Understanding Soft Power: Western Journalists Use Bangkok For Regional Agitation

November 24, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The so-called Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT) is located in downtown Bangkok and includes the regional offices of many of the United States' and Europe's largest media organizations. It also includes a large, swank clubhouse complete with a restaurant and bar, where events are held.


The FCCT on its website offers a lengthy, self-aggrandising and somewhat incoherent explanation as to what function it actually serves, claiming:

The FCCT moved into a penthouse floor with access from a corridor already filling up with foreign media offices. The Maneeya today houses AsiaWorks, the BBC, ABC, ITN Channel 4, NBC, InFocus, Al Jazeera and the Financial Times, among others. This guarantees the FCCT constant journalist traffic, imbuing it with the feel of a genuine press club. It has a good bar and decent enough kitchen but makes no pretensions to emulating the grandeur of its counterparts in Hong Kong or Tokyo - nor the fakeness of the "FCC" in Cambodia, a bar and restaurant with one of the best views in Asia but no hacks. 
In reality, it is a regional hub where US and European lobbyists and agitators, posing a journalists, coordinate events, programmes and propaganda campaigns targeting not only Thailand itself, but Thailand's Southeast Asian neighbours.

Image: FCCT aiding in political stunt on behalf of ousted regime.
It was at the FCCT, the club proudly boasted, that former education minister and political lieutenant of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Chaturon Chaisaeng held a press conference to grandstand while turning himself into the military after the 2014 coup. It was organised specifically to have the cameras of the West's biased media machine capture the moment soldiers arrested him, depicting Thailand as a state overwhelmed by a brutal military dictatorship.

The FCCT claims that by hosting the army's spokesman the next week, the FCCT is "doing something right" by playing an impartial and unbiased role. Those familiar with Thai politics and the absolutely biased nature both events were spun in favour of the ousted Shinawatra regime and the interests in Washington, London and Brussels sponsoring him, and at the cost of the new government's credibility, know otherwise.

A Hub for Agitation 

The FCCT had recently scheduled an event with the US State Department-funded Virginia-based Boat People SOS organisation. The FCCT admits in its announcement that the event was intended to:
...discuss the overall human rights situation in Vietnam, the imprisonment of at least 165 prisoners of conscience with heavy sentences, and the recent launch of the NOW! Campaign, an initiative by 15 human rights organisations around the world, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of these men and women.
The FCCT claims that the event was cancelled after several meetings with the police and military.


How Modern Empire Uses "Awards" to Keep Servants Loyal

November 21, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Nineteenth century French military and political leader Napoléon Bonaparte once said, "a soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon," recognising a fundamental aspect of human nature he readily exploited to bolster his now famous campaigns of European conquest.



Human beings value recognition. Today, it drives the addictive nature of social media platforms. Facebook co-founder Sean Parker recently admitted that the ubiquitous social network platform was designed intentionally to exploit this and become "addictive."

In the Guardian's report titled, "Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human 'vulnerability'," Sean Parker would describe what he called a "social-validation feedback loop," explaining that:
“How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” It was this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the “like” button that would give users “a little dopamine hit” to encourage them to upload more content. 

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

This social-validation feedback loop utilising the "like" button is merely the most recent innovation in social engineering, and the latest iteration of Bonaparte's "bit of coloured ribbon." 

Keeping Servants Eager and Loyal 

Combining traditional methods and modern innovations in social engineering, modern day empires extend their influence through media, activist, political and business circles around the globe. In addition to boosting modern social media accounts of their handpicked proxies, facilitators and agents, they also maintain an impressive network of organisations that both manage and direct "soft power" efforts as well as reward eager and loyal functionaries.


USAID and Wall Street: Conflicts, Coups, and Conquest

November 17, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - In 1928 when the US-based United Fruit Company - now known as Chiquita Brands International - faced labor issues in Columbia, it had at its disposal Colombian troops which gunned down hundreds of strikers to maintain production and profits.

Ensuring that Columbia protected "American interests" was the US State Department who hosted company representatives at the US embassy in Bogotá, which in turn was in contact with Washington.


The United Fruit Company's actions in Columbia was far from an isolated incident. US Marine Corps General Smedley Butler would write a book regarding his personal, first-hand experience in fighting wars on multiple continents for oil companies, bankers, and fruit companies.

Nearly a century ago large corporate interests already possessed full control over the mechanisms of American governance, determining its domestic and foreign policy, and readily using the nation's military might for their own personal gain across the globe.



The arrangement has not disappeared over time. It has simply evolved.

The US Chamber of Commerce and USAID 

The US Chamber of Commerce on its own website admits it is a lobbying organization and while it claims it represents millions of businesses big and small - it is an organization dominated by, and existing solely for it largest members.

These include Chevron, Citi, Coco-Cola, Chevrolet, McDonald's, Ford, Dow, Exxon, Honeywell, Proctor & Gamble, Visa, Yum, Monsanto, and many more.


US Cuts Funds for Disarming Explosives It Dropped on Cambodia

November 15, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - In an article by Thai PBS titled, "US cuts 2018 funding for demining operations in Cambodia," it's revealed that next year's meager $2 million in US government funding for demining operations of US unexploded ordnance (UXO) in eastern Cambodia leftover from the Vietnam War has been discontinued without warning or explanation.


The move caused confusion across Cambodia's government, as well as across partner nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Cambodia participating in the US program.

Speculation over the move revolves around growing tensions between Washington and Phnom Penh as the United States desperately attempts to reassert itself in Asia Pacific, while Asian states - including Cambodia - continue to build closer and more constructive ties with Beijing at the expense of Washington's waning influence.

Cambodia has recently exposed and ousted a myriad of US-funded fronts posing as NGOs and independent media platforms executing a campaign of US-backed political subversion. This includes the disbanding of the Cambodia National Rescue opposition party and the arrest of its leader, Kem Sokha, who bragged of his role in a US conspiracy to overthrow the Cambodian government and install him into power.

Tensions in Cambodia represent a wider, regional trend where US footholds face increasing scrutiny and resistance as Washington's abuse of "NGOs," "rights advocacy," and "democracy promotion" is systematically exposed and rolled back.

Cut or Renewed, US UXO Assistance is Meaningless  

The US embassy in Cambodia would claim after receiving backlash for the move that the US had unilaterally decided to shut down funding in order to open up bidding for a new and "world-class removal program" - the details of which have yet to be confirmed or released.

The US boasts that it has spent "more than 114 million dollars" over the past 20 years to clear explosives it itself helped drop on Cambodia as part of its nearly two decades-long war in Vietnam and wider intervention in Southeast Asia - or in other words - the US has spent over 5,000 times less in 20 years on removing UXO in Cambodia than it does annually on its current military operations around the globe. In fact, a single F-35 Joint Strike Fighter warplane costs roughly the same amount of money the US has spent on demining Cambodia over the last 20 years.

There are an estimated 6 million pieces of UXO still littering Cambodia, which since the end of the Vietnam War and the rule of the Khmer Rouge have cost nearly 20,000 Cambodians their lives - with casualties still reported monthly.

Efforts that last 20 years, cost as little as a single warplane in Washington's current arsenal, and still leave people dead or maimed monthly indicate efforts that are halfhearted - a diplomatic stunt more than sincere reparations or humanitarian concern.

Doubling Nothing is Still Nothing 

In neighboring Laos, the United States left an estimated 80 million submunitions littering the country, or about 11 for each man, woman, and child that lives there. 20,000 people have also been killed by UXO in Laos and many more have been maimed.


Chevening "Scholarships" and Modern Day Imperialism

November 13, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - In 1983 the British government created Chevening as an international award scheme aimed at developing what it calls "global leaders." It is funded and directed by the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and includes both scholarships and fellowships for individuals selected by British embassies around the world.


The Chevening website itself states:
Chevening offers a unique opportunity for future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.
The website also states that (our emphasis):
Chevening Awards are an important element in Britain’s public diplomacy effort and bring professionals, who have already displayed outstanding leadership talents, to study in the UK. The objective of Chevening is to support foreign policy priorities and achieve FCO objectives by creating lasting positive relationships with future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers.
In other, simpler and more frank terms, Chevening is a means of producing agents of British influence through the indoctrination of foreigners involved in their respective nation's media, politics, policy making and analysis.

And while Chevening has only been around since 1983, the tool of imperialism it represents is quite ancient.

Roman historian Tacitus (c. AD 56 – after 117) would adeptly describe the systematic manner in which Rome pacified foreign peoples and the manner in which it would extend its sociocultural and institutional influence over conquered lands.

Far from simple military conquest, the Romans engaged in sophisticated cultural colonisation.

In chapter 21 of his book Agricola, named so after his father-in-law whose methods of conquest were the subject of the text, Tacitus would explain:
His object was to accustom them to a life of peace and quiet by the provision of amenities. He therefore gave official assistance to the building of temples, public squares and good houses. He educated the sons of the chiefs in the liberal arts, and expressed a preference for British ability as compared to the trained skills of the Gauls. The result was that instead of loathing the Latin language they became eager to speak it effectively. In the same way, our national dress came into favour and the toga was everywhere to be seen. And so the population was gradually led into the demoralizing temptation of arcades, baths and sumptuous banquets. 
And perhaps the most striking observation of all made by Tacitus was as follows:
The unsuspecting Britons spoke of such novelties as 'civilization', when in fact they were only a feature of their enslavement. 
Centuries later, Chevening alumni boast openly about their scholarships and fellowships. It is included in their bios on social media and prominently featured in biographies and résumés that accompany editorials and job applications.

They believe it to be a high rung upon the ladder of civilisation that they have reached, when in reality, it is nothing more than a modern-day feature of indoctrination, manipulation and exploitation.