The election season is nearly over, thank heavens, but I guess I shall throw one more story for it out there, one I really did not expect and find plenty weird, but with two different sources pushing it, well. As it is, I must say that given how totally lacking in any credible support this whole Hunter Biden story was from the get go, I found it hard to believe that the Russian GRU was behind it. I think they are more competent than that. The Chinese I think are maybe less practiced at this sort of thing, although the versions of this going around are plenty weird.
So one version I saw this morning in the editorial page section in the Washington Post by Josh Rogin, who, it must be noted, seems to have somewhat of an anti-China bias, so I note that and would not have posted this if that were the only source. According to him the story was promulgated by a supposedly dissident Chinese figure who many now think has switched and is now working for the CCP, attacking various dissidents abroad. This story is a serious mess, frankly, and Rogin at the end of it admits that he really cannot figure it out and is not sure what is going on.
I saw the second one on daily kos in a post by Mark Sumner. In that one, he reports that various right-wing social media sites have been claiming that the laptop and its emails are for real based on an analysis by a “Marten Aspen,” supposedly a cybersecurity expert in Switzerland. But, according to Sumner (he does not report his sources), there is no such person, certainly not one in Switzerland, and that the photo supposedly of him seems to have been artificially created.
Look on the bright side. It is good that Biden has a hook high up in Ukraine government :<)
With A Little Help From My Friends (Remastered 2009)
October 31, 2020
Statement regarding former university employee Christopher Balding
In a recently published story “How a fake persona laid the groundwork for a Hunter Biden conspiracy deluge,” NBC News reported that Dr. Christopher Balding is an associate professor at Fulbright University Vietnam. In fact, Dr. Balding has not been employed by the University since September 10, 2020.
The University has asked NBC News to update its story by clarifying that Dr. Balding is not employed by Fulbright University Vietnam, nor is he associated with the university in any way.
The Fulbright community expects its members to hold the highest standards of integrity and excellence. We do not support any action to create untruthful information.
The person dismissed by Fulbright University is not “based in China.” This person has long been maliciously writing about China.
The writer from the Washington Post similarly has long been maliciously writing about China.
The headline “Did The Hunter Biden Laptop Come From China?” is unfortunate.
I am anxious to hear Rep. Schiff’s response to this. Fundamentally this report – which seems pretty unlikely, I admit – would eliminate the idea of Russian disinformation. But since Schiff and others have offered this Russian explanation, what evidence is there supporting it? Absolutely none. He made it up is the odds on favorite on the Russia angle. Now what is a significant figure in the intelligence activities of the US government making stuff up for?
I totally agree that the Russians would not have attempted such a ham handed operation. But I also doubt the Chinese were involved in any way. While they lack the experience of the Russians in this type of thing, they are a long way from being that stupid.
Personally I think it is a Bannon based operation. Figure he got back with the Mercers to sway the election. They knew it was a total failure, but gave it a shot considering the polls.
I don’t think it was Russians, but my point is what in the world is the Chairman of the Intelligence committee doing to go out and make what is a huge accusation against an important country concerning a vital matter to the US with no evidence? Is the man insane?
Bannon hadn’t occurred to me, but seems more likely than Russia or China. Considering the botch Bannon made of Biosphere, he’s eminently capable of this sort of sloppiness.
I read where Bannon has predicted that Trump will put Giuliani in charge of the FBI after the election.
October 22, 2020
Report on Biden Activities with China
A number of months ago, I was approached by an individual I had known for the better half of a decade. I had known this individually professionally and enjoyed their company and deep insight into our overlapping professional interests….
[ Here is the statement from the person who was dismissed from Fulbright University Vietnam on September 10, 2020. The person has nothing whatsoever to do with China, but has long been maliciously writing about China. ]
I did not know Sergeant Schultz was still alive; “I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!” But I will tell you a story as I am a real patriot . . .
China? Does not seem likely.
The chain of custody on the laptop/s is so sketchy that verifying any of the emails will be quite difficult, and tracing the physical machine seems unlikely.
First rule of being a liar – put enough credibility in the story so people may think it could be true.
I have read many accounts of this thing, and I have yet to have found one single solitary piece of it that sounds in the least credible.
First to all please note that I have reported I have doubts about both versions of this floating about and do not know what is going on with it for sure. On Econospeak I proposed it as possible that GRU is behind the story this is of Chinese origin, and that this may be an effort by the Russians to cover their own tracks as the originators of it in anticipation of a likely Biden victory and wanting to distance themselves somewhat from Trump. After all, Trump himself has been arguing that China is pro-Biden, which, offhand, I would sort of expect them to be more inclined to be, if not strongly so. But then Trump’s DNI Ratcliffe stood up and claimed that Iran is sending Dem voters in Florida appeals to vote for Trump and that this is an anti-Trump move, something apparently not agreed to by either FBI Director Wray or DHS Chief, Wolf, although they stood behind Ratclliffe in support of the claim the posts came from Iran. Truly, on the eve of this election all sorts of totally weird stuff is coming out.
Something that strikes me about the stuff in my own post is that this seems to be two competing accounts, with our anne finding them both to be somehow cooked up by awful anti-China people. I am still waiting for somebody to show a link between these, if any exists, any link. Might that be an origin in the supposed “Typhoon Intelligence” agency, or is that a nonexistent fraud like other parts of all this.
So the Josh Rogin story is largely about Guo Wengui, a sort of Chinese dissident, who has supposedly been responsible for leaking or spreading this. Even Rogin admits he does not know what the heck is going on with this and who, if anybody, Guo is really working for or supporting, with contradictory reports of his true position out there. I sure as heck do not know. But I have yet to see any link with the other tale going around, which is even weirder.
So I have done some checking, and while anne is all worked up about Christopher Balding having been fired by Fulbright U. in Vietnam, which seems to be the case, her claim that he is not based in China or has done nothing but write nasty stuff about China does not seem to be true (sorry, anne), although I am open to being convinced otherwise, again given how totally weird this is. Anyway, I just checked and supposedly Balding is an Assoc. Prof. at Peking U. HSBSU in Shenzhen, PRC, although maybe that is a lie.
His version was supposedly put out on some website in September, with Balding, then I guess still in Vietnam or at least employed by Fulbright U. there (know nothing of this place). He claims to have written part of it (some claim he wrote all of it), but is hiding the identity of the main author. He has also allowed that “Marten Aspen” does not exist, the supposedly Swiss cybersecurity expert cited in some early version of this going around, with an Australian cybersecurity person fingering him as a fake, initially because his ears in his photo are asymmetrical and his left eye has two pupils, apparently a common error made by the AI programs that create phoney photos.
So, maybe the Russians did all of this and are behind both of these versions. Maybe one really is Chinese and the other is a fake. Maybe one is due to people associated with Bannon or Trump or Giuliani within the US. I do not know, but the appearance of both of these tales are worthy of Halloween, which has just passed.
i have a question about this passage, Barkley: the repeatedly discredited claim that Ukrainian prosecutor Shokin was fired at Joe Biden’s request because Shokin was investigating Burisma.
what evidence do you have as to Joe BIden’s intentions? he clearly had Shokin fired; he even bragged about it at the time. Biden contends that the firing was initiated because Shokin wasn’t doing his job; Trump’s allegation was that it was because Shokin was investigating Burisma….wikipedia says it’s because he wasn’t investigating Burisma: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Shokin
everytime the story comes around i conclude there’s no way of knowing for sure, one person’s word against another’s. so how is the story discredited?
Shokin was not investigating Burisma, and indeed its lack of doing so was on the list of reasons showing that Shokin was corrupt. When Biden acted to pressure the Ukrainian government to fire him he was acting in coordination and the strong backing, indeed the strong urging, from the IMF, the World Bank, and the EU. Shokin’s corruption had become internationally notorious. He was investigating nobody, and it was a major problem for these global financial entities that did not want to lend Ukraine money when the corruption level was so high. It had some of the worst corruption in the world. Really. And Shokin was viewed as the key figure in the whole apparatus. I am not providing sources, but there are lots of them. Just google it. This is a known fact.
It has been a Trump lie to claim that Shokin was investigating Burisma, one repeated endlessly on Fox News, especially by Sean Hannity. Indeed, if Biden wins, I am sure, as I said, this will become the new “Benghazi.” Do you remember that? For several years Hannity in particular went on night after night about how Hillary Clinton was responsible for the death of Ambassador Stevens and the other Americans there due to actions or inactions on her part that combined incompetence with corruption. This led to 8 different House committee investigations of this, not a single one of which found a damned thing that she did wrong, but they kept having to have the investigations so that Fox News could be constantly reporting on how they were going to any minute show the awfulness of what she did or did not do.
If Biden wins WH but GOP holds Senate, expect a never ending show of such investigations by various committees, with us already having had several of those, about this matter, with Hannity in particular continuing to repeat what he has been saying every other night, that Shokin was investigating Burisma and that is why Joe Biden had him fired. But it is simply an out and out lie. Period.
Thank you for the reminder of this fact.