From the Philippines to Myanmar: “US to Fight US-Saudi Sponsored Terrorism”

 

September 8, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – With the recent attack on police in Myanmar by terrorists described by Reuters as “Muslim insurgents,” and ongoing terrorism plaguing the Philippines where forces are engaged with militants from the so-called “Islamic State,” it would appear that terrorism has spread into Southeast Asia with no signs of waning.

However, the sudden uptick in violence comes at a time when America’s so-called “pivot to Asia” has ground to a complete halt, providing the United States with an all-too-convenient pretext to reengage and establish itself across the region in a much more insidious manner.

US Sought Military Presence in Southeast Asia for Decades but Lacked a Pretext, Until Now 

The United States has openly conspired to establish and expand a permanent military presence in Southeast Asia as a means to confront, encircle, and contain China for decades.

As early as the Vietnam War, with the so-called “Pentagon Papers” released in 1969, it was revealed that the conflict was simply one part of a greater strategy aimed at containing and controlling China.

Three important quotes from these papers reveal this strategy. It states first that:

“…the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.”

It also claims:

“China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.” 

Finally, it outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time by stating:

“there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR “contains” China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.” 

While the US would ultimately lose the Vietnam War and any chance of using the Vietnamese as a proxy force against Beijing, the long war against Beijing would continue elsewhere.

More recently, an American policy think tank, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) in a 2000 paper titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (PDF) would unabashedly declare its intentions to establish a wider, permanent military presence in Southeast Asia.

The report would state explicitly that:

…it is time to increase the presence of American forces in Southeast Asia.

It would elaborate in detail, stating:

In Southeast Asia, American forces are too sparse to adequately address rising security requirements. Since its withdrawal from the Philippines in 1992, the United States has not had a significant permanent military presence in Southeast Asia. Nor can U.S. forces in Northeast Asia easily operate in or rapidly deploy to Southeast Asia – and certainly not without placing their commitments in Korea at risk. Except for routine patrols by naval and Marine forces, the security of this strategically significant and increasingly tumultuous region has suffered from American neglect. 

Noting the difficultly of placing US troops where they are not wanted, the PNAC paper notes:

This will be a difficult task requiring sensitivity to diverse national sentiments, but it is made all the more compelling by the emergence of new democratic governments in the region. By guaranteeing the security of our current allies and newly democratic nations in East Asia, the United States can help ensure that the rise of China is a peaceful one. Indeed, in time, American and allied power in the region may provide a spur to the process of democratization inside China itself.

It should be noted that the paper’s reference to “the emergence of new democratic governments in the region” is a reference to client states created by the United States on behalf of its own interests and in no way constituted actual “democratic governments” which would otherwise infer they represented the interests of the very people possessing the “national sentiments” that opposed US military presence in the region in the first place.

It should also be noted that in 2000, the United States was cultivating a number of such proxy governments across Southeast Asia including Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy in Myanmar, Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand, and Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia.

Since 2000, all but one of these proxies have been removed from power with Anwar Ibrahim residing in prison and Thaksin Shinawatra fleeing Thailand to evade a 2 year jail term.

Only Suu Kyi managed to ascend to power as a result of billions spent by her US and European sponsors via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its numerous subsidiaries and affiliates. One of these affiliates – The US Institute of Peace – has openly enumerated how the US on virtually every imaginable level is now dictating the outcome of Myanmar’s development from directing its political processes to organizing its economy. It is also providing “technical assistance” on “counter-terrorism.”

In the Philippines, attempts by the US to reestablish its military presence and use the nation in its self-serving, elective conflict with Beijing has suffered many setbacks.

US to Fight US-Saudi Sponsored Terrorism in Asia

Most recently Washington found its relationship with Manila unraveling irrevocably in favor of Manila’s increasing ties with Beijing. This was until the fortuitous arrival of militants from the so-called “Islamic State” on the nation’s shores, overwhelming an entire city in the nation’s southern region.

In Myanmar, terrorists have likewise – suddenly – appeared and are operating on unprecedented levels just in time for another push by the United States to establish a permanent military presence in the country to provide “technical assistance” on “counter-terrorism.”

Such terrorists – however – have not simply sprung from oblivion. Such organizations conducting operations on the scale seen in the Philippines, southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar require immense sums of money, organizational capacity, logistical, and political support.

And indeed, it is confirmed that not only does such support exist, it flows from a very logical and familiar source of state-sponsored terrorism – America’s oldest and closest ally in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia.

The Wall Street Journal in an article titled, “Asia’s New Insurgency Burma’s abuse of the Rohingya Muslims creates violent backlash.” reports in regards to terrorism in Myanmar that (emphasis added):

Now this immoral policy has created a violent backlash. The world’s newest Muslim insurgency pits Saudi-backed Rohingya militants against Burmese security forces. As government troops take revenge on civilians, they risk inspiring more Rohingya to join the fight.

The Wall Street Journal elaborates, stating (emphasis added):

Called Harakah al-Yaqin, Arabic for “the Faith Movement,” the group answers to a committee of Rohingya emigres in Mecca and a cadre of local commanders with experience fighting as guerrillas overseas. Its recent campaign—which continued into November with IED attacks and raids that killed several more security agents—has been endorsed by fatwas from clerics in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the Emirates and elsewhere. 

Rohingyas have “never been a radicalized population,” ICG notes, “and the majority of the community, its elders and religious leaders have previously eschewed violence as counterproductive.” But that is changing fast. Harakah al-Yaqin was established in 2012 after ethnic riots in Rakhine killed some 200 Rohingyas and is now estimated to have hundreds of trained fighters.

The foreign-baked terrorism sponsored by Saudi Arabia and literally directed from within its own borders all-too-conveniently creates a pretext for US military presence in Myanmar it otherwise could not justify or in any shape, form, or way pursue.

A similar superhighway of cash and weapons flows from terrorists operating in the Philippines to Riyadh and its partners in Washington, resulting in a similar opportunity for the US to establish a permanent military presence there in reaction to a crisis of its own intentional engineering.

While the US proposes an expansive US military presence across Southeast Asia for “counter-terrorism” assistance, it is clear that it is Washington’s own aid and support to Riyadh that is at the very source of the security crisis and that simply withdrawing aid and penalizing this state sponsor of terrorism is the solution.

Yet the United States is not making this most logical of conclusions, nor is it taking this most obvious course of action – indicating full complicity with Saudi state-sponsorship of terrorism and placing responsibility for the death and destruction sown by terrorism across Southeast Asia squarely on Washington.

While the US frames its military presence in Southeast Asia as a cornerstone of peace and stability, it is in fact a policy representing a symptom of the sort of very real instability and chaos the United States and its self-proclaimed “international order” represents. It is particularly ironic that not only is the increasingly rampant terrorism across Southeast Asia a result of intentional Washington policy, it is being used as a pretext for setting the stage of a greater and potentially more devastating regional conflict with China.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

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Venezuela – The National Constituent Assembly is in Place – But the fight for Sovereignty isn’t Over

by Peter KoenigVenezuela – The National Constituent Assembly is in Place – But the fight for Sovereignty isn’t Over

Venezuela has voted on 30 July for a National Constituent Assembly (ANC – Asamblea Nacional Constituyente) with a resounding close to 8.1 million votes, or over 41% of the total eligible electorate. The figure was confirmed by the president of the National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena. The Chavistas battle cry before the elections was Venceremos! – Ché Guevaras favored revolutionary slogan. And the day after, 31 July, the victorious Ganamos! Accompanied by dancing in the streets.

To counter the mainstream presstitute mass media slandering of Venezuela, calling the legitimate democratically elected President a dictator, and that the vote was illegitimate and against the present Venezuelan Constitution – lets explain upfront what the Constitution says:

Article 347 of Venezuela’s constitution:

“The original constituent power rests with the people of Venezuela. This power may be exercised by calling a National Constituent Assembly for the purpose of transforming the State, creating a new juridical order and drawing up a new Constitution.”

Article 348 states

“(t)he initiative for calling a National Constituent Assembly may emanate from the President of the Republic sitting with the Cabinet of Ministers; from the National Assembly by a two-thirds vote of its members; from the Municipal Councils in open session, by a two-thirds vote of their members; and from 15% of the voters registered with the Civil and Electoral Registry.”

Article 349 states

“(t)he President of the Republic shall not have the power to object to the new Constitution. The existing constituted authorities shall not be permitted to obstruct the Constituent Assembly in any way.”

The process to vote for the ANC is complex but highly democratic. The 30 July election chose 545 members to the National Constituent Assembly, of which two thirds (364) were elected on a regional or territorial basis, and one third (181) by sectors of professions or activities, i.e. students, farmers, unions of different labor forces, employees, business owners – and so on. This cross-section of people’s representation is the most solid basis for democracy. See also http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-is-venezuela-in-the-white-houses-crosshairs/5594240.

The 8.1million pro-ANC vote may, at first sight, with 41% of total eligible voters not constitute an absolute majority, but they are a legitimate majority analyzed from different perspectives. The only historic data we currently have on Venezuela is the one from the 1999 Constitution (still valid today), which President Hugo Chavez Frias, elected in 1998, initiated after asking the people whether they agreed to the drafting of a new Constitution. He received an overwhelming 80% support.

Assuming that on average about 20% to 25% of the electorate do not vote (based on the past 19 elections since the Bolivarian Revolutionary Government took over in 1998), of the 20 million eligible electorate, about 15 million could be expected to vote. With 8.1million ANC supporters, the National Constituent Assembly resulting from the 30 July elections is a clear majority, about 54%.

The election result is another resounding victory, when compared to the opposition’s plebiscite, illegally held a week earlier. The opposition claims having received 7.2 million votes against the ANC. However, by all observers, including internationals, this is a highly questionable and probably vastly inflated figure (based on their election boots which were a fraction of those of the ANC election process countrywide. Plus, the announced result cannot be checked, as the voter’s bulletins were burned by the opposition, as soon as they informed the public of the plebiscite’s result. However, even assuming this figure was correct – which it most likely isn’t – the total alleged votes cast between de official ANC process and the illegitimate referendum would amount to 15.3 million, of which 8.1 million represents about 53%, or an absolute majority of the votes cast.

For analysis sake, let’s just look at the curious composition of votes the oppositions claims having received. In their referendum people had to respond with yes, or no to three questions, with each one being a leading question against the ANC. Each one of the three answers counted for one vote, thus, there were up to three votes per person. The same people also were allowed to vote in several districts. During the press conference held by the opposition, a journalist asked whether it was correct that one voter could cast his / her vote 17 times. The answer of one of the directors was yes, but it may bediscovered at the final count. There were also stories of 10-year old kids and other minors voting. Also, there are 101,000 eligible voters abroad – but according to the opposition, the votes received from Venezuelans living outside Venezuela were almost 700,000.

The illegitimate – yes, illegitimate – opposition vote is pure farce. Though it can never be checked, since the votes were burned and given the above details, the promulgated results of 7.2 million votes against the ANC would have to be discounted by at least 30% to 50%. Yes, illegitimate, as the Constitution does not allow interference from anybody, once the ANC process has been launched.

Curiously though, the opposition, having the majority in the National Assembly could have initiated themselves an National Constituent Assembly. They didn’t. They could have actively participated in President Maduro’s ANC vote and presented their own candidates as they would have, had they respected the principles of democracy. They didn’t do that either. It is clear, they are not interested in a democratic process. They are not interested even in dialogue, one of Mr. Maduro’s priorities for conflict resolution. They want a violent ‘regime change’ – that’s what their Washington masters want and pays them for.

——–

The most vociferous critics of the process came from the usual villains, CNN, BBC, Washington Post, NYT, even The Guardian, but so far relatively few from the EU and her members. One of the countries that sticks out most with her unsolicited comment is “neutral” Switzerland, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on President Maduro, to cancel the elections for the new National Constitutional Assembly in ‘respect of democracy’. It further declared through the Swiss state-run radio-TV station, SRG, that the elections were illegal, as they are against the Constitution – which is a blatant lie, the Swiss Executive is aware of, but it pleases for sure Washington.

The Trump Administration also said it would not recognize the vote and slammed more heavy sanctions on Venezuela, among them, blocking President Maduro’s alleged ‘assets held in the US’. This in itself is a massive and ridiculous propaganda falsehood. It must be clear to any dimwit, that President Maduro does not have assets in the US. Washington forced ‘sanctions’ will probably also follow from its European vassals.

The right-wing puppet leaders (sic) in Latin America have of course also immediately played to the tune of their northern masters. The first one to do so was Peru’s President Pablo Kuczynski, saying that his government would not recognize the result of the elections. But who cares what Peru thinks about sovereign democratic Venezuela? – His arrogance went as far as calling upon the Peruvian Prime Minister to form a committee that should look into possible actions Peru could and should take against Venezuela. If one knows the level of corruption that literally runs Peru – one of the worst, if not the worst of all Latin America – and the way Kuczynski was ‘elected’, or rather shoed in by his Washington Masters, one can just chuckle in disbelief. If there was any un-bought, uncorrupted functioning legal system in Peru – the last five consecutive Presidents would now be in jail for corruption and crimes against humanity, including the present one.

Of course, Colombia and Mexico, among the staunchest vassals of the northern empire were also accusing Venezuela’s ANC initiative as being illegitimate, anti-democratic, for the sole purpose of allowing President Maduro to become a dictator and to bend the new Constitution so that he may stay President for life. None of this is of course intended or in the cards, or indeed allowed under the Constitution and the National Assembly still in place. In fact, according to the Constitution, neither the President or the National Assembly which is not being resolved or replaced by the new National Constituent Assembly, have a right to interfere in ANC’s process of drafting a new Constitution.

On a recent visit to Mexico, the ultra-right-wing (Tea Party) CIA chief, Mr. Pompeo, pledged for both Mexico and Colombia to help assure that the situation in Venezuela is being corrected. Let’s not forget, Colombia’s President Santos (the latest Peace Nobel Laureate!) has already several months ago asked Brussels to send NATO troop to Colombia. They may already be there. With a 2,200 km porous border between Colombia and Venezuela, infiltration of Colombian and NATO troops into Venezuela would not be complicated (http://www.globalresearch.ca/venezuela-washingtons-latest-defamation-to-bring-nato-to-south-america/5575480).

Among the few but strong supporters of the ANC and which called for the world to respect this legitimate and democratic process, were Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba, Iran, China and Russia. Others may follow. So far Brussels has only been mumbling. What remains to be seen is how these countries, notably Russia and China, would react, when it comes down to the wire with a possible CIA / US / NATO instigated coup à la Maidan, in Kiev, Ukraine, in 2014.

———

Why did President Maduro call now for a National Constituent assembly to modify or redraft the current Constitution? – The answer is simple. Dictators around the world, like France under Macron, the UK under Mme. May, and probably soon Germany under Mme. Merkel, would call for Martial Law to clamp down ‘legitimately’ on the peoples’ rights and carry through their atrocious militarization and austerity programs, as well as to ’selectively curtail foreign influence’.

President Maduro, instead, follows democratic principles to the core. The purpose of a new or reality adjusted Constitution has precisely to do with foreign interference to the detriment of Venezuela’s economy. They include outside orchestrated food and medical supply shortages; from Miami manipulated black-market vs. official exchange rates, ruining local purchasing power, thereby causing inflation and a sagging economy; foreign news networks deadly propaganda; and infiltration of foreign trained, armed and funded violent terror groups to help organizing the relatively small Venezuelan elitist opposition to cause havoc and civil unrest – as we have seen over the last several months in the runup to these ANC elections. The US State Department funded NED – National Endowment for Democracy – is a key sponsor of violent opposition in Venezuela, as well as elsewhere in the world. The new or adjusted Constitution is expected to allow the government to sovereignly control its borders and its economy with whatever means it has to take to keep the criminals out and regain full sovereignty.

These vicious foreign supported groups have cost the life of some110 people during the last few months leading up to the ANC vote, through the most horrendous acts of terror, including lynching, burning alive, shooting, looting of shops, attacking and destroying schools, public infrastructure, police headquarters and more. There is no end to the list of heinous crimes committed by the so-called opposition – which is nothing else as a tool for the Washington tyrant-in-chief, who will not let go until he has achieved ‘regime change’.

The presstitute doesn’t present this real picture of things. They portray the violence and dead toll as the government’s responsibility. In fact, thanks to the diligence of national police and the 200,000 military forces deployed throughout the country in the last couple of weeks to protect the population, the voters, in the leadup to the elections, violence and dead tolls were kept in check. Violent outbreak would have most likely been even more atrocious without the military deployment.

A new puppet government would return Venezuela to the pre-Chavez years – or most likely much worse – giving away Venezuelans world’s largest hydrocarbon deposit is to US petrol giants and torturing Chavistas and anybody who had in the past opposed and still opposes the violent undemocratic, oppressive servile-to-Washington elite.

—–

What’s next for Venezuela? – Well, it’s not over. The National Constituent Assembly is just the first step. The rabid bulldog will not let go. He keeps attacking and biting relentlessly and without merci sovereign democratic and un-obedient Venezuela. The steady internal foreign instigated economic and social decay, the build-up to what prompted President Maduro to initiate the ANC vote, was very reminiscent of the fascist 9/11/1973 CIA instigated military coup in Chile.

The Chile coup was also preceded by artificially and outside instrumented shortages of food and medical supplies – paying people to protest in the streets. The only difference there is that the Chilean army was split and high ranks defected President Allende. This doesn’t seem to be the case in Venezuela. – The overwhelming people’s support for the ANC has further cemented the solidarity within the Bolivarian Republic – and given the revolution new energy. Venezuela will prevail. Venceremos!

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

The West’s War on Free Speech

June 6, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – 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.

In determining what is and isn’t “fake news,” the New York Times offers some clues (emphasis added):

Using a database of verified articles and their artificial intelligence expertise, rival groups — a combination of college teams, independent programmers and groups from existing tech companies — already have been able to accurately predict the veracity of certain claims almost 90 percent of the time, Mr. Pomerleau said. He hopes that figure will rise to the mid-90s before his challenge ends in June.

In other words, “fake news” is determined by comparing it directly to narratives presented by establishment media platforms like the New York Times, the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and others who have notorious track records of serial deception, false reporting, and even war propagandizing.

Nowhere does the New York Times explain how these “verified articles” have been determined to be factually accurate, and instead, it appears that all these algorithms are doing is ensuring all media falls in line with Western narratives.

If media in question coincides with Western-dominated media platforms, it is given a pass – if not, it is slated for expunging as described elsewhere in the New York Times’ piece.

Thus, the National Democratic Institute, who claims on its website to “support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government,” finds itself promoting what is essentially a worldwide agenda of malicious censorship, manipulating the perception of the globe’s citizenry, not supporting or strengthening it’s participation in any sort of honest political process.

To answer the question as to what the NDI is referring to when it claims other nations are “censoring” free speech and press freedoms, it involves defending local fronts funded by the NDI and its parent organization, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) who merely repeat Western propaganda in local languages and with local spins. When foreign nations attempt to deal with these instances of “fake news,” US fronts like NDI and NED depict it as censorship.

While the West poses as the premier champion of free speech, citizen participation, openness, and accountability, the New York Times article reveals an unfolding plan to utterly crush any narrative that deviates from Western media talking points, thus controlling citizen perception, not encouraging “participation,” and ensuring that the West alone determines what is “opened” and held “accountable.”

No worse scenario can be referenced in human history or even among human fiction than plans to determine for the world through automatic algorithms and artificial intelligence almost in real time what is heard and read and what isn’t. It is even beyond the scope and scale of George Orwell’s cautionary dystopian “1984” novel.

In a truly free society, an educated citizenry is capable of deciding for itself what is “fake news” and what isn’t. Because of the rise of alternatives to the West’s monopoly over global information, many people are doing just that – determining that Western narratives are in fact deceptions. At no other point in modern history has the Western media faced as many alternatives, and as much skepticism on this scale, as well as an ebbing of trust domestically and abroad. It is no surprise then, to find the West resorting to outright censorship, even if it cushions mention of it with terms like “fake news.”

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Venezuela – Confronting the Neoliberal Propaganda Media Machine

by Peter Koenig

June 10, 2017

On 8 of JunVenezuela – Confronting the Neoliberal Propaganda Media Machinee, I had the privilege to attend a press conference hosted by the Venezuelan Ambassador in Bern, Switzerland. The purpose of the press conference was to clarify the current highly misrepresented situation in Venezuela, as well as explaining the process of electing a new National Constitutional Assembly (Asamblea Nacional Constituyente – ANC) on July 30, 2017.

In his hour-long presentation, the Ambassador introduced the issues at stake by explaining that Venezuela today has the largest known oil reserves in the world and the fourth largest deposits of gas; that the US is importing 60% of its lush energy use (a distant first of the globe’s per capita energy users), mostly from the Middle East, where it is subject to long and costly transport (40-45 days), and to many risk factors, including the Gulf of Hormuz, controlled by Iran, where today about one third of all the world’s petrol must pass through.

By contrast, shipments of petroleum from Venezuela across the Caribbean to the refineries in Texas takes only 4-5 days.

This is the main reason why Venezuela is in the White House’s crosshairs, plus, of course, the fact that for Washington it is totally intolerable to have a sovereign socialist Republic in its ‘backyard’ – and so close, the same syndrome applies also for Cuba, a genuinely successful socialist nation, having survived almost sixty years of atrocious and criminal American strangulation. There is no tolerance for sovereign independent countries that do not bend to the dictate of the United States and her behind the scene handlers.

The Ambassador then went on explaining the process of the upcoming election of the National Constitutional Assembly (ANC). He described the process of direct democracy, where Venezuelans elect their delegates by region and by sector, and where of course, the opposition was also supposed to participate, although the opposition’s leadership has already declared they would boycott the process.

The elected new ANC would then be called to amend the Constitution of 1999, to adapt it to today’s circumstances. The current Constitution was approved in a similar democratic process by the people and sanctioned by the ANC one year after President Hugo Chavez Frias became President in 1998. The 1999 Constitution is still valid and adhered to until this day.

The July election will choose 545 members to the National Assembly, of which two thirds (364) would be elected on a regional or territorial basis, and one third (181) by sectors of professions or activities, i.e. students, farmers, unions of different labor forces, employees, business owners – and so on. This cross-section of people’s representation is the most solid basis for democracy.

The Ambassador assured the journalists that there will be a very high peoples’ participation in the elections, as was the case for the 19 democratic elections that took place since1998, when Comandante Chavez became President.

This election should be an opportunity for the opposition to gather as many Assembly seats as possible, and then help shape the new Constitution in a fully democratic process. Not by street violence.

The fact that the opposition is planning to boycott the election shows clearly, they are not interested in democracy. They have one goal only, to oust President Maduro and take power, privatize state assets, especially hydrocarbons (petroleum and gas) to hand them to international mainly US corporations to be exploited at no benefits for the Venezuelan people.

This was precisely the case before President Chavez took the reins of the country. Foreign corporations, almost all North Americans, left not a dollar in tax revenues in Venezuela.

Venezuela today is arguably the only true democracy in the western world, as said on numerous occasions by Professor Noam Chomsky, MIT.

——-

To counter the neoliberal mainstream media’s (MSM) demonization of the Bolivarian Revolution and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and her President Nicolas Maduro, the Ambassador showed various videos demonstrating that the instigators of violence were clearly the armed opposition. They are constituted and led by a rich elite and supported ideologically and financially from outside.

Among different foreign sources of support and funding, most of them American, is the infamous National Endowment for Democracy – NED, a so called “fake” NGO “think-tank” (sic), receiving from the US State Department hundreds of millions of dollars per year to ’spread democracy’ American style around the globe, i.e. training local rebel groups abroad and within the targeted country to provoke instability through unrest and violence; distribute anti-government propaganda, infiltrate the media, universities and so on. They are the same who were responsible for the so-called Arab Spring and the Color Revolutions in former Soviet Republics, including Ukraine.

The facts explained and demonstrated by the Ambassador showed clearly who was responsible for most of the 67 deaths and more than 1,200 injured within the last couple of months.

This is all supported by unmistakable videos, showing government supporters, who are despite what the western media are saying, the vast majority – between 70% and 80%, demonstrating peacefully and unarmed.

However, western media twists and manipulates the truth to become anti-Venezuela propaganda, including video clips presented out of context, or outright falsified, blame the aggression on the government supporters, accusing authorities and police of oppressing civil liberties, of dictatorship, of killing its own people.

The western MSM do not show the weaponized right-wing opposition attacking police with explosives, putting police cars on fire and throwing Molotov cocktails and more sophisticated explosives at police and authorities.

This point of opposition violence, blackmail and more, is clearly demonstrated by a recent US journalist covering the riots for the pan-Latin American TeleSur TV. Ms. Abby Martin, the host of the Empire Files, an investigative program, told RT (Russia Today) that she received numerous death threats from opposition fighters during her work on the ground in Venezuela. She says protesters threatened to lynch and burn her alive if she tried to contradict their narrative (https://www.rt.com/news/391338-us-journalist-venezuela-threats/). This is to be taken seriously, because several journalists have already been murdered by the opposition.

——

The Ambassador made two very important points that the west should listen to. He said, that despite the violent social upheavals, the government is respecting the principles of democracy and has not declared a State of Emergency or Martial Law, nor curtailed private-owned foreign media slandering Venezuela with lies.

This contrasts with other countries, like France which for the past two years has been under a declared State of Emergency, just a small step below Martial Law, and is about to put this state of permanent militarization into her Constitution; or take Argentina which is suppressing foreign media like TeleSur (and were at the point of shutting down also RT), because they are telling Argentinians the inconvenient truth.

——

When the Ambassador opened the floor for questions and comments, most of the journalists present were polite, seeking clarifications of the election process. But there were two sore thumbs sticking out, the representatives of the two largest and most neoliberal Swiss newspapers, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) and the Tagesanzeiger.

They came with a specific agenda. It seems they didn’t listen to anything the Ambassador said. They simply hurled their list of insults, accusations and offensive negative lie-propaganda at the Ambassador. Both of them are what one would assume in Switzerland, educated people. They must know the truth. If they don’t say the truth, they are most likely bought agents of the Anglo-Zionist network that controls 90% of the news throughout the western world. After they accomplished their mission of insulting the Ambassador, they left the conference.

Isn’t it a journalist’s foremost obligation to adhere to a code of ethics? – That’s what they were taught at universities, to seek the truth and portray the truth as objectively as possible.

And what about Switzerland? A country that boasts about its neutrality, appears to have completely abandoned her noble principles and moved to become Europe’s epicenter of neoliberalism. No wonder, such alternative international media like TeleSur and RT are not publicly offered to households by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG), the monopoly holder (90%) of Swiss television and radio providers.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

 

ISIS in the Philippines–Christians Taken Hostage

It seems ISIS-affiliated terror groups have launched a major attack in the Philippines, on the southern island of Mindanao. President Rodrigo Duterte has invoked martial law on the entire island and sent in government troops, and reports have been coming out of pitched battles, particularly in the city of Marawi.

“But the government troops were surprised when they encountered a 100-strong Maute force armed with high-powered weapons”–so reports the New York Times today. The Philippine Maute terror group, also known as the Islamic State of Lanao, is affiliated with ISIS. Coincidentally, it seems the group has now acquired high-powered weaponry it didn’t possess before.

The attack comes, coincidentally, as Duterte has moved to align the Philippines toward Russia and China, and even–also coincidentally–as Duterte was on a state visit to Russia, no less! A lot of coincidences there for a coincidence theorist, but if you are among those who still retain normal cognitive abilities, it would appear that the US has launched a regime change operation in the Philippines.

Coincidentally, the mainstream media have been attacking Duterte for his anti-drug campaign, and coincidentally also NGOs like Human Rights Watch have been chiming in, and coincidentally as well, the attack comes mere days after Duterte gave this interview with RT:

The US needs to quit trying to boss the rest of the world around, and above all else it needs to get out of the regime-change business. The National Endowment for Democracy should be de-funded and dismantled. But I don’t see any of this happening until some sort of radical change takes place in the United States–and it doesn’t look like we can expect any radical changes coming out of the Trump administration.

Not-so-coincidentally, the terrorists have reportedly taken a priest and several parishioners hostage. Father Chito Suganob and others were in the Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians when members of the Maute fighting group forced their way into the Cathedral, taking with them Father Chito and others as hostages,” a statement on the official website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said.

Undated photo of Catholic Church in the city of Marawi, Mindanao Island, in the Philippines.

According to a report here:

Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña said he received a call last night from one of the militants, who introduced himself as “a member of the ISIS”, and demanded for a “unilateral ceasefire”.

“They want a ceasefire and for the military to give them access out of Marawi. Otherwise, they will kill the hostages,” Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña said.

The prelate said the call was made shortly before 8pm on Tuesday using the phone of his secretary who is among the hostages.

Members of the Maute group forced their way into the church and the bishop’s residence yesterday, and took with them Fr. Chito Suganob, some staff of the cathedral and churchgoers.

Dela Peña said the hostages are being used as “human shield” by the militants.

Odd isn’t it–that the US, which once held at least the trappings of being a Christian nation, now supports terrorists who attack Christians.

While the fate of the Christians is unknown, RT is reporting that government troops have rescued 78 hostages from a hospital in Marawi, as well as 42 others from a school:

Government forces managed to rescue 78 civilians from the Amai Pakpak Medical Center where the terrorists tried to use them as human shields as the army moved in, Western Mindanao Command chief, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., said according to the PhilStar daily.

The troops also secured 42 teachers who had taken refuge and got trapped at Dansalan College after the city was engulfed in violence.

In a report published today, the New York Times calls the battle on the southern island a “test for Duterte.” Not surprisingly, the article includes a quote from Human Rights Watch:

Mr. Duterte’s “casual reference to the late dictator should be especially alarming,” said James Ross of Human Rights Watch, which is based in New York.

And it also gives publicity to opposition politicians:

Already, several lawmakers have voiced concern, with the opposition leader Francis Pangilinan vowing to “vigorously oppose a nationwide martial law declaration.”

“While there may be isolated terrorist acts in these areas, there exists no Visayas-wide nor a Luzon-wide invasion or rebellion to merit a declaration of martial law,” Mr. Pangilinan said, referring to the president’s threat to expand military rule to the central and northern islands to cover the entire country.

It is a familiar playbook, and it seems to be in play now in the Philippines.

Regime Change and Continuity of Agenda: Trump Adviser Now Chairs NED

 

March 1, 2017 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – While supporters of recently elected US President Donald Trump believe steadfastly that among other things, his administration will role back what has been essentially a century of American expansionism worldwide through overt wars and more “covert” methods toward achieving “regime change,” by all metrics it appears such methods will only expand.

Image: Dr. Judy Shelton, now Chairperson of the NED and Trump adviser, presides over an award ceremony in 2010 for US CIA asset, the Dali Lama, a decades-long integral component of American policy to encircle, contain and divide China.

Not only do observers note continued subversive activities coordinated through local US embassies around the world since Trump’s presidency began, including across Southeast Asia as part of America’s continued attempts to isolate and contain China, but also movement within US agencies charged with organising and financing this subversion, such as the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Recently, NED announced its new chairperson, Dr. Judy Shelton. The announcement, published on NED’s website includes the following background information on Dr. Shelton:

 Dr. Judy Shelton was elected the new Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) by NED’s Board of Directors at its January 10, 2017 meeting. An economist who has written widely on issues of international finance and monetary policy, she has also been consulted on international economic and financial issues by the Congress, the White House, and the Pentagon. Shelton previously served on the NED Board from 2005-2014, and was Vice Chairman from 2010-2014.

In other words, not only is Dr. Shelton now the new chairperson of NED, she has been directly involved with NED since at least 2005, long before, and all during NED’s role in training, funding and backing the armies of regime change that swept the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) beginning in 2011. She also served on NED’s board during the US-backed coup in Ukraine between 2013-2014.

Before that, between 2009-2010, NED-backed mobs took to the streets in Bangkok, Thailand in attempts to overthrow both the sitting government at the time, and also the Thai military and Thailand’s head of state.

While these events have been assigned to the Obama administration for political convenience and compartmentalisation, it is actually organisations like NED that serve as the working mechanics that make such events possible.

In other words, Dr. Judy Shelton has been directly involved in NED through the entirety of America’s most recent chapters of expansionism and regime change worldwide. She has also served on the board of directors for Hilton Hotels and Atlantic Coast Airlines, providing another example within NED of corporate and financial special interests driving the organisation’s agenda rather than actual “democracy promotion.”

An example of Dr. Shelton’s activities within NED can be gleamed from a 2012 NED news letter under a headline titled, “Democracy Service Medal Presented in Cuba,” in which it claims:

NED Vice-Chair Judy Shelton (second from right) presented it in person to Berta Soler, the leader of the Damas de Blanco movement founded by Laura Pollán; Héctor Maseda Guitiérrez, Pollán’s widower and a journalist who spent eight years imprisoned by the Cuban government; and Laura Labrada Pollán, Pollán’s daughter and a member of the Damas de Blanco.

Here, Dr. Shelton is directly involved in lending legitimacy to US-backed subversion in Cuba as part of a decades-long attempt to overthrow the government in Havana and expand US hegemony over the Caribbean.

Dr. Shelton also regularly oversees NED’s system of self-aggrandising, the lending of legitimacy to its own members through self-awarded recognition. In 2010 in a Star Tribune article titled, “Vin Weber honored for his work with the National Endowment for Democracy,” it’s stated:

In Capitol Hill ceremony, Former Minnesota Congressman Vin Weber Tuesday was slated to receive the Democracy Service Medal for his work with the National Endowment for Democracy…

…Honorary co-chairs of the event are Madeleine Albright, the former Secretary of State, Richard Gephardt, the NED chair and a former Democratic leader of the House, and Judy Shelton, the NED vice chair. 

Previous award recipients include Lech Walesa, former president of Poland, the Dalai Lama, of Tibet and Francis Fukuyama, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies professor.

Vin Weber is one of several prominent, so-called Neo-Conservatives and a signatory to various pro-war letters and policy papers that preceded the conflicts waged by the United States under US presidents Bush, Obama and now continuing under Trump.

Dr. Shelton’s long-time association in an organisation created specifically as a mechanism for regime change, associating with Neo-Conservatives (including not only Weber, but also the above mentioned Francis Fukuyama and Richard Gephardt) and notorious personalities like Madeline Albright who hsa repeatedly justified sanctions against Iraq that starved hundreds of thousands of children to death is particularly troubling.

As US Berates Russia For Political Meddling, It Openly Meddles in China

 

December 26, 2016 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Despite a concerted backlash against what US political leaders and policymakers claim is Russian interference in America’s internal politics, the US continues to openly interfere in the internal politics of other nations worldwide, including most recently, China.

Berating Russia Over Alleged Hacks 

In an effort to redirect attention and blame for America’s unravelling political fabric, the US political establishment and its media has spent an inordinate amount of time blaming Russia for allegedly “hacking US elections” by infiltrating the Democratic National Committee (DNC)’s e-mails.

The hacks revealed impropriety within the Democratic party as well as e-mails between US presidential candidate and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her adviser, lobbyist and counsellor to US President Barack Obama, John Podesta which revealed everything from admissions US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar were providing material support to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq to the Clinton Foundation receiving funding from these same state sponsors of terrorism.

The fallout from the revelations has included a media blacklist targeting what is called “fake news,” or, any media outlet that opposes narratives established by Washington, particularly regarding the contents of the leaked e-mails. It also resulted in claims that Wikileaks (who published the leaked e-mails) was intentionally mixing fabricated e-mails in with genuine DNC data, the Intercept would report.

The United States government and policymakers have also promised retaliation against Russia, who is accused of orchestrating the hacks and working with Wikileaks to publish the e-mails.

Considering the gravity the US has viewed alleged interference in its internal political affairs, one would expect Washington to have a solid record of respecting the sovereignty of other nations, specifically in regards to respecting their internal politics and particularly now, as Washington attempts to justify growing hostility toward Moscow regarding alleged meddling.

Do As I Say, Not As I Constantly Do… 

But even as the backlash against Russia reaches a fevered pitch, the US finds itself openly, some may even say, shamelessly meddling in the affairs of other nations on an equal or greater degree than even Russia has been accused of.

The US State Department funded and directed National Endowment for Democracy (NED) openly admitted that its partner, China Digital Times (funded by both NED and Open Society) leaked documents revealing lists of topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese government.

Foreign Policy in an article titled, “All the News Unfit to Print: What Beijing Quashed in 2016,” would claim:

On an almost daily basis, China’s ruling party and the state apparatus it controls relay detailed instructions to news outlets, websites, and social media administrators throughout the country on whether and how to cover breaking news stories and related commentary. A sampling of these are leaked each year and published by the non-profit California-based website China Digital Times. The collection is not exhaustive, but given the opacity of Chinese government decision-making, the orders offer unique insights into party leaders’ priorities and their favored methods of “guiding public opinion” in a changing technological landscape.

Foreign Policy and China Digital Times both admit that the purpose of leaking this information is to undermine Beijing’s ability to control the political narrative within China’s borders. It is a clear effort by Washington to contribute to its decades-long overarching objective of undermining, encircling and containing China’s rise in Asia Pacific to maintain American military, political and economic primacy in the region.

Foreign Policy, China Digital Times and the National Endowment for Democracy may claim that their motives for, and methods of leaking genuine documents to the Chinese public to skew China’s political landscape in Washington’s favour should be irrelevant to the fact that they are also simply exposing the truth. But if they genuinely believed that, their anger and promised retaliation against Russia for doing exactly the same thing, would appear tremendously hypocritical and undermine the gravity Washington is attempting to consign claims of Russian hacking.

If it is wrong for Russia, or anyone for that matter, to leak truthful information to the American public regarding the US government, thus undermining the credibility of American institutions and offices, it would logically follow that it is likewise wrong for the US to do this abroad in nations like China.

That the United States not only partakes in this tremendous hypocrisy, it should be noted that the National Endowment for Democracy and its subsidiaries including Freedom House, exist solely to openly and constantly undermine political order worldwide, including backing foreign opposition parties, street protests in foreign capitals, pro-US media outlets worldwide and even meddling in other nations’ electoral processes through the use of “election monitors” who selectively notice or ignore voting irregularities depending on whether a pro-US opposition party stands to win or lose any given election.

Thus, unlike the US who has large, dedicated organisations openly pursuing political destabilisation worldwide, Russia and China are only accused of doing so, lacking any formal organisations or foundations focused on such activity, and with little to no evidence substantiating US claims.

As the US continues justifying an expanding war of words and actions against Moscow, it is important for observers to note that at the same time Moscow is condemned for interfering in American politics, America is openly and eagerly interfering in the politics of other nations, worldwide.

If other nations are not allowed to cry foul and “retaliate,” why should the US be?

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

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