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July 26, 2021

U.S. - China Talks Point To A Longer Conflict

The U.S. wants to slice and dice its approach to China. It will use all means to take advantage of China where it can, while restricting China in those fields were it can no longer compete with it. The Chinese reject that approach. The U.S., they say, should not see China as an enemy. It should stop lecturing China, accept it as an equal and cooperate with it in all fields.

The U.S. is unwilling to do that. Its media-military-industrial complex is already primed for a cold war with China. Trillions of dollars are to be made from it. China on the other side is ready to play hardball if it must.

Today U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman held talks with the Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng, She also meet with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The later meeting, demanded to be the main event by the U.S., had already led to some squabble. Wang Yi is beyond Sherman's rank and her main discussion, the Chinese insisted, should be with a person on her own level:

The State Department emphasized Sherman will have “senior-level” communications but a statement from China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry emphasized that Sherman “will hold talks” with Xie and after that Foreign Minister Wang will “meet her.”

On Saturday two 'senior U.S. administration officials' gave a preview of the talks:

As Secretary Blinken has said, the U.S. relationship with China will be collaborative where it can be, competitive where it should be, and adversarial where it must be. And we expect all dimensions of the relationship will be on the table for discussion during Wendy’s meetings.
...
In Tianjin, [Sherman is] going to make clear while we welcome stiff and sustained competition with the PRC, everyone needs to play by the same rules and on the level – on a level playing field.

She’s going to underscore that we do not want that stiff and sustained competition to veer into conflict. This is why the U.S. wants to ensure that there are guard rails and parameters in place to responsibly manage the relationship.

The second official added:

Cont. reading: U.S. - China Talks Point To A Longer Conflict

Posted by b at 16:20 UTC | Comments (251)

July 25, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-057

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

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Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-057

Posted by b at 13:33 UTC | Comments (169)

July 23, 2021

Canada, Victims Of Communism, And Comparisons To A Holocaust

Canada seems to have some rather ambiguous position towards fascists. While it compares China's handling of its Uyghur population to a holocaust it is itself favoring the perpetrators of the real Holocaust.

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation reports of donations from supporters of east-European nazis to a Canadian anti-communist organization:

A controversial monument being built in Ottawa to honour victims of communist regimes has received donations in honour of known fascists and Nazi collaborators, according to a list posted online by the organization spearheading the project.

The Memorial to the Victims of Communism is being financed partly through a "buy-a-brick" campaign called Pathways to Liberty, which is run by the registered charity Tribute to Liberty.

The campaign sells "virtual bricks" that appear on the organization's website and in their newsletter. The bricks are dedicated to alleged victims of communism and include biographical notes about the individuals being commemorated.
...
An organization calling itself the General Committee of United Croats of Canada purchased virtual bricks dedicated to Ante Pavelić, describing him only as a "doctor of laws."

Pavelić was the wartime leader of the Ustaša, the fascist organization that ran the Independent State of Croatia, a Nazi puppet regime. In this role, Pavelić was the chief perpetrator of the Holocaust in the Balkans. Approximately 32,000 Jews, 25,000 Roma and 330,000 Serbs were murdered by the regime.
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An organization calling itself the Knightly Order of Vitéz purchased five bricks. "Several members of the order actively participated in the persecution, despoliation and, in 1944, the deportation of the Hungarian Jews," said László Karsai, a professor of history at the University of Szeged.

Vitéz members included high-ranking members of the Nazi-puppet government established late in the war, which organized the deportation of some 437,000 Hungarian Jews. "It was the biggest, fastest deportation action of the Holocaust," said Karsai. "Several tens of thousands of Vitéz members got large lands (from) Jewish properties."

The League of Ukrainian Canadians' Edmonton Branch, meanwhile, purchased five virtual bricks in honour of Roman Shukhevych — who led the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) during the Second World War and was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Belarusians, Jews, Poles and Ukrainians.

The Victims of Communism memorial project in Canada is a copy of a similar project in Washington DC. It has high level support:

In 2013, the Harper government pledged $1.5 million to the project, a figure that increased to $3 million by 2014. By the end of 2014, the project's budget had ballooned to $5.5 million, with a taxpayer contribution of $4.3 million.
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A NCC spokesperson said the estimated total cost of the monument is now $7.5 million, with $6 million coming from the federal government after Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland included an additional $4 million in this spring's budget to complete the monument.
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The monument has received letters of support from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Green party leader Elizabeth May, former NDP leader Tom Mulcair and former federal justice minister Irwin Cotler.

The generous with tax dollars Chrystia Freeland is known for her support of fascists in the Ukraine. It relates to her family's history:

Cont. reading: Canada, Victims Of Communism, And Comparisons To A Holocaust

Posted by b at 18:10 UTC | Comments (134)

July 22, 2021

How Iran Successfully Trolled The U.S. With A 'Weapon Smuggling' Ship Parade

Remember these June headlines?

> The Biden administration is urging Venezuela and Cuba to turn away two Iranian warships believed to be carrying arms intended for transfer to Caracas, while vowing that the U.S. will take “appropriate measures” to deter what it sees as a “threat” to America’s partners in the Western Hemisphere.

The warnings — some public and some private, according to three people briefed on the situation — come as the vessels have traveled a significant distance across the Atlantic Ocean. A senior Biden administration official said the ships are thought to be carrying weapons to fulfill a deal that Iran and Venezuela made a year ago, noting that it was during the administration of former President Donald Trump. <

A few days later the news had changed a bit.

> U.S. officials believe the course change indicates that a diplomatic campaign to urge governments in the Western Hemisphere to turn away the ships was successful, the official said. The Iranian frigate Sahand and afloat staging base Makran charted a new course after Biden administration officials publicly and privately urged the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and other countries in the region not to allow them to dock, POLITICO reported. <

After the U.S. was blustering that it had won that 'diplomatic campaign' the news was silent about the Iranian ships.

A few days ago the ships were back in the news but only on specialized sites:

Cont. reading: How Iran Successfully Trolled The U.S. With A 'Weapon Smuggling' Ship Parade

Posted by b at 17:24 UTC | Comments (28)

Open Thread 2021-056

News & views ...

Posted by b at 13:29 UTC | Comments (141)

July 21, 2021

Russia And Germany Win War Over Nord Stream 2

The sanctions war the U.S. waged against Germany and Russia over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has ended with a total U.S. defeat.


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The U.S. attempts to block the pipeline were part of the massive anti-Russia campaign waged over the last five years. But it was always based on a misunderstanding. The pipeline is not to Russia's advantage but important for Germany. As I described Nord Stream 2 in a previous piece:

It is not Russia which needs the pipeline. It can sell its gas to China for just as much as it makes by selling gas to Europe.
...
It is Germany, the EU's economic powerhouse, that needs the pipeline and the gas flowing through it. Thanks to Chancellor Merkel's misguided energy policy - she put an end to nuclear power in German after a tsunami in Japan destroyed three badly placed reactors - Germany urgently needs the gas to keep its already high electricity prices from rising further.

That the new pipeline will bypass old ones which run through the Ukraine is likewise to the benefit of Germany, not Russia. The pipeline infrastructure in the Ukraine is old and near to disrepair. The Ukraine has no money to renew it. Politically it is under U.S. influence. It could use its control over the energy flow to the EU for blackmail. (It already tried once.) The new pipeline, laid at the bottom of the Baltic sea, requires no payment for crossing Ukrainian land and is safe from potential malign influence.

Maybe Chancellor Merkel on her recent visit to Washington DC finally managed to explain that to the Biden administration. More likely though she simply told the U.S. to f*** off. Whatever - the result is in. As the Wall Street Journal reports today:

Cont. reading: Russia And Germany Win War Over Nord Stream 2

Posted by b at 17:13 UTC | Comments (158)

July 20, 2021

China Has First World Problems

People in China have first world problems:

Peter Jolicoeur 周力克 @pajolicoe - 5:35 PM · Jul 20, 2021

My subway trip from home to Hongqiao rail station tomorrow (28 km) will take longer at 70 minutes than my high speed rail trip from Shanghai Hongqiao to Nanjing South Station at 59 minutes (295 km, averaging 300 km/h).

Who does not such hate long train rides? Well, that first world problem might be solved pretty soon:

World's first 600 km/h high-speed maglev train rolls off assembly line

China's new high-speed maglev train rolled off the production line on Tuesday. It has a designed top speed of 600 km per hour -- currently the fastest ground vehicle available globally.

The new maglev transportation system made its public debut in the coastal city of Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province.

But Peter is going to Nanjing which recently had a first world problem with Covid-19. One traveler had brought it in. Ten close contacts were identified and 140 possible contacts beyond them. All were notified, isolated and tested and Nanjing is again free of Covid. Meanwhile over 90% of all adults in Beijing have been vaccinated.

What amazes me is that some in the U.S. still think they can compete with and beat such an efficient system.

Posted by b at 18:06 UTC | Comments (229)

July 19, 2021

U.S. Takes Down Israeli Spy Software Company

A number of international papers report today on the Israeli hacking company NSO which sells snooping software to various regimes. The software is then used to hijack the phones of regime enemies, political competition or obnoxious journalists. All of that was already well known but the story has new legs as several hundreds of people who were spied on can now be named.

How that came to pass is of interest:

The phones appeared on a list of more than 50,000 numbers that are concentrated in countries known to engage in surveillance of their citizens and also known to have been clients of the Israeli firm, NSO Group, a worldwide leader in the growing and largely unregulated private spyware industry, the investigation found.

The list does not identify who put the numbers on it, or why, and it is unknown how many of the phones were targeted or surveilled. But forensic analysis of the 37 smartphones shows that many display a tight correlation between time stamps associated with a number on the list and the initiation of surveillance, in some cases as brief as a few seconds.

Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based journalism nonprofit, and Amnesty International, a human rights group, had access to the list and shared it with the news organizations, which did further research and analysis. Amnesty’s Security Lab did the forensic analyses on the smartphones.

The numbers on the list are unattributed, but reporters were able to identify more than 1,000 people spanning more than 50 countries through research and interviews on four continents.

Who might have made such a list and who would give it to Amnesty and Forbidden Stories?

NSO is one of the Israeli companies that is used to monetize the work of the Israel's military intelligence unit 8200. 'Former' members of 8200 move to NSO to produce spy tools which are then sold to foreign governments. The license price is $7 to 8 million per 50 phones to be snooped at. It is a shady but lucrative business for the company and for the state of Israel.

NSO denies the allegations that its software is used for harmful proposes with a lot of bullshittery:

The report by Forbidden Stories is full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories that raise serious doubts about the reliability and interests of the sources. It seems like the “unidentified sources” have supplied information that has no factual basis and are far from reality.

After checking their claims, we firmly deny the false allegations made in their report. Their sources have supplied them with information which has no factual basis, as evident by the lack of supporting documentation for many of their claims. In fact, these allegations are so outrageous and far from reality, that NSO is considering a defamation lawsuit.

The reports make, for example, the claim that the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used the NSO software to spy on the leader of the opposition party Rahul Gandhi.

How could NSO deny that allegation? It can't.

Further down in the NSO's statement the company contradicts itself on the issues:

Cont. reading: U.S. Takes Down Israeli Spy Software Company

Posted by b at 17:53 UTC | Comments (75)

July 18, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-055

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Alan MacLeod @AlanRMacLeod - 10:57 UTC · Jul 18, 2021

Incredible.
Fox News' editors blurred out the signs at what they claimed were "anti-government" demonstrations in Cuba 🇨🇺 because they said things like "Long Live the Cuban Revolution" and "The Streets Belong to the Revolutionaries." 😂
Taking fake news to a whole new level.
Embedded video
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And check this: with no notification, the @NyTimes has gone back and stealth edited their original article on the protests.
"Hundreds" nationwide becomes "thousands" in one small town alone!
Pretty sus!

> Although civilian leaders may be accused of having overreached with visions of building Afghanistan into a democracy capable of defending itself, the military eventually embraced that goal. Claims by senior military officers of having “turned a corner” toward success in Afghanistan were repeated so regularly that critics  wondered whether the military was going in circles. <

Has the AP author read MoA?
Nov 28 2017 - Turning The Corner In Afghanistan - Moon of Alabama

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Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-055

Posted by b at 14:17 UTC | Comments (233)

July 17, 2021

'Civilized Nations'

The Washington Post is differentiating between 'civilized' and -unsaid- 'uncivilized' nations.


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After making false claims about the illegal passage of a British destroyer near Crimea, a planned provocation, the author goes on to bash Russia as well as China.

 


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WaPo columnist George Will then asserts:

Henry Kissinger has said, not unreasonably, that we are in “the foothills” of a cold war with China. And Vladimir Putin, who nurses an unassuageable grudge about the way the Cold War ended, seems uninterested in Russia reconciling itself to a role as a normal nation without gratuitous resorts to mendacity. It is, therefore, well to notice how, day by day, in all of the globe’s time zones, civilized nations are, in word and deed, taking small but cumulatively consequential measures that serve deterrence.

If arrogance were a deadly disease, George Will would be dead.

Posted by b at 11:02 UTC | Comments (135)