Behind Hong Kong’s black terror

By Pepe Escobar – Hong Kong : Posted with permission

October 14, 2019

A radical protester throws a molotov cocktail at a government building in Hong Kong on Sept. 15, 2019. Photo: The Yomiuri Shimbun

Deciphering who’s behind the violence leads to a long list of possibilities

“If we burn, you burn with us.” “Self-destruct together.” (Lam chao.)

The new slogans of Hong Kong’s black bloc – a mob on a rampage connected to the black shirt protestors – made their first appearance on a rainy Sunday afternoon, scrawled on walls in Kowloon.

Decoding the slogans is essential to understand the mindless street violence that was unleashed even before the anti-mask law passed by the government of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) went into effect at midnight on Friday, October 4.

By the way, the anti-mask law is the sort of measure that was authorized by the 1922 British colonial Emergency Regulations Ordnance, which granted the city government the authority to “make any regulations whatsoever which he [or she] may consider desirable in the public interest” in case of “emergency or public danger”.

Perhaps the Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, was unaware of this fine lineage when she commented that the law “only intensifies concern over freedom of expression.” And it is probably safe to assume that neither she nor other virulent opponents of the law know that a very similar anti-mask law was enacted in Canada on June 19, 2013.

More likely to be informed is Hong Kong garment and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, billionaire publisher of the pro-democracy Apple Daily, the city’s Chinese Communist Party critic-in-chief and highly visible interlocutor of official Washington, DC, notables such as US Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and ex-National Security Council head John Bolton.

On September 6, before the onset of the deranged vandalism and violence that have defined Hong Kong “pro-democracy protests” over the past several weeks, Lai spoke with Bloomberg TV’s Stephen Engle from his Kowloon home.

He pronounced himself convinced that – if protests turned violent China would have no choice but to send People’s Armed Police units from Shenzen into Hong Kong to put down unrest.

“That,” he said on Bloomberg TV, “will be a repeat of the Tiananmen Square massacre and that will bring in the whole world against China….. Hong Kong will be done, and … China will be done, too.”

Still, before the violence broke out, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people had gathered in peaceful protests in June, illustrating the depth of feeling that exists in Hong Kong. These are the working-class Hongkongers that Lai supports through the pages of Apple Daily.

But the situation has changed dramatically from the early summer of non-violent demonstrations. The black blocs see such intervention as the only way to accomplish their goal.

For the black blocs, the burning is all about them – not Hong Kong, the city and its hard-working people. Those are all subjected to the will of this fringe minority that, according to the understaffed and overstretched Hong Kong police force, numbers 12,000 people at the most.

Cognitive rigidity is a euphemism when applied to mob rule, which is essentially a religious cult. Even attempting the rudiments of a civilized discussion with these people is hopeless. The supremely incompetent, paralyzed Hong Kong government at least managed to define them precisely as “rioters” who have plunged one of the wealthiest and so far safest cities on the planet “into fear and chaos” and committed “atrocities” that are “far beyond the bottom line of any civilized society.”

“Revolution in Hong Kong”, the previous preferred slogan, at face value a utopian millennial cause, has been in effect drowned by the heroic vandalizing of metro stations, i.e., the public commons; throwing petrol bombs at police officers; and beating up citizens who don’t follow the script. To follow these gangs running amok, live, in Central and Kowloon, and also on RTHK, which broadcasts the rampage in real-time, is a mind-numbing experience.

I’ve sketched before the basic profile of thousands of young protestors in the streets fully supported by a silent mass of teachers, lawyers, bewigged judges, civil servants and other liberal professionals who gloss over any outrageous act – as long as they are anti-government.

But the key question has to focus on the black blocs, their mob rule on rampage tactics, and who’s financing them. Very few people in Hong Kong are willing to discuss it openly. And as I’ve noted in conversations with informed members of the Hong Kong Football Club, businessmen, art collectors, and social media groups, very few people in Hong Kong – or across Asia for that matter – even know what black blocs are all about.

The black bloc matrix

Black blocs are not exactly a global movement; they are a tactic deployed by a group of protesters – even though intellectuals springing up from different European strands of anarchism mostly in Spain, Italy, France and Germany since the mid-19th century may also raise it from the level of a tactic to a strategy that is part of a larger movement.

The tactic is simple enough. You dress in black, with lots of padding, ski masks or balaclavas, sunglasses, and motorcycle helmets. As much as you protect yourself from police pepper spray and/or tear gas, you conceal your identity and melt into the crowd. You act as a block, usually a few dozen, sometimes a few hundred. You move fast, you search and destroy, then you disperse, regroup and attack again.

From the inception, throughout the 1980s, especially in Germany, this was a sort of anarchist-infused urban guerrilla tactic employed against the excesses of globalization and also against the rise of crypto-fascism.

Yet the global media explosion of black blocs only happened over a decade later, at the notorious Battle of Seattle in 1999, during the WTO ministerial conference, when the city was shut down. The WTO summit collapsed and a  state of emergency was in effect for nearly a week. Crucially, there were no casualties, even as black blocs made themselves known as part of a mass riot organized by radical anarchists.

The difference in Hong Kong is that black blocs have been instrumentalized for a blatantly search-and-destroy agenda. The debate is open on whether black bloc tactics, deployed randomly, only serve to legitimize the police state even more. What’s clear is that smashing a subway station used by average working people is absolutely irreconcilable with advancing a better, more responsible, local government.

My interlocutor shows up impeccably dressed for dim sum on Saturday at a deserted Victoria City outlet in CITIC tower, with a spectacular view of the harbor. He’s Shanghai aristocracy, the family having migrated to Hong Kong in 1949, and he’s a uniquely informed insider on all aspects of the Hong Kong-China-US triangle. Via mutual Chinese diaspora connections that hark back to the handover era, he agreed to talk on background. Let’s call him Mr. E.

In the aftermath of dark Friday, Mr. E is still appalled: “Not only you’re harming the people making their living in businesses, companies, shopping malls. You’re destroying subway stations. You’re destroying our streets. You’re destroying our hard-earned reputation as a safe, international business center. You’re destroying our economy.”

He cannot explain why there was not a single police officer in sight, for hours, as the rampage continued.

Cutting to the chase, Mr. E attributes the whole drama to a pathological hatred of China by a “significant majority” of Hong Kong’s population. Significantly, the day after our conversation, a small black bloc contingent circled around the PLA’s Kowloon East Barracks in Kowloon Tong in the early evening. Chinese soldiers in camouflage filmed them from the rooftop.

There’s no way black blocs would take their gas masks, steel rods and petrol bombs to fight the PLA. That’s an entirely new ball game compared with thrashing metro stations. And color-coded “revolution” manuals don’t teach you how to do it.

Mr. E points out there is nothing “leaderless” about the Hong Kong black blocs. Mob rule is strictly regimented. One of the black shirt slogans  – “Occupy, disrupt, disperse, repeat” – has in effect mutated into “Swarm, destroy, disperse, repeat.”

Mr. E asks me about black blocs in France. Western mainstream media, for months, have ignored solid, peaceful protests by the Gilets Jaunes/Yellow Vests across France, against corruption, inequality and the Macron administration’s neoliberal push to turn France into a start-up benefitting the 1%.

Charges that French intel has manipulated black blocs and inserted undercover agents and casseurs (persons vandalizing property, specifically during protests) to discredit and demonize the Yellow Vests are widespread. As I’ve witnessed in Paris first hand, the feared CRS have been absolutely ruthless in their RAND-conceptualized militarized operations in urban terrain – repression tactics – without excluding the odd beating up of elderly citizens.

In contrast, mob rule in Hong Kong is excused as protest against “totalitarian” China.

Most of the conversation with Mr. E centers on possible sources of financing for the initial nonviolent protest and, particularly, for the mob rule that the black blocs have brought in its place.

Motivation and opportunity will get you on the list, which is not terribly long – but is long enough to include names of people and organizations diametrically opposed to one another and thus unlikely to be working together.

Among governments, we can start with the still (if not, probably, for much longer) number one superpower. Trump administration officials, locked in a trade war with Beijing, would have no trouble imagining some advantage coming from a weakening of the People’s Republic’s rule over Hong Kong, and could perhaps see good in positively destabilizing China, starting with fomenting a violent revolution in the former British colony.

The United Kingdom, contemplating a lonely post-Brexit old age, could have pondered how nice it would be to get closer to its favorite former colony, still an island of Britishness in a less and less British world.

Taiwan, of course, would have had interest in provoking a test run of how One Country, Two Systems – the formula that the PRC and the UK used with Hong Kong in 1997 and that Beijing has offered to Taiwan, as well – might work out under stress. And after the stress of peaceful protest had exposed weak underpinnings, the temptation may well have arisen to go farther and make such a hash of Chinese-ruled Hong Kong that no Taiwanese would ever again fall for the merger propaganda.

The People’s Republic seems an unlikely protagonist for the initial, nonviolent phase, but there are plenty of Hong Kongers who believe it is now encouraging provocations that would justify a major crackdown. And we can’t completely rule out the possibility that a mainland CCP faction – opposed to the breach of recent tradition with which Xi Jinping extended his time in the presidency, say – is trying to discredit him.

OK, enough about governments. Now we need some on-the-ground agents, Chinese with plausible deniability who can blend in as they receive and disburse the necessary funding and handle organizational and training matters.

Here the possibilities are far too numerous to list, but one popular name would be Guo Wengui, aka Miles Kwok. The billionaire fell out with the CCP and, in 2014, fled to the United States to pursue a career as a long-distance political operative.

Even more popular would be name of Jimmy Lai, mentioned above. Confirming another of my key meetings, when Mr. E points to the usual funding suspects, the name of Jimmy Lai inevitably comes up. In fact, a US-Taiwan-Jimmy Lai combination may be number one on the hit parade when it comes to the common wisdom.

But when I tried that combination on for size I encountered problems. For one big thing, Jimmy Lai has made no effort to hide his aid to pro-democracy groups but in his public remarks has invariably encouraged nonviolent agendas.

As South China Morning Post columnist Alex Lo wrote not long ago, “What’s wrong with making massive donations to political parties and anti-government groups? Nothing! So I am puzzled by the media brouhaha over Apple Daily boss Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s alleged donations worth more than HK$40 million to his pals in the pan-democratic camp over a two-year period.”

Let’s not give up so easily, though. I believe that some things are best hidden right out in the open in bright daylight.

Yes, Lai’s public voice happens to be Mark Simon, who worked for four years as a US naval intelligence analyst.

Yes, Lai has been good friends with neo-con guru Paul Wolfowitz since the latter became chairman of the US Taiwan Business Council in 2008, according to a Lai aide.

Wolfowitz served as deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005 under Donald Rumsfeld, sort of by accident: He was supposed to become George W Bush’s head of CIA. But, alas, that didn’t work out because his wife got wind of an affair Paul, a member of the board of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED, had with a staffer, who was married at the time … and so it goes.

And, yes, according to Wikileaks documentation, in 2013 Lai paid US$75,000 to Wolfowitz for an introduction to Myanmar government bigwigs.

A document suggesting a transaction between Lai and Wolfowitz.
Photo: Wikileaks via SCMP

But none of that really proves anything, does it now? Innocent until proven guilty. Colluding with arguably the most important US policy and intelligence operative of the past two decades, apparently yes – but can we establish active involvement by either the Pauls or the Jimmys of this world in black bloc provocations to achieve the bloody Chinese intervention that Lai forecast? Innocent until proven guilty.

This is going to take some further work. Back to the old drawing board with Asia Times.

There will be blowback

“We in Hong Kong are few in number. But we know that the world will never know genuine peace until the people of China are free.” – Wall Street Journal op-ed by Jimmy Lai,  Sept 30

As much as there have been frantic efforts by the usual suspects to obliterate them, the images of black bloc mob rule and rampage across Hong Kong are now imprinted all over the Global South, not to mention in the unconscious of hundreds of millions of Chinese netizens.

Even the black blocs’ invisible financial backers may have been stunned by the counter-productive effects of the rampage, to the point of essentially declaring victory and ordering a retreat. In any case, Jimmy Lai continues to blame the Hong Kong police for “excessive and brutal violence” and to demonize the “dictatorial, cold-blooded and violent beast.”

Yet there’s no guarantee the black terror mob will back down – especially with Hong Kong fire officials now alarmed by the proliferation of online instructions for making petrol bombs using lethal white phosphorous. Once again – remember al-Qaeda’s “freedom fighters” – history will teach us: Beware of the Frankenstein terrors you create.

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The Trump campaign releases an *extremely* effective campaign ad!

The Trump campaign releases an *extremely* effective campaign ad!

The Saker

September 28, 2019

While I realize a a minority of hardcore Hillarybots will accuse me of endorsing Trump, most will realize that one can recognize the high quality of a political message without necessarily endorsing anybody.

In this case, I just saw this ad and, wow, in just 30 seconds it says it all.  And, sorry Dems, it is 100% factually correct.

Which makes me notice something else: the Dems center all their political efforts on lies, lies and more lies.  Frankly, this time around, the Trump campaign uses a very powerful weapon: the truth!

I was awed when the Dems nominated Hillary.  Awed by the utter stupidity of this action as Hillary was probably the only Dem candidate which could actually lose to Trump.

This time around, they pushed Biden.  Amazing….  Although knowing how corrupt and cynical the Neocons are, they will now probably eventually ditch Biden too.  Either that, or they will try to start a full-scale color revolution (again).  After all, to the Neocons, any democratic election deserves to be “corrected” via a color revolution.  You think I am exaggerating?  Maybe I am, but when I think of the very real possibility Biden might go to jail, possibly with Schiff and a host of other deep-staters, I don’t think I would put anything past the Neocons and the DNC.

Anyway, I leave you with this ad which might be the best I have ever seen.

What do you think?  Are you as impressed as I am or not.

Kind regards

The Saker

Color Revolution Comes To Hong Kong

September 11, 2019

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson;

The Hong Kong protests represent a major challenge not only to the authorities of Hong Kong itself, but also to Beijing, due to both their protracted nature and a high level of organization resembling the Kiev Maidan of 2013/14. The Hong Kong rioters have gone so far as to produce and disseminate a veritable urban warfare manual describing in detail the division of labor between the close-combat fighters, ranged-weapon fighters, as well as various support roles. Their “Plan A” appears to be, as cynical as this may sound, to provoke bloodshed by inducing local law enforcement to use firearms against the rioters. Thus far this has not come to pass. On the one hand, Hong Kong police has displayed considerable self-restraint, and their rules of engagement seem to favor withdrawal and disengagement when faced with superior numbers of rioters. On the other hand, irrespective of the will of the riot planners, the actual rioters have, again thus far, displayed healthy self-preservation instincts. In the few cases where firearms were brandished by Hong Kong police, usually in cases of police officers finding themselves surrounded by the raging mob, the sight of weapons proved enough to compel the rioters to withdraw. That by itself, however, will not solve the problem of riots because there also seems to be a “Plan B.” Whereas, for example, the Kiev Maidan was largely confined to the Maidan Square itself, the geography of Hong Kong riots is much more extensive and unpredictable. Hong Kong rioters have not shrunk from attacking strategic infrastructure, including the now-infamous occupation of the Hong-Kong International Airport that caused massive air traffic disruptions. Likewise the violent riots in popular malls and tourist destinations all over the Hong Kong area have had the effect of depressing tourism and even prompting fears of a capital flight. While so far there are no indications of a lasting effect on the enclave’s economy, this is due to the still-lingering perception the unrest is a temporary phenomenon. Should it continue with present intensity, or, worse, escalate in terms of numbers of participants and methods used, there will be severe negative effects. For these reasons, China’s authorities cannot hope to win through a war of attrition, or expect that an escalation of violence will somehow cure this problem. There are genuine underlying problems in Hong Kong which have made themselves visible through these demonstrations.

What ails Hong Kong?

As with other “color revolutions”, the Hong Kong protests have tapped into a deep vein of discontent within the population. In this instance, rather than poverty or corruption or even the institutional design of Hong Kong’s government, the banal problem facing the average Hong Kong resident is the extremely high cost of living combined with the highly visible class divisions. Since this “special administrative region” of People’s Republic of China represents a major concentration of financial industries, it is also home to massive wealth which, alas, does not appear to be trickling down. While there is also considerable wealth inequality in China proper which is expanding its list of billionaires at a steady pace, the less well-off Chinese urban-dwellers have the option of migrating from city to city in search of better opportunities. But that option is not one the average inhabitant of Hong-Kong is likely to adopt. Moving to China proper would run counter to the strong local Hong Kong identity, and moreover represent a move to a considerably less wealthy part of the world. Thus while the average Chinese citizen is unlikely to exhibit much sympathy for the plight of the protesters from the special administrative area, Hong Kong residents do not evaluate their well-being in comparison with mainland China. For them, the only relevant reference is Hong Kong itself.

One should also note that the violent component of Hong Kong protests is disproportionately composed of young men in their late teens and twenties suggesting the influence of a generation gap and the breakdown in the intergenerational social contract. While Hong Kong, if it were a sovereign state, would have one of the world’s highest life expectancies, its population is rapidly aging due to the low birth rates of the past several decades. A large age cohort is nearing the retirement age, placing a significant financial burden on the considerably smaller younger generation.

Pining for Tienanmen

Further complicating matters for Beijing is Western powers’, and principally the US, interest in using Hong Kong as an instrument in the gradually escalating confrontation between East and West. The rioters’ awareness of their foreign audience was made plain by the displays of US flags as well as the flags associated with Hong Kong’s British colonial past. From the US perspective, crippling Hong Kong economically would inflict serious damage to China’s economy and also badly dent its political image.  Entirely unsurprisingly, Western governments and media wholeheartedly endorsed the protests while turning a blind eye on the increasing violence perpetrated by Hong Kong’s urban warriors who make no bones their aim is to provoke security forces to spill demonstrators’ blood. It is not difficult to predict what kind of Western reaction would follow: sanctions on Hong Kong officials, financial institutions, perhaps even on top Chinese leadership. The media outcry would be so large that countries thus far unwilling to jump on the anti-Huawei bandwagon would find it difficult to maintain that position. It is evident the Trump administration is raring for a pretext to break as many ties between United States and China as possible, and also to force third countries, most notably the states of the European Union, to choose continued economic integration with United States or with China—but not both.  Furthermore, Hong Kong’s financial institutions have played an important role in furthering China’s economic objectives in the last several decades. In addition to playing a role of a major supplier of financial investments, they also are China’s “invisible hand of the market”. While today China’s economy is far less dependent on Hong Kong, thanks to several “special economic zones” such as Shenzhen located only a short distance from Hong Kong itself, a major crisis in Hong Kong would reverberate throughout China.

Fortunately, there appears to exist a key difference between the Kiev Maidan and the Hong Kong protests, namely the absence of a wealthy oligarch or oligarchs pursuing a reactionary political agenda. None of the Hong Kong business elite have given any indications of supporting the rioters’ more radical agenda, nor is there evidence of their contacts with Western diplomats or intelligence services. It is doubtful such contacts would escape the attention of China’s counter-intelligence services, and China’s political leadership is unlikely to show the sort of timidity Ukraine’s President Yanukovych did in a similar situation, to his own chagrin.

One Country, One System?

The current “one country, two systems” paradigm unfortunately lies at the core of Hong Kong’s current troubles. The establishment of an economic enclave, with little labor mobility across this veritable intra-Chinese border, turned Hong Kong into a political pressure cooker. Its political autonomy in turn meant policies that favored the economic elite, causing the growth of wealth inequality which contributes to the high level of the local government’s unpopularity, to the point it has become a liability for Beijing itself. In the short term, Beijing will likely be forced to funnel considerable financial resources into Hong Kong to relieve the social pressures. In the longer term, however, a lasting solution will require not only a more close oversight of Hong Kong’s social policies, but also promotion of two-way migration between China proper and Hong Kong.

US Dirty Hands All Over Hong Kong Violence and Chaos?

Image result for US Dirty Hands All Over Hong Kong Violence and Chaos?
September 3, 2019

Stephen LENDMAN

The UN Charter and other international laws are clear and unequivocal. 

No nation may legally interfere in the internal affairs of others for any reasons at any time — except in self-defense if attacked.

The US hasn’t been attacked by another nation since December 7, 1941 — or threatened by any since WW II ended. 

Facing no enemies today, they’re invented as pretexts for its policymakers to pursue their imperial aims — seeking unchallenged global dominance, wanting all nations transformed into US vassal states, their resources plundered, their people exploited.

Endless wars, color revolutions, and old-fashioned coups are their favored tactics, targeting nonbelligerent nations the US doesn’t control, threatening no one.

What’s ongoing in Hong Kong replicates US color revolution attempts against targeted countries since first aimed at Belgrade, Serbia in 2000.

There’s nothing spontaneous about these disruptive eruptions when occur.

They’re planned and orchestrated in the US, directing local proxies, the CIA, anti-democratic National Endowment for Democracy, and likely other US agencies involved.

Make no mistake. Trump regime hardliners are waging escalated war on China by other means. 

Tactics include weaponized trade, tariffs and sanctions war, provocative Pentagon incursions near Chinese waters, weapons sales to Taiwan, and targeting China’s soft Hong Kong underbelly, wanting the country destabilized.

Over the weekend, Hong Kong protesters escalated violence further, throwing bricks and firebombs, setting a police barrier protecting a government building ablaze.

Overnight Saturday, the city’s financial district was gripped by running street battles, police countering orchestrated violence with tear gas and water cannons.

A police statement denounced “radical protesters (for throwing) corrosives and petrol bombs, (posing a) serious threat” to everyone nearby. 

So far, Beijing has been reluctant to overreact, letting city authorities handle things, perhaps not for much longer.

Its authorities are well aware of US dirty hands behind what’s been ongoing for months, Hong Kong wracked by endless violence and chaos, restoring calm to the city essential.

On Saturday, China’s official People’s Daily broadsheet published several pieces, denouncing “outrageous violence and disruptions…radical demonstrators” involved, adding:

“(R)adical forces…attacked journalists…travelers, (and) police officers,” US politicians and media supporting them — the broadsheet calling “US interference in Hong Kong affairs intolerable.”

Earlier, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was way out of line, saying Hong Kong protests are “a beautiful sight to behold.”

After reunification with China, Hong Kong (1997) and Macau (1999) were granted a high degree of autonomy for 50 years as special administrative regions (SARs).

They’re responsible for their domestic affairs alone, including executive, legislative, and judicial independence from the mainland while being Chinese territory.

Hong Kong Basic Law stipulates that Beijing is responsible for foreign affairs and defense. The city’s future belongs to China, transitioning until 2047 when its autonomy ends.

The People’s Daily said Beijing supports Hong Kong’s SAR government, along with actions by police to restore order.

Failure to curb violence encourages more of it. What began in March turned violent in June, especially in recent weeks.

The People’s Daily said “kidnapping HK’s future (violently) should not be tolerated.” It called “radical protesters no different than terrorists…engag(ing) in all kinds of illegal and violent activities.”

Restoring normality to the city is vital. Should Beijing intervene directly, a dilemma confronting its authorities!

Since early June, protests became violent, showing no signs of abating, things escalating.

So far, Beijing let city police handle things, hoping energy behind what’s going on would wane, intervening only rhetorically.

If violence in city streets continues much longer, its authorities may request mainland intervention by the People’s Armed Police or People’s Liberation Army to restore order.

No nations anywhere tolerate unrest, disorder, rioting, or violence without intervening to quell it.

Key for Beijing and Hong Kong authorities is doing enough to end what’s going on without going too far.

They don’t want to discourage foreign investment or harm local business interests more than already.

But if violent protests continue unchecked, there’s risk they could spread to the mainland — what bipartisan hardliners in Washington may have in mind.

A Final Comment

How would Washington respond if foreign hands stoked violence in a US city, maybe its New York financial hub?

They’d be blood in the streets and mass arrests for sure, no holds barred. 

Perhaps Pentagon forces would join local police to restore normality if things escalated to how Hong Kong is affected.

stephenlendman.org

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

US Now Admits it is Funding “Occupy Central” in Hong Kong

Global Research, August 22, 2019

This article first published almost five years ago on October 1, 2014 is of particular relevance to an understanding of recent developments in Hong Kong.

***

Just as the US admitted shortly after the so-called “Arab Spring” began spreading chaos across the Middle East that it had fully funded, trained, and equipped both mob leaders and heavily armed terrorists years in advance, it is now admitted that the US State Department through a myriad of organizations and NGOs is behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong. 

The Washington Post would report in an article titled, “Hong Kong erupts even as China tightens screws on civil society,” that:

Chinese leaders unnerved by protests elsewhere this year have been steadily tightening controls over civic organizations on the mainland suspected of carrying out the work of foreign powers.

The campaign aims to insulate China from subversive Western ideas such as democracy and freedom of expression, and from the influence, specifically, of U.S. groups that may be trying to promote those values here, experts say. That campaign is long-standing, but it has been prosecuted with renewed vigor under President Xi Jinping, especially after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych following months of street demonstrations in Kiev that were viewed here as explicitly backed by the West.

The Washington Post would also report (emphasis added):

One foreign policy expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject, said Putin had called Xi to share his concern about the West’s role in Ukraine. Those concerns appear to have filtered down into conversations held over cups of tea in China, according to civil society group members.

“They are very concerned about Color Revolutions, they are very concerned about what is going on in Ukraine,” said the international NGO manager, whose organization is partly financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), blamed here for supporting the protests in Kiev’s central Maidan square. “They say, ‘Your money is coming from the same people. Clearly you want to overthrow China.’ ”

Congressionally funded with the explicit goal of promoting democracy abroad, NED has long been viewed with suspicion or hostility by the authorities here. But the net of suspicion has widened to encompass such U.S. groups as the Ford Foundation, the International Republican Institute, the Carter Center and the Asia Foundation. 

Of course, NED and its many subsidiaries including the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute do no such thing as “promoting democracy,” and instead are in the business of constructing a global network of neo-imperial administration termed “civil society” that interlocks with the West’s many so-called “international institutions” which in turn  are completely controlled by interests in Washington, upon Wall Street, and in the cities of London and Brussels.

Image: While the Washington Post would have readers believe NED is in the business of promoting “freedom of expression” and “democracy” the corporate-financier interests represented on NED’s board of directors are anything but champions of such principles, and are instead notorious for principles precisely the opposite. 

The very concept of the United States “promoting democracy” is scandalous when considering it is embroiled in an invasive global surveillance scandal, guilty of persecuting one unpopular war after another around the planet against the will of its own people and based on verified lies, and brutalizing and abusing its own citizens at home with militarized police cracking down on civilians in towns like Ferguson, Missouri – making China’s police actions against “Occupy Central” protesters pale in comparison. “Promoting democracy” is clearly cover for simply expanding its hegemonic agenda far beyond its borders and at the expense of national sovereignty for all subjected to it, including Americans themselves.

In 2011, similar revelations were made public of the US’ meddling in the so-called “Arab Spring” when the New York Times would report in an article titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” that:

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.

The article would also add, regarding NED specifically, that:

The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department.

 

Image: US Senator John McCain on stage in Kiev, Ukraine cheerleading US
funded sedition in Eastern Europe. In 2011, McCain would famously taunt
both Russia and China that US-funded subversion was coming their way.
“Occupy Central” is one of many waves that have hit China’s shores since.

 

Pro-war and interventionist US Senator John McCain had famously taunted both Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping’s predecessor in 2011 that the US subversion sweeping the Middle East was soon headed toward Moscow and Beijing. The Atlantic in a 2011 article titled, “The Arab Spring: ‘A Virus That Will Attack Moscow and Beijing’,” would report that:

He [McCain] said, “A year ago, Ben-Ali and Gaddafi were not in power. Assad won’t be in power this time next year. This Arab Spring is a virus that will attack Moscow and Beijing.” McCain then walked off the stage.

Considering the overt foreign-funded nature of not only the “Arab Spring,” but now “Occupy Central,” and considering the chaos, death, destabilization, and collapse suffered by victims of previous US subversion, “Occupy Central” can be painted in a new light – a mob of dupes being used to destroy their own home – all while abusing the principles of “democracy” behind which is couched an insidious, diametrically opposed foreign imposed tyranny driven by immense, global spanning corporate-financier interests that fear and actively destroy competition. In particular, this global hegemon seeks to suppress the reemergence of Russia as a global power, and prevent the rise of China itself upon the world’s stage.

The regressive agenda of “Occupy Central’s” US-backed leadership, and their shameless exploitation of the good intentions of the many young people ensnared by their gimmicks, poses a threat in reality every bit as dangerous as the “threat” they claim Beijing poses to the island of Hong Kong and its people. Hopefully the people of China, and the many people around the world looking on as “Occupy Central” unfolds, will realize this foreign-driven gambit and stop it before it exacts the heavy toll it has on nations that have fallen victim to it before – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Egypt, and many others.

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U.S.-UK Deep State Tries to Grab Hong Kong

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

U.S.-UK Deep State Tries to Grab Hong Kong

What can explain these recent instances, proven by Agence France-Press, in which outright frauds — lies (in the form of faked photos and videos) — are being spread online to support the agenda of breaking off, from China, Hong Kong (which has historically always a part of China), so as to make Hong Kong an ‘independent’ nation?:

——

https://factcheck.afp.com/
This video actually shows Chinese tanks in Hong Kong in June 2012
26 July 2019
https://factcheck.afp.com/old-
This is an old video of a training exercise by South Korean riot police
29 July 2019
https://factcheck.afp.com/
The press pass in this doctored photo is from Apple Daily’s Taiwan bureau, not Hong Kong
30 July 2019
https://factcheck.afp.com/all-
All crime legal in Hong Kong for 12 hours? No, the ’emergency broadcast’ is fictional
5 August 2019
https://factcheck.afp.com/
This photo shows a different cat — the owner of Hong Kong’s Brother Cream says he is unharmed
8 August 2019
https://factcheck.afp.com/its-
It’s an old photo of an actor on a Hong Kong TV show
9 August 2019
https://factcheck.afp.com/
This video shows Hong Kong police firing tear gas at Kwai Fong station in August 2019
14 August 2019
https://factcheck.afp.com/
Gangsters beat up Hong Kong protester? The video was actually filmed in Taiwan in 2018 and shows a man being attacked over debts
16 August 2019
https://factcheck.afp.com/
Hong Kong airport has said ‘all lighting operated as normal’
20 August 2019
https://factcheck.afp.com/
These pictures are from protests in France and Spain, not recent demonstrations in Hong Kong
21 August 2019

——

The context might explain it:

On August 14th, Toronto lawyer Christopher Black, who is an expert on U.S.-UK Deep State efforts to grab back Hong Kong for the British Empire, headlined at Global Research “America’s ‘Hybrid War’ against China has Entered a New Phase”, and he described a six-phase “hybrid war” by the U.S.-UK Deep State against China in Hong Kong:

The first stage involved the massive shift of US air and naval forces to the Pacific. …

The second stage was the creation of disinformation about China’s treatment of minority groups, especially in Tibet and west China. …

[The third stage is] the propaganda was extended to China’s economic development, its international trade, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, its Silk and Belt Road Initiative, its development bank, and other facilities and trade initiatives, through which China is accused of trying to control the world. …

The fourth phase is the US attempt to degrade the Chinese economy with punitive “tariffs,” …

A fifth phase [is] the kidnapping and illegal detention of Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of China’s leading technology company Huawei, …

[The sixth phase] in this hybrid warfare is the insurrection being provoked by the US, UK, Canada and the rest in Hong Kong, …

Also on August 14th, the anonymous “Moon of Alabama” blogger (a German intelligence-analyst), headlined “Violent Protests In Hong Kong Reach Their Last Stage”, and he opened:

The riots in Hong Kong are about to end.

The protests, as originally started in June, were against a law that would have allowed criminal extraditions to Taiwan, Macao and mainland China. The law was retracted and the large protests have since died down. What is left are a few thousand students who, as advertised in a New York Times op-ed, intentionally seek to provoke the police with “marginal violence”:

“Such actions are a way to make noise and gain attention. And if they prompt the police to respond with unnecessary force, as happened on June 12, then the public will feel disapproval and disgust for the authorities. The protesters should thoughtfully escalate nonviolence, maybe even resort to mild force, to push the government to the edge. That was the goal of many people who surrounded and barricaded police headquarters for hours on June 21.”

The protesters now use the same violent methods that were used in the Maidan protests in the Ukraine. The U.S. seems to hope that China will intervene and create a second Tianamen sceneThat U.S. color revolution attemptfailed but was an excellent instrument to demonize China. A repeat in Hong Kong would allow to declare a “clash of civilization” and increase ‘western’ hostility against China. But while China is prepared to intervene it is unlikely to do the U.S. that favor. Its government expressed its confidence that the local authorities will be able to handle the issue.

There are rumors that some Hong Kong oligarchs were originally behind the protests to prevent their extradition for shady deals they made in China. There may be some truth to that. China’s president Xi Jingpin is waging a fierce campaign against corruption and Hong Kong is a target-rich environment for fighting that crime.

The former British colony is ruled by a handful of oligarchs who have monopolies in the housing, electricity, trade and transport markets: …

Then there was this from him, after the Sunday, August 18th, demonstration:

——

https://www.moonofalabama.org/

August 19, 2019

Which Hong Kong Protest Size Estimate is Right?

The New York Times further promotes the protests in Hong Kong by quoting an extravagant crowd size estimate of yesterday’s march.

… So what is it? 128,000 or the 13 times bigger 1.7 million? With the mood set in the first paragraphs the Times is clearly promoting the larger estimate.

But that estimate is definitely false. (As was my own early estimate of 15-20,000 based on early pictures of the event.) It is impossible that 1.7 million people took part in the gathering and march. There is no way that the 1.7 million people would physically fit in or near the protest venue.

——

He demonstrated there, beyond question, that the NYT’s allegation that the crowd was 1,700,000 was at least 13 times too large.

Consequently, since all of those matters are documented facts — not mere conjectures — the rational conclusion would be that the same Deep State that overthrew Iran’s democracy in 1954, and that overthrew Guatemala’s democracy in 1954, and that overthrew Chile’s democracy in 1973, and that overthrew Ukraine’s democracy in 2014, and that installed brutal military regimes in each one of those places, and that also in many other instances has installed dictatorial U.S.-controlled vassal-states, and that has been trying to do similar things to Libya, and to Syria, and to Venezuela, and to Russia (“color revolutions” they are called) is trying to do that also in Hong Kong. And, as has always been the case in the past, the U.S.-and-allied Deep State regime’s propaganda is that this is being done for ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy’. This would explain those hoaxes that AFP has been documenting against Hong Kong’s government.

The lying continues on, at all U.S. mainstream (and most of its non-mainstream) ‘news’-media, such as:

——

https://www.npr.org/2019/08/

A Guide To What’s Happening In Hong Kong

August 20, 2019 12:38 PM ET COLIN DWYER

Organizers say more than a million demonstrators gathered Sunday in Hong Kong … carrying umbrellas that have come to signify resistance. …

Janis Mackey Frayer✔@janisfrayer

Pouring rain in #HongKong but tens of thousands still protesting today… chanting ‘Hong Kong people, keep going’. The rally is seen as a measure of public support for the protest movement, after 11 consecutive weekends and increasingly violence. @NBCNews @NBCNightlyNews @MSNBC

5:26 AM – Sun. Aug 18, 2019 …

“We demand that the bill be formally withdrawn now,” said Alvin Yeung, a member of the region’s Legislative Council and leader of the pro-democracy Civic Party. He also told All Things Considered that protesters are demanding “an independent inquiry to look into police misconduct and brutality.”

“That is something so simple that any open and civil society would do,” he added. “But then this government has been refusing to set up a commission to look into that. And more importantly, of course, is a democratic system.” …

https://www.npr.org/2019/08/

Twitter And Facebook Shut Down Fake Propaganda Accounts Run By Chinese Government

August 20, 20194:23 PM ET

Heard on All Things Considered

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Adam Segal, at the Council on Foreign Relations, about Facebook and Twitter shutting down hundreds of fake accounts run by the Chinese government.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

We have heard a lot about Russia creating fake social media accounts to influence political discourse in other countries. Now Facebook and Twitter say they have shut down hundreds of fake accounts created and run by the Chinese government. These pages are mainly spreading messages against the Hong Kong protests.

Adam Segal is the director of digital and cyberspace policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has studied China’s use of disinformation, and he joins us now. Hi, there.

ADAM SEGAL: Thanks for having me.

KELLY: So help us understand what exactly China stands accused of doing. Give me an example of one of these fake accounts and what it’s been tweeting or posting.

SEGAL: Twitter and Facebook have said that the Chinese have created fake accounts or inauthentic accounts and that they’ve spread disinformation about the protests in Hong Kong. Some of the accounts have compared the protesters to cockroaches or to ISIS and have suggested that they’ve taken money from either foreigners or what one of the accounts called bad guys.

KELLY: What is the scope of this operation, as far as we can tell? …

——

The amazing thing is that America’s leading ‘reporters’ of ‘news’ continue on with their lying even after it has been conclusively exposed in honest foreign, and in the honest non-mainstream, news-sites online (such as here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here — all 25 of those are great  news-sites, reliable news-sites, news-sites that are punctilious about truth, and careful to avoid lies). America’s leading ‘reporters’ just ignore truth, and they continue to pump the regime’s lies, as stenographers for its lies, trusting and never challenging such ‘authorities’ as the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Brookings Institution, and the U.S. Government, and the New York Times, and the Washington Post, and U.S. TV and radio, etc. — all of the same fraudsters who were pumping for the invasion of Iraq, up to and including the U.S. regime’s criminal invasion in 2003. This country hasn’t learned a thing, except lies, since at least  2003. There seems to be an endless market for lies, in the U.S.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

All along the watchtower: The follies of history

August 19, 2019

All along the watchtower: The follies of history

The ultimate American imperial dream is to engineer a Chinese vassal state

By Pepe Escobar, from Cambodia – Posted with permission

 

 

There must be some kind of way outta here
Said the joker to the thief
There’s too much confusion
I can’t get no relief

Business men, they drink my wine
Plowmen dig my earth
None were level on the mind
Nobody up at his word

-Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower (immortalized by Jimi Hendrix)

Nothing beats the beguiling, stony smiles at the Bayon temple near Angkor Wat in Cambodia’s Siem Reap to plunge us back into history’s vortex, re-imagining how empires, in their endless pursuit of power, rise and fall, usually because they eventually get the very war they had sought to avoid.

The Bayon was built as a state temple at the end of the 12th century by the undisputed superstar of Khmer empires, Jayavarman VII. Its magical narrative reliefs convey a mix of history and mythology while depicting daily life in Khmer society.

We still don’t know today the identity of the faces shown on the temple’s giant stone carvings. They could be a representation of Brahma, or of Jayavarman himself – a practicing Buddhist. What we do know is that the glorious Khmer empire – incomparable in art and architecture, and even benign in the sense that the mandate for power was based on the king’s relationship with the gods, started to fade after the 15th century, dismembered by war against the Thai and later the Vietnamese.

Stony smiles “all along the watchtower”, displayed as a living commentary on the rise and fall of empires, could easily connect, geopolitically, with a touch of Buddhist impermanence, to our turbulent times of Hybrid War. And to the current American empire.

It’s always amusing to observe how US think tanks, such as CIA outlet Stratfor, constantly celebrate success in undermining Russia via this strategy.

Hybrid War on Russia was engineered in 2014 on two fronts: ordering the Persian Gulf petro-poodles to crash the oil price while imposing sanctions after Russia opposed the coup – actually a color revolution – in Kiev. Hybrid War was engineered at a Deep State level as a tool to try to smash Russia’s outstanding recovery since Vladimir Putin was elected to the presidency in 2000. The undisguised Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski-style goal with the Kiev coup was to draw Russia into an Afghan-style partisan war.

Of course, Russia suffered economically – but then slowly recovered, diversifying production and boosting its agricultural capacity. Yet hybrid warfare always ensures that once economic hardship is engineered, a government necessarily becomes unpopular. Then fakes and traitors are unleashed: Alexei Navalny in Russia, or “protests” in Hong Kong that the Deep State dreams would lead to an uprising in Beijing.

A small, radical nucleus of agents provocateurs in Hong Kong, using copycat methods from the Maidan in Kiev, sticks to a single-minded road map: force Beijing to commit a Tiananmen 2.0, thus elevating the all-out demonization of China to the next level.

The inevitable consequence, according to the privileged scenario, would be the “West”, as well as vast sectors of the Global South, boycotting the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, a complex, multi-layered strategy of economic integration that has expanded well beyond Eurasia.

Hong Kong, an irrelevant asset

In Hong Kong, everything is about money and then, on a secondary level, about China.

China’s annual GDP per capita is in the range of $9,700. Hong Kong’s annual GDP per capita is in the range of nearly $49,000 – higher than Germany and Japan. It is no wonder that no one in Hong Kong wants to be “like China.” So money is a key factor for Hong Kongers to fear “Chinese domination.” Only a few outsiders, such as Thai economist Chartchai Parasuk, highlight this.

Hong Kong is becoming increasingly irrelevant for China. At the time of the World Bank-lauded “Asian tigers,” in the early to mid-1990s, Hong Kong’s share of China’s GDP was a hefty 27%. Today it’s a paltry 2.7%.

Hong Kong has been losing importance to China. File pic: Creative Commons/ Brian H.Y.

Capital has been steadily moving to Singapore, whose annual GDP per capita is now even higher than Hong Kong’s. Real wages are now lower than at the start of the decade. And wealthy Chinese mainlanders are buying everything in sight, thus excluding the average Hong Konger from an upwardly mobile trajectory.

Up to now, Hong Kong’s allure, for China, was its unique position as a free-trade mega-port, the proverbial gateway to the mainland, and one of the world’s top financial markets. But that’s increasingly in the past. Shenzhen, across the border, is already China’s top tech hub, and Shanghai is being slowly but surely configured as the top financial center.

China is also being hit, hybrid war-style, with a rolling trade war plus sanctions. The ultimate American imperial “dream” is to engineer a Chinese vassal. This has nothing to do with trade. There’s no logic of avoiding a trade deficit with China only to see the same products produced in Thailand or India. What’s goin’ on is rather hybrid war all over the spectrum: attempts to destabilize and possibly defeat Russia, China and Iran, the three key hubs of Eurasia integration.

New hybrid politics

The Hybrid War strategy has created our current state of financial warfare. And that inevitably implies blowback. The weaponization of the US dollar is leading Russia, China and Iran as well as Turkey, Syria and Venezuela to seriously turbo-charge their drive towards alternatives. They could be anchored to a basket of commodities, or it could be all about gold. Wily investor Jim Rickards defines Russia, China, Iran and Turkey as the “New Axis of Gold.”

Everything that happens geopolitically and geoeconomically in our turbulent times has to do with the US’ do-or-die imperial struggle against the Russia-China strategic partnership. Only total “victory,” by any means necessary, would assure the continuation of what could be defined as the New American Century.

And that brings us to the necessity of reconstructing Clausewitz’s axiom, according to which, originally, war is a continuation of politics by other means.

Clausewitz argued that war is a real political instrument. Now, Clausewitz remixed should read: Hybrid War is Politics by Other Means.

The means now go way beyond conventional war, as in Khmer empire times. They mix irregular and cyber war; fake news; lawfare (as in Brazil); electoral intervention; and even “diplomacy” (of the gunboat or economic blockade variety, as applied against Iran and Venezuela).

All Along the Watchtower, the song, as written by Dylan and delivered by Hendrix as a hurricane approached, is an ominous portent of Apocalypse Now. Hummed along the stones of the Bayon smiling cryptically at us out of centuries of impermanence-defying history, it seems so fitting for our times of Hybrid War.

Watch out: Pale riders are approaching, as the wind begins to howl.

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