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99 Lead Balloons… Are About To Come Crashing Down

99 Lead Balloons… Are About To Come Crashing Down

‘Lead balloon.’ That graphic description of public failure apparently dates from the US in 1924, and ironically was itself such a poorly-received idiom that it didn’t appear in the American press again until 1947. A few decades later, and the phrase was so well known that a derivative of it inspired one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Today, 99 lead balloons fill our sky.

To illustrate the point I don’t even have to look at headlines about the US-China trade war – though I could pick any number of them showing how serious this is getting, and how global the impact is likely to be. My favourite today contains a quote from a US semiconductor maker who states We’re too far into free trade that the world cannot have countries not trading.” Sorry mate, 1913 called and wants its ‘Great Illusion’ back; indeed, reports are that China’s surveillance camera-maker Hikvision is next in the US firing line. Standing with me not on the side of the (Norman) Angells is Eli Lake writing for Bloomberg, who argues The tech cold war has begun. To which I can only say: It’s about time. If this ban is just a bit of brinkmanship designed to pry a better trade deal out of Beijing, however, then it’s a blunder. The national security implications raised by Huawei’s technology transcend any trade dispute.” And while US tech is in the headlines, so is US farming, where federal subsidies are set to rise sharply to offset trade-war pain.

I could choose from a series of stories in Turkey, where the authorities are both trying to prop up the currency and cutting rates at the same time(?), as well as about to clash with the US and NATO allies again over their preferred choice of anti-aircraft defence system in a major way.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Cyber wars and all that

Cyber wars and all that 

Behind the Huawei story, we must not forget there is a wider financial war being waged by America against China and Russia. Stories about China’s banks being short of dollars are incorrect: the shortage is of inward capital flows to support the US Government’s budget deficit. By attracting those global portfolio flows instead, China’s Belt and Road Initiative threatens US Government finances, so the financial war and associated disinformation can be expected to escalate. Hong Kong is likely to be in the firing line, due to its role in providing China with access to international finance.

Introduction

Huawei is hitting the headlines. From ordering the arrest of its Chief Financial Officer in Vancouver last December to the latest efforts to dissuade its allies from adopting Huawei’s 5G mobile technology, it has been a classic deep state operation by the Americans. Admittedly, the Chinese have left themselves open to attack by introducing a loosely-drafted cybersecurity law in 2016/17 which according to Western defence circles appears to require all Chinese technology companies to cooperate with Chinese intelligence services. 

Consequently, no one now knows whether to trust Huawei, who have some of the leading technology for 5G. The problem for network operators is who to believe. Intelligence services are in the business of dissembling, which they do through political puppets, all of which are professionals at being economical with the truth. Who can forget Weapons of Mass Destruction? More recently there was the Skripal poisoning mystery: the Russians would have been bang-to-rights, if it wasn’t for Skripal’s links through Pablo Miller to Christopher Steele, who put together the dodgy dossier on Trump’s alleged behaviour in a Russian hotel.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Real Reason Trump Wants to Ban Huawei: US Wants to Spy and China Won’t Cooperate

Real Reason Trump Wants to Ban Huawei: US Wants to Spy and China Won’t Cooperate

The UK, Germany, India, and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries resisting US pressure to Ban Huawei.

The New York Times reports U.S. Campaign to Ban Huawei Overseas Stumbles as Allies Resist.

Over the past several months, American officials have tried to pressure, scold and, increasingly, threaten other nations that are considering using Huawei in building fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has pledged to withhold intelligence from nations that continue to use Chinese telecom equipment. The American ambassador to Germany cautioned Berlin this month that the United States would curtail intelligence sharing if that country used Huawei.

But the campaign has run aground. Britain, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries signaling they are unlikely to back the American effort to entirely ban Huawei from building their 5G networks. While some countries like Britain share the United States’ concerns, they argue that the security risks can be managed by closely scrutinizing the company and its software.

The United States is not ready to admit defeat, but its campaign has suffered from what foreign officials say is a scolding approach and a lack of concrete evidence that Huawei poses a real risk. It has also been hampered by a perception among European and Asian officials that President Trump may not be fully committed to the fight.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly undercut his own Justice Department, which unveiled sweeping criminal indictments against Huawei and its chief financial officer with accusations of fraud, sanctions evasion and obstruction of justice. Mr. Trump has suggested that the charges could be dropped as part of a trade deal with China. The president previously eased penalties on another Chinese telecom firm accused of violating American sanctions, ZTE, after a personal appeal by President Xi Jinping of China.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trade War Deepens: China Bans Canadian Canola Shipments Amid Soaring Diplomatic Tensions

Trade War Deepens: China Bans Canadian Canola Shipments Amid Soaring Diplomatic Tensions

Canada’s largest grain processor said Tuesday that Beijing has canceled its registration to ship canola seed to China, fueled by the arrest of a top executive for the Chinese tech giant Huawei, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The move suggests that rising diplomatic tensions between China and Canada are damaging commerce between the two countries. Tensions have already crushed hopes that senior officials in Ottawa and Beijing would develop further trade ties.

The import ban against Richardson International Ltd. is due to a series of Chinese non-compliance notices declaring some shipments of canola seed from Canada were contaminated with “hazardous pests.” Canadian officials disputed that claim.

“I am very concerned by what we’ve heard has happened to Richardson. We do not believe there’s any scientific basis for this,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in Montreal.

“We are working very, very hard with the Chinese government on this issue.”

Revoking the import license comes as Canada is advancing an extradition hearing for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. She was arrested in early December by the Canadain government at the request of the Trump administration, where she was wanted on fraud charges. 

The Canola Council of Canada, located in Winnipeg, told the Journal that Richardson is a major player in the country’s canola seed to China.

Derek Brewin, a professor of agriculture economics at the University of Manitoba, said the Canadian agricultural and food manufacturing company easily controls 20% of total Canadian export capacity for grains and oilseeds.

The canola council said 40% of the industry’s exports end up in China.

Canada’s agriculture department said the country’s top agricultural export to China is canola seed, with sales valued at $2.05 billion per annum.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Outraged At Arrest Of Huawei CFO, Warns It Will “Take All Measures”

So much for a trade war truce between China and the US, or a stock market Christmas rally for that matter.

Shortly after the news hit that Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng — also deputy chairwoman and the daughter of Huawei’s founder — was arrested on December 1, or right around the time Trump and Xi were having dinner in Buenos Aires last Saturday, and faces extradition to the U.S. as a result of a DOJ investigation into whether the Chinese telecom giant sold gear to Iran despite sanctions on exports to the region, China immediately lodged a formal protest publishing a statement at its embassy in Canada, and demanding the U.S. and its neighbor “rectify wrongdoings” and free Meng, warning it would “closely follow the development of the issue” and will “take all measures” to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.

Full statement below:

Remarks of the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Canada on the issue of a Chinese citizen arrested by the Canadian side

At the request of the US side, the Canadian side arrested a Chinese citizen not violating any American or Canadian law. The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim. The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms. Meng Wanzhou.

We will closely follow the development of the issue and take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.

Meng’s arrest will immediately heighten tensions between Washington and Beijing just days after the world’s two largest economies agreed on a truce in their growing trade conflict.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trade Truce? Think Again: Canadian Authorities Arrest CFO of Huawei Technologies

At the request of the US, Canadian Authorities arrest Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei Technologies, over Iran sanctions viol

Trade Truce? Deal with China in 90 days?

Think again on both counts: Canadian Authorities Arrest CFO of Huawei Technologies at U.S. Request

A spokesman for Canada’s justice department said Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 and is sought for extradition by the U.S. A bail hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, according to the spokesman. Ms. Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, serves as the company’s CFO and deputy chairwoman.

Ms. Meng’s arrest comes amid a year-long U.S. government campaign against a company it views as a national-security threat. In the past year, Washington has taken a series of steps to restrict Huawei’s business on American soil and, more recently, launched an extraordinary international outreach campaign to persuade allied countries to enact similar curbs.

U.S. authorities have suspected Huawei’s alleged involvement in Iranian sanctions violations since at least 2016, when the U.S. investigated ZTE Corp. , Huawei’s smaller Chinese rival, over similar violations. The Commerce Department released internal ZTE documents that showed the company studied how a rival identified only as “F7” had conducted similar business.

“China will see this as an escalation against Huawei and as an extraterritorial rendition,” said James Mulvenon, general manager at defense contractor SOS International. “There will be tremendous domestic pressure in China to get her back.”

Huawei is the world’s biggest maker of equipment for cellular towers, internet networks and related telecommunications infrastructure. It is also the world’s No. 2 smartphone brand.

Some of America’s closest allies, including most of the countries in the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing pact among English-speaking countries, have followed the nation’s lead.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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