As the US loses ground in Asia, between its failure to coerce states to adopt its Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, and its inability to garner greater support for its manufactured crisis in the South China Sea, it has doubled down on efforts to undermine and replace governments in the region it perceives as obstructive to its regional “primacy.”
Paramount to this process of undermining and removing governments, is the targeting and manipulation of public perception. This has always been an essential ingredient for special interests throughout human history. Today, the sophistication through which this is done is unprecedented. While all nations do this to a certain extent, the West has, by far, the largest and widest range of activities dedicated to this purpose.
Policy and objectives set out by corporate-financier funded think tanks are translated into media headlines and campaigns carried out by everyone from large Western news networks to hired bloggers and lobbyists posing as independent third parties. Together, this concerted effort is meant to maximize perceived credibility, and can even take a non-news event, and turn it into a minor crisis.
Just such an example has been exposed, just days before a crucial referendum in Thailand regarding the Southeast Asia nation’s new charter.
The new charter is meant to set the nation back on course after over a decade of political instability rooted in the rise and fall of US-backed billionaire, mass murderer, and convicted criminal Thaksin Shinawatra. Should the charter pass, it will deliver yet another blow to a political machine the US has invested heavily in for over a decade, and further contribute to the US’ geopolitical retreat from the region as a whole.
While the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey locks away thousands of political opponents, and even ponders executions for them with only muted protest from the West’s politicians and media networks, a single alleged arrest in Thailand set off a minor firestorm across the Western media – highlighting the biased, politically-motivated nature of so-called Western journalism and how it seeks to misshape public perception at every given opportunity.
Behind the Scenes
Bangkok police allegedly detained the wife of UK-based ex-Reuters editor Andrew Marshall briefly for questioning on July 22, before releasing her the same day. Despite the hysterical headlines that followed in the Western media, there were some essential details intentionally left out.
Marshall himself was fired from Reuters in 2011 after he and a colleague were caught mocking female victims of the horrific Fukushima disaster with racist and misogynist jokes. A 10 page appeal letter penned by Marshall (pdf) attempted to blame his actions on drug and alcohol abuse, as well as claims of deep mental illness. Since his dismissal from Reuters, he has served as a lobbyist for US-backed dictator Thaksin Shinawatra and his violent “red shirt” movement, serving as an ever-ready “expert” to provide spin for US, British, and Australian news networks eager to portray Shinawatra as a progressive democrat.
His wife, Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp, has regularly assisted Marshall in translating and propagating his lobbying work, including slander and threats targeting Thailand’s head of state. It should be noted that slander and threats toward anyone, let alone a head of state, is a punishable crime in even the most liberal of nations.
Marshall has also admittedly consorted with armed terrorists working on behalf of Shinawatra who have been involved in some of Thailand’s most violent episodes in the past 10 years, and both Marshall and Ploy regularly feature themselves posing in pictures together with the rest of Thaksin Shinawatra’s “media” and “academic” lobbying front.
That Marshall and Ploy actively aid and abet the violent movement of a convicted criminal is a serious offense. Were Shinawatra an enemy of the British government, Marshall and Ploy would likely have not only been detained by British law enforcement, but also incarcerated by British courts in British prisons.
In the wake of the brief detainment on the 22nd, the BBC, AFP, AP, the Guardian, and Singapore’s Channel News Asia, among others, immediately published headlines decrying the “arrest,” never mentioning any of the above stated facts, and instead portrayed Marshall and Ploy as the innocent victims of a heavy-handed “junta.”
The speed at which this was done should not be surprising. Many of the journalists involved frequent the Bangkok-based luxury clubhouse maintained by the so-called “Foreign Corespondents Club of Thailand” (FCCT) where they regularly craft deceitful media campaigns to intentionally target the opponents of Western special interests – not just in Thailand, but across the rest of Southeast Asia.
Each article published amid this most recent staged, concerted media campaign, capitalized on the non-event to sow disinformation regarding Thailand’s current political crisis, bending public perception in favor of Shinawatra and his attempted political comeback.
This stunt is only one of many, targeting not only Thailand, but nations all across Asia, in a desperate bid to extort cooperation and capitulation from regional governments under threat of the West’s perceived control over public perception and its ability to turn it against targeted nations.
Western Coverage is Losing its Touch
The story of the West’s gradual retreat from Southeast Asia is not only one of China’s rise, but the rise of the developing world in general. The monopoly the West has long enjoyed militarily, economically, and in terms of supremacy across information space, has slowly been eroded by emerging institutions, organizations, and competing centers of global power.
The alternative media – those channels, platforms, and journals not associated with Washington, London, and Brussels-based special interests – has become more than a match for the West. For every “stunt” performed by the Western media targeting any given nation, there is a counterbalance of information revealing the truth behind it, undercutting the intended impact of it, and ultimately giving the initiative back to those nations being targeted.
Now we can see behind the scenes of the West’s torrent of lies and disinformation as well as the true character of those many have mistakenly entrusted the responsibility of journalism with.
As the US becomes increasingly desperate for a change in fortune for its fading “primacy in Asia,” there will be many more “stunts” to come. As the charter nears a vote in Thailand – US-backed opposition groups are already threatening another round of violence in the streets. Asia, and regions around the world emerging onto the global stage, need to continue searching out and investing in the tools and techniques required to neutralize the West’s attempts to reassert itself geopolitically, whether it is on the battlefield, or in information space.