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  • April 7, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) executive director Kenneth Roth recently decried legal proceedings against the alleged "leading human rights defender in Chechnya," Oyub Titiyev.

    But as with much of what HRW decries, Titiyev has less to do with actually defending human rights, and more to do with ongoing US-subversion in Russia's southern Chechen Republic.

    Roth, in a social media post, would claim:
    The Russian government's "case" against the leading human rights defender in Chechnya, Oyub Titiyev, is farcical--as many holes as Swiss cheese--but authorities have still locked him up for 14 months and are threatening a four-year sentence.
    The article Roth's post would include, leads to an opinion piece in The Moscow Times (written by fellow HRW regional director, Rachel Denber) who insists Titiyev is innocent of drug charges based entirely on Titiyev and his lawyer's own claims.

    Whether Titiyev is guilty or not is for Russia's courts to decide. However, the entire process of mobilizing supposed human rights advocacy organizations like HRW to rush to Titiyev's aid illustrates how "rights advocacy" is transparently used to advance politically-motivated agendas, not to actually advance human rights.

    No matter what the evidence against Titiyev, HRW and others would claim the charges against him were politically motivated. It is an example of foreign-funded organizations attempting to assert themselves over a nation's sovereign right to manage its own internal affairs, including by overriding local law enforcement and judicial processes.

    But there is much more to consider regarding Titiyev's case than this.

    Terrorism as Washington's Sword, "Rights Advocacy" as its Shield

    Russia's Chechen Republic had previously seen two wars as armed separatists attempted to carve out an independent region from Russian territory. From 1994-1996 and again from 1999-2009 militants waged both open war and an armed insurgency against Russian forces until eventually Moscow prevailed.

    Today, attempts to rekindle divisions, upheaval and even violence have been the primary goal of both US-funded and directed "rights advocates" like HRW and US-backed militants, though admittedly Russia now has the upper hand.

    As the United States has been revealed to have done elsewhere, the Russian government has accused it of lending direct aid to Chechen militants.

    A 2015 BBC article titled, "Russia's Putin: US agents gave direct help to Chechens," would note:
    Vladimir Putin has accused US agents of directly aiding rebel fighters in the second Chechen war.
    In order for fighters to have contested Russian control over Chechnya, they would require equal or greater financial and military support than that committed by Moscow. State sponsorship would be the only way of achieving this and the list of potential states both capable and motivated to back Chechen militants is exceedingly short.

    That the US and its partners now currently offer many of these same Chechen militants who have shifted their fighting over to Syria both weapons and financial backing is further evidence of Washington's deep commitment to menacing Russia and its interests both domestically and abroad with Chechen militancy.

    US state sponsorship of Chechen militancy serves as the sword of Washington's policy, aimed at the Chechen Republic and anywhere else it feels it can wield it effectively (such as Syria).

    And if the Chechen militancy is Washington's sword, US-backed "rights advocacy" is its shield.

    So-called "human rights defenders" like Oyub Titiyev and the US-funded organizations he is a member of work to frustrate Russian efforts to root out extremism in the Chechen Republic.

    Titiyev and others attempt to claim obvious counter-terror operations somehow violate human rights. His organization's work along with many others funded out of Washington D.C. is then used to place official pressure on Moscow to complicate counter-terror operations and undermine Russia's ability to maintain peace and stability in Chechnya.

    Such organizations are used as a "shield" to protect militants from the full force of efforts undertaken to uproot them.

    Oyub Titiyev is Funded by the US Government

    The Moscow Times' article cited by HRW's Kenneth Roth would make mention of at least one of the organizations Oyub Titiyev worked for, stating:
    Titiyev has headed the office of the Russian human rights group Memorial in Grozny for nine years, collecting harrowing evidence of abuses and injustices committed by Chechen authorities.

    Memorial, funded by the US government, is registered in Russia as a, "non-profit organization acting as a foreign agent." On Memorial's own website in a barely noticeable footnote at the very bottom of its website, it admits to its status as a foreign agent, but insists it is "self-governing," a claim made by many supposed nongovernmental organizations whose US government funding has been exposed.

    Memorial no longer transparently discloses its funding, nor does the US National Endowment for Democracy which in 2011 had openly listed Memorial as one of their many grantees in Russia. Human Rights Watch's Kenneth Roth and Rachel Denber in her op-ed in The Moscow Times also omitted Memorial's US government-funding.

    But under Memorial's own post on Titiyev's arrest, it would admit (emphasis added):
    Titiev has worked at Memorial and its sister organization, Civic Assistance Committee, since 2000, documenting human rights violations and carrying out a range of humanitarian projects, including support to schools in Chechnya's mountain areas.
    The "Civic Assistance Committee" is also registered in Russia as a "non-profit organization acting as a foreign agent," and does list its foreign sponsors, which include the European Commission and George Soros' Open Society-funded Amnesty International.

    Had Human Rights Watch mentioned Titiyev's role as a foreign agent amid Russia's internal political affairs, or the fact that the people whose "rights" he was "defending" were terror suspects, their message would have failed to invoke sufficient public sympathy for Titiyev or public anger against the Russian government.

    Sword and Shield Used Worldwide

    Washington's use of Chechen terrorists to menace Russia along with dubious "rights advocates" like Titiyev and the US-funded fronts he works for protecting these terrorists from counter-terror operations represents a "sword and shield" method used extensively by Washington worldwide.

    We can see examples of this in Syria where supposed US-backed "human rights activists" and "rescue workers" like the White Helmets embed with Al Qaeda and its many affiliates, working exclusively in territory occupied by terrorist organizations even listed by the US State Department itself as such.

    US-armed terrorists used to overthrow the Libyan government in 2011 were likewise protected by extensive "human rights" networks set up by the US and Europe to portray militants as "pro-democracy activists." The efforts of these "human rights" networks were used by the US and its allies to justify airstrikes under the pretext of the "responsibility to protect" doctrine, also known as "R2P."

    Just as a knight brings his sword and shield to whatever battlefield he fights upon, the United States brings its sword of state-sponsored terrorism and shield of "human rights advocacy" to every region and nation it seeks to undermine and eventually overthrow.

    Oyub Titiyev's role in abusing human rights advocacy to frustrate state security services attempting to maintain peace and stability in Russia's Chechen Republic is just one of many hundreds of examples the US and its allies are using worldwide. By following characters like Kenneth Roth of HRW on social media, we can see several examples aired out per day, in numerous countries.

    By understanding this tactic and exposing it, the blade of Washington's sword will grow dull, and cracks will begin to appear in its shield.

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

  • April 8, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Western political meddling abroad faced another serious setback - this time in the Southeast Asian country of Thailand.

    With a population of 70 million people, the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia, and transforming into a key regional partner for Beijing and its One Belt, One Road initiative, the US and its partners sought to propel opposition parties into power during recent elections held in March.

    However, the military-linked Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) won the popular vote, delivering US-backed opposition parties their first serious defeat at the polls since rising to power in 2001.

    The US-backed Thai opposition is led by fugitive billionaire, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He was ousted from power in 2006 after a series of corruption scandals, human rights abuses, and attempts to illegally consolidate power.

    Shinawatra has since attempted to return to power through a series of nepotist proxies including his sister Yingluck Shinawatra who served as prime minister from 2011-2014 until likewise being ousted by judicial and military intervention.

    In addition to Thaksin Shinawatra's Pheu Thai political party, he also maintains a violent street front known as the "red shirts," and is bolstered by US-funded nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), "student activist" groups, and extensive support throughout the Western corporate media.

    In the most recent election, Shinawatra divided his political forces into multiple parties in a hedging strategy meant to preserve at least one party against disbanding for serving illegally as the fugitive's proxies.

    In addition to Pheu Thai, Shinawatra also fielded Thai Raksa Chart, Pheu Tham, Pheu Chart, and Future Forward.

    US Finds "New" Proxy in "Future Forward"

    While Pheu Thai and other parties are openly run by Shinawatra as proxies, the latter - Future Forward - has attempted to claim it is not a nominee party.

    However, nothing could be further from the truth.

    The party - headed by billionaire Thanathorn Jungrungreangkit (normally referred to as Thanathorn) - not only promotes an identical agenda of removing Thailand's military from politics - thus paving Shinawatra's return to power - it literally established its party headquarters next door to Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party. It includes various pro-Shinawatra politicians in its party, and was promoted by Shinawatra's Thai Raska Chart (TRC) party as a nominee after TRC's disbanding ahead of elections.

    Thanathorn himself is co-heir of the Jungrungreangkit fortune accumulated by his late father, and since taken over by his mother. The Jungrungreangkit family has long allied itself with Shinawatra.

    Media interests the family controls have served as stalwart supporters of Shinawatra and his political agenda for years. This support extends itself to promoting the same Western interests and agendas that in turn are sponsoring and benefiting from Shinawatra's bid to return to power.

    Thanathorn himself - ahead of elections - went out of his way to court foreign interests and support - including visits with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and speaking at venues like the Concordia Summit - chaired by inveterate regime change promoters and pro-war advocates including John Negroponte and David Petraeus, as well as representatives of verified dictatorships like Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

    Thanathorn has repeatedly declared his intentions to roll back joint Thai-Chinese infrastructure projects and slash the Thai military's budget, undermining its ability to fend of foreign interference - both foreign policy dreams long sought after by Washington.

    It should come as no surprise then to see concerted support across the Western corporate media for Thanathorn and his Future Forward Party - as an alternative to supporting Shinawatra whose credibility and popularity are flagging despite years of extensive Western lobbying.

    Thanathorn's Future Forward Party came in 3rd behind the military-linked PPRP and Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party. Despite this - it has been inexplicably endowed by the Western media with a disproportionate and imaginary mandate.

    Images: Representatives from Western embassies including the US, UK, and Canada accompany Thanathorn as he faces multiple legal charges, including charges of sedition.

    Thanathorn has found himself in legal trouble in the wake of the election, facing at least 3 charges including sedition. When summoned by Thai police, he was accompanied by foreign embassy staff including representatives from the United States, UK, and Canada.

    While this is being portrayed by the Western media as "international support" for a "pro-democracy" candidate - even a cursory look at US-UK-Canadian foreign policy reveals self-serving interests - not "democracy" - serve as the common denominator underpinning such "support."

    Readers should recall the US-UK-Canada's role in multiple illegal wars stretching from Libya in North Africa, to Iraq and Syria in the Middle East, to Afghanistan in Central Asia - and their collective, ongoing support for genuine dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Neo-Nazi-aligned regime presiding over Kiev, Ukraine.

    The West's support for Thanathorn and Future Forward - then - is nothing more than direct meddling in Thailand's internal political affairs, merely hidden behind democracy, rather than in its defense.

    The West - through proxies like Shinawatra and Thanathorn - seek to weaken or entirely remove Thailand's independent institutions including its courts, military, and constitutional monarchy - thus paving the way for unopposed economic "liberalization" and the co-opting of Thailand's foreign policy to rollback ties with Beijing, transforming the Southeast Asian state into a bulwark against China at its own expense.

    Washington's Losing Bet

    At the height of Thaksin Shinawatra's power, he was the 4th richest man in Thailand. His political and financial power was such it required nearly 2 decades of intensive efforts - including 2 coups - to sufficiently diminish. This only recently culminated in Shinawatra's Pheu Thai political party losing the popular vote in recent elections.

    Between 2010 and now - Shinawatra has gone from 4th richest to 19th. His credibility and influence has waned to the extent his own proxies - including Thanathorn - must deny any ties to him.

    Thanathorn - the West's "new" proxy - is nonetheless a stand-in for Shinawatra. However, he comes from a family ranked 28th in terms of wealth - and his own personal political and financial background is already tainted with corruption and scandal.

    The West finds itself resorting to proxies many times weaker financially, and politically more compromised than Shinawatra in 2001 - going up against Thai institutions that are more organized and prepared to defend Thai sovereignty than ever.

    The Western media's attempts to "will" the Thai political crisis into a shape that serves its interests didn't work for Thaksin Shinawatra at the height of his power, did not work ahead of recent elections, and will not work for Shinawatra's stand-in who is many times weaker post-election than Shinawatra in 2001.

    The West's setbacks in Thailand are just one part of a much wider pattern of US-European foreign policy failures stretching around the globe from clumsy regime change efforts in Venezuela to a humiliating defeat in Syria and a stagnant, two decade-long war in Afghanistan. Regionally, setbacks in Thailand are part of a wider trend seeing US primacy in Asia being displaced by both China and the rise of other regional powers.

    The notion that characters like Thanathorn and parties like Future Forward represent "democracy," while their agenda is dictated from overseas by fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra and his Western sponsors, and defended in Thailand by representatives from Western embassies in Bangkok - is an unsustainable paradox. Democracy by definition is a process of self-determination - not one in which a nation's fate is dictated from abroad. It is only a matter of time before the reality of this paradox catches up with the hypocritical rhetoric used to perpetuate it.

    Those betting on Shinawatra, his nominee Thanathorn, his party Future Forward, or even American primacy in Asia must ask themselves whether or not they believe by this time next year - or even next decade - this unsustainable agenda will finally gain traction, or find itself more deeply mired by multiplying failures.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • April 10, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Libya is back in the news, as fighting escalates around the capital, Tripoli.

    Forces under the control of Khalifa Haftar - a former Libyan general under the government of Muammar Qaddafi - turned opposition during the 2011 US-led NATO intervention - turned "opposition" again against the UN-backed "Government of National Accord" (GNA) seated in Tripoli - have most recently reached Tripoli's airport.

    The confusing chaos that has continually engulfed Libya since 2011 should come as no surprise. It is the predictable outcome that follows any US-led political or military intervention. Other examples showcasing US-led regime change "success" include Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine.

    And just like in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine - the Western corporate media has regularly omitted mention of Libya from headlines specifically to mask the very predictable consequences of US-led regime change as additional interventions against nations like Venezuela, Syria, and Iran are engineered and pursued.

    Battlefield Libya

    In 2011, the North African nation of Libya was transformed from a prosperous, developing nation, into a divided, perpetual battlefield where local warlords backed by a milieu of opposing foreign sponsors and interests have vied for power since.

    Libya's current status as a failed, warring state is owed entirely to the US-led NATO intervention in 2011.

    Predicated on lies promoted by Western-funded "human rights" organizations and fought under the pretext of R2P (responsibility to protect) - the US and its NATO allies dismembered Libya leading to predictable and perpetual chaos that has affected not only Libya itself, but North Africa, Southern Europe, and even the Middle East.

    The war immediately triggered not only a wave of refugees fleeing the war itself, but the redirection of refugees from across Africa seeking shelter and work in Libya, across the Mediterranean and into Europe instead.

    Militants fighting as proxies for the US-led war in 2011 would be armed and redeployed to Turkey where they entered Syria and played a key role in taking the cities of Idlib and Aleppo during the early stages of that US-led proxy war.

    Currently, Libya is divided between the UN-backed government based in Tripoli, eastern-based forces loyal to Haftar, and a mix of other forces operating across the country, holding various degrees of control over Libya's other major cities, and equally varying degrees of loyalty to the UN-backed government, Haftar's forces, or other factions.

    Fighting around Tripoli has even allegedly prompted US military forces stationed in Libya to temporarily evacuate. CNBC in its article, "US pulls forces from Libya as fighting approaches capital," would report:
    The United States has temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya due to "security conditions on the ground," a top military official said Sunday as a Libyan commander's forces advanced toward the capital of Tripoli and clashed with rival militias.

    A small contingent of American troops has been in Libya in recent years, helping local forces combat Islamic State and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities.
    The presence of US forces in Libya might be news to some - and was certainly only a dream within the Pentagon until after the 2011 US-led NATO intervention finally toppled the Libyan government.

    America's foreign policy of arsonist-fireman has endowed it with a large and still growing military footprint in Africa - one it uses to project power and affect geopolitics well beyond the continent.

    America's Growing Footprint in Africa

    The ongoing Libyan conflict - flush with weapons pouring in from foreign sponsors - has also fuelled regional terrorism impacting neighboring Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, and Chad, as far west as Mali and Nigeria, and southeast as far as Kenya. The war has been a boon for US Africa Command (AFRICOM) which has used the resulting chaos as a pretext to expand Washington's military footprint on the continent.

    In a 2018 Intercept article titled, "U.S. Military Says it has a "Light Footprint" in Africa. These Documents Show a Vast Network of Bases," it was reported that:
    According to a 2018 briefing by AFRICOM science adviser Peter E. Teil, the military's constellation of bases includes 34 sites scattered across the continent, with high concentrations in the north and west as well as the Horn of Africa. These regions, not surprisingly, have also seen numerous U.S. drone attacks and low-profile commando raids in recent years.
    The article notes that much of AFRICOM's expansion in Africa has occurred over the past decade.

    While the pretext for US military expansion in Africa has been "counter-terrorism," it is clear US military forces are there to protect US interests and project US power with "terrorism" a manufactured pretext to justify Washington's militarization of the continent.

    Much of the terrorism the US claims it is fighting was only possible in the first place through the flood of weapons, equipment, and support provided to militants by the US and its partners amid regime change operations targeting nations like Libya.

    The US-led NATO war in Libya is a perfect example of the US deliberately arming terrorist organizations - including those listed as foreign terrorist organizations by the US State Department itself - overthrowing a nation, predictably destabilizing the entire region, and using the resulting instability as a pretext to massively expand America's military footprint there.

    The wider agenda at play is Washington's desire to displace current Russian and Chinese interests on the continent, granting the US free reign.

    Fruits of US-NATO Regime Change

    As NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg would claim:
    Over seven decades, NATO has stepped up time and again to keep our people safe, and we will continue to stand together to prevent conflict and preserve peace.
    This "peace" includes 8 years of heavy fighting in Libya following NATO's intervention there.

    NATO's Secretary General proclaims NATO's mission as one to "prevent conflict and preserve peace," yet it paradoxically and very intentionally engineered the war in Libya, overthrew the government in Tripoli, and triggered regional chaos that not only plagues North Africa to this day - but also inundated Europe with refugees fleeing the conflict.

    Europe is one of the few places NATO could conceivably claim any mandate to protect or operate in - yet its own wars of aggression abroad directly compromised European safety and security.

    The media blackout that has shrouded the true impact of NATO's intervention in Libya for the past 8 years helps enable the US and its NATO partners to perpetrate additional proxy wars and political interventions elsewhere.

    As the US openly pursues aggressive regime change in Venezuela and meddles in the internal politics of nations across Southeast Asia, the "fruits" of US intervention in places like Libya should always be kept in mind.

    What is most alarming of all is considering that the US-led intervention in Libya may not necessarily be a failure. It is only a failure if one believed the US truly sought a better future for the nation. However, if the fruits of perpetual chaos and an equally perpetual pretext for the US militarization of Africa were intentionally set out for from the beginning - then in many ways - Libya was a resounding success.

    Depending on how the current fighting around Tripoli unfolds, whether or not a unified Libya emerges, and whose foreign military presence and economic interests are allowed to persist on Libyan soil thereafter - will help determine just how successful Washington's true agenda in Libya - and in Africa - has been.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • West Finds New Anti-China Puppet in Wake of Thai Elections (Original English)

    การแทรกแทรงทางการเมืองของโลกตะวันตกเผชิญกับความพ่ายแพ้อีกครั้ง คราวนี้ในแ--บเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ที่ประเทศไทย

    ด้วยประชากรณ์กว่า 70 ล้านคน และเป็นเขตเศรษฐกิจที่มีขนาดใหญ่เป็นอันดับ 2 ของภูมิภาคเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ และกำลังก้าวสู่การเป็นพันธมิตรระดับภูมิภาคที่สำคัญในนโยบาย One Belt, One Road ของจีน ทำให้สหรัฐและพันธมิตรต้องการจะหนุนฝ่ายที่เป็นปฏิปักษ์ต่อจีนขึ้นสู่อำนาจในการเลือตั้งของไทยเมื่อเดือนมีนาคมที่ผ่านมา
    อย่างไรก็ตาม พรรคพลังประชารัฐซึ่งมีความเกี่ยวโยงกับกองทัพได้คะแนนความนิยมที่สูงกว่า ทำให้ฝ่ายปฏิปักษ์ที่มีสหรัฐหนุนหลังพบกับความพ่ายแพ้ร้ายแรงในการเลือกตั้งเป็นครั้งแรก นับตั้งแต่ขึ้นสู่อำนาจเป็นครั้งแรกในปี 2544

    ฝ่ายปฏิปักษ์ที่มีสหรัฐหนุนมีผู้นำคืออดีตนายกรัฐมนตรี ทักษิณ ชินวัตร มหาเศรษฐี นักโทษหนีคดีผู้ลี้ภัยทางการเมือง เขา--ูกโค่นล้มจากอำนาจในปี 2549 ภายหลังมีข้อครหาการคอรัปชัน การละเมิดสิทธิมนุษยชน และการพยายามจะกุมอำนาจรัฐทั้งหมดไว้ทกับตัวโดยมิชอบด้วยกฎหมาย

    จากนั้นมาทักษิณได้พยายามจะหวนคืนสู่อำนาจผ่านทางการใช้ตัวแทนหลายคน ซึ่งหนึ่ในนั้นมีน้องสาวของตน ยิ่งลักษณ์ ชินวัตร ผู้ซึ่งได้เป็นนายกรัฐมนตรีตั้งปี 2554 --ึง 2557 และเฉกเช่นเดียวกับพี่ชาย ได้--ูกโค่นล้มจากอำนาจโดยการแทรกแทรงของศาลและกองทัพ

    นอกจากพรรคเพื่อไทยแล้ว ทักษิณ ชินวัตร ยังคุมกลุ่มผู้ชุมนุมบนท้อง--นนที่นิยมความรุนแรงที่รู้จักกันในนาม "เสื้อแดง" ในขณะเดียวกัน ทักษิณ ชินวัตร ก็ได้รับการสนับสนุนจากเหล่าเอ็นจีโอที่ได้รับเงินทุนจากสหรัฐ , กลุ่ม"นกเคลื่อนไหวนักศึกษา" และได้รับการสนับสนุนอย่างล้นหลามจากสื่อตะวันตก

    ในการเลือกตั้งครั้งล่าสุด ทักษิณ ได้แบ่งกำลังทางการเมืองออกเป็นหลายพรรค เพื่อการกระจายความเสี่ยงในการ--ูกยุบพรรค เพื่อที่จะสามาร--ใช้พรรคเหล่านั้นเป็นตัวแทนอย่างผิดกฎหมายให้ตนต่อไป

    นอกจากพรรคเพื่อไทยแล้ว ทักษิณ ยังได้ส่งพรรคไทยรักษาชาติ พรรคเพื่อธรรม พรรคเพื่อชาติ และพรรคอนาคตใหม่


    ในขณะที่เพื่อไทยและพรรคอื่นๆที่กล่าวมามีทักษิณเป็นผู้สั่งการอย่างเปิดเผย แต่พรรคอนาคตใหม่ได้พยายามที่จะปฏิเสธการเป็นพรรคนอมินี


    พรรคอนาคตใหม่ที่นำโดยมหาเศรษฐีนามว่า ธนาธร จึงรุ่งเรืองกิจ อกจากมีนโยบายที่เหมือนกับพรรคเพื่อไทยในการเอาทหารออกจากอำนาจ (ซึ่งจะเปิดทางให้ทักษิณคืนสู่อำนาจ) แต่หนำซ้ำ พรรคอนาคตใหม่ได้ตั้งสำนักงานพรรคติดอยู่กับที่ทำการพรรคเพื่อไทย ในพรรคอนาคตใหม่เองก็ยังมีนักการเมืองฝ่ายทักษิณ และพรรคไทยรักษาชาติของทักษิณยังส่งเสริมให้คนเลือกอนาคตใหม่ หลังจากพรรคไทยรักษาชาติ--ูกยุบไปก่อนหน้าการเลือกตั้ง

    ตัวของธนาธรเองเป็นทายาทร่วมของทรัพตระกูลจึงเรืองกิจซึ่งได้มาจากบิดาผู้ล่วงลับ และตั้งแต่มารดาได้รับช่วงต่อ ตระกูลจึงรุ่งเรืองกิจได้กลายเป็นพันธมิตรกับทักษิณ

    การนำเสนอของสื่อที่ตระกูลนี้ควบคุมได้สนับสนุนตัวทักษิณเองและวาระทางการเมืองของทักษิณ และยังรวมไป--ึงการเอื้อกับผลประโยชน์และวาระทางการเมืองของโลกตะวันตก ซึ่งโลกตะวันตกเองก็ยังให้การสนับสนุนทักษิณและย่อมจะได้รับผลประโยชน์กลับหากทักษิณกลับมามีอำนาจ

    ตัวธนาธรเอง ก่อนหน้าการเลือกตั้ ได้ไปขอความช่วยเหลือจากต่างประเทศ ด้วยการเข้าพบกับนายกรัฐมนตรีของแคนาดา คุณจัสติน ทรูโด และไปกล่าวสุนทรพจน์ในงานเช่น Concordia Summit ที่มีประธานเป็นผู้สนับสนุนการเปลี่ยนแปลงการปกครองและหนุนสงครามมาอย่างยาวนานอย่าง John Negroponte และ David petraeus รวม--ึงตัวแทนของเผด็จการที่ได้รับการยอมรับอย่างเจ้าชาย Abdulaziz bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Suad แห่งซาอุดิอาระเบีย

    ธนาธรเอ่ยครั้งแล้วครั้งเล่า--ึงความตั้งใจที่จะยกเลิกโครงการร่วมไทย-จีนในการก่อสร้างโครงสร้างพื้นฐานและตัดงบกลาโหม ซึ่งจะทำให้ไทยสูญเสียความสามาร--ในการป้องกันการแทรกแทรงจากต่างประเทศ ทั้งสองสิ่งนี้นอกจากธนาธรแล้วก็ยังมีสหรัฐที่หมายปองอยากให้ไทยทำ

    ดังนั้นจึงไม่น่าแปลกใจเลยที่สื่อตะวันตกจะร่วมกันสนับสนุนธนาธรและพรรคอนาคตใหม่ในฐานะอีกทางเลือกหนึ่งจากทักษิณ โดยที่ความน่าเชื่อ--ือและความนิยมของทักษิณเองได้ลดลงแม้ว่าจะมีการวิ่งเต้นช่วยเหลือจากทางตะวันตกอย่างกว้างขวาง

    พรรคอนาคตใหม่ของธนาธรได้อันดับ 3 จากการเลือกตั้ง รองลงมาจากพรรคพลังประชารัฐที่เกี่ยวโยงกับกองทัพ และพรรคเพื่อไทยของทักษิณ แต่กระนั้นแล้วก็เป็นเรื่องน่าแปลกใจที่นักข่าวของตะวันตกกลับยกยอเขาให้ความสำคัญกว่าสิ่งที่เขาเป็น ธนาธรได้พบกับปัญหาทางกฎหมายในช่วงเลือกตั้งโดย--ูกตั้งข้อกล่าวหา 3 คดี หนึ่งในนั้นเป็นคดีความมั่นคง เมื่อไปพบตำรวจตามหมายเรียก มีตัวแทนฑูตทั้งหมด 12 คนติดตามการแจ้งข้อกล่าวหาด้วย และในนั้นมีตัวแทนฑูตจากสหรัฐ อังกฤษ และแคนาดา

    สื่อตะวันตกต่างพรรณา--ึงเหตุการณ์ครั้งนี้ว่าเป็นการ "สนับสนุนจากต่างประเทศ" แก่ผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้งฝ่าย"ประชาธิปไตย" แต่กระนั้นแล้ว แม้เพียงมองนโยบายต่างประเทศของสหรัฐ อังกฤษ แคนาดาอย่างคร่าวๆแล้ว ะเห็นได้ว่าเป็นเพื่อประโยชน์ของตัวเองโดยที่ไม่ใช่เพื่อ "ประชาธิปไตย" การมีผลประโยชน์ร่วมกันจึงเป็นเหตุผลที่ประเทศเหล่านี้ให้การ "สนับสนุน"

    ผู้อ่านควรนึก--ึงการมีส่วนร่วมของสหรัฐ อังกฤษ แคนาดาในการก่อสงครามที่มิชอบด้วยกฎหมายซึ่งครอบคลุมพื้นที่ตั้งแต่ลิเบียในแอฟริกาเหนือ ซีเรียในตะวันออกกลาง ไปจน--ึงอัฟกานิส--านในเอเชียกลาง รวมไปจน--ึงการร่วมกันให้ความสนับสนุนเผด็จการอย่างแท้จริงเช่น ซาอุดิอาระเบีย กาตาร์ และยูเครนที่มีแนวคิดแบบนีโอนาซี
    ดังน้ั้นการสนับสนุนนายธนาธรจากโลกตะวันตกจึงไม่ใช่สิ่งอื่นใดนอกไปจากการแทรกแทรงการเมืองของไทยโดยตรง โดยใช้คำว่าประชาธิปไตยเป็นโล่กำบังแทนที่จะปกป้องมัน

    ไม่ว่าจะผ่านทางธนาธร หรือทักษิ โลกตะวันตกต้องการจะทำให้ไทยอ่อนแอและต้องการทำลายส--าบันที่เป็นอิสระของไทย เช่น ศาล กองทัพ ละพระมหากษัตริย์ ซึ่งจะเป็นการปูทางนำไปสู่การ"เปิดเสรี"ทางการค้าโดยไร้การต้านทาน และการเปลี่ยนนโยบายต่างประเทศของไทยให้หยุดความสัมพันธ์กับจีน จะทำให้ไทยกลายเป็นกำแพงต้านจีนโดยที่ไทยเสียผลประโยชน์


    ในยุคที่ทักษิณมีอำนาจสูงสุด ทักษิณมั่งคั่งเป็นอันดับ 4 ของไท อำนาจทางการเมืองและทางการเงินของทักษิณต้องใช้การลงแรงอย่างสาหัสเป็นเวลาเกือบ 2 ทศวรรษในการโค่นล้มจนเพียงพอจนในการเลือกตั้งไม่นานมานี้เองที่พรรคเพื่อไทยของทักษิณได้แพ้คะแนนนิยม

    ตั้งแต่ปี 2553 จน--ึงบัดนี้ ความมั่งคั่งของทักษิณได้ร่วงลงจากอันดับ 4 ไปที่อันดับ 19 ความน่าเชื่อ--ือและอิทธิพลของทักษิณก็ได้อ่อนลง รวมไป--ึงตัวแทนของเขาด้วย ธนาธรจึงต้องปฏิเสธความสัมพันธ์กับทักษิณ แม้ว่าเขาเองก็เป็นตัวแทนของทักษิณ

    ธนาธร หรือตัวแทน"คนใหม่"ของโลกตะวันตก จึงเป็นแค่ตัวสำรองของทักษิณ แต่อย่างไรก็ตามเขามาจากตระกูลที่ร่ำรวยเป็นอันดับ 28 ของไทย และประวัติด้านการเมืองและการเงินของธนาธรก็ได้ด่างพล้อยไปด้วยเรื่องคอรัปชันและเรื่องอื้อฉาวไปเสียแล้ว

    โลกตะวันตกในตอนนี้กำลังใช้ตัวแทนที่กำลังทรัพย์อ่อนแอกว่าและมีประวัติทางการเมืองที่เป็นมลทินกว่าอย่างหลายเท่าตัวเมื่อเทียบกับทักษิณในปี 2544 ในการต่อสู้กับส--าบันของไทยซึ่งมีความพร้อมเพรียงและเตรียมพร้อมที่จะปกป้องอธิปไตยของไทยมากกว่าเท่าที่เคยเป็นมา

    ความพยายามของสื่อตะวันตกที่จะ"ดลบันดาล"วิกฤติทางการเมืองของไทยให้เข้าสู่รูปร่างที่จะเป็นประโยชน์แก่ตัวเองนั้นไม่เป็นผลสำหรับทักษิณครั้งมีอำนาจสูงสุด ไม่เป็นผลก่อนการเลือกตั้งครั้งล่าสุด และจะไม่เป็นผลสำหรับตัวสำรองของทักษิณที่อ่อนแอกว่าหลังการเลือกตั้งอยู่หลายเท่า เมื่อเทียบกับทักษิณในปี 2544
    ความพ่ายแพ้ของโลกตะวันตกในครั้งนี้เป็นเพียงแค่ส่วนหนึ่งลักษณะที่กว้างกว่ามากในความล้มเหลวของนโยบายต่างประเทศของสหรัฐและยุโรป ซึ่งครอบคลุมพื้นที่ทั่วโลกตั้งแต่ความพยายามอย่างงุ่มง่ามในการเปลี่ยนแปลงการปกครองของเวเนซูเอลา ไปจน--ึงความพ่ายแพ้ที่น่าอับอายในซีเรีย และสงครามในอัฟกานิส--านที่ค้างคาอยู่กว่าสองทศวรรษ ในส่วนของภูมิภาคนี้ ความล้มเหลวในประเทศไทยเป็นส่วนหนึ่งของแนวโน้มที่สหรัฐจะ--ูกชิงความเป็นใหญ่โดยจีนและอำนาจอื่นในภูมิภาคที่แข็งแกร่งขึ้น

    แนวความคิดที่ว่าคนอย่างเช่น ธนาธร และพรรคอย่างเช่นอนาคตใหม่ เป็นตัวแทนของ"ประชาธิปไตย"ในขณะที่วาระทางการเมือง--ูกกำหนดโดยนักโทษผู้ลี้ภัยอยู่ในต่างประเทศอย่างทักษิณ และผู้สนับสนุนจากโลกตะวันตก และได้รับความคุ้มครองในประเทศไทยจากตัวแทนจากกงศุลตะวันตกในกรุงเทพ นวคิดนี้เป็นแนวคิดที่ขัดแย้งในตัวเองและอย่างไรก็ไปไม่รอด ประชาธิปไตยมีนิยามคือ กระบวนการที่ตัดสินใจโดยคนในชาติเอง ไม่ใช่มีเพียงคนเพียงคนเดียวที่สามาร--ตัดสินชะตากรรมของชาติได้จากต่างประเทศ มันเป็นเพียงแค่เรื่องของเวลาที่วาทกรรมปากว่าตาขยิบ ที่--ูกใช้ในการเผยแพร่แนวคิดที่ขัดแย้งนี้จะต้องเผชิญกับความจริงของมัน

    คนที่วางเดิมพันไว้กับทักษิณ,ตัวแทนอย่างธนาธรและพรรคอนาคตใหม่ของเขา หรือแม้แต่ความเป็นใหญ่ของสหรัฐในเอเชียคงต้อง--ามตนเองว่าจะเชื่อในสิ่งนี้ต่อไปอีกหรือไม่ในปีหน้า หรือในอีกทศวรรษข้างหน้า ผู้คนจะรู้ซึ้ง--ึงวาระที่ไม่มีทางไปรอดนี้ หรือมันจะติดหล่มอยู่กับความล้มเหลวที่ยิ่งทวีคูณ

    เขียนโดย/Writer: Tony Cartalucci
    แปลโดย/Translator: Nutt Tananimit
  • April 21, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The US-engineered proxy war against Syria, beginning in 2011 and the crescendo of the so-called "Arab Spring," has ended in all but absolute defeat for Washington.

    Its primary goal of overthrowing the Syrian government and/or rendering the nation divided and destroyed as it has done to Libya has not only failed - but triggered a robust Russian and Iranian response giving both nations an unprecedented foothold in Syria and unprecedented influence throughout the rest of the region.

    Lamenting America's defeat in Syria in the pages of Foreign Affairs is Brett McGurk - a career legal and diplomatic official in Washington whose most recent title was, "Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant." He resigned in protest over alleged plans for a US withdrawal from its illegal occupation of eastern Syria.

    McGurk's lengthy complaints are full of paragraph-to-paragraph contradictions - illustrating the lack of legitimate unified purpose underpinning US policy in Syria.

    In his article titled, "Hard Truths in Syria: America Can't Do More With Less, and It Shouldn't Try," McGurk would claim (emphasis added):
    Over the last four years, I helped lead the global response to the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS)—an effort that succeeded in destroying an ISIS "caliphate" in the heart of the Middle East that had served as a magnet for foreign jihadists and a base for launching terrorist attacks around the world.
    McGurk would also claim (emphasis added):
    Following a phone call with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump gave a surprise order to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, apparently without considering the consequences. Trump has since modified that order—his plan, as of the writing of this essay, is for approximately 200 U.S. troops to stay in northeastern Syria and for another 200 to remain at al-Tanf, an isolated base in the country's southeast. (The administration also hopes, likely in vain, that other members of the coalition will replace the withdrawn U.S. forces with forces of their own.)
    Yet if anything McGurk says is true, then ISIS is undoubtedly a threat not only to the United States, but to all of its coalition partners - mainly Western European nations. Why wouldn't they eagerly commit troops to the coalition if ISIS truly represented a threat to their security back home? And why would the US withdraw any troops in the first place if this were true?

    The answer is very simple - ISIS was a creation of the West - a tool explicitly designed to help "isolate" the Syrian government and carry out military and terrorist operations the US and its partners were unable to do openly.

    It was in a leaked 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo (PDF) that revealed the US and its allies' intent to create what it called a "Salafist principality" in eastern Syria. The memo would explicitly state that (emphasis added):
    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).

    On clarifying who these supporting powers were, the DIA memo would clarify:
    The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
    This "Salafist"[Islamic] "principality" [State] would show up on cue, placing additional pressure on an already besieged government in Damascus and eventually creating a pretext for direct Western military intervention in Syria.

    Only through Russia's own intervention in 2015 were US plans overturned and its overt war against Syria frozen in limbo.

    McGurk and others throughout the Western establishment have attempted to compartmentalize what is essentially their own collective failures by linking them exclusively to both former-US President Barack Obama and current US President Donald Trump.

    Whether President Trump maintains troops in eastern Syria or not, nothing will change or reverse the significant strategic and geopolitical defeat Washington has suffered.

    Instead, troops levels and deployments in not only Syria, but also neighboring Iraq, serve to contribute to the next phase of US interference in the Middle East - spoiling reconciliation and reconstruction.

    Washington's War of Terror

    This most recent episode of US military intervention in the Middle East - fighting terrorists it itself created and deliberately deployed specifically to serve as a pretext - is an example of US "slash and burn" foreign policy.

    Just as farmers burn to the ground forest that serves them no purpose so that they can plant what they desire in its place - the US deliberately overturned an emerging political and economic order in the Middle East that served them no purpose in a bid to replace it with one that did.

    McGurk all but admits this in his article, claiming - as he gave his version of ISIS' defeat - that (emphasis added):
    Over the next four years, ISIS lost nearly all the territory it once controlled. Most of its leaders were killed. In Iraq, four million civilians have returned to areas once held by ISIS, a rate of return unmatched after any other recent violent conflict. Last year, Iraq held national elections and inaugurated a new government led by capable, pro-Western leaders focused on further uniting the country. In Syria, the SDF fully cleared ISIS out of its territorial havens in the country's northeast, and U.S.-led stabilization programs helped Syrians return to their homes.
    He also claimed:
    Iraqis and Syrians, not Americans, are doing most of the fighting. The coalition, not just Washington, is footing the bill. And unlike the United States' 2003 invasion of Iraq, this campaign enjoys widespread domestic and international support.
    In other words, it was a redesigned regime-change campaign spanning both Syria and Iraq, designed to attract domestic and international support by using an appalling - but artificially engineered - enemy to destroy both nations and allow the US and its "coalition partners" to rebuild the region as it desired.

    And while McGurk enumerates the accomplishments of his US-led coalition - what he omits is the existence of a vastly more effective and powerful coalition in the region led by Russia and Iran.

    While McGurk boasts of taking back empty desert in eastern Syria, it was the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah allies who took back Syria's most important, pivotal, and most populated cities.

    In Iraq - Iranian sponsored Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) carried out a large percentage of the fighting against ISIS there - and in the process have created a permanent nationwide network of militias that will better underwrite Iraqi security than compromising US defense partnerships and expensive US arms contracts, and the hordes of terrorists sponsored by the US itself to justify both.

    McGurk eventually admits further into his article that the US presence in Syria has little to do with ISIS - and more to do with "great power diplomacy."

    He talks about the "US zone of influence" in Syria and brags about America's ability to "enforce" it by killing Iranians and Russians who entered it in pursuit of terrorists the US was all but openly harboring.

    McGurk also repeatedly decries "Iranian military entrenchment" in Syria, a geopolitical development made possible only by America's many categorical failures amid its proxy war in Syria.

    ISIS was eradicated first and foremost in areas under the control of the sovereign governments of Syria and Iraq in cooperation with Russia and Iran.

    ISIS remnants have clung - without coincidence - to territory within the "US zone of influence."

    The US continues citing "ISIS" as its pretext to remain in Syria - while simultaneously admitting its presence in the region aims at reasserting Western domination over it and containing Russian and Iranian influence - Russia which was invited by Damascus to assist in counter-terrorism operations - and Iran - a nation that actually resides within the Middle East.

    This incoherent, conflicting narrative contrasts with Russia and Iran's clear-cut agenda of eliminating terrorists and preserving the territorial integrity of Syria, and their decisive, clear-cut actions to implement this agenda. Russia and Iran are also offering all shareholders in the region amble incentives to get behind this agenda - including the economic and political benefits that normally accompany national and regional peace and stability.

    Washington's War on Peace

    Washington's illogical and contradicting narratives undermine any notion of unified purpose in the Middle East. Even if its goal is regional hegemony, its multitude of failures and lack of incentives for allies undermine any chance of success.

    In the absence of a sensible, unified purpose, attractive incentives, or a coherent strategic plan, the US has instead turned to spoiling reconciliation and reconstruction through attempts to divide the region along ethnic lines, preserve what few terrorists remain by shuffling them between Iraq and Syria through territory US forces occupy, and by targeting nations and their allies with sanctions to hinder reconstruction efforts.

    Sanctions on Iran directly impact Tehran's efforts to assist Syria and Iraq in reconstruction and the rehabilitation of their respective economies. So do US sanctions on Moscow.

    The US is also targeting fuel shipments attempting to reach Syria - with Syria's own oil production hamstrung by the ongoing illegal US occupation of Syria's east where much of its oil resides.

    AP in an article titled, "Syria fuel shortages, worsened by US sanctions, spark anger," would report that:
    Syrians in government-controlled areas who have survived eight years of war now face a new scourge: widespread fuel shortages that have brought life to a halt in major cities.
    The article also reported that:
    The shortages are largely the result of Western sanctions on Syria and renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran, a key ally. But they have sparked rare and widespread public criticism of President Bashar Assad's government just as he has largely succeeded in quashing the eight-year rebellion against his rule.
    The combination of sanctions and deliberate attempts to prolong the proxy war in Syria illustrate Washington's true attitude toward any notion of "responsibility to protect."

    Fuel will still reach Syria's government and military where it is needed most - but will cause extraordinary suffering among Syria's civilian population - as Washington explicitly intends.

    Washington is not attempting to remove the government in Damascus to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people - it is causing immense suffering among the Syrian people to remove the government in Damascus.

    While Washington has lost its war against Syria, it continues its war on peace. It will spoil attempts by Syria to move forward - and by doing so - and more than anything else - illustrating to the world that its own malign interests and agenda wrecked the region - not "ISIS" and not "Iranians" or "Russians."

    The US campaign of spite will continue onward both in Syria and across the rest of the region until an alternative regional and global order can be established that allows nations to sufficiently defend against US aggression and interference and enables the world to move on without those special interests on Wall Street and in Washington driving America's current battle for hegemony.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • April 23, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - US Vice President Mike Pence has recently referred to NATO as, "the most successful military alliance in the history of the world." Of course, "success" needs to be defined, especially when casual observers note the trail of death and destruction left in NATO's wake from Eastern Europe to North Africa to the Middle East to Central Asia over the last several decades.

    For the casual observer, the NATO-linked Atlantic Council would attempt to offer a (very) short list of "NATO's accomplishments in recent years." The article was published in 2013, and time has not been kind to this list.

    NATO's Failures in Recent Years

    The list's author, James Stavridis, was then NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe. He is now operating executive of the dubious private equity firm, The Carlyle Group which holds large investments in the defense sector.

    His list included Afghanistan where (at the time) he claimed, "Afghan Security Forces are nearly fully in the lead - 90% of Afghans are now protected by their own security forces as opposed to virtually none four years ago."

    Fast forward to today, there are still entire regions of Afghanistan not controlled by the NATO-backed government in Kabul, with NATO troop withdrawals repeatedly postponed specifically because nothing about Stravridis' claims were true.

    And, the very Taliban NATO claimed it was fighting for control over Afghanistan for are now sitting at the negotiation table across from Western representatives virtually dragged there kicking and screaming after years of vowing no negotiations, ever.

    Next on Stravridis' list is Libya.

    He boasts of NATO's operation in Libya being "the fasted deployment in the history of NATO." He characterized the systematic destruction of a now utterly failed, warring state, as "incredible teamwork in the service of the people of Libya at the specific request of the United Nations Security Council. Evidence of the positive and powerful reach of NATO."

    Today, Libya's capital of Tripoli is surrounded by the military forces of Khalifa Haftar who seek to wrest control of the city and assume control over a (slightly more) united Libya. The Western media is currently publishing articles such as the Guardian's, "Fighting in Libya will create huge number of refugees, PM warns," or, in other words, admitting to the failed, destroyed state NATO's "incredible teamwork" left the North African nation in.

    Those refugees have only one place to go... Europe.

    The very region NATO could conceivably claim it is defending, Europe, now faces yet more refugees fleeing from the handiwork of "the most successful military alliance in the history of the world." The social and economic fallout from the ongoing consequences of NATO's intervention in Libya continue to contribute to Europe's collective security challenges, not guard against them.

    Stravridis also cites NATO's intervention in the Balkans and Kosovo, a region devastated by fighting and terrorism, before, during and after NATO's intervention. According to Stravridis, no price was too high to pay in human life and destruction for a handful of fractured rump states to "join" the European Union.

    Finally, Stravridis grants NATO credit for curbing piracy off the coast of Africa despite nations from around the globe, including nations opposed to and targeted by NATO, contributing to these efforts.

    If NATO's list of "accomplishments" in 2013 was an exercise in stretching the truth, revisiting them today snaps the truth in half. NATO would since find itself in the middle of overthrowing the elected government of Ukraine in 2014, backing and even arming Neo-Nazi militias that have been warring with Ukrainians in the east near the border with Russia ever since, and NATO itself provocatively edging itself ever closer to Russia's borders.

    NATO's intervention in Ukraine led to Crimea requesting Russian protection and its eventual rejoining with Russia through a referendum. For a military alliance pledged to protect members and allies from "Russia" and other supposed threats, nothing but categorical failure could describe NATO's intervention resulting in territory shifting (justifiably) in favor of Russia.

    NATO's Successes

    Clearly, NATO's "successes" are in fact a list of dismal failures, but only if peace, prosperity, security and the protection of human life were among any of NATO's genuine goals.

    For those boasting that NATO is "the most successful military alliance in the history of the world," despite its long list of abject serial failures, some other definition of "success" must be held in mind.
    A 2018 CNBC article titled, "America has spent $5.9 trillion on wars in the Middle East and Asia since 2001, a new study says," reported that:
    The U.S. wars and military action in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan have cost American taxpayers $5.9 trillion since they began in 2001, according to a new study.
    For the multitude of defense contractors, weapons manufacturers and other moneyed special interests receiving that $5.9 trillion, NATO is a huge success.

    When we understand that people like Vice President Mike Pence and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe James Stavridis serve those moneyed interests (in Stravridis' case, he literally serves them now as operating executive at Carlyle) the amount of money wrung from the death, destruction and otherwise abject failure of NATO's wars stretching halfway around the world would seem like "success."

    The scale of money and power wrung from these serial wars are certainly unrivaled "in the history of the world," but for all the wrong reasons.

    Retirement or Renaissance?

    At 70 years, is NATO's deception still sustainable? Surely a criminal racket extracting trillions of dollars from taxpayers from across NATO's many member states is too lucrative and tempting for those involved to voluntarily "retire" this "alliance." But a forced retirement may not be as unlikely.

    The media monopoly NATO has enjoyed for decades has come to an end. Its ability to trample nations around the globe with impunity granted to them by complicit Western corporate media outfits has been put in check by a growing alternative media comprised of opposing state and individual interests, many of whom are either past, current or potential future victims of NATO's global crime spree.

    The military monopoly NATO has for decades enjoyed is also coming to an end. The technological edge NATO nations enjoyed over targeted nations has been blunted. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Syria where Western aggressors have had their proxy forces eliminated and their own military forces cornered in Syria's eastern deserts, rendered impotent and removed from the conclusion of the conflict they themselves engineered and precipitated.

    With nations like Russia and China on the rise and even developing nations around the globe finally catching up to and competing with Western economic and military might, the notion of NATO acting around the globe with a continued free hand is unlikely.

    It is clear that for NATO and the many economic, political and media circles who promote and benefit from it are intent on keeping this aging alliance on life support, there will be no renaissance.

    In a global order predicated on "might makes right," NATO's leading members find themselves no longer mightiest. Just as they swept aside entire nations over past decades, they themselves now face being swept aside by a growing tide of opposition to what NATO really stands for and the measures of "success" it truly uses to justify its continued existence.

    Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • April 26, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The recent, tragic Easter attack in the South Asian state of Sri Lanka - killing and injuring hundreds - follows a now unfortunately all too familiar formula.

    The New York Times has reported in its article, "What We Know and Don't Know About the Sri Lanka Attacks," that:
    The authorities in Sri Lanka said a little-known radical Islamist group, the National Thowheeth Jama'ath, carried out the attacks, with help from international militants.
    It is also reported that these extremists received assistance for the large-scale attack from foreign sponsors. The attack has put Sri Lanka on the map for many in the general public for the first time - but for all the wrong reasons.

    Countering OBOR: Divide and Destroy

    Sri Lanka has recently and decisively pivoted toward Beijing as a major partner of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. This is despite Washington's best efforts to prevent it from doing so.

    Consequently, extremists fuelled by Washington's "clash of civilizations" have helped set the stage for growing violence between Sir Lanka's majority Buddhists and its minority Muslim communities. The resulting violence serves as a medium for US coercion, destabilization, and intervention aimed at undermining Sri Lanka's unity as a nation, and thus its viability as a partner for China.

    A nearly identical ploy has been used in nearby Myanmar where US-backed Buddhist extremists battle against US-Saudi-Qatari backed extremism rising from the ranks of the nation's Muslim Rohingya minority.

    The resulting violence and growing humanitarian crisis - without coincidence - is unfolding in Myanmar's Rakhine state - precisely where China is attempting to build another leg of its region-spanning OBOR initiative.

    Sri Lanka has signed on to OBOR in a big way, with major rail, port, airport, and highway projects all moving forward with Beijing's support. Sri Lanka is also considered by Western policymakers as one of several among China's strategic "String of Pearls," strong points where China can secure maritime routes through waters traditionally dominated by the United States.

    These projects are derided across the Western media with headlines like the New York Times' article, "How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port" and France24's article, "In Sri Lanka, the new Chinese Silk Road is a disappointment" - characterizing Washington's growing opposition to China's expanding influence across Asia - a region Washington has long presumed primacy over.

    Washington's ability to compete with China regarding regional development is nonexistent. Instead, the US has tried to tempt nations like Sri Lanka with military aid.

    AFP in an article titled, "US gives Sri Lankan military US$39 million, countering China's investments in strategic island," would claim:

    The US funding for Sri Lanka is part of a US$300 million package Washington is setting aside for South and Southeast Asia to ensure a "free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region".
    This "free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region," is how the US regularly refers to US primacy in Asia throughout policy papers, diplomatic statements, and even political speeches.

    It is obvious that "military aid" can in no way compete with massive investments by China aimed at spurring national development through tangible infrastructure projects.

    America's inability to compete openly and on equal economic footing has given way to political interference and even the use of violence.

    Sri Lanka's Crisis Linked to US-Driven Crisis in Myanmar

    In Myanmar, the US is documented to have supported ethnic violence for years. The US all but installed current "State Counsellor" Aung San Suu Kyi into power along with her political party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) lined top to bottom with US State Department-funded "activists."

    Despite the liberal facade constructed by the Western media around Suu Kyi, her political party, and factions supporting both - rampant bigotry and racism pervades all three.

    Simultaneously, US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have worked to co-opt and wield Rohingya communities as an equal but opposing political weapon while US-allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar have begun radicalizing and arming factions within Rohingya communities to carry out armed violence across Rakhine state.

    The resulting conflagration affords the US and its partners a pretext to intervene on an ever expanding scale - giving Washington access to and leverage over Myanmar to counter Beijing's growing influence.

    And in precisely the same way the US has inserted itself into the heart of Myanmar's political affairs - it is attempting to do so again in other Asian nations - including now Sri Lanka.

    Articles from across the Western media including the UK Independent's 2018 article titled, "Violent Buddhist extremists are targeting Muslims in Sri Lanka," even establish direct links between Myanmar's and Sri Lanka's growing conflicts.

    The article would admit (emphasis added):
    Currently, Sri Lanka's most active Buddhist extremist group is Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist power force, or BBS). BBS entered politics in 2012 with a Buddhist-nationalist ideology and agenda, its leaders claiming that Sri Lankans had become immoral and turned away from Buddhism. And whom does it blame? Sri Lankan Muslims.

    BBS's rhetoric takes its cue from other populist anti-Muslim movements around the globe, claiming that Muslims are "taking over" the country thanks to a high birth rate. It also accuses Muslim organisations of funding international terrorism with money from Halal-certified food industries. These aren't just empty words; in 2014, one of their anti-Muslim protest rallies in the southern town of Aluthgama ended with the death of four Muslims.

    BBS also has links to Myanmar's extremist 969 movement. Led by nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu, who calls himself the "Burmese Bin Laden", it is notorious for its hardline rhetoric against the Rohingya Muslim community.
    The West's use of "Islamophobia" to sell its serial wars of aggression and to divide nations around the globe is a classic example of "divide and conquer."

    While the West no longer possesses any real means to "conquer" the nations it is now targeting - it does possess the capacity to use resulting divisions to destroy them. If the US cannot hold primacy over Asia - no one will. It is a "War on Peace" waged under the guise of a "War on Terrorism."

    Sri Lanka appears to be but the latest victim of Washington's now trademark "slash and burn" foreign policy - where it is fueling conflict to consume political orders that oppose its interests, and building upon the ashes ones that do serve them instead.

    In the coming days, weeks, and months - not only will more information emerge linking the recent attacks in Sri Lanka to Washington, Riyadh, and Doha's global network of terrorism - but additional pressure will also be mounted upon Sri Lanka to divest from Beijing and pivot back toward the West.

    In reality - Sri Lanka's violence is an artificial construct carried out by a tiny minority of extremists on either side of an equally artificial ethnoreligious divide. The nation and the region must unite in purpose - as peace and stability benefit them all - while chaos benefits only a handful of waning interests from afar.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • April 29, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - As predicted, the Sri Lankan Easter Day blasts which killed hundreds and injured hundreds more - have been connected to the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS).

    US Ambassador to Sri Lanka - Alaina Teplitz - would openly claim foreign groups were most likely behind the attacks. Reuters in an article titled, "Foreign groups likely behind Sri Lanka attacks, U.S. ambassador says," would report:
    The scale and sophistication of the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka suggested the involvement of an external group such as Islamic State, the U.S. ambassador said on Wednesday as the death toll jumped to 359.
    ISIS itself would also later claim responsibility for the attacks. The Washington Post in an article titled, "Sri Lankan Easter bombings, claimed by ISIS, show the group maintains influence even though its caliphate is gone," would claim:
    On Tuesday, video emerged of the suspected ringleader of the attacks and seven followers, their faces obscured by scarves, swearing allegiance to the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Islamic State also issued a formal communique asserting responsibility for the attacks, which it said targeted Christians and "coalition countries."
    Absent from US diplomatic statements and Western media reports is any mention of ISIS' inception, its state sponsors, and even admissions by Western intelligence agencies themselves of Washington and its allies' role in the terrorist organization's rise.

    At face value - devastating and disruptive terrorist attacks visited upon Sri Lanka - a nation that has recently and decisively pivoted from West to East and is now a major partner of Beijing's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative - is suspiciously coincidental.

    Examining the West's decades of using terrorism - particularly terrorism fuelled by Saudi Wahhabism - and the inception of ISIS itself - leaves Washington and its partners as the prime suspects behind Sri Lanka's tragic terrorist attack - with its motivation strikingly similar to what prompted the US-Saudi aided rise and use of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda throughout the Cold War.

    DIA Admitted West Sought "Salafist Principality" in Eastern Syria

    When US-engineered regime change stalled in Syria between 2011-2012, it became clear more drastic and open measures would be required. This included not only the Western media mobilizing a massive propaganda campaign to account for the increasingly overt role terrorist organizations were playing among supposed "moderate rebel" formations - but also in the sudden appearance, rise, and overwhelming force of the "Islamic State."

    It was in a leaked 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo (PDF) - however - that revealed it was the US and its allies' deliberate intent to create what it called a "Salafist principality" in eastern Syria. The memo would explicitly state that (emphasis added):
    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).
    On clarifying who these supporting powers were, the DIA memo would state:
    The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
    The "Salafist" (Islamic) "principality" (State) would indeed be created precisely in eastern Syria as US policymakers and their allies had set out to do. It would be branded as the "Islamic State" and be used first to wage a more muscular proxy war against Damascus, and when that failed, to invite US military forces to intervene in the conflict directly.

    Since then, ISIS has been used as a convenient and even predictable element amid Washington's various gambits as it struggles globally to maintain its unipolar world order.

    Washington's "Salafist Principality" vs China

    In Asia where Washington's self-proclaimed primacy has waned in recent years as China rises, traditional "allies" like the Philippines have begun to seek bilateral ties with Beijing negating Washington's supposed role in underwriting what it c
    alls its "free, open, and rules-based" order in the Indo-Pacific region.

    In 2016, Manila sought to have US troops removed from its territory.

    An October 2016 article by the Independent titled, "Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte orders US forces out of country, cutting 65 years of military ties," would report:
    The president of the Philippines has promised to dismantle the nation's 65-year military alliance with the United States, warning Washington not to treat the nation "like a doormat".

    Rodrigo Duterte has ordered 28 annual military exercises with US forces to be halted and an ongoing US-Philippines amphibious beach landing exercise to be the last in his six-year presidency.

    "This year would be the last," said Mr Duterte, referring to military exercises involving the US in a speech on Friday in southern Davao city.
    The Independent would also report (emphasis added):
    "For as long as I am there, do not treat us like a doormat because you'll be sorry for it. I will not speak with you. I can always go to China."
    The following year, beginning in May 2017, ISIS terrorists suddenly appeared, overrunning the city of Marawi. The US used the "serendipitous" development to not only insert US military forces into the fighting - the NYT reported, but has since used the threat of ISIS' resurgence in the Philippines as a pretext to pressure Manila in maintaining a permanent US military presence in the Southeast Asian state.

    US government-funded propaganda outlet "Rappler" would report in a 2019 article titled, "[ANALYSIS] Despite Duterte rhetoric, US military gains forward base in PH," that:
    The United States has gained a forward base for its Pacific Air Force in the Philippines despite President Rodrigo Duterte's rhetoric against the country's oldest security ally and former colonial master and his pivot to China.
    And despite the "terror" pretext Washington has used to cling to its military holdings in the Philippines, Rappler itself admits that the true goal is confronting China:
    The forward deployment of US air assets in the Philippines is important in light of the increasing tension between Washington and Beijing in the disputed South China Sea, a strategic waterway where about $3 trillion of seaborne goods pass every year and where China has constructed man-made islands and begun installing military structures, including possible missile sites.

    US-Saudi backed extremism in another Southeast Asian state - Myanmar - has created a growing conflict in Rakhine state where China is attempting to build another major leg of its OBOR initiative.

    In neighboring Thailand - another pivotal OBOR partner - similar US-Saudi led efforts to sow ethnoreligious tensions and create a vector for ISIS-style terrorism are underway.

    Even in China itself - the threat of ISIS militants returning from Syria and expanding an already looming US-Saudi backed extremist threat in Xinjiang - plays into Washington's wider efforts to sabotage OBOR and contain China's regional and global rise.

    The recent blasts in Sri Lanka and ISIS' now supposed "interest" in the South Asian state follows massive inroads made by China in including the nation in its OBOR initiative. Highways, railways, and ports developed with China's assistance have transformed Sri Lanka into a strategically valuable partner for Beijing, and yet another example to the world of Washington's waning influence not only in Indo-Pacific - but globally.

    The US went as far as creating ISIS in the first place in a desperate bid to rescue its failed regime change campaign in Syria. It and its partners in Riyadh are now the prime suspects behind ISIS' coincidental arrival on the shores of a newly established and major OBOR partner.

    ISIS is the New Al Qaeda

    If the US using extremism to fight its major power rivals sounds familiar - that's because the US and its Saudi partners used Al Qaeda in precisely the same way throughout the Cold War vis-a-vis the Soviet Union.

    Al Qaeda's precursor - the Muslim Brotherhood - took part in a failed attempt to overthrow Syria - then a Soviet ally - in the early 1980s. Many of the fighters that took part in the failed uprising fled to Afghanistan and participated in the US-Saudi backed war against the Soviet Union there.

    The virulent perversion of the Islamic faith that serves as the ideological bedrock of groups like Al Qaeda and now ISIS - Wahhabism - is admittedly a political tool used by Riyadh in the aid of Washington's decades-spanning geopolitical ambitions.

    In a 2018 Washington Post article titled, "Saudi prince denies Kushner is 'in his pocket'," it was admitted (emphasis added):
    Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.
    Thus it is all but admitted that the US and Saudi Arabia used extremism as a geopolitical tool to hinder the Soviet Union and both protect and expand Western hegemony globally.

    It is admitted that the US and its partners sought the creation of ISIS - its sudden appearance everywhere China is attempting to do business fits the now documented and admitted pattern of Washington's use of extremism to fight and coerce wherever its standing armies cannot afford to intervene and a degree of "plausible deniability" is desired.

    When terrorism strikes - as in any sort of criminal investigation - the first question that must be asked is "cui bono?" To whose benefit? The US played a central role in deliberately creating ISIS. If ISIS is indeed behind the attack on Sri Lanka, then it is by extension an act of terror carried out by Washington.

    Destabilizing Sri Lanka - a critical South Asian partner of Beijing and its OBOR initiative - with terrorism and ethnoreligious conflict, serves only the interests of China's overt global opponent - Washington - as well as elements within India's ruling elite and intelligence agencies.

    The US is both arsonist and self-appointed fireman. And until this racket is fully and repeatedly exposed - until after each terrorist attack the US is put forth as the primary suspect and made to pay a high political price for its use of global terrorism - this game of arson-firefighting will continue at the cost of innocent lives, national development, and global peace and stability.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 2, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand, a nation with nearly 70 million people and the second largest economy in the region, has accelerated already growing ties with China over the past 5 years.

    These ties include military purchases to replace Thailand's aging US hardware with newer and more capable Chinese main battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles and even submarines either already in use or on their way.

    Thai-Chinese relations also centre around Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Thailand's role as a major partner through which high-speed rail will connect China itself with Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and by extension, Singapore granting passengers and freight travelling from China a shortcut to the Strait of Malacca and the Indian Ocean beyond.

    The obvious, negative implications this will have on Washington's self-proclaimed notion of Asian primacy has led to gathering political storm clouds. The US is leading a noticeable uptick in propaganda aimed at not only undermining China's BRI, but also attacking China's partners, including Thailand.

    The US and its partners are also increasing their political interference in Thailand, attempting during recent elections to install political forces into power that will reverse Thai-Chinese relations. The failure of these forces to decisively win elections even with US aid, leaves the looming prospect of the US resorting to backing protests and even terrorism to spoil Thai-Chinese gains.

    Bangkok-Beijing Cementing Ties

    Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha attended Beijing's recent 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

    Pro-Western English newspaper, the Bangkok Post, in an article titled, "Regime talks up China ties on visit to Beijing for 'Belt and Road' forum," would note:
    "Both sides were satisfied with the fact that over the past five years, Thailand and China have had their closest relations ever," deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak, told the media in the press wrap-up about the meetings between Thai and Chinese leaders.

    "Gen Prayut gave an assurance that Thailand will take care of Chinese investors and tourists," said Lt Gen Werachon.

    Both nations pledged to help drive up the value of trade between them to US$140 billion by 2021, double the current $73.6 billion.
    To put Thai-Chinese trade in perspective, China is already Thailand's number one trade partner, with over 15% of all Thai exports going to China, with the US in second at 11.5%. Over 20% of Thai imports come from China versus only about 5.7% from the US.

    China also accounts for the vast majority of all tourists visiting Thailand, beating out the combined number of tourists travelling from all Western nations combined.

    Thai-Chinese trade and tourism is only set to grow. Along with expanding military ties and obvious shared-interests in regional security and stability, Cold War notions of Thailand being a US proxy should be finally and definitively laid to rest.

    Still, Thailand has historically attempted to maintain a careful balance between great world powers. It seeks to build ties with the West and nations like Russia as well as with its own ASEAN neighbours specifically to ensure a healthy balance in political and economic relations.

    Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha in an interview with Time would explain regarding Thailand's relationship with China and the US that:
    The friendship between Thailand and China has been over thousands of years, and with USA for around 200 years, and we remain these ties between our fellow countries until now. China is the number one partner of Thailand, along with other countries in the second and third place like the U.S. and others. They are all good friends to Thailand. Thailand is a small country, so we need to properly balance politics and foreign affairs with all fellow countries.
    The US, not Thailand, has complicated this balancing act by categorically failing to offer potential partners like Thailand any sort of viable alternative to Chinese-backed infrastructure projects, manufacturing capacity and trade. Thailand has inked deals with Japan to build other rail projects in the Kingdom and has made arms purchases from Europe and Russia to avoid overly depending on China.

    Instead of the US providing its own viable alternatives for Thailand to choose from, it has relied increasingly on various methods of coercion and interference, leaving nations like Thailand with little choice but to move on without Washington and its increasingly toxic brand of foreign policy.

    Washington's Proxies Take Aim at Thai-Chinese Relations

    While Thailand's leading business, military and political circles have decisively pivoted away from Washington and toward Beijing, there exists an extensive network of media, academics, activists, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and political parties that receive support from Washington and in turn serve US interests, determined to reverse this.

    The current Thai government, headed by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha was a result of the former ousting the latter from power in 2014. In more recent elections, US-backed interests have attempted again to return themselves to power.

    Among this pro-Western political circle is Thanathorn Jungrungreangkit, co-heir of his parents' fortune and long-time supporter of ousted US proxy, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

    In the lead up to the 2019 elections, Thanathorn pledged to roll back Thai-Chinese relations including scrapping the centrepiece of China's BRI project in Thailand, the high-speed rail network. Thanathorn instead insisted that Thailand should invest in the still untested (and so far nonexistent) US hyperloop project, Bloomberg would report.

    Thanathorn and his party, "Future Forward," have also pledged to curb military acquisitions which would undermine Thailand's ability to defend itself and stifle the growing military partnership between Bangkok and Beijing.

    For this, Thanathorn and his party have received a disproportionate amount of positive coverage from the Western media and support from not only the US and European embassies, but also from US-EU funded government and corporate foundations along with a small army of nongovernmental organisations they have created inside Thailand's political and public spheres.

    However, US-backed political forces like Future Forward came in behind the Thai military-linked Palang Pracharath Party during recent elections. They also face myriad legal challenges and are unlikely to assume political power. Because of this, the US and its partners are turning up the pressure on Thailand both in the media and through attempts to foment unrest in Thailand's streets.

    This is all being done with mention of Thai-Chinese relations in the forefront.

    More Drastic Measures

    Another article appearing in the Bangkok Post, written by AFP and titled, "Xinjiang crackdown at the heart of China's Belt and Road," attempts to shame nations (like Thailand) from doing business with China because of Beijing's supposed human rights violations. But as has been documented elsewhere, Beijing truly faces a legitimate extremist threat in Xinjiang, one deliberately tailored by Washington to disrupt yet another key BRI segment.

    Washington's two-pronged approach in Xinjiang, where it is promoting extremism and defending extremists under the guise of human rights, is a cautionary tale of what awaits Thailand as US attempts to install a client government in Bangkok fail and more aggressive measures are adopted.

    The recent blasts that singled out religious and economic targets in Sri Lanka appear to be further examples of this strategy. With even US ambassadors assigning blame to the Islamic State (IS) and with all indicators pointing to US and Saudi Arabian state sponsorship behind IS' initial rise, it is difficult to ignore the obvious implications.

    Sri Lanka being another important BRI partner, passed a certain point of no return after which Western abuse in the media and political interference were no longer effective in coercing change in Colombo's geopolitical trajectory. It is difficult to see how large-scale terrorist attacks will convince Colombo to reverse ties with Beijing, but it is easy to see how such attacks may seek to spoil ties Washington can no longer realistically reverse.

    Nations like Thailand must prepare thoroughly for continued media abuse, political interference and eventually terrorism aimed at it by Washington and its partners. The US has invested nearly a century in pursuit of global hegemony and in particular, primacy over Asia. That primacy is slipping through its fingers.

    If the US was willing to lay waste to nations across the Middle East through sanctions, war and terrorism in an attempt to reassert itself and its interests there, how far will Washington go to preserve its primacy over Asia? Was Sri Lanka a preview? Will the US stop at intrusive and disruptive political interference in Thailand's internal affairs? Or will it take matters further?

    Thailand's defence must be built on being prepared for the worst rather than assuming the US will stop short of more extreme measures. By Thailand being fully prepared, circles in Washington proposing extreme measures with little chance of success may lose out to more sensible interests and policies, leading to repaired, more constructive ties between Thailand and the US in the future.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 8, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - If Iran was truly a threat to global peace and security, why would nations like China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey be trading with it? Why would the European Union seek to trade with it? Why would the United States struggle and eventually resort to global-scale coercion to convince the majority of the planet to cut ties existing or desired with Tehran?

    The New York Times in its article, "U.S. Moves to Stop All Nations From Buying Iranian Oil, but China Is Defiant," all but admits US efforts have very little to do at all with global peace and security and more to do with Washington's desire to undercut Iranian influence in the Middle East where Iran is actually located, and thousands of miles and oceans away from Washington.

    The NYT would admit:
    In tightening sanctions on Iran, the Trump administration moved on Monday to isolate Tehran economically and undercut its power across the Middle East. But the clampdown has complicated relations with China at a particularly sensitive moment.
    The article would also report:
    The decision to stop five of Iran's biggest customers from buying its oil was an audacious strike at Tehran's lifeline — one million barrels of oil exports daily, fully half of which go to China. The order was also aimed at India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, all countries that trade robustly with the United States.
    The NYT cites the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the US unilaterally withdrew from based on unsubstantiated claims that Iran had violated it.

    The US has more recently withdrawn unilaterally from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia based on similarly unsubstantiated claims that Moscow was violating it.

    If it wasn't clear, there is a pattern emerging where the US is compensating for its diminished ability to compete economically and politically, with increasingly aggressive accusations (of treaty violations, for example) followed up by equally aggressive sanctions and military encirclement.

    As other researchers have pointed out the US-proposed Iran nuclear deal and the inevitable US withdrawal from it was planned as early as 2009 and was never intended to be a serious effort to resolve US-Iranian difference, but rather to create a pretext to widen them further in pursuit of long-sought after war with Iran.

    The NYT article would note closer coordination between Washington and Riyadh over matters regarding oil prices. Other researchers have also pointed out that before this most recent escalation was implemented, Saudi Arabia attempted to court China's leadership as a means of offering Saudi oil as an alternative to soon-to-be blocked Iranian oil exports.

    While this all seems like a clever move by Washington, and while there are certainly many short-term incentives for nations like China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey to heed Washington's provocative move, the world must ask itself: if the US can do this to Iran today, could it attempt to do this to other rivals upon the global stage, with China, India, Japan, South Korea or Turkey along with Russia and many others being targeted tomorrow?

    Removing Iran from the many emerging developing nations challenging US dominion across the globe will further empower and embolden Washington, making it that much easier to target and undermine the next nation whose competitiveness Washington sees as intolerable.

    Coming to a Global Crossroads

    It seems the world has come to a sort of crossroads. If the world submits to America's dominion over global oil trade in a move that will surely tip the ongoing US-Iranian feud in Washington's favor, American hegemony will be granted an extended lease on life.

    However, if the world unites in the face of this brazen presumption of American global domination, it will deliver a crippling blow to Washington, triggering a chain reaction of defiance and usher in an entirely new international order based on a more equitable balance of global power.

    The latter is more or less inevitable, whether that blow is delivered at this juncture or the next.

    Determining whether it is delivered at this juncture instead of the next, depends on the assessments being made in Beijing, New Delhi, Tokyo, Seoul and Ankara over whether or not these nations can afford economically and politically to suffer US retaliation if Washington is not bluffing about the consequences of defying it.

    In the future they most certainly will be able to afford the consequences and many are already pursuing economic relations that will negate Washington's malice, but paying that price may not necessarily be possible today.

    The reaction of the global community in the face of America's most recent declaration of global domination will be a bellwether of just how close at hand, or far in the distance a new global order, an alternative to Washington's dominion, truly is.

    There is also a middle ground likely to be adopted by nations threatened by America's most recent declaration; moves by these nations to continue buying Iranian oil but through more indirect means.

    Iran will be pressured and nations will have technically adhered to Washington's demands, but at the same time oil will still be moving out of Iran and capital flowing back in its place. It will be in this manner that the clock will be "timed out" so to speak for America's empire and the rest of the world allowed to finally move on with out.

    Analysts have predicted many potential outcomes, but only time will tell for sure which way world history turns at these crossroads.

    Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 11, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - By 2013 the US-led proxy war on Syria had stalled. A staged chemical attack and threats of direct US military intervention were thwarted by Russian efforts to diplomatically resolve the impasse through the declaration and disposal of Syria's entire chemical weapons arsenal.

    With US-backed militants having already reached the full extent of their gains on the battlefield and now facing incremental but inevitable defeat - the US appeared to be out of time and out of options.

    Then suddenly - as if on cue - Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - alleged leader of the so-called "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) was resurrected after US claims he had died years early, and provided the US with the perfect pretext to militarily intervene in Syria anyway.

    A July 2014 BBC article titled, "Isis chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears in first video," would claim:
    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamist militant group Isis, has called on Muslims to obey him, in his first video sermon.

    Baghdadi has been appointed caliph by the jihadist group, which has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
    The sudden wave of violence unleashed by ISIS across Iraq and Syria was on such a scale that only state sponsorship could have accounted for it.

    Creating the Perfect Enemy

    In fact - the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as early as 2012 had even noted (PDF) a Western and Persian Gulf-led conspiracy to create what it called at the time a "Salafist" [Islamic] "principality" [State] precisely in eastern Syria where ISIS would eventually find itself based.

    The DIA document would explain (emphasis added):
    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).
    On clarifying who these supporting powers were, the DIA memo would state:
    The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
    The goal had been to further isolate the Syrian government in aid of Washington's ultimate goal of overthrowing Damascus. When growing numbers of extremists failed to do this, the US then used the presence of ISIS as a pretext for a revised version of the direct military intervention Russia had thwarted just a year earlier.

    For one year the US posed as fighting ISIS while simultaneously seizing Syria's oil fields and building an army of militants it had hoped to use to both push ISIS into Syrian government-held territory, and with which to fight the Syrian government itself.

    By 2015, Russia began its own military intervention. It immediately targeted ISIS supply lines leading out of NATO-member Turkey - something the US has failed to do up to and including today, isolating the terrorist group within Syrian territory before Russian air power along with Syrian, Iranian, and Hezbollah ground forces encircled and eliminated them along with Al Nusra and other extremist groups everywhere west of the Euphrates River.

    On the American-occupied side of the Euphrates, ISIS persisted until just this year and at times was even protected from pursuing Syrian and Russian forces by a US-declared exclusion zone.

    It is now clear US efforts to overthrow the Syrian government have failed. It is also clear that Washington's pretext for illegally occupying Syrian territory is no longer politically tenable.

    Just as America's presence in Syria was becoming increasingly awkward and unsustainable, al-Baghdadi has again emerged - just in time - to grant the US victory in eastern Syria but to also remind the global public that ISIS is still an enduring threat that will require America's continued presence in the region.

    The US response to al-Baghdadi's reemergence was telling, even complimentary. An AFP/New York Times article titled, "ISIS releases first videotape of Baghdadi in five years, US vows to track down surviving leaders of militant group," would report:
    The United States vowed on Monday (April 29) that it would track down and defeat surviving leaders of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) movement after its elusive supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared to speak in a newly released videotape.

    The US-led coalition against the group will fight across the world to "ensure an enduring defeat of these terrorists and that any leaders who remain are delivered the justice that they deserve", a State Department spokesman said.
    US hegemony requires the US military to maintain a presence around the globe - which in turn requires a perpetual pretext to do so. Just as the US deliberately created ISIS to serve as a pretext for illegally occupying Syrian territory remain there indefinitely - it has and will continue to use ISIS' convenient expansion worldwide to justify a continued, global US military presence worldwide as well.

    Washington Couldn't Create a more Convenient Villain

    Students of history would be hard pressed to find similar examples of a military or political leader like al-Baghdadi who openly, even eagerly conceded defeat and grant a supposed adversary a massive political victory. So convenient and artificial is al-Baghdadi's most recent reappearance and all of his alleged activities in the past that many around the globe are questioning the veracity of the video and of al-Baghdadi himself.

    Considering America's own Defense Intelligence Agency has all but admitted the US deliberately created ISIS in the first place - it takes no stretch of the imagination to conclude they created al-Baghdadi as well.

    The summation of ISIS' fighting capacity is drawn from its admitted state sponsors - both Saudi Arabia and Qatar - as admitted by US politicians themselves, the UK Independent would report.

    Riyadh, Doha, and in turn, those underwriting both regimes in Washington - are the true "leaders" of ISIS - arming, funding, and directing the terrorist organization - with al-Baghdadi a mere figurehead who emerges when the needs of Western foreign policy and propaganda require.

    If the US could create a villain to consistently serve Washington's interests both in Syria and around the globe, they would have difficulty creating one more ideal than Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 15, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Further evidence has emerged indicating that the alleged 2018 Douma, Syria chemical attack was staged by US-backed militants, not the Syrian government.

    With the US plotting war from South America to the South China Sea, understanding how US-backed militants staged the attack, allowing the Western media to sell US military intervention to the global public based on a lie - will help guard against similarly staged attacks in the near future.

    Recent revelations mean the US not only falsely accused Damascus of having carried out the attack - but launched military strikes against Syria based on an entirely false pretext. To date, the US has categorically failed to produce any convincing evidence backing their original claims.

    Conversely, a subsequent investigation carried out by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) produced damning evidence suggesting a false flag event was carried out by US-backed militants. This included a chlorine gas cylinder found in a militant weapons workshop inspected by OPCW investigators closely matching the two cylinders allegedly used in the 2018 Douma attack itself.

    While US-backed militants insisted two gas cylinders were dropped on Douma by government helicopters, the OPCW noted that the alleged craters caused by the cylinders' impact matched those on nearby buildings clearly caused by high-explosive ordnance.

    The final OPCW report regarding the Douma incident claimed:
    The [the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria] team noted that a similar crater was present on a nearby building.
    The implication is that the cylinders may not have created the craters attributed to them by US-backed militants and the Western media supporting their version of the story. Instead, it implies that the cylinders were manually put into place near preexisting craters created by conventional ordnance.

    While the final OPCW report included photographs of damage on the adjacent building, it did not elaborate further or explore the obvious implications of similar craters seen nearby explicitly.

    However, more recently, a previously unpublished report by the OPCW titled, "Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Obsered at the Douma Incident - Executive Summary" (PDF), did elaborate (emphasis added):
    Experts were consulted to assess the appearance of the crater observed at Location 2, particularly the underside. The expert view was that it was more consistent with that expected as a result of blast/energetics (for example from a HE mortar or rocket artillery round) rather than a result of impact from the falling object. This was also borne out by the observation of deformed rebar splayed out at the underside of the crater, which was not explained by the apparent non-penetration and minimal damage of the cylinder. The likelihood of the crater having been created by a mortar/artillery round or similar, was also supported by the presence of more than one crater of very similar appearance in concrete slabs on top of nearby buildings, by an (unusually elevated, but possible) fragmentation pattern on upper walls, by the indications of concrete spalling under the crater, and (whist it was observed that a fire had been created in the corner of the room ) black scorching on the crater underside and ceiling.
    The engineering assessment would conclude (emphasis added):
    In summary, observation at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft.
    The assessment further adds weight to what many analysts concluded at the time when the OPCW published its final, official report on the incident - that the event was staged.

    At face value Damascus lacked any motivation to carry out the 2018 attack. It occurred on the eve of total victory for Syrian forces over US-backed militants dug in around the Syrian capital. Syria had used extensive conventional force to overcome militant positions and even if Damascus believed the use of chemical weapons would expedite victory, it is unlikely it would drop only 2 gas cylinders containing a negligible amount of chlorine toward that end.

    Conversely - US-backed militants facing inevitable and complete defeat along with a US government in desperate need of a pretext to use military force to slow down or stop the advance of Syrian troops - had every motivation to stage the attack, blame it on Damascus, and lie about it ever since.

    If political analysis of the alleged attack exploring the possible motivations of both sides in carrying out the attack weren't conclusive enough, this recently published OPCW engineering assessment further lays the issue to rest.

    Why Douma Still Matters

    Washington's propensity toward staging provocations as a pretext toward wider war is not confined to Douma, Syria alone. The lead up to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq was predicated entirely on a deliberate lie built atop fabricated evidence.

    And the US still seeks to provoke war in Ukraine, in Venezuela, against Iran, and likely again in Syria itself as government forces begin to retake Idlib.

    Understanding how US-backed militants staged the Douma attack in 2018, how the Western media lied to the global public in the aftermath to sell subsequent Western military intervention, and how investigators exposed evidence revealing the attack as a false flag operation - will all aid in blunting the political impact of future false flag provocations.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 23, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Under the cover of "security threats" and promoting "democracy," Washington has increased the frequency and amplitude of threats and pressure aimed at China's partners around the world and specifically in Southeast Asia.

    The Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand, still erroneously pegged by some as an ally of the US, has long since pivoted away from its Cold War alliances and has invested deeply in building economic, political and even military ties with Beijing.

    So acute is this pivot that it has prompted heated commentary in response from across the Western media, supposed "rights" groups and other enclaves of US "soft power."

    Exemplified best by articles like, "West must act firmly to stem rise of 'China model' in Thailand," by Benjamin Zawacki (Amnesty International, Council on Foreign Relations) published by the lobbyist clearinghouse Nikkei Asian Review, arguments are being made for a more robust and direct intervention by the West to overrule the ambitions and agendas of nations who would rather do business with China and in a manner unfavourable to Washington.

    Zawacki uses the narrative of eroding democracy to lend impetus to the West's interference and pressuring of Thailand in "stemming the rise of a China model," but it is only just a narrative.

    China is expanding its influence through Asia not by aligning with "authoritarian" ideology, but by doing business, building infrastructure and offering alternatives to nations that once only had the US and Europe to go to for technology, alliances and investments.

    Today, the US and Europe are unable to compete in any of these relevant fields with the majority of their activity in nations like Thailand aimed at unsolicited and unwelcomed political interference.

    The battle over Chinese telecom giant Huawei's growing supremacy over global markets provides us insight into just how robust and direct Western intervention has become and forewarns of still greater pressure to come.

    Huawei's 5G in Thailand

    The South China Morning Post in an article titled, "Huawei says it's 'surprised' by report that US is pushing more foreign allies to blacklist its network services," would report:
    Huawei Technologies, the world's largest telecoms equipment vendor, said it was "surprised" by a Wall Street Journal report about the US government exerting increased pressure on foreign allies to ditch network services from the Chinese company on national security grounds.
    The lengths the US will go through to pressure nations into dumping Huawei remains to be seen. Many nations have been pressured and have decided to move forward with China and Huawei regardless.

    Segments like NPR's, "Thailand Moves Forward With Chinese Tech Company Huawei To Build 5G Network," cites the above mentioned Zawacki who claims:
    The extent to which this 5G technology is going to control not only telecommunications but so many other things that are absolutely fundamental to any society's ability to function and govern itself means that, well, we better stay onside with China because if we don't, their ability to manipulate our economy, our infrastructure, our energy sources, our databases, et cetera, becomes that much greater.

    Thailand is at the center of that. Geographically, it's right in the middle. And so while it tries to maintain positive relationships with both countries, that sort of neutrality is not something it's going to be able to gift itself forever.
    The NPR piece concludes by claiming:
    Especially, he says, if [Thailand is] being forced to choose in the event of a conflict between the U.S. and China. With a Chinese company controlling all communications and interconnections between machines, the fear is that choice will have already been made.
    Of course, NPR never explains why nations in Asia would side with the United States in a conflict between the US and China, a conflict the US would have to cross an entire ocean to participate in. It never explains why Western corporations controlling Thailand's economy or infrastructure is a better proposition for Bangkok. It also doesn't explain how China would control Thailand's economy or infrastructure in the first place simply by providing Thailand with 5G technology.

    The threat, reported uncritically by NPR, like concerns of Chinese surveillance via Huawei phones and 5G networks are threats conjured up by a West whose long-standing corporate and financial monopolies see their primacy over world markets evaporating before their eyes.

    Unable to compete in global markets directly, Western corporations and the governments that represent their interests from Washington to London to Brussels have embarked on less savory political means instead.

    What should be US diplomacy building ties between itself, its people and nations around the globe has become a campaign of intimidation founded on propaganda aimed at crushing rising economic competitors rather than fostering economic cooperation.

    The true answer to China's rising power is healthy economic competition from the West, offering nations around the globe balanced alternatives. It also includes the West understanding that China has a larger population, more human and natural resources, a wider industrial base and soon the most powerful economy and recognise that the West's primacy has come to an end.

    The inability for Western interests to reconcile this reality with the belief they are somehow innately entitled to global primacy will harm the interest of nations around the globe attempting to benefit from and rise with China's growing wealth. It will also harm the West itself, turning opportunities for cooperation into fruitless conflict instead.

    Insulating themselves from Washington's growing desperation will occupy a greater amount of time of governments around the globe cooperating with China, now and well into the foreseeable future. It will continue to be a problem, and produce ample headlines until either the US comes to terms with this new global reality, or exhausts itself in the process.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 25, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - Upon reading the Financial Times article, "Isis fighters struggle on return to Balkan states," you might almost forget the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was and still is a hardcore terrorist organization guilty of some of the most heinous terrorism carried out in the 21st century.

    The article begins, claiming:
    In a village in the Kosovar countryside, Edona Berisha Demolli's family have gathered to celebrate her return from Syria where she and her husband fled to six years ago to fight for Islamic militants Isis.

    "I am exhausted," said Ms Demolli, as her relatives served guests slices of celebratory chocolate and vanilla cake and children played in the yard. "I thank God, the Kosovo state, and the US for bringing me home," she said, referring to the pressure Washington put on countries to take their fighters back from camps across the Middle East and the logistical assistance they provided to that end.
    The Financial Times would note that some 300 Bosnians joined ISIS and that Kosovo has set up barracks to accommodate returning fighters.

    The article would end by quoting Besa Ismaili, a lecturer at Kosovo's Faculty of Islamic Studies:
    "You don't have to approve of what they did, but you have to reach out to them to prevent further radicalisation, and their children need to develop a bond to the country."
    It is difficult to imagine how extremists who left their home country to fight alongside ISIS could be yet "further radicalized."

    We can suppose "further radicalization" might mean a second deployment in yet another of Washington's proxy wars around the globe. It could be argued that returning fighters who receive assistance in reintegrating into society and escaping any real consequences for their actions will do very little to dissuade them or others in their community from doing it again.

    Escaping Justice

    The Financial Times in its sympathetic narrative begets questions surrounding an inescapable truth regarding the central role the United States and its allies played in facilitating the transfer of foreign extremists to and from the battlefield in war-torn Syria.

    The article specifically mentions (and through the words of a former extremist, thanks) the US for its logistical assistance in returning ISIS militants to their respective countries.

    We can only imagine if terrorists invaded the United States, killed Americans, destroyed American infrastructure and fought against US troops, just how slighted Washington would feel if a foreign nation intervened and spirited these terrorists away, especially back to their countries of origin and beyond Washington's ability to exact justice.

    But that is precisely what the US has denied Damascus.

    America's Terrorist Foreign Legions

    The US aiding terrorists in their return to the Balkans will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the real rather than feigned relationship between Washington and Al Qaeda whom ISIS is merely a rebranded offshoot of.

    In the 1990s as the US meddled in the Balkans, it provided weapons and aid to the so-called "Kosovo Liberation Army" (KLA), an analogue to the so-called "Free Syrian Army" in Syria today. Both were nothing more than public relations fronts. Behind it were regional Al Qaeda affiliates.

    The Wall Street Journal in a forgotten 2001 article titled, "Al Qaeda's Balkan Links," would lay out the truth behind KLA:
    By early 1998 the U.S. had already entered into its controversial relationship with the KLA to help fight off Serbian oppression of that province.
    While in February the U.S. gave into KLA demands to remove it from the State Department's terrorism list, the gesture amounted to little. That summer the CIA and CIA-modernized Albanian intelligence (SHIK) were engaged in one of the largest seizures of Islamic Jihad cells operating in Kosovo.

    Fearing terrorist reprisal from al Qaeda, the U.S. temporarily closed its embassy in Tirana and a trip to Albania by then Defense Secretary William Cohen was canceled out of fear of an assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Albanian separatism in Kosovo and Metohija was formally characterized as a "jihad" in October 1998 at an annual international Islamic conference in Pakistan.
    Nonetheless, the 25,000 strong KLA continued to receive official NATO/U.S. arms and training support and, at the talks in Rambouillet, France, then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright shook hands with "freedom fighter" Hashim Thaci, a KLA leader. As this was taking place, Europol (the European Police Organization based in The Hague) was preparing a scathing report on the connection between the KLA and international drug gangs. Even Robert Gelbard, America's special envoy to Bosnia, officially described the KLA as Islamic terrorists.
    The US arming extremists through dubious "liberation fronts?" US diplomats' lives being in danger from the very extremists their government is sponsoring? America's own envoys describing the very people Washington is backing as "terrorists?" These are all now well-established, familiar themes seen repeating themselves again and again from Libya where a US consulate was in fact attacked and a US ambassador killed, to Syria where the "Free Syrian Army" turned out to be little more than window dressing for Al Qaeda and ISIS and now back to the Balkans where the US is already seeding the ground for future proxy wars.

    Articles like those appearing in the Financial Times today or the Wall Street Journal years ago all but lay out the truth before the American public, but apparently more compelling is contemporary political rhetoric of "fighting terrorism" or backing "liberation fronts" on humanitarian grounds.

    Behind the rhetoric, the US has recruited and armed terrorists to fight its wars everywhere from Afghanistan in the 1980s, to the Balkans in the 1990s, to southern Russia in the early 2000s, to Libya and Syria from 2011 onward. Even as the US poses as "victor" over ISIS in Iraq and Syria, it has spent its time ferrying fighters back to Europe where they can escape Iraqi and Syrian justice, recuperate, radicalize others in their community and be fully prepared for the next time Washington's needs call upon them.

    Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • May 30, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - In the wake of Thailand's recent elections, US and European-backed opposition forces were caught flatfooted, reeling from losing the popular vote to the military-linked Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP).

    Additionally, "rising political star" as the Western media refers to him, billionaire heir Thanathorn Jungrungreangkit, head of the opposition Future Forward Party (FFP), has found himself in legal turmoil, facing various corruption cases and charges of sedition.

    Defending a Billionaire

    Thanathorn's FFP is favoured by the West as an appropriate proxy to roll back Thai-Chinese relations and eliminate Thai institutions impeding Western interests in Thailand.

    So favoured by the West is Thanathorn and his Future Forward Party, that when he was summoned by Thai police to hear charges against him, he was accompanied by over a dozen representatives of Western embassies including from the US, UK, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, France, Germany and EU diplomats.

    Responding to what was blatant interference in Thailand's internal political affairs, Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) would release a statement noting (our emphasis):
    Regardless of the intention, the presence of Embassies' representatives the police station with such a visibility and the publicity it generated were clearly an act of political significance, seen by the Thai public largely as a show of moral support to Mr. Thanathorn.

    In other words, it was a political act, or a political statement on the part of the Embassies.

    It clearly amounted to the Embassies choosing to be a player in Thai domestic politics, at least by having taken side in the country's political landscape.

    The Royal Thai Government considers such action to be in breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR), Article 41, and the internationally recognised principle of non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign nations.
    The statement was posted most visibly by "Thailand senior researcher" at Human Rights Watch (HRW) Sunai Phasuk, who would himself add in a social media post:

    Baring fangs to please military government, [the Thai MFA] attempted to harass western diplomats only to be told that observation of major lawsuits & court proceedings is standard practice for countries that respect human rights & due process.
    But do the countries who were present at the police station on April 6 truly "respect human rights and due process" as Sunai and the embassies themselves have tried to claim?

    Destroying a Journalist

    As US, British and European diplomats who "respect human rights and due process" were providing support to billionaire Thanathorn Jungrungreangkit in Thailand, the nations they represent were preparing to arrest journalist Julian Assange in London and extradite him to the United States.

    Assange's arrest is specifically for his role in exposing the corruption and human rights abuses carried out by these "countries that respect human rights and due process." The charges against him are precisely the sort of politically-motivated charges in reality that organisations like HRW claim in fiction are being used to prosecute undoubtedly corrupt billionaire Thanathorn in Thailand.

    It doesn't appear that European embassies in the UK sent any "observers" to oversee "human rights and due process" regarding Assange's case, with most political and media concerns across the West instead attempting to sell Assange's arrest as justified.

    It should also be remembered that these same nations (the US, UK and the EU) have also illegally waged war, meddled in the foreign affairs of other nations around the globe and are engaged in a variety of abuses against their own populations in violation of their own domestic laws as well as international law.

    While they posed as defenders of "human rights and due process" in Bangkok, Thailand, they unashamedly support regimes like those in power in Riyadh and Doha who are unelected and rule with iron fists over their populations while brutalising their neighbours. In Saudi Arabia, for example, public executions via beheading are still performed, while Riyadh carries out a destructive war on neighbouring Yemen, facts that appears to have no impact on the flow of weapons and political support to Saudi Arabia from these "human rights-respecting" nations.

    The hypocrisy and abuse of human rights advocacy at play here couldn't be any more blatant.

    Power not Principles Drive Western "Humanitarian Concern"

    Human Rights Watch, which Sunai works for, has only made token statements regarding Assange's arrest.

    In the past several weeks almost nothing about Assange's arrest has been posted by HRW on social media, while stories regarding the ouster of Sudan's Omar al-Bashir have flooded its timeline on platforms like Twitter. Even Sunai, based in Thailand, has commented on Sudan, with not a word from him written about Assange's arrest in London.

    Only when understanding Bashir's relationship with Beijing and Anglo-American designs to bar China from further expansion in Africa, do the true motivations prompting disingenuous human rights advocacy and "concern" regarding Sudan versus apathy regarding Assange across the West bubble up to the surface.

    Assange threatens Western special interests, so his arrest is of little interest to quasi-rights advocates who depend on these special interests for funding. In fact, tacitly justifying his arrest is already being done by the Western media.

    On the other side of the coin, Sudan's political crisis opens the door for a possible pro-Western government to take power and foil Chinese interests, thus it is of great interest to these "rights advocates."

    Politically-motivated rights organisations like Human Rights Watch are not only misleading the public, they are irrevocably undermining genuine rights advocacy.

    By exposing their hypocrisy and the hypocrisy of the special interests they represent in the capitals of America, the United Kingdom and across Europe, nations like Thailand are better able to protect their sovereignty, while genuine rights activists are better able to defend genuine targets of injustice like Julian Assange.

    As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Whether or not Thai sovereignty or Julian Assange are topics that interest or directly impact you today, their sovereignty and rights as a nation and as an individual respectively will eventually impact topics, nations and people that do interest or directly affect you.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 3, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - In its march toward yet another war, the United States accuses Iran of using military force to establish itself as a "regional hegemon." It accuses Iran of being the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. It accuses Iran of aiding rebels in Yemen, the government in Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    But what the United States leaves out about Iran is just as important as what it accuses Iran of.

    Familiar Lies

    For one, the Middle East already has a regional hegemon - the United States.

    Even the wildest accusations against Iran regarding state sponsored terrorism pale in comparison to Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) whose terrorism spans the globe, including standing armies operating in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan - several of which Iran itself is specifically fighting.

    The US also supports terrorist organizations within Iran including the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK). MEK enjoys the support of National Security Adviser John Bolton - who lobbied for them for years while they were listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department itself.

    Thus, Iran finds itself involved in Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon precisely to stave off openly declared intentions by the US to include Iran next under its already expansive hegemony over the Middle East.

    During Washington's slow-motion blitzkrieg across North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, now decades of lies have continued generating excuses, pretexts, and artificial threats to justify America's unending wars and Washington's march toward its next target - Iran.

    Iran is Resisting Regional Hegemony

    The US invasion of Afghanistan along Iran's eastern borders in 2001, then the US invasion of Iraq along Iran's western borders in 2003 left the nation surrounded by US military forces. The invasions, followed by extended occupations were only two of the most extreme examples of Washington's aggressive military encirclement of Iran itself.

    US proxy wars against Libya, Syria, and Yemen also sought to eliminate political and military blocs allied to Tehran. Coupled with deliberate, crippling economic sanctions and a campaign of admitted and concerted political subversion aimed at Iran itself - the US has all but declared war against Iran.

    Iran finds itself on the US regime change "hit list," dubbed the "Axis of Evil" by US President George Bush who presided over the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. On the list alongside Iran was Libya - now a divided and destroyed failed state after US military intervention there in 2011 - as well as Syria which still faces US-backed militants and a still-ongoing US military occupation of its territory.

    Iran has been surrounded by an openly hostile United States and its allies for now nearly two decades. What the US characterizes as "Iranian aggression" is merely the rational steps any government surrounded by hostile forces would take to defend itself, its territory, and its people.

    The Middle East is already subject to a regional hegemon - the United States - presided over by a government thousands of miles away. And if the US would be bold enough to presume dominion over an entire region of the planet so far from its own shores, it should come as no surprise that it would also shift responsibility for the disruptive consequences of its hegemony onto the nations still resisting it from within the region.

    Iran is Fighting the Largest State Sponsor of Terror

    In a recent interview with The Epoch Times, US Congressman Van Taylor of Texas called Iran "the largest state sponsor of terror in the world." He cites Iranian support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah as examples. It is a claim being repeated throughout America's pro-war establishment.

    However - it is not entirely true, and it omits mention of state sponsored terrorism that eclipses it even if it were.

    Groups like Hamas actually fought against Damascus and its Iranian allies during the recent conflict in Syria - calling into question claims of "Iranian state sponsorship" of Hamas.

    Hezbollah - on the other hand - does enjoy close ties with Iran. But it also dedicated large amounts of resources and manpower - not creating terrorism across the Middle East - but fighting it - specifically in taking on ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.

    It was Iran and Hezbollah who aided Syrian forces on the ground while Russia provided air support that began rolling back ISIS and Al Qaeda from 2015 onward.

    ISIS and Al Qaeda - ironically - persist in Syria only in areas under the protection of US-NATO forces. This includes in Al Qaeda-held Idlib where the US has repeatedly warned Damascus and its allies not to retake under threat of military retaliation.

    While US accusations against Iran regarding "state sponsorship of terror" remain nebulous, US intelligence agencies themselves have admitted the US and its allies' role in the creation of terrorist organizations like ISIS.

    The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) - for example - as early as 2012 had noted (PDF) a Western and Persian Gulf-led conspiracy to create what it called at the time a "Salafist" [Islamic] "principality" [State] precisely in eastern Syria where ISIS would eventually find itself based.

    The DIA document would explain (emphasis added):

    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).
    On clarifying who these supporting powers were, the DIA memo would state:
    The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
    The US and its allies have also been shipping weapons and supplies to Al Qaeda's other affiliates in Syria. Along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the US has provided thousands of tons of weapons to militants in Syria - while also conceding that Al Qaeda's Syrian franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra is the best armed, most well equipped militant front in the conflict.

    Attempts to claim "moderate rebels" defected over to al-Nusra along with their US arms to explain the terrorist organization's prominence doesn't explain who was giving al-Nusra more arms and cash to attract such large-scale defections in the first place.

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

    Here's what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.
    That's because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.
    The US has also since been caught transferring weapons systems to Al Qaeda in Yemen.

    CNN in its article, "Sold to an ally, lost to an enemy," would admit (emphasis added):
    Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have transferred American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, hardline Salafi militias, and other factions waging war in Yemen, in violation of their agreements with the United States, a CNN investigation has found.
    It is clear - by the US government's and the US media's own admissions - that the US is the "largest state sponsor of terror," literally arming Al Qaeda across the region - then calling forces raised by nations like Iran "terrorists" for arraying themselves against them.

    Then there is MEK - a US-backed terrorist organization previously listed as such by the US State Department itself - now openly hosted in Washington and spoken for by current US National Security Adviser John Bolton - who by no coincidence is also the leading voice advocating war with Iran.

    MEK was listed as a terrorist organization for a reason.

    It has carried out decades of brutal terrorist attacks, assassinations, and espionage against the Iranian government and its people, as well as targeting Americans including the attempted kidnapping of US Ambassador Douglas MacArthur II, the attempted assassination of USAF Brigadier General Harold Price, the successful assassination of Lieutenant Colonel Louis Lee Hawkins, the double assassinations of Colonel Paul Shaffer and Lieutenant Colonel Jack Turner, and the successful ambush and killing of American Rockwell International employees William Cottrell, Donald Smith, and Robert Krongard.

    Admissions to the deaths of the Rockwell International employees can be found within a report written by former US State Department and Department of Defense official Lincoln Bloomfield Jr. on behalf of the lobbying firm Akin Gump in an attempt to dismiss concerns over MEK's violent past and how it connects to its current campaign of armed terror. A similar narrative has now been predictably adopted by the Western media.

    To this day MEK terrorists have been carrying out attacks inside of Iran killing political opponents, attacking civilian targets, as well as carrying out the US-Israeli program of targeting and assassinating Iranian scientists.

    MEK is described by Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh as a "cult-like organization" with "totalitarian tendencies." While Takeyh fails to expand on what he meant by "cult-like" and "totalitarian," an interview with US State Department-run Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty reported that a MEK Camp Ashraf escapee claimed the terrorist organization bans marriage, using radios, the Internet, and holds many members against their will with the threat of death if ever they are caught attempting to escape.

    MEK was delisted by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organization after extensive lobbying efforts - not because evidence indicated they no longer belonged on the list. They were delisted specifically to allow the US to more openly support MEK's efforts to undermine and overthrow the Iranian government including through the use of continued violence.

    The US - through its

    If Al Qaeda and MEK are the sort of "allies" the US has enlisted to confront "Iranian aggression" in the Middle East, how is Iran rather than Washington the true threat to regional or even global peace and stability?

    Inverted Reality, Real March to War

    It is upon these feet of clay that the US builds its case against Iran - with catastrophes from Washington's many other wars of aggression in the region still burning in the background.

    Iran lacks the economic and military might to pose a real threat to the world even if it wanted to. It only poses a threat to distant nations closing in around it, seeking conflict with Iran, and domination over a region Iran itself is geographically located in.

    Conversely, the United States still possesses the largest economy and military on Earth and has a demonstrated track record of falsely accusing nations of various provocations to initiate devastating wars of aggression.

    The US - even if it does not resort to war - is imposing economic damage not only on Iran but on nations the world over who - without coincidence - do not perceive Tehran as a threat and do a considerable amount of trade with Iran.

    US aggression toward Iran and its allies - even if total war does not break out - have demonstrably destroyed the region - from Syria to Yemen - miring even America's own allies in protracted, costly wars and setting the entire region back decades in terms of economic and social development.

    Were peace to break out in the Middle East tomorrow - nations like the US and its NATO allies would have the least to do with developing the region. That role would go instead to China who is already attempting to foster stability as a condition to extend its global infrastructure building spree into the Middle East.

    Even in terms of selling weapons to Middle Eastern nations - Russia and China have competitive systems US allies are even now considering.

    Thus chaos is the only environment in which US primacy over the region can continue to thrive - justifying military bases and the billions of dollars needed to build, occupy, supply, and expand them, justifying military interventions - direct and by proxy - pressuring governments to either join or defend against them, and justifying immense weapon sales to allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to keep those interventions going.

    It is a multi-trillion dollar industry, and one only Washington is shameless enough to openly and continuously promote. There is no lie too big or disgraceful to keep America's last major export of chaos profitable.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine"New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 5, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - Unable to compete on equal terms with Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the United States and the corporations that influence its domestic and foreign policy have decided instead to simply cut Huawei off from its many monopolies including chip manufacturing and mobile phone operating systems.

    But US measures come at a time when Huawei is already well on its way to unseating US tech monopolies. US measures may only spur Huawei (and many other companies and countries) to further work toward creating alternatives to current US tech monopolies and establishing enduring technological sovereignty from US control.

    US Cites False Pretext to Cripple a Competitor

    The US Department of Commerce claims:
    ...Huawei is engaged in activities that are contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interest. This information includes the activities alleged in the Department of Justice's public superseding indictment of Huawei, including alleged violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA by providing prohibited financial services to Iran, and obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation of those alleged violations of U.S. sanctions.
    Evidence (as is the case with most US allegations) is lacking, yet US measures prohibiting "the sale or transfer of American technology" to Huawei coincidentally gives a boost to US tech companies unable to compete against Huawei in free and fair global markets.

    Fortune, in its article, "Huawei Wants to Play Nice With Google and Microsoft, But Has Its 'Last Resort' Ready," elaborates further on what this ban means to Huawei.

    Microsoft removed Huawei laptops from its online store, while chip manufacturers including Qualcomm, Intel, Nvidia, Lattice and ARM are poised to stop supplying Huawei assembly lines.

    Google is also reportedly preparing to cut Huawei off from its Android mobile phone operating system. Android and Apple's iOS, both US-based, currently dominate the markets and without access to either, Huawei would face significant challenges, giving US tech companies a chance to catch up. This, more than any sort of ambiguous "security threat" explains the motivations of the US Department of Commerce.

    Self-Inflicted Wounds Amid a Senseless Fight

    US bans targeting Huawei will not be painless for US corporations involved. Huawei currently occupies second place, just behind Samsung, in the smartphone market. Depriving Huawei of US-made components will deprive US corporations of associated profits at least in the short-term. How fast other corporations fill the void left behind by Huawei, if a void appears, is hard to say. If US corporations are counting on US corporations and US-friendly nations and the respective telecom industries filling a potential void, it is a long bet.

    It is clear that Huawei, if accusations by the US of its close association with the Chinese government are true, will have the support, resources and impetus required to begin developing alternatives to Microsoft, US chip designs and Google's Android operating system. In the long-term, US corporations may find themselves faced by renewed competition, not only in terms of smartphones this time, but also in terms of everything in and on them.

    Articles like, "Can Huawei make a phone without US parts?," and "Huawei developed its own operating systems in case it's banned from using Android and Windows," go into detail regarding all the alternatives Huawei already has at its disposal and possible future alternatives that will further mitigate US bans.

    US bans aimed at maliciously targeting and eliminating competitors will only make these competitors stronger in the long run. US bans aimed at Chinese tech companies will also give other companies in other industries and even in other countries pause for thought when depending on the US for anything. This may be the beginning of a global move to hedge against other unpredictable moves made by the US Department of Commerce and US corporations.

    It may also be the beginning of a move toward greater global technological sovereignty.

    Technological Sovereignty

    For as important as technology is to a nation's economy and security, depending on foreign corporations to manufacturer and use it seems recklessly irresponsible.

    This realization has prompted many nations to begin building up their own domestic alternatives and depending less on foreign corporations for their technological infrastructure.

    Russia, for example, has its own mobile phone operating system called Aurora it runs government devices on. Russia has also passed legislation to begin creating an independent Internet that can operate on its own entirely within Russia. Russia also has its own social media network, VK, as an alternative to US-based Facebook as well as its own alternative to Google, called Yandex.

    Russian journalist Dmitry Kiselyov (video) compared a nation's ability to develop and deploy its own technology to having a light switch either outside or inside a bathroom. When outside the bathroom, anyone for any reason, including spite, can switch the lights off leaving the occupant helplessly in the dark. With the light switch inside the bathroom, the occupant has full control.

    This point rests at the very center of technological sovereignty.

    Russia's moves illustrate a trend toward treating a nation's information space and technological capabilities with as much seriousness as it treats its physical territory and defense industry.

    For China and Chinese companies, this process is also well underway, with US measures likely only to temporarily set back China's rise as a global leader in technology. If anything it is most likely helping pave the way for China's technological leadership to be more complete and even less dependent on the US.

    The US has an opportunity to use its technology as a means of developing constructive and lasting partnerships as well as ensuring US influence over technology used globally, but instead it seeks to use its advantages as a means of coercion.

    The US "flipping the bathroom lights off" on China is a warning for anyone else around the world who might become targets of US spite. Nations going along with US bans against China will only make it that much easier for the US to target other nations, any nation, in the future. For as important as technology is, there is no nation big or small that can afford to allow the US to continue wielding such power uncontested.

    The US war on Huawei represents the opening salvo of a much wider US war on technological sovereignty. It is a war the world must win and a crucial building block toward establishing multipolarism in favor of America's current, unipolar international order.

    Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 7, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently renamed US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports "freedom gas." But freedom for who? For Europe who already has a cheap and reliable source of natural gas, but is being forced to switch over to more expensive US gas under the threat of sanctions? Certainly not.

    Or freedom for Russia who supplies Europe with much of its natural gas to compete openly and fairly with the United States? Most definitely not.

    Or is it freedom from competition for the US? Yes, indeed.

    It is often contradictory branding that heralds various chapters of US injustice at home (under the draconian "Patriot Act" for example) and abroad, such as during the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq carried out under the dubious name of "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

    Not the Onion

    So discredited have US campaigns christened in the name of "freedom" become, that few scarcely believed the US was actually, seriously calling its natural gas exports "freedom gas." However, it is not a headline torn from the pages of the satirical newspaper "The Onion," but rather from the US DOE itself.

    In an article from the DOE's official website titled, "Department of Energy Authorizes Additional LNG Exports from Freeport LNG," the DOE states (emphasis added):
    "Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America's allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy. Further, more exports of U.S. LNG to the world means more U.S. jobs and more domestic economic growth and cleaner air here at home and around the globe," said U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes, who highlighted the approval at the Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, Canada. "There's no doubt today's announcement furthers this Administration's commitment to promoting energy security and diversity worldwide."
    Aside from the almost comical reference to "freedom gas," there is something else revealing about the DOE's claims of "giving America's allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy."

    This is in direct reference to Europe, and Europe's current imports of Russian gas. Russian gas, delivered by pipelines to Europe will always be cheaper than US liquefied natural gas transported by sea to Europe. That is, unless the US, through the threat of sanctions not only against Russia, but against Washington's own allies in Europe, can raise those costs to above the price of US exports.

    Articles like Foreign Policy's "U.S. Senate Threatens Sanctions Over Russian Pipeline," make it clear just how far along the US is toward doing just that.

    The article claims:
    In the latest uptick of trans-Atlantic tensions, European ships involved in the construction of a controversial gas pipeline from Russia to Germany could be subject to U.S. sanctions under a new bipartisan bill that will be introduced in the U.S. Senate as early as Monday.
    FP also claims:
    The Trump administration has rebuked Germany for moving forward with the project, one of a raft of recent issues straining trans-Atlantic relations alongside Iran, climate change, and trade. Last July, U.S. President Donald Trump accused Berlin of being held "captive" to Russia due to its dependence on Moscow for energy, a charge German officials sharply dismissed.
    Thus, Germany is not only being "rebuked" for making its own decisions regarding German economic and foreign policy, it is being threatened with US sanctions for not complying to US dictates. Calling LNG the US would seek to force nations like Germany to buy against their will "freedom gas" is an intentional insult added to economic injury Washington already seeks to inflict.

    "Freedom Gas" a Smokescreen for Dictatorship

    Late last year, the US House of Representatives passed resolution 1035 - "Expressing opposition to the completion of Nord Stream II" (.pdf).

    By passing this resolution, the United States presumed to dictate to all of Europe who they could and couldn't do business with. And while the resolution was non-binding, it alluded to sanctions now already being put in motion.

    It was clear that the resolution's language regarding "European energy security through diversification of supplies" simply meant Washington would seek to force Europe to buy US gas over Russian gas.

    The very idea of Washington passing resolutions focused on "European energy security" in the first place is a full frontal assault on European sovereignty and "freedom." Now that the resolution's intentions are being transformed into policy - including sanctions targeting European companies - it has become an economic attack on Europe as well.

    Worse still is the fact that to make US gas exports competitive, the US must resort to more than just sanctions. It must also commit to multiple conflicts hindering the delivery of Russian gas - such as in Ukraine where for 5 years now armed conflict has raged, threatening pipelines delivering Russian gas to Europe.

    The US portrays Russia as a threat to European security and stability - despite the fact that Europe itself has voluntarily and jointly developed the infrastructure to bring Russian gas into Europe and jointly benefits from these imports. The US thus finds itself pushing childish gimmicks like "freedom gas" as a smokescreen for the fact that Washington - not Moscow - poses the greatest threat to European security, stability, and even prosperity.

    Washington's methods of targeting Russian hydrocarbons, or Chinese telecom technology, has revealed the US as an unreliable ally, an unreliable business partner, and lacking the means to compete in a free and fair global market. Its tactics of coercion over competition - if successful - will leave the world with inferior alternatives forced onto nations at extorted prices. The world faces a choice between "freedom gas" and actual freedom to decide what it buys and from whom it buys it from - one of the most basic freedoms of all and a freedom Washington seeks to deny the world.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 9, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Washington and its allies across the Western World have been particularly eager in observing this year's anniversary of their version of the 1989 Tiananmen protests.

    It has become an opportunity to add political pressure atop economic pressure already being exerted on Beijing by Washington in its bid to encircle and contain China's rise.

    This pressure comes mainly through the Western media.

    But the monopoly the US once enjoyed over the flow of global information is coming to an end. The more attention the US tries to draw to certain events, the more objective scrutiny others apply resulting in growing, irreversible damage to some of Washington's most valuable propaganda narratives.

    Attempts to characterise the Tiananmen protests as a violent crackdown on peaceful protesters is meant to portray China, then and now, as an violent authoritarian regime and a threat to not only freedom in China, but freedom worldwide.

    But as this lie is exposed, the US itself appears to be the real risk to global peace and freedom.

    US State Department Cables Contradict US Secretary of State's Version of Events

    The US State Department itself would set the tone of Washington's annual propaganda drive. In a press statement titled, "On the 30th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would claim:
    On June 4, we honor the heroic protest movement of the Chinese people that ended on June 4, 1989, when the Chinese Communist Party leadership sent tanks into Tiananmen Square to violently repress peaceful demonstrations calling for democracy, human rights, and an end to rampant corruption. The hundreds of thousands of protesters who gathered in Beijing and in other cities around China suffered grievously in pursuit of a better future for their country. The number of dead is still unknown.
    Yet according to the US State Department's own cables, thanks to Wikileaks, what Secretary Pompeo stated is categorically untrue.

    In a 2011 Telegraph article titled, "Wikileaks: no bloodshed inside Tiananmen Square, cables claim," it is admitted that:
    Secret cables from the United States embassy in Beijing have shown there was no bloodshed inside Tiananmen Square when China put down student pro-democracy demonstrations 22 years ago.
    While the Telegraph attempts to claim Chinese troops merely killed protesters they portray as peaceful and unarmed "outside" the square, evidence within the US State Department's own cables proves precisely the opposite.

    One cable dated June 3, 1989 admits:
    [Embassy officers] encountered a number of incidents in different locations in which crowds harassed military or police personnel, forced their vehicles to turn around, jeered at displays of captured military equipment, or vandalized captured military vehicles.
    Further detailing the violence was an oblique admission in the New York Times in a recent article titled, "Witnessing China's 1989 Protests, 1,000 Miles From Tiananmen Square," in which now US Representative Andy Levin of Michigan gives his account of what he saw as a student during the protests.

    The article admits (my emphasis):
    Word spread quickly about what had happened. Rumor had it that protesters were being held in a particular police station, and a huge crowd massed outside it. The students weren't there after all, but the crowd set fire to the police station.

    Three fire trucks arrived, sirens blaring. The first instinct of the crowd was to move aside. But then, I could see the crowd change its mind. As in, "Wait a minute, we set this fire on purpose, so we don't want this fire truck putting it out." The crowd converged on a truck, chased off the firemen, flipped the truck on its side and set the truck itself on fire.
    A forgotten Washington Post article from 1989 deceitfully titled, "Images Vilify Protesters," attempts to dismiss evidence the article itself admits proves violence and atrocities were indeed carried out by protesters against soldiers who were displaying restraint.

    The article admits (my emphasis):
    The government's case is bolstered by the fact that, in some areas, demonstrators did attack troops who did not respond, and these incidents were captured on videotape. On nightly television now, images are broadcast of protesters stoning troops, beating them with poles and, in some particularly dramatic photos, firebombing trucks, buses and even armored personnel carriers. In some cases, soldiers were still inside at the time. On one avenue in western Beijing, demonstrators torched an entire military convoy of more than 100 trucks and armored vehicles. Aerial pictures of the conflagration and columns of smoke have powerfully bolstered the government's argument that the troops were victims, not executioners. Other scenes show soldiers' corpses and demonstrators stripping automatic rifles off of unresisting soldiers.
    If Chinese troops did kill "thousands" of protesters as many across the West claim, there is no evidence of it. This is why Secretary Pompeo himself admitted even this year, "the number of dead is still unknown."

    If Chinese troops fired into crowds at all, the US State Department itself, witnesses now holding political offices in the US government and prominent US newspapers all admit it was at mobs carrying out deadly violence against troops, police and rescue workers.

    We don't have to imagine what the US government itself would do if mobs attacked military personnel, burned down police stations then attacked responding rescue workers before destroying their equipment in a large US city. During the 1992 Los Angeles riots, thousands of US Army soldiers and Marines were deployed and authorised to use deadly force.

    We could, however, try to imagine how absurd it would be if Beijing and media concerns it controlled tried to portray the LA riots as peaceful protests which the US "cracked down" on with disproportionate force. Only the West's enduring monopoly over global news and information affords its the ability to portray Tiananmen Square in such absurd terms, despite evidence disclosed by the US government and media itself proving precisely the opposite.

    Tiananmen Anniversary: A Time for US-Backed Political Stunts, Hypocrisy

    Across Asia, the US is determined to drive a wedge between Beijing and the many nations in the region eager to build ties and do business with it. By promoting Washington's Tiananmen narrative across the region, the US hopes to turn local opinions against Beijing.

    The US has invested tens of millions of dollars a year in building up fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) or "student activists" to oppose regional governments doing business with China and to sour ties between regional nations and Beijing itself.

    A perfect example of this is Thai "student activist" Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal.

    He opposes a 2014 coup and the resulting government which ousted the US-backed client regime of billionaire fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

    The current Thai government has since cemented significant ties with Beijing through arms deals, military cooperation and the beginning of major infrastructure projects including a high-speed rail network.

    Netiwit's opposition to the government is tenuously hidden behind "democracy promotion" and "human rights." His ties to and cooperation with US-funded NGOs along with his regular visits to Western embassies in Bangkok expose him instead as a lobbyist backed by some of the worst offenders of human rights on the planet today.

    A 2017 Twitter post by pro-Western commentator Pravit Rojanaphruk showed himself posing (left) with Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal (right) inside the British Embassy enjoying wine together.

    While not sipping on wine inside Western embassies or undermining the current Thai government, Netiwit annually protests in front of the Chinese embassy in Bangkok on the anniversary of the Tianaman protests.

    An article by US government-funded media front Prachatai about this year's anniversary protest titled, "Student group gathers in front of Chinese Embassy in memory of Tiananmen massacre," claims:
    The student group, calling themselves "Humanity Without Borders", was led by Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal and Sirin Mungcharoen, both students at Chulalongkorn University. The group placed white flowers in front of a printout of a tank, and observed a moment's silence in memory of the dead.
    The article includes a picture with a large, professionally printed tank cut-out with a sign that reads, "a tank crushing those who think differently."

    Here, Netiwit and others not only repeat US lies regarding Tiananmen, they do so specifically to portray China, then and now, as a despotic regime that should be protested and resisted, not cooperated with, a notion that only Western embassies and the interests they represent could benefit from.

    It might be relevant at this point to note that Netiwit has close ties with another US-backed "student activist," Joshua Wong of Hong Kong, only further exposing the foreign-backed nature and motives of his activities, particularly in regards to China.

    It should be noted that Netiwit was born in 1996. While he protests in front of the Chinese embassy in Bangkok annually promoting a dubious account of events that took place years before he was born, he has not been spotted protesting in front of the US or British embassies for illegal wars and atrocities both nations are carrying out today.

    By reminding the world of Washington's Tiananmen lies based on evidence the US government and media itself has documented, and exposing the truth behind cheap public stunts like those carried out by agitators like Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, the West's lies regarding Tiananmen will continue to fray each year.

    Whole articles can be dedicated to emerging evidence that the US provoked the protests in 1989 to being with. It is admitted that the US CIA and British MI6 coordinated operations to rescue leaders from arrest after order was restored, the Financial Times would report. Many of those who led the mobs in 1989 are openly backed by the US government to engage in anti-government activities against Beijing today.

    The more attention the US attempts to focus on its annual propaganda drive, the more attention to these truths it will attract.

    While the events of Tiananmen lay in the past, the US still to this day seeks to provoke similar violence against not only China, but nations all around the world in a strategy now so regularly used by Washington it has a name; colour revolutions.

    By exposing the truth about past colour revolutions, we may be able to blunt or even prevent future ones from taking place, along with all the death and destruction that accompany them.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 12, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - A concerted effort is being made to once again flood Western headlines with now familiar and long-since discredited war propaganda as Syrian forces and their Russian and Iranian allies move in on Idlib in northern Syria to liberate it from US-backed terrorists.

    A recent New York Times article titled, "Inside Syria's Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent," dusts off, combines, and repackages now nearly 8 years of Western war propaganda aimed at demonizing the Syrian government and paving way for regime change.

    While the article claims it now has "memos sent to Syria's head of military intelligence" to back up previous claims, it admits "some information was blacked out to protect the integrity of evidence for possible prosecutions."

    Yet in order to accuse a government publicly of maintaining "secret torture prisons," evidence must be provided. Instead, the NYT presented recycled accounts from "activists" and opposition figures as well as Western-funded fronts including the "Syrian Network for Human Rights" and the "Commission for International Justice and Accountability" (CIJA).

    The CIJA in particular is claimed by NYT to have collected the alleged memos. Nothing about the CIJA's background is provided by the NYT, nor can any website with background information be found.

    However, the US government's Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) interviewed CIJA director of investigations and operations, Chris Engels in 2018. In the interview, CIJA's funding was discussed:
    [CSCE:] Who funds CIJA?

    [Chris Engels:] We have had a number of donors over the years. Our current donors include the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, Germany, Demark, the Netherlands, and Norway.
    Engels also openly admits that the CIJA works directly with the US government. In the interview he admits:

    By design, CIJA has a strong relationship with U.S. law enforcement.
    When asked if members of the US Congress have supported the work of CIJA, Engels would enthusiastically confirm so - citing proposed laws pertaining specifically to Syria.

    In other words - nations committed to the overthrow of the Syrian government fund and support the CIJA's work in Syria - casting doubt on both their integrity and their motivations. Just as the NYT would be remiss to write an entire article based on claims made by the Syrian government itself - it is remiss in uncritically reporting the claims made by its opponents.

    The fact that the CIJA's "evidence" is so heavily redacted that the NYT merely mentions it before building the rest of its article around older hearsay-accounts from its regular circle of "activists" and opposition figures, including the now notoriously discredited informant - "Caesar" - casts even further doubt.

    The NYT appears to instead be contributing merely to the latest chapter of US-driven war propaganda aimed at undermining the Syrian government, protracting the Syrian conflict, and further dividing and destroying the nation.

    Idlib is Al Qaeda Central

    A renewed barrage of war propaganda has been launched by the West in tandem with Syrian government efforts to move in on Idlib - the last bastion of Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations west of the Euphrates River.

    But it was the Western media - not the Syrian government or its Russian and Iranian allies - who have definitively exposed the overwhelming presence of terrorists in Idlib.

    In 2015, it was the Wall Street Journal that reported in its article, "Assad Loses Final Idlib Stronghold to Al Qaeda-led Insurgents," that:
    After a two-year siege, al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria and other insurgents on Wednesday captured the one remaining Syrian army air base in Idlib, a development that activists said effectively expelled the last of President Bashar al-Assad's military from the northwestern province.
    Since 2015, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates have expanded and consolidated their control in the region. A more recent article published earlier this year by the BBC titled, "Syria war: Jihadist takeover in rebel-held Idlib sparks alarm," would explain (emphasis added):
    The Islamic State group may have lost all its territory in Syria but a rival jihadist group has been making gains in the last remaining opposition stronghold in the north of the country - and it has got residents nervous.

    In a dramatic takeover last month, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) swept through towns and villages in Idlib province, as well as adjoining parts of Aleppo and Hama.

    The group - which was known as al-Nusra Front before it broke off formal ties with al-Qaeda three years ago - expelled some rebel factions and forced others to surrender and recognise a "civil administration" it backs.
    In reality - US State Department-designated foreign terrorist organizations like al-Nusra - have dominated fighting against the Syrian government since the conflict began in 2011 with the notion of "moderate rebels" a propaganda ploy to obfuscate the true nature of US-backed militants.

    And while the BBC attempts to disassociate al-Nusra from Al Qaeda in its article by claiming it "broke off formal ties" three years ago - the US State Department itself in a 2018 amendment to its terrorist designation of al-Nusra would explicitly state (emphasis added):
    In January 2017, al-Nusrah Front launched the creation of HTS as a vehicle to advance its position in the Syrian uprising and to further its own goals as an al-Qa'ida affiliate. Since January 2017, the group has continued to operate through HTS in pursuit of these objectives.

    The Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, noted that "today's designation serves notice that the United States is not fooled by this al-Qa'ida affiliate's attempt to rebrand itself. Whatever name Nusrah chooses, we will continue to deny it the resources it seeks to further its violent cause."
    The candor of the US State Department's amendment - however - is demonstratively contradicted by current, ongoing US support for the terrorists themselves as well as the current Western propaganda campaign aimed at protecting Al Qaeda under its various aliases from efforts by the Syrian government to remove them from Idlib and restore order there.

    Idlib Propaganda Blitz: Barrel Bombs, Secret Torture Prisons, and Chemical Weapons

    If Idlib is admittedly overrun by terrorists - according to the West itself - then Syrian government efforts to remove them is justified.

    Yet familiar themes from similar efforts aimed at preventing Syrian forces from liberating other cities and regions from terrorists are being dusted off and reused. This includes the rehabilitation of the so-called "White Helmets," a war propaganda troupe working side-by-side Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations - often aiding and abetting war crimes including summary executions.

    The "White Helmets" are also key in promoting claims of "chemical weapon attacks." The "White Helmets" played a key role in staging the chemical weapons attack on Douma, Syria in 2018 which served as a pretext to a US-led military strike on Syrian forces.

    There is also the constant din of Western propagandists citing "barrel bombs," a term invented to describe unguided munitions - unguided munitions being neither against international conventions nor considered controversial by any standing military force, East or West - now or at any other time in the history of warfare. They are simply ordinary bombs given an ominous title in the service of otherwise dishonest Western-driven war propaganda.

    The NYT's recent article recycling stories of "secret torture prisons" seeks to lump itself in with this propaganda blitz and more should be expected to follow.

    Among the propaganda there is nothing new - no new information, no new accusations, no new or inventive ways to repackage or resell it. Redacted pages of what is supposed to be "evidence" of the Syrian government's crimes looks instead like the NYT and its Western-government funded source - the CIJA - have something to hide - not something to expose.

    However - war propaganda alone cannot win a war. It can only enhance the strengths of a government or coalition who must already possess the means of winning any given war. The United States and its collaborators in its proxy war on Syria have already long-since lost. Ongoing propaganda campaigns only further undermine Washington's credibility and the credibility of media organizations serving its agenda.

    The NYT posting pictures of illegible, nearly fully redacted pages and claiming it is "evidence" comes across as self-inflicted satire.

    US government and corporate foundation-funded fronts like "Human Rights Watch" repeating these dubious accusations and outright lies also indefinitely cripple their own credibility.

    However dubious - ongoing propaganda still seeks to at the very least hamper and slow down Syrian security operations. The retaking of Idlib and the destruction of Al Qaeda's last significant base of operations in the country is key to stabilizing the region.

    As the US continues positioning itself for war with nearby Iran - a festering terrorist foothold like Idlib would serve as a serious liability for Iranian efforts to defend itself at home while dealing with a serious, sudden offensive launched out of Idlib against its Syrian allies.

    Thus it is key to expose and confront Western war propaganda at every juncture - no matter how ineffective it appears - to minimize its impact in this war - and every other Western war of aggression to come.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 13, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) 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.
    - Brookings Institution, "Which Path to Persia?" 2009
    For the second time since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal, Western reports of "suspected attacks" on oil tankers near the Stait of Hormuz have attempted to implicate Iran.

    The London Guardian in an article titled, "Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman," would claim:
    Two oil tankers have been hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman and the crews evacuated, a month after a similar incident in which four tankers in the region were struck.
    The article also claimed:
    Gulf tensions have been close to boiling point for weeks as the US puts "maximum economic pressure" on Tehran in an attempt to force it to reopen talks about the 2015 nuclear deal, which the US pulled out of last year.

    Iran has repeatedly said it has no knowledge of the incidents and did not instruct any surrogate forces to attack Gulf shipping, or Saudi oil installations.
    The Guardian would admit that "investigations" into the previous alleged attacks in May carried out by the UAE found "sophisticated mines" were used, but fell short of implicating Iran as a culprit.

    The article would note US National Security Advisor John Bolton would - without evidence - claim that Iran "was almost certainly involved."

    All Too Convenient

    This news of "attacked" oil tankers near the Stait of Hormuz blamed by the US on Iran - comes all too conveniently on the heels of additional steps taken by Washington to pressure Iran's economy and further undermine the Iranian government.

    The US just recently ended waivers for nations buying Iranian oil. Nations including Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China, and India will now face US sanctions if they continue importing Iranian oil.

    Coincidentally, one of ships "attacked" this week was carrying "Japan-related cargo," the Guardian would report.

    Also convenient was the US' recent designation of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) just ahead of this series of provocations attributed to Iran.

    AP in a May 2019 article titled, "President Trump Warns Iran Over 'Sabotaged' Oil Tankers in Gulf," would claim:
    Four oil tankers anchored in the Mideast were damaged by what Gulf officials described as sabotage, though satellite images obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday showed no major visible damage to the vessels.
    Two ships allegedly were Saudi, one Emirati, and one Norwegian. The article also claimed:
    A U.S. official in Washington, without offering any evidence, told the AP that an American military team's initial assessment indicated Iran or Iranian allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships.
    And that:
    The U.S. already had warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region. America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran.
    This more recent incident will likely be further exploited by the US to continue building up its military forces in the region, applying pressure on Iran, and moving the entire globe closer toward war with Iran.

    The US has already arrayed its forces across the Middle East to aid in ongoing proxy wars against Iran and its allies as well as prepare for conventional war with Tehran itself.

    All of this amounts to a renewed push toward a more direct conflict between the United States and Iran after years of proxy war in Syria Washington-backed forces have decisively lost.

    It is also a continuation of long-standing US foreign policy regarding Iran put into motion over a decade ago and carried out by each respective presidency since.

    Washington's Long-Standing Plans

    Continued sanctions and the elimination of waivers are part of Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the "Iran Nuclear Deal." The deal was signed in 2015 with the US withdrawing in 2018.

    While the decision is portrayed as political differences between former US President Barack Obama and current US President Donald Trump - in reality - the plan's proposal, signing, and then withdrawal from by the US was planned in detail as early as 2009 as a means of justifying long sought-after war with Iran.

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

    First with President Obama's signing of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, up to and including President Trump's attempts to backtrack from it based on fabricated claims Iran failed to honor the agreement.

    The 2009 policy paper also discussed "goading" Iran into war, claiming (emphasis added):
    With provocation, the international diplomatic and domestic political requirements of an invasion [of Iran] would be mitigated, and the more outrageous the Iranian provocation (and the less that the United States is seen to be goading Iran), the more these challenges would be diminished. In the absence of a sufficiently horrific provocation, meeting these requirements would be daunting.
    Unmentioned directly, but also an obvious method for achieving Washington's goal of provoking war with Iran would be the US simply staging an "Iranian provocation" itself.

    As the US had done in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident, or US fabrications regardings "weapons of mass destruction" Washington claimed Iraq held in its possession, the US has a clear track record of not just simply provoking provocations, but staging them itself.

    The Brookings paper even admits to the unlikelihood of Iran falling into Washington's trap, lamenting (emphasis added): is certainly the case that if Washington sought such a provocation, it could take actions that might make it more likely that Tehran would do so (although being too obvious about this could nullify the provocation). However, since it would be up to Iran to make the provocative move, which Iran has been wary of doing most times in the past, the United States would never know for sure when it would get the requisite Iranian provocation. In fact, it might never come at all.

    The alleged sabotaging of oil tankers off the shore of the UAE in May and now additional "attacks" this month could be the beginning of a series of staged provocations aimed at leveraging the recent listing of the IRGC as a "terrorist organization" coupled with increased economic pressure as a result of US sanctions re-initiated after the US' own withdrawal from the Iran Deal.

    Synergies Toward War

    The US has already attempted to leverage allegations in May of "Iranian sabotage" to further build its case against Iran. Washington hopes that either war - or at least the impending threat of war - coupled with crippling economic sanctions, and continued support of political and armed sedition within Iran itself will create the synergies required for dividing and destroying Iran's political order.

    In a wider regional context, the US has seen political losses particularly in Iraq where Iranian influence has been on the rise. Militarily, US-backed proxy forces have been defeated in Syria with Iran and Russia both establishing permanent and significant footholds there.

    Despite the setbacks, the success of Washington's designs against Tehran still depends mainly on America's ability to offer political and economic incentives coupled with equally effective threats to friend and foe alike - in order to isolate Iran.

    How likely this is to succeed remains questionable - decades of US sanctions, covert and overt aggression, as well as proxy wars have left Iran resilient and with more influence across the region now than ever. Still, Washington's capacity for sowing regional destruction or dividing and destroying Iran should not be underestimated.

    The intentional creation of - then withdrawal from the Iran Deal, the US' persistent military presence in the Middle East, and sanctions aimed at Iran all indicate that US policymakers remain dedicated isolating and undermining Iran. It will continue to do so until its geopolitical goals are met, or until a new international order creates conditions in the Middle East and throughout the global economy making US regime change against Iran impossible.

    Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 16, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The Western media along with multiple US and European funded "rights" groups have sounded the alarm over what they claim is a wave of assassinations and physical attacks on "activists."

    The particular target of these claims is Thailand.

    Articles like the Sydney Morning Herald's "'They sent an assassination squad': Thai exiles speak of life in fear," allege:
    The attacks on Thai dissidents and pro-democracy activists are becoming increasingly violent and are being felt across ASEAN countries. And for political exiles who are critical of the monarchy --many of whom are wanted for lese-majeste or royal defamation -- the attacks can be deadly.
    The article makes mention of those "deadly attacks," claiming:
    On New Year's Eve, two bodies washed up on the banks of the Mekong River on the Thai-Laos border. They were gutted and stuffed with concrete to weigh them down, and were later identified as belonging to colleagues of Surachai Danwattananusorn, who has spent decades opposing the monarchy and military regimes. Surachai himself has been missing since December 12.
    One problem with the Sydney Morning Herald's article is its omission of the fact that Surachai himself is a convicted murderer and belongs to a movement that readily uses violence. Another problem is that there is no evidence of who is behind these attacks or why.

    What remains is the West's now all-too-familiar accusations of "human rights abuse" aimed at coercing yet another targeted nation.

    "Missing Activists" Support Violence, Sedition

    The Union for Civil Liberty, funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), in a 1986 report would admit Surachai's role in various acts of politically-motivated violence including murder and arson.

    The report admits:
    Surachai led [an] angry mob of 30,000 to protect against the authorities; negligence of the flood victims in the province. The protest ended in the burning of the governor's residence. Surachai and 12 other people were detained but later released following the public pressure.

    Threatened with arrest and death, he took refuge in the junge areas under the control of the CPT [Communist Party of Thailand].

    Surachai was reportedly involved in the stopping of the train by CPT forces. This resulted in the disappearance of 1.2 million baht (US$ 46,154) and the death of a policeman. He later fled the scene.
    Surachai, for his role in the murder was arrested, found guilty in a court of law and sentenced to death.

    He was later pardoned by Thailand's king. The violence Surachai was involved in is now omitted completely from Western media coverage of him and others in his movement today, including the above cited Sydney Morning Herald article.

    Now 77 years old, he turned from "communism" to supporting US proxy, billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra. His advanced age and exodus from Thailand rendered him useless. Surachai by remaining "alive" leaves him a spent force with a checkered past and serving only as dead weight for the movement. Being "killed" transforms this dead weight into a "martyr."

    Other supposed "activists" who have fled abroad are either directly involved in or support Thailand's opposition headed by billionaire ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his political allies. This includes his street front, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) also known as "red shirts," who have carried out armed violence and terrorism since Shinawatra's removal from office in 2006.

    In one episode in 2010, Shinawatra's red shirts would field between 300-500 heavily armed militants on the streets of Bangkok leading to violence that claimed nearly 100 lives and left entire sections of Bangkok destroyed by arson attacks.

    Their penchant for violence isn't directed solely at Thailand's police, soldiers and civilians or their political enemies. It is often turned against themselves either through infighting, or through attempts to escalate political tensions by blaming the violence on Thailand's military or government.

    Thus, these "missing activists" could just of likely have fallen victim to their own circle of violent agitators, specifically to provoke the political pressure now being placed on Thailand's government by Western media outlets and "rights" organisations.

    Where is the Evidence?

    The other problem with the Sydney Morning Herald's article is that there is no evidence. In fact, the article literally says, "there is no evidence..."

    The article states specifically:
    [Human Rights Watch senior researcher Sunai Phasuk] said it was unclear who was behind the deaths and disappearances. The claims of squads travelling to neighbouring countries were serious and were unlike anything he had heard of before, but were unproven.

    "There's no evidence because there's no investigation," he said.
    However, Sunai's claim that there is no investigation is not true. The Bangkok Post in its article titled, "Police seek to identify bodies stuffed with concrete," confirmed that police were in fact investigating, they simply weren't drawing the same baseless, politically-motivated conclusions as Sunai.

    The Sydney Morning Herald wrote an entire story insinuating that the Thai government was hunting down and murdering activists who have not only long fled Thailand, but also have been long forgotten, all based on exactly "no evidence."

    The real question is, who benefits from these missing and dead "activists?"

    Who Benefits from Dead B-Squad "Activists?"

    These activists have no influence on Thai politics. Even those remaining in Thailand, who are by far more prominent and influential, have been unable to put together even the meagerest of protests, much to the frustration of their foreign sponsors.

    Thaksin Shinawatra's opposition party Pheu Thai lost the popular vote to the pro-military party Palang Pracharath who then went on to form a larger coalition than Shinawatra's and whose candidate for prime minister, Prayuth Chan-o-Cha, effortlessly won the vote inside parliament.

    Everything is going the Thai military's way, so why would they send death squads out to kill forgotten, elderly and otherwise ineffective agitators, thus attracting the very sort of damning attention the Western media is now paying to these claims?

    Such attention focused by the Western media has been used to sell entire US-European military interventions in places like Libya and Syria. There is nothing for Bangkok to gain by attracting this sort of attention to itself, but everything for a waning, desperate opposition to gain by turning such attention toward the government.

    The Thai opposition has shown a voracious appetite for violence and has regularly employed it toward achieving their political goals. They are now the only ones benefiting from the deaths of these otherwise forgotten "activists." The fact that these "activists" have been forgotten or otherwise ineffective makes them perfect targets for violence aimed at framing the Thai government. Their last "acts" have given the opposition an opportunity to use "human rights" to put the government on the defensive.

    For the Western media and the interests they serve, it gives them an opportunity to place pressure on a Thai political order that has been increasingly pivoting away from the West and toward stronger ties across Eurasia, particularly with Beijing.

    As these ties grow stronger, the West finds its traditional tools of coercion less effective. Previous tactics of using the Western media to smear Thailand's tourism industry are no longer effective, for example, because the vast majority of Thailand's tourists now come from within Asia and in particular, from China.

    Moving on to more serious accusations of "human rights abuses" means threatening more severe consequences against Bangkok. Of course, this also means greater incentives for Bangkok to double-down on building ties with Beijing, Moscow and other capitals in ASEAN while taking measures to further insulate itself from the West's toxic form of "diplomacy."

    The US and Europe has suffered a credibility deficit that only continues to get worse. So often have they, their media and their "rights" organisations accused other nations of such abuses, offering up no evidence or in this case even admitting "there is no evidence," it has blunted the effectiveness of these tactics. Together with the West's waning economic and military influence in places like Asia vis-à-vis China, they lack the force necessary to lend credibility to their multiplying threats aimed at a growing list of nations.

    By continuing to point this tactic out, not only will it spare Thailand from the fate of nations like Libya and Syria targeted by Western lies, it will make it easier to hold accountable those involved in targeting nations like Libya and Syria in the first place.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 18, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - After much uncertainty and a turbulent election, Thailand now has a new government led by its newly elected prime minister, Prayuth Chan-o-cha. This bodes well for Thailand's stability and development as well as its growing ties with its ASEAN neighbours as well as with China.

    For the US and its attempts to reassert "primacy" over Asia while encircling and containing the rise of China, the defeat of its "pro-democracy" proxies it is a nightmare.

    The Western media, their media partners in Thailand and a small army of US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) have decried the new government as a "dictatorship disguised as democracy."

    Articles like, "Thailand Junta Leader Named Prime Minister After Contentious Vote," published by the New York Times, set the tone of the West's backlash against the newly formed government, citing unqualified claims like, "an election marred by charges of manipulation" or depicting the opposition as being "pro-democracy."

    Absent from NYT articles and others across the Western media is any mention of who PM Prayuth Chan-o-Cha was really running against or why there was a coup in 2014 to begin with. This omission is deliberate, because its inclusion by the media would provide crucial context both justifying the coup and exposing the "pro-democracy" opposition as anything but.

    Putting Things in Context

    PM Prayuth led a 2014 coup, ousting the regime of Yingluck Shinawatra, which in turn served merely as a front for convicted criminal, fugitive and US-proxy Thaksin Shinawatra.

    From 2001-2006, Shinawatra had loyally served US interests as Thai prime minister. He privatised Thailand's energy concerns which were promptly bought up by US and European oil corporations, committed Thai troops to the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq, invited the US Central Intelligence Agency to use Thai territory for its extraordinary rendition programme and even attempted to pass a US-Thai free trade agreement without parliamentary approval.

    Additionally, Shinawatra carried out a brutal "war on drugs" which left over 2,800 innocent people dead in just 90 days and crippled free speech by suing, intimidating or outright killing critics, making him the worst human rights offender in Thailand's history. He also carried out sweeping abuses of power, including changing the nation's laws in order to sell his satellite concern, Shin Corp, to Singapore investors tax free.

    For this and Shinawatra's attempts to illegally consolidate power by eliminating his rivals which include Thailand's military, courts and constitutional monarchy, it is clear why he himself was ousted in a coup in 2006 and his sister ousted in a similar coup in 2014.

    Between 2006-2011 Shinawatra twice attempted to seize power by force, once in 2009 and again in 2010. The latter attempt included 300-500 heavily armed militants resulting in nearly 100 deaths and the destruction of several sections of Bangkok's downtown districts.

    He has been convicted of corruption and sentenced to now 4 years in prison with multiple arrest warrants issued against him.

    Despite being a fugitive, from 2011-2014 he openly ran his sister's government remotely from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

    In recent elections, Shinawatra openly headed his Pheu Thai Party (PTP) along with several other "hedge parties" fielded in case any one of them was disbanded. In fact one, Thai Raksa Chart, was disbanded. Another, Future Forward, had its leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit nominated as PM by Shinawatra's Pheu Thai itself.

    The fact a fugitive is to this day running these parties remotely or its obvious implications, is entirely omitted across the Western media.

    Despite accusations of Thailand's government being a "dictatorship disguised as democracy," PM Prayuth Chan-o-Cha's Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) won the popular vote. Together with its coalition partners including the Democrat Party and Bhumjaithai Party (BJT) it also formed the larger coalition with both the most actual votes and the most seats in parliament.

    Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit's Future Forward Party came in third, then joined a smaller coalition with Shinawatra's PTP. It is difficult to imagine in what sort of "democracy" the West believes the party with the least electoral support should lead the country.

    Might Makes Right, Until You're No Longer Mighty

    Washington's defacto appointment of Juan Guaidó as "president" of Venezuela is another, if not extreme example of the West's version of "democracy" in action. The sloppy, impotent regime-change campaign Washington is waging against Venezuela is owed to the United States' shrinking global influence; militarily, politically and economically.

    Likewise in Thailand, the West's media and local fronts funded by the US government find themselves weaker relative to growing regional economic, political and military power.

    At the same time, partners the West seeks to use to co-opt Thailand's institutions are also increasingly weak. Thaksin Shinawatra for example, was once among the top 5 richest people in Thailand. He is now 19th. Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit's family is not even in the top 20.

    Their waning wealth is coupled with their waning influence. They also suffer from a severe lack of credibility. Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit for example campaigned on a platform of ambiguous values including democracy, equality and human rights, yet at his family's auto parts factory he himself busted unions and denied workers collective bargaining rights.

    As nations across the developing world continue to claim larger shares of global markets and industries, US influence around the globe will continue to wane. With it will shrivel the various client regimes and opposition groups the US sponsors around the globe, including in Thailand.

    What's Next?

    Thailand's government now faces the challenge of consolidating its newly mandated power and moving development projects forward while continuing to build and balance regional and global ties.

    As Thai-Chinese military cooperation continues to expand and infrastructure projects continue toward completion, the ability of Washington to reverse its waning regional influence fades. As the US has done in other regions of the world where the window is now closing on American hegemony, it may turn to more drastic measures no matter how unsuccessful they might be.

    Domestically, the US-backed opposition will waste no time organising protests, violence and other measures to actively undermine the current government and the policies it seeks to implement. We should look out specifically for anti-Chinese "activism" and provocations aimed at souring ties between Bangkok and Beijing.

    With the Western media attempting to already set the stage for such protests, claiming the election has been "stolen" from the opposition (a sentiment not surprisingly echoing Thaksin Shinawatra's recent NYT op-ed), the machinations of yet another toxic US-backed colour revolution are already in motion.

    The media, being a bellwether of Western interests themselves, continuing its campaign of undermining the current Thai government indicates that the West is far from giving up on coercing or even overthrowing Thailand's current political order.

    When the protests begin, Thailand and the wider world must be prepared for the now familiar disinformation campaigns waged by the Western media, fronts posing as NGOs funded by Western governments and all the tricks used to provoke violence or portray the sitting government as being "violent."

    Hopefully, with the fates of Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela already in full view, the uphill battle of exposing similar meddling in Thailand will be made a little easier, making it that much harder for Washington.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 22, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - With little else to offer the nations of Southeast Asia, the US has opted instead to wield the familiar and well-honed weapon of political subversion to peel potential partners away from Beijing in Washington's continued bid to rescue its waning primacy in Asia-Pacific.

    The most recent manifestation of this can be seen in the Philippines where Manila has accused media front Rappler, founded by long-time CNN bureau chief Maria Ressa, and others of representing foreign interests and conspiring with foreign intelligence agencies in direct violation of the nation's constitution.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in its defense of Rappler would claim:
    First were the politically motivated state charges that funding provided to the news website Rappler by a U.S. philanthropic foundation represented a violation of constitutional provisions barring foreign control or ownership of Philippine media.

    Then came government allegations in April that journalists from independent media groups, including Rappler, the independent media organization VERA Files, and the non-profit Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, were involved in a conspiracy to discredit and oust President Rodrigo Duterte's elected government. All four outlets issued statements denying the allegation.

    Now, a pro-government media campaign claims that the same independent news outlets and the Philippine press freedom group Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility are in the pay of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a potential criminal offense under local law.
    The CPJ notes that all of the accused groups are openly and admittedly funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The CPJ admits (my emphasis):
    All four outlets receive substantial grants from the NED.

    Funded largely by Congress, NED was founded in the early 1980s as a way for the U.S. to openly promote democracy worldwide by providing annual grants to non-governmental groups, according to its website.

    The CPJ categorically fails to challenge what are the NED's own assertions that it is merely "promoting democracy worldwide."

    NED: The Public Face of (Often Violent) US Regime Change

    The NED's board of directors includes individuals openly involved in US-backed regime change including in Iraq, Ukraine and ongoing US regime change efforts in Venezuela.

    Board members including Francis Fukuyama and Elliott Abrams openly advocated the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 in which the government in Baghdad was toppled and its senior leadership murdered based entirely on now verified lies regarding supposed "weapons of mass destruction."

    Elliott Abrams is listed on the NED's website as "On Leave," having been appointed as a US special envoy for Venezuela amid ongoing efforts to overthrow the government there.

    The Guardian in an article titled, "US diplomat convicted over Iran-Contra appointed special envoy for Venezuela: Elliott Abrams, who was linked to failed coup against Chávez, to join Pompeo to urge security council to recognize Guaidó as head," would report:
    Elliott Abrams was appointed US special envoy for Venezuela on Friday, as Donald Trump's administration and European leaders on Saturday further increase the pressure on the socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, to step aside from leading the country he has taken into a deepening crisis.

    Abrams will accompany the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to a meeting of the UN security council in New York on Saturday, during which Pompeo will urge members to join the US in declaring Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate head of state.
    The Guardian also notes:
    Abrams is widely remembered in Central America, but particularly from his time in the Reagan administration, when he tried to whitewash a massacre of a thousand men, women and children by US-funded death squads in El Salvador, when he was assistant secretary of state for human rights.
    Other NED directors include Victoria Nuland who played a key role in leading US regime change efforts in Ukraine in 2014.

    Reuters in its article, "Leaked audio reveals embarrassing U.S. exchange on Ukraine, EU," would admit:
    A conversation between a State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine that was posted on YouTube revealed an embarrassing exchange on U.S. strategy for a political transition in that country, including a crude American swipe at the European Union.
    The article also admitted:
    The audio clip, which was posted on Tuesday but gained wide circulation on Thursday, appears to show the official, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, weighing in on the make-up of the next Ukrainian government.
    The convergence of senior US representatives openly and repeatedly involved in (often violent) regime change most certainly involving the CIA among myriad other US organisations within the halls of the NED is no coincidence.

    The NED exists to promote regime change worldwide, merely under the guise of "promoting democracy worldwide."

    The CPJ Defends US-funded Subversion Under Guise of "Press Freedom"

    The CPJ failed categorically to inform readers of facts surrounding the true nature of NED and its activities in its defence of Rappler.

    This however should come as no surprise. The CPJ itself is yet another shell organisation likewise funded by US corporate foundations for the purpose of promoting US interests. The CPJ does this by protecting fronts like Rappler under the guise of "press freedom" from the repercussions of engaging in US government-funded subversion.

    Fronts like Rappler serve as a propaganda "sword" while the CPJ exists as a "shield" to block efforts by targeted nations to defend themselves.

    The CPJ in its 2018 annual report (.pdf) is admittedly funded by corporate foundations like convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society Foundation, US corporations like pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and tech giants Twitter, Microsoft and Yahoo, financial institutions like Mastercard and Morgan Stanley and mainstays of Western media including Reuters, Vice, NPR, PBS, Time, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and NBC.

    Many of these interests funding the CPJ are involved in activities at the NED. Anne Applebaum, for example, is a senior columnist at the above mentioned Washington Post and serves as an NED director.

    The CPJ's defence of Rappler continues, claiming:
    Manila Times columnist Yen Makabenta, in an April 30 op-ed, called for the enactment of a foreign agents registration law to "tame in a hurry the intrusive criticism and interference in national affairs by these foreign-funded [media] organizations, whose activities are subversive by design." Makabenta continued, "Indeed, if they are working for a group like the CIA, they could be working to change the government."
    CPJ has chronicled how governments, including in Russia and China, have passed laws that require bloggers, journalists and civil society members to register as foreign agents in moves that threaten to obstruct the free flow of information, including over social media. Makabenta's op-ed suggested the Philippines should implement similar legislation.
    The U.S. government has denied the CIA is involved in any destabilization plot against Duterte. The U.S. ambassador responded to the claims by saying, "There is absolutely no effort by the CIA to undermine the Philippines leadership," according to reports.
    Makabenta's fears are well-founded.

    Even at a glance the NED's board of directors reflects the organisation's role in fueling regime change worldwide. NED-funded media fronts are demonstrably biased and transparent in their efforts to undermine targeted governments and to promote US-favoured politicians, political parties and opposition groups.

    The Philippines' Punishment for Building Bridges with Beijing

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has demonstrated a pattern of disobedience toward Washington, having previously threatened to expel US forces from Philippine territory, building closer ties with Beijing and even excluding Washington from bilateral talks held with Beijing seeking solutions to disputes over the South China Sea.

    For all of these reasons and more, President Duterte and others throughout the Philippines' establishment have become targets of US-backed subversion, the public face of which being NED-funded media fronts like Rappler.

    A similar pattern can be seen throughout Southeast Asia with NED-funded fronts like Prachatai, iLaw, Isaan Record and Benar News targeting the current Thai government headed by a Beijing-friendly military-led faction that twice ousted US proxy Thaksin Shinawatra and his political allies from power.

    It is difficult to say how long organisations like the CPJ can continue successfully defending fronts like Rappler under the guise of defending "press freedom." Only the CPJ's intentional omission of facts like the nature of the NED's board of directors and its extensive history of regime change allows the CPJ to portray its defense of Rappler and others taking NED funds as credible.

    Were the CPJ truly dedicated to defending press freedom it would note the danger of foreign-funded sedition dressed up as journalism and alert the public to how this above all else threatens to undermine a free press. Instead, the CPJ defends this abuse, thus ironically undermining genuine press freedom in the process.

    Should the Philippines enact an effective foreign agents registration law, other nations in the region might follow, delivering a severe blow to US meddling and pose as a further setback to US ambitions to reassert itself vis-à-vis China.

    With the US unable to compete with China's infrastructure-centred regional partnerships, and even lagging behind in the sale of military hardware, security partnerships and investments, political subversion is the last tool on offer. But maybe taking this last tool away from Washington could be a blessing in disguise. Without it, perhaps Washington will reevaluate other, more constructive methods of engaging with Asia-Pacific (and the rest of the world) based on mutual respect and benefits and above all, upon the primacy of national sovereignty.

    Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
  • June 24, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Another pivotal battle is being fought over Hong Kong between Beijing and political forces backed by the special administrative region's former British colonial masters.

    At the heart of the battle is a proposed law that will allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China, Taiwan or Macau.

    The BBC in its article, "Hong Kong lawmakers fight over extradition law," would claim:
    Critics believe the proposed switch to the extradition law would erode Hong Kong's freedoms.
    By "critics," the BBC is referring to US and British-backed opposition, with the article specifically linking recent protests against the proposed law to the US-funded "Umbrella Movement" demonstrations in 2014.

    The BBC would also remind readers of the conditions the British imposed on China as a condition of returning Hong Kong:
    Under a policy known as "One Country, Two Systems", Hong Kong has a separate legal system to mainland China.

    Beijing regained control over the former British colony in 1997 on the condition it would allow the territory "a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs" for 50 years.
    The BBC would also quote the last British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, as if to dispel any doubts over how the fault lines of this most recent political controversy formed, and the interests really driving opposition to the recently proposed law.

    Patten would claim the proposed law was, "an assault on Hong Kong's values, stability and security."

    Hong Kong's "values, stability and security" in this context reflects Western desires to maintain the region as a foothold not only for its interests in Asia-Pacific, but within China itself. The slow, incremental erosion of Western influence in Hong Kong and elsewhere across Asia-Pacific appears to be ending what has been centuries of European and then American primacy over the region.

    The West's Losing Battle for Hong Kong

    Colonised by the British Empire in the 1800s, Hong Kong served for over a century as an Anglo, then Anglo-American outpost in Asia-Pacific. Since its handover in 1997, Beijing has incrementally reasserted control over the territory.

    More recently, as China rises economically and militarily, Hong Kong has served as an indicator of waning Anglo-American domination over China and its peripheries.

    Beijing's strategy has been to avoid direct political confrontations with Hong Kong's dwindling US-funded opposition parties and to instead patiently develop surrounding territory, inundating Hong Kong with mainlanders who bring with them culture and politics aligned with Beijing and economic influence that is slowly displacing Western-leaning leftovers from British colonisation.

    Beijing's completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the opening of a Hong Kong-mainland high-speed rail link, along with the subsequent political and media backlash from the US and UK are recent examples of major setbacks for Washington and London in this ongoing battle for influence and the West's ungraceful retreat amid it.

    The extradition law, if passed, will set a precedence further eroding British demands imposed during the 1997 handover and will lead to an accelerated political and economic integration of Hong Kong.

    Beijing is set to maintain many of Hong Kong's unique economic and political characteristics, as it has done with other regions across the mainland. But it is clear that it will do so on its own terms, as China's own interests require. It is also clear that digging out Anglo-American influence from Hong Kong, root and stem, drives China's side of this ongoing political struggle.

    Despite the see-sawing nature of this struggle, unless global economic factors change drastically, China's continued rise along with the continued erosion of Washington's and London's unipolar international order all but ensures the inevitable and complete marginalisation of Western-backed political and economic forces based in Hong Kong.

    Hong Kong's gradual integration into Beijing's wider plans for China as a whole is a microcosm of what to expect in regards to other holdouts of Anglo-American influence, including those forces in Taiwan determined to continue using the island as a point of leverage for Washington against Beijing.

    The degree of patience and fairness exhibited by or absent from Beijing's approach to Hong Kong will serve as an example either fostering cooperation across the rest of Asia, or aiding Western efforts to fuel paranoia and division across the region and around the world in a bid to contain China's further rise.

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

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