Monday, November 25, 2013

Chavez & Thaksin: A Tale of Two Socialists and Western Hypocrisy

Thailand: TIME Magazine Does Hit Piece on Anti-Regime Protests

November 30, 2013 (Tony Cartalucci) - How times have changed, and how TIME magazine has changed with them. Just in 2011, TIME was praising the so-called "Arab Spring" as throngs of protesters rose up to oust "tyranny" and bring in "democracy."

While despotic regimes tied to Western corporate-financier interests or vicious wars led by NATO-backed hordes of Al Qaeda instead took the place of "democracy," the glowing praise of the "Arab Spring" can still be seen and heard across the Western media.

Strange then, it seems, that now as throngs of protesters fill the streets in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, and in provincial capitals around the country to demand the ousting of a despotic regime guilty of theft, corruption, and mass murder, TIME has decided to side with the government and condemn the unprecedented numbers in the streets as "undemocratic."

It's article, childishly titled, "Thailand’s Democrat Party Is Hilariously Misnamed," reeks of a paid-for hit piece and extreme bias before reading the first sentence, and lays out a suspiciously incomplete background to the story that leaves the current Thai regime looking like the victim.

Why the Change in Heart? 

It is quite simple. The "Arab Spring" was not real dissent - that is - while many demonstrators no doubt were agitated, the impetus, leadership, and final objectives of the protests were not genuine, but rather directed by the West.

The US State Department admitted that it had been training the leaders of the eventual 2011 "Arab Spring" as early as 2008. After initially feigning displeasure and ignorance over the unrest, the New York Times would report in their article, "U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings," that:

Even as the United States poured billions of dollars into foreign military programs and anti-terrorism campaigns, a small core of American government-financed organizations were promoting democracy in authoritarian Arab states.
It would identify these groups as (emphasis added):

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington, according to interviews in recent weeks and American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.
A quick look at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), through which each of these groups are funded and directed, reveals a board of directors representative of something entirely NOT democratic - but rather representative of the largest corporate-financier interests on Earth.

Their goal across the Middle East was to reshape it politically to suit their interests, not foster "democracy." The subsequent regimes in Libya, Tunisia, and in Egypt (until real dissent and a military coup sweep it away) were despotic many times over than those protesters attempted to replace. In nations like Syria, the so-called "opposition" has been fully revealed as hordes of Al Qaeda, equipped, armed, trained, and funded by NATO, even being sheltered within NATO-member Turkey.  

Image: A visual representation of the National Endowment for Democracy's corporate-financier ties found across their Board of Directors. Far from "human rights advocates," they are instead simply leveraging such issues to disguise what is in reality corporate-financier hegemonic expansion.

In regards to Thailand, this same consortium of corporate-financier interests has been the primary factor maintaining the current government's grip on power. While headed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the government is run remotely from Dubai, by Yingluck's brother Thaksin Shinawatra who is currently residing there as a fugitive.

The National Endowment for Democracy directly funds pro-Thaksin propaganda fronts such as "Prachatai" and other faux-human rights organizations like the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), that leverage their perceived legitimacy to attack his opponents and prop up his regime, usually behind the ironic guise of "human rights."

Image: The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) is proudly sponsored by the US State Department's National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and convicted Wall Street financial criminal, George Soros' Open Society Institute. It should be noted that Kenneth Adelman, a trustee of Freedom House, has also served as Thaksin Shinawatra's lobbyist, exposing this so-called human rights organization, and fronts like SEAPA as nothing but an extension of the special interests Adelman openly serves. 

And perhaps most damning of all is that NED's Freedom House Trustee, Kenneth Adelman, literally served as Thaksin Shinawatra's paid lobbyist. Adelman is just one of many Washington D.C. lobbyists that have come to Thaksin's rescue. Since a military coup ousted him in 2006 Thaksin has been represented by US corporate-financier elites via their lobbying firms including, James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR), Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (CFR), Kobre & Kim, Bell Pottinger and currently Robert Amsterdam, pictured here with Thaksin Shinawatra of Amsterdam & Partners (Chatham House),  the British Empire foreign policy think thank.

To claim that the current government represents "democracy" would be dishonest at best. Looking at the Shinawatra regime's foreign sponsors, it appears more appropriate to say it represents the ambitions and designs of Wall Street and London who have propped it up for nearly a decade. 

This is where TIME comes in. 

What TIME Doesn't Say is more Important than What it Does Say...

TIME attempts to spin recent news reports trickling out into the international media of unprecedented protests filling the streets of Bangkok and Thailand's many provinces. It attempts to portray the protests as simply elitists attempting to overrule "democratic elections." TIME claims:

If anyone has been exercising people power, it’s the 15 million voters who elected Yingluck and her Pheu Thai party in July 2011. Thaksin-backed political parties have won the previous five elections with significant majorities, and Thaksin’s own populist policies helped bring millions of rural poor out of poverty. 
These of course are the elections "won" by Thaksin's well oiled and foreign-funded political machine. Like everywhere else, from neighboring Malaysia to Russia, NED is involved in skewing election results both locally and from abroad, while propping up political parties favorable to its corporate interests. TIME doesn't dabble in the actual nature of Thaksin's "red shirt" supporters, nor does it mention the phenomenon of Khmer Rouge-style "red villages" constructed by Thaksin where villagers, with his money and blessing, post up signs with his image on it, declaring the entire village his. Political dissent is not tolerated, and critics of Thaksin have literally been hacked to death with machetes.

Photos: Top: Machete wielding thugs during 2009's failed insurrection. Bottom: The establishment of politically exclusive zones called "red villages" and "red districts" where Thaksin is literally declaring political monopolies and intimidating opposition from expressing themselves. While the Thaksin denies this is their intent - there have been horrific incidents of violence throughout Thaksin's northeast epicenter of support, including the infamous hacking to death of a radio DJ's father after speaking ill of the UDD - covered in an interview with red shirt propagandist Kanyapak Maneejak (DJ Aom) of Thaksin's Chiang Mai Rak 51 faction. Kanyapak states that red shirt mobs were simply "following their hearts" when they butchered the old man outside the gates of his own home. 


A notorious incident involved Thaksin supporters rushing to the house of a radio DJ who spoke ill of Thaksin. When his father attempted to flee, they cut him down with machetes. When asked about the incident, pro-Thaksin mob leader Kanyapak Maneejak claimed, "the reds there all came following their hearts."

This cult of personality built on violence, intimidation, and the exploitation of a rural people kept intentionally ignorant while indoctrinated at political indoctrination camps set up by Thaksin's political lieutenants, is peddled by TIME as a democracy on the verge of being overthrown by a "putsch." It is a deception, as is the repetitive mantra that the majority of Thais stand behind Thaksin and his political machine.

In the last general election, held in 2011, according to Thailand's Election Commission Thaksin Shinawatra's proxy political party received 15.7 million votes out of the estimated 32.5 million voter turnout (turnout of approx. 74%). This gives Thaksin's proxy party a mere 48% of those who cast their votes on July 3rd (not even half), and out of all eligible voters, only a 35% mandate to actually "lead" the country. 

Out of this 35%, the number of actual Thaksin supporters is difficult to estimate, as many cast votes simply because they are paid to or for free handouts afterward. While anti-regime rallies fill the streets with hundreds of thousands of protesters around the country, Thaksin's counter rally can barely fill a quarter of the stadium it has been held at for now nearly a week. With more than enough people living within walking distance of the stadium to fill it up many times over, and even with a stream of buses organized by Thaksin's political machine disgorging red shirts gathered up from across the country, why is the stadium still empty?

But numbers in and of themselves do not legitimize a government. Throughout history, dictatorships have used elections and personality cults to lend themselves legitimacy they otherwise lacked, and no matter how popular a candidate may be, if he is overtly committing crimes, enriching himself at the expense of the nation, and leading his countrymen to strife and ruin, elections are simply the trappings of a poorly dressed dictatorship. 

TIME's Glossing Over of Mass Murder 

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, TIME's ability to gloss over Thaksin's human rights record is astonishing and is the telling exhibit that reveals the biased nature of both the article, as well as the hypocrisy of TIME's greater editorial agenda. TIME writes: 

There are, of course, plenty of reasons to oppose the billionaire telecom mogul: the catalog of nest-feathering business deals from his time in office left few in any doubt of his lack of scruples, while his 2003 “war on drugs” involved some 2,800 extrajudicial killings. The image of him directing demonstrations from his lavish Dubai haven, while his Red Shirt supporters risk arrest, violence and occasionally their lives, is hardly a heroic one. But the opposition’s failure to exploit these weaknesses is astonishing.
TIME's ability to mention "some 2,800 extrajudicial killings" as if it is a mere afterthought is only part of the story. In 2003, Thaksin Shinawatra initiated what he called a "war on drugs." It involved granting police "shoot to kill" orders and quotas to meet. What resulted was nearly 3,000 dead in under 90 days. Human Rights Watch, in their 2004 report "Not Enough Graves," would later reveal that most of those killed by Thaksin had nothing at all to do with the drug trade. The next year, Thaksin's regime would claim the lives of 85 protesters in a single day in what is now known as the Tak Bai incident.

Just as the regimes decried by TIME in 2011 during the "Arab Spring," Thaksin's regime is not just guilty of mass murder but as also been accused of intimidating, kidnapping, and killing his opponents - including journalists and lawyers.

Image: A section from the "Voice of Taksin" publication releasing the personal details of judges involved in court cases against Thaksin Shinwatra. The article was preceded by stories of judges who had been killed for making "unfair" rulings and was a threat made against judges who might dare rule against Thaksin.  


Thaksin's tenancy toward violence also includes his multiple attempts to retake power. In the lead up to political violence in 2010 that claimed nearly 100 lives, triggered by pro-Thaksin militants the Human Rights Watch report "Descent into Chaos" said carried M16 and AK-47 assault rifles, M79 grenade launchers and M67 hand grenades, Thaksin's propaganda front openly threatened the life of judges ruling against him in one of many corruption cases he faces. At stake were billions of baht in cash.

After a month of bloodshed, and with Thaksin's mobs dispersed and order restored to Bangkok, buildings owned by Thaksin's opponents were in flames, lit ablaze by his militants and looted by his mobs.

This was also conveniently omitted from TIME's piece.

In fact, had TIME actually told the full story, readers would immediately understand and support the protesters clamoring in the street calling for the ouster of this despotic regime. TIME did not tell the truth, and in stark contrast to its coverage of the "Arab Spring," is protecting a brutal dictator while disparaging the people who have, in historical numbers, come out into the streets to oppose him. TIME hopes that the average reader simply trusts the reputation and perceived legitimacy of TIME as a journalistic publication, and not bother looking into both sides of the story.

Thaksin's political machine is foreign-backed corporate fascism, wrapped in the tattered trappings of "democracy," with a tinge of "socialism" and a dash of "class struggle." For the people who see these trappings and fail to look deeper at the core of who Thaksin really is and how he came to and remains in power, he may seem appealing and "counter establishment." In reality he is simply a tentacle of a bigger establishment - that of Wall Street and London. Whatever social injustices TIME attempts to pin on the current Thai establishment, they are dwarfed by what Thaksin has already done, which in turn is dwarfed by what he intends to do should protesters fail to uproot him.

Confounding was the Australian's (newspaper) recent op-ed titled, "Death of a ruthless autocrat," in regards to the late Hugo Chavez. Confounding not for the op-ed's condemnation of socialist policies or its criticism of Hugo Chavez, an obstruction to Western corporate-financier interests in South America for over a decade, but because of the obscene hypocrisy displayed throughout, from a newspaper anda corporate-financier-academic establishment in Australia that coddles a figure in nearby Thailand that is every bit as guilty of everything it accuses Chavez of. 

Image: When is blood-red socialism ok (Thailand) and when is it "ruthless autocracy" (Venezuela)? The answer depends on whether or not you serve Wall Street and London's international order. Contrary to popular belief, socialism is not a unified global ideology and is instead like any tool - only as good or bad as the hands it finds itself in. The use of socialism by two governments no more indicates an affiliation than would guns in the hands of two opposing armies on a battlefield. 

The piece begins with: 
HE was lionised as a hero by the Western Left, of course, but it would be hard to find a leader in recent history who more comprehensively betrayed the wellbeing of his country than Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. He was driven by an irrational, demagogic and self-defeating antagonism towards Washington that blinded him to his nation's best interests.
The rambling narrative of the Australian equates to condemning Venezuela for not opening itself up to Western exploitation, domination by corporate-financier monopolies, and the folly of its challenging of the West's campaign of global aggression from Mali, Libya, and Syria, to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

In fact, the Australian itself makes a point of condemning Chavez for his support of Saddam Hussein, who's nation was occupied by the West during a brutal 10 year war, following a decade of sanctions that in total cost the lives of over 2 million Iraqis (including half a million children) and still counting.  The Australian implies that Chavez was wrong to support Iraq, despite documented evidence that the Western assault on Iraq was waged upon a patently false pretense. 

The Australian condemns Chavez' "populist economics" and ends its piece by stating: 
Thumbing your nose at Washington and aligning your country with the world's worst dictatorships is a recipe for disaster. Those who come after Mr Chavez should see that and change course.
Thumbing your nose at Washington and its interests is indeed a recipe for disaster, as has been thumbing your nose at brutal empires throughout human history. Your nation will become the target of covert military operations, terrorism, political subversion, and economic sabotage, the very root of Venezuela's current malaise. Thumb your nose long and hard enough at the West, and you may even become subject to an outright invasion, as was the case in Iraq, Libya, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. Or, you may suffer a long-term proxy war, as Syria now faces.  

In reality, the Australian reveals what Hugo Chavez was really guilty of. Not of being a "ruthless autocrat," or of being a socialist, but of being independent and for having the nerve to challenge the extraterritorial interests of an increasingly violent and unhinged West. 

Thaksin Shinawatra - Populist, Socialist, Ruthless Autocrat, and Darling of the West. 
Of course, the most preposterous statement of the Australian's op-ed would easily be, "but it would be hard to find a leader in recent history who more comprehensively betrayed the wellbeing of his country than Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez." The Australian might start with Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand, propped up and coddled by the West since the 1990's, and to this day given free passage throughout the West despite being a convicted criminal and a fugitive from the law in his native country.

The Australian's editorial board itself has lent support to his despotic, nepotist regime, currently led by his own sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, defending him as a progressive, pro-democratic force in Thailand. In a 2011 Australian news article preceding Thailand's national elections, no where is found the same venomous language directed at Chavez in describing Thaksin's own populist/socialist schemes. No mention at all is made of Thaksin's grotesque human rights record - the worst in Thai history, his intimidation of the press, and his habitual assault on any and all who challenge him. 

Indeed, while the Australian calls Hugo Chavez a "ruthless autocrat," it was Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand who mass murdered 3,000 innocent people over the course of 90 days during a so-called "war on drugs" where police were sent into the streets to conduct extrajudicial executions. It would later be determined that most of the those murdered were not even involved in the drug trade. 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."

To this day Thaksin counts his "war on drugs" as one of the many highlights of his 2001-2006 stint in office.  And while the Australian fails to remind readers of this inconvenient fact, other Western propagandists, such as the Economist, boldly defend the mass murder that took place under his ruthless regime. In its op-ed titled, "Thailand's drug wars: Back on the offensive," the Economist states:  
Faced with soaring methamphetamine abuse, Mr Thaksin ordered the police to draw up blacklists of suspected traffickers and “to act decisively and without mercy”.
The Economist would also go on to say:  
On the streets of Khlong Toey, the largest slum in Bangkok, there is nostalgia for Mr Thaksin's iron-fisted drugs policy. The 2003 crackdown drove up prices, smashed trafficking networks and forced addicts into rehabilitation programmes. In drug-ravaged communities, where the ends tend to justify the means, that was enough to turn Mr Thaksin into a hero.
The Economist finishes its op-ed by lamenting that the then military-led government which ousted Thaksin in 2006, had not kept up Thaksin's abhorrent, extrajudicial campaign of mass murder: 
You might expect a military junta with sweeping powers to have kept up the fight against such illicit activity. Anti-narcotics officials say that drug seizures have risen since the military coup in September 2006.
And more recently, the Huffington Post hosted Stanley Weiss of the Business Executives for National Security (BENS) and his op-ed titled, "The Oracle of Thailand," where he praises Thaksin Shinawatra's populist-socialist policies and suggests the US would be better off if it applied his "Thaksinomics" across America. Weiss openly admits that Thaksin Shinwatra, despite being a convicted criminal and living in exile, is running the country by nepotist proxy. Yet, he defends what he considers a brilliant exploitation of Thailand's desperately poor, notoriously under-educated rural population, spinning it as: 
The great innovation of Thaksin and Pansak (along with U.S.-trained academic Somkid Jatusripitak) was "the increased role of government in the allocation of credit," as Chulalongkorn University Professor Pasuk Phongpaichit writes. But not just anywhere: "Thaksinomics" focused the government's attention on the poor and rural areas of Thailand. Arguing that "a country is a company and a company is a country," the self-described "CEO Prime Minister" approached the national economy like a business, looking for ways, as Pasuk explains, to "mobilize any dormant or unexploited assets including unused natural resources and neglected human resources."

Tapping unused reserves of credit in the state banking system, the team created one rural credit fund after another. To lower household expenses, they offered low-cost housing and health insurance; provided subsidized credit for buying taxis and provided loans for children to get to school.
One might wonder how that is any different than what Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela, who also won over the population in part by using state money to subsidize his support base. The difference is simple: Hugo Chavez used socialism to co-opt the population in opposition to the Wall Street-London international order, while Thaksin Shinwatra co-opted Thailand's rural poor on behalf of Wall Street and London's interests.Weiss' BENS front is lined with representatives of America's Fortune 500 who have played a pivotal role in both Thaksin' rise to power, and his continued relevance in Thai politics.

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 2011's elections 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).

Astounding condemnations by the West have been directed at Venezuela's late president, Hugo Chavez. Amongst the list of woes the Western media seems to have had with Chavez was how he used populist policies to build a support base. Strangely enough, the West is quite fond of another political leader that has done likewise, a politician every bit as bad in reality, as Chavez has been made out to be in fiction.

A particularly preposterous op-ed from the Western media was found in the Australian. Titled, "Death of a ruthless autocrat," the Australian's editorial board actually says: 
HE [Hugo Chavez] was lionised as a hero by the Western Left, of course, but it would be hard to find a leader in recent history who more comprehensively betrayed the wellbeing of his country than Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
Ironically, not long after this went to print, Thailand's Thaksin Shinwatra and his Peua Thai political party, who likewise has built its support base using populist handouts, reported a catastrophic loss from one of its many populist schemes. The government had pledged to buy rice from farmers regardless of price or demand at a fixed rate. Warehouses began filling with rice priced far above market value, with massive amounts of corruption, including rice being smuggled in from other countries and sold to the witless government for exorbitant prices.  

The Bangkok Post reported that the losses for the 2011/2012 season were estimated at around 140 billion baht and a staggering 210 billion baht for the 2012/2013 season.

One could imagine a myriad of real, pragmatic programs that could have been funded with that money - programs that could have lent Thailand's rural poor with the education and skills necessary to diversify their economic activities beyond merely growing rice, and empower themselves through sustainable entrepreneurship. These programs would have taken time, results would have been slow, and for Peua Thai's target demographics, it is unlikely such sustainable, effective policies would have garnered them the quick, easy, and cheap support they were looking for during 2011's general elections.

And because of this reckless vote-buying, Thailand is left with massive losses, a destabilized, artificially skewed rice market, and an increasingly dependent segment of its population relying on a populist scheme that is already falling apart.

Surely this qualifies as "betraying the wellbeing" of Thaksin Shinawatra's supporters and Thailand as a whole. The unraveling rice scheme is only one of a number of failed populist policies used to buy-off voters in 2011. Another was a "first car loan" scheme that has saw a staggering number of cars take to already chronically jammed roads along with a staggering amount of debt accumulated amongst people who could neither afford a car, nor a loan for one. Thaksin's proxy government also handed out "tablet PC's" to first graders, an idea that at face value is an absurd waste. 

The crass, elementary "computers, cars, and money" for votes strategy employed by Thaksin Shinawatra and his Peua Thai Party should incur at least as much criticism and condemnation from the West as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Instead, think-tanks representing the very corporate-financier interests who long sought to pillage Venezuela but were exiled by Chavez, can be found praising Thaksin Shinawatra and his "brilliant" "Thaksinomics." 

Obviously the difference between Thaksin and Chavez is not a matter of socioeconomic policy, but for whom such policies are employed. Thaksin has been a long-time servant of and collaborator with Western ambitions, Hugo Chavez was an obstruction.

The Bangkok Post's article, "Govt accepts it will lose on rice" quoted Jac Luyendijk, CEO at Swiss Agri Trading SA, who stated: 
We have to keep in mind that with these increasing rice stocks in Thailand, the problem will become bigger and bigger. Once Thailand unloads its stockpile we will look to very depressed rice prices for years to come.
Indeed, Thaksin Shinwatra's populist gimmicks for quick support at the polls will cost Thailand for many years to come, especially the very people they allegedly were designed to help - the rural poor. And his government is just getting started. The hole they plan to dig for Thailand is for all intents and purposes bottomless. As long as they can keep their support base in the dark regarding economics and the long-term damage they are doing to Thailand, they can maintain, even expand their political foothold.  

Thaksin and his Wall Street-backers hope by the time Peua Thai's supporters realize what has happened it will be too late. They hope, and are actively attempting to sweep away any form of coherent opposition to their political machine, much as has been done in neighboring Cambodia. This will leave Thais at the mercy of a Hun Sen-style dictatorship no matter how woefully corrupt, incompetent, or brutally autocratic it may be, and Thailand, like Cambodia is now, a backwards, foreign-owned and pillaged fiefdom.

Image: The US-ASEAN Business Council, a who’s-who of corporate fascism in the US, had been approached by leaders of Thaksin Shinwatra's "red shirt" street mobs. (click image to enlarge)
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.

Photo: Deposed autocrat, Thaksin Shinawatra before the CFR on the even of the 2006 military coup that would oust him from power. Since 2006 he has had the full, unflinching support of Washington, Wall Street and their immense propaganda machine in his bid to seize back power.

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 HouseInternational Crisis GroupPNAC), 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." 

Time to Grow Up 

It is time for the general population to refine their understanding of socioeconomic-political processes. Socialism is not an internationally unified political ideology. It is a set of tools that is only as good or as bad as the hands that wield them. And just because these tools can be found in two different hands, does not mean that both hands serve the same agenda - no more so than would guns in two opposing armies' hands indicate a mutual agenda or alliance.  

Hugo Chavez used socialism to build a support base, because if he didn't, Wall Street and London would do it themselves with their proxy opposition front in Venezuela - just as they have done in Thailand with Thaksin Shinwatra.

The proof is in the West's own narrative, where they hypocritically celebrate Thaksin Shinawatra's "Thaksinomics" while condemning Chavez' "Chavismo." It would appear that socialism is only "ok" if it is used to co-opt the population for the interests of Wall Street and London. "Thumb your nose" at the West, and it doesn't matter what socioeconomic strategy you employ, you are a "ruthless autocrat" whose days are numbered and whose memory will be immediately defiled upon your passing.    

Governments do not adhere to political ideologies, they simply use them when and where profitable. In the US where a corporate-financier oligarchy literally writes the policy for politicians on both sides of the aisle, the use of socialism and "free market" economics is done in tandem to achieve a multitude of goals that would be impossible using only one or the other. While the West itself placates its population with socialism, such policies are condemned when employed contra to their interests, especially when used to galvanize a population against Western advances - as was the case in Chavez' Venezuela. 

In reality, socialism is but a single tool. An entire nation cannot be sustained upon it, no more than an entire house can be built using only a hammer. The true test of a government is not whether it uses socialism or not, but with what other tools it employs it. A nation must seek to build upon socialism's stop-gaps with sustainable, pragmatic solutions. Outside of Wall Street and London's international order, many nations are doing just that, but progress is difficult to gauge when the West arrays the summation of its influence and power against such progress.

The general population's habit of perceiving socialism, capitalism, or any other socioeconomic system as a unifying ideology is folly. The ruling elite, whichever side they stand on, do not see such systems as unifying ideologies, but merely tools. It is time for the general population to look at how these tools are used, and whose hands they are actually in, instead of fixating on the tool itself as being inherently "good" or "bad."

The story of Chavez and Thaksin illustrates the double standards and hypocrisy hidden in plain sight and casts doubts on narratives proposing anyone using "socialism" is part of a unified global cabal. Such a notion falls flat unless financial and political ties can be documented. In the case of Hugo Chavez and Venezuela, the chasm between his movement and the West's use of socialism couldn't be any deeper or wider.