiang Mai University’s art museum and again during a march held several weeks later.
- They have threatened to kidnap and/or kill then Thai Royal Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s twin daughters.
- On the eve of February 2014 general elections, the “red shirts” carried out a brazen broad-daylight assassination of NGO worker, activist, and protest leader Sutin Taratin.
- Regime militants carried out a grisly attack in the eastern province of Trat that left scores maimed and a five-year old girl dead and a similar attack carried out in Bangkok that left many maimed along with a woman and two children killed.
- Multiple M79 grenade attacks were carried out on the office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission in northern Bangkok in conjunction with a blockade carried out by the regime’s “red shirts.” The blockade was aimed at obstructing criminal proceeding against then prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra. Regime supporters would be arrested for possession of AK47s, M79 grenade launchers, and RGD-5 hand grenades, the latter two with lot numbers matching those used in previous attacks across the city.
- Regime militants carried out an M79 grenade attack and drive-by shooting on Bangkok’s Democracy Monument on May 15 that killed 3 and left dozens more injured.
Clearly then, constant pageantry by the US State Department is necessary to dress up its proxies who are in reality traitors, terrorists, criminals, and mass murderers of the worst kind. There is nothing democratic about their movement, and they themselves are in reality as much a menace to human rights as they claim their opponents are in fiction. It is also clear that accusations of “human rights” violations aimed at the current Thai government is merely an attempt to frame justice against known criminals as “injustice.” In one breath the US claims to be upholding peace, stability, and human rights, while in another, supporting those most determined to eradicate all three.
|Image: Digging deeply into the actual special interests behind the “National Endowment for Democracy,” one sees not the promotion of democracy, but the promotion of corporate-financier hegemony under the guise of democracy.|
Achara cites “attitude adjustments” as a trial of courage for US-funded agitator Rodjaraeg Wattanapanit, but fails to mention the true atrocities and affronts to human rights that precipitated the 2014 coup in the first place. If Achara was an honest journalist and did so, readers would conclude that perhaps defending an ousted regime so clearly criminal probably is more about defending certain special interests than heroically upholding any sort of lofty principle.
Contrived self-aggrandizing awards then, is how the US makes illegitimacy look legitimate – fake awards given to their own hired agitators, traitors, and terrorists.
And not only should readers keep in mind that these agitators are opposing a coup on behalf of convicted criminal and mass murderer Thaksin Shinawatra, they are accepting “human rights” and “pro-democracy” awards from the United States who currently maintains a global network of torture dungeons, is engaged in multiple illegal military occupations, and is conducting arbitrary extrajudicial mass murder against targets around the world with their drone programs – literally killing people in nations the US is not even at war with.
In a sane world, Achara and likely Rodjaraeng herself, would be insulted and ashamed to have been nominated for a US State Department-contrived “award,” let alone eagerly receive it.
|Images: Human rights – American-style. Anyone with true convictions would be utterly ashamed if not outright insulted to be offered a “human rights” or “democracy” award from the United States which currently maintains a global network of torture dungeons and is mass murdering people across the planet with its weaponized drone program. The US State Department, however, calculates recipients of its contrived award are more interested in feeding their personal egos than upholding their alleged convictions.|
Considering that the US State Department is putting on a pedestal those opposed to a coup in Thailand, while openly backing those in Ukraine who successfully ousted an elected government in the very same year using armed violence – is perhaps the most ironic point of hypocrisy yet surrounding this charade.
|Image: While the US gives awards to its own hired-agitators in Thailand for standing up against a “coup,” it fully supported a putsch in Ukraine led by armed Neo-Nazis – ironically the very same year Thailand’s coup unfolded.|
For Achara Ashayagachat, surely she believes, with her foreign accolades and the support of the foreign media, that she is a real journalist. However, her selective reporting and failure to inform readers of the “rest of the story,” proves she, like the US State Department’s other self-proclaimed “heroes,” is just as opposed to the principles of objectivity, fairness, transparency, and honesty as they claim their enemies in the current Thai government are.