Thai Political Crisis: What the Western Media Omits

August 13, 2018 New Eastern Outlook  

Political pressure is mounting in the Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand ahead of anticipated elections early next year. However, political analysts across the West have consistently portrayed Thailand's political crisis as if existing in a vacuum divorced from geopolitics.


Shawn Crispin provides an example of this with his Asia Times piece titled, "Thai junta dreams of a ‘Thaksin-free’ election." Crispin's analysis does indeed offer many important and accurate insights into Thailand's ongoing political crisis and the pressure that is building ahead of upcoming polls in 2019.

Crispin has, in the past, correctly noted that Thailand's political crisis is the result of two powerful factions facing off against one another. One consists of nouveau riche led by billionaire ex-prime minister and now fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra. It features strong ties to foreign interests, particularly in Washington, London and Brussels. The other faction consists of Thailand's independent institutions including the military and the monarchy.

It is not a "class struggle" as some pundits have attempted to portray it, particularly those bias toward Shinawatra in an attempt to give moral and ideological mooring to what is otherwise simply a billionaire and his political allies seeking to seize and consolidate absolute power in Thailand.

Mention of US and European Meddling  

Yet nowhere in Crispin's analysis is mention of significant foreign influence underpinning Shinawatra's staying power. He mentions protests last month by Shinawatra's supporters demanding Thailand's current government step down and hold polls this year. The protests ended when police detained protest leaders, which Crispin claims was "widely condemned." 

However, this "wide condemnation" was primarily voiced through US and European media and Western-funded organisations posing as rights advocacy groups, along with still very well-funded Shinawatra-controlled media within Thailand.

The protests themselves have received support from a number of US State Department-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations including Prachatai, iLaw, Fortify Rights and Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).


Soros-funded HRW Defends Terrorists, Accomplices in Thailand

August 5, 2018 New Eastern Outlook   

In 2010, Thailand was the scene of a smaller-scale foreign-backed destabilisation similar to those carried out by the United States and Europe against nations like Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine from 2011 onward.

Between April and May of that year, nearly 100 would die and many more injured when US-backed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra attempted to seize back power through violent street protests, armed insurrection, terrorism and nationwide arson.

Just as has been done in nations like Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine, Human Rights Watch (HRW), funded by convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society Foundation, would leverage human rights in an attempt to depict the Thai government as "cracking down" on what it attempted to depict as peaceful, unarmed protesters.

Yet in HRW's own 2011 report titled, "Descent into Chaos Thailand’s 2010 Red Shirt Protests and the Government Crackdown," it would have to admit that protesters were only "mostly unarmed," a euphemism used to cover up the fact that heavily armed militants were present and were the primary trigger for the weeks of violence that unfolded.

The report would slip in admissions to this in between lopsided condemnation of the Thai military's response to these "mostly unarmed protesters," including a description of the first episode of violence to break out on April 10, 2010.

The report would admit (my emphasis):
As the army attempted to move on the camp, they were confronted by well-armed men who fired M16 and AK-47 assault rifles at them, particularly at the Khok Wua intersection on Rajdamnoen Road. They also fired grenades from M79s and threw M67 hand grenades at the soldiers. News footage and videos taken by protesters and tourists show several soldiers lying unconscious and bleeding on the ground, as well as armed men operating with a high degree of coordination and military skills. According to some accounts, they specifically aimed at the commanding officers of the army units involved in the crowd dispersal operations, sowing panic among the soldiers. Human Rights Watch investigations concluded this group consisted of Black Shirts deployed among the UDD protesters.
HRW would further describe the "Black Shirts" as:
Members of these armed groups were captured on photographs and film armed with various military weapons, including AK-47 and M16 assault rifles, as well as M79 grenade launchers, during their clashes with government security forces.
The HRW report includes several reports made by Western journalists at that time, many of whom would later downplay or cover up the role of the "Black Shirts" during the 2010 violence.

Rewriting HRW's Own Account of History 

Despite the many admissions by HRW that the 2010 violence was a result of the Thai military responding to heavily armed terrorists operating in the streets of the nation's capital, it has since depicted the 2010 violence as a brutal and unwarranted military "crackdown" often omitting any mention of Shinawatra's armed terrorists.


West Fumes as US Meddling in Cambodian Elections is Foiled

August 1, 2018 New Eastern Outlook  

It would be unthinkable for an American opposition party run openly out of Moscow to compete in American elections. It would be even more unthinkable for the Russian government to declare US elections illegitimate for disallowing a Moscow-backed party from running in American elections. 


Yet this is precisely what the US and the European Union have attempted to do in the wake of Cambodia's recent elections regarding an opposition party created by Washington and whose leadership calls Washington a second home.

US-EU Seek to Undermine Cambodian Election Results

The BBC in their article, "Cambodia election: Ruling party claims landslide in vote with no main opposition," would claim: 
Critics have called the vote a sham as the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which narrowly lost the last election, has been dissolved.
The US said the poll was "flawed". 

"We are profoundly disappointed in the government's choice to disenfranchise millions of voters, who are rightly proud of their country's development over the past 25 years," a statement from the White House said. 

The US will consider placing visa restrictions on more government officials, it added. The EU has said it is considering economic sanctions.
However, the BBC never explains why the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved.

Had it, Washington and Brussels' statements would have been immediately rendered hypocritical and Cambodia's decision to dissolve CNRP more than warranted. This is because CNRP is openly run out of Washington, with US support, for the expressed aim of undermining and eventually overthrowing the current Cambodian government.

Cambodia's Opposition is Run From Washington 


How US Influence is Co-Opting Malaysia's Governance

July 21, 2018 New Eastern Outlook 

The Diplomat, which claims to be "the premier international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region," has recently published a piece granting credit for Malaysia's recent general election results to what it calls, "everyday activists."


The article is in fact titled, "The Everyday Activists Behind Malaysia’s Democracy Struggle." The article begins by claiming:
Audiences worldwide have been transfixed by the Shakespearian twists and turns that saw Malaysia’s opposition defeat the world’s longest-ruling coalition. But the unprecedented May 9 win was also the culmination of a decades-long civil rights movement by activists who took great personal risks to bring about change.
The article cites Maria Chin Abdullah who headed Malaysian street front Bersih, online media platform Malaysiakini, political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque (also known as Zunar), Malaysia Muda and legal group Lawyers for Liberty as examples of those that have finally helped make Malaysian democracy "work."

Yet there is something else all of these examples cited in The Diplomat's article have in common. They are all either directly funded by the United States government through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), or their activities are facilitated by other organisations in Malaysia that are. 

From Abdullah to Zunar, Funded by the US Government 

In essence, The Diplomat's piece is arguing that the organisations they covered represent the custodians of Malaysian democracy, and thus play a role in determining Malaysia's future. Yet the disturbing common denominator among them indicates a paradoxical dilemma. If these custodians themselves are a function of foreign influence, how could they possibly play a role in the Malaysian people determining for themselves a path that serves their own best interests and not those of these organisations' foreign sponsors?


We begin with Maria Chin Abdullah, now a newly elected member of the Malaysian parliament. She had previously been chief of the Bersih street front whose rallies were regularly led by opposition politicians including Anwar Ibrahim who is now the defacto leader of the victorious Pakatan Harapan party.


US Propaganda: Time Magazine Takes Swipe at Thailand

July 15, 2018 New Eastern Oulook

Time Magazine's article titled, "Thailand’s Leader Promised to Restore Democracy. Instead He's Tightening His Grip," reflects Wall Street and Washington's growing displeasure with the current Thai government and its seemingly successful efforts to pivot the nation away from US-backed proxies including the ousted regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his Pheu Thai political party (PTP), and toward a more multipolar footing in Asia and internationally.

This includes stronger ties with not only Thailand's other Southeast Asia neighbours, but also with China and even Russia.

China is now Thailand's largest trading partner, unseating the US.

Thailand is also systematically replacing its ageing US military hardware with Chinese, Russian and European systems including Chinese tanks and submarines, Russian helicopters and European fighter jets.

There are also large infrastructure deals signed between Bangkok and Beijing extending China's One Belt, One Road initiative through Thailand.


Attempts by the US and its media to disrupt this pivot have been ongoing, with Time's article being only a more recent example.

The Thai government, in good faith, provided Time Magazine writer Charlie Campbell an interview with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Instead of objectively portraying the prime minister's words, Campbell predictably twisted them, intentionally took them out of context, all while interjecting misinformation and lies of omission throughout the article.

The Thai Foreign Ministry denounced Time's article in a statement here, refuting many of Time's many mischaracterisations and outright lies.

Time's Mountain of Lies   

Time's article covers the military coup in 2014 and its aftermath, but suspiciously omits any of the events that actually led up to the coup.

Time dishonestly frames Thailand's political crisis as follows:
For more than a decade, Thailand has been wracked with color-coded street protests between the typically rural supporters of Yingluck and her brother Thaksin–who served as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006–and their mainly urban opponents, backed by the powerful royal palace, military and judiciary. The pro-Yingluck faction wear red. Their opponents wear yellow.
However, this is patently untrue. In Thailand's 2011 elections, Thaksin Shinawatra's PTP won support from a mere 35% of all eligible voters. Of those that voted, PTP failed to win a popular majority. PTP's opponents include not only Bangkok, but also Thailand's central and southern provinces which are unmistakably agricultural and rural.

Thus Thailand's political crisis is owed not to some sort of class struggle, but to Shinawatra and his foreign sponsors attempting to reassert Western hegemony over both Thailand, and to a much greater extent, Asia, versus Thailand's attempts to maintain its long-standing sovereignty.

Nothing leading up to the actual 2014 coup is mentioned in Time's article. Had it been mentioned, the coup would not only have seemed reasonable, but as unavoidably necessary. Should Time have also mentioned that current protests are merely Shinawatra and his foreign sponsors pressuring the current Thai government to rush elections while they both still believe they can win, the government's intolerance of these protests would also appear to be reasonable rather than "repressive."


What's Really Behind Anti-China Protests in Vietnam?

June 27, 2018 New Eastern Outlook 

US and European media outlets reported anti-Chinese protests across Vietnam. Claims regarding numbers varied greatly from several hundred to others claiming several thousand. The Western media was particularly careful not to mention the names of any of the individuals or organisations leading the protests.


The South China Morning Post in its article titled, "Anti-China protests: dozens arrested as Vietnam patriotism spirals into unrest," would claim:
People were angry at a draft law that would allow 99-year concessions in planned special economic zones, which some view as sweetheart deals for foreign and specifically Chinese firms.
Though the Post and others across the Western mainstream media claimed the protests were "peaceful," they eventually spiralled out of control resulting in assaults on police and vandalism of public buildings.

The systematic omission of essential facts and intentional misrepresentation regarding the protests follows the same pattern observed regarding other US-European sponsored unrest around the globe.

Anti-Chinese Fervour is Pro-American, Not "Nationalist" 

The Post itself would claim the protests took on a "nationalist" tone, yet in the Post's own article and without an explanation from the Post as to why, American flags could be clearly spotted among the mobs.

The few names that were mentioned by the US-European media included well-known so-called "pro-democracy" activists drawn from networks openly supported by Washington, London and Brussels.


Manufacturing Dissent: US NGO's Build Opposition in Thailand

June 9, 2018 New Eastern Outlook

Should decidedly anti-British government organisations be found across the United Kingdom to be funded and directed by Russians, we could only imagine the reaction. Even whispers of hints of Russian influence have resulted in legislation, sanctions and quite literally years of punditry warning of the Kremlin's insidious reach.


When the tables are turned, it is clear London, Washington and Brussels understand the inappropriateness of one nation interfering in the internal affairs of another.

Yet this acute awareness has not informed US or European foreign policy, including components of what could be called "soft power," or influence operations. While soft power implies non-coercion, in practice it is always used in conjunction with coercive means toward exacting concessions from targeted nations.

Hiding US Funding 

In the Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand, a growing army of such influence operations has formed the foundation of an opposition to the current government. It is an opposition that without its current funding and support from abroad otherwise would not exist.

Just as was done for years against nations like Syria, Libya, Ukraine and Egypt (nations to have recently suffered or nearly suffered the impact of Western-sponsored regime change), Thailand faces long-term interference in its internal affairs as a direct result of these influence operations.

The opposition in Thailand itself is minute and unpopular. However the organisations supporting them enjoy a veneer of credibility owed primarily to their efforts to obfuscate from audiences their foreign funding and their actual role in organising and leading the opposition.

One example can be seen in the local English-language newspaper, the Bangkok Post. Its article, "The fight for basic rights," interviews the American founders of a supposed nongovernmental organisation called, "Fortify Rights." Fortify Rights has consistently used its platform to support anti-government protests under the pretext of defending human rights.


Nowhere in the interview is Matthew and Amy Smith asked where their money comes from and how, as Americans, it is their moral imperative to involve themselves in critical issues faced by Asia.