Thai PM Right to Question Protest Funding

The notorious US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is funding virtually every aspect of Thailand’s current “student protests” aimed at removing current government.

Only through repetitive propaganda across the Western media and their local partners in Thailand can current protests appear “student led,” “leaderless,” and “organic.”

An article published by the Bangkok Post titled, “PM: Who is financing student rallies?,” would repeat Thailand’s elected prime minister’s questions, but Bangkok Post’s reporters themselves have categorically failed to either ask or answer the same question.

Despite claiming the protests are youth-led and leaderless, middle-aged lawyer Anon Nampa of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) is clearly among the core leaders. He leads every significant protest in the country, both in Bangkok and upcountry.

His organization, TLHR, ceaselessly promotes the protests, providing them round-the-clock PR, legal aid, and other forms of material support.

TLHR is in turn funded by the US government via the notorious regime change front – the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). TLHR’s funding was listed openly on NED’s official website in 2014.

Before TLHR and its members began leading rallies – founding members admitted TLHR is entirely funded by foreign governments.

Even the Bangkok Post previously reported this – despite apparently “forgetting” this fact more recently.

The Bangkok Post in a 2016 article titled, “The lawyer preparing to defend herself,” would admit:

…[TLHR] receives all its funding from international donors including the EU, Germany and US-based human rights organisations and embassies of the UK and Canada.

In addition to an award presented by the French Embassy, the US State Department awarded TLHR member  Sirikan “June” Charoensiri the 2018 “International Women of Courage Award” presented by US First Lady Melania Trump.

The US embassy in Bangkok openly praised TLHR in its own post celebrating the award, exclaiming:

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok is proud of Sirikan “June” Charoensiri’s work as a lawyer and human rights defender, and for being recognized by the Secretary of State as an International Women of Courage award recipient.

Ms. Sirikan is a co-founder of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), a lawyers’ collective set up to provide pro bono legal services for human rights cases and to document human rights violations.

Thus – an organization carefully cultivated by the US government for years – propped up financially and politically and even awarded for carrying out Washington’s agenda in Thailand – is now leading protests aimed at overthrowing the elected government of Thailand.

This is not unlike US-backed regime change aimed at nations like Syria, Libya, and Ukraine where false claims of the US promoting “democracy” or “defending human rights” later turned out to be simply naked military aggression couched behind such pretexts and all aimed at wrecking nations, pilfering resources, and denying Washington’s adversaries – China and Russia – stable allies and economic partners.

In addition to TLHR the US government is also funding iLaw via the NED. It is listed on iLaw’s website as well as NED’s official website under, “Internet Law Reform Dialogue.”

US-funded iLaw is currently heading a petition to literally rewrite Thailand’s constitution, as reported by The Nation’s article, “iLaw launches petition for charter rewrite.”

It would be unimaginable for the US to tolerate a foreign-funded front – say from Russia – petitioning inside the US for the US constitution to be rewritten. It would be interesting to hear the US embassy in Bangkok explain why it believes Thailand should nonetheless tolerate similar interference in its own internal political affairs by the US and agitators it is extensively funding.

There are also a number of fake news websites funded by the US government and providing decidedly lopsided coverage of the ongoing protests including Prachatai.

Prachatai receives millions of Thai Baht a year from the US government to advance narratives that divide and destabilize Thailand and promote US interests within Thai borders.

The media front’s “executive director” Chiranuch Premchaiporn is also a “fellow” of the National Endowment for Democracy –  an organization chaired by representatives not of promoting democracy and human rights – but inveterate warmongers and war criminals like Elliot Abrams, propagandists like Anne Applebaum, and representatives of America’s arms, oil, and banking sectors.

Prachatai’s activities include promoting and defending opposition groups and parties the US seeks to place into power. It has recently served as a central platform promoting ongoing unrest, protesters’ demands, and attempting to build legitimacy around all three while omitting any mention of documented foreign funding or ulterior motives involved.

Prachatai has in the past and still currently hides its US government funding. A partial disclosure made in 2011 is buried on its English website and has not been updated since. No financial disclosure at all has been made on its Thai language website.

Often the Western media and local newspapers like the Bangkok Post and The Nation will mention all of these US-funded fronts in a single article and never once mention who funds them or their connections to opposition parties attempting to deny any role in current protests.

Prachatai – for example – supplied at least one member of its staff – Nalutporn Krairisksh – as a “founding member” of billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit’s Future Forward Party. Prachatai even “interviewed” her but never disclosed her relationship with Prachatai or the fact that she still worked out of their offices even after joining Future Forward.

The conflicts of interest are numerous and alarming – but also being entirely unmentioned or even covered up. It is impropriety that should help further illustrate the true nature of Thailand’s so-called “opposition” and undermine dishonest claims that US interference in Thailand is not a serious problem.

That the US government is funding protest leaders attempting to oust the current government, while funding efforts to rewrite Thailand’s constitution, all while funding media fronts to control the narrative while doing so – constitutes a clear cut case of foreign political meddling – the sort of toxic and intolerable meddling the US accused Russia of in fiction – but is verifiably carrying out against nations like Thailand.

The US has insisted it should not suffer or tolerate foreign meddling in its own domestic affairs. Why does it believe other nations should tolerate foreign meddling? And why does the US believe it has the right to be the one who does so?

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