Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Thai Opposition's "1932 Rally" Flops

As Thais struggle against COVID-19 economic impact, out-of-touch "activists" celebrate 88 year old coup. 

June 25, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci - ATN) - Despite extensive US State Department funding and widespread promotion by the US and European media - including the BBC, Reuters, AFP, and AP alongside their local partners in Thailand - yesterday's "rally" to commemorate the 1932 coup ending absolute monarchy in Thailand was an absolute flop.

Police and the military did nothing to prevent protesters from showing up - protesters simply did not show up.

Commentators have baselessly speculated that the low turn out was a result of a "climate of fear," yet a much more likely explanation is that the vast majority of Thais - most of whom chose the current government over these agitators protesting against it - simply do not support this increasingly self-serving and transparent agenda to divide and destabilize Thailand.

At a time when millions of Thais are hurting economically from months of "lockdown" owed to the COVID-19 scare - questions should be raised about where the rally organizers are getting their funds from if they are merely "students" and "activists."

Their "rally" featured actors in costumes, professionally printed signs, and even a projection show attracting much more support from among billionaire opposition politicians and foreign-funded organizations like "Human Rights Watch" than it did among the actual Thai people.

Follow the Money

In reality, yesterday's rally leaders including Anon Nampa are confirmed recipients of US State Department funding and were unaffected by the COVID-19 lockdowns and subsequent economic squeeze. This might explain why - at a time when Thailand should be focused on recovery - people like Anon Nampa and other rally organizers are so out of touch with what ordinary Thais are going through and what is considered serious issues to them - which certainly isn't a coup 88 years ago.

Anon Nampa's organization, "Thai Lawyers for Human Rights," receives US government funding via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The organization does not disclose its funding on its website - but NED did. It is likely TLHR receives other forms of foreign funding to take shots at Thai peace and stability and on behalf of opposition figures picked and promoted not by Thai voters but by Wall Street and Washington.

Nothing about this funding or even Anon Nampa's affiliations and many conflicts of interest are mentioned by the Western media and its Thai partners.

The rally was also openly supported by corrupt nepotist billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, his now defunct Future Forward Party, and Thanathorn's political allies which include supporters of fugitive billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra - all of whom have received open support from Washington's largest and most powerful lobbying firms for years as well as direct support from the US and European embassies in Thailand.

How "news" outlets like the Bangkok Post in cooperation with outlets like Reuters could conclude yesterday's rally was "calling for change" and not merely another stunt  performed by corrupt foreign and the increasingly unpopular Thai opposition attempting to undermine peace and stability is no mystery. The media likewise receives support from and serves interests on Wall Street and in Washington - having never missed an opportunity in supporting US-European wars and interventions around the globe - including "soft power" interventions like that ongoing in Thailand aimed at "changing" the nations political system.

Massive "Support" Online? 

Part of this "soft power" is manipulating social media to create the illusion of massive public support. Future Forward's leadership bragged about the massive amount of support online but were unable to explain why "top trending hashtags" online translated to only 40 people showing up in a city with a population of over eight million.

One would suspect coordinated inauthentic behavior was to blame - but of course platforms like Facebook and Twitter lopsidedly enforce their rules regarding such tactics based on their political agenda and their own role in supporting interests on Wall Street and in Washington - a fact confirmed as early as 2011 when both social media platforms admittedly played key roles in aiding US regime change efforts in North Africa and the Middle East including in Libya and Syria.

There was no "climate of fear" to speak of - Thais have already made their voice heard during the 2019 general election. The "rally" leaders and their sponsors in Future Forward fell over two million votes short of beating the party now leading the government.

Thais voted for the current government specifically because they know and are tired of efforts by the opposition to not only seize power, but transform the entire nation and its institutions - not on behalf of Thailand's best interests - but on behalf of the opposition and their foreign sponsors' best interests - and at the cost of everyone else.

Thais need only look at other "successful" "pro-democracy" movements in places like Ukraine, Libya, and even neighboring Myanmar to see Thailand's "pro-democracy" movement does not actually stand for democracy, human rights, or freedom - but merely hides behind such principles and fully intends to trample all of the above if ever given a chance.

In fact - Thais have the benefit of having already witnessed this under the administration of Thaksin Shinawatra from 2001-2006 and his various family members and appointed proxies up to 2014. Thaksin himself maintains the worst human rights record in Thailand's history - eclipsing even the most wild allegations made by the opposition regarding the Thai military. He also bent the nation to Washington's will including sending Thai troops to Iraq during the illegal US invasion in 2003 and hosting torture facilities used by the US CIA during the opening phases of its so-called "War on Terror."

Thailand collectively dodged a bullet by surviving Thaksin Shinawatra and uprooting him and his supporters from power.

It is a distinct possibility that the only "fear" Thais had regarding yesterday's rally was a fear of returning to the age of Thaksin Shinawatra where Thai cities burned, opponents were murdered, war weapons were openly used in the streets against his political enemies, and the nation was bent to the will of Washington - sending troops to fight in America's many and constantly multiplying wars of aggression.

An added component worth repeating is America's desire to also put a wedge between Thailand and its most important trade partner - China.

It is no secret that Thaksin Shinawatra's various proxies including "Future Forward" sought to do just that - openly announcing plans - had they come to power - to cancel Thai-Chinese projects and roll back ties in favor of those with the US. 

None of this makes it into the Western media's reports about yesterday's rally. It was a rally so poorly attended it hardly constituted news at all. There are 711 stores in Thailand with more people showing up at a single time than attending these "rallies." It is the media not "covering news" but rather creating it - and in this case - out of thin air since no one actually showed up to attend the rally.

It is important for people to understand that the so-called news often functions in a public relations role - for the highest bidder which at the moment is Wall Street and Washington and to a certain extent London and Brussels. It is not even a secret that the US and Europe spend millions upon millions annually to promote their interests abroad through the media. The NED and its European counterparts openly fund so-called "independent media" in targeted nations.

In Thailand multiple "news" platforms like Prachatai, Bernar News, and the Isaan Record are all funded by the US State Department and reflect US interests merely dressed up as "news." All three regularly promote activities like yesterday's "rally" regardless of their unpopularity and irrelevance in Thailand.

As long as Thais are informed and aware of this tactic, and the most vulnerable in Thai society protected from their toxic disinformation through education and economic opportunities - Thailand will be safe and the West and their willing Thai proxies will continue embarrassing themselves like they did yesterday.  There is no room for complacency though - let Ukraine and Libya's current state of chaos be a constant reminder of what awaits nations that do not successfully defend themselves not only from direct US military intervention, but the corrosive and long-term impact of its "soft power" at work.