US Embassy Lies about Funding Thai Protests

The US Embassy in Bangkok has boldly lied about extensive US government funding and support for current, ongoing protests in Thailand as public awareness grows of unrest’s real agenda.  

September 2, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Khaosod – a newspaper owned by billionaire opposition leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and his family who openly support ongoing protests in Thailand – uncritically reprinted the US Embassy’s statement denying its documented involvement in these recent rallies.

The US Embassy statement claimed:

“The United States government is not funding or otherwise providing support to any of the protests in Thailand,” the embassy said in response to an inquiry. “As friends of Thailand, we encourage all sides to continue to act with respect and restraint and engage in constructive dialogue on how to move the country forward.”

“The United States does not support any individual or political party; we support the democratic process and the rule of law.”

Of course – this is a lie. 

READ MORE: The Complete Guide: US Government Role in Thailand’s “Student Protests”

The US is indeed funding and supporting current protests in Thailand and doing so because Thailand’s current political order has leaned too far toward China for Washington’s liking. US-backed regime change would help further encircle China or at the very least, deny China a valuable economic and military partner.  

This US government funding is primarily done through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

READ MORE: What is the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED)?

The NED is funded by the US government through an annual appropriation from the US Congress via the Department of State. It’s board of directors represents – not pro-democracy advocates – but rather representatives from America’s arms industry, oil companies, and Wall Street, and even war criminals like Elliot Abrams. 

The NED’s board of directors represents interests that do not support “democracy” or “freedom,” they hide behind both to advance US special interests. 

Core Protest Leader Belongs to US-Funded Front 

A simple visit to the US NED’s official website reveals that virtually every aspect of Thailand’s current protests are funded by the US government. 

Thailand’s current protest’s core leadership includes Anon Nampa, a lawyer working for Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) funded by the US NED via the Union for Civil Liberty. It was previously listed individually on the NED’s website in 2014 – archived here

Not only is a lawyer from TLHR leading the protests, the organization itself promotes the protests, provides its core leadership with free legal assistance, and other forms of material support. 

In addition to funding TLHR the US State Department had awarded another TLHR lawyer – Sirikan “June” Charoensiri the 2018 “International Women of Courage Award” presented by US First Lady Melania Trump.

The US Embassy in Bangkok – now denying any involvement with these groups – would at the time openly praise TLHR in a statement 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.

Thus – an organization carefully cultivated by the US government for years – propped up financially and politically and even awarded for carrying out Washington’s agenda in Thailand – is now leading protests aimed at overthrowing the elected government of Thailand. 

And now the US Embassy is attempting to deny its role in TLHR’s funding and activities. 

US-Funded Groups Target Thailand’s Constitution for “Rewriting” 

US meddling is not limited to supplying the protests with leaders and legal aid.

It is also funding fronts organizing a nationwide petition to rewrite Thailand’s constitution.

One front – iLaw – is listed on the US NED’s official website as, “Internet Law Reform Dialogue,” and has been aggressively promoting both the protests and its petition with iLaw booths set up at virtually every rally – big or small – across the country. 

iLaw also admits on its own website that it is funded by the US government via the US NED as well as convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.  

Another group, ConLab (Constitution Lab) works in conjunction with iLaw in a bid to rewrite Thailand’s constitution and held a recent event at at the US Embassy’s “American Corner” at Chiang Mai University.

Again – the US Embassy is attempting to now deny this. 

US-funded “Media” Promotes Protests 

The US also funds a number of media platforms promoting protests, advertising the locations, times, and dates of protests, advising protesters how to dress and what gear to bring, as well as provide one-sided reporting on the protest’s activities while condemning any action taken by the Thai government to hold them accountable including for acts of violence. 

These include Prachatai, The Isaan Record, Benar News, and The 101 Percent. 

Prachatai – listed on NED’s website as the Foundation for Community Educational Media – in particular has been funded by the US government for years. Its “executive director” Chiranuch Premchaiporn is also listed on the NED’s website as an “NED Fellow.”  

Funding and supporting a small army of media platforms specifically to promote ongoing protests as well as other “interests” of the US inside of Thailand directly contradicts the US Embassy’s latest attempt to deny meddling in Thailand’s internal affairs. 

US-Funded Group Regularly Fills Protest Ranks Up with Members 

Even the protests themselves including the number of people showing up is aided by US government funding. 

One organization calling itself “Assembly of the Poor” regularly mobilizes its members to help fill the ranks of current ongoing protests. Its leader, Baramee Chaiyarat, has openly thrown his and his organization’s support behind the rallies – as reported in The Nation’s article, “Assembly of Poor backs young protesters, slams govt ‘intimidation.’

The official NED website lists Assembly of the Poor under “Thai Poor Act” with Thai Poor Act being registered under Baramee Chaiyarat’s name as “manager” and with Thai Poor Act’s Facebook and YouTube accounts clearly using the name “Thai Poor Act” and “Assembly of the Poor” interchangeably. 

The US Lies About Thailand, But Thais are Catching On

Obviously the US Embassy in Bangkok has lied. 

The US NED alone is funding the core organizations behind current protests – with the US government involved in funding everything from forming the protest’s leadership, to organizing petitions to rewrite Thailand’s constitution, to promoting the protests across the media, to even filling up the protests with people.

Of course – the US is a nation that has repeatedly lied to the world. 

Image: An infamous example of the US lying to the world to justify otherwise indefensible interventions against other sovereign nations.

It has lied to justify wars of aggression around the globe – from the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 in response to the 9/11 attacks carried out by hijackers primarily from Saudi Arabia, to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 based on fabricated claims of Iraq possessing “weapons of mass destruction,” to the US military interventions in Libya and Syria from 2011 onward, and the US-backed toppling of the Ukrainian government in 2014. 

In fact – many in Thailand are aware of all of this – which is precisely why the US Embassy decided to deny any involvement in the protests. 

The above mentioned Khaosod in its article titled, “U.S. Embassy Denies Funding Anti-Govt Protests,” would admit that counter-protesters have noted NED’s funding as well as other vectors for US meddling in Thailand.The article claimed in regards to documented evidence of US meddling that (emphasis added):

The accusation was put forth in an “infographic” published by a hardline royalist group called Thailand Vision.

The chart accused multiple international agencies and figures of engineering the protests against PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, including American billionaire and activist George Soros, the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and even Netflix. 

Domestic organizations are also implicated, from the Prachatai news website and the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand to student leaders, Thammasat University academics, and the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

The article would also admit (emphasis added): 

Director of a conservative thinktank, called Thai Move Institute, also lashed out at the U.S. at a pro-monarchy gathering on Sunday.

“America lost their battle front in Hong Kong,” institute director Vethin Chartkul said at the rally inside Thai-Japan Din Daeng Stadium. “People like Joshua Wong are now branded as a servant dog by locals … They use democracy as a pretext to interfere in politics of various nations.”

“Foreigners must also be behind those protesters here,” he said.

Harutai Muangboonsri, a celebrity and key member of the newly founded royalist group Thai Phakdee, also said Western powers want to destabilize Thailand like they did in Libya, Iraq, and Syria.

“Syria, Libya and Iraq are like this due to [Western powers]. Today, it’s in ruins,” Harutai told the crowd.

How can anyone argue with this honestly?

Khaosod of course – argues dishonestly. 

It dismisses extensive documented evidence of US meddling in Thailand as “unfounded accusations” even with the US NED’s own website admitting to the very funding the US Embassy attempted to deny in its recent statement. 

Thanathorn – whose family owns controlling shares in Khaosod’s parent company – is part of the billionaire-led opposition pushing protests from behind in Thailand while the US government funds a small army of fronts supporting the protest’s internal workings.

Thanathorn had literally flown to the United States in 2018 to lobby for support ahead of the 2019 elections. In the lead up to elections he took on a decidedly anti-Chinese foreign policy vowing to cancel Thai-Chinese projects like high-speed rail links already under construction as well as withdraw defense funding to end Thailand’s growing military ties with China. 

When Thanathorn lost the elections – by some 2 million votes – he had vowed in late 2019 to bring protests into the streets as Thai PBS’ article, “Thanathorn vows to bring people onto streets after rally in downtown Bangkok,” would note.

Those protests – buttressed with the support of the US government – are now in the streets attempting to oust the current government, rewrite the nation’s constitution, and overwrite Thailand’s political institutions. 

US Lying is Part of the Regime Change Playbook 

The US clearly seeks a pro-Western client regime in power in Thailand – one that puts US interests ahead of Thailand’s, its people, its economy, and ties with China – its largest trading partner, investor, source of tourism, and facilitator of major infrastructure projects. 

The US also clearly seeks to keep its role in bringing this about a “secret” by denying its extensive backing of current, ongoing protests.

The Diplomat – an explicitly pro-Western policy journal – noted in its article, “As US-China Competition Grows, Will Covert Regime Change Make a Return?,” that growing US-Chinese tensions provide ample motivations for Washington to pursue Cold War-style covert regime change operations against “regimes that tilt too close to China,” as well as the need for secrecy while doing so. 

The article would admit (emphasis added):

As the rivalry between the United States and China intensifies against the backdrop of a pandemic and (dis)information wars about culpability, some have wondered whether covert regime change might make a comeback. During the Cold War, the the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), almost always at the direction of the president, quietly engineered the overthrow of numerous regimes who drifted — or were perceived to be drifting — too close to the Soviet Union. It is not hard to imagine how competition with China for the allegiances of other countries might create similar incentives.

The article notes that while the Cold War saw the height of such operations carried out by the US government, such operations have most certainly continued until present day – citing US-led regime change efforts in Syria as a specific example.

Under an entire section of the article titled, “The Appeal of Secrecy,” the authors would note (emphasis added):

The ongoing battle over the rules of international order also means that U.S. policymakers may be especially keen on hiding violations of existing laws governing intervention — laws that they helped create. Given China’s own embrace of the principles of non-intervention and non-interference, brazen violations could cede the moral high ground and result in greater support for the Chinese model. It is conceivable that these dynamics could play out in regions like Africa where the United States and China continue to compete for economic and military influence.

Finally, any consideration of using the quiet option to topple regimes that tilt too close to China must include a full accounting of the inherent risks. These include the prospect that a covert operation will become public knowledge prematurely and the possibility that it could destabilize the target state and create longstanding ill-will in the process.

Thus – by the West’s own admission – pretending obviously US-funded subversion in Thailand aimed at a Thai government that “tilts too close to China” is “organic” and “leaderless” is all part of the “covert regime change” playbook. 

Exposing and confronting this meddling – as well as the US Embassy’s lies about it – will be key to defending against this subversion.