Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thailand: US Creating "Space" For Destabilisation

December 13, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - In late November, the US, Canadian and British embassies along with several other European partners as well as the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Amnesty International, organised what they called the "Isaan Human Rights Festival" in northeast Thailand.

Foreign embassies have funded and directed a number of events to breath new life into the political proxies of ousted former prime minister, Thaksin Shianwatra in pursuit of regime change in Thailand. 

US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded media front, the "Isaan Record" in its article, "Rare human rights event gathers Isaan communities and foreign diplomats," claims (our emphasis):
The 8th Annual Isaan Human Rights Festival brought together 17 communities from across the region, activists, scholars, and international and Thai students. Ambassadors from Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom were in attendance, as well as political officers from Canada, the European Union and the United States. National Human Rights Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit also attend the event. 

Hosted by Mahasarakham University’s College of Politics and Governance, the festival opened a rare space to discuss the human rights situation in the Northeast.
While the US-funded media outfit mentioned funding provided by the Germany-based Heinrich Böll Foundation, it failed to mention other sponsors whose logos were clearly visible in media used throughout the event.

Creating Space for Destabilisation and Conflict 

The foreign-sponsored "festival" takes place against the backdrop of a currently dormant Thai political crisis. In 2014, the Thai military ousted then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister and publicly admitted proxy of Thaksin Shinawatra, a convicted criminal hiding abroad to evade a jail sentence and who was himself ousted in 2006 in a similar coup.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Look Who's Interfering: Tillerson's Thai Election Comment

December 10, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a press statement regarding Thailand's National Day. In it he expressed diplomatic greetings and well-wishing to the Thai people, but failed to resist also expressing American exceptionalism - stating, "we look forward to Thailand holding elections next year."


While the statement may seem rather innocuous at first glance, it is anything but.

Returning a Murderous Proxy to Power 

Thailand's elections have been put on hold, following a 2014 military coup ousting the US-backed regime of Yingluck Shinawtra who served openly as her brother Thaksin Shinawatra's proxy.

Thaksin Shinawatra resides abroad in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a convicted criminal evading a 2-year jail sentence for abuse of power. He too was ousted from power in a military coup in 2006.

Before being removed from power, he oversaw a brutal "war on drugs" in 2003 that left nearly 3,000 extrajudicially killed in the streets over the course of just 90 days. He also attempted to unilaterally sign a US-Thai free trade deal without parliamentary approval, sent Thai troops to participate in the US invasion of Iraq, and allowed Thai territory to be used as part of the US CIA's extraordinary rendition program.



Since being deposed from power in 2006, Shinawatra has organized street mobs, militants, and terrorists, killing scores of people, conducting campaigns of mass arson, bombings, and assassinations as part of his bid to seize back power.

He regularly meets members of his Pheua Thai Party (PTP) in Hong Kong, and has been allowed to travel across Europe, to the UK, and even to the US to conduct business despite being a fugitive and despite his human rights record.

When Shinawatra's sister contested elections in 2011 as head PTP, the campaign slogan was literally, "Thaksin Thinks, Pheua Thai Does," an open admission that Thaksin Shinawatra, not his sister, would be  running Thailand upon taking office. Despite the obvious illegality of a convicted criminal remotely running Thailand from a hotel room in Dubai, the immense impunity Shinawatra enjoys thanks to his foreign sponsors made it more than possible. The 2011 election results were heavily defended by the Western media and the legitimacy of Shinawatra's proxy government never questioned.

Image: The campaign sign reads in Thai: Thaksin Kit, Pheua Thai Tom" which translates to Thaksin Thinks, Pheua Thai [Party] Does - an open admission that a convicted criminal hiding abroad runs Thailand's largest opposition party and contested the 2011 elections. 
The military removed his sister from power in 2014 after Shinawatra's militants began killing protesters in the streets.

Elections have been pushed back repeatedly ever since. The reason is relatively simple - as long as the largest opposition party contesting Thailand's next election is openly led by a mass murderer and convicted criminal waging a campaign of terror against the Thai state from abroad, elections are untenable.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

ISIS Helps US Keep Military's Foot in Philippines' Door

December 7, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Current US ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, recently congratulated the Philippines' armed forces and the US military for their successful completion of KAMANDAG, a joint military exercise held for the first time this year.


The US embassy in the Philippines on its website noted that:
KAMANDAG, which will run until October 11, is an acronym for the Filipino phrase “Kaagapay Ng Mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat,” or “Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea,” emphasizing the close partnership between the Philippine and United States militaries. KAMANDAG will increase overall U.S. and Philippine readiness, improve bilateral responsiveness to crises in the region, and further reinforce our illustrious decades-long alliance. Leading up to the commencement of KAMANDAG, AFP and U.S. forces completed bilateral humanitarian and civic assistance projects at schools earlier this month in Casiguran, Aurora.
The embassy also made particular note that the exercise would "increase counterterrorism capabilities," which is particularly convenient considering the current crisis Manila faces on its southern island of Mindanao, where parts of the city of Marawi are still being held by militants linked to the Islamic State.

News outlets including across the United States and Europe, have noted that fighting in Marawi is backed by foreign interests and includes foreign fighters. Reuters in an article titled, "ISIS-Linked Mmilitants Fighting in Marawi City are 'Paralysed': Philippine Army," would report:
The battle for Marawi has raised concern that ISIS, on a back foot in Syria and Iraq, is building a regional base on the Philippine island of Mindanao that could pose a threat to neighboring Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore too. 

Officials have said that, among the several hundred militants who seized the town, there were about 40 foreigners from Indonesia and Malaysia but also fighters from India, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Chechnya. 

The strike on Marawi City suggested to many that pro-Islamic State factions wanted to establish it as a Southeast Asian "wilayat" – or governorate - for the radical group, a view reinforced by video footage the military found last week showing the fighters plotting to cut the town off completely.
With militants in Syria and Iraq clearly the recipients of extensive state sponsorship, particularly from the United States and its closest regional allies, it stands to reason that their ambitions thousands of miles away in the Philippines are likewise state-sponsored.


As to why the US and its allies would sponsor terrorism in the Philippines, the answer is surprisingly simple and straight forward.

US Seeks to Keep Its Foot in the Door

With the election of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, US-Philippine relations became increasingly strained. Beyond the political leadership in Manila, overall pragmatic considerations regarding Washington's waning influence in Asia Pacific and Beijing's rise have put increasing distance between the United States and its former colonial holdings in the Philippines.

Manila's unwillingness to help Washington leverage tensions in the South China Sea against Beijing have become a particular point of contention, hindering Washington's attempts to use the Philippine armed forces as a proxy to hem in Chinese interests across the region.