Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bangkok's Pivot to Beijing

November 13, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Despite the common misconception that Thailand is one of Southeast Asia's staunchest US allies - the steady erosion of US-Thai relations has been underway for years. Cold War concessions Thailand made to the US during the Vietnam War have ingrained the myth of Bangkok's unquestioning loyalty to Washington in the minds of many. The past decade and a half of Washington-proxy Thaksin Shinawatra holding power has helped bolster this myth, with Shinawatra assigning Thai troops to the US occupation of Iraq, cooperating with the US in its global CIA rendition program, and the privatization of Thailand's resources on behalf of Wall Street.

However with a 2006 coup ousting Shinawatra from power, and a subsequent 2014 coup which ousted Shinawatra's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, the shattering of this myth has begun.

No single move by the new Thai government has signified the shift away from Washington more than a recent deal with China to purchase 3 Type 039A diesel electric attack submarines. Currently Thailand lacks submarines in its navy. The purchase would put Thailand on par with other Southeast Asian nations including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam who already possess submarines.

More significantly, the purchasing of Chinese submarines may signal a shift not only in Bangkok's geopolitical alignment, but the alignment of Asia altogether.

How Important is the Thai-Chinese Submarine Deal?

Submarines would not be the first weapons Thailand has purchased from China. It already has 400 Type-85 armored personal carriers replacing aging US-made M113's. However, submarines would require extensive training and cooperation between China and Thailand to prepare the Royal Thai Navy to employ and maintain the weapon systems. And submarines themselves carry greater significance within any nation's defensive capabilities.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Thailand: Solving the Internet Gateway Problem

September 29, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - ATN) - There is a growing controversy as the Thai government is allegedly preparing to implement measures online to track, intercept and block certain information. Much of the complaints revolve around what critics claim the government will do, not what the government has actually said it will do.

The Bangkok Post in its article titled, "Govt internet gateway plan sparks fury," reports:
Activists campaigning for internet freedom have slammed the government's recent move to develop a single internet gateway to expand state control over online media.

Last week, citizens learned of the government's intention to build a single gateway, after it ordered the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) to take steps to channel all traffic in or out of Thailand.

According to an army source, the single gateway will be implemented to control access to websites deemed inappropriate and monitor the influx of information from abroad.  

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is concerned about the increasing number of political messages conveyed online, criticising the government and defaming the monarchy, the source said.

The plan is designed to target websites with domains that are registered abroad, which the Thai government cannot order closed down, the source added.
Information Warfare & National Security 

The flow of information in any country is a matter of national security. The very fact that those leading the current protest are nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) funded from abroad illustrate perfectly the concerns the Thai government has over the role of foreign interests in interfering with Thailand's domestic affairs. Organizations like Thai Netizen cited by the Bangkok Post are funded and directed by foreign interests and coordinate closely with other Thai-based, US State Department-funded NGOs like Prachatai. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Turkish-Uyghur Terror Inc. - America's Other Al Qaeda

September 23, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - It is no longer tenable for the United States and its regional allies in and near the Middle East to claim they are backing "moderate rebels" in the proxy war raging in Syria, Iraq, and parts of Lebanon. There is the Syrian government on one side, and terrorists including Al Qaeda and its various franchises such as the Al Nusra Front and the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS/ISIL) on the other.

If one is not supporting the Syrian government, it is very clear they are supporting Al Qaeda. So obvious is this fact, that the Western press and the corporate-financier think tanks that produce for them their talking points, have begun a campaign to re-brand Al Qaeda as a lesser evil vis-a-vis ISIS. In reality, there is virtually no difference, with the US and its regional allies clearly arming, funding, and supporting both.

The most recent and obscene manifestation of this re-branding was US Army General and former CIA Director David Petraeus' open calls to use Al Qaeda to "fight" ISIS. In the Daily Beast's article, "Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS," it was reported that:
Members of al Qaeda’s branch in Syria have a surprising advocate in the corridors of American power: retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus. 

The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been quietly urging U.S. officials to consider using so-called moderate members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly, told The Daily Beast.
Within this rhetorical shift we find an admission that there is indeed no "moderate rebel" force to speak of. All that exists, admittedly, are extremists operating under the various banners of Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Revelations of America's support behind Al Qaeda may not have ever been so overt, but are certainly nothing new. It is admitted that the US and its Saudi allies first created Al Qaeda as a proxy mercenary force to fight the Soviet Union in a proxy war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. In 2007, long before the current war in Syria broke out, it was warned by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh in the pages of the New Yorker that under the then Bush administration, support already began to flow to the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and other extremists groups including Al Qaeda for the purpose of violently undermining the Syrian government in Damascus.