US Meddling: Washington Backs Fugitive, Terrorist in Thailand

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

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


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

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

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

US Meddling 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Will Turkey Back or Break Militants in Northern Syria?

August 20, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Syria once again finds itself at another critical juncture. Having secured virtually all territory in the nation's southwest, Damascus' attention is now fixated on Idlib in the north.

Reuters has recently reported on a so-called "National Army" based in northern Syria that appears poised to confront Syrian efforts to restore peace and security nationwide.


In an article titled, "Syrian rebels build an army with Turkish help, face challenges," Reuters would claim:
A “National Army” being set up by Syrian rebels with Turkey’s help could become a long-term obstacle to President Bashar al-Assad’s recovery of the northwest...
Reuters would also report:
The National Army compromises some 35,000 fighters from some of the biggest factions in the war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced some 11 million people from their homes over the last seven years.
And:
Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, has vowed to recover “every inch” of Syria, and though he has now won back most of the country, the Turkish presence will complicate any government offensive in the northwest.
The idea of having NATO military forces on the ground in Syria, providing protection for Western-backed militants in safe-havens has been stated US policy since the beginning of the Syrian conflict.

Seeking Safe-Havens Since 2012

The Brookings Institution - a US-based corporate-financier funded policy think tank - in its March 2012 "Middle East Memo #21" titled, "Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change" (PDF), stated explicitly that (emphasis added):
An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.   
The document would also state in regards to a NATO invasion of Syria that:
Turkey would have to be willing to provide the logistical base and much of the ground troops for the operation. Turkey is best placed of any country to intervene in Syria: it has a large, reasonably capable military; it has vital interests in Syria; and its interest is in seeing peace and democratic transition. 
While Brookings policymakers noted Turkey's hesitation to do this in 2012 due to fears that Syrian Kurds might be used in some form of retaliation, the dynamics have since shifted due to Turkey's incremental occupation of northern Syria and Washington's minding of Kurds east of the Euphrates River.

Building a Better Proxy Army

Another more recent Brookings paper titled, "Building a Better Syrian Opposition Army" (PDF), published in 2014 would designated both Jordan and Turkey as potential bases from which to train and deploy a US backed "Syrian opposition army."

The plan included the seizure of a significant swath of Syrian territory after which the US could recognize the militants as the "new provisional Syrian government," then lend them more direct military, political, and economic support. In northern Syria, particularly around the city of Idlib, a slow-motion version of this plan has been unfolding for years, under the protection of the Turkish military.

Of course, both Brookings papers were written before Russia intervened directly in the Syrian conflict in 2015. Iran also has a sizable presence in Syria. Militant-held territory has been retaken all the way up to the Syrian-Jordanian border and Syrian forces are reportedly mobilizing for operations against Idlib itself.

Ankara and Washington also appear to be at odds, while at the same time, Ankara has been making overtures toward Moscow and Tehran. Of course, all of this could be geopolitical theater. It is not unprecedented for nations - particularly those aligned to the US - to feign a shift in policy only to backtrack and double down. Turkey is heavily dependent on Europe in particular economically and the vector sum of its foreign policy still appears to favor Western interests.

Turkey Created and Backed Terrorists. Turkey is Still Harboring Terrorists 

Turkey still finds itself overseeing a nearly verbatim execution of stated US foreign policy in northern Syria. The militant groups it has consolidated and harbored under its protection have been refitting and rearming - many of them having been flushed out from across Syria as Damascus and its allies retake the country. These are groups that have rejected peace deals and have rejected offers to join Syrian forces in the fight against extremists still holding out across the country.

In many cases, these militants come from groups either fighting under Al Qaeda's banner, or alongside it. 

Turkey still finds itself overseeing one of the last bastions of anti-government militancy in Syria - the other being US-occupied eastern Syria.

Only Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran's intelligence services can know for sure what Ankara's intentions are, what its true disposition is in northern Syria, and what if anything Turkish forces can or will do if Syrian forces begin retaking Idlib.

For Damascus and its allies, promises and good will from Ankara must be coupled with realist provisions to ensure good will is the only good option Ankara has to choose from.

Ultimately, one of the last showdowns in Syria's long-fought war to foil Western-sponsored terrorism and subversion will be in territory Turkey has harbored US-backed anti-government militants in. Only time will tell if these militants are incrementally disbanded and Turkish forces withdraw thus bringing this conflict one step closer to an end, or a dangerous standoff with Turkey - mirroring Israel's illegal occupation of Syria's Golan Heights - begins.

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

America's War on Yemen Exposed

August 14, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - As atrocities and scandal begin to mount regarding the US-backed Saudi-led war on the impoverished nation of Yemen, the involvement and hypocrisy of the United States and other Western backers is coming to full light.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Abetting War Crimes, Sponsoring Terrorists to What End? 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thai Political Crisis: What the Western Media Omits

August 13, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Political pressure is mounting in the Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand ahead of anticipated elections early next year. However, political analysts across the West have consistently portrayed Thailand's political crisis as if existing in a vacuum divorced from geopolitics.


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

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

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

Mention of US and European Meddling  

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


3D Printed Guns: Debating Inevitability

August 11, 2018 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - 3D printing and other forms of computer-controlled manufacturing have allowed nations, companies and even individuals the ability to go from consumers to producers. As this technology improves and costs drop, access to this technology and the ability of the technology itself will increase, making it possible for virtually anyone, anywhere to make virtually anything.


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

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

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

3D Printed Guns 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Push Back? 

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

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