Thursday, January 3, 2019

US NGO Teams Up with Gulf Terror Sponsor to Target Asia

January 4, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Fortify Rights is one of several fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) operating across Asia.


Such fronts are in actuality extensions of US and European "soft power." Fully funded by the US, British and various European governments as well as US and European corporate foundations like convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society, Fortify Rights positions itself as self-appointed arbiter regarding human rights, democracy and the rule of law at the heart of the sovereign internal political affairs of nations like Myanmar (still called Burma by many Western media organisations and politicians), Thailand, Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Human Rights Org Partners with State Sponsor of Terrorism... 

Recently, Fortify Rights' founder American Matthew Smith announced a new and "exciting" partnership with Doha Debates. Doha Debates is a project of the Qatar Foundation which in turn was founded by the Al Thani family, the unelected rulers of Qatar, a notorious Middle Eastern dictatorship, abuser of human rights and state sponsor of terrorism.



The "exciting" partnership between Fortify Rights (a supposed human rights advocacy group) and the Qatari front "Doha Debates" is particularly troubling considering the area of cooperation involves Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority.

On Doha Debates' website it describes its partnership with Fortify Rights:
Together, Fortify Rights and Doha Debates are training a group of Rohingya refugees on the basics of photography and Instagram, and we are equipping them with mobile phones to document their lives in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, for an entire year. Through this partnership, Fortify Rights and Doha Debates hope to empower Rohingya refugees to share their stories with the world.

Despite the relatively benign stated nature of this partnership, it is troubling because it signals a possible vector through which money, training and even weapons can pass, behind a "human rights' façade, inflaming already tense ethnic troubles in Myanmar's western Rakhine state.

At the very least, influence operations by Fortify Rights and Qatar's "Doha Debates" could be used to further divide communities along ethnic lines while mounting pressure on Myanmar's government and military by exploiting the resulting chaos.

Fortify Rights founder Matthew Smith refused to respond to questions of how his supposed cause of advancing human rights is served by partnering with Doha Debates funded by a dictatorship and notorious state sponsor of terrorism. Smith regularly blocks critics on social media concerned with the nature of his organisation's activities, including many in Myanmar whom he claims he's "helping."


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Western Media Takes Aim at China's OBOR

December 31, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - In recent months, American, Commonwealth and European media have taken aim at China. From fabricated stories of interment camps with "1 million" Uyghir Muslims being detained in them to a more recent New York Times article claiming to have "secret plans" revealing the military dimension of its One Belt, One Road initiative (OBOR), the barrage has been heavy on innuendo and accusations but lacking concrete evidence.


Considering the scale of each accusation, it would be assumed a huge wealth of evidence existed to accompany them. After all, how would China hide a detention network detaining, torturing and executing a "million" people? Or develop complex defence systems with international partners in complete secret?

Yet these stories circulating the West's most prominent newspapers, television networks and online portals aren't simply lacking in a wealth of evidence, they lack any evidence at all.

NYT Cites "Secret Plans," Provides no Evidence They Exist 

The New York Times in its article, "China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Plan in Pakistan Takes a Military Turn," would claim China is pursing decidedly military objectives as part of its wider OBOR initiative. In the article's subtitle, it mentions a "secret plan to build new fighter jets."

The article itself claims:
Just two weeks later, the Pakistani Air Force and Chinese officials were putting the final touches on a secret proposal to expand Pakistan’s building of Chinese military jets, weaponry and other hardware. The confidential plan, reviewed by The New York Times, would also deepen the cooperation between China and Pakistan in space, a frontier the Pentagon recently said Beijing was trying to militarize after decades of playing catch-up. 

All those military projects were designated as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a $1 trillion chain of infrastructure development programs stretching across some 70 countries, built and financed by Beijing.

Yet, upon reading the entire article, no evidence, whatsoever, substantiates the claim that the OBOR initiative has taken a "military turn." There is also no evidence at all presented by the NYT that it has any sort of "secret plan" in its possession.

Repackaged Old News Conflated with OBOR = Smear    

China and Pakistan have longstanding military ties. China and Pakistan also are working together on infrastructure projects as part of China's wider OBOR initiative. NYT categorically fails to explain why two separate spheres of cooperation have been conflated by the newspaper.

Instead, NYT begins listing possible scenarios in which OBOR projects could be used militarily in the future. For example it claims:
A Chinese-built seaport and special economic zone in the Pakistani town of Gwadar is rooted in trade, giving China a quicker route to get goods to the Arabian Sea. But it also gives Beijing a strategic card to play against India and the United States if tensions worsen to the point of naval blockades as the two powers increasingly confront each other at sea.
This is clearly speculation on NYT's part, not drawn from "secret plans" the NYT reviewed, with the NYT not even attempting to claim otherwise.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

EU Event Chastises China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

November 26, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) put together a day-long seminar chastising the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Organised by Jonathan Bullock, a UK Independence Party (UKIP) Member of the European Parliament (MEP), it gathered European critics of China's rise upon the global stage along with US and European-funded agitators active in undermining Chinese-Pakistani relations.


The CPEC is a keystone project amid Chinese-Pakistani ties and an integral part of Beijing's One Belt, One Road initiative (OBOR). It includes energy and transportation projects developing and connecting Pakistan's Baluchistan province along the Arabian Sea with Chinese territory along Pakistan and China's border.

When completed, the projects will increase both Pakistan's prospects and China's influence not only in Pakistan, but across the wider region. Together with other OBOR projects, CPEC will be yet another step toward the rise of Eurasia out from under centuries of European domination.

For MEP Jonathan Bullock of UKIP, it is somewhat perplexing to see a politician supposedly concerned with British independence so eager to interfere in the sovereignty of Pakistan and China, thousands of kilometers from British or indeed, all of Europe's shores.

The EFSAS website included a summary of the CPEC-oriented event:

A high level panel consisting of Members European Parliament (MEPs), Scholars and Academicians spoke at the event and discussed the construction of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its interrelated legal, geo-strategic, economic and environmental issues, which directly impact the stability of South Asia. 
Participants claimed that China would assume unwarranted influence over Pakistan over the course of the projects' construction. Concerns related to Pakistan's Kashmir region and Baluchistan were also brought up by representatives of separatist groups, many of which are funded by the US and Europe specifically to serve as vectors for Western influence in Pakistan and agents of destabilisation not only within Pakistan, but between Pakistan and its immediate neighbours (Afghanistan, India, Iran and China).

The EFSAS' statement would claim:
Mr. Fernando Burgés, Programme Manager at the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), provided his perspective on the negative repercussion stemming from the construction of the CPEC, which goes through the disputed territory of Gilgit Baltistan, part of the erstwhile Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir over which Pakistan does not have any legal right.
The UNPO serves as collective representation for myriad separatist groups backed by Western special interests used to agitate around the globe.

They have included or currently include Chechen separatists seeking to carve off territory from Russia's south, Tibetan separatists backed for decades by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and various groups from Kashmir and Baluchistan. The latter are backed by the US State Department in their bid for independence and the effective end of Chinese access to the Arabian Sea via the recently built Gwadar Port. 


It should be noted that Pakistan's claimed portion of the Kashmir region is its only direct access to the Chinese border in the north. Thus it is especially convenient that here, the UNPO has found yet another group to support which seeks independence and would effectively close Pakistan off from China in the north.

While the European Union's various MEPs complaining about the CPEC will hardly do anything to slow down its construction let alone stop it, even augmented with US and European funded and backed separatist groups attempting to complicate security on the ground, it is important to understand the persistent imperial chauvinism that still deeply infects many circles of political elite across the West.

It is also important to understand how it manifests itself politically through various but entirely disingenuous and cynically abused "human rights" causes. Likewise, it is important to see how it manifests itself on the ground where these interests seek to disrupt their geopolitical competitors instead of finding common grounds for cooperation and mutual benefit.

Alternative circles of interests both in the US and Europe and elsewhere around the globe will seek common grounds for cooperation and mutual benefit with China and its many Eurasian partners. They will ultimately find themselves in prime seats at the table of emerging multipolarism while the instigators and imperial chauvinists find themselves out in the cold.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.