The Chinese ‘Spy Balloon’ Story As Manufactured Crisis: An Alternative Reading
Previous constant headlines of the Ukraine-Russia war were put on pause Friday into Saturday as the American public’s attention and discourse got temporarily consumed by the bizarre Chinese ‘spy balloon’ saga, which grew more dramatic by the hour until it was shot down by the Pentagon over the Atlantic Ocean.
But few are currently asking the necessary deeper questions related to the timing. Given the last major balloon crisis to take over 24/7 network news coverage ended up being a complete hoax (remember the “balloon boy” stunt of 2009 which had the world breathless and on edge for a full news cycle?), the current context to the Chinese balloon story and the question of cui bono is worth a deeper dive…
Entrepreneur and geopolitical commentator Arnaud Bertrand, who as a Westerner has spent many years living in China and frequently attempts to correct the often misleading analysis of mainstream press reports, offers an ‘alternative view’ of what’s fast unfolding below [emphasis ZH’s)…
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“I took a bit of time to dissect the “spy balloon” story – both how it is portrayed in the US and China’s response,” Bertrand begins a lengthy thread. As you’ll see, the more you think about it, the more stunned you get at the sheer absurdity of the whole thing.”
First, the US story.
China sent a “spy balloon” over highly strategic US sites. It chose to spy on these sites with a big visible balloon (reported as being “as big as multiple school buses”), that anyone can see with the naked eye from the ground, to “demonstrate it had the capability”, despite having a plethora of other more discreet ways to spy like satellites or stealth drones.
Unclear that anyone doubted China had mastered the technology of *check notes* hot air balloons and why it therefore needed to demonstrate this capability… China chose to do so on the eve of Secretary of States Blinken’s visit to China, where he was invited, and hours after signaling Blinken would also be meeting with Xi during his visit, a high-level meeting not granted to any US Secretary of States in years.
The story therefore being that China chose to disrupt a meeting with its own president and to sabotage its own efforts at détente in the US-China conflict… The Pentagon said it had been “tracking the balloon for quite some time” and that it wasn’t the first time such an incident occurred, but this time – for unclear reasons – it chose to do a public announcement. As a result, Blinken announced he was postponing his China trip.
Now the story from the Chinese side.
To them this is a fluke accident, the balloon being “a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes” that “deviated far from its planned course” because of strong “Westerlies” (wind that flows west to east) and “limited self-steering capability”, the main characteristic of a balloon being of course that it can only go up or down.
A piece in WaPo seems to confirm this, quoting “experts in national security and aerospace [who] said the craft appears to share characteristics with high-altitude balloons used by developed countries around the world for weather forecasting.”
(Source: washingtonpost.com/world/2023/02/… )
The Pentagon itself said that “the payload wouldn’t offer much in the way of surveillance that China couldn’t collect through spy satellites” and that “the balloon posed no serious physical or intelligence threat”.
I.e. the Pentagon themselves say it would make zero sense for China to use a balloon like this for intelligence purposes when it has satellites. Kind of begs the question why they decided to make a big deal out of it in the first place…
I’ll let you decide for yourself which story makes more sense… The sheer ridiculousness of this Nth “red scare” episode is absolutely obvious to anyone with an iota of common sense. Except, sadly, common sense seems to be in critically short supply nowadays.
Also, as often, the real story is probably why this story became a story in the first place.
And the important context here is of course Blinken’s visit to China, which could – one can always dream – have been a step towards some form of de-escalation in China-US rapports. It was quite easily foreseeable that a story like this one on the eve of the trip would have made it politically very difficult for Blinken to go.
So a plausible hypothesis is that this whole episode is an attempt by internal US forces to prevent any US-China détente. One alternative hypothesis, much less likely, is that it’s internal Chinese forces trying to do the same thing by sending this big balloon.
a) China has time on its side so it gains from reduced tensions with the US and there isn’t any obvious “faction” in China who believe the contrary
b) it’d be immensely risky for anyone in China to do something like this as it’d undoubtedly be seen as an act of high treason with grave consequences for themselves
c) again, balloons like this particular one basically can’t be steered so…
To plan sending a balloon like this from China to a place over US land isn’t even doable in the first place. The last hypothesis, which I guess is also somewhat likely, is that this is a series of unfortunate events without any malice on either side.
1) Balloon deviates from course and gets in US airspace,
2) people see it and Pentagon feels it has to communicate about it
3) the media, wearing their usual “China bad” hat, decide to go all-in on the scare-mongering,
4) political opposition and China hawks jump on the bandwagon,
5) administration feels it has no other choice than to cancel the trip and doesn’t have the political courage to say “this is just a balloon that drifted off course”.
Well I guess in this scenario there is in fact malice on the media’s part and that of politicians and wider members of the blob but it’s “organic malice”, so to speak, jumping at a golden opportunity to scare-monger.
Conclusion: however you see it, this story is absolutely shameful and a sad reflection of the insane times we live in, when rather than take the time to carefully consider facts, apply reason and common sense, we instead choose as a society to incite fear and hostility.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Fox News Host: “I Love A Good Drag Show”
Fox News is endorsing drag shows now in addition to child transgendism.
“I love a good drag show,” The Big Sunday Show co-host Julie Banderas said over the weekend, “but like, not for my first grader.”
Banderas said that despite loving drag shows herself, she takes issue with using “taxpayer dollars” to fund Drag Queen Story Hours for kids.
“Drag shows have been going on for a very long time without incident,” co-host Guy Benson chimed in. “It’s got a following, especially in gay culture, it’s not personally my thing but people like it. It’s campy, it’s funny, it’s bawdy, it can be raunchy — and like go for it!”
“Knock yourself out!” Benson said. “Have fun! Go to your brunch! But there are some lines here, like do taxpayer dollars need to fund this? And do we need to have children at these events?”
Fox News endorsed and promoted child transgenderism last year during “Pride Month” and earlier this month they ran a column arguing that America needs open borders for LGBTQIA+ Latinx illegal aliens and their homosexual lovers to own the libs.
Their biggest hosts are also now lobbying for war with China and trying to scapegoat China for all the problems in our country that were caused by our own crooked globalist elites.This post was originally published at Information Liberation
Israel Introduces Bill to Outlaw Teaching The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Sentence Violators to Prison
Two influential members of Israel’s Knesset have introduced a bill to outlaw teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Israel and sentence violators to prison.
Israel already bans Christians from proselytizing minors but this new bill will go even further and “ban any and all efforts to tell people about Jesus.”
From All Israel News, “EXCLUSIVE: Two Knesset members propose legislation to outlaw sharing the Gospel in Israel and send violators to prison – could it become law?”:
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – Is it possible that the Israeli government this year could pass legislation making it illegal for people to share the Gospel message in the very land where Jesus was born, raised, preached, died, buried and rose from the dead?
As Palm Sunday and Easter approach – the two most sacred days on the calendar for those who follow Jesus as both God and Messiah – two members of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) introduced a bill last week that would ban any and all efforts to tell people about Jesus.
The bill would send violators to prison.
[…] The proposed legislation would outlaw all efforts by people of one faith who, in any way, want to discuss or try to persuade people of other faiths to consider changing their current religious beliefs.
The punishment for doing so would be “one year imprisonment.”
If the conversation is with minor – someone under the age of 18 – the punishment would be “two years imprisonment.”
This bill would apply to people having spiritual conversations with Israelis of any religion.
However, in their official explanation of the bill, the two Israeli legislators specifically emphasized the warning to stop Christians, in particular.
The bill’s primary objective, therefore, appears to be making it illegal for followers of Jesus (“Yeshua” in Hebrew) to explain why they believe that Jesus is both Messiah and God with the hope that Israelis might consider following Him.
The bill does not only make a simple personal conversation about Jesus with another individual a crime.
It would also make it illegal for “someone who solicits a person – directly, digitally, by mail or online – in order to convert his religion.”
Thus, producing and publishing online videos explaining the Gospel to Jewish or Muslim people in Israel – and to those of any other religious faiths – would suddenly become illegal.
Publishing books, other printed literature, online articles, podcasts, or other forms of media that explains the life and ministry of Jesus and His message found in the New Testament would also become illegal.
So would discussing the Gospel message via email, text messages, written letters and/or on social media, including answering questions initiated by people who don’t follow Jesus.
All Israel News has the full text of the bill.
This is how Christians are treated when they preach the Gospel in Israel:
A new Pew Research poll in America found that Evangelicals have a +39 favorability rating towards Jews but Jews have a -40 favorability rating of Evangelicals.
Anti-Christian attitudes are even worse in Israel.
In 2019, the pro-Israel Christian TV broadcasting network Daystar had their headquarters burned to the ground by suspected Jewish extremists who were never caught.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem warned last year that “our presence in Jerusalem is under threat.”
“Our churches are threatened by Israeli radical fringe groups,” Patriarch Theofilos III said. “At the hands of these Zionist extremists the Christian community in Jerusalem is suffering greatly. Our brothers and sisters are the victims of hate crimes. Our churches are regularly desecrated and vandalized. Our clergy are subject to frequent intimidation.”
Just last month, a Jewish extremist from America desecrated a statue of Jesus inside a Jerusalem church.
“We cannot have idols in Jerusalem,” the Jewish-American vandal said. “This is a very serious matter, we cannot worship stones of false gods in Jerusalem.”
A poll from Gallup released last week found that Israel is losing support among American Democrats, though support among Republicans – especially Evangelicals — remains strong.
For the first time ever, Democrats said “their sympathies in the Middle East now lie more with the Palestinians than the Israelis, 49% versus 38%,” Gallup reported:
Today’s attitudes reflect an 11-percentage-point increase over the past year in Democrats’ sympathy with the Palestinians. At the same time, the percentages sympathizing more with the Israelis (38%) and those not favoring a side (13%) have dipped to new lows.
Sympathy toward the Palestinians is also at a new high among political independents, up six points to 32%. However, more independents still lean toward the Israelis (49%).
Republicans’ views are unchanged, with nearly eight in 10 (78%) continuing to sympathize more with the Israelis while 11% side with the Palestinians.
All Israel News said the bill to outlaw teaching the Gospel in Israel has a solid chance of passing now that Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jewish members control the legislature.
“These members are far more aggressive in this legislative session than ever before in pushing for legislations to be passed that advance their theological worldview,” All Israel News reported.This post was originally published at Information Liberation
Germany Will Execute International Court’s Arrest Warrant If Putin Enters Territory
Germany said over the weekend that it is ready to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he ever travels to its territory, following the Hague-based International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant last week related to alleged human rights abuses in Ukraine.
German Justice Minister Marco Bushman stipulated the Russian leader will be detained if he steps foot on Russian soil. “I expect that the International Criminal Court in The Hague will swiftly approach Interpol as well as the contracting states and ask them for enforcement,” Bushman told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.
This comes after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed the ICC ruling, stressing that “no one is above the law.”
The Friday ICC statement had said that Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”
“Today, 17 March 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court … issued arrest warrants against two individuals in connection with the situation in Ukraine: Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms. Maria Alekseevna Lvova-Belova,” the statement added, referencing Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.
As we described earlier, the ICC warrant remains largely symbolic, given the ICC doesn’t have a police force or enforcement mechanism. Thus sovereign governments would have to take action on it (as in this case with Germany).
However, it does complicate Putin’s ability to travel to European or other capitalswhich cooperate with the ICC. This also means it could hinder peace efforts in the scenario Putin might choose to personally engage in negotiations or diplomacy in a European city.
The Kremlin has said the ICC warrant is “legally null and void” and that it doesn’t recognize the international court’s decisions. The US is also not a signatory to the ICC.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
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