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  • America's bid to install a compromised Thai politician into power is part of a larger bid to encircle China with hostile and dysfunctional client states.

    August 20, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The US is currently pressuring the Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand to hold immediate elections in a bid to return billionaire former prime minister and now fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra to power.

    The purpose of returning Shinawatra to power is to transform Thailand into a US client state and further obstruct the rise of China, and Asia as a whole, upon the global stage.

    Shinawatra, who held office from 2001 to 2006 before being removed in a military coup, has since run various proxy governments from abroad, populated by his family members and close associates. This included his own brother-in-law and from 2011 to 2014 his own sister, Yingluck Shinawatra who was ousted from power in another coup in 2014.

    More recently, he has created several proxy parties, including "Future Forward" run by the son of billionaires closely allied with the Shinawatra family and furbished with party members including his own lobbyists and members of US government-funded organisations.

    US Meddling

    The US has directly funded myriad groups involved in Thailand's internal political affairs including Thai Lawyers for Human Rights which not only provides free legal aid to anti-government agitators, but also openly organises and leads anti-government activities itself, media front Prachatai, iLaw, Thai Netizens Network, BenarNews, The Isaan Record, the Cross Cultural Foundation and Fortify Rights.

    Each and every one of these US government-funded fronts has engaged in recent anti-government activities either by supporting agitators, or by being agitators themselves. They are demanding rushed elections and have consistently leveraged "human rights" and "democracy" to defend pro-Shinawatra groups in their bid to return Shinawatra to power.

    No mention is made by these US-backed fronts of the abuses and criminality conducted by the Shinawatra family since 2001. And while these fronts along with the US government itself have claimed the current Thai government represents a "dictatorship" they claim is guilty of "human rights abuses," the fact that they seek to return a true dictatorship guilty of very real human rights abuses to power reveals what is clearly an ulterior motive merely couched behind notions of human rights and democracy.

    US Diplomatic Cables Reveal Washington Knows Shinawatra is a Killer and Criminal

    US diplomatic cables released to the public by Wikileaks revealed several telling admissions by the US itself of who Thaksin Shinawatra really is, what he has done, and the very serious violence he has repeatedly organised and carried out in multiple failed bids to return to power.

    In one 2006 cable titled, "Thailand's Deal of the Century: Temasek Buys Out PM's Shin Corp," US diplomats would admit that Shinawatra sold his telecommunications company Shin Corp to Singapore on the same day that an amendment to the Telecommunications Business Act (TBA) he had signed off on the previous week came into effect. In essence, he changed the laws to suit his personal business interests on a Friday, and sold his company to foreigners on a Monday.

    Despite this stunning and overt demonstration of Shinawatra's corruption and abuse of power, the US embassy applauded the deal hoping that the sale of Thai assets to foreigners might help "rest some of the Thais fears of market liberalization, and by extension a Free Trade Agreement with the United States."

    In a 2010 cable, the US embassy admits that Shinawatra and his supporters are guilty of engaging in violence. While the US and the Western media have attempted to whitewash this violence publicly, throughout the leaked US cables it is repeatedly admitted.

    While the US claims it has tried to dissuade Shinawatra and his supporters from using violence, it is the US and the Western media's continued support of Shinawatra, his supporters, and their collective cover up and spinning of serial acts of violence and terrorism that have enabled such violence to continue in the first place.

    Part of spinning the violence has been attempts by the US and the Western media to depict violent elements as "independent" of Shinawatra and his political supporters. However, in another 2010 US cable, it's admitted that:
    The UDD leaders reiterated their goals for the coming months, including a large rally in mid February, emphasized the grassroots growth in the movement, and described the relationship between fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, the UDD, the opposition Puea Thai party, and activists like Seh Daeng, acknowledging it could ultimately
    be considered one team.
    The planned protests mentioned in the cable would eventually unfold in April and May of 2010. They would include up to 300 heavily armed militants led by Seh Daeng who would engage in firefights with the Thai military for weeks, costing nearly 100 lives and ending in widespread arson across Thailand's capital of Bangkok.

    Despite these admissions, the US continues funding organisations that work directly with Shinawatra and his political supporters seeking to rush elections before their political networks are fully uprooted and their return to power indefinitely quashed. Attempts to hold Shinawatra and his supporters accountable for this violence has been decried by US-funded groups as "politically motivated" and "violations of human rights."

    While the US claims the current Thai government is a "dictatorship" and that Thailand is devoid of "democracy," it continues to arm and back actual dictatorships devoid of democracy like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (where Thaksin Shinawatra is currently residing).

    Encircling China

    Among the many US cables leaked regarding Thailand, one from 2004 stands out in particular. Titled, "Thai Views of a More Assertive China," it laments:
    When analyzing China's growing influence in the region, Thai experts tend to: accept China's growing power as inevitable; hope that problems associated with China's growing strength will either fix themselves or be mitigated by other powers like the United States or India; and, keep their fingers crossed that trade deals with China lead to growth in Thailand without destroying domestic enterprises. Thai analysts note that China is deftly building up good will in the region to assuage any concerns about hegemony. Perhaps naively, they tend to discount notions that China will jeopardize its generally good relations in the region in the near future by pressuring ASEAN nations to support Beijing on political or strategic issues.

    Since 2004, Sino-Thai relations have only expanded. The current Thai government has signed multiple deals with Beijing over major military deals including the purchasing of main battle tanks to replace ageing US hardware, Chinese armoured personnel carriers and even submarines. Joint Sino-Thai development programmes have even produced domestically manufactured missile systems.

    Thailand and China are also conducting joint military exercises.

    Beyond military cooperation, there are major infrastructure projects in the works, including high speed rail and the acquisition of rolling stock for existing transit systems.

    Chinese tourists constitute by far the largest demographic visiting Thailand with more Chinese visiting the Kingdom than from North America and Western Europe combined. Concerted attempts by US and European media organisations to sabotage Thailand's tourism industry after Shinawatra's ousting from power in 2014 failed miserably specifically because of this fact.

    Thailand today reflects a nation within a region happily moving on without the United States. Whatever role Southeast Asia had hoped the US would play in balancing power in the region against a growing China have evaporated in the realisation that the US has no constructive alternatives to offer in such a role.

    The US' continued support of Thaksin Shinawatra along with its incessant subversion of Thailand's institutions through US-funded fronts reveal America's strategy is not aimed at balancing regional power, but containing China, and not through strengthening China's peripheries with economically and militarily strong neighbours, but by encircling it with the flaming hulks of failed states run by incompetent leaders installed through US meddling.

    Should Shinawatra return to power as the US envisions, he too will likely seek to cut deals with China. But he would be doing so as he ran Thailand further into economic turmoil and attempted to sell it off piecemeal to foreign investors from Wall Street, London and Brussels.

    The US reveals that its interference in other nations is not predicated on any sort of principle or ideal such as "human rights" or "democracy." It gladly seeks to preserve the power of despots in the Middle East , and it eagerly seeks to replace a violent criminal to power in Southeast Asia. The only real common denominator deciding who is "good" and who is "bad" in the eye of Washington is obedience.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • August 22, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Associated Press has revealed that the US-backed, Saudi-led war against Yemen includes the use of Al Qaeda as a mercenary force against Houthi rebels.

    This confirms as fact what was widely dismissed by Western politicians and a complicit Western media as a "conspiracy theory" since 2011.

    Evidence that the US and its allies enlisted Al Qaeda and other extremist groups to wage serial proxy wars across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), from Libya and Syria to Yemen, has piled up into a mountain emerging high above the fog of disinformation behind which these wars had been fought.

    The AP article titled, "AP Investigation: US allies, al-Qaida battle rebels in Yemen," would report (emphasis added):
    Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.

    Here's what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.
    That's because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.
    AP would also link the Muslim Brotherhood directly to Al Qaeda militants, stating:
    In some places, militants join battles independently. But in many cases, militia commanders from the ultraconservative Salafi sect and the Muslim Brotherhood bring them directly into their ranks, where they benefit from coalition funding, the AP found.
    This is further evidence exposing the Muslim Brotherhood's role in preparing the grounds for the US-engineered 2011 "Arab Spring" uprisings and the planned violence that accompanied them.

    Of course, while Western leaders and the media attempted to deny complicity in the dominant role Al Qaeda played in conflicts across MENA for years, a look at any conflict map - be it in regards to Syria or Yemen - reveals that pockets of extremists operating in both nations are adjacent to US-Saudi-controlled supply lines and US-Saudi controlled territory - not because the US or Saudi Arabia are fighting Al Qaeda and its affiliates - but because they are protecting and using these extremists to fight their various regional wars on their behalf.

    As to why the US and Saudi Arabia might be aiding and abetting Al Qaeda, AP would quote Michael Horton of the Jamestown Foundation. AP would report:
    "Elements of the U.S. military are clearly aware that much of what the U.S. is doing in Yemen is aiding AQAP and there is much angst about that," said Michael Horton, a fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. analysis group that tracks terrorism.

    "However, supporting the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against what the U.S. views as Iranian expansionism takes priority over battling AQAP and even stabilizing Yemen," Horton said.
    However, the US has failed to make a case as to what threat Iran constitutes that is equal or greater to the threat posed by Al Qaeda. It was supposedly Al Qaeda, not Iran that hijacked airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in 2001 - tipping off a now nearly two decade-long "War on Terror." In fact - Iran has invested blood and treasure in fighting and defeating Al Qaeda and its proxies, including the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" in both Syria and Iraq - contributing directly to both terrorist organizations' defeat.

    It would appear that if Iran is involved in Yemen, it is also clearly fighting against Al Qaeda there as well.

    And while the AP investigation presents a coalition of convenience between Al Qaeda and the US-backed Saudi-led coalition - the truth is that Saudi Arabia itself is the original "Islamic State," having sponsored the perversion and abuse of Islam via Wahhabism since its inception, the recruitment and indoctrination of extremists through a global network of madrases funded by Riyadh sine the Cold War, and the direct arming and backing of terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda as they wage war in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

    The US for its part, also - knowingly and willingly - is aiding and abetting Al Qaeda, using them as auxiliaries to fight where US troops cannot either for political or practical reasons.

    This is not merely a recent arrangement wrought from stark realism, this was a plan that has been developed over the course of at least three US presidencies - George Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump.

    It was in Seymour Hersh's 2007 New Yorker piece titled, "The Redirection Is the Administration's new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?" which revealed (emphasis added):
    To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
    Hersh's article too made a clear link between Al Qaeda extremists, the Muslim Brotherhood and the US and Saudi sponsors preparing both for what his sources claimed was a "cataclysmic conflict."

    Thus Al Qaeda forming the backbone of the US-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, or Al Qaeda fighting Washington's proxy wars in Libya or Syria is no mere coincidence or accident, or even just a recent phenomenon emerging from growing Western desperation to "contain Iran," but part of a long-planned geopolitical gambit aimed at eliminating Washington's competitors and establishing itself as sole hegemon over the MENA region.

    The revelations should further bolster the moral imperative of Iran and its allies - including Russia, Syria, and Lebanon's Hezbollah. It should also further undermine the credibility of both the US and its allies, as well as the "international order" they presume dominion over.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • August 29, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - US National Security Adviser John Bolton - a tireless proponent of US-led war around the globe - has recently claimed the Syrian government is preparing to use chemical weapons to retake territory held by militants in northern Syria. In response, the US has already threatened to carry out military strikes against Syria.

    Bloomberg in its article titled, "U.S. Warns Russia It Will Hit Assad If He Uses Chemical Arms, Sources Say," claims:

    Tensions between the nuclear powers flared after National Security Adviser John Bolton told his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, that the U.S. has information Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be preparing to use chemical weapons to recapture the northwestern province of Idlib from rebels.
    The article also claimed:
    In April 2017, and again a year later, the U.S. carried out limited airstrikes on Syrian targets as punishment for what it said was the use of chemical weapons. Bolton said any U.S. action will be stronger this time, the people familiar with the talks said.
    However, not only has the US failed categorically to produce the evidence it claimed to possess regarding previous alleged chemical weapon attacks blamed on Damascus, it has also failed to provide any logical motive to explain why Damascus would carry out such attacks.

    The Syrian military along with its Russian, Iranian, and Lebanese allies have retaken large swaths of occupied Syrian territory from Western-backed terrorists through the use of conventional weapons, including precision strike capabilities provided by Russian military aviation.

    Alleged chemical weapon attacks have been on such small scales as to have no tactical or strategic value to Damascus, but demonstrable political value to the United States, its regional partners, and the militants it has been arming and backing since the 2011 conflict began.

    Chemical Weapon Attacks: Cui Bono?

    The US media and its corporate sponsors have repeatedly attempted to explain the rationale behind Damascus' alleged use of chemical weapons. This struggling narrative is best summed up by Atlantic Council "expert" Aaron Stein and US Army Reserve officer Luke O'Brien in their coauthored article titled, "The Military Logic Behind Assad's Use of Chemical Weapons."

    The article claims that chemical weapons are a cheap alternative for struggling regimes fighting wars "on the cheap." The article proposes that chemical weapons are ideal for terrorizing the population and to target "buried facilities" that a lack of precision munitions have left otherwise invulnerable.

    The article claims:

    Chemical weapons have proved to be more psychologically damaging to populations than conventional munitions, and are thus well-suited to the regime's strategy of mass punishment.
    Yet the article can only cite 4 instances in which the Syrian government allegedly even used chemical weapons in the past 5 years. There have literally been more total cities the Syrian military has had to retake from foreign-sponsored militants than even the most liberal number of alleged chemical weapon attacks blamed on Damascus.

    Stretching the credibility of this narrative further, the article assigns another impetus to Damascus' alleged use of chemical weapons, claiming:
    For Assad, chemical weapons also compensate for the limitations of his army's older, less sophisticated weapons. While the use of precision-guided munitions has grown in militaries around the world, they are still a comparatively small part of most countries' arsenals, limited to anti-tank roles or against naval targets. As a result, most states are forced to use unguided munitions instead. Many targets, if sufficiently protected, can weather most unguided attacks by sheltering in structures, tunnels, or fighting positions.
    The article claims that chemical weapons can seep into these heavily defended positions "with relative ease." However - again - the article itself can only cite 4 instances where Damascus allegedly used chemical weapons in the past 5 years. Syrian forces have obviously encountered well-fortified militant positions more than 4 times in the past 5 years - having retaken buildings, blocks, districts, and even entire cities through the use of conventional weapons and military tactics.

    The routine use of humanitarian corridors, cease-fire deals, and the government-sponsored relocation of militants lays to rest the West's claims that Damascus aims to "collectively punish" its own population.

    The Western narrative falls apart even further when considering the Syrian government most certainly does have access to precision munitions and the ability to deliver them to specific, well-fortified targets - through the aid of Russian military aviation.

    As pointed out by even the Western media, Russian warplanes have carried out over 70 sorties per day at certain points during the Syrian conflict - a number in a single day dwarfing even the wildest accusations leveled against Damascus about chemical weapon use since the conflict began in 2011.

    There is clearly no tactical, strategic, or political gain for Damascus to use chemical weapons. But there is every reason for the US and its partners to lie and claim it does.

    Blatant False Flags

    The Western narrative - summarized by Stein and O'Brien - also attempts to account for the most obvious explanation for repeated instances of chemical weapon attacks carried out at critical junctures of the conflict, just before major breakthroughs are achieved by Syrian forces - that the attacks are staged to create a pretext for Western military intervention.

    To this, the likes of Stein and O'Brien claim the US has no way of leveraging staged chemical weapon attacks to its benefit. The article claims:
    The regime presumably weighs the expected cost of retaliatory strikes against the clear military benefit of chemical weapons use. The United States, for its part, has to balance the desire to punish the regime for violating its commitment not to use chemical weapons with other factors, like protecting American troops in northeast Syria and limiting the risk of unintended escalation with Russia. The United States and its allies have signaled that they do not want to risk such escalation over the war in Syria. Thus, Assad can count on the presence of Russian forces in Syria to act as a deterrent against strikes that could threaten regime stability.

    Of course, there are no military benefits for Damascus in using chemical weapons - and of course, the US presence and its multiple strikes on Syrian forces have all been predicated at least in part to allegations of chemical weapon use by Damascus. The US State Department has also repeatedly cited "chemical weapons" as a pretext to maintain a US military presence in Syria.

    As Syrian forces close in on Idlib, with Western-sponsored militants flushed out of virtually every other city, town, and governorate west of the Euphrates, little will stop Damascus from finally returning security and stability to Idlib as well.

    Only staged provocations used as a pretext for US forces and their allies to strike at advancing troops or command and control elements of the Syrian armed forces can delay or stop an inevitable victory for Damascus and its allies. With the liberation of Idlib, America's occupation of eastern Syria will become more tenuous still.

    Bolton's baseless accusations, built on equally baseless, irrational narratives signals a new level of political and diplomatic desperation in Washington, where blatantly staged provocations are done in the open in the hopes the threat of naked force is enough to coerce Syria and its allies to hesitate or withdraw from retaking Idlib.

    It will be up to Damascus and its allies to ensure sufficient deterrence is put in place to ensure the consequences of America's use of naked force are greater than any perceived benefits gained from exercising it - tactically, strategically, politically, and diplomatically.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • September 2, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The worst sort of deception is that perpetrated by those who pose as defending the most vulnerable when in reality, are leveraging their circumstances, exploiting their suffering, and in many cases, playing a direct role in perpetuating both.

    This is an apt description of Washington, London, and Brussels' global-spanning human rights racket - used repeatedly as a pretext for political meddling and even war.

    An especially cynical example of this is playing out in Southeast Asia's nation of Myanmar.

    With ties between Myanmar and China growing, the US and its European partners are working to pressure, co-opt, or even overthrow Myanmar's current political order which includes not only a powerful, independent military, but also a civilian government the US and UK played a direct role in placing into power.

    The decades of US-UK support for Aung San Suu Kyi - Myanmar's current State Counsellor - now hang around her and her National League for Democracy (NLD) political party's necks like a millstone. The very foreign-sponsored networks they invited into Myanmar to assist them into power are now being leveraged against them to coerce Myanmar's domestic and foreign policy.

    Another Dubious UN Report

    A recent UN report on alleged atrocities being carried out against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar has been accompanied by a coordinated public relations campaign led by the Western media and US-UK and European Union-funded fronts posing as "nongovernmental" organizations (NGOs).

    Part of this PR campaign has included calls to refer many of Myanmar's military leaders to the International Criminal Court (ICC) - an institution seen around the world as a continuation of Western colonization - especially in Africa. Pressure has also been placed on Myanmar's civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party.

    The overall effect is the West's ability to leverage ethnic violence to place pressure on Myanmar allowing the West to exact concessions as well as impose sanctions on or remove from power any prominent political or military figures at will.

    The primary foreign policy objective of the West is to severe Myanmar's ties with China, transform Myanmar into an obedient client state, and use success there to expand similar efforts across the rest of Southeast Asia.

    The actual UN report officially titled, "Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar" (PDF), reveals its methodology to have been interviews. It claims:
    The Mission amassed a vast amount of primary information. It conducted 875 indepth interviews with victims and eyewitnesses, both targeted and randomly selected. It obtained satellite imagery and authenticated a range of documents, photographs and videos. It checked this information against secondary information assessed as credible and reliable, including organizations' raw data or notes, expert interviews, submissions, and open source material.
    The report also admits:

    The Mission also held over 250 consultations with other stakeholders, including intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, researchers, and diplomats -- in person and remotely. It received written submissions, including through a public call.

    It is this second point that is of particular concern.

    It appears that much of what the UN report includes, is merely a repeat of information US, UK, and EU-funded supposed "NGOs" - central components of the West's human rights racket - have already reported in their own highly suspect publications.

    Among these is Fortify Rights - funded by the US, UK, Canadian, and Dutch governments, as well as convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society Foundation. The UN report appears to be merely a short summary of Fortify Rights' report, "They Gave them Long Swords" (PDF).

    US-UK Funded Modern Day "Missionaries"

    Fortify Rights discloses its funding in at least two annual reports from 2015 and 2016.

    In 2015 (PDF), sponsors included the Dutch, Canadian, and US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). It also included Open Society Foundations and Avaaz. In 2016 (PDF), the UK government was also included upon its donors list.

    When confronted with questions regarding Fortify Rights' acceptance of money from governments currently engaged in human rights abuses around the globe - including weapon sales to Riyadh and assistance in Riyadh's war on Yemen - Fortify Rights founder, American Matthew Smith, attempted to deflect and downplay his organization's funding.

    He claimed NED money did not constitute US government funding because US Congressional funds passed through NED before reaching him.

    He also claimed that money his organization accepted from the UK was not used for work in Myanmar, claiming it went instead to a program his organization is running in Thailand - apparently in the belief that this explanation resolved the obvious conflict of interest his organization's activities and its funding represent.

    Worst of all, Smith acknowledged the UK's role in Myanmar's current crisis. It was British colonialism that intentionally fomented and exploited the very ethnic tensions still playing out in Myanmar today. This includes virtually all of the ethnic groups Fortify Rights poses as a champion for.

    Smith, and others within Fortify Rights have been asked, and have repeatedly failed to explain how foreigners funded by the very governments that created Myanmar's ethnic tensions, inserting themselves into the ongoing violence, can serve as a solution to this conflict.

    Instead, it is clear that what the British had intentionally done generations ago to divide and conquer then Burma, continues in modern day Myanmar. Matthew Smith and his organization, Fortify Rights, serve as the modern day equivalents of missionaries who helped augment the British Empire's conquest of much of the planet.

    "The Vanguard of Colonialism: Missionaries and the Frontier in Southern Africa in the Nineteenth Century," written by Professor Paul Gifford, provides this helpful insight into the role of missionaries during the height of European colonization (emphasis added):
    The role of missionary societies in southern Africa is a controversial one. In many respects, their stated goals were admirable: the creation of a peaceful society which had no internecine warfare, the education and uplift of the people, and so forth. But in practice, missionaries would fill roles very similar to, and often interchangeable with, secular European explorers and diplomats, using and manipulating the Africans they encountered as befit them best.
    Professor Gifford concluded:
    In the end, the war was not between God and Satan for the souls of Africans, it was between Europe and Africa for the hearts and minds of the people, and the end result of that battle is still undecided to this day.

    The history of European colonialism in Southeast Asia is no different.

    And ironically, Matthew Smith of Fortify Rights would himself admit:
    ...we're not at all satisfied [with] the UK approach in Myanmar with respect to advancing accountability. And we're well aware of the horrendous colonial history and it's aftermath, which is still unfolding today.
    It's ironic because Smith either is unaware of, or refuses to acknowledge Myanmar's crisis isn't merely the "aftermath" of British colonial history, it is a continuation of it, and Smith's Fortify Rights is serving the role - verbatim - described by Professor Gifford regarding missionaries in facilitating Western colonization.

    US NED Funds Both Fortify Rights, and those Fortify Rights is Supposed to be "Investigating"

    The UN report - 20 pages in total - only mentions Aung San Suu Kyi once and only in the context of failing to condemn the ongoing violence. The UN report also only mentions non-military actors involved in ethnic violence in a single sentence.

    Yet the truth is that many who directly facilitated Aung San Suu Kyi's assent to political power in 2016 have been openly promoting hatred toward ethnic groups like Myanmar's Rohingya for decades. They have also openly incited and called for violence against the Rohingya. None of them have attracted the attention of fronts like Fortify Rights or the UN.

    Much of Aung San Suu Kyi's support base is infected. Groups who have received significant US praise and support have openly denied ethnic groups - especially the Rohingya - recognition or protection. Many have openly incited hatred and even violence against the Rohingya.

    This includes not only extremists posing as Buddhist monks, but also political groups like 88 Generation Students Group whose founding member Min Ko Naing was presented with the US National Endowment for Democracy's 2012 "Democracy Award."

    The Irrawaddy - another US NED funded front - in its article, "Analysis: Using the Term 'Rohingya'," would run through a list of US-funded activists and US-UK backed NLD members denouncing the Rohingya - helping fuel the ethnic fault lines that have divided the country and brought violence upon both sides.

    NED "Democracy Award" recipient Min Ko Naing would claim, according to Irrawaddy, that:
    They [self-identifying Rohingya] are not one of the 135 ethnic groups in Myanmar.
    U Win Tin, a founding member of Suu Kyi's NLD, and awarded by Reporters Without Borders for "journalist of the year," recommended interning the Rohinya in camps, claiming (emphasis added):
    My position is that we must not violate the human rights of these people, the Rohingya, or whatever they are. Once they are inside our land maybe we have to contain them in one place, like a camp, but we must value their human rights.
    Ko Ko Gyi, another member of the US-funded and backed 88 Generation Students Group, would go as far as vowing to take up arms against the Rohingya whom he called "foreign invaders."

    In another US NED-funded Irrawaddy article published in 2012 titled, "'Trauma Will Last Long Time': Ko Ko Gyi," it would be revealed that (emphasis added):

    In early June, Ko Ko Gyi accused "neighboring countries" of fueling the unrest in Arakan State, and stated categorically that the 88 Generation group will not recognize the Rohingyas as an ethnicity of Burma. He said that his organization and its followers are willing to take up arms alongside the military in order to fight back against "foreign invaders."
    Ko Ko Gyi - vowing in 2012 to carry out the very violence now unfolding in Myanmar today - found himself in Washington D.C. in 2013 after having made his vitriolic remarks in favor of genocide. He was invited specifically by the US NED to participate in a panel discussion on "Examining the Transition to Democracy in Burma" (video).

    Even at face value, Fortify Rights being funded by the US NED, tasked with "investigating" violence against the Rohingya and other minority groups - including violence and calls for violence carried out by other recipients of NED support - is an immense conflict of interest entirely compromising the investigation's legitimacy and Fortify Rights' legitimacy as a "human rights advocacy" group.

    It is no wonder that in Fortify Right's 162 page report, "They Gave them Long Swords" (PDF), only 4 pages are dedicated to "civilian perpetrators" and these "civilians" are linked entirely to the military with no mention of the US-funded organizations they are tied to and incited by.

    Perpetuating Abuse, not Protecting the Vulnerable

    Fortify Rights is selectively reporting what is happening in Myanmar. For now, it is placing the blame on the military to remove it entirely from Myanmar's political landscape - evicting a long-standing obstruction to US and British interests. It is also laying the ground work to coerce the civilian government if necessary.

    Fortify Rights is providing its Western government and corporate sponsors as well as literal modern-day missionary foundations who fund it, with a pretext to insert themselves amid ethnic tensions to once again exercise control over Myanmar, its government, military, people, resources, and policy - just as the British did when Myanmar was a colony.

    Real human rights advocacy and nongovernmental organizations do exist. They exist in communities, supported by the very people they claim to represent. International "human rights" advocacy has always been, and continues today to be, a vivid echo of Europe's colonial past. This includes the "missionaries" who helped facilitate it who now manifest themselves as "NGOs."

    Fortify Rights has categorically failed to address legitimate questions about their funding and their methods including why "civilian perpetrators" funded - like them - by the US NED are not mentioned anywhere in their lengthy 162 page report. While Smith himself acknowledges British colonization set the stage for ethnic violence in Myanmar, he knowingly covers up his own role in its continuation today.

    Myanmar's crisis will continue as long as it serves as an opportunity for the West to involve itself in Myanmar's internal affairs through coercion based on "humanitarian concerns," all while the West itself intentionally fuels all sides of the conflict.

    For the people of Myanmar tempted into continued ethnic feuding, healing rifts on their own to thus expelling foreign interference is the only way to the nation will truly achieve its independence - an independence that has always been incomplete because of the lingering remnants of British colonialism hanging over the nation still to this day. It was division then that invited the British, and it is division today that continues affording the UK, the US, and EU space to remain.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • September, 3 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The Washington Post has now repeatedly used its platform to systematically cover up extensive US political interference across Southeast Asia.

    Last month, the Washington Post attempted to deny US interference in Cambodia. Its article - however - did more to reveal US meddling in the process - exclusively citing opposition organizations and individuals either funded by Washington or literally living in Washington.

    The Washington Post in its more recent article titled, "In Malaysia, a victory for democracy — and an opportunity for the U.S.," would likewise attempt to paper-over US meddling in Malaysia's recent general elections which placed US-backed opposition into power after decades of Washington investment.

    The article begins by claiming (emphasis added):
    While Washington wasn't looking, democracy won a major battle over authoritarianism in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation that just voted out its crooked, illiberal leader and has embarked on a peaceful transition to a new era of hope. The unexpected change has given the Trump administration a chance to reverse a policy of benign neglect toward the region, support democracy — and gain a rare win over China.

    The United States had little to do with last month's overwhelming election victory by a multiracial, multiparty opposition coalition in Malaysia.
    Of course - this is categorically untrue. Virtually every aspect of Malaysia's opposition, from pro-opposition media organizations like Malaysiakini, to street fronts like Bersih, to legal organizations like "Lawyers for Liberty," and even the defacto opposition party leader himself - Anwar Ibrahim (PDF) - are recipients of extensive US government support spanning well over a decade via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its many subsidiaries and affiliates.

    President of NED subsidiary, the International Republican Institute (IRI) Daniel Twining - almost as if wounded by the Washington Post's omission of his organization's extensive political meddling in Malaysia - would boast on social media while linking to the Post article, that:
    [IRI] has worked to strengthen Malaysian opposition parties since 2002. For 1st time since 1957 they won & are in power. Democrats around the world can play a long game confident that sooner or later, their time will come.
    It is clear that evidence and even admissions by those dispersing US government money to Malaysia's opposition expose the Washington Post's article as categorically untrue - but it is also intentionally untrue. At least one member of the Washington Post's editorial board literally serves as member of the US NED's board of directors. Washington Post editor Anne Applebaum even has her own webpage on NED's site.

    Thus, it is also clear that the Washington Post not only faces a serious conflict of interest regarding its responsibility to accurately report on political developments around the world while its editorial board is directly involved in influencing those developments - it is actively involved in exploiting these conflicting interests by using its media platform to cover up the actions of organizations its editorial board are involved in.

    And almost as if to contradict its own initial premise, the Washington Post article admits the US Department of Justice's primary role in opening and perpetuating investigations into the former government's finances - producing a scandal many have cited as at least partially responsible for aiding the US-backed opposition's victory.

    The Post claims (emphasis added):
    The U.S. government could help the new Malaysian government to dig out of the mess that Najib left by helping it reform civil society, return to a free press and bolster the country's economy. The United States can also help recover the billions Najib's clique plundered from Malaysian coffers. The U.S. Justice Department is already deep into its investigations of those scandals.
    Considering the extensive amount of backing the US government has provided the Malaysian opposition, it is difficult to imagine the US Department of Justice only coincidentally fixated on alleged financial impropriety in Malaysia, ahead of general elections the US government sought victory in for its proxies.

    All About China

    The Washington Post also reveals the motives behind the extensive US political meddling it is attempting to conceal, mentioning China's growing regional influence throughout the article.

    The Post would claim:
    There's also a key opportunity for the United States to score a rare victory over China in Asia — one the Trump administration didn't intentionally pursue. Mahathir has either paused or canceled several major Chinese-funded investment projects amid allegations of kickbacks to Najib and predatory deal terms. Beijing was heavily invested in Najib, and the Malaysian people resent it.
    Despite the Washington Post's attempts to conceal extensive US funding funneled into Malaysia's opposition spanning multiple US presidencies - specifically to transform the nation into an obedient client state vis-a-vis Beijing - is does admit the central issue driving US meddling across Southeast Asia. China was also mentioned by a previous Washington Post article attempting to conceal and dismiss accusations of similarly extensive meddling in Cambodia.

    Efforts to co-opt and compromise other nations in the region can be seen unfolding in Myanmar where ethnic conflicts are being cultivated and leveraged by Washington and London to divide the population and undermine stability, compromising a myriad of Chinese investments including major infrastructure projects.

    US-backed protests have attempted to gain momentum in neighboring Thailand - with a similar array of US-funded media groups, street demonstrators, and opposition leaders seeking to create momentum based on the victory of US-backed opposition in Malaysia. They seek to reinstall billionaire fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra into power. Shinawatra had served US interests stretching back to before he became prime minister in 2001. His political survival has depended on extensive support through US-funded fronts operating in Thailand, and the unwavering support of the Western media.

    It is likely that the Washington Post will soon be writing articles to dismiss growing awareness and outrage over US meddling in Myanmar and Thailand as well - eager to head-off obvious claims of hypocrisy leveled against Washington as it baselessly accuses Russia of "influencing" its political affairs while openly installing entire governments into power around the globe.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • September 7, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The United States has raised tensions further amid Syria's ongoing conflict. It has issued a threat in the form of a "warning" against Damascus against retaking the northern region of Idlib. More specifically, the US has accused Damascus of preparing chemical weapon attacks as part of its alleged strategy to retake the territory.

    No evidence has been provided by the US to substantiate these accusations - and it is clear that the warning was actually a threat implicating a planned, staged provocation likely to be followed by US military aggression.

    Idlib: Al Qaeda's Syrian Capital

    The northern city of Idlib has become the defacto capital for Al Qaeda in Syria.

    It is home to Al Qaeda affiliates, partners, and allies including Tahrir al-Sham - formally Jabhat Al Nusra, a US State Department-listed Foreign Terrorist Organization, Nour al-Din al-Zenki - a US-armed and backed military front notorious for its many war atrocities involving torture and executions including the beheading of a child, and Ahrar al-Sham which has repeatedly cooperated with the self-proclaimed "Islamic State in Syria and Iraq" (ISIS).

    The nature of the militants occupying Idlib is well known to Washington, London, Brussels, and the Persian Gulf nations sponsoring them. It is because of this knowledge that the West's media monopolies work feverishly to cover up, deny, defend, or even excuse their atrocities.

    When Idlib-based terrorist front Nour al-Din al-Zenki beheaded a child, the BBC disgracefully attempted to defend the atrocity by suggesting the boy was a "fighter," and attempting to dispute his age, claiming:
    ...he appears to be as young as 10, although other reports suggest he is considerably older.
    The BBC appears indifferent to the fact that if the victim had been a fighter and was over the age of 18, Nour al-Din al-Zenki would still be guilty of an egregious war crime.

    BBC's defense of war atrocities committed by terrorist organizations occupying Syrian territory is the rule, not the exception - not just for British state broadcaster BBC, but the Western media as a whole. From the beginning of the 2011 conflict, the BBC and others have played a direct role in covering up the terrorist affiliations of fighters attempting to overthrow the Syrian government.

    Terrorist Central - A Collaborative Western Project

    Idlib remains one of the last remaining strongholds of Al Qaeda in Syria specifically because of its proximity to the Turkish border - Turkey being a NATO member who has provided years of financial, political, and military support to militants operating in Syria.

    Idlib has been - since it fell to foreign-sponsored terrorists - so dangerous that much of the governorate is inaccessible to the Western media and Western organizations sending aid to groups occupying it.

    US-based think tanks have even written entire papers on Idlib's status as a dangerous and dysfunctional epicenter of armed militancy. One 2016 paper published by the Century Foundation titled, "Keeping the Lights On in Rebel Idlib," would admit:

    Restrictive border measures taken by the Turkish government and the security situation inside Idlib mean that access to Idlib is limited. Dangers include aerial bombing, but also the threat of kidnapping by entrepreneurial criminals and some of the groups referenced in this report. With some exceptions, independent Western researchers and journalists can no longer safely work inside Idlib province.
    With extremists more recently uprooted from around Damascus and the southern city of Daraa sent to Idlib, the concentration of "entrepreneurial criminals" and "some of the groups" referenced by the Century Foundation has only risen.

    In 2016, the Century Foundation admitted that because of the dangers involved in setting foot in Idlib, their research was conducted via remote interviews - meaning that the Western media today is likely also heavily reliant on such methods to collect information - when they are not simply fabricating it.

    The Century Foundation would also reveal another important aspect of Idlib's defacto status as Al Qaeda's Syrian capital - the extensive Western support keeping it afloat. The report first notes the leadership role extremist organizations play in Idlib:

    Islamist and jihadist armed groups hold power at the local level, and have developed relatively sophisticated service coordination bodies.
    The report then admits the networks and local institutions these extremists preside over are entirely funded by the US, UK, and European Union (emphasis added):
    In addition to helping organize relief distribution, councils also provide some intermittently successful municipal services, ranging from operating bakeries to street-cleaning and trash disposal, repairs to the water grid, and road maintenance.

    Many of these more resource-intensive services are supported by international donors such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DfID), which have made support for civilian governance and service provision a priority. The United States has provided support through a number of offices, including both USAID proper and USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI), whose "Syria Regional Program" has a more directed, political mandate to support moderate opposition organizations and promote values of tolerance. Some international assistance has been delivered through discrete, branded projects such as "Bil-Akhdar" (In Green) and "Tamkeen" (Empowerment), supported by donors including USAID, the United Kingdom Conflict Pool, and the European Union.

    The report also makes mention of the now notorious "White Helmets" and the now defunded and exposed "Free Police:"
    Local councils coexist and cooperate with other nascent local institutions, including Syria Civil Defence emergency first responders (the "White Helmets") and the Idlib Free Police, that are also supported by international donor governments.
    While the West has doubled down on its support for the "White Helmets" despite extensive evidence linking them directly to Al Qaeda, the so-called "Syrian Free Police" have already been defunded.

    The Guardian in their August 2018 article titled, "Britain to axe funding for scheme supporting Syrian opposition," would admit:
    Britain was one of six countries supporting the community-led police force set up after the Syrian uprising in 2011.

    The Panorama programme, Jihadis You Pay For, claimed police officers in Idlib province had to be approved by Jabhat al-Nusra and that police officers in Aleppo province were forced to hand over cash to Nour al-Din al-Zinki, another extremist group.
    From the actual militant groups occupying Idlib, to the administrative networks attempting to run the region - it is clear extremism now holds the population hostage and does so specifically because of Western aid the West's own think tanks have exposed as ending up directly and exclusively in the hands of terrorists.

    Should this support be cut, the fighting capacity of terrorists occupying Idlib would quickly collapse. Continued support by the West of terrorists occupying Idlib ensures a bloody battle to finally liberate the civilian population held hostage and abused by these extremists.

    Idlib is thus every bit an "Islamic State" in practice as ISIS was in Raqqa, Syria and Mosul, Iraq - and an "Islamic State" made possible by extensive and fully conscious Western sponsorship.

    Truth Aside: The West's Window Dressing

    Thus it is not Russian propaganda or a public relations office in Damascus exposing those occupying Idlib as terrorists or the necessity for Syrian forces to liberate the region - it is the Western media through their own incremental admissions made discretely beneath headlines and op-eds like the New York Times' recent piece titled, "The Death Blow Is Coming for Syrian Democracy"

    The sub-heading for the NYT op-ed would read:
    The Assad regime's imminent assault on Idlib will empower jihadists and crush the last of the revolution's democrats. Why is the world standing by?
    The absurdity of claiming security operations aimed at uprooting the terrorist occupiers of Idlib will "empower jihadists" illustrates the departure from reality of much of what remains of the so-called "opposition." The op-ed laments in its conclusion that:
    The people of Idlib are aware that they will probably be abandoned to a fate similar to their countrymen in Daraa and Ghouta. Anger at their betrayal by the supposed democratic powers, already deeply rooted, is growing. The residents understand that those who favor "stability" at any price perceive their continued resistance as an inconvenience. But the resumption of the regime's control in Idlib will not lead to peace, and still less to stability. It will eradicate the democratic alternative to tyranny, leaving the jihadists — who thrive on violence, oppression and foreign occupation — as the last men standing, to constitute a long-term threat to the region and the world.
    But if "the supposed democratic powers" who engineered Syria's 2011 conflict and propped up the opposition in Idlib ever since don't really care about "democratic alternatives," they probably weren't really "democratic powers" to begin with. Their interests in Syria were completely unrelated and merely obfuscated by "humanitarian" and "democratic" concerns, and the entire supposed "revolution" merely an obfuscation for Western-backed regime change in pursuit of regional and global hegemony.

    The so-called "opposition" does not really exist as a functional, relevant factor in Syria's conflict and never did. It was a superficiality necessary to dress the windows of Western-backed, violent regime change pursued with equally violent, ruthless terrorist organizations. With the eviction of terrorists from Idlib complete, Syrian forces and their Russian and Iranian allies will have only a tenuous US occupation in eastern Syria and Turkey to the north to contend with.

    Attempts to portray Idlib as a bastion of democracy, the Syrian government as a ruthless dictatorship "terrorizing" the population when in reality it is eliminating militants both the West and Damascus agree are actual terrorists - all constitute similar attempts at window dressing what is otherwise a very clear and concise battle - one between a sovereign nation defending and liberating its territory, and the proxies of a foreign invasion that have plagued Syria since 2011.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • September 12, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Media headlines claim an independent UN report is calling for genocide charges against Myanmar officials.

    Qatari state media outfit Al Jazeera in its article, "UN report calls for genocide charges against Myanmar officials," claims:
    Myanmar's senior military officials must be prosecuted for genocide and war crimes against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities, a UN fact-finding mission has urged.

    The mission, which was established by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017, found that Myanmar's armed forces had taken actions that "undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law".
    Al Jazeera admits Myanmar's military has been singled out by the report. Suspiciously absent from both the accusations made in the report and the charges called for, is State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi, referred to throughout the Western media and the report itself as the "de facto" leader of Myanmar.

    The leader of a nation is undoubtedly responsible for the actions of that nation's military and while some claim Suu Kyi has no power over Myanmar's military, Al Jazeera itself notes her silence in even condemning the ongoing violence.

    Despite the obvious role Suu Kyi plays in enabling the violence even at face value through her silent complicity, the 20 page UN report (.pdf) mentions her name only one time and fails entirely to call for any form of accountability for this role. Suu Kyi's notoriously violent supporters are only briefly and ambiguously mentioned in the report:
    Local authorities, militias, militant "civilian" groups, politicians and monks participated or assisted in violations, to varying degrees.

    The report never qualifies or further discusses these "varying degrees."

    The report admittedly is dependent primarily on interviews. While videos and photography are also supposedly among the evidence the report is based on, neither are specifically referenced in the actual report.

    Many of the interviews were supposedly corroborated with likewise secondhand information obtained from what are referred to as "intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, researchers, and diplomats." These individuals and organisations are conveniently left unnamed and are most likely individuals and organisations directly funded by the US, British and European governments.

    In essence, it is US, British and European funded propaganda laundered through a UN report.

    Upon closer examination, Suu Kyi and more importantly her political supporters, have played a much more direct role in violence aimed at Myanmar's Rohingya population. It is an intentional and systematic cover up by Western media organisations and foreign-sponsored human rights advocacy groups ongoing for years, one the UN report is a continuation of.

    British Divide and Rule Re-imagined

    British public service broadcaster Channel 4 would explain in an article titled, "A Brief History of Burma," about the very source of Myanmar's current ethnic divisions:
    Throughout their Empire the British used a policy called 'divide and rule' where they played upon ethnic differences to establish their authority. This policy was applied rigorously in Burma. More than a million Indian and Chinese migrants were brought in to run the country's affairs and thousands of Indian troops were used to crush Burmese resistance. In addition, hill tribes which had no strong Burmese affiliation, such as the Karen in the south-east, were recruited into ethnic regiments of the colonial army.

    The article also admitted:
    The British 'divide and rule' policy left a legacy of problems for Burma when it regained independence.
    We can see the "legacy" of British and now US foreign policy in Southeast Asia still unfolding today, including in Myanmar's north where Kachin militants still battle against Myanmar's military and in the west, particularly in the state of Rakhine, where violence is ongoing between religious and nationalist fanatics and the Rohingya minority.

    This recent UN report attempts to place the blame for the ongoing violence against Myanmar's Rohingya minority squarely on the military. However, it was Suu Kyi's most vocal political supporters who had brutalised the Rohingya for years, long before she finally took power in 2016.

    Despite a concerted effort across American, European and Commonwealth media outlets to conceal Suu Kyi and her followers' role in the violence, occasional admissions have emerged.

    This includes articles like the UK Independent's 2012 report titled, "Burma's monks call for Muslim community to be shunned," revealing both Myanmar's "hardline Buddhists" and even activist groups celebrated in the West for "promoting democracy" being involved in persecuting the Rohingya.

    The report would state:
    Monks who played a vital role in Burma's recent struggle for democracy have been accused of fuelling ethnic tensions in the country by calling on people to shun a Muslim community that has suffered decades of abuse.

    In a move that has shocked many observers, some monks' organisations have issued pamphlets telling people not to associate with the Rohingya community, and have blocked humanitarian assistance from reaching them. One leaflet described the Rohingya as "cruel by nature" and claimed it had "plans to exterminate" other ethnic groups.

    The Independent would also admit that:
    Ko Ko Gyi, a democracy activist with the 88 Generation Students group and a former political prisoner, said: "The Rohingya are not a Burmese ethnic group. The root cause of the violence... comes from across the border."
    Prominent members of the 88 Generation Students group received praise and recognition from the US State Department's National Endowment for Democracy that same year. In 2015, ahead of Myanmar's elections, NED's Dem Digest would praise Ko Ko Gyi and the 88 Generation Students group as, "smart, capable leaders, who were political prisoners."

    Since coming to power in 2016, only the most ambiguous criticism has been levelled against Suu Kyi, her followers including US, British and European-funded organisations all but unmentioned and the entirety of the blame for a conflict stemming from the intentional divide and rule strategy of European colonisation, laid solely upon Myanmar's military.

    The military remains a powerful, independent institution within Myanmar. It is still able to cultivate ties both with powerful groups in Myanmar and with Myanmar's neighbours. The chaos created by targeting the Rohingya has not been genuinely exposed and confronted by Western journalists and their counterparts among Western-sponsored human rights advocacy groups, but rather leveraged cynically to advance US and European foreign policy objectives.

    Expelling China

    Washington's pivot toward Asia continues in earnest, albeit with a large deal of civilised pretences dropped. What had begun as a proposed diplomatic and economic reinvestment in the region has been revealed instead as a pan-regional campaign of political meddling, economic coercion and even military encroachment through a variety of means.

    Diminishing or entirely eliminating Myanmar's military as an independent institution and broker of political and economic power is part of a larger strategy to expel Chinese influence from Myanmar as well as the wider Southeast Asian region.

    Suu Kyi, while omitted from the brunt of US and European accusations regarding the Rohingya, is still mentioned, a reminder to Suu Kyi and her political party that if human rights could be leveraged to attack and undermine their political opponents, they could equally be leveraged to keep her and her National League for Democracy party aligned to Washington, London and Brussels by more rigorous means.

    As is the case across Southeast Asia, a fully functional client state is most likely beyond Washington and London's means. Instead, a strategy of producing partially functional or entirely dysfunctional client states surrounding China denies Beijing the ability to develop economic, political, diplomatic and military ties to their full potential, thus inhibiting the growth and development of China itself.

    In most cases, news articles and analysis from across the United States and Europe all but openly admit this is so. An April 2017 article in Foreign Policy titled, "China Is Playing Peacemaker in Myanmar, but with an Ulterior Motive," for example, 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.
    The article seems to relish the fact that Myanmar's dysfunction is costing Beijing a valuable regional partner. This is exactly the case in Rakhine state as well, where China has been developing a port and transportation infrastructure to link China's Yunnan province to the Bay of Bengal. Violence between Suu Kyi's political supporters and the Rohingya, including militant groups sponsored by US ally Saudi Arabia, jeopardises stability in Rakhine and all projects located there, including Chinese investments.

    Hiding Behind Rather Than Upholding Human Rights

    Once again the UN is being used to leverage, not uphold human rights. The plight of the Rohingya is ill-served by reports omitting the role of Suu Kyi and her political supporters in fomenting violence against them. Entire groups who deny the Rohingya their citizenship and their humanity are omitted from the UN's report. If they are omitted from a report calling for justice, they are omitted from facing the justice called for. What is the UN report then, besides a cynical political charade and how does this charade reflect upon the so-called international order the US and Europe claim to uphold by backing the report?

    While it is very possible that factions within Myanmar's military are involved in the violence, it is clear that no credible, impartial investigation has been conducted into it, further undermining efforts to hold those responsible to account.

    The US and China are approaching the region from two entirely different angles.

    The US seeks to divide and rule in a modern day rendition of what the British did a generation ago. China seeks to build economic ties and physical infrastructure. It is clear which angle benefits the majority in Asia the most, but it has always been clear throughout history that it is easier to destroy than to build. In this respect, China and its partners have their work cut out for them and until the façade of human rights advocacy can be stripped away and the West's true intentions laid bare, it will continue to be an uphill struggle for real progress.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • September 19, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Western and Russian media sources have reported an alleged joint Israeli-French strike on Syria on September 17. The attack included Israeli warplanes and French missile frigates operating in the Mediterranean off Syria's coast. Amid the attack, a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft with 14 service members aboard disappeared.

    The attack immediately prompted commentators, analysts, and pundits to call for an immediate retaliation to the unprovoked military aggression, warning that a failure to react would leave Russia looking weak. Some commentators even called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to step down.

    Not the First Provocation

    Yet the attack is reminiscent of the 2015 Turkish downing of a Russian warplane - after which similar calls for retaliation were made, coupled with similar condemnations of Russia as "weak." And since 2015, Russia's patient and methodical approach to aiding Syria in its proxy war with the US-NATO-GCC and Israel has nonetheless paid off huge dividends.

    Russia would later aid Syria in retaking the northern city of Aleppo. Palmyra would be retaken from the so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) - Homs, Hama, Eastern Ghouta, and the southern city of Daraa would also be retaken - leaving virtually everything west of the Euphrates River under the control of Damascus.

    In fact, the near precipice of total victory was achieved by Russia and its allies ignoring serial provocations carried out by the US-NATO-GCC and Israel, and simply focusing on the task of systematically restoring security and stability to the conflict-ridden nation.

    Russian-backed Syrian forces are now staged at the edge of Idlib. So far tilted has the balance of power tipped in Damascus' favor that even Turkey has found itself seeking negotiations with Russia over the last remaining territory still held by the West's proxy forces.

    The Reality of Western Provocations

    Syria and its allies were winning the proxy war for the nation's future before Israel and France attacked, and they are still winning the proxy war in the aftermath of the joint strike. Syria has weathered hundreds of such attacks - big and small - throughout the past 7 years.

    Israeli warplanes have been operating at a distance, using standoff weapons. French missiles launched from frigates also constitute a standoff strategy, avoiding the risk of overflying Syrian territory and being targeted or shot down by Syrian air defenses.

    Modern warfare doctrine admits that no war can be won with air power alone. This means that a nation flying sorties over a targeted nation cannot achieve victory without ground forces coordinating with air power from below. If air power alone over a nation makes it impossible to achieve victory, standoff air power makes victory even more futile.

    But there is another possible motive behind the West's serial attacks. Modern electronic warfare includes the detection and countering of air defense systems. Each time an air defense system is activated, its position and characteristics can be ascertained. Even if air defense systems are mobile, the information they provide during a provocation while attempting to detect and fire at targets is invaluable to military planning.

    Should Russia engage its most sophisticated air defense systems during provocations, affording the West a complete picture of both its technology in general and the disposition of its defenses in Syria specifically, should the West decide to launch a knock-out blow through a full-scale air assault, it could do so much more effectively.

    This is precisely what the US did in 1990 during Operation Desert Storm when taking on Iraq's formidable air defenses. The initial air campaign was preceded by the use of some 40 BQM-74C target drones used to trick Iraqi air defenses into turning on their equipment which was being monitored by US electronic warfare aircraft flying along the Iraqi-Saudi border. It was the disclosure of the disposition and characteristics of Iraq's anti-aircraft systems more than any sort of "stealth" technology that allowed the US to then overwhelm Iraqi air defenses.

    Considering that hundreds of provocations have been launched against Syria, we can assume that somewhere among them, serious attempts at electronic surveillance and reconnaissance have taken place. We can also assume that competent Russian military leadership has been aware of this and has taken measures to safeguard the disposition and capabilities of its premier air defense systems until it is absolutely essential to reveal them.

    The Best Revenge Will Be Victory Over NATO

    Downed Syrian and Russian aircraft, or casualties inflicted upon Syrian forces and their allies on the battlefield are difficult as human beings to watch without stirring desires for immediate revenge. Yet it must be kept in mind that immediate revenge rarely serves well long-term strategies toward victory.

    Ancient Chinese warlord and strategist Sun Tzu in his timeless treatise, "The Art of War," would warn contemporary and future generals about the dangers of caving to emotions at the expense of sound strategy. He would state (emphasis added):
    Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.

    No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.

    If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.

    Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.

    But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.

    Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and an army intact.
    It is not to Russia's advantage to sink French frigates or expose the full capabilities of its air defense systems to shoot down a handful of Israeli warplanes to satisfy public desires for immediate revenge or to protect nonexistent notions of Russian invincibility.

    Instead, it is to Russia's advantage to simply win the proxy war in Syria. Just as in 2015 when calls for immediate revenge were made regarding a Turkish-downed Russian warplane, Syria, Russia, and Iran will continue moving forward - slowly and methodically - to secure Syrian territory from foreign proxies seeking to divide and destroy the country, springboard into Iran, and eventually work their way into southern Russia.

    Avenging serial provocations is infinitesimally less important than overall victory in Syria. The fate of Syria as a nation, Iran's security and stability as a result, and even Russia's own self-preservation is on the line. The awesome responsibility of those who have planned and executed Syria's incremental victory over proxy forces backed by the largest, most powerful economies and military forces on Earth could greatly benefit from a public able to understand the difference between short-term gratification and long-term success and how the former almost certainly and recklessly endangers the latter.

    The greatest possible "revenge" to exact upon those who inflicted this war upon the Syrian people, is their absolute and total defeat.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • September 24, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - While China builds roads, rail, pipelines, airports, seaports, and factories across Africa, the United States finds itself resigned to selling weapons and stirring up conflicts between and within African states to disrupt the rise of the continent independent of Western hegemony.

    Part of stirring up conflict involves political subversion. In Uganda, the US is propping up an opposition leader who even at the most basic, superficial level fails to conceal his allegiance to and dependence on Washington.

    The Making of an Agitator: Bobi Wine's "Political Rise"

    A media circus has developed in the West around Ugandan pop star turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu - referred to by his stage name as "Bobi Wine" - portraying him as a rising opposition leader seeking the overthrow of incumbent Ugandan strongman, President Yoweri Museveni.

    While depicted as a Ugandan "opposition leader" by the Western media, fewer cases of Western meddling in African politics have been more transparent.

    Wine entered politics as recently as 2017. In early 2018, he had already made a trip to the United States to enroll in the Harvard Kennedy School's "Leadership for the 21st Century" course, described by the school's website as:
    The executive education program, Leadership for the 21st Century: Chaos, Conflict and Courage, delves into why we lead the way we do. The program offers a stimulating and challenging curriculum that invites you to learn how to exercise leadership with more courage, skill and effectiveness.
    Upon returning to Uganda, Wine's political supporters violently attacked President Museveni's motorcade after which he was arrested and charged with treason.

    The BBC in their August 2018 article, "Uganda's Bobi Wine: Pop star MP charged with treason," would claim:
    The authorities say opposition lawmakers led supporters to attack the president's convoy with stones. Bobi Wine's driver was later shot dead.
    And as with all Western-sponsored agitators, the BBC has reported Western governments decrying the charges as "politically motivated" claiming:
    The charges are widely viewed as politically motivated and aimed at silencing a prominent critic of the president. The US decried the "brutal treatment" of MPs, journalists and others by security forces.
    By September, Wine would fly to the US to allegedly receive "treatment" for his "injuries," however most of his time was spent consorting with the US State Department, DC lobbyists, writing columns for the Washington Post, and grandstanding with visible US backing behind him.

    In Wine's op-ed for the Washington Post, he would claim (emphasis added):
    When people are allowed to speak, allowed to protest, to organize; when terms are limited and elections are transparent; when the press is free and officials are held accountable, there are no Musevenis. This is why we are seeing increasing censorship — including blackouts of broadcasts by Voice of America, among other heavy-handed attempts to keep Ugandans in the dark.
    Voice of America - of course - is US State Department-funded and directed media representing US special interests. Here, Wine suggests that without US State Department narratives, Ugandans are left "in the dark." While depicted as a democratic opposition leader, it is safe to say any opposition movement being led from "the dark" by foreign special interests, is entirely undemocratic.

    Other media sources promoting Wine include The Nation Media Group, majority owned by foreign foundations like the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development and openly partnered with Western foundations like the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation and the International Press Institute.

    Like in virtually every other nation around the globe the US seeks influence within, the US is doing this in Uganda not by investing in genuine economic, political, or even military partnership, but instead by simply co-opting or overwriting the nation's institutions, including its media.

    Upon returning to Uganda, Bobi Wine was again promptly arrested - with treason charges seeming somewhat understated now considering Wine's open conspiracy with the entirety of Washington's regime change apparatus.

    The US "Cannot Ignore" Africa...

    Wine's lawyer is notorious lobbyist Robert Amsterdam who has worked with other US-sponsored agitators ranging from Thai billionaire, fugitive, and mass murderer Thaksin Shinawatra, to Russia's Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

    During Amsterdam's press conference in Washington, he would fully admit to seeking further US government support for his client, Bobi Wine, claiming:

    We will be meeting with Congressmen, Congresswomen, members of various departments, the State Department, included, and we will be providing them with details of what has been happening in Uganda, the brutality, the truly criminal activity and violations of human rights that are occurring daily.
    Paradoxically, in an attempt to frame the Ugandan government as in league with Washington, Amsterdam would claim:
    And we want the American taxpayer to know that the American taxpayer is funding this. The military equipment we are supplying to Uganda is being used in a war of terror against Uganda's citizens.

    Yet Uganda's military receives the vast majority of its weapons from Russia and China, not the United States. What "equipment" Uganda would specifically use to "torture" the Ugandan population is never expanded upon by Amsterdam. The most likely reason for this omission of seemingly crucial details is because Amsterdam's claims are fabricated.

    The US, like its European partners, has a long history of meddling in Africa's internal affairs, and specifically in Uganda. Amsterdam provided some clues as to why the US seeks to meddle in Uganda's internal affairs further. He would claim (emphasis added):

    This is not an isolated incident. Uganda has a storied history of political violence, an ongoing history the West has largely ignored. We cannot ignore it any longer. We cannot ignore Africa any longer. Within the last few weeks the German Chancellor was touring Africa, thank God. The Chinese have invited heads of state from all over Africa to Beijing.
    It is time for America's voice to be heard, and heard loudly...

    China's progress in Africa over the last decade has prompted an American reaction. Instead of creating alternative programs for building infrastructure and accelerating development, Washington has opted to instead overturn the entire game board at both Africa and China's expense.

    It is in no way a coincidence that Amsterdam's prescription to coerce Uganda politically focused on a now familiar formula of sanctions, including those designed specifically for Russia but now liberally used around the globe against all obstacles to US geopolitical ambitions.

    Amsterdam would cite the Magnitsky Act by name and call on the US to immediately suspend nebulous US military funding Amsterdam failed to either qualify or quantify.

    Clearly, with Wine sitting in Washington DC, his DC lobbyist openly admitting they would both be consorting with members of the US Congress and the US State Department, and Wine even afforded space in the Washington Post for an op-ed, obvious accusations of Wine's role in facilitating foreign meddling have already begun to spread within Uganda and beyond.

    In response to this, Amsterdam would claim:
    Now a lot of comments have been made with people saying well because he's got an international lawyer somehow there's some foreign agent involved. There ain't no foreign agent involved. There is however something to note. And that is that the Museveni regime is a foreign agent of the American military with respect to its activities in Sudan and Somalia. And therefore it is Washington that has the ultimate control over what's going on in Uganda today.
    While it is true that the Ugandan government has bent to US demands particularly regarding US ambitions in Sudan and Somalia, it is clear that further pressure is being placed on the Ugandan government by the US through the use of opposition figures like Bobi Wine.

    Political projection - accusing President Museveni of being a foreign agent of the United States while Bobi Wine literally sat in Washington DC and openly admitted to consorting with the US Congress and US State Department - is rarely so transparent and hypocritical.

    And as if to dispel any doubt at all about the interconnected nature of Amsterdam's work on behalf of not his client Bobi Wine, but the special interests in Washington and on Wall Street they both work for, he would link Ugandan President Museveni to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the myriad of baseless narratives spread by the West to vilify Moscow, by claiming:
    The Museveni regime is taking a page from Mr. Putin's book. They torture you, they poison you. They poisoned people in England and then they call it false news.
    Uganda's history as a British colony that would gain a tenuous independence before being pulled back and forth between great powers throughout the Cold War and up to and including today has undoubtedly left the nation with much to be desired in terms of governance. However, the governance of Uganda is the sole business of the people of Uganda.

    For Bobi Wine to flee his nation and seek the aid of foreign sponsors notorious for their multitude of global, ongoing wars, torture, human exploitation - including the destruction of multiple nations in Africa specifically - and political meddling and subversion worldwide, is all the proof the Ugandan people need to know that - whatever they may think of President Museveni - Bobi Wine is worse.

    Wine is worse because he is politically weaker, and because before even starting his political career, has found himself entirely dependent on Washington - the heirs of Uganda's British colonial occupiers. Uganda's path toward the future - like any other nation - is wrought with many dead ends, few more obvious than "Bobi Wine."

    For Africa as a continent, the danger of US meddling and attempts to reassert Western control through proxies and political and institutional subversion, remains omnipresent. Knowing the methods the West uses to accomplish its modern day colonization is the first step in defeating it.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • September 24, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - A terrorist attack on a military parade targeting civilians and military personnel alike left at least 29 dead and up to 70 more wounded in Iran's southwest region of Ahvaz.

    At the same time, in New York City, US political figures including US President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudolph Giuliani attended and expressed open support for "revolution" in Iran at the 2018 Iran Uprising Summit organized by Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK).

    MEK is a terrorist organization that has previously killed US service members and civilian contractors, but was removed from the US State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organizations list in order for the US to more openly and directly support the terrorist front's efforts to destabilize and overthrow the Iranian government.

    West Refuses to Call Ahvaz Attackers Terrorists

    The Iranian government has blamed the Al Ahvaziya terror organization for the September 22 attack.

    According to the BBC, Al Ahvaziya has also taken credit for the attack - yet the BBC - along with other media fronts across the West as well as Western governments - has refused to characterize Al Ahvaziya as a terrorist organization and instead depicted it as an "anti-government Arab group."

    The BBC's article, "Iran blames Gulf foes for deadly Ahvaz attack," would claim:
    A spokesman for the Ahvaz National Resistance, an umbrella group that claims to defend the rights of the Arab minority in Khuzestan, said the group was behind the attack.
    Yet the same BBC in 2006 after a similar attack in Ahvaz, Iran would clearly characterize the group's activities as terrorism and would even quote the UK Foreign Office who condemned the attack as terrorism while denying accusations the British government had been covertly backing the terrorists.

    The BBC in its 2006 article titled, "Iran accuses UK of bombing link," would claim:

    A UK Foreign Office spokesman in London has denied the accusation, saying Britain condemned terrorism.

    "Any linkage between HMG (Her Majesty's Government) and these terrorist attacks is completely without foundation," said the official.
    The failure of the US and British governments to now wholly condemn the recent Ahvaz attack as an act of terrorism carried out by what is undeniably a terrorist organization, alone raises suspicions. However, US policy papers have revealed a long-term open conspiracy to back armed militancy in Iran, just as the US, UK, and their allies have been exposed currently doing in nearby Syria as well as Libya in 2011.

    US-backed Iranian "Revolutionaries" are Terrorists - Says US

    As Iran grieved in the wake of the Ahvaz attack, US politicians hosted MEK terrorists in New York, vowing to overthrow the Iranian government.

    Reuters in their article, "Trump lawyer Giuliani says Iran's government will be overthrown," would report:
    President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Saturday said that U.S. sanctions on Iran are leading to economic pain that could lead to a "successful revolution" contrasting with administration comments that government change in Tehran is not U.S. policy.
    "I don't know when we're going to overthrow them," said Giuliani, who spoke in his own capacity though he is a Trump ally, at an Iran Uprising Summit held by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, which opposes Tehran's government.
    Reuters would intentionally avoid naming the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and MEK as the event's organizers - and would even crop a photo for their article of Giuliani speaking to hide the NCRI's logo.

    While defenders of US support for MEK claim the group has reformed itself, US policy papers reveal that MEK was delisted specifically so the US could more openly use the group to carry out armed subversion against the Iranian government on Washington's behalf.

    It should be noted that Giuliani, current National Security Adviser John Bolton, and many other prominent US politicians had lobbied for, and attended MEK events long before the US State Department delisted it as a foreign terrorist organization.

    The Brookings Institution in a 2009 policy paper titled, "Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran" (PDF), under a chapter titled, "Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority And Opposition Groups," 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 while Al Ahvaziya is accused of carrying out the Ahvaz attack, it should also be noted that MEK "networks" specifically in Ahvaz have helped promote and carry out violence ranging from riots to arson for months - openly admitted to by MEK "network" accounts across social media - illustrating a synergy of terrorism, agitation, subversion, and propaganda functioning as an analogue to Western-backed terrorists and their supporters operating in Syria.

    Additionally, at the New York City "Uprising Summit," MEK leader Maryam Rajavi would admit to MEK organizing riots through "resistance units." In her official message, now posted on various MEK websites, should would openly admit:
    Today, the ruling mullahs' fear is amplified by the role of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and resistance units in leading and continuing the uprisings. Regime analysts say: "The definitive element in relation to the December 2017 riots is the organization of rioters. So-called Units of Rebellion have been created, which have both the ability to increase their forces and the potential to replace leaders on the spot."

    The roadmap for freedom reveals itself in these very uprisings, in ceaseless protests, and in the struggle of the Resistance Units.
    Thus, while Iranians mourned in the wake of the Ahvaz terrorist attack, Rajavi was broadcasting her message in New York City gloating of her terrorist organization's capacity to sow violence and chaos across Iran.

    MEK, Al Ahvaziya, and other terrorist groups operating within or along Iran's borders do so with extensive, admitted US support.

    Iran's most recent accusations that the West and their Persian Gulf allies are behind terrorist organizations attacking Iran are difficult to dispute when US politicians are consorting with literal terrorists in New York calling for an "uprising" as terrorist attacks unfold inside Iran - more so when US policy papers themselves admit their proxies of choice are undeniably terrorists and supporting them must be done either covertly, or after a thorough political whitewash.

    A similar process of whitewashing listed terrorist organizations occurred regarding Al Qaeda-affiliate, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) used by the US and UK to overthrow the Libyan government in 2011, delisted as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department in 2015, before members of the terrorist front carried out a suicide bombing in Manchester, UK in 2017 killing 23 (including the bomber).

    Spreading Syria's Chaos to Iran Before the War Ends

    The US-engineered proxy war against Syria was always a means toward eventually attacking, dividing, and destroying Iran, before moving onward to Central Asia and southern Russia.

    As the Syrian conflict approaches its conclusion, and with that conclusion favoring Damascus and its Russian and Iranian allies, there is renewed impetus in Washington and among America's allies to spread the war into Iran.

    Sanctions, subversion, terrorism, and eventually direct military confrontation are all options either already being exercised, or being prepared to confront and overthrow Tehran's political order.

    By now, even to the most casual observers, it should be clear that it is the West - not Iran - who presents the greatest threat to global peace and stability - sponsoring the very worst terrorist organizations on the planet, carrying out heinous crimes against the populations of Syria, Iraq, and Iran - and as a result of being granted impunity and given endless resources by the West, allowed to menace the Western public as well as amply illustrated during the 2017 Manchester attack.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • September 28, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - China recently opened yet another high-speed rail line, this one linking Hong Kong to China's mainland, cutting the trip to Beijing from 24 hours to just 9.

    Yet progress made by China in expanding what is already the largest high-speed rail network in the world, has been decried by Western media organisations. AFP in their article, "Fear and fanfare as Hong Kong launches China rail link," would transform the accomplishment into controversy, claiming:
    A new high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and mainland China launched Sunday, a multi-billion dollar project that critics say gives away part of the city's territory to an increasingly assertive Beijing.

    Chinese security have been stationed in semi-autonomous Hong Kong for the first time at the harbourfront West Kowloon rail terminus, as part of a new "special port area" that is subject to mainland law.
    AFP would further complain:
    Under Hong Kong's mini-constitution -- the Basic Law -- China's national laws do not apply to the city apart from in limited areas, including defence.

    Hong Kong also enjoys rights unseen on the mainland, including freedom of speech, protected by a deal made before the city was handed back to China by Britain in 1997. But there are growing fears those liberties are being eroded.
    AFP's story is part of a wider US-European narrative aimed at driving a wedge between Hong Kong and Beijing, the latter of which resumed control over the territory after nearly 140 years of British colonial rule.

    "Basic Law" is a leftover of British domination and remains key to maintaining Anglo-American influence within Chinese territory. This includes providing protection to US and European funded opposition fronts who carried out short-lived protests in 2014 and now lead what is ironically called an "independence movement," seeking independence from Beijing, but entirely dependent on Washington and Hong Kong's former colonial rulers in London.

    AFP cited Claudia Mo, a Hong Kong politician who formally worked for AFP (a potential conflict of interest not disclosed in the AFP article). The article would claim:
    Opponents warn that giving away control of land in the heart of Hong Kong is a dangerous precedent as Beijing seeks to tighten its grip on the city following mass pro-democracy protests in 2014 and the emergence of an independence movement.
    "It's almost like an imperialist attitude on the part of Beijing," pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo told AFP.

    There are also questions over how Hong Kong citizens will be required to behave in the zones subject to Chinese law, whether they will be punished for using Facebook and Twitter -- banned on the mainland -- or targeted for wearing clothing with political slogans.

    Mo's choice of words were particularly ironic considering her support of "Basic Law" and her opposition to what is called "mainlandisation," a movement seeking to preserve Hong Kong from mainland China's influence. It is in essence a movement to preserve Hong Kong's British imperial legacy and every bit pro-imperialist in reality as she claims Beijing's policies are in fiction.

    China's reasserting itself over its own territory, stripped from it by British imperialism, is the exact opposite of an "imperialist attitude."

    The high-speed rail line represents just one of many aspects of modern China and its ability to influence not only the shape of its own development, but also its ability to challenge and even displace Western influence beyond its borders, particularly across Asia.

    Similar articles decrying Chinese-built high-speed rail projects throughout Southeast Asia have begun appearing across the US-European and UK Commonwealth media.

    For Hong Kong, China's economic development offers tangible progress ordinary people can see and touch. When compared to the ambiguous notions of "democracy" and "freedom" offered by political groups funded and supported by Western nations who have no genuine interest in either, the complete and irreversible supplanting of "Basic Law" is all but inevitable.

    Waning Anglo-American influence in Asia, particularly over China, has spurred US provocations in the South China Sea, the UK to vow Asia as the first region its new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will begin menacing and the beginnings of a growing trade war between the the US and China. It is within this context that US-UK support for Hong Kong's pro-Western political parties should be viewed, not as an ideological partnership promoting freedom and democracy, but an attempt by old imperial powers to reassert themselves in Asia by merely hiding behind such values.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • October 1, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - In 2012, the US State Department would delist anti-Iranian terrorist group - Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) - from its Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. Yet years later, MEK has demonstrated an eager desire to carry out political violence on a scale that eclipses the previous atrocities that had it designated a terrorist organization in the first place.

    In the US State Department's official statement published in September 2012, the rationale for delisting MEK would be as follows (emphasis added):
    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.
    Yet US policy before the State Department's delisting, and events ever since, have proven this rationale for removing MEK as an FTO to be an intentional fabrication - that MEK was and still is committed to political violence against the Iranian people, and envisions a Libya-Syrian-style conflict to likewise divide and destroy the Iranian nation.

    However, facts regarding the true nature of MEK is not derived from Iranian state media, or accusations made by MEK's opponents in Tehran, but by MEK's own US sponsors and even MEK's senior leadership itself.

    "Undeniably" MEK "Conducted Terrorist Attacks"

    By the admissions of the United States and the United Kingdom, MEK is undeniably a terrorist organization guilty of self-admitted acts of terrorism. The UK House of Commons in a briefing paper titled, "The People's Mujahiddeen of Iran (PMOI)," it cites the UK Foreign Office which states explicitly that:
    The Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) is proscribed in the UK under the Terrorism Act 2000. It has a long history of involvement in terrorism in Iran and elsewhere and is, by its own admission, responsible for violent attacks that have resulted in many deaths.
    The briefing paper makes mention of "assiduous" lobbying efforts by MEK to have itself removed from terrorist lists around the globe.

    A 2012 Guardian article titled, "MEK decision: multimillion-dollar campaign led to removal from terror list," would extensively detail the large number of prominent US politicians approached and paid by MEK as part of this lobbying effort.

    Yet there is more behind MEK's delisting than mere lobbying. As early as 2009, US policymakers saw MEK as one of many minority opposition and ethnic groups that could be used by the US as part of a wider agenda toward regime change in Iran.

    The Brookings Institution in a 2009 policy paper titled, "Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran" (PDF), under a chapter titled, "Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority And Opposition Groups," 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 concede to MEK's terrorist background, admitting (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 makes mention of MEK's attacks on US servicemen and American civilian contractors which earned it its place on the US FTO, noting:
    In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran.
    And despite MEK's current depiction as a popular resistance movement in Iran, Brookings would also admit (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 from 2009 onward, that is precisely what was done. It is unlikely that the MEK alone facilitated the rehabilitation of its image or exclusively sought its removal from US-European terrorist organization lists - considering the central role MEK terrorists played in US regime change plans versus Iran.

    While MEK propaganda insists that its inclusion on terrorist organization lists around the globe was the result of a global effort to "curry favor with Iran's clerical regime," it is clear that the terrorist organization earned its way onto these lists, and then lobbied and cheated its way off of them.

    The MEK is Still Committed to Violence Today

    While Iranians mourned in the wake of the Ahvaz attack, MEK was holding a rally in New York City attended by prominent US politicians including US President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudolph Giuliani and former US National Security Adviser under the Obama administration, James Jones.

    During the "2018 Iran Uprising Summit" Giuliani would vow the overthrow of the Iranian government.

    MEK leader Maryam Rajavi would broadcast a message now posted on MEK websites. In her message she would discuss MEK's role in fomenting ongoing violence inside of Iran.

    She would admit:
    Today, the ruling mullahs' fear is amplified by the role of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and resistance units in leading and continuing the uprisings. Regime analysts say: "The definitive element in relation to the December 2017 riots is the organization of rioters. So-called Units of Rebellion have been created, which have both the ability to increase their forces and the potential to replace leaders on the spot."

    The roadmap for freedom reveals itself in these very uprisings, in ceaseless protests, and in the struggle of the Resistance Units.
    Riots by definition entail violence. The riots taking place across Iran beginning in late 2017 and continuing sporadically since - of which Rajavi and her MEK take credit for organizing - have left dozens dead including police.

    One police officer was shot dead just before New Year's, and another three were killed in late February 2018 during such riots.

    In the region of Ahvaz specifically, MEK social media accounts have been taking credit for and promoting ongoing unrest there. Ahvaz was more recently the scene of a terrorist attack in which gunmen targeted a parade leaving dozens dead and scores more injured.

    Rajavi and MEK's ultimate goal is the overthrow of the Iranian government. As Brookings admits in its 2009 paper, the Iranian government will not cede power to US-orchestrated regime change without a fight - and MEK was recruited as a US proxy specifically because of its capacity for violence.

    Brookings would note:
    Despite its limited popularity (but perhaps because of its successful use of terrorism), the Iranian regime is exceptionally sensitive to the MEK and is vigilant in guarding against it.
    It was for this reason that Brookings singled them out as a potential proxy in 2009 and recommended their delisting by the US State Department so the US could provide more open support for the terrorist organization.

    It is clear that Rajavi's recent admissions to being behind political violence inside Iran contravenes the US State Department's rationale for deslisting MEK on grounds that the group had made a "public renunciation of violence."

    MEK is not only refusing to renounce violence, MEK's most senior leader has just publicly and unambiguously declared MEK's policy is to openly wield violence inside Iran toward destabilizing and overthrowing the government.

    From the United States' ignoring of its own anti-terrorism laws - aiding and abetting MEK while still on the US State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organizations list - to the US now portraying MEK as a "reformed" "resistance" organization even as its leader takes credit for ongoing political violence inside Iran, it is clear that once again the US finds itself a willing state sponsor of terrorism.

    It was as early as 2007 that Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article, "The Redirection Is the Administration's new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?" would warn:
    To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
    It is clear in retrospect that the rise of the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, and other extremist fronts in Syria were a result of this US policy. It is also clear that there are many other extremist groups the US has knowingly whitewashed politically and is covertly supporting in terrorism aimed directly at Iran itself.

    It is just a matter of time before the same denials and cover-ups used to depict Syrian and Libyan terrorists as "freedom fighting rebels" are reused in regards to US-backed violence aimed at Iran. Hopefully, it will not take nearly as long for the rest of the world to see through this game and condemn groups like MEK as the terrorists they always have been, and continue to be today.

    Also in retrospect, it is clear how US-engineered conflict and regime change has impacted the Middle Eastern region and the world as a whole - one can only imagine the further impact a successful repeat of this violence will have if visited upon Iran directly.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • October 8, 2018 (F. William Engdahl) - In recent months Western media and the Washington Administration have begun to raise a hue and cry over alleged mass internment camps in China's northwestern Xinjiang where supposedly up to one million ethnic Uyghur Chinese are being detained and submitted to various forms of "re-education." Several things about the charges are notable, not the least that all originate from Western media or "democracy" NGOs such as Human Rights Watch whose record for veracity leaves something to be desired.

    In August Reuters published an article under the headline, "UN says it has credible reports that China holds million Uighurs in secret camps." A closer look at the article reveals no official UN policy statement, but rather a quote from one American member of an independent committee that does not speak for the UN, a member with no background in China. The source of the claim it turns out is a UN independent advisory NGO called Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The sole person making the charge, American committee member Gay McDougall, stated she was "deeply concerned" about "credible reports." McDougall cited no source for the dramatic charge.

    Reuters in their article boosts its claim by citing a murky Washington DC based NGO, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD). In an excellent background investigation, researchers at the Grayzone Project found that the CHRD gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from unnamed governments. The notorious US government NGO, National Endowment for Democracy, is high on the list of usual suspects. Notably, the CHRD official address is that of the Human Rights Watch which gets funds also from the Soros foundation.

    The 'Uyghur Problem'

    The true state of affairs in China's Xinjiang Province regarding Uyghurs is not possible to independently verify, whether such camps exist and if so who is there and under what conditions. What is known, however, is the fact that NATO intelligence agencies, including that of Turkey and of the US, along with Saudi Arabia, have been involved in recruiting and deploying thousands of Chinese Uyghur Muslims to join Al Qaeda and other terror groups in Syria in recent years. This side of the equation warrants a closer look, the side omitted by Reuters or UN Ambassador Haley.

    According to Syrian media cited in, there are presently an estimated 18,000 ethnic Uyghurs in Syria most concentrated in a village on the Turkish border to Syria. Since 2013 such Uyghur soldiers have gone from combat alongside Al Qaeda in Syria and returned to China's Xinjiang where they have carried out various terrorist acts. This is the tip of a nasty NATO-linked project to plant the seeds of terror and unrest in China. Xinjiang is a lynchpin of China's Belt Road Initiative, the crossroads of strategic oil and gas pipelines from Kazakhstan, Russia and a prime target of CIA intrigue since decades.

    Since at least 2011 at the start of the NATO war against Bashar al Assad's Syria, Turkey had played a key role in facilitating the flow of Chinese Uyghur people to become Jihadists in Syria. I deliberately use "had" tense to give benefit of the doubt if it still is the case today or if it has become an embarrassment for Erdogan and Turkish intelligence. In any case it seems that thousands of Uyghurs are holed up in Syria, most around Idlib, the reported last outpost of anti-regime terrorists.

    Washington and ETIM

    In an excellent analysis of China's Uyghur terror history, Steven Sahiounie, a Syrian journalist with 21st Century Wire, notes that a key organization behind the radicalization of Chinese Uyghur youth is the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and its political front, the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), which is also known as "Katibat Turkistani." He cites a speech in Istanbul in 1995 by Turkey's Erdogan, then Mayor, who declared, "Eastern Turkestan is not only the home of the Turkic peoples but also the cradle of Turkic history, civilization and culture..." Eastern Turkestan is Xinjiang.

    ETIM today is headed by Anwar Yusuf Turani, self-proclaimed Prime Minister of a government in exile which notably is based in Washington DC. ETIM moved to Washington at a time the US State Department listed it as a terrorist organization, curiously enough. According to a report in a Turkish investigative magazine, Turk Pulse, Turani's organization's "activities for the government in exile are based on a report entitled 'The Xinjiang Project.' That was written by former senior CIA officer Graham E. Fuller in 1998 for the Rand Corporation and revised in 2003 under the title 'The Xinjiang Problem.'"

    I have written extensively in my book, The Lost Hegemon, about career senior CIA operative Graham Fuller. Former Istanbul CIA station chief, Fuller was one of the architects of the Reagan-Bush Iran-Contra affair, and a prime CIA sponsor or handler of Gülen who facilitated Gülen's USA exile. He was also by his own admission, in Istanbul the night of the failed 2016 coup. In 1999 during the end of the Russian Yelstin era, Fuller declared, "The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Russians. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia." This is what the covert US weaponization of ETIM is aimed at. Like most radical Sunni Jihadist groups, Turani's ETIM got funding as most radical Sunni Jihadist groups from Saudi Arabia.

    In the late 1990s, Hasan Mahsum, also known as Abu-Muhammad al-Turkestani, founder of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, moved ETIM's headquarters to Kabul, taking shelter under Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, ETIM leaders met with Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the CIA-trained Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to coordinate actions across Central Asia. When the Pakistani military assassinated al-Turkestani in 2003 Turani became head of ETIM, and took his roadshow to Washington.

    In his own study of Xinjiang, the CIA's Graham E. Fuller noted that Saudi Arabian groups had disseminated extremist Wahhabi religious literature and possibly small arms through sympathizers in Xinjiang, and that young Turkic Muslims had been recruited to study at madrasas in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. He adds that Uyghurs from Xinjiang also fought alongside Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

    Fuller noted, "Uyghurs are indeed in touch with Muslim groups outside Xinjiang, some of them have been radicalized into broader jihadist politics in the process, a handful were earlier involved in guerrilla or terrorist training in Afghanistan, and some are in touch with international Muslim mujahideen struggling for Muslim causes of independence worldwide."

    The January 2018 Pentagon National Defense Strategy policy document explicitly named China along with Russia as main strategic "threats" to continued US supremacy. It states, "Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security." Explicitly, and this is new, the Pentagon paper does not cite a military threat but an economic one. It states, "China and Russia are now undermining the international order from within the system by exploiting its benefits while simultaneously undercutting its principles and 'rules of the road.'" The escalating trade war against China, threats of sanctions over allegations of Uyghur detention camps in Xinjiang, threats of sanctions if China buys Russian defense equipment, all is aimed at disruption of the sole emerging threat to a Washington global order, one that is not based on freedom or justice but rather on fear and tyranny. How China's authorities are trying to deal with this full assault is another issue. The context of events in Xinjiang however needs to be made clear. The West and especially Washington is engaged in full-scale irregular war against the stability of China.

    F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."
  • October 8, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - At a time when the United States has intensified its confrontation with Russia based on claims that Moscow interfered in US and allied politics (i.e. the UK and prospective NATO members in Eastern Europe), the US openly meddles everywhere from Europe and Africa to the Middle East and Asia.

    This includes Southeast Asia where Washington is busy at work creating an arc of US client states and political chaos aimed at encircling and foiling China and the rest of Asia's regional and global rise.

    US meddling has been documented in Cambodia where it is attempting to disrupt growing ties between Phnom Penh and Beijing, in Malaysia where nearly the entire opposition coalition that recently came to power was funded and backed by Washington and in Myanmar where the US is cynically leveraging ethnic violence to pressure the government to sever ties with neighbouring China.

    Target Thailand

    Also on the list is Thailand. The current military-led government came to power in 2014 after the second coup in less than 10 years aimed at uprooting the political network of Thaksin Shinawatra, a billionaire and now fugitive who has long served US interests and Washington's attempt to transform Thailand into a US client state.

    Shinawatra's political network includes his political party, Pheu Thai (PTP) along with his violent street front, the "United Front For Democracy Against Dictatorship" (UDD), also known as the "red shirts."

    More recently, he has expanded this network to include proxy parties working with and for PTP. This includes Future Forward Party (FFP) headed by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

    Shinawatra's efforts are augmented by significant US backing. This includes through the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society which together, fund an array of fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) supporting Shinawatra and his proxies' bid to rush elections and restore Shinawatra or one of his proxies to power.

    Future Forward is a Proxy of Shinawatra and his US Sponsors

    Thanathorn's FFP is also a direct beneficiary of NED/Open Society money, with several of his party's co-founders and their associates being actual NED/Open Society grantees.

    This includes Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, a long-time Shinawatra lobbyist who previously held indoor rallies for Shinawatra's UDD at Thammasat University, Nalutporn Krairiksh of NED/Open Society-funded media front Prachatai, pro-Shinawatra "Liberal League of Thammasat for Democracy" (LLTD) activist Thararat Panya turned women's rights activist after being raped by fellow LLTD activist Phattanachoke Thanasirakul (Khaosod provides a whitewash of the crime here, and it should be noted the newspaper is owned by Thanathorn's family), Chamnan Chanruang of Open Society-funded Amnesty International (Thailand) and Wipaphan Wongsawang of Western-funded "Rethink Thailand."

    Organisations like the "New Democracy Movement" and the above mentioned LLTD have received direct support from the US, UK and Canadian embassies which have repeatedly provided staff to accompany NDM and LLTD members to police stations and courtrooms to face charges regarding their serial sedition.

    Future Forward is a virtual party of US-funded proxies and agitators.

    Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit himself is the son of billionaires Pattana and Somporn Juangroongruangkit, founders of Thailand's largest auto parts manufacturer, Thai Summit Group.

    Thanathorn is also the nephew of Thaksin Shinawatra ally Suriya Juangroongruangkit who served in Shinawatra's government as Minister of Transport from 2005 until 2006 when Shinawatra was finally ousted from power.

    The Juangroongruangkit family owns the Matichon media group which includes the decidedly pro-Shinawatra Matichon and Khaosod newspapers. Until recently, Thanathorn himself chaired the Matichon media group, giving up the position in an unconvincing reassurance he would not use the media group to advance his political party.

    As part of his campaigning efforts ahead of upcoming Thai elections, Thanathorn found himself visiting the foreign sponsors of various fronts his Future Forward Party includes in its ranks. This included trips to Canada and the United States to meet members of the Canadian government and organisations linked to the US State Department respectively.

    In September, he spoke at the 2018 Concordia Summit, which claims on its website to be, "dedicated to actively fostering, elevating, and sustaining cross-sector partnerships for social impact."

    To get an idea of what sort of social impact Concordia seeks, we consider its "Leadership Council," chaired by various corporate and government leaders including Prince Abdulaziz Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Saudi Arabia), former US Deputy Secretary of State and US Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and former Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency David Petraeus.

    Concordia also maintains an open partnership with the US State Department itself.

    More telling is Thailand's Suwat Liptapanlop's position among Concordia's "Leadership Council," Suwat having served under Thaksin Shinawatra until 2006. Suwat's presence on the council of an organisation hosting Thanathorn specifically to create and bolster his public image not only further ties Thanathorn to Thaksin Shinawatra, but also to Shinawatra's foreign sponsors.

    During Thanathorn's US-Canada trip, he also met directly with Canadian government representatives including Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Together they ironically discussed democracy and human rights even as Canada continues to arm Saudi Arabia with hundreds of millions of dollars of weapons to execute its war on neighbouring Yemen with. There is also irony in a supposed champion of Thai democracy seeking support from powerful special interests abroad instead of among the Thai people he supposedly represents.

    Born into immense wealth, educated abroad, possessing a solid track record of exploiting labour in the family business he inherited and clearly being cultivated by Thaksin Shinawatra and his foreign sponsors, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit couldn't be any less representative of the average Thai or of "democracy."

    Yet US and European special interests along with the entirety of the Western media continue promoting Thanathorn and Future Forward as Thailand's best chance at restoring Thai democracy, clearly not because he will represent the interests of the Thai people but rather the foreign interests driving his political ascent.

    A Thai Client State Versus China

    The current Thai government is being targeted for regime change in favour of characters like Thanathorn specifically because it has cultivated unprecedented ties with Beijing. Trade, defence, infrastructure and tourism have become key pillars of cooperation between the two Asian nations, and pillars the US has targeted each in turn attempting to crumble them.

    Thailand has signed multiple major joint infrastructure projects with China including high-speed rail networks that will connect to Chinese territory via Laos. Thailand is also buying an increasing number of rolling stock for its various existing and planned mass transit systems from China. Such projects have been opposed by US-European funded fronts on the grounds of "human rights" and "environmental" concerns.

    In areas of defence, Thailand is replacing its ageing US hardware with new Chinese infantry fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and main battle tanks. It has also conducted its first series of joint military exercises with China to provide balance to what has been decades of US-led regional training like the annual Cobra Gold exercise.

    China in turn has provided a growing market for Thai goods, particularly in the area of agriculture. China also provides Thailand with its largest number of tourists. Several times more Chinese tourists visit Thailand each year than from all Western nations combined.

    In 2015, a terrorist attack struck mostly Chinese tourists in downtown Bangkok, months after Bangkok ignored US demands not to send suspected Uighur terrorists back to China to face justice. The attack has been interpreted by some as both a penalty for opposing Washington's demands and an attack on Chinese tourism inside Thailand.

    Thailand's current prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, would remark regarding US-Thai ties in an interview/hit piece by Time magazine, that:
    The friendship between Thailand and China has been over thousands of years, and with USA for around 200 years, and we remain these ties between our fellow countries until now. China is the number one partner of Thailand, along with other countries in the second and third place like the U.S. and others. They are all good friends to Thailand. Thailand is a small country, so we need to properly balance politics and foreign affairs with all fellow countries.
    It is this sovereignty-preserving acumen that has painted a large target on the current Thai government by the US for regime change in favour of a mindlessly servile proxy like Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

    For Thailand, as elections near, we can expect US-backed political destabilisation ranging from overt Western media support for Thanathorn's Future Forward and Thaksin Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party, to Western-sponsored street protests and even violence organised by both parties. There is already a concerted and constant smear campaign aimed at the current Thai government, the Thai military and Thailand's revered, long-standing monarchy, which will only intensify ahead of polls.

    The US has proven that its answer to China's policy of building and developing is an aggressive counter-campaign of destabilisation and and co-opting if possible, and dividing and destroying if necessary. The US has spent decades attempting to encircle and contain China and as its current efforts become increasingly ineffective, more desperate measures will be deferred to. The price for underestimating Washington's capacity for destabilisation and destruction is illustrated in Libya, Yemen, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a price Thailand must make sure it avoids paying by dealing intelligently and decisively with Washington's proxies.

    Correction: Thararat Panya was raped by Phattanachoke Thanasirakul of the "Liberal League of Thammasat for Democracy" (LLTD). "New Democracy Movement" co-leader Abhisit Sapnaphapan raped a fellow NDM member who has not yet revealed her identity. LLTD and NDM cooperate in parallel. The article had previously incorrectly reported that Panya was a NDM member and raped by Sapnaphapan .

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • October 12, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The United States was exuberant after its proxies took power in the Maldives during the September 24th elections. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) came out with 58% of the vote over incumbent, President Abdulla Yameen.

    Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power would exclaim on social media:
    The people of the Maldives (turnout: 89%!) showed extraordinary bravery in ousting their repressive president at the ballot box. They join Ethiopians, Armenians, Malaysians & others in making clear the enduring power - and necessity - of democratic values.

    The American media also did little to hide its excitement, and linked the victory directly to a wider US-led effort to set Beijing's regional influence back.

    The Wall Street Journal in its article, "More Belt and Road Backlash: The Maldives turns away from China and back toward democracy," would claim:
    On Monday President Abdulla Yameen conceded defeat to Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, a longtime member of parliament. Some 90% of eligible voters turned out. Mr. Solih won with 58% of the vote after promising to restore democracy and improve relations with the West. He also vowed to take a harder line against Chinese investment.
    The Wall Street Journal would repeat a now familiar narrative promoted by the US regarding China's One Belt, One Road initiative, claiming:
    Alarmists say climate change means the Maldives will be underwater soon, but predatory loans could drown the nation's finances first. China began investing heavily in the country's public works in recent years. A 2017 International Monetary Fund report found that its debt-to-GDP ratio "rose nearly 11.5 percentage points from 2014-16." Its external debt could hit 51.2% of GDP by 2021 thanks to Chinese projects. The IMF says servicing this debt will cost about $92 million a year for four years, while the government takes in only about $1 billion a year.
    It is interesting that the Wall Street Journal cites the IMF, a Western-dominated financial institution notorious for its own debt traps, debt traps nations were placed into minus the tangible public works China is building across Eurasia.

    As for claims that the Maldives have turned "back toward democracy," nothing could be further from the truth.

    America's Proxies in the Maldives Not the Democrats They've Been Made out to Be

    The victorious opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, is headed by former Maldives president, now fugitive Mohamed Nasheed.

    Nasheed had been president from 2008-2012. He was forced to resign after being charged with terrorism.

    In 2015, he was finally convicted and sentenced to 13 years in jail. After significant pressure from the West, the Maldives allowed Nasheed to travel to the UK on grounds of receiving medical treatment. Nasheed was subsequently granted asylum by the UK government and has worked to return himself to power ever since.

    Many reports across the Western media categorically (and likely intentionally) fail to provide details regarding the charges and convictions.

    This is because the details tell an astounding story of Western hypocrisy and reveal America's proxies in the Maldives as being as repressive as they've claimed their opponents to be.

    The terrorist charges were linked to Nasheed's jailing of a judge in 2012. Western media accounts have since omitted the details of this arrest for obvious reasons, but a BBC article published in a January 2012 titled, "Maldivian army arrests senior judge Abdulla Mohamed," would admit at the time that:
    A government statement said the judge, Abdulla Mohamed, had allowed "his judicial decisions to be determined by political and personal affiliations". The arrest comes after he released an opposition leader who had been detained for allegedly defaming the government.
    The BBC would further elaborate:
    Opposition [to Nasheed's government] activists said that the arrest was in retaliation for the judge ruling that the detention of opposition leader Mohamed Jameel Ahmed one day earlier was illegal, AP news agency reported.

    Mr Ahmed had been arrested for allegedly defaming the government in a television interview.
    In other words, America's "pro-democracy" ally in the Maldives, had jailed an opponent for merely criticising his government on television, then jailed the judge who ruled the imprisonment illegal.

    Nasheed's repression is precisely what the US, UK and their virtual army of supposed human rights organisations had used as a basis to label Yameen's government as "repressive."

    Nasheed's National Endowment for Democracy Connection

    While the Western media has hardly made it a secret that Nasheed and his Maldivian Democratic Party are Washington and London's proxies in a power struggle with Beijing, some of the details of Nasheed's escape to the UK and his activities there since provide greater context to American meddling in the Maldives, contradicting any remaining notion that recent elections had anything to do with democracy.

    A 2017 panel discussion organised by the University of Michigan titled, "The Island President's Struggle for Democracy and Environmental Justice in the Maldives," would describe Nasheed's escape as follows:
    With his health deteriorating, he managed to find exile in London with the help from international lawyers Jared Genser, Amal Clooney, and Ben Emmerson. He continues his tireless efforts to promote democracy in his homeland and is now poised to pursue presidency again in his beloved homeland.
    Nasheed's international lawyer, Jared Genser, also spoke at the panel. His biography was also illuminating (our emphasis):
    Jared Genser is Managing Director of Perseus Strategies, a law and consulting firm that focuses on human rights, humanitarian, and corporate social responsibility projects. He is also Founder of Freedom Now, a non-governmental organization that works to free prisoners of conscience worldwide. Genser was an Associate of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University from 2014-2016, a Visiting Fellow with the National Endowment for Democracy from 2006-2007, and was previously named by the National Law Journal as one of "40 Under 40: Washington's Rising Stars." Before founding Perseus Strategies,
    The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is openly Washington's primary means of influencing, infecting, coercing and even overthrowing political orders in an industrialised process of global meddling. Genser's Freedom Now is one of many organisations working in parallel with the NED, and is funded by many of the same government and corporate foundation sponsors.

    NED, its subsidiaries and affiliates operate in scores of nations around the globe, openly funding media fronts, lawyers, supposed rights groups and even entire political parties aimed at creating first vectors for US influence within targeted nations, before incrementally overwriting and eventually overthrowing the local institutions and political orders of these nations.

    Amid any political conflict grabbing headlines around the globe, by simply following NED funding, America's role in creating or taking advantage of chaos can be quickly ascertained.

    A party like MDP run by an open proxy of Western interests, hiding in London flanked by international lawyers and lobbyists including Genser with links to the National Endowment for Democracy, has nothing at all to do with democracy. Democracy first and foremost entails self-determination. A party run by and for foreign interests is precisely the oppose of self-determination and could not be further from true democracy, no matter how much people like Samantha Power insist otherwise.

    The contest for power in the Maldives is one of great powers, India, China and the United States, and lesser powers like the UK, struggling for influence over the geographically strategic island nation. It is not one of "ideology," or of "repression" versus "democracy. " It is clear that Nasheed and his party are as bad as they've claimed their opponents are. Double as bad considering Nasheed's hypocrisy and his servile dependence on Washington and London to provide him with a political future.

    The Maldives would be best served by a foreign policy that favours neither the US nor China, but attempts to build balanced ties with all nations to serve its own best interests. While there are doubts the previous government was committed to such balance, it is certain Nasheed's proxy government now coming to power is not.

    The future of the Maldives will continue to see this power struggle play out. China has exhibited supreme patience, confident that its successes elsewhere will bring even the most stubborn proxies of Western power over to Beijing's side. For Washington, it must struggle to maintain proxies like Nasheed in power, continuously cover up the hypocrisy his party will again undoubtedly indulge itself in, as well as attempt to foil Chinese progress elsewhere in the region and around the globe.

    One of these great powers has a sustainable regional strategy. One does not. It takes little geopolitical acumen to determine which is which.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • October 12, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Rarely is US hypocrisy so cynical and overt as a recent US State Department investigation into ongoing violence in Myanmar, all while the US continues its full spectrum support of Saudi Arabia's genocidal war on Yemen.

    In addition to Washington's role in Yemen, the US also occupies Afghanistan and Syria while carrying out drone strikes and covert military interventions in territory stretching from North Africa to Central Asia.

    In Myanmar specifically, the US has openly and for decades funded and supported groups and individuals involved directly on both sides of ongoing ethnic violence. Now, it is leveraging that violence to single out obstacles to US influence in Southeast Asia and in Myanmar specifically.

    Reuters in their article titled, "U.S. accuses Myanmar military of 'planned and coordinated' Rohingya atrocities," would claim:
    A U.S. government investigation has found that Myanmar's military waged a "well-planned and coordinated" campaign of mass killings, gang rapes and other atrocities against the Southeast Asian nation's Rohingya Muslim minority.
    Reuters admits the US State Department's report, titled "Documentation of Atrocities in Northern Rakhine State," was in fact merely interviews conducted with alleged witnesses in neighbouring Bangladesh.

    Was it Really an Investigation?

    Imagine a fight breaks out between two groups of people. The police are called in. But instead of arriving at the crime scene, the police instead interview only one group, and do so at their home before drawing their final conclusions. Would anyone honestly call this an "investigation?" The US State Department apparently would, because this is precisely what the State Department has done in regards to ongoing ethnic violence in Myanmar.

    The full report, found here on the US State Department's website, would admit:
    The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), with funding support from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), conducted a survey in spring 2018 of the firsthand experiences of 1,024 Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar District, Bangladesh. The goal of the survey was to document atrocities committed against residents in Burma's northern Rakhine State during the course of violence in the previous two years.
    No physical evidence was collected or presented in the report, because investigators never stepped foot in Myanmar itself where the violence allegedly took place. The report also failed to interview other parties allegedly involved in the violence.

    While the witness accounts in the US State Department's investigation were shocking, had investigators gone to Rakhine state and interviewed locals there, they would have heard similar stories told of Rohingya attacks on Buddhists and Hindus.

    Both accounts require further and impartial investigation, however the US State Department, by exclusively interviewing only one party amid multiparty ethnic violence all but ensures nothing resembling a real, impartial investigation ever takes place. This, of course, assumes that the United States has any authority as arbiter in Myanmar's internal affairs in the first place.

    The US State Department investigation follows a similar UN report which mirrored and admittedly used similar claims made by US and European funded fronts posing as "nongovernmental organisations" (NGOs).

    Together, these efforts represent a cycle of one-sided propaganda cynically aimed at leveraging ethnic violence within and along Myanmar's borders to pressure and coerce the government of Myanmar, particularly in regards to its growing ties with China. This is a fact that even Reuters in its article concedes to, albeit buried deep within the body of the text.

    Reuters, after describing how the US could use the investigation's alleged findings to pressure Myanmar, would admit:
    Any stiffer measures against Myanmar authorities could be tempered, though, by U.S. concerns about complicating relations between civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and the powerful military which might push Myanmar closer to China.
    Myanmar, which borders China, seeks like the rest of Southeast Asia, closer ties to Beijing as the region collectively rises economically and politically on the global stage. Attempts by Western capitals to reassert and expand their former colonial influence has manifested itself in political meddling, subversion, the use of ethnic tensions to divide and weaken national unity and even terrorism.

    It should be noted that the US and UK's leveraging of ethnic violence in modern day Myanmar is a continuation of ethnic divisions intentionally cultivated by the British Empire to divide and rule Myanmar when it was a British colony.

    It is worth repeating that Channel 4, one of Britain's own public service broadcasters, in an article titled, "A Brief History of Burma," aptly described the very source of Myanmar's current ethnic divisions:

    Throughout their Empire the British used a policy called 'divide and rule' where they played upon ethnic differences to establish their authority. This policy was applied rigorously in Burma. More than a million Indian and Chinese migrants were brought in to run the country's affairs and thousands of Indian troops were used to crush Burmese resistance. In addition, hill tribes which had no strong Burmese affiliation, such as the Karen in the south-east, were recruited into ethnic regiments of the colonial army.
    The article also admitted:
    The British 'divide and rule' policy left a legacy of problems for Burma when it regained independence.
    Not only has the British "divide and rule" policy left a legacy of problems for Myanmar since gaining its independence, these are problems Washington is now cynically exploiting in its own interpretation of "divide and rule."

    Washington's Own Role in the Violence Goes Unreported

    Oft omitted in US-European media reports, Aung San Suu Kyi, defacto leader of Myanmar's government, is the product of decades of US and British political and financial backing. Virtually every aspect of Aung San Suu Kyi's government including high-level ministers, are the result of US-European training, funding and support.

    The government's minister of information, for example, received US-funded training in neighbouring Thailand before working his way up Aung San Suu Kyi's US-backed opposition party.

    Another aspect omitted by the US-European media is the fact that the most prominent so-called "pro-democracy" leaders supported by Washington, London and Brussels, have openly been involved in calling for, promoting and defending ethnic violence against Myanmar's Rohingya minority, violence now being leveraged by Washington to place pressure on Myanmar and foil growing ties with China.

    This includes NED Democracy Awardee Min Ko Naing who denied the Rohingya as an ethnic group in Myanmar, suggesting they were merely illegal immigrants. It also includes Ko Ko Gyi who openly vowed to take up arms against the Rohingya whom he called "foreign invaders."

    More telling of Washington's lack of convictions in protecting the Rohingya and instead cynically exploiting Myanmar's ethnic tensions is the fact that Ko Ko Gyi was invited to speak in Washington D.C. a year after pledging to take up arms against the Rohingya.

    It should be pointed out that Ko Ko Gyi's pro-genocide remarks were made in a US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded publication, The Irrawaddy, and it was the US NED who would invit him to speak in Washington a year later, meaning that those in Washington were well aware of exactly who and what Ko Ko Gyi really was.

    Founding member of Aung San Suu Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), U Win Tin, awarded "journalist of the year" by Reporters Without Borders in 2006, would suggest that the Rohingya be interned in camps.

    It's clear that at the very least, it is more than just Myanmar's military involved in ethnic violence inside Myanmar. It is also clear that the US and its European partners and the virtual army of fronts posing as NGOs have selectively "investigated" and "reported" on Myanmar's ethnic violence to single out and undermine the military alone, while providing impunity to others involved in the violence including extremists among the Rohingya population itself, as well as anti-Rohingya extremists backed for years by the US government.

    The very fact that the US has backed those involved in ethnic violence in Myanmar, and that their role continuously goes unreported in various US government and US-funded NGO investigations illustrates an additional and major crisis of credibility regarding Washington's self-appointed role as arbiter in Myanmar.

    This US strategy of cultivating animosity on all sides, providing impunity to some while singling out others, ensures Myanmar remains divided and weak, while the US and its European partners can pick apart Myanmar's military and any civilian politicians who refuse to tilt Myanmar away from Beijing, and back toward Anglo-American influence. It is another example of the American-dominated international human rights racket advancing Western interests merely behind pro-human rights rhetoric, often at the cost of undermining real human rights.

    While supposed NGOs funded by the US, UK and European nations pose as dedicated to human rights in Myanmar, they are in fact foreign fronts meddling in Myanmar's internal affairs, and because of the selective nature of their "investigations," they are in fact enabling those involved in atrocities who are currently in Washington's, London's and Brussels' good graces.

    Genocidal Humanitarians?

    The final, and perhaps central reality that exposes the disingenuous and cynical nature of the US State Department's "investigation" into Myanmar's violence is the fact that concurrently, the United States is carrying out a war by proxy against the impoverished, war-torn Middle Eastern nation of Yemen.

    There, the US has provided its partners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with weapons, intelligence and other forms of direct material support in carrying out the brutal and systematic destruction of the nation's infrastructure, including the blockading and takeover of ports where essential food, medicine and other necessities are just barely trickling through.

    The same UN the US has enlisted to coerce Myanmar's military, has published far more substantiated claims regarding substantially worse human tolls amid the US proxy war in Yemen. A March 2018 report posted on the UN's website titled, "UN renews push for political solution as Yemen marks three years of all-out conflict," would admit that up to 22 million people were in dire need of humanitarian assistance. The report would also note the deaths of thousands of children along with the closure of some 2,500 schools.

    Another report, by the UN high commission for human rights, noted that the US proxy war in Yemen has caused over 17,000 civilian casualties defining it in terms dwarfing accusations made by the US State Department regarding Myanmar. The US actively enables atrocities in Yemen while "investigating" atrocities in Myanmar based purely on US geopolitical objectives, not any sort of genuine or even semi-genuine concern for human life.

    For the US-UK and European-funded fronts posing as NGOs and meddling in Myanmar under the pretence of defending human rights, the fact that they claim to fight for human rights while being funded by and working for the demonstrably worst human rights abusers on the planet eliminates whatever legitimacy remains after already taking into account their one-sided, bias investigations.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • October 16, 2018 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - After a string of suspicious incidents involving Russia's venerable Soyuz rocket system, several prominent American newspapers have attempted to poison the last remaining area of significant cooperation between Russia and the United States.

    This includes the Washington Post which has placed itself at the center of Washington and Wall Street's anti-Russian campaign. Its article, "Astronauts make harrowing escape, but Russian rocket failure roils NASA," would claim:
    A Russian Soyuz rocket malfunctioned two minutes after liftoff Thursday on a mission to the International Space Station, triggering an automatic abort command that forced the two-member crew — an American and a Russian — to make a harrowing parachute landing in their capsule, 200 miles from the launch site in the steppes of Kazakhstan.
    The Post would further state:
    Thursday's launch failure came at a dicey moment in the U.S.-Russia space partnership. The two nations have been congenial 250 miles above the Earth's surface even when events on the ground, such as the Russian annexation of Crimea or the interference of Russia in the 2016 election, have stoked tensions.

    But the United States and Russia have been at odds over the cause of a small hole discovered in August on the Soyuz module — Soyuz MS-09 — currently docked at the space station. Moscow says the hole, now repaired, was the result of deliberate drilling and has suggested sabotage, while the U.S. space agency said this week that investigators will determine the cause.
    For NASA itself, it has expressed full confidence in the Russian space program and indicated no desire whatsoever to end its cooperation with its Russian counterparts.

    The Guardian in its article, "'We will fly again': Nasa to keep using Russia's Soyuz despite failure," would explain:
    Nasa's chief has praised the Russian space programme and said that he expected a new crew to go to the International Space Station in December, despite a rocket failure.

    Jim Bridenstine spoke to reporters at the US embassy in Moscow a day after a Soyuz rocket failure forced Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff in Kazakhstan. The pair escaped unharmed.
    The Guardian would further elaborate:
    "I fully anticipate that we will fly again on a Soyuz rocket and I have no reason to believe at this point that it will not be on schedule," the Nasa administrator said.
    It was the first such incident in Russia's post-Soviet history - an unprecedented setback for the country's space industry.
    Space travel is notoriously challenging and both incidents could just be unlucky coincidences. It is also entirely possible that quality control within Russia is lagging and needs to be reexamined and reorganized. Even for NASA, episodes of lax quality control and complacency have caused launch failures including that of the space shuttle Challenger.

    Papers like the Washington Post, attempting to shoehorn the incident into the much larger adversarial narrative it has invested itself into and aimed at Moscow could indicate merely the cynical leveraging of an otherwise string of unfortunate accidents.

    However, US-Russian cooperation remains a serious and prominent contradiction to those in Washington attempting to portray Russia as a threat to global peace and stability. After all, if Russia is so untrustworthy and truly involved in all that it is accused of by Washington, why does Washington still entrust the lives of NASA astronauts to the Russian Federation?

    US-Russian Cooperation in Space Represents the Best of Both Nations

    Space truly is the final frontier, and in more ways than one. It was one of the first areas of cooperation between the US and the Soviet Union and is one of the last areas of cooperation between the United States and Russia today. America's NASA and Russia's Roscosmos have proven the height of achievements possible when the US and Russia are able to set aside their differences and move forward together.

    The International Space Station represents the pinnacle of human aerospace technology, a permanent homestead in Earth orbit that has been occupied by astronauts and cosmonauts continuously for nearly 20 years. The experience earned on the ISS will be used to further extend humanity's foothold into space, possibly even making us a multiplanetary species.

    The ISS would not have been possible without US-Russian cooperation. It was the US space shuttle that ferried many of the largest modules into space, but Russian components and experience with previous space stations that laid the foundation for the ISS' construction. It is a Russian and American crew that maintain the majority of the ISS' systems and primarily Russian and American unmanned spacecraft that resupply those living aboard ISS.

    Since the US space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011, Russia's Soyuz spacecraft has been the only means of sending astronauts and cosmonauts into space.

    Beyond the ISS, US aerospace companies have long purchased Russian rocket engines to be fitted to their launch systems. This included United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rockets which used the Russian-built RD-180 engine.

    Cutting the Last String of Cooperation?
    Facts regarding US-Russian cooperation in space have become a point of contention as US rhetoric and aggression aimed at Russia has grown with the expansion of NATO eastward toward Russia's borders and a campaign of destabilization and wars aimed at nations all along Russia's spheres of influence in the Middle East and across Eurasia.

    Several attempts have been made to target Russia's aerospace industry with sanctions, including attempts at banning the sale of the RD-180 engine. Sanctions elsewhere placed upon Russia seek to generally degrade Russia's economy, a move that may inevitably degrade Russia's industrial capacity including its aerospace sector.

    The recent incidents surrounding an otherwise premier launch system, the Soyuz, could represent a number of things.

    It could represent a simple and correctable lapse in quality control. It could represent the impact of US sanctions aimed at indirectly undermining Russia's capabilities in all areas (and thus indirectly jeopardizing the lives of American astronauts). It could also represent a concerted effort to sabotage, humiliate, and force the cancellation of US-Russian cooperation in space.

    All of these possibilities must be kept in mind until evidence emerges and investigations begin yielding results.

    It is clear that not everyone in the United States shares some in Washington's enthusiasm in targeting and destroying Russia economically as well as its prestigious reputation regarding its accomplishments in space. But it is also clear that those who do are willing to do anything to further poison US-Russian relations and further isolate and place pressure on Moscow.

    This includes sabotage at worst, and cynically leveraging simple accidents to poison US-Russian relations instead of contributing toward solutions that allow both nations to move forward together with the best both peoples have to offer.

    Either way, it highlights the true root of current and ongoing US-Russian tensions, not the American and Russian people themselves, including the consummate professionals that make up both nations' space programs, but those lurking in political and media circles with a long track record of promoting war, discord and tensions for shallow, political objectives, because no matter how grand the aspirations of these malign actors may be, they pale in comparison to what the US and Russia have already proven possible in space, together.

    Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • October 20, 2018 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - A cursory warning was left by renowned physics professor Stephen Hawking regarding a future where a race of superhumans, manipulating their DNA, would taking control of their own evolution. The warning came just before his death in March of this year.

    The Washington Post in its article, "Stephen Hawking feared race of 'superhumans' able to manipulate their own DNA," would explain (my emphasis):
    Before he died in March, the Cambridge University professor predicted that people this century would gain the capacity to edit human traits such as intelligence and aggression. And he worried that the capacity for genetic engineering would be concentrated in the hands of the wealthy.
    To be clear, Professor Hawking wasn't warning about the technology in and of itself, but its monopolization by a handful of wealthy interests.

    The Threat of Technological Monopolies

    When we look at any chapter in human history, disparity in technology has always led to tragic episodes of exploitation, violence, atrocities and even genocide. The invention and use of firearms by Western Europeans against tribes everywhere from Asia and Africa to North and South America provide us one look at how huge advantages in technology have been abused against those who lack access to it.

    The invention of the atomic bomb gave the United States a period of time where it held a virtual monopoly over nuclear weapons. It eagerly used not one, but two atomic bombs on the already defeated Japanese at the end of World War II. Before America's nuclear monopoly was finally broken up by first Soviet and then Chinese nuclear weapon tests, the US had considered using further nuclear weapons during the Korean War and at at least two junctures during the Vietnam War.

    Today, corporate monopolies over the very sort of biotechnology that will give rise to the race of superhumans Professor Hawking warned about, are already a source of constant, steeply controversial use and abuse.

    Whether it is deceptive business practices by large agricultural corporations like Cargill, Monsanto and Bayer peddling unsafe genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or pharmaceutical corporations seizing, then price gouging charity and publicly-funded breakthroughs like gene therapy, we can already see attempts being made to concentrate biotechnology in the hands of the wealthy, and it already being eagerly abused against those without access or control over it.

    It Has Already Started

    The Washington Post article would elaborate further, quoting from Professor Hawking:
    Humanity, he wrote, was entering "a new phase of what might be called self-designed evolution, in which we will be able to change and improve our DNA. We have now mapped DNA, which means we have read 'the book of life,' so we can start writing in corrections."

    Initially, he predicted, these modifications would be reserved for the repair of certain defects, such as muscular dystrophy, that are controlled by single genes and therefore make for relatively simple corrections.

    "Nevertheless, I am sure that during this century people will discover how to modify both intelligence and instincts such as aggression," Hawking wrote.

    There would be an attempt to pass laws restricting the genetic engineering of human traits, he anticipated. "But some people won't be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as size of memory, resistance to disease and length of life," he anticipated.
    Hawking would also point out that, obviously, unimproved humans would be unable to compete and that significant political problems would result amid this growing disparity.

    It is already possible to modify human DNA, and not necessarily before birth, but in living, breathing individuals. The process of gene therapy is the targeted editing of DNA through the use of viruses reprogrammed to, instead of hijacking a human cell and making copies of itself as it does in nature, inserting edited DNA designed to serve a specific purpose.

    For example, researchers at Penn State University and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia were able to edit the T-cells of leukemia patients who had otherwise terminal cancer, according to the New York Times.

    The edits made the patients' immune system capable of seeing and destroying cancer cells throughout their bodies. Patients who were not responding to chemotherapy and would have otherwise certainly died in days, have been put in so-far permanent remission.

    But if edits can transform ordinary immune systems to be cancer-conquering, future breakthroughs could accomplish everything from further improvements of our immune systems, to regenerative medicine (regrowing healthy cardiac cells in aging hearts as this study attempted to do in the UK).

    Where would the limit be and was Professor Hawking's fears unrealistic or unfounded?

    The breakthrough at Penn State, funded entirely by charity and public funds, was later hijacked by pharmaceutical giant Novartis who would go on to raise the price for the FDA-approved therapy several times higher than even costs during the highly customized and experimental research and development phase. Similar fates await other breakthroughs, paid for by the public and then scooped into the "hands of the wealthy," just as Professor Hawking warned.

    It is clear that future breakthroughs improving human strength, intellect and longevity will likewise also be scooped up by these well-positioned biotechnology monopolies if nothing is done. While Professor Hawking's warning sounded like a far-fetched warning about threats in the distant future, we are already seeing that dark future take shape right now.

    The Geopolitics of Human Gene Editing

    Human resources are what defines any nation and forms the cornerstone of its wealth and security. Healthy, well-educated and intelligent populations make strong nations. Thus, a nation with segments of its population possessing superhuman abilities, augmented by gene editing, would possess an obvious advantage over other nations or even over other segments within their own nation lacking these traits.

    We, right now, have people walking among us who have had their genes edited to fight diseases like leukemia. A biotechnology startup, BioViva, has already tested gene therapies on its founder and CEO Elizabeth Parrish as a means of defeating human aging, the South China Morning Post reported.

    It's not a matter of if, or even when, because it has already begun. The real question is, when will such editing and gene therapies start having an impact on economics and security, and what are nations doing to build the fundamental necessities to both leverage this technology and defend against those abusing it?

    Nations like China have invested heavily in biotechnology and gene therapy, providing a counterbalance to what was at one point a clearly North American and European monopoly. Individuals and small organizations around the globe are currently building up a community of opensource research and development, to further ensure this technology ends up in as many hands as possible.

    While some may fear runaway "proliferation," we should stop and think about why the US stopped dropping atomic bombs on other nations. It was not from self-restraint but from the threat of retaliation from nations who eventually acquired nuclear weapons as well. What emerged was a dangerous but effective balance of power that has prevailed for decades since.

    A similar balance of power is required for biotechnology, a technology so powerful and with implications so profound that it may redefine our very humanity.

    Nations would benefit from investing in education to build up a workforce capable of researching, developing and effectively utilizing this emerging technology. Nations would benefit from investing in start ups and cultivating independent institutions capable of producing breakthroughs to give nations parity with current leaders in biotechnology.

    Professor Hawking was a brilliant man in life, and provided us with a somber but essential warning as he departed us. We will ignore the looming threat of biotechnology and human gene editing being monopolized at our own peril.

    Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • October 22, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Elections are set to be held sometime in early 2019 for the Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand.

    The nation has struggled with political instability since former police colonel-turned-billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra came to power in 2001. Two military coups, one in 2006 and another in 2014, have unfolded in attempt to remove Shinawatra and his political party from power after indulging in unprecedented corruption, abuse of power and human rights violations.

    Shinawatra, his sister who sat as prime minister for him from 2011 to 2014 and several other prominent members of his political party now reside abroad in Europe and the United Arab Emirates. Shinawatra and his political allies have repeatedly used violence as a tool to seize back power, resulting in headline-grabbing episodes of bloodshed in 2009, 2010 and again in 2014.

    Key to Shinawatra's political staying power is the immense support he receives from the United States, Europe and their collective influence over global media. Returning Shinawatra to power and pivoting Bangkok away from its growing ties to Beijing and back toward Wall Street and Washington has been a major priority of the US State Department and its functionaries in Southeast Asia for now nearly two decades.

    "Pro-Democracy Forces" Represent a Fugitive and his Foreign Sponsors

    Thaksin Shinawatra lives abroad to evade multiple arrest warrants, myriad pending criminal cases and a criminal conviction coupled with a two year jail sentence handed down by Thai courts. His status as a fugitive clearly bars him from running for or holding public office.

    Despite this restriction he still openly runs Thailand's main opposition party, Pheu Thai. Fearing that Pheu Thai may be disbanded for this very fact before next year's elections, it appears he had created a multitude of other parties to create a front he hopes to use to win elections and restore himself to power.

    This includes billionaire heir Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit's Future Forward Party which has repeatedly denied any ties to Thaksin Shinawatra despite Thanathorn himself admitting during an FCCT event that he had previously supported Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party in 2011 and participated in Shinawatra's various, deadly "red shirt" street protests. Also relevant is Thanathorn's uncle working as a senior minister in Shinawatra's previous governments and Thanathorn's family owning the notoriously pro-Shinawatra Matichon Media Group which includes the Matichon and Khaosod newspapers.

    Additionally, the 2018 Concordia annual summit invited Thanathorn to speak in September. Concordia is chaired by notorious figures among the US business, political and intelligence communities as well as a senior minister in Thaksin Shinawatra's government, Suwat Liptapanlop.

    Future Forward itself is co-founded by one of Shinawatra's lobbyists, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, who as part of the supposedly academic activist group "Nitirat" held indoor rallies for Shinawatra's "red shirt" street front. Future Forward also boasts co-founders who head a variety of US and European-funded fronts posing as NGOs.

    As if to lay to rest any doubts, Thaksin Shinawatra himself would comment to the media recently that the strategy he hopes overcomes his opponents at next year's polls will be "pro-democracy forces" forming an alliance and taking power.

    Kyodo News in its article, "Thaksin confident pro-democracy forces would win election," would admit:
    An alliance of pro-democracy parties would defeat pro-military parties in the upcoming general election if it is held freely and fairly, ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Thursday.
    Of course, in a truly free and fair election, a fugitive and his proxies could not possibly contend elections let alone win them and then form a government afterwards, a fact intentionally and repeatedly omitted from news articles across the West.

    In the interview, Thaksin Shinawatra all but admits he has created multiple parties to mitigate the political damage if any one is singled out and disbanded for its illegal associations with him, meaning that the participation of any of these parties in upcoming elections renders them most certainly "unfair."

    Thailand is not the Only Target

    US meddling across Asia has sought for decades to encircle and contain China in an attempt to preserve American primacy in the region and around the globe.

    The so-called "Pentagon Papers" released publicly in 1971 made it clear that US engagement across Asia sought to contain China on at least three fronts; the Japan-Korea front, the India-Pakistan front and the Southeast Asia front. It was admitted that the Vietnam War was a part of this effort.

    Ample analysis in contemporary times illustrates that this agenda has changed very little in structure since the papers were actually written between 1945 to 1967. The US maintains a military presence in both Japan and South Korea to this very day as part of the "Japan-Korea front."

    The recent US-Indian 2+2 talks, for New Delhi, appeared to be an effort to balance its international relations, while on Washington's side, it was clearly an attempt to further recruit India in the ongoing American campaign to contain China, constituting the "India-Pakistan front."

    On the "Southeast Asia front," the US is deeply involved in large-scale political meddling where it cultivates and promotes entire opposition movements and backs whole political parties seeking to co-opt the civilian leadership of each nation in the region.

    In Cambodia, the US virtually ran the opposition party out of Washington D.C. In Malaysia, a large segment of the victorious opposition party enjoyed open and substantial US funding and support. US government-funded fronts posing as "nongovernmental organisations" (NGOs) in Myanmar have fully leveraged ethnic violence to apply pressure on both Myanmar's civilian and military leadership to reverse growing ties between Naypyidaw and Beijing.

    Thailand Obstructs US Primacy in Asia

    Thailand represents a significant prize for US ambitions. It is a nation with nearly 70 million people and represents the second largest economy in Southeast Asia. It is geographically located at the centre of Southeast Asia and is a central partner for China's ambitious One Belt, One Road project in the region.

    The current Thai government has systematically strengthened ties between Bangkok and Beijing through a series of major weapon deals and contracts signed regarding infrastructure projects, including a major high-speed rail network within Thailand and connecting Thailand to China via Laos.

    It appears that a victory for Washington-backed, Shinawatra-controlled political proxies in Thailand would result in the same backtracking Malaysia is now doing in regards to growing ties with China.

    Thanathorn's Future Forward Party has already expressed interest in cancelling joint Thai-Chinese rail projects in favour of US technology including the Hyperloop of which a single functional and publicly used kilometre does not exist, as reported in Bloomberg's article, "Thailand needs hyperloop, not China-built high-speed rail: Thanathorn."

    Future Forward's nonexistent "alternative" is offered simply as padding for what is otherwise a politically-motivated decision to cancel essential infrastructure projects and cripple national and regional development. Clues like this help us see that Washington's containment of China also equates to the containment of a free and prosperous Asia as a whole, where real development is obstructed at every possible opportunity.

    Thai and Southeast Asian Stability at Threat

    We can expect US and European media to ramp up its public relations work on behalf of Thaksin Shinawatra and his myriad political proxies including transparent appendages of Shinawatra's political machine like Future Forward. These PR efforts include smearing the current government and undermining Thailand's institutions including its military and constitutional monarchy. It also includes media-wide omissions of Shinawatra's status as a fugitive and the implications it has on the political parties he openly leads.

    The media is already preparing the tried and proven technique of declaring the Western-backed opposition victorious even months before the elections are to be held, leaving "vote rigging" as the only explanation left if and when the opposition loses. This will be used, just as it has in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, as justification for violent street protests and even terrorism aimed at installing Western-backed proxies regardless of election outcomes.

    The resulting instability being planned if Western-backed opposition figures do not take power threatens both Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia. Assuring Thailand is able to confront and overcome this foreign meddling and prevail over political instability is in the best interests of Thailand's neighbours who will most certainly be next if Washington succeeds.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • October 24, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The West's human rights racket has once again mobilized - this time supposedly in support of China's Uyghur minority centered primarily in the nation's northwestern region of Xinjiang, China.

    Headlines and reports have been published claiming that up to a million mostly Uyghurs have been detained in what the West is claiming are "internment camps." As others have pointed out, it is impossible to independently verify these claims as no evidence is provided and organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Uyghur-specific organizations like the World Uyghur Congress lack all credibility and have been repeatedly exposed leveraging rights advocacy to advance the agenda of Western special interests.

    Articles like the BBC's, "China Uighurs: One million held in political camps, UN told," claim (emphasis added):
    Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have submitted reports to the UN committee documenting claims of mass imprisonment, in camps where inmates are forced to swear loyalty to China's President Xi Jinping.
    The World Uyghur Congress said in its report that detainees are held indefinitely without charge, and forced to shout Communist Party slogans.
    Nowhere in the BBC's article is evidence presented to verify these claims. The BBC also fails to mention that groups like the World Uyghur Congress are funded by the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and has an office in Washington D.C. The NED is a US front dedicated specifically to political meddling worldwide and has played a role in US-backed regime change everywhere from South America and Eastern Europe to Africa and all across Asia.

    What China Admits

    According to the South China Morning Post in an article titled, "China changes law to recognise 're-education camps' in Xinjiang," China does indeed maintain educational and vocational training centers. The article claims:
    China's far-western Xinjiang region has revised its legislation to allow local governments to "educate and transform" people influenced by extremism at "vocational training centres" -- a term used by the government to describe a network of internment facilities known as "re-education camps".
    The article also claims, echoing the BBC and other Western media fronts:
    The change to the law, which took effect on Tuesday, comes amid an international outcry about the secretive camps in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

    But observers said writing the facilities into law did not address global criticism of China's systematic detention and enforced political education of up to 1 million ethnic Uygurs and other Muslims in the area.
    Again, the "1 million" number is never verified with evidence, nor does the article, or others like it spreading across the Western media address the fact that China's Uyghur population is a target of foreign efforts to radicalize and recruit militants to fight proxy wars both across the globe, and within China itself.

    Also omitted is any mention of systematic terrorism both inside China and abroad carried out by radicalized Uyghur militants. With this information intentionally and repeatedly omitted, Chinese efforts to confront and contain rampant extremism are easily depicted as "repressive."

    Uyghur Terrorism is Real, So Says the Western Media Itself

    Within China, Uyghur militants have carried out serial terrorist attacks. This includes a wave of attacks in 2014 which left nearly 100 dead and hundreds more injured. The Guardian in a 2014 article titled, "Xinjiang attack leaves at least 15 dead," would admit:
    An attack in China's western region of Xinjiang left 15 people dead and 14 injured.

    The official Xinhua news agency said the attack took place on Friday on a "food street" in Shache county, where state media said a series of attacks in July left 96 people dead, including 59 assailants.
    Abroad, Uyghur-linked terrorists are believed to be responsible for the 2015 Bangkok bombing which targeted mainly Chinese tourists and left 20 dead. The bombing followed Bangkok's decision to send Uyghur terror suspects back to China to face justice - defying US demands that the suspects be allowed to travel onward to Turkey.

    In Turkey, they were to cross the border into Syria where they would train, be armed, and join terrorists including Al Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in the West's proxy war against Damascus and its allies.

    AP in its article, "AP Exclusive: Uighurs fighting in Syria take aim at China," would admit:
    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 Assad's troops are now clashing with Uighur fighters as the six-year conflict nears its endgame.

    But the end of Syria's war may be the beginning of China's worst fears.
    The article implicates the Turkish government's involvement in facilitating the movement of Uyghurs through its territory and into Syria. Another AP article claims that up to 5,000 Uyghur terrorists are currently in Syria, mainly in the north near the Turkish border.

    The Western media - not Beijing - admits that China's Xinjiang province has a problem with extremism and terrorism. The Western media - not Beijing - admits that Uyghur militants are being recruited, moved into Syria, funded, and armed to fight the West's proxy war in Syria. And the Western media - not Beijing - admits that battle-hardened Uyghur terrorists seek to return to China to carry out violence there.

    Thus it is clear that Beijing - as a matter of national security - must confront extremism in Xinjiang. It is undeniable that extremism is taking root there, and it is undeniable that China has both the right and a duty to confront, contain, and overcome it. It is also clear that the West and its allies have played a central role in creating Uyghur militancy - and through feigned human rights concerns - is attempting to undermine Beijing's efforts to confront that militancy.

    US Supports Uyghur Separatism, Militancy

    The US National Endowment for Democracy's own website admits to meddling all across China and does so so extensively that it felt the necessity to break down its targeting of China into several regions including mainland, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang/East Turkistan.

    It is important to understand that "East Turkistan" is what Uyghur militants and separatists refer to Xinjiang as. Beijing does not recognize this name. NED - by recognizing the term "East Turkistan" - is implicitly admitting that it supports separatism in western China, even as the US decries separatists and alleged annexations in places like Donbass, Ukraine and Russian Crimea.

    And more than just implicitly admitting so, US NED money is admittedly provided to the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) which exclusively refers to China's Xinjiang province as "East Turkistan" and refers to China's administration of Xinjiang as the "Chinese occupation of East Turkistan." On WUC's website, articles like, "Op-ed: A Profile of Rebiya Kadeer, Fearless Uyghur Independence Activist," admits that WUC leader Rebiya Kadeer seeks "Uyghur independence" from China.

    It is the WUC and other Washington-based Uyghur fronts who are repeatedly cited by the Western media and faux human rights advocacy groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International regarding allegations of "1 million" Uyghurs being placed into "internment camps," as illustrated in the above mentioned BBC article.

    By omitting the very real terrorist problem facing China in Xinjiang as well as elsewhere around the world where state-sponsored Uyghur terrorists are deployed and fighting, and by depicting China's campaign to confront extremism as "repression," the West aims at further inflaming violent conflict in Xinjiang and jeopardizing human life - not protecting it.

    Where Uyghur terrorists are being trafficked through on their way to foreign battlefields, Beijing-friendly governments like Bangkok are sending suspects back to face justice in China. In nations like Malaysia where US-backed opposition has recently come to power, Uyghur terror suspects are being allowed to proceed onward to Turkey.

    Al Jazeera's recent article, "Malaysia ignores China's request; frees 11 ethnic Uighurs," would report:
    Malaysia has freed 11 ethnic Uighurs detained last year after they broke out of prison in Thailand and crossed the border, despite a request from Beijing for the men to be returned to China.

    Prosecutors dropped immigration charges against the group on humanitarian grounds and they flew out of Kuala Lumpur to Turkey on Tuesday, according to their lawyer Fahmi Moin.
    Al Jazeera would also make sure to mention:
    The decision may further strain ties with China, which has been accused of cracking down on the minority Uighurs in the western region of Xinjiang. Since returning as prime minister following a stunning election victory in May, Mahathir Mohamad has already cancelled projects worth more than US$20bn that had been awarded to Chinese companies.
    This point makes it abundantly clear that Uyghur extremism has become a central component in Washington's struggle with Beijing over influence in Asia and in a much wider sense, globally. Geopolitical expert F. William Engdahl in his recent article, "China's Uyghur Problem - The Unmentioned Part" concluded that:
    The escalating trade war against China, threats of sanctions over allegations of Uyghur detention camps in Xinjiang, threats of sanctions if China buys Russian defense equipment, all is aimed at disruption of the sole emerging threat to a Washington global order, one that is not based on freedom or justice but rather on fear and tyranny. How China's authorities are trying to deal with this full assault is another issue. The context of events in Xinjiang however needs to be made clear. The West and especially Washington is engaged in full-scale irregular war against the stability of China.
    It is difficult to argue with this conclusion - as the US has already openly wielded terrorism as a geopolitical tool everywhere from Libya where the nation was divided and destroyed by NATO-led military operations in the air and terrorist-led troops on the ground, to Syria where the US is all but openly aiding and abetting Al Qaeda and its affiliates cornered in the northern governorate of Idlib, and even in Yemen where another AP investigation revealed the US and its allies were cutting deals with Al Qaeda militants to augment Western and Persian Gulf ground-fighting capacity.

    It is important to understand the full context of the West's accusations against China and to note the media and supposed nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and others involved in propaganda aimed at protecting terrorists and promoting militancy inside of China.

    These same media groups and faux-NGOs will turn up elsewhere along not only China's peripheries across Southeast, South, and Central Asia, but also within and along the borders of nations like Russia and Iran.

    Exposing and confronting these appendages of Western geopolitics, and the Western corporate-financier interests themselves directing their collective agenda is key to diminishing the dangerous influence they have and all the violence, conflict, division, and destruction they seek to employ as they have already done in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and Syria.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • October 31, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - No. Obviously Russia does not benefit from the scrapping of yet another treaty designed to prevent a nuclear exchange amid a war with the United States.

    Yet, as an attempt to frame blatant US provocations as somehow "Russia's fault," a narrative has begun circulating - claiming that not only does the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty somehow benefit Russia - it was via Russia's "puppet" - US President Donald Trump - that saw the treaty scrapped.

    Spreading this scurrilous narrative are political provocateurs like former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul who has re-branded himself recently as a prominent anti-Trump voice - feeding into and feeding off of America's false left-right political paradigm.

    In one post on social media, McFaul would claim:
    Why can't Trump leverage his close personal relationship with Putin to get Russia to abide by the INF Treaty?
    In other posts, he would recommend followers to read commentary published by US corporate-financier funded think tank - the Brookings Institution - on how the US withdrawal "helps Russia and hurts US."

    The commentary - penned by former US ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer - admitted that no evidence has been made public of supposed "Russian violations." It also admits that America's European allies - those who would be in range of Russian intermediate range missiles if deployed - have not raised a "stink" with the Kremlin, publicly or privately.

    But Pifer claims that the US has no missiles to match those supposedly being developed by Russia, and even if it did, the US would have no where to place them - claiming that NATO, Japan, and South Korea would not allow the US to place such systems on their shores. This, he and McFaul suggest, is why the US' withdrawal from the treaty "benefits" Russia by granting it a monopoly over intermediate range missiles.

    Washington's Other Withdrawals Prove Otherwise

    Yet the US has already withdrawn from treaties and twisted the arms of allies to allow newly developed missile systems to be deployed on their shores.

    In the aftermath of Washington's unilateral withdrawal from another Cold War-era agreement - the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty scrapped by US President George Bush Jr. in 2002 - the US developed and deployed the Lockheed Martin ashore Aegis ballistic missile defense system in Europe along with the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile defense systems to South Korea - also manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

    It is clear the unilateral treaty withdrawals under Bush and Trump, as well as the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems to Europe and East Asia under the Obama administration, represent a continuity of agenda regardless of who occupies the White House.

    Coupled with these treaty withdrawals and the subsequent deployment of US missile systems to ring Russia and China - there has been a constant build-up of US troops directly on the borders of both nations.

    While those claiming Russia has violated the INF Treaty - and has been doing so for "8 years" as claimed in a 2017 op-ed by US Senator Tom Cotton published in the Washington Post, it should be noted that 8 years previously, it would be revealed that in addition to the US placing Patriot missile systems along Russia's borders, plans for wider military deployments in the Baltic states were also in the works.

    The Guardian's 2010 article titled, "WikiLeaks cables reveal secret Nato plans to defend Baltics from Russia," would admit:
    According to a secret cable from the US mission to Nato in Brussels, US admiral James Stavridis, the alliance's top commander in Europe, proposed drawing up defence plans for the former Soviet Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
    Of course, those "defense plans" manifested themselves in the deployment of US forces to the Baltics, meaning US troops were now stationed on Russia's borders.

    It is clear that a pattern is emerging of the US withdrawing from treaties, deploying missiles, then citing Russia's rational reaction to hostile forces building up on its borders, in order to withdraw from additional treaties and deploy further military forces along Russia's peripheries and on Russia's borders.

    Who Really Benefits? Follow the Money

    After McFaul's various claims of the INF Treaty scrapping by the US benefiting Russia, he himself would obliquely admit to who the real beneficiaries were.

    In a more recent social media post, McFaul would claim:
    If Putin deploys large numbers of new intermediate missiles in Europe, what missile and launcher would the US seek to deploy in Europe in response? & where would we base them? I worry that we wont/cant respond.
    Whatever this "missile and launcher" is, whoever builds it will reap hundreds of billions of dollars to develop and deploy it. Each Lockheed Martin ashore Aegis system cost over a billion dollars. Lockheed Martin's annual revenue rivals Russia's entire annual military budget. It is clear who benefits most from the US scrapping the INF Treaty - at least in terms of dollars and cents.

    As for McFaul's doubts over Washington's ability to station weapons in Europe - as proven by the US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty - the US is more than capable of developing and successfully deploying controversial and unwanted missile systems to both Europe and East Asia.

    The US Department of Defense was already developing plans for an intermediate missile system to do just that - before the US even withdrew from the INF Treaty.

    As early as February 2018. Defense One would report in its article titled, "Pentagon Confirms It's Developing Nuclear Cruise Missile to Counter a Similar Russian One," that:
    T he U.S. military is developing a ground-launched, intermediate-range cruise missile to counter a similar Russian weapon whose deployment violates an arms-control treaty between Moscow and Washington, U.S. officials said Friday.

    The officials acknowledged that the still-under-development American missile would, if deployed, also violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
    The article also cited Greg Weaver, the Joint Staff's deputy director of strategic capabilities, who would claim that the development of such a missile would not violate the INF Treaty unless it was deployed.

    With the US' withdrawal from the INF Treaty, the missile can be openly developed and deployed - meaning even more demand for whichever US arms manufacturer(s) clinches the contract.

    Thus McFaul answers for all those in doubt as to who the real beneficiaries are of the INF Treaty's scrapping - the arms manufacturers that will reap hundreds of billions of dollars in the development and deployment of these new missile systems, operating alongside other multi-billion dollar missile systems already developed and deployed in the wake of the US' walking away from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

    Also benefiting are those who seek to encircle and contain Russia, but lack any rational pretext to justify doing so.

    McFaul and others like him craft narratives predicated on the assumption that their audiences are profoundly ignorant and will remain prohibitively ill-informed. Hand-in-hand with the Western media - the public is kept in a state of ignorance and adversity - where overt provocations aimed at Moscow and the US taxpayers' pockets can be easily passed off as "Putin and his puppet" tricking the US into encircling and containing Russia - just as McFaul himself called for in a lengthy 2018 editorial he wrote for Foreign Affairs.

    By framing Russia as the mastermind behind the US' own provocations, McFaul and the special interests he represents get to move their openly stated agenda of encircling and containing Russia several more steps forward - proving just who the real threat to global peace and stability is.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • November 4, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Officially called the Hong Kong--Zhuhai--Macao Bridge, the 55 kilometre-long bridge-tunnel is an engineering marvel physically connecting Hong Kong and Macau to China's mainland.

    Beyond providing links to the mainland, the bridge helps form a wider bay area, connecting several cities, spurring the movement of tourists, workers and goods.

    Like the recently opened Hong Kong-mainland high-speed rail line, the bridge's completion has been met with widespread derision across Anglo-American media. No fault, real or imagined, escaped mention.

    It is the political implications of the bridge's construction in particular that have riled China's former colonial concerns. The bridge is yet another very tangible example of Beijing exercising its sovereignty over all of its territory, including Hong Kong, taken back from the British and Macau taken back from the Portuguese.

    Moscow has done likewise with the construction of the Crimean Bridge, exercising its sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula reunited with Russia. A similar storm of derision swept Anglo-American headlines.

    Western Media Decries the rise of Chinese Sovereignty

    Encapsulating Anglo-American protests is the Washington Post's article, "The world's longest bridge-tunnel brings China even closer to Hong Kong. Not everyone is pleased," which claims:
    The bridge's completion comes as China under Xi is extending its grip over Hong Kong, a city of 7.4 million that was given special status when it was handed back from the British to China in 1997.

    Under the "one country, two systems" policy, Hong Kong's economic and political systems are supposed to remain untouched for 50 years — until 2047 — and distinct from mainland China's, allowing the territory to retain its own government, judiciary, currency and so on.
    A flurry of infrastructure development, however, has served to physically bind the regions in a more tangible way. In late September, an $11 billion high-speed rail link opened between Hong Kong and mainland China, cutting the time between the territory and major Chinese cities.
    Beijing is undeniably consolidating its control over these territories. They were taken from China by force by European, and later American invaders, occupied and only handed over once China began its rise to economic and military parity with the West. To this day, Washington and London attempt to exert influence over Hong Kong and more consequentially, through it, in efforts to politically undermine China's mainland as well.

    But in according to the West's own maxim of might makes right, China's mega bridge represents a steel and concrete band tying these former colonial territories tighter to the mainland, squeezing out the last dwindling influence of these foreign interests.

    The Washington Post and other articles across Anglo-American media referred to their reliable stable of "pro-democracy" politicians in Hong Kong to provide the illusion of local displeasure. As with the recent Hong Kong high-speed rail link, Claudia Mo, a Hong Kong politician and former AFP reporter, would decry the new bridge as Chinese encroachment on Hong Kong.

    She would claim:
    This project is so obviously a political symbol. I'm sure Beijing knew clearly that we didn't quite need it and that it was not necessary for the time being. The bridge is a permanent fixture and permanent reminder that Hong Kong is forever and ever connected to the vast hinterland of mainland China.
    It is all connected — the reclamation, bridge, high-speed rail. It is all telling Hong Kong that you are part of China, you are very much part of it, and you can't get out of it.
    What is often overlooked by Western commentary and analysis regarding Hong Kong, however, is the fact that "pro-democracy" and "pro-independence" politicians and activists like Mo represent the vestiges of colonial occupation. Since many of these politicians and activists still receive direct support from Washington and London to engage in subverting Beijing, in many ways they also represent modern-day imperialism within Chinese territory.

    The bridge, the high-speed rail, do indeed declare Hong Kong as irreversibly Chinese, and there is no getting out of it anymore than London could leave the United Kingdom. If we could imagine the Chinese government attempting to say otherwise, and through funding political subversion, protests and propaganda attempting to exert influence over and through London, we may see just how absurd Anglo-American outrage really is regarding the finality of China's emergence as a fully sovereign nation and its control, desires and will regarding its own territory.

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

  • November 12, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Nothing illustrates the cynical and deceitful nature of Western "journalism" better than the recent, apparent US-Saudi fallout in the wake of the alleged death of Washington Post Saudi correspondent, Jamal Khashoggi.

    Khashoggi allegedly disappeared and has been reported killed at the hands of Saudi consulate staff in Istanbul, Turkey. Of course, the US, UK, EU, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are among the most dubious actors in modern geopolitics. Ascertaining the truth regarding the events surrounding Khashoggi may ultimately turn out to be an insurmountable task.

    But the various narratives and reactions of Western political and media circles still provides us insight into the true character of Western international relations including extreme hypocrisy regarding human rights, the use and abuse of Western media platforms to selectively cover events around the globe to favor Western interests, and the ultimate fate that awaits other US "allies."

    The New York Times Suddenly Notices "Overlooked" Yemen War

    The New York Times in a series of social media posts and articles seems to suddenly notice the long list of atrocities Saudi Arabia is responsible for - including the ongoing war in Yemen. In a social media post published on Twitter, the New York Times would claim:
    The Khashoggi crisis has called attention to a largely overlooked Saudi-led war in Yemen. On a rare trip to the front line, New York Times journalists found Yemenis fighting and dying in a war that has gone nowhere.
    Of course, it is impossible that a newspaper as large, as prominent, as well-known and well-funded as the New York Times simply "overlooked" the "Saudi-led war in Yemen."

    It was the systematic and concerted cover up by the Western media regarding the war - which began in 2015 - that provided Saudi Arabia the impunity with which it executed the war.

    It is only political motivations in Washington now, that require newspapers like the New York Times to suddenly "notice" the war - but only partially. The New York Times would publish a recent article titled, "This is the front line of Saudi Arabia's invisible war," claiming:
    The Saudi-led war in Yemen has ground on for more than three years, killing thousands of civilians and creating what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis. But it took the crisis over the apparent murder of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate two weeks ago for the world to take notice.

    Saudi Arabia's brash young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, under scrutiny over the Khashoggi case, now faces a fresh reckoning for his ruthless prosecution of the war in Yemen — yet another foreign policy debacle for Saudi Arabia, and a catastrophe for the Arab world's poorest country.
    Nowhere in the New York Times' piece is a single, even oblique mention made of the US role in the war. However - in fact - the war is being fought with US-made warplanes, refueled by US Air Force-crewed aerial refueling aircraft, dropping US-built ordnance on targets selected by US intelligence agencies, with the help of US special forces on the ground directly assisting Saudi forces.

    Worst of all, it was the New York Times itself that admitted to all of these facts. In its May 2018 article titled, "Army Special Forces Secretly Help Saudis Combat Threat From Yemen Rebels," the New York Times would admit:
    For years, the American military has sought to distance itself from a brutal civil war in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces are battling rebels who pose no direct threat to the United States.

    But late last year, a team of about a dozen Green Berets arrived on Saudi Arabia's border with Yemen, in a continuing escalation of America's secret wars.
    The article would also admit:
    Details of the Green Beret operation, which has not been previously disclosed, were provided to The New York Times by United States officials and European diplomats.

    They appear to contradict Pentagon statements that American military assistance to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen is limited to aircraft refueling, logistics and general intelligence sharing.
    And indeed, the war in Yemen is not a "Saudi-led war," it is in fact just one of America's many "secret wars." It is secret specifically because of the complicity of newspapers like the New York Times, only now cynically and dishonestly reporting on the Yemen war as part of a concerted campaign aimed at decoupling US culpability and leaving it entirely with Riyadh.

    For years before the Khashoggi incident, the New York Times and others were more than content with burying and spinning news about Yemen, or not covering it at all.

    US Media Pretends to Only Now Notice Saudi Atrocities, Omits US Role Underwriting Them

    The Western media demonstrates its absolute contempt for the intelligence of its collective audience. Their sudden concern and feigned outrage aimed at Saudi Arabia tenuously papers over decades of Saudi atrocities both inside Saudi Arabia itself, and across the world through its key role in state sponsored terrorism.

    A remarkable admission was made in the pages of the Washington Post in a March 2018 article titled, "Saudi prince denies Kushner is 'in his pocket'."

    The article would quote Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, stating (emphasis added):
    Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.
    While the article claims "successive Saudi governments lost track of the effort" and that funding is now provided by "Saudi-based "foundations,"" this is not true.

    There are no "successive governments" in Saudi Arabia. The nation since its founding has been run by a single family - the House of Saud.

    And while Saudi-based foundations may be the conduit through which Wahhabism is organized, funded, and directed, it most certainly is done at the behest of Riyadh in a process fully underwritten by Washington.

    Among Washington's other "secret wars" are Libya and Syria where terrorists recruited, radicalized, trained, funded, and armed through US-Saudi funded Wahhabism were unleashed on the battlefield.

    Amid these two conflicts, newspapers like the New York Times worked overtime providing them with public exposure - seeking to sell to the public greater and more direct Western military intervention. In Libya, these efforts resulted in a NATO-led air campaign that eventually toppled the Libyan government and plunged the nation into years of infighting, terrorism, slavery, and enduring dysfunction that persists today.

    In Syria, the gambit fell short when Russia intervened at the request of Damascus, effectively blocking a similar NATO-led Libya-style air campaign. Russian warplanes targeted NATO supply routes out of Turkey feeding terrorist organizations operating inside Syrian territory, and ultimately turned the tide of the war.

    And just as the US and Saudi Arabia used terrorist organizations in Libya and Syria to fight their proxy wars, an AP investigation revealed they were doing likewise in Yemen.

    The AP article titled, "AP Investigation: US allies, al-Qaida battle rebels in Yemen," would report (emphasis added):
    Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.

    Here's what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.
    That's because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.
    Thus, the Western media has always been and is still fully aware of the true nature of Saudi Arabia's decades-long geopolitical trajectory - as it was the West and more specifically the US and UK who helped launch it in the first place. And it was the Western media who all along helped spin it on its way.

    Western Media's Deceit on full Display

    The deceitful and intelligence-insulting narratives now being peddled by papers like the New York Times and others are unacceptable. If Riyadh falls, so too must those in Washington and London who built Riyadh up and walked with it - bloody hand-in-bloody hand - every step of the way.

    Attempts to decouple Western culpability from Saudi atrocities is an illustration of the immense duplicity and impropriety of Western political and media circles. But it is also a warning to the rest of Washington and London's "allies"- like the current regime in Ukraine - who believe their relationship and complicity with, as well as their obedience to the West affords them inexhaustible impunity.

    It does not.

    The West picks weak, dependent, and dysfunctional political, military, and economic partners specifically because their very nature serves as the perfect check to keep them under control and if need be, to dispose of expediently.

    What's Really Behind the Khashoggi Fallout?

    For now, it is unclear whether the fallout between the US and Saudi Arabia is real or imagined. The US and Turkey may be using Saudi Arabia to expunge their responsibility for their joint support of global terrorism alongside Riyadh, or perhaps to preemptively decouple from Riyadh ahead of a planned "Saudi" provocation against Iran.

    Or Riyadh may have refused requests made by Washington and is now being pressured to reverse its decision.

    So far, absent are the sort of aggressive steps taken when Washington faces a real enemy it seeks to inflict damage upon. Unlike with Russia when baseless accusations were made regarding election interference, the downing of MH-17, or the entire Skripal affair - there are no sanctions being discussed regarding Riydah. Weapons and US military support still flow to Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen continues unabated, all while the US military continues providing Riyadh with defacto protection with its forces scattered across the Middle East.

    Until these facts on the ground change, we may simply be witnessing geopolitical theater where Saudi Arabia is elected to play the "villain" and absorbs responsibility for years, if not decades of atrocities jointly committed with its Anglo-American sponsors. By doing so, the US can save face and leave Riyadh with the broken pieces of their collective and ill-conceived regional and global policies. Only time will tell.

    One fact we can be certain of is that neither the US nor Saudi Arabia can be relied on for the truth. If the truth surrounding Khashoggi's fate ever does emerge, it will not be from the Western or Saudi media nor from representatives of their respective capitals.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • November 15, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - With Damascus and its allies firmly in control of Syria's largest cities and the vast majority of Syrian territory west of the Euphrates - not only has the US-led proxy war against the nation failed - with Russian and Iranian forces involved indefinitely - the return of additional territory under Damascus' control seems all but inevitable.

    However, the US still holds territory east of the Euphrates, and - as American policymakers like to gloat - much of Syria's oil wealth falls within this territory illegally occupied by US troops.

    There is also the northern city of Idlib and surrounding countryside - the future of which is still nebulous due to the presence of Turkish forces and Ankara's ever-shifting agenda and alliances.

    Each side involved in the proxy war has pursued a number of policies - diplomatic, political, and military in nature - to strengthen their positions before the war finally concludes.

    For Damascus, Russia, and Iran - decisive military victories across western Syria have served as the central pillar of Syria's victory over the foreign-backed militancy. Diplomatic efforts both within Syrian borders and beyond them continue and also play a significant role in ending the war in all of Syria's favor - even including many groups involved in opposing the government now being offered amnesty and reconciliation.

    The United States - stretched by global wars of aggression, decades-long military occupations, and significantly diminished geopolitical clout - finds itself depending more on political ploys than producing any meaningful military or diplomatic leverage.

    Staged chemical weapon attacks and increasingly absurd and equally baseless accusations of human rights violations now stand in where American military might once stood.

    The repetitive nature of such ploys feeds into a circular process that both exposes Washington's impotence and serves to exasperate it. Despite this - Washington and its many functionaries across political, diplomatic, and information spheres - continue feeding into this process. Thus, while the US still has forces in Syria, and continuously seeks to not only sabotage peace in Syria - but infect Iran with the same strain of proxy war - patient persistence by Damascus and its allies will see to Washington's complete failure both in Syria and the wider Middle East.

    Seeking Humanitarian Leverage

    As America's proxy war in Syria continues to unravel, Washington continues to seek what leverage it can. This includes headlines flooding news cycles attempting to blame the bloodshed in Syria on the current government headed by President Bashar al Assad, and depicting Damascus as ruled by a "brutal regime." Washington hopes to poison the Syrian government's image to the point that any political settlement involving President Assad's continued rule is unthinkable.

    Yet, with each ploy, the US and its allies simply reaffirm that not only was the opposition in Syria manufactured abroad as was the war they helped trigger in 2011, so too is the humanitarian component of America's pretext for remaining involved in Syria.

    The Independent's article, "The brutality of the Syrian regime must be told," is an apt example of this.

    The article is written by Amina Khoulani - founder of "Families for Freedom" - one of many UK-based fronts posing as human rights advocacy groups - but is in reality just one of many components in the West's propaganda war against Syria.

    Families for Freedom's website admits it is "supported" by Women Now for Development, Dawlaty, and The Syrian Campaign (PDF) - all in turn funded by Western corporate-funded foundations and the very Western governments who conspired to overthrow the Syrian government and were complicit in arming and funding militants sent into Syria to do so.

    The article attempts to rewrite the history of the Syrian conflict, claiming that Khoulani and her family were merely peaceful activists and that by 2012, the Syrian military was rounding up her family and friends, and bombing cities to stop protests.

    Khoulani claims:
    Before the civil war in Syria started, I lived in a small city called Darayya on the outskirts of Damascus, with my husband, children and other close family.
    I worked as a history teacher in a high school in the centre of Damascus, which I loved. And I was an activist with a huge passion for the protection of human rights. I always knew that Syria was controlled by an oppressive, brutal regime. Long before the uprising in 2011 the people of Syria had no human rights, no freedom of expression, and there was certainly no democracy in the country.
    Forced disappearances and detentions had been the norm since the days of Hafez Assad, who ruled before his son Bashar took over in July 2000.
    She would also claim:
    On 20 August 2012 the Darayya massacre started. It lasted for six days. It was just after the Eid holiday. The regime blocked the access and exit routes to the city. It was then that the bombing started. They used mortars, missiles, all types of bombs -- they didn't care where they targeted.
    In reality - even by the US State Department's own admission - terrorist organizations like Jabhat Al Nusra were already active in every major Syrian city - including Khoulani's - by the end of 2011. Syrian forces were not rounding up peaceful activists and bombing protesters - they were fighting armed terrorists and arresting those providing them material support.

    The abuse of human rights advocacy illustrated by Khoulani's propaganda campaign served a central role in the Syrian war since it began in 2011. By Washington's own admissions, the proxy war against Syria was planned long before 2011, with militant groups groomed, armed, and funded as early as 2007. The 2011 "Arab Spring" was likewise planned and prepared for years before it finally "sprung."

    The protests merely served as a smokescreen for the start of foreign-sponsored armed subversion.

    Claims of human rights abuses were used as a pretext by the US and its NATO allies to invade and destroy Libya that same year. A similar and what Washington had hoped would be a swift repeat of the Libyan war was aimed at Syria. Many of the Western-armed militants who fought in Libya were even transferred to Syria, entering via Turkey and participated in the seizure of Idlib and much of Aleppo.

    In essence, it was the United States and its allies who committed premeditated crimes against humanity - engineering a destructive war that has consumed all of Libya and much of Syria since 2011. Through the use of the West's still potent media monopolies - public perception is still being shaped to believe that the victims of Washington's serial acts of armed aggression are actually the perpetrators - that governments fighting backed against foreign-sponsored armed extremists are "brutal dictatorships" and terrorist organizations and those supporting them are "activists" and "freedom fighters."

    Articles like Khoulani's appearing in the Independent seek still to shape public perception, to wring whatever leverage still remains from an otherwise tired, battered, and abused "humanitarian" pretext.

    By continuing to expose these "human rights advocates," who funds them, and to what end, it may be possible to protect the legitimacy of genuine human rights concerns and how the former poses as the greatest danger to the latter.

    For the Syrian conflict, as it reaches its conclusion we can expect the US to continue rolling out political ploys particularly in the form of propaganda couched behind "humanitarian concerns." Barring any drastic and risky military escalation - the US has few other cards left. Its "humanitarian" card is unlikely to wrest concessions in Washington's favor and the continued, repetitive abuse of this card only further undermines this ploy elsewhere it is used by American policymakers.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • November 19, 2018 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - Accidents happen. For Norway at the conclusion of NATO's Trident Juncture 2018 military exercises, such an accident occurred with its Lockheed Martin Aegis-equipped frigate, HNoMS Helge Ingstad.

    After a collision with an oil tanker, the frigate's captain ordered the ship aground to prevent a total loss. The quick thinking may have saved the lives of Norwegian sailors and made salvaging operations easier. Thankfully no lives were lost and only eight injuries are being reported by the Western media.

    The NATO exercises the Helge Ingstad was participating in simulated an invasion of Norway. As the Council on Foreign Relations made clear in their article, "NATO's Trident Juncture Exercises: What to Know," the imaginary invaders were obvious stand-ins for Russia.

    The CFR piece would claim:

    The aggressor in the simulation is fictitious, but the setting and the scale of the exercises point clearly in one direction. Tensions between NATO and Russia, which shares an Arctic border with Norway, are running high. In the last five years, Russia has annexed Crimea, destabilized eastern Ukraine, provided military aid to a brutal regime in Syria, meddled in Western elections, and either walked away from or allegedly violated major multilateral security treaties.

    Of course none of what the CFR alleges is true and many of the accusations leveled against Russia by the article have long been abandoned by even most in the Western media.

    The fact that Norway lost an expensive ship in the middle of this NATO exercise to prepare for a Russian invasion that will never happen suggests that the greatest threat much of Europe faces is from NATO itself, not Moscow.

    NATO is a Cancer, Not a Shield

    The amount of money required to host NATO members in Norway to prepare for a Russian invasion that will never happen would seem detrimental to Norwegians as well as other European nations spending money to move their forces and their equipment (40,000 personnel, 120 aircraft and 70 ships) to and from the exercise areas.

    Training is important and maintaining a strong military as well as a credible deterrence is also important for all nations, both Western Europe and Russia included. But such preparations should be proportional to the prospective threats any nation or bloc of nations face. Such preparations should also clearly be made to create a deterrence rather than a provocation.

    NATO's Trident Juncture appears to be more of an exercise to enforce NATO expansion eastward toward Russia's borders than any genuine preparation for a "Russian invasion" that even Norway's leadership says is highly unlikely.

    Such exercises and the agenda they serve benefits a handful of special interests, primarily in Washington (Lockheed Martin included), at the expense of NATO's European members.

    NATO, driven primarily by Washington and immense corporate interests who hold sway over it, has become a tool used to extend American ambitions around the globe. Few could provide a credible explanation as to what NATO's nearly two decade-long occupation of Afghanistan has to do with defending Europe.

    For Norway specifically, Afghanistan has become the grave for at least 10 of its service members and a blackhole that has swallowed several billion dollars in Norwegian expenditures.

    Likewise, it was US-led NATO that destroyed the North African nation of Libya (with Norwegian assistance), transforming it into a hotbed of terrorism and triggering a refugee crisis that flooded European territory and continues to be a source of socioeconomic tension today.

    In this instance, NATO directly compromised European security, and Norway's taxpayers helped underwrite the disaster.

    It is clear that NATO is not protecting Europe. It is using Europe to advance American ambitions around the globe, far beyond any reasonable jurisdiction a defense alliance aimed at protecting Europe should have. As NATO uses Europe, it is consuming funds that could be better used domestically for the European people. The net result of NATO's activities undermine rather than uphold European security.

    NATO's Trident Juncture is simply an extension of this process, aimed at ratcheting up tensions with Russia and only further undermining European peace and stability in the process.

    Other Ways NATO Undermines European Peace and Prosperity

    Beyond military alliances and defense preparations, there are also alternatives for creating a deterrence to war and military aggression. These alternatives include economic cooperation. Here, such cooperation between Europe and Russia is complicated by US-led efforts to economically isolate Russia and sabotage trade and investment between Russia and its neighbors to the west.

    By conducting provocative exercises aimed at Russia, tensions are only further encouraged and US efforts to place a wedge deeper between Russia and the rest of Europe further advanced.

    What we're left with is a Europe compelled to view its neighbor to the east as an enemy for lack of any viable alternative not met with Washington's ire.

    NATO, a supposed defense alliance, instead promotes tensions, exports wars and consumes the blood and treasure of member-states for foreign military adventures thousands of miles from European shores. Considering this, NATO, not Russia, seems to be the greatest threat facing Europe today.

    Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
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