Covert Regime Change: Why is a US Government-funded NGO Petitioning to Change the Thai Constitution?
US meddling in Thailand is part of a much wider regional effort to pressure or overthrow governments deemed to have “tilted too close” to China. Thailand is one of China’s key partners in Southeast Asia with many major arms deals, economic trade, and infrastructure projects ongoing and with Thailand having repeatedly refused to cooperate with the US on issues like the South China Sea.
If Russia was funding an NGO in the US petitioning for the US Constitution to be rewritten – and rewritten specifically to make it easier for Russian-backed politicians to get elected into the US government – one could expect an immediate and extreme backlash across the media exposing this.
Yet in Thailand where US government-funded groups are doing precisely this in regards to the Thai constitution – the media not only conceals US funding, it spins the move as “pro-democratic.”
English language newspaper The Nation in an article titled, “iLaw launches petition for charter rewrite,” would claim:
The Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw), a human rights NGO, has launched a campaign seeking signatures from 50,000 voters to sponsor a motion for a Constitution rewrite.
No where in The Nation’s article is mentioned that iLaw’s primary source of income is the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a notorious US government arm involved in political interference and regime change operations around the globe.
The organization’s US government funding can be found on NED’s official website under the name, “Internet Law Reform Dialogue” (iLaw).
On iLaw’s own website under “About Us” it admits:
Between 2009 and 2014 iLaw has received funding support from the Open Society Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and a one-time support grant from Google.
Between 2015 to present iLaw receives funding from funders as listed below1. Open Society Foundation (OSF)2. Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBF)3. National Endowment for Democracy (NED)4. Fund for Global Human Rights (FGHR)5. American Jewish World Servic (AJWS)6. One-time support donation from Google and other independent donors
A foreign-funded organization – an organization that would not exist without this foreign funding – petitioning for Thailand’s very constitution to be rewritten is not only a clear cut case of conflict of interests and foreign political meddling – it undermines the very foundation and fundamentals of democracy and self-determination.
Democracy and self-determination means that Thailand’s constitution and efforts to either maintain or amend it should be determined solely by the Thai people – not by Washington and fronts it funds like iLaw.
The rewritten constitution would make it easier for US-backed opposition parties to take power and help the US reverse Thailand’s growing ties with China – Thailand’s largest trade partner, foreign investor, arms provider, source of tourism, and partner in building and maintaining essential large-scale infrastructure projects – ties the US has no alternative to hence its use of political meddling and subversion instead.
That The Nation reports on iLaw’s activities but not on who funds the organization and the conflicts of interest that funding poses is poor journalism at best, and part of a wider Western media campaign to paint foreign-backed agitators as “pro-democracy activists” in yet another episode of US-backed covert regime change.