EXPOSED: US Lobbyists Behind Thai "Opposition"

November 11, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

Documents have surfaced exposing US corporate lobbying behind one of Thailand's supposed "pro-democracy" opposition parties, Future Forward Party (FFP).

Future Forward, headed by union-busting nepotist billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, was revealed to be aided by US-based corporate lobbying firm, APCO Worldwide.

Who are These Lobbyists? 

APCO Worldwide, in turn, is directed by representatives of not only the US government itself, but some of the largest and most corrupt US corporations. These include Alcoa, Xerox, Dow, Cargill, Standard Charted Bank, Boeing, GE, Procter & Gamble, Morgan Chase, Nike, Starbucks, NBC, CNN and Goldman Sachs.

In addition to representatives of weapon manufacturers, banks, corporate media and abusive agricultural giants, there are also intelligence officers, former US ambassadors and various government officials working mainly for Republican presidents (Ronald Reagan and George Bush) serving on APCO's international advisory council.

This is despite APCO's deliberately dishonest attempts to pose as a liberal/progressive organisation.

The disturbing convergence of overreaching, abusive special interests represented by APCO's advisory council is in fact a reoccuring theme across US lobbying firms, many of which are just as inclined to function as "handlers" of foreign political figures as they are hired lobbyists for them.

Thailand-based English newspaper The Nation in its article, "Govt to probe Thanathorn’s hiring of US lobbyists," would report:
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said today (September 27) the government will probe the leader of Future Forward Party Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit for hiring American lobbyists under contract to allegedly discredit the Thai government through political activities.
Thanathorn and FFP's defence is that the hiring was "in line with US law," apparently disinterested in how his activities may have been "out of line with Thai law," Thanathorn being a member of parliament in Thailand, not the US.

Considering who APCO really represents and the immense conflict of interest that arises, a serious question of who Thanathorn really works for must be asked.

Of lesser importance, perhaps, is the questioning of Thanathorn's self-proclaimed "popularity." If his "popularity" is simply the result of a billionaire hiring lobbyists, yet another facet of Thanathorn's fraudulent political activity is revealed.

A History of US Lobbying for US-backed Opposition  

Thanathorn's predecessor, billionaire and now fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra, is likewise buttressed by significant US lobbying. Since his ouster in 2006, Thaksin has received lobbying services from Edelman, Baker Botts, Barbour Griffith & Rogers, Kobre & Kim and Amsterdam & Peroff.

US Embassy Pressures Thailand Over Monsanto Poison Ban

November 3, 2019 New Eastern Outlook

Under Thailand's new government, efforts to ban toxic pesticides and herbicides including those made by US agricultural giant Monsanto were first accelerated, and have now finally succeeded.

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul bluntly stated that "the US was worried only about trade. The Thai government was concerned about the health of Thai consumers," in response to complaints from the US embassy over the ban, Bangkok Post would report in its article, "Govt rejects US opposition to farm chemicals ban." 

The article also reported that: 
In particular, the United States is opposing the ban on glyphosate, an informed source said, citing a copy of a US embassy letter sent to the prime minister and seven other cabinet ministers requesting a delay in imposition of the ban, and a review. 

A copy of a document from the US Department of Agriculture supporting the US assertion that a ban on glyphosate will affect Thai imports of US soybeans and US wheat was enclosed with the letter.
The article would also note:
The [Thai] government has rejected US opposition to its decision to ban use of three toxic farm chemicals, the herbicides paraquat and glyphosate and the pesticide chlorpyrifos.
The current government's refusal to bend to US demands has received wide praise from both the public and organisations such as the Biothai Foundation involved in pushing for the ban, Thai PBS would report in their article, "PM praised for not responding to US appeal to postpone the ban on glyphosate."

The ban will go into effect on December 1 of this year.

Who Does the US Embassy Serve?  

Contrary to what many believe, US embassies around the globe do not represent the American people, but rather the small handful of corporate-financier interests that own a vast, disproportionate majority of America's wealth.

The US embassy in Bangkok demonstrates this by peddling poisons facing backlash even back home, while contesting decisions made by Thailand's sovereign government and attempting to place pressure on Thailand to reverse decisions made about its own internal affairs.

Complaints passed by the US embassy to the Thai government were written by US Under-Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney.

Thai PBS would reveal in its article that:
Delving into McKinney’s background, Biothai said the US official had spent about 19 years working for Dow Agro-Sciences, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company, which specializes in not only farm chemicals, but also seeds and biotechnology solutions. 

Biothai said McKinney’s letter was an attempt to protect the interests of US chemical companies and not the interests of the American people or Thai farmers and consumers.
Of course, Biothai is correct. McKinney's letter, McKinney himself along with the US embassy, protect and serve the interests of large US companies and not the interests of the American people or the Thai people the US embassy is supposed to be building constructive relationships with.

Asian Separatism Fuelled by US-backed Groups

October 31, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

Thailand's opposition faces sedition charges after conducting a seminar in Thailand's troubled deep south where they recommended amending the Thai constitution and paving way for the nation's territorial division.

Thailand's English language newspaper The Nation in an article titled, "Army's sedition charges against opposition, academics 'could aggravate southern conflict'," would report (my emphasis):
On Thursday, sedition charges were pressed against 12 people, including six key opposition party leaders and academics who have been campaigning to amend the charter. The group held a seminar in Pattani on September 28. Speaking at the event Chalita Bandhuwong, a lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology Faculty of Social Sciences at Kasetsart University, called for the amendment of Section 1 and said the current Constitution could not resolve the prolonged political violence in the deep South. Section 1 states that Thailand is one and an indivisible Kingdom.
Predictably leaping to the accused's defence is a familiar collection of US-funded fronts posing as human rights advocates. Citing "free speech," these fronts ignore the fact that even in the Western nations sponsoring their daily activities, calls for a nation's division and destruction is not protected as "free speech" any more than the violence and terrorism used to answer such calls falls under "freedom of expression."

Thailand's opposition lost recent elections with billionaire fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra's Phue Thai Party (PTP) losing the popular vote to the military-linked Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP). Coming in distant third was nepotist billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and his Future Forward Party (FFP) which includes among its ranks staff drawn from US government funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations.

While Future Forward campaigned as being distant and even opposed to Thaksin's Pheu Thai, Thanathorn and his party literally campaigned side-by-side with Pheu Thai and now jointly acts with Pheu Thai on every issue, including at the above mentioned seminar, revealing it as little more than a poorly disguised subsidiary of Thaksin's political machine.

Divide and Conquer Across Asia 

Divide and conquer is a tried and tested tool of empire. It was expertly used by the Romans over two millenia ago, perfected by the British Empire more recently and is eagerly used by its Transatlantic heirs in Washington today.

Across Asia, separatism and the division and destruction that often accompanies it can be seen working its way through various nations of the continent. China in particular faces multiple fronts seeking to carve out territory at Beijing's expense.

US-funded agitators in Hong Kong have demanded independence from China under threat of burning the special administrative region to the ground if their demands are not met.

In western China, US-Saudi funded extremists seek to carve the Xinjiang region out of China's borders and create a new nation they and their Washington sponsors call "East Turkestan."

Tibet has also weathered decades of US-funded sedition stretching back to the 1950s.

China's closest allies in Asia also face growing political conflict stirred up by US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded fronts.

Cambodia has been working diligently to uproot US NED-funded networks from its streets, airwaves and across its information space online.

US Agitators in Asia "United" Over Hong Kong Chaos

October 24, 2019 New Eastern Outlook

Despite the chaos created across Hong Kong, the vast majority of the region's inhabitants do not support the growing violence nor do they benefit from it in any way.

As is typical in other regions of the world the US is meddling, a lack of local support is often remedied by attempting to create links and synergies between various US meddling in different nations.

During the 2011 Arab Spring the US literally imported terrorists and weapons it used in the overthrow of the Libyan government to Syria in an attempt to oust the government there.

In Ukraine, the US and its Ukrainian allies recruited right-wing extremists from around the globe to fill the ranks of "volunteer" Neo-Nazi militias.

Now in Hong Kong, similar synergies and ties are surfacing.

US-Backed Thai Opposition Conspiring with Hong Kong Agitators 

A recent Reuters article titled, "China denounces Thai politicians for show of support to Hong Kong activists," would report:
The Chinese embassy in Bangkok has condemned Thai politicians for showing support for Hong Kong activists involved in anti-government protests, saying it could harm the relationship between the two countries.
These "Thai politicians" belong to the US-backed opposition led by union-busting nepotist billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and his patron, fugitive billionaire and ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra along with their collective political machine.

Reuters would report:
The [Chinese] embassy criticism, in a statement on its official Facebook page late on Thursday, came days after Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong posted a picture on social media with prominent Thai opposition politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.
Thanathorn and Wong met at the London-based Economist sponsored "Open Future Festival" held in Hong Kong, Reuters reported. The Open Future Festival and particularly the event held in Hong Kong focuses primarily on contesting China's sovereignty over Hong Kong.

Reuters also noted that:
Thanathorn said he was not involved with the Hong Kong protests. He also said he respected Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law, and supported freedom of expression. 

“I have always supported people’s rights to peaceful self-expression. I wish to see the situation in Hong Kong resolve,” Thanathorn said in a Facebook post.
Thanathorn's support for the Hong Kong opposition and their demands that the British-instituted "Basic Law" be upheld should come as no surprise.

Thanathorn himself along with is political party "Future Forward" have few well defined policies but those that are involve cancelling joint Thai-Chinese infrastructure projects including high-speed rail projects already under construction, as well as the cancellation of Thai-Chinese military arms deals and cooperation.

Thanathorn's pro-Western stance is further reflected by the fact that his party hosts several "founding members" drawn from US government-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations including "Prachatai" which poses as an "independent media platform" despite being funded and directed out of Washington and being headed by a literal "fellow" of the Washington-based US National Endowment for Democracy, Chiranuch Premchaiporn.

Singapore: Hong Kong Protesters' Demands are Unrealistic

October 21, 2019 New Eastern Outlook 

It is interesting to note where the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore sits amid the shifting poles of global power between East and West.

Once a British colony, the tiny island nation has since served as a barometer indicating the ebb and flow of Western influence over Asia, and now, the ups and downs of China's emergence as a regional and global power.

As China's rises regionally and globally, Singapore has shrewdly positioned itself to both benefit from its rise, while continuing to cultivate useful ties with the West. This creates a balance of interests that work to prevent any one nation from gaining too much influence over (or within) Singapore.

Singapore's view regarding ongoing protests in China's Hong Kong region is a good example that reflects these dynamics, with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong undermining the narratives the Western media has been spinning for the unrest.

Singapore's PM is Right 

Bloomberg in its article, "Hong Kong Protest Demands Are Unrealistic, Singapore PM Says," reported:
Protesters in Hong Kong are making unrealistic demands in an effort to take down the government, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. 

“Those are not demands which are meant to be a program to solve Hong Kong’s problems,” Lee said at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore on Wednesday. “Those are demands which are intended to humiliate and bring down the government. And then what?”
Firstly, Prime Minister Lee is entirely right.

The protests, confirmed to be the work of foreign interests seeking to undermine and destabilise China, seek only to tear down the current government with no practical plan for what will replace it.

Myanmar Turns to China's Huawei Despite US Pressure

October 8, 2019 New Eastern Outlook

The Southeast Asian state of Myanmar, despite pressure from Washington, has decided to work with Chinese telecom company Huawei to develop its national 5G communication network. 

The move by Myanmar is just one among many by the entire region to build ties with China despite extensive efforts by the US and some Western European nations to encircle and isolate Beijing economically, politically and even militarily.

If ever there was an indicator of just how real the delcine of US primacy was particularly in Asia, it is this steady march of joint progress being made between the nations of Asia and China.

US State Department-funded media platform Voice of America (VOA) in its article deceptively titled, "Myanmar to Keep Huawei Despite Security Concerns," would complain:
Myanmar has decided to keep using Chinese technology company Huawei to develop its new mobile communications system. 

The decision comes despite national security concerns about Huawei by the United States and some other countries.

Huawei Technologies is currently working on building the next generation in wireless technology in countries around the world. The development of 5G has caused tensions between the United States and China. U.S. officials have long suspected the Chinese government could use Huawei network equipment to help carry out spying activities. Huawei has rejected such accusations. 
It is only well into the third paragraph that the VOA article begins to admit "security concerns" regarding Huawei are in reality simply accusations made up by the United States and based on nothing resembling evidence or documented impropriety.

VOA finally admits that beyond alleged concerns regarding "national security," the US has targeted Huawei because it conflicts with US "foreign policy interests."

In other words, Huawei is outcompeting US corporations abroad and rather than look inward at the shortcomings of American industry and fixing them, the US is instead attacking Huawei politically through accusations and economically through sanctions.

Spot the Difference: Real Spying vs. Accusations of Spying 

For those wondering what genuine concerns over security should be based on, the BBC in its 2014 article titled, "Edward Snowden: Leaks that exposed US spy programme," covers irrefutable, documented evidence of the US government abusing its monopoly over telecommunication networks to carry out unprecedented spying at home and abroad.
The scandal broke in early June 2013 when the Guardian newspaper reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans. 

The paper published the secret court order directing telecommunications company Verizon to hand over all its telephone data to the NSA on an "ongoing daily basis". 

That report was followed by revelations in both the Washington Post and Guardian that the NSA tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, to track online communication in a surveillance programme known as Prism.
Of course, the revelations made public by Edward Snowden's whistleblowing went far deeper than Prism, involving invasive US spying efforts carried out with the help of not only telecommunication companies, but also software makers and even US-based hardware manufacturers.

MIT Technology Review in its article, "NSA’s Own Hardware Backdoors May Still Be a “Problem from Hell”," would reveal:
Revelations that the NSA has compromised hardware for surveillance highlights the vulnerability of computer systems to such attacks.
In 2011, General Michael Hayden, who had earlier been director of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, described the idea of computer hardware with hidden “backdoors” planted by an enemy as “the problem from hell.” This month, news reports based on leaked documents said that the NSA itself has used that tactic, working with U.S. companies to insert secret backdoors into chips and other hardware to aid its surveillance efforts.
The US is thus guilty in reality of everything it is baselessly accusing Huawei of and serves as another example of the sort of "American exceptionalism" that has poisoned the globe's perception of America.

Vietnam Begins Reclaiming Info-Space From US Tech Giants

October 4, 2019 New Eastern Outlook

In yet another sign of waning Western hegemony, the Southeast Asian state of Vietnam has begun the long-overdue process of reclaiming its information space from US tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google. 

Reuters in its article, "Facebook-style app launches in Vietnam amid tightening internet rules," would report:
A Facebook-style social network was launched in Vietnam on Tuesday, following calls by the Communist-ruled government for domestic tech companies to create alternatives to U.S. tech giants Facebook and Google. 

Gapo, a mobile app that lets users create personal profiles and share posts to a Facebook style “news feed”, has received 500 billion dong ($21.55 million) in funding from tech corporation G-Group, its chief executive, Ha Trung Kien, said.
Reuters then complains that the move sought to grant the Vietnamese government tighter control over political dissidents. Reuters omits, however, that the vast majority of these "dissidents" are in fact funded out of Washington.

Just as Washington has done worldwide, it is using its deep partnership with US-based tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google to interfere in and influence Vietnam's internal politics.

As is becoming increasingly obvious, control over national information space is nearly as important to controlling a state, its people and resources as controlling actual, physical territory.

Vietnam's move to create local alternatives and displace Facebook's (and other foreign tech giants) from its information space is a matter of both national security and common sense.

Turning West's Hypocrisy Against it 

It is particularly ironic to see articles published by Reuters complaining about the spectre of "Vietnamese censorship" growing simply because the nation has opted to reclaim its information space from foreign firms.

This comes on the heels of Reuters and US-backed "human rights" advocates who recently lauded Facebook and Twitter censorship targeting accounts publishing content critical of Western foreign policy by claiming it was "fake news" and those involved were engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behavior." .

Now nations are turning the tables on the United States and its stable of political agitators using precisely the same rhetoric. The creation of tougher cybersecurity laws and now the creation of Facebook alternatives seeks to root out vectors of malign US influence aimed at the internal, sovereign affairs of nations like Vietnam.

We need not imagine what the US reaction would be to a Russian social media giant dominating US information space and using that platform to organise political unrest within US territory itself.

The US has already baselessly made similar claims and used these accusations to cast a wider net of censorship across its own, global-spanning social media networks targeting and purging accounts, organisations and individuals who simply oppose US foreign policy, policy that directly affects everyone worldwide, not just Americans.