British Hijack Iranian Ship: Another Day, Another Provocation

July 17, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Had Iran openly hijacked a vessel of any nation, for any reason, plying through waters anywhere on Earth, the US and its allies would immediately cite it as a provocation toward war.


In fact, even without evidence, suspiciously timed attacks carried out last month on tankers passing through the Persian Gulf were cited by Washington and London as a pretext for increased pressure on Tehran despite the attacks appearing staged by the West itself.

Now in a display once again illustrating just who the actual menace is to global peace and stability, the British have openly - even proudly - hijacked a ship carrying Iranian oil allegedly bound for Syria.

The Guardian's article, "Iran fury as Royal Marines seize tanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria," would report:
Royal Marines have helped seize an Iranian supertanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria off the coast of Gibraltar, escalating tensions between the UK and Tehran as the agreement aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear programme unravels. 
A detachment of nearly 30 British troops working with the Gibraltarian police intercepted the vessel, believed to be carrying 2m barrels of oil, in a dramatic manoeuvre Spain said had been conducted at the request of the US.
The article would quote the British ambassador to Iran who claimed:
[The UK] welcomes this firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities.
 As to why the UK believed it was justified to hijack the Iranian tanker - the article would cite "sanctions against the regime of Bashar al-Assad" the UK and EU placed on Syria - which are in themselves illegal and an act of war.

Stealing Ships from Stolen Land to Enforce Illegal Sanctions 

The UK's presence in Gibraltar itself is a point of contention between London and Madrid.

Spain does not recognize British claims over the tiny piece of land located at the furthest tip of the Iberian Peninsula. The British presence is one of its many holdovers from its imperialist past. The British presence gives the UK a choke point over the Strait of Gibraltar and all shipping passing through it.

The fact that the British are using the disputed territory of Gibraltar to hijack ships or that the London Guardian is trying to depict it as an operation undertaken while "working with the Gibraltarian police" - when the "Gibraltarian police" are nothing more than functionaries representing London itself - provide a clear illustration of how foreign policy, media, and crimes against international law are being coordinated, justified, and sold to the public by Washington and London.

While Iran has regularly threatened to impede shipping through the Stait of Hormuz in retaliation to Western military aggression - it has never acted upon these threats - reserving them as a means of last resort.

The British and Americans - on the other hand - have literally implicated themselves in disrupting "freedom of navigation." 

The US and UK both pose as international arbiters and underwriters of what they call "the freedom of navigation" of the world's seas. They regularly accuse nations like China of impeding such "freedom" in the South China Sea - using these accusations as an excuse to build up a military presence off China's shores - thousands of miles from their own shores.

They have also regularly cited Iran's "threats" to shipping through the Strait of Hormuz as another reason Iran should be further pressured, sanctioned, and its government ultimately removed from power.

Yet by hijacking Iranian ships, or likewise intercepting North Korean vessels, or the ships of any nation based on sanctions unilaterally and illegally imposed by Washington, London, and Brussels implicates the West themselves as the primary threat to the very "freedom of navigation" of the world's seas they claim to uphold.

Provoking War 

From Western policy think tanks to policymakers and politicians themselves - the West has all but admitted it is trying to goad Iran into war.

Sanctions, Western-sponsored terrorism aimed at Iranian territory itself, and provocations - like the recent hijacking of an Iranian tanker - all aimed at Tehran - are moves seeking to trigger a response from Iran that will justify even wider Western economic sanctions and military aggression.

And if Iran fails to provide such a provocation, one might be staged and blamed on Iran anyway.

These are the actions of outlaw nations presiding over a fading international order - one fading specifically because it is so transparently unjust, lopsided, and disruptive toward global stability. It has persisted for so long solely through the maxim of "might makes right."

The British stealing ships from stolen land to enforce illegal sanctions is a vulgar display of "might makes right," but one that may possibility be reaching its expiration.

The countervailing multipolar order emerging across Eurasia has an opportunity to oppose this flagrant provocation - not merely on Iran's behalf - but to erode the impunity that will allow the US and UK to target the ships of other nations in a similar fashion if afforded impunity to do so to Iran now.

For Tehran, it will need to continue exhibiting "maximum patience" while enduring Washington and London's "maximum pressure" campaign - avoiding the traps both have laid out for Tehran as they attempt to bait the nation into war and change their failing fortunes in the Middle East and around the globe.

The British - still a thorn in the side of global peace and stability despite losing most of its empire - presents us with a preview of what to expect from America even long after it fades as sole global hegemon. Learning to put the UK's recent provocations in check now will help develop the tools necessary to put in check its future provocations - and those the US will find itself also depending on more and more often in the future.

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

BBC Says China Building Schools is "Bad"

July 14, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - China's recent building-spree of schools in its underdeveloped and remote region of Xinjiang - in a saner world - would be good news. But for editors at the BBC it is being depicted as sinister and dystopian.


The BBC's article, "China Muslims: Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families," attempts to depict boarding schools - a concept popular in the UK itself - as a "form of interment" and "cultural re-engineering."

The BBC's article claims:
China is deliberately separating Muslim children from their families, faith and language in its far western region of Xinjiang, according to new research. At the same time as hundreds of thousands of adults are being detained in giant camps, a rapid, large-scale campaign to build boarding schools is under way.
The "new research" conducted by the BBC is admittedly not even being done in China itself. The BBC admits:
China's tight surveillance and control in Xinjiang, where foreign journalists are followed 24 hours a day, make it impossible to gather testimony there. But it can be found in Turkey.
"Testimony" gathered in Turkey - one of the nations abetting US efforts to fuel radicalism and separatism in Xinjiang in the first place - is accompanied by satellite photos taken from outer space of vacant lots in Xinjiang being transformed into newly built schools complete with football pitches and jogging tracks.

The images are only proof that China is building schools in Xinjiang. Not of any of the claims being made by the BBC of "internment" or "cultural re-engineering." The inclusion of the images is meant to serve as convincing stand-ins where actual evidence of the BBC's otherwise baseless accusations should be.

The BBC Omits the Real "Cultural Re-Engineering" in China's Xinjiang 

The BBC has been one of the leading voices promoting claims of Xinjiang "concentration camps," "one million Muslims" being detained, and now the "internment" of children in schools.

The BBC - however - has been relatively quiet for years over genuine cultural re-engineering taking place in Xinjiang - funded by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and abetted by nations like Turkey and even the UK itself through its propaganda and political support of such efforts.

The LA Times in a 2016 article titled, "In China, rise of Salafism fosters suspicion and division among Muslims," would reveal:
Salafism is an ultra-conservative school of thought within Sunni Islam, espousing a way of life and prayer that harks back to the 6th century, when Muhammad was alive. Islamic State militants are Salafi, many Saudi Arabian clerics are Salafi, and so are many Chinese Muslims living in Linxia. They pray at their own mosques and wear Saudi-style kaffiyehs.
The article also noted (emphasis added):
Experts say that in recent years, Chinese authorities have put Salafis under constant surveillance, closed several Salafi religious schools and detained a prominent Salafi cleric. A once close-knit relationship between Chinese Salafis and Saudi patrons has grown thorny and complex.
 And that:
...Saudi preachers and organizations began traveling to China. Some of them bore gifts: training programs for clerics, Korans for distribution, funding for new "Islamic institutes" and mosques.
This pervasive radicalism has translated directly into real violence - another fact omitted completely from the BBC and other Western media coverage of events in Xinjiang.

China's efforts to reverse the growing influence of Salafism - such as collecting deliberately mistranslated copies of the Koran published and distributed by Saudi Arabia to promote radicalism - have been depicted by the Western media as religious oppression with all context intentionally omitted.

That the BBC claims China building schools teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture in China is "cultural re-engineering" while overlooking Saudi Arabia building Salafist networks thousands of miles away from its borders fuelling very real extremism in western China to begin with - helps fully reveal recent BBC reports on Xinjiang and China's Muslim community as pure propaganda.

Salafism as a Geopolitical Tool 

Not only does the BBC intentionally omit mention of extremism and violence in regions like Xinjiang or how it came to be, the BBC is also omitting the fact that Salafism itself was admittedly spread worldwide by Saudi Arabia as a geopolitical tool.

In the pages of the Washington Post, the Saudi Crown Prince would recently admit:
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.
Wahhabism is closely related to Salafism and the terms are often used interchangeably. The Crown Prince's admission refers specifically to the Cold War and the Soviet Union, but it is abundantly clear that these networks didn't simply vanish with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they evolved.

They are now used to help feed extremists into Washington's many proxy wars around the globe including in Libya and Syria. They are also being used to pressure nations across Asia and to create a pretext for a continued US military presence in Asia-Pacific.


Cambodia Warns of Foreign Regime Change "At Any Cost"

July 10, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - US and European-driven regime change efforts persist even in Asia where socioeconomic progress and stability have been on the rise. So persistent are these efforts that regional leaders have openly warned about them recently.


Reuters in its July 4th article, "Cambodian PM says those seeking 'regime change' risk return to war," would claim:
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose government is accused of suppressing human rights, said on Thursday that foreigners were risking returning his country to war through what he called stirring up turmoil and seeking regime change.
The article also stated (my emphasis):
Cambodia had risen from poverty to becoming a lower middle income country, and it aimed to graduate to the upper middle income by 2030 and high income by 2050, he said. But some groups and institutions maintained “a single political agenda of regime change at any cost”, Hun Sen added. 
Reuters would continue by reiterating claims that the current Cambodian government is guilty of a variety of abuses including "trying to silence dissent" according to "U.N. experts" and the European Union.

What Reuters omits from its article is that virtually every aspect of this "dissent" is funded and directed by Washington.

Cambodian Dissent is Made in America 

Just as Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen alluded to, many of the "dissidents silenced" are media platforms literally run by foreigners. This includes the US State Department-funded and directed Voice of America and Radio Free Asia as well as the previously American-owned and operated Cambodia Daily newspaper.

There are also political entities like the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) whose members regularly operate out of Washington D.C. itself.


CNRP leader Kem Sokha has openly admitted to Washington's role in propping up his party and its bid to seize power in Cambodia not through elections, but through the same sort of destructive colour revolutions that have swept through Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The Phnom Penh Post in its article, "Kem Sokha video producer closes Phnom Penh office in fear," would go over the many admissions made by Kem Sokha: 
“...the USA that has assisted me, they asked me to take the model from Yugoslavia, Serbia, where they can changed the dictator Slobodan Milosevic,” he continues, referring to the former Serbian and Yugoslavian leader who resigned amid popular protests following disputed elections, and died while on trial for war crimes.
“You know Milosevic had a huge numbers of tanks. But they changed things by using this strategy, and they take this experience for me to implement in Cambodia. But no one knew about this.”

“However, since we are now reaching at this stage, today I must tell you about this strategy. We will have more to continue and we will succeed.”
Kem Sokha would elaborate further, claiming:
“I do not do anything at my own will. Their experts, professors at universities in Washington, DC, Montreal, Canada, hired by the Americans in order to advise me on the strategy to change the dictator leader in Cambodia.”
Beyond US-funded media and a political party virtually run out of Washington D.C., there are so-called nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) entirely dependent on US and European financial assistance and who use (some might say, abuse) "human rights advocacy" in a one-sided effort to advance the opposition's political agenda.

These include Licadho funded by USAID and the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) funded by US National Endowment for Democracy-subsidiary the International Republican Institute, Open Society, the British and Australian embassies as well as Canada Fund.

Mentioning any of this would have given Cambodian PM Hun Sen's comments not only crucial context, but also obvious justification to both his government's concerns and the measures they've taken to combat this extensive foreign interference. Instead, Reuters elected to omit this information from their article.


US vs China: Smartphone Wars

July 7, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - If Washington's goal was to pressure and isolate China by targeting smartphone giant Huawei, it seems to have accomplished the exact opposite. In the process, the US has only accomplished in exposing its own growing weakness and unreliability as a trade partner amid a much wider, misguided and mismanaged "trade war."


While we're only talking about smartphones and economic competition, however fierce, the outcome of this smartphone battle amid a much wider trade war will have an impact on global power and who wields it in the years to come.

Losing Ungracefully  

By May 2019, Huawei had firmly climbed to the number two spot in global smartphone sales at the expense of US-based Apple. By the first quarter of 2019 it had shipped 59.1 million phones compared to Apple, now third place, at between 36-43 million phones, IDC (International Data Corporation) reported.

IDC and many other articles based on its data would note that while Huawei and Apple have traded places in the past over who held second place among global smartphone sales, Huawei's ascension this time seemed much more permanent.

Those watching the trajectory and inner workings of both tech giants will have noticed Apple's decline as endemic internal management problems coupled with growing global competition tattered its reputation and consumer appeal.

Was it just a coincidence that just as first quarter sales data emerged, the US announced one of its more dramatic turns amid its wider trade war with China? The Trump administration would announce a ban on all American-made goods to Huawei including microchips made by Intel and Qualcomm as well as the Android operating system (OS) made by US tech giant Google.

Coupled with this move was a public relations blitz across the US media and their partners working within nations moving closer to China. In Thailand, for example, local media trained and influenced by US interests attempted to undermine consumer confidence in Huawei in the wake of US sanctions against the company.

This one-two punch was a partial success. Sales did slump and Huawei was faced with significant obstacles. But significant obstacles are not the same as insurmountable obstacles, and overcoming obstacles is often how true competitors strengthen themselves.

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger 

For Huawei, a tech giant integral to China's wider economic and political success upon the global stage, it has all the resources and support it needs to weather the toughest of storms.

In the wake of US sanctions, and even in the lead up to them, Huawei has begun to source critical parts from non-US companies. It is also investing significantly in its own in-house alternatives to US manufactured microchips and even in an alternative OS to replace Android.

Digital Trends in its article "Huawei’s Android-alternative operating system: Everything you need to know," helps illustrate just how determined Huawei is to overcome these obstacles.

The fact that work on the OS supposedly began as early as 2018 indicates that Huawei executives are under no illusions regarding American goodwill. If America is to play nicely with Huawei and other Chinese companies, it will be because Huawei and other Chinese companies took steps leaving the US no other choice but to do so.


Why is The Financial Times Smearing Thailand?

July 2, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Southeast Asia has become a defacto battleground for the wider war waged between the United States and an emerging China.


The nation of Thailand, possessing the second largest economy in ASEAN and a pivotal partner for China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has just emerged from turbulent elections in which US-backed "pro-democracy" parties were defeated both at the polls and in parliament leaving Thailand's military-linked political party in control.

As previously warned, the United States has no intention of simply accepting the defeat of its political proxies in Thailand. Instead, it has shifted toward undermining political and economic stability.

The bulk of this effort comes in the form of the Western media and associated "nongovernmental organisations" (NGOs) funded by the US and Europe but operating inside of Thailand.

An example encapsulating these efforts comes to us from the Financial Times. Its article, "Thailand remains the sick man of south-east Asia," published by "FT Confidential Research" attempts to portray Thailand as especially ailing economically.

Yet the narrative and graphs constituting the article are clearly manipulated to merely give the impression of a lagging economy, intentionally taking many facts out of context and dishonestly conflating different trends with Thailand's ongoing political developments.

While we all most likely understand the ability of influential media platforms to manipulate statistics to portray virtually any reality they wish to sell the public, it is still worth looking at just how FT does this in regards to Thailand and to understand why.

Regional GDP: Comparing Apples and Mangos 

FT claims:
Since 2014, GDP growth has limped along at an average 3.6 per cent, far slower than the other Asean 5 economies, which have expanded at rates of between 5 and 6.2 per cent in that time.

GDP growth depends on a many factors. It depends on domestic and global economics, the type of economy a nation possesses and the stage at which it is developing. More established economies have slower GDP growth. While their growth rates may be smaller than other nations, their GDP itself is larger.

For Thailand, despite having the fourth largest population in ASEAN, it possesses the second largest GDP.

It's economy and infrastructure is well developed and comparing its GDP growth to nations still in the process of achieving similar development is poor analysis.

Since the writers at FT are undoubtedly aware of this, their "poor analysis" is intentional, hoping to exploit the perceived ignorance of their readers while portraying Thailand's economy of "ailing" while conflating "limping GDP growth" with the current government.

Conflating Global Economic Trends with Thai Leadership 

Unless Thailand's Prime Minster Prayuth Chan-o-Cha is behind a global economic downturn, conflating his administration's policies with a decrease in exports and consumer spending is another example of FT's intentionally "poor analysis."

Worst of all, FT even admits that a weakening global economy was behind the slump, but still insists on blaming the current government for it anyway.