by Tony Cartalucci
When is a protest good, just, progressive, and defensible? One might think there was a single answer to this question based on an objective set of metrics. But in reality, according to the West, protests are only good so long as they serve their interests.
Ongoing protests in Ukraine and Thailand have both featured protesters attempting to storm and hold government buildings. Both appear to be preparing lengthy sieges of buildings they are unable to take, and both have the goal of ousting the governments in their respective nations. However, the West finds one of these noble, the other not.
The “Noble” Ukrainian Protests
Image: The three-fingered salute of the neo-Nazi Svoboda party can be seen in the pro-EU protest (photo via CNN). The actual constitution of the mobs are never mentioned in the Western media because it would lead curious readers to sites like, “Unity of Nobility – De-Kosherized News & Research Material” which feature Svoboda in articles like, “Ukrainian Nationalist have the Jewish rats shrieking.”
Some 10,000 demonstrators against the Ukraine’s decision to not sign a landmark trade deal with the European Union descended on a square outside a monastery early Saturday in response to a police crackdown on the earlier protests.
The emboldened demonstrators waved Ukrainian and EU flags and sang the national anthem outside the St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, where groups of protesters retreated earlier after a sweep by riot police left seven people hospitalized and dozens under arrest at Independence Square.
Three top opposition leaders called for resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych as well as new presidential and parliamentary elections, according to a statement released by Vitaliy Klitchko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleg Tyagnybok.
As for the “violent crackdown” CNN leads in its title with:
“…riot police stepped in early Saturday and “brutally dispersed” several hundred people who were demonstrating peacefully in support of Ukraine’s European integration, according to a statement from Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Forceful dispersion of peaceful demonstrations does not help the cause of Ukraine’s integration with Europe,” ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski said. “We caution Ukrainian authorities against using force as it may carry unpredictable and irrevocable consequences.”
The United States condemned what it called “violence against protesters” in a statement posted online by the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.
A statement released Saturday by the U.S. State Department said, “We urge Ukraine’s leaders to respect their people’s right to freedom of expression and assembly… We call on the Government of Ukraine to foster a positive environment for civil society and to protect the rights of all Ukrainians to express their views on their country’s future in a constructive and peaceful manner in [Kiev] and in other parts of the country. Violence and intimidation should have no place in today’s Ukraine.”
The “Bad” Thai Protests
In stark contrast, the US has bluntly stated of ongoing Thai protests against the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his nepotist-appointed sister, prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra that:
“Violence and the seizure of public or private property are not acceptable means of resolving political differences.”
Additional hypocrisy can be read in the Guardian, another “reputable” Western news source, which takes a similar protest, this time in Thailand, and paints it out as violent, undemocratic rabble. The protests’ target? The regime of Wall Street-backed Thaksin Shinawatra and his nepotist appointed proxy, prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
In the Guardian’s article, “Thailand clashes: PM forced to flee as violent demonstrations escalate,” it states:
A Thai government supporter was shot and killed early on Sunday at protests in Bangkok, raising the death toll to two as protesters invaded a police compound and forced the evacuation of the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, to a secret location.
Some reports said anti-government demonstrators had seized control of the broadcaster Thai PBS.
Police backed up by the military were attempting to protect government buildings amid the deadly street clashes between supporters and opponents of Yingluck and her billionaire brother, the ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Anti-government protesters on Sunday broke into the compound of a police sports club where the prime minister had been during the morning but she was able to leave the premises and went to an undisclosed location, an aide said.
In another area of the city police fired teargas at protesters near Government House, where Yingluck’s office is located, a Reuters witness said.
The Guardian intentionally omits at least 3 other confirmed deaths, all students, and all killed and confirmed BEFORE the “government supporter’s” death was reported, in an attempt to portray the protesters as being a murderous mob.
The violence actually took place on the other side of Bangkok, away from ongoing anti-regime protests, where the regime was holding its own “counter-rally.” Thousands of students from a nearby university began protesting the disruptive, 24 hour a day, week long rally. After warning the students to disperse, regime leaders unleashed black-clad militants who were captured on video and in photographs firing on students. For hours, the students had been surrounded and continuously shot at – clashes continued as encircled students attempted to break out and escape. It was in these clashes, not the protests, that the deaths occurred – a fact no unsuspecting reader would know if they depended on the Guardian for their daily news.
And while the Western press calls the Ukrainian riot measures “violent,” no mention of similar “violent crackdowns” can be seen in the Western media regarding the Thai protests despite the regime using both Ukraine’s methods of crowd control as well as armed militants who have already claimed several lives.
Why is the West Defending the Thai Regime?
The regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, have been backed by the West for nearly a decade, and brother Thaksin even before first taking office in 2001.
Thaksin had been prime minister from 2001-2006. Long before Thaksin Shinwatra would become prime minister in Thailand, he was already working his way up the Wall Street-London ladder of opportunity, while simultaneously working his way up in Thai politics. He 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.
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.
It is clear that the West has invested astronomical amounts of time and resources into the Shinwatra regime, and its condemnation of anti-regime protesters constitutes the West attempting to protect their investments, not any ideal of “rule of law” or “democracy.”
What Thais Can Learn from the Ukraine Protests
The pro-EU protests in Ukraine have used bulldozers to break through police barricades. This has not been condemned by the West, and as long as Thai protesters ensure to protect the lives of by-standers and police, similar measures must surely be seen as “acceptable” international “norms.” For Thai protesters, however, it is unlikely that they would benefit from or even desire driving a bulldozer at fellow countrymen, and could instead use large vehicles to breach walls where police cannot defend, in order to gain access to government buildings.
And while protests in the Ukraine supported by the “international community” may give Thais several cues on what to do, they also give Thais the opportunity to show that they are better.
While the Ukraine protesters represent hooligans, racists, bigots, and literally entire parties promoting neo-Nazism such as Svoboda mentioned in this BBC article (Nazi background here), who cannot be guaranteed to not eventually resort to escalating levels of violence, the Thai protesters must remain peaceful. Police that are overwhelmed should be treated with dignity and reminded that they are fellow countrymen and not the true targets of the protesters nor their goal – but rather the goal of us all – the removal of corporate-financier interests dictated from afar.
A Tale of Two Protests: Ukraine and Thailand – Part II
For audiences around the world watching pro-EU protests unfold in the streets of Ukraine’s capital of Kiev, they may have noticed flags bearing a lifted hand giving a “three-fingered salute.” This is the reformed Nazi salute of right-winged nationalist group Svoboda. Along with other racist, bigoted, extremist political parties including “Fatherland,” Svoboda has filled the streets, clashed with police, occupied government buildings and called for the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine – for the sake of joining the European Union. The EU, for its part, awaits these mobs with open arms.
Joining the EU in anticipation is US Senator John McCain of the US National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) International Republican Institute. McCain went as far as traveling to Kiev, Ukraine, and even taking to the stage at the protest – side-by-side with Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok.
Of Svoboda, the Business Insider would have this to say in their article titled, “John McCain Went To Ukraine And Stood On Stage With A Man Accused Of Being An Anti-Semitic Neo-Nazi:”
“…Svoboda (which means freedom in Ukrainian) is one of those reconstructed modern European far right parties — it is aligned with the British National Party and the French National Front, for example — and it has gained some kind of electoral legitimacy, winning 10 percent of the seats in Ukraine’s parliament in 2010.
However, the party’s past is seriously murky. When it was founded in 1995, the party called itself the Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU), and it had a swastika-like logo. While it eventually split from its more right wing members, the party remained focused on celebrating Ukrainian ethnic identity in opposition to Russia and Communism.
Tyahnybok himself was expelled from the Our Ukraine parliamentary faction in 2004 after giving a speech demanding that Ukrainians fight against a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia” (he later clarified this by saying that he actually had Jewish friends and was only against to “a group of Jewish oligarchs who control Ukraine and against Jewish-Bolsheviks [in the past]”). In 2005 he wrote open letters demanding Ukraine do more to halt “criminal activities” of “organized Jewry,” and, even now, Svoboda openly calls for Ukrainian citizens to have their ethnicity printed onto their passports.”
Image: US Senator John McCain reaches new depths in an already truly disgraceful career – associating with literal Nazis to support them in their goal of guiding Ukraine, its wealth, and its people into the arms of Wall Street and London. McCain’s support for sedition worldwide for similar purposes has seen him visit other nations such as Egypt, terrorists in Syria and Libya, in his capacity as chairman of the IRI.
Other protest leaders in Kiev include Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleksandr Turchynov, both of deposed, disgraced, and now currently imprisoned former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s All Ukrainian Union or “Fatherland” party. Both have taken controversial stances regarding homosexuals.
In light of the recent “Duck Dynasty” hysteria, one might believe the Western media would have immediately highlighted “Fatherland’s” bigotry, especially considering the Nazi-pedigree of the party.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk would go as far as stating, when his views regarding homosexual marriage were labelled “conservative” that:
“I do not agree. If a man has normal views, then you label him a conservative, but those who use drugs or promote sodomy – you label them a progressive person. All of these are perversions.”
Organisers were forced to call off Chiang Mai’s planned second annual Gay Pride Parade on February 21 after harassment from the Rak Chiang Mai 51 political group.
Dressed in their trademark red shirts, members of Rak Chiang Mai 51 locked parade participants into the compound where they were gathering, throwing fruit and rocks and yelling abuse through megaphones.
150 police officers looked on but did nothing to intervene during the four and a half hour stand off.
Fearing escalating violence, organisers eventually called off the parade.
Ginger Norwood from the newly formed Sao-Sao-Et network says the decision to call off the parade was a difficult but necessary one.
‘The red shirts continued to threaten violence if the parade started and would not leave the blockaded area as long as there was a possibility that the parade might happen,’ she said.
‘The inaction of the police further added to the tense situation, because the organisers had no confidence the police would intervene or provide any kind of protection if the red shirt protesters attacked parade goers.’
The action against the Gay Pride Parade had been planned weeks before the event, with Rak Chiang Mai 51 using a local radio station to rally people and driving a truck around the city centre the day before, recruiting people to join their protest.
If in the future they wish to have a parade they can send us their proposal and if we think that it is polite then we will allow it, and even promote it.