No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘freedom

Free men and unfree men

Free men are willing to act, knowing they are free.

It’s not the task of blogs to report the news, let alone the latest news. Blogs are here to analyse things, in particular to try and extract meaning that the news does not have in its immediacy and its shallowness.

But sometimes there are news stories that fit so perfectly with things under discussion that they should be noted when they happen.

In this case it’s a story out of Philadelphia about a rape that occurred on a city commuter train.

A man whom officials identified as Fiston Ngoy sat down next to a woman at about 10 p.m. on a train that was traveling westbound on the Market-Frankford Line toward the 69th Street Transportation Center. Mr. Ngoy “attempted to touch her a few times,” said Andrew Busch, a spokesman for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, known as SEPTA.

The woman pushed back and tried to stop Mr. Ngoy from touching her, Mr. Busch said. “Then, unfortunately, he proceeded to rip her clothes off,” Mr. Busch said on Sunday.

The assault lasted about eight minutes, and no passengers in the train car intervened, the authorities said.

“I’m appalled by those who did nothing to help this woman,” Timothy Bernhardt, the superintendent of the Upper Darby Township Police Department, said on Sunday. “Anybody that was on that train has to look in the mirror and ask why they didn’t intervene or why they didn’t do something.”

Oh, but it gets worse…

Police Chief Thomas Nestel III said “as many as 10 people actually saw some part of the attack on this rider.” He said the police checked the surveillance video, “We were watching to see if somebody put a phone up to their ear indicating they might be calling 911. Instead, what we saw was people holding their phone up as if they were recording or taking pictures.

Then worse…

Ngoy is an illegal alien who entered legally on a student visa in 2012, but then overstayed. Court records show that Ngoy had multiple arrests and two misdemeanor convictions, one for controlled substances and one for sexual abuse.

He pleaded guilty to the sex charge in 2017 in Washington DC and was sentenced to 120 days in jail, and was then placed in immigration detention in January 2018.

However, Ngoy was never deported, because an immigration judge granted him a ‘withholding of removal’ in March 2019, after an appeals board found that his sex crime was not a ‘serious crime’ that made him eligible for removal.

Most of the foreign MSM and non-MSM reports I’ve seen about this incident have contained the obligatory journalist passages of prose that say things along the lines of “It’s hard to imagine what’s going on in the souls of people who would respond that way”, and yadda, yadda, yadda.

Sure, these people are horrible cowards and hardly any better than the attacker themselves, but how different are they from the judge and an appeals board that let him stay in the USA after deciding that his particular earlier sex crime was not a “serious crime”?

The fact is that the two sets of people create one another.

What if the people on the train had stepped in to punch and kick what at first sight was a homeless man with Minority Person Of Colour status? You think they would have been praised, especially if they were White Males, or would they have been trashed in the MSM? Not to mention facing perhaps the now condemnatory judicial system who freed the attacker from his previous crimes.

Before lifting a finger, unfree men must first decide whose permission they need to obtain, and what the judicial system is likely to do to them afterward. Free men are willing to act, knowing they are free.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm

Your Graphics friend who’s fun to be with.

I know that broadcast TV has been falling away as its Boomer audience ages and dies but it’s not until you see a fact like this that you can grasp the scale of it:

Fifty million Americans tuned in to Johnny Carson’s last appearance on The Tonight Show. Today, his Tonight Show successor, along with the egregious Stephen Colbert on The Late Show on CBS, barely have 2 million viewers on a good night…

Carson’s farewell was in 1992. The following is always the sign of a maturing industry, and often a dying one.

Of course there are still growth industries (graphic courtesy of The Times). The last US flight out of Kabul departed a few hours ago.

So I guess it’s back to focusing on Chinese Lung Rot, with a seeming increase in social and media pressure to vaccinate kids now.

I wonder what we’re doing to the usual building of immune systems in children?

Written by Tom Hunter

August 31, 2021 at 9:30 am

The hackers strike back

In a world, incredibly the Western world, where freedom seems to be under ever greater threat than before – due less to government than to people apparently not rating it as much as they used to – it’s nice to see an example of a fightback.

In this case the story is especially meaningful because there has been much coverage in recent years of how Information Technology (IT) is now enabling The Powers That Be to spy on us in ever more detailed ways. The old East German Stasi would have given up their first-born sons for the sort of spying tech that China’s security services are employing – and likely those of the West as well.

Belarus is one such country, never having recovered from its Communist culture when it found itself a new and separate nation after the collapse of the USSR (it having been of those “Republics”). Former communist bigwig Alyaksandr Lukashenka quickly figured out how to get on top and stay there in this new world, with all his totalitarian, authoritarian instincts born of a communist life having ameliorated not one bit. He’s been the leader of the nation since the early 1990’s, complete with the usual sham elections.

Naturally one of his tools was the internal security services, former KGB types, but now with extra computer power allowing huge centralised databases containing untold amounts of personal information on ordinary people.

Of course, while you can have such centralisation of data nowadays thanks to IT, you can’t actually centralise the IT itself. The very nature of modern IT systems is that they are distributed; the amount of computer power available to ordinary people is also vast, and increasing everyday, which means these ordinary people can do things that only nations could do – like finding ICBM sites from private satellite photos.

And so…

While refraining from naming an exact number of files, the hackers claim to have obtained classified passport records for the Belarusian security forces’ leadership, members of Lukashenka’s inner circle, plus State Security Committee (KGB) employees, including intelligence officers operating in the European Union.

On July 26, the group’s Telegram channel teased passport data for KGB Chairman Ivan Tertel;

Each individual’s dossier, the hackers claim, contains passport photos and data; his or her residence permit; the name of the government body or military unit for which the person works; the names of family members, “and so on.”

“Will many KGB agents be ready to operate abroad, knowing that data about them has already leaked?” one of the hackers asked rhetorically in a bot-assisted Telegram chat with Current Time.

Aside from passport data, the Cyberpartisans claim to have accessed the records of the Belarusian traffic police, which the hackers say include information on registered cars for the KGB, the anti-corruption police, and tsikhary (“silent men”), masked muscle men in plainclothes known for brutally rounding up suspected protesters.

It’s a great example of the lack of culture change since 1991 that Belarus still has an actual KGB, they didn’t even bother changing the name, so much in love with their totalitarian past are they.

The cyber hack is yet to be confirmed, but as the article points out:

To verify the Cyberpartisans’ claim of having hacked Belarus’ passport database, Current Time submitted to the hackers the names and dates of birth of two Belarusian citizens, who agreed to the information’s release.

After a few minutes’ search in their alleged data trove, the Cyberpartisans sent the two Belarusians’ complete passport details, their official places of residence and work, and also technical information — for example, that one passport no longer has the space to affix visas.

Seems like confirmation to me. The logo below is that of the hacker group.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 13, 2021 at 10:20 am

I can hear the people sing now!

This is a truly great scene: a huge crowd of Hong Kong protesters gathered on the day of US Thanksgiving….

… singing The Star Spangled Banner.

At the end they even threw in a few good chants of “USA, USA, USA…”

This is absolutely beautiful to watch. It even beats the HK school kids version of “Can You Hear The People Sing” that I wrote about a few months ago.

It’s always great to see people reaching out to a real beacon of liberty. Funny how truly oppressed people always know the sources of actual freedom.


The reason for this outburst of thanks is down to two bills signed into law by President Trump last Wednesday, both of which have overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.

The first is the The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which requires the State Department to certify once a year that Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous to retain its special U.S. trading rights.

A second bill makes it illegal to sell munitions like tear gas and rubber bullets to the Hong Kong police.

Nobody – not least the people of Hong Kong – is under any illusions that either bill will stop the crushing of the protesters by the Chinese Communists if they get desperate. If the choice is between the survival of the CCP and permanently damaging the economic jewel of Hong Kong, the Communist leaders of China will not hesitate in choosing the former option.

But both Acts will at least give them pause for thought, and it certainly got under their skins enough that they issued this statement:

“We are officially telling the U.S. and the handful of opposition politicians in Hong Kong who follow America’s lead to not underestimate our determination to protect Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, don’t underestimate our belief to protect the ‘one country, two systems policy’ and don’t underestimate our capabilities and strategies in protecting our country’s sovereignty, safety, growth and rights.

This so-called bill will only make the Chinese people, including our compatriots in Hong Kong, further understand the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the United States. It will only make the Chinese people more united and make the American plot doomed to fail”

Heh, heh, heh. It’s as if they’ve learned nothing over the decades about the boilerplate bullshit nature of their Communist language.

Yes, this is “angering” China but they’re going to be pricks anyway. Take a gander at just some of the Tweets from some lickspittle toady named Lijian Zhao from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as he went apeshit on the USA:

To be fair those could all be from the editorial pages of The New York Times, Washington Post, the Democrat Party, or any member of the global Left. Most of these talking points are cribbed from them anyway, the CCP propaganda departments apparently thinking it sways Americans to have the bullshit of their own Left-Wing ladled back to them. The USSR tried the same moral equivalence tactics in the 1970’s and 1980’s and failed. But it continues to this day with Putin also always pushing the whole “You’re no better than us, and probably worse” line.

But the key point here is that Hong Kong’s protesters at their Thanksgiving rally were not interested in debating the legal and geopolitical aspects of the US laws or even China’s “anger”.  They were thanking America for standing with them.

We know it’s a fight we have to fight on our own,” said one 50-year-old man holding up an American flag at the rally, “But it’s good to have friends who stand by us.”

“Thank you, President Trump,” said one 21-year-old Hong Kong woman, who was wearing a face mask and holding up a sign with an American flag.

“Thank you to America,” said a 25-year-old Hong Kong man, also wearing a face mask, and waving an American flag. He called it a “miracle” that America has passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, and said that whatever it amounts to in practice, he is grateful for the basic message: “It told us that we are not alone.”

Well, until the tanks start moving across the border, at which point there will be nothing kinetic that the USA or the rest of the world can do.

But in the face of that grim reality, it also seems that the protesters have a sense of trolling humour that the entire US MSM lacked, as they carted around blow-ups of Trump’s “Rocky” tweet.

They understand that it was a joke – but they also know it wasn’t only a joke.

I still don’t hold out much hope for them to retain their liberty from the Communists, but you never know: in Eastern Europe eventually,  “Das Volk Siegt“.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 1, 2019 at 5:12 am

Can You Hear The People Sing?

While living in London in the late 80’s I went to a performance of the musical Les Miserables, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it I can’t say I was too impressed by the music. To put it bluntly, there was nothing that memorable about the songs. Every musical needs at least one stand-out tune that you might find yourself humming outside the theatre.

“Can You Hear The People Sing” is not such a song – and it’s the best known number from the musical.

Still, it’s nice to see that it has some meaning in the world, as these Hong Kong schoolkids showed the other day:

WOW.

Singing that over the top of the Chinese National Anthem at the start of the school year! Bloody brave. I hope their parents are proud of them.

The writer of the original song, 95 year-old Herbert Kretzmer, certainly is:

As I watched them on television from my home in West London, I felt a lump rise to my throat.

Not only because I admired their bravery in standing up to Communist China, which is trying to force a new extradition bill on Hong Kong that could consign anyone living in the Territory to the sham Chinese ‘justice’ system. But because the words they were singing were words I had written 33 years ago — and I knew the song in question had been banned in China.

I believed that such a protest song, sung in solidarity, could overwhelm not only the repressive 1830s French police state depicted in Les Miserables but also the mighty dictatorships of our own times, whether in the form of Soviet Communism, fascist regimes or the supporters of Apartheid in my homeland, South Africa.
….
Do you hear the people of Hong Kong? They are standing up for their rights.

At 93, I can only be with them in spirit. But my words are on their lips — and I am singing with them, too.

Wonder what CIA agent – aside from Kretzmer of course – inspired the schoolkids actions?

And of course the whole thing has an incredible parallel with one of the greatest and most famous scenes in movie history:

Still, we should not forget that straight after that performance the leader of the German contingent, Major Strasser, confronts Ilsa Lund with a blunt truth that no doubt parallels the thoughts of the Chinese Communist leadership with regard to Hong Kong.

My dear, perhaps you have already observed that in Casablanca human life is cheap“.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 6, 2019 at 10:07 pm

Posted in China

Tagged with , , ,

Well that’s certainly a different take!



Given China’s cyber warfare capabilities I suspect we will start to see a lot more of this in Western Social Media circles as the next few weeks and months pass in Hong Kong.

Probably with some help from Russia, given the theme.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 4, 2019 at 10:33 pm

If you bow at all, bow low.

Some weeks ago I was leading an American family around the sights of Queenstown, and part of that included a day on Coronet Peak Skifield, to which we took a bus from Queenstown.

I found myself sitting next to a young woman who had an interesting story to tell. She’s a sophomore attending Yale University but was originally from Hong Kong and her parents had just moved from there to settle in Auckland.

I told her that I thought that was great because I can’t see things improving in Hong Kong, and she agreed. Her family had held out hope for twenty years that there would be a gradual liberalisation of China, with Hong Kong setting the example. But by 2018 they had finally accepted that this was not going to happen, and that in fact the reverse was occurring, with China’s authoritarian control extending over Hong Kong.

We talked a little further about the parallels with European refugees escaping the Nazis and the Soviets prior to WWII, and even after it started, and I asked her whether she had other relatives who had not yet left: Aunts, Uncles and so forth. At that point she turned her face away from me and I realised that I’d pushed a little too far. After a minute she turned back to me and said that they were all still there and either could not or would not move.

Another parallel and the most chilling of all.

Her family’s departure had happened months before the start of the protests that are now roiling the city-state. Those protests were against a new law that would have seen people arrested in Hong Kong extradited to China for trial, but they quickly became about much more than that. The protests did force the Hong Kong government to table the law, but nobody was under any illusion that they would not re-introduce it at a more opportune moment to be rubber-stamped. They are mere puppets controlled by China, and this is part of China’s extension of its society into Hong Kong. It’s the true meaning and the eventual goal of the farcical “One Country, Two Systems” illusion that everybody has pretended to believe ever since 1997 when China took control of the city-state.

The protestors and the rest of the world are under no illusions now.

It also should be noted that at the same time that substantive portions of the Western Left are spitting on the history and symbols of the USA and Great Britain, the Hong Kong protestors understand precisely what they mean in terms of freedom.

They’ve also been clever so far; relying on technology to self-organise their gigantic protest marches, thereby providing no leadership targets that can be picked off and arrested. As described in two excellent articles in Quillette and The New Statesman, they have borrowed from the IT world, making the protests “Open Source”.

They have adopted Bruce Lee’s fighting strategy to “be water“: flooding the streets of various districts naturally through legal means instead of permit-required marches; the focus of a protest emerging only after the protest starts; a rally can turn into a march; a march starts in one direction and suddenly goes in another; protestors suddenly occupy government buildings, wait until the authorities close them – and then immediately head for another target.

There is also the fact that several million smart-phones mean that a Tiananmen Square “solution” is going to have photos and video of the bloodshed circling the world in minutes.

China has been executing Denial-Of-Service (DOS) attacks on various apps used to organise the protests, such as Telegram, but the protestors are already using the Apps between phones via Bluetooth, avoiding possible crackdowns on the primary telecoms services.

The other thing that has held China back has been the potential economic threat. The loss of freedoms, even curtailed as they are, that have made Hong Kong such an economic prize for China, would mean a rapid decline as people with talent and brains escaped, as that young woman on the bus has. And whether formally organised by other governments or not, there will be trading kickbacks. China has made no friends in Vietnam, The Philippines and most of SE Asia, adding to its traditional enemies in Japan and India – plus the USA now. Tanks running people down in the streets of HK would hand Trump a powerful new weapon in his trade war on China. Even those who hate his guts might be able to make a June 22 decision.

But I’m sorry to say that all this bravery and brilliance and geopolitical consequences will make no difference in the end.

Anyone with even a basic knowledge of Chinese history and its Mandate from Heaven, knows that Beijing doesn’t tolerate dissent – let alone public dissent in the form of protests. Forced to choose between economic shocks, the effective destruction of an economic prize, and massive amounts of bloodshed and horror – versus a USSR-style collapse of their own system, the Chinese Communist Party will choose the former path.

As I pointed out in this Op-Ed, China is determined on “unification” by 2049: Hong Kong now; Taiwan later. What loss a few thousand Hong Kong lives for that goal? This weekend, they clearly told Hong Kong cops to step it up: tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, fists, and sticks were all used against protestors. Plus live warning shots. In the air. For now.

The following video shows Hong Kong police wading into people inside a train stopped at a station: there are sequences showing them dealing to protestors who are wearing yellow construction hard hats, but quite a few victims appear to be people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
 

This is what real fascism looks like, courtesy of the Chinese Communist Party.
 
A blind person could have seen this coming, and the way things are going, what you see in this video will soon be considered “moderate”. Beijing is willing to go much further than this.

The West may be able to do nothing to stop this, but I suggest that one thing we can do is offer refuge to hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people – right now. Get them out and away from the coming death and oppression – and stick a finger in the eye of the Chinese Communists by depriving them of many of the best and the brightest.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 2, 2019 at 1:36 am