The ICC and NGOs: Modern Day Manifestations of "The White Man's Burden"

March 23, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) is not international nor a legitimate court, but is most certainly criminal.


It is an institutionalized tool - one of many - used by Western corporate-financier interests to coerce and control nations across the developing world.

In a recent charade aimed to boost its otherwise nonexistent credibility, the ICC has claimed it seeks to investigate the United States for war crimes regarding Afghanistan. It also claims it is investigating the United Kingdom regarding Iraq.

However, the ICC has - since its first case in 2003 - been used primarily against targets of Western interests - with a particular emphasis on Africa and Eastern Europe. Not a single Western government or individual has been prosecuted by the ICC despite having committed the worst war crimes of the 21st century.

Looked Good on Paper...  

On paper, the International Criminal Court seems like a good idea. This is probably why many nations signed and ratified the statute giving it its supposed mandate. However, as with many good ideas in theory, in practice the ICC falls tragically short.

Unsurprisingly, the ICC's shortcomings stem from its little-discussed but very lopsided funding and the obvious resulting conflicts of interest.



An African Business article titled, "Who Pays For the ICC?" would explain it best, noting (emphasis added):
The maximum amount a single country can pay in any year is limited to 22% of the Court’s budget. The ICC spent €80.5m in 2007. The Assembly of States Parties approved a budget of €90.38m for 2008 and €101.23m for 2009. By April 2009, the ICC employed 743 people. 

 There are two points of immediate concern regarding the ICC budget. The first that while the Court theoretically sets a cap on funding at 22% of its budget from any one country, considerably more than 50% of its 2009 budget funding came from EU member countries. Thus, the contributions to the ICC’s 2009 budget clearly illustrated the continuing European hold on the Court’s funding.
The article would also explain (emphasis added):
The EU, through its member states, paid 60% of the 2009 budget of €94.17m. If one includes – as the EU does in its statements regarding the ICC – those other European states which it says are candidate or potential candidate members of the EU and those other European nations that associate themselves with the EU position, the European contribution comes to a cool 63%. The EU, therefore, clearly, and probably unconstitutionally, financially dominates the ICC.
A look at the ICC's finances in the form of a chart further highlights the disparity in funding and reveals the ICC not as an "international" court, but a political tool of Western Europe and in particular - the European Union. When three of the "Five Eyes" nations are included and considering Japan's geopolitical subordination to Washington - the disparity is even more obvious.

If these nations collectively wage war and commit war crimes together, why would they not also abuse the ICC's mandate to redirect the court's efforts away from them, and toward yet other targets of their own self-serving interests?

The disparity, conflicts of interest, and demonstrable impropriety resulting from this lopsided funding has prompted nations to leave the ICC - with many more remaining, but demanding reform.


US and Soros Take Stab at Thai Elections

March 21, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Western regime change efforts have intensified ahead of upcoming elections in Thailand. Opposition groups attempting to take power and remove Thailand's powerful, independent military from Thai politics have received extensive, well-documented funding and political support from Washington, London, Brussels, and Western corporate foundations, including the most notorious of all - George Soros' Open Society Foundation (OSF).


One such front - Human Rights Watch (HRW) - has recently released a report condemning upcoming elections as undermining the "right to vote."

To understand Soros-funded propaganda published by HRW, one must first understand why Thailand has been targeted for regime change in the first place.

Why Thailand?

The Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand serves as a pivotal regional hub economically and geopolitically. It has the second largest economy in ASEAN and remains the only Southeast Asian state to have avoided Western colonization.

While some analysts still cling to Cold War-era stereotypes regarding Thailand's role in the US-led war against Vietnam, the country has since dramatically pivoted away from Washington.

Thailand's military in particular has begun replacing its aging American weapons with Chinese, Russian, and European weapons. This includes everything from small arms to Russian Mi-17 transport helicopters, European warplanes, Chinese main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs), and even Chinese-built ships and submarines.

Thailand has also become a key partner in China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. High-speed rail lines are already under construction with proposals for the construction of more lines entering final negotiations.

While Thailand - by necessity - still maintains ties with the West, and Western allies like Japan - it is clear that it has balanced out these ties - with the momentum of Thai foreign policy tilting decisively in favor of Eurasia at Washington's expense.

For all of these reasons and more, the US has been involved in long-term regime change efforts in Thailand, starting at least as early as 2001 with billionaire and former Carlyle Group adviser Thaksin Shinawatra's ascent into political power.

By 2001 it was already clear that China's rise regionally and globally was imminent and that the process of encircling and containing Beijing had become a priority for US foreign policy. Placing proxies like Thaksin Shinawatra into power in Thailand was aimed at creating a unified front of US client states along China's peripheries.

Soros in Thailand 

Geopolitical analyst Jean Perier's article, "After Bleeding Thailand Dry, Soros is Going in for the Kill," provides a detailed history of the 1997 Southeast Asian financial crisis and the role Soros' financial speculation played in - first precipitating it - then exploiting it. The crisis also created a vector for Western political subversion.

Shinawatra's rise to power in the wake of the financial disaster was meant to rebuild Thailand according to Washington's designs. Shinawatra quickly consolidated political power, attempting to built a one-party state under his and his Western sponsors' control.

He also took multiple steps toward transforming Thailand into a US client state - including committing Thai troops to the illegal US invasion of Iraq in 2003, inviting the US CIA to use Thai territory as part of its global "rendition program," the privatization of Thailand's national oil and gas conglomerate PTT, and an attempt to pass an unpopular US-Thai free trade agreement without parliamentary approval.

He also indulged deeply in a myriad of human rights abuses and abuses of power, which eventually provided Thailand's institutions with a pretext to finally remove him from power through a military coup in 2006.


New US Ambassador to Australia Obsessed with China

March 17, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - US Ambassador to Australia Arthur Culvahouse Jr. wasted no time at his new diplomatic post to begin strong-arming Canberra into adopting Washington's confrontational policy vis-à-vis Beijing.


A Reuters article published by the South China Morning Post titled, "China using ‘payday loan diplomacy’ in the Pacific, claims new US ambassador to Australia," would claim:
China is using “payday loan diplomacy” to exert influence in the Pacific, the new US ambassador to Australia said on Wednesday, in comments that threaten to inflame regional tensions. 

The United States and its regional allies have been battling China for greater influence in the Pacific – a region that has votes at international forums like the United Nations and controls vast swathes of a resource-rich ocean.

The geopolitical competition has seen both sides increase foreign aid to the region in recent months, which the West says is needed to prevent the Pacific falling into financial distress and becoming susceptible to diplomatic pressure from Beijing. 
The Reuters article would continue by claiming:
The arrival of Culvahouse, the first US ambassador to Australia in more than two years, comes at time of bilateral tensions between Canberra and Beijing. 

In 2017, then Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull accused China of meddling in domestic affairs. In 2018, Canberra banned companies linked to foreign governments from investing in its nascent 5G network, effectively blocking China’s Huawei.
The article also mentions counter-pressure applied on Australia regarding coal China imports, but describes it instead as, "how Beijing is using trade to punish Canberra for its criticism," despite already admitting it is in direct retaliation for Australia's use of trade to punish China first.

The American people for whom Ambassador Culvahouse is a representative, must be perplexed over this diplomat's obsession with China rather than fulfilling his duties of representing the United States in Australia itself.

As the United States does with many other allies, it is attempting to turn Australia into a partner-proxy in Washington's own confrontation with China.

In the process of this otherwise unsustainable confrontation, Washington risks dragging Australia down with it, when Australia could instead be bilaterally resolving issues with China and building constructive relations throughout Asia-Pacific, all while redefining for itself a more positive role in the region, breaking free from its historical role as an extension of Anglo-American hegemony.

Geography 101: China is Located in Asia, the United States is Not 

Interestingly enough, Reuters failed to notice that China is actually located in Asia-Pacific, while the United States is not.

Just as the US is expected to exert a certain amount of influence in North America where it is actually located, it is not unreasonable to expect China to do likewise in Asia. That US foreign policy seems formed around the notion that the US, not China, should hold primacy in Asia is both counterintuitive and fundamentally flawed.


VIDEO: Summary of OPCW's Douma, Syria Report

March 3, 2019 (LD) - Via 21st Century Wire - Patrick Henningsen (21WIRE) and Mike Robinson (UK Column) do a quick overview of the final OPCW report on the April 7, 2018 alleged "chemical attack" in Douma, Syria, just a day before Syrian government forces finally retook the area from US-sponsored terrorists.


Other points to consider include a similar yellow canister turning up at a nearby militant-run bomb factory as well as similar craters on nearby buildings as those the two yellow canisters involved in the supposed attack allegedly passed through - suggesting the canisters might have been placed near pre-existing damage.

Both points - regarding a similar canister found in a militant bomb factory and similar craters in nearby buildings - were specifically noted in the OPCW report itself.  

Assad's Tehran Visit Signals Iran's Victory in Syria

March 9, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - For the first time since war broke out in Syria in 2011, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has travelled to Iran to meet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

President Assad had only travelled outside of Syria on two other occasions during the war - both times to Russia.

The significance of the trip cannot be understated - it was a message sent to those who orchestrated the proxy war against Syria that Damascus has prevailed and instead of driving a wedge between it and its allies in Moscow and Tehran - it has only drawn these regional powers closer together.

The symbol of solidarity between Syria and Iran comes at a time when Washington finds itself vacillating between a full withdrawal from Syria, a redeployment to Iraq, or an attempt to drag out the conclusion of the Syrian conflict for as long as possible by keeping US forces there indefinitely.

The Washington Post in its article, "Syria’s Assad visits Iran in rare trip abroad," would admit:
U.S. officials said Trump’s decision authorizing a small number of U.S. troops to stay is a key step in creating a larger multinational observer force that would monitor a so-called safe zone along Syria’s border with Turkey. The buffer zone is meant to prevent clashes between Turkey and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. It is also aimed at preventing Assad’s forces and Iran-backed fighters from seizing more territory.
The US will also seek to preserve militants - many of which are openly aligned with designated terrorist organizations - still occupying the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib.

While the US has certainly failed in its goal of regime change in Syria and even as it appears weak and confused regarding its policy in Syria and the Middle East in general - its potential to prolong the Syrian conflict and leave the nation more or less permanently divided persists.

Iran is in Syria for Good 

President Assad's visit to Iran was not only a symbolic gesture of gratitude for Iran's role in helping Syria prevail over US aggression - it is also a clear sign that Iranian influence has only grown in Syria. Iranian-backed militias have spread across both Syria and Iraq to confront US and Persian Gulf-backed terrorists including various factions of Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) itself.

Washington's gamble banked on what it had hoped would be a relatively quick regime change operation following along the same lines as the US-backed proxy war in Libya. The Syrian government was meant to fold quickly - the US appears not to have anticipated its resilience nor the eventual Russian military intervention in 2015. Washington may also not have anticipated the scale and efficacy of the commitment made by Tehran.

Instead of liquidating one of Iran's allies thus further isolating Tehran ahead of US-backed regime change efforts aimed directly at Iran - the terrorist proxies the US and its regional partners sponsored in Syria served as impetus for Tehran to broaden and deepen the presence of its forces - including militias sponsored by Iran - across the region, and specifically in Syria and Iraq.

US policy papers predating the 2011 proxy war against Syria - including the RAND Corporation's 2009 publication titled, "Dangerous But Not Omnipotent : Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East," noted that much of Iran's domestic and regional policies revolved around self-defense.

The RAND paper itself would note:
Iran’s strategy is largely defensive, but with some offensive elements. Iran’s strategy of protecting the regime against internal threats, deterring aggression, safeguarding the homeland if aggression occurs, and extending influence is in large part a defensive one that also serves some aggressive tendencies when coupled with expressions of Iranian regional aspirations. It is in part a response to U.S. policy pronouncements and posture in the region, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Iranian leadership takes very seriously the threat of invasion given the open discussion in the United States of regime change, speeches defining Iran as part of the “axis of evil,” and efforts by U.S. forces to secure base access in states surrounding Iran.
RAND also noted Iran's preference for asymmetrical warfare over conventional military forces and the use of resistance militias across the region. The report would note:
Some of Iran’s asymmetric capabilities are threatening. Because of its inferior conventional military forces, Iran’s defense doctrine, particularly its ability to deter aggressors, relies heavily on asymmetric warfare. Iranian strategists favor guerilla efforts that offer superior mobility, fighting morale, and popular support (e.g., the Hezbollah model in Lebanon) to counter a technologically superior conventional power— namely, the United States.
These militias would end up playing a significant role in neutralizing both asymmetrical forces sponsored by the US and its regional partners, as well as conventional military forces deployed by the US and Europe in both Syria and Iraq. It is clear that US policymakers were aware of Iran's capabilities - and either ignored them or believed their own plans had sufficiently accounted for them.