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Archive for June, 2013

Finally, a “cogent” argument why Edward Snowden is a traitor to America

June 27th, 2013 26 comments

At this point, the dominant narrative in the American media on Edward Snowden is undoubtedly him being a traitor. The reason for a turn for the ‘worse’ is Snowden revealing to the world, especially to China and Hong Kong, how the United States hack their universities, public officials, and tapping into Pacnet, the major backbone of the Internet for the whole Asia region and stealing SMS and other communications. Kurt Eichenwald argued recently on that point, and major American reporters on Twitter are lauding that line of thinking as “cogent” and a “must read.” The idea there is that NSA’s ability to spy and hack the Chinese (and Russians and other countries the United States may get into conflict with) is severely compromised. If Snowden had kept to whistle-blowing only on the surveillance of Americans, the debate about whether he is a traitor would have continued. Since he divulged American spying and hacking capabilities to potential enemies, he has become a traitor. I buy that argument. Read more…

America’s Free Media Self-Censors Snowden Asylum Letter

June 26th, 2013 10 comments

You’d think after all the “traitor” media narrative and digging hard for evidence of Edward Snowden’s espionage link with China, Snowden’s own words on why he is seeking political asylum would make the news – well guess again:

Google News search using Snowden aslym request text


Read more…

Categories: media, News Tags: ,

NSA – Your Creepy National Stalkers Anonymous Roommate Who Made You Into a Worse Person

June 26th, 2013 No comments

NSA cable guyIt is kind of funny, but I always thought NSA stood for “National Stalkers Anonymous,” a collection of recovering/rehabilitated/repurposed Stalkers who used to be those creepy guys who keep track of everyone’s personal lives, and who ended up working for the government.

Because really, that’s kind of what they always did.

Read more…

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U.S. – Hong Kong Extradition Treaty (1997)

June 25th, 2013 1 comment

Took me a while, but I finally found the text of the U.S. – Hong Kong Extradition Treaty (1997) from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

A copy of the pdf is provided below.

hongkong-us-extradition-treaty-1997

The Senate Notes here provides a good summary of (and background information surrounding) the treaty.

 

Edward Snowden – HH’s Truth Sayer of 2013

June 25th, 2013 25 comments

Edward J. Snowden – HH’s Truth Sayer of 2013.

 

Snowden Truth

A man who said Truth, while others did not.

Snowden did not claim to stand for, nor pronounced that he had solutions with, some vaguely noble sounding ideals or philosophies, like Democracy, or Hope.

He just stood up and revealed undeniable facts, secrets that Governments were willing to pay or kill for.

He did not say to the People, You should do this.

He just said to the World, you should KNOW this.

With mere 4 pages, he said what many of us long suspected but either could not say or were afraid to say.

For him, it was 1 simple choice, either say something, or say nothing.

And because he said something, he is the Truth Sayer of 2013.  What followed afterwards does not matter and should not matter.

Governments can lock him up, that would not change the Truth of what Snowden revealed.

He may be a hero or a villain, that would not change the Truth of what Snowden revealed.

If it takes a villain to speak the Truth in this World, then we live in a World of Lies.

 

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Putin talks to Russia Today about NSA, Iran, and American mindset

June 24th, 2013 5 comments

Have you thought to yourself, “man, this talk about freedom, God, human rights, and we are for good while people we don’t like are evil has become so trite and boring?!” I actually thought the following round-table of Vladimir Putin dishing out his views on America refreshingly interesting. I have my opinions, but I often wished American politicians would be equally willing to be frank about how they feel towards certain issues in practical terms rather coated with so much righteous non-sense.

Categories: politics Tags:

US Botches Extradition, Snowden Goes to Russia, Ignorant Media Accusations Fly

June 23rd, 2013 41 comments

Sometimes, a story is not a story, because it is inevitable, except for the ignorant accusations that demonstrate how one side is completely filled with hot air and not much competence.

Such is the case of the dramatic “escape” of Edward Snowden from HK to Russia (of all places).

It was expected, because even US probably anticipated some kind of Snowden escape, to somewhere.

Hence, US appeared to be in a great rush to put a stop to it a week ago.  Except, as usual, a rush often produces mistakes, big mistakes.  And as usual, no one want to claim responsibility for the mistakes, just want to blame everyone else.

What is now becoming much clearer, is how Vengeful and Childish Western Democracies can be to punish any individual who speak out against them.

Read more…

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NYU and China Aid Fight Over Cheng Guangcheng And The “Human Rights” Turf

June 21st, 2013 18 comments

Chen GuangchengThe American Left hates China, the Right hates China, and Chen Guangcheng is stuck in the middle of two very passionate groups gunning to be the thought leader of America’s democracy battles and the war on China’s soul (or lack of):

– Last week, Chen Guangcheng accused NYU of kicking him out due to pressure from the Chinese government over NYU’s Shanghai campus plan.
Read more…

Toward a Japan-Anchored Asian Order?

June 20th, 2013 44 comments

Singh+AbePeter Lee wrote an interesting piece at Asia Times titled “India places its Asian bet on Japan” today regarding his take of India’s recent rapprochement with Japan. Before reading this piece, I had regarded Singh’s recent trip to Japan as nothing much more than two second-rate power trying to form a second-rate alliance against a perceived first-rate power. But perhaps there is something more…

Here is an excerpt of Lee’s article: Read more…

The Snowden Question: If the West Doesn’t Give Refuge, Who Will?

June 16th, 2013 49 comments

As I have compared and contrasted before, the US can be particularly vicious and relentless, when it comes to hunting its “fugitives”, such as Bobby Fischer, etc..  And it really doesn’t matter how long Bobby Fischer went on the run, the US government doesn’t have much of a history of forgiving (unless you are an elite campaign contributor, which often will get your a presidential pardon).

And in this respect, I doubt very much that any Western nations are willing or capable of giving refuge to a man like Snowden.

UK has even gone to the length to ordering Air Lines to NOT fly Snowden to UK.  (Interesting, what if Snowden lands on the Falkland Island?)

But who can give refuge to “fugitives” from the West??

Many are poo-pooing the idea of Hong Kong giving Snowden refuge, saying that HK is not really independent.  True enough.  But deep down right now, there is a special kind of irony in HK, where many “Democracy” devotees are hoping and wishing that China will give mercy where the West would not.

Read more…

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NSA PRISM Program Linked to Creation of “No Fly List” And “Drone Kill List”

June 15th, 2013 7 comments

Earlier, I suggest that NSA put the effectiveness of the PRISM program to the test, by performing something easier, like fixing the “No Fly List”, long plagued by inaccuracies.

As it turns out, I spoke too soon.  I thought about it some more, and I realized that an obvious RESULT of the PRISM program would be a “No Fly List.”

As it turns out, the PRISM program was actually partly responsible for the creation and generation of the “No Fly List”, as recently confirmed by an Ex-NSA, Bill Binney, who claimed that he was the creator of PRISM 1.0.

http://www.thebostonliberal.com/video-nsa-whistleblower-and-creator-of-prism-recently-spoke-at-mit-33909/

Not just that, PRISM is also linked to the creation of the “Drone Kill List” (which at least gets vetted by humans).

Is this linked to the President’s “kill list?”

Yes. And the no fly list. Senator Kerry from MA was accidentally placed on the list and it took him two years to get off of it.  Can you imagine what a regular person would have to go through?  And don’t forget, drones are not precision weaponry. They have a large kill radius.  A lot of people die who aren’t targeted.

Read more…

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If NSA’s Cyber-Snooping Is So Effective, Why Can’t It Do Any Thing Vaguely Useful? Like (Pour Me a Beer or) Fix No-Fly List

June 14th, 2013 2 comments

I saw a funny clip of comedian Lewis Black on the Daily Show the other day.  When discussing Microsoft’s new Kinect system that can interpret user expressions and even skin changes, Lewis raised a middle finger, and told Microsoft to “F* off”.  Then, when a follow up clip showed that some guy built a robot that determine when a person needed beer refill, and pour beer for that person, based on Kinect system’s computer vision, Lewis sarcastically but humbly apologized to Microsoft, and said, any amount of privacy is worth sacrificing, if you can get a robot to pour me a beer.

Then, I thought today, hey, why couldn’t NSA use their cyber-snooping for something actually useful?

For example, if that PRISM is so powerful and so useful, why is the “No Fly List” still so screwed up??  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/10/left-behind-by-no-fly-list/

Read more…

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What Snowden Affair Teaches About Corruption, Trust, and Government in the World

June 13th, 2013 18 comments

Corruption thrives in an atmosphere of low trust.  When people trust their fellow citizens, they are more likely to behave honestly toward them.

Corruption is high when generalized trust is low and particularized trust is strong, as Gambetta argues for the Italian Mafia.  Particularized trust makes it easier for people to cheat people who are different from themselves.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CE0QFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bsos.umd.edu%2Fgvpt%2Fuslaner%2Fuslanertrustandcorruptiontransition.ppt&ei=4Mi5UeTQLtHH4APVxoGIAg&usg=AFQjCNHuQqBga3jkQWdI_TH9Updcub114Q&sig2=obTlmuBSbcYfV9ZAekdqYQ

uslanertrustandcorruptiontransition

Snowden and other leakers in the West are showing the festering wounds of Democracies obsessed with “accountability” and transparency.

Read more…

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Film Review: “Free China: The Courage to Believe”

June 12th, 2013 9 comments

Free China: the Courage to BelieveThis weekend, I went to see “Free China: The Courage to Believe“. This hourlong movie by Michael Perlman, who previously directed “Tibet: Beyond Fear”, boasts a few awards from some small indie, human rights, and “awareness” festivals. Like the similarly propagandistic but much less affordable Shen Yun dance performance, Falun Gong foot soldiers had plastered posters and postcards for the film in Chinese restaurants, on storefront windows, and on public information boards. Yet despite the heavy-handed advertising, it’s not often that a movie covering the broad subject of China comes to English-speaking audiences. Could this film be something other than a rehashed collection of dehumanizing stereotypes about the Chinese government? I set out to find out. Read more…

What Snowden Hasn’t Revealed, Piecing Together The Much Bigger US Surveillance Picture

June 12th, 2013 15 comments

As reports and interviews are rolling in just the last few days, NSA insider Edward Snowden has revealed and confirmed some details of the US surveillance and cyber-espionage machinery.  A picture is emerging from the pieces, but until we see the rest of the 37 pages of the NSA powerpoint document, it will be hard for us to assess the nature of the US intelligence service.

But still, I like to offer a few speculations based upon what we currently heard.

Read more…

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US Spy Agencies Hacking Networks Globally, 61,000 Operations! (Snowden Dishes More Dirt)

June 12th, 2013 19 comments

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/edward-snowden-interview-nsa-hacking-operations-92658.html

Perhaps we are getting to the real juicy bit of Edward Snowden’s knowledge, perhaps he’s dangling some bait and posturing, but he has given new details about something that many already suspected is true:  US conducts massive amounts of cyber-espionage in the world.

NSA alone, says Snowden, conducts 61,000 ops globally currently, and has been hacking into China (including HK) for years.  For what purpose, who knows, there aren’t that many terrorist groups to go after.  That can only mean that US is conducting cyber-espionage on pretty much every nation on Earth, with China on top of the list.

Read more…

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Cult of personality mindset and Xi Jinping (aside)

June 12th, 2013 12 comments

dalailamacult_b

 

You’ve ever noticed how many American news personalities and pundits always talk about personality when they are comparing Xi Jinping with his predecessor Hu Jintao? Hu is described as lacking in this while Xi is often described as having more of it. See this latest Charlie Rose interview with Richard McGregor on the latest meeting between Xi and Obama and notice McGregor’s comments about Xi and Hu. His comments are really common in the media when addressing Xi (also see here and here for some more examples). Xi’s physical appearance also seems to get a lot of attention. Whether Xi has more “personality” than Hu is true or not is not my concern. What is my concern is the focus on such a nebulous thing as personality. Why is it so important to Americans? Many of our presidents had been elected out of personality. The last two, Bush and Obama, being good examples. Many politicians try to drum up or manufacture their personal attributes and try to create images that appeal to Americans. Americans are deeply concerned with character and judge others by it. Unfortunately people do this all over the world including China (such as the cult of Mao) but it seems especially a matter of emphasis in the USA and the west.

Read more…

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The Psychology Of “Something Completely Different”

June 11th, 2013 3 comments

“And now for something completely different….”  So started many of Flying Circus’ funniest moments.

In a way, that was the simple slogan of yearning in all of us for “something completely different” in the world we live in.  Something we could see, experience, or do.

I thought of that phrase recently, when I read about Edward Snowden, the NSA surveillance program leaker/defector/informant/traitor/hero/villain/whatever.  Yes, there are many words to describe Mr. Snowden now in the last few days.  I try to come up with a truly accurate term for him, and the only thing I could think of is that Snowden is just “Something completely different,” because he has done the “something completely different.”

Read more…

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Inevitable: US Spy Program Leaker Escapes to Hong Kong, Other Aftermath, How It Might Play Out

June 10th, 2013 47 comments

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-nsa-prism-scandal-20130609,0,934854,full.story

In routine criminal cases, unlike this one, Hong Kong had shown a willingness in recent years to extradite people to face charges in the United States, he said.

In the video, Snowden said that “Hong Kong has a strong tradition of free speech.”

Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997, but still enjoys some autonomy in business and governmental functions.

However, under Hong Kong’s Fugitives Offenders Ordinance, Beijing can issue an “instruction” to the city’s leader to take or not take action on extraditions where the interests of China “in matters of defense or foreign affairs would be significantly affected.”

Edward Snowden interview

Read more…

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Prism and U.S. Internet Giant’s Denial

June 9th, 2013 6 comments

Now that the U.S. President Obama has publicly acknowledged the existence of PRISM, it is interesting to see executives from America’s Internet giants such as Google’s Larry Page saying he has no knowledge of it. It is mind-boggling that he could say that while in 2012 alone, 1856 electronic surveillance and physical searches were approved with NONE denied by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

As I have written in the past, it is Google’s business interest to align with the current U.S. strategy on “Internet freedom.” The idea there is simple: make sure every citizen in every county have unfettered access to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other U.S.-based Internet services. It’s great for business. It’s also great for NSA to freely tap into foreign national’s private emails and everything else.

Perhaps all those 1856 instances in 2012 were of U.S. national security interest, but for each not, it is tantamount to the U.S. government hacking into private stuff of foreign nationals – with Google, Facebook, etc assisting. With knowledge about Prism, governments around the planet will likely be discouraging their citizens from using foreign Internet services.

So, here again, for some who espouse a “free” Internet, the intent is not truly free. The Chinese government by blocking some of these services has proven once again they are prescient.

Categories: Opinion Tags:

The Fallacy of the Modern “Culturists” Concept

June 7th, 2013 2 comments

Cul´tur`ist

n. 1. A cultivator.
2. One who is an advocate of culture.

The culturists, by which term I mean not those who esteem culture (as what intelligent man does not ) but those its exclusive advocates who recommend it as the panacea for all the ills of humanity, for its effects in cultivating the whole man.

– J. C. Shairp

What Shairp eluded to was the “Culturist” who, on the positive side saw “culture” as a magic cure for every problem.  But at the same, by implication, the “culturist” blamed every problem on the lack of certain types of “culture” (the good kind), or even held prejudice against certain other “cultures”.

Shairp’s voice of disdain is unmistakable.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Campbell_Shairp

But Shairp was not alone.

Read more…

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Did Michelle Obama Do a Political Snub On Peng Liyuan?

June 7th, 2013 28 comments

The Chinese blogsphere is rife with indignation on how Michelle Obama pulled a Political Snub On Peng Liyuan.  Apparently, Michelle decided to attend her daughter’s 12th birthday party in Washington instead of be in California to host Liyuan for the pivotal bilateral meeting between presidents’ Obama and Xi.

Here is a report from Sky News, with quotes from Chinese netizens.

Michelle Obama ‘Snubs’ China’s Peng Liyuan

Michelle Obama’s decision to attend her daughter’s birthday party rather than meet China’s First Lady may be a missed opportunity.

obamapeng

In the world of international diplomacy, the relationship between leaders’ wives can be just as important as the relationship between the leaders themselves. Read more…

A note on “cultural relativism”

June 7th, 2013 14 comments

I’ve noticed a trend among some commentators and bloggers at HH. As you know, some of my past posts have been at odds some of your views regarding things such as some modern characteristics of Chinese people. While I believe it’s often quite uncivilized and harmful (and I think you’d be surprised at how many Chinese in China will affirm what I have said because it is so obvious to anyone who has been here for a long time), some comments suggested that “outsiders” such as myself can’t judge them because different cultural values are incommensurable and judgments using one set of values can’t be applied to judge another set of values.

Read more…

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Rediscovering Chinese “Rote Memorization”

June 5th, 2013 23 comments

It turns out, Western critics of Chinese “Rote Memorization” methods may have been proven wrong by Western educators.  Not surprising, critics were far too quick to jump to conclusions of what’s bad in education, while without really understanding the education process in depth.

Many recent year researches from educators have shown that “repeated reading” of learning material increases comprehension, (not just memorization).

http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract55

Without admitting or comparing similarities of the “repeated reading” methods to traditional Chinese education methods, the education researchers shown benefits of such methods, which the ancient Chinese educators made popular (sometime around the Han Dynasty).

http://books.google.com/books?id=ZFXyhc3uvksC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=repeated+reading+chinese&source=bl&ots=zuxMQT4dno&sig=-9L5Y3lYHUBj_J1b5VMj-5DWtDk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=b9KvUdbmBNS14AO8voDIAQ&ved=0CHsQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=repeated%20reading%20chinese&f=false

Read more…

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Remembering June 4th

June 4th, 2013 58 comments

A friend of mine who lives in Shanghai wrote a quick WeChat update today:

“今天64,缅怀一下当年为自由民主牺牲的青年”

which roughly translates to:

“Today is June 4th. Let’s pay homage to those young Chinese who perished in the cause of freedom and democracy.”

(For an in-depth article on June 4th, read “Let’s Talk About Tiananmen Square, 1989” and in Chinese, “且谈1989年的天安门事件.”)
Many of our readers’ reaction might be: “oh no, another idealist who is sold on the ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ religion!” Not so! In fact, there are many in China who use these two terms as a way to solidify grievances they have with Chinese society. They mainly see China as more backwards compared to richer countries like the United States. When asked what China is more backwards on? Many a response come as, “we have less freedom and democracy.” Read more…

Categories: Opinion, politics Tags: ,