By Rommel F. Lopez

Berletic’s article was first published in The New Eastern Outlook (NEO), an internet journal published and funded by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. A 2020 US State Department report describes NEO as “a pseudo-academic publication … that promotes disinformation and propaganda focused primarily on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.” 

A social media personality’s pro-China and anti-US commentary on the West Philippine Sea was shared across different social media platforms and websites after it was uploaded.

The vlog titled “US Shapes Philippines into Southeast Asia’s “Ukraine” was first posted on the website of The New Eastern Outlook (NEO) on Nov. 2. A video featuring Brian Berletic repeating the same content of the NEO article was uploaded on the New Atlas YouTube channel on Nov. 10.

The video has amassed more than 55,000 views as of Nov. 21. Previously titled “Land Destroyer,” The New Atlas channel features geopolitical analysis videos by Berletic, with a focus on Eurasia.


Who is Berletic?

Brian Joseph Thomas Berletic describes himself as an American industrial designer living in Bangkok, Thailand. He also claims to be a former member of the United States Marine Corps who left the service in 2004.

Berletic writes for the Land Destroyer, the New Atlas, and the New Eastern Outlook, whose Facebook pages mostly based in Thailand were taken down in July 2019 for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” of content focused primarily on Thailand and the US.

The New Eastern Outlook (NEO) is an internet journal published and funded by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. A 2020 US State Department report describes NEO as “a pseudo-academic publication … that promotes disinformation and propaganda focused primarily on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.” 

The US Treasury Department also describes NEO as a “disinformation outlet” run by Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, SVR. 

Berletic’s articles appear in the Center for Research and Globalization (also known as Global Research), which publishes conspiracies and disinformation. The organization was described as a proxy for Russian disinformation in the same 2020 report by the US State Department mentioned above. It has also been accused of promoting Chinese propaganda about the US as the source of the Covid-19 virus. It has also been fact-checked for promoting vaccine disinformation.

Khasod English, a Thai daily newspaper, ran a story about Berletic, describing him as a prolific writer of “anti-Western conspiracy theories and unfounded accusations against the pro-democracy movements in Thailand.” Khasod requested an interview with Berletic but the latter refused, accusing the newspaper of publishing false information about his identity


Anti-US/PH, pro-China narratives

In the video, Berletic claims the United States is expanding its military footprint in Southeast Asia through the help of the Philippines, its former colony.

He also made the false claim that the US is building four new military bases in the Philippines. This was previously fact-checked by PressOnePH.

Berletic claims the US is “using ordinary maritime disputes” so that the world superpower can insert itself into the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

He bewailed the Philippine government’s decision to cancel joint infrastructure projects with China despite being the Philippines’s largest and most important trading partner. 


Proxy war narrative

In the video, Berletic also claims, without providing any evidence, that the Philippines is trying to convince the world that the West offers better opportunities for the country when in reality the country is being used by the US as “a disposable battering ram.”

The proxy war narrative is nothing new for Berletic.

Back in October 2022, New Atlas posted a video of Berletic having a conversation with Angelo Giuliano. In the video the two discuss how the US is using Taiwan to become the East Asian “Ukraine.” Like Berletic, Giuliano posts mostly pro-China content. In his X account, Giuliano describes himself as a political and financial analyst based in China since 1995.

The New Atlas YouTube videos either have the word “US proxy war” in their titles or in descriptions.


Shared across anti-US websites

A Google search reveals the article was first published in The New Eastern Outlook (NEO) where Berletic regularly contributes.

The NEO lists its editorial office at 12, Rozhdestvenka Street, office 111, Moscow

Orinoco Tribune describes itself as an “independent news outlet created in 2018 specifically for the purpose of providing relevant information with an anti-imperialist perspective about Venezuela and the world in the form of English-language news articles and opinion pieces.”

As soon as Berletic’s commentary was uploaded to YouTube on Nov. 10, various websites shared it.


Site Name

Date uploaded

Editorial Staff Box and Office Address

New Eastern Outlook

Nov. 2, 2023

No editorial staff box

Address: 12, Rozhdestvenka Street, office 111, Moscow

Orinoco Tribune

Nov. 2, 2023


Nov. 3, 2023


The Alternative World

Nov. 5, 2023


The Alt World

Nov. 10, 2023


Socio Economic History Blog

Nov. 11, 2023


Nov. 11, 2023


Nov. 15, 2023


The Communists

Nov. 16, 2023

No editorial staff box

Address: PO Box 78900

London, SW16 9PQ



The Military Channel



While some of these websites claim they are independent news organizations, and some have editorial policies and publish commentary on geopolitical issues, they all have something in common — they do not provide the names of their editors or their editorial office address, standard information carried by reputable news organizations.


Coordinated pro-China messaging

The narrative pushed by Berletic on the West Philippine Sea, the US-PH EDCA agreement, and the Philippines being a pawn of the US were all found in similar investigations recently.

On Oct. 23, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism released a report documenting the pro-China disinformation narratives on the West Philippine Sea perpetrated by some individuals and organizations.

The PCIJ report noted how pro-China “experts” and think tanks parroted Beijing’s narratives throughout forums and press conferences and sometimes even in national TV interviews. 

The Nerve, a Manila-based consultancy that specializes in data analytics, discovered pro-China posts on social media promoting the claims of Chinese state media against the US and claiming that the Philippines was being used as a “pawn” in the impending US-China war over Taiwan.

The same study, conducted in collaboration with Rappler and Internews, found the use of pseudo-experts and “think tanks” siding with China through posts and commentaries from bloggers and websites that use technical language and flaunt their supposed academic credentials to appear credible.

In the case of Berletic, there are no records found online to suggest his background in geopolitics or investigative journalism.


Philippine authorities alarmed

Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Jay Tariela slammed individuals and groups promoting pro-China narratives.

“Ironically, these individuals claim to be pro-Filipino while promoting Chinese narratives and even contradicting factual reports from Philippine authorities. Their intention is to manipulate public opinion and divert attention from the issue of Chinese aggression. Their strategy revolves around discrediting both the message and the messenger,” he said in a post on X.

He said the ultimate goal of the pro-China narrative was to accommodate “China’s unreasonable and illegal claims, rather than seeking fair and just resolutions that safeguard our national interests.”

National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya recently admitted that the government was monitoring certain individuals working actively to promote foreign interests.

(This report was made possible by an Internews project to build the capacity of news organizations in understanding disinformation and influence operations in the Philippines.)

Editor’s Note: The lead of the story was revised as the commentary in question was not necessarily shared across different social media platforms and websites moments after it was uploaded.