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Political changes in Cambodia should make the US nervous about its Vietnam policy

Cambodia’s long time leader has rebuked the meddling that accompanies ‘US aid’, signally a broader South East Asian pivot towards China.

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Cambodia’s long serving Premier Hun Sen has just issued a defiant set of statements aimed at the United States. Hun Sen who has been in power since 1985 and consolidating his rule ever since, and has now turned to the US, telling Washington that its aid is effectively no longer welcomed if it comes with political strings attached.

Pro-government Fresh News reported,

“Samdech Techo Hun Sen confirmed that cutting U.S. aid won’t kill the government but will only kill a group of people who serve American policies”.

Fresh News further reported,

“Hun Sen … welcomes and encourages the U.S. to cut all aid”.

Hun Sen’s personal history in terms of political loyalists is something of a pendulum. While he once was a member of the China backed and covertly US armed and sponsored Khmer Rouge government, in 1977 he switched sides and backed pro-Vietnamese (Soviet backed) forces.

He first took office in 1985 during the period of Vietnamese occupation following the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese War which was won by Hanoi, thus resulting in the fall of the Khmer Rouge in what was then Democratic Kampuchea.

Since 1985, Hun Sen has worked to consolidate his power. Since effectively purging his opponents in 1997, he has worked to develop increasingly good relations with China, in spite of his history of being backed by Vietnam.

While some of Hen Sen’s opponents still accuse him of being too close with Vietnam, the reality is that under Hun Sen, Cambodia is moving towards a decidedly pro-Chinese geo-economic position. China is now the key investor in Cambodia and Hen Sun’s anti-US comments seem clearly motivated by a sense of confidence that US investment falls flat of the potential offered by China.

By East Asian standards, Cambodia is small, with a population of just over 15 million. Since the 1990s, Cambodian goods, particularly finished textiles have become increasingly common throughout the world, including the west. This helps explain why many in western business circles are reticent to sanction Cambodia, even though as Phnom Penh moves closer to Beijing, many in Washington want to sanction Cambodia, using internal political consolidation moves by Hen Sen as the tired excuse justifying such actions.

Realistically, Cambodia’s path could pose problems for US designs on Vietnam. Ever since the 1990s, the US has worked hard to establish closer ties with Hanoi. The rationale behind rapprochement with a Communist Vietnamese government that the US fought for 20 years is simple enough. Vietnam remains the most outwardly anti-China government in the region and the crux of US policy in Asia is that ‘whatever is bad for China is good for the US’. This also is the overt rationale behind Washington’s new bonds with India, a traditional Soviet/Russian ally whose increasingly vocal anti-Chinese sentiments have caught the ear of an exploitative United States.

In spite of this, China remains Vietnam’s number one trading partner and during the recent APEC summit, Vietnam offered vague commitments to de-escalation in the South China Sea dispute in which America has staunchly backed the Vietnamese position vis-a-vis China.

However, to understand how the events in Cambodia might relate to future US-Vietnam relations, one must turn to Philippines.

Philippines has traditionally been Washington’s number one ally in South East Asia, but since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, Manila has openly and rapidly pivoted towards both China and Russia. In many ways, not having taken a side in the Sino-Soviet split of the Cold War, Philippines is better placed than Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos to make such a pivot towards the allied super-powers whose former conflict still resonates in some parts of South East Asia, although increasingly little.

Duterte also took the bold step to be the first South East Asian leader to engage in a fully-fledged commitment to peace and cooperation with China over the South China Sea. This game-changing cooperation initiative now provides a new model for all of South East Asia. While Vietnam’s history of antagonism vis-a-vis China dates back to ancient history, according to contemporary considerations, it is not wide of the mark to say that if a country as formerly pro-American as Philippines can pivot away from Washington and towards both China and Russia, so too could a country like Vietnam which retains virtually unbroken good relations with Moscow.

President Duterte’s South China Sea agreements represent the new model for cooperation in South East Asia

Cambodia was South East Asia’s most unfortunate political football that the US used to exploit the Sino-Soviet split. Now though, Cambodia seems to have secured China’s place in its economic future, while telling the US that its conditional economic investment is effectively surplus to requirements…the subtext being, ‘because of China’.

If countries that used to be unabashedly in Washington’s corner ranging from Turkey to Philippines can ‘pivot east’, and if Cambodia whose fraught internal and geo-political history can pivot (back) to China, there is every possibility that Vietnam could one day do the same.

If Vietnam can be convinced that China has no designs on Vietnam’s internal affairs which in 2017, it most certainly does not and if along with this, Hanoi and Beijing can reach an understanding similar to that which was reached between Manila and Beijing, the US will have to settle for a relationship with Vietnam that due to recent history, will be far more limited than present relations with Philippines, which still technically remain strong because of the residual effects of a substantial shared (though totally unevenly shared) 20th century history.

If this happens, the US will have lost its ability to use substantial amounts of geo-political leverage on South East Asia. China will have asserted its model as superior to that of the US model for South East Asian economic development and the US will simply have to strike deals in accordance with broadly Chinese style guidelines. Russia which maintains its good post-Cold War relations with countries like Vietnam while building new bridges to Philippines, is another clear winner and one which could  play a vital role in stimulating a more meaningful rapprochement between Hanoi and Beijing.

Against this backdrop, it is no wonder the US has attempted to rename South East Asia the ‘Indo-Pacific’. The fact of the matter is, in the area that actually is South East Asia, the US is becoming increasingly isolated as China’s model is becoming far too attractive for even former foes of Beijing to ignore or oppose.

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NXIVM Sex-Cult Prosecutors Have Evidence Of Illegal Clinton Campaign Contributions For “Political Influence”

NXIVM’s Clinton connections have been known for some time.

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Via Zerohedge


US Attorney Richard Donoghue asked a federal judge last month for permission to present a mountain of new evidence in the NXIVM sex-cult trial – including evidence of an “illegal scheme to exceed contribution limits to a presidential primary campaign,” in the “hopes of obtaining political influence to advance their own agenda,” according to a March court filing.

“At the suggestion of a political operative, who has since pleaded guilty to an unrelated New York state bribery charge also involving campaign contributions, the contributions were “bundled” and presented to the candidate at a fundraising event attended by conspirators,” the filing continues.

And whose “presidential primary campaign” did the group allegedly attempt to buy influence with?

None other than Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to former NXIVM publicist-turned-whistleblower Frank Parlato, who told Big League Politics “I was there, and I knew that the contributions were made by more than a dozen NXIVM members to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

At present, the judge overseeing the case has not responded on the case docket.

Founded by accused pedophile Keith Raniere, NXIVM started out as a multi-level-marketing self-help business for people who wanted to “reach their potential” through various courses.

NXIVM’s Clinton connections have been known for some time 

After being run out of Arkansas in the early ’90s by then-Governor Bill Clinton’s attorney general on charges of fraud and business deception, Raniere and NXIVM executives emerged a decade later only to donate $29,900 to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 presidential campaign a decade later. At least three NXIVM officials are (or were) “invitation-only” members of the Clinton Global Initiative, according to the New York Post.

Meanwhile, NXIVM’s ‘inner sanctum’ turns out to have been sex-cult known as ‘DOS’ – which Parletto says stands for “dominus obsequious sororium,” or “master over the slave women.”

A 2009 photo of Raniere in Albany, New York, where Mack bought a house to be closer to the Nxivm founder.

Raniere’s inner cadre included Seagrams heiresses Clare and Sara bronfman, who joined NXIVM in 2002 and subsequently contributed $150 million of their inheritance to the organization, while Claire bought 80% of Wakaya island off the coast of Fiji for $47 million in 2016, according to Vanity Fair.

Female members of DOS – such as former Smallville actress Allison Mack, would procure women for Raniere – who required that prospective “slaves” upload compromising collateral into a Dropbox account. One such recruit-turned-coach was India Oxenberg – daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenbergwho met with prosecutors in New York in late 2017 to present evidence against Raniere.

Allison Mack

Raniere and Mack were arrested on federal charges which include sex trafficking, forced labor, wire fraud conspiracy, human trafficking and other counts. Most recently, Raniere was accused of having sex with children and producing kiddie porn, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Mack – who allegedly held the second-most-senior position in NXIVM, pleaded guilty earlier this month to racketeering charges and manipulating women into becoming sex slaves.”I believed Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people, and I was wrong,” a tearful Mack told a Brooklyn judge. “I know I can and will be a better person,” she added.

Prior to his death, Clare and Sara’s father, Seagrams founder and former president of the World Jewish Congress Edgar Bronfman (whose funeral Hillary Clinton spoke at), told Vanity Fair of NXIVM “I think it’s a cult.”

Edgar Bronfman Sr. receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1999

A cult which tried to buy favor with Hillary Clinton, allegedly.

(March filing below, P. 24)

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Tulsi Gabbard: Trump is ‘Saudi Arabia’s servant’ as he refused to end US support of Yemen war

Tulsi tweets: “By vetoing War Powers Act, Trump again proves he’s the servant of Saudi Arabia.”

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Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has called President Donald Trump’s decision to veto a bill seeking to end US support for the Yemen war nothing less than proof he serves Saudi Arabia.

By vetoing the bill dubbed the War Powers Act, Trump again “proves he’s the servant of Saudi Arabia – the theocratic dictatorship spending billions spreading the most extreme and intolerant form of Islam around the world, supporting al-Qaeda & other jihadists, and waging genocidal war in Yemen with US help,” Gabbard said in an emotional tweet.

The War Powers resolution, approved in the House of Representatives in April and the Senate in March, was vetoed by President Donald Trump, who said it was an “unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members.”

In the video that accompanies the tweet, Gabbard is heard saying that the US is complicit “in this genocide that’s causing millions of people to starve and suffer.” She accused Trump of being “more interested in pleasing the Saudis that doing what is right.”

This is by no means the first time Gabbard has attacked Trump over Saudi Arabia. Last year, she tweeted: “Hey @realdonaldtrump: being Saudi Arabia’s b*tch is not ‘America First.’”

Since a Saudi-led coalition started the military offensive against Yemen in 2015, an estimated 60,000 Yemenis have died due to the conflict, and another 85,000 have succumbed to famine and malnutrition. Airstrikes conducted often with munitions supplied by the US and its allies frequently target areas with civilians. The Saudis say they are acting in support of the exiled president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, against the Yemeni Houthis who control most of the country. Riyadh and its Western allies accuse the opposition group of being proxies of Iran.

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Is Lori Loughlin’s Daughter Olivia Jade Now Under Investigation?

Both Olivia Jade and Bella are technically still University of Southern California students whose accounts are on hold while the university reviews their cases.

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Via Yahoo News…


Another day, another “ruh-ro” in the ongoing Operation Varsity Blues saga. After Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges in the college admissions scam on Monday, the Daily Mail now reports one of their two daughters—either influencer/vlogger Olivia Jade, 19, or Bella Giannulli, 20—has received a “target letter” declaring her the subject of an investigation by the Department of Justice.

As The New York Times reported earlier this week, “at least some children of the parents who were charged in the scandal have received so-called target letters, which notify people that they could be targets of a criminal probe.” So far, no students (read: kids of the dozens of parents) allegedly involved in the scandal have been charged.

Internet sleuths are now, inevitably, speculating that the daughter in question could be Bella, who deleted her Instagram account this week. (Her sister’s remains active.) Both Olivia Jade and Bella are technically still University of Southern California students whose accounts are on hold while the university reviews their cases; their parents, Loughlin and Giannulli, stand accused of paying $500,000 to Operation Varsity Blues ringleader William “Rick” Singer to pass their daughters off as crew recruits. Some of the high-profile parents charged, including Felicity Huffman, have pleaded guilty in hopes of reduced sentences, though prosecutors are still seeking a four- to 10-month jail sentencefor the actress. But on Monday, Loughlin and Giannulli entered not guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and are vowing to fight the charges.

One potential line of defense? Loughlin and Giannulli—because, reminder, it wasn’t only the moms who were allegedly involved in the scam—were just trying really, really hard to help their kids, according to the L.A. Times, in this cultural moment of “parenting on steroids.” For future reference, though, steroid possession is also illegal.

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