Monthly Archives: January 2022

Dealing With Diversity: Love, Hate and Indifference & Huey Long, the Martyr Who Might Have Saved America

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Dealing With Diversity: Love, Hate and Indifference & Huey Long, the Martyr Who Might Have Saved America

Bill Johnson, chairman of the American Freedom Party, Paul Fromm, Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, and Charles Edward Lincoln, our host,  address Historical Questions ranging from Huey Pierce Long from Winfield , Louisiana, his apostle Gerald L.K. Smith, and his fellow traveler Father Charles Edward Coughlin, to Donald John Trump (and whether Trump is smart enough to be the new Huey Long.) We also look at the concepts of practical transformation, and apparently, whatever we said got all three of Mr. Lincoln’s accounts at least TEMPORARILY BANNED FROM FACEBOOK for the first time in Ten Years. The last time he was banned he  had had the temerity to say that when South African farmers are fired upon, they have a God-Given Right to FIGHT BACK!

Huey_Long.webp

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdjouOSbW_0

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The Threat from Red China:  China: Buying Up Europe

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 China: Buying Up Europe

by Judith Bergman
January 14, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • A staggering 40% out of 650 Chinese investments in Europe in the years 2010-2020, according to Datenna [a Dutch company that monitors Chinese investments in Europe], had “high or moderate involvement by state-owned or state-controlled companies.”
  • When the Chairman of the UK parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, wrote that Chinese ownership of the British microchip plant, Newport Wafer Fab, “represents a significant economic and national security concern”, UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng responded that the deal had been “considered thoroughly”. Only after considerable pressure did British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agree to a national security review of the sale.
  • The European Court of Auditors, an EU institution that oversees EU finances, has found that gaining an overview of Chinese investments in the EU is difficult because of the lack of comprehensive data; it seems no one is recording it.
  • Efficient systems for blocking foreign investments based on national security concerns also appear either to be lacking or simply not used sufficiently.
  • The “strictest screening frameworks” clearly are not stopping China.
  • What appears to be urgently needed in Europe now is a deeper understanding of the threat that China poses, as well as the political will to act on it. Action is urgently needed to block investments that serve up Europe’s strategic assets on a silver platter to China’s state-owned companies, which the Chinese Communist Party then use to advance its expansionist ends.
For more than a decade, China has been stealthily buying up European companies in strategic sectors, particularly in technology and energy. Efficient systems for blocking foreign investments based on national security concerns appear either to be lacking or simply not used sufficiently. (Image source: iStock)

For more than a decade, China has been stealthily buying up European companies in strategic sectors, particularly in technology and energy. China appears to be using these European assets to help fulfil the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ambitions of becoming a global force, technologically independent of the West and ultimately supplanting the US as the world’s economic, political and military superpower.

China has been covering up its European purchases by passing them off as ostensibly commercial investments. It has been hiding the state-owned companies involved in the investments behind “layers of ownership, complex shareholding structures and deals executed via European subsidiaries,” according to Datenna, a Dutch company that monitors Chinese investments in Europe. A staggering 40% out of 650 Chinese investments in Europe in the years 2010-2020, according to Datenna, had “high or moderate involvement by state-owned or state-controlled companies, including some in advanced technologies”.

When, for instance, the Chinese took over the Italian drone maker, Alpi Aviation, the Italian Air Force had already revealed the strategic importance of Alpi’s drones, by using them in Afghanistan. In 2018, a company registered in Hong Kong, Mars Technology, bought a 75% stake in Alpi Aviation. Italian authorities knew nothing about the sale and only found out about it in 2021, subsequently opening an inquiry into it. The Italian authorities found that Mars Technology was just a shell company that could be traced to two Chinese state-owned companies. One of them was the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, the world’s largest supplier of rail equipment. The purpose of the acquisition, it would appear, was the appropriation by the Chinese state of Alpi’s drone technology, which, soon after the sale, the Chinese began transferring to China. “It’s a textbook case,” said Jaap van Etten, chief executive of Datenna. “This is the strategy of the Chinese state, pushed by the Chinese government.”

More recently, the Chinese took over Newport Wafer Fab, the UK’s largest producer of semiconductors, also known as microchips, essential in electronics from smartphones to high-tech weapons. In July 2021, Nexperia, ostensibly a Dutch company, bought Newport Wafer Fab. Nexperia, however, is owned by Wingtech Technology, a Chinese company with close links to the Chinese state. According to Datenna, 30% of Wingtech Technology is owned by Chinese government entities. The UK government, despite that, did not appear to understand the threat. The sale, despite protests to UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, went ahead. When the chairman of the UK parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, wrote that Chinese ownership of the British microchip plant “represents a significant economic and national security concern”, Kwarteng responded that the deal had been “considered thoroughly”. Only after considerable pressure did British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agree to a national security review of the sale.

The European Court of Auditors, an EU institution that oversees EU finances, has found that gaining an overview of Chinese investments in the EU is difficult because of the lack of comprehensive data; it seems no one is recording it.

Efficient systems for blocking foreign investments based on national security concerns also appear either to be lacking or simply not used sufficiently. Only 18 European countries – among them Germany, France and Spain — have introduced or updated national mechanisms for screening foreign investments, but apparently they are not always used. Since 2012, Italy, for instance, has used its mechanisms only four times — two of them in the past 9 months.

According to Datenna, Spain’s investment screening mechanism is “one of the strictest frameworks within Europe”. Despite that, China has still managed to make large inroads into Spain’s energy and nuclear sector.

In 2020, two Spanish companies, Empresarios Agrupados and Ghesa, which design and construct nuclear plants, were taken over by the China Energy Construction Group Planning and Design. That company, it just so happens, is closely linked, via its parent company, China Energy Engineering Group, to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), an entity of the Chinese government. SASAC owns almost 100% of the shares in China Energy Engineering Group — the parent company of the Chinese acquirer of the two Spanish nuclear design companies. The acquisition was reportedly one of the largest Chinese takeovers of Spanish infrastructure companies ever. Furthermore, also in 2020, Reuters reported that China’s state-owned energy and infrastructure giant, China Three Gorges, had agreed to buy 13 Spanish solar plants.

The “strictest screening frameworks” clearly are not stopping China.

What appears to be urgently needed in Europe now is a deeper understanding of the threat that China poses, as well as the political will to act on that threat. Action is urgently needed to block investments that serve up Europe’s strategic assets on a silver platter to China’s state-owned companies, which the Chinese Communist Party then uses to advance its expansionist ends.

Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/01/09/british-backing-chinas-global-ambitions-raises-alarm/

British backing for China’s global ambitions raises the alarm

Britain’s backing of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank faces fresh criticism as it faces claims of Chinese colonialismByHelen Cahill9 January 2022 • 12:00pm

Sir Danny Alexander declared to a room full of European policymakers and financiers that a Chinese rival to the World Bank offered a “message of hope”.

Speaking at an event at the European Investment Bank, he was touting the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a way for Europe and China to cooperate, by investing in building projects globally.

Three years on it seems Sir Danny’s hopes, as vice president and corporate secretary for the AIIB, seem to have not been realised.

In May 2015, under David Cameron and when Sir Danny was chief secretary to the Treasury, George Osborne announced the UK would be the third Western country to join the AIIB. Since then, Britain has committed $3.1bn to the venture for a 2.9pc voting share in the bank.

But as relations between China and the West sour, campaigners are now calling for Whitehall to reassess its relationship with the AIIB.

Beijing proposed setting up the AIIB in 2013 to provide an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund – which it regarded as institutions dominated by Western powers – and finance infrastructure projects globally. The bank now has 105 approved members and has approved investments worth $22bn.

While AIIB was tasked by Beijing to finance its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – aimed at boosting economic development such as transportation, telecommunications and energy projects along the ancient Silk Road – it has not been the principal lender. 

In 2020 the AIIB’s funding commitments on the BRI and other projects totalled just under $10bn. Overall investments funnelled into the BRI were $47bn, according to the International Institute of Green Finance. Funding also comes from China’s state-owned banks and sovereign wealth funds such as the Silk Road Fund.

The BRI now encompasses almost 3,000 projects spanning Asia, Russia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, valued at $3.87 trillion. 

Still the AIIB bank has been controversial since its inception with the US refusing to be involved in a project it felt could undermine other global institutions, and Japan also steering clear of membership.

Britain was encouraged to join by Sir Danny, who has admitted he was a cheerleader for the decision to become a member. 

In a BBC interview in 2019, he said: “Having been very involved in the British decision to join, it was one of the last things that the Government I was part of did. I was one of the champions of that decision.

“To then actually come and be a part of setting it up and making sure it operates in the right way and that the standards are high is, for me, fascinating.”

Sir Danny, who was been contacted for comment, joined the board of AIIB after he left the Government in 2015.

While Britain holds just under 3pc of voting power, China has a 26.6pc share after ploughing $29.8bn into AIIB. 

It means Beijing’s voting power is higher than the 15pc held by the US at the World Bank and it comparatively has more control over the appointment of its bank’s president. China also has the ability to veto decisions at the AIIB and can suspend a member – giving the Communist Power control.

But as scrutiny intensifies over China’s alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang province – accusations Beijing denies – as well as the Asian superpower’s influence over technology and its growing numbers of foreign takeovers, there are concerns over Beijing’s dominance and what that means for national security in countries including the UK and US. Britain recently launched powers to assess takeovers to prevent ‘hostile’ powers undermining national security.Against that backdrop, Britain’s investment in the AIIB is facing fresh questions.Johnny Patterson of campaign group Human Rights Watch argues China’s state-owned banks are the more aggressive lenders on the BRI and that Britain is lending credibility to an institution that helps hide such tactics.  

“A lot of the most problematic loans on the BRI come from Chinese state-owned banks rather than the AIIB. Some of what the AIIB does is quite bland. They would claim they are helping to improve the quality of loans being made out on the scheme,” he admits.

“But there’s a naivety to that because I would be sceptical of working too closely with the Chinese Communist Party in general. Britain having a major stake in this is questionable given the nature of past funding of BRI projects.

“The AIIB does act as window-dressing for some of the more problematic elements of the work on the Belt and Road. Britain’s involvement in this gives the whole institution a level of legitimacy and makes China seem like a more credible lender than it really is.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “The Government works closely with the AIIB and other shareholders to ensure it implements high standards and delivers on UK and G20 priorities.”

The BRI has been regarded by critics as a possible route for China to gain control of assets in foreign countries by lending on infrastructure projects. 

Some have described it as a form of Chinese colonialism. In a speech in 2018, China’s President Xi said it was a way to build a “community of common human destiny”. Defence experts have argued the language is a reference to Beijing’s plan to become the dominant world power.

Dr Radomir Tylecote, director of defence and security for democracy at think tank Civitas, warns that the BRI is a lever for China’s “expansionist” foreign policy. He adds that the AIIB isn’t just funding development – it is also financing China’s bid to gain control over foreign powers.

“It would be naïve to think that the purpose of the AIIB is simply development,” he says. “There is a strategic risk that countries that accept loans from China’s BRI-related institutions are unable to pay them in the long term and then, against their intentions, China is able to seize control of important pieces of infrastructure in those countries.” 

In December 2017, Sri Lanka was forced to hand over infrastructure to China after taking out a loan with its Exim Bank of China. Unable to repay its debt, state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority handed a 70pc stake of Hambantota port to China Merchants Port Holdings to create a joint venture.

Hambantota Port Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka took out a loan with Exim Bank of China to build Hambantota port CREDIT: Xinhua News Agency / eyevine

In total, Sri Lanka had taken out loans worth Chinese loans $1.3bn to build the strategic port in the Indian Ocean. 

Tylecote warns that the AIIB could be a route for similar practices. In a speech in 2019, Sir Danny emphasised the AIIB has “the highest standards of governance, with high quality standards in everything that we do.” The bank did not comment.

Tylecote says: “This is one of a number of institutions that are able to help facilitate the People’s Republic of China’s ownership of infrastructure and assets.

“Institutions like the AIIB have been founded by Beijing and do not exist independently of its grand strategy.

“In general with the BRI we are talking about the increasingly expansionist strategy by China over the last decade or so to acquire foreign infrastructure and related assets.”

He adds: “We need to be able to distinguish between foreign investment in growing companies, and growth sectors, that can be very useful, and just simple asset acquisition.”There are areas of foreign acquisitions that create risks such as political leadership over those countries where the investment has happened. Any infrastructure that could be used for military purposes is obviously at the very sharp end of that and beyond that energy infrastructure is potentially quite risky as well.”Note: See also Chinese Spies Have Built a Criminal Stronghold in the West, Tied to Cartels and Corruption: Sam Cooper

  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/01/13/mi5-warns-chinese-spy-has-active-parliament/

MI5 warns Chinese ‘spy’ has been active in Parliament

MI5 notice named suspected agent as Christine Lee, who security service claims is ‘knowingly engaged in political interference in the UK’ByGareth Davies, BREAKING NEWS EDITOR

13 January 2022 • 3:32pm

Christine Lee

Christine Lee CREDIT: Nigel Howard Media

MI5 has warned a suspected agent of the Chinese government has been active in the British Parliament, MPs have heard.

Conservative former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, raising a point of order, told the Commons: “I understand that Mr Speaker has been contacted by MI5 and is now warning members of Parliament that there has been an agent of the Chinese government active here in Parliament working with a Member of Parliament, obviously to subvert the processes here.”

An MI5 notice named the suspected agent as Christine Lee, who the security service claims is “knowingly engaged in political interference on behalf of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)”.Her affiliations are said to include the China Overseas Friendship Association and the British-Chinese Project and she is listed as a donor for Labour MP Barry Gardiner. Lee’s son volunteered in the MP for Brent North’s office a number of years ago and was subsequently employed as his diary manager. 

He resigned earlier on Thursday, Mr Gardiner announced. 

The security service claim Christine Lee “acted covertly” and is “judged to be involved in political interference activities in the UK”.

Christine Lee outside 10 Downing Street

Christine Lee outside 10 Downing Street

The warning continues: “Lee has been engaged in the facilitation of financial donations to political parties, parliamentarians, aspiring parliamentarians and individuals seeking political office in the UK, including facilitating donations to political entities on behalf of foreign nationals”.

It has also emerged that Theresa May, when prime minister, gave a “Points of Light” award for volunteering to Ms Lee.

Mrs May wrote a personal letter to Ms Lee commending her for “promoting engagement, understanding, and cooperation between the Chinese and British communities in the UK”.

Ms Lee said at the time of receiving the award, in January 2019: “The well-being of the British Chinese community in the UK will always be of great importance to me and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to assist in any small way with our integration into UK society.”

The revelation on Thursday sparked surprise, given that concerns about Ms Lee’s links to Mr Gardiner were first reported by The Times in 2017.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader, told The Telegraph: “Why wasn’t she [Mrs May] informed of this [concern] by the security services? This must have been around. What was going on with the security services that the Prime Minister’s office didn’t know they were giving an award to someone under suspicion?”.

The Speaker’s office has confirmed that a warning notice has been issued in relation to the activities of a suspected Chinese agent.

Christine Lee ‘engaged in political interference’

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, in a letter sent to MPs, warned that Christine Lee had allegedly been “engaged in political interference” for the Chinese Communist Party and sought to lobby parliamentarians including through a former all-party parliamentary group (APPG).

The letter said: “I am writing now to draw your attention to the attached Interference Alert issued by the Security Service, MI5, about the activities of an individual, Christine Lee, who has been engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, engaging with Members here at Parliament and associated political entities, including the former APPG: Chinese in Britain.

“I should highlight the fact that Lee has facilitated financial donations to serving and aspiring parliamentarians on behalf of foreign nationals based in Hong Kong and China. This facilitation was done covertly to mask the origins of the payments. This is clearly unacceptable behaviour and steps are being taken to ensure it ceases.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to remind colleagues of their responsibilities to verify the source of any donation they receive to ascertain whether it is from a permissible source, and their obligation to record the source of donations in the Register of Interests, or report to the Electoral Commission as appropriate.”

The letter urged MPs to report any approaches or concerns and said the Lord Speaker had also written to peers to warn them.

Christine Lee pictured with former prime minister David Cameron

Christine Lee pictured with former prime minister David Cameron

A spokeswoman for the Speaker’s office said: “The Speaker takes the security of Members and the democratic process very seriously, which is why he issued this notice in consultation with the security services. 

“There is no further comment on this matter.”

Tory MP Bob Seely, who is a member of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed concern that a Chinese agent appeared to have been operating in Parliament.

“It’s clearly serious that there appear to be actual agents of a foreign, adversarial power in Parliament. I congratulate MI5 on their work,” he told the PA news agency.

“However, I do fear that we have been complacent about the threat posed by the Chinese Communist regime, in much the same way that we were and in some respects still are complacent about Russian influence peddling in the UK.

“We should remember that co-opting, subverting and corrupting in today’s world is often done not through formal agents, but often through informal agents: people such as powerful business people and oligarchs, think tanks, through the funding of universities and the use of ‘lawfare’, etc.

“This is why we need a comprehensive approach to Russia and China that understands the comprehensive nature of the problem. We are improving but we need to do more.”

Barry Gardiner statement, in full

Today the Parliamentary Security Director issued a Security Service Interference Alert in relation to Christine Lee and her attempts to engage in political interference on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. 

I have been liaising with our security services for a number of years about Christine Lee and they have always known, and been made fully aware by me, of her engagement with my office and the donations she made to fund researchers in my office in the past. 

Steps were taken to ensure Christine Lee had no role in either the appointment or management of those researchers. 

They are also aware that I have not benefited personally from those donations in any way. 

She ceased funding any workers in my office in June 2020. 

All the donations were properly reported in the register of members’ interests and their source verified at the time. 

I have been assured by the security services that whilst they have definitively identified improper funding channelled through Christine Lee, this does not relate to any funding received by my office. 

Christine Lee’s son volunteered in my office many years ago and was subsequently employed by me as a diary manager. 

He resigned from my employment earlier today. 

The Security Services have advised me that they have no intelligence that shows he was aware of, or complicit in, his mother’s illegal activity. 

I will continue to work closely with our security services in this and all other matters that relate to the security of our country.

What did the MI5 warning say?

The Security Service Interference Alert, regarding Christine Ching Kui Lee and issued by MI5, said Lee has “acted covertly” in co-ordination with the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and is “judged to be involved in political interference activities in the UK”.

It said: “We judge that the UFWD is seeking to covertly interfere in UK politics through establishing links with established and aspiring parliamentarians across the political spectrum. The UFWD seeks to cultivate relationships with influential figures in order to ensure the UK political landscape is favourable to the CCP’s agenda and to challenge those that raise concerns about CCP activity, such as human rights.

“Lee has been engaged in the facilitation of financial donations to political parties, parliamentarians, aspiring parliamentarians and individuals seeking political office in the UK, including facilitating donations to political entities on behalf of foreign nationals.

“Lee has publicly stated that her activities are to represent the UK Chinese community and increase diversity. However the aforementioned activity has been undertaken in covert co-ordination with the UFWD, with funding provided by foreign nationals located in China and Hong Kong.

“Lee has extensive engagement with individuals across the UK political spectrum. including through the now disbanded All-Party Parliamentary Chinese in Britain Group, and may aspire to establish further APPGs to further the CCP’s agenda.”The alert warned that anyone contacted by her should be “mindful of her affiliation with the Chinese state and remit to advance the CCP’s agenda in UK politics”.Play ViUS ‘sends carrier strike group’ to South China Sea

US ‘sends carrier strike group’ to South China Sea

It comes as the US ramps up pressure on Beijing, laying out its most detailed case yet against ‘unlawful’ territorial claims.ByNicola Smith, ASIA CORRESPONDENT13 January 2022 • 12:52pm

The USS Carl Vinson in the Pacific Ocean last year.

The USS Carl Vinson apparently entered the South China Sea on Tuesday CREDIT: Haydn Smith/U.S Navy Office of Information

The United States has reportedly deployed carrier strike groups for drills in the contested South China Sea as it ramps up its opposition to Beijing’s maritime claims in the region.

The USS Carl Vinson and USS Essex, a Wasp-class Landing Helicopter Dock – along with their escort vessels – entered the southern waters of the sea on Tuesday, said Beijing-based think tank, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative.

According to the South China Morning Post, the US Navy is expected to conduct joint drills in the strategic international waterways, whose islands, atolls and reefs are subject to territorial disputes between China and several Southeast Asian nations including the Philippines and Vietnam.

The exercises have so far not been confirmed by the United States Navy.On Wednesday, the US State Department laid out its most detailed case yet against Beijing’s “unlawful” claims in the South China Sea, rejecting its geographical and historical assertions, and calling on China to cease its “coercive activities.”In a 47-page research paper, the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs said China had no basis under international law for claims that have sparked frequent clashes between Beijing and other regional capitals.

“The overall effect of these maritime claims is that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] unlawfully claims sovereignty or some form of exclusive jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea,” the paper said.

“These claims gravely undermine the rule of law in the oceans and numerous universally recognised provisions of international law,” it said.

In 2016, the UN-backed permanent court of arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of a complaint from the Philippines over China’s claims, saying that Beijing “had no historic rights to resources in the waters of the South China Sea.” China has refused to accept this verdict.

The latest State Department report objects to Chinese sovereignty claims over more than a hundred features in the South China Sea and to its claimed maritime zones, disputing the so-called “nine-dash line” that forms the basis for much of Beijing’s stance.

The South China Sea is rich with oil and gas deposits and is crucial for international shipping. Beijing’s increasing swagger in the region has prompted alarm and a growth in “freedom of navigation” operations by the US and its allies.

On Thursday, Japanese newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun, reported that Japan had conducted two of its own operations last year through waters near the artificial islands and reefs claimed by Beijing, “to warn China.”

https://www.tlegraph.co.uk/news/2022/01/13/russias-alliance-china-beginning-falter/?li_source=LI&li_medium=liftigniter-rhr
Russia’s alliance with China is beginning to falterThere’s a new Great Game afoot and Putin could not allow Kazakhstan to fall into Beijing’s hands

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 China: Buying Up Europe

by Judith Bergman
January 14, 2022 at 5:00 am

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China: Buying Up EuropeJudith BergmanA staggering 40% out of 650 Chinese investments in Europe in the years 2010-2020, according to Datenna [a Dutch …




  • A staggering 40% out of 650 Chinese investments in Europe in the years 2010-2020, according to Datenna [a Dutch company that monitors Chinese investments in Europe], had “high or moderate involvement by state-owned or state-controlled companies.”
  • When the Chairman of the UK parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, wrote that Chinese ownership of the British microchip plant, Newport Wafer Fab, “represents a significant economic and national security concern”, UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng responded that the deal had been “considered thoroughly”. Only after considerable pressure did British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agree to a national security review of the sale.
  • The European Court of Auditors, an EU institution that oversees EU finances, has found that gaining an overview of Chinese investments in the EU is difficult because of the lack of comprehensive data; it seems no one is recording it.
  • Efficient systems for blocking foreign investments based on national security concerns also appear either to be lacking or simply not used sufficiently.
  • The “strictest screening frameworks” clearly are not stopping China.
  • What appears to be urgently needed in Europe now is a deeper understanding of the threat that China poses, as well as the political will to act on it. Action is urgently needed to block investments that serve up Europe’s strategic assets on a silver platter to China’s state-owned companies, which the Chinese Communist Party then use to advance its expansionist ends.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MctBw9Odl6uFTS78-jd5ZOYC6FmA2QB9-wZ94oz7B68BCUBsA8Khw-bPTPYFIsT2bEohgmgaYGSM6KiATHE3Ge1Hmw=s0-d-e1-ft




For more than a decade, China has been stealthily buying up European companies in strategic sectors, particularly in technology and energy. Efficient systems for blocking foreign investments based on national security concerns appear either to be lacking or simply not used sufficiently. (Image source: iStock)



For more than a decade, China has been stealthily buying up European companies in strategic sectors, particularly in technology and energy. China appears to be using these European assets to help fulfil the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ambitions of becoming a global force, technologically independent of the West and ultimately supplanting the US as the world’s economic, political and military superpower.

China has been covering up its European purchases by passing them off as ostensibly commercial investments. It has been hiding the state-owned companies involved in the investments behind “layers of ownership, complex shareholding structures and deals executed via European subsidiaries,” according to Datenna, a Dutch company that monitors Chinese investments in Europe. A staggering 40% out of 650 Chinese investments in Europe in the years 2010-2020, according to Datenna, had “high or moderate involvement by state-owned or state-controlled companies, including some in advanced technologies”.

When, for instance, the Chinese took over the Italian drone maker, Alpi Aviation, the Italian Air Force had already revealed the strategic importance of Alpi’s drones, by using them in Afghanistan. In 2018, a company registered in Hong Kong, Mars Technology, bought a 75% stake in Alpi Aviation. Italian authorities knew nothing about the sale and only found out about it in 2021, subsequently opening an inquiry into it. The Italian authorities found that Mars Technology was just a shell company that could be traced to two Chinese state-owned companies. One of them was the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, the world’s largest supplier of rail equipment. The purpose of the acquisition, it would appear, was the appropriation by the Chinese state of Alpi’s drone technology, which, soon after the sale, the Chinese began transferring to China. “It’s a textbook case,” said Jaap van Etten, chief executive of Datenna. “This is the strategy of the Chinese state, pushed by the Chinese government.”

More recently, the Chinese took over Newport Wafer Fab, the UK’s largest producer of semiconductors, also known as microchips, essential in electronics from smartphones to high-tech weapons. In July 2021, Nexperia, ostensibly a Dutch company, bought Newport Wafer Fab. Nexperia, however, is owned by Wingtech Technology, a Chinese company with close links to the Chinese state. According to Datenna, 30% of Wingtech Technology is owned by Chinese government entities. The UK government, despite that, did not appear to understand the threat. The sale, despite protests to UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, went ahead. When the chairman of the UK parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, wrote that Chinese ownership of the British microchip plant “represents a significant economic and national security concern”, Kwarteng responded that the deal had been “considered thoroughly”. Only after considerable pressure did British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agree to a national security review of the sale.

The European Court of Auditors, an EU institution that oversees EU finances, has found that gaining an overview of Chinese investments in the EU is difficult because of the lack of comprehensive data; it seems no one is recording it.

Efficient systems for blocking foreign investments based on national security concerns also appear either to be lacking or simply not used sufficiently. Only 18 European countries – among them Germany, France and Spain — have introduced or updated national mechanisms for screening foreign investments, but apparently they are not always used. Since 2012, Italy, for instance, has used its mechanisms only four times — two of them in the past 9 months.

According to Datenna, Spain’s investment screening mechanism is “one of the strictest frameworks within Europe”. Despite that, China has still managed to make large inroads into Spain’s energy and nuclear sector.

In 2020, two Spanish companies, Empresarios Agrupados and Ghesa, which design and construct nuclear plants, were taken over by the China Energy Construction Group Planning and Design. That company, it just so happens, is closely linked, via its parent company, China Energy Engineering Group, to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), an entity of the Chinese government. SASAC owns almost 100% of the shares in China Energy Engineering Group — the parent company of the Chinese acquirer of the two Spanish nuclear design companies. The acquisition was reportedly one of the largest Chinese takeovers of Spanish infrastructure companies ever. Furthermore, also in 2020, Reuters reported that China’s state-owned energy and infrastructure giant, China Three Gorges, had agreed to buy 13 Spanish solar plants.

The “strictest screening frameworks” clearly are not stopping China.

What appears to be urgently needed in Europe now is a deeper understanding of the threat that China poses, as well as the political will to act on that threat. Action is urgently needed to block investments that serve up Europe’s strategic assets on a silver platter to China’s state-owned companies, which the Chinese Communist Party then uses to advance its expansionist ends.

Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/01/09/british-backing-chinas-global-ambitions-raises-alarm/

British backing for China’s global ambitions raises the alarm

Britain’s backing of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank faces fresh criticism as it faces claims of Chinese colonialismByHelen Cahill9 January 2022 • 12:00pm

Sir Danny Alexander declared to a room full of European policymakers and financiers that a Chinese rival to the World Bank offered a “message of hope”.

Speaking at an event at the European Investment Bank, he was touting the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a way for Europe and China to cooperate, by investing in building projects globally.

Three years on it seems Sir Danny’s hopes, as vice president and corporate secretary for the AIIB, seem to have not been realised.

In May 2015, under David Cameron and when Sir Danny was chief secretary to the Treasury, George Osborne announced the UK would be the third Western country to join the AIIB. Since then, Britain has committed $3.1bn to the venture for a 2.9pc voting share in the bank.

But as relations between China and the West sour, campaigners are now calling for Whitehall to reassess its relationship with the AIIB.

Beijing proposed setting up the AIIB in 2013 to provide an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund – which it regarded as institutions dominated by Western powers – and finance infrastructure projects globally. The bank now has 105 approved members and has approved investments worth $22bn.

While AIIB was tasked by Beijing to finance its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – aimed at boosting economic development such as transportation, telecommunications and energy projects along the ancient Silk Road – it has not been the principal lender. 

In 2020 the AIIB’s funding commitments on the BRI and other projects totalled just under $10bn. Overall investments funnelled into the BRI were $47bn, according to the International Institute of Green Finance. Funding also comes from China’s state-owned banks and sovereign wealth funds such as the Silk Road Fund.

The BRI now encompasses almost 3,000 projects spanning Asia, Russia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, valued at $3.87 trillion. 

Still the AIIB bank has been controversial since its inception with the US refusing to be involved in a project it felt could undermine other global institutions, and Japan also steering clear of membership.

Britain was encouraged to join by Sir Danny, who has admitted he was a cheerleader for the decision to become a member. 

In a BBC interview in 2019, he said: “Having been very involved in the British decision to join, it was one of the last things that the Government I was part of did. I was one of the champions of that decision.

“To then actually come and be a part of setting it up and making sure it operates in the right way and that the standards are high is, for me, fascinating.”

Sir Danny, who was been contacted for comment, joined the board of AIIB after he left the Government in 2015.

While Britain holds just under 3pc of voting power, China has a 26.6pc share after ploughing $29.8bn into AIIB. 

It means Beijing’s voting power is higher than the 15pc held by the US at the World Bank and it comparatively has more control over the appointment of its bank’s president. China also has the ability to veto decisions at the AIIB and can suspend a member – giving the Communist Power control.

But as scrutiny intensifies over China’s alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang province – accusations Beijing denies – as well as the Asian superpower’s influence over technology and its growing numbers of foreign takeovers, there are concerns over Beijing’s dominance and what that means for national security in countries including the UK and US. Britain recently launched powers to assess takeovers to prevent ‘hostile’ powers undermining national security.Against that backdrop, Britain’s investment in the AIIB is facing fresh questions.Johnny Patterson of campaign group Human Rights Watch argues China’s state-owned banks are the more aggressive lenders on the BRI and that Britain is lending credibility to an institution that helps hide such tactics.  

“A lot of the most problematic loans on the BRI come from Chinese state-owned banks rather than the AIIB. Some of what the AIIB does is quite bland. They would claim they are helping to improve the quality of loans being made out on the scheme,” he admits.

“But there’s a naivety to that because I would be sceptical of working too closely with the Chinese Communist Party in general. Britain having a major stake in this is questionable given the nature of past funding of BRI projects.

“The AIIB does act as window-dressing for some of the more problematic elements of the work on the Belt and Road. Britain’s involvement in this gives the whole institution a level of legitimacy and makes China seem like a more credible lender than it really is.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “The Government works closely with the AIIB and other shareholders to ensure it implements high standards and delivers on UK and G20 priorities.”

The BRI has been regarded by critics as a possible route for China to gain control of assets in foreign countries by lending on infrastructure projects. 

Some have described it as a form of Chinese colonialism. In a speech in 2018, China’s President Xi said it was a way to build a “community of common human destiny”. Defence experts have argued the language is a reference to Beijing’s plan to become the dominant world power.

Dr Radomir Tylecote, director of defence and security for democracy at think tank Civitas, warns that the BRI is a lever for China’s “expansionist” foreign policy. He adds that the AIIB isn’t just funding development – it is also financing China’s bid to gain control over foreign powers.

“It would be naïve to think that the purpose of the AIIB is simply development,” he says. “There is a strategic risk that countries that accept loans from China’s BRI-related institutions are unable to pay them in the long term and then, against their intentions, China is able to seize control of important pieces of infrastructure in those countries.” 

In December 2017, Sri Lanka was forced to hand over infrastructure to China after taking out a loan with its Exim Bank of China. Unable to repay its debt, state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority handed a 70pc stake of Hambantota port to China Merchants Port Holdings to create a joint venture.

Hambantota Port Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka took out a loan with Exim Bank of China to build Hambantota port CREDIT: Xinhua News Agency / eyevine

In total, Sri Lanka had taken out loans worth Chinese loans $1.3bn to build the strategic port in the Indian Ocean. 

Tylecote warns that the AIIB could be a route for similar practices. In a speech in 2019, Sir Danny emphasised the AIIB has “the highest standards of governance, with high quality standards in everything that we do.” The bank did not comment.

Tylecote says: “This is one of a number of institutions that are able to help facilitate the People’s Republic of China’s ownership of infrastructure and assets.

“Institutions like the AIIB have been founded by Beijing and do not exist independently of its grand strategy.

“In general with the BRI we are talking about the increasingly expansionist strategy by China over the last decade or so to acquire foreign infrastructure and related assets.”

He adds: “We need to be able to distinguish between foreign investment in growing companies, and growth sectors, that can be very useful, and just simple asset acquisition.”There are areas of foreign acquisitions that create risks such as political leadership over those countries where the investment has happened. Any infrastructure that could be used for military purposes is obviously at the very sharp end of that and beyond that energy infrastructure is potentially quite risky as well.”Note: See also Chinese Spies Have Built a Criminal Stronghold in the West, Tied to Cartels and Corruption: Sam Cooper

  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/01/13/mi5-warns-chinese-spy-has-active-parliament/

MI5 warns Chinese ‘spy’ has been active in Parliament

MI5 notice named suspected agent as Christine Lee, who security service claims is ‘knowingly engaged in political interference in the UK’ByGareth Davies, BREAKING NEWS EDITOR

13 January 2022 • 3:32pm

Christine Lee

Christine Lee CREDIT: Nigel Howard Media

MI5 has warned a suspected agent of the Chinese government has been active in the British Parliament, MPs have heard.

Conservative former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, raising a point of order, told the Commons: “I understand that Mr Speaker has been contacted by MI5 and is now warning members of Parliament that there has been an agent of the Chinese government active here in Parliament working with a Member of Parliament, obviously to subvert the processes here.”

An MI5 notice named the suspected agent as Christine Lee, who the security service claims is “knowingly engaged in political interference on behalf of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)”.Her affiliations are said to include the China Overseas Friendship Association and the British-Chinese Project and she is listed as a donor for Labour MP Barry Gardiner. Lee’s son volunteered in the MP for Brent North’s office a number of years ago and was subsequently employed as his diary manager. 

He resigned earlier on Thursday, Mr Gardiner announced. 

The security service claim Christine Lee “acted covertly” and is “judged to be involved in political interference activities in the UK”.

Christine Lee outside 10 Downing Street

Christine Lee outside 10 Downing Street

The warning continues: “Lee has been engaged in the facilitation of financial donations to political parties, parliamentarians, aspiring parliamentarians and individuals seeking political office in the UK, including facilitating donations to political entities on behalf of foreign nationals”.

It has also emerged that Theresa May, when prime minister, gave a “Points of Light” award for volunteering to Ms Lee.

Mrs May wrote a personal letter to Ms Lee commending her for “promoting engagement, understanding, and cooperation between the Chinese and British communities in the UK”.

Ms Lee said at the time of receiving the award, in January 2019: “The well-being of the British Chinese community in the UK will always be of great importance to me and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to assist in any small way with our integration into UK society.”

The revelation on Thursday sparked surprise, given that concerns about Ms Lee’s links to Mr Gardiner were first reported by The Times in 2017.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader, told The Telegraph: “Why wasn’t she [Mrs May] informed of this [concern] by the security services? This must have been around. What was going on with the security services that the Prime Minister’s office didn’t know they were giving an award to someone under suspicion?”.

The Speaker’s office has confirmed that a warning notice has been issued in relation to the activities of a suspected Chinese agent.

Christine Lee ‘engaged in political interference’

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, in a letter sent to MPs, warned that Christine Lee had allegedly been “engaged in political interference” for the Chinese Communist Party and sought to lobby parliamentarians including through a former all-party parliamentary group (APPG).

The letter said: “I am writing now to draw your attention to the attached Interference Alert issued by the Security Service, MI5, about the activities of an individual, Christine Lee, who has been engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, engaging with Members here at Parliament and associated political entities, including the former APPG: Chinese in Britain.

“I should highlight the fact that Lee has facilitated financial donations to serving and aspiring parliamentarians on behalf of foreign nationals based in Hong Kong and China. This facilitation was done covertly to mask the origins of the payments. This is clearly unacceptable behaviour and steps are being taken to ensure it ceases.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to remind colleagues of their responsibilities to verify the source of any donation they receive to ascertain whether it is from a permissible source, and their obligation to record the source of donations in the Register of Interests, or report to the Electoral Commission as appropriate.”

The letter urged MPs to report any approaches or concerns and said the Lord Speaker had also written to peers to warn them.

Christine Lee pictured with former prime minister David Cameron

Christine Lee pictured with former prime minister David Cameron

A spokeswoman for the Speaker’s office said: “The Speaker takes the security of Members and the democratic process very seriously, which is why he issued this notice in consultation with the security services. 

“There is no further comment on this matter.”

Tory MP Bob Seely, who is a member of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed concern that a Chinese agent appeared to have been operating in Parliament.

“It’s clearly serious that there appear to be actual agents of a foreign, adversarial power in Parliament. I congratulate MI5 on their work,” he told the PA news agency.

“However, I do fear that we have been complacent about the threat posed by the Chinese Communist regime, in much the same way that we were and in some respects still are complacent about Russian influence peddling in the UK.

“We should remember that co-opting, subverting and corrupting in today’s world is often done not through formal agents, but often through informal agents: people such as powerful business people and oligarchs, think tanks, through the funding of universities and the use of ‘lawfare’, etc.

“This is why we need a comprehensive approach to Russia and China that understands the comprehensive nature of the problem. We are improving but we need to do more.”

Barry Gardiner statement, in full

Today the Parliamentary Security Director issued a Security Service Interference Alert in relation to Christine Lee and her attempts to engage in political interference on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. 

I have been liaising with our security services for a number of years about Christine Lee and they have always known, and been made fully aware by me, of her engagement with my office and the donations she made to fund researchers in my office in the past. 

Steps were taken to ensure Christine Lee had no role in either the appointment or management of those researchers. 

They are also aware that I have not benefited personally from those donations in any way. 

She ceased funding any workers in my office in June 2020. 

All the donations were properly reported in the register of members’ interests and their source verified at the time. 

I have been assured by the security services that whilst they have definitively identified improper funding channelled through Christine Lee, this does not relate to any funding received by my office. 

Christine Lee’s son volunteered in my office many years ago and was subsequently employed by me as a diary manager. 

He resigned from my employment earlier today. 

The Security Services have advised me that they have no intelligence that shows he was aware of, or complicit in, his mother’s illegal activity. 

I will continue to work closely with our security services in this and all other matters that relate to the security of our country.

What did the MI5 warning say?

The Security Service Interference Alert, regarding Christine Ching Kui Lee and issued by MI5, said Lee has “acted covertly” in co-ordination with the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and is “judged to be involved in political interference activities in the UK”.

It said: “We judge that the UFWD is seeking to covertly interfere in UK politics through establishing links with established and aspiring parliamentarians across the political spectrum. The UFWD seeks to cultivate relationships with influential figures in order to ensure the UK political landscape is favourable to the CCP’s agenda and to challenge those that raise concerns about CCP activity, such as human rights.

“Lee has been engaged in the facilitation of financial donations to political parties, parliamentarians, aspiring parliamentarians and individuals seeking political office in the UK, including facilitating donations to political entities on behalf of foreign nationals.

“Lee has publicly stated that her activities are to represent the UK Chinese community and increase diversity. However the aforementioned activity has been undertaken in covert co-ordination with the UFWD, with funding provided by foreign nationals located in China and Hong Kong.

“Lee has extensive engagement with individuals across the UK political spectrum. including through the now disbanded All-Party Parliamentary Chinese in Britain Group, and may aspire to establish further APPGs to further the CCP’s agenda.”The alert warned that anyone contacted by her should be “mindful of her affiliation with the Chinese state and remit to advance the CCP’s agenda in UK politics”.Play ViUS ‘sends carrier strike group’ to South China Sea

US ‘sends carrier strike group’ to South China Sea

It comes as the US ramps up pressure on Beijing, laying out its most detailed case yet against ‘unlawful’ territorial claims.ByNicola Smith, ASIA CORRESPONDENT13 January 2022 • 12:52pm

The USS Carl Vinson in the Pacific Ocean last year.

The USS Carl Vinson apparently entered the South China Sea on Tuesday CREDIT: Haydn Smith/U.S Navy Office of Information

The United States has reportedly deployed carrier strike groups for drills in the contested South China Sea as it ramps up its opposition to Beijing’s maritime claims in the region.

The USS Carl Vinson and USS Essex, a Wasp-class Landing Helicopter Dock – along with their escort vessels – entered the southern waters of the sea on Tuesday, said Beijing-based think tank, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative.

According to the South China Morning Post, the US Navy is expected to conduct joint drills in the strategic international waterways, whose islands, atolls and reefs are subject to territorial disputes between China and several Southeast Asian nations including the Philippines and Vietnam.

The exercises have so far not been confirmed by the United States Navy.On Wednesday, the US State Department laid out its most detailed case yet against Beijing’s “unlawful” claims in the South China Sea, rejecting its geographical and historical assertions, and calling on China to cease its “coercive activities.”In a 47-page research paper, the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs said China had no basis under international law for claims that have sparked frequent clashes between Beijing and other regional capitals.

“The overall effect of these maritime claims is that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] unlawfully claims sovereignty or some form of exclusive jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea,” the paper said.

“These claims gravely undermine the rule of law in the oceans and numerous universally recognised provisions of international law,” it said.

In 2016, the UN-backed permanent court of arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of a complaint from the Philippines over China’s claims, saying that Beijing “had no historic rights to resources in the waters of the South China Sea.” China has refused to accept this verdict.

The latest State Department report objects to Chinese sovereignty claims over more than a hundred features in the South China Sea and to its claimed maritime zones, disputing the so-called “nine-dash line” that forms the basis for much of Beijing’s stance.

The South China Sea is rich with oil and gas deposits and is crucial for international shipping. Beijing’s increasing swagger in the region has prompted alarm and a growth in “freedom of navigation” operations by the US and its allies.

On Thursday, Japanese newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun, reported that Japan had conducted two of its own operations last year through waters near the artificial islands and reefs claimed by Beijing, “to warn China.”

https://www.tlegraph.co.uk/news/2022/01/13/russias-alliance-china-beginning-falter/?li_source=LI&li_medium=liftigniter-rhr
Russia’s alliance with China is beginning to falterThere’s a new Great Game afoot and Putin could not allow Kazakhstan to fall into Beijing’s hands



Russia’s alliance with China is beginning to falter

There’s a new Great Game afoot and Putin could not allow Kazakhstan to fall into Beijing’s handsCON COUGHLINDEFENCE EDITOR13 January 2022 • 6:00amCon CoughlinAnew era of the Great Game is afoot in Central Asia, only this time the adversaries competing for power and influence in the region are not Western nations such as Britain and the US, but Russia and China.Back in the 19th century, when the term was first coined to describe the bitter rivalry between the world’s major powers for control, it was Britain and its allies who were the main protagonists, as they sought to fight off rival forces, whether they be Imperial Russia or Islamists.Today, however, any remaining hopes that Britain and allies like the United States might have entertained of maintaining a vestige of influence in the region disappeared with the Joe Biden administration’s bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan. At a stroke, the US president brought decades of Western involvement in Central Asia to an ignoble end.In Afghanistan as well as other strategically important countries such as Kazakhstan, the decline in the West’s standing has resulted in new powers, seeking to fill the vacuum.The deepening rivalry, moreover, between Moscow and Beijing for mastery of this vital geographical region raises serious questions about the viability of the alliance which Russia and China claim to have formed as they seek to usurp the established global order created by the world’s democracies.Only last summer, Chinese and Russian forces participated in joint military drills in north-central China, involving around 10,000 ground troops and fighter aircraft. These prompted speculation that the two states were aiming to pool their resources in a bid to counter Western alliances such as the new Aukus pact between the US, UK and Australia.The feasibility of China and Russia forming an effective partnership always, in my view, needed to be treated with a healthy dose of scepticism, not least because of the long-standing rivalry between Moscow and Beijing dating back to the period when they espoused different brands of communist doctrine.The enduring tensions between the two countries were reflected in the complaints made by some of the Russian participants in last year’s Sibu/Cooperation-2021 exercises in China’s Ningxia region, who claimed they were mocked and bullied by their Chinese partners.Now, judging by the scale of Russia’s so-called “peacekeeping” mission in Kazakhstan, Moscow’s rivalry with Beijing for influence in the region of Central Asia has become a key factor in the Kazakh disturbances.While there is evidence that the initial clashes were the result of an internal power struggle between Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s so-called “Father of the Nation” and former long-serving president, and the incumbent, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, China’s growing influence in the country’s affairs helps to explain why Moscow found it necessary to deploy a detachment of elite Spetsnaz paratroopers to help end the violence.The sheer scale of the Russian response, involving an estimated 5,000 troops and an airlift carried out by some 70 planes, suggests that the Kremlin is more concerned about asserting its own authority over a country it regards as part of its “near abroad” of former Soviet-era states than in saving Mr Tokayev’s political skin.Moscow certainly has good reason to fret over the ties between Kazakhstan and China, which date back to the Nazarbayev era and were part of his regime’s attempts to distance itself from Moscow. This has resulted in Kazakhstan supplying China with one fifth of its gas imports, as well as supporting the Chinese economy with supplies of oil and copper.More recently, Beijing has identified Kazakhstan, which provides 40 per cent of global uranium supplies, as a key component of its controversial Belt and Road infrastructure initiative which aims to secure Beijing’s domination of global trade. Nor has Mr Tokayev helped matters by forging closer ties with Beijing and moving away from Kazakhstan’s signature “multi-vector” approach of balancing relations between Russia, China and the West.Clearly, so far as Moscow is concerned, the Kazakh leader’s flirtation with Beijing was a provocation it was not prepared to tolerate, with the result that Russian special forces have been deployed to key locations throughout Kazakhstan in a bid to restore Russian influence. While Mr Tokayev continues to express his gratitude to the Kremlin for its help in putting down what he calls a “coup”, it is clear Vladimir Putin will be the main beneficiary of the Russian intervention.By deploying his so-called “peace-keeping” force, Mr Putin has re-asserted the Kremlin’s ability to interfere in the affairs of ex-Soviet states when it is deemed to be in Moscow’s best interests to do so. He has also sent Beijing an unequivocal message that, while Russia is no match for China economically, it still has the military strength and resolve to defend its interests – especially when it concerns countries that Moscow firmly believes should fall within its own sphere of influence. 



Russia’s alliance with China is beginning to falter

There’s a new Great Game afoot and Putin could not allow Kazakhstan to fall into Beijing’s handsCON COUGHLINDEFENCE EDITOR13 January 2022 • 6:00amCon CoughlinAnew era of the Great Game is afoot in Central Asia, only this time the adversaries competing for power and influence in the region are not Western nations such as Britain and the US, but Russia and China.Back in the 19th century, when the term was first coined to describe the bitter rivalry between the world’s major powers for control, it was Britain and its allies who were the main protagonists, as they sought to fight off rival forces, whether they be Imperial Russia or Islamists.Today, however, any remaining hopes that Britain and allies like the United States might have entertained of maintaining a vestige of influence in the region disappeared with the Joe Biden administration’s bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan. At a stroke, the US president brought decades of Western involvement in Central Asia to an ignoble end.In Afghanistan as well as other strategically important countries such as Kazakhstan, the decline in the West’s standing has resulted in new powers, seeking to fill the vacuum.The deepening rivalry, moreover, between Moscow and Beijing for mastery of this vital geographical region raises serious questions about the viability of the alliance which Russia and China claim to have formed as they seek to usurp the established global order created by the world’s democracies.Only last summer, Chinese and Russian forces participated in joint military drills in north-central China, involving around 10,000 ground troops and fighter aircraft. These prompted speculation that the two states were aiming to pool their resources in a bid to counter Western alliances such as the new Aukus pact between the US, UK and Australia.The feasibility of China and Russia forming an effective partnership always, in my view, needed to be treated with a healthy dose of scepticism, not least because of the long-standing rivalry between Moscow and Beijing dating back to the period when they espoused different brands of communist doctrine.The enduring tensions between the two countries were reflected in the complaints made by some of the Russian participants in last year’s Sibu/Cooperation-2021 exercises in China’s Ningxia region, who claimed they were mocked and bullied by their Chinese partners.Now, judging by the scale of Russia’s so-called “peacekeeping” mission in Kazakhstan, Moscow’s rivalry with Beijing for influence in the region of Central Asia has become a key factor in the Kazakh disturbances.While there is evidence that the initial clashes were the result of an internal power struggle between Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s so-called “Father of the Nation” and former long-serving president, and the incumbent, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, China’s growing influence in the country’s affairs helps to explain why Moscow found it necessary to deploy a detachment of elite Spetsnaz paratroopers to help end the violence.The sheer scale of the Russian response, involving an estimated 5,000 troops and an airlift carried out by some 70 planes, suggests that the Kremlin is more concerned about asserting its own authority over a country it regards as part of its “near abroad” of former Soviet-era states than in saving Mr Tokayev’s political skin.Moscow certainly has good reason to fret over the ties between Kazakhstan and China, which date back to the Nazarbayev era and were part of his regime’s attempts to distance itself from Moscow. This has resulted in Kazakhstan supplying China with one fifth of its gas imports, as well as supporting the Chinese economy with supplies of oil and copper.More recently, Beijing has identified Kazakhstan, which provides 40 per cent of global uranium supplies, as a key component of its controversial Belt and Road infrastructure initiative which aims to secure Beijing’s domination of global trade. Nor has Mr Tokayev helped matters by forging closer ties with Beijing and moving away from Kazakhstan’s signature “multi-vector” approach of balancing relations between Russia, China and the West.Clearly, so far as Moscow is concerned, the Kazakh leader’s flirtation with Beijing was a provocation it was not prepared to tolerate, with the result that Russian special forces have been deployed to key locations throughout Kazakhstan in a bid to restore Russian influence. While Mr Tokayev continues to express his gratitude to the Kremlin for its help in putting down what he calls a “coup”, it is clear Vladimir Putin will be the main beneficiary of the Russian intervention.By deploying his so-called “peace-keeping” force, Mr Putin has re-asserted the Kremlin’s ability to interfere in the affairs of ex-Soviet states when it is deemed to be in Moscow’s best interests to do so. He has also sent Beijing an unequivocal message that, while Russia is no match for China economically, it still has the military strength and resolve to defend its interests – especially when it concerns countries that Moscow firmly believes should fall within its own sphere of influence. 

FoodShare is Preaching Hatred of Whites: Get Your “Dismantling White Supremacy Food Box”, Just $48!

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FoodShare is Preaching Hatred of Whites: Get Your “Dismantling White Supremacy Food Box”, Just $48!

Food justice underpins much of FoodShare’s work and our Food Justice Statement speaks of our work towards dismantling the systemic forms of oppression that exist in the food movement and beyond. From that understanding, the Dismantling White Supremacy Box was designed. 

Black, Indigenous and racialized communities experience higher rates of food insecurity in Toronto and remain under-represented and under-supported in farming. That’s why our Dismantling White Supremacy Box is packed full of local, organic produce grown by farms that are led, run or owned by racialized folks. Help us advance food justice by purchasing this box filled with produce grown by:  

Weekly Contents (October 18 – October 23)

  • 1 bunch parsley**
  • 1 bunch tyme**
  • 1 tomato**
  • 1 bag eggplant mix**
  • 1 bunch chard**
  • 1 bunch perilla**
  • 1 jar pickled binquinho peppersr**
  • 1 bag spinach leaves**

Please note that contents and quantity are subject to change without notice based on produce availability. Your Good Food Box will not look exactly like the one’s pictured.

Check out our recipe ideas using some of the produce that comes in our Dismantling White Supremacy Box here.

Petition for Tony Blair to have his “Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter” rescinded for War Crimes

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Petition for Tony Blair to have his “Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter” rescinded for War Crimes

Angus Scott started this petition to The Prime Minister

Tony Blair is to be knighted with the highest possible ranking in the new year honours list, Buckingham Palace has said.

Sir Tony, who held the keys to No 10 between 1997 and 2007, will be appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.

Tony Blair caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society. He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes.

Tony Blair is the least deserving person of any public honour, particularly anything awarded by Her Majesty the Queen. 

We petition the Prime Minister to petition Her Majesty to have this honour removed.

Am about to post the following on Aletho News which roundly condemned the of the most heinous War Criminal of our age (article attached):
Mr Anthony Blair should honourably decline the knighthood oddly and wrongly bestowed on him by unknown lobbies. He stands accused of misleading Parliament in pretending Saddam had any intention of “attacking British interests in 45 minutes” or at any time. Saddam may have wanted to threaten the Zionist entity for stealing and expanding its dictatorship over the Holy Land using sieges and weapons of mass destruction against undefended Palestinians, but that is not a ‘British interest’. Britain’s interests are in holding the Israeli criminals to the Balfour Declaration which stated that “nothing shall be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…”His co-invasion of Afghanistan was also premised on fake allegations against the country which had no connection to the false-flag attacks on ‘9-11’. It is now well established by Christopher Bollyn and others, that the heist was carried out by Israeli agents and immediately blamed without evidence on Osama bin Laden who was not an Afghan and unlikely to have orchestrated the controlled demolition of the World Trade Centre towers, the Salomon Building (7) and a crucial wing of the Pentagon, where Rabbi Dov Zakhiem’s $2.4B cover-up was being investigated. The Israelis and Blair are traitors to Britain’s trust and they have damaged Her Majesty’s and our Nation’s standing in the world. Blair should be tried and incarcerated in Guantanamo, in place of those innocent tortured souls, as a Genocidal War Criminal for the millions of deaths and tens of millions more injuries, hundreds of thousands of refugees and inestimable economic and physical ruin caused by his complicity in the terrifying invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, using WMD and Depleted Uranium, on false premises devised by Israeli lobbies in Washington and Westminster. Legal Action Against War will re-activate its criminal proceedings against Blair and his henchmen which the Attorney General unfairly vetoed in 2004, before Sir John Chilcot revealed the true extent of their abuse of Public Office in deceiving Parliament, officials and the UN. If British justice is denied again we will re-Petition the International Criminal Court to prosecute the case. — Dr. James Thring