Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 02, 2019

Hong Kong Rioters Wage Sabotage Campaign To Press Congress Into Punishing China

The Associated Press is doing its best to make the Hong Kong police look bad by describing an incident without its context:

Late at night Saturday, video from Hong Kong broadcaster TVB showed police on the platform of Prince Edward subway station swinging batons at passengers who backed into one end of a train car behind umbrellas. The video also shows pepper spray being shot through an open door at a group seated on the floor while one man holds up his hands.

Police officers said at a briefing Monday that they rejected accusations that they “beat up” ordinary citizens without first confirming their identities. They said they specifically targeted those who they believed to be rioters, including those who had changed out of their black protester outfits, and arrested 63 people on suspicion of illegal assembly and possessing explosives and offensive weapons.

The incident described in the first paragraph above did indeed happen. But it was only the last part of a larger story which the AP fails to mention. Here is how it started:

The violence in Prince Edward Station began during a dispute between protesters and some older men who were insulting them. One of the men swung a hammer at the protesters, who threw water bottles and umbrellas and later appeared to set off fire extinguishers in the car. After the clashes, the subway system suspended service across much of Hong Kong. Three stations remained closed on Sunday.


Some 30 black clad people with gas masks and helmets had entered a train to ride to another place to create another of their usual flash mob riots. The other passengers clearly disagree with the rioters' plans. Some made remarks the black clad youth disliked.

They later dismounted the train but an argument continued. The black clad people reacted quite aggressively. They stopped the train from leaving by blocking its doors. They threw stuff at the middle aged passengers and tried to hit them with umbrellas and sticks. Some of them rushed back into the train, hit at some passengers and were again pushed out. This went back and forth for a full ten minutes. Finally someone in the black clad crowd snatched a fire extinguisher and let it go off within the subway car. The passengers then tried to get out and more scuffle ensued.

A full 10 minutes long video of the scene can be watched here.

It was the above incident that led the MTR, the public Mass Transit Railway operator, to stop the traffic at the station and to call up the police. When the riot police entered the station it immediately faced resistance:

This train then departed and protesters used umbrellas as a screen to change their clothes, before crossing the platform and boarding a Central-bound train. Before this train left, the Raptors arrived shortly before 11pm.

Protesters confronted the elite force with umbrellas and hard objects while police fought back with pepper spray and batons.

After the Raptors left the train, it was stopped at Yau Ma Tei station and all passengers were asked to leave. Police intercepted and arrested seven people and seized two bags of slingshots and metal balls on the platform.

A badly cut SCMP video of the event is here (scroll down).

The whole scene was not an isolated incident. Black clad folks ripped wastebaskets off the wall and threw them on the rail tacks. They smashed customer service centers, vandalized subway entry gates and hit regular passengers who disliked their behavior. This happened not only in one subway station but was part of a systematic attempt to disrupt the whole service:

The MTR Corporation later issued a statement strongly condemning the continuous vandalism at stations. It said a number of stations including Tung Chung, Tsing Yi, Lam Tin, Kwun Tong, Diamond Hill, Lok Fu, Tsuen Wan, Lai King, Sha Tin, Sha Tin Wai, Siu Hong and Tin Shui Wai were targeted on Sunday, with CCTV cameras, ticket issuing machines and other facilities damaged.

On Saturday, protesters severely damaged facilities at 32 stations.

The intent was obviously not to protest but a well planned and coordinated sabotage campaign against the city's indispensable mass transport system. Sabotaging infrastructure is an old CIA tactic to "harass and demoralize enemy administrators and police".

Which brings me to a Lambert Strether's piece at Naked Capitalism which he headlined:

Clever Tactics “Add Oil” to Hong Kong Protests (and not “Hidden Hands”).

Strether asserts that there are no outside forces fueling the protests in Hong Kong:

[T]his post will have a simple thesis: The people of Hong Kong have considerable experience in running protests, and we don’t need to multiply invisible entities (“hidden hands”) to give an account of what they’re doing. For example, it’s not necessary to postulate that the participants in the 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests consulted CIA handlers on tactics; their tactics are often available, in open source, on the Internet; other tactics are based on Hong Kong material culture, things and situations that come readily to hand and can be adapted by creative people (which the protesters clearly are).

If one ignores the evidence of U.S. influence one can indeed come that conclusion.

A commentator to Strether's piece correctly notes that this is not a question of either - or:

I am genuinely puzzled, and I have to say concerned, about the way this issue has been framed here. One does not have to accept the argument that *either* (1) the protests are completely spontaneous and genuine; *or* (2) the protests are mainly the product of CIA manipulation of otherwise clueless dupes (a whole lot of them apparently!). This is a false dichotomy. None of the critics of the mainstream Hong Kong narrative that I am familiar with take a position any where close to (2). It is a straw-man position if applied to most reputable “skeptics.”

Rather, the argument I have seen most often among these skeptics (including some commenters here) is that, while the protests *were* authentic and directed at real issues of concern to protesters, there have also been efforts on the part of Western agents to manipulate this situation. This included support of particular, strategically significant leaders and groups and, of course, control of the Western media narrative. We have pictures and stories in even the mainstream press of US officials and representatives of western NGOs meeting with such individuals. Hell, we have US politicians bragging about it.

(There are indeed two distinct groups of protesters which I hope to discuss soon in another piece.)

To claim that the U.S. is not heavily involved in the events in Hong Kong is nonsense. It is obviously not by chance that the U.S. sponsored Hong Kong rabble rouser Joshua Wong gets published in the New York Times with a call for U.S. Congress action against China:

American legislators are supposed to vote on a bill, the Human Rights and Democracy Act, that would give the president of the United States power to penalize Chinese officials who interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs. The law could also allow the United States to revoke the special economic treatment that Hong Kong enjoys, as separate from the mainland.

If the United States Congress passes the bill, it will be delivering a firm message both to other silent allies of Hong Kong and to China’s dictators. The clock is ticking in Hong Kong. Our future is being determined now.

The Trump administration strategy towards the new super villain China is a general decoupling between the 'west' and China. The violent protests in Hong Kong are obviously one instrument it applies to achieve that.

The Trump administration and the rioters hope that the Chinese military will intervene and create another Tianamen situation:

Some of the frustration of the protesters – and I read this more than once in, the go-to online forum for the city’s disaffected youth – comes from Beijing not having sent in mainland troops. For all their efforts and perceived self-sacrifice, many of them would rather face Chinese troops than Hong Kong police because the latter, though considered evil or illegitimate by some in the city, are at least seen as doing their job by most foreign observers. But the presence of Chinese troops in the city, no matter what they do, would immediately cause global condemnation while legitimising and glorifying the local resistance movement universally.

Well, if you wonder why the central government hasn’t sent troops, it’s because they think along the same line as the protesters.

Tianamen was, as we now know, a CIA led color revolution attempt, set up within a background of general protests, in which the U.S. regime change mastermind Gene Sharp was directly involved. The mostly falsely reported incident, during which soldiers were lynched and protesters gunned down, led to 'western' sanctions against China.

Beijing is not going to fall for the same trick twice.

The Joshua Wong op-ed shows that the aim has now been lowered. The riots and the inevitable police response to them are now supposed to push Congress to give the Treasury a tool to sanction Chinese officials for interfering in a Chinese(!) city's affairs.

Imagine the possibilities!



Naked Capitalism provides a daily "Links" post that is a valuable aggregation of interesting and important stuff to read. Up to August 2 the daily "Links" roundup, often edited by Lambert Strether, regularly included links to current Moon of Alabama pieces.

On August 2 your host took to the NC comments sections to argue against this balderdash which, incidentally, was posted by Lambert Strether:

On the question of whether the Hong Kong protests are a US-sponsored “color revolution,” alert NC reader MsExPat threw this over the transom:

"The line about foreign interference is Beijing boilerplate. Everyone here knows it’s bullshit. Laughable. ..."

I commented:

I call bullshit on MsExPat.

The Hong Kong stuff is clearly a U.S. instigated “color revolution” just like the Umbrella movement 2014. ...

MsExPat responded:

The National Endowment for Democracy funding is old news, consistently trotted out by pro-China trolls as a smoking gun. But NED donated to the pan-Democratic old school parties, not to the independent Civil Human Rights front, which is the only large organization that has been involved in these protests from day one ...

Funny how one can assert that the Civil Human Rights front is an 'independent' front when it largely consists of U.S. sponsored "pan-Democratic old schools parties" and other U.S. sponsored entities and when its former convener Ching Yin 'Johnson' Yeung is now a well paid "fellow" at the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy.

Anyway. My argument had consequences. Since August 2 no more links to Moon of Alabama pieces were posted in the daily Naked Capitalism "Links" roundup. I had expected less parochialism from an otherwise open minded site.

Posted by b on September 2, 2019 at 18:59 UTC | Permalink

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Maybe I'm out of touch but is there a clearly defined 'working class' in Britain anymore. Who is the average Labour voter these days? The only 'working class' Brits I ever meet all seem to live in Spain. I get the impression the actual work is mostly done by East European migrants.

Posted by: dh | Sep 4 2019 22:09 utc | 201

Peter AU 1 @197 mentions his "...distrust of authority..."

It is a tough existence distrusting your surgeon who is going to remove your diseased appendix, which is something he has authority in. Likewise maintaining a relationship of distrust with your mechanic who is the authority in keeping your car running must be un-fun too. Do you likewise distrust the engineers who authoritatively designed the bridges that you use daily? How about the specialists who are authorized to inspect the processing of your food? Climate scientists who are authorities on what is going on with the climate?

Skepticism is healthy if you are smart enough to have some grasp of the limits to your own knowledge and expertise, but active distrust of people doing their jobs, particularly when those jobs are above your training and pay grade, is not an admirable character trait.

Yes, practically all politicians in western countries are corrupt to the core, but that is what big capital owners who run things in the West demand and promote. Are all civil servants corrupt, though? Is there some universal flaw in all humans that unavoidably turns them evil as they rise in the ranks of civil service?

If you consider capitalism to be some unavoidable "feature" of human society, then it would be reasonable to respond in the affirmative to that question. Reasonable except for noting the fact that the development of the Soviet Union wasn't driven by market forces (capitalism), so we have concrete proof that society can move beyond capitalism. More importantly, in order for the leaders in the Soviet Union to seriously go corrupt the Soviet Union's version of socialism had to be dismantled and replaced with capitalism. This tells us that corruption is not a universal feature of societies in general but rather of ones dominated by capitalism. China is not such a society, regardless of how much the capitalism fanbois and beta dog wannabees to the corporate elites try to claim otherwise. With China we are dealing with something outside the life experiences of most everyone in the West, so the conclusions they draw regarding civil servants in the West do not necessarily apply to civil servants in China. And yes, it is more accurate to think of China's President Xi as top civil servant than it is to project the western egotism of political leaders onto him.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 4 2019 22:10 utc | 202

@203 That should have been on the Brexit thread.....sorry.

Posted by: dh | Sep 4 2019 22:12 utc | 203

Foolish Old Man @ 186:

Thinking about your comment, and seeing VK's comment @ 200, I realised there'll be several agencies involved in aiding and abetting the protest movement, private agencies as well as agencies connected to the British and US consulates. So yes, some parties will need to use FedEx and other courier services.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 4 2019 22:26 utc | 204

If my memory and recognition is correct (often they are not), then A User was a regular contributor here up until a year or so back. Although I did not always agree with his views, he was neither racist or capitalist. Strongly socialist.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 4 2019 22:43 utc | 205


The man in the video at is Benton Rendail Olmsted, a Californian, who works for Canaan Creative Education in HK. He was arrested with a fake Press ID saying he was a Swedish journalist. He is also a ‘news contributor' to Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP):
HKFP is closely tied to Human Rights Watch (HRW), who regularly uses HKFP as its mouth piece in HK. HRW has denied that Olmsted works for them, currently or in the past.

Posted by: Rolf | Sep 4 2019 23:27 utc | 206

karlof1 202

China looks to be securing its strategic oil supplies for the foreseeable future. Oil and gas has been its achilles heel. I take it China is expecting the US to increase its attacks.

According the article, China will be moving military to Iran to protect its installations.
Also this piece in Tasnim some time back.
"TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran has come into possession of advanced laser cannons which are used to protect the country’s vital centers, a deputy defense minister said."

Russia and China may well be ensuring Iran is impregnable to any US military attack.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 4 2019 23:38 utc | 207

Smells like CalPERS in here...

Posted by: Jonathan^-1 | Sep 4 2019 23:41 utc | 208

vk @200--

Thanks for providing that Escobar FB post! It confirms my earlier speculation that the gang-bangers were just that--gang-bangers--just very well groomed by their handlers as opposed to the home-grown variety filled with anomie from a young age. That they're mainly ethnic Vietnamese isn't surprising either as several key examples by the writer illustrate. The divide and rule ploy being employed is ancient and well developed by the British then the Americans. The only "medicine" I know of is to eradicate the instructors, and is one of the 4 main differences I made between Macao and HK. By 2047, HK will have caught up with Macao in the sense of its becoming Sinofied.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 5 2019 0:04 utc | 209

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 5 2019 0:04 utc | 210

That actually confirms there's a textbook color revolution in HK. The US's own unconventional warfare manual (TC-18-01) is perfectly clear that the ideal way to wage UW is by having the tiniest and most discrete possible "dirigent class" (vanguard), whose objective is to maneuvre the highest possible percentage of the population.

They even have a general rule that, in any given "country" (target government -- TG), 80% of the population is actually "neutral", with 10% on each side of the spectrum fighting for their support constantly.

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 4 2019 21:49 utc | 201

"Mixed economy" is a fantasy term created in the West during the Cold War to designate social-democrat, welfare system. It has no other application in the real world.

China designates itself as a market socialist economy, "market socialism" being the earliest stage of socialism. There's a big difference here because in a "mixed economy", there's no prospect to ever get rid of capitalism -- just to "tame" it, to "give it a human face". The Chinese presuppose a revolutionary path, and, so far, they are being true to their word in my opinion.

If every country is a "mixed economy", then the term itself is useless scientifically. If I can put, on the same group, Spainish Empire, the British Empire, the USA and the USSR, then there's something wrong with the person who invented the definition.

Posted by: vk | Sep 5 2019 0:15 utc | 210

@197 peter AU 1

a strong distrust of authority, perhaps from WESTERN experience?

My point about parsing China in western terms stands: it doesn't work, and we have to look inside for these western experiences, which include centuries of imperialist and racist dogmas learned from birth, and try to see past those to the object of scrutiny itself, the unknown world of China.

That said, I let the accumulated annoyance from many western commenters get the better of me in my lunchtime comment, and drifted into a generalized rant. I have a lot of respect for the commenter who prompted William Gruff's original comment, but there was that little thing - almost like a virus - that I see in a lot of people, namely as follows:

Sometimes while wishing to support a thing, we see commenters make a small disclaimer such as, "Assad is a beast but even so", or "no doubt Putin has his own corruption but I support Russia", or "China is doing this great and unique thing, but Xi himself is probably as bad as...I dunno, Stalin? Mao?"

All this I think is simply the presumption that all leaders through the world must be as shitty and degenerated in their being as those we suffer in the west.

I see no need for the disclaimer. If commenters believe this, they should look to their ingrained prejudices. If they don't believe this but feel it necessary to get a hearing without being regarded as a starry-eyed fanboy - well, it's just not necessary.

We need all the heroes we can get, and looking around the world with eyes as clear as I can get them, given my western upbringing, I see that there are several. And among the many good things that will come out of the emerging, multi-polar world, having a future again, and a sense of the possibility for goodness, will be like a cool rain in the parched west.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 5 2019 0:33 utc | 211

vk @211--

Thanks for your reply! I had to chuckle at your response to the term mixed economy; it is rather vacuous. Perhaps a better distinction would be to name the type of economy for its underlying ideology and then provide a definition?

I also note that Wikipedia's Hong Kong page has been subtly weaponized to reflect the CR's POV, which is further proof of what is happening.

Am I correct to presume you're Portuguese based on your blog?

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 5 2019 1:03 utc | 212

I had never bothered to look it up before.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 5 2019 4:54 utc | 213

@215 Peter Au 1

Thanks. I had figured it was something like that but I had never looked it up either. An apparent negative, with a glowing positive inside.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 5 2019 13:09 utc | 214

bY now its clear that the Brits handed back a gawd damned trojan in 1997.
With the legislator, education, churches, etc fully controlled by gweilo and their wogs compradors.

For example, I heard of the 28 high court judges,25 are Brits, 3 are Aussies !

Been hearing that the wogs control school curriculum have been pumping pro fukus, anti China agitprop into students brain.

Guess what did they learn in class rooms about their own country?

A sample from text book vetted [sic] by the occupy central ring leaders....

*China is a dictatorship that threatens world peace..[sic].

China military expenditure is rising sharply , its lack of transparency pose a threat to world peace. [sic]

China has border disputes with all of its neighbors,this might lead to war one day [sic]

blah blah blah...

its a virtual copy and paste from the fukus bullhorn...

This is how they brain washed three gen of HK kids,
is it any wonder they have become the vanguard of these protests ?

Posted by: denk | Sep 5 2019 17:34 utc | 215

the creep abnito is a pro, I knew him
since the day of halsocan in ICH.

yOU NEVER see him in any anti imperialist thread, but every time
there's fukus R2plunder demonisation
job, he's there to lend support .

HUman rights my ass !

Posted by: denk | Sep 5 2019 17:41 utc | 216

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