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  • April 27, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The US government and organizations it funds posing as "human rights advocates" have decried Malaysia's recent decision to deport 11 Uyghurs suspected of links to terrorism back to China.

    The US State Department's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in its article titled, "U.S. Voices Concern Over 11 Uyghurs Beijing Wants Malaysia To Deport," would report:
    The United States on February 9 voiced concern over Malaysia's possible deportation of 11 Uyghur Muslims to China.

    The Reuters news agency reported on February 8 that the 11 ethnic Uyghurs from China, who were among 20 that escaped from a jail in Thailand last year, have been detained in Malaysia, and that Beijing was in talks with Malaysia over their deportation.
    Human Rights Watch, a front posing as human rights advocates funded by convicted financial criminal George Soros and his Open Society Foundation, would also decry Malaysia's decision.

    In a statement titled, "Malaysia: Don't Send 11 Detainees to China - Group Members Face Possible Torture, Ill-Treatment," HRW would claim (emphasis added):
    The government of Malaysia should ensure that 11 detained migrants are not forcibly deported to China, Human Rights Watch said today. The migrants should have urgent access to refugee status determination proceedings by the United Nations refugee agency.

    The detainees appear to be among a group of 20 people who escaped from immigration detention in Thailand in November 2017. China claims that they are Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim, Turkic minority that originates from western China. After group members were initially detained in Thailand, they identified themselves as Turkish citizens and asked to be sent to Turkey.
    It is important to note Turkey as the suspected terrorists' alleged destination. They are part of a pipeline run by US-Turkish intelligence agencies to funnel foreign fighters into Syria. They, along with foreign fighters from around the globe, stage in Turkey, where they are armed, trained, and eventually sent into Syrian territory.

    The HRW statement would even concede that (emphasis added):
    Malaysia is one of several countries that in recent years has forcibly returned Uyghurs to China in violation of international law. In September 2017, Malaysia's deputy prime minister, Zahid Hamidi, said Malaysia had arrested 29 Uyghur "militants" involved with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) since it began sharing biometric data with China in 2011.
    The US government - which itself routinely detains, tortures, and extrajudicially executes what it considers "terror suspects" globally - has attempted to impede Malaysian-Chinese joint security in dealing with the threat of Chinese-based terrorists transiting the region, moving onward to Syria.

    By doing so, the US is attempting to strain Malaysian-Chinese ties as well as jeopardize the security of the entire region.

    In 2015, when the Thai government deported 100 suspected terrorists back to China, the United States government and its "human rights" fronts similarly decried the move. Months later, Ugyhur terrorists detonated a bomb in downtown Bangkok, killing 20 - mostly Chinese tourists.

    The New York Times in an article titled, "Thailand Blames Uighur Militants for Bombing at Bangkok Shrine," would admit:
    Nearly a month after the deadliest bombing in recent Thai history, Thailand's national police chief made his most explicit comments on Tuesday about who carried out the attack here and why.

    The perpetrators, he said, were linked to Uighur militants, radical members of an aggrieved ethnic minority in western China, who struck to avenge Thailand's forced repatriation of Uighurs to China and Thailand's dismantling of a human smuggling ring.

    The attack was professionally planned and executed with the target picked to maximize tensions between Bangkok and Beijing - suggesting that it was designed to serve high-level US strategic objectives.

    US State Media Admits Uyghurs are Fighting in Syria

    In a December 2017 Associate Press article titled, "AP Exclusive: Anger with China Drives Uighurs to Syria Fight," it would admit (emphasis added):

    Since 2013, thousands of Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority from western China, have traveled to Syria to train with the Uighur militant group Turkistan Islamic Party and fight alongside al-Qaida, playing key roles in several battles. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops are now clashing with Uighur fighters as the six-year conflict nears its endgame.
    AP would also admit that Ugyhur terrorists traveled specifically through Southeast Asia on their way to Turkey and then onward to Syria, stating (emphasis added):
    As Uighur refugees traveled along an underground railroad in Southeast Asia, they said, they were greeted by a network of Uighur militants who offered food and shelter — and their extremist ideology. And when the refugees touched down in Turkey, they were again wooed by recruiters who openly roamed the streets of Istanbul in gritty immigrant neighborhoods like Zeytinburnu and Sefakoy, looking for fresh fighters to shuttle to Syria.
    With the Western media admitting thousands of Uyghur terrorists are travelling through Southeast Asia on their way to Syria to fight alongside Al Qaeda and assumably its affiliates including the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS), it is obvious that attempts to decry Malaysian and Thai cooperation with China in closing down this "underground railroad" are meant to perpetuate not only the threat to Syria, but also the threat to China and the rest of Asia when these battle-hardened militants return home.

    AP would explain:
    ...the end of Syria's war may be the beginning of China's worst fears.

    "We didn't care how the fighting went or who Assad was," said Ali, who would only give his first name out of a fear of reprisals against his family back home. "We just wanted to learn how to use the weapons and then go back to China."
    Other groups, funded directly by the US government and based in Washington D.C. - such as the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) - have also attempted to impede Asia's collective efforts to stem the tide of terrorism flowing through their territory and onward to Syria. Organizations like WUC have been key in advocating separatism driving terrorism inside China's Xinjiang province.

    The US Protecting Terror Pipeline Behind Faux-Rights Groups

    And in both Malaysia and Thailand - two nations taking the forefront in disrupting the terror network in Southeast Asia - the United States government is also funding fronts to condemn local government efforts to work with China . These organizations are also attempting to impede local security operations under the pretext of defending "human rights."

    In Thailand, organizations funded by the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) including iLaw, Prachatai, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, Fortify Rights, and others have conducted coordinated campaigns aimed at pressuring the Thai government to allow terrorists to travel onward to Turkey where they will link up with Al Qaeda in Syria.

    In Malaysia, "Lawyers for Liberty" headed by Eric Paulsen is also funded by the US NED. It too has attacked local government efforts to stem the flow of Uyghur terrorists through its territory and onward to Syria.

    In one post on social media, Paulsen would exclaim:
    Hundreds of other Uighurs who were previously deported from Thailand & Malaysia were imprisoned or not seen again, their whereabouts unknown & unaccounted for. [Malaysia] must resist China's demands, as these men have not committed any genuine crimes in Malaysia.
    Paulsen's qualifier, "as these men have not committed any genuine crimes in Malaysia," comes to full light when understanding their presence in Malaysia is merely to transit onward to Syria where they will be engaged in a multitude of crimes including terrorism within the ranks of Al Qaeda and ISIS.

    Additionally, as the Associated Press pointed out - these same men fully intend to take their training and experience in Syria - and return to China where they will continue carrying out criminal behavior, including terrorism. And as seen in Bangkok in 2015, should this network of terror be disrupted, these terrorists will carry out attacks on other nations when and where they desire.

    While the United States attempts to divide China and Southeast Asia over the Uyghur terror issue, it appears to be having the opposite effect. As US influence wanes in the region and its activities become more overtly disruptive and dangerous, cooperation between Thailand, Malaysia, and China only increases as all three nations, along with the rest of Southeast Asia remain targets of US subversion in Washington's bid to maintain primacy over the region.

    The US also runs the risk of overplaying its "humanitarian" ploys in defense of its networks of terror and subversion worldwide. With the Western media openly admitting Ugyhurs being caught in Thailand and Malaysia are recruits for Al Qaeda and ISIS fighting in Syria, while simultaneously demanding they be allowed to travel onward to Syria under the pretext of "human rights," the US has once again exposed its use of "human rights" advocacy as a smokescreen for trampling both genuine human rights, and international law.

    Southeast Asia by allowing an army of terrorists to pass through its territory today, further compromises Syria's security today. Tomorrow, Asia's collective security will be endangered when this army of terrorists returns home. Asia's only choice is to collectively resist, expose, and dismantle not only this Western-sponsored terror pipeline, but also the faux-rights groups the US is using to protect it.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".

  • May 1, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - After well over a year of accusing the Russian government of interfering in the 2016 US presidential elections, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has finally indicted 13 Russians for what it calls "interference operations targeting the United States."

    The 13 Russians indicted allegedly represent the "Internet Research Agency" merely referred to as "the organization" throughout the FBI's highly publicized indictment (PDF). The Internet Research Agency was allegedly run by Concord Management and Consulting.

    However, the FBI failed to establish any link between the Internet Research Agency's supposed operations and the Russian government. It attempts to claim that Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering are "related Russian entities" with various Russian government contracts - however the FBI failed to detail what this statement meant, merely insinuating that the Internet Research Agency may have been another Russian government contract.

    The "Russian meddling" described in the FBI indictment consists of Facebook ads and the creation of accounts posing as American social media personalities commentating on US political issues. The FBI's indictment failed to list any instances of Russian government money, or money from an alleged intermediary being funneled into any actual US political parties, opposition or activist groups, or any US-based media organizations.

    Putting the "Full Shape" of "Russian Meddling" Into Perspective

    The FBI indictment claims that monthly funding for the Internet Research Agency's "influencing operations" peaked at $1.25 million, but did not provide any additional information regarding the organization's budget, or how significant this peak was when compared to monthly averages.

    The Western media has presented this number as significant. The BBC in its article, "Russia-Trump inquiry: Russians charged over US 2016 election tampering," would claim (emphasis added):
    On Friday, Robert Mueller's team released a slate of indictments that lays bare what it asserts is the full shape of the Russian meddling apparatus.
    And what an apparatus it was. In the run-up to the US presidential election "Project Lakhta", as it was called, had an operating budget of more than $1m a month.
    Yet, to put that "$1m a month" budget into perspective, the BBC alone operates on an annual budget of between 4-6 billion - or up to $500 million a month. This is a monthly budget up to 400 times larger than that of what the BBC calls the "full shape of the Russian meddling apparatus."

    Considering that the BBC coordinates its own "influence operations" with other multi-billion dollar media corporations in the United Kingdom, across Europe, and of course in the United States, the gargantuan disparity between the "full shape of the Russian meddling apparatus" and that of the West's own "influencing operations" is put into proper perspective.

    When considering the role of US-based corporate lobbyists and their role in influencing both political candidates and the American public ahead of elections - this disparity widens even further.

    To suggest that "the full shape of the Russian meddling apparatus" had any significant effect on the outcome of the US election is far fetched at best. To suggest that the Russian government would have conducted such feeble attempts to influence the US presidential election when it is fully aware that large, corporate-financier interests actually determine US policy, is also implausible.

    That accusations against Russia are meant to deflect away from America's own growing problems both domestically and abroad, including its attempts to justify a wider confrontation with Russia itself, is a much more likely explanation.

    US Exposes the Illegitimacy of its Own Global Meddling

    Should the Russian government have intentionally and directly attempted to interfere in US elections or America's internal political affairs, it would constitute an attack upon American sovereignty and warrant a vigorous US response. However, nothing of the sort has been established yet, with the US having sought to target Russia with wider sanctions and provocations long before the 2016 US elections appeared on the horizon.

    That the US has attempted to use what it calls "improper foreign influence on US elections and on the US political system" as a pretext for attacking Russia, its media both in Russia and its US-based networks, its diplomatic mission in the United States, as well as the Russian economy through sanctions, indicates that Washington is more than aware of how inappropriate it is for one nation to attempt to interfere with or influence the internal political processes of another nation.

    Yet this is precisely what the United States itself has done - for decades, openly - around the globe.

    Unlike the FBI's indictment, which fails to establish any direct link with the Russian government or define any specific examples of what could be considered political interference - beyond Russian-based media operations - the US conducts vast efforts to interfere in the elections and political processes of nations around the globe.

    Through US government-funded agencies like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), operating on an annual budget of hundreds of millions of dollars, the US controls entire opposition parties, opposition groups and so-called "activist" organizations inside targeted nations. This also includes the creation and funding of media organizations - not based in the US and commentating on foreign politics - but operating inside targeted nations, often concealing their foreign funding from their audiences.

    NED also funds lawyers to defend its agents of influence when exposed and targeted by the very sort of legal action the FBI claims its recent indictment represents.

    NED funds such influencing operations in over 100 states globally, from South America to Africa, from Eastern Europe to East Asia, and everywhere in between.

    If what the FBI's recent indictment against the Internet Research Agency constitutes what it calls the "improper foreign influence on U.S. elections and on the U.S. political system," then what the US itself is doing abroad through organizations like NED is exposed as the US' own, highly-industrialized version of such "improper foreign influence."

    Beyond NED, the US government also directly funds and operates other fronts, including NED's subsidiaries - the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and Freedom House - as well as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Together with NED and USAID, the US government works through and coordinates with other, privately owned intermediaries like George Soros' Open Society Foundation.

    Foreign opposition groups working on behalf of US interests and funded by the US government are almost always jointly funded by Open Society, as well as the governments and local embassies of the United Kingdom and European Union members.

    The recent attempt to accuse Russia of and punish it for supposed "meddling" in the US openly illustrates that the US itself understands the impropriety it is involved in as it conducts its own campaign of global meddling on a much larger scale. What is perhaps most ironic is that the left-leaning individuals manning Washington's global army of subversive meddlers in targeted nations around the globe have eagerly promoted anti-Russian propaganda, including condemning supposed Russian "meddling," either oblivious or indifferent to the fact they themselves are engaged in reality for decades in what the US has accused Russia of without evidence over the last year.

    The further the US pushes this politically-motivated public relations campaign dressed up as counteracting "improper foreign influence" in the US, the easier Washington will make it for the nations it is really targeting around the globe with very real interference to expose, condemn, and dismantle the networks the US uses to carry out this interference.

    Targeted nations can not only cite America's own efforts to uproot foreign influence it claims is targeting the US, it can use the same sort of legal and public relations ploys the US is currently using to attack Russia with to do so.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 6, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The US and European-funded human rights racket comprised of organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and myriad fronts funded by the United States government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have helped promote some of the worst human rights abuses in recent human history.

    This includes their role in selling the US-led NATO assault on Libya in 2011 and their continued role in justifying US-led military intervention in Syria. "Human rights" have been cited by the US and its European partners during NATO's assault on Serbia, among the first of the so-called "humanitarian wars."

    Of course, by citing "human rights," the US is able to paper over the very inhumanity the opposition groups it supports are carrying out, or the injustice of the destabilisation and destruction the US is attempting to perpetrate.

    And while Washington's systematic destruction of the Middle East has taken centre stage among international headlines, the US is also using similar tactics to pressure nations elsewhere around the globe, including Southeast Asia's Thailand.

    To the West, An "Activist"

    When Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was released from prison after some 7 years behind bars, the US and European media and their partners in Thailand's media hailed the release of what they portrayed as an "activist" and "political prisoner."

    The Reuters in its article titled, "Thailand frees former magazine editor previously imprisoned for insulting monarchy," would claim:
    A high profile Thai activist and former magazine editor imprisoned for insulting the country's monarchy vowed on Monday to keep pressing his call for democracy after he was released from prison.
    The article would also mention:
    Mr Somyot, who was the editor of a political magazine, Voice of Taksin, had been imprisoned in 2013 for 10 years under Thailand's lese-majeste law, but the Supreme Court reduced his sentence in 2017.
    For unwitting readers, they would suspect this was another simple case of a draconian dictatorship in the developing world unjustly incarcerating progressive political activists.

    In reality, Reuters intentionally omitted any details about the publication Somyot was the editor of, "Voice of Taksin."

    The truth Reuters intentionally chose not to report is that "Voice of Taksin" was published on behalf of billionaire and ex-Thai prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.

    The publication itself regularly featured not only signed letters handwritten by Thaksin Shinawatra himself, but was also packed with threats of violence, calls for terrorism and armed insurrection, direct and indirect threats against Thailand's head of state (the nation's constitutional monarchy) and specific threats aimed at intimidating Thaksin Shinawatra's opponents.

    Shinawatra, ousted from power in 2006 after serial abuses of power including the systematic surrendering of Thailand's sovereignty to Western interests, has been supported ever since by an army of US-based lobbyists, US and European government-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and political opposition groups receiving political, financial and material support from the West in a bid to overthrow Thailand's political order and transform the pivotal Southeast Asian nation into a US client state.

    Somyot's publication distributed on behalf of Shinawatra, included vitriol that would not be tolerated in even the most liberal North American and European societies. Despite this fact, US and European media organisations have intentionally and systematically covered up the true nature of the publication for years and have defended Somyot disingenuously as an "activist."

    Thaksin's Joseph Goebbels

    In a February 15, 2010 issue, Somyot's publication would feature the names, pictures, addresses and phone numbers of all judges scheduled to decide on an upcoming court ruling over the seizure of Shinawatra's assets, a court case lingering since his ouster from power in 2006. The article followed other pieces on punishing judges, the Nuremberg trials and assassinations with the implicit implication that these judges too should be punished and/or assassinated.

    Image: The pictures, names, telephone numbers and addresses of judges were published in Somyot's "Voice of Taksin" magazine in between articles about judges throughout history being punished and assassinated.
    Despite the threats, on February 26, 2010 the court moved forward with the seizure of 46 billion Thai baht, the Guardian would report.

    In a bid to overthrow both the Thai government at the time, and the ruling political order including both the military and the monarchy, Thaksin Shinawatra moved forward with plans for armed insurrection backed by his US and European sponsors and their respective media organisations.

    Image: Somyot's publication would depict cartoon-like images of Shinawatra's militant leaders shooting war weapons at key figures in the Thai government and military. On the streets of Bangkok, Shinawatra would then employ militants wielding M79 grenade launchers, assault rifles and bombs leading to bloodshed claiming nearly 100 lives.

    Somyot's publication would help prepare the rhetorical grounds for this upcoming bloodshed, with imagery of Shinawatra's militant leaders shooting grenades at prominent leaders in the Thai government opposed to Shinawatra featured with the open implication of targeted assassinations.

    In a March issue, Somyot's publication advocated nationwide arson, which would in fact be carried out one month later, destroying sections of Bangkok and provincial halls upcountry and leading to several deaths of Shinawatra's own supporters trapped while looting torched shopping centres.

    Image: A call for arson in 2010.
    In an April 18, 2010 issue, after Shinawatra had fielded some 300 armed militants among several thousand supporters he bussed into the Thai capital of Bangkok to oppose the above mentioned court seizure of his assets, Somyot's "Voice of Taksin" publication announced and promoted the beginning of armed insurrection.

    Fortunately for Thailand, its security forces were able to successfully restore order to the city, but not after nearly 100 were killed in the ensuing gunfights and campaign of city-wide arson (for which Somyot's publication advocated) that followed Somyot's call to arms. For Shinawatra, his dreams of armed insurrection did not extend beyond the mercenaries he was able to hire and arm.

    Despite the open threats and admissions of carrying out violence published in Somyot's "Voice of Taksin" magazine, fully endorsed by Thaksin Shinawatra himself, the Western media has ever since depicted the 2010 violence as a brutal "military crackdown."

    Clearly when Somyot was finally imprisoned in 2013, his incarceration was warranted. Serial threats of violence toward individuals, organisations and particularly the government and head of state in any nation is punishable by many years in prison. In the United States, for example, penalties ranging from 5 years to 20 years in prison await those communicating threats of violence.

    However, a 2013 Reuters article would decry the sentence and cite "condemnation from international rights groups and the European Union." While the 2013 Reuters article would admit Somyot's publication was written on behalf of Shinawatra, it did not discuss the nature of the publication.

    Image: Somyot's publication advocated arson and terrorism that translated directly into real deaths and city-wide destruction.
    Instead, it depicted criticism of Thailand's head of state as merely an expression of free speech, ignoring the bloody imagery and references to historical episodes of regicide included in virtually every issue of "Voice of Taksin."

    Reuters would cite Human Rights Watch, David Streckfuss, the European Union Delegation to Thailand and US-trained and funded "academic" Sawatree Suksri. It is unlikely these organisations or individuals did not possess copies of Somyot's publication, and even failing to read its contents in native Thai, not notice the disturbing and very straight forward violent imagery used throughout its pages.

    They were fully aware of the nature of Somyot's crimes, and intentionally ignored it, leveraging "human rights" rhetoric to defend and cover up his criminality.

    In Defence of Regime Change, Not Human Rights

    For Somyot's employer, Thaksin Shinawatra himself, he stands as one of the worst human rights violators in Thai history.

    In 2003, the US and Europe's own human rights racket was forced to take notice of his brutality when he launched a 90 day "war on drugs." According to Human Rights Watch, over this 90 day period police acting on Shinawatra's orders extrajudicially executed over 2,800 people in the streets without formal charges, arrests or trials.

    Amnesty International, another mainstay of the US and Europe's human rights racket, was also forced to take note of Shinawatra's abuses while in power. It would describe how just in his first term in office at least 18 human rights defenders were assassinated or disappeared.

    Another organisation keen on perpetuating the West's human rights racket, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) would detail Shinawatra's assault on the free press during his time in power.

    Interestingly enough, now that US and European interests seek Shinawatra's return to power, these previous reports have all but been buried. Each aforementioned organisation has shifted entirely to defending his political party and political opposition groups working on his behalf, including characters like Somyot.

    The track record of violence, terrorism and abuses of these groups have all but been expunged. And amid this campaign to whitewash Shinawatra's past abuses, is Somyot and his mischaracterisation by the Western media as an "activist," not merely the paid propagandist of a vicious politician attempting to claw back power.

    Like the US and UK government-funded "White Helmets" (Syria Civil Defence) in Syria or the leaders of the 2013-2014 Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, fronts depicted by the West as progressive humanitarians and pro-democracy advocates are revealed as precisely the opposite.

    The US and European media celebrating Somyot's release represent special interests that would not tolerate Somyot's rhetoric and methods had they been directed at their power bases in Washington, on Wall Street or in the City of London and Brussels.

    However, because Somyot serves as a useful means to undermine, pressure and even possibly overthrow the political order in Thailand, thus providing an opportunity for the creation of an obedient client state in Southeast Asia, his advocacy of violence, terrorism, mass murder and armed insurrection is tacitly supported behind the scenes, while the Western media provides cover through both lies of omission and intentional and repetitive mischaracterisations in his favour.

    Why Thailand?

    For Washington, the overthrow of Thailand's political order fits into a broader regional strategy of encircling China with client states serving US interests. Thailand, particularly since the ouster of Shinawatra in 2006 and the ouster of his sister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014, has further cemented ties with both its Southeast Asian neighbours and Beijing through growing military, political and economic ties.

    Thailand, once portrayed as a key ally of Washington, has become a prominent obstruction to Washington's "pivot to Asia." This may help explain why Washington and the media organisations in its service are eager to turn a character as unsavoury as Somyot Prueksakasemsuk into another "hero" amid their increasingly transparent human rights racket.

    The US and Europe are cultivating similar proxies throughout the region to do to Asia what the US and its allies are currently doing to the Middle East and North Africa. By exposing these individuals and organisations before the US successfully destabilises Asia, there is a chance to strip away the illusion of legitimacy people like Somyot Prueksakasemsuk hide behind, and disrupt the agenda they truly serve.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 9, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The so-called "Iran Nuclear Deal," officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed on 2015 now under threat by a backtracking US - was billed at the time of its signing as a historic agreement that provided a path forward towards peace between the US and Iran.

    The BBC in an October 2017 article titled, "Iran nuclear deal: Key details," would even go as far as claiming:
    The 2015 nuclear deal struck between Iran and six world powers - the US, UK, Russia, France, China, and Germany - was the signature foreign policy achievement of Barack Obama's presidency.

    The initial framework lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in return for limitations to the country's controversial nuclear energy programme, which international powers feared Iran would use to create a nuclear weapon.
    But while the agreement has been hailed as a "signature foreign policy achievement," it was, before even its inception - not a vehicle towards peace - but a cynical ploy to justify future war.

    The United States had never intended to allow Iran to rise as a counterbalancing regional power in the Middle East or Central Asia nor escape from under the constant threat of US military intervention or the crippling sanctions it has targeted the nation with for decades.

    The enduring presence of US military forces in Afghanistan transcending now three presidencies and nearly two decades was one of two bookends placed around the rise of Iran.

    The other has been a war waged in the Middle East by the US and its allies against Iraq beginning in 2003 and spreading to Syria and Yemen by 2011.

    Despite the numerous proxy wars Washington is waging against Tehran, US policymakers had determined years ago the necessity to justify a wider and more direct confrontation with Tehran itself.

    A Conspiracy to Offer Then Sabotage an Iran Peace Deal is Stated US Policy

    Far from conjecture, plans by US policymakers have been documented and are available freely to the public from among the various corporate-financier funded policy think tanks that produce US foreign and domestic policy.

    Prominent among these is the Brookings Institution whose corporate-financier sponsors include arms manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, energy giants Exxon Mobil, BP, Aramco, and Chevron, and financiers including Bank of America, Citi, and numerous advisers and trustees provided by Goldman Sachs.

    In their 2009 paper, "Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran" (PDF), Brookings policymakers would first admit the complications of US-led military aggression against Iran (emphasis added):
    ...any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it.
    The paper then lays out how the US could appear to the world as a peacemaker and depict Iran's betrayal of a "very good deal" as the pretext for an otherwise reluctant US military response (emphasis added):
    The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offerone so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians "brought it on themselves" by refusing a very good deal.
    And from 2009 onward, this is precisely what the United States set out to achieve. First with US President Barack Obama's signing of the 2015 JCPOA, up to and including current US President Donald Trump's attempts to backtrack from it based on fabricated claims Iran failed to honor the agreement.

    America's Clumsy Warmongering

    Perhaps unbeknownst to Brookings policymakers in 2009 was the eventuality of Western propaganda unraveling in the face of growing opposition in the form of both national and alternative media organizations.

    Today, attempts to cite "chemical weapons attacks" and recycle 2003 "weapons of mass destruction" narratives to fan the flames of America's multiple and perpetual global conflicts are failing to persuade increasingly skeptical audiences.

    The "game" - as Brookings policymakers called their attempts to covertly provoke war with Iran in their 2009 paper - they had hoped to hide from public view, is now exposed - dissected and displayed by independent analysts and national media organizations with unprecedented reach into global audiences once solely dominated by Western propaganda.

    This has forced the West to proceed out in the open, with increasingly desperate public ploys to sell this exposed agenda.

    During Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's April 30th press conference regarding "evidence" that Iran was still pursuing a nuclear weapons program, his presentation had barely concluded before it was picked apart and exposed as little more than a poorly conceived charade designed to undermine the "Iran nuclear deal."

    Prime Minister Netanyahu's presentation was so anemic that even Israel's Haaretz newspaper featured editorials with headlines like, "Netanyahu and His Lonely War on the Iran Nuclear Deal."

    Yet despite the lack of public support, the momentum toward war with Iran is of titanic dimensions. It is a war that has been engineered for years, spanning multiple US presidencies. It involves peripheral conflicts including the wars in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria used to stage US troops and equipment ahead of a future war with Iran itself.

    The entire "Iran Nuclear Deal" was conceived, promoted, and then intentionally sabotaged at the cost of years of propaganda and public displays as well as both public and behind-the-scenes diplomatic maneuvering.

    The supporting, arming, and training of Persian Gulf state armies in preparation for conflict with Iran has also been ongoing for years.

    That the US currently lacks a legitimate pretext to not only betray the JCPOA, but to pursue further sanctions, provocations, and eventually war with Iran will not stop the US from trying - or having a sufficiently self-demonized Israel try on Washington's behalf.

    Managing America's Dangerously Derailed Agenda

    Israel's growing role in provoking both Iran and Syria is a signal of US desperation. Brookings and other analysts both for and against US aggression toward Iran note that Israel itself is incapable of toppling the governments residing in either Damascus or Tehran. Israel's role instead is to provoke a conflict and retaliation - or even stage what appears to be Syrian or Iranian retaliation - to then draw in the United States who may be capable of toppling either or both governments.

    Russia's presence in Syria from 2015 onward has greatly complicated even this plan - which was written out in great detail in Brookings' 2009 policy paper. Brookings policymakers seemed to have laid out a plan that was clearly put in motion - but a plan that never considered the possibility of Russia intervening directly in the Middle East and placing itself between both Syria and Iran and nearly two decades of US regime change across the region.

    America's clumsy warmongering represents an agenda with massive momentum that has jumped the proverbial tracks and through its mass and speed alone continues traveling forward.

    For Syria, Iran, and all other nations sure to be targeted next should either or both nations fall to US military aggression and global hegemony - managing America's derailed agenda and minimizing the damage it causes while gradually grinding it to a halt will require patience, persistence, and unfortunately many years more of conflict, chaos, and loss of life.

    That the US is pursuing a similar agenda through similar means in Eastern Europe vis-a-vis Russia and in Asia Pacific vis-a-vis China will jeopardize global peace and stability for years to come.

    Preventing the US from sparking a wider conflict in the Middle East or through more patient and persistent means achieve its goals by partitioning territory and perpetuating bloodshed - will be key to undermining its efforts in Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific, as well as transitioning away from a Washington-dominated unipolar world order, toward a greater balance of global multipolar power.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 12, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - While US-led regime change in Syria continues to make headlines, it is important for the public to be aware and stay ahead of other US-led campaigns to target, destabilise and overthrow the political orders of other nations around the globe.

    Observers of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine have warned about potential violence as the US continues arming its proxies and their dangerous ultra-right militant groups in Kiev. Analysts have also been covering US-sponsored political destabilisation being fomented in Armenia.

    US funding and support alongside its Canadian and European allies in Southeast Asia is also on the rise. Protests planned throughout May in Thailand's capital Bangkok are openly aimed at regime change.

    US regime change operations can be broken down into several categories; Western media operations, US-funded local media operations, US-backed political parties, US-backed street fronts, US-funded academia and US-funded "human rights" advocates. Identifying them before Thailand's political crisis grabs international headlines provides analysts and commentators with a guide to facts that will almost certainly be omitted from mainstream reporting.

    Western Media Operations in Thailand

    The centre of Western media operations in Thailand is best represented by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT). It serves as the physical headquarters of many of the West's most prominent media organisations including:
    British state media front, the BBC;
    Qatar state media outlet Al Jazeera;
    the Financial Times;
    ABC and;
    many others.
    Reuters and the BBC in particular pursue a transparently bias agenda in support of political destabilisation and regime change in Thailand. Their narratives are unquestioningly repeated throughout many other US and European media platforms, big and small.

    Their role in covering up the abuses of the previous and now ousted Thai regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra while attacking and undermining the institutions that finally began dismantling their political machinery has played a central role in perpetuating Thailand's ongoing political crisis.

    In particular, the BBC's Jonathan Head and Reuters' Panu Wongcha-um openly and regularly consort with and promote opposition figures while denying critics and opposing views from being featured within articles and reports appearing on their respective networks. Many other members of supposedly reputable Western media organisations, while less obvious and less prolific, follow a similar and predictable pattern.

    In addition to serving as a central hub for these organisations' offices, the FCCT includes a swank downtown club and bar where events are hosted primarily to promote US and European interests and impose supposed Western values upon the Southeast Asian region, often done under the guise of promoting "human rights" and "democracy."

    The club regularly conducts training and indoctrination activities, many of which are funded by Western governments and Western corporate foundations like convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society.

    Despite the FCCT categorically denying accusations that it has received extensive funding from Open Society, evidence has emerged that years of training programmes helped stand up cadres of pro-Western propagandists to help dominate public perception and narratives both in the region and around the world.

    At least one alumni of this Soros-FCCT training programme now holds a senior position in Myanmar's new government.

    The FCCT also regularly uses its prominence and well-funded domination of public discourse to promote US and European-funded opposition groups ranging from foreign-funded fronts posing as "nongovernmental organisations" (NGOs) to political parties and opposition groups working with foreign money and support to overthrow the current Thai political order.

    US-funded Local Media Operations and "NGOs"

    The US State Department through organisations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its many subsidiaries and partners (including Open Society) fund myriad fronts posing as "local" and "independent" media organisations and "rights" advocates in Thailand.

    These include:
    Isaan Record;
    Thai Netizens Network;
    Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR);
    Human Rights Lawyers Association;
    Cafe Democracy;
    Book (re)Public;
    Media Inside Out;
    Makhampom Foundation;
    Fortify Rights;
    Human Rights Thailand;
    Amnesty International Thailand;
    Thai Poor Act and;
    Cross Cultural Foundation
    These organisations have in recent months coordinated together to organise and promote anti-government protests. And as their activities continue to increasingly shift into open sedition, NED's website has been redesigned to further conceal US government funding to these fronts.

    Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, funded by the US NED and whose co-founder Sirikan "June" Charoensiri was recently awarded the US State Department's "Women of Courage Award" presented by US First Lady Melania Trump, not only promotes and defends members of anti-government protests, its own members help organise and lead them.

    TLHR's Anon Nampa is one of the core members of recent anti-government protests demanding regime change in Thailand, begging the question of whether or not US funding is also being channelled directly into the protests themselves.

    US-backed Political Parties and Street Fronts

    US-backed political parties in Thailand include ousted ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party (PTP). Despite being convicted of criminal charges and having fled Thailand to avoid a 2-year jail sentence rendering him a fugitive, Shinawatra still openly serves as PTP's uncontested leader. In 2011, he openly campaigned in elections with his image and name liberally used on posters including the now infamous, "Thaksin Thinks, Pheu Thai Does" slogan.

    Nepotism: Thaksin Shinawatra (centre) served as Thai PM from 2001-2006. His brother-in-law Somchai Wongsawat (left) was his nominated proxy and served as PM in 2008 and his sister (right) Yingluck Shinawatra served as his proxy from 2011-2014 as PM.

    While it would be unthinkable for a fugitive to remote-control a political party from abroad as a fugitive in the US or Europe, let alone remote-controlling a government led by his political party, the Western media and US-funded fronts posing as NGOs have repeatedly insisted that attempts by Thailand to bar Shinawatra and his PTP from upcoming elections in Thailand are "undemocratic."

    Shinawatra's faltering popularity and mounting legal troubles has forced him to establish new parties to serve as proxies while maintaining plausible deniability. This includes the "Future Forward" party founded by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the heir of a multi-million dollar Thai auto-parts business.

    He is the relative of one of Shinawatra's primary political supporters and chose one of Shinawatra's own lobbyists, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, to co-found the party with him.

    Also included among the list of Future Forward's "co-founders" are so-called "activists" drawn from US government-funded fronts like above mentioned Prachatai.

    These political parties maintain a single joint-street front. Shinawatra's PTP founded the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) or "red shirts," a militant faction that has previously participated in armed insurrection, terrorism, mass murder, nationwide arson and protracted and bloody street protests as well as counter-protests amid Shinawatra's now 12 year struggle to return himself to power.

    "Mostly unarmed protesters" in Bangkok, 2010. Shinawatra's militants would trigger weeks of violence that left nearly 100 dead. They came armed with M16s, AK47s, M79 grenade launchers, hand grenades and even anti-tank rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). Bangkok's brush with US-backed violence in 2010 would serve as a microcosm example of what the US would do next year in Libya and Syria.

    The UDD has been recently re-branded in an effort to disassociate the front from its violent past. The Western media has played a vital role in rehabilitating the group's image by omitting details of its membership and leadership.

    Recent protests depicted by FCCT member organisations and local US-funded media fronts as "student activists" are led by US-funded and supported protest leaders including:
    Anon Nampa,
    Rangsima Rome,
    Sirawich "Ja New" Seritiwat,
    Ekkachai Hongkangwan;
    Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal and;
    Nuttha Mahattana.
    The Western media intentionally omits mentioning the obvious fact that the actual attendees are still clearly UDD members, many literally wearing their signature red shirts and carrying Shinawatra paraphernalia to protest venues.

    US-funded "activist" Anon Nampa.

    The Western media also fails to explain how "student activists" can regularly afford thousands of dollars of bail on an almost weekly basis, or pay for the stages, audio systems, matching t-shirts, balloons, masks and other props used in an otherwise obviously well-funded and professionally organised campaign.

    The fact that recent protests also include Shinawatra's UDD organiser Sombat Boonngam-anong among its core leadership exposes the fact that this supposedly "student-led" and "progressive, pro-democracy" protest is in reality merely a poorly disguised UDD rally in support of regime change and Shinawatra's return to power.

    Colour Blind? A recent protest this year led by US-funded "activist" Anon Nampa (right, white shirt, black-framed eyeglasses) is dominated by participants wearing their signature "red shirts." Despite claims these protests are "pro-democracy," "red shirts" are supporters of billionaire and fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra.
    Answering obvious questions about who is funding recent protests brings up obvious answers the Western media is clearly intent on burying.

    Bringing all Three Together, Plus Violence

    As was done in early colour revolutions in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union or more recently during the Arab Spring in 2011, the Western media intentionally misinforms or omits information regarding the background and history of protest leaders and their funding and affiliations to distract away from the fundamental illegitimacy of their actions and the violence they all ultimately rely on.

    Violence is an essential ingredient to transform unpopular, foreign-funded destabilisation into a catalyst for increased US and European pressure toward US and European-sponsored regime change.

    In 2010, Shinawatra's UDD bussed in several thousand protesters from upcountry to serve as cover for nearly 300 armed militants used to trigger weeks of violence claiming nearly 100 lives and leaving sections of the city in ruins after widespread arson.

    Selective Memory: Todd Ruiz, now editor of pro-Thaksin Shinawatra Khaosod English newspaper in Bangkok, openly admitted in 2010 during his social media messages that Shinawatra's red shirts were not only heavily armed, but waging urban combat against government troops. His paper Khaosod has now completely omitted mention of red shirt violence as it attempts to promote their return to the streets in 2018.

    The Western media who at the time across their social media accounts admitted to witnessing the violence, being targeted by Shinawatra's heavily armed militants and watching Thai troops confront and attempt to contain them, would later expunged all mention of the violent nature of Thailand's opposition from their actual reports, presenting the 2010 violence instead (and to this day) as a "military crackdown."

    Even at the time, the Western media and Western-funded "human rights" advocates cited violence they themselves knew was carried out by the opposition as a pretext for the Thai government to step down.

    Similar reports helped perpetuate and expand violence in nations like Libya and Syria where government troops faced heavily armed extremists depicted by the Western media as "unarmed" or "mostly unarmed" civilian protesters.

    May 2018 and Onward

    In the first week of May 2018, US-backed opposition in Thailand declared their intentions to step up protests, demanding regime change and insisting that their activities will continue until their demands are met. Considering a lack of genuine public support it can be assumed, just as in 2010, that violence will ultimately erupt and the Western media will attempt once again to cover it up, spin it or even justify it.

    While Thailand exists well below the geopolitical radar in relation to stories from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Yemen currently dominating headlines, being aware of the players, their backgrounds, affiliations and history, is an essential inoculation from the lies the Western media has been and will continue spreading as Thailand's political crisis once again spikes.

    If and when protests make it into international headlines, let the above information serve as a guide to navigating around predictable and transparent Western disinformation.

    As to why the US seeks to destabilise Thailand and install a client regime, it relates directly to US efforts to encircle China either with US-friendly regimes or instability hindering China's economic rise.

    Thailand's current government has brought Sino-Thai relations to an unprecedented high, including massive joint infrastructure projects, weapon deals and closer economic and military cooperation decisively at Washington's expense.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 12, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Israel has repeatedly struck Syria with missiles and rockets - the most recent exchange taking place after Israel claims "Iranian rockets" struck positions the Israeli military is illegally occupying in Syria's Golan Heights.

    Headlines like the UK's Independent's, "Israel and Iran on brink of war after unprecedented Syria bombardment in response to alleged Golan Heights attack," attempt to portray the Israeli aggression as self-defense. The Independent, however, failed to produce any evidence confirming Israeli claims.

    At face value, for Iran to inexplicably launch missiles at Israel, unprovoked and achieving no conceivable tactical, strategic, or political gain strains the credibility of Israel's narrative even further.

    But it is perhaps published US policy designating Israel as a hostile provocateur tasked with expanding Washington's proxy war against Damascus that fully reveals the deadly and deceptive game Israel and the Western media are now playing.

    For years, US policymakers admitted in their papers that the US desired regime change in Iran and sought to provoke a war to achieve it.

    Israel Baits the Hook

    The corporate-funded Brookings Institution - whose sponsors include weapon manufacturers, oil corporations, banks, and defense contractors - published a 2009 paper titled, "Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran," and would not only spell out the US desire for regime change in Iran but devise a number of options to achieve it.

    These included sponsoring street protests in tandem with known terrorist organizations to wage a proxy war against Iran as was done to Libya and Syria. It also included provoking Iran to war - a war Brookings policymakers repeatedly admitted Iran seeks to avoid.

    In regards to provoking a war with Iran based on a number of contrived cases, the paper would admit (emphasis added):
    The truth is that these all would be challenging cases to make. For that reason, it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)
    The Brookings paper even admits that Iran may not retaliate even to the most overt provocations, including US or Israeli air raids and missiles attacks. The papers notes:
    ...because many Iranian leaders would likely be looking to emerge from the fighting in as advantageous a strategic position as possible, and because they would likely calculate that playing the victim would be their best route to that goal, they might well refrain from such retaliatory missiles attacks.
    Brookings also admits that even massive airstrikes on Iran would not achieve US objectives, including regime change and that airstrikes would have to be part of a wider strategy including either a proxy war or a full-scale war led by the US.

    More recent Brookings papers, like the 2012 "Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution," would admit that Israel's role - particularly from its occupation of the Golan Heights - is to provide constant pressure on Syria to aid in regime change there.

    The paper notes (emphasis added):
    Israel's intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime's power base and press for Asad's removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria's military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.
    We can assume that the 2012 objective of taking pressure off "the opposition" has failed - since US-NATO-Gulf sponsored terrorists have been all but defeated everywhere inside Syria, save for border regions and territory occupied by US forces to the east.

    Instead, Israel's role now has switched - both from pressuring Syria, and from attempting to provoke Iran with attacks on Iranian territory - to provoking a wider war with Syria and its allies - including Iran - by launching provocations against Syria as described in the 2009 Brookings paper, "Which Path to Persia?"

    Despite Israel's serial provocations going unanswered for years by Syria, each attack is depicted by the Western media as defensive in nature. At the beginning of May when Syrian forces finally did retaliate, the Western media attempted to depict it as an unprovoked attack, citing Israeli military officials who claimed "Iranian missiles" were fired at the Golan Heights - rather than on-the-ground sources - both Israeli and Syrian who said otherwise.

    Syria Isn't Biting

    Retaliation by Syria, however, has been proportional and reluctant.

    A cynical reality remains as to why. Israel's war on Lebanon in 2006, conducted with extensive airpower - failed to achieve any of Israel's objectives. An abortive ground invasion into southern Lebanon resulted in a humiliating defeat for Israeli forces. While extensive damage was delivered to Lebanon's infrastructure, the nation and in particular, Hezbollah, has rebounded stronger than ever.

    Likewise in Syria, Israeli airstrikes and missile attacks will do nothing on their own to defeat Syria or change the West's failing fortunes toward achieving regime change. They serve only as a means of provoking a retaliation sufficient enough for the West to cite as casus belli for a much wider operation that might effect regime change.

    Attempts to place wedges among the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance have been ongoing. Claims that Russia's refusal to retaliate after US-Israeli attacks or its refusal to provide Syria with more modern air defenses attempt to depict Russia as weak and disinterested in Syria's well-being.

    The fact remains that a Russian retaliation would open the door to a possibly catastrophic conflict Russia may not be able to win. The delivery of more modern air defense systems to Syria will not change the fact that US-Israeli attacks will fail to achieve any tangible objectives with or without such defenses. Their delivery will - however - help further increase tensions in the region, not manage or eliminate them.

    Because Syria Already Won

    Syria and its allies have eliminated the extensive proxy forces the US and its allies armed and funded to overthrow the Syrian government beginning in 2011. The remnants of this proxy force cling to Syria's borders and in regions the US and its allies are tentatively occupying.

    Should the conflict's status quo be maintained and Russia's presence maintained in the region, these proxy forces will be unable to regroup or regain the territory they have lost. In essence, Syria has won the conflict.

    Indeed, sections of Syria are now under the control of occupying foreign armies. Turkey controls sections in northern Syria and the United States is occupying territory east of the Euphrates River. While Syria's territorial integrity is essential - Syria will be better positioned to retake this territory years from now, than it is at the moment. Maintaining the status quo and preventing the conflict from escalating is the primary concern.

    Over the next several years - within this status quo - the global balance of power will only shift further away from America's favor. As that happens, Syria will have a much better opportunity to reclaim its occupied territory.

    While it is only human for people to become infuriated by unprovoked attacks - these attacks by the US and Israel are designed specifically to provoke a response. Long-term patience is just as important to winning a war as immediate fury.

    Sun Tzu stated in the timeless strategic treatise, "The Art of War," that:
    A government should not mobilize an army out of anger, military leaders should not provoke war out of wrath. Act when it is beneficial, desist if it is not. Anger can revert to joy, wrath can revert to delight, but a nation destroyed cannot be restored to existence, and the dead cannot be restored to life.
    The US and its allies seek to provoke Syria and its allies into a war now while the US believes it still holds military primacy. Avoiding this until a time when US military primacy no longer exists is the true key to finally and completely winning the Syrian war.

    The most perfect of all "retaliations" will be winning the Syrian war - confounding and defeating the US, NATO, the Persian Gulf states, and Israel finally and completely - not launching symbolic missile attacks the US eagerly seeks to use to provoke a wider war they may be able to win while the current global balance of power still favors them.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 18, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - After now 2 years of accusations and constant headlines regarding allegations of still unproven "Russian influence" in the 2016 US presidential election, it is difficult to imagine that real political meddling or election interference anywhere around the globe could go unnoticed.

    This is especially true regarding the Western corporate media who has portrayed itself as deeply aware of the unethical and undemocratic nature of one nation interfering in the elections of another.

    Yet during Malaysia's recent general election - hailed by the Western media as a "historic win" for an opposition the Western media clearly favored - not a single story was written by media organizations like Reuters, AFP, CNN, the BBC and many others covering foreign interference during the elections.

    Despite the lack of Western attention regarding foreign election meddling, it is revealed that Malaysia's opposition is almost entirely comprised of US government-funded fronts - ranging from opposition leaders themselves, to political street fronts and organizers, to media organizations posing as "independent" Malaysian journalists, and "rights advocates" leveraging human rights advocacy to support the opposition and compromise Malaysia's Barisan Nasional (BN) party.

    Malaysia - a former British colony - faces the incremental expansion of US and European "soft power" within its borders - transforming it from a sovereign nation into a subordinate, modern Western client state. As the US is attempting to do all throughout Southeast Asia from Cambodia to Thailand and the Philippines to Myanmar - the final goal is surrounding China with nations hostile to it politically, economically, and even militarily.

    US-Funding and Support Propped up Malaysia's Opposition

    Malaysia's victorious opposition party - Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) - is openly headed by "de facto leader" Anwar Ibrahim.

    Anwar Ibrahim was Chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1998, held lecturing positions at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, was a consultant for the World Bank, and a panelist at the Neo-Conservative dominated and Wall Street-funded National Endowment for Democracy's (NED) "Democracy Award" and a panelist at a NED donation ceremony

    His service to Western institutions and the corporate-financier interests that created them - including NED - explains the unanimous support he has received for years throughout the entirety of the Western corporate media.

    Before his imprisonment in 2015, he led the Bersih street front, a movement Western media sources like the Guardian cited as being pivotal to unseating the ruling BN party.

    In a 2012 Guardian's article titled, "Anwar Ibrahim's moment of truth looms," it reported that:
    Elections are expected to be called any time in the next nine months, and even those who do not openly back Anwar often support what he stands for: relief from an autocratic and out-of-touch government they say has ruled Malaysia for too long. In April many tens of thousands of Malaysians took to the nation's streets to demand electoral reform at rallies organised by Bersih, an opposition-backed coalition of civil-society groups whose name means "clean" in Malay.
    In another 2012 Guardian article titled, "Malaysian police fire teargas at electoral reform protesters," it admitted Anwar Ibrahim's role in leading Bersih:
    Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who many hope will win the upcoming election, rallied the enthusiastic crowds as one of Bersih's leaders, Ambiga Sreenevasan, said: "We all want change today."
    The above mentioned Ambiga Sreenevasan - who has played a key role in this year's general elections in Malaysia - has received extensive US government funding for her activities, including US State Department money from NED subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), provided for training and support for Bersih specifically.

    The NDI on its own website would describe its funding:
    In July 2005, NDI organized a national-level workshop for party leaders on election reform. NDI has since conducted workshops across Malaysia to promote electoral reform in collaboration with Research for Social Advancement (REFSA), the secretariat for BERSIH. In 2006, NDI conducted a workshop for BERSIH that focused on pimproving the action plancs of each participating organization or political party. In 2007, NDI and BERSIH conducted a series of workshops in the politically neglected provinces of Sabah and Sarawak to educate previously disenfranchised political aspirants.
    In other words, the US State Department worked with Malaysia's opposition to build up its support base in an obvious effort to influence elections in their favor.

    US-funded NGOs and Media

    NED's official website often erases, deletes, and replaces financial disclosures regarding its political and election meddling around the globe. During the recent Malaysian elections, its disclosure for activities in Malaysia was coincidentally offline and instead, an ambiguous "search" page was offered.

    However, NED's activities in Malaysia are extensive - ranging from direct support for opposition parties as illustrated through its support of Bersih, to the funding of pro-opposition media fronts, legal firms dedicated to protecting opposition members and targeting BN politicians, and fronts posing as "human rights" advocates.

    On NED's website, it lists the following under "Malaysia 2017":
    Combating Corruption and Promoting Accountability
    Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4)$60,000To promote good governance and accountability and to combat corruption. This multifaceted project will encourage public participation in efforts to combat corruption, including research on various forms on corruption in Malaysia; education around the Auditor General's reports on the national budget; advocacy focused on strengthening the independence of public institutions; training workshops for youth on various aspects of corruption; and the promotion of online tools to build public participation in promoting transparency.
    Promoting Governmental Accountability and Strengthening Anti-Corruption Efforts
    Institute for Democracy & Economic Affairs$40,000To promote transparency and accountability within the Malaysian government and strengthen institutions working on issues of corruption. The organization will publish a series of articles, opinion pieces, and a book focused on efforts to combat corruption, produce infographics, and conduct roundtables and on proposed reforms designed to strengthen institutions and promote civic education on anti-corruption and good governance.
    Promoting Human Rights and Access to Justice
    Lawyers for Liberty$45,000To support a community of lawyers dedicated to the advancement of human rights through strategic litigation. The primary focus of the project will be the litigation of a variety of cases with important human rights implications and the conducting of public information campaigns and empowerment trainings.
    Promoting Pluralism
    Projek Dialog$25,000
    To promote open, reflective, and meaningful conversations among youth on diversity and inclusion in Malaysia. The organization will seek to promote an appreciation for pluralism through interactions between Malaysian young people and marginalized communities, including representatives of indigenous populations, refugees, and members of the Shia community.
    Public Opinion Research
    Merdeka Center for Opinion Research$65,000To carry out independent, objective public opinion research that will enable policy makers and civil society representatives to formulate policies and programs. The grantee will conduct public opinion surveys across peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak to gauge the Malaysian public's opinion on a variety of public policy issues.
    Strategic Litigation and Human Rights Advocacy
    Liberal Banter Sdn Bhd$40,000To provide the Malaysian public, especially young Malaysians, with a forum to discuss critical political issues in the country and to support the advancement of human rights through strategic litigation. Project activities will include a series of initiatives designed to improve young people's human rights advocacy skills and encourage their involvement in political processes, support for a variety of legal cases with important human rights implications, and maintenance of a resource center for Malaysian youth.
    Strengthening Political Parties and Citizen-Responsive Democratic Governance
    International Republican Institute (IRI)$395,000To strengthen political parties' ability to campaign and govern responsively and democratically. The institute will bolster the skills of political parties in the areas of coalition operations, citizen-responsive and data-driven platform and policy formulation, messaging, and leveraging new media. It will also help to bridge the gap between parties and citizens by providing youth with the platforms and skills necessary to voice concerns and engage in discourse on issues related to Malaysia's democratic development.

    And while the US State Department NED website lists an extensive amount of meddling in Malaysia's internal politics, legal system, elections, and media - there are actually many more organizations it has failed to disclose.

    This includes the prominent pro-opposition "independent" media organization, Malaysiakini.

    Under its donors page, it lists Asia Foundation, Canadian International Development Agency, Free Voice, Dutch Embassy in Malaysia, Freidrich Naumann Foundation, International Centre for Journalists, Media Development Loan Fund (MDIF), NED, and George Soros' Open Society as financial sponsors.

    It claims that it accepts no more than 10% from any of the 9 foreign government and corporate foundation sponsors that fund it. However, it is clear that all 9 of the listed foreign organizations funding Malaysiakini are themselves a combine of Western corporate-financier interests.

    Asia Foundation is funded by banks, weapons manufacturers, and big-oil. It also funded by the US State Department itself. MDIF is funded by Soros' Open Society. The International Centre for Journalists runs programs funded by Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and chemical giant BASF.

    Thus, regardless of Malaysiakini's attempts to divide up its sponsors to claim it is "independent," at least 90% of its funding comes from US-European corporate-financier interests.

    Malaysiakini - like all NED fund recipients - undermines their own credibility by claiming corporations like Boeing, Chevron, Goldman Sachs, and BASF are interested in "promoting democracy" and "free speech" and not simply spreading their corporate monopolies into developing nations under the guise of both.

    Double Standards, Not Democracy

    While the Western media has depicted a small number of Facebook ads from a nebulous Russian-based organization operating on a budget literally a thousand times smaller than 2016 US presidential election campaign budgets, as "Russian influence" - the US State Department is spending millions of dollars on efforts in Malaysia alone to build up the opposition's support base and swing elections in their favor.

    While the Western media clearly understands the unethical and undemocratic nature of such meddling as exemplified by their nonstop coverage of "Russian influence" since 2016 - they have failed categorically to even mention overt and extensive US meddling in Malaysia's elections, let alone condemn it on equal terms with their accusations against Russia.

    The Implications for Malaysia and Asia

    US-funded agitators in neighboring nations across Southeast Asia enthusiastically celebrated the victory of the US-backed opposition in Malaysia. These groups, while claiming to fight for "democracy" in their respective nations - represent a pan-regional effort to impose US interests upon Asia. They often coordinate their campaigns, defend each other during their setbacks, and create synergies as they move their singular, foreign-sponsored agenda forward.

    This represents a risk to nations like Cambodia and Thailand where US meddling is also present and equally extensive. Protests in Thailand are funded by the US government and supported by US-funded media fronts and "rights" groups. The opposition party in Cambodia had gone as far as openly brag about conspiring with the US government to seize power.

    For Malaysia itself - it remains to be seen which direction the opposition will go. Policies that aim to confront China, provide the US with a foothold in a region it is being systematically evicted from, or assistance provided to militants operating in Thailand's deep south will indicate a regime dominated by US-funded proxies, executing policy on behalf of Washington, not the Malaysian people.

    There is a possibility that the new government will include coalition members that keep its worst impulses in check. It is also possible that Malaysia's ruling government will allow the opposition to absorb public anger for a certain period of time - as few of the opposition's actual campaign promises are likely to improve the lives of average Malaysians - before taking power back in the near future.

    Either way, the notion of democracy is first and foremost defined as self-determination. If a political party or opposition movement is funded and directed by foreign interests, the nation they seek to control is no longer determining its own destiny, but having it determined for them by their foreign sponsors. This is why it is universally recognized as illegal, unethical, and undemocratic for one nation to meddle in the politics of another.

    For the US who has committed serial acts of international crime - including the invasion of Iraq in 2003, its current nearly two decade occupation of Afghanistan, its destruction of Libya and its ongoing proxy war in Syria - violating international norms and laws to meddle in another nation's elections while accusing others of doing so to the US seems to indicate a partner genuine pro-democracy and pro-human rights advocates would avoid at all costs. Those embracing the US and its deep pockets cannot be trusted to honestly represent their true agenda and should be expected to camouflage it

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 22, 2018 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - A few years ago the story of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal allegedly being poisoned with a deadly nerve agent in the UK supposedly by the Russian state, would have shook geopolitics and placed immense pressure on Moscow.

    Today, while it certainly did shake geopolitics, it was more from the narrative hitting a brick wall than from its desired impact toward cornering the Kremlin.

    While the United Kingdom's credibility unraveling played a major role in the UK's own narrative failing, it has been the growing global alternative media that has exposed and diminished the true nature of British credibility in the first place.

    Analysts have linked the Skripal affair with a series of other Anglo-American geopolitical maneuvers including staged chemical attacks in Syria and the subsequent missile attack launched against the Syrian state.

    However, all of these pretexts failed to find their mark, leaving Western capitals increasingly exposed without the cover of legitimacy they have manufactured and enjoyed in the past.

    Russia's Own, Modern Media

    Russia's own international media played a significant role in publicly informing global audiences of alternatives to the UK's Skripal narrative, as well as challenging the UK directly.

    The growing influence of Russia's international media helped provide balance to global discourse that was once solely dominated by US and European media organizations.

    Long gone are the days of clumsy Soviet state media. Russia's modern media has performed an act of public relations judo, using the most effective techniques of the Western media, and directing them back against the West.

    When this involves some of the most dishonest and aggressive agendas driven by Western special interests, they resonate with a global public increasingly disillusioned by the Western media.

    For the time being, the global alternative media comprised of small independent media organizations and even individuals, have benefited from working with modern Russia media.

    Despite claims of "Russian influence" and "Russian propaganda," it should be noted that citizens and organizations around the globe contributing to, being interviewed by and appearing on Russian media are no different than those appearing on American and European networks.

    Attempts to portray it as being somehow different is based on the assumption that Anglo-American and European media is in some way morally superior to that of other nations, yet this assumption in and of itself is predicated on decades, if not centuries of exceptionalism bred from quite immoral hegemony.

    Independent media organizations and individual journalists and analysts holding alternative views from the mainstream US-European media are systematically denied a platform to fairly air these views in the West. Contrary to the West's supposed values of "free speech" and objectivity among a "free press," the actions of the Western media promote anything but.

    As long as Russia's media focuses on issues such as corrupt global corporations, global military aggression and other global issues barred from being discussed freely and honestly in the West, this partnership will continue to flourish.

    The UK's attempts to frame Russia for a "nerve agent" attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter on British soil and thus dishonestly drag the British nation into a wider confrontation with Russia threatened not only Moscow's best interests, but those of the British public as well.

    The Alternative Media

    While state media from Russia certainly helped counter the UK's narrative regarding Skripal, thousands of independent media organizations and individuals around the globe also contributed.

    News personalities and analysts with large audiences across social media and video platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have grown into an increasingly important counterbalance to the Western corporate media.

    To illustrate how effective the alternative media has become, the Western media has intentionally and very dishonestly attempted to lump them in with Russian international media to undermine their credibility.

    Public Perception isn't Everything, But it is Also Not Nothing

    While the truth behind the Skripal affair has yet to be fully revealed, with Sergei Skripal and his daughter having disappeared from public view and official mention, and while it is still not certain why exactly the British government fabricated this incident, it does appear linked to the likewise staged chemical attack in Douma, Syria.

    The Skripal affair may have been designed to undermine Russian credibility at the United Nations Security Council ahead of the staged Douma chemical attack. Had things worked according to plan, a much bolder and more muscular "international" response might have been organized by the US, forcing Russia to back down in Syria and even potentially move the Syrian government out from under its political and military protection.

    However, this did not happen, for a variety of reasons.

    The military balance in the Middle East may still favor the US and its allies, but it is an advantage that can only be exploited through a much wider conflict than is currently unfolding in Syria.

    It will be difficult for the US to create the right combination of provocations and manipulate public perception sufficiently to justify the scale of conflict required to move its agenda forward in Syria.

    The Skripal affair failed make its desired impact on public perception regarding Russia at the United Nations. Yet the US was prepared to move forward with staged provocations and then strikes on Syria anyway.

    It is always difficult to quantify how much public perception plays in decision making. Washington's military might is not directly affected by public perception, but an unconvinced and unwilling public can indirectly and unpredictably undermine military operations.

    With this in mind, we can see why nations like Russia, China and Iran have developed their own international media organizations, clawing space for themselves across once Western-dominated global audiences.

    The impact of this may not have in and of itself stopped the "Skripal Effect," but it certainly blunted it. With sound foreign policy composed of viable incentives and deterrents, Moscow was able to fully stop it. The Skripal affair is now being transformed into a scandal, with the British government having more to explain themselves than supposed Kremlin assassins of whom there is still no evidence.

    As Russia reaps the benefits of years of developing its own reach into the global public, other nations across the developing world should consider the merits of creating their own international media organizations aimed at providing their side of the story to global audiences and reflecting their own national interests.

    Currently, many nations throughout the developing world have corps of journalists trained and indoctrinated in the West. When they return to their home nations, their reporting reflects Western, not domestic interests. They often develop direct ties to the Western media and even Western embassies, which further compromises not only any genuine journalist integrity, but also their ability to at least represent the interests of local populations they deliver misinformation to.

    Nations like Russia and China which export technology and defense systems, could potentially export their successes regarding international media by assisting other nations in building up effective media organizations that truly reflect each respective nation's interests. Unlike the US which funds media in targeted nations to simply serve as an echo chamber in support of the US-led international order, Russia and China would be giving the tools to other nations to defend their information space themselves.

    While the interests of these nations may not always overlap with Moscow or Beijing's, they will also most certainly never overlap with Western hegemony, a fact that serves to confront a common grievance among a growing number of nations worldwide well beyond just Russia and China.

    Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 25, 2018 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - Centuries ago, technology like sailing ships, guns, and steel armor enabled Europeans to appear on South American shores and appear godlike to the natives. Through a combination of spreading disease and wielding military, organizational, economic and of course technological superiority, Europeans subjugated the native populations and conquered an entire continent.

    European and eventually American technological superiority granted each and every subsequent century to the West. As military and manufacturing technology began to proliferate more freely and more rapidly following the World Wars, nations found themselves finally armed, economically independent and organized enough to throw off Western colonization.

    It is a process that is still ongoing, with brief instances of technological advances in the West providing an economic or military edge before quickly being mitigated by that technology's proliferation globally.

    This decrease in lag time between Western technological breakthroughs and global catching up has put Western hegemony itself in danger. It is a danger Western policymakers have been spending greater amounts of time considering, and because of that, so should policymakers the world over on how to protect and even enhance the global balance of power this reduction in lag is creating.

    RAND Fears the Future

    In a recent paper published by the RAND Corporation, a US policy think tank funded by, and working for the largest military and economic interests in the Western Hemisphere, fears of how technology may further erode the West's technological and thus economic and military edge over a world it seeks hegemony over are explained.

    RAND published an article titled, "Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security," which focuses specifically on computer-controlled manufacturing and in particular, 3D printing.

    The article begins by claiming:
    3D printers already produce everything from prosthetic hands and engine parts to basketball shoes and fancy chocolates. But as with any technological advance, new possibilities come with new perils.​​​​​​​

    The 4 ways include:

    1. Hackers Could Use Printers to Cause Real-World Damage;
    2. Printers Could Enable New Criminal and Security Threats;
    3. Printed Guns Are Not the Biggest Risk and;
    4. New Manufacturing Capabilities Could Endanger Jobs.
    While some of the concerns RAND covers are legitimate, particularly the danger of computer code being altered to produce sabotaged parts, these are fears that already exist across existing manufacturing industries worldwide with strategies already developed to test manufactured parts before their use for critical applications.

    3D Printed Firearms are Not a Real Threat

    RAND cites the 3D printing of firearms by "terrorist groups," however as the ongoing gun control debate in the US and terrorist attacks across the world prove, determined terrorist groups often carry out attacks using explosives or hijacked vehicles that kill far more people than single or even coordinated gun attacks. And despite firearms being so ubiquitous in nations like the United States, homicide rates appear to be more affected by socioeconomic factors than merely access to firearms.

    A person with access to a 3D printer who is not a murderer will not suddenly be compelled to murder because they can now "print" a firearm.

    Unemployment is also Not a Real Threat

    The RAND report also waves the prospect of employment in front of potential readers to ratchet up fears. However while 3D printing will most certainly spell the end of factories in the intermediate to more distant future, what they have already proven is that localized manufacturing simply decentralizes manufacturing and the jobs that go along with manufacturing, as well as the profits.

    To RAND's credit, they recommend training and education to prepare people to assume jobs in additive manufacturing (3D printing).

    The real fear, however, is that networks of local manufacturers will replace industrial monopolies, like those that fund RAND's activities. These localized manufacturers will benefit from equally decentralized and localized profits. Power will shift from large corporations to local communities and individual entrepreneurs, enhancing the balance of socioeconomic power on a global, national and local level.

    The End of Sanctions and Western-Dominated Globalization

    Thus it is what RAND considers economic threats that reveal the true context of fears among RAND and special interests regarding newer, more accessible and more localized manufacturing technology.

    RAND's article claims:
    Economic sanctions and trade embargoes would become far less effective if rogue states could simply print what they need. Isolated regimes or extremist groups could also use printers to manufacture weapons that previously required industrial expertise.

    "Perversely," the RAND researchers wrote, "(3D printing) might indirectly support the survival and rise of such states as North Korea, which would no longer suffer the same costs of withdrawing from the international community."
    Here RAND lays down its cards. With localized advanced manufacturing technology, attempts to cut nations off from the US-European dominated international order will become increasingly ineffective. In fact many forms of more traditional manufacturing technology have already become cheaper and more accessible because of advances in technology, to nations once wholly dependent on Western corporations for technical expertise.

    RAND also discusses fears over the end of globalization, claiming:
    At the same time, the trade ties that have held together nations—incentivizing cooperation over conflict—could fray. A car company, for example, might print and assemble the parts it needs on site, rather than making the parts in one country, shipping them to another for assembly, and selling the final product in a third. A recent report by trade analysts at ING predicted that 3D printing could wipe out almost a quarter of cross-border trade by 2060. Those trade ties and supply chains, the RAND researchers noted, have contributed to a dramatic decrease in interstate war since World War II.

    While it is true that these trade ties have "held together nations," it is important to note that they are being held together to the primary benefit of a small handful of US and European corporations, industrialists and financial institutions who dominate and direct modern globalization.

    Such ties have not provided an incentive to avoid conflict in favor of cooperation, as RAND suggests. Instead, globalization, when viewed as a modern version of British colonial mercantilism, represents a system of monopoly and control, interconnecting nations that are beholden to the entire system, and of course, an entire system dominated, directed and which serves the US and Europe.

    Sanctions wielded by the US and Europe provide a perfect illustration of how this system really works and what its true purpose is. Nations that do not accommodate US-European interests are penalized and unable to conduct business or maintain the economic health of their nations.

    Multipolar Manufacturing for a Multipolar World

    3D printing and other forms of advanced, localized manufacturing technology will undoubtedly reverse globalization and revitalize nationalism and localism. However, the prospects of wars erupting in this age of new localized abundance will be less likely than it is today. This is because as socioeconomic and technological disparity decreases between the world's most powerful nations and its weakest, so too will military disparity.

    The risk of initiating a war against a much weaker nation versus the benefits a nation will receive is what currently drives US and European military aggression around the globe.

    As nations become increasingly independent of globalization and as they acquire or develop military technology that improves military parity with the West, the smaller the list of potential targets for Western military aggression becomes.

    Expanding socioeconomic and military parity is the true fear of US and European policymakers employed by large corporations whose power and domination stems from global disparity.

    The emergence of decentralized, advanced manufacturing is inevitable. Nations with realistic plans to usher in an orderly transition from traditional economics to a more localized future will reap the most benefits. Those who squander resources attempting to impede or even roll back the tide of technological change will be swept away by it.

    For those determined to establish and maintain a truly multipolar world where national sovereignty holds primacy over international hegemons, creating a likewise multipolar industrial and economic foundation will be key. Additive manufacturing like 3D printing will be one of the pillars upon that foundation.

    Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 18, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Washington is attempting to seize on momentum produced by a sweeping victory for US-backed opposition in Malaysia by ratcheting up pressure across the rest of Southeast Asia through US-funded opposition groups, US-funded media, and US-funded and directed fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

    This includes in Cambodia where the opposition headed by the now jailed Kem Sokha has been barred from elections.

    Kem Sokha is in prison awaiting trial for sedition. Kem Sokha had trekked to Washington annually for years to lobby US senators like Richard Durbin and John McCain for support. He had repeatedly bragged about conspiring with the US government to seize power.

    The Phnom Penh Post in its article, "Kem Sokha video producer closes Phnom Penh office in fear," would quote Kem Sokha who claimed (emphasis added):
    And, the USA that has assisted me, they asked me to take the model from Yugoslavia, Serbia, where they can changed the dictator Slobodan Milosevic," he continues, referring to the former Serbian and Yugoslavian leader who resigned amid popular protests following disputed elections, and died while on trial for war crimes.
    "You know Milosevic had a huge numbers of tanks. But they changed things by using this strategy, and they take this experience for me to implement in Cambodia. But no one knew about this."
    Of course, even the New York Times admitted that the US government had likewise overthrown the government of Serbia through networks like the US State Department's National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its subsidiaries Freedom House, the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). It should be noted that Senator McCain chairs the IRI.

    Yet despite the open conspiracy to overthrow Cambodia's government and install a US client regime headed by Kem Sokha and his Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), there have been attempts across the Western media to deny Washington's role, particularly in the wake of now years of accusing and condemning what the US calls "Russian meddling" in US politics and elections.

    Washington Post Denies US Meddling by Citing an Army of US Meddlers

    The Washington Post in an article written by Anna Fifield titled, "The former Khmer Rouge commander who still leads Cambodia is again stoking anti-American sentiment," begins not as a work of journalism, but as an overt smear against anyone who suspects US meddling in Cambodia:
    The United States has been busy in Cambodia these past few months, if Hun Sen's government is to be believed. Between trying to overthrow the government and secretly backing the now-dissolved opposition party, it has been supporting journalists who report "fake news" and spy for Washington.

    Oh, and the CIA has assassinated a prominent political analyst. (Never mind that the analyst was actually a critic of the government and should therefore have been on the CIA's side, if the conspiracy theories are to be consistent.)
    One would believe that the Washington Post's initially unprofessional introduction would be balanced by a factual, point-by-point rebuttal of accusations concerning US meddling in Cambodia.

    Instead, the first source cited by the Washington Post is Naly Pilorge, head of the Phnom Penh-based "human rights organization" Licadho, who claims the US is being unfairly treated as a "boogeyman."

    The Washington Post never provides any background regarding Licadho. Those who take Washington Post's narratives at face value likely assumed the organization is independent. Those who actually visit Licadho's website will find a long list of US and European sponsors providing it tens of thousands of dollars in funding - including USAID.

    Next, the Washington Post cites Kem Monovithya, the daughter of Kem Sokha who lives in Washington D.C. and is a regular attendee of US government events organized to provide support for Kem Sokha and his CNRP.

    The article also mentions that the Cambodian government shuttered "independent media," but then cites US government-funded and run Radio Free Asia and Voice of America - both of which fall under the US government's Broadcasting Board of Governors chaired by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo himself, and Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Heather Nauert among others.

    The Washington Post also cites Nop Vy, executive director of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM). Again, like Licadho, a quick visit to the CCIM's website reveals that it is funded by multiple US NED subsidiaries including Freedom House and IRI as well as the British Embassy and George Soros' Open Society Foundation.

    Next is the Cambodia Daily, which the Washington Post claims is an "independent" and "influential English-language newspaper." However, the Cambodia Daily was founded and is owned by an American, Bernard Krisher.

    From Cambodia's opposition political party itself, to media organizations supporting it, to supposed "rights advocates" opposed to the current Cambodian government, the Washington Post failed to name one that was not either directly funded and run out of Washington, or literally living in Washington.

    All About China

    The Washington Post's article concludes by noting China's increased role in supporting Cambodia, including military cooperation and even alleged help in establishing media outlets such as Fresh News to reflect the government's side of the story.

    The Washington Post depicts this as somehow the tides turning against "freedom" and "democracy," apparently unable to appreciate the rich irony demonstrated throughout the entire article. If Beijing helped create favorable media for Cambodia's current government - Washington helped the opposition create a tidal wave of unfavorable media against it.

    The article also makes mention of neighboring Thailand - another nation US regime change is hard at work against - with a similar network of US-funded fronts aimed at the current government in Bangkok, the nation's powerful military, and its popular constitutional monarchy.

    It is clear that Cambodia's political conflict is not one between democracy and dictatorship - but of US-backed proxies representing interests in Washington and on Wall Street from the other side of the planet, versus an incumbent government who has chosen to build ties with a nation residing in the same region - Asia - with whom Cambodia shares many historical, cultural, economic, and political ties.

    US "Democracy Promotion" is by Definition Undemocratic

    The fig leaf of "democracy' blows away in the wind for US meddling and propaganda like Anna Fifield's article in the Washington Post when realizing democracy's first and foremost purpose is self-determination - not a fate and future determined by Washington.

    The opposition, media, and "rights advocates" the US finds itself funding around the globe require such funding because they represent agendas local populations see straight through and do not support themselves. It would seem a group unable to find any support among the people it claims to represent - and thus resorts to taking foreign cash and support - couldn't be any more undemocratic.

    For the Washington Post whose slogan is, "Democracy Dies in Darkness," an article that cites sources whose relevant backgrounds and conflicts of interests are intentionally concealed from readers is a cloak of darkness itself.

    Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Kem Sokha had been convicted of sedition. It has been corrected to note he is currently in prison awaiting trial.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 2, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Some of the most prominent newspapers across the Western World spent much of the end of May editing or deleting humiliating headlines and articles falsely announcing the supposed death of Russian media figure Arkady Babchenko - who turned up very much alive and well shortly after the Ukrainian government claimed he was murdered by assassins.

    The humiliation suffered across the Western media also stems from the fact that most articles also included preliminary accusations against Russia for the "murder" - a now familiar pattern of assigning immediate and baseless blame, evident after the 2014 downing of Malaysian airliner MH17 and the more recent Skripal affair.

    Blame was not limited to the unprofessional and increasingly exposed Western media. The Ukrainian government itself would go as far as directly accusing Russia from the highest levels of political power in Kiev.

    The BBC in its article, "Ukraine blames Russia for journalist murder," would note that even Ukraine's prime minster accused Russia of the supposed "murder," stating (emphasis added):
    Ukraine's Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has accused Russia of being behind the killing in Kiev of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko.

    "I am confident that the Russian totalitarian machine did not forgive him his honesty and principled stance," the prime minister posted on Facebook.
    Yet shortly after the announcement of Babchenko's death and as accusations began to mount against Russia - the Ukrainian government announced that his death was staged by Ukrainian security services.

    Ukraine's government now claims that the staged murder was in response to an allegedly "genuine" threat to Babchenko's life.

    The Guardian would elaborate in their article, "Arkady Babchenko reveals he faked his death to thwart Moscow plot," claiming:
    Details of the precise threat to Babchenko's life were murky. Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of the SBU, said Russia's spy agencies had contacted a middleman, identified only as G, and paid him $40,000 to arrange the murder. The middleman in turn approached a former Ukrainian volunteer soldier to carry out the hit, together with additional "terrorist acts", he said.

    The middleman was now in custody, Hrytsak said, showing video of a middle-aged, white-haired man being bundled by officers into a van. Hrytsak added that phone intercepts had revealed his contacts in Moscow. Dozens of contract killings had been averted, he suggested, claiming that the list of potential victims in Ukraine stretched to 30 names.

    However, the Ukrainian government's claims regarding the alleged threat to Babchenko's life and the necessity of deceiving to the entire international community are of course predicated entirely on the credibility of Kiev - of which it now has none.

    Some Come Up for Air, Others Dive Deeper

    Despite Kiev's current crisis of credibility - many members of the Western media still busy editing and deleting humiliating jumps to conclusions - find themselves immediately and unquestioningly accepting the Ukrainian government's explanation - a government who just lied to them about Babchenko's murder in the first place.

    Like a deep sea diver whose air tanks have run out - some have sensibly rushed to the surface - denouncing Ukraine's antics as deceitful, dangerous, and self-defeating. Others - however - are inexplicably diving deeper in the belief that an alternative source of air exists somewhere in the abyss of lies below now being constructed to defend Kiev's actions and the Western media's reaction to them.

    One example comes from Washington Post's Anne Applebaum in her article titled, "Ukraine's government just faked a journalist's death. Will it be worth the cost?" It claims:
    Babchenko was not dead. His murder had been staged in order to catch a contract killer who had been paid $40,000 to assassinate him and who was planning to kill others. Babchenko walked into the room. People cheered. The security services gloated: They had, they said, used the fake murder to catch the middleman who paid the would-be assassin.

    Plus, of course, they had finally made the Russians look stupid and themselves look smart. What "chaos"? Who's a "failure" now? They had convinced the world that Babchenko was dead, pulled off a surprise, caught a criminal. Because the security services are under direct control of the Ukrainian president, they may well have helped him in his coming election campaign, and that may well have been part of the point.
    Applebaum never fully explains how the Ukrainian operation made "Russians look stupid."

    Over the years following a US-organized putsch to seize power in Kiev, Russia has consistently maintained that the Ukrainian government is deceitful, untrustworthy, and illegitimate in the way it seized and now maintains power in Ukraine.

    The Babchenko hoax has proven Moscow right on all counts and then some - especially considering the added consequence of exposing the Western media's contempt for facts and its collective rush to baseless, politically convenient conclusions.

    It is somewhat ironic that Applebaum also claims in her article that:
    Until now, most Western governments have officially avoided the public trolling and open trickery that the Russians use on a regular basis. Instead of producing disinformation to counter disinformation, most mainstream Western journalists have doubled down on facts, believing that in an increasingly unstable world, they should stick as far as possible to the truth.
    Yet the entire exercise Applebaum claimed on social media, "outplayed Putin at his own game," proved definitively that Western "journalists" are entirely indifferent to facts. Even as it was revealed that the murder was staged and that Kiev was guilty of deceiving the international community - "journalists" like Applebaum continue to remain indifferent.

    And as members of the Western media like Applebaum dive deeper in into the abyss of lies and the same pattern of unprofessional conduct that teed most of the Western media up for this unprecedented humiliation in the first place - this final point regarding the Western media's lack of credibility is driven home even further.

    What Was Kiev Thinking?

    The full story regarding the Babchenko hoax is still unfolding. Had the hoax not been revealed, and Babchenko hidden away - it is likely the same scenarios that unfolded after the downing of MH17 and following the more recent Skripal affair would have been repeated once again.

    There would have been sustained accusations and condemnation of Russia - the implementation of further sanctions, the further justification of NATO expansion along Russia's borders, and further pressure placed upon Russian positions in Syria.

    The unraveling of the Babchenko hoax so far remains unexplained. Kiev's explanation is both implausible and lacks any credibility considering Kiev just intentionally lied to the international community. Was it a botched, staged provocation? Or something else?

    The United States and its NATO allies find themselves relying upon the lowest common denominator within any targeted nation. The US and NATO itself have suffered for years from a crisis of credibility. Those willing to work for a discredited and unsustainable geopolitical project like NATO would only do so because they lacked sound judgement and other human qualities associated with responsible leadership.

    Many in the Western media reeling from Babchenko's "return from the dead" have noted themselves that Kiev already suffers from a lack of public trust because of its serial incompetence, deceit, and corruption.

    Anne Applebaum herself in her Washington Post article would note (emphasis added):
    But the means — the fictitious death, the staged public reports — will reduce even further the already microscopically low levels of trust that Ukrainians have in their government and their media.
    Kiev is just one of many unreliable allies scattered across the multiple conflicts and crises NATO presides over. Many of these allies have proven themselves to be more of a liability than an asset to NATO and its global agenda.

    Because of this, those faithfully working within the system NATO represents - like Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post - find themselves cleaning up after messes like the one recently made by Kiev.

    Were the Babchenko hoax just a "sting operation" as Ukraine and many in the Western media are trying to claim it was, was it really necessary for the Ukrainian prime minister himself to comment on what he knew was a staged "murder," and even accuse Russia at the cost of his credibility? This seems unlikely.

    Did Kiev take it upon itself to unilaterally carry out their own rendition of the UK's Skripal affair - with its NATO minders distrusting their ability to see it through and forcing them to humiliatingly end the operation by publicly announcing Babchenko's murder as a hoax? This seems much more likely.

    Time will answer these questions in full.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • America's "color revolutions" are polished by the Western media to portray opposition as daring heroes. However, the truth is far less flattering, and even compromising.

    June 5, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Had James Buchanan - writing for the Guardian in his article, "'This country has no freedom!': how Thailand's punks are railing against the junta" - told the truth about who Kitikea 'Pure Punk' Kanpim was and the subculture of substance abuse and woman-beating he represented - the article likely would never have been published.

    But telling the truth is not the business the Guardian is in - telling narratives that buttress the US-European corporate-driven agenda is. And the agenda for Thailand is regime change.

    Just as the Western media sold the world tales of brutal terrorists representing "freedom" and "democracy" in nations like Libya and Syria in 2011 or right wing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine in 2014 - the Western media is rummaging through the lowest common denominator in Thai society to portray a fringe anti-government movement as a "popular uprising."

    To that end, Buchanan's article portrays drug-addled woman-beaters like Kanpim as disingenuously as he does Thailand's political crisis.

    His article claims:
    Anger at repression is quelled under the military dictatorship -- but the country's punk scene is turning the protest volume back up again.
    It continued:
    The provocative slogan, directed at junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, helped the event's Facebook page go viral, piquing the interest of pro-democracy activists and putting the small underground scene in the national spotlight.
    Despite Prayuth Chan-ocha being Prime Minister of Thailand - the Western media has repeatedly used the slur "junta leader" to depict both the prime minister himself and the nation's government as a backwards 3rd world dictatorship.

    Yet no mention is made of what precipitated the 2014 military coup in Thailand that brought both to power - not by Buchanan in the Guardian - and not anywhere else across the Western media.

    Western Media's Contempt for Context

    The previous government was headed by US-backed billionaire ex-prime minister, mass murderer, and now fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra via his own sister who openly ran as his proxy during 2011 elections. After coming to power in 2011, Shinawatra immediately began amending laws to grant himself and his political allies amnesty in a bid to return himself fully to power.

    A vote-buying rice subsidy program that played a role in putting Shinawatra's political party into power also began unraveling. By 2014, nearly 1 million farmers were left unpaid with their rice stolen away to government warehouses. Protests swelled to over 1 million people on key days. In a bid to cling to power, Shinawatra deployed heavily armed militants to attack protesters across the country leaving over 20 dead.

    These were the same armed militants who targeted and killed soldiers in 2010 triggering weeks of violence leaving nearly 100 dead in what Buchanan disingenuously called in his article a "military crackdown."

    Shinawatra's government openly declared it did not recognize the court's authority. Police - loyal to Shinawatra who himself was a high-level police bureaucrat before becoming prime minister - refused to act. It was left to the military to intervene to restore the rule of law.

    Up until the week of the coup that finally removed Shinawatra from power - people were dying in the streets and farmers languished unpaid and in crippling poverty induced by the Shinawatra's corruption.

    In this context, the coup would appear justified to most readers - which is precisely why this context is omitted in Buchanan's article and in articles all across the Western media.

    The Woman-Beating "Freedom Fighter"

    This brings us back to Buchanan's article and its attempt to portray Thailand's "punk scene" as a small but important part of the "widespread opposition" he claims exists.

    Friends close to Kitikea 'Pure Punk' Kanpim - admit that he suffers from a life of substance abuse - ranging from hard drugs and the abuse of prescription psychotropics, to alcohol and butane fumes. He is also prone to fits of abuse and violence - directed generally at his girlfriend. Local news stories have frequently covered his erratic and at times criminal behavior which police believe is associated with mental illness.

    In one instance, Kanpim would punch his girlfriend in the face, knocking her to the ground before painfully grinding his "Doc Martin" boot on her forehead.

    In other instances, his abuse has been caught on videos now circulating on social media including one where he is seen violently pulling his girlfriend's hair and grabbing her by the neck. Those in Kanpim's circle also regularly assault their girlfriends.

    Abuse against women is rampant throughout what Buchanan calls Thailand's "punk subculture" - but what is actually considered by Thais as "Kaya Sangkom," or "garbage society" - for obvious reasons. The only real common thread running through "garbage society" is abuse of oneself and of others and a complete inability to contribute positively to society. While Kanpim dresses in a style the less discerning could superficially consider "punk," he clearly falls under "Kaya Sangkom."

    Yet to write an article exposing vocal supporters of US-backed regime change in Thailand as drug-addled, woman-beating "garbage" would only prove critics of the opposition right - that efforts to rush elections in Thailand are being spearheaded by US-backed billionaire fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra, his political machine, US-funded "students" and "NGOs," and anyone unsavory and undignified enough to join in - including Thai society's "garbage" for a chance in the Western media's spotlight.

    Just as the Western media allied itself with the worst of Libyan, Syrian, or Ukrainian society - its alliance with the dregs of Thai society will eventually backfire as well.

    Such people have proven themselves notoriously unreliable - often overwhelmed by the attention they have desperately craved their entire lives and now suddenly have - exposing their true nature in dramatic and often very public episodes of violence and criminality.

    So far - the Western media controls the narrative in nations like Thailand which lack their own English-language media to tell the other side of stories people like James Buchanan and the Guardian intentionally omit - awarding dishonesty with impunity in front of international audiences.

    Yet just like in Libya, Syria - or more recently in Ukraine regarding the Babchenko hoax - where the West's lies have mounted and eventually backfired - the clock is ticking for people like James Buchanan and the "heroes" he is manufacturing in Southeast Asia's Thailand. The winds of truth will eventually blow, and when they do, they will take the credibility of those like Buchanan and their lies away with them.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 9, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Should decidedly anti-British government organisations be found across the United Kingdom to be funded and directed by Russians, we could only imagine the reaction. Even whispers of hints of Russian influence have resulted in legislation, sanctions and quite literally years of punditry warning of the Kremlin's insidious reach.

    When the tables are turned, it is clear London, Washington and Brussels understand the inappropriateness of one nation interfering in the internal affairs of another.

    Yet this acute awareness has not informed US or European foreign policy, including components of what could be called "soft power," or influence operations. While soft power implies non-coercion, in practice it is always used in conjunction with coercive means toward exacting concessions from targeted nations.

    Hiding US Funding

    In the Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand, a growing army of such influence operations has formed the foundation of an opposition to the current government. It is an opposition that without its current funding and support from abroad otherwise would not exist.

    Just as was done for years against nations like Syria, Libya, Ukraine and Egypt (nations to have recently suffered or nearly suffered the impact of Western-sponsored regime change), Thailand faces long-term interference in its internal affairs as a direct result of these influence operations.

    The opposition in Thailand itself is minute and unpopular. However the organisations supporting them enjoy a veneer of credibility owed primarily to their efforts to obfuscate from audiences their foreign funding and their actual role in organising and leading the opposition.

    One example can be seen in the local English-language newspaper, the Bangkok Post. Its article, "The fight for basic rights," interviews the American founders of a supposed nongovernmental organisation called, "Fortify Rights." Fortify Rights has consistently used its platform to support anti-government protests under the pretext of defending human rights.

    Nowhere in the interview is Matthew and Amy Smith asked where their money comes from and how, as Americans, it is their moral imperative to involve themselves in critical issues faced by Asia.

    Throughout the interview, the Smiths repeatedly admit to reporting back to the United States government, including testifying before US Congress and lobbying in Washington for issues related to Myanmar's ongoing refugee crisis. The interference in Asia by a nation residing on the other side of the planet seems almost taken for granted by both the Smiths and the interviewer, as if the United States is imbued with the authority to arbitrate universally.

    On social media, when the topic of US government funding was raised, Matthew Smith categorically denied receiving US government funding. He would refer to additional questions regarding his organisation's funding as "trollish."

    However, Fortify Rights' 2016 annual report (PDF), as pointed out to Smith himself, includes government funding from the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and the US Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

    Other controversial sponsors of Fortify Rights include convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society Foundations.

    Matthew Smith not only knows that NED is funded by and serves as an intermediary for the US government, (thus making Fortify Rights a recipient of US government funding), he is undoubtedly aware of how controversial such funding is across Asia, a region sensitive to outside interference after centuries of European and more recently, American colonisation.

    Implications of NED Funding

    NED's own website admits on its frequently asked questions page that:
    NED is a private, non-profit, grant-making organization that receives an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress through the Department of State. Although NED's continued funding is dependent on the continued support of the White House and Congress, it is NED's independent BOARD OF DIRECTORS that controls how the appropriation is spent.
    NED itself admits that it is funded through the US State Department. It claims that its board of directors, not the US government itself, then determine how those US tax dollars are spent.

    A look at NED's board of directors only further implicates organisations like Matthew Smith's Fortify Rights in deep impropriety merely hiding behind "rights" advocacy.

    It includes people representing political and business interests involved in some of the greatest injustices purveyed by the United States during this generation, including Elliott Abrams, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad (who served as US ambassador to Iraq during the US occupation) and Vin Weber described by some (including themselves) as Neo-Conservatives who promoted the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and have promoted other wars of aggression around the globe both before and since.

    Victoria Nuland, who played a central role in ousting the elected government of Ukraine in 2014 through a violent coup spearheaded by Neo-Nazi political parties and their militant wings, also serves on NED's board of directors, along with Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post who clearly finds herself in a conflict of interest between reporting the truth and promoting organisations and agendas underwritten by the NED she chairs.

    Another commonality is shared among NED's board of directors; their use of "human rights" and "democracy" as pretexts for the wars of aggression and regime change they have promoted and helped execute, which reveals the true purpose, whether Matthew Smith of Fortify Rights knows or admits it or not, of both NED's existence and the desired outcome of the work it funds around the globe.

    NED in Thailand
    Fortify Rights is by far not the only front operating in Thailand under the sponsorship of US government-funded NED.

    It coordinates with other fronts as well, including media outlets like Prachatai based in Bangkok (whose director also serves as an NED Fellow), Isaan Record based in Thailand's northeast, and BenarNews covering Thailand's deep south. All three disingenuously portray themselves as independent local media. They have intentionally taken steps to obfuscate their US government funding from their Thai readers. Prachatai has only disclosed its foreign funding once in 2011, and only on its English-language website.

    Each media front specialises in seizing upon and exploiting social and economic tensions to bolster opposition to the current government. Before the 2014 coup ousted the previous, US-backed government of Yingluck Shinawatra, these same media organisations used their platforms to smooth over injustices and emerging tensions threatening that government's stability.

    NED-funded Fortify Rights also works closely with fellow US funding recipient Thai Lawyers for Human Rights who not only provides free legal services for anti-government protesters, but provides resources and leadership to the protests themselves. The protesters portraying themselves as "pro-democracy" activists, fail to disclose their foreign funding to potential followers. They also avoid questions regarding how their foreign funding violates democracy's prerequisite of self-determination independent of foreign interference.

    Other NED-funded organisations operating in Thailand include iLaw, Cafe Democracy, Media Inside Out Group, Book Re:public, Thai Netizens Network, the ENLAWTHAI Foundation and the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF).

    Many of these US government-funded organisations play a direct role in demanding policy changes. Currently in Thailand, protests demanding regime change are also led by US government-funded organisations.

    The implications of foreign funded organisations attempting to influence Thailand's policy or its political future are troubling. Many of the individuals working for these US government-funded organisations on their social media accounts frequently comment on their opposition to "Russian influence" in their US sponsors' internal affairs, apparently failing to appreciate the irony of what their own work represents.

    They also fail to appreciate the irony of portraying themselves as "independent" and working for "nongovernmental organisations," despite being both dependent on wealthy and influential foreign sponsors as well as working on behalf of foreign governments.

    Through their connections with equally compromised organisations and individuals in Thailand's media, they have written promotional pieces about their supposed work, like in the Bangkok Post, without disclosing their foreign funding to readers.

    At other times, complicit individuals within the Thai media have attempted to write pieces defending or dismissing US government-funding when public outcry begins to rise.

    Rewriting Thailand's NGO Laws

    Despite the amount of funding and deception involved in this extensive and growing network, the US government-funded opposition is still widely unpopular. It would not be necessary for the Thai government to restrict their activities, let alone uproot and expel them as neighbouring Cambodia has (understandably) done.

    Should Thailand simply rewrite its NGO laws to demand the same degree of scrutiny and transparency of these organisations as they themselves demand of targets of US government pressure, their already unpopular message would lose even more credibility and support across Thai society.

    Prachatai, for example, being forced to disclose its US government funding at the header or footer (or both) of every article it writes would mean Prachatai finally practising the integrity and transparency it demands of targets of its daily propaganda. Likewise, those like writers at the Bangkok Post writing promotional pieces about Fortify Rights, should be obligated to disclose the organisation's foreign funding somewhere within the body of the article.

    Were these organisations as dedicated to the principles of transparency, freedom, democracy and human rights as they claimed, all of this information would already be freely and repeatedly provided to readers. If these organisations truly believed US, UK and Canadian government funding was benign or beneficial, they would not have gone through such extensive efforts to obfuscate and spin it to begin with. If anything, they would use such funding as a selling point.

    Matthew Smith of Fortify Rights would not deceive people on social media by playing off of a technicality in which his US government money is essentially laundered through the NED before reaching him.

    As the US continues accusing Russia of interfering in its internal political affairs, measures and consequences it attempts to level against Moscow could easily be cited and adopted by other nations across the globe to deal with the very real interference the US is engaged in within their respective borders.

    The double game the US is playing regarding its own interference around the globe and accusations of interference it has levelled against Moscow, prove there is nothing benign at all about its agenda and activities. In turn, this calls into question all those organisations whose existence depends on annual contributions from this malignant political order.

    Those truly dedicated to helping people will seek to independently fund their work by finding support from the local communities they claim to represent. If people are unwilling to fund Matthew Smith and Fortify Rights at the local level, it is likely Smith and his organisation are not truly working in the benefit of these communities, and instead, for interests diametrically opposed to them.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 14, 2018 (Brandon Turbeville - Activist Post) - Presidents Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are perhaps the two most unpredictable leaders in the world with everyone wondering from day to day what new provocative statement will be ushered from official channels. However, the two most unpredictable leaders appear to have found common ground, perhaps even kindred spirits, during the course of the Singapore Summit when both men came away with an apparent mutually beneficial deal that will see the de-escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

    While there have been no real concrete agreements as a result of the talks, the North Korean side has pledged its commitment to the denuclearization of the peninsula, while the American side has strongly suggested that it will put its military exercises on hold with South Korea.

    The first step seems to be an agreement for both sides to work toward recovering the remains of Korean war dead and their immediate repatriation.

    Beyond that, the statement agreed to by both parties reads as follows:
    President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

    President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to providing security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

    Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump, and Chairman Kim Jong Un, state the following:

    The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

    The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

    Reaffirming April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

    The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

    Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un, commit to implementing the stipulations in the joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to holding follow-on negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit.

    President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.

    President of the United States of America
    Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
    June 12, 2018
    Sentosa Island
    The talks have now concluded with the remainder of the negotiating to take place between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his counterpart with some suggesting that the next stage is the freeing of American spies incarcerated in North Korea.

    The Reaction From American Political Circles

    While Republicans, having never met a war they didn't like, attempted to keep their rage at the idea of peace under control, many like chicken hawk Lindsey Graham appeared on national media to tone down praise of Trump and warn against showing weakness and removing troops from one of America's many war zones. Essentially, they are arguing that America should dictate the terms, Kim should agree, and there should be no American concessions of any value.

    Democrats, however, have predictably been frothing at the mouth at even the idea of peace, particularly a peace negotiated by "literally Hitler" himself, Donald Trump. These warmongers and psychotics have railed against even talking to Kim Jong Un, claiming that there should be no peace whatsoever with a nation that has such horrible human rights violations, as if the United States has not racked up enough of those same violations of its own. These critics complain that Trump is engaging in "appeasement" of some kind which seems impossible to explain to anyone using logic or who is restrained by reality.

    But what is actually happening with this summit? Is it a true and genuine desire for peace or is it just cover for the next war to take shape over the next several years?

    The Potential Positive

    It is difficult for any genuine anti-war activist to oppose the recent talks between the United States and North Korea. After decades of technical war, threats to "obliterate" North Korea, constant nuclear tests, repeatedly provocative war games, innumerable threats against one another, not to mention the tension between South and North Korea, two countries that have long wanted to talk to one another, the fact that tensions seem to be easing can scarcely be considered a bad thing.

    While it is unfair that the United States and its "allies" can maintain nuclear weapons stockpiles as they march across the globe slaughtering innocent people while other countries cannot, an end to nuclear proliferation (across the board) is also desirable. If both countries can come to an agreement to, at the very least, stop provoking one another, America will have taken a greater step toward peace in Singapore than it has in decades.

    For all their public appearances, both Trump and Kim have appeared legitimately happy at the results of the meeting and both have expressed high hopes for the future. Trump even went so far as to tweet that the "nuclear threat" from North Korea no longer existed. But is there more to the deal than just a desire for peace?

    Despite America's desire for war or, at least the appearance of potential war, both Koreas have expressed a desire to not only talk but to reunify. In an historic meeting in April, 2018, the presidents of North and South Korea met and agreed to remove nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and begin negotiating an end to the Korean war. Despite the influence of the United States on South Korea and the human rights nightmare of North Korea, it still remains clear that both Koreas have an interest in ending the war, bringing about peace, and perhaps moving forward with integration.

    While it may publicly appear that the recent US/NK peace deal was a mutual desire between both parties to de-escalate and move towards peace, some analysts question whether or not that is the case and posit that the deal may have actually been made as a strategy of last resort on the part of the North Koreans.

    As Andrew Korybko writes for Eurasia Future in his article, "The Trump-Kim Deal Is The First Example Of The 'New Washington Consensus',"
    As it currently stands, China has monopolized a large chunk of its neighbor's economy, not out of any malicious or neo-imperial intentions but simply because it's been the only lifeline to the "Hermit Kingdom" since the Soviet Union collapsed and Moscow cut off all of its previous aid to the country. For all practical intents and purposes, China controls the North Korean economy, an open secret that's known to even the most casual observers even if it's "politically incorrect" to publicly say and is regularly denied by Beijing. The never-ending international sanctions had the effect of scaring off most other investors, and Russia entered the game way too late in the past couple of years to make any tangible difference. Moreover, by the time that Moscow got interested in North Korea's economic potential as a transit state connecting the investment-hungry but energy-rich Far East region with cash-flush but energy-poor South Korea, international sanctions became tighter, and Russia itself also signed onto them together with China.
    The cumulative effect of this latest development, particularly in terms of China's honest participation in the latest round of sanctions (for reasons related to its unease at having a nuclear-armed neighbor play the "useful idiot" in bringing American anti-missile infrastructure closer to its borders), was that North Korea had little choice other than to negotiate with the US and reconsider its nuclear capabilities. Faced with the real fear of experiencing another nationwide famine such as the one that reportedly struck the country in the 1990s, Chairman Kim's immediate interests were purely economic, and he painfully came to perceive of his "big brother" in the north as a Great Power who isn't above playing political games in pursuit of its self-interests. In China's defense, its global strategy of multipolarity was being endangered by what it considered to be Kim's recklessness in engaging in so many nuclear and missile tests, but regardless, the bonds of trust were irrevocably broken between these two.That, however, doesn't mean that North Korea regards China as an "enemy", but just that the young Kim had a rude awakening in terms of how the real world works, learning first-hand that slogans of ideological solidarity about a shared "communist struggle" don't compensate for his country's disadvantageous position as a pawn on the Hyper-Realist "19th-Century Great Power Chessboard". Disheartened by this realization and likely feeling some natural resentment towards his former benefactors, Kim decided to enter into unprecedented denuclearization talks with the US, though prudently taking care to involve China in all manner of his consultations so as not to inadvertently make an actual enemy out of it given how easily this very sensitive situation could have turned into a fast-moving security dilemma between Pyongyang and Beijing had he not had the wisdom to do so. Seeking sanctions relief and a "counterbalance" to China, Kim ultimately agreed to the Singapore Summit with Trump.

    Having predictably been briefed on the psychological-economic factors that drove Kim to come to the Singapore Summit and in all likelihood agree beforehand on what the outcome of this historic event would be, Trump came to the event with the fullest of confidence but also with a secret ace up his sleeve to sweeten the deal that he was about to publicly clinch with his counterpart. It's now been revealed that Trump showed Kim a Hollywood-style four-minute video extolling the economic and developmental benefits that North Korea could receive if its Chairman chooses the right path at this once-in-a-lifetime crossroad that the film dramatically hints he was fated to appear at. Evidently, Kim must have really enjoyed the promising message that was conveyed because all of his body language immediately after his private viewing of this film with Trump during their one-on-one meeting was exceptionally positive and radiated happiness, sincerity, and confidence as he agreed to advance his country's denuclearization.
    In an interview with Tasnim News Agency, Korybko also stated that

    After all, North Korea already blew up its only nuclear testing site, and its leader raced to win back Trump's approval for the Singapore Summit instead of the reverse. This implies that the US is negotiating from a position of strength while North Korea is doing so from weakness, showing which of the two wants denuclearization to happen more. The lesson that both parties learned is that their highest representatives need to watch their words in order to not provoke either side into responding with anything dramatic as a means of saving their reputations, thereby potentially endangering the forthcoming talks and complicating North Korea's strategic surrender to the US in exchange for promised aid and investment.
    So the question is whether or not the North Korean side felt it had no other option than to move forward with a political deal, much like the Iran deal, in order to save face and survive. After all, it is not reasonable to require North Korea to disarm from its only real deterrent while the its enemy who has been breathing down its neck for the last several decades simply promises not to attack it.

    A more important question, however, is whether or not the United States is negotiating in good faith or whether this new "deal" is just another "Iran deal" to feign an effort for peace while preparing for and even initiating war.

    The "Libya Model"

    Given that the United States has done nothing with its foreign policy but conduct illegal imperialist wars against sovereign countries that provided no threat to it now for decades, the concept that the United States is negotiating in good faith is hard to believe. It is particularly hard to believe when the United States had only recently engaged in epic harassment -- politically, diplomatically, and militarily -- against North Korea. Even more so, when the National Security Advisor and repeated war criminal John Bolton, stated plainly to FOX News Sunday that "We have very much in mind the Libya model from 2003, 2004."

    Libya negotiated in good faith with the Bush administration and eliminated its nuclear weapons. Seven years later, the country found itself on the wrong end of a U.S. backed destabilization effort which soon became a proxy war and quickly became a NATO invasion. The result? Libya was left in absolute shambles where it remains to this day. Race slavery was instituted by some of the many Islamic fundamentalist militias supported by the United States to overthrow Ghaddafi who was himself sodomized by a bayonet and executed on camera. Bolton elaborated further on the "Libya Model" reference on CBS' Face The Nation where he stated,
    In the case of Libya, for example—and it's a different situation in some respects—those negotiations were carried out in private. They were not known publicly. But one thing that Libya did that that led us to overcome our skepticism was that they allowed American and British observers into all their nuclear-related sites. So, it wasn't a question of relying on international mechanisms. We saw them in ways we have never seen before.
    Notably, the North Korea talks are taking place in public even if they aren't being met with high praise.

    Interestingly enough, Kim Jong Un seems to have a clear understanding of why giving up one's nuclear weapons is a bad idea, particularly when it comes to the United States. In 2011, as Libya sunk under the waves of chaos, Kim stated that Ghaddafi's decision to give up his nuclear weapons was a mistake. A North Korean Foreign Ministry official also described the "de-nuclearization" process as "an invasion tactic to disarm the country." The official also stated that the "Libyan model" touted by Bolton was proof that North Korea's strategy was the right one and that nuclear weapons was the only way to keep peace on the peninsula.

    Surely, Kim Jong Un has not forgotten his own wisdom in terms of dealing with the United States. After all, there is little difference between dealing with a Bush, Obama, or Trump administration.
    On the other hand, even seasoned leaders like Ghaddafi fell prey to deception and false promises of the U.S. For this reason, it cannot be ignored that one possibility as to why the United States seems so interested in peace at this point is related to removing Kim's nuclear deterrent.

    The Iran Deal Precedent

    On Tuesday, May 8, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States will be pulling out of the "Iran Nuclear Deal" which was struck under the Obama administration, a deal that he repeatedly called a "bad deal" and even "the single worst deal I've ever seen drawn by anybody."

    "The so-called Iran deal was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime," President Trump said. "In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and over time reach the brink of a nuclear breakout."

    He added that "Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie."

    Yet there was absolutely no evidence to back Trump up on his claims. Even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats have stated that Iran is living up to its commitments. Still, Trump has argued in the past that, while Iran may be sticking to its commitments, it is violating the "spirit" of the agreement by "fostering discord" in the region.

    This is highly ironic considering that the United States is the single biggest fosterer of discord in the Middle East alongside Israel. It's also false that Iran is "fostering discord" and that it is not living up to its end of the deal. It should also be pointed out that Iran was doing nothing wrong in terms of its nuclear program before the deal and should never have been bullied into signing it to begin with.
    Now, a sovereign country who has a right to pursue a nuclear energy program is being told by aggressive nuclear states that it cannot be allowed to be armed in the same manner, develop an adequate energy program, or defend itself against the aggression of the very states marching across the region and repeatedly stating their desire to overthrow, destabilize, or invade Iran.

    But while this move may have come as a shock to some, it shouldn't have. After all, the Iran deal itself was nothing more than the first step in the coming war on Iran. This can be seen clearly in the pages of the corporate-financier think tanks who develop and present US foreign and domestic policy. For instance, the Brookings Institution, as Tony Cartalucci writes, "whose corporate-financier sponsors include arms manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, energy giants Exxon Mobil, BP, Aramco, and Chevron, and financiers including Bank of America, Citi, and numerous advisers and trustees provided by Goldman Sachs," wrote in 2009 of the plan to use just such a "deal" to then justify military action against Iran.
    The Brookings Institution Report -- Which Path To Persia?

    The plan for a Western or a Western/Israeli attack on Iran, along with the theatre of alleged US-Israeli tensions leading up to a strike and outright war, has been in the works for some time. For instance, in 2009, the Brookings Institution, a major banking, corporate, and military-industrial firm, released a report entitled "Which Path To Persia? Options For A New American Strategy For Iran," in which the authors mapped out a plan which leaves no doubt as to the ultimate desire from the Western financier, corporate, and governing classes.

    The plan involves the description of a number of ways the Western oligarchy would be able to destroy Iran including outright military invasion and occupation. However, the report attempts to outline a number of methods that might possibly be implemented before direct military invasion would be necessary. The plan included attempting to foment destabilization inside Iran via the color revolution apparatus, violent unrest, proxy terrorism, and "limited airstrikes" conducted by the US, Israel or both.Interestingly enough, the report states that any action taken against Iran must be done after the idea that Iran has rejected a fair and generous offer by the West has been disseminated throughout the general public. The report reads,
    ...any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context— both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer—one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians "brought it on themselves" by refusing a very good deal.
    From the writings of Brookings, it is readily apparent for all to see what the latest browbeating over the "terrible" Iran deal and how the Iranians are not living up to their obligations under the agreement coming from the Trump administration are all about. The United States has bullied Iran into accepting a deal it should never have had to agree to in the first place and now the U.S. is attempting to add restrictions and obligations that were never part of the deal to begin with and/or claim that Iran is not living up to its end of the deal. If Iran can be represented as having been uncooperative, Iran will be painted as having refused "a very good deal."

    As the report states, any action taken against Iran must be done after the idea that Iran has rejected a fair and generous offer by the West has been disseminated throughout the general public. For that reason, the idea is being promulgated that Iran was offered a great deal at the disadvantage of the United States but Iran would not abide by even this agreement, continuing to insist on gaining nuclear weapons to destroy the U.S. and poor innocent Israel, forcing America's hand after diplomacy failed.

    Ironically, it is admitted by the authors of the report that the Iranians are not governed by lunatics intent on nuking the world but by entirely rational players. Still, they move forward with a number of options for attacking Iran. It should thus be obvious to anyone reading this report that the US, NATO, and Israel are uninterested in peace with Iran and are entirely focused on war and Iranian destruction.

    "The so-called 'Iran deal,' introduced during the administration of US President Barack Obama, represents precisely this "superb offer," with Flynn's accusations serving as the "turn down" ahead of the "sorrowful" war and attempted regime change the US had always planned to target Tehran with," writes Tony Cartalucci of Land Destroyer Report.

    The report continues to discuss the citations that could be used for an attack on Iran, clearly stating its intentions to create a plan to goad a non-threatening nation into war. It states,
    The truth is that these all would be challenging cases to make. For that reason, it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)

    While steps toward peace should be lauded, we must be sure these steps are actually being taken toward peace and not to another "Libya Model." North Korea may want to re-enter the world at large but it must not do so if the end result will be the destruction of the country yet again. Since Kim Jong Un already has nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them, he has significant bargaining power in any negotiation. Upon giving those weapons up, however, he will have placed North Korea in a precarious position. It may be too early to tell as of yet what will be the result of the Trump-Kim agreement but, for now, those who truly desire peace must keep a watchful and skeptical eye open.
    Brandon Turbeville writes for Activist Post -- article archive here -- He is the author of seven books,Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions andDispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at)

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  • June 16, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Claims of North Korean human rights abuses spearheaded attempts to undermine US-North Korean negotiations in Singapore. While the talks are unlikely to change the long-laid agendas of special interests across the West who have cultivated and profit from the ongoing conflict, it is important to confront these claims and diminish the intended effect they are meant to have in buttressing the notion of American exceptionalism and justifying American interventionism.

    Tales of North Korean human rights abuses are so pervasive and persistent that even those opposed to US exceptionalism and interventionism have shied away from confronting and refuting them.

    Rumors Built Upon Rumors

    One would expect such significant accusations to be backed up by an equally significant amount of evidence. Yet - like most of what the Western media produces and spreads among the public consciousness - there is little evidence at all.

    In most cases, tales of North Korean abuses are derived from hearsay by alleged witnesses and supposed defectors who no longer reside in North Korea.

    The New York Times provides a prime example of the sort of abuses unquestioningly cited and repeated by pundits, politicians, and political "experts" alike. In its recent article, "Atrocities Under Kim Jong-un: Indoctrination, Prison Gulags, Executions," the New York Times would claim:
    Mr. Kim rules with extreme brutality, making his nation among the worst human rights violators in the world.

    In North Korea, these crimes "entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation," concluded a 2014 United Nations report that examined North Korea.
    The source of the New York Times' assertions is admittedly a "2014 United Nations report that examined North Korea," officially titled the, "Report of the detailed findings of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" (PDF).

    The 372-page report - however - admits under an introductory section titled, "Methods of work," that (emphasis added):
    In the absence of access to witnesses and sites inside the DPRK, the Commission decided to obtain first-hand testimony through public hearings that observed transparency, due process and the protection of victims and witnesses. Victims and witnesses who had departed the DPRK, as well as experts, testified in a transparent procedure that was open to the media, other observers and members of the general public. More than 80 witnesses and experts testified publicly and provided information of great specificity, detail and relevance, sometimes in ways that required a significant degree of courage.
    In other words, the entirety of the UN's 372-page report - cited as "evidence" of North Korean "atrocities" by prominent media organizations like the New York Times - is based on hearsay gathered by an investigation that never stepped foot once inside North Korea. Despite a lack of actual evidence to substantiate these claimed abuses, the New York Times depicts the UN report's conclusions as fact.

    The New York Times would also report other unverified incidents as fact. The article would claim:
    In 2016, Kim Yong-jin, the deputy premier for education, was killed in front of a firing squad after showing "disrespectful posture" in a meeting. Hyon Yong-chol, a general over the armed forces, fell asleep in a meeting. He was executed with an antiaircraft gun.
    Yet even notoriously unreliable media organizations like Reuters would carefully distance themselves from reporting such stories as fact. In its article, "North Korea executes vice premier in latest purge: South," Reuters would report (emphasis added):
    North Korea has executed its vice premier for education and rebuked two high-ranking officials, South Korea said on Wednesday, which, if true, would mark a new series of measures by leader Kim Jong Un to discipline top aides.
    The article would refer to the alleged death of Hyon Yong-chol by claiming (emphasis added):
    A former defense minister, Hyun Yong Chol, is also believed to have been executed last year for treason, according to the South's spy agency.

    Regarding the alleged death of Hyon Yong-chol, the Washington Post would claim in its article, "North Korea said to execute top official by antiaircraft gun," that (emphasis added):
    North Korea's equivalent of a defense minister has been executed by antiaircraft gun for insubordination and treason — including for sleeping during a meeting in which Kim Jong Un was speaking, South Korea's intelligence agency said Wednesday. The report, if true, would starkly illustrate the brutal extent to which the young North Korean leader is going to consolidate power.
    More recent hearsay reported on by the Washington Post would even include the word "rumor" in the title of its article, "The latest rumor from North Korea: Another general executed," which stated (emphasis added):
    Yet another North Korean general is killed by the Pyongyang regime.

    That's the story that's been doing the rounds this week after a South Korean news agency quoted an anonymous South Korean official from an unnamed South Korean agency as saying that Ri Yong Gil, chief of the Korean People's Army [KPA] general staff, had been executed for corruption.

    It fit with the pattern that has emerged since Kim Jong Un took over the leadership of North Korea from his father at the end of 2011: Aging member of the old guard dispatched by young upstart leader.
    But clearly, the "pattern" Washington Post writer Anna Fifield and many others claim to have spotted is merely a pattern of unverified claims being made by the Western media - built upon previously and likewise unverified claims, creating a cartoon-like vilification of a state writers at the New York Times and Washington Post know readers are unfamiliar with. The Western media understands their narratives are difficult for the public to question without conducting their own, extensive and time-consuming research. They depend on readers not clicking links - if links are even included - to long UN reports and understanding the paper-thin credibility of such reports when built entirely on "witness testimony."

    The New York Times article also cites the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's brother, Kim Jong-nam, and attributes responsibility by claiming, "the United States said evidence showed that North Korea was responsible for the attack." Of course, what evidence the US was referring to has never been made public and apparently publications like the New York Times hold no qualms about repeating ascertains without such evidence.

    AFP would admit in its article, "US slaps new sanctions on North Korea over killing of Kim Jong Nam," regarding US statements assigning blame for the murder to North Korea that:
    The statement gave no details or evidence on how the US had come to their conclusion.
    Thus, the New York Times has presented a case against North Korea that depends solely on supposed witness "testimony" and the credibility of the United States government - and did so presented as fact rather than speculation - or more likely - familiar fabrications.

    Adding Up to a Familiar Mountain of Lies

    One would assume that North Korea - portrayed as a central security threat to both the United States and the world - would have a considerable amount of verified evidence to substantiate this process of vilification.

    The fact that central accusations made against North Korea are built entirely upon hearsay alone indicates that North Korea - like other nations previously targeted by US aggression and regime-change - is being intentionally demonized to advance an agenda borne in Washington and otherwise indefensible in the light of truth.

    It should be remembered that publications like the New York Times played a central role in previous episodes of baseless, intentionally dishonest campaigns of demonization.

    It was the New York Times' Judith Miller who fed audiences fabrications regarding "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq that helped build a public case for the disastrous 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction were found, and it was later revealed that the supposed intelligence indicating that any such weapons existed was intentionally fabricated and intentionally sold to the public to justify an otherwise indefensible war of aggression.

    While Anna Fifield of the Washington Post imagines "patterns" regarding unverified North Korean human rights abuses, a real pattern takes shape considering Judith Miller's WMD fabrications also included hearsay from less than reputable "witnesses."

    In a December 2001 New York Times article by Miller titled, "A Nation Challenged: Secret Sites; Iraqi Tells of Renovations at Sites For Chemical and Nuclear Arms," such witness testimony was provided, with the article claiming (emphasis added):
    An Iraqi defector who described himself as a civil engineer said he personally worked on renovations of secret facilities for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in underground wells, private villas and under the Saddam Hussein Hospital in Baghdad as recently as a year ago.
    Miller would go on to claim that US intelligence officials were attempting to verify the claims, noting that "experts said his information seemed reliable and significant."

    Multiple articles regarding Miller's lies can now be found across the web, including from other publications who likewise helped sell similar lies including the Washington Post.

    If similarities seem to exist between pre-war lies regarding Iraq and the current campaign to demonize North Korea - that's because they are similar - and in some instances, exactly the same.

    Reports across the Western media referencing earlier accusations to bolster the credibility of new accusations, all of which are collectively unverified and based solely on the word of defectors like those cited as "reliable and significant" sources by Western propagandists like Judith Miller, should be at the center of the North Korean debate.

    Instead, North Korea's "villain status" seems to be the first concession even those opposed to US intervention are willing to make - apparently assuming some sort of evidence actually exists - perhaps based merely on the size of the mountain of lies built up by the Western media over decades of covering North Korea.

    Instead, the debate regarding North Korea should center on the absolute lack of evidence the West has regarding allegations made against the nation. It should also center on the fact that while North Korea has been baselessly labelled a human rights abuser based on "witness testimony" gathered from defectors living outside of North Korea - the United States is openly pursuing itself or sponsoring multiple wars of aggression around the globe - each replete with extensively documented human rights abuses based not only on witness testimony, but also on photographic, video, and physical evidence collected onsite.

    North Korea is a nation whose military exists within its own borders while the United States maintains hundreds of military bases in over a hundred nations across the globe. The US currently occupies the nations of Syria and Afghanistan. It also maintains troops in Iraq as part of its enduring interference in that nation's affairs following the 2003 invasion. It maintains a campaign of drone strikes stretching from Africa to Central and South Asia.

    For pundits, politicians, and "political experts" to decry negotiations with North Korea as "legitimizing" North Korea's leadership, is to deny every aspect and verified abuse regarding the last several decades of US foreign policy - from the millions killed during the US-led Vietnam War, to its perpetual military aggression in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia to its very presence on the Korean Peninsula itself.

    Behind Every Mountain of Lies, an Agenda

    The systematic vilification of North Korea is of paramount importance to US objectives in Asia-Pacific. The US military presence on the Korean Peninsula is a necessity of America's long-stated goal of encircling and containing the rise of China.

    The withdrawal of US troops from the Peninsula would represent an irreversible waning of American "primacy" in Asia-Pacific. To prevent such a withdrawal, North Korea has been built-up by special interests across the West as an imminent threat to international peace and stability - a process aided and abetted by a complicit Western media.

    The supposed threat North Korea represents is just one of several alleged threats the US itself carefully cultivates across Asia to continue justifying its involvement in a region literally an ocean away from its own shores - or in the case of the Indo-Pacific - two oceans away.

    Within the so-called "Pentagon Papers" - officially the "Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force" and compiled by the US Department of Defense and leaked in 1969 - it was revealed that the Vietnam War was one part of a greater strategy aimed at containing and controlling China.

    Three important quotes from these papers reveal this strategy. It states first that:
    ...the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.
    It also claims:
    China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.
    Finally, it outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time by stating:
    ...there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR "contains" China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.
    The Pentagon Papers provide for us today the context within which to properly view current tensions across Asia-Pacific including upon the Korean Peninsula. The vilification of North Korea represents the primary means by which Washington continues to justify its engagement along the "Japan-Korea front" against China as well as eastern Russia.

    Of course, Washington's attempts to maintain "primacy" in Asia-Pacific is ultimately an unsustainable strategy. While recent negotiations with North Korea are unlikely to yield real results and the threat of a "Libya-style" betrayal is still likely in the cards, there will be an eventual point in the near future where the US will have to choose between leaving Asia-Pacific kicking and screaming, or doing so with grace - reestablishing ties to the region as a partner and guest, rather than an occupying hegemon.

    In the meantime, for those attempting to decipher events unfolding upon the Korean Peninsula - should their understanding be built upon the West's mountain of lies rather than the wider and admitted geopolitical context US-North Korean tensions serve, they face an impossible task. At worst, the most egregious deceivers will end up like Judith Miller - exposed and discredited. At best, some may find themselves writing hypocritical critiques of Miller-esque lies to deflect away from their own role - wittingly or otherwise - in spreading baseless and destructive war propaganda.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 16, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The Atlantic Council spearheads pro-war propaganda for US-NATO wars around the globe. This includes US-led hybrid warfare against Russia, the subversion and overthrow of the Ukrainian government in 2014 and the subsequent conflict that resulted, as well as America's interventions in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

    The Atlantic Council describes itself as: essential forum for navigating the dramatic economic and political changes defining the twenty-first century by informing and galvanizing its uniquely influential network of global leaders. Through the papers we write, the ideas we generate, and the communities we build, the Council shapes policy choices and strategies to create a more secure and prosperous world.
    The Atlantic Council seeks to create this "secure and prosperous world" for its corporate-financier sponsors which include weapons manufacturers like Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing - big-oil interests like Chevron, BP, and ExxonMobil - big-banks like JP Morgan, Bank of America, and HSBC - and also governments and organizations like the US State Department itself, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and NATO.

    Yet despite the scale and scope of both the Atlantic Council's mission and resources, its ability to influence public perception appears to be diminishing.

    It has been in Syria in particular where the Atlantic Council's influence has reached all time lows in both credibility and effectiveness. This is owed mainly to the fact that Atlantic Council "experts" are confined to armchairs in offices scattered across the West while alternative media sources are on the ground in Syria.

    A recent piece co-authored by one of these Atlantic Council "experts" - Aaron Stein - along with US Army reserve officer Luke J. O'Brien - serves as an example of how ineffective the Atlantic Council and its sponsors have become in communicating narratives to the public.

    Alleged Rationale for Syrian CW Use is Illogical at Face Value

    The article titled, "The Military Logic Behind Assad's Use of Chemical Weapons" published in "War on the Rocks," claims as its premise (emphasis added):
    When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime uses chemical weapons, as it has done on at least four different occasions in the past five years (August 2013, March 2017, April 2017, and April 2018), conspiracy theorists and Russian propaganda outlets immediately kick into gear to begin denying it. They posit that the Syrian regime would never use chemical weapons because, after all, it is already winning the civil war. Instead, these outlets suggest, the anti-Assad opposition (working with external powers) stages "false flag" events to provide excuses for an American military strike aimed at toppling the regime.

    These denials are absurd for a number of reasons, one of which is that there is an obvious -- but often overlooked -- rationale for the regime's use of chemical weapons. The Syrian conflict has demonstrated the value of these weapons for Assad's enemy-centric approach to counter-insurgent warfare, which is premised on the idea of using overwhelming force to punish local populations where insurgents are active. Rather than working to deliver services and stability to contested spaces to compel popular support, the intent is to re-establish central government control through naked aggression.
    The article would claim that chemical weapons (CWs) are more psychologically damaging to targeted populations than conventional weapons. The article also makes the claim that to dislodge militants from even a moderately-sized structure, it would require upward to 147 unguided 155mm artillery shells. Thus CWs - Stein and O'Brien argue - are more efficient than conventional weapons.

    The article claims that CWs can (emphasis added):
    ...seep into these buildings with relative ease, as long as the shells land even reasonably close to the target. In Syria as well as in other conflicts, the anti-Assad opposition has dug fairly sophisticated tunnel systems that are, in theory, impervious to the regime's heavy artillery and unguided bombs. To effectively target these buried facilities, Assad has turned to chemical weapons, which often descend and concentrate in low-lying areas. The advantage is clear: The regime can ensure heavy casualties with a small amount of effort, either by incapacitating or killing combatants, or by terrorizing these groups and the civilians who live alongside them.
    Yet in order for this narrative to be viable - readers would need to believe that the Syrian government had only encountered determined, well-entrenched enemies on "at least four different occasions in the past five years," as admitted in the article's opening paragraph - an utterly absurd notion at face value.

    Even casual observers of the Syrian conflict are now familiar with the dense urban environments combat has taken place in, with literally hours of combat footage available even to the Atlantic Council's office-bound "experts" to observe online, depicting Syrian combat operations using conventional weapons to dislodge militants from "moderately-sized structures," immense structures, and even entire cities.

    While Stein and O'Brien attempt to describe Syria deploying chemical weapons as a cheap and effective weapon of war to dislodge entrenched enemies, the fact that they themselves only cite four attacks in the past five years and the fact that the number of dead from those attacks - 1,620 by the West's most politically-charged accusations - represents only 1.2% of the total number of militants killed or 0.45% of the total war dead since 2011 - reveal their premise as an inverted reality.

    All Areas Syria "Used Chemical Weapons," Still Held by Militants Afterwards

    Stein and O'Brien never explain how such limited use of chemical weapons - even if the Syrian government was the culprit in each case - afforded Damascus any significant advantage over the overwhelming use of conventional weapons Damascus is actually winning the war with.

    In fact, all of the CW attacks they cited in their opening paragraph appear to indicate precisely the opposite.

    The first attack cited by Stein and O'Brien was the 2013 Ghouta incident itself - Eastern Ghouta having only just been liberated by Syrian government forces in 2018 - 5 years after the alleged attack.

    The second cited attack was in Ltamenah, Hama in 2017. Ltamenah - at the time of this writing - is still under militant control.

    The third cited attack was the Khan Sheikhoun incident. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) would admit in its own report that its investigators were unable to access the actual site of the attack because it was still firmly held by anti-government militants. At the time of this writing - Khan Sheikhoun is also still held by militants.

    The fourth and final incident cited by Stein and O'Brien was the recent Douma incident - in which allegations of CW attacks were made when the city was all but already taken by Syrian forces.

    In other words - in 3 out of 4 cases cited by Stein and O'Brien themselves - CW attacks attributed to the Syrian government failed to produce any tactical or strategic advantage. In 2 out of 4 cases, militants still hold the areas the alleged attacks took place in. The fourth and final case was a chemical attack carried out when Syrian forces had already obtained victory through the use of conventional weapons.

    Of course, there is another serious problem with claiming Damascus opted to use CWs in the absence of precision-guided munitions - Damascus does indeed have access to precision-guided munitions in the form of the Russian air force.

    Syria Does Not Lack Precision Strike Capabilities

    The article attempts to make the argument that the Syrian government lacks "precision-guided munitions," and thus has used CWs as a "cheap" substitute, claiming:
    Unlike expensive precision-guided munitions (and the advanced command, control, communications, and intelligence systems needed to use them), even smaller and less advanced states can field chemical weapons programs relatively cheaply.
    If you're an army forced to fight a war on the cheap, chemical weapons make a great deal of sense.
    Yet this is entirely untrue. Syria does indeed have access to precision-guided munitions in the form of the Russian air force.

    While Stein and O'Brien cite only four CW attacks they assign blame to the Syrian government for - to be charitable - consider the highly questionable UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and its claims of over two dozen CW attacks attributed to Syrian government forces.

    Compare that number to the number of daily Russian air sorties at various points since its 2015 military intervention in Syria on behalf of Damascus.

    The Daily Beast - a decidedly anti-Moscow publication - would describe the tempo of Russian air operations in Syria in its 2016 article titled, "Russia Is Launching Twice as Many Airstrikes as the U.S. in Syria," claiming (emphasis added):
    Five months after the first Russian warplanes slipped into Syria to reinforce the embattled regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the Kremlin's air wing near Latakia—on Syria's Mediterranean coast in the heart of regime territory—has found its rhythm, launching roughly one air strike every 20 minutes targeting Islamic State militants, U.S.-backed rebels and civilians in rebel-controlled areas.

    "From Feb. 10 to 16, aircraft of the Russian aviation group in the Syrian Arab Republic have performed 444 combat sorties engaging 1,593 terrorist objects in the provinces of Deir Ez Zor, Daraa, Homs, Hama, Latakia and Aleppo," the Russian defense ministry claimed in a statement.

    From February 10 to February 16, 2016, Syria had at its disposal on average, 74 airstrikes per day - versus the 4 CW incidents in 5 years cited by Stein and O'Brien or the roughly 24 incidents the UN Commission of Inquiry dubiously accused Damascus of.

    It is clear that Damascus had at its disposal a more effective and less politically controversial method of delivering effective firepower onto well-fortified targets than "CWs." The Daily Beast itself admits in its article that Russian airpower was "tilting the balance of the war in Bashar al-Assad's favor."

    Claims that Chemical Attacks Do Not Serve US Interests are also Absurd

    Stein and O'Brien also claim that the US has no means of intervening and toppling the Syrian government because of Russia's military presence in Syria. The article claims:
    Assad can count on the presence of Russian forces in Syria to act as a deterrent against strikes that could threaten regime stability. He can reasonably assume that American military action has to be refined to try and prevent unintended escalation, and will therefore be relatively small in scale.
    However - it was the staged CWs attack in 2013 and subsequent attempts to cite such attacks as a basis for US-led regime change that - in part - prompted Russia's direct military intervention in the first place.

    The US is also currently occupying the vast majority of Syrian territory east of the Euphrates - an occupation originally predicated on fighting the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS). Yet with ISIS all but defeated, the US has justified its continued presence in Syria in part based on allegations of remaining CWs - meaning that again - Stein and O'Brien's premise is refuted - this time by the very establishment their war propaganda is meant to serve.

    The Guardian's article, "US military to maintain open-ended presence in Syria, Tillerson says," would report (emphasis added):
    In his Stanford speech, [then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson] laid out five US goals in Syria: the defeat of Isis and al-Qaida, a UN-brokered resolution for Syria that involved Bashar al-Assad's departure, a curb on Iran, conditions for the safe return of refugees, and the complete elimination of remaining chemical weapons.
    The Bottom Line

    Claiming that Syria is using CWs as a "cheap" substitute for precision-guided munitions to dislodge militants from fortified positions contradicts reality both in terms of basic facts on the ground and logic. The fact that Stein and O'Brien failed to cite even one single instance where the use of CWs provided Damascus any measurable advantage tactically or strategically exposes their "analysis" as - at best - lazy war propaganda.

    In fact, the four instances they do cite illustrate precisely the opposite - with militants remaining in control of contested territory after the use of these supposedly "cheap" and "effective" weapons.

    Claiming that Damascus needs CWs for a lack of precision-guided munitions requires readers to ignore the fact that Russia has provided such capabilities to the Syrian government in the form of airstrikes since 2015, amounting on average to 74 a day at varying points in the conflict.

    Claiming that the United States does not benefit from staging chemical attacks when the very pretext for its continued occupation of Syrian territory - according to the US Secretary of State - includes accusations of CW use by the Syrian government - at face value is a contradiction.

    For the Atlantic Council and "War on the Rocks" which published Stein and O'Brien's article, had their goal been serious analysis - finding actual experts is imperative. Had their goal been to produce convincing war propaganda - it is recommended that they find more skillful liars than Stein and O'Brien.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 21, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Prominent Hong Kong opposition leader Edward Leung was sentenced to 6 years in prison for assaulting police and his role in leading riots in 2016.

    The Guardian in its article "Hong Kong jails independence leader Edward Leung for six years," would report:
    Hong Kong's leading independence activist has been jailed for six years for his involvement in some of the city's worst protest violence for decades.

    Edward Leung was convicted in May of rioting over the 2016 running battles with police, when demonstrators hurled bricks torn up from pavements and set rubbish alight in the commercial district of Mong Kok.
    Western pundits decried the jail sentence as the breakdown of the "rule of law" in Hong Kong. Yet the riots were violent and destructive, and most certainly against the law. For Hong Kong not to jail Leung for his role in criminal activity would constitute an actual breakdown of the rule of law.

    Edward Leung had been serving as spokesman and by-election candidate for the Hong Kong Indigenous political group. The group seeks the unrealistic goal of stopping influence from mainland China as part of a wider Western-sponsored political movement to maintain Hong Kong as a pressure point vis-a-vis Beijing.

    The movement also attempts to hold Beijing to the parting demands made by British occupiers in 1997 including the "One Country, Two Systems" principle which serves as the legal framework Western-sponsored agitators use to justify their activities and notions of "independence."

    Hong Kong "Independence" = Dependence on Washington

    And while the Hong Kong "independence movement" claims to represent the "indigenous" people of Hong Kong and its autonomy - it is in reality a creation of Washington and in no way represents the people of Hong Kong or the concept of "independence" in any way.

    Other groups among Hong Kong's opposition have already been exposed as US-sponsored agitators. This includes the entire core leadership of the 2014 so-called "Occupy Central" protests, also known as the "Umbrella Revolution."

    The Western media has attempted to dismiss this. The New York Times in an article titled, "Some Chinese Leaders Claim U.S. and Britain Are Behind Hong Kong Protests," would claim:
    Protest leaders said they had not received any funding from the United States government or nonprofit groups affiliated with it. Chinese officials choose to blame hidden foreign forces, they argued, in part because they find it difficult to accept that so many ordinary people in Hong Kong want democracy.
    Yet what the protest leaders claim, and what is documented fact are two different things. Accusations of US interference are based on evidence - some of which recipients of US funding have attempted to erase or hide. But even the New York Times article itself admits that:
    ...the National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit directly supported by Washington, distributed $755,000 in grants in Hong Kong in 2012, and an additional $695,000 last year, to encourage the development of democratic institutions. Some of that money was earmarked "to develop the capacity of citizens — particularly university students — to more effectively participate in the public debate on political reform."
    While the New York Times and Hong Kong opposition deny this funding has gone to protesters specifically, annual reports from organizations opposition members belong to reveal that it has.

    "Occupy Central" leaders and organizations receiving US support include:
    Benny Tai: a law professor at the University of Hong Kong and a regular collaborator with the US NED and NDI-funded Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) also of the University of Hong Kong.

    In the CCPL's 2006-2007 annual report, (PDF, since deleted) he was named as a board member - a position he has held until at least as recently as last year. In CCPL's 2011-2013 annual report (PDF, since deleted), NED subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is listed as having provided funding to the organization to "design and implement an online Models of Universal Suffrage portal where the general public can discuss and provide feedback and ideas on which method of universal suffrage is most suitable for Hong Kong."
    In CCPL's annual report for 2013-2014 (PDF, since deleted), Tai is not listed as a board member but is listed as participating in at least 3 conferences organized by CCPL, and as heading at least one of CCPL's projects. At least one conference has him speaking side-by-side another prominent "Occupy Central" figure, Audrey Eu. The 2013-2014 annual report also lists NDI as funding CCPL's "Design Democracy Hong Kong" website.
    Joshua Wong: "Occupy Central" leader and secretary general of the "Demosisto" party. While Wong and other have attempted to deny any links to Washington, Wong would literally travel to Washington once the protests concluded to pick up an award for his efforts from NED subsidiary, Freedom House.

    Audrey Eu Yuet-mee: the Civic Party chairwoman, who in addition to speaking at CCPL-NDI functions side-by-side with Benny Tai, is entwined with the US State Department and its NDI elsewhere. She regularly attends forums sponsored by NED and its subsidiary NDI. In 2009 she was a featured speaker at an NDI sponsored public policy forum hosted by "SynergyNet," also funded by NDI. In 2012 she was a guest speaker at the NDI-funded Women's Centre "International Women's Day" event, hosted by the Hong Kong Council of Women (HKCW) which is also annually funded by the NDI.
    Martin Lee: a senior leader of the Occupy Central movement. Lee organized and physically led protest marches. He also regularly delivered speeches according to the South China Morning Post. But before leading the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong, he and Anson Chan were in Washington D.C. before the NED soliciting US assistance (video).
    During a talk in Washington titled, "Why Democracy in Hong Kong Matters," Lee and Chan would lay out the entire "Occupy Central" narrative about independence from Beijing and a desire for self-governance before an American audience representing a foreign government Lee, Chan, and their entire opposition are ironically very much dependent on. NED would eventually release a statement claiming that it has never aided Lee or Chan, nor were Lee or Chan leaders of the "Occupy Central" movement.
    But by 2015, after "Occupy Central" was over, NED subsidiary Freedom House would not only invite Benny Tai and Joshua Wong to Washington, but also Martin Lee in an event acknowledging the three as "Hong Kong democracy leaders." All three would take to the stage with their signature yellow umbrellas, representing their roles in the "Occupy Central" protests, and of course - exposing NED's lie denying Lee's leadership role in the protests. Additionally, multiple leaked US diplomatic cables (here, here, and here) indicate that Martin Lee has been in close contact with the US government for years, and regularly asked for and received various forms of aid.
    Interestingly enough, much of the evidence was first exposed by independent bloggers. Evidence that was picked up by larger media networks was admitted to. Other evidence that was not, has since been deleted. One wonders if the evidence had not contradicted denials by "Occupy Central" leaders regarding US funding, why would they have systematically deleted entire webpages and even annual reports from the Internet.

    In terms of foreign ties, Edward Leung is no exception. He and his associates have also been implicated with maintaining inappropriate relations with the US government.

    Edward Leung and other "Independents" Caught Meeting US Diplomats

    In one South China Morning Post article titled, "'Not some kind of secret meeting': Hong Kong Indigenous leaders meet with American diplomats," the Post, Edward Leung and fellow "Hong Kong Indigenous" member Ray Wong would attempt to explain why they were caught secretly meeting with the US consulate in Hong Kong.

    The article would claim:
    The photos, published by news website Bastille Post on Wednesday night, showed three members of the group -- including Edward Leung Tin-kei and Ray Wong Toi-yeung -- meeting two consulate staffers. The quintet reportedly chatted for around an hour and a half, speaking in Putonghua at times, before going their separate ways.

    Some mainland media and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying have both claimed that there were foreign forces behind the city's pro-democracy protests of 2014.
    And of course, foreign forces - specifically Washington - is confirmed to have been funding and backing virtually every aspect of the 2014 protests.

    Ray Wong would claim:
    I think it's perfectly normal to meet with consulates of different countries. I know it is a practice for consulates of different countries to meet and communicate with civil organizers and politicians. Our meeting with the US consulate was not private. It took place at a rather public setting.
    In the past, for them to understand localists and us, they did it through foreign media and (other) media. But most of the media have established views, or are bias in order to create news value. I guess the most direct way is for us to tell them our beliefs and stances.
    When asked if he had been approached by other consulates apart from the US, he replied while laughing:
    Yes, but I cannot discuss that.
    Virtually every comment Ray Wong made was untrue. Had photos of his and Edward Leung's meeting not been leaked online, he and the rest of Hong Kong Indigenous would have categorically denied any ties or meetings with the US government - just as many other Occupy Central groups have attempted to do.

    It is also unlikely that Leung and Wong were simply informing the US of their "beliefs and stances" since the US has been underwriting their movement and the rest of Occupy Central for years now. What would Leung and Wong have told the US consulate that Martin Lee and Anson Chan hadn't already told representatives of the US government during their over one-hour talk in front of the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington D.C. in 2014? Or during numerous other meetings stretching back for years and documented within Wikileak's archive of US diplomatic cables?

    Ray Wong's final answer about not being able to discuss other meetings with foreign consulates speaks for itself - indicating impropriety that only additional documentation and evidence will be able to force an acknowledgement of - along with excuses - regarding an "independence" movement apparently completely dependent on Washington.

    As Beijing dismantled and diminishes this foreign-funded network in Hong Kong, it is important to not only keep the above facts in mind, but keep them in mind in regards to the intentional and repetitious lies told by the Western media to portray individuals like Edward Leung and organizations like Hong Kong Indigenous as "pro-democracy" rather than the US proxies they truly are.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 27, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - US and European media outlets reported anti-Chinese protests across Vietnam. Claims regarding numbers varied greatly from several hundred to others claiming several thousand. The Western media was particularly careful not to mention the names of any of the individuals or organisations leading the protests.

    The South China Morning Post in its article titled, "Anti-China protests: dozens arrested as Vietnam patriotism spirals into unrest," would claim:
    People were angry at a draft law that would allow 99-year concessions in planned special economic zones, which some view as sweetheart deals for foreign and specifically Chinese firms.
    Though the Post and others across the Western mainstream media claimed the protests were "peaceful," they eventually spiralled out of control resulting in assaults on police and vandalism of public buildings.

    The systematic omission of essential facts and intentional misrepresentation regarding the protests follows the same pattern observed regarding other US-European sponsored unrest around the globe.

    Anti-Chinese Fervour is Pro-American, Not "Nationalist"

    The Post itself would claim the protests took on a "nationalist" tone, yet in the Post's own article and without an explanation from the Post as to why, American flags could be clearly spotted among the mobs.

    The few names that were mentioned by the US-European media included well-known so-called "pro-democracy" activists drawn from networks openly supported by Washington, London and Brussels.

    This included Duong Dai Trieu Lam, mentioned by the Financial Times in its article, "Anti-Chinese protesters take to Vietnam's streets." He's a member of the so-called Vietnamese Bloggers Network which routinely coordinates its anti-government activities with the support of Western embassies.

    The network was founded by now-jailed opposition figure Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known as "Mother Mushroom." A Newsweek article titled, "Who is Vietnam's Mother Mushroom? Blogger Honored by Melania Trump Jailed for Ten Years," would admit:
    Quynh, a single mother of two, had given interviews to Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, her lawyer Vo An Don said. She founded a network of bloggers in her homeland and has written about deaths in police custody, environmental disasters and human rights.

    She received the Woman of Courage award at the U.S. State Department in March this year, presented by Melania Trump. Vietnam said the award "was not appropriate and of no benefit to the development of the relations between the two countries", the Guardian reported.
    Other US-European sponsored opposition figures include Nguyen Van Dai who heads the so-called "Brotherhood for Democracy," another transparently US-funded and directed front aimed at pressuring, destabilising, co-opting and/or overthrowing Vietnam's political order.

    Nguyen Van Dai was recently released from prison and exiled from Vietnam.

    His exile was not the first. There was also blogger Nguyen Hoang Hai, also known as Dieu Cay, who when exiled to the United States, was greeted by supporters waving the yellow and red-striped flag of the now defunct Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the proxy state created by French colonialists and American invaders during the Vietnam War.

    His return was covered by US State Department-funded and directed Radio Free Asia's Vietnamese-language version.

    Other pro-US/anti-Chinese opposition figures include Le Quoc Quan, who was in fact a US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) fellow. US Congress members and the NED itself wrote passionate pleas for Le Quoc Quan's release from prison. The NED, in a post on their website titled, "NED Reagan-Fascell Fellow Le Quoc Quan Arrested after Return to Vietnam," would claim (our emphasis):
    The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is greatly troubled by the arrest in Vietnam of Le Quoc Quan. Le Quoc Quan, a lawyer, has recently been in residence at NED on a congressionally-funded Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship, pursuing independent research on the role of civil society in emerging democracies. He was arrested on March 8 in his hometown in Nghe An province, only 4 days after his return from Washington to Vietnam. At this time, Le Quoc Quan's whereabouts are unknown, and there are no public charges against him.

    "It is a deep insult to the United States that the Vietnamese regime would harass someone in this way who has just participated in a citizen exchange program supported by the US Congress and Department of State," said NED President Carl Gershman. "Le Quoc Quan is someone who is optimistic about the future of his country, who is most concerned about improving the lives of his fellow citizens, and who is nothing if not a Vietnamese patriot."
    Frontline Defenders, a front funded by Western governments and corporate foundations like George Soros' Open Society, would mention Le Quoc Quan's anti-Chinese activities, stating that:
    As well as providing legal representation to those who are persecuted for claiming their rights, Le Quoc Quan runs a blog. In this blog he writes about various issues including civil rights, political pluralism and religious freedom. He has also participated in a number of protests against China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.
    It is clear that Vietnam's so-called opposition is in no way "nationalist," and merely opposes Chinese interests in Vietnam because Washington opposes them. By taking US and European funding and carrying out Western directives, they are actively undermining Vietnam's sovereignty, not upholding it.

    It is also clear why the US and European media omit mention of opposition leaders even when covering significant events like the recent anti-China street protests. Had the truth been told to international audiences, the opposition's hypocrisy would be exposed and their legitimacy undermined.

    American Meddling Endangers Vietnam and the Region

    At a time when the US and its European allies make accusations about supposed "Russian interference," US and European-backed mobs take to the streets in nations like Vietnam, attempting to influence national policy and decision-making, while literally flying US flags.

    For Hanoi, it must continue its balancing act between Beijing and Washington. But the sort of opposition Washington is cultivating in the streets of Vietnam appears to not only be overtly coercive, but clearly connected to unfinished business dating back to the US invasion and occupation of Vietnam. Hanoi and Beijing have faced off militarily as well, but the threat the US posed and still poses is not a matter of disputed borders between two nations, but Washington's enduring desire to control all within Vietnam's borders.

    Vietnam is not the only nation facing growing US coercion in the form of US-funded and directed opposition movements. Cambodia and Thailand likewise face opposition parties entirely backed by the US and its European allies. US-backed opposition also just assumed power in Malaysia and a US-funded and directed opposition party has already seized power and ruled in Myanmar since 2016.

    US efforts to undermine and overwrite national sovereignty across Southeast Asia includes regional synergies between opposition fronts in each respective nation. It would likely benefit targeted nations to likewise coordinate their activities in countering, diminishing or entirely uprooting foreign-funded and directed networks interfering in the region's internal political affairs.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 29, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The International Institute for Strategic Studies's (IISS) annual Shangri-La Dialogue brings together diplomats, ministers, and representatives from around the world to discuss Asian security.

    Researchers at Western think tanks including from the IISS itself have been promoting this year's forum as an opportunity to sell Washington's re-branded "Indo-Pacific" strategy and the continued primacy of the US and its "rules-based international order" across the region.

    IISS researcher Lynn Kuok in her piece, "Shangri-La Dialogue: Negotiating the Indo-Pacific security landscape," would also attempt to spin America's strategy as anything but "anti-China."

    Yet US Defense Secretary James Mattis' remarks at the forum opened almost immediately by referencing the 2018 National Defense Strategy (.pdf) in which China is described as:
    ...a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea.
    Mattis would draw heavily from the NDS document throughout his opening remarks and repeatedly during the following question and answer session.

    By the end of his session it had become abundantly clear that the US sought to maintain the status quo including enduring security threats the US would use to justify its military presence across the region and to arm its various allies, treaty members, and other partners to meet - much to the delight of the Shangri-La Dialogue's sponsors this year - including Boeing, Raytheon, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, and BAE Systems.

    Hawking Weapons

    Repeatedly referring to China and the South China Sea, as well as North Korea and Taiwan - Mattis declared that part of American leadership in the Indo-Pacific region would be the building up of allied military, naval, and law enforcement capabilities.

    He also stated that the US seeks military integration through "the promotion and sales of cutting-edge US defense equipment to security partners."

    As if to dispel any doubts regarding the context of Mattis' comments, Bloomberg would make mention of the forum - and forum sponsor Raytheon - in its article, "Raytheon Sees Demand for Patriot Missiles as U.S. Pushes Exports," stating:

    In Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual Asian security conference that this year includes defense ministers and military chiefs from more than 20 countries including U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, [John Harris, chief executive officer of Raytheon International Inc.] said "last year about 32 percent of our sales were international and 30 percent of that was here in the Asia Pacific region. We see this as a growth market."
    The article also noted:
    Harris [said] some of that growth was coming from emerging regional customers, and from providing new capabilities to longstanding customers such as South Korea and Japan, which continue to pursue their defensive capabilities even as they endorse Trump's efforts to seek a deal for North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.
    Bloomberg's article highlights the intertwined relationship between security risks the US intentionally cultivates throughout the region and the profits of US and European arms manufacturers like Raytheon.

    The US itself cultivates several of Asia's most pressing security challenges.

    One example of such cultivation is the US organizing a lawsuit before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on behalf of the Philippines versus China regarding disputes over the South China Sea.

    Despite efforts to portray the lawsuit as "Philippine," it was in reality headed not by lawyers from the Philippines, but by a US-British legal team led by Paul S. Reichler of the Boston-based law firm Foley Hoag.

    The lawsuit and ruling have been cited by the US repeatedly as a means of justifying its continued "freedom of navigation" operations in waters claimed by China.

    Concurrently, the US also maintains a significant military presence on the Korean Peninsula, ensuring tensions between North and South Korea perpetuate indefinitely.

    US assistance to Taiwan has also been a source of constant contention in the region for decades.

    The cultivation of tensions across the region ensure a steady flow of profits to arms manufacturers, b
    ut war profiteering is only part of the equation.

    Mattis was not just promoting a formula to fill the coffers of arms manufacturers, he was also writing a prescription for continued US hegemony across Asia.

    Hawking Hegemony
    While Mattis repeatedly referred to protecting concepts like self-determination and national sovereignty across Asia - he did so only to obliquely justify US accusations of Chinese expansionism and the extensive US military presence in Asia Washington claims is required to thwart it.

    Beyond that, Mattis would in fact discuss the many ways the US intends to undermine both self-determination and national sovereignty for nations across the region.

    His mentioning of US plans to strengthen "the rule of law, civil society and transparent governance," refers to the massive and still growing network of US government-funded fronts operating around the globe including all throughout Asia.

    These include fronts funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its many subsidiaries, as well as media fronts posing as local independent news sources funded and directed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) chaired by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo himself.

    It is a network that operates in parallel to each targeted nation's own institutions including government, courts, media, education, and charity - with the goal of pressuring, co-opting, and eventually replacing them with an administrative network funded and directed by Washington to serve US interests.

    Mattis would also take a swipe at Chinese efforts to offer the region an alternative through its One Belt, One Road initiative (OBOR).

    Mattis would claim that the US recognizes the need for greater investment, including in infrastructure and that US development and finance institutions would work to provide "end-to-end solutions that not only build tangible products but also transfer experience and American know-how," echoing the underlining theme of China's OBOR projects like dams, high speed rail networks, power plants, and roads that China is currently building within its own borders and is already constructing across the region.

    Mattis never elaborated on what any of these American-made "tangible products" would be. He would also indirectly refer to OBOR as "empty promises and the surrender of economic sovereignty" - perhaps in the hopes that those listening to his comments did not recall the International Monetary Fund's attempts to foist precisely both onto Asia in the late 1990's.

    ASEAN "centrality" and the need for the geopolitical and economic bloc to "speak with one voice" was also repeatedly mentioned by Mattis. This is most likely in reference to the fact that ASEAN has consistently failed to produce unanimous or significant support behind US efforts regarding the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea, and the Strait of Taiwan. The US has actively attempted to pressure the bloc as a whole and each member state individually to support Washington's interests.

    And as if to highlight just how few nations in the region are willing to serve US interests over their own - Mattis made mention of other "Pacific" allies being brought into the Indo-Pacific fold including the United Kingdom, France, and Canada.

    It was perhaps toward the end of Mattis' opening remarks that the game was given away. He would claim (emphasis added):
    A generation from now, we will be judged on whether we successfully integrated rising powers, while increasing economic prosperity, maintaining international cooperation, based on agreed-upon rules and norms, protecting fundamental rights of our peoples and avoiding conflict.
    The integration of rising powers refers directly to China and its integration into the US-led world order. This is not merely drawn from the 2018 NDS, it is a decades-long agenda US special interests have pursued and articulated in policy papers for years.

    In 1997 - for example - Robert Kagan in a piece titled, "What China Knows That We Don't: The Case for a New Strategy of Containment," would explicitly claim (emphasis added):
    The present world order serves the needs of the United States and its allies, which constructed it. And it is poorly suited to the needs of a Chinese dictatorship trying to maintain power at home and increase its clout abroad. Chinese leaders chafe at the constraints on them and worry that they must change the rules of the international system before the international system changes them.
    Kagan would mention the necessity to both contain China and begin integrating into the US-made and led world order. However, Kagan himself is merely echoing US policy objectives stretching back even earlier, including the US Department of Defense's Pentagon Papers released in 1969.

    Three important quotes from these papers reveal the appropriate light in which to really view Mattis' talk:
    ...the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.
    It also claims:
    China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.
    And finally, it outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time by stating:
    ...there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR "contains" China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.
    Mattis' "Indo-Pacific" strategy is merely the latest iteration of plans aimed at "containing China." Each front mentioned in the 1969 Pentagon Papers was likewise mentioned by Mattis in relation to encircling and containing China. Mattis' remark regarding the integration of rising powers indicates the final vision Washington sees in Asia - one in which China is subordinate to a still US-dominated international order.

    Mattis - as many others have done before public audiences - attempted to sell what is for all intents and purposes American global hegemony - as a central necessity for global peace, freedom, and prosperity.

    American Exceptionalism's Confused Moral Imperative

    It was Mattis' version of American-Asian history that reveals the true crisis of legitimacy facing attempts by Washington to maintain a "leadership role" in a region literally an ocean away from its own shores.

    In an attempt to portray the United States as an indispensable ally to the nations of Asia, Mattis would claim (emphasis added):
    ...this is an America that if you go back several hundred years to President Jefferson, from then one, we saw this as an opportunity out in the Pacific to and with nations. Our first Treaty of Amity was with Thailand back in the early 1800s. For 200 years we've been here. For 200 years we've watched the European colonial wave come through and then recede.

    We have watched fascism, imperialism, wash over the region, and at a great cost to many of us in this room and our forefathers it was pushed back and defeated by 1945. We watched Soviet communism as it tried to push into the region, and the Cold Ware blunted stopped and rolled that back, so we have been here. We have seen those who want to dominate the region come and watch them go, and we've stood with you.

    So this is not about one decision at this point in time. This is not about any areas that we may find uncommon right now, and we may be dealing with in unusual ways, but the bottom line is, that we have been through thick and thin, we have stood with nations, and they all recognize today, we believe in the free, and independent and sovereign nations out here.
    And yet even a cursory grasp of the last 200 years of American history in Asia reveals precisely the opposite. The United States was - as a matter of fact - part of that European colonial wave that swept through the region before the World Wars. The US invaded, colonized, and brutally put down an independence movement in the Philippines between 1899--1902. The Philippines were not granted independence from the US until 1946.

    During this same period, the US also aided European colonial ambitions - including the use of US troops to put down the Boxer Rebellion in China.

    Immediately following World War 2, the US found itself aiding France in its attempts to reestablish control over its colony of Indochina, eventually leading to the US-led Vietnam War and the death of millions.

    The difficulties the United States faces now in Asia - when understanding America's true role in the region - past, present, and future - is a region that seeks "freedom, independence, and sovereignty" to use their own people and resources to serve their own interests - free of foreign interests that have attempted to siphon wealth and power from the region for centuries.

    Despite attempts by the US to portray itself as central to Asian security, peace, and prosperity, it is widely understood that it is the greatest obstacle to it. It's immense power and influence necessitates a patient and "polite" transition - balancing an ebbing America with a flowing China - but it is an inevitable transition all the same.

    The US is left with a choice between gracefully integrating itself into an emerging multipolar world order or stubbornly clinging to its fading unipolar hegemony. While one offers the risk of being perceived as weak, the other almost guarantees America demonstrating weakness.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • Militants in northern Myanmar have once again put China's One Belt, One Road initiative on hold. It should come as no surprise that Anglo-American history played a direct role in their creation, and currently fund and back networks supporting them.

    July 3, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The BBC has mounted a recent propaganda campaign aimed at once again placing pressure on Myanmar's military, within a wider effort to drive a wedge between Myanmar and China.

    Amid an already ongoing and deceptive narrative surrounding the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar's southwest state of Rakhine, attention is now being focused on the nation's northern state of Kachin.

    Nick Beake of the BBC produced a narrative aimed at intentionally preying on the emotions of viewers. The report revolved around alleged hardships suffered by Kachin villagers fleeing from a supposed government offensive. The report was absent of any context or evidence and was based entirely on hearsay from alleged villagers Beake claims to have interviewed.

    Beake would conclude that his report represented the "first eyewitness accounts of the Burmese military targeting civilians in their latest offensive in Kachin State." And supposed eyewitness accounts were all Beake presented. At one point Beake's report even cited third-hand reports of torture and rape - stories fleeing villagers claimed they had only heard from others, but did not directly witness themselves.

    The only specific death Beake cited was of a man of military age he claims was killed during the supposed fighting. Beake avoided mentioning whether the victim was a Kachin fighter or a civilian caught in crossfire.

    The BBC's Nick Beake makes little mention of the actual conflict and no mention at all that Kachin militants are among the most heavily armed and well organized in the divided nation of Myanmar.

    And while the BBC report briefly claims that Kachin militants "have been fighting for independence for decades," it never mentions the central role the British government itself played in creating Kachin militant groups during World War II to protect their colony, how Kachin militants played a role in resisting Myanmar's bid for independence, and the role these militants have played in preventing Myanmar's progress forward as a unified nation ever since.

    Manufacturing Crisis, Foiling Chinese Interests

    The BBC report and an uptick of sudden concern over Kachin State come at a time when Beijing has been working to foster peace deals to end the chaos unfolding along its border with Myanmar.

    An April 2017 article in Foreign Policy titled, "China Is Playing Peacemaker in Myanmar, but with an Ulterior Motive," would include a revealing subtitle:
    Beijing is trying to end the long-running conflicts along its border with Myanmar — but only because it can't exploit the region's resources at will anymore.

    While Foreign Policy attempts to cast doubts on China's motivations, it inadvertently reveals that Kachin militants and their conflict with Myanmar's military are impeding Chinese interests, providing an essential clue as to who the fighting benefits and who is likely encouraging and enabling it.

    Foreign Policy makes mention of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy coming to power and and the role that Suu Kyi herself played in protesting and obstructing Chinese-led infrastructure projects - including dams, roadways, ports, and pipelines - in Myanmar. Foreign Policy fails to mention the decades of US-UK funding that created and propelled Suu Kyi's government into power.

    Foreign Policy does claim however (emphasis added):
    In 2015, elections raised up the Nationwide League for Democracy, an opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi, though the military retained control of important ministries and substantial influence in the parliament through a new constitution. Instead of a client state on its southwestern border, China had to deal with a government that was keen to find great powers to balance Beijing's influence.
    Of course, those "great powers" being referred to reside in Washington, London, and Brussels. And despite hopes that Myanmar would bend entirely before the West, it appears that many deals are still being pursued by Beijing and there are still receptive parties in Myanmar working to meet Beijing half way.

    Conveniently, Kachin militants have renewed fighting along China's borders, threatening to complicate development projects in ways mere politics cannot. Foreign Policy would admit:
    China's hopes to restart the [Myitsone] dam were complicated by a resumption of fighting between the KIA and Myanmar's military after a cease-fire had broken down after two decades in 2011, shortly before the dam was put on hold. The instability has often closed the border and threatened China's huge business interests in timber, gold, and jade.
    Repeated claims that Myanmar is now a "democracy," and that China must answer to protests and opposition to their projects, sidesteps the fact that opposition to Chinese projects is anything but "democracy" in action. Those behind these protests are funded and directed by US and UK government organizations.

    Foreign Policy even cites one - the Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) - but fails to disclose its foreign funding. KDNG is mentioned in a US State Department cable disclosed by Wikileaks titled, "Burma: Grassroots Opposition to Chinese-Backed Dam in Northern Burma." The cable also admits (emphasis added):
    An unusual aspect of this case is the role grassroots organizations have played in opposing the dam, which speaks to the growing strength of civil society groups in Kachin State, including recipients of [US] Embassy small grants.
    KDNG general secretary Steve Naw Aung would make a point about China's close relationship with Myanmar's military and the resistance to Chinese-led projects from the new - and very much US-UK-backed - government headed by Suu Kyi.

    This is why more recent reports like Nick Beake's BBC segment often insist atrocities are carried out solely by Myanmar's military with Suu Kyi's government portrayed as a helpless onlooker. Similar narratives have been applied to violence carried out against Myanmar's Rohingya minority, despite the most violent and aggressive forces assaulting Rohingya communities are drawn from Suu Kyi's support base - not the military.

    The Foreign Policy piece reveals how Kachin militants may still yet be persuaded by China to choose peaceful development over conflict driven by whatever promises have been made by the "great powers" likely underwriting their cause, or at the very least, trying to encourage it. Foreign Policy makes mention that beyond infrastructure projects like dams and natural resource extraction - China also seeks to create transit routes through Myanmar to both India and to the Bay of Bengal.

    It is no coincidence that conflicts closely minded, even openly cultivated by the US, UK, and other European governments have erupted and now burn precisely in the path of these planned transit routes.

    Routes to India pass through contested Kachin State. Routes to, and a port facility on the Bay Bengal so happen to be located in Rakhine State, the heart of the ongoing Rohingya crisis.

    Kachin Militants - An Anglo-American Time Bomb

    The Irrawaddy - a media platform funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) - wrote a 2012 article titled, "Memories of WWII Run Deep for KIO [Kachin Independence Organization]."

    In it, the article admits that Kachin fighters formed part of the British Empire's colonial army. It also mentions the strategy of divide and rule used by the British, stating (emphasis added):
    Prior to the outbreak of World War II, the Kachin, along with the Karen and Chin ethnic groups, comprised the overwhelming majority of local troops who served in Britain's Burmese colonial army, a force that also consisted of Gurkha from Nepal and Punjabi troops from India. The Kachin and the other groups were all considered trusted "martial races" by the colonial authorities. In contrast, Burma's colonial army had few if any members of the Burman majority, a deliberate policy of divide and rule whose legacy is still felt in the country today.
    The article also mentioned the US government's role in training factions of Kachin fighters during World War II, stating (emphasis added):
    Although the KIO did not begin its armed insurrection against Burma's government until 1961, more than 16 years after the end of World War II, a good portion of the founding leadership of the KIO, including the group's first head Zau Seng (no relation to the aforementioned major), were veterans of the Second World War who were trained in guerrilla fighting as part of Detachment 101 operated by the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a predecessor of the CIA, or under a similar group organized by Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE) called the Kachin levies.
    As revealing as this is - it still enables Western governments and media to claim Kachin fighting after the World War was done on their own accord. However, a revealing history is laid out by Kachinland News in a piece titled, "The Biography of Du Kaba Lahpai Naw Seng (Part III)," which published part of a British officer's speech to his Kachin fighters at the conclusion of World War II.

    The officer stated (emphasis added):
    You endured many hardships displaying extraordinary stamina and perseverance. Due to this, you have vanquished the more powerful, better-equipped Japanese troops despite having much less manpower. Defeating the Japanese is just the beginning of your legacy. Now to protect and safeguard the recaptured lands, we will begin creating all-Kachin Battalions.
    Of course, this "safeguarding" was being done on behalf of the British Empire as a means of re-consolidating control over British Burma. Those "all-Kachin Battalions" would eventually be formed and would form the foundation of Kachin militant groups now fighting in Myanmar today.

    An All Too Convenient Conflict

    It is clear that Kachin fighters were formed as part of the British Empire's strategy of maintaining control over Myanmar - then called Burma - and it was clear that the British saw Kachin fighters as a means of consolidating power after World War II concluded.

    It is also confirmed that the US has funded fronts in Kachin to impede Chinese-led development projects - development US diplomats themselves admit the region desperately needs and are not receiving from either the government of Myanmar itself, or from Kachin "freedom fighters" who amass wealth for themselves and leave nothing behind for the rest of Kachin State's population - according to another Wikileaks-disclosed US cable.

    While evidence is scarce concerning what sort of backing Kachin fighters may or may not be receiving from Washington and London today, their representatives are revealed to be in contact with US diplomats in neighboring Thailand in the northern city of Chiang Mai.

    Recent fighting all too conveniently spoils Chinese efforts to move projects forward. It also places additional pressure on Myanmar's military at a time when the US seeks to cut back or co-op its power in favor of the Suu Kyi government Washington and London spent millions of dollars over decades placing into power.

    Regardless of who is encouraging and enabling Kachin fighters today, the BBC and other Western media organizations are clearly coordinating their narratives to leverage the conflict against both Myanmar's military and in a bid to impede Chinese-led development.

    Should sufficient traction be made, the stage the BBC and other media organizations are setting with their familiar "humanitarian" narratives, will soon be occupied by Western governments and Western-funded fronts seeking to displace Chinese interests in northern Myanmar and setting back its wider, regional One Belt, One Road initiative.

    Understanding the US desire to impede the rise of China reveals what appear to be otherwise disparate conflicts as linked together, both within Myanmar itself, and across Southeast Asia as a whole. Once this is understood, it is easy to decipher emerging conflicts as they unfold - especially as the Western media attempts to leverage them to suit Western interests.

    Beijing can be expected to continue seeking peace along its borders in order to move long-delayed projects forward. In the coming weeks and months, China's patience and resilience will be put to the test by the West's capacity to both create chaos, and wring from it a sense of order more to its liking.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • July 7, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - When 12 young students and their football coach went missing in Thailand's northern province of Chiang Rai amid the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system, many expected the worst. But the Thai government, its military, volunteers both in Thailand and from abroad spent 9 days until they were located alive in cave chamber isolated by rising waters.

    The Good

    The rescue efforts are still ongoing. Difficult decisions remain to be made. The trip to and from the location of the students and their coach requires scuba diving. To bring the stranded students out of the cave requires either to somehow drain the water trapping them, or train them to make the dive out of the cave.

    Water being pumped out of the cave system has been distributed to the land of local farmers - many of whom eagerly volunteered to have water diverted to their property to aid in whatever way they could to the rescue efforts. The government is nonetheless compensating the farmers for the damage they incur.

    The government has mobilized its resources as well as those offered by other nations. It is using newly acquired Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters to access sites around the cave. The US has offered technology in efforts to locate possible exits from the cave, and it was a team of private British divers who were with Thai Navy SEALs when the students were finally found 9 days after they went missing. Other divers and cavers from all over Asia and beyond have also come to over their expertise.

    The rescue efforts are not without danger. One Thai Navy SEAL has already died while making the trip to and from the trapped students.

    This highlights the risks of at least one of the proposed rescue options - training the students and their coach to scuba dive out of the cave. Rescuers have urged patience, stating that it may be weeks or even months before the students can be brought to safety.

    The Bad and the Ugly

    The media - both local and foreign - have expressed mostly positive support for the rescue efforts - playing a positive role in informing the public and soliciting volunteers and donations of various supplies and skill sets when needed. The larger constructive media coverage is, the more resources that have been marshaled from near and far to assist.

    However, there have been some who have used the incident for publicity. Many pro-Western media organizations in Thailand, supported by the US, UK and EU government and opposed to the current Thai government, have used the incident to attack and undermine the Thai government at every opportunity.

    Anti-government Khaosod even resorted to blatantly false headlines to smear the government and the Thai police by claiming the coach was already facing charges. In the body of the article under the "clickbait" headline, "Coach Faces Charges For Leading Boys into Cave," police were directly quoted as having not even considered the possibility of charges - since all attention was focused on rescuing the students.

    Others, like Hathai Techakitteranun, a Thai writer for German-based Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) has taken every opportunity to portray the Thai government as bumbling and incompetent, using the desperate rescue efforts to advance her and her foreign sponsors' political agenda at the cost of national unity in the face of coordinated rescue efforts.

    And Khaosod writer Pravit Rojanaphruk, recipient of multiple US-UK awards and fellowships, and a prominent supporter of US-backed political agitators in Bangkok, attempted to hook up US-backed regime change to the rescue efforts, claiming (translated from Thai) that while it was difficult to find the students in the cave, finding "democracy" for Thailand would be even harder.

    Thai-based French "political cartoonist" Stephane "Stephff" Peray would parrot Pravit R.'s sentiments in search of clicks and attention to his otherwise ignored and often obscure "work."

    Attempts to undermine the Thai government amid a difficult rescue effort coordinating local government and private contributions as well as those from around the globe is unthinkably reprehensible.

    Placing pressure on the government to produce results, only serves to impair the judgement of those leading rescue efforts, and placing in danger the lives of not only the students, but of the many volunteers working day and night to bring them out of the cave safely.

    It is difficult to understand what takes place in the mind of individuals who would seek to leverage tragedy to advance their own personal agenda. Not only do they serve as a disturbing and negative contrast to the very best exhibited by those who came from across Thailand and from abroad to help, but they are also compromising the rescue efforts directly.

    Their self-serving and dangerous exploitation of such events is a reminder of how dangerous they are, and no matter what labels they hide behind - be it "journalism" or "democracy" - that for every selfless, courageous individual offering technical expertise to save lives, there are selfish self-absorbed egomaniacs seeking to latch on to the deeds of others to elevate themselves from the depths of obscurity and irrelevance their own personal shortcoming keep them in.

    Let the Thailand cave rescue provide us with first and foremost an example of how the very best of humanity - regardless of nationality or political proclivities - can come together to move us collectively forward.

    When presented with a life and death situation, it appears many people are able to put aside their petty differences and contribute selflessly toward a positive outcome.

    Let it also be an example and a warning of the need to protect ourselves against spiteful individuals and interests seeking to not only hijack noble efforts to save lives, but derail them for personal and political gain.

    The rescue effort is an example of the best of humanity, and the worst of humanity. Let it also be an opportunity for us all to look inward and see which side of the line we fall on, and what we need to do to ensure we strive to follow and fulfill the best humanity has to offer.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • The US backed Iranian opposition are neither "revolutionary," nor even "in" Iran. Yet they have been designated as Washington's proxies of choice, and an alternative government they seek to place into power in Tehran.

    July 11, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - As the US-led proxy war in Syria reaches a relative stalemate and with time on Damascus and its allies' side, Washington's wider agenda of using the conflict as a stepping stone toward regime change in Iran is leading into a much larger conflict.

    Geopolitical expert F. William Engdahl has pointed out the means through which Western oil corporations have orchestrated global schemes to raise oil prices to make American shale oil production profitable. At the same time, the US has for years now used sanctions against Iran, political subversion in Venezuela, war in Libya, and proxy war in Ukraine to prevent Tehran, Caracas, Libya's opposition, and Moscow from benefiting long-term from higher oil prices.

    For Iran, undermining its oil revenues and reintroducing sanctions and secondary sanctions on nations that refuse to recognize America's withdrawal from the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal, is done in tandem with direct, covert subversion inside Iran itself.

    Together, these efforts seek to cripple Iran as a functional nation state, as well as reduce its influence through the Middle Eastern and Central Asian regions.

    US Portrays Terrorist Cult as "Iranian Opposition"

    Just as the US has done in Libya and Syria, it is using terrorist organizations to attack and undermine the Iranian state.

    With Iranian-backed militias already fighting Al Qaeda and its multitude of affiliates including the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq, the likelihood of these militant forces being exported into Iran itself - should Iranian-backed militias be pushed out of Syria and Iraq and destabilization inside of Iran itself reach that threshold - is high.

    But there is another, lesser known group the US is portraying as the voice of Iran's opposition, a group that is - by its own US sponsors' admission - undemocratic, terroristic, and cult-like.

    It is the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, also known as the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK).

    Until 2012, MEK was listed by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organization. Only through immense lobbying was MEK delisted. Since being delisted, no evidence suggests the fundamental aspects of MEK that make it a terrorist organization have changed. In fact, US-based corporate-financier policy think tanks that have advocated MEK's use as a proxy against Iran have admitted as much.

    The Brookings Institution in a 2009 policy paper titled, "Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran" (PDF), would openly admit (emphasis added):

    Perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial) opposition group that has attracted attention as a potential U.S. proxy is the NCRI (National Council of Resistance of Iran), the political movement established by the MeK (Mujahedin-e Khalq). Critics believe the group to be undemocratic and unpopular, and indeed anti-American.
    Brookings would elaborate regarding its terrorist background, stating (emphasis added):
    Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MeK's advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership's main political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on Iranian civilian and military targets between 1998 and 2001.
    Brookings also mentions MEK's attacks on US servicemen and American civilian contractors, noting:
    In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran.
    Brookings would also emphasize (emphasis added):
    The group itself also appears to be undemocratic and enjoys little popularity in Iran itself. It has no political base in the country, although it appears to have an operational presence. In particular, its active participation on Saddam Husayn's side during the bitter Iran-Iraq War made the group widely loathed. In addition, many aspects of the group are cultish, and its leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, are revered to the point of obsession.
    Brookings would note that despite the obvious reality of MEK, the US could indeed use the terrorist organization as a proxy against Iran, but notes that: the very least, to work more closely with the group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.
    And in 2012, after years of lobbying, that is precisely what the US did. Regarding that decision, the US State Department's 2012 statement titled, "Delisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq" would claim:
    With today's actions, the Department does not overlook or forget the MEK's past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992. The Department also has serious concerns about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members.

    The Secretary's decision today took into account the MEK's public renunciation of violence, the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade, and their cooperation in the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, their historic paramilitary base.
    Nothing in the US State Department's statement indicates that MEK is no longer a terrorist organization. It simply notes that it has publicly - as a means of political expediency - renounced violence. It should be noted that the Brookings Institution's 2009 policy paper's mention of MEK is under a chapter titled, "Inspiring an Insurgency," inferring armed violence all but guaranteeing MEK militants will indeed be one of several fronts carrying out that violence in their capacity as US proxies.

    It would be the "cultish" MEK leader, Maryam Rajavi, whom prominent American politicians and political lobbying groups would work with for years before MEK was removed from the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in 2012. This includes prominent pro-war advocates - particularly war with Iran - now current National Security Adviser John Bolton, Newt Gingrich, and current legal adviser for US President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani.

    This year at the annual "Free Iran" conference held in Paris, US State Department-funded and directed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty would report in its article titled, "Trump Allies Tell Paris Rally 'End Of Regime' Near In Iran," that:
    Close allies of U.S. President Donald Trump have told a "Free Iran" rally in Paris that the end of the Iranian regime is near and that sanctions against the country will be "greater, greater, and greater."

    "We are now realistically being able to see an end to the regime in Iran," legal adviser Rudy Giuliani said on June 30 at the rally, organized by exiled opponents including the former rebel People's Mujahedin, which is banned in Iran.
    Giuliani pointed to recent protests that have erupted in Iran amid continued financial hardships following Trump's decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
    Thus, virtually every aspect of the 2009 Brookings paper is being openly pursued as a matter of US foreign policy, including US support for MEK - an organization that has previously killed US servicemen and American civilian contractors, and by its own supporters' admissions, is still involved in terrorism.

    The ultimate irony is that these same US MEK supporters claiming the MEK and its political NCRI wing will overthrow the "dictatorial ayatollahs," admit the MEK itself is "undemocratic" and "cultish," everything Iran's government is accused of by US politicians and pundits.

    The MEK May Help Destroy Iran, But Will Never Rule It

    Just as other "pro-democracy" groups have been promoted by Washington amid previous regime change efforts, "Iranian" MEK terrorists will be used to destabilize, pressure, and possibly even overthrow the Iranian government, but Iran will be left in fractured ruins.

    MEK and its NCRI political wing will never rule a functional and unified Iranian nation-state, just as US-backed terrorists in Libya preside - and only tenuously so - over fractions of Libya's territory and resources.

    This further exposes what the US intends to do regarding Iran, and that it has nothing to do with improving the lives or prospects of the Iranian people - especially considering Iran's collective plight is owed not to Iran's current leadership, but to America's decades-long policy to encircle, contain, undermine, and overthrow Iran's institutions.

    America's foreign policy in regards to Iran must be understood in this context - that it is merely a continuation of Washington's use of violent, terrorist fronts to divide and destroy targeted nations to eliminate competitors and their influence from regions of the globe US special interests seek to reassert themselves in - and nothing more.

    The high costs continued conflict with Iran will represent will be paid by the American taxpayers, and should this conflict be allowed to escalate, by the blood of American service members. The result - should this foreign policy continue forward, will not be in the interests of either Americans or Iranians - who will collectively suffer the consequences of future conflict, just as the American people and nations invaded by the US have suffered in the past.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • July 15, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Time Magazine's article titled, "Thailand's Leader Promised to Restore Democracy. Instead He's Tightening His Grip," reflects Wall Street and Washington's growing displeasure with the current Thai government and its seemingly successful efforts to pivot the nation away from US-backed proxies including the ousted regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his Pheu Thai political party (PTP), and toward a more multipolar footing in Asia and internationally.

    This includes stronger ties with not only Thailand's other Southeast Asia neighbours, but also with China and even Russia.

    China is now Thailand's largest trading partner, unseating the US.

    Thailand is also systematically replacing its ageing US military hardware with Chinese, Russian and European systems including Chinese tanks and submarines, Russian helicopters and European fighter jets.

    There are also large infrastructure deals signed between Bangkok and Beijing extending China's One Belt, One Road initiative through Thailand.

    Attempts by the US and its media to disrupt this pivot have been ongoing, with Time's article being only a more recent example.

    The Thai government, in good faith, provided Time Magazine writer Charlie Campbell an interview with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

    Instead of objectively portraying the prime minister's words, Campbell predictably twisted them, intentionally took them out of context, all while interjecting misinformation and lies of omission throughout the article.

    The Thai Foreign Ministry denounced Time's article in a statement here, refuting many of Time's many mischaracterisations and outright lies.

    Time's Mountain of Lies

    Time's article covers the military coup in 2014 and its aftermath, but suspiciously omits any of the events that actually led up to the coup.

    Time dishonestly frames Thailand's political crisis as follows:
    For more than a decade, Thailand has been wracked with color-coded street protests between the typically rural supporters of Yingluck and her brother Thaksin--who served as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006--and their mainly urban opponents, backed by the powerful royal palace, military and judiciary. The pro-Yingluck faction wear red. Their opponents wear yellow.
    However, this is patently untrue. In Thailand's 2011 elections, Thaksin Shinawatra's PTP won support from a mere 35% of all eligible voters. Of those that voted, PTP failed to win a popular majority. PTP's opponents include not only Bangkok, but also Thailand's central and southern provinces which are unmistakably agricultural and rural.

    Thus Thailand's political crisis is owed not to some sort of class struggle, but to Shinawatra and his foreign sponsors attempting to reassert Western hegemony over both Thailand, and to a much greater extent, Asia, versus Thailand's attempts to maintain its long-standing sovereignty.

    Nothing leading up to the actual 2014 coup is mentioned in Time's article. Had it been mentioned, the coup would not only have seemed reasonable, but as unavoidably necessary. Should Time have also mentioned that current protests are merely Shinawatra and his foreign sponsors pressuring the current Thai government to rush elections while they both still believe they can win, the government's intolerance of these protests would also appear to be reasonable rather than "repressive."

    Before the 2014 Coup

    Thaksin Shinawatra is a convicted criminal and a fugitive. After accumulating the worst human rights record in modern Thai history and indulging in unprecedented, overt corruption, he was ousted from power in an earlier 2006 coup. In 2008 he was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 2 years in prison. He fled the country and has been a fugitive since.

    Despite being a fugitive, he still openly runs Thailand's largest opposition party, PTP. Yet, none of this is mentioned in Time Magazine's article.

    It is difficult to believe Campbell or Time Magazine are unaware of these facts, since such facts were published in previous Time articles themselves, including a 2011 Time article titled, "Thai Parliament Dissolves: Let the Campaign Season Begin," which openly admits (my emphasis):
    A slew of parties will contest the elections, but the race will chiefly pit Abhisit and his Democrat Party against the opposition Pheu Thai party, which is led remotely by wealthy businessman Thaksin Shinawatra. The elected prime minister who was ousted by the army in the 2006, Thaksin lives abroad, having fled after being convicted of corruption and given a two-year prison sentence he did not serve. Pheu Thai's campaign slogan is "Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts," and party executives acknowledge that Thaksin is expected to name his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, a businesswoman with no political experience, as the party's candidate for prime minister.
    Thus, a convicted criminal and fugitive led a party contesting Thailand's 2011 elections, and having won them, became the defacto prime minister of Thailand with his sister Yingluck Shinawatra merely a placeholder.

    Upon taking office, Shinawatra immediately sought to grant himself amnesty for his 2 year jail sentence and clear all other pending court cases. He also implemented his vote-buying rice subsidy scheme in which his sister's government would buy rice from farmers at above market prices and sell the rice on the international market.

    The programme immediately imploded. Farmers rushed to produce rice in quantity rather than quality to receive larger subsidies, forcing Thailand's traditional trade partners to buy rice from neighbouring rice producers producing cheaper, higher quality rice. Thai rice rotted unsold in government warehouses as the rice scheme fund dried up. Payments to farmers were first delayed, then stopped altogether.

    Nearly a million farmers went over 6 months without being paid, spurring some to suicide to escape mounting debts, while others joined growing anti-amnesty protests already ongoing between 2013-2014 to oust Shinawatra's proxy government.

    None of this is mentioned in Charlie Campbell's Time Magazine article.

    Also not mentioned was that as protests began to mount against Shinawatra, he employed militants to attack and kill protesters. Killings would go on until the day before the coup finally ousted the government from power. Over 20 would die. In one notorious video, Shinawatra's supporters can be seen openly celebrating the death of protesters killed by Shinawatra's militants.

    Thailand's military didn't overthrow a "democratic" government. It overthrew a proxy regime run by a fugitive hiding abroad, employing violence to eliminate his political opposition while he plundered and devastated the nation's economy. It would be the Thai military who finally restored order to the country and paid back desperate farmers.

    As Thailand now attempts to organise elections and return the country to civilian administration, Shinawatra and his backers are once again attempting to position themselves to contest and win at the polls, returning themselves to power and resetting Thailand's political crisis back to square one. They have threatened more violence and instability if they are prevented from doing so.

    But if the US would never tolerate a political party openly run by and for a violent fugitive, why does the US and its media insist that Thailand should?

    US Backing

    Shinawatra's ability to contest elections despite being a fugitive is owed to his immense wealth and impunity, as well as his substantial foreign backing.

    He enjoyed close ties to the Bush family before becoming prime minister of Thailand in 2001. He privatised Thailand's oil on behalf of Western corporations, attempted to push through a US-Thai free trade agreement without Thai parliamentary approval, lent Thai troops to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and allowed the US Central Intelligence Agency use Thai territory for its extraordinary rendition programme.

    Since his ouster in 2006, he has enjoyed lobbying services from the largest lobbying firms in the United States. His opposition in Thailand is funded and backed by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy and George Soros' Open Society Foundation.

    This includes those leading recent protests alluded to but never fully explained in Time Magazine's article.

    For Washington, returning Shinawatra and his US-funded supporters to power would ensure a loyal proxy government in the heart of Southeast Asia, key to furthering US efforts to encircle and contain China. This is why Time and many others are publishing similar narratives attacking Thailand and demanding rushed elections.

    Bringing it all Together

    Had Time Magazine mentioned any of this backstory, the politically-motivated narrative Charlie Campbell hammered Thai Prime Minsiter Prayuth Chan-o-cha's interview into would have lacked all credibility.

    Only by leaving out virtually every aspect of Thailand's political crisis leading up to the 2014 coup, was Time Magazine able to portray Thailand's current government as unreasonably authoritarian, repressive and undemocratic. It is clear that the US is deeply invested in Thailand's political affairs, including sponsoring Shinawatra and his supporters since at least as early as 2001.

    It is clear US interests in Thailand revolve around Washington's desire to encircle and contain China.

    When we see just how dishonest, even malicious Time Magazine is when presenting this one single issue, we must realise how much more we are likely being misled about. It also highlights the necessity for individuals and even entire nations to invest in alternative media.

    If Thailand's government expected Charlie Campbell of Time Magazine to tell their side of the story, they were wrong. However, this is a problem with a very obvious solution.

    Countering Western Propaganda: Telling Your Side of the Story

    Time Magazine's industrialised deceit is a familiar trend across the American and European media and is in fact what has given rise to the so-called "alternative media."

    The alternative media includes not only independent writers and news organisations, but also state media organisations like Russia's RT and Sputnik, Iran's PressTV, South America's TeleSUR and China's CGTN (previously CCTV).

    For Thailand and other nations in a similar position, depending on the Western media to provide an honest account of Thai matters to Western audiences is a losing proposition. Thailand must either ally itself with regional alternative media organisations in Russia, China and now emerging slowly in Southeast Asia itself and/or create its own media organisations that truly reflect Thailand's own best interests.

    The problem Thailand has had with networks like Thai PBS, which is in fact funded by the Thai government, is that many of the journalists working there have been, not trained or educated in the West, but indoctrinated by the West. Journalists that truly reflect Thailand's best interests will be those who were educated in Thailand and direct benefactors of Thailand's success as a sovereign nation.

    This requires at least one programme to train Thai journalists loyal to Thai interests, and at least one media organisation representing Thailand's interests publishing and broadcasting in English for international audiences, if Thailand seeks to have its side of the story faithfully told.

    While government-influenced media organisations are not expected to be fully objective, they will at the very least introduce balance to the lopsided propaganda spread by Western publications like Time Magazine.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • July 20, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - It appears that the Western-backed opposition in Thailand is attempting to create the illusion of popular support online after failing repeatedly to create it in the streets of Bangkok, the nation's capital.

    Hundreds of suspicious accounts either clearly bots and sockpuppet accounts, or exhibiting suspicious behavior have begun promoting pro-opposition propaganda in unison after nearly a year of apolitical but equally similar activity.

    The campaign resembles the manifestation of US government programs admittedly aimed at manipulating public perception through the use of false social media accounts which were revealed as early as 2011.

    The US Has Sought to Manipulate Social Media for Years

    Attempting to control what is and isn't popular is the desire of all involved in the field of marketing and politics. The ability to amplify the perceived popularity of a political idea or party to tap into the bandwagon effect is a temptation most involved in politics are not ethical enough to avoid.

    During World War II, British operatives regularly manipulate US public opinion polls to reverse steadfast anti-war sentiment.

    Today, the US has admittedly taken this process to social media where it uses - among many other techniques - software solutions like automated bots and multiple sockpuppet accounts used by single users to spread pro-American propaganda.

    This was revealed as early as March 2011 by the Guardian in an article titled, "Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media," which admitted:
    The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.
    The article would continue by describing contracts already awarded to companies to procure this technology - and by describing the capabilities of such technology:
    The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".
    The article also admits:
    Once developed, the software could allow US service personnel, working around the clock in one location, to respond to emerging online conversations with any number of co-ordinated messages, blogposts, chatroom posts and other interventions.

    In other words, the US seeks to influence public perception by creating a false consensus through an avalanche of manufactured content serving US interests. While the Guardian article claims the technology would only be used against "terrorists," it has become abundantly clear that fake accounts were used during the US engineered "Arab Spring" and subsequent political and military interventions around the globe to stampede government out of power through the illusion of mass uprisings.

    Today - such technology is available to political parties, movements, and marketing operations around the globe. Real users can create and manage multiple accounts via such platforms. Other applications allow varying degrees of automation for social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

    This allows a single user to manage several, dozens, even hundreds of accounts at once - amplifying any desired message from promoting a favorite band during an online competition - to manipulating public perception in favor of a political party or movement.

    Twitter Bot Armies

    As recently as April this year, the Western media began to notice and report on the appearance of Twitter accounts appearing across Asia - exhibiting the same characteristics as described by Centcom's contract requirements. They appeared to be similar - automated - but also appeared to use local languages for names and followed the Twitter accounts of mostly pro-Western media and institutions attempting to influence news and politics in each respective nation.

    TechCrunch in its article, "Twitter doesn't care that someone is building a bot army in Southeast Asia," would claim:
    In what appears to be the first regional Twitter bot campaign, a flood of suspicious new followers has been reported by users across Southeast Asia and beyond, including Thailand, Myanmar Cambodia, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Sri Lanka among other places.
    While it is true that the new accounts have done nothing yet, the fact that a large number of newly created accounts have popped up out of nowhere with the aim of following the region's most influential voices should be enough to concern Twitter. Especially since this is Southeast Asia, a region where Facebook is beset with controversies — from its role inciting ethnic hatred in Myanmar, to allegedly assisting censors in Vietnam, witnessing users jailed for violating lese majeste in Thailand and aiding the election of controversial Philippines leader Duterte.
    However, what TechCrunch failed to consider was the possibility that these bots were not created to assist local governments in defending against Western meddling depicted in the article as censorship and repression - but to aid in further meddling in the region's internal political affairs.

    Khaosod - a notoriously pro-Western newspaper in Thailand - in its article, "Someone's Building a Twitter Bot Army in Thailand," would note:
    In ones and twos they trickle in by the minute, new followers in what's become the familiar rhythm of social media. They have authentic Thai-sounding names such as @Fah12113 or @Thanaphorn_1230. Those few that have profile photos look like any face plucked from the Thai social mediaverse.

    Where it gets weird is that all are new accounts with no followers and, in almost all cases, no tweets. Yet each follows a few dozen accounts representing a who's who list of online influencers including journalists, media companies, scholars and celebs. Some user names are written in Thai script, but all of those have machine-generated strings such as @hjZuotIwLtiSojc and @hIrQMl1B71tIYKF as account names.
    The article also noted:
    Whether the accounts are machine- or human-made, they are very locationally aware. In each country, the identities use regionally authentic names, languages and profile photos to follow local influencers.
    Again - Khaosod like TechCrunch - attempted to float the idea that these accounts may have been part of a plot by China or local governments to thwart Western influence and Western-backed organizations and opposition groups in the region - deflecting suspicion away from the West itself.

    Thailand's Twitter Bots

    The Southeast Asian state of Thailand has been the target of US-backed political destabilization for years. When the Thai military ousted US-proxy Thaksin Shinawatra from office in 2006 and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014 by military coups - the US mobilized political lobbyists, media campaigns, and has funded a growing army of faux-nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to place pressure on the current Thai government and return Shinawatra and his proxies to power.

    Image: A recent protest featured between 80-200 protesters with media outnumbering demonstrators nearly 5-1 and police outnumbering them nearly 10-1. The protesters represent interests that have repeatedly targeted the capital with violence and bloodshed and are particularly unpopular among city residents. Bolstering protester numbers would require busing in paid demonstrators from upcountry. Conversely, it appears that the opposition finds creating nonexistent supporters online more convenient.
    Recent efforts to trigger street protests have failed however. Despite extensive foreign backing and support throughout the Western media and their collaborators within Thailand, protests have failed to attract any support. Even attempts by the Western media to misinform global audiences about the size of the protests is not possible as photos reveal only handfuls of protesters vastly outnumbered by both police and media.

    Perhaps in an attempt to create in cyberspace the illusion of support the Western-backed opposition clearly lacks in the streets - Twitter bots with many of the same characteristics described by both the 2011 US Centcom contract requirements and by both TechCrunch and Khaosod's April 2018 reports - have begun a campaign to build support for anti-government protests online.

    The Twitter accounts vary - some appearing to be automated bots - while others appear to be semi-automated sockpuppet accounts. Many have been clearly created for the specific purpose of supporting the Western-backed opposition's hashtag of choice: "THwantElection."

    Most appear to have been created during 2017. They follow primarily Korean pop music accounts and in most cases no political or news content providers. Yet despite the absolute lack of political or news content on their timelines stretching back almost a year, most of these accounts have begun obsessively and exclusively retweeting any post with the "THwantElection" hashtag.

    Those opposed the Western-backed opposition posting anti-opposition content - but including the "THwantElection" hashtag - are also mindlessly retweeted by this army of bots and sockpuppet accounts alongside pro-opposition content - another indicator of an automated, large-scale effort to manipulate public perception.

    Despite TechCrunch, Khaosod, and other Western media and government interests in Thailand having noted the uptick of bot activity just last month - none are mentioning the suspicious and in some cases, obviously automated activity fueling the pro-opposition campaign online now.

    While some of the accounts may represent genuine users who support the opposition, many clearly aren't real. Twitter makes it possible to check accounts for actual tweets posted by accounts, as well as replies on the platform to other users. In most cases, these accounts are absent of any human interaction for at least this entire last month.

    It will be difficult if not impossible to ultimately assign responsibility for this concerted effort to manipulate public perception in Thailand - since these tools could have been acquired and controlled by a variety of interests, including individuals. The accounts mentioned by TechCrunch and Khaosod do not appear linked to this current operation in Thailand at the moment. Had they been, because of the regional scale of the initial appearance of the aforementioned bots and this now demonstrated pro-US use of Thai-based bot- it would have - and might still implicate US state-sponsored meddling.

    The Western media based in Southeast Asia has proven itself to be overtly bias in favor of Western-backed opposition groups and as interested in creating news on behalf of the opposition as they are in spinning and distorting actual news in their favor. It is unlikely that any extensive manipulation of social media in favor of the opposition would be reported on. Should a similar campaign be aimed at the opposition - or a counter-campaign launched against current manipulation - it is likely the public will finally learn of these recent events.

    Considering that large-scale social media manipulation preceded US-backed regime change across the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe - nations in Southeast Asia must take particular note of upticks in such activity.

    The best defense against such activities is informing the public of this tactic so they can identify it and recognize it as a concerted effort to deceive and manipulate the public. Possessing a professional and effective international English-language media platform like RT, PressTV, TeleSUR, or CGTN would also make it possible to raise awareness of this tactic - thus blunting its effectiveness.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • July 21, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The Diplomat, which claims to be "the premier international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region," has recently published a piece granting credit for Malaysia's recent general election results to what it calls, "everyday activists."

    The article is in fact titled, "The Everyday Activists Behind Malaysia's Democracy Struggle." The article begins by claiming:
    Audiences worldwide have been transfixed by the Shakespearian twists and turns that saw Malaysia's opposition defeat the world's longest-ruling coalition. But the unprecedented May 9 win was also the culmination of a decades-long civil rights movement by activists who took great personal risks to bring about change.
    The article cites Maria Chin Abdullah who headed Malaysian street front Bersih, online media platform Malaysiakini, political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque (also known as Zunar), Malaysia Muda and legal group Lawyers for Liberty as examples of those that have finally helped make Malaysian democracy "work."

    Yet there is something else all of these examples cited in The Diplomat's article have in common. They are all either directly funded by the United States government through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), or their activities are facilitated by other organisations in Malaysia that are.

    From Abdullah to Zunar, Funded by the US Government

    In essence, The Diplomat's piece is arguing that the organisations they covered represent the custodians of Malaysian democracy, and thus play a role in determining Malaysia's future. Yet the disturbing common denominator among them indicates a paradoxical dilemma. If these custodians themselves are a function of foreign influence, how could they possibly play a role in the Malaysian people determining for themselves a path that serves their own best interests and not those of these organisations' foreign sponsors?

    We begin with Maria Chin Abdullah, now a newly elected member of the Malaysian parliament. She had previously been chief of the Bersih street front whose rallies were regularly led by opposition politicians including Anwar Ibrahim who is now the defacto leader of the victorious Pakatan Harapan party.

    In 2011, The Malaysian Insider would report in its article, "Bersih Repudiates Foreign Christian Funding Claim," that:
    [Bersih 2.0 chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan] admitted to Bersih receiving some money from two US organisations — the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Open Society Institute (OSI) — for other projects, which she stressed were unrelated to the July 9 march.
    The article would also cite Maria Chin Abdullah as well, claiming:
    Fellow Bersih steering committee member, Maria Chin Abdullah, explained that both NDI's and OSI's funding were specifically for to the electoral watchdog's delineation projects.
    The NDI is a subsidiary of the NED. Details of funding provided to Bersih were disclosed on the NDI's website, stating (our emphasis):

    In July 2005, NDI organized a national-level workshop for party leaders on election reform. NDI has since conducted workshops across Malaysia to promote electoral reform in collaboration with Research for Social Advancement (REFSA), the secretariat for BERSIH. In 2006, NDI conducted a workshop for BERSIH that focused on pimproving the action plancs of each participating organization or political party. In 2007, NDI and BERSIH conducted a series of workshops in the politically neglected provinces of Sabah and Sarawak to educate previously disenfranchised political aspirants.
    It is clear that Bersih's leadership, including Maria Chin Abdullah attempted to first conceal their US government funding from the public, then attempted to downplay the implications this funding had regarding their work.

    Bersih faces fair criticism over their stated objective of "clean, free and fair elections" contradicting the foreign interference their dependence on US government funding represents.

    The Diplomat next makes mention of Malaysiakini which describes itself as "independent media." However its financial disclosures reveal it instead heavily dependent on foreign funding.

    Like Bersih, Malaysiakini is funded by both the NED and the Open Society Institute. It also receives funding from the Canadian government, the Asian Foundation (which in turn is funded by the US State Department) and the Media Development Loan Fund (which in turn is funded by Open Society).

    While political cartoonist Zunar's financial sponsors are unknown, The Diplomat itself notes that work like his would not be published were it not for US government-funded media platforms like Malaysiakini.

    More specifically, The Diplomat states:
    The advent of online media was vital in amplifying alternative views such as Zunar's in Malaysia where the major newspapers and broadcasters have been under tight state control. "New technology, independent websites such as Malaysiakini, and social media, have played a really important role for people who would otherwise be unable to voice their opinions," said Tricia Yeoh, an analyst from the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, a Malaysian think tank.
    The Diplomat also makes mention of Malaysia Muda researcher, Fadiah Nadwah Fikri. While Malaysia Muda's funding is not disclosed anywhere among its online presence, its activities include attendance at events sponsored by US NED-funded organisations.

    This includes the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), also mentioned above in The Diplomat's article. Under funding, IDEAS lists both the NED and NED subsidiary, the International Republican Institute (IRI), among its many foreign donors.

    Last on The Diplomat's list is Lawyers for Liberty. It has received tens of thousands in US NED funding for years and while this funding is not disclosed anywhere on Lawyers for Liberty's website, it is disclosed on NED's. Lawyers for Liberty's Eric Paulsen can be seen on social media using his US government-funded platform on a daily basis to demand policy changes from the Malaysian government, both before and after the recent elections.

    In essence, an article supposedly about Malaysian democracy "finally working," seems to be missing the important qualifier, "for Washington."

    A US Client State: if not Today, Tomorrow

    With many analysts are in agreement that the new government's current leadership headed by veteran Malaysian politician Mahathir Mohamad will bring greater balance to Malaysian policy, it appears there are interests who would like to continue to expand both the reach and grasp of US-funded organisations.

    Like in other nations now fully integrated into Washington's international order, these organisations are meant to operate first in parallel to existing state institutions, then replace them entirely. Examples of this can be seen elsewhere in Southeast Asia where Myanmar's government is now run by senior politicians who have received training and support from similar networks of US government-funded influence interfering in Myanmar's internal political affairs.

    Failing a successful transformation into a US client state, these increasingly influential vectors of US interests can be used to create instability and pressure, leaving growing regional powers like China with dysfunctional states it is unable to partner and grow with.

    The most fundamental of all prerequisites of a truly "working" democracy is self-determination. Such self-determination is not possible if a nation's institutions are dominated by individuals and organisations dependent on donations and directives from Washington.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
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