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Lockdown civilization: phase one and phase two

By Jon Rappoport | January 6, 2021

The China lockdown of 50 million citizens overnight was a key element in the long-standing plan to foist a fake pandemic on humanity.

That lockdown provided the model for the rest of the world.

We are now in phase one of Lockdown Civilization.

The “scientific” rationale? THE VIRUS. The virus that isn’t there. The virus whose existence is unproven.

But the story line works: “We have to follow the China model because the pandemic is sweeping across the globe…”

Close on the heels of this con job, we have the intro to phase two: “In order to deal with future pandemics, we must install a new planetary system of command and control; human behavior must be modified.”

Translation: wall to wall surveillance at a level never achieved before; universal guaranteed income for every human, tied to obedience to all state directives; violate those directives and income is reduced or canceled; the planting of nano devices inside the body which will broadcast physiological changes to central command, and which will receive instructions that modify mood and reaction…

Phase one lockdowns prepare the citizenry to accept phase two.

In other words, phase one had nothing to do with a virus. It was part of the technocratic revolution.

I call your attention to a stunning article in The Atlantic. “The Panopticon Is Already Here” (9/20), by Ross Andersen.

Here are significant excerpts:

“Artificial intelligence has applications in nearly every human domain, from the instant translation of spoken language to early viral-outbreak detection. But Xi [Xi Jinping, president of China] also wants to use AI’s awesome analytical powers to push China to the cutting edge of surveillance. He wants to build an all-seeing digital system of social control, patrolled by precog algorithms that identify potential dissenters in real time.”

“China already has hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras in place. Xi’s government hopes to soon achieve full video coverage of key public areas. Much of the footage collected by China’s cameras is parsed by algorithms for security threats of one kind or another. In the near future, every person who enters a public space could be identified, instantly, by AI matching them to an ocean of personal data, including their every text communication, and their body’s one-of-a-kind protein-construction schema. In time, algorithms will be able to string together data points from a broad range of sources—travel records, friends and associates, reading habits, purchases—to predict political resistance before it happens. China’s government could soon achieve an unprecedented political stranglehold on more than 1 billion people.”

“China is already developing powerful new surveillance tools, and exporting them to dozens of the world’s actual and would-be autocracies. Over the next few years, those technologies will be refined and integrated into all-encompassing surveillance systems that dictators can plug and play.”

“China’s government could harvest footage from equivalent Chinese products. They could tap the cameras attached to ride-share cars, or the self-driving vehicles that may soon replace them: Automated vehicles will be covered in a whole host of sensors, including some that will take in information much richer than 2-D video. Data from a massive fleet of them could be stitched together, and supplemented by other City Brain streams, to produce a 3-D model of the city that’s updated second by second. Each refresh could log every human’s location within the model. Such a system would make unidentified faces a priority, perhaps by sending drone swarms to secure a positive ID.”

“An authoritarian state with enough processing power could force the makers of such software to feed every blip of a citizen’s neural activity into a government database. China has recently been pushing citizens to download and use a propaganda app. The government could use emotion-tracking software to monitor reactions to a political stimulus within an app. A silent, suppressed response to a meme or a clip from a Xi speech would be a meaningful data point to a precog algorithm.”

“All of these time-synced feeds of on-the-ground data could be supplemented by footage from drones, whose gigapixel cameras can record whole cityscapes in the kind of crystalline detail that allows for license-plate reading and gait recognition. ‘Spy bird’ drones already swoop and circle above Chinese cities, disguised as doves. City Brain’s feeds could be synthesized with data from systems in other urban areas, to form a multidimensional, real-time account of nearly all human activity within China. Server farms across China will soon be able to hold multiple angles of high-definition footage of every moment of every Chinese person’s life.”

“The government might soon have a rich, auto-populating data profile for all of its 1 billion–plus citizens. Each profile would comprise millions of data points, including the person’s every appearance in surveilled space, as well as all of her communications and purchases. Her threat risk to the party’s power could constantly be updated in real time, with a more granular score than those used in China’s pilot ‘social credit’ schemes, which already aim to give every citizen a public social-reputation score based on things like social-media connections and buying habits. Algorithms could monitor her digital data score, along with everyone else’s, continuously, without ever feeling the fatigue that hit Stasi officers working the late shift. False positives—deeming someone a threat for innocuous behavior—would be encouraged, in order to boost the system’s built-in chilling effects, so that she’d turn her sharp eyes on her own behavior, to avoid the slightest appearance of dissent.”

“If her risk factor fluctuated upward—whether due to some suspicious pattern in her movements, her social associations, her insufficient attention to a propaganda-consumption app, or some correlation known only to the AI—a purely automated system could limit her movement. It could prevent her from purchasing plane or train tickets. It could disallow passage through checkpoints. It could remotely commandeer ‘smart locks’ in public or private spaces, to confine her until security forces arrived.”

“Each time a person’s face is recognized, or her voice recorded, or her text messages intercepted, this information could be attached, instantly, to her government-ID number, police records, tax returns, property filings, and employment history. It could be cross-referenced with her medical records and DNA, of which the Chinese police boast they have the world’s largest collection.”

“The country [China] is now the world’s leading seller of AI-powered surveillance equipment. In Malaysia, the government is working with Yitu, a Chinese AI start-up, to bring facial-recognition technology to Kuala Lumpur’s police as a complement to Alibaba’s City Brain platform. Chinese companies also bid to outfit every one of Singapore’s 110,000 lampposts with facial-recognition cameras.”

In South Asia, the Chinese government has supplied surveillance equipment to Sri Lanka. On the old Silk Road, the Chinese company Dahua is lining the streets of Mongolia’s capital with AI-assisted surveillance cameras. Farther west, in Serbia, Huawei is helping set up a ‘safe-city system,’ complete with facial-recognition cameras and joint patrols conducted by Serbian and Chinese police aimed at helping Chinese tourists to feel safe.”

“In the early aughts, the Chinese telecom titan ZTE sold Ethiopia a wireless network with built-in backdoor access for the government. In a later crackdown, dissidents were rounded up for brutal interrogations, during which they were played audio from recent phone calls they’d made. Today, Kenya, Uganda, and Mauritius are outfitting major cities with Chinese-made surveillance networks.”

“In Egypt, Chinese developers are looking to finance the construction of a new capital. It’s slated to run on a ‘smart city’ platform similar to City Brain, although a vendor has not yet been named. In southern Africa, Zambia has agreed to buy more than $1 billion in telecom equipment from China, including internet-monitoring technology. China’s Hikvision, the world’s largest manufacturer of AI-enabled surveillance cameras, has an office in Johannesburg.”

“In 2018, CloudWalk Technology, a Guangzhou-based start-up spun out of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, inked a deal with the Zimbabwean government to set up a surveillance network. Its terms require Harare to send images of its inhabitants—a rich data set, given that Zimbabwe has absorbed migration flows from all across sub-Saharan Africa—back to CloudWalk’s Chinese offices, allowing the company to fine-tune its software’s ability to recognize dark-skinned faces, which have previously proved tricky for its algorithms.”

“Having set up beachheads in Asia, Europe, and Africa, China’s AI companies are now pushing into Latin America, a region the Chinese government describes as a ‘core economic interest.’ China financed Ecuador’s $240 million purchase of a surveillance-camera system. Bolivia, too, has bought surveillance equipment with help from a loan from Beijing. Venezuela recently debuted a new national ID-card system that logs citizens’ political affiliations in a database built by ZTE…”

That gives you a chilling outline of Lockdown, phase two.

Lockdowns were never about a virus or a pandemic.

Lockdown Civilization has been in the planning and development stage for a long time.

People say, “Why? Why are they doing this?”

The short answer is, because they want to and they can.

Technocrats don’t view life as life. They view it as a system, and this is their most comprehensive system to date.

Jon Rappoport is the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

January 6, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

China does not have allies, but has friends with partnership diplomacy

By Xue Li – Global Times – 2020/11/8

The Wall Street Journal published an article earlier this month entitled “China’s Risky Bet on a Lonely Return to Greatness,” suggesting China has no friends. China does not have allies indeed, but it doesn’t lack of friends. This is not only because of China’s historical tradition and the current international environment, but also because of China’s own choices.

Based on Christian monotheism, the spirit of Roman law and Greek formal logic, Western civilization largely views problems and world order from the perspective of binary opposition. Therefore, they prefer forming alliances in diplomacy so as to restrain and even assimilate allies through mandatory mechanisms. This allows them to confront and even defeat the non-allies.

At the same time, they firmly believe that every country must have a similar diplomatic philosophy, so it is necessary to encircle and even disintegrate emerging powers. They not only try to equate the history of Christian expansion since the maritime exploration during the age of discovery with the universal history of humanity, but also view the diplomatic concept of the Christian civilization over past 500 years as the world’s universal diplomatic philosophy. They do not realize that 500 years is a relatively short period in the history of human civilization, and that different civilizations have different views on diplomacy world order.

During the Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220), Taoism and Confucianism are the main concepts on which Chinese civilization is used to view issues, advocating the construction of an order through rule of ritual. Therefore, China has few diplomatic alliances, and it advocates that countries should adjust their ties according to specific situations. In diplomatic operations, China emphasizes that a country should believe in the charm of their own values and civilization, rather than forcefully imposing their own values and systems onto others.

In the past 500 years, some European countries became global empires through colonial expansion by means of force. The US has become a superpower after the end of the two world wars through building alliance systems. With the changing times and the emergence of nuclear weapons, it’s impossible for China to copy the emergence of European countries or the approaches of the US. One feasible option to realize the rejuvenation of Chinese civilization would be to expand its overseas interests in a way that is acceptable to the host country – whether with general policies, economics, and culture.

In modern times, China once allied itself with other countries. Those alliances were not systematic and continuous, and the outcomes were not ideal enough. China thus gave up diplomatic alliances, and carried out its non-aligned diplomacy in 1960s and 1970s, independent foreign policy of peace in 1980s, and partnership diplomacy since 1990s.

Chinese civilization is a kind of regional civilization. Although it has global influence in some aspects, it lacks the gene of global expansion of monotheistic civilizations. Perhaps because of the reasons mentioned above, Chinese leaders have repeatedly stressed that China has no intent to replace any other country in the world. But Western countries will take a long time to accept this.

Partnership diplomacy meets the needs of the contemporary world. On the road of rejuvenation, China firmly believes that partnership diplomacy is a better and more suitable choice for itself than alliance diplomacy. So far, 112 countries and international organizations have established partnerships with China. This number will undoubtedly continue to increase. Partnership diplomacy has become a prominent feature of China’s diplomacy.

After the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013, China’s diplomacy has changed from maintaining a low profile to becoming more proactive in global affairs. But the policy of “partnership rather than alliance” has not changed, and it is unlikely to change in the future. The indisputable fact is that the system of alliance diplomacy preferred by Western countries is the choice of a few countries in the world, and most countries choose non-aligned diplomacy. Besides, the vast majority of them are developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The world has entered a long period of competition and cooperation among civilizations. It is necessary for the West to think outside the box instead of seeing the world from the perspective of Christian civilization, and learn to put itself into China’s position. Only in this way can the West truly understand the Chinese civilization and contemporary China, and base the relationship between China and the West on an accurate judgment and a relatively solid foundation so as to reduce misunderstandings and conflicts, and increase cooperation and mutual benefits.

The author is director of the Department of International Strategy at the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

December 25, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

China to strengthen military coordination with Russia

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | December 24, 2020

The joint aerial strategic patrol held by the air forces of Russia and China on December 22 over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea makes a big statement in the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region. Chinese experts have hinted that such events could become “routine” in future.

The Chinese and Russian defence ministries made a joint announcement on the occasion Tuesday. China sent four nuclear-capable H-6K strategic bombers “to form a joint formation” with two of Russia’s famous Tu-95 bombers (NATO reporting name: “Bear”) to conduct the joint patrol as “part of annual military cooperation plan” between the two countries.

The announcement said the joint patrol “aims to further develop the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era, and enhance the level of the two militaries’ strategic coordination and joint operational capability to jointly safeguard global strategic stability.”

Curiously, only a month ago, on November 6, two Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic missile-carrying bombers of Russia’s Aerospace Force had performed a scheduled 8-hour flight over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan and the north-western Pacific. Russia’s Defense Ministry said “At some sections of the route, the strategic missile-carrying bombers were escorted by Su-35S fighters.”

Russia’s Tu-95MS Strategic Bomber (Filephoto)

Clearly, the joint patrol with China was not an absolute must from the perspective of Russia’s national defence. But its optics and messaging mattered. This has everything to do with the regional setting with the US and its partners stepping up.

On Dec. 19, USS Mustin conducted a transit through the Taiwan Strait; on Dec. 20, Taiwan conducted a live-fire drill in the Pratas Islands (approx. 300 kms from mainland China) and plans to conduct another on Dec. 27. Pratas Islands are strategically located near the gateway to the South China Sea and are a waypoint for oil tankers and Chinese vessels en route to the Pacific Ocean.

Last week, Taiwan launched its first missile corvette, which the Taiwanese press described as an “aircraft carrier killer”, even as PLA Navy’s first Chinese-made aircraft carrier, the Shandong, completed its third sea trial in a 23-day transit in the Bohai Sea.

Also this month, a US Navy Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) consisting of the USS Makin Island and USS Somerset (LPD 25) patrolled the South China Sea and conducted “unscripted” live-fire drills. The Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times angrily called the ARG “US muscle-flexing actions” that “could damage regional stability,” and commented that “China should be prepared to confront the US in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits no matter who sits in the White House.”

Japan has bestirred itself lately, inviting like-minded Western countries to send military units to the Far East signalling that they are united in seeking a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The US, French and Japanese navies conducted integrated exercises in the Philippine Sea in December focusing on anti-submarine warfare; another joint military exercise is planned for May on an outlying Japanese island; the UK plans to send an aircraft carrier strike group to conduct joint exercises with the US Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) early next year.

The Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi held talks last week with his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer where he “expressed hope that a German vessel” would join exercises with the JMSDF in 2021 and “suggested it would assist the international community’s efforts to ensure the right of passage of vessels through the South China Sea if the German warship would traverse waters” over which Beijing claims jurisdiction.

Taiwan Navy’s first stealth ‘carrier killer’ corvette Tuo Jiang

Amidst all this, the US’ Naval Service released an integrated maritime strategy designed to take a “more assertive (approach) to prevail in day-to-day competition (with China) as we uphold the rules-based order and deter our competitors from pursuing armed aggression.” Also, the US secretary of the Navy has called for the reestablishment of the 1st Fleet, a numbered Navy fleet, “in the crossroads between the Indian and the Pacific oceans.”

On Dec. 18, the US began building on the second Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in October by organising a virtual “Quad” meeting of senior diplomatic officials from the US, Australia, India and Japan. The US State Department readout said the four countries discussed “practical ways … to coordinate efforts to support countries vulnerable to malign and coercive economic actions in the Indo-Pacific region.”

There is much speculation about how the [prospective] Biden administration will approach the Indo-Pacific. So far, Biden has not mentioned Quad, but he uses the phrase “Indo-Pacific.” But instead of discussing a “free and open” Indo-Pacific (as Trump does), Biden uses the phrase “secure and prosperous.”

To be sure, given the high stakes involved, China and Russia will not take chances. Their joint aerial patrol Tuesday reflects common concern over the region’s strategic stability. Both countries take note of growing interference by extra-regional powers inciting frictions, potentially posing a major threat to regional peace. Meanwhile, the US is deploying anti-missile systems and keeps talking about a NATO-like military alliance in Asia.

In sum, the joint patrol signals that China and Russia are “the linchpins of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and Eurasia. They have no intention to challenge the regional order. They are propelled to respond to external powers which threaten regional security”, as a prominent think tanker at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Yang Jin, put it.

Chinese pundits have discussed the pros and cons of a Sino-Russian military alliance, the consensus opinion being that in the prevailing security environment, the existing format of strategic partnership serves the purpose of meeting common challenges while giving flexibility to serve the self-interests each side. Having said that, military alliance also remains “a last option for the worst situation – when the US or another country launches a war that forces China and Russia to fight side by side” — to quote Yang.

An editorial in the Chinese Communist Party daily Global Times noted, “China and Russia have no intention of forming a military alliance because it cannot resolve the comprehensive challenges the two countries have to face” but the pressure from the US and its allies have “provided an important external impetus” to the strengthening of the comprehensive strategic cooperation as such, including military cooperation.

“As long as they cooperate strategically and jointly deal with challenges, they can generate effective deterrent, form a joint force to deal with specific problems, resist the attempts to suppress the two countries and curb the US’ international misconduct,” the editorial said.

The US-Russia-China triangle is sure to transform under the [prospective] Biden presidency if Washington sets sights on Moscow as the biggest threat to the US national security. Unsurprisingly, Beijing is signalling that the China-Russia strategic partnership should remain close and continue to be strengthened to handle increasing pressure from the US, even if Biden might ease tensions with Beijing.

This strategic emphasis is the leitmotif of an unusually lengthy report by Xinhua in the People’s Daily on the phone conversation between the State Councilor and Foreign minister Wang Yi with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on December 22.

December 24, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Washington vetoes aid to Sri Lanka and paves the way for Chinese expansion

By Lucas Leiroz | December 22, 2020

Sri Lanka has become the scene of a new battle in the trade war between China and the US. The growth of the Chinese presence in the country has led Washington to a strong concern, materialized in Mike Pompeo’s visit to Colombo in October. But even the strong American pressure was not enough to prevent the advance of Chinese investments and this is taking the American government to a drastic measure: to cancel the development aid that it had promised to Sri Lanka.

The official statement about the end of the aid program came through the US Embassy in Colombo on Thursday, December 17. The Embassy confirmed that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) fund that had been approved for aid to Sri Lanka will now be redirected to other strategic partners. According to Washington, Sri Lanka showed a lack of involvement and interest in the alliance – which is due to the fact that it continued to cooperate economically with China, in parallel with the US.

This agreement was part of a cooperation program between the US and Sri Lanka established during the previous government of Ranil Wickremesinghe in the last year of his term. At the time, Wickremesinghe faced strong resistance at the congress due to the lack of transparency about the nature of the agreement. Its critics say the terms are unclear and claim that the program could simply be an excuse to guarantee American military advance in the region. The MCC, however, says it is a cooperation program whose sole purpose is to help reduce poverty in the Asian country, without any political or military interest related to it. Currently, MCC has partnerships of this type with approximately 30 countries in different regions of the planet, totaling more than 13 billion dollars invested in these programs. In the case of Sri Lanka, the agreement provided for an investment of 480 million dollars.

Although Washington denies the political nature of the agreement, it is clear that it is a financial aid in exchange for political support and international alignment. The very end of the agreement proves this: simply because Sri Lanka has ties with China, Washington canceled the agreement. As we can see, the interest in “alleviating poverty” seems quite secondary to the interest in isolating China economically in the global trade war.

Relations between the US and Sri Lanka have deteriorated greatly over the past few months. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government has been characterized by a moderately pro-Chinese stance, which was enough to irritate Americans. The Trump Administration went to the extreme of banning the entry of Sri Lankan Army Chief, General Shavendra Silva, into American territory. Shavendra Silva is considered a national hero in his country but has entered the Washington blacklist due to alleged human rights violations that would have been committed on the battlefield during the civil war. Obviously, it is fair to punish someone for violating human rights, but strangely this denunciation by Washington only appeared after the beginning of the deterioration of relations between the two countries.

The definitive point of tensions occurred in October, when Washington tried to “recover” Sri Lanka by sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Colombo. During a 12-hour visit, Pompeo met with local authorities and made several public statements attacking China, saying that the only way for Sri Lanka to become a strong and sovereign country is through strategic cooperation with the US. On the same occasion, Pompeo said that Chinese behavior is “predatory”.

Also in October, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Dean Thompson said that Sri Lanka needs to make some choices that would be necessary, albeit difficult – and said that such choices would be the only way to guarantee the country’s economic development. In other words, Thompson said that Sri Lanka needs to abdicate from relations with China in order to develop, which is absolutely unrelated to reality. China has already invested nearly 8 billion dollars in infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. Colombo Port City and Hambantota Port are Chinese developments. Still, Beijing has been providing billionaire loans to Sri Lanka since 2005, with long repayment terms and even forgiving some debts. This is not the typical “predatory” behavior, much less seems that Sri Lanka’s abdication from ties with Beijing is a condition for development.

What happens, however, is that Washington continues to act with a war mentality. Sri Lanka accepts cooperation agreements with Washington and Beijing simply because it is a sovereign country with its own interests and does not want to take part in a trade conflict that does not concern it. Sri Lanka’s stance is sovereign and not aligned and the country will continue to make deals with any power that helps to deal with its main social problems. Washington will certainly put Sri Lanka on its blacklist from now on and impose sanctions and blockades, but it is the Americans who have the most to lose from it. Without American help, Colombo will seek even more Chinese support and Beijing will have a geographically strategic ally on its side, further reducing the American presence in Asia.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

December 22, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Iran, Pakistan open 2nd border crossing for trade surge

Press TV | December 19, 2020

Iran and Pakistan have inaugurated the second official border crossing for the transfer of goods and passengers.

The border point opened during a ceremony on Saturday, with Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami and the Pakistani Minister for Defense Production Zubaida Jalal attending the event.

The gateway connects Rimadan, located in Dashtyari country of Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan Province, with Pakistan’s Gabd.

The Rimadan border crossing has a capacity for exporting and importing goods and transporting Pakistani pilgrims and tourists.

The border’s 70-kilometer distance with Gwadar port also enables Pakistani citizens to reach Iran’s strategic Chabahar port, from where they can travel by plane or train to Iran’s religious cities and tourist sites.

The connection of the Rimadan border with Pakistan’s Karachi port would pave the way for linking China and Southeast Asian countries to Eastern Europe.

In an interview with IRNA news agency, Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan Mohammad Ali Hosseini said there was only one crossing, Mirjaveh-Taftan, on the 900-kilometer border between the two neighboring states.

So, he added, Iranian and Pakistani officials decided to open two more border gateways, Rimadan-Gabd and Pishin-Mand.

The envoy also stressed that the inauguration of Rimdan-Gabd border point will increase economic and trade cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad, reduce smuggling and improve the livelihood of border residents as well as the security situation along the common frontier.

December 19, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Strategic Victory For China? US Drops Key Project Amid Sri Lanka’s Unrelenting Security Concerns

By Rishikesh Kumar – Sputnik – 17.12.2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid a visit to Sri Lanka in October to coax the Gotabaya Rajapksa government to sign the Millennium Challenge Cooperation Agreement. A controversy erupted ahead of Pompeo’s visit, as the US called upon Colombo “to make difficult but necessary decisions” to pick sides between Beijing and Washington.

In a major setback amid the growing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region, the US has decided to discontinue a proposed $480 million development assistance programme in Sri Lanka due to “lack of partner country engagement”.

The US Embassy in Colombo on Thursday informed through a press statement that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) board has decided that the approved fund for Sri Lanka will now be made available to other eligible partner countries.

The Millennium Challenge Cooperation Agreement was approved by the previous government of Ranil Wickremesinghe in the last year of his tenure, but he was unable to get approval from parliament, evoking widespread resistance among people who believed it compromised the nation’s sovereignty and national security.

Nevertheless, the US has once again reiterated that the programme, also facing resistance in another South Asian nation, Nepal, is transparent in nature.

“Country ownership, transparency, and accountability for grant results are fundamental to MCC’s development model”, the statement reads.The MCC has been dubbed a “development project aimed at poverty alleviation” by the US, but many people in Sri Lanka consider it a tool to expand military outreach in the Indian Ocean.

The MCC has partnered with nearly 30 countries worldwide on 38 grant agreements, totalling nearly $13.5 billion.

Ties between the two countries soured under the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government as the Trump administration considered it biased in favour of China. The Trump administration also introduced a ban on the entry of Sri Lanka’s Army Chief Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva – who is considered a war hero in the 30-year battle against Tamil militancy – into the United States on charges of human rights violations.

In October this year, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Dean Thompson urged Sri Lanka to make “difficult but necessary choices” to secure its economic independence instead of choosing opaque practices in an apparent reference to China deepening its relations with the South Asian country. Beijing reacted to the remark and asked the US to shun a “Cold War” mentality. China has invested nearly $8 billion in infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka, with Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port Projects being the two major ones.

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan returns $1 bln of Saudi Arabia’s loan over Kashmir dispute

MEMO | December 16, 2020

Pakistan has returned $1 billion to Saudi Arabia as a second installment of a $3 billion soft loan, as Islamabad reaches out to Beijing for a commercial loan to help it offset pressure to repay another $1 billion to Riyadh next month, officials said on Wednesday according to a report by Reuters.

Analysts say it is unusual for Riyadh to press for the return of money. But relations have been strained lately between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, historically close friends.

Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan a $3 billion loan and a $3.2 billion oil credit facility in late 2018. After Islamabad sought Riyadh’s support over alleged human rights violations by India in the disputed territory of Kashmir, Saudi Arabia has pushed Pakistan to repay the loan.

With the $1 billion flowing out, Pakistan – which has $13.3 billion in central bank foreign reserves – could face a balance of payments issue after clearing the next Saudi installment.

“China has come to our rescue,” a foreign ministry official told Reuters. A finance ministry official said Pakistan’s central bank was already in talks with Chinese commercial banks.

“We’ve sent $1 billion to Saudi Arabia,” he said. Another $1 billion will be repaid to Riyadh next month, he said. Islamabad had returned $1 billion in July.

Although a $1.2 billion surplus in its current account balance and a record $11.77 billion in remittances in the past five months have helped support the Pakistani economy, having to return the Saudi money is still a setback.

Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who visited Riyadh in August to ease the tensions, met the Saudi ambassador in Islamabad on Tuesday.

December 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia may benefit from trade rift between China and Australia

RT | December 16, 2020

Russian coal suppliers could boost their exports to China, as the world’s largest coal buyer is reportedly curbing shipments of the commodity from Australia amid escalating tensions between the two countries.

The developer of the largest Russian coal deposit, Elga, announced on Tuesday that it created a joint venture with a Chinese shipping company to promote Russian coal on the massive Chinese market. The project between Elgaugol and GH-Shipping is set to satisfy China’s growing demand for high-quality coking coal.

The deal is set to help boost Russian coal supplies to China from one million tons this year to 30 million tons in 2023, and the developer could potentially further increase annual imports to 50 million tons. The joint venture is also expected to contribute to the ambitious goal of the Russian and Chinese governments to significantly increase bilateral trade turnover, as it would increase the volume of trade between the two countries by $5 billion per year.

“The supplies of coking coal from Elga will replace a significant amount of Australian and American coal of similar quality,” Elgaugol Director-General Aleksandr Isaev said.

Another Russian producer, Mechel, previously said that it was planning to increase exports of coal to China amid Beijing’s restrictions on Australian imports. In November, the shipments rose by 13 percent, and are set to jump by 25-30 percent in December, Mechel CEO Oleg Korzhov said as cited by Russian media.

Tensions between the two countries have been growing for around three years, after the Australian government began limiting Chinese investments in the country. In 2018, Canberra added fuel to the fire when it banned China’s Huawei and ZTE from its 5G rollout. The most recent escalation occurred when Australia pushed in April for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this week, Chinese state-linked media reported that the nation’s top economic planner gave domestic power plants the greenlight to import coal without clearance restrictions from several countries “except for Australia.” While Beijing has not officially confirmed the restrictions, Canberra has already urged the Chinese government to clarify the reports.

This week’s reports are not the first to allege that China is quietly banning coal imports from Australia. Last month, several million tons of Australian coal worth more than $500 million were reportedly stuck in Chinese ports.

December 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 4 Comments

An Expert Military Analysis of War with China

Actually, None is Necessary

By Fred Reed • Unz Review • December 13, 2020

The Correlation of Armed Forces: U.S. goods and services trade with China totaled an estimated $634.8 billion in 2019. Exports were $163.0 billion; imports were $471.8 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China was $308.8 billion in 2019. Trade in services with China (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $76.7 billion in 2019. Services exports were $56.5 billion; services imports were $20.1 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with China was $36.4 billion in 2019.

There is talk within the Washingtoniat of a possible war with China. Steve Bannon, who apparently was dropped on his head as a child, actually favors such a war. We hear the usual shoo-the-boobs alarm about how the Chinese are doing something terrible and we must gird our loins and American values and show them what for, bow wow, woof. The danger is that the current game of who-blinks-first in Asian waters might actually provoke a shooting war. You know the kind of thing: One warship refuses to get out of the way of another, a collision ensues, some retard lieutenant who signed up on waivers opens fire, and we’re off and running. It is not a good idea to let children play with matches.

The said war is discussed either in emotional terms by idiots or in purely naval terms by those familiar with such things, so we hear of the First Island Chain and the Second Island Chain and whose missiles against the other’s missiles and so on. This would be appropriate if we were fighting World War Two again. Which we aren’t. Let’s take a quick-and-dirty look at how such a war might go.

To begin the war, America would overestimate itself and underestimate China. This is doctrine in the Pentagon. There is probably a manual on it. Inside the DC Bubble, fern-bar Napoleons would assure us that it would be a short war, a cakewalk, a matter of days, not weeks. You know, like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. When it turned out that the Chinese had other ideas, among which surrendering was not, and the months dragged on, various fascinating things would happen.

Rand, a thinktank wholly owned by the Pentagon, at least mentally, has wargamed both the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, concluding that the war could be both very long and a loss for America. We no longer live in 1960.

OK, the war: On day one, all the multitudinous American factories in China shut down. Example: Apple loses its factories, products from those factories, and the Chinese market of 1.4 billion consumers. Its stores close. Tim Cook’s gratitude will know no bounds. American auto manufacturers sell googolplexes of cars in China (or at least lots), mostly made in China. Overnight they will lose factories, cars, and Chinese customers. Overall, China buys many more cars than does the US. This analysis, if anything so obvious may be called analysis, can be repeated for industry after industry after industry. Goodbye, business vote.

Within weeks, Walmart’s shelves go bare. Walk down the aisles and read the “Made in” labels. We are not talking only plastic buckets and mops but chain saws, pharmaceuticals, motorcycles, and blood-pressure cuffs. So much for the blue-collar vote. The US buys 472 billion in goods annually from China, high-tech, low-tech, consumer goods, manufacturing components. No more.

China buys over $163 billion annually in American goods: petroleum, semiconductors, airline engines, soybeans, airliners, on and on. No more. It is hard to underestimate the joy this will cause in influential boardrooms. And of course the American workers who would have produced these things for China will be laid off. As electoral politics, this will prove suboptimal.

China produces a great majority of the rare earth elements crucial to the manufacture of electronics, such as semiconductors. No quick substitute is in sight. Just about everything in America uses these, to include the computers that run the electrical systems of cars. Though I haven’t checked, it is quite possible that the computers themselves are made in China. If you want a new and deeper understanding of the word “hostile,” check the influential CEOs of businesses on their second chipless day.

In a real war, it is likely that China, having thought of the foregoing, would (intelligently) destroy Taiwan’s semiconductor fabs, notably those of TSMC, as well as other factories of electronics. This would hardly be difficult since the Taiwan Strait is only a hundred or so miles wide. Losing these industries would be exceedingly painful for the US since its high-end chips come from Taiwan. It would take America years to replace this capacity domestically. Some of the necessary equipment, extreme ultraviolet lithography machines, is not made in America and in any event cannot be stamped out like beer cans.

In America it would quickly be discovered that the country is rather more dependent on China than some might think. If I may make up an example: The automotive industry finds that its sparkplugs come from China. While America could certainly make spark plugs, it turns out that a decade back the industry found that China could make them for forty percent less. In the cooperative commercial world pre-Trump, this was no problem. Not now. So much for sales of cars. And for the jobs of the workers who make them.

I will bet you all my diamond mines in South Africa and cattle lands in Argentina, that if you went through a parts list for, say, Boeing’s airliners, you would find lots of them made in China. Sure, the US could manufacture most of them, eventually. But companies need parts now, not eventually.

The effects on other countries of a large war against China would be catastrophic if not worse. Other countries also get many things, from China or Taiwan, such as semiconductors. Google on “country x largest trading partner.” A strong pattern quickly becomes clear: China is huge in trading with practically everybody. “Everybody” includes Germany, Japan, Australia, Russia, and South America as a whole. The world economy in its entirety would collapse.

How smart would this be? The United States is already in serious trouble, what with a currency rapidly being debased, a sinking middle class, businesses dying of Covid, jobs disappearing abroad, people living paycheck to paycheck, and social unhappiness resulting in continent-wide riots. Do you suppose the public will gladly support an unfathomably stupid war causing an instant, profound, and murderous economic depression? If so, you probably already have a collection of bridges.

This can be inflicted on the entire earth by a half-dozen loons in or circling around the White House unhindered by a worthless Congress. Six loons. Yes, I know, Trump is unlikely deliberately to start a Third world War, even as a publicity stunt. No, the generals in the Pentagon are not nearly stupid enough. (They might even refuse, pointing out that starting a war requires a declaration by Congress.) The problem is that for years America has been, if not actually looking for a fight, at least daring other countries to start one. For example, murdering Iranian officials, pulling out of arms-control treaties, pushing NATO ever closer to Russia, sanctioning countries far beyond anything that can be called a trade war, and playing chicken with China in the South China Sea. Under these circumstances you can get a fight without quite looking for one.

Write Fred at jet.possum@gmail.com. Put the letters pdq anywhere in the subject line to avoid heartless autodeletion.

December 13, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Politicians Criticize China’s Role in Hong Kong while Ignoring Canada’s Role in Haiti

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | December 11, 2020

For those who support a truly just foreign policy comparing Canadian politicians’ reactions to protests in Hong Kong and the slightly more populous Haiti is instructive. It reveals the extent to which this country’s politicians are forced to align with the US Empire.

Despite hundreds of thousands of Canadians having close ties with both Haiti and Hong Kong, only protests in the latter seem to be of concern to politicians.

Recently NDP MP Niki Ashton and Green MP Paul Manly were attacked ferociously in Parliament and the dominant media for participating in a webinar titled “Free Meng Wanzhou”. During the hullabaloo about an event focused on Canada’s arrest of the Huawei CFO, Manly — who courageously participated in the webinar, even if his framing of the issue left much to be desired — and Ashton — who sent a statement to be read at the event but responded strongly to the backlash in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press — felt the need to mention Hong Kong. Both the NDP (“Canada must do more to help the people of Hong Kong”) and Greens (“Echoes of Tiananmen Square: Greens condemn China’s latest assault on democracy in Hong Kong”) have released multiple statements critical of Beijing’s policy in Hong Kong since protests erupted there nearly two years ago. So have the Liberals, Bloc Québecois and Conservatives.

In March 2019 protests began against an extradition accord between Hong Kong and mainland China. Hong Kongers largely opposed the legislation, which was eventually withdrawn. Many remain hostile to Beijing, which later introduced an anti-sedition law to staunch dissent. Some protests turned violent. One bystander was killed by protesters. A journalist lost an eye after being shot by the police. Hundreds more were hurt and thousands arrested.

During more or less the same period Haiti was the site of far more intense protests and state repression. In July 2018 an uprising began against a reduction in subsidies for fuel (mostly for cooking), which morphed into a broad call for a corrupt and illegitimate president Jovenel Moïse to go. The uprising included a half dozen general strikes, including one that shuttered Port-au-Prince for a month. An October 2019 poll found that 81% of Haitians wanted the Canadian-backed president to leave.

Dozens, probably over 100, were killed by police and government agents. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other western establishment human rights organizations have all documented dozens of police killings in Haiti. More recently, Moïse has ruled by decree, sought to extend his term and to rewrite the constitution. Yet, I couldn’t find a single statement by the NDP or Greens, let alone the Liberals or Conservatives, expressing support for the pro-democracy movement in Haiti.

Even an equal number of statements from a Canadian political party would be less than adequate. Not only were the protests and repression far more significant in Haiti, the impact of a Canadian politician’s intervention is far more meaningful. Unlike in Hong Kong, the police responsible for the repression in Haiti were trained, financed and backed by Canada. The Trudeau government even gave $12.5 million to the Haitian police under its Feminist International Assistance Policy! More broadly, the unpopular president received decisive diplomatic and financial support from Ottawa and Washington. In fact, a shift in Canada/US policy towards Moïse would have led to his ouster. On the other hand, a harder Canada/US policy towards Hong Kong would have led to well … not much.

The imperial and class dynamics of Haiti are fairly straightforward. For a century Washington has consistently subjugated the country in which a small number of, largely light-skinned, families dominate economic affairs. During the past 20 years Canada has staunchly supported US efforts to undermine Haitian democracy and sovereignty.

Hong Kong’s politics are substantially more complicated. Even if one believes that most in Hong Kong are leery of Beijing’s growing influence — as I do — the end of British rule and reintegration of Hong Kong into China represents a break from a regrettable colonial legacy. Even if you take an entirely unfavorable view towards Beijing’s role there, progressive Canadians shouldn’t focus more on criticizing Chinese policy in Hong Kong than Canadian policy in Haiti.

Echoing an open letter signed by David Suzuki, Roger Waters, Linda McQuaig and 150 others and the demands of those who occupied Justin Trudeau’s office last year, the national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Chris Aylward, recently sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau critical of Canadian support for Moïse. It notes, “Canada must reassess its financial and political support to the Jovenel Moïse government, including police training, until independent investigations are conducted into government corruption in the Petrocaribe scandal and ongoing state collusion with criminal gangs.” The NDP, Greens and others should echo the call.

To prove they are more concerned with genuinely promoting human rights – rather than aligning with the rulers of ‘our’ empire – I humbly suggest that progressive Canadians hold off on criticizing Beijing’s policy towards Hong Kong until they have produced an equal number of statements critical of Canada’s role in Haiti.

To learn more about Canada’s role in Haiti tune into this webinar Sunday on “Imperialist attacks on Haiti and Haitian resistance: Canada’s Imperialist Adventures in Haiti.”


Yves Engler is the author of 10 books, including A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation.

December 11, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

China to bail out Iraq in multibillion dollar oil deal

MEMO | December 10, 2020

Iraq is currently deciding whether to go ahead with a multibillion dollar oil deal with China which will bail the country out as part of the effort to solve Baghdad’s worsening economic crisis. The deal comes after SOMO, Iraq’s state agency in charge of oil exports, welcomed bids from various oil traders and companies in a letter issued last month.

That resulted in “several offers” being made by various companies. These were then evaluated by Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, reported Bloomberg, which quoted cabinet spokesman Hassan Nadhim.

In the Iraqi government’s bid conditions, SOMO said that the successful company would purchase four million barrels of oil per month, or around 130,000 per day, with the first year’s supply being paid for up front. The deal is meant to last for five years.

In return for supplying oil to the winning bidder, Iraq will receive $2 billion for a fraction of the promised quantity of oil, with the balance paid later. The barrels of oil are effectively security for a loan.

The winning bidder turned out to be ZhenHua Oil Co., a major state-owned company in China with ties to the Chinese military. It is the latest example of China’s international lending strategy, in which state-controlled banks and trading organisations lend money to oil-rich countries struggling to keep afloat financially, such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Angola and now potentially Iraq.

If Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi signs the deal, then it would not be the first time that the company has dealt with Iraq. ZhenHua Oil, which trades around 1.3 million barrels per day of oil and other products, began a joint-venture with SOMO back in 2018 in order to help market Iraqi oil in China to increase exports. That venture was later scrapped.

Iraq’s economy and oil industry suffered greatly from the oil price crash earlier this year, after Russia and Saudi Arabia triggered an oil price war in March over a dispute over oil production.

In September, Iraq’s crude oil exports fell by six per cent and last week its oil minister acknowledged that the industry is in a critical condition due to the coronavirus pandemic.

See Also:

Iraq eyes construction deals with China in return for oil sales

December 10, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Hong Kong protest ‘hero’ Joshua Wong trained alongside the cream of Western-backed colour revolutionaries

By Kit Klarenberg | RT | December 10, 2020

On 2 December, high-profile Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong was sentenced to over a year in prison for his involvement in an unauthorised protest outside the territory’s police headquarters in June 2019.

It marks the third time the 24-year-old has been jailed for his political activities, and follows an amazingly rapid ascent to international prominence, which began in 2014, when the group he founded, Scholarism, played a pivotal role in the Occupy Central protests that year.

Wong was subsequently listed among Time magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2014 and nominated as its Person of the Year, declared one of the “world’s greatest leaders” by Fortune the following year, and even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

He somehow also found time to establish and lead pro-democracy political party Demosisto – which called for “self-determination” from China – until its disbandment after the implementation of the city’s highly controversial national security law in June, and was instrumental in influencing US lawmakers to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in November 2019.

One would be hard pushed not to be awed by all Wong has achieved, or inspired by his indefatigable determination in the face of such risks to his liberty. That his campaigning efforts have captured the attention and imaginations of quite so many in the Western world is unsurprising.

However, there are strong indications that unseen forces surreptitiously helped Wong along every step of the way, and consciously groomed the young activist for many years for the position he now occupies.

“Davos for Dissidents”

In November 2014, the BBC’s Newsnight program broadcast an extraordinarily revealing report on the activities of the Oslo Freedom Foundation (OFF). The British state broadcaster dubbed it a place where “the aristocracy of activists” meet to “share ideas and learn about agitating for positive change over champagne and canapés.”

“In the basement of this four-star hotel, human-rights activists come to what feels a bit like a school for revolution,” intoned Laura Kuenssberg, then-Newsnight’s chief correspondent, now BBC News’s political editor. “This workshop? How to make sure your message – whether in Egypt, Ukraine, Hong Kong or North Korea – catches on. This may not evoke the spirit of the barricades, but the teaching here is that, to be successful, to topple a government for good, you have to be organized, and plan meticulously.”

She went on to note that activists present in the class had been involved “in organizing the current protests in Hong Kong,” strikingly revealing “their plan to put thousands on the streets of the territory was, in fact, hatched nearly two years ago.”

The report then cuts to an interview with Yang Jianli, who, in his mid-20s, was involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, and subsequently fled to the US. On his return to China in April 2002 on a friend’s passport to monitor labor unrest, he was arbitrarily detained for four years, then for another year for refusing to leave the country following his release.

On a table next to Yang is a laptop, via which he’s conducting a conversation with none other than Joshua Wong. Kuenssberg notes Yang has been talking to student activists in Hong Kong “on a daily, almost hourly basis,” and reiterates the fact that demonstrators in the territory were “trained, long before taking to the streets, to use non-violent action as a weapon of mass destruction.”

This segues into a brief interview with Jamila Raqib, Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution, which “advances freedom with non-violent action,” and has received funding from, among others, US government regime-change arm the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

“Protesters were taught how to behave in a protest, how to keep ranks, how to speak to police, how to manage their movements, how to behave when arrested,” she says.

The report ends with clips of an ensuing bout of booze-fuelled revelry, Kuenssberg noting that “like at any good conference, the evenings see deals done over drinks.”

“Schmoozing for democracy! To say this is a strange event hardly begins to cover it,” she says without apparent irony. “There’s something deeply incongruous about North Korean defectors, Ukrainian freedom fighters, even hackers, trading information over glasses of champagne. They call it ‘Davos for Dissidents’ for a very good reason.”

Kuenssberg concludes that, while viewers will “never know” most of those in attendance at the OFF summit, “the next revolutionary, who will change their country, could just be in this room,” while members of Pussy Riot snap selfies with other attendees.

Oddly, days after broadcast,the BBC issued a clarification, stating that, while the report “may have given the impression the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests were planned by foreign activists,” in fact, “references to the demonstrations were intended to mean the planning was carried out in Hong Kong, with support from abroad.”

“Fostering awareness”

Kuenssberg’s reference to the blueprints for the Occupy Central protests being “hatched” two years prior to her report’s broadcast is conspicuous, given it was in 2012 that the aforementioned NED began funding the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Hong Kong to the tune of US$460,000 annually.

The NDI’s objective was “to foster awareness regarding political institutions and constitutional reform … and develop the capacity of citizens – particularly university students – to more effectively participate in public debate … allowing students and citizens to explore possible reforms leading to universal suffrage.”

This sounds highly relevant to the Occupy Central protests, and, in September 2016, the NDI published a report on the progress of its “democratization” efforts in Hong Kong, which made repeated references to Wong, Scholarism, and Demosisto.

In the meantime, NED grants and the organization’s involvement with activists in Hong Kong grew apace, expanding to include groups such as the Institute of Human Resource Management, Confederation of Trade Unions, Journalists Association, Civic Party, Labor Party and Democratic Party. NED funding extended to these groups exceeded US$1.8 million from 2017 to 2020 alone – a period concurrent with ever-escalating levels of protest in Hong Kong.

In 2015, the US’s Freedom House, which works closely with the NED, honoured Wong alongside Martin Lee, the founder of the Democratic Party and another noteworthy figure in the 2014 Occupy Central protests.

The NED was founded in November 1983, and then-US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Casey was at the heart of its creation. He wished to construct a public mechanism to support groups and individuals inside “enemy” countries that would engage in propaganda and political action, which the CIA had historically organized and paid for covertly, under the bogus aegis of democracy and human-rights promotion.

In 1991, senior NED official Allen Weinstein acknowledged that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

Seeing in colours

Intriguingly, the Agency also played a role in the creation of the Albert Einstein Institution,  which was briefly featured in the Newsnight report.

In 1965, its founder, Gene Sharp, was recruited to Harvard’s Center for International Affairs, known colloquially as “the CIA at Harvard”. Its founders and staff were all prominent Cold War intellectuals, with intimate ties to the US national security state, the first co-directors being Henry Kissinger and Robert Bowie, future CIA deputy chief.

It was here that Sharp, who died in 2018, created many resistance methods that have influenced protest movements the world over ever since, earning him the nickname of the “Machiavelli of nonviolence.”

Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution, through instructional writing and direct training, have helped out numerous revolutionary groups since the 1990s. They include Yugoslavia’s Otpor, which also received millions in NED funding, and whose members proceeded to found the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies, which trained the various groups involved in the ‘colour revolutions’ that engulfed former Soviet states in the mid-2000s, as well as key Arab Spring activists.

“The bible of Pora has been the book of Gene Sharp … it’s called ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy’. Pora activists translated it themselves. We [wrote] to Sharp … he became very sympathetic towards our initiative, and the Institution provided funding to print over 12,000 copies of this book for free,” a member of Pora, a group central to Ukraine’s ‘orange revolution’, has said.

According to a 2006 US embassy cable published by WikiLeaks, protesters in Syria were tutored in Sharp’s writings. Another embassy cable the next year indicated Burmese officials feared Sharp was part of a “a vast internal and external alliance” that was trying to bring down the government.

The Albert Einstein Institution staffer featured in the Newsnight clip, Jamila Raqib, is a recurrent OFF speaker, to the point that she has a dedicated profile on the organization’s website. It notes she worked “closely” with Sharp and that, together, they authored ‘Self-Liberation’, which OFF states “has been used throughout the world as a practical guide for nonviolent resistance.”

If Raqib’s statements in the BBC report are accurate, she – and Sharp, whether directly or indirectly – had an intimate hand in training the Hong Kong protesters, even if remotely.

It’s unclear which other would-be insurrectionists have benefited from their collective expertise, although White Helmets chief Raed al-Saleh spoke at the Forum’s 2017 meeting, and self-avowed Belarusian president-in-waiting Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was guest-of-honour at OFF’s virtual 2020 summit.

Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. Follow Kit on Twitter @KitKlarenberg

December 10, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment