November 25, 2012 (AltThaiNews) – No sooner did the long-announced protest start (full background here), then police acting under orders of the Yingluck Shinawatra “Peua Thai Party” (PTP) led government began firing teargas at protesters challenging police lines.
Image: (@pissanuk – Twitter) Taken today, November 25, 2012, near the protest site. Clashes with over-zealous police acting on government orders have already taken place before the rally fully began, with the government declaring it has its notoriously violent “red shirt” mobs standing by to intervene if necessary.
The catch is, of course, that several pro-government “red shirt” rallies had already taken place earlier in the year, allowed to paralyze the center of the city without any government restrictions or serious police presence. These same pro-government protesters had in 2009 and 2010 committed wide scale violence, killing by-standers, troops, police, even fellow protesters, while committing arson, vandalism, and city-wide looting. Many of their leaders who had openly called for violence, arson, and looting on stage, are now sitting MPs within the current Shinawatra regime.
Now in contrast, anti-government protesters have faced preemptive moves by the US-backed ruling regime, to chill free speech, intimidate and restrict the number of protesters planning to attend the November 25th protests, and attempts by the police to restrict the protesters’ movements to prevent the same sort of disruption their own pro-government protesters are regularly allowed to cause, or exceed.
The Western media, as predicted, is already siding with the government. While outfits like Reuters gladly grant anti-government movements from Venezuela to Egypt, Syria, and even 2009-2010’s Thailand absolute impunity to cause violence while portraying them as “peaceful” and “pro-democratic,” Reuters has already labeled the current protests in Thailand as “royalist,” portraying them as anti-democratic, and armed with “weapons, including knives and bullets” while cherry picking the crowd for the most unflattering protest signs possible. (The West’s grievances with Thailand’s constitutional monarchy are best encapsulated here.)
Why are Protesters in Thailand Angry with the Shinawatra Regime?
The current Thai government is led by Yingluck Shinawatra in name only. The 2011 PTP campaign slogan was literally, “Thaksin thinks, Peua Thai does,” referring to Yingluck’s brother, Thaksin Shinwatra, the deposed Wall Street-backed billionaire ousted from power in 2006 after a collimation of mass-murder, treason, and corruption.
Image: As mentioned in a myriad of foreign media publications, Thaksin’s proxy party ran with the slogan, “Thaksin thinks, Peua Thai does.” Thaksin is an accused mass-murderer, a convicted criminal, and currently resides in Dubai to evade 2 arrest warrants.
Before coming to power in 2001, Thaksin was appointed by the Carlyle Group as an adviser while holding public office, and attempted to use his connections to boost his political image. Thanong Khanthong of Thailand’s English newspaper “the Nation,” wrote in 2001:
“In April 1998, while Thailand was still mired in a deep economic morass, Thaksin tried to use his American connections to boost his political image just as he was forming his Thai Rak Thai Party. He invited Bush senior to visit Bangkok and his home, saying his own mission was to act as a “national matchmaker” between the US equity fund and Thai businesses. In March, he also played host to James Baker III, the US secretary of state in the senior Bush administration, on his sojourn in Thailand.”
Upon becoming prime minister in 2001, Thaksin would begin paying back the support he received from his Western sponsors. In 2003, he would commit Thai troops to the US invasion of Iraq, despite widespread protests from both the Thai military and the public. Thaksin would also allow the CIA to use Thailand for its abhorrent rendition program.
Also in 2003, starting in February and over the course of 3 months, some 2,800 people (approximately 30 a day) would be extra-judicially murdered in the cities and countrysides of Thailand as part of Thaksin’s “War on Drugs.”
Accused of being “drug dealers,” victims were systematically exterminated based on “hit lists” compiled by police given carte blanche by Thaksin. It would later be determined by official investigations that over half of those killed had nothing to do with the drug trade in any way. Human Rights Watch (HRW) would confirm this in their 2008 report titled, “Thailand’s ‘war on drugs’,” a follow up to the much more extensive 2004 report, “Not Enough Graves.”
Image: “The Thai Gov’ts War on Drugs: Dead Wrong. Stop the Murder of Thai Drug Users.” During Thaksin Shinwatra’s 2003 “War on Drugs” it wasn’t only drug users who were brutally, extra-judicially murdered in the streets, but over 50% of the 2,800 killed during the course of 3 months, were completely innocent, involved in no way with either drug use or trade.
In 2004, Thaksin attempted to ramrod through a US-Thailand Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) without parliamentary approval, backed by the US-ASEAN Business Council who just before last year’s 2011elections that saw Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra brought into power, hosted the leaders of Thaksin’s “red shirt” “United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship” (UDD).
The council in 2004 included 3M, war profiteering Bechtel, Boeing, Cargill, Citigroup, General Electric, IBM, the notorious Monsanto, and currently also includes banking houses Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Chevron, Exxon, BP, Glaxo Smith Kline, Merck, Northrop Grumman, Monsanto’s GMO doppelganger Syngenta, as well as Phillip Morris.
Thaksin would remain in office until September of 2006. On the eve of the military coup that ousted him from power, Thaksin was literally standing before the Fortune 500-funded Council on Foreign Relations giving a progress report in New York City.
Since the 2006 coup that toppled his regime, Thaksin has been represented by US corporate-financier elites via their lobbying firms including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom House, International Crisis Group, PNAC), James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR), Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (CFR), Kobre & Kim, and currently Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff (Chatham House).
Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff, would also simultaneously represent Thaksin’s “red shirt” UDD movement, and was present for the inaugural meeting of the so-called “academic” Nitirat group, attended mostly by pro-Thaksin red shirts (who literally wore their red shirts to the meeting). Additional support for Thaksin and his UDD street-front is provided by the US State Department via National Endowment for Democracy-funded “NGO” Prachatai.
Clearly, just as in Egypt, Thaksin Shinawatra, and his sister, installed as his nepotist proxy, do not truly represent the Thai people, nor the best interests of Thailand itself. Their support base is a minority – simply the loudest, better organized and funded political machine in Thailand, putting the current government into power with a mere 32% of eligible voters actually casting a vote for PTP.
One need not be a “royalist” to understand the threat Thaksin and his proxy government pose to Thailand and its future. And while Egypt’s current dictator, Mohammed Morsi is more difficult to defend, the West is preying on the ignorance of the general public to sell the current US-backed regime in Thailand as “democratically elected,” “legitimate,” and “justified” in their crackdown on anti-government protesters.