Thailand Targeted by Foreign Information War

Just as during the 2011 “Arab Spring” and more recently in Hong Kong – the US through its media and social media networks – has launched a full-scale information war on Thailand. 

October 18, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – ATN) – The Western corporate media, US government-funded media organizations operating inside of Thailand, and US-based tech giants have launched a coordinated information war on Thailand aimed at supporting ongoing protests – undermining the government and key institutions, escalating unrest in the streets, dividing the public, destroying the economy, and if possible effecting regime change. 

While Western media organizations spread disinformation to both promote protests within Thailand as well as misinform international audiences as to who is behind the unrest and why – tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter are engaged in both inauthentic influence operations as well as large scale censorship of users attempting to expose the foreign interference fuelling Thailand’s unrest.

Several high profile Thai accounts have been either deleted or restricted by Twitter and Facebook with large scale purges of accounts owned by ordinary people accused of being “bots.” Meanwhile actual bots, sockpuppet accounts, and other deceptive measures used by anti-government protesters are protected and even aided by Twitter, Facebook, and Google.  

What is left is a one-sided version of events unfolding in Thailand. Protests last night were described as “peaceful” despite several episodes of violence including mobs attacking utility trucks in the streets. The foreign funding and political parties behind the protests are never discussed nor the true reason the opposition seeks to oust the current government.  

READ MORE: Why is the US Funding Protesters to Attack Thailand’s Military and Monarchy?
READ MORE: The Complete Guide: US Government Role in Thailand’s “Student Protests”

The campaign in similar to that  admittedly launched by the US government in 2011 against Arab nations across North Africa and the Middle East amid the so-called “Arab Spring.” 

The New York Times in an article titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” not only admitted to the role the US government played in stirring up unrest in the Arab World in 2011 – but also the role US-based social media giants like Facebook and tech giant Google played, stating (emphasis added):

Some Egyptian youth leaders attended a 2008 technology meeting in New York, where they were taught to use social networking and mobile technologies to promote democracy. Among those sponsoring the meeting were Facebook, Google, MTV, Columbia Law School and the State Department.

Google has also admittedly helped the US government in its efforts to violently overthrow the government of Syria. The Independent in a 2016 article titled, “Google planned to help Syrian rebels bring down Assad regime, leaked Hillary Clinton emails claim,” would note Google’s activities regarding Syria:

An interactive tool created by Google was designed to encourage Syrian rebels and help bring down the Assad regime, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails have reportedly revealed. 

By tracking and mapping defections within the Syrian leadership, it was reportedly designed to encourage more people to defect and ‘give confidence’ to the rebel opposition.

Clearly, more is going on at Google than Internet searches – and a US tech giant involved in an illegal war to violently overthrow the government in Syria is a US tech giant that will willingly involve itself in other US interventions around the globe as it, Facebook, and Twitter are clearly doing in Thailand today.

READ MORE: Twitter Censors Blog After Exposing US Funding Protests in Thailand

While the US defends disclosures of its use of propaganda and information warfare against targeted nations like Libya, Syria, Ukraine, China, and now Thailand as merely “promoting democracy,” of all the things that have “sprung” from its various color revolution interventions – democracy is not one of them. Thailand will not be the exception. 

The Importance of Defending Information Space

Until the 20th century – nations were aptly able to defend their territory through the use of armies and navies. With the invention of the airplane and its use in warfare – nations needed to develop air forces and air defense networks to protect their airspace as well as their shores and borders.

Today in the 21st century with the advent of the Internet – there now exists information space just as important to defend against foreign aggression as one’s physical territory, shores, and airspace. 

READ MORE: Weaponized Social Media Fuels “Youth” Protests

Nations like Russia and China – well adept at defending their physical territory – also lead the world in defending their respective information space. They do this by restricting or altogether banning foreign social media networks and search sites and replace them with local alternatives designed by and for their respective populations and their collective best interests. 

This prevents a foreign nations from controlling either Russia or China’s information space – deciding who gets to use it, and how. Instead, it is Russia and China who decide. 

Whatever abuses real or imagined may occur because of this – the people of each country can directly raise the issue with their own governments – not a Silicon Valley-based corporation an ocean away and protected by a US government they conspire with. 

READ MORE: Nations Should Begin Removing Facebook, Twitter, and Google from Their Information Space

Other nations in Southeast Asia are already working on similar alternatives for exactly these reasons. Thailand needs to follow suit. 

Armies around the globe literally have specialized divisions dedicated to both psychological and information warfare. With the Internet – a nation’s military or intelligence agencies need not even physically invade another country in order to carry out aggression. By leaving a nation’s information space entirely unprotected or poorly protected as Thailand has – foreign interference and even military aggression can reach in and prey on the Thai public – sometimes in ways even a physical military invasion could not. 

Uprooting those involved in this information war inside Thailand as well as closing off the vectors foreign-based actors are using to target, divide, destroy the Thai public is as essential to protecting Thailand and its sovereignty as protecting Thailand’s shores, borders, and airspace. 

And just as Thailand is now acquiring a growing number of conventional weapons from China and even Russia – it should consider acquiring tools and technology to protect its information space as well. 

Those nations in the 20th century who failed to prepare adequately for the weaponization of airspace with the invention of flight left themselves vulnerable and many times easily preyed upon. Today – a similar threat exists for nations who fail to take seriously the danger of information warfare and the need to defend a nation and its population from it.