Colonial Southeast Asia circa 1850s. Thailand/Siam
was never colonized but made many concessions.
Tony Cartalucci, Contributing Writer
Part 1: Imperialism is Alive and Well
While every schoolchild learns about the British Empire, it seems a common modern-day political malady for adults to believe that reality is organized as their history books were in school — in neat, well-defined chapters. This leads to the common misconception that the age of imperialism is somehow a closed chapter in human history. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Imperialism did not go extinct. It simply evolved.
There are several pertinent examples illustrating how imperialism is still alive and well, and only cleverly disguised with updated nomenclatures. What we know today as “free trade” actually derives its origins from economic concessions the British frequently extorted from nations under its “gunboat diplomacy” strategy — that is, anchoring gunboats off the coast of a foreign capital, and threatening bombardment and military conquest if certain demands were not met.
In the mid-1800s, Thailand (then the Kingdom of Siam) was surrounded on all sides by colonized nations, and, in turn, was made to concede to the British 1855 Bowring Treaty. See how many of these “gunboat policy” imposed concessions sound like today’s “economic liberalization:”
1. Siam granted extraterritoriality to British subjects.
2. British could trade freely in all seaports and reside permanently in Bangkok.
3. British could buy and rent property in Bangkok.
4. British subjects could travel freely in the interior with passes provided by the consul.
5. Import and export duties were capped at 3%, except the duty-free opium and bullion.
6. British merchants were to be allowed to buy and sell directly with individual Siamese.
A more contemporary example would be the outright military conquest of Iraq and Paul Bremer’s (CFR) economic reformation of the broken state. The Economist enumerates the neo-colonial “economic liberalization” of Iraq in a piece entitled, “Let’s all go to the yard sale: If it all works out, Iraq will be a capitalist’s dream:”
1. 100% ownership of Iraqi assets.
2. Full repatriation of profits.
3. Equal legal standing with local firms.
4. Foreign banks allowed to operate or buy into local banks.
5. Income and corporate taxes capped at 15%.
6. Universal tariffs slashed to 5%.
Nomenclatures aside, nothing has changed since 1855 as far as imperialist “wish-lists” go. The Economist argued, as would any 18-19th century imperialist, that Iraq needed foreign expertise to catch up, justifying the evisceration of their national sovereignty and the foreign stewardship (theft) of their resources. Unlike Siam, Iraq refused to concede to the “gunboats” of modern-day Wall Street & London. Subsequently, as the British often did during the “glory days” of the empire, they made good on their threats.
And just as the British did when they found diamonds beneath Zululand during the late-1800s, spurring them to invent a causus belli to justify the destruction of the Zulu Kingdom, the schemers of modern-day global imperialism likewise invented a dubious pretext to invade Iraq before commencing its plundering.
Image: Anglo-Zulu War. Mission accomplished. The city of Ulandi burns and the British go about dividing Zululand into 14 chiefdoms led by compliant, obedient proxies. The British took great care to cultivate rivalries between the 14 chiefdoms to ensure they would never again unite and challenge British hegemonic ambitions throughout the region.
At the conclusion of the Anglo-Zulu War, the British despoiled Zululand, divided it into 14 separate cheifdoms, each led by a proxy obedient to the British Empire. The British ensured that these 14 cheifdoms harbored animosities toward one another by fostering petty infighting between them to ensure that British interests would never again be challenged by a unified Zulu threat. Today we see what seems to be the “accidental” consequences of military interventions leading to vicious, protracted fighting, and, in some cases, civil wars in Iraq, now in Libya (which also had a direct proxy installed as PM), Pakistan where plans exist to literally carve up the nation Zululand-style, and Syria. These are not accidental but intentional. Divide and conquer is a classic military stratagem that has not escaped the interests and attention of Wall Street & London.
Video: Iraq For Sale. Remember that military industrial complex President Dwight Eisenhower warned America about? The ultimate bottom line with the Iraq War was that it should never have been fought in the first place.
If people can study history and see today’s events as simply the relabeled repeating of what empire has been doing for centuries, the public as a whole will be less likely to go along with what is in reality an exploitative, murderous crime spree of global proportions — merely sold to us as justified intervention. One need only look at how Iraq has been despoiled and the profits that have been garnered by Fortune 500 corporations, while soldiers and Iraqis alike pay the price with their minds, bodies, blood, futile destinies, and lives.
Part II: British Imperial Administration (proto-NGOs)
A book of invaluable use in understanding British imperial administration is Colonial Georgia: A Study in British Imperial Policy in the Eighteenth Century. Published by the University of Georgia Press and written by Trevor Reese, it successfully endeavored to illustrate “practically every facet of British colonial policy” using Georgia as a case study.
The colony of Georgia, in what is now the southern United States, was founded by what is essentially a proto-NGO — and in this case an organization dedicated to “prison reform.” What it really did, was assess suitable prisoners in London who could be sent to Georgia to fulfill the needs of the Crown. Beginning as the “Associates of Dr. Bray” and later becoming the “Trustees for the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia in America,” or simply the Georgia Trustees, it encapsulates perfectly the use of noble-intentioned networkers to exploit human tragedy for the benefit of the elite.
Image: One face of the Georgia Trustee’s seal. It featured the Latin motto, “Non Sibi Sed Aliis” which means, “Not for self, but for others.” Truly a proto-NGO, a “system administrator.” The significance of the mulberry leaf, the silkworm, and the cocoon? The silk that Britain’s new colony of Georgia was going to export to London to enrich the empire. “For others” indeed.
While many may argue that prisoners in London were better off being shipped to Georgia, the underlying point is the dictation of one’s destiny for the benefit of another, regardless of whether or not such exploitation were to result in a thriving new life in Georgia, or death defending British expansion in the New World. The same cost/benefit analysis could also be made for slavery, but done so in spite of its essential immorality.
Protestantism for England was also a precursor to modern day NGOs. Religious denominations were divided directly along political lines in 18th-century Europe, and when shiploads of Protestants were sent to Georgia, so followed the political networks they represented. Again, noble-intentions were, and to this day are in the forefront of many devoted to these political functionaries, and much good has been done in their names. Ultimately, however, the purpose of each empire’s church was to establish a bottom-up network of people who believed they were fulfilling noble, higher intentions, when in reality they were simply serving the elite of their respective empires. Unfortunately, despite the noble intentions and great works of many of these people, when the time came for the Crown to use these networks for less than noble causes, organizational indoctrination was used to marshal men to it. And just like modern NGOs today, Protestant organizations interfaced with and supported directly the primary regional administrators — in Georgia’s case, the Georgia Trustees.
In Reese’s book, he even notes on page 21, “in sanctioning the Georgia project the British Government was not motivated by any such charitable intentions as inspired the Trustees. The Ministry was not much interested in the plight of insolvent and unemployed debtors, but it was concerned about the defense of the empire.” Similarly today, NGOs have truly dedicated people “inspired” as the “Trustees” were, but ultimately they are carrying water for their sponsors, who almost always end up being George Soros, the OCED, the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy, and other purveyors of global corporate-fascist imperialism. The British Empire’s interests in Georgia were economic, while the ruse used to fill and administer the colony was altruistic.
Another key characteristic to imperialism is keeping subjects dependent. Reese offers on page 27, “the danger of these [private or charter provinces] lay in the scope they provided for the construction of independent authorities, and this was contradictory to the whole principle of colonization.” This, within the context of mercantilism — essentially the exportation of raw materials from the colonies, which would be refined in Europe, and then imported back into the colonies as manufactured goods — meant servile dependency, both politically and economically; despite the fact that even then, many features of “democracy” could be found throughout the colonies. Today’s concept of “free-trade” agreements ensure that resources, manufacturing, refinement, and consumption are equally interdependent on a global scale; despite the fact that technology now exists to make any state or province, let alone nation, fully independent economically.
Image: Despite the good intentions, the religious causes, and loyalty to the crown, the ultimate destination of all these good intentions wrought was the “Board of Trade” which managed the unending flow of wealth out of Britain’s colonies and into London.
Like NGOs of today, the administrative networks that made up the British Empire were in many cases entirely dependent on grants from London, as local contributions were almost never adequate. Reese notes on page 39, “constant need of money made the Trustees permanently dependent on Parliament, without whose support their colony could not be maintained.” The British Empire maintained a careful balancing act to ensure that its networks received enough resources to fulfill their purpose, but never enough to become independent. Financial policy conformed to imperial standards; and while local policy was set by local administrators, it interlocked with the Board of Trade back in London — just as local NGOs now interlock with international organizations in accordance to rule and norms defined by international institutions.
Reese quotes Vincent Harlow in his epilogue, who said of Georgia’s eventual independence from Great Britain: “men’s minds indeed conceive new thoughts and plan new projects, but out of ancient thinking and under potent influence of long-established characteristics.”
Part III: Re-imagining Imperialism for the 21st Century
We already have seen some examples of how imperialism is very much alive and well. We also saw how imperialism was implemented by the British, but how exactly is it being implemented today? And why are people willingly going along with it?
Video: Thomas Barnett describes the building of an army of “system administrators” (aka civil society) to expand into “peace spaces” while US global military conquers “battle spaces.” Soros’ Revenue Watch along with the National Endowment for Democracy have created just such an army of NGOs. And just as soldiers witlessly promote imperialism believing they are fighting for “freedom,” these NGOs expand Wall Street and London’s global hegemony, believing they are promoting “human rights.”
The term “system administrators” was used by US military strategist Thomas Barnett before a cackling audience at a 2008 TED Talk titled, “The Pentagon’s New Map for War & Peace.” At about 18 minutes into his talk he begins explaining a concept of reforming the military into two separate forces, the “US enabled Leviathan force” and the “system administrators.”
One takes down the existing networks of targeted nations through air campaigns, special operations, or invasions, and consists of military assets including armor, fighters and bombers. The other consists of system administrators who then build upon the ashes left by the “Leviathan force” or the chaos sown by a foreign-backed destabilization. The system administrators consist of everything from NGOs, international organizations, and contractors, to civil affairs officers (psychological warfare), and when necessary, soldiers and Marines.
Barnett warns that if anyone attempts to interfere with the construction of the West’s “system administrator” networks, the “Marines are going to come over and kill you.” This perhaps resembles what British garrisons did to tamp down dissatisfaction amongst their colonies.
The talk was given in 2008, and already we see solid steps being taken to expand and utilize just such a force. Barnett said of the special operations “trigger pullers” that he wanted the rules to be “as loose as possible.” Just recently, the Corbett Report and Media Monarchy reported the expanded role proposed for “elite” military forces. Admiral William McRaven of Special Operations Command was said to be seeking “more autonomy to position his forces and their war-fighting equipment where intelligence and global events indicate they are most needed.”
Video: Special Operations Command is looking for more “autonomy” in deploying where “intelligence and global events indicate they are most needed.” This “loosening of rules” was part of building the double edged sword of neo-imperial conquest, the global army & system administrators.
Additionally, between 2008 and 2011 before the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the US State Department and its network of global facilitators embarked on a campaign to raise a literal army of NGOs and opposition groups to begin overthrowing governments and building the very global administration network Barnett presented at TED. It was just recently reported in, “Soros Big-Business Accountability Project Funded by Big-Business” that a similar army of NGOs is being mobilized to erect system administrators focused on managing the resources of targeted nations. Called Revenue Watch, and focused primarily on Africa and Southeast Asia it represents the “system administration” approach complimenting aggressive moves made by AFRICOM in Africa, and the declaration of America’s “Pacific Century” in Asia.
It is quite clear that Barnett’s proposal doesn’t necessarily need the “US-enabled Leviathan force” to tear down targeted networks as seen in the US-funded Arab Spring. Fomenting unrest, up to and including armed insurrection, falls short of overt military intervention and utilizes assets Barnett described in the Leviathan force such as “trigger pulling” special operations, as well as civil affairs units, NGOs, and contractors from the system administration side.
In Libya, for example, NGOs and civil affairs advisers began the unrest in February of 2011 while weapons were covertly moved in to arm fighters to overthrow the Qaddafi government. International organizations like the ICC were used to poison public opinion against the Libyan government using information supplied to them from NGOs, while NATO began preparing for a full-scale air campaign. Once the bombing began, it was only a matter of incrementally increasing the torrent of special operations forces, arms, and other facilitators to fill in the void left by NATO’s relentless air campaign. Thus the forces of Leviathan and the system administrators worked in tandem: one clearing a path through the old; the other building new networks to facilitate the installment of long-time US resident and Petroleum Institute chairman, Abdurrahim el-Keib, as PM.
In nations where military options like this are not an option and would be difficult if not impossible to ever justify, like Thailand for example, the full weight of Wall Street and London’s support is thrown behind system administrators and suitable opposition movements that will make appropriate proxies if the targeted sovereign networks can be torn down.
In Thailand’s case, that proxy is Thaksin Shinawatra, a former Carlyle Group adviser, and recipient of extensive US backing, including lobbying services from fellow Carlyle member James Baker and his firm Baker Botts, Bush’s personal envoy to Iraq Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers, and PNAC signatory Kenneth Adelman of Edelman. During Thaksin’s term in office from 2001 until a coup ousted him in 2006, upon the eve of which he was literally reporting to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, he had committed Thai troops to the US invasion of Iraq and allowed the CIA to use Thailand for its abhorrent rendition program.
He now currently leads the forces of a “color revolution;” the stand-ins for Barnett’s occupation force, since such a Western force is untenable. This included his documented use of armed militants in 2010 during an attempted insurrection. They are billed the “red shirts” or United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and have met with Soros’ Open Society-funded Human Rights Watch, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the U.S.–ASEAN Business Council in an April 2011 Washington D.C. visit.
Image: It is clear that the NGOs and opposition movements which many believe are spontaneous, indigenous, and independent are in fact part of a larger network created for the sole purpose of imposing and maintaining global system administration. This is not a web of elaborate, vague associations. In each case there is a direct path of funding leading back to Western foundations and the think-tanks that devise policy for them; all funded and chaired by the Fortune 500 of Wall Street and London. (click image to enlarge)
There are also circles of academia being produced to support efforts to undermine and overthrow Thailand’s sovereign indigenous networks, most notably “Nitirat” or the “Enlightened Jurists” whose audiences consist almost entirely of Thaksin’s red shirts, and even included Thaksin’s US-registered lobbyist, Robert Amsterdam sitting in the front row.
Finally there are the NGOs like propaganda outfit Prachatai, which receives hundreds of thousands of dollars per year from the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros’ Open Society, and USAID. NED also funds the Campaign Committee for Human Rights, the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), and the Environmental Litigation and Advocacy for the Wants. In addition to sharing the same foreign sponsors, each cross-posts the other’s work; each signs petitions on the other’s behalf; and each perpetuate identical agendas. While their mission statements claim to promote “freedom,” “democracy,” and “human rights,” one cannot help but wonder how they reconcile the backgrounds of their sponsors and a web of interlocking “international” organizations, with the causes they allegedly promote and the work they actually carry out.
Image: Clearly there are “strings attached” to NGO Prachatai’s funding from the National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House who regularly contributes posts, support, and award nominations to the Thai “independent journalists.” It is also clear how these same interests are involved in the support of Thaksin Shinawatra, the imperial proxy of choice for Thailand. (click image to enlarge)
The National Endowment for Democracy and its subsidiary Freedom House features boards of directors much resembling a revolving door, with current and former members of Congress, the US State Department, corporate lobbying firms, and corporate board members of some of the largest corporations on earth including Exxon, Boeing, Ford, and Goldman Sachs constantly shifting in and out of government, big-business, and NGO positions. They are, just as the British were, “not motivated by any such charitable intentions,” such as those that inspire the well-intentioned people drawn into the cause of NGOs like Prachatai they fund.
Their hope is to eventually diminish the power and influence of Thailand’s own indigenous networks by gradually building up the capacity of Wall Street & London’s system administrators. Just like in the example of Georgia, ignorance and good intentions are used to swell the ranks of these networks; and, just like in Georgia, they are kept purposefully dependent on the constant and substantial support provided by Wall Street & London, as local contributions are almost never enough. And while many of these people may believe they are committed to a “higher cause,” they are simply soldiers of another kind within an imperial system perfected over centuries of trial and error.
The activists on the ground may be of genuinely good-intentions, but surely there are some who realize the conflict between their stated mission and the insincere intentions of those funding them from abroad. Just like the army, this system of NGOs perpetuates itself on the ignorance of the general population — of those drawn in by their good intentions to contribute to what they believe is a noble cause, and those throughout society who see these networks spreading across the planet with no idea of what their true purpose is.
Trevor Reese leaves us with one more relevant observation concerning the state of imperialism in the 18th century that still very much applies today:
In the Eighteenth century, colonial affairs were subsidiary issues in English political life; Sir John Seeley’s dictum that the British people founded an empire in a fit of absence of mind is true in the sense that imperial expansion seldom commanded public attention. Although there were always a few critics in the country who expressed anti-imperialist sentiments and feared that the empire would ultimately escape from the control of the mother-country, they represented only a small minority. Generally, when people thought about the colonies, which was not often, they regard them with mild approval, and believe in the advantage of an empire even though they knew little about it.
In the same way, many people remain in the dark today about what Wall Street & London do overseas. While military interventions grab headlines and create a brief but confusing diversion for most, they are but mildly aware of the concept of NGOs, let alone how they work in tandem with the creeping war machine making its way from Tunisia to Thailand and everywhere in between.
While today’s media is able to project images onto our perception of what an NGO is, with pictures of smiling Africans clutching bags of USAID rice, thriving wildlife, and sprouting, dew-covered seedlings, in reality it is a centralized operation built to tear down the old world, and replace it with a new one. It is a world that does not answer to its inhabitants for anything but the most superficial of levels; instead it answers to the people that rule over it — the monied elite, ever present, with the most vicious among them feeding their competitors ruthlessly into their maw and gladly expanding into the place left at the table.
Part IV: Empire’s Weakness is Independence
Empires require subjects. Without subjects there is no empire. There is no fleet, there are no Marines, there are no imperial administrators. There are no laborers to gather and send resources back to be refined, no one to refine them in the factories and send them back, and surely no one to buy these manufactured goods when they arrive.
Empire prefers its subjects to be ignorant, easily manipulated, and indoctrinated in a manner that motivates them to reliably carry out their necessary function within the empire. Empire requires subjects who believe in the empire, and, most importantly, empire need subjects who are hopelessly dependent. It is no coincidence, then, that “independence” from England was declared in the pursuit of freedom.
Image: By boycotting the British system, the Founding Fathers were already free and independent men by the time they signed the Declaration of Independence. The coming war would be to defend that freedom.
Before the great battles of the American Revolution took place, and the victory that followed, the Founding Fathers took it upon themselves to declare their independence not only by writ, but also by action. Our Founding Fathers ceased the import of British goods, they created their own monetary system, they assembled their own militias, and, most importantly, they formed their own government based upon their own values, not King George’s self-interest.
This truly measurable independence turned out to be the key to their success; for independence is freedom, and freedom from tyranny is victory. The battle they fought was not one to free themselves; instead, it was fought to defend the freedom they had already achieved from the British system.
In “Naming Names: Your Real Government” a list of the most common, recurring corporate-financier interests, and the think-tanks they direct to create, promote, publish, and execute their policies was provided. The article concluded by stating:
These organizations represent the collective interests of the largest corporations on earth. They not only retain armies of policy wonks and researchers to articulate their agenda and form a consensus internally, but also use their massive accumulation of unwarranted influence in media, industry, [across a global network of NGOs,] and finance to manufacture a self-serving consensus internationally.
To believe that this corporate-financier oligarchy would subject their agenda and fate to the whims of the voting masses is naive at best. They have painstakingly ensured that no matter who gets into office — in whichever country — the guns, the oil, the wealth, and the power keep flowing perpetually into their own hands.
Video: Voting is not an option. Noam Chomsky in 1993 regarding NED: “It’s about what you would expect from a bipartisan democracy campaign — it’s an attempt to impose what is called democracy, meaning rule by the rich and the powerful, without interference by the mob but within the framework of formal electoral procedures.”
This is confirmed in a talk given by Noam Chomsky in 1993, where he stated about the National Endowment for Democracy’s work, “it’s an attempt to impose what is called democracy, meaning rule by the rich and the powerful, without interference by the mob but within the framework of formal electoral procedures.” Quite clearly it is, along with Open Society, and the vast network of system administrators being built up across the planet working in witless tandem with NATO, building in the swath of destruction it leaves behind the homogeneous workings of a global corporate-financier-run empire.
If the world is indeed run by corporate-financier interests, and voting is not only futile but gives the population a false sense of security, what can we do instead to declare our independence from modern empire?
On a daily basis, across the planet, billions of people witlessly pay into this empire, buying their products, paying them their attention on diversions like TV, radio, and the movie theater. And participating in systems, organizations, and causes that, like the “Georgia Trustees,” may have started out working for prison reform, but ended up handing the empire another thriving colony to exploit. It is clear, then, that vast campaigning, elections, rallies, and protests are not necessary or even viable options in dismantling this system — rather our daily decisions to boycott their corporations, pull the plug on our TVs, switch off the radio, leave the theaters empty — refuse to recognize the legitimacy of corporate-backed institutions and organizations on both national and international levels.
Video: The Fab Lab. Turning consumers into producers with manufacturing technology, open source collaboration, and innovation. It also opens the doors for communities to work together and solve their own problems, rather than waiting for them to be solved by disingenuous elected representatives.
Instead, find local solutions, pursue self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and leverage technology to do for ourselves tomorrow what we depend on corporations to do for us today. We can start today, by simply “voting” local with our wallets, “voting” to read, watch, and listen to truly independent media instead of Hollywood — or, better yet, by creating content ourselves.
The same could be said with the news. Stop humoring the professional liars on BBC who get caught in serial scams involving paid-for documentaries, biased reporting, and flat-out lying to their audience. There is a thriving alternative media that already proves the merits of doing more, doing better, and doing it all ourselves.
As was concluded in “The Real Revolution:”
They need us; we don’t need them. That’s the big secret. We get our freedom back as soon as we take back our responsibilities for food, water, security, the monetary system, power, and manufacturing; that is independence. Independence is freedom, freedom is independence. We’ll never be free as long as we depend on the Fortune 500 for our survival.
Fixing these problems unfolding overseas starts with fixing the problems in our own backyards. Boycott the globalists, cut off their support, undermine their system, and they lose their ability to commit these atrocities. That will be a real revolution, and it can start today. Not through burning cities and masked rebels waving flags, but through communities no longer dependent and fueling a corrupt system we all know must come to an end.