The Bangkok-based blogger, known for his pro-China and pro-Russia views, “Tony Cartalucci”, (aka Brian Joseph Thomas Berletic), is at it again. He has released his latest Conspiracy YouTube recording – 14-minutes in duration – accusing the grassroots activist platform FORSEA (Forces of Renewal Southeast Asia) as a meddlesome “tool of US and European powers”.

FORSEA was launched in Kuala Lumpur in the wake of the Malaysian Spring in 2019 with two keynote addresses by Professor Noam Chomsky and the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad. Neither of these iconic figures supports imperialism, USA or others.

Previously, the ex-marine blogger has also slandered Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim as a “tool” of US imperialism, having labelled Myanmar armed resistance as “terrorists” and deriding the Milk Tea Alliance as a product of US interference.

Berletic offers not a shred of evidence – financial, institutional or photographic or audiovisual – to support his wild assertion that FORSEA and those affiliated with this 5-year-old network of volunteers have received funding from US and European government-funding agencies.

It turns out that the Conspiracy Blogger who is spreading Fake News about FORSEA and 3 of its former and present directors is an ex-US Marine who was posted to the US military base in Okinawa, Japan, according to China’s official mouthpiece – CGTN TV. Apparently, the American in Bangkok specializes in promoting his Conspiracy Theories about his former employer – the United States Government. Little wonder then that the Chinese Communist Party propaganda channel has promoted his “analyses” about his own American government in Washington.

In his tirade against FORSEA, the ex-US marine dismisse as “meaningless human rights platitudes,” FORSEA’s numerous dialogues, opinion editorials and commentaries on Myanmar genocide and the coup regime’s uses of airstrikes against civilians,  India’s violent Hindutva racism against the country’s Muslims and Christians, the comparative analyses of the prevalence of autocracies and authoritarian regimes within the Association of South East Asian Nations, and their negative impact on human rights as a guiding principle for societies and governments in the region. Furthermore, the Conspiracy Blogger simply ignores FORSEA’s politically and intellectually independent analyses regarding China’s new economic colonialisms, or the hypocrisy of the “democracy promotion” by the United States in places like Myanmar and important scholarly analyses on decolonization of history and politics.

Additionally, the conspiracist blogger singled out the two Thai and Myanmar co-founders, Dr Maung Zarni and Professor Pavin Chachavalpongpun of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, for his slanderous attacks.

Both Zarni and Pavin are reputable scholars and fearless whistle blowers of egregious human rights violations in their respective native countries of Myanmar and Thailand. The blogger also attacked the young Cambodian colleague of theirs, Meta Sovicheth, formerly of the genocide Documentation Centre Cambodia as part of his Conspiracy Theory that FORSEA and its members on the board of directors and their affiliated organizations receive (secret!?) funding from US Government and its funding agencies.

As a matter of fact, for the last two years, both Professor Chachavalpongpun and Ms Sovicheth have pursued their own professional activities outside of FORSEA. As of today, neither is with FORSEA.

Under the supervision of anti-imperialist mentors – Michael W. Apple and the late Robert L. Koehl at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Dr Maung Zarni earned his PhD in 1998 on the politics of education in Burma under the military dictatorship of General Ne Win (1962-88), and subsequently renounced his legal residency in the USA after 17 years in the country in the wake of the second and illegal invasion of Iraq by the George W. Bush Administration of Neo-Conservatives.

In sharp contrast, the Conspiracy Blogger who accuses Dr Maung Zarni of being “a life-long tool of USA” and its foreign policy apparatuses continues to enjoy the privileges and protection as a US citizen living in Thailand while dispensing advice to China and Russian governments on how to protect themselves against American imperialism.

In his own words:

“Just as Russia and China export large numbers and varieties of defense articles ranging from firearms, ammunition, and armored vehicles to warplanes and naval vessels, both nations could also include to their defense exports the means of protecting a nation’s information space. Such exports could include assistance in setting up indigenous social media platforms, as well as technology and techniques used to better manage and protect the flow of information within a nation’s information space.” [ see].

Maung Zarni

Posted by Maung Zarni

Dr Maung Zarni is a scholar, educator and human rights activist with 30-years of involvement in Burmese political affairs, Zarni has been denounced as an “enemy of the State” for his opposition to the Myanmar genocide. He is the co-author (with Natalie Brinham) of the pioneering study, "The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingyas" (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, Spring 2014) and "Reworking the Colonial-Era Indian Peril: Myanmar’s State-Directed Persecution of Rohingyas and Other Muslims" (The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Fall/Winter 2017/18).