Thailand: The Lingering Spectre of US Colour Revolutions

January 23, 2020 New Eastern Outlook 

Thailand's opposition is openly backed by powerful foreign interests, particularly those in Washington. As the opposition attempts to secure power and help serve as a vector for Western special interests, the spectre of a Western-sponsored "colour revolution" increasingly looms over Thailand's future.


Thailand is a key Southeast Asian nation, with the second largest economy in the ASEAN regional bloc and a key regional partner for China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). By disrupting Thailand's political status quo, Washington hopes to introduce complications to China's regional and global rise.

Taking to the Streets 

In early December Thai opposition party "Future Forward" took to the streets with several hundred protesters, obstructing pedestrian bridges and sidewalks in downtown Bangkok.

While Future Forward's defacto leader, billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, claimed he clogged Bangkok's downtown shopping district with followers to fight for "democracy" and "freedom," it was abundantly clear  the mob he assembled was a direct reaction to recent court cases leveled against him and his party for repeated and blatant violations of Thai election laws.

This included Thanathorn's holding of media shares while campaigning which is illegal under Thai law. It also includes a supposed "loan" Thanathorn made worth tens of millions of Thai baht to his own party, a loan the party itself has no means of ever paying back, meaning that it was in fact a donation and therefore absolutely illegal under Thai election laws.

Rather than face justice, Thanathorn has assembled a street mob as a means of hanging the threat of eventual violence over the head of Thailand's courts in hopes of either reversing case decisions or reducing the penalties resulting from various court rulings.

Should nations like the US aid and abet Thanathorn's street politics, the potential for widespread violence may allow Thanathorn and his political machine to exercise further leverage not only to circumvent justice, but to assume the power and influence his party failed to render from general elections earlier this year. Future Forward came in distant 3rd.

The Spectre of Malign Foreign Interference 

The most troubling aspect of Thanathorn's recent foray into street politics is his open and deep ties to fellow billionaire and now fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra and his own use of violent street politics to divide Thai society and to pressure Thailand's institutions into making concessions.

Thaksin, like Thanathorn, is likewise backed by large foreign special interests, particularly in Washington. For years he has secured the largest and most powerful lobbying firms in Washington to help shape Western media narratives favourably around his and his foreign sponsors' agenda of tipping Thailand back West and away from its growing ties with Beijing.

In 2009 Thaksin's street mobs disrupted the annual ASEAN summit held in southern Thailand while rioting across Bangkok, carrying out arson and killing two shopkeepers while looting local businesses.

In 2010, Thaksin augmented his street mobs with hundreds of heavily armed terrorists. With the use of war weapons, nearly 100 would die with the violence ending in a day of citywide arson causing billions in damages.

While many have attempted to write Thaksin off as a fading power and introduce Thanathorn as "new blood," the fact is that Thanathorn is little more than a nominee who represents Thaksin and his still dangerous political machine. Thanathorn's Future Forward Party headquarters is next door to Thaksin's Pheu Thai Party headquarters with both parties sharing resources, conducting joint press conferences and adopting a singular political agenda aimed at ousting the current government and assuming power.


Laos: West's War on Asian Development

January 7, 2020 New East Outlook

At face value, the Financial Times' article, "Laos’s Belt and Road project sparks questions over China ambitions," reads like a politically-motivated attack on infrastructure development in Asia. Because it is.


The article's subheading, "High-speed train line in one of Asia’s poorest countries may benefit Beijing more than locals," alone contradicts the correlation between the development of infrastructure and the alleviation of poverty. It also reveals the article as indeed, a politically-motivated attack on China and Asian development couched behind flimsy concerns over the nation of Laos and its people.

The article reports:
 Near Bom Or, a village of dirt streets and shacks in northern Laos, Chinese construction crews have cut a tunnel through a mountainside to carry high-speed trains along a 400km rail line across the country, a section of a planned route from Kunming in south-west China to Singapore. 
The tunnel is part of a $6.7bn project through the rugged countryside around Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of Laos, one of the highest profile being built under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The article also claims:
Beijing has used the programme to build roads, ports and power stations in some of the world’s poorest countries. But critics have raised concerns about the social and environmental impact of the projects, saying that many of them are white elephants that have left states heavily indebted to Beijing. 

The project in Laos, one of Asia’s poorest countries which has no independent media and limited civil society groups, has been carried out with little public consultation.
Of course, by "independent media" and "civil society groups," Financial Times means fronts funded by and for US and European interests.

The construction of massive infrastructure projects always incurs debt. The construction of nation-spanning or region-spanning mass transportation systems always displace locals living in their proposed paths and locals will always protest having to move from their homes. These are problems that mega-projects throughout history have always faced and are not unique to China's Belt and Road Initiative.

While these issues are noteworthy, the fact that the Financial Times (and other Western media outlets) omit the obvious benefits for Laos exposes the lopsided narrative of political propaganda dressed up as journalism.

Landlocked Laos is Finally Being Unlocked 

Anyone who has previously set foot in Laos would have immediately seen and felt its isolation from the rest of the world and the impact it had on Laos' economic prospects.

A little more than a decade ago, those travelling through Laos would have noticed a severe lack of modern highways and a complete lack of rail.


US Seeks Thai Opposition for Anti-China Alliance at ASEAN Summit

Why is the US talking "democracy, human rights and justice" with an opposition who lost recent elections, abuses human rights and works daily to undermine and evade justice?

November 2, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

Time was precious at the 35th ASEAN Summit. Leaders from across Southeast Asia converged on Bangkok, Thailand to discuss economics, diplomacy, defence and a whole host of other issues.


With so much to discuss and do, it was particularly surprising to see the US spend much of its time coercing local leaders to take up its flagship regional crisis centred on stirring up trouble in the South China Sea as well as meet with and promote unpopular opposition parties.

One meeting in particularly, headed by US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) David Stilwell, was held with members of Thailand's opposition party, Future Forward.

The EAP in a social media post would claim:
Assistant Secretary Stilwell appreciated the opportunity to meet with Members of Parliament in [Thailand] to learn more about their efforts to promote democracy, justice, and human rights.
No mention was made of who these Members of Parliament (MPs) were, what party they came from or anything at all about why they were chosen for the meeting from among Thailand's 500 MPs.

First, Does the US Even Stand for "Democracy, Justice and Human Rights?"  

At face value the US would appear to be upholding noble values; democracy, justice and human rights. That is until even the most rudimentary observation skills are employed in considering Washington's own contempt and abuse of all three of these principles not only domestically, but worldwide.


The US regularly interferes in the democratic processes of nations around the globe, with entire organisations like the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its many subsidiaries dedicated solely to the purpose of manipulating the internal political affairs of targeted nations, including elections.

The notion of the US standing for or upholding "justice" is also dubious at best, with the US the world leader in both its incarceration rate and the total number of people imprisoned in jails. The US, guilty of serial wars of aggression and all abuses generally related to war, has escaped justice both from within its own justice system and from the so-called "international community."

Of course, both the US' industrialised prison system and its global wars of aggression bury any notion at all that the US stands for human rights, rather than merely hides behind them.

With even average people around the globe aware of these facts and the hypocrisy the US would bring to any meeting discussing "democracy, justice and human rights," why would any member of Thailand's parliament meet in good faith with the US regarding these matters? What business of Washington's in the first place is "democracy, justice and human rights" in Thailand?

Why did Future Forward eagerly attend this meeting?

US and Future Forward: Birds of a Feather 

Future Forward, like the US, merely hides behind principles like democracy, justice and human rights.

The party is also the eager recipient of US backing in order to do so. Several of the party's founding members belong to US NED-funded fronts including Prachatai whose director is literally an NED fellow.

When members of the party are summoned by Thai police for their various criminal activities, US embassy staff often accompany them.

In the 2019 general election, the party came in distant third, with it and its political allies losing the popular vote to the military-aligned Palang Pracharath Party. Despite having no mandate, it continues seeking the rewriting of Thailand's constitution and justifies its disruptive activities under the pretext of representing the Thai people despite being rejected by them at the polls.

More recent by-elections have suggest the party is even more unpopular now than when it lost the general elections earlier in the year.

The party is led by nepotist billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, who before entering politics, busted unions at his family's Thai Summit autoparts factory. The abuses involved even attracted the attention of international rights watchdogs, including IndustriALL Global Union who reported in 2007 that:
Thai Summit Eastern Seaboard Auto Parts Company, owned and controlled by Thai Summit Group has drawn fire from the International Metalworkers’ Federation, IMF affiliates, and the National Human Rights Commission in Thailand for committing trade union and human rights violations at their Rayong auto parts plant.
Thanathorn and his Future Forward Party are currently partners with Pheu Thai Party (PTP), another opposition party, run by another corrupt billionaire and also fugitive, Thaksin Shinawatra. PTP would even nominate Thanathorn as their candidate for prime minister following the 2019 general elections.


Asia Unites Against US Coup Attempt

December 6, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The nations of Southeast Asia have united in efforts to prevent a US-backed coup aimed at fellow-Southeast Asian state Cambodia.


Through a combination of travel bans and detentions across the region in late October and early November, Southeast Asia may have thwarted attempts by Washington-backed opposition front, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), from "returning" from its US and European exile to Cambodia where it sought to stir up unrest and sow instability.

The US seeks to disrupt, divide and even destroy the growing list of nations in Asia building ties with Beijing at the expense of Washington's fading primacy over the Asia-Pacific region.

Cambodia is among the staunchest of Beijing's allies in Southeast Asia.

Under the Radar 

With multiple US wars raging across the globe, Washington's ongoing trade war with China and Russophobic hysteria paralysing America's domestic political landscape, the rarely-mentioned nation of Cambodia and its political affairs couldn't be further from the global public's attention.

Using this obscurity as cover, the US began low-key preparations ahead of what the US had hoped would end in much more widely reported protests, instability and, if other nations suffering US regime change efforts is anything to go by, extensive violence.

Cambodia's ambassador (left) confronts CNRP deputy leader Mu Sochua (right) during a press conference organised by the Western media in Indonesia shortly before Sochua's detainment in neighbouring Malaysia. US-EU backed Indonesian "activist" Darmawan who hosted the conference, sits centre looking on.  
While these preparations were promoted by Western media organisations operating in Southeast Asia, they collectively omitted mention of US involvement or the much wider implications of the US organising what was essentially a coup attempt in Cambodia.

Preparations included moving CNRP members from their US and European homes-in-exile to neighbouring Southeast Asian states. There, Western media organisations and US-European funded fronts posing as rights organisations conducted conferences and published articles promoting their planned "return" to Cambodia.

Had the US succeeded in triggering chaos in Cambodia, it would have fed synergistically into ongoing US-fomented instability in Hong Kong, China as well as opened the door to other US-funded groups across Southeast Asia eager to engage in political unrest.

Thai political opposition party "Future Forward," for example, appears to have been planning unrest timed to coincide with CNRP's return to Cambodia.

Asia Unites Against US Coup Attempt 

However, these preparations appear to have been in vain.

In late October Thailand had denied CNRP deputy leader Mu Sochua entry into their territory where she had sought to then travel onward into Cambodia.


Why Thailand is Buying Russian Helicopters

November 17, 2019 New Eastern Outlook   

Beginning in 2011, the Kingdom of Thailand began replacing aging US helicopters not with newer US-built models, but with Russian and Italian systems instead.


This includes Russian Mi-17 medium twin-turbine transport helicopters and several AgustaWestland AW149's and AW139's (for transporting VIPs).

According to a January 2019 article in Jane's 360:
The RTA [Royal Thai Army] already operates five Mi-17V-5 platforms. In March 2008 the service ordered the first three such rotorcraft from Russia, which were delivered in March 2011, followed by the remaining two in November 2015 under a contract signed in July 2014. 
The article also noted that 2 more have recently arrived in Thailand, bringing the total number up to 7:
The Royal Thai Army (RTA) has received two more Russian-made Mil Mi-17V-5 ‘Hip-H’ medium transport helicopters, an RTA source told Jane’s on 8 January.
Russia's embassy in Bangkok would note during the delivery of several Mi-17's in 2015 that:
This model of the famous Russian MI-17 helicopter can be used not only for transportation purposes but also in combat circumstances as well as for civil needs, in particular for rescue operations and forest fire extinguishing.
Indeed, far from just new toys resulting from a military spending spree as US-backed opposition figures in Thailand claim, Russian-built Mi-17s have already been seen in action, most notably during the spectacular cave rescue incident last year where 12 children and their football coach made it out of flooded caves alive.


Mi-17's could be seen bringing in heavy equipment and other supplies to aid in search and rescue operations, just as Russian representatives had promised they could. The rescued children were also in fact flown to safety on Thailand's Mi-17's.



While these initial 7 Mi-17's sound insignificant, it should be noted that Thailand operates only 12 US-built UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. While it has a much larger number of much older US-built UH-1 and UH-212 Huey helicopters (78 and 51 respectively) only 20 UH-1's are being modernised along with 48 UH-212's.

Interestingly enough, the resources needed to upgrade Thailand's aging US helicopter fleet was so extensive it prompted Thai policymakers to look into and eventually decide to begin transitioning over to Russia's Mi-17, using funds from the upgrade programme to do so.


EXPOSED: US Lobbyists Behind Thai "Opposition"

November 11, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

Documents have surfaced exposing US corporate lobbying behind one of Thailand's supposed "pro-democracy" opposition parties, Future Forward Party (FFP).



Future Forward, headed by union-busting nepotist billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, was revealed to be aided by US-based corporate lobbying firm, APCO Worldwide.

Who are These Lobbyists? 

APCO Worldwide, in turn, is directed by representatives of not only the US government itself, but some of the largest and most corrupt US corporations. These include Alcoa, Xerox, Dow, Cargill, Standard Charted Bank, Boeing, GE, Procter & Gamble, Morgan Chase, Nike, Starbucks, NBC, CNN and Goldman Sachs.


In addition to representatives of weapon manufacturers, banks, corporate media and abusive agricultural giants, there are also intelligence officers, former US ambassadors and various government officials working mainly for Republican presidents (Ronald Reagan and George Bush) serving on APCO's international advisory council.

This is despite APCO's deliberately dishonest attempts to pose as a liberal/progressive organisation.

The disturbing convergence of overreaching, abusive special interests represented by APCO's advisory council is in fact a reoccuring theme across US lobbying firms, many of which are just as inclined to function as "handlers" of foreign political figures as they are hired lobbyists for them.

Thailand-based English newspaper The Nation in its article, "Govt to probe Thanathorn’s hiring of US lobbyists," would report:
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said today (September 27) the government will probe the leader of Future Forward Party Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit for hiring American lobbyists under contract to allegedly discredit the Thai government through political activities.
Thanathorn and FFP's defence is that the hiring was "in line with US law," apparently disinterested in how his activities may have been "out of line with Thai law," Thanathorn being a member of parliament in Thailand, not the US.

Considering who APCO really represents and the immense conflict of interest that arises, a serious question of who Thanathorn really works for must be asked.

Of lesser importance, perhaps, is the questioning of Thanathorn's self-proclaimed "popularity." If his "popularity" is simply the result of a billionaire hiring lobbyists, yet another facet of Thanathorn's fraudulent political activity is revealed.

A History of US Lobbying for US-backed Opposition  

Thanathorn's predecessor, billionaire and now fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra, is likewise buttressed by significant US lobbying. Since his ouster in 2006, Thaksin has received lobbying services from Edelman, Baker Botts, Barbour Griffith & Rogers, Kobre & Kim and Amsterdam & Peroff.


US Embassy Pressures Thailand Over Monsanto Poison Ban

November 3, 2019 New Eastern Outlook

Under Thailand's new government, efforts to ban toxic pesticides and herbicides including those made by US agricultural giant Monsanto were first accelerated, and have now finally succeeded.


Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul bluntly stated that "the US was worried only about trade. The Thai government was concerned about the health of Thai consumers," in response to complaints from the US embassy over the ban, Bangkok Post would report in its article, "Govt rejects US opposition to farm chemicals ban." 

The article also reported that: 
In particular, the United States is opposing the ban on glyphosate, an informed source said, citing a copy of a US embassy letter sent to the prime minister and seven other cabinet ministers requesting a delay in imposition of the ban, and a review. 

A copy of a document from the US Department of Agriculture supporting the US assertion that a ban on glyphosate will affect Thai imports of US soybeans and US wheat was enclosed with the letter.
The article would also note:
The [Thai] government has rejected US opposition to its decision to ban use of three toxic farm chemicals, the herbicides paraquat and glyphosate and the pesticide chlorpyrifos.
The current government's refusal to bend to US demands has received wide praise from both the public and organisations such as the Biothai Foundation involved in pushing for the ban, Thai PBS would report in their article, "PM praised for not responding to US appeal to postpone the ban on glyphosate."

The ban will go into effect on December 1 of this year.

Who Does the US Embassy Serve?  

Contrary to what many believe, US embassies around the globe do not represent the American people, but rather the small handful of corporate-financier interests that own a vast, disproportionate majority of America's wealth.

The US embassy in Bangkok demonstrates this by peddling poisons facing backlash even back home, while contesting decisions made by Thailand's sovereign government and attempting to place pressure on Thailand to reverse decisions made about its own internal affairs.

Complaints passed by the US embassy to the Thai government were written by US Under-Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney.

Thai PBS would reveal in its article that:
Delving into McKinney’s background, Biothai said the US official had spent about 19 years working for Dow Agro-Sciences, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company, which specializes in not only farm chemicals, but also seeds and biotechnology solutions. 

Biothai said McKinney’s letter was an attempt to protect the interests of US chemical companies and not the interests of the American people or Thai farmers and consumers.
Of course, Biothai is correct. McKinney's letter, McKinney himself along with the US embassy, protect and serve the interests of large US companies and not the interests of the American people or the Thai people the US embassy is supposed to be building constructive relationships with.