CIA Caught in Hong Kong & Other Updates

A photo of a US “State Department” employee with some familiar faces of the Hong Kong independence movement goes viral. The world continues to react to India’s actions in Kashmir. In the Middle East, a deal is made in Syria and anew front opens up in Yemen.

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Good News From Afghanistan & Red Flag Laws

A peace deal seems more and more likely between the US and the Taliban. I also give my opinion on the Soviet-style “Red Flag” gun law proposals.

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What’s Going On in Kashmir? – A Primer

Both houses of the Indian parliament voted to revoke the autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir on Tuesday. The move will most likely lead to unrest in the majority Muslim region that has been occupied by the Indian state for almost half a century.

The region has been under dispute for most of that time. The while parts of the population want to be a sovereign nation, others want to be part of neighboring Pakistan.

Pakistan’s interest in the area is multi-layered. Northwestern Kashmir is under Pakistan administration, but the areas of Indian-controlled Kashmir & Jammu hold the headwaters of the Indus river, Pakistan’s water source. Pakistan has funded insurgences on the ground for decades. A good example being the Muslim extremists flooding into the region during the US support for them in Afghanistan in the 80s and 90s. At least two wars have been fought between the two nations over the area. Because of these wars and influx of extremist elements, the Hindu population has been forced out. This leaves over 12.5 million people, mostly Muslim, under occupation by a large Indian force of between 500-700 thousand.

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To get an idea of what this declaration is all about, let’s start with a quick summary:

At the time of the British withdrawal from India, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of the state, preferred to become independent and remain neutral between the successor dominions of India and Pakistan.[3] However, an uprising in the western districts of the State followed by an attack by raiders from the neighbouring Northwest Frontier Province, supported by Pakistan, put an end to his plans for independence. On 26 October 1947, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession joining the Dominion of India in return for military aid.[4] The western and northern districts presently known as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan passed to the control of Pakistan, while the remaining territory became the Indian state Jammu and Kashmir.

The Instrument of Accession was created after British Rule ended and Indian began to build its state. The area of Kashmir looked to be an independent nation, but attacks from the northwest (Pakistan controlled Kashmir) forced them to accept a deal with the new Indian state for protection. The Instrument of Accession was that pact. It stated that India would have control over three subjects within the region: foreign affairs, defense, and communications. In 1949, the Mahraja Singh sent his Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah to negotiate with the Indian government. A “special status” was created, which included sovereignty for permanent residents. This means land ownership, which eventually leads to a majority Muslim population and not much migration from other groups. That’s important to remember.

The area of the Accession that deals with the “3 subjects” is called Article 370. It states that the only way a change can be made to the scope of control is by presidential order AND the acknowledgement of the state constituent assembly within Jammu & Kashmir. This assembly dissolved in 1956, theoretically making it impossible for changes to be made. This would slowly become a problem for the more nationalistic sects within Indian society, whom wanted J&K brought into the cultural fold. Which would mean migration to the region and a change in demographics.

This Tuesday, Amit Sha, leader of India’s Upper House announced the revocation of Article 370 and declared that J&K would be split into two “Union territories”. The first territory would be Ladakh, the eastern, mountain region of the area that is sparsely populated by mostly Buddhists. Ladakh would have no legislative body. The second territory would be Jammu & Kashmir, which would have a “legislative assembly”. The central government argues that this new body has the same powers as the constituent assembly that signed on to Article 370 in the past, meaning they can make and agree to the changes proposed by President Modi. This blatant attempt at corruption will be fought by members of the parliament and noted by outside parties (Pakistan & China), but it looks like it will be no use.

President Modi was reelected because of his very nationalist, sometimes racist base of right-wing Hindus parties. In preparation for this announcement, India ordered all tourists out of J&K last week. Communication have been cut to the region, making it impossible for people to organize against the declaration. Local leaders that the central government fear might lead in some opposition have been placed under house arrest.

As hotels, guest houses, private and government buildings were converted into makeshift jails in Kashmir, the Valley turned into a massive prison with as many as 400 politicians, aides and separatist leaders being put under arrest.

Schools and public buildings have been closed and thousands of additional Indian troops have been brought into enforce the move.

The US & UN have asked for all parties to “maintain peace” and that there is “concern over human rights”. Pakistan and China has warned Indian against the move. With Pakistan making it pretty clear they will support any coming insurgent movement within the region fully.

I will continue to follow this as it unfolds, along with doing some real research into the very complicated past that lead to this point.

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Screams Ring Out and The Turks Come for the Kurds

My reaction to the reaction of the shooting this past weekend and a primer on the foreign policy stories of the week to come.

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Foreign Policy Roundup – 8/3/2019

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Afghanistan

© picture-alliance/dpa/ISAF Provided by Deutsche Welle

The Trump administration was a bit two-faced this week when it came to its plans for America’s longest war. The push towards a peace deal with the Taliban continues, but we got mixed signals in terms of troop withdrawal. Trump started the week by declaring he wished to reduce American ground troops by 2020. This was countermanded by Secretary of State Pompeo, ““They got it wrong…The president has been very direct about his expectations that we will reduce our operational footprint on the ground in Afghanistan just as quickly as we can get there”.. Initial discussions between the Taliban and (negotiator) continued, resulting in a “initial draw-down” estimate of 5,000 troops. We’ll see…

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Sudan

Sudan continues to become more important in the overall geopolitical landscape of the Middle East and east Africa. With the military junta in power, even with a symbolic deal to hand power over to a civilian government in a year or two (decades more likely), regional powers are quickly putting the military rulers there to work. The UAE is using Sudan as a “transportation hub” for fighters in Yemen & Libya. Sudanese fighters are already involved in the conflict in Libya themselves. Up to 1,000 are fighting for Haftar at the moment.

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North Korea

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North Korea spent this week firing off non-threatening missiles into the Sea of Japan. Surprisingly, the US didn’t seem to mind. President Trump called them no big deal. Even John Bolton said that the missiles didn’t violate any handshake agreement between the North and the US. Weird I know. This might be sign that diplomacy is taking place on some level.

Iran

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Not much news coming from Iran this week. Another tanker taken looks to be the story heading into the new week. Trump definitely annoyed the hawks though. He declared that he would be renewing waivers to his sanctions on the Islamic Republic for all five of the P5+1 group so they can continue to work with the Iranian on their civilian nuclear program.

Syria

A conditional ceasefire with the rebels held up in Idlib is a step in the right direction here. In my video I break down the complexity of the situation in Syria and all the parties still on the chessboard.

A Bad Week for Al Qeada

An announcement came down that the son of Osama Bin Laden, Hamza bin Laden that was being groomed for leadership is dead. Sources say he may have been “killed within the last two years”. News travels slow from within a cave or basement in Pakistan. More positive developments out of Pakistan that Ayman al-Zawahiri is sick with a serious heart condition. Let’s hope the “Butcher of New York City” has a long slow road to Hell.

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Are the Protests in Hong Kong Another US Sponsored “Color Revolution”?


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I tricked myself again. I got my hopes up that maybe, just maybe, the protests in Hong Kong which started over the attempted Extradition Law were organic. I usually go into covering these events with a question in my head: How is the US involved?. A few times, at least initially, the sources show that it might be just that (see: current Sudan).

I should have known better when China was involved. Much like the astro-turfing being done by western NGOs in the Muslim-heavy region of Xinjiang with the Uyghur, the current movement in Hong Kong looks to have the fingerprints of D.C. all over it. I simply didn’t know the history.

Usually I would break it all down for you, but others have done it so well already. Below is an exerpt from an excellent write-up (full of sources) breaking down the web of connections between members of the opposition in Hong Kong and the same old western NGOs who have attempted “color revolutions” all over the globe:

Hong Kong’s opposition has already long been exposed as US-sponsored.

This includes the entire core leadership of the 2014 so-called “Occupy Central” protests, also known as the “Umbrella Revolution.” Western media has portrayed recent anti-extradition bill protests as a continuation of the “Umbrella” protests with many of the same organizations, parties, and individuals leading and supporting them.

The Western media has attempted to dismiss this in the past. The New York Times in a 2014 article titled, “Some Chinese Leaders Claim U.S. and Britain Are Behind Hong Kong Protests,” would claim:

Protest leaders said they had not received any funding from the United States government or nonprofit groups affiliated with it. Chinese officials choose to blame hidden foreign forces, they argued, in part because they find it difficult to accept that so many ordinary people in Hong Kong want democracy.

Yet what the protest leaders claim and what is documented fact are two different things. The New York Times article itself admits that:

*…the National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit directly supported by Washington, distributed $755,000 in grants in Hong Kong in 2012, and an additional $695,000 last year, to encourage the development of democratic institutions. Some of that money was earmarked “to develop the capacity of citizens — particularly university students — to more effectively participate in the public debate on political reform.”

While the New York Times and Hong Kong opposition deny this funding has gone to protesters specifically, annual reports from organizations opposition members belong to reveal that it has.*

Hong Kong’s opposition leaders receiving US support include:

Benny Taia law professor at the University of Hong Kong and a regular collaborator with the US NED and NDI-funded Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) also of the University of Hong Kong.

In the CCPL’s 2006-2007 annual report, (PDF, since deleted) he was named as a board member – a position he has held until at least as recently as last year. In CCPL’s 2011-2013 annual report (PDF, since deleted), NED subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is listed as having provided funding to the organization to “design and implement an online Models of Universal Suffrage portal where the general public can discuss and provide feedback and ideas on which method of universal suffrage is most suitable for Hong Kong.”

In CCPL’s annual report for 2013-2014 (PDF, since deleted), Tai is not listed as a board member but is listed as participating in at least 3 conferences organized by CCPL, and as heading at least one of CCPL’s projects. At least one conference has him speaking side-by-side another prominent “Occupy Central” figure, Audrey Eu. The 2013-2014 annual report also lists NDI as funding CCPL’s “Design Democracy Hong Kong” website.

Joshua Wong“Occupy Central” leader and secretary general of the “Demosisto” party. While Wong and other have attempted to deny any links to Washington, Wong would literally travel to Washington once the protests concluded to pick up an award for his efforts from NED subsidiary, Freedom House.

Audrey Eu Yuet-meethe Civic Party chairwoman, who in addition to speaking at CCPL-NDI functions side-by-side with Benny Tai, is entwined with the US State Department and its NDI elsewhere. She regularly attends forums sponsored by NED and its subsidiary NDI. In 2009 she was a featured speaker at an NDI sponsored public policy forum hosted by “SynergyNet,” also funded by NDI. In 2012 she was a guest speaker at the NDI-funded Women’s Centre “International Women’s Day” event, hosted by the Hong Kong Council of Women (HKCW) which is also annually funded by the NDI.

Martin Leea senior leader of the Occupy Central movement. Lee organized and physically led protest marches. He also regularly delivered speeches according to the South China Morning Post. But before leading the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong, he and Anson Chan were in Washington D.C. before the NED soliciting US assistance (video).

During a talk in Washington titled, “Why Democracy in Hong Kong Matters,” Lee and Chan would lay out the entire “Occupy Central” narrative about independence from Beijing and a desire for self-governance before an American audience representing a foreign government Lee, Chan, and their entire opposition are ironically very much dependent on. NED would eventually release a statementclaiming that it has never aided Lee or Chan, nor were Lee or Chan leaders of the “Occupy Central” movement.

But by 2015, after “Occupy Central” was over, NED subsidiary Freedom House would not only invite Benny Tai and Joshua Wong to Washington, but also Martin Lee in an event acknowledging the three as “Hong Kong democracy leaders.” All three would take to the stage with their signature yellow umbrellas, representing their roles in the “Occupy Central” protests, and of course – exposing NED’s lie denying Lee’s leadership role in the protests. Additionally, multiple leaked US diplomatic cables (herehere, and here) indicate that Martin Lee has been in close contact with the US government for years, and regularly asked for and received various forms of aid.

Other opposition leaders have been literally caught meeting secretly with US diplomats including Hong Kong opposition leaders Edward Leung and Ray Wong in 2016.

source – Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer.

Other Sources

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Mueller!!


Steve Sack – Star Tribune

In this video I rant about the unsurprising end of the Mueller Investigation (thankfully). I can’t get myself to put too much energy towards that story, even though I understand the historical weight and scope of the whole thing.

Attempt to overthrow the elected president of the United States, and escalate tensions with the world’s other real nuclear power as an aside. Liberals think so little that they were prepared to “play” Cold War just to get rid of the Orange Guy with the mean words.

I hit on a number of other stories I came across in an otherwise slow news week.

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Crisis in Cyprus and Hong Kong Vs. The Triad

Resource Wars in Cyprus

I’m always in the market for a new story and region of the globe that I’m ignorant of. Zerohedge linked to two stories in one day about Turkey, Cyprus and the reaction from the US. I wasn’t aware that Cyprus was even a place with any contention. I released I was wrong, I expand in the video.

To summarize what I learned, Turkey invaded northern Cyprus back in 1974 where there is a minority Turkish population. They had the backing of Henry Kissinger and occupy it to this day. The map even shows it has a separate “republic” from the rest of Cyprus.

Recently, the Turks have begun offshore drilling near Cyprus, venturing into waters that are not exactly recognized as Turkish territory. The drillers are escorted by warships, F-16s, and drones. Normally a development like this would not warrant a response from the world’s superpower, much less a negative one. However, with the Turks finding themselves in the doghouse over their weapons deals with the Russians and their outright fit over the US attempting to carve off an “independent” Kurdistan in Syria, and finding themselves on the other side in Libya (at the moment), the West has had a enough of Erodogan.

The European Union leveled sanctions against Turkey for this move. Less money and less loans from the Europeans. Some of which are partners in NATO.


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The US is also planning a response to Turkey’s moves in Cyprus. The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed to a new “Eastern Mediterranean strategy”. The plan reads like an extortion contract between the local mafia organization and a local business. The US comes down harder on the Greek government in Cyprus than the Turks in what looks like a plan to take the opportunity to hurt the Turks AND the RUSSIANS. Below is list of items within the strategy:

  1. force Greek Cyprus to stop allowing Russian naval vessels to dock in exchange for protection
  2. US will expand military occupation of Crete
  3. censor Greek-language media in Cyprus & Greece
  4. threatens sanctions on Greek Orthodox Church
  5. to isolate Russia & Turkey
  6. develop oil & gas infrastructure to Southern Europe
  7. US to supply weapons to Cyprus, without removing deals with Turks
  8. US scholarships to “future leaders” of Cyprus
  9. military training to Cyprus

So in other words, “we’re going to pick a fight on your land and you better not complain“.

Hong Kong Gets Crazy


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Just a quick update on the protests in Hong Kong. It looks like someone (China) invited the Triad to the partyMobs of armed and organized young men stormed a metro station in Yuen Long, a city north of Hong Kong City. China looks to bring violence to the streets as the protest movement has evolved past the limited Extradition Bill.

Elements of nationalist groups have begun using the protests to make their case for more “pro-democracy” talk with a sovereign Hong Kong being the goal. Some of this is being multiplied by Western media coverage, which knows that an independence movement at it’s mainland borders is worse for China than a disagreement over a bill. A bill that dealt with much more than broad extradition to China.

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