Hong Kong's Paradoxical "Independence" Movement

June 21, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Prominent Hong Kong opposition leader Edward Leung was sentenced to 6 years in prison for assaulting police and his role in leading riots in 2016.


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

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

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

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

Hong Kong "Independence" = Dependence on Washington  

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


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


Atlantic Council Lies Dashed "On the Rocks" in Syria

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


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

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

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

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

Alleged Rationale for Syrian CW Use is Illogical at Face Value 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Tales of North Korean Abuses: No Facts, All Fiction

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


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

Rumors Built Upon Rumors 

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

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

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

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

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


Is Trump-Kim Deal Really Peace Or Is It A Set Up For War?

June 14, 2018 (Brandon Turbeville - Activist Post) - Presidents Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are perhaps the two most unpredictable leaders in the world with everyone wondering from day to day what new provocative statement will be ushered from official channels. However, the two most unpredictable leaders appear to have found common ground, perhaps even kindred spirits, during the course of the Singapore Summit when both men came away with an apparent mutually beneficial deal that will see the de-escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.


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

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


Manufacturing Dissent: US NGO's Build Opposition in Thailand

June 9, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Should decidedly anti-British government organisations be found across the United Kingdom to be funded and directed by Russians, we could only imagine the reaction. Even whispers of hints of Russian influence have resulted in legislation, sanctions and quite literally years of punditry warning of the Kremlin's insidious reach.


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

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

Hiding US Funding 

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


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

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

Implications of NED Funding 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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