Singapore: Hong Kong Protesters' Demands are Unrealistic

October 21, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) -  It is interesting to note where the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore sits amid the shifting poles of global power between East and West.

Once a British colony, the tiny island nation has since served as a barometer indicating the ebb and flow of Western influence over Asia, and now, the ups and downs of China's emergence as a regional and global power.

As China's rises regionally and globally, Singapore has shrewdly positioned itself to both benefit from its rise, while continuing to cultivate useful ties with the West. This creates a balance of interests that work to prevent any one nation from gaining too much influence over (or within) Singapore.

Singapore's view regarding ongoing protests in China's Hong Kong region is a good example that reflects these dynamics, with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong undermining the narratives the Western media has been spinning for the unrest.

Singapore's PM is Right 

Bloomberg in its article, "Hong Kong Protest Demands Are Unrealistic, Singapore PM Says," reported:
Protesters in Hong Kong are making unrealistic demands in an effort to take down the government, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. 

“Those are not demands which are meant to be a program to solve Hong Kong’s problems,” Lee said at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore on Wednesday. “Those are demands which are intended to humiliate and bring down the government. And then what?”
Firstly, Prime Minister Lee is entirely right.

The protests, confirmed to be the work of foreign interests seeking to undermine and destabilise China, seek only to tear down the current government with no practical plan for what will replace it.

Prime Minister Lee's "and then what?" perfectly summarises the blind, raw emotions driving many of the protesters and the malign agenda of the protest's leadership who has stirred up unrest in the streets to begin with.

The supposed "and then what" many protest leaders have suggested is the notion of Hong Kong "independence." It is a notion that is entirely disconnected from reality, with the region's economy and demographics deeply and irreversibly tied to the rest of China. Beijing is also in no way ever to accept such a notion, and certainly not lacking the ability to prevent it from ever happening.

"Independence" and the following repercussions it would have on Hong Kong would leave the region, its people and economy suffering alongside the many other disasters unfolding in the wake of Washington's "democracy promotion" such as in Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen.

As protesters grow more violent and akin to terrorists, it certainly seems their only goal is to "humiliate and bring down the government." Nothing remotely realistic or constructive can be observed among the protesters' actions or demands. 

Singapore Prioritising Ties to Beijing

Secondly, Prime Minster Lee's casting the protests in a more realistic and far less flattering light, contradicts the heroic and entirely fantastical light the Western media has portrayed them in. This can be interpreted as Singapore prioritising its ties with Beijing over Washington, London and Brussels, a prioritisation Singapore's leadership usually makes based on carefully thought-out, informed consideration.

US Ditches Kurdish Proxies in Syria

October 20, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - As US troops flee northeast Syria - they leave behind their Kurdish proxies to face an uncertain future at the hands of approaching Turkish troops. Reports of Turkish forces entering Syria dominated news headlines - followed by Western op-eds trading blame for America's failed policy in Syria.

Absent from these headlines is any mention of how Washington deliberately engineered and executed this war against Syria - beginning in 2011 through the use of proxies including Al Qaeda and its affiliates - escalating in 2014 with the illegal invasion and occupation of Syria by US troops themselves - to Washington's unravelling fortunes now.

For example, Washington Post's Josh Rogin can now be seen across social media hand-wringing over alleged atrocities committed against America's abandoned Kurds - atrocities he and the Washington Post spent years covering up, spinning, or even defending when committed by these same forces against the Syrian Army.

America Abandons its Kurds 

For Kurds who aided and abetted US machinations in Syria - regardless of how the conflict ended - it was a miscalculation on their part.

Syrian Kurds were certainly not going to be the first US proxy in history to actually benefit from a US-led war aimed at destroying the nation they resided in. Just as the US has done in Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya - Syria was slated for dismemberment - with friend and foe alike left amid a failed, dysfunctional state that would burn around them and require decades to rebuild.

And this would have been the "best" case scenario.

The worst case scenario is that the US would abandon its proxies - possibly even betraying them in exchange for entirely self-serving concessions.

Foreign Policy magazine which at one point during the Syrian conflict featured an article titled, "Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists: So the rebels aren't secular Jeffersonians. As far as America is concerned, it doesn't much matter," - a contribution to a Western media campaign at the time defending US-support for Al Qaeda in Syria - has more recently featured an op-ed penned by Kurdish military commander Mazloum Abdi.

Titled, "If We Have to Choose Between Compromise and Genocide, We Will Choose Our People," the op-ed declares:
We believe in democracy as a core concept, but in light of the invasion by Turkey and the existential threat its attack poses for our people, we may have to reconsider our alliances. The Russians and the Syrian regime have made proposals that could save the lives of millions of people who live under our protection.
The op-ed ends by claiming:
The reason we allied ourselves with the United States is our core belief in democracy. We are disappointed and frustrated by the current crisis. Our people are under attack, and their safety is our paramount concern. Two questions remain: How can we best protect our people? And is the United States still our ally?
Its hard to believe a successful military commander could be so politically naive as to think the US stands for democracy or that the US has allies rather than interests it merely uses proxies like the Kurds to advance. The fact that the very same publication featuring Mazloum Abdi's op-ed had at one time eagerly promoted the extremists now descending upon his Kurdish fighters should aptly answer his final question as to whether or not the US is "still" - or ever was - his ally.

VIDEO: Expert Explanation of US Meddling in Hong Kong

October 19, 2019 (LD) - Independent journalist Dan Cohen provides an expert explanation of US meddling in Hong Kong in the video below - exposing the steady stream of propaganda emerging from the US and other Western powers directly involved in engineering and perpetuating growing violence aimed at undermining China's sovereignty and stability.

A more indepth article can be found here, via The Grayzone

US Finally Bombs French Factory in Syria Infamous for Funding ISIS

October 17, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - As spectacular and indicative of America's sinking fortunes in Syria as its bombing of its own military base in northern Syria was - it is also an indicator of something else much more sinister.

CNN in its article, "US conducts airstrike on weapons storage site as troops pull out of Syria," notes that (emphasis added):
"On Oct. 16, after all Coalition personnel and essential tactical equipment departed, two Coalition F-15Es successfully conducted a pre-planned precision airstrike at the Lafarge Cement Factory to destroy an ammunition cache, and reduce the facility's military usefulness," US Army Col. Myles Caggins, a spokesman for the US-led military coalition fighting ISIS, confirmed in a statement Wednesday.
And indeed the airstrike eliminated the facility's military usefulness once and for all.

Larfarge Facility Served ISIS, then US Occupation of Syrian Territory 

Missing from CNN's article was the long and dubious backstory of the Lafarge facility.

In a 2018 Guardian article titled, "Lafarge charged with complicity in Syria crimes against humanity," it was reported that the company had paid terrorists including members of the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) millions of Euros in protection money, bought supplies from them, and may even have sold cement to them.

The article noted:
The French cement giant Lafarge was charged on Thursday with complicity in crimes against humanity and financing terrorists, for allegedly paying millions to jihadists, including the Islamic State group, to keep a factory open in war-torn Syria.
The article also noted:
A source close to the inquiry said investigators also suspected that Lafarge sold cement to Isis. 
Worse still - as early as 2014 the French government was in contact with Washington in a bid to have the facility spared despite its central role in aiding, abetting, and providing material support to ISIS and other terrorist organizations in Syria.

A 2018 Reuters article titled, "Exclusive: France asked U.S. not to bomb Lafarge factory in Syria in 2014 - emails," would admit:
France asked the United States in 2014 not to bomb a Lafarge cement plant in northern Syria, an area which was at the time controlled by Islamic State, emails that are part of an investigation into the company’s Syria operations show.
While Reuters attempts to question whether or not the US knew the facility was aiding and abetting terrorist organizations it is inconceivable that Washington would be unable to unlock the "mystery" as to how a Western corporation was still able to do business in the heart of ISIS-occupied territory.

With ISIS mostly defeated where the facility is located and with Syrian forces prepared to retake the area it is located in - only then did the US decide to eliminate the facility after serving for years - first in support of US-backed terrorists - then the US' own illegal occupation of Syrian territory.

While documented evidence ranging from the US' own Defense Intelligence Agency to leaked e-mails written by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirms the rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria was the result of extensive and deliberate state-backing from the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar - the fact that the US only destroyed a facility serving ISIS and Al Qaeda when it became clear it would never be able to be used by them again - adds further light to the truth of Washington's deliberate and central role in engineering, executing, and perpetuating the devastating war in Syria.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that forces taking over where Lafarge's facility was located will undoubtedly be tasked with fighting the remnants of or state-sponsored resurgence of ISIS and Al Qaeda in the near future - minus a key facility that would have helped them do so.

From the beginning of the conflict when the French government refused to have a facility destroyed it and its US allies knew was aiding and abetting terrorists - to America's destruction of the facility to deny its and the surrounding base's resources to Syrian forces tasked with preventing ISIS and Al Qaeda's resurgence - the facility is a symbol of the West's malicious and insidious state-sponsorship of terrorism in their failed proxy war against Damascus.

Follow Tony Cartalucci on VK here.    

Huawei Moving on Without Google?

October 17, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - Huawei's flagship smartphone, the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro, launched without Google products being available on it due to US restrictions against Chinese companies (and specifically against Huawei itself).

Contrary to what many have speculated, Huawei has not developed its "own operating system" for its phones but is instead simply using an open source version of Google's Android. This means that Android applications will still be available to Huawei users and they will still use their phones as normal, but they will have to acquire applications through Huawei's AppGallery rather than through Google Play.

CNET in a recent article titled, "Huawei Mate 30 Pro ditches Google Apps, keeps Android. Why it matters," would explain:
The phones will ship with state-of-the-art hardware, including four rear cameras, but without full Android support. The Mate 30 phones are based on Android open source, meaning they will still function like Androids. What they won't have, though, is Google services or apps. No Google Maps, no Google Chrome and, most importantly, no Google Play Store. 

Instead, you'll surf the web through the Huawei Browser and download apps through the Huawei AppGallery. The AppGallery has around 45,000 apps, according to Huawei, compared to the Google Play Store's estimated 2.7 million. Google typically licenses the latest version of Android, currently Android 10, for phone manufacturers to use. The Mate 30 phones will instead be powered by open-source Android and run EMUI 10, Huawei's user interface that approximates Google's Android 10.
Huawei's latest phone is expected to sell well within China's domestic markets but its future beyond Chinese borders is in question.

Will users buy a phone they cannot use Google's seemingly ubiquitous services on? Tech publications across the Western World have been pondering this question as well as Huawei's future prospects in light of US restrictions and the looming trade war.

In a wider context, how will this seemingly pivotal moment for Huawei impact its global market share or that of Chinese businesses in general?

Leaving Google Behind

Executive Director and CEO of Huawei Business Group, Richard Yu, has stated that Huawei and Google have a strong partnership and that the current and growing complications Huawei faces is a direct result of the US government's doing, Forbes would report.

It is obvious that for Huawei continuing to use Google's Android operating system on its phones and being able to work with Google would be most beneficial for the company at least in the short term. In the long term Huawei may eventually be poised to compete directly with Google or eventually overtake it with its own version of popular Google products.

Many analysts seem to believe this is the impetus driving US restrictions in the first place; American firms being unable to compete head-to-head with their Chinese counterparts and the US using its still potent economic primacy to sabotage China's economic ascension (and that of specific Chinese firms) for as long as possible.

No matter what Huawei's executives really think about Google or Google of them, it appears inevitable that Huawei will at the very least be positioned in the near future to challenge Google's control over Android as well as its primacy over e-mail, map applications and other features the global public have until now turned to Google for.

The US, by restricting Huawei's access to Google services, seems to have only hastened that day, forcing the Chinese tech giant to rapidly invest in, develop and promote alternatives. Whatever shortcomings its own version of Android may face in the short term, Huawei certainly has the resources to hire the developers required to create their own security updates and hardware support in the near future.