Thailand: US Creating "Space" For Destabilisation

December 13, 2017 New Eastern Outlook    

In late November, the US, Canadian and British embassies along with several other European partners as well as the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Amnesty International, organised what they called the "Isaan Human Rights Festival" in northeast Thailand.

Foreign embassies have funded and directed a number of events to breath new life into the political proxies of ousted former prime minister, Thaksin Shianwatra in pursuit of regime change in Thailand. 

US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded media front, the "Isaan Record" in its article, "Rare human rights event gathers Isaan communities and foreign diplomats," claims (our emphasis):
The 8th Annual Isaan Human Rights Festival brought together 17 communities from across the region, activists, scholars, and international and Thai students. Ambassadors from Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom were in attendance, as well as political officers from Canada, the European Union and the United States. National Human Rights Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit also attend the event. 

Hosted by Mahasarakham University’s College of Politics and Governance, the festival opened a rare space to discuss the human rights situation in the Northeast.
While the US-funded media outfit mentioned funding provided by the Germany-based Heinrich Böll Foundation, it failed to mention other sponsors whose logos were clearly visible in media used throughout the event.

Creating Space for Destabilisation and Conflict 

The foreign-sponsored "festival" takes place against the backdrop of a currently dormant Thai political crisis. In 2014, the Thai military ousted then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister and publicly admitted proxy of Thaksin Shinawatra, a convicted criminal hiding abroad to evade a jail sentence and who was himself ousted in 2006 in a similar coup.


Look Who's Interfering: Tillerson's Thai Election Comment

December 10, 2017 New Eastern Outlook  

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a press statement regarding Thailand's National Day. In it he expressed diplomatic greetings and well-wishing to the Thai people, but failed to resist also expressing American exceptionalism - stating, "we look forward to Thailand holding elections next year."


While the statement may seem rather innocuous at first glance, it is anything but.

Returning a Murderous Proxy to Power 

Thailand's elections have been put on hold, following a 2014 military coup ousting the US-backed regime of Yingluck Shinawtra who served openly as her brother Thaksin Shinawatra's proxy.

Thaksin Shinawatra resides abroad in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a convicted criminal evading a 2-year jail sentence for abuse of power. He too was ousted from power in a military coup in 2006.

Before being removed from power, he oversaw a brutal "war on drugs" in 2003 that left nearly 3,000 extrajudicially killed in the streets over the course of just 90 days. He also attempted to unilaterally sign a US-Thai free trade deal without parliamentary approval, sent Thai troops to participate in the US invasion of Iraq, and allowed Thai territory to be used as part of the US CIA's extraordinary rendition program.



Since being deposed from power in 2006, Shinawatra has organized street mobs, militants, and terrorists, killing scores of people, conducting campaigns of mass arson, bombings, and assassinations as part of his bid to seize back power.


ISIS Helps US Keep Military's Foot in Philippines' Door

December 7, 2017 New Eastern Outlook  

Current US ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, recently congratulated the Philippines' armed forces and the US military for their successful completion of KAMANDAG, a joint military exercise held for the first time this year.


The US embassy in the Philippines on its website noted that:
KAMANDAG, which will run until October 11, is an acronym for the Filipino phrase “Kaagapay Ng Mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat,” or “Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea,” emphasizing the close partnership between the Philippine and United States militaries. KAMANDAG will increase overall U.S. and Philippine readiness, improve bilateral responsiveness to crises in the region, and further reinforce our illustrious decades-long alliance. Leading up to the commencement of KAMANDAG, AFP and U.S. forces completed bilateral humanitarian and civic assistance projects at schools earlier this month in Casiguran, Aurora.
The embassy also made particular note that the exercise would "increase counterterrorism capabilities," which is particularly convenient considering the current crisis Manila faces on its southern island of Mindanao, where parts of the city of Marawi are still being held by militants linked to the Islamic State.


The US and the Global Artificial Intelligence Arms Race

December 4, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already widely used by tech firms worldwide for everything from search engines to social media. It is also increasingly being developed for other applications including monitoring systems and decision making. Experimental platforms are already being tested that can review medical records and images to diagnose patients. There are also autonomous AI agents being developed and tested that carry out and defend against cyberattacks.


While the US is perceived to hold a large advantage in this crucial and ever-emerging technological field, Russian and Chinese leadership have publicly recognized the importance of AI and the need to prevent any one nation from monopolizing it.

Russian media would report regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin's regarding the future of AI that:
Vladimir Putin spoke with students about science in an open lesson on September 1, the start of the school year in Russia. He told them that “the future belongs to artificial intelligence,” and whoever masters it first will rule the world. 

“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
Regarding Beijing's view on AI, Chinese media would report that:
China unveiled a national artificial intelligence (AI) development plan on Thursday, aiming to build an AI technologically world-leading domestic industry by 2030. 

Released by the State Council, the plan formulates the key strategy for the development of China’s AI industry.
Russia and China's recognition of the importance of AI in both economic and national defense terms has been noted by US policymakers and industry leaders who seek to maintain what is, for now, a primarily American dominated industry.


US Looks to Southeast Asia to Unleash its ISIS Hordes

November 26, 2017 New Eastern Outlook  

Western think tanks have been increasingly busy cultivating a narrative to explain the sudden and spreading presence of militants linked or fighting under the banner of the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (ISIS) across Southeast Asia.


This narrative - these think tanks would have audiences believe - entails militants fleeing Syria and Iraq, and entrenching themselves amid supposedly sectarian conflicts in Southeast Asia. The think tanks conveniently never mention how tens of thousands of militants are funding the logistical feat required to move them to Southeast Asia or sustain their militant operations in the region once they arrive.

Among these think tanks is the so-called International Crisis Group (ICG). In its report, "Jihadism in southern Thailand – A phantom menace," it claims:
The decline of the Islamic State (ISIS) and the advent of ISIS-linked violence in South East Asia evince the possibility of a new era of transnational jihadist terrorism in the region. 

Recurring, albeit unsubstantiated, reports about ISIS activity in Thailand have prompted questions about the vulnerability of the country’s Muslim-majority deep south and, in particular, its longstanding Malay-Muslim insurgency to jihadist influence.
While ICG claims that "to date" there is no evidence that ISIS has made inroads in southern Thailand, it warns:
But the conflict and a series of ISIS scares in Thailand are fanning fears of a new terrorist threat. Such fears are not irrational, though they are largely misplaced and should not obscure the calamity of the insurgency and the need to end it. 

Direct talks between insurgent leaders and the government are a priority; a decentralised political system could help address the principal grievances in the south while preserving the unitary Thai state.
In essence, ICG is warning of a crisis it itself admits is unlikely, then recommends that Bangkok pursue a course of action it already is taking - talking with militant leaders in its southern most provinces.


Western Journalists Use Bangkok For Regional Agitation

November 24, 2017 New Eastern Outlook   

The so-called Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT) is located in downtown Bangkok and includes the regional offices of many of the United States' and Europe's largest media organizations. It also includes a large, swank clubhouse complete with a restaurant and bar, where events are held.


The FCCT on its website offers a lengthy, self-aggrandising and somewhat incoherent explanation as to what function it actually serves, claiming:

The FCCT moved into a penthouse floor with access from a corridor already filling up with foreign media offices. The Maneeya today houses AsiaWorks, the BBC, ABC, ITN Channel 4, NBC, InFocus, Al Jazeera and the Financial Times, among others. This guarantees the FCCT constant journalist traffic, imbuing it with the feel of a genuine press club. It has a good bar and decent enough kitchen but makes no pretensions to emulating the grandeur of its counterparts in Hong Kong or Tokyo - nor the fakeness of the "FCC" in Cambodia, a bar and restaurant with one of the best views in Asia but no hacks. 
In reality, it is a regional hub where US and European lobbyists and agitators, posing a journalists, coordinate events, programmes and propaganda campaigns targeting not only Thailand itself, but Thailand's Southeast Asian neighbours.

Image: FCCT aiding in political stunt on behalf of ousted regime.
It was at the FCCT, the club proudly boasted, that former education minister and political lieutenant of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Chaturon Chaisaeng held a press conference to grandstand while turning himself into the military after the 2014 coup. It was organised specifically to have the cameras of the West's biased media machine capture the moment soldiers arrested him, depicting Thailand as a state overwhelmed by a brutal military dictatorship.

The FCCT claims that by hosting the army's spokesman the next week, the FCCT is "doing something right" by playing an impartial and unbiased role. Those familiar with Thai politics and the absolutely biased nature both events were spun in favour of the ousted Shinawatra regime and the interests in Washington, London and Brussels sponsoring him, and at the cost of the new government's credibility, know otherwise.


How Modern Empire Uses "Awards" to Keep Servants Loyal

November 21, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

Nineteenth century French military and political leader Napoléon Bonaparte once said, "a soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon," recognising a fundamental aspect of human nature he readily exploited to bolster his now famous campaigns of European conquest.



Human beings value recognition. Today, it drives the addictive nature of social media platforms. Facebook co-founder Sean Parker recently admitted that the ubiquitous social network platform was designed intentionally to exploit this and become "addictive."

In the Guardian's report titled, "Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human 'vulnerability'," Sean Parker would describe what he called a "social-validation feedback loop," explaining that:
“How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” It was this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the “like” button that would give users “a little dopamine hit” to encourage them to upload more content. 

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

This social-validation feedback loop utilising the "like" button is merely the most recent innovation in social engineering, and the latest iteration of Bonaparte's "bit of coloured ribbon." 

Keeping Servants Eager and Loyal 

Combining traditional methods and modern innovations in social engineering, modern day empires extend their influence through media, activist, political and business circles around the globe. In addition to boosting modern social media accounts of their handpicked proxies, facilitators and agents, they also maintain an impressive network of organisations that both manage and direct "soft power" efforts as well as reward eager and loyal functionaries.