May 27 2014

How Wealthy Elites Are Co-Opting People’s Movements in Thailand and Ukraine

Thailand’s Army Chief has declared himself in charge, saying that the king had endorsed him, and that he would run a military council overseeing national affairs. The announcement came days after the military declared martial law and took power in the wake of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s ouster by a court. General Prayuth Chan-ocha warned in a statement on television that “tough measures” may be necessary. Despite the outlawing of gatherings of five or more people at a time, some people launched protests against the coup. While he promised elections, there is currently no time table for the military to step back from power. Thailand’s military has orchestrated dozens of coups in the last several decades.

Meanwhile in the Ukraine, Presidential elections were held over the weekend amidst the tense situation unfolding in various Ukrainian cities with the US and EU staring down Russia. Billionaire Petro Poroshenko, also known as “the chocolate king” has declared victory with 54% of the vote. His closest challenger, Yulia Tymoshenko garnered 13%. Poroshenko’s election came as a relief to Western forces with whom he has publicly sided. The elections were held to replace ousted President Viktor Yanukovich after he refused to sign an accord with the European Union. In recent days, a number of Ukrainian cities held referendums with pro-Russian activists claiming they have chosen autonomy. In fact just hours ago, a government operation from Kiev aimed at an airport in Donetsk has reportedly resulted in up to 100 people killed.

What ties these two distinct international conflicts together is that what appear to be on the surface as “people’s movements” are often provoked by wealthy elites upset about a redistribution of power and wealth. A similar dynamic has been observed in protests in Venezuela.

GUEST: Andre Vltchek has been making these connections. Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His discussion with Noam Chomsky On Western Terrorism is now going to print. He joins us now from Indonesia where his book “Archipelago Of Fear” has just been published focusing on the collapse of Indonesia after the US-sponsored military coup of 1965/66.

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