Thai Protest Leader Anon Nampa Lies About US Funding

 Substantial documented evidence and even admissions by his organization’s own founder confirm the foreign funded nature of his “activism.” 

September 16, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – ATN) – Anon Nampa, billed by the Western media as a “core leader” of Thailand’s ongoing US-backed anti-government protests, has recently lied about receiving any money or support from the US government.

In a recent Thai/English interview with Pravit Rojanaphruk for Khaosod – a newspaper owned by the family of billionaire opposition leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit – he denied receiving any money from abroad. 

Pravit failed to show Anon Nampa documented evidence proving otherwise and instead simply repeated and reinforced Anon Nampa’s lie. 

Anon Nampa did – however – admit that he spends at least 100,000 Thai Baht a month on his political activities, but did not disclose who his donors were. For a point of reference, the average minimum wage worker in Thailand earns about 10,000 Thai Baht.  

Anon Nampa’s Thai Lawyers for Human Rights is US Funded  

Anon Nampa’s Frontline Defenders profile claims (emphasis added): 

Arnon Nampa is a human rights lawyer who volunteers with the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR). TLHR was established in 2014 to provide legal assistance to alleged violators of lèse-majesté and human rights defenders targeted by the authorities following the military coup of 22 May 2014. 

Anon Nampa’s organization – Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) – is listed as a recipient of US government money via the notorious US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and has been funded by the US government since it was created in 2014.

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

In 2014, the US NED listed TLHR by name – archived here – as receiving nearly 1 million Thai Baht a year. The NED Thailand 2014 page notes (emphasis added): 

Access to Justice and the Protection of Human Rights under Martial Law: To promote and protect human rights. The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, hosted by the Union for Civil Liberty, will provide legal assistance to those affected by martial law rule. Activities will also include monitoring and documentation of human rights violations across the country.

TLHR being hosted by the Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) is important to note, because the US NED website has since deleted mention of TLHR and instead includes its funding under the UCL which receives a staggering 4 million baht a year from the US government. The UCL lists TLHR – among other US NED grantees – as a member of its union at the bottom of its official website.

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 US NED-funded groups like TLHR – 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 lying about the nature of their foreign funding.

TLHR’s Own Founder Admitted to Foreign Funding Multiple Times 

Admissions by TLHR staff itself in the past has made it clear the foreign-funded nature of its activities. 

The Bangkok Post in a 2016 article titled, “The lawyer preparing to defend herself,” would admit (emphasis added):

…[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 an interview with likewise US NED-funded media portal Prachatai titled,  “Interview with Head of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, on receiving human rights award from French Embassy,” TLHR founder Yaowalak Anupan would fully admit (emphasis added):

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. 

It should be noted that iLaw (Internet Law Reform Dialogue) and Cross Cultural Foundation (page 31, PDF) are also both funded by the US NED and are listed on NED’s past and current Thailand webpages.  

There is absolutely no doubt that Thai Lawyers for Human Rights is funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy – an organization created by the US government, funded annually by the US Congress, and overseen by both the Congress and the US State Department – according to its own “About Us” page and despite dishonest attempts to still portray itself as “nongovernmental” and “private.”  

Anon Nampa has lied blatantly to the Thai/English-speaking public. Pravit Rojanaphruk and Khaosod have helped repeat that lie – rather than confront Anon Nampa with the documented evidence and even TLHR’s own previous admissions confirming his organization is funded by the US government – among other foreign interests. 

While attempts might be made in the future to eventually excuse or explain this foreign funding by Anon Nampa, the fact that Anon Nampa and his supporters are now openly lying about it means they know what they are doing is wrong and are attempting to hide it from the public for as long as possible.