Saturday, July 14, 2018

US Propaganda: Time Magazine Takes Swipe at Thailand

July 15, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - 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."

Before the 2014 Coup 

Thaksin Shinawatra is a convicted criminal and a fugitive. After accumulating the worst human rights record in modern Thai history and indulging in unprecedented, overt corruption, he was ousted from power in an earlier 2006 coup. In 2008 he was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 2 years in prison. He fled the country and has been a fugitive since.

Despite being a fugitive, he still openly runs Thailand's largest opposition party, PTP. Yet, none of this is mentioned in Time Magazine's article.



It is difficult to believe Campbell or Time Magazine are unaware of these facts, since such facts were published in previous Time articles themselves, including a 2011 Time article titled, "Thai Parliament Dissolves: Let the Campaign Season Begin," which openly admits (my emphasis):
A slew of parties will contest the elections, but the race will chiefly pit Abhisit and his Democrat Party against the opposition Pheu Thai party, which is led remotely by wealthy businessman Thaksin Shinawatra. The elected prime minister who was ousted by the army in the 2006, Thaksin lives abroad, having fled after being convicted of corruption and given a two-year prison sentence he did not serve. Pheu Thai's campaign slogan is "Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts," and party executives acknowledge that Thaksin is expected to name his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, a businesswoman with no political experience, as the party's candidate for prime minister.
Thus, a convicted criminal and fugitive led a party contesting Thailand's 2011 elections, and having won them, became the defacto prime minister of Thailand with his sister Yingluck Shinawatra merely a placeholder.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

Thai Cave Rescue Highlights the Best/Worst in People

July 7, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - When 12 young students and their football coach went missing in Thailand's northern province of Chiang Rai amid the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system, many expected the worst. But the Thai government, its military, volunteers both in Thailand and from abroad spent 9 days until they were located alive in cave chamber isolated by rising waters.

The Good

The rescue efforts are still ongoing. Difficult decisions remain to be made. The trip to and from the location of the students and their coach requires scuba diving. To bring the stranded students out of the cave requires either to somehow drain the water trapping them, or train them to make the dive out of the cave.


Water being pumped out of the cave system has been distributed to the land of local farmers - many of whom eagerly volunteered to have water diverted to their property to aid in whatever way they could to the rescue efforts. The government is nonetheless compensating the farmers for the damage they incur.

The government has mobilized its resources as well as those offered by other nations. It is using newly acquired Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters to access sites around the cave. The US has offered technology in efforts to locate possible exits from the cave, and it was a team of private British divers who were with Thai Navy SEALs when the students were finally found 9 days after they went missing.  Other divers and cavers from all over Asia and beyond have also come to over their expertise.

The rescue efforts are not without danger. One Thai Navy SEAL has already died while making the trip to and from the trapped students.

This highlights the risks of at least one of the proposed rescue options - training the students and their coach to scuba dive out of the cave. Rescuers have urged patience, stating that it may be weeks or even months before the students can be brought to safety.

The Bad and the Ugly  

The media - both local and foreign - have expressed mostly positive support for the rescue efforts - playing a positive role in informing the public and soliciting volunteers and donations of various supplies and skill sets when needed. The larger constructive media coverage is, the more resources that have been marshaled from near and far to assist.

However, there have been some who have used the incident for publicity. Many pro-Western media organizations in Thailand, supported by the US, UK and EU government and opposed to the current Thai government, have used the incident to attack and undermine the Thai government at every opportunity.

Anti-government Khaosod even resorted to blatantly false headlines to smear the government and the Thai police by claiming the coach was already facing charges. In the body of the article under the "clickbait" headline, "Coach Faces Charges For Leading Boys into Cave," police were directly quoted as having not even considered the possibility of charges - since all attention was focused on rescuing the students.

Others, like Hathai Techakitteranun, a Thai writer for German-based Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) has taken every opportunity to portray the Thai government as bumbling and incompetent, using the desperate rescue efforts to advance her and her foreign sponsors' political agenda at the cost of national unity in the face of coordinated rescue efforts.

And Khaosod writer Pravit Rojanaphruk, recipient of multiple US-UK awards and fellowships, and a prominent supporter of US-backed political agitators in Bangkok, attempted to hook up US-backed regime change to the rescue efforts, claiming (translated from Thai) that while it was difficult to find the students in the cave, finding "democracy" for Thailand would be even harder.

Thai-based French "political cartoonist" Stephane "Stephff" Peray would parrot Pravit R.'s sentiments in search of clicks and attention to his otherwise ignored and often obscure "work."


Monday, July 2, 2018

Militants Threaten China's OBOR Initiative in Myanmar

Militants in northern Myanmar have once again put China's One Belt, One Road initiative on hold. It should come as no surprise that Anglo-American history played a direct role in their creation, and currently fund and back networks supporting them. 

July 3, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The BBC has mounted a recent propaganda campaign aimed at once again placing pressure on Myanmar's military, within a wider effort to drive a wedge between Myanmar and China.


Amid an already ongoing and deceptive narrative surrounding the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar's southwest state of Rakhine, attention is now being focused on the nation's northern state of Kachin.

Nick Beake of the BBC produced a narrative aimed at intentionally preying on the emotions of viewers. The report revolved around alleged hardships suffered by Kachin villagers fleeing from a supposed government offensive. The report was absent of any context or evidence and was based entirely on hearsay from alleged villagers Beake claims to have interviewed.

Beake would conclude that his report represented the "first eyewitness accounts of the Burmese military targeting civilians in their latest offensive in Kachin State." And supposed eyewitness accounts were all Beake presented. At one point Beake's report even cited third-hand reports of torture and rape - stories fleeing villagers claimed they had only heard from others, but did not directly witness themselves.

The only specific death Beake cited was of a man of military age he claims was killed during the supposed fighting. Beake avoided mentioning whether the victim was a Kachin fighter or a civilian caught in crossfire.

The BBC's Nick Beake makes little mention of the actual conflict and no mention at all that Kachin militants are among the most heavily armed and well organized in the divided nation of Myanmar.

And while the BBC report briefly claims that Kachin militants "have been fighting for independence for decades," it never mentions the central role the British government itself played in creating Kachin militant groups during World War II to protect their colony, how Kachin militants played a role in resisting Myanmar's bid for independence, and the role these militants have played in preventing Myanmar's progress forward as a unified nation ever since.

Manufacturing Crisis, Foiling Chinese Interests 

The BBC report and an uptick of sudden concern over Kachin State come at a time when Beijing has been working to foster peace deals to end the chaos unfolding along its border with Myanmar.

An April 2017 article in Foreign Policy titled, "China Is Playing Peacemaker in Myanmar, but with an Ulterior Motive," would include a revealing subtitle:
Beijing is trying to end the long-running conflicts along its border with Myanmar — but only because it can't exploit the region's resources at will anymore.

While Foreign Policy attempts to cast doubts on China's motivations, it inadvertently reveals that Kachin militants and their conflict with Myanmar's military are impeding Chinese interests, providing an essential clue as to who the fighting benefits and who is likely encouraging and enabling it.


Foreign Policy makes mention of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy coming to power and and the role that Suu Kyi herself played in protesting and obstructing Chinese-led infrastructure projects - including dams, roadways, ports, and pipelines - in Myanmar. Foreign Policy fails to mention the decades of US-UK funding that created and propelled Suu Kyi's government into power.