Chinese-Thai Military Cooperation Expanding

September 18, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

Recent news of Bangkok signing a 6.5 billion Thai Baht deal with China to procure a naval landing ship (a landing platform dock or LPD) further illustrates growing ties between Beijing and Bangkok in the sphere of military matters.



The Thai Royal Navy's only other ship of similar capabilities is the HTMS Angthong, built by Singapore, Bangkok Post reported.

The deal comes in the wake of several other significant arms acquisitions made by Bangkok in recent years including 39 Chinese-built VT-4 main battle tanks (with another batch of 14 being planned), China's Type-85 armoured personnel carriers and even the nation's first modern submarine made by China expected to be in service by 2023.

These are more than merely arms deals. The purchasing of sophisticated weapons systems like submarines and ships will require closer military cooperation between Beijing and Bangkok in order to properly train crews, transfer critical knowledge of maintaining the vessels and operate them at sea.

There are also joint Thai-Chinese weapon development programmes such as the DTI-1 multiple rocket launcher system.

The interoperability that is being created between Thai and Chinese armed forces (and arms industries) ensures ample opportunity for joint training exercises and weapon development programmes in the future, several of which have already been organised, with many more on the horizon.

The Myth of Thai Subservience to Washington 

Thailand is often labeled a close "non-NATO ally" of the United States by both the United States itself and many analysts still clinging to Cold War rhetoric.

However, today's Thailand is a nation that has significantly expanded its cooperation with China and not only in military matters, but across economic spheres as well.

Thailand's lengthy history of weathering Western colonisation that otherwise consumed its neighbours is a story of adeptly playing great powers against one another and ensuring no single nation held enough power or influence over Thailand to endanger its sovereignty. This is a balancing act that continues today, with Thailand avoiding major confrontations and overdependence on outsiders by attempting to cultivate a diversity of ties with nations abroad.

Thai cooperation with nations like the United States, particularly now, is done cynically and as a means to keep the US from investing too deeply in the disruptive regime-change methods it has aimed at other nations including neighbouring Myanmar but also distant nations like Syria and Libya ravaged by US meddling.

Despite these efforts to appease Washington, the US still backs opposition parties determined to overthrow the current Thai political order and replace it with one openly intent on rolling back progress between Thailand and its growing list of Eurasian partners, especially China.

What little the US has to offer has been reduced to deals bordering bribery, such as offering free military hardware.


Southeast Asia Ignores US War on Huawei

September 7, 2019 New Eastern Outlook

The Western media has begun complaining about Southeast Asia's collective decision to move forward with 5G network technology from Chinese telecom giant Huawei despite US demands that nations ban all Huawei products.


These demands are predicated on clearly fabricated security threats surrounding Huawei technology. The US itself is a global leader of producing hardware with hidden backdoors and other security flaws for the purpose of spying worldwide.

Instead, the US is clearly targeting the telecom giant as part of a wider campaign to cripple China economically and contain its ability to contest US global hegemony.

Media Disinformation Serves the War on Huawei 

 Articles like Reuters' "Thailand launches Huawei 5G test bed, even as U.S. urges allies to bar Chinese gear," in title alone confounds informed readers.

The article's author, Patpicha Tanakasempipat, fails to explain in which ways the US is "allies" with any of the nations of Southeast Asia, including Thailand. The history of US activity in Southeast Asia has been one of coercion, interference, intervention, colonisation and protracted war.

As US power has faded, it has resorted to "soft power," with its most recent "pivot to Asia" being accompanied by several failed attempts to overthrow regional governments and replace them with suitable proxies.

Considering this, and a complete lack of suitable US alternatives to Huawei's products, there is little mystery as to why the region as a whole has ignored US demands regarding Huawei.

The article claims:
Thailand launched a Huawei Technologies 5G test bed on Friday, even as the United States urges its allies to bar the Chinese telecoms giant from building next-generation mobile networks.

Huawei, the world’s top producer of telecoms equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, has been facing mounting international scrutiny amid fears China could use its equipment for espionage, a concern the company says is unfounded.
Patpicha fails categorically to cite any evidence substantiating US claims. She also fails categorically to point out that there is in fact a glaring lack of evidence behind US claims, just as many other articles across the Western media have predictably and purposefully done.


West's "Fake News" Begins to Backfire

September 5, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

Western special interests have used the term "fake news" as a pretext for widening censorship, particularly across US-based social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as across Google's various platforms.


In a move of political judo, many nations are citing the threat of "fake news" to in turn deal with media platforms, often funded and supported by the US and Europe, operating within their borders and often targeting sitting governments to either coerce or unseat them in pursuit of Western interests.

A recent example of this is in Thailand where the government has announced plans for measures to combat what is being called "fake news."

A Bangkok Post article titled, "Digital Economy and Society Ministry outlines fake news crackdown," would report:
The Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DE) is seeking to counter fake information shared online through the Line app because urgent issues could potentially incite mass public misunderstanding.
The article also makes mention of the Thai government's plans to approach tech-giants like Facebook, Line and Google, urging each to establish offices in Thailand for the specific purpose of confronting "fake-news."

Facebook and Google already have a well-oiled process of identifying and removing content both platforms deem "fake news" or "coordinated, disingenuous behaviour," but this is a process that focuses solely on deleting narratives from their networks that challenge US interests. Both platforms, as well as Twitter, are more than happy to otherwise allow false narratives aimed at governments around the world to flourish with impunity.

The offices the Thai government seeks to establish are described as a shortcut for the Thai government to contact these foreign tech companies and spur them into action. However, similar arrangements have already been tried with mixed results and ultimately, with large foreign tech-giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter enjoying net influence over Thailand's information space at the Thai government's and the Thai people's expense.


US Meddling Continues in Cambodia, But With Setbacks

August 15, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Two Cambodian employees of US government-funded "Radio Free Asia" (RFA) face espionage charges for continuing to work for the foreign information operation even after the Cambodian government ordered it closed.


Qatari state media, Al Jazeera, in their article, "Espionage trial of two former RFA journalists starts in Cambodia," would report:
Former Radio Free Asia (RFA) reporters Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin were arrested in November 2017 after a late-night police raid on an apartment rented by the former. They were accused of supplying a foreign state with information, a charge that carries a prison sentence of between seven and 15 years. 

RFA, which is funded by the government of the United States, had closed its operations in Cambodia shortly before the arrests. The outlet was known for its critical coverage of the Cambodian government, including frequent reports on corruption and illegal logging.
Al Jazeera also admitted:
Both Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin admitted at Friday's hearing that they had continued sending videos and information to RFA after it had shut down, but they denied that this constituted espionage.
Human Rights Watch's (HRW) deputy Asia director Phil Robertson would make a statement published on the organisation's site claiming:
Chhin and Sothearin should never have had to face these bogus espionage charges, and all judicial restrictions on them should be lifted.
HRW's Robertson made these comments unironically after celebrating and making excuses for Facebook and Twitter's censorship of accounts and individuals critical of Western impropriety (including the dubious, often hypocritical work of HRW itself) worldwide.

Cambodian courts vowed to ignore the demands of foreign organisations like HRW, insisting instead they would use evidence and Cambodian law to reach a verdict, RFA's own article on the story reported.

US Meddling in Cambodia Was Extensive 

Amid continued hysteria and accusations of "Russian interference" levelled by the United States and its various functionaries against any and all opponents worldwide, the US itself has been involved in meddling in Cambodia's internal political affairs extensively.

Far from merely funding information operations like RFA, Voice of America and Cambodia Daily Cambodia has since shut down or co-opted, the US literally ran an entire political party with members operating out of Washington DC itself. It protected these proxies  from well-earned accusations and charges of sedition with fronts posing as "human rights" organisations also funded by the US government.

Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader Kem Sokha 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.


US Walks Away From Southeast Asia Summit Empty-Handed

August 13, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

A recent meeting of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convened in Bangkok, Thailand and attended by representatives from China, Russia and even the United States, provides us with a clear indicator of how power and influence are being shaped across wider Asia and even globally.


Headlines like the Associated Press', "Pompeo ends frustrating Bangkok visit," gives a good feel for how, at least for Washington, the meeting went and how the region responded to Washington's "plans" for it.

The article would note: 
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Thailand on Saturday with his hopes for resuming nuclear talks with North Korea dashed, while facing an escalating trade war with China and a potentially devastating breakdown in relations between key American allies Japan and South Korea.
Another article published just ahead of the meetings would better frame US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's (and Washington's) agenda. The LA Times', "Pompeo seeks to restore U.S. influence in Southeast Asia amid China’s rise," would report:
Against a backdrop of China’s rising economic and military power, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo arrived in the Thai capital of Bangkok this week with a difficult mission: Try to win back lost ground in Southeast Asia, a region once dominated by the U.S.
The article would continue:
Pompeo is also attempting to solidify another initiative of his tenure: creation of the so-called Indo-Pacific region, which portends to redraw boundaries to stretch from the U.S. West Coast to Japan, down through Southeast Asia to Australia and west across another ocean to India. It is replacing the familiar Asia-Pacific region and incorporates India (while sidelining Pakistan) to expand U.S. heft against China. 
China has not been shy about pouring tens of billions of dollars into infrastructure projects as part of its mammoth Belt and Road initiative, promising to boost transport systems and connectivity to help drive a sustained period of growth and stepping in where the U.S. often isn’t. 

Thanks in part to China’s investment, the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, has posted a combined economic-output growth of 50% in the last decade. 
The LA Times would then attempt to cite "backlash" across the region, but upon closer examination, things like Malaysia "cancelling" One Belt, One Road (OBOR) projects with China were more about negotiating better agreements rather than cancelling them.

The Diplomat in an article from April this year titled, "Malaysia: Revised China Deal Shows Costs Were Inflated," helps explain how the Chinese-Malaysian "row" was blown out of proportion by many in the Western media and how the project is once again moving forward.

Despite this renegotiating having long-since taken place, the LA Times and other media outlets are still trying to portray various countries in Southeast Asia as "opposed" to China or having cancelled deals that are still very much moving forward.

The LA Times also tries to cite disputes in the South China Sea, another area of conflict cultivated by Washington with even the nations it is supposedly "defending" dragging their feet on initiatives Washington had hoped would divide the region and isolate Beijing.


Western Propaganda: Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't

August 7, 2019 New Eastern Outlook  

Nations running afoul of US and European hegemony often find themselves the target of concerted, long-term propaganda campaigns. Without creating a media front capable of confronting this propaganda, virtually nothing a targeted nation does can improve its image among the global public, because no matter what it does, it will be 'spun' by the US and European media to smear it.


A pertinent example can be found in Southeast Asia's Kingdom of Thailand which possesses the second largest economy in ASEAN and has become one of Beijing's most important partners in the region. Because of this, it has become a target for US and European political subversion in the hopes of installing a government that can reverse this trend.

To that end, Thailand's institutions have come under attack, including its military and constitutional monarchy.

Forward-Thinking Reform Spun as Elitist "Exemption" 

The current Thai dynasty has existed for nearly as long as the US has been a nation, and the institution itself has existed for over eight centuries. Its modern manifestation fosters national unity and is the caretaker of Thai tradition, culture and history. The constitutional monarchy also invests heavily in development projects across the country.

Thailand's monarchy is also an institution in constant change to keep up with the times. A recent revision to the monarchy's property holdings placed Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn under the same property tax laws as the rest of the nation.

However, because Thai tax laws are poorly understood by foreigners, an opportunity to spin a reform into a smear presented itself and UK-based media organisation Reuters took full advantage of it.

In their article, "Thai king exempted from tax on some land properties," Reuters claimed:
Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn will be exempt from tax on some of his land property, according to a government announcement.

The Crown Property Bureau, which manages the multi-billion dollar holdings of the monarchy and controls huge swathes of land in Bangkok, was placed under the king’s direct control in 2017. Its previous tax exempt status was then removed. 

But some of the king’s lands and establishments will now be exempt from tax, according to the new legislation published in the Royal Gazette on Friday.
Reuters then finally admits there is one "exception;" land not used for "non-profit" purposes, or in other words, land used for commercial purposes will be taxed.

Never mentioned throughout the entirety of Reuters' article is the fact that this is not a special exemption at all.

There is no property tax leveled against anyone using their property for private purposes. Property taxes are only collected in Thailand if property is used for commercial purposes.

A quick search online for "property taxes in Thailand" reveals numerous Thai-based law firms clearly explaining Thai property taxes, like this one from Thailand Law Online. It explains (my emphasis):
There are no general property taxes (capital tax on property imposed by the government) in Thailand, but real properties put to commercial use (residential houses not 'owner occupied' and commercial buildings) must under the Building and Land Tax Act pay a 'rental' tax at a rate of 12,5 % of the annual rental value or the annual assessed rental value, whichever is higher.
Thus, the new law places the King of Thailand under the same rules as all other Thais, and is if anything a forward-thinking reform.

Reuters capitalised on its readership's ignorance and trust, intentionally spinning the reform depicting it as an elitist "exemption" to smear Thailand and its institutions as part of a wider agenda to undermine and overthrow Thailand's current political order and replace it with one more pliable for US and European special interests.


"Human Right Activists" Celebrate Facebook-Twitter Censorship

July 27, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - All Facebook and Twitter accounts associated with Bangkok-based geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci have been deleted. The extent to which both American-based tech companies went to target Cartalucci could be seen in a recent Reuters article reporting on it. 


Written by Thai Reuters correspondent Patpicha Tanakasempipat, the article titled, "Facebook removes fake accounts from Thailand, Russia, Ukraine, Honduras," referred to the author claiming: 
The accounts removed in Thailand used “fictitious personas” to promote narratives about Thai politics, U.S.-China relations, protests in Hong Kong, and criticism of democracy activists in Thailand, Gleicher said. 

“We were able to determine conclusively that some of the activities of this network was linked to an individual based in Thailand associated with New Eastern Outlook, a Russian government-funded journal based in Moscow,” Gleicher said.
The article cited “coordinated inauthentic behavior” and hailed the move as countering "deceptive political propaganda."

No mention was made of how writing anonymously is "inauthentic behavior" nor were any examples provided of what was deemed "deceptive political propaganda" and why.



Matthew Tostevin, a Reuters correspondent also based in Southeast Asia and whose Twitter profile unironically invokes the hashtag, "Journalism is Not a Crime" celebrated the systematic, coordinated censorship, claiming in a tweet:
“Tony Cartalucci” Facebook and Twitter accounts inaccessible after Facebook said it had erased accounts of a network linked to “an individual based in Thailand associated with New Eastern Outlook, a Russian government-funded journal”.
The term "associated with" is often used to imply impropriety without providing any actual evidence of it. Tostevin's defence of Facebook-Twitter censorship fails to explain how getting paid to write articles is wrong, especially considering Tostevin himself makes his living doing precisely that for London-based Reuters.