Western media – after claiming recent protests in Thailand were “leaderless” and comprised of “students,” decries arrest of US-funded lawyer leading them – never mentions US funding.
August 8, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – The Western media was quick to decry the arrest of 34 year-old lawyer Anon Nampa who has been leading recent anti-government protests in Thailand.
Articles like, “Two protesters arrested, more sought,” noted Anon Nampa faces charges including sedition. The Western media cites an organization – Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) – noting its role in advocating for Anon Nampa’s release, but never notes that Anon Nampa himself works for TLHR or who funds and supports TLHR.
TLHR and the Protests it Leads Are US-Funded – Funding the Media Refuses to Mention
TLHR was created out of the US Embassy in 2014 just two days after a coup ousted the US-backed client regime of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra – sister of fugitive billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra. TLHR has since protested both the coup and reforms enacted to ensure such a client regime could no longer take power.
Prachatai – a media front also funded by the US State Department via the notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – in an article titled, “Interview with Head of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, on receiving human rights award from French Embassy,” would reveal the creation of TLHR, quoting TLHR founder Yaowalak Anupan who claimed:
…on 24 May , we gathered and established the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. All of the lawyers are anti-coup. At first most of us were young lawyers, and the senior lawyers joined later.
As to TLHR’s supporters, Yaowalak Anupan would admit:
We have to thank many organizations which support us, such as iLaw, Cross Cultural Foundation, International Commission of Jurists, United Nations, European Union, British Embassy, Canadian Embassy, among others.
“Among others” funding and supporting TLHR includes NED itself. Until recently, this funding was openly disclosed on NED’s website but has since been erased. TLHR itself refuses to disclose its funding on its website though it has been admitted in earlier articles about the front.
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.
In addition to the award presented by the French Embassy, the US State Department awarded TLHR member Sirikan “June” Charoensiri the 2018 “International Women of Courage Award” presented by US First Lady Melania Trump.
The US embassy in Bangkok openly praised TLHR in its own post celebrating the award, exclaiming:
The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok is proud of Sirikan “June” Charoensiri’s work as a lawyer and human rights defender, and for being recognized by the Secretary of State as an International Women of Courage award recipient.
Ms. Sirikan is a co-founder of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), a lawyers’ collective set up to provide pro bono legal services for human rights cases and to document human rights violations.
With the US, France, UK, and Canada guilty of the worst human rights abuses of the 21st century including the invasion of Iraq, the destruction of Libya, the proxy war against the nation of Syria, and the arming of nations like Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen declared by the UN as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world – among others – all done under the thin smokescreen of addressing humanitarian concerns – Washington’s creation and support of TLHR and the street protests they now lead in Thailand serves ulterior motives merely hiding behind “human rights” concerns and “pro-democracy” demands.
What are these motives?
The Protests Aren’t “Pro-Democracy,” They are Anti-Chinese
US-Chinese tensions have seen an uptick in recent years through a series of confrontations including in the South China Sea and through a growing “trade war.” But simmering just out of view is a series of covert regime change operations the US is organizing both inside China’s own territory and against China’s closest allies throughout Asia.
This includes in the Kingdom of Thailand – the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, with a population of nearly 70 million, and who in recent years has expanded ties with China through a series of major arms deals, joint military exercises, increases in trade and investment, as well as through joint infrastructure projects extending Beijing’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative deep into Southeast Asia.
Thailand 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.
China is also Thailand’s largest export and import partner, the largest source of foreign direct investment, and the largest source of tourists – accounting for more tourism to Thailand than from all Western nations combined.
Thailand has also openly and repeatedly refused to join the US in placing pressure on Beijing regarding the South China Sea. Thailand likewise refused to heed US demands to allow suspected Uyghur terrorists to travel through Thai territory and instead extradited them back to China – a move that resulted in the deadly 2015 bombing in Thailand’s capital aimed at Chinese tourists.
In addition to growing military, economic, and political ties, Thailand is jointly building high-speed rail lines to extend China’s OBOR initiative from China, through Laos in the north, through Thailand, and to Malaysia and Singapore to the south. Once completed passengers and cargo will be able to move overland to and from China at unprecedented rates and volumes – cementing China’s position as the regions central economic power – replacing the US permanently.
Unable to compete on equal terms economically, the US has instead turned to political subversion.
It has backed political opposition parties who have openly pledged to role back Thai-Chinese relations in favor of renewed obedience to Washington.
This includes political parties like Pheu Thai led by fugitive billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra and Move Forward (formally Future Forward) led by nepotist billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.
Articles like Bloomberg’s “Thailand needs hyperloop, not China-built high-speed rail: Thanathorn,” illustrates clearly the agenda US-backed political parties and leaders like Thanathorn represent. The article would note:
A tycoon turned politician who opposes Thailand’s military government has criticised its US$5.6 billion high-speed rail project with China because hyperloop technology offers a more modern alternative.
It should be noted that not only does the “hyperloop” exist only as crude prototypes versus China’s high-speed rail technology already moving billions of people a year – the Thai-Chinese high-speed rail line is already under construction.
Thus – Thanathorn’s proposed reversal would mean cancelling actual ongoing construction and waiting years if not indefinitely for theoretical “hyperloop” technology to be developed let alone deployed.
Thanathorn – unsurprisingly – is also a critic of Thai military spending since much of it is directed toward Chinese hardware replacing the US as Thailand’s primary arms supplier.
What’s more is that Thanathorn and his “Move Forward” party is merely an extension of Thaksin Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai Party with both parties’ headquarters literally next door to each other on Bangkok’s Phetchaburi Road. Both parties have identical political platforms and demands, and Thaksin Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai even nominated Thanathorn as their candidate for prime minister in 2019.
Both parties support and have even participated in recent anti-government protests.
In addition to backing these political parties, the US has funded a small army of fronts posing as human rights nongovernmental organizations and media platforms through the notorious NED and corporate-funded foundations like Open Society.
As Thailand works to remove US-backed political parties like Pheu Thai and Move Forward further away from the levers of power, US-backed fronts have begun organizing Hong Kong-style anti-government protests in the streets.
The Western media and their partners in Thailand have eagerly depicted these protests as “leaderless,” “organic,” “student” protests.
In reality, the leaders are very visible, appearing at each protest and organized by central fronts including “Free Youth” and the “Student Union of Thailand.”
The “Student Union of Thailand” (SUT) includes notoriously anti-Chinese “activist” Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal who has ignored current, ongoing abuses by Western governments by accepting dinner invitations from Western embassies while protesting in front of the Chinese embassy annually over the Tiananmen Square incident which occured years before he was even born.
Netiwit and others in the SUT are also part of the so-called “Milk Tea Alliance” comprised of online “activists” from Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Thailand who have all “coincidentally” adopted the US State Department’s stance on issues like the South China Sea, allegations made by the West regarding Xinjiang and Tibet in China, and support for US-backed unrest in places like Hong Kong.
|Image: Netiwit (right) drinking wine at the British Embassy, Bangkok Thailand in 2017. While Netiwit protests in front of China’s embassy annually over the Tiananmen incident which occured years before he was born, he appears more than willing to look the other way regarding ongoing US-British abuses including wars of aggression carried out on a global scale.|
Netiwit had even invited Hong Kong’s US-backed opposition leader Joshua Wong to Thailand to participate in political activities there.
The South China Morning Post in an article titled, “Thai activist invites Hong Kong’s Joshua Wong to address Bangkok students,” would admit:
Netiwit Chotipatpaisal, a 20-year-old political science student, believes Thailand may see an Occupy-like movement in a few years’ time and has invited Wong to speak in Bangkok.
So while ongoing protests in Thailand pretend to be “leaderless,” made up of “students,” and championing the causes of “human rights” and “democracy” – they are the product of US government funding in the service of a regionally anti-Chinese agenda and part of Washington’s wider bid to continue its primacy both in Asia and globally.
Only by ignoring US funding and the implications of “human rights activists” taking money from currently the worst human rights offender on Earth can Thailand’s protests be depicted as anything other than another chapter in Washington’s long history of backing covert regime change against a nation the US deems has drifted too far from its orbit and too closely to one of its competitors.