The worst sort of deception is that perpetrated by those who pose as defending the most vulnerable when, in reality, they are leveraging circumstances, exploiting suffering, and in many cases, playing a direct role in perpetuating both.
This is an apt description of Washington, London, and Brussels’ global-spanning human rights racket – used repeatedly as a pretext for political meddling and even war.
An especially cynical example of this is playing out in Southeast Asia’s nation of Myanmar.
With ties between Myanmar and China growing, the US and its European partners are working to pressure, co-opt, or even overthrow Myanmar’s current political order which includes not only a powerful, independent military, but also a civilian government the US and UK played a direct role in placing into power.
The decades of US-UK support for Aung San Suu Kyi – Myanmar’s current State Counsellor – now hang around her and her National League for Democracy (NLD) political party’s necks like a millstone. The very foreign-sponsored networks they invited into Myanmar to assist them into power are now being leveraged against them to coerce Myanmar’s domestic and foreign policy.
Another Dubious UN Report
A recent UN report on alleged atrocities being carried out against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar has been accompanied by a coordinated public relations campaign led by the Western media and US-UK and European Union-funded fronts posing as “nongovernmental” organizations (NGOs).
Part of this PR campaign has included calls to refer many of Myanmar’s military leaders to the International Criminal Court (ICC) – an institution seen around the world as a continuation of Western colonization – especially in Africa. Pressure has also been placed on Myanmar’s civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party.
The overall effect is the West’s ability to leverage ethnic violence to place pressure on Myanmar allowing the West to exact concessions as well as impose sanctions on or remove from power any prominent political or military figures at will.
The primary foreign policy objective of the West is to severe Myanmar’s ties with China, transform Myanmar into an obedient client state, and use success there to expand similar efforts across the rest of Southeast Asia.
The actual UN report officially titled, “Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar” (PDF), reveals its methodology to have been interviews. It claims:
The Mission amassed a vast amount of primary information. It conducted 875 in depth interviews with victims and eyewitnesses, both targeted and randomly selected. It obtained satellite imagery and authenticated a range of documents, photographs and videos. It checked this information against secondary information assessed as credible and reliable, including organizations’ raw data or notes, expert interviews, submissions, and open source material.
The report also admits:
The Mission also held over 250 consultations with other stakeholders, including intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, researchers, and diplomats – in person and remotely. It received written submissions, including through a public call.
It is this second point that is of particular concern.
It appears that much of what the UN report includes, is merely a repeat of information US, UK, and EU-funded supposed “NGOs” – central components of the West’s human rights racket – have already reported in their own highly suspect publications.
Among these is Fortify Rights – funded by the US, UK, Canadian, and Dutch governments, as well as convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. The UN report appears to be merely a short summary of Fortify Rights’ report, “They Gave them Long Swords” (PDF).
US-UK Funded Modern Day “Missionaries”
Fortify Rights discloses its funding in at least two annual reports from 2015 and 2016.
In 2015 (PDF), sponsors included the Dutch, Canadian, and US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). It also included Open Society Foundations and Avaaz. In 2016 (PDF), the UK government was also included upon its donors list.
When confronted with questions regarding Fortify Rights’ acceptance of money from governments currently engaged in human rights abuses around the globe – including weapon sales to Riyadh and assistance in Riyadh’s war on Yemen – Fortify Rights founder, American Matthew Smith, attempted to deflect and downplay his organization’s funding.
He claimed NED money did not constitute US government funding because US Congressional funds passed through NED before reaching him.
He also claimed that money his organization accepted from the UK was not used for work in Myanmar, claiming it went instead to a program his organization is running in Thailand – apparently in the belief that this explanation resolved the obvious conflict of interest his organization’s activities and its funding represent.
Worst of all, Smith acknowledged the UK’s role in Myanmar’s current crisis. It was British colonialism that intentionally fomented and exploited the very ethnic tensions still playing out in Myanmar today. This includes virtually all of the ethnic groups Fortify Rights poses as a champion for.
Smith, and others within Fortify Rights have been asked, and have repeatedly failed to explain how foreigners funded by the very governments that created Myanmar’s ethnic tensions, inserting themselves into the ongoing violence, can serve as a solution to this conflict.
Instead, it is clear that what the British had intentionally done generations ago to divide and conquer then Burma, continues in modern day Myanmar. Matthew Smith and his organization, Fortify Rights, serve as the modern day equivalents of missionaries who helped augment the British Empire’s conquest of much of the planet.
“The Vanguard of Colonialism: Missionaries and the Frontier in Southern Africa in the Nineteenth Century,” written by Professor Paul Gifford, provides this helpful insight into the role of missionaries during the height of European colonization (emphasis added):
The role of missionary societies in southern Africa is a controversial one. In many respects, their stated goals were admirable: the creation of a peaceful society which had no internecine warfare, the education and uplift of the people, and so forth. But in practice, missionaries would fill roles very similar to, and often interchangeable with, secular European explorers and diplomats, using and manipulating the Africans they encountered as befit them best.
Professor Gifford concluded:
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In the end, the war was not between God and Satan for the souls of Africans, it was between Europe and Africa for the hearts and minds of the people, and the end result of that battle is still undecided to this day.
The history of European colonialism in Southeast Asia is no different.
And, ironically, Matthew Smith of Fortify Rights would himself admit:
…we’re not at all satisfied [with] the UK approach in Myanmar with respect to advancing accountability. And we’re well aware of the horrendous colonial history and it’s aftermath, which is still unfolding today.
It’s ironic because Smith either is unaware of, or refuses to acknowledge Myanmar’s crisis isn’t merely the “aftermath” of British colonial history, it is a continuation of it, and Smith’s Fortify Rights is serving the role – verbatim – described by Professor Gifford regarding missionaries in facilitating Western colonization.
US NED Funds Both Fortify Rights, and those Fortify Rights is Supposed to be “Investigating”
The UN report – 20 pages in total – only mentions Aung San Suu Kyi once and only in the context of failing to condemn the ongoing violence. The UN report also only mentions non-military actors involved in ethnic violence in a single sentence.
Yet the truth is that many who directly facilitated Aung San Suu Kyi’s assent to political power in 2016 have been openly promoting hatred toward ethnic groups like Myanmar’s Rohingya for decades. They have also openly incited and called for violence against the Rohingya. None of them have attracted the attention of fronts like Fortify Rights or the UN.
Much of Aung San Suu Kyi’s support base is infected. Groups who have received significant US praise and support have openly denied ethnic groups – especially the Rohingya – recognition or protection. Many have openly incited hatred and even violence against the Rohingya.
This includes not only extremists posing as Buddhist monks, but also political groups like 88 Generation Students Group whose founding member Min Ko Naing was presented with the US National Endowment for Democracy’s 2012 “Democracy Award.”
The Irrawaddy – another US NED funded front – in its article, “Analysis: Using the Term ‘Rohingya’,” would run through a list of US-funded activists and US-UK backed NLD members denouncing the Rohingya – helping fuel the ethnic fault lines that have divided the country and brought violence upon both sides.
NED “Democracy Award” recipient Min Ko Naing would claim, according to Irrawaddy, that:
They [self-identifying Rohingya] are not one of the 135 ethnic groups in Myanmar.
U Win Tin, a founding member of Suu Kyi’s NLD, and awarded by Reporters Without Borders for “journalist of the year,” recommended interning the Rohinya in camps, claiming (emphasis added):
My position is that we must not violate the human rights of these people, the Rohingya, or whatever they are. Once they are inside our land maybe we have to contain them in one place, like a camp, but we must value their human rights.
Ko Ko Gyi, another member of the US-funded and backed 88 Generation Students Group, would go as far as vowing to take up arms against the Rohingya whom he called “foreign invaders.”
In another US NED-funded Irrawaddy article published in 2012 titled, “‘Trauma Will Last Long Time’: Ko Ko Gyi,” it would be revealed that (emphasis added):
In early June, Ko Ko Gyi accused “neighboring countries” of fueling the unrest in Arakan State, and stated categorically that the 88 Generation group will not recognize the Rohingyas as an ethnicity of Burma. He said that his organization and its followers are willing to take up arms alongside the military in order to fight back against “foreign invaders.”
Ko Ko Gyi – vowing in 2012 to carry out the very violence now unfolding in Myanmar today – found himself in Washington D.C. in 2013 after having made his vitriolic remarks in favor of genocide. He was invited specifically by the US NED to participate in a panel discussion on “Examining the Transition to Democracy in Burma” (video).
Even at face value, Fortify Rights being funded by the US NED, tasked with “investigating” violence against the Rohingya and other minority groups – including violence and calls for violence carried out by other recipients of NED support – is an immense conflict of interest entirely compromising the investigation’s legitimacy and Fortify Rights’ legitimacy as a “human rights advocacy” group.
It is no wonder that in Fortify Right’s 162 page report, “They Gave them Long Swords” (PDF), only 4 pages are dedicated to “civilian perpetrators” and these “civilians” are linked entirely to the military with no mention of the US-funded organizations they are tied to and incited by.
Perpetuating Abuse, not Protecting the Vulnerable
Fortify Rights is selectively reporting what is happening in Myanmar. For now, it is placing the blame on the military to remove it entirely from Myanmar’s political landscape – evicting a long-standing obstruction to US and British interests. It is also laying the ground work to coerce the civilian government if necessary.
Fortify Rights is providing its Western government and corporate sponsors as well as literal modern-day missionary foundations who fund it, with a pretext to insert themselves amid ethnic tensions to once again exercise control over Myanmar, its government, military, people, resources, and policy – just as the British did when Myanmar was a colony.
Real human rights advocacy and nongovernmental organizations do exist. They exist in communities, supported by the very people they claim to represent. International “human rights” advocacy has always been, and continues today to be, a vivid echo of Europe’s colonial past. This includes the “missionaries” who helped facilitate it who now manifest themselves as “NGOs.”
Fortify Rights has categorically failed to address legitimate questions about their funding and their methods including why “civilian perpetrators” funded – like them – by the US NED are not mentioned anywhere in their lengthy 162 page report. While Smith himself acknowledges British colonization set the stage for ethnic violence in Myanmar, he knowingly covers up his own role in its continuation today.
Myanmar’s crisis will continue as long as it serves as an opportunity for the West to involve itself in Myanmar’s internal affairs through coercion based on “humanitarian concerns,” all while the West itself intentionally fuels all sides of the conflict.
For the people of Myanmar tempted into continued ethnic feuding, healing rifts on their own to thus expelling foreign interference is the only way to the nation will truly achieve its independence – an independence that has always been incomplete because of the lingering remnants of British colonialism hanging over the nation still to this day. It was division then that invited the British, and it is division today that continues affording the UK, the US, and EU space to remain.