Who are Thailand's "Student" Protesters and Why Does the Western Media Promote Them?

Fighting for corrupt US-backed billionaires looks better when "students" say they are doing it for "democracy." 

August 10, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci - ATN) - The Western media regularly refers to ongoing Thai protests as "student protests" and claims they are "leaderless" similar to how US-backed unrest in Hong Kong was spun.
Image: Taken from SUT's Facebook page, SUT is promoting not one, but two fronts funded by the US government's notorious regime change financier, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). 
This changed when the movement's leaders were recently arrested and the media rushed to their defense.

Among these leaders was Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak - leader of the much mentioned but poorly scrutinized "Student Union of Thailand" (SUT) - alongside Anon Nampa of the US government-funded front "Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).

It is SUT - with a clear leadership structure, founders, and spokespeople - who organize, announce, promote, and lead protests that are anything but "organic" and "spontaneous."

SUT does so with considerable support from not only opposition parties but also fronts funded by the US government via the notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED). These include Prachatai, the above mentioned TLHR, and iLaw which is currently organizing a petition to rewrite Thailand's constitution.

US Envoy for Iran Brian Hook Steps Down, Replaced by Elliott Abrams

What new plans does Washington have for Iran?

August 9, 2020 (21st Century Wire) - This week, one of President Trump’s longest serving foreign officers, Brian Hook, announced his departure from the State Department position as special envoy for Iran.

This move is not particularly encouraging for Iran, considering that his replacement will be rabid neoconservative relic and Iran hard-liner from the Bush Administration, Elliott Abrams.

Previously, Abrams was the State Department’s special representative for Venezuela, and presided over a series of failed coups which were supposed to depose Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro.

Based on his past exploits in South America and unabashed support for Israel, one can only surmise that Washington is planning to raise tensions with Iran, which would surely raise them in the Middle East in general. Certainly, Abrams is unlikely to want to pursue anything nearing detente with Iran, and certainly not a diplomatic solution to the collapse of the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal set in place by the Obama Administration in 2015.

Presently, the Iran policy pursued by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been one of “maximum pressure” in the former of crippling economic sanctions in the hopes of bringing Iranian leadership back to the nuclear negotiation table, and but really its goal is achieving regime change in Tehran.

It goes without saying that any renewed aggressive stance towards Iran will also amplify US pressure already in place on Syria, Lebanon and any Shia elements in Iraq.

Hook, 52, leaves after 4 years of service to the Trump Administration, and has been the face of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Although Hook gave the outward appearance of diplomacy towards Iran, the policy was harsh and effectively immobile.

READ MORE IRAN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Iran Files


Exposing US Color Revolution in Thailand Aimed at China

Western media - after claiming recent protests in Thailand were "leaderless" and comprised of "students," decries arrest of US-funded lawyer leading them - never mentions US funding.  

August 8, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - The Western media was quick to decry the arrest of 34 year-old lawyer Anon Nampa who has been leading recent anti-government protests in Thailand.

Articles like, "Two protesters arrested, more sought," noted Anon Nampa faces charges including sedition. The Western media cites an organization - Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) - noting its role in advocating for Anon Nampa's release, but never notes that Anon Nampa himself works for TLHR or who funds and supports TLHR.

TLHR and the Protests it Leads Are US-Funded - Funding the Media Refuses to Mention 

TLHR was created out of the US Embassy in 2014 just two days after a coup ousted the US-backed client regime of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra - sister of fugitive billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra. TLHR has since protested both the coup and reforms enacted to ensure such a client regime could no longer take power.

Prachatai - a media front also funded by the US State Department via the notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED) - in an article titled, "Interview with Head of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, on receiving human rights award from French Embassy," would reveal the creation of TLHR, quoting TLHR founder Yaowalak Anupan who claimed:
...on 24 May [2014], we gathered and established the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. All of the lawyers are anti-coup. At first most of us were young lawyers, and the senior lawyers joined later.
As to TLHR's supporters, Yaowalak Anupan would admit:
We have to thank many organizations which support us, such as iLaw, Cross Cultural Foundation, International Commission of Jurists, United Nations, European Union, British Embassy, Canadian Embassy, among others. 
"Among others" funding and supporting TLHR includes NED itself. Until recently, this funding was openly disclosed on NED's website but has since been erased. TLHR itself refuses to disclose its funding on its website though it has been admitted in earlier articles about the front.

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 the 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.
With the US, France, UK, and Canada guilty of the worst human rights abuses of the 21st century including the invasion of Iraq, the destruction of Libya, the proxy war against the nation of Syria, and the arming of nations like Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen declared by the UN as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world - among others - all done under the thin smokescreen of addressing humanitarian concerns - Washington's creation and support of TLHR and the street protests they now lead in Thailand serves ulterior motives merely hiding behind "human rights" concerns and "pro-democracy" demands. 

Read More: "Student Union of Thailand" (SUT) Help Lead Thai Protests - Who are They?

What are these motives?

The Protests Aren't "Pro-Democracy," They are Anti-Chinese

US-Chinese tensions have seen an uptick in recent years through a series of confrontations including in the South China Sea and through a growing "trade war." But simmering just out of view is a series of covert regime change operations the US is organizing both inside China's own territory and against China's closest allies throughout Asia.

This includes in the Kingdom of Thailand - the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, with a population of nearly 70 million, and who in recent years has expanded ties with China through a series of major arms deals, joint military exercises, increases in trade and investment, as well as through joint infrastructure projects extending Beijing's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative deep into Southeast Asia.

Thailand has begun replacing its aging US military hardware with new Chinese systems including VT4 main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, naval vessels including Thailand's first modern submarines as well as joint defense projects like the DTI-1 guided missile launcher.

China is also Thailand's largest export and import partner, the largest source of foreign direct investment, and the largest source of tourists - accounting for more tourism to Thailand than from all Western nations combined.  

Australia: Willing Pawn in US Struggle with China

August 8, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Upon reading Australia's new defense strategy, one might think its authors believe they are surrounded by nations invaded and destroyed by China with Australia next in line.

News headlines declare, "Australia's new defence strategy unveils a significant strategic shift in foreign policy to meet new threats from China," "China the unspoken threat at centre of new defence strategy," and "Australia to buy ship-killing missiles and shift focus to Indo-Pacific" to "to protect overseas forces, allies and the mainland against rising threats including China."

The "threat" of China - the articles and the new defense strategy argue - requires Australia to spend billions on weapons bought from the United States and to depend more heavily on the US for Australia's protection.

Yet in the same breath, Australia's media openly admits that up until now, Australia's military has spent much of its time contributing to America's many and still-ongoing wars of aggression around the globe from Libya and Syria to Iraq and Afghanistan. Most recently, Washington has recruited Australia to help bolster its presence in the Strait of Hormuz in an effort to menace Iran as well.

In one of the above mentioned articles it's admitted that:
For decades Australia has been quick to send troops, naval vessels and planes to help the United States wage wars on distant shores.
Despite all but admitting the US - not China - is engaged in a global campaign of armed aggression and that Australia is a willing accomplice - Australia's new defense strategy points the finger at China as the ultimate global threat.

A likely explanation for this contradictory worldview among Australian policymakers is the possibility that deep-pocketed lobbyists from Washington still hold more sway over Australia's political levers than Australian businesses and certainly the Australian public - and plan to collectively squeeze Australia for billions in arms sales for missiles and other weapon systems pointed at what is otherwise Australia's largest and most important economic partner - China.

Not only does this fill up the coffers of corporations like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and others, but Australia's apparently hostile posture toward China will most certainly taint relations between the two nations, creating further conflict, and requiring continued and increased weapon sales well into the future.

Should any conflict erupt between the US and China, Australia will find itself a much closer target than the US - a sacrificial pawn of sorts that will bear the full brunt and consequences of any potential US-Chinese hostilities.

Well-Timed "Cyber Attacks" Help Sell an Otherwise Unappealing Defense Strategy 

The new defense strategy - long in the works - was unveiled only after a healthy dose of recent and mysterious "cyber attacks" Australian security agencies attributed with no evidence to China.

Again - the irony here is that the US has by far demonstrated itself to be as much a threat in cyberspace as it is to sovereign nations and their physical territory, and much more so than China.

Regarding Australia specifically, a 2013 Guardian article titled, "NSA considered spying on Australians 'unilaterally', leaked paper reveals," would note that a:
The US National Security Agency has considered spying on Australian citizens without the knowledge or consent of the Australian intelligence organisations it partners with, according to a draft 2005 NSA directive kept secret from other countries.
The US National Security Agency (NSA) has been revealed to have compromised communications worldwide, hacked the phones of national leaders both friend and foe, infiltrated and created backdoors in Western-manufactured high tech hardware, and carried out offensive cyber attacks against nations around the globe.

There is also a growing body of evidence that suggests many attacks attributed to nations like Russia and China - like the one recently carried out against Australia - were either fabricated entirely, or in fact carried out by actors in the US itself.

But what better way is there to sell the otherwise unpopular idea of Australia buying billions of dollars of weapons from America and poisoning relations with China than to cite an alleged act of aggression from China that is nearly impossible to attribute one way or the other? The Western media's clout has in the past and continues to be much more persuasive than fact or common sense in the short-term.

Other analysts have pointed out Australia's new defense policy is out of touch with reality. It will also do much more to undermine Australia's national security than underwrite it.

Covert Regime Change: Why is a US Government-funded NGO Petitioning to Change the Thai Constitution?

Editor's Note: 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. 

August 7, 2020
 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - 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.