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”.

Making Sense of Trump

December 17, 2016

by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Making Sense of TrumpA month has passed since Donald Trump was declared president-elect soon to be the 45th president of the United States. Since his win, pundits, analysts, and experts continue to debate the victory – a surprise to most. While the reason/s for this victory depend on one’s perspective, most agree on one thing: Trump is unpredictable.

But is he really?

There is clear indication that US foreign policy will not change course under a Trump administration – it will simply change tactic. Those who continue to believe that the relations with Russia are headed for a reset are more optimistic than analytical. US may deviate from the path previously trodden, but it is still headed for the same goal/s.

Trump resembles Loki – a colorful character in Norse mythology. Similar to Loki, what is thought and said about Trump depends on the source. And similar to Loki, Trump is a trickster, a shape shifter (policy shifter). So to understand him better, we should concentrate on what we do know – his team.

Judging from his picks, Trump considers Islam as the number one enemy, followed by Iran, China, and Russia. The ideology of those he has picked to serve in his administration are supporters of this continuity in US foreign policy, and, contradicts his campaign slogan of ‘non-interference’. Numerous articles analyzing Trump’s choices point to the mindset of his team (click on names to read relevant articles) including Mike Pence , General Flynn, James Mattis, and John Bolton, (see footnote for additional links)[1]

Additionally, Israel’s domination of US policy has never been more apparent. Decades earlier many considered other than occupied Palestine “….the White House occupied territory”. Donald Trump proved them right. His son-in-law Jared Kushner will have an office in the West Wing of the White House. Kushner has financed illegal, Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

The above stated information is the obvious – what meets the eye. What is more crucial is obfuscated. While Trump has made his position vis-à-vis China, Iran, and “radical Islam” abundantly clear, the media has led us on a different path where Russia is concerned. As such, one could be forgiven for thinking that Trump will reset the button with Russia. In fact, in the scheme of things, Trump is attempting to wean Russia away from China, Iran, and Syria in order to continue and accomplish US goals: Total domination, prevent Russia from re-emerging, contain China, contain Iran, Israel expansion.

It is important to Trump team to weaken both Russia and China by creating a divide between them – favoring one over the other. Trump defends Russia against allegations of hacking. To the unsuspecting eye, he has appointed a seemingly “Russia friendly” Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson (though undoubtedly the hawkish under-secretary of state John Bolton will be behind the wheel). Though under close scrutiny, Tillerson as Secretary of State is certainly not an ‘offering’ to Putin, although but he may well be a Trojan Horse.

What we are told of him is the fact that he is the CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation. That he knows Putin; and that he opposed sanctions against Russia. What we are not told is that he is also a Trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) – a neoconservative think tank. (Click HERE for full description of CSIS). Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage, and Zbigniew Brzezinski are some of his trustee colleagues at CSIS.

Further, while Tillerson/Exxon has ties to Russia, it also has ties to Ukraine. In 2010, CIA/State Department propaganda voice, Radio Free Europe, announced that “Ukraine has been the target of democracy-promoting Western foundations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), for a quarter of a century”. NED’s counterpart in England, the UK funded Westminster Foundation for Democracy was an active partner in the endeavor. It was the Westminster Foundation that coopted the “Ukrainian Foundation for Democracy” – The People’s First Foundation that later same year would become a member of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC).

Senior advisors to the USUBC came from pro-Israel think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and Brookings, and Board of Directors executives selected from powerful players such as Raytheon and Boeing. Exxon joined USUBC in 2010.

Why has the media left out this contentious fact? And is this censorship directed at the West, or at Russia?

It is worthwhile mentioning that Exxon recently signed deals for oil exploration in Iraq and in defiance of the Iraqi government who asked President Obama to halt the exploration for fear that it would cause instability. Of note, Turkey is a part of this deal! Iraqi oil has been exported to Israel by the Kurds, and Israel considers oil from Iraq’s Erbil to be profitable for Israel. Aware of the Israeli domination of Washington, the Iraqi Kurds are in league with Israel and have solicited their help in establishing independence.

As with every other administration before it, the Trump administration will serve Israel. Serving Israel will come at the expense of the region, and Russia. There has always been a conflict between Israel and Russian interests (see for example the Ukraine case HERE). Netanyahu, exuberant with a Trump victory and Kushner in the White House, this week embarked on a visit to two vitally imported states: Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

These two countries have been on Israel’s radar for well over a decade. Since Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are not OPEC members, and both produce high volume of oil, control of these would erode OPEC’s power. US administration promotion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline has been to bypass Iran and Russia.

Netanyahu aims to promote business with Kazakhstan – a founding member of Shanghai Corporation Organization (SCO). The import of SCO in countering American-led ambitions cannot be adequately emphasized. No doubt it is this significance that has renewed Israel’s interest and taken Netanyahu there – to divide, corrupt, and weaken. A similar undertaking was taken with regards to BRICS.

Azerbaijan has particular value for Israel. Israel views Azerbaijan as an ally against Iran and Russia. As reported by JTA in 2002: There were many similarities between Israel and Azerbaijan. “Fear of Iran and radical Islam; suspicion of Russia; friendship with Turkey, and a desire to be part of the West.” It is also hoped that Azerbijan would fan flames of hostility and stir up discontent among the Azari population in Iran.

As the incoming Administration continues to take shape, and we are being distracted with “news”, battle lines are being drawn up. Perhaps the most important thing to remember and believe about Trump is his fondness of ‘surprises’.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.

  1. Mattis approved by Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) – one of the most powerful Jewish lobby groupshttp://www.jta.org/2016/12/01/news-opinion/politics/trump-taps-gen-james-mattis-an-iran-deal-foe-for-defense-secretary?utm_source=Newsletter+subscribers&utm_campaign=6d358233e0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_12_02&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2dce5bc6f8-6d358233e0-25418681Mattis on Syria and Iranhttp://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/04/11/syria-iran-mattis-central-command-chief-interview/2069935/

    http://www.vox.com/world/2016/12/1/13718282/pentagon-jim-mad-dog-mattis-trump-iran-hawk-russia-secretary-of-defense-general

South China Sea: Failing to Find Asian Allies, US Invites UK to Meddle

December 16, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Parroting the US State Department’s rhetoric, almost verbatim to justify the decision, a UK envoy vowed to fly warplanes over, and sail warships through the South China Sea over “concerns” regarding “freedom of navigation there.”

Reuters in its article, “British fighters to overfly South China Sea; carriers in Pacific after 2020: envoy,” would report:

The envoy, Kim Darroch, told a Washington think tank that British Typhoon aircraft currently deployed on a visit to Japan would fly across disputed parts of the South China Sea to assert international overflight rights, but gave no time frame.

Speaking at an event also attended by Japan’s ambassador to Washington, Darroch said that most future British defense capacity would have to be directed toward the Middle East, but added:

“Certainly, as we bring our two new aircraft carriers onstream in 2020, and as we renew and update our defense forces, they will be seen in the Pacific.

The time frame of 2020 assumes that the United States will still have any significant presence in the region, somehow reversing the otherwise irreversible retreat it has been undergoing throughout Asia-Pacific over the past decade.

The US Has Run Out of Friends in Asia, So Brings Along Europe

Client regimes the United States and its European allies have cultivated throughout the region have either turned on them or have been effectively removed from power, or even the prospect of ever holding power again.

The Philippines, quite literally a territory of the United States until the end of World War 2, and a nation that vacillated between independence from and interdependence with Washington for decades since, has recently become more vocal about perceived inequities in Manila-Washington relations. This is primarily because of the much more significant – and growing – ties Manila has with Beijing.

US-backed opposition forces in Malaysia have repeatedly tried and failed to oust the ruling government in street protests led by Anwar Ibrahim’s political alliance under the brand name “Bersih.”

In neighboring Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra and his political opposition party were ousted from power in 2014 and have since been incrementally picked apart through legislative and judicial proceedings. Even as Shinawatra clung to power, Thailand’s establishment began shifting away from Cold War ties with the US and toward closer ties with not only Beijing, but also Moscow as well as its regional neighbors.

In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party are increasingly hemorrhaging political legitimacy as her followers carry out what could be described as genocide against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority. The United States has cynically elected to draw an increasing amount of attention to this in a bid to prevent Suu Kyi from double dealing with both Washington and Beijing.

Vietnam has recently showed reluctance to sign the US-initiated and dominated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, being one of the few nations in Southeast Asia to have agreed to it in the first place, while Cambodia’s previously pro-Western government headed by Hun Sen has become increasingly vocal about US meddling both in Cambodia, and across the region, openly taking Beijing’s side in the South China Sea dispute.

Even Indonesia finds itself increasingly repelled by America’s overbearing stick and its increasingly unappealing carrot.

Collectively, the region is attempting to rebalance itself to accommodate and cooperate with the rise of China, and create checks and balances in the void America’s mismanaged “Pacific Century” has left.

The Specter of Empire  

It is perhaps ironic that the United States finds itself increasingly isolated in Asia amid its own attempts to isolate Beijing. It is also ironic that it is ending its “Pacific Century” the same way it began, side-by-side European nations attempting to impose Western interests on a region of the planet quite literally oceans away.

However, unlike during the age of empires, the US and any European nation that joins it in Asia-Pacific today, will find a region of the planet on parity with Western technology, wealth and power. Militarily speaking, the number of facilities the US and its European allies can exploit in the region are shrinking both in number and in relative significance to growing Asian military power – including China’s expanding Pacific forces.

However, in addition to military power, the US still maintains vast political and media networks throughout Asia. The US State Department’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) aims to indoctrinate thousands of young Asian students and professionals, provide them with both fronts to operate as well as significant financial and political support to continue their work, all in an effort to transform the region’s values and principles to align with Washington’s interests.

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), its subsidiaries, and “aid” organizations like USAID all continue to build opposition fronts aimed at pressuring and altogether overthrowing political establishments across Asia. Together, this signifies a US that may be in retreat, but a US that still poses a potent threat to peace, stability, and prosperity across the region.

The inclusion of British forces in Asia-Pacific to augment US provocations presents a threat to Asian stability. With Asia increasingly trading among themselves and with the rest of Eurasia, instability brought by US-European meddling is perhaps the only threat that could actually undermine “freedom of navigation,” trade, and economic growth – the very things the US claims its presence in Asia-Pacific is meant to protect.

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

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