How US Influence is Co-Opting Malaysia's Governance

July 21, 2018 New Eastern Outlook 

The Diplomat, which claims to be "the premier international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region," has recently published a piece granting credit for Malaysia's recent general election results to what it calls, "everyday activists."


The article is in fact titled, "The Everyday Activists Behind Malaysia’s Democracy Struggle." The article begins by claiming:
Audiences worldwide have been transfixed by the Shakespearian twists and turns that saw Malaysia’s opposition defeat the world’s longest-ruling coalition. But the unprecedented May 9 win was also the culmination of a decades-long civil rights movement by activists who took great personal risks to bring about change.
The article cites Maria Chin Abdullah who headed Malaysian street front Bersih, online media platform Malaysiakini, political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque (also known as Zunar), Malaysia Muda and legal group Lawyers for Liberty as examples of those that have finally helped make Malaysian democracy "work."

Yet there is something else all of these examples cited in The Diplomat's article have in common. They are all either directly funded by the United States government through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), or their activities are facilitated by other organisations in Malaysia that are. 

From Abdullah to Zunar, Funded by the US Government 

In essence, The Diplomat's piece is arguing that the organisations they covered represent the custodians of Malaysian democracy, and thus play a role in determining Malaysia's future. Yet the disturbing common denominator among them indicates a paradoxical dilemma. If these custodians themselves are a function of foreign influence, how could they possibly play a role in the Malaysian people determining for themselves a path that serves their own best interests and not those of these organisations' foreign sponsors?


We begin with Maria Chin Abdullah, now a newly elected member of the Malaysian parliament. She had previously been chief of the Bersih street front whose rallies were regularly led by opposition politicians including Anwar Ibrahim who is now the defacto leader of the victorious Pakatan Harapan party.


US Propaganda: Time Magazine Takes Swipe at Thailand

July 15, 2018 New Eastern Oulook

Time Magazine's article titled, "Thailand’s Leader Promised to Restore Democracy. Instead He's Tightening His Grip," reflects Wall Street and Washington's growing displeasure with the current Thai government and its seemingly successful efforts to pivot the nation away from US-backed proxies including the ousted regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his Pheu Thai political party (PTP), and toward a more multipolar footing in Asia and internationally.

This includes stronger ties with not only Thailand's other Southeast Asia neighbours, but also with China and even Russia.

China is now Thailand's largest trading partner, unseating the US.

Thailand is also systematically replacing its ageing US military hardware with Chinese, Russian and European systems including Chinese tanks and submarines, Russian helicopters and European fighter jets.

There are also large infrastructure deals signed between Bangkok and Beijing extending China's One Belt, One Road initiative through Thailand.


Attempts by the US and its media to disrupt this pivot have been ongoing, with Time's article being only a more recent example.

The Thai government, in good faith, provided Time Magazine writer Charlie Campbell an interview with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Instead of objectively portraying the prime minister's words, Campbell predictably twisted them, intentionally took them out of context, all while interjecting misinformation and lies of omission throughout the article.

The Thai Foreign Ministry denounced Time's article in a statement here, refuting many of Time's many mischaracterisations and outright lies.

Time's Mountain of Lies   

Time's article covers the military coup in 2014 and its aftermath, but suspiciously omits any of the events that actually led up to the coup.

Time dishonestly frames Thailand's political crisis as follows:
For more than a decade, Thailand has been wracked with color-coded street protests between the typically rural supporters of Yingluck and her brother Thaksin–who served as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006–and their mainly urban opponents, backed by the powerful royal palace, military and judiciary. The pro-Yingluck faction wear red. Their opponents wear yellow.
However, this is patently untrue. In Thailand's 2011 elections, Thaksin Shinawatra's PTP won support from a mere 35% of all eligible voters. Of those that voted, PTP failed to win a popular majority. PTP's opponents include not only Bangkok, but also Thailand's central and southern provinces which are unmistakably agricultural and rural.

Thus Thailand's political crisis is owed not to some sort of class struggle, but to Shinawatra and his foreign sponsors attempting to reassert Western hegemony over both Thailand, and to a much greater extent, Asia, versus Thailand's attempts to maintain its long-standing sovereignty.

Nothing leading up to the actual 2014 coup is mentioned in Time's article. Had it been mentioned, the coup would not only have seemed reasonable, but as unavoidably necessary. Should Time have also mentioned that current protests are merely Shinawatra and his foreign sponsors pressuring the current Thai government to rush elections while they both still believe they can win, the government's intolerance of these protests would also appear to be reasonable rather than "repressive."


What's Really Behind Anti-China Protests in Vietnam?

June 27, 2018 New Eastern Outlook 

US and European media outlets reported anti-Chinese protests across Vietnam. Claims regarding numbers varied greatly from several hundred to others claiming several thousand. The Western media was particularly careful not to mention the names of any of the individuals or organisations leading the protests.


The South China Morning Post in its article titled, "Anti-China protests: dozens arrested as Vietnam patriotism spirals into unrest," would claim:
People were angry at a draft law that would allow 99-year concessions in planned special economic zones, which some view as sweetheart deals for foreign and specifically Chinese firms.
Though the Post and others across the Western mainstream media claimed the protests were "peaceful," they eventually spiralled out of control resulting in assaults on police and vandalism of public buildings.

The systematic omission of essential facts and intentional misrepresentation regarding the protests follows the same pattern observed regarding other US-European sponsored unrest around the globe.

Anti-Chinese Fervour is Pro-American, Not "Nationalist" 

The Post itself would claim the protests took on a "nationalist" tone, yet in the Post's own article and without an explanation from the Post as to why, American flags could be clearly spotted among the mobs.

The few names that were mentioned by the US-European media included well-known so-called "pro-democracy" activists drawn from networks openly supported by Washington, London and Brussels.


Manufacturing Dissent: US NGO's Build Opposition in Thailand

June 9, 2018 New Eastern Outlook

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.


US Regime Change Targets Thailand

May 12, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - While US-led regime change in Syria continues to make headlines, it is important for the public to be aware and stay ahead of other US-led campaigns to target, destabilise and overthrow the political orders of other nations around the globe.


Observers of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine have warned about potential violence as the US continues arming its proxies and their dangerous ultra-right militant groups in Kiev. Analysts have also been covering US-sponsored political destabilisation being fomented in Armenia.

US funding and support alongside its Canadian and European allies in Southeast Asia is also on the rise. Protests planned throughout May in Thailand's capital Bangkok are openly aimed at regime change.

US regime change operations can be broken down into several categories; Western media operations, US-funded local media operations, US-backed political parties, US-backed street fronts, US-funded academia and US-funded "human rights" advocates. Identifying them before Thailand's political crisis grabs international headlines provides analysts and commentators with a guide to facts that will almost certainly be omitted from mainstream reporting.

Western Media Operations in Thailand 

The centre of Western media operations in Thailand is best represented by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT). It serves as the physical headquarters of many of the West's most prominent media organisations including:
British state media front, the BBC;
Reuters;
NBC;
Qatar state media outlet Al Jazeera;
the Financial Times;
NBC;
ABC and;
many others.  

Reuters and the BBC in particular pursue a transparently bias agenda in support of political destabilisation and regime change in Thailand. Their narratives are unquestioningly repeated throughout many other US and European media platforms, big and small.


Their role in covering up the abuses of the previous and now ousted Thai regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra while attacking and undermining the institutions that finally began dismantling their political machinery has played a central role in perpetuating Thailand's ongoing political crisis.


US Human Rights Racket Defends Thailand's Joseph Goebbels

May 6, 2018 New Eastern Outlook  

The US and European-funded human rights racket comprised of organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and myriad fronts funded by the United States government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have helped promote some of the worst human rights abuses in recent human history.


This includes their role in selling the US-led NATO assault on Libya in 2011 and their continued role in justifying US-led military intervention in Syria. "Human rights" have been cited by the US and its European partners during NATO's assault on Serbia, among the first of the so-called "humanitarian wars."

Of course, by citing "human rights," the US is able to paper over the very inhumanity the opposition groups it supports are carrying out, or the injustice of the destabilisation and destruction the US is attempting to perpetrate.

And while Washington's systematic destruction of the Middle East has taken centre stage among international headlines, the US is also using similar tactics to pressure nations elsewhere around the globe, including Southeast Asia's Thailand.

To the West, An "Activist" 

When Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was released from prison after some 7 years behind bars, the US and European media and their partners in Thailand's media hailed the release of what they portrayed as an "activist" and "political prisoner."

The Reuters in its article titled, "Thailand frees former magazine editor previously imprisoned for insulting monarchy," would claim:
A high profile Thai activist and former magazine editor imprisoned for insulting the country’s monarchy vowed on Monday to keep pressing his call for democracy after he was released from prison.
The article would also mention:
Mr Somyot, who was the editor of a political magazine, Voice of Taksin, had been imprisoned in 2013 for 10 years under Thailand’s lese-majeste law, but the Supreme Court reduced his sentence in 2017.
For unwitting readers, they would suspect this was another simple case of a draconian dictatorship in the developing world unjustly incarcerating progressive political activists.

In reality, Reuters intentionally omitted any details about the publication Somyot was the editor of, "Voice of Taksin."


US Decries Chinese High-Speed Rail in Laos

April 24, 2018 New Eastern Outlook  

China's plans to build high-speed rail connecting Kunming in its Yunnan province with the rest of Southeast Asia are already underway. In the landlocked nation of Laos, tunnels and bridges are already under construction.


The United States has, in general, condemned China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) sweeping infrastructure programme, with US and European policy circles accusing Beijing of what they call "debt trap diplomacy."

Quartz in an article titled, "Eight countries in danger of falling into China’s “debt trap”," would claim:
Beijing “encourages dependency using opaque contracts, predatory loan practices, and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty, denying them their long-term, self-sustaining growth,” said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on March 6. “Chinese investment does have the potential to address Africa’s infrastructure gap, but its approach has led to mounting debt and few, if any, jobs in most countries,” he added.
The report continued, stating:
Some call this “debt-trap diplomacy“: Offer the honey of cheap infrastructure loans, with the sting of default coming if smaller economies can’t generate enough free cash to pay their interest down.
While nations should protect themselves from the dangers of being indebted to foreign interests, the US and supposedly international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are hardly innocent of wielding debt as a geopolitical weapon themselves.