Thai-Russian Cooperation Seeks Thai Alternatives to Facebook, Google

June 24, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

Russian and Thai telecom interests have begun preliminary discussions toward creating local alternatives to social network and Internet search giants Facebook and Google in Thailand. The move, if successful, would represent another step toward breaking Facebook and Google's monopoly over international information space and set further precedent for nation-states to take responsibility for their own respective information space.  


Thailand's The Nation would report in an article titled, "Russia keen to offer network, search services," that:
Russia's Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications has proposed offering social network and search engine services in Thailand based on Russian platforms. 

Takorn Tantasith, the secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecom-comunications Commission, said this week that the Russian ministry proposed that both countries seek ways to set up a holding firm in Thailand to provide the services here, with the partners to share revenue from these services. 

The Russian ministry floated the idea to the NBTC on Tuesday when it and the NBTC signed an agreement in Moscow to collaborate on telecom services and cybersecurity.
The article notes that Russia already has two successful local alternatives to Facebook and Google, Vkontakte (VK) and Yandex respectively.

A Matter of National Security 

The move by Russia and Thailand follow similar moves made by Vietnam to likewise secure its own information space amid increased US meddling vectored through US-based tech giants like Facebook and Google.

Both tech giants have a long and sordid history of collusion with the US State Department, the danger of which is best illustrated in both companies' role in triggering and fuelling the so-called Arab Spring.


US Downs Syrian Warplane Over Syria Amid War on ISIS

June 20, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

Operating without any form of invitation from Damascus, or any resolution under international law, a US F-18 Super Hornet downed a Syrian Su-22 fighter-bomber over eastern Syria as it engaged targets in territory occupied by the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS).


It was the latest in a series of direct military strikes carried out by the US against Syrian government forces as they attempt to retake positions from terrorist organizations operating in their territory.

The move was categorically condemned by the Syrian government and its allies, including Russia.

The Washington Post would report in its article, "Russia threatens to treat U.S. coalition aircraft as targets over Syria," that:
On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said its warplanes had been operating in the area of the encounter between the U.S. and Syrian jets. It said the coalition had not used the deconflicting hotline to warn the Russian jet.

“Multiple military actions of U.S. aviation under the guise of fighting terrorism against the legal military of a state that is a member of the United Nations are a flagrant violation of international law and constitute de facto military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic,” the ministry said.
The Washington Post also made mention of, "the possibility that the U.S. could be forced to deviate further from its stated policy in Syria, which only involves targeting Islamic State militants," betraying 6 years of reporting even by the Washington Post itself admitting America's role in Syria as primarily focused on regime change, not fighting terrorists - as the Russian Defense Ministry alluded to. 

Regime Change, Continuity of Agenda

The Washington Post and other Western media outlets are also contradicting a now infamous US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo (PDF) from 2012 which stated:
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran). 
The DIA memo also explains exactly who the "supporting powers" are (and who would oppose a Salafist principality):
The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
With the United States now responsible for multiple strikes against the Syrian military as Syrian forces battle ISIS militants and attempt to retake eastern territory, it is clear that the US is willing to risk wider war in pursuit of the 2012 agenda of using ISIS to "isolate the Syrian regime."

By hindering Syrian forces attempting to move east toward Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor, and beyond, the US hopes to continue stationing both its own forces, and armed proxies creating a de facto state within a state separate and opposed to the government in Damascus.

From this carved out territory - having long-since failed the outright overthrow of the Syrian government - the US plans to incrementally expand westward from ISIS-held territory - while Turkish forces and their proxies move south, and another contingent of US forces from Jordan attempt to move north-northeast - in an attempt to eventually consume the Syrian state.


Syria: Washington’s Boots and Missile Systems on the Ground to Defend ISIS and Associated Proxies

June 20, 2017 Andrew Korybko - Global Village Space

The US’ deployment of the HIMARS missile system to eastern Syria is designed to deter the Syrian Arab Army’s Dash for Deir az-Zor.


Many people were caught off guard when the Russian Defense Ministry announced earlier this week that “The US has redeployed two High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems from Jordan to a US special operations forces base near the Syrian town of Al-Tanf”, and that “the range of HIMARS cannot allow for providing support for US-controlled Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) operating against Daesh in Raqqa”. This led to the logical conclusion that the HIMARS could be used by the US to strike Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces, just as the Pentagon’s developed a habit of doing several times already since April.

To put this all into context, the SAA just broke through some of Daesh’s occupied territory to reach the Iraqi border, thereby cutting off the US’ special forces and allied “rebel” forces in Al-Tanf from linking up with the majority-Kurdish “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) laying siege to Raqqa right now and committing ethnic cleansing there. Moreover, this development prevents the US-backed forces from driving through the desert to Deir az-Zor, the last major Daesh-occupied city in eastern Syria and the location of a small encircled SAA contingent. The “Dash for Deir az-Zor” is becoming the new “Race for Raqqa” now that the latter is all but over, as the former will decide whether or not the entirety of eastern Syria falls under pro-American proxy control or not.

The SAA needs to liberate Deir az-Zor in order to keep the SDF and southern Al-Tanf “rebels” from connecting their occupied territories and enlarging the self-declared “Democratic Federation of Northern Syria” to include all of the Iraqi borders. If they fail in this task, then Syria will effectively be divided along East-West lines, and the former half could in principle connect to the corresponding demographic regions of neighboring Iraq to give rise to the unipolar transnational sub-states of “Kurdistan” and “Sunnistan”, or in other words, two “geopolitical ‘Israels’”. Should they succeed, however, then the SAA will not only diminish the prospects for a pro-Saudi “Sunnistan” along the Syrian-Iraqi Borderlands, but it would also give Damascus a fair chance at recovering some territory north of the Euphrates and reversing the SDF-YPG’s “federalization” momentum.

For that reason, the US deployed the HIMARS in southeastern Syria in order to deter the SAA from going any further in the Dash for Deir az-Zor, though that doesn’t mean that Damascus won’t give it a shot anyhow. There’s a high chance, just as Russia warned, that the US will use this missile system against the SAA, but there’s an equal probability that Moscow wouldn’t interfere in that case.

What will Russia’s stance be?

Moscow has been abundantly clear that it is strictly abiding by its anti-terrorist military mandate, and it’s already proven as much on multiple occasions by standing down whenever its “Israeli” partner bombed the SAA and Damascus’ allies. Moreover, Russia also never militarily responded to the US’ bombing of the SAA on the three times that it’s happened in just as many months.

US Election Meddling: Smoke and Mirrors

June 16, 2017 New Eastern Outlook  

For a magician, the greater the illusion attempted, the more showmanship that's required to distract audiences from that fact that it is indeed just an illusion. For US politics, something very similar applies, particularly regarding the latest, ongoing narrative surrounding alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.


Having concluded over half a year ago, had there been actual evidence of state-sponsored election interference by Russia, it would have surfaced and the necessity for a lengthy and dramatic public spectacle would not only be absent, it would obstruct real measures needed to protect America's political process from future foreign influence.

However, actual evidence has not surfaced.

Instead, complex conspiracy theories buttressed by the most tenuous documentation have been spun and promoted in the midst of public hearings, political rearrangements in the White House and other theatrics designed to keep the public engaged and convinced of the notion that Russia's government actually attempted to manipulate the results of America's presidential election.

However, the entire spectacle and the narrative driving it, is based entirely on the assumption that Russia's government believes the office of US President is of significant importance enough so as to risk meddling in it in the first place. It also means that Russia believed the office of US President was so important to influence, that the substantial political fallout and consequences if caught were worth the risk.

In reality, as US President Donald Trump has thoroughly demonstrated, the White House holds little to no sway regarding US foreign policy.

While President Trump promised during his campaign leading up to the 2016 election cooperation with Russia, a withdrawal from undermining and overthrowing the government in Damascus, Syria and a reversal of decades of US support for the government of Saudi Arabia, he now finds himself presiding over an administration continuing to build up military forces on Russia's borders in Eastern Europe, is currently and repeatedly killing Syrian soldiers in Syria and has sealed a record arms deal with Saudi Arabia amounting to over 110 billion US dollars.

It is clear that the foreign policy executed by US President George Bush, continued by President Barack Obama and set to continue under US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, is instead being faithfully executed by President Trump.

Any and all efforts to skew the electoral process either through leaked e-mails or through hacking electronic voting machines would have carried a political risk that far outweighed what is clearly a negligible outcome.

Cui Bono? 

For US foreign and domestic policy, however, the grand illusion of Russia meddling in America's political process helps in at least three fundamental ways.

First, it provides a distraction for the American public. While President Trump continues the policies of previous administrations in the service of the unelected special interests that actually determine and benefit from US foreign policy, the "US election meddling" narrative provides a diversion that prevents President Trump's backtracking and hypocrisy from taking precedence in public debates.


Tehran Was Always America's and Thus the Islamic State's Final Destination

June 10, 2017 New Eastern Outlook

Several were left dead and many more injured after coordinated terror attacks on Iran's capital of Tehran. Shootings and bombings targeted Iran's parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini.


According to Reuters, the so-called "Islamic State" claimed responsibility for the attack, which unfolded just days after another terror attack unfolded in London. The Islamic State also reportedly took responsibility for the violence in London, despite evidence emerging that the three suspects involved were long-known to British security and intelligence agencies and were simply allowed to plot and carry out their attacks.

It is much less likely that Tehran's government coddled terrorists -as it has been engaged for years in fighting terrorism both on its borders and in Syria amid a vicious six-year war fueled by US, European, and Persian Gulf weapons, cash, and fighters.

Armed Violence Targeting Tehran Was the Stated Goal of US Policymakers

The recent terrorist attacks in Tehran are the literal manifestation of US foreign policy. The creation of a proxy force with which to fight Iran and establishing a safe haven for it beyond Iran's borders have been long-stated US policy. The current chaos consuming Syria and Iraq - and to a lesser extent in southeast Turkey - is a direct result of the US attempting to secure a base of operations to launch a proxy war directly against Iran.

In the 2009 Brookings Institution document titled, "Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran," the use of then US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) as a proxy for instigating a full-fledged armed insurgency not unlike that which is currently unfolding in Syria was discussed in detail.

The report explicitly stated:
The United states could also attempt to promote external Iranian opposition groups, providing them with the support to turn themselves into full-fledged insurgencies and even helping them militarily defeat the forces of the clerical regime. The United states could work with groups like the Iraq-based National council of resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its military wing, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), helping the thousands of its members who, under Saddam Husayn’s regime, were armed and had conducted guerrilla and terrorist operations against the clerical regime. although the NCRI is supposedly disarmed today, that could quickly be changed.
Brookings policymakers admitted throughout the report that MEK was responsible for killing both American and Iranian military personnel, politicians, and civilians in what was clear-cut terrorism. Despite this, and admissions that MEK remained indisputably a terrorist organization, recommendations were made to de-list it from the US State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organization registry so that more overt support could be provided to the group for armed regime change.

Based on such recommendations and intensive lobbying, the US State Department would eventually de-list MEK in 2012 and the group would receive significant backing from the US openly. This included support from many members of current US President Donald Trump's campaign team - including Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and John Bolton.

However, despite these efforts, MEK was not capable then or now of accomplishing the lofty goal of instigating full-fledged insurrection against Tehran, necessitating the use of other armed groups. The 2009 Brookings paper made mention of other candidates under a section titled, "Potential Ethnic Proxies," identifying Arab and Kurdish groups as well as possible candidates for a US proxy war against Tehran.

Under a section titled, "Finding a Conduit and Safe Haven," Brookings notes:
Of equal importance (and potential difficulty) will be finding a neighboring country willing to serve as the conduit for U.S. aid to the insurgent group, as well as to provide a safe haven where the group can train, plan, organize, heal, and resupply.
For the US proxy war on Syria, Turkey and Jordan fulfill this role. For Iran, it is clear that US efforts would have to focus on establishing conduits and safe havens from Pakistan's southwest Balochistan province and from Kurdish-dominated regions in northern Iraq, eastern Syria, and southeastern Turkey - precisely where current upheaval is being fueled by US intervention both overtly and covertly.


The West's War on Free Speech

June 6, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

With a name like the "National Democratic Institute" (NDI) one might expect the US State Department-funded, corporate-financier chaired front to be the premier proponent of freedom and democracy worldwide. And although it poses as such, it does precisely the opposite. It uses principles like free speech, democracy, press freedom, and human rights as a facade behind which it carries out a politically motivated agenda on behalf of the special interests that fund and direct its activities.


In a recent Tweet, NDI linked to a New York Times article titled, "In Europe’s Election Season, Tech Vies to Fight Fake News." It claimed in the Tweet that the article featured:
A look at some of the projects aiming to use automated algorithms to identify and combat fake news. 
The article itself though, reveals nothing short of a global effort by US tech-giants Google and Facebook, in collaboration with the Western media, to censor any and all media that fails to align with Western-dominated narratives.

The article itself claims:
The French electorate heads to the polls in the second round of presidential elections on May 7, followed by votes in Britain and Germany in the coming months. Computer scientists, tech giants and start-ups are using sophisticated algorithms and reams of online data to quickly — and automatically — spot fake news faster than traditional fact-checking groups can. 

The goal, experts say, is to expand these digital tools across Europe, so the region can counter the fake news that caused so much confusion and anger during the United States presidential election in November, when outright false reports routinely spread like wildfire on Facebook and Twitter.
The article then explains that once "fake news" is spotted, it is expunged from the Internet. It reports that:
After criticism of its role in spreading false reports during the United States elections, Facebook introduced a fact-checking tool ahead of the Dutch elections in March and the first round of the French presidential election on April 23. It also removed 30,000 accounts in France that had shared fake news, a small fraction of the approximately 33 million Facebook users in the country.
Were foreign government-linked tech companies purging tens of thousands of accounts ahead of elections in say, Thailand or Russia, it is very likely organizations like NDI and media platforms like the New York Times would cry foul, depicting it as censorship.

Islamic State in Asia: Saudi-Funding and Naive Policymakers Endanger Region

June 1, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

Recently, terrorist attacks have unfolded across Indonesia, a militant network disrupted along the Thai-Malaysian border and full-scale military operations including aerial bombing deployed as Philippine troops fought to take back Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao, all linked or affiliated with the Islamic State.


A dangerously deceptive narrative is being crafted by US and European media organisations, the same sort of narrative that was used to conceal the true source of the Islamic State's fighting capacity across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region beginning as early as 2011.

The New York Times, for example, in an article titled, "In Indonesia and Philippines, Militants Find a Common Bond: ISIS," claims:
An eruption of violence in the southern Philippines and suicide bombings in Indonesia this week highlight the growing threat posed by militant backers of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia. 

While the timing of the Jakarta bombings and the fighting on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao appears to be coincidental, experts on terrorism have been warning for months that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has provided a new basis for cooperation among extremists in the region.
However, back in reality, the Islamic State is no different than any other military force. Its members require food, water and shelter daily. They require weapons and ammunition. They require uniforms. They need transportation, which in turn requires fuel, maintenance personnel and spare parts. And most important of all, the Islamic State requires a steady stream of recruits made possible only through organised education and indoctrination.

For the scale the Islamic State is doing this on, stretching across MENA and now reaching into Southeast Asia, confounding the response of not just individual nation-states but entire blocs of nations attempting to confront this growing threat, it is abundantly clear the Islamic State is not fulfilling these prerequisites on its own.

Its doing this all through state sponsorship, a reality rarely mentioned by the New York Times,  Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, CNN, the BBC and others. Those acquiring their worldview through these media organisations are setting themselves up and those depending on their analysis for tragic failure.

Education and Indoctrination: Who is Feeding the Fire?  

The ranks of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia are being filled by a regional network of extremist indoctrination conducted in institutions posing as Islamic boarding schools known as madrasas. Those institutions indoctrinating local populations with notions of extremism and inspiring them to take up violence and terrorism share a common denominator; Saudi funding.


Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University, Yousaf Butt, in a Huffington Post article titled, "How Saudi Wahhabism Is the Fountainhead of Islamist Terrorism," would put Saudi funding of such extremist networks into perspective, stating:
It would be troublesome but perhaps acceptable for the House of Saud to promote the intolerant and extremist Wahhabi creed just domestically. But, unfortunately, for decades the Saudis have also lavishly financed its propagation abroad. Exact numbers are not known, but it is thought that more than $100 billion have been spent on exporting fanatical Wahhabism to various much poorer Muslim nations worldwide over the past three decades. It might well be twice that number. By comparison, the Soviets spent about $7 billion spreading communism worldwide in the 70 years from 1921 and 1991.
The article also lays out the cause and effect between Saudi funding and the predictable terrorism, violence and instability that follows. Yousaf Butt concludes by aptly stating:
The House of Saud works against the best interests of the West and the Muslim world. Muslim communities worldwide certainly need to eradicate fanatical Wahhabism from their midst, but this will be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish if the West continues its support of the House of Saud. The monarchy must be modernized and modified — or simply uprooted and replaced. The House of Saud needs a thorough house cleaning.