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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Some Come Up for Air, Others Dive Deeper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What Was Kiev Thinking?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Time will answer these questions in full.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Western Media's Contempt for Context

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Woman-Beating "Freedom Fighter"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hiding US Funding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Implications of NED Funding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Rewriting Thailand's NGO Laws

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Reaction From American Political Circles

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

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

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

    The Potential Positive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The "Libya Model"

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

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

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

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

    The Iran Deal Precedent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Rumors Built Upon Rumors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Adding Up to a Familiar Mountain of Lies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Behind Every Mountain of Lies, an Agenda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Alleged Rationale for Syrian CW Use is Illogical at Face Value

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Syria Does Not Lack Precision Strike Capabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hong Kong "Independence" = Dependence on Washington

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Edward Leung and other "Independents" Caught Meeting US Diplomats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    American Meddling Endangers Vietnam and the Region

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hawking Weapons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    American Exceptionalism's Confused Moral Imperative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Manufacturing Crisis, Foiling Chinese Interests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Kachin Militants - An Anglo-American Time Bomb

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

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

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

    An All Too Convenient Conflict

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Good

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

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

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

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

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

    The Bad and the Ugly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    US Portrays Terrorist Cult as "Iranian Opposition"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Time's Mountain of Lies

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

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

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

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

    Before the 2014 Coup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    US Backing

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

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

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

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

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

    Bringing it all Together

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

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

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

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

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

    Countering Western Propaganda: Telling Your Side of the Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The US Has Sought to Manipulate Social Media for Years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Twitter Bot Armies

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

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

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

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

    Thailand's Twitter Bots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    From Abdullah to Zunar, Funded by the US Government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A US Client State: if not Today, Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • July 23, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Hal Brands - the Henry Kissinger Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments - pines of waning American hegemony in his op-ed in Bloomberg titled, "America's New World Order Is Officially Dead."

    The sub-headline would further elaborate, "China and Russia have fully derailed the post-Cold War movement toward U.S.-led global integration."

    And while Brands blames Russia and China for America's decline - it should be noted that the "US-led global integration" Brands and others within the halls of corporate-financier funded policy think tanks promote, was little more than modern day empire.

    Post-Cold War, the United States abused and squandered its monopoly over military and economic power. It led serial wars of aggression across the globe, destroying entire regions of the planet. It proved that whatever the rhetoric was used to sell its unipolar world order to rest of the world, it was in practice an order that ultimately served Wall Street and Washington at the expense of everyone else on the planet.

    Russia and China's vision of a multipolar world order is not predicated on institutions the world must surrender its sovereignty, trust, and future to. It is an order built on a much more realist balance of power - where national sovereignty holds primacy and a balance of economic and military power defines and protects the boundaries of international norms. This is in stark contrast to America's vision in which an easily co-opted and manipulated UN made it easy for the largest, most powerful nations to sidestep national sovereignty and even international law, and expand wealth and power through sanctions, invasions, perpetual military occupations, and the creation of subordinate client states.

    An Order Built on Betrayal and Brutality

    The international order Brands mourns began with the immediate betrayal of Western promises not to expand its NATO military alliance eastward toward Russia's borders. At the time of the Soviet Union's collapse, a buffer zone existed between Russia's borders and NATO member states - many of these states choosing to benefit from the best of both Eastern and Western relations.

    Today, NATO sits on Russia's borders, particularly in the Baltic states where US troops train just shy of the Russian border - in Lithuania which surrounds Russia's Kaliningrad oblast, and in Ukraine where US and NATO members have installed a regime in power dependent on literal Neo-Nazi militants and their respective political wings.

    It is also an international order which saw in Russia's moment of weakness, an opportunity to impose its order by force on former Soviet client states. This not only included NATO's process of expansion in Eastern Europe through sanctions, subversion, and all out war, but also in the Middle East and Central Asia.

    It would be US Army General Wesley Clark who best summarized US foreign policy in the proper, realist context it was actually executed in.

    In a 2007 Flora TV talk titled, "A Time to Lead," General Clark would reveal this post-Cold War agenda by relating a conversation he had as early as 1991 with then US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Paul Wolfowitz, by stating (emphasis added):
    I said Mr. Secretary you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm. And he said, well yeah, he said but but not really, he said because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and we didn't. And this was just after the Shia uprising in March of 91' which we had provoked and then we kept our troops on the side lines and didn't intervene. And he said, but one thing we did learn, he said, we learned that we can use our military in the region in the Middle East and the Soviets wont stop us. He said, and we have got about five or ten years to clean up those all Soviet client regimes; Syria, Iran, Iraq, - before the next great super power comes on to challenge us.
    And of course, that is precisely what the US embarked upon doing. General Clark would also mention a later conversation he had at the Pentagon, regarding how the US planned to use the attacks on September 11, 2001 as a pretext to expand from military operations in Afghanistan and accelerate this process to invade and overthrow the governments of at least seven other nations.

    General Clark would state (emphasis added):

    I came back to the Pentagon about six weeks later, I saw the same officer, I said why why haven't we attacked Iraq? We are sill going to attack Iraq, he said, oh sir he says, its worse than that. He said he pulled up a piece of paper of his desk, he said, I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense's office, it says we are going to attack and destroy the governments in in seven countries in five years. We are going to start with Iraq and then we are going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran seven seven countries in five years.
    While all of these nations were part of a singular, cynical, hegemonic agenda, each nation has been targeted and attacked under false pretenses ranging from false accusations regarding "weapons of mass destruction," to the use of the "responsibility to protect" (R2P) - leveraging "human rights" as a pretext to intervene in wars of Washington's own engineering.

    American post-Cold War foreign policy is an expression of modern day hegemony. The US has placed its armies on Russia's borders in Eastern Europe, ravaged the Middle East, and has attempted to encircle China through meddling and a military presence extending from Afghanistan in Central Asia to South Korea and Japan in far East Asia. It was a race against the proverbial clock to achieve global conquest before competitors - enabled by economic strength and improving technology - could reestablish and protect the notion of national sovereignty.

    Everywhere in between, the US has used economic pressure, political subversion, military threats, and even covert terrorism as means to coerce and co-opt sovereign governments and overwrite the independent institutions of targeted nations that refuse to subordinate themselves to both Washington and Wall Street directly, and who refused to play an obedient role in America's "international order."

    It is in reality everything policy wonks like Brands warn us Russia and China will do now that America's global power grab has failed.

    American Exceptionalism is its Own Worst Enemy

    Throughout America's post-Cold War attempt to establish itself as sole hegemon, it has repeatedly subordinated national sovereignty to what it calls "international laws and norms." These laws and norms are expressed through the United Nations, a supposed international organization that in reality is little more than the sum of its parts. The United States is the most powerful economic and military power in the United Nations, thus commands the greatest ability to bend this organization to its will.

    In each instance of military aggression and political subversion the United States has engaged in, the notion of national sovereignty has been sidestepped by US claims of its own exceptionalism. This is most apparent when examining the US National Endowment for Democracy, engaged in an industrialized process of political meddling and election rigging operating in virtually every nation on Earth. It creates and supports pro-Washington and Wall Street opposition groups in their bid to both create parallel institutions in their respective nations, and eventually displace or overthrow existing, sovereign and independent institutions and governments when the opportunity presents itself.

    Nations like Russia and China have highlighted and condemned this - facing significant inroads made by NED within their respective borders. Russia and China lack anything resembling NED in both scope or scale.

    American exceptionalism comes into play when considering recent US accusations against Russia and China of interfering in America's own internal political affairs. Claims of hacking e-mail servers and posting messages on social media pale in comparison to entire media organizations created and operated in both Russia and China by the US government either under the auspices of the US State Department's Voice of America and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) or more clandestinely through NED funding, often not disclosed on NED recipient websites posing as "independent media platforms."

    The NED also stands up entire opposition groups who organize and execute physical protests in the streets of targeted nations. In Thailand for example, US, British and European embassy staff can be seen often accompanying US-funded agitators to police stations to face sedition charges - a clear threat to the Thai government that it must suffer sedition, or suffer greater penalties still. One could only imagine if the "meddling" the US accused Russia or China of even remotely approached such levels.

    But because America sees itself as "exceptional" - it's meddling and interference is "acceptable" - whereas any nation attempting to so much as defend against US influence and interference is "unacceptable" - saying nothing of attempts by other nations to seek equal but opposing influence within the US itself.

    American exceptionalism thus is but a poorly disguised synonym for hypocrisy. An international order built on hypocrisy benefits only those who lead it. Virtually any alternative would appear more palatable, dooming any such order to inevitable failure.

    Even America's own allies and partners may realize this. In the long run what the United States has attempted to create is unsustainable and as it begins to crumble, Washington and Wall Street are already shifting the weight of its collapsing order onto its allies and partners first, before bearing any of the consequences itself.

    Unipolar vs Multipolar

    Russia and China's multipolar world is one in which national sovereignty holds primacy. Resisting attempts by the US to impose itself on Russia and China and nations in their peripheries have defined what Brands in his Bloomberg op-ed claims was America's post-Cold War attempt to "integrate" the world - not any sort of ideological struggle between liberalism and authoritarianism.

    Brands in his Bloomberg op-ed claims of Russia that:
    ...China and Russia were indeed moving inexorably toward Western-style economic and political liberalism. Russian reform ground to a halt in the late 1990s, amid economic crisis and political chaos. Over the next 15 years, Vladimir Putin gradually re-established a governing model of increasingly undisguised political authoritarianism and ever-closer collusion between the state and major business interests.
    And of China, Brands claims:
    China, for its part, has been happy to reap the benefits of inclusion in the global economy, even as it has increasingly sought to dominate its maritime periphery, coerce and intimidate neighbors from Vietnam to Japan, and weaken U.S. alliances in the Asia-Pacific.
    Brands uses "moving toward Western-style economic and political liberalism" as a euphemism for domination by Western institutions and the corporate-financier interests that control them. He does however obliquely admit both Russia and China's policies reflect a response to NATO's expansion toward Russia's borders and the extensive US military presence in Asia Pacific - thousands of miles from America's own shores.

    He claims:
    The trouble here was that Russia and China were never willing fully to embrace the U.S.-led liberal order, which emphasized liberal ideas that were bound to seem threatening to dictatorial regimes -- not to mention the expansion of NATO into Moscow's former sphere of influence and the persistence of U.S. alliances and military forces all along China's East Asia periphery. And so, as Beijing and Moscow obtained, or regained, the power to contest that order, they increasingly did so.

    One must wonder though, what sort of "liberal ideas" are actually expressed by NATO's aggressive eastward expansion or America's military occupation of Asia Pacific. It is oblique admissions like this that reveal just what Brands and others mean by "Western-style liberalism."

    Brands claims that Russia has "sought to revise the post-Cold War settlement in Europe by force and intimidation" citing Moscow's tensions with Georgia and Ukraine as examples. However, it was NATO's violation of this settlement and the inroads it made in both nations through coercion and political subversion, that prompted Moscow's reaction in the first place.

    Brands inadvertently reveals that US-led "global integration" was little more than American hegemony, pursued through transparently hypocritical and lopsided policies that only ever could have elicited resistance from not only larger players like Russia and China, but also every other nation in between - including Washington's own allies.

    And Brands admits this as his op-ed neared its conclusion. He claims (emphasis added):
    ...the U.S. needs to become both tougher and less ambitious in its approach to great-power relations and the international system. Less ambitious in the sense that it needs to set aside the notion that the liberal order will become truly global or encompass all the major powers anytime soon. And tougher in the sense of understanding that more strenuous efforts will be required to defend the existing order against the challenges that revisionist powers represent.
    By "revisionists" Brands is referring to nations that refuse to subordinate themselves to "US-led global integration." It is interesting to note that while the US seems to view Russia and China's refusal to subordinate themselves to a US-led international order, the US itself refuses to participate in a multipolar alternative even as an equal.

    Brands concludes by prescribing a series of US actions to help cling to what remains of its global hegemony, claiming (emphasis added):
    This will require taking difficult but necessary steps, such as making the military investments needed to shore up U.S. power and deterrence in Eastern Europe and the Western Pacific, and developing capabilities needed to oppose Chinese coercion and Russian political subversion of their neighbors. It will require rallying old and new partners against the threat posed by Russian and Chinese expansionism. Above all, it will mean accepting that great-power relations are entering a period of greater danger and tension, and that a willingness to accept greater costs and risks will be the price of meeting the revisionist challenge and preserving American interests.
    What Brands refers to as "Russian and Chinese expansionism" is in reality simply Russia and China reclaiming territory and spheres of influence they possessed both before the post-Cold War period, or before Western colonialism. This includes territory and spheres of influence in which populations speak Russian or Chinese, are within geographical proximity of Russia and China's borders, and at one time actually existed within their borders.

    Thus, Brands' prescription is merely for the self-preservation of Washington and Wall Street's own expansionism - expansionism that in no rational way can be justified by either geographical proximity or historical and cultural claims. The notion of the United States investing in the defense of Taiwan - for instance - thousands of miles from American shores, speaking Mandarin and populated by ethnic Chinese - is another transparent example of American exceptionalism and hypocrisy.

    Might Makes Right No Longer Fun When Washington is No Longer Mightiest

    While Brands hides behind phrases like "Western liberalism," he and others within the halls of corporate-financier funded policy think tanks are in fact describing a world order built on "might makes right." This is what allows the US to encroach on Russia's borders, but prevents Russia from defending itself and its allies. This is what makes US fleets plying the waters of the South China Sea "right" and China building up its own military presence along its own shores, "wrong."

    But as technology and economics shift the balance of power, enabling not only Russia and China to emerge out from under the shadow of decades of American global primacy - but other nations across the developing world as well - Washington is finding that it is no longer the "mightiest." The prescription of Brands and others to invest more militarily and continue coercing nations whenever and wherever Washington can, is really just a prescription to go kicking and screaming from its failed "global integration."

    Sound leadership grounded in reason would invest instead in preparing the United States to play an equal partner to the emerging multipolar world - to play a constructive role in establishing a sustainable balance of power and enabling nations to stand on their own economically and militarily to prevent the temptation of any nation, including the US, Russia, and China - from the coercive, manipulative, subversive, and destructive policies that have defined the failed "post-Cold War movement toward US-led global integration."

    Image: Hal Brands works for the CSBA, a corporate-financier funded policy think tank with a particular emphasis on the defense industry. Could an educated and informed professor like Brands be promoting a policy that will provide monetary benefits for his sponsors at the expense of American peace and prosperity in the future? Or is there another reason to promote global hegemony under the guise of "Western liberalism?"

    In terms of international laws and norms, the US can set an example that will benefit it in the long run - by reducing its overseas military presence and eliminating its foreign interventions and interference by dissolving organizations like NED and reforming USAID to carry out disaster relief operations only. Thus when the US seeks to criticize "Russian and Chinese expansionism," it can do so with legitimacy instead of as the unprecedented hypocrite it currently represents upon the global stage today.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • July 25, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - It is commonly known that when a ship is sinking, the crew does not board the lifeboats before the passengers. Most noble of all is when the captain and crew go down with the ship. Then with what level of ignobility should we assess the so-called "Syrian Civil Defense" more commonly referred to as the White Helmets?

    We are told that Syrian forces backed by Russian airpower are brutalizing the remnants of "rebels" in southern Syria near the Jordanian border and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Surely now more than ever do the people of southern Syria need the "bravest of the brave" - as UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt described them on social media.

    Yet instead of rushing to where the cannons sound loudest, the White Helmets slunk across Syria's borders with the aid of the Israeli Defense Forces, onward to Jordan, where the UN is working to relocate them - allegedly to Europe and North America.

    It is a final act laying to rest once and for all a monumental lie - that the White Helmets were anything more than an extension of the foreign-funded proxy war aimed at overthrowing Damascus.

    And now that overthrowing Damascus is no longer a possibility, the White Helmets are being evacuated to lie another day.

    An Acting Troupe

    The White Helmets were never "rescuers," but a public relations wing of Al Qaeda and its various affiliates. The US did not arm and funded terrorists for years to ravage Syria only to "also" fund groups to help save lives. Instead, the White Helmets' only real mandate was to augment the proxy war, exploiting humanitarian themes similar to how the US and NATO justified and executed the destruction of Libya.

    Videos of clearly uninjured individuals - showered in dust and red paint - rushed to awaiting ambulances often feature more cameramen in the frame than supposed rescue workers. Absent from the vast majority of the White Helmets' videos is the actual gore, horror, and misery of real war - gaping wounds, dangling or missing limbs, burnt flesh and hair - all the horrors real Syrians faced daily since 2011 when the US-backed proxy war began.

    During the 2016 "Save Aleppo" protests held by the Syrian opposition across Europe, actors were dressed up, dusted and painted up with artificial blood, then posed in scenes indistinguishable from their Syrian-based counterparts' videos. What was supposed to be another emotional gimmick aimed at manipulating the Western public to back wider Western military intervention, instead served as an indictment of precisely the game the White Helmets had been funded by the US and British governments to play amid Syria's ongoing war.

    The Guardian in a hastily written rebuttal to avalanches of evidence exposing the White Helmets of not only producing war propaganda, but doing so on behalf of Al Qaeda and its affiliates, would claim:
    The White Helmets, officially known as the Syria Civil Defence, is a humanitarian organisation made up of 3,400 volunteers -- former teachers, engineers, tailors and firefighters -- who rush to pull people from the rubble when bombs rain down on Syrian civilians.
    They've been credited with saving thousands of civilians during the country's continuing civil war. They have also exposed, through first-hand video footage, war crimes including a chemical attack in April. Their work was the subject of an Oscar-winning Netflix documentary and the recipient of two Nobel peace prize nominations.
    Indeed, the White Helmets have provided evidence of chemical weapons attacks - as noted by multiple OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) reports - but it is evidence the OPCW has never been able to verify.

    Al Qaeda's Propagandists

    The reason why the OPCW was never able to verify the evidence was because the White Helmets who allegedly collected and transferred it over to OPCW investigators operate exclusively in territory held by terrorists fronts - most notably Al Qaeda's various affiliates.

    The OPCW would report regarding the April 2017 alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhun that (emphasis added): was determined that the risk of a visit to the incident area would be prohibitive for the team. Therefore, the team could not visit the site shortly after the allegation to observe, assess, or record the location of the alleged incident, could not canvass directly for other witnesses, and could not collect environmental samples and/or remnants of the alleged munitions.
    This meant that all evidence and witness testimony considered by the OPCW was handed to them. The OPCW admits (emphasis added):
    Through liaison with representatives of several NGOs, including Same Justice/Chemical Violations Documentation Centre Syria (CVDCS), the Syrian Civil Defence (also known as White Helmets, and hereinafter "SCD"), the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), and the Syrian Institute for Justice (SIJ), the FFM identified a number of witnesses to be interviewed. These witnesses were expected to provide testimony and potentially relevant evidence.
    The report admits it was the White Helmets who allegedly were first to arrive at the scene of the attack and repeatedly cites them throughout the report as the primary source of accusations regarding the attack. The report would note (emphasis added):
    At the time of handover, the team was informed that all samples provided on 12 and 13 April 2017 were taken by the chemical sample unit of the SCD [White Helmets]. A member of the chemical sample unit who took the samples was present at the handover and provided information on every sample.
    As to what risks prevented the OPCW team from collecting the evidence itself instead, a Deutsche Welle article titled, "Death toll rises in Syria 'gas attack'," would provide a clue:
    Idlib province, where Khan Sheikhun is located, is mostly controlled by the Tahrir al-Sham alliance, which is dominated by the Fateh al-Sham Front, formerly known as the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front.
    Thus, the OPCW was not able to visit the site because it resided in territory occupied by Al Qaeda's Syrian branch, Al Nusra. This fact is also why we do not see Western media personalities on the ground embedded with their supposed "moderate rebels," because none exist.

    The White Helmets - however - are wherever Al Qaeda is - and it was Al Qaeda's "cameramen-corpsmen" who supposedly responded to the Khan Sheikhun chemical weapons attack, allegedly collected samples, and passed them to the OPCW.

    Because there was no onsite investigation and the samples the White Helmets handed to the OPCW could have originated anywhere, no conclusion regarding what attack if any took place could be made, let alone any blame be assigned for the attack. Yet the Khan Sheikhun incident prompted the United States to carry out an assault on Syrian targets with 59 cruise missiles.

    It was a clear case of US-funded provocateurs staging an incident, the US rushing through justification to strike Syria by sidestepping evidence or lack thereof, and then the West collectively weathering the fallout as the June 2017 OPCW report was published, revealing the absolute lack of evidence linking the Syrian government to the attack.

    It is a pattern that has repeatedly played out - each time the OPCW being unable to access sites of alleged chemical weapon attacks because they reside in territory occupied by dangerous terrorists, the White Helmets' "chemical sample units" handing over evidence impossible to verify, and the US rushing through military strikes on Syria before investigations can be conducted and reports are published and analyzed.

    Thus the White Helmets serve verifiably as a war propaganda tool - enabling the US to pressure Syria and carry out military strikes any time the Syrian government makes significant advances toward positions admittedly occupied by Al Qaeda. As to claims of the White Helmets "saving thousands of civilians," this remains impossible to verify specifically because just as the OPCW has no access to territory the White Helmets and their Al Qaeda associates occupy, neither do independent organizations tasked with verifying anything else the White Helmets have claimed.

    For those like the Guardian who claim the White Helmets are merely the victim of an "online propaganda machine," who admit the White Helmets are the primary source of accusations used as serial pretexts for Western military strikes on Syria - what other conclusion can one draw that the White Helmets are primarily war propagandists?

    Their Final Performance?
    Rescue workers don't abandon the people they have sworn to protect. The White Helmets clearly never honestly swore to protect anyone. As Al Qaeda's propagandists, they are being evacuated alongside militants and other support personnel cornered by the Syrian government's advances.

    The Guardian would report in its article, "UK agrees to take in some White Helmets evacuated from Syria by Israel," that:
    The UK is willing to offer asylum to some of the 500 members or relatives of the Syrian volunteer civil defence forces known as the White Helmets who have been rescued from Syria and evacuated to Jordan, the Guardian has learned.

    The White Helmets and their families were evacuated by Israeli defence forces on Saturday night, crossing from northern Israel into Jordan at three points. The Israelis had initially put the numbers evacuated at 800, but later the figure was revised downwards by James Le Mesurier, a former MI5 officer who is considered to have founded the group in Turkey in 2013.
    Thus, allegedly, hundreds of White Helmets - who worked with and for Al Qaeda - will now be scattered across Europe and North America. However, this in itself is not the White Helmet's final performance.

    The northern province of Idlib still remains occupied by foreign-backed militants. What terrorists have not slipped over the borders and into Israel and Jordan are consolidating their positions in northern Syria. Some say it is not a matter of if, but when Syrian forces turn their attention north and begin seizing back Idlib.

    When they do, the White Helmets will be there, side-by-side Al Qaeda's numerous affiliates, once again taking on the role of war propagandists - fabricating evidence and staging provocations to justify whatever their foreign sponsors' desired role is amid the unfolding conflict.

    And even when the last White Helmet flees Syria or melts back into the Syrian population leaving real heroes to restore order, rescue the vulnerable, and rebuild the nation - the cynical gimmick the White Helmets represent will be repeated in other proxy conflicts, in other nations targeted by Western hybrid warfare.

    Nations should consider themselves warned - citing Syria as an example - that the West has used this tactic, and will use it again. The lessons Syria learned the hard way regarding all aspects of Western hybrid warfare must be shared and learned from to prevent the tragedy and misery the White Helmets claimed to rescue people from, but in fact sowed among the Syrian people.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • July 29, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Were one to read the Washington Post's article on a Russian proposal regarding the questioning of suspects in various, ongoing US and Russia investigations, they would have imagined former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul was about to be shipped to a dungeon beneath the Kremlin for interrogation.

    The Washington Post's article, "Outrage erupts over Trump-Putin 'conversation' about letting Russia interrogate ex-U.S. diplomat Michael McFaul" fueled anti-Russian hysteria, claiming:
    At this week's summit in Helsinki, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed what President Trump described as an "incredible offer" — the Kremlin would give special counsel Robert S. Mueller III access to interviews with Russians who were indicted after they allegedly hacked Democrats in 2016. In return, Russia would be allowed to question certain U.S. officials it suspects of interfering in Russian affairs.

    One of those U.S. officials is a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, a nemesis of the Kremlin because of his criticisms of Russia's human rights record.
    The Washington Post would compound confusion and hysteria by also claiming (emphasis added):
    The willingness of the White House to contemplate handing over a former U.S. ambassador for interrogation by the Kremlin drew ire and astonishment from current and former U.S. officials. Such a proposition is unheard of. So is the notion that the president may think he has the legal authority to turn anyone over to a foreign power on his own.
    In reality, the proposal never entailed the US or Russia handing anyone over for interrogation. Bloomberg in an article titled, "Trump 'Looks Weak' by Considering Putin's Interrogation Idea, McFaul Says," would more accurately summarize the deal, stating:
    Putin proposed letting Russians observe interrogations of McFaul and other Americans. In exchange, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller could send members of his team to watch Russian questioning of 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted by a U.S. grand jury last week in connection with hacking Democratic Party email accounts and disseminating those messages before the 2016 presidential election.
    Americans of interest would be questioned in the United States, by Americans, merely with Russian representatives present, in exchange for American representatives travelling to Russia to watch a Russian interrogation of suspects relevant to ongoing US investigations.

    Further evidence is the transcript of the actual statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, posted by Politico, which states unequivocally (emphasis added):
    We can actually permit representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission headed by Mr. Mueller, we can let them into the country. They will be present at questioning. In this case, there's another condition. This kind of effort should be mutual one. Then we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate. They would question officials, including the officers of law enforcement and intelligence services of the United States whom we believe — who have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia. And we have to request the presence of our law enforcement.
    Despite these facts, the hysteria has continued to spread in part due to a dishonest media eager to fan the flames of conflict with Russia and Western audiences eager to believe them.

    Who is McFaul? And Why are Liberals Defending Him?

    Americans convinced Russia interfered in American elections must then be acutely aware that meddling in another nation's internal political affairs is unacceptable. Thus, McFaul's role in doing precisely this before and during his appointment as US ambassador to Russia from 2012-2014 should elicit condemnation and outcries from these same Americans.

    Instead, many Western liberals have leaped to McFaul's defense.

    The short answer as to why many in the West are defending McFaul is out of a reflexive response to their blind hatred of US President Donald Trump and Russia. McFaul has positioned himself both as a critic of President Trump and of Russia, fulfilling the only two prerequisites required to garner support among circles entertaining the current anti-Russia hysteria.

    Yet McFaul represents special interests and activities that many Americans, left or right of the political spectrum, would find unacceptable - and perhaps especially for those outraged over alleged Russian meddling in American politics.

    McFaul's Role in Supporting Global Political Meddling

    Before McFaul served as US ambassador to Russia from 2012-2014 he served on the board of trustees of Freedom House (page 30, PDF).

    Freedom House is a US government and corporate-financier funded front that imposes the interests of its sponsors on nations abroad under the guise of expanding "freedom and democracy around the world." This process entails the creation and support of opposition groups to undermine and eventually either oust or overthrow targeted governments.

    When McFaul served as trustee for Freedom House, its 2005 annual report indicated the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as sponsors. It also included Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly.

    Additionally, Freedom House is a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which is chaired by a variety of career, pro-war Neoconservatives - Neoconservatives who promoted many of the Bush-era wars Western liberals opposed.

    NED is also funded by the US government as well as corporations (page 126, PDF) including Goldman Sachs, convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and the US Chamber of Commerce which itself serves as a collective lobbying front for some of the largest corporations in the US.

    NED and subsidiaries like Freedom House use the pretext of "democracy promotion" to pressure and even overthrow governments around the world, making way for client regimes that will serve US corporations and their expansion around the globe. In other words, "democracy" is a principle the NED and its subsidiaries hide behind, not uphold with US client regimes often being more abusive and corrupt than the governments they replaced.

    One would imagine someone like McFaul involved in aiding and abetting corporations in their meddling worldwide and their subsequent exploitation of nations they undermine and overthrow would be the last person Western liberals would rush to the defense of.

    McFaul Minding US-Funded Agitators in Moscow

    McFaul's role at Freedom House would become more "hands on" when he was nominated, then appointed US ambassador to Russia from 2012-2014. During his first year as ambassador, Russian opposition figures funded by the NED and its subsidiaries would report to the US embassy in Moscow to meet with McFaul.

    Present at the 2012 US embassy meeting were regular mainstays of the Western-backed Russian opposition, including Boris Nemtsov, Yevgeniya Chirikova of the NED-funded "Strategy 31" protests, Lev Ponomarev of the NED, Ford Foundation, Open Society, and USAID-funded Moscow Helsinki Group, and Liliya Shibanova of NED-funded GOLOS, an allegedly "independent" election monitoring group that serves as the primary source of accusations of voting fraud against President Putin's United Russia party.

    Today, many of these organizations have hidden their US funding and the US NED webpage disclosing its activities in Russia describes its current meddling in the most ambiguous terms possible. Despite this, there are still nearly 100 entries on the NED's Russian webpage covering everything from meddling in the media, education, and the environment, to interfering in Russia's legal system and Russian elections.

    We could only imagine the condemnation, outcry, and demands for action should a front similar to NED be created by Russia to interfere likewise in all aspects of American socioeconomic and political affairs, especially considering how mere accusations of "meddling" entailing e-mail leaks and social media posts have tipped off sanctions, a multi-year investigation, and even talk of treason and war.

    McFaul's association with individuals and organizations funded by the government he represented is in reality the very sort of political meddling and interference many have accused Russia of since 2016. There support of someone actually involved in political meddling in Russia, further undermines their credibility and moral authority in regards to accusations against Russia.

    Pavlovian Politics

    McFaul's involvement in the recent Russian proposal was not - however - related to his role in political meddling in Russia, but instead his alleged involvement with convicted financial criminal William Browder.

    While the Western media depicts both McFaul and Browder's conflicts with the Russian government as a result of their supposed advocacy for "democracy" and "human rights," McFaul was clearly hiding behind such principles to advance US corporate interests, while Browder was attempting to gain leverage regarding his criminal conviction.

    Interestingly enough, George Soros - who has funded subversion in Russia alongside organizations like NED - also attempted to leverage the notion of human rights to sidestep his own criminal conviction in France for insider trading, even according to the New York Times.

    This troubling trend of the Western public gravitating toward and supporting individuals like McFaul and Browder solely out of their perceived hatred for President Trump and Russia is pushing Western political discourse further from rational debate and deeper toward hysteria.

    That powerful special interests can easily manipulate sections of the Western public to support virtually anyone or anything, including unsavory characters like McFaul and Browder or the notion of expanding NATO or continued war abroad in nations like Syria simply by invoking "Trump" or "Russia" represents a predictable but dangerous Pavlovian phenomenon likely to leave deep scars, permanently disfiguring American politics and society much in the way the so-called "War on Terror" has.

    The increasing lack of political sophistication in America is a reflection of a much wider deterioration of American economic and geopolitical strength both at home and around the globe. While one would expect sound leadership to begin preparing America for an orderly transition from a once global hegemon to a constructive member of a more multipolar world order, history has proven the lack of grace that generally accompanies an empire's decline.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • July 30, 2018 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - Despite attempts by the US and European media to depict the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) in cartoon villain terms, it was always clear to serious analysis that the terrorist organization's fighters, weapons, supplies and money were entering Syria and the result of extensive outside support.

    A look at any map of the Syrian conflict, regardless of its source over the past 7 years shows IS and other militant groups maintaining territory with corridors leading directly to the borders of Syria's neighbors, particularly NATO-member Turkey and US allies Israel and Jordan.

    There have been direct admissions from the US itself that it played a role in IS' creation. A 2013 leaked US Defense Intelligence Agency memo (.pdf) would explicitly note that the US and its allies sought the creation of what it then called a "Salafist principality" in eastern Syria, precisely where IS would later establish itself.

    There have also been direct admissions that US allies were funneling weapons and cash to IS and other designated foreign terrorist organizations. In a leaked e-mail sent by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to lobbyist John Podesta, she would explicitly claim:
    ...we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to [IS] and other radical Sunni groups in the region.
    There have also been more indirect admissions, in which the US and European media have claimed that large amounts of US-provided arms and cash were "accidentally" falling into the hands of IS via supposedly "moderate rebels," including when large numbers of these so-called moderate rebels would defect to IS.

    A 2014 article in the Telegraph titled, "'Moderate' Syrian rebels defecting to ISIS, blaming lack of U.S. support and weapons," would admit:

    Western-backed "moderate" rebels fighting jihadists in Syria are refusing to do battle and even defecting for lack of weapons and other promised support, leaders said.
    With them, they took US weapons including US-made TOW anti-tank missiles which eventually turned up in large numbers among IS terrorists. An earlier Telegraph article from 2012 would indirectly admit US weapons and cash were falling into Al Qaeda's Al Nusra Front's hands through similar "defections."

    Islamic State Drone Program Supplied via Turkey

    When IS began employing drones for surveillance, forward observation missions and even to deliver ordnance to targets, questions began being asked just how such a program could be developed by an organization ordinarily depicted by the US and European media as having simply sprung from Syrian and Iraqi sand dunes.

    Among those asking these questions, and finding the answers, was the US Army's Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. In its 2018 report titled, "The Islamic State and Drones: Supply, Scale, and Future Threats" (.pdf), it would note just how drones and other parts and equipment made it to the terrorist organization in Syria.

    The report would note:
    In October 2014 and December 2014, months after the Islamic State declared the creation of their caliphate in late June of that same year, Sujan - using the alias Peter Soren - purchased four antennas used for drones from Company 3 and a micro-turbine used in radio-controlled planes from Company 4. At Sujan's request, these two companies shipped these items direct to Sanliurfa, Turkey - a town located an hour's drive from the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad, which the Islamic State controlled, and around a two-and-half hour drive to the group's headquarters in Raqqa, Syria.
    The report would note that tens of thousands of dollars of drone parts were ordered and to be shipped to Sanliurfa, Turkey before being brought over the border into Syria and onward to IS territory.

    It was through this process that IS was able to develop its drone program which the CTC report quotes one US general as claiming included up to as many as 70 drones in the air on certain days. The program would lead directly to several dozen deaths by weaponized drones and indirectly led to many more through their use as forward observers in guiding indirect weapon fire and guiding vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) toward targets.

    While the report notes that some shipments were intercepted by the Turkish government, clearly many more made it through. While Western security agencies eventually liquidated those involved in the program in Syria and Iraq and overseas, this was done in late 2015, after Russia's military intervention and when America's "Salafist principality" finally faced real exposure and defeat.

    The CTC report is another piece in a puzzle revealing who really drives global terrorism and why. That those behind the IS drone program procured components and entire drones through companies and fronts they operated directly at the heart of the Western surveillance state for an entire year before being stopped calls into question either the efficacy of US-European counter-terrorism measures, or the sincerity behind executing them.

    Some may be tempted to chalk the creation of IS' drone program up to incompetence on the part of Western security agencies. The fact remains nonetheless that once again US-European states provided procurement opportunities for IS programs while NATO-member Turkey served as a permissive logistical hub to deliver these supplies and weapons to neighboring Syria. Considering the nature of IS' original inception and longevity, particularly in areas the US itself claims to be fighting it, it is difficult not to at least consider conspiracy, if not conclude as much.

    Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • August 1, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - It would be unthinkable for an American opposition party run openly out of Moscow to compete in American elections. It would be even more unthinkable for the Russian government to declare US elections illegitimate for disallowing a Moscow-backed party from running in American elections.

    Yet this is precisely what the US and the European Union have attempted to do in the wake of Cambodia's recent elections regarding an opposition party created by Washington and whose leadership calls Washington a second home.

    US-EU Seek to Undermine Cambodian Election Results
    The BBC in their article, "Cambodia election: Ruling party claims landslide in vote with no main opposition," would claim:
    Critics have called the vote a sham as the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which narrowly lost the last election, has been dissolved.
    The US said the poll was "flawed".

    "We are profoundly disappointed in the government's choice to disenfranchise millions of voters, who are rightly proud of their country's development over the past 25 years," a statement from the White House said.

    The US will consider placing visa restrictions on more government officials, it added. The EU has said it is considering economic sanctions.
    However, the BBC never explains why the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved.

    Had it, Washington and Brussels' statements would have been immediately rendered hypocritical and Cambodia's decision to dissolve CNRP more than warranted. This is because CNRP is openly run out of Washington, with US support, for the expressed aim of undermining and eventually overthrowing the current Cambodian government.

    Cambodia's Opposition is Run From Washington

    Kem Sokha who had led CNRP until its dissolution had travelled to Washington annually since as early as 1993 to seek support from the US. He also repeatedly announced receiving direct US support, as well as plans for subverting the Cambodian government with US backing.

    The Phnom Penh Post in its article, "Kem Sokha video producer closes Phnom Penh office in fear," would go over the many admissions made by Kem Sokha:
    Sokha says he has visited the US at the government's request every year since 1993 to learn about the "democratisation process" and that "they decided" he should step aside from politics to create change in Cambodia.

    "They said if we want to change the leadership, we cannot fight the top. Before changing the top level, we need to uproot the lower one. We need to change the lower level first. It is a political strategy in a democratic country," he said.
    Regarding US assistance, Kem Sokha would reveal:
    "And, the USA that has assisted me, they asked me to take the model from Yugoslavia, Serbia, where they can changed the dictator Slobodan Milosevic," he continues, referring to the former Serbian and Yugoslavian leader who resigned amid popular protests following disputed elections, and died while on trial for war crimes.

    "You know Milosevic had a huge numbers of tanks. But they changed things by using this strategy, and they take this experience for me to implement in Cambodia. But no one knew about this."

    "However, since we are now reaching at this stage, today I must tell you about this strategy. We will have more to continue and we will succeed."
    Kem Sokha would elaborate even further, claiming:
    "I do not do anything at my own will. Their experts, professors at universities in Washington, DC, Montreal, Canada, hired by the Americans in order to advise me on the strategy to change the dictator leader in Cambodia."
    Kem Sokha's daughter, Kem Monovithya, has also openly worked with the US to seek the overthrow of the Cambodian government.

    When Cambodia began its crackdown on both CNRP and the US-funded organisations supporting it, the US threatened sanctions and other punitive measures. Kem Monovithya would play a central role in promoting these punitive measures in Washington.

    The Phonom Post in a December 2017 article titled, "US says more sanctions on table in response to political crackdown," would claim: Washington, a panel of "witnesses" convened by the House Foreign Affairs Committee -- including Kem Sokha's daughter, Kem Monovithya -- called for additional action in response to the political crackdown. In a statement, Monovithya urged targeted financial sanctions against government officials responsible for undermining democracy. She also called on the US to suspend "any and all assistance for the central Cambodian Government", while "continuing democracy assistance programs for civil society, particularly those engaged in election-related matters".

    Like her farther, Kem Monovithya's collaboration with the US government goes back much further. The Washington Post in a 2006 article titled, "While in U.S., Cambodians Get a Lesson on Rights From Home," would first admit:
    Kem Sokha, a former Cambodian senator and official, heads the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, which is supported by U.S. government funds. The center has held public forums to hear complaints about conditions in Cambodia.
    Regarding Kem Monovithya herself, the Washington Post would note:
    Monovitha Kem, a business school graduate and aspiring lawyer, said she would lobby U.S. and international institutions to fight Hun Sen's decision.

    "I would like to see the charges dropped not just for my father, but for all other activists," she said in an interview Monday. "I hope they will amend the defamation law."

    Monovitha Kem has met with officials at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, the U.S. Agency for International Development and major human rights groups.
    The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) are both subsidiaries of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which, together with the US government itself, have supported myriad subversive activities within Cambodia for years.

    This includes a number of organisations cited in a May 2018 Washington Post article attempting to deny claims of US meddling by citing almost exclusively US-funded fronts operating in Cambodia.

    This includes Licadho, which is funded by both the UK government and the US via USAID. It also includes Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, both of which are funded by the US government and overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors chaired by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo himself. There is also the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, funded by NED subsidiaries Freedom House and IRI as well as the British Embassy and convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society Foundation.

    Literally decades of US meddling in Cambodia's politics, including the creation of both Kem Sokha's opposition party and organisations created and funded by the US government to support it, along with plans to overthrow the current Cambodian government to install CNRP into power, represents in reality political meddling many times worse than even the most imaginative accusations made against Russia in regards to meddling in US and European politics.

    US Meddling Seeks Chinese Encirclement

    US interests in Cambodia go beyond merely controlling the nation's people and resources, it stems primarily from a much wider and long-term plan to encircle China with client states serving Washington's vision of perpetual American primacy in Asia.

    Along with allegations from US-European leadership and their respective media conglomerations attempting to condemn Cambodia's recent elections as "illegitimate," US-European media made little effort to hide equal condemnation regarding China's inroads into Cambodia recently.

    Reuters in an article titled, "Cambodia's Hun Sen has an important election backer: China," would claim:
    China announced a major infrastructure project in Cambodia midway through its election campaign and denounced proposed economic sanctions by the European Union on the Southeast Asian nation.

    China's ambassador in Phnom Penh also attended a ruling party rally in the Cambodian capital, according to a media report.

    The flurry of moves during the three-week campaign shows China is leaving nothing to chance to ensure its most loyal ally in Southeast Asia, Cambodia's long-time ruler Hun Sen, comfortably wins Sunday's poll, political analysts said.
    Thus, while many may be tempted to defend US meddling in Cambodia as they have similar US meddling elsewhere as merely "promoting democracy" and "human rights," it is clear that US meddling in Cambodia sought to prevent China from building constructive ties with a friendly government by creating a client state that would spur Beijing in favour of Washington.

    Reuters complains that Cambodia has supported Beijing over Washington amid ongoing South China Sea tensions. Reuters even obliquely suggests that infrastructure deals made between China and Cambodia during the election campaign constituted some form of political meddling. No mention of overt US meddling in Cambodian politics, including the creation and sponsorship of the main opposition party, CNRP is made in Reuters' article.

    While Reuters claims Cambodian relations with the West includes "decades of diplomatic effort and billions of dollars of aid and investment," Cambodia has very little to show for it. Claims that the West "bristled at human rights violations and electoral irregularities in Cambodia" opened the door for closer Chinese-Cambodian ties begs belief considering no such human rights-based "bristling" occurs in regards to Western ties with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the current government in Ukraine.

    It is clear that the US and Europe attempted to reassert control over Cambodia through the co-opting of its government and institutions and that much of the West's supposed "investments" in Cambodia were directed into this political meddling. Conversely, China is proposing actual infrastructure projects like motorways, airports and electricity distribution networks, all areas Cambodia is critically lacking in, even after "billions of dollars of aid and investment" from the West.

    Cambodia, through its ties with China and its own straightforward approach to uprooting foreign meddling in its internal affairs has averted the latest attempt by the US and Europe to destabilise the nation and exert control over its future from Washington and Brussels. Other nations in the region, including neighbouring Thailand and Malaysia, still face extensive US-European meddling including persistent street movements and large networks of US-funded media platforms, legal firms and even political parties seeking to destabilise, and if possible, overthrow local governments and independent institutions.

    Only through fully recognising the threat and working together can Southeast Asia ensure the age of American-European colonisation has ended for good and a new era of multipolarism and self-determination can begin.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • August 5, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - In 2010, Thailand was the scene of a smaller-scale foreign-backed destabilisation similar to those carried out by the United States and Europe against nations like Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine from 2011 onward.

    Between April and May of that year, nearly 100 would die and many more injured when US-backed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra attempted to seize back power through violent street protests, armed insurrection, terrorism and nationwide arson.

    Just as has been done in nations like Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine, Human Rights Watch (HRW), funded by convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society Foundation, would leverage human rights in an attempt to depict the Thai government as "cracking down" on what it attempted to depict as peaceful, unarmed protesters.

    Yet in HRW's own 2011 report titled, "Descent into Chaos Thailand's 2010 Red Shirt Protests and the Government Crackdown," it would have to admit that protesters were only "mostly unarmed," a euphemism used to cover up the fact that heavily armed militants were present and were the primary trigger for the weeks of violence that unfolded.

    The report would slip in admissions to this in between lopsided condemnation of the Thai military's response to these "mostly unarmed protesters," including a description of the first episode of violence to break out on April 10, 2010.

    The report would admit (my emphasis):
    As the army attempted to move on the camp, they were confronted by well-armed men who fired M16 and AK-47 assault rifles at them, particularly at the Khok Wua intersection on Rajdamnoen Road. They also fired grenades from M79s and threw M67 hand grenades at the soldiers. News footage and videos taken by protesters and tourists show several soldiers lying unconscious and bleeding on the ground, as well as armed men operating with a high degree of coordination and military skills. According to some accounts, they specifically aimed at the commanding officers of the army units involved in the crowd dispersal operations, sowing panic among the soldiers. Human Rights Watch investigations concluded this group consisted of Black Shirts deployed among the UDD protesters.
    HRW would further describe the "Black Shirts" as:
    Members of these armed groups were captured on photographs and film armed with various military weapons, including AK-47 and M16 assault rifles, as well as M79 grenade launchers, during their clashes with government security forces.
    The HRW report includes several reports made by Western journalists at that time, many of whom would later downplay or cover up the role of the "Black Shirts" during the 2010 violence.

    Rewriting HRW's Own Account of History

    Despite the many admissions by HRW that the 2010 violence was a result of the Thai military responding to heavily armed terrorists operating in the streets of the nation's capital, it has since depicted the 2010 violence as a brutal and unwarranted military "crackdown" often omitting any mention of Shinawatra's armed terrorists.

    The most recent example of this is a July 23, 2018 HRW article titled, "Silencing a Witness to Thailand's Deadly 2010 Crackdown." This "witness" is an unabashed supporter of Thaksin Shinawatra and his violent street front, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) or "red shirts."

    The picture of Natthida "Waen" Meewangpa used by HRW in its July 23 article depicts her flashing the three-finger salute used by US-funded and backed anti-government agitators currently attempting to undermine and overthrow the Thai government and reinstall Shinawatra to power.

    HRW would claim:
    After she resisted intimidation by the Thai military to stay silent, the life of Natthida "Waen" Meewangpa -- a volunteer nurse who witnessed the shooting of civilians and unarmed supporters of protesting "Red Shirts" by soldiers during the 2010 political confrontations in Bangkok -- has turned to hell.
    HRW would not only link to its 2011 report, indifferent to the possibility that readers might read HRW's own admissions that the violence was in fact triggered by armed terrorists, not a military "crackdown," it also concludes by claiming:
    So long as Natthida remains locked up, there is little prospect of justice for the victims of one of Thailand's bloodiest episodes. Worse still, soldiers and their commanders will have good reason to believe that next time around, they can again get away with murder.
    Yet the violence HRW is referring to and that Meewangpa claims to have witnessed, is depicted in concise detail in HRW's own 2011 report. It involved multiple gun battles between Thai troops and pro-Shinawatra terrorists around the downtown temple of Pathum Wanaram.

    HRW in their 2011 report would admit (my emphasis):
    The "safe zone" at the temple was not in a very safe location. Wat Phatum Wanaram is very close to the Central World shopping complex, which Red Shirt arsonists were torching at the same time as crowds were fleeing into the temple. Throughout the afternoon and evening of May 19, sporadic gunfire and clashes took place in the immediate vicinity of the temple. Several foreign journalists said they saw UDD militants, some of them armed, on the street outside the temple between 2 and 4 p.m. that day.
    HRW's report would include testimony from Andy Buncome, a journalist for the Independent. He would be quoted as saying (my emphasis):
    Around lunch time, the Red Shirt leaders said that it was all over, and asked people to go home. I went out again and probably got to the temple around 3:30 to 4 p.m. Things were calm then, but tense. Some of the malls had been set on fire....Then we heard very clear shooting. Other reporters said that the troops and Red Shirts were shooting at each other. We remained at the rear of the temple. We knew there was a curfew. So we started heading out, but we paused and went back to try and get a phone number of a monk so we could call him later. As we were leaving around 5:30, the shooting got going again. My colleagues ran to the back, but I was caught in the front, taking cover with other people. I remember thinking that I should get out of there. I was watching the number of injured pouring into the temple from outside.

    I don't know how I was hit or where the bullet came from. I was lying down. I could not really see the gun battle, I could only hear it. There was vast gunfire outside. The Red Shirts with guns, I think, were out in the streets. Maybe when the army was firing back at them, some of it was coming back into the temple. I could see some bullets ricocheting off the walls. It is hard to know. I could see where some of the shots were hitting and would therefore have to guess some of them were coming from the west.
    In other words, the shooting around the temple was not a "crackdown," it was very clearly a gun battle between armed terrorists and Thai troops. The resulting injuries, as was the case throughout the entirety of the violence, was a result of bystanders caught in the crossfire. HRW in 2011 admitted as much. HRW today, is attempting to gloss over this fact.

    Abusing Human Rights Advocacy

    To depict security operations against heavily armed terrorists waging war against government troops in a nation's capital as a "deadly crackdown" is transparently inaccurate and intentionally dishonest.

    HRW, a foreign-funded front with a transparent agenda of leveraging human rights advocacy to advance the political agendas of the special interests funding it, is clearly revisiting and revising its own account of this episode of 2010 violence for political reasons.

    Transforming Meewangpa from a supporter of Shinawatra and his terrorist proxies into a political prisoner and alleged "victim" of the current Thai government which HRW clearly opposes and works daily to undermine, is done in the same vein as depicting ultra right wing fascist in Ukraine as democratic and hardcore terrorists in Syria as freedom fighters.

    HRW's dishonesty is not only a danger to the stability of nations like Thailand inviting future episodes of instability and violence, it is a danger to legitimate human rights advocacy everywhere.

    It is a danger nations cannot afford to ignore. While arresting or expelling such groups is the most direct method, creating wider public awareness of real human rights advocacy versus the politically-motivated use of it by organisations like Human Rights Watch would be far more effective.

    It would also be justified to strip organisations like Human Rights Watch of any credentials it may hold in regards to human rights advocacy.

    Revising Thai nongovernmental organisation (NGO) laws to force foreign-funded organisations to provide more transparency into their funding, and having those clearly engaged in political meddling register as lobbyists instead of NGOs would deny them the opportunity to cry "censorship" while drastically undermining their perceived legitimacy.

    Thailand possessing its own English-language news service in the same vein as Russia's RT or China's CGTN would give Thailand the ability to have its own side of the story told, a story that would not only contradict Human Rights Watch's, but also expose and challenge HRW's abuse of human rights advocacy.

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

  • August 7, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - US designs in Syria were made crystal clear by US Army General Joseph Votel - head of US Central Command (CENTCOM) - during a July 19th press briefing.

    General Votel would state unequivocally when asked what the "arrangement" was regarding Syria, that:
    Our mission is very, very clear: It is focusing on the defeat of ISIS and then helping our partners in both Iraq and Syria stabilize the situation and specifically in Iraq to help create a platform that can lead to a long-term political solution through the U.N. process.
    Several aspects of this statement make it clear what the US was doing in Syria to begin with, and what it seeks to do now.

    The US Created and Protects ISIS - Not Fights It

    General Votel echoes repeated claims by US policymakers and leadership that the US is dedicated to fighting and defeating the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS). Yet ISIS was admittedly created by the US and its partners in the region in the first place. It was a 2012 leaked Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo that revealed:
    If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

    The DIA memo would also explicitly explain who these "supporting powers" are:
    The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
    ISIS would take shape precisely in eastern Syria where the DIA memo had said its "Salafist" (Islamic) "principality" (State) would. It would attempt to place pressure on Damascus and isolate it - particularly from Iranian logistical efforts traversing Iraq and entering Syria along the Euphrates River before moving deeper into Syrian territory itself.

    While the US had invaded and occupied Syria openly since 2014, it wasn't until the Russian Federation's military intervention in 2015 that ISIS supply lines streaming out of NATO-member Turkey were targeted and destroyed. It was then and only then that ISIS positions across the nation began to collapse.

    It is interesting to note that America's multi-trillion dollar military machine has still failed to eliminate the few remaining pockets of ISIS in eastern Syria. These are pockets that for all intents and purposes are isolated from any of the outside support that allowed the group to flourish for as long as it did.

    Elsewhere across Syria - government forces with the backing of Russia and Iran have eliminated ISIS almost entirely. Operations ongoing in southern Syria seek to dislodge the final remnants of this terrorist front - coincidentally sustaining itself directly on the border of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

    Why is the stretched resources of the Syrian military able to mount successful campaigns to eliminate ISIS west of the Eurphrates, but the US is unable to do so in the east?

    ISIS Continues Attempts to "Isolate Damascus"

    The largest pockets of ISIS remain in and around US occupied territory in Syria. It is from these pockets that ISIS militants have launched repeated attacks on Syrian forces along the Euphrates River, particularly near the Syrian-Iraqi border crossing where Iranian support flows into Syria.

    This is also where Western airstikes in June hit Iraqi militias who were fighting ISIS in the area. The BBC would claim in their article, "Syria war: Iraqi militias blame US for deadly border strike," that:

    Iraq's Popular Mobilisation said missiles hit one of its positions on the Iraqi-Syrian border overnight. The paramilitary force is led by Iran-backed Shia Muslim militias and is itself fighting IS.
    While General Votel - when asked what the US was doing to "stop Iranian expansion into Syria," would claim the US was solely focused on fighting ISIS, it is the US' occupation of eastern Syria that prevents Syrian forces from defeating ISIS there, and allows ISIS militants to attack and undermine Iranian support for the Syrian government. It is also the US occupation of eastern Syria that has provided a perpetual pretext to and foothold from which to strike at Syrian forces and their allies directly as they struggle to keep the Syrian-Iraqi border open.

    The US Has No Legitimate Partners in Syria

    General Votel's claim that the US seeks to work with its "partners" in Syria to "stabilize the situation," ignores the fact that the US occupation of Syria is illegal and that its partners in Syria are neither the recognized representatives of the Syrian people, nor capable of stabilizing the situation.

    The so-called "Syrian Democratic Forces" (SDF) are a primarily Kurdish front, overstretched and representing a fraction of the population in even the territory they now hold.

    This has created tensions and even violence in areas the SDF is occupying. Their ability to hold eastern Syria is tenuous at best and any prospect of them expanding beyond its current boundaries is unlikely. Their current position politically and militarily is entirely dependent on the US which itself is occupying a tenuous position in eastern Syria based on an equally tenuous pretext.

    Regime change in Syria has failed. The notion of balkanizing Syria would simply create a net burden on the US and its allies - clinging to territory through direct military occupation and through unpopular and/or indefensible proxies. Time, for now, is on Damascus' side.

    Shopping for a New Pretext

    With this the case, and with the entire US-led proxy war on Syria launched as merely a stepping stone toward the further encirclement, subversion, and eventual overthrow of the Iranian government in the first place, the US is racing against the clock to shift the diminishing conflict in Syria to Iran.

    Efforts to stir up violence in Iran's streets are ongoing. Reuters would admit in its recent article, "U.S. launches campaign to erode support for Iran's leaders," that:

    The Trump administration has launched an offensive of speeches and online communications meant to foment unrest and help pressure Iran to end its nuclear programme and its support of militant groups, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said.
    US forces occupying nations along Iran's periphery will be a key component to both supporting covert proxy violence inside Iran, and any direct military operations launched against Iran. US troops are currently in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. US forces are also stationed in the Persian Gulf.

    The stage has been set - but attempts to light Syria on fire and have it blow into Iran has failed. The US will need a new pretext to both maintain its increasingly tenuous positions across the Middle East and Central Asia, and to further provoke and subvert Iran. As the "ISIS" pretext begins to beg belief, attempts to cite an Iranian threat or provocation on equal or greater footing than the diminished threat of ISIS is ongoing.

    Thus, while Syria may see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel - with war-ravaged regions finally restored to stability and reconstruction beginning, the greater war the Syrian conflict was a part of is still being pursued by the US and its allies.

    A dangerous period of fending off attempts by the US to rekindle the Syrian conflict in neighboring Iran and on a much larger scale has begun. It will require political, economic, and military measures from those involved in aiding Damascus, as well as allies and trade partners of Iran.

    It should also be remembered that militant groups in Syria have not been entirely defeated. In northern Syria, most of the terrorists and their supporters have been consolidating their and could be used to plunge Syria back into war - especially if progress is made by the US in isolating Syria from Iranian support.

    The US is behind schedule, exposed, and becoming increasingly desperate. But the threat the US constitutes should not be underestimated, nor should those overseeing Syria's successful defense of its territory become overconfident.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • August 11, 2018 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - 3D printing and other forms of computer-controlled manufacturing have allowed nations, companies and even individuals the ability to go from consumers to producers. As this technology improves and costs drop, access to this technology and the ability of the technology itself will increase, making it possible for virtually anyone, anywhere to make virtually anything.

    In May 2018, prominent US-based corporate-funded policy think tank, RAND Corporation, had published an article titled, "Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security." In it, an argument was made about the dangers of 3D printing becoming more accessible, first by citing 3D printed guns as well as drones and other forms of technology it claimed criminals and terrorists could leverage. But then RAND would reveal a threat, particularly to its corporate sponsors, that highlighted the true fears 3D printing invokes among the captains of established industries — decentralization.

    The fear of 3D printing "taking jobs" for example, can more accurately be described as taking both jobs and revenue from large corporations and shifting them both to small companies or individual entrepreneurs. Along with this shift, goes the concentration of wealth and influence these large corporations have enjoyed, some since as early as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

    RAND also feared nations targeted by US sanctions being able to easily circumvent them by acquiring the parts and systems required by simply manufacturing them themselves through the use of technology like 3D printing. In reality, RAND and other representatives of established industries seem more concerned about losing their wealth and influence than of any "threat" such technologies might or might not actually pose.

    3D Printed Guns

    The notion of 3D printed guns has been around for a while. Cody Wilson of US-based Defense Distributed has promoted a vision of home-based gun manufacturing, leveraging 3D printing and a peer-to-peer (p2p) network of online files shared much the way other online 3D model libraries are organized.

    Wilson had been fighting a legal battle to protect his and others' rights to manufacture and share the designs of their guns. In an article by Engadget titled, "You can legally download 3D-printed gun designs next month," the results of that legal battle were reported:
    3D gun printing advocate Defense Distributed has emerged triumphant in a legal battle to freely publish online blueprints that could allow users to manufacture firearms.

    The victory spells the end of an ongoing lawsuit against the US Department of State -- which in 2013, forced Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson to pull down files from the DEFCAD website because they violated International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) protections. The State Department argued that blueprints of Wilson's 'Liberator' pistol, which had already been downloaded more than 100,000 times, were classified as 'exports' and could therefore not be distributed according to law.

    The article was shared by Grindhouse, a DIY biohacking group that specializes in human augmentation through the use of biotechnology, another field in which advances in technology are manifesting themselves, quite literally in the hands of ordinary people. Under Grindhouse's Facebook post, a refreshingly complex discussion developed, far beyond the pro-anti gun debate typical in American politics.

    The notion of greater personal responsibility was mentioned, but also the possibility of gun manufacturers having their monopolies and revenue threatened by distributed firearms manufacturing by individuals and small businesses. While the technology for individuals to do this today is still prohibitively expensive, it will not be in the near future as better 3D printers and printers capable of printing in metal find their way into homes around the globe.

    Just as RAND and other representatives of corporate monopolies have tried to raise alarm over 3D printing in an effort to protect their respective industries, efforts to register, restrict and constrain the use of 3D printing by citing the possible widespread proliferation of homemade weapons seems very likely to follow Defense Distributed's legal victory.

    Push Back?

    Manufacturing your own firearms is dangerous. Poorly constructed firearms, or even well-made firearms that are poorly cared for, can cause harm, even death to the operator and bystanders. It is possible that after Defense Distributed's legal victory, interests seeking to restrict 3D printing may use accidents involving 3D printed firearms as a pretext to finally implement stricter controls over 3D printing technology altogether.

    Stopping individuals with 3D printers from printing anything is virtually impossible.

    Attempts to impose software and intellectual property controls on printers has been proposed and tried, but has proven impractical. Thus, interests seeking to impede the proliferation of 3D printing technology, because it threatens their non-firearms related business, may use fears of 3D printed firearms as a pretext to restrict the sale and ownership of 3D printers once and for all.

    And while such legislation may be passed in nations like the United States or across Europe, it is unlikely such restrictions will pass everywhere, granting nations with more permissive laws to surpass the US and Europe in this key technological field. While industries may in short run protect their monopolies, in the long run they will find themselves far behind competitors elsewhere.

    For many established industries, it is an inevitability that advanced manufacturing technology will redistribute their wealth and influence to individual entrepreneurs, meaning that attempts to slow down or stop 3D printing today is an exercise in futility tomorrow.

    These industries should invest instead in reorganizing their business models and making an orderly transition toward a more distributed economy in the intermediate future.

    3D printing, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and other forms of advanced and rapidly improving technology will all find their way into more hands and chip away at established industries and institutions. The advancement of technology is exponential, not linear and traditional planning and economic modelling to envision how this technology will shape civilization tomorrow will produce a distorted view and equally distorted decision making.

    Instead of pushing back against 3D printing and other forms of technology making into the population's hands, policymakers and established industries should be preparing for this inevitability, or face having no say when it finally does come to be.

    For those fearful of guns being 3D printed and then used by criminals, they should begin understanding and then addressing what actually drives certain individuals to violence.

    Understanding that socioeconomic factors, not merely access to firearms drives violence, will open up the possibility to more practical solutions to diminish gun violence. Gun control efforts are already proven ineffective, and with 3D printing, soon to be rendered impossible. 3D printing will bring with it greater individual wealth and influence, but with it, society will have to learn to live with the greater individual responsibility that comes with it.

    Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • August 13, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Political pressure is mounting in the Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand ahead of anticipated elections early next year. However, political analysts across the West have consistently portrayed Thailand's political crisis as if existing in a vacuum divorced from geopolitics.

    Shawn Crispin provides an example of this with his Asia Times piece titled, "Thai junta dreams of a 'Thaksin-free' election." Crispin's analysis does indeed offer many important and accurate insights into Thailand's ongoing political crisis and the pressure that is building ahead of upcoming polls in 2019.

    Crispin has, in the past, correctly noted that Thailand's political crisis is the result of two powerful factions facing off against one another. One consists of nouveau riche led by billionaire ex-prime minister and now fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra. It features strong ties to foreign interests, particularly in Washington, London and Brussels. The other faction consists of Thailand's independent institutions including the military and the monarchy.

    It is not a "class struggle" as some pundits have attempted to portray it, particularly those bias toward Shinawatra in an attempt to give moral and ideological mooring to what is otherwise simply a billionaire and his political allies seeking to seize and consolidate absolute power in Thailand.

    Mention of US and European Meddling

    Yet nowhere in Crispin's analysis is mention of significant foreign influence underpinning Shinawatra's staying power. He mentions protests last month by Shinawatra's supporters demanding Thailand's current government step down and hold polls this year. The protests ended when police detained protest leaders, which Crispin claims was "widely condemned."

    However, this "wide condemnation" was primarily voiced through US and European media and Western-funded organisations posing as rights advocacy groups, along with still very well-funded Shinawatra-controlled media within Thailand.

    The protests themselves have received support from a number of US State Department-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations including Prachatai, iLaw, Fortify Rights and Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).

    TLHR not only provides free legal services for protesters repeatedly detained, its own staff, most notably Anon Nampa, help organise and lead the protests directly.

    TLHR co-founder Sirikan "June" Charoensiri was even presented with the US State Department's 2018 International Women of Courage Award by the First Lady of the United States Melania Trump.

    The award ceremony was an exercise aimed at lending the US government-funded front a greater sense of legitimacy and thus greater influence politically and socially.

    US and European embassy staff have also routinely met with protest leaders, providing them open public support in a similar vein to US embassy support during the opening phases of US-backed regime change in Syria and Ukraine.

    It should be noted that without US funding, these organisations would not exist. Over 90% of their annual budget is provided by foreign governments and foreign corporate-funded foundations. If the organisations playing a central role in both supporting and leading recent protests in Thailand did not exist, neither would their protests.

    It is also worth mentioning that direct support for anti-government activities by the US and European embassies has maintained pressure on the current Thai government at a time Shinawatra's own political machine cannot. In other words, geopolitical factors such as US and European influence have played a direct role in the mounting pressure observed, but grossly mischaracterised, by Western analysts.

    Fugitives Can't Run in "Free and Fair" Elections

    US and European support for Shinawatra's ongoing bid to return to power undoubtedly enhances the impunity he has enjoyed both while in power and since being ousted in 2006. This impunity is what allowed his Pheu Thai party to run in 2011 elections despite Shinawatra, a convicted criminal and fugitive, openly running the party. It is this impunity that will allow his party to run again if elections are held in 2019.

    And despite what is essentially a fugitive running for office and remotely running an entire nation from abroad, unimaginable in the West, Western pundits, journalists and even more objective analysts like Crispin seem to regard this as merely a second thought, often depicting the Thai military's efforts to oust and since obstruct Shinawatra's return to power as "undemocratic" and "repressive."

    In Crispin's piece, he unironically refers to the notion of "free and fair" elections that would include Shinawatra's Pheu Thai party which would likely win. No where in Crispin's piece, nor anywhere else across the Western media is it explained how an election can be "free and fair" if a party led by a fugitive is allowed to participate.

    Yet the US and Europe routinely pursue agendas around the globe merely using notions such as democracy and human rights as a façade. Thailand would be only the latest among many nations the US in particular has backed an unsavoury political machine in seizing power in hopes of integrating it into what Washington likes to call its international order, regardless of the degree of hypocrisy required to do so.

    Divide and Conquer

    Washington, London and Brussels prefer a nouveau riche clique eager to serve Western interests in exchange for support in seizing power, over dealing with the independent institutions of Thailand whose wealth and power depend on protecting the nation's sovereignty.

    The wealth and power of Thailand's nouveau riche are perceived as constrained by these institutions' existence. Thus, as part of their agenda, they seek to either co-opt or reduce the influence of both the monarchy and the military.

    Of course, US and European support is not given out of charity. The US and Europe support politicians like Thaksin Shinawatra and his allies specifically because they are weak, easily manipulated and when the time comes, easily disposed of. The return of Shinawatra to power in Thailand would lead to additional attempts to undermine and diminish the power of Thailand's military and monarchy, and in turn, Thailand's sovereignty.

    In the process and regardless of the outcome, Thailand as a whole, will be weaker in the face of economic and geopolitical challenges that arise.

    Without the unity commanded by Thailand's military and monarchy, factionalising would grow not only along existing fault lines in Thai society, politics and business, but even within different factions. Like neighbouring Myanmar, Cambodia or Malaysia where little unites populations, the imagined future Washington, London and Brussels has in mind for Thailand would be a fragile state where the only semblance of stability would be represented by US-European funded and controlled civil society.

    Spiting China

    When it is understood that US and European desire to control Thailand is part of a much larger agenda still, toward encircling and containing China's rise, it seems almost unthinkable to underestimate or entirely omit mention US-European interest in influencing the outcome of Thailand's upcoming elections and beyond.

    Thailand's current government has sought to strike a balance in regards to managing a waning US presence in Asia Pacific and the rise of China. Thailand's best interests are served by granting an advantage to neither Beijing nor Washington and instead balancing them off against each other.

    Beijing has attempted to build influence in Thailand through economic and military cooperation. The US has less to offer in this regard, and instead heavily relies on what it calls soft power to project its influence across the region, including in Thailand. The ability to create parallel institutions within Thailand's borders and use them first to pressure Thailand's own institutions, then co-opt and overwrite them, represents a constant point of leverage the US has repeatedly used for everything from impeding Thai-Chinese development projects to backing current anti-government activity ahead of upcoming elections.

    A US-European backed political party taking power in Thailand would serve to roll back progress China has made in the Kingdom. The US-backed opposition which recently took power in Malaysia has already begun signalling its intent to back out of Malaysian-Chinese deals already signed, and the renegotiation of others. The Western media has already begun promoting a similar turn of events in Thailand.

    Add in the Missing Pieces, Get the Entire Picture

    While Western power is distributed over the entire globe in pursuit of political, economic and military hegemony, synergies and shared resources exist between each individual effort, allowing the US and Europe to coordinate and exert significant leverage when needed. Thus analysis regarding Thailand's (or any other nation's) internal power struggles without mentioning Western influence, ranges from incomplete to inaccurate and unusable.

    For analysts working within the Western media, mention of US interference abroad is considered taboo. Frank discussion of it can relegate journalists, pundits and analysts to obscurity.

    This may explain why the obvious implications of realities like a fugitive running for office in Thailand's elections, or the US organising protests in Thailand's streets, are never mentioned amid otherwise cogent analysis.

    It might also help explain why more people than ever are turning to alternative media to find the pieces missing from Western analysis in order to see the entire picture.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • August 14, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - As atrocities and scandal begin to mount regarding the US-backed Saudi-led war on the impoverished nation of Yemen, the involvement and hypocrisy of the United States and other Western backers is coming to full light.

    Global condemnation of Saudi airstrikes on civilian targets has brought public attention to Washington's role in the conflict - a role the Western media has attempted to downplay for years. It is ironic, or perhaps telling, that alternative media outlets targeted as "Russian influence" are leading coverage of Yemen's growing humanitarian catastrophe.

    US Denies Role in Proxy War That Couldn't be Fought Without It
    In a recent press conference, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis - when asked about the US role in the Yemeni conflict in regards to Saudi atrocities - would claim:
    We are not engaged in the civil war. We will help to prevent, you know, the killing of innocent people.
    Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

    Mattis himself would lobby US Congress earlier this year to continue US support for Saudi-led operations in Yemen.

    A March 2018 Washington Post article titled, "Mattis asks Congress not to restrict U.S. support for Saudi bombing in Yemen," would admit:

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made a personal appeal to Congress on Wednesday not to restrict the United States' support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, as the sponsors of a privileged resolution to end Washington's involvement announced that the Senate would vote on the matter next week.
    Support includes US intelligence gathering for Saudi operations, the sale of of US weapons to the Saudi regime, and even US aerial refueling for US-made Saudi warplanes dropping US-made munitions on Yemeni targets selected with the aid of US planners.

    In essence, the US is all but directly fighting the "civil war" itself.

    Abetting War Crimes, Sponsoring Terrorists to What End?

    As to why the US believes it must continue supporting a proxy war Saudi Arabia is fighting on its behalf - beginning under US President Barack Obama and continuing in earnest under current US President Donald Trump - the Washington Post could conclude (emphasis added):
    The war in Yemen has inspired much controversy in Congress, as lawmakers have questioned why the United States has involved itself so closely on the Saudi-backed side of a civil war against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel forces. Successive presidential administrations have presented the campaign as a necessary component of the fight against terrorism and to preserve stability in the region. As Mattis put it in his letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, "withdrawing U.S. support would embolden Iran to increase its support to the Houthis, enabling further ballistic missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and threatening vital shipping lanes in the Red Sea, thereby raising the risk of a regional conflict."

    However, Mattis, his colleagues, and his predecessors have categorically failed to explain how Iran constitutes a greater threat to either US or global security than Saudi Arabia.

    Saudi Arabia is a nation admittedly sponsoring Al Qaeda worldwide, including in Yemen as revealed by a recent Associated Press investigation, and the nation which both radicalized the supposed perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York City and Washington D.C. and from which most of the supposed hijackers originated from.

    If Iran is indeed waging war against Saudi Arabia and its terrorist proxies in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, the real question is - why isn't the United States backing Tehran instead?

    The obvious answer to this question reveals the crumbling moral authority of the United States as the principled facade it has used for decades falls away from its hegemony-driven agenda worldwide.

    The US and its allies created the "War on Terror" and intentionally perpetuated it as a pretext to expand militarily around the globe in an attempt to preserve its post-Cold War primacy and prevent the rise of a multipolar alternative to its unipolar "international order." It has done this not only at the cost of hundreds of thousands of human lives across the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, it has done it at the cost of trillions of taxpayers' dollars and the lives of thousands of America's own soldiers, sailors, aviators, and Marines.

    Canada Too

    A recent row between Canada and Saudi Arabia over supposed "human rights" concerns appears to be a vain attempt to salvage the credibility of at least some nations involved in the now 7 year long war - the last 3 years of which has seen direct military intervention by Saudi Arabia, its partners, and its backers - including Canada.

    The Guardian in an article titled, "'We don't have a single friend': Canada's Saudi spat reveals country is alone," attempts to portray Canada as taking a lone, principled stance against human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia - abandoned even by Washington.

    The article would claim:
    The spat appeared to have been sparked last week when Canada's foreign ministry expressed its concern over the arrest of Saudi civil society and women's rights activists, in a tweet that echoed concerns previously voiced by the United Nations.

    Saudi Arabia swiftly shot back, making plans to remove thousands of Saudi students and medical patients from Canada, and suspending the state airline's flights to and from Canada, among other actions.
    The Guardian would also claim:
    ...the US said it would remain on the sidelines while Saudi officials lashed out at Canada over its call to release jailed civil rights activists.
    Canada's feigned concern for "human rights" in Saudi Arabia comes at a time when the Canadian government continues approving of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms sales to Riyadh. This includes small arms and armored personnel carriers Saudi forces are using in their ongoing invasion and occupation of neighboring Yemen.

    The feigned divide between Ottawa and Washington over Saudi human rights violations is overshadowed by years of commitment by both North American nations in propping up the Saudi regime, and aiding and abetting the very worst of Riyadh's human rights abuses unfolding amid the Yemeni conflict.

    Canada's apparent role is to help compartmentalize the worst of the West's decaying moral authority, containing it with the US, and taking up a more prominent role in the West's industrialized "human rights" and "democracy" leveraging racket.

    While Canadian armaments help fuel genocide in Yemen - Canadian diplomats around the world fund agitators and directly meddle in the internal political affairs of foreign nations predicated on promoting "human rights" and "democracy."

    In Thailand for example, the US has receded into the shadows, allowing Canada, the UK, and other European nations to openly engage in political meddling on their behalf. US funding and support continues, but the public face of Western "outrage" is increasingly becoming Canadian, British, and Northern European.

    However, Canada faces the same problem that has permanently eroded American credibility. And as its role in perpetuating real human rights abuses worldwide continues to be exposed, its feigned concern over token or even manufactured human rights concerns will increasingly appear hypocritical and hollow, undermining the West's collective ability to leverage and hide behind human rights and democracy to advance their self-serving agendas.

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

Stats & Atts.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.