Monday, July 20, 2020

Thai Protesters Say "Free Speech for We, Not for Thee"

US-backed "student" protesters demand government stop harassing them, but harass anyone criticizing them - seeking chilling effect needed for their lies to take root.  

July 21, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci - ATN) - When former Thai army deputy spokesperson Nusra Vorapatratorn posted on her personal social media account she believed the so-called "student" protesters were "mung ming" - which the Bangkok Post defines as meaning "innocent, naive and by implication, ignorant" one would expect the protesters - posing as champions of free speech - to respect her opinion and her right to openly state it without the threat of intimidation and harassment.

Instead, protesters swarmed near the Thai Army headquarters to both intimidate and harass her.

More ironically is that Nusra's "controversial comments" included questions regarding the demands of the protesters including their calls for the government "to stop harassing its citizens."

Nusra who is no longer serving as a spokesperson - was simply speaking her mind and doing so on her personal social media account.

That so-called "pro-democracy" protesters mobilized to intimidate and harass her both online and in person is a spectacular display of hypocrisy and not only vindicates Nusra's suspicions about the protest's illegitimacy, but also helps confirm what many others have pointed out about the true sponsors and motivations driving the protests - that they are merely Thaksin Shinawatra's red shirt mobs rebranded and more carefully managed from behind the scenes.

Read More: US-backing anti-government protesters and media outlets and why

The protesters are not standing up for "free speech," "democracy," or "human rights," they are merely hiding behind such principles.

More Hypocrisy Still  

The protesters have made unfounded claims to portray the current Thai government and the Royal Thai Army as violators of "human rights." They cite the 2014 coup as a prime example of how their rights have been taken from them and how "democracy" was trampled.

Yet the protesters appear to believe Thai history begins with the 2014 coup - failing to acknowledge all the events that led up to it.

Read More: A full list of Thaksin Shinawatra and his political machine's abuses leading to the 2006 and 2014 coups

The ousted government was headed by Yingluck Shinawatra and the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) who openly served as nominees for fugitive billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra who hides abroad from multiple jail sentences and numerous arrest warrants. The campaign slogan Pheu Thai ran on during the 2011 general election was literally "Thaksin Thinks, Pheu Thai Does."

When in power, Thaksin and Yingluck implemented a rice subsidy scheme that almost immediately went bankrupt. By 2014 over a million farmers had their rice taken to government warehouses but were not paid for over half a year.

In the meantime, Yingluck and Pheu Thai spent much of their time attempting to arrange an amnesty bill that would erase Thaksin Shinawatra's criminal record and pave his way back into power.

When protests began to mount in 2013-2014 - rallies dwarfing current "student" protests - over the implosion of the rice industry and the overt corruption demonstrated by Pheu Thai's "amnesty bill," Yingluck's government responded with deadly violence.

Thaksin's "red shirt" street front mobilized militants with war weapons to carry out daily attacks on protest sites and rallies across the country. These included attacks with assault rifles, M79 40mm grenade launchers, and hand grenades killing over 20 people including women and children. At least one senior protest leader - Suthin Tharatin - was assassinated in broad daylight.

Where were these "students" when the government they supported and seek to bring back to power was literally killing protesters in the streets and where were their demands for "human rights?"

When Thai courts ruled that Pheu Thai must step down, Yingluck's regime refused. The inability or unwillingness of the Thai police to intervene because of Thaksin's influence over them meant that only the military had the ability to enforce the law and remove Yingluck and Pheu Thai from power.

This backstory is entirely and deliberately omitted by protesters today and the media platforms supporting them. If the context of the coup is included, condemnation of the coup then and now becomes impossible.

Chilling Effect

The protest's deliberately poor recounting of history is a clear bid to protect and preserve Thaksin Shinawatra and his political proxies whom the protests ultimately and obviously serve.

More hypocritical still about protests complaining about "human rights" is the fact that Thaksin Shinawatra himself has the worst human rights record in Thai history. In 2003 alone in just 90 days his politically-motivated "war on drugs" claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people extrajudicially executed in the streets without arrest, charges or trials.

Thaksin and his political proxies' abuses are as bad in reality as protesters baselessly claim the current government and Thai military are in fiction.

Thus, demands by protesters now to rewrite the Thai constitution to elimate the very provisions in it preventing Thaksin and his proxies from returning to power, are a bid to reopen the door to Thaksin-era corruption and human rights abuses - and nothing more.

What other reason could the protesters have for demanding the constitution be re-written but never address why it was created in the first place? What reason is there for the protesters to mention the 2014 coup but never mention why it was carried out?

Fighting for "democracy" and "human rights?" No. The current "student" protests seek to bury both, paving the way for a murderous billionaire and his allies to return to power, and return Thailand to an era of genuine abuses and autocracy. Their recent demonstration of their contempt for free speech when aimed at them is a perfect example.

It is no surprise that their first order of business has been to use mobs to harass and intimate their critics - just as Thaksin's red shirts did with deadly efficiency - to create the chilling effect needed for their lies to take root.

Not only are the protest leaders themselves attempting to create this chilling effect - the Western media and their partners in Thailand are also helping by deliberately omitting this context from articles, censoring critics, stacking comment sections, and spamming social media apparently with the blessing of US-based tech companies Facebook and Twitter.

The only question now is how far into chaos will these protesters drag the country - and when the Thai military refuses to use force against them, how long until they recreate the events of April 10, 2010 when Thaksin's red shirts literally brought in militants to do the killing themselves?