Monthly Archives: October 2019
“A homemade, remote-controlled bomb intended to “kill or to harm” riot control officers was detonated as they deployed against renewed violence in Hong Kong over the weekend, police said Monday, in a further escalation of destructive street battles gripping the business hub. The “loud thud” Sunday night close to riot officers who had been clearing away a protester-built road block was the first known use of an explosive device during protests that started in June over a contested extradition bill and have snowballed into an anti-government, anti-police and anti-China movement. “It exploded less than 2 meters) away from a police vehicle. We have reason to believe that the bomb was meant to target police officers,” Deputy Commissioner Tang Ping-keung said at a news conference, speaking through a translator.”
Was this a bomb planted by the state or was it made by protesters ?
Who knows ? It’s certainly possible that the state is preparing the ground for a bigger bomb which would maybe seem to target cops but in fact kills loads of other people, or some variant on this – eg one that does kill loads of cops, with all its obvious consequences and probably some not-so-obvious ones. It could also have been a bomb made by a protester with no sense of strategy. Who knows ? But speculation is potentially also preparation for such a possible event…
I’ve written far too often before on this possibility.But it should be repeated.
On 11th September, Beijing claimed that there are those in Hong Kong who are planning a 9/11-type terror. Should such an explosion eventually happen, or conveniently be prevented by Hong Kong’s finest in the nick of time, the state will undoubtedly dismiss those who cry “conspiracy!” on the basis of the traditional dismissal of all those who talk of conspiracy (one of the problems with conspiracy theorists is that they reduce all the contradictions of this society to “conspiracy”, and cry wolf so often that, even when the accusation is accurate, nobody believes them). Moreover, the state will probably issue, under false names, loads of conspiracy theories about it that are easily refutable in order to bury the more credible ones under a welter of bulshit. On 20th July HK cops discovered the largest ever cache of high-powered explosives uncovered in the city and then carried out a controlled explosion (see this) . “Police uncovered 2 kilograms of high explosives, 10 petrol bombs, corrosive liquids, weapons and metal poles at the property.The preparation of TATP can easily result in accidental detonation if mistakes are made. Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah, of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said the man arrested was wearing a shirt with the logo of the banned pro-independence group Hong Kong National Front. Rallies are taking place across Hong Kong on Saturday and Sunday, with both pro-government and anti-extradition bill marches scheduled. Li said police were still investigating a possible motive and intended uses for the explosives. He did not say if extra police would be arranged for protests this weekend as a result of the raid.”
On Thursday, the 18th of July, this report was published: “Chinese officials in charge of Hong Kong affairs are working on an urgent strategy to solve the city’s political chaos and have ruled out the use of military force…They will soon present top leaders in Beijing with both an immediate plan to handle the mass protests and a longer-term strategy that could result in China overhauling its management of the former British colony…The Chinese officials also see Hong Kong’s police force as key to maintaining stability…Mainland officials want to avoid bloodshed and ensure the financial hub remains largely stable…. China’s approach will be to “lure the snake from its hole,” according to one adviser cited by the SCMP, taking a defensive position until the opposition reveals its strategy.”
Are all these things mere coincidence?
The report above says “A powerful high explosive, TATP was used in the November 2015 Paris attacks, the March 2016 Brussels bombings, the 2017 May Manchester bombing and a failed bomb attempt by an Islamist extremist at the Gare Centrale in Brussels in 2017.” Is this part of China’s “urgent plan”? Is this a way of luring “the snake from its hole”?
In December 1969, after a massive social movement threatened to turn into an Italian equivalent of France’s May ’68, fascists in collaboration with a section of the state, planted a bomb in a bank in Milan that killed 17 people; the state blamed it on anarchists.
The Falklands war of 1982, when Thatcher deliberately allowed Argentina to invade so as to manipulate “public opinion” to ensure her re-election, was a direct result of the 1981 riots in the UK, and was designed to ensure her re-election after a massive slump in the polls.
“Terrorism” or war are always methods for the state to distract & divert from (and divide) proletarian subversion.
Undoubtedly I might be crying wolf yet again, but amongst other ideas to de-rail the movement, these are genuine possiblities.
Very interesting report, which I’ve just received from a friend. But ignore the stupid recommendations at the end, which don’t make sense given the obvious involvement of the UK in helping Hong Kong’s cops which part of the rest of the article focuses on. The article shows not only how the UK cops directly help the HK filth in their tactics against HK protesters, but also how the experience of HK cops in 1967 helped cops at Orgreave against the miners in 1984 and elsewhere in the UK. This was published on July 18th 2019. The following are some extracts:
“The HKPF [Hong Kong Police Force] stopped recruiting from foreign services in 1994, but older British officers left over from the handover continue to dominate its senior staff. At the center of the heavily criticized police response to the recent protests are three senior British police officers: chief superintendent Rupert Dover, senior superintendent David Jordan, and superintendent Justin Shave. June 12 saw HKPF officers use rubber bullets, beanbag rounds, and pepper spray on peaceful protesters and riot police beating unarmed demonstrators senseless, on the orders of Dover and others, and in the most infamous incident of all, Shave ordered a tear gas round to be fired at an unarmed approaching legislator…
In 1981, shortly after Margaret Thatcher’s government took office, an unlikely meeting took place …Police in the United Kingdom, widely criticized for their handling of the race [sic] riots that same year, had requested help from Roy Henry, the then-police commissioner of Hong Kong, who ordered one of his most senior officers, Director of Operations Richard Quine, to the U.K. to tell them all he knew.
Some 14 years earlier, the HKPF had brutally suppressed the worst violence in the city’s history, as pro-communist rioters launched indiscriminate bomb attacks against civilians. The British police were eager to hear exactly how it had been done—and to reproduce the same tactics against demonstrators in the U.K.
In 1967, with the Cultural Revolution in China reaching its crescendo, communists inspired by the activities of the Red Guards in the mainland waged a protracted insurgency in Hong Kong against the colonial government. More than 200 people were killed, including a radio journalist burnt alive by communist attackers—with some rioters beaten to death by police. Hong Kong’s status as a colony was exploited by the HKPF as a potential testing ground for new strategies that would be deemed too extreme for use in Britain.
The scholar Lawrence Ho details the police measures as encompassing the “liberal use of force and lethal weapons [and] widespread assault and imprisonment of demonstrators,” coupled with the imposition of oppressive legislation and curfews. Revolutionary new policing techniques widely used across the world today, including “kettling” and the first-ever use of tear gas and short shields by newly instituted riot squads, were first tested in the summer of 1967 by the HKPF…
Quine’s recommendations to British police included instituting dedicated units of officers—“riot suppression units,” each with a particular responsibility to fulfill, such as arresting demonstrators (“snatch squads”), firing tear gas, or crowd intimidation. To this end, Quine proposed initiating a program of 10-week crash courses for officers in techniques including kettling, the use of tear gas, and crowd control, with an eye to rapidly improving the British police’s ability to respond to civil unrest.
The training came too late for the race [sic] riots—but the techniques were on full display in British police violence against miners during the 1984-1985 strike, most infamously in the Battle of Orgreave. These techniques were eventually codified amid total secrecy in a file titled the “Public Order Manual of Tactical Options and Related Matters,” an infamous document that only became public in the aftermath of Orgreave.
The events at Orgreave have been described by the historian Tristram Hunt as “[a]lmost medieval in its choreography, it was at various stages a siege, a battle, a chase, a rout and, finally, a brutal example of legalised state violence.” A total of 4,000 police officers—including hundreds mounted on horseback, hastily ordered in by the police commander at Orgreave, Anthony Clement—charged repeatedly at 10,000 striking miners. Mounted police were immediately followed in by the assembled riot suppression units, which had been modeled on the HKPF’s organization in the intermediary three years since Quine’s counsel.
The police response at Orgreave ran largely on HKPF hardware. A former assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police, John Alderson, later stated that the policing strategies used at Orgreave were “a carbon copy of the Hong Kong riot squad.” Meanwhile, allegations continue to swirl to this day about police engineering the entire confrontation to damage and discredit the miners….
The most notorious incident of the events on June 12 was the firing of a tear gas cylinder at Democratic Party legislator Wu Chi-wai, who was peaceably approaching a police unit following brutal scenes of that same unit of officers beating unarmed demonstrators.
A white police officer, initially believed to be Dover but subsequently identified as Shave, could be seen directing a subordinate to fire a tear gas cylinder directly at Wu, who was totally unarmed and clearly identified himself as a sitting legislator. Later footage subsequently revealed that Dover was also embedded in the unit.
Elsewhere, rubber bullets and long-range pepper spray were used on both demonstrators and journalists, resulting in 79 injuries, while in total the HKPF fired more than 150 tear gas canisters over the course of a single day. Tactics first developed during the 1967 riots were again on full display, most notably in the repeated deployment of dedicated riot squads equipped with short shields and batons.”
See also this – British cops help Hong Kong cops, which links to a mainstream video shown on 7th September which talks of British cops helping HK cops, and provides a transcript of the relevant section of the report.
Protests throughout world, though totally lacking in any perspective other than trying to influence the destroyers of the planet not to destroy it The “Midas Touch” which capitalism has long seen as something positive, in its over 3000-year-old myth was considered as a warning to those who would turn everything into gold, as the king even turned food into inedible gold and eventually turned his son into gold, finally dying of starvation. This is something that capital is increasingly realising for an increasing majority of people – it’s in the nature of political economy, the power to transform everything into a commodity (already 22,000 kids worldwide die each day because of malnutrition and easily curable diseases, because of their need for money which they don’t have). Without a vision of destroying commodified social relations, of destroying the need for money through the expropriation of the expropriators, extermination rebellion will break on the rocks of its contradictions. See below.
Better targeted spraypaint: graffiti on cinema mid- 1970s
Re. Extinction Rebellion, see this (from 15/4/19) interesting initiative – an alternative to Extinction Rebellion’s jail-fodder actions “Our main route consisted of visiting and blockading various locations with functional significance for capital and resource transactions in London – the Stock Exchange, the Bank of England and the Metal Exchange. Along the tour we also stopped off at other points of interest – banks, courts, the church of Scientology – either chosen by particular comrades in the moment, or by the police who, due to not having any idea of our plans, kept running to protect buildings we hadn’t previously considered trying to get into.” The flyer they produced for their march-cum-blockade, however, is a typical lowest common denominator of correct line anti-capitalism, coming from the eclectic mix of its members, which doesn’t even begin to try to confront the contradictions of ecological ideologies and movements – perhaps for fear of being unpopular. More about them here. Meawhile, this shows clearly the capitalist nature of the leadership of Extinction Rebellion. And this shows how their phoney legal advisers are a danger to anybody getting arrested on their arrest-fodder demos. And this is a good critique of the Green New Deal. See also “Extinction Rebellion: Not the Struggle we Need”.
Should also be pointed out that claiming some historical lineage with the Suffragettes’ apparent non-violence is a lie. The Suffragettes were often “violent ” in society’s terms (ie against things; from the point of view of capital people are mere profane commodities, whilst property is sacred), and took some very daring initiatives against mainstream culture: “What’s largely forgotten is the excellent violence of the women against private property and against aspects of culture and religion in this movement: Mary Richardson herself was imprisoned in October 1913 for burning down an unoccupied house, and was, with another woman, the first woman forcibly fed under the Cat and Mouse Act against hunger strikers. In 1914, in the seven months before the outbreak of a very convenient war: 3 Scottish castles were destroyed by fire on a single night; the Carnegie Library in Birmingham was burnt; Romney’s “Master Thornhill” in the Birmingham Art Gallery was slashed by Bertha Ryland, daughter of an early suffragist; Carlyle’s portrait of Millais in the National Gallery and a number of other pictures were attacked, a Bartolozzi drawing in the Doré Gallery completely ruined; many large empty houses in all parts of the country were set on fire, including Redlynch House, where the damage was estimated at £40,000 – no precise calculations here – but certainly well over a million quid in today’s money, possibly over £3m. Railway stations, piers, sports pavilions, haystacks were set on fire. A bomb exploded in Westminster Abbey and in St George’s church where a famous stained-glass window was damaged. There were two explosions in St.John’s, Westminster and one in St Martin in the Fields, and one in Spurgeon’s Tabernacle. The ancient Breadsall Church and the ancient Wargrave Church were destroyed. As far as we know, nobody was hurt in these explosions and arson attacks. The Albert Hall organ was flooded, causing £2000 worth of damage….” (here).
On fires and firebombs “Hong Kong fire officials have voiced concern about online instructions for petrol bombs that suggest using a self-igniting material that would make the explosives even more dangerous and unpredictable.”
The fact that such an apparently ‘neutral’ source of information as the fire brigade could warn of potentially frightening consequences of firebombs got me thinking that instead of an obvious terrorist attack (like the fascists’ Piazza Fontana bombing following the Italian autumn movement of 1969 – see also this), the state might try to arrange a fire that kills loads of people. They did this in Athens in May 2010, when young nihilist anarchists firebombed a bank. It was a strike day, and the young guys thought the bank was empty (the doors were locked). In fact, the management had locked employees in – and 3 were killed. There was no fire exit, no sprinklers or fire extinguishing apparatus in the bank (see this and the following posts for details…eventually 3 bank officials were found guilty, though the head of the bank – Andreas Vgenopoulos – the main person responsible – got off scott-free, surprise surprise). I’ve cried wolf so many times over the possibility of a state (or maybe triad) strategy like the Piazza Fontana bombing in ’69, maybe nobody will believe me, but it seems like a real possibility but maybe taking another form like a fire.
Report on the spread of solidarity and the kindness of strangers Report about October 1st on how whole neighbourhood helped protesters escape cops and teargas, inviting them into their flats, providing reconnaissance information about cop movements etc. “So even those not protesting on the streets are protesting, all contributing to the resistance in their own way. The majority of the city is united against the regime. The story of Wan Chai is not new to me: I’ve experienced the kindness and aid of strangers many times in recent weeks. Just days before, I’d been going toward Causeway Bay together with about 2,000 protesters, again retreating from the police. We heard there were a lot of riot police in Causeway Bay and so decided to head southward, but every street we came to, we saw police at the end of it. Eventually, we had no choice but to go into Happy Valley, a prosperous neighbourhood that has seen little of the protests. It was terra incognita for most of us. Once there, we felt safer, but we knew it was just a matter of time before the police would try to flush us out, and we didn’t know where to go. Security guards emerged from middle-class high-rises and offered directions. A taxi driver had seen us and alerted his colleagues. Before long, dozens of taxis started to arrive. Private drivers pulled up, rolled down their windows, and announced their destination. Protesters hopped in. Within about a half hour, of those 2,000 protesters, no one but myself and a few others remained on the street. Among protesters, a guardian rule is you never leave anyone behind. I play the role of the one who remains until last to make sure everyone gets out. I changed out of my outfit and headed back to cross police lines. Along the way, knowing residents who witnessed and helped the evacuation gave me knowing smiles and thumbs up. “Stay safe, stay safe,” they said….This kind of resistance – it’s a feeling within us. Hong Kong people are famously phlegmatic, unexpressive. We don’t talk much or effuse. But these days, we recognise something in each other, a common purpose, a common identity. This is the sort of unity that can’t be crushed by force. In fact, police attacks fortify it, drawing us closer together. I’m often asked how this will all end. My true feeling is, it doesn’t matter, because the little secret that everyone knows and no one is saying (and perhaps many aren’t even admitting to ourselves) is, we’ve already won. The immediate and original concrete objective, the withdrawal of the extradition bill, has been achieved. We’ve won the battle for hearts and minds. But beyond that, we’ve achieved something much more profound than that: confidence in ourselves as a people and trust in one another for what is sure to be a long, hard struggle ahead.”
Proletarians show Lenin what is to be done:
A police vehicle burns during a protest against Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno’s austerity measures in Quito, October 7, 2019
President forced to retreat “Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, has struck a deal with indigenous leaders to cancel a disputed austerity package and end nearly two weeks of protests that have paralysed the economy and left seven dead. Under the agreement, Moreno will withdraw the International Monetary Fund-backed package, known as Decree 883, that included a sharp rise in fuel costs. Indigenous leaders, in turn, will call on their followers to end protests and street blockades. “Comrades, this deal is a compromise on both sides,” Moreno said. “The indigenous mobilisation will end and Decree 883 will be lifted.” The two sides will work together to develop a package of measures to cut government spending, increase revenue and reduce Ecuador’s unsustainable budget deficits and public debt. In a shift from the heated language of the last 10 days of protests, each side at the negotiations praised the other’s willingness to talk as they outlined their positions in the first hour before a short break. Other indigenous demands included higher taxes on the wealthy and the firing of the interior and defence ministers over their handling of the protests.”
One has to be very naive to think that any deal that will have to have the eventual aproval of the IMF if the country is going to receive its strings-attached money will be anything other than a sell-out. Of course, the IMF may refuse to give them money – and where will that end? Or maybe it’s just a bluff on the part of the government so as to disband the movement and give them time to work out a better strategy (attacking the whole of the dispossessed almost all at once was not an intelligent strategy on the part of the state). An interesting potential consequence of this apparently total victory will be how this may very well encourage the poor in other Latin American countries.
” The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador explained that at the moment there were no talks between the protesters and the government… Indigenous activists in Ecuador will continue protests across the country despite accepting President Lenin Moreno’s offer to hold dialogue, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador said…”We will hold contact in order to try to ensure the abolition of Decree 883 [on cancelling subsidies on fuel prices] but we will continue protests across the country demanding the government ensure adequate guarantees,” the statement said. The confederation explained that at the moment there were no talks between the protesters and the government. “There cannot be any real dialogue until security guarantees are provided for indigenous activists across the entire country’s territory,” the statement said. On Friday, President Moreno invited protest leaders to hold a direct dialogue in order to stop violence and stabilize domestic political situation. The confederation’s first reaction was to reject talks until the government dropped plans to cancel subsidies, but on Saturday the activists said they were in favor of dialogue. The first round of talks between Ecuador’s government and the indigenous activists is due to be held the capital of Quito at 3 pm. local time on Sunday, the South American country’s UN mission wrote on Twitter. ..Ecuador’s authorities said on Wednesday that over 400 people, including 86 police officers, sought medical assistance. The press service of the human rights ombudsperson said that five people died in clashes between protesters and the police. On Saturday, Quito Mayor Jorge Yunda said Ecuador’s leadership had agreed to meet the protesters’ demands and scrutinize the decree on cancelling subsidies on fuel. Later Moreno made a decision to introduce curfew in Quito and its outskirts.”
Indigenous leaders reverse decision from previous day to not talk with Lenin Moreno “An indigenous group in Ecuador that has led protests for more than a week against a law that ended fuel subsidies said on Saturday it has accepted direct talks with President Lenin Moreno, the first sign of a possible breakthrough in the dispute. The highland capital of Quito was rocked by a 10th day of clashes over Moreno’s austerity plan, with the office of Ecuador’s comptroller set on fire and access roads to Quito’s airport blocked. TV channel Teleamazonas showed images of its own offices in flames and said its employees were unharmed…Conaie, an umbrella organization for indigenous people in Ecuador, made the announcement about the talks with Moreno. Ecuador’s ombudsman Freddy Carrion, who has been monitoring the conflict and encouraging dialogue, said Conaie’s leaders were unaware that Moreno planned to announce a curfew and said it could jeopardize talks. “This measure looks like a desperate attempt by the government that will only worsen the violence,” said Carrion. He recommended Moreno suspend the subsidy cut immediately…Earlier on Saturday, one of Conaie’s leaders told TV channel Ecuavisa that conditions for the talks included them being in public and having them broadcast. “We’re not going to talk behind closed doors. It has to be with the Ecuadorean people,” Leonidas Iza said in broadcast comments. “There has to be large screens so every tiny input from our members can be heard.”
On 11th October they’d said “The dialogue that he’s seeking lacks credibility” (statement by indigenous umbrella group CONAIE) , adding that it would negotiate with the government only when a decree to remove fuel subsidies had been “repealed.” What’s happened to change that basic principle? “Suspending” the subsidy cut should be treated with the same scepticism that with which the movement in Hong Kong treated Lam when she “suspended” the extradition law. Nobody believed her, and she had to withdraw it totally at the beginning of September, by which time it was too little too late.
Indigenous group rejects pseudo-dialogue with President Lenin Moreno… as clashes continue (video)… lots of videos and links here More here “The protests first erupted last week when truck drivers took to the streets, but indigenous protesters have since taken the lead, with villagers from the highlands walking and hitching rides to reach Quito.Representatives of Amazonian tribes, many carrying spears, streamed into the city late Thursday and early Friday, adding opposition to oil drilling to a growing list of complaints about Moreno’s government.While most roads in Quito outside of the center remained clear, dozens of taxis formed a caravan that wound through the city to express solidarity with protesters, honking and displaying anti-Moreno signs.”
Cops captured by movement “The demonstrators detained at least eight uniformed police officers who they forced on stage before a crowd. The stance of the indigenous movement has hardened even more after clashes on Wednesday night left more casualties. Indigenous leaders here said there will be no negotiation with the government, and some are calling for Ecuadorian President Moreno to step down…Foreign Minister José Valencia said it will not negotiate under the threat of violence and vandalism. “This is an extremely critical situation which is not a decision of the indigenous leaders,” Valencia said.” (cops were later released, deprived of their bullet-proof vests & boots)…5 protesters, including an indigenous leader, killed
Ecuador: 1st day of possibly indefinite general strike…whilst some indigenous leaders (certainly not all of them) condemn “vandalism and looting”…clashes in Guayaquil, where government has moved to …More here Videos and other links here…Force Majeure (unforeseeable circumstances preventing fulfillment of contract.) declared on all oil operations – pipelines shut down
Ecuador, Quito: anti-austerity riots etc. force Lenin Moreno’s government to relocate outside of the capital after state ends fuel subsidies, sacks some public sector workers, threatens privatisations “Images from Quito showed protesters hurling petrol bombs and stones, ransacking and vandalising public buildings as well as clashing with the police in running battles late into the night… The president faces a stiff challenge from indigenous groups and others who blocked some roads for a fifth day from Monday morning with stones, tyres and branches. Indigenous-led protests brought down three presidents in the years before Correa’s rule. Rioters in Quito forced their way into the comptroller general’s office and vandalised the assembly building on Monday. It followed days of violence in which protesters burned military vehicles, destroyed dozens of rose farms, a dairy and an oil production facility. The outnumbered security forces have been unable to prevent much of the destruction… prices rose overnight by about a quarter for petrol and double for diesel. A state of emergency was imposed on Thursday. Lorry and taxi drivers forced a partial shutdown of Quito’s airport and roadblocks have paralysed trunks roads across the country. ” More here “The South American country of 17 million people appeared to be at a dangerous impasse, paralyzed by a lack of public transport and blockaded roads that were taking a toll on an already vulnerable economy. Violence has persisted since last week, when President Lenín Moreno’s decision to end subsidies led to a sharp increase in fuel prices. Protesters seized some oil installations and the state oil company, Petroecuador, warned that production losses could reach 165,000 barrels a day, or nearly one-third of total production, if insecurity continues. The government declared an overnight curfew around key state installations and government buildings as well as vital infrastructure such as airports and oil refineries. Earlier Tuesday, protesters broke through police barriers and some entered the empty congress building in Quito. Police fired tear gas and forced them to retreat. Indigenous protesters occupied two water treatment plants in the city of Ambato, south of the capital, raising concern about supply to residents, according to municipal authorities. On Monday night, hundreds of people rampaged through the Duran area near the port city of Guayaquil, looting pharmacies, electronic appliance stores and other buildings. In another part of Ecuador, police abandoned an armored vehicle to protesters who set it on fire. In multiple areas, rioters smashed car windows, broke into shops and confronted security forces...”…and here (videos and links).