Since Tucker Carlson, the host of the White Power Hour of Glower Hour, has been told that UPS has found whatever documents and materials he was bitching were stolen last night have been found and will be delivered, I want to make a couple of quick points about the alleged Hunter Biden materials. These will be in line with my previous remarks, but I wanted to add a few things before Tucker starts peddling doctored documents, misinformation, and agitprop on the air tonight.
Cole texted me to ask if I’d seen the repository of alleged Hunter Biden pictures, videos, and emails posted on a site owned by Guo Wengui. I’ve now gone through the materials and here are my takeaways:
- These are some of the most amateur looking materials I’ve ever seen!
- Some of the pictures are legitimately of Hunter Biden.
- Some of the pictures may be of Hunter Biden.
- Some of the pictures are clearly altered/adjusted.
- Some of the pictures, specifically the vast majority that purport to show actual or simulated sex acts, could be of anybody. Some of these only show the face of one person so it is unclear who the other person is. A lot of them don’t show anyone’s faces, so there is no way to tell who the pictures are of.
- The picture of “Malia Obama’s credit card” is most certainly not of Malia Obama’s credit card.
- There are NO pictures depicting sex or simulated sex acts with minors/juveniles.
- There are several pictures with blurred out faces of women, including one with a blurred out upper body, that have text box overlays asking “are these underage?” Based on the visual evidence presented, there is no way to know, but if they are then everyone in possession of the unaltered photos is in a lot of trouble.
- In all the other pictures showing sex or simulated sex acts, the women are clearly not underage.
- The picture of the threesome/simulated threesome, which has a text box overlay asking if the women are Malia Obama and one of Hunter Biden’s daughters, is CLEARLY NOT A PICTURE WITH MALIA OBAMA AND/OR HUNTER BIDEN’S DAUGHTER IN IT!!!!! Frankly, I’m not even sure Hunter Biden is in the picture. Specifically, I’m not sure that the picture is not altered.
- The couple of network analysis charts are absolute crap. Also, they’re captioned in Chinese, which doesn’t help as my Chinese is limited to martial arts terms. And menu items.
- The few emails posted, like the emails published by The New York Post, are dead images. There’s no metadata, so know way to demonstrate their provenance. This implies to me they’re not legit. The same for the photos, though they all have text books with the alleged date, time, and location of where the pictures were taken. But here too, there’s no way to verify any of that.
- I did not watch the videos because based on the photos, I’m sure that a few will be of Hunter and some will be doctored, most likely by deep faking them.
This stuff is just incredibly amateurish. They are clearly not intended to persuade anyone, let alone really convince law enforcement or intelligence personnel to take them seriously. Rather, they’re intended to push misinformation and agitprop out through outlets like Carlson’s show on Fox News, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, and The New York Post so the President and his key surrogates like Rudy Giuliani can refer to them at rallies and during media hits. And Don Jr. can shitpost them on Twitter.
And now a little bit about Guo Wengui. Guo’s back story is that he’s in self imposed exile from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) because he pissed of Xi and Xi wants him back for what would be a political trial. As a result, Guo took his billions and fled to the US where he’s embraced the hardest of the hard right within the GOP, the conservative movement, and Trumpworld. Guo’s thrown his money around to them as well, which is why he’s funding Bannon’s operations and why Bannon was arrested on Guo’s yacht. They appear to have an initiative they call the New Chinese Federation, which is tied to the Guo backed website that is now posting the alleged Hunter Biden material.
While it is possible that Guo’s story is legit, it is just as likely, and in my professional assessment highly likely, that the story is a cover story*. It’s just too good to be true. Just as the Russians sent a somewhat physically attractive young woman to penetrate the GOP and conservative movement using both gun rights and white Christian religious freedom as the cover story, a cover story that was catnip to the folks at the NRA, other shooting organizations, the National Prayer Breakfast folks (C Street/the Family/the Fellowship), and other white Christian conservative organizations, I think Guo’s cover story is engineered to be equally irresistible.
The Trumpified GOP and conservative movement have over the past four years stopped talking about, as in literally have stopped using the terms China or the PRC and started screaming about the Chinese Communist Party, the CCP, and/or the ChiComs. This is language used for the boundary maintenance of GOP/conservative/Trumpworld identity by allowing for easy identification of those who speak the right words (the literal definition of political correctness that came out of the crypto-fascist movement of Father Coughlin).
Guo’s story seems to be created to be equally irresistible to the Republican Party, the conservative movement, and Trumpworld and to capitalize off of this weird Republican, conservative, and Trumpworld reimagining of the PRC. Just as Butina’s cover story of the emergence of a 2nd amendment absolutism movement in Russia, which is implausible if you know anything about Russia, was designed to be irresistible to the GOP and the conservative movement in the US. When you combine the cover story with all the money he has to share, just as Butina managed to have money to share, you’ve got what appears to be a not for cover operation to penetrate the Republican Party, the conservative movement, and Trumpworld.
It is important to remember, that despite the President’s statements, as well as those by former Acting DNI Grennell and current DNI Ratcliffe, as well as other of the President’s surrogates, Xi does want to see the President reelected:
Donald Trump has argued frequently of late that China is rooting for Joe Biden come November’s U.S. presidential election. In Beijing, however, officials have come around to support four more years of Trump.
Interviews with nine current and former Chinese officials point to a shift in sentiment in favor of the sitting president, even though he has spent much of the past four years blaming Beijing for everything from U.S. trade imbalances to Covid-19. The chief reason? A belief that the benefit of the erosion of America’s postwar alliance network would outweigh any damage to China from continued trade disputes and geopolitical instability.
While the officials shared concerns that U.S.-China tensions would rise regardless of who was in the White House, they broke largely into camps of those who emphasized geopolitical gains and those who were concerned about trade ties. Biden, the former vice president, was viewed as a traditional Democrat who would seek to shore up the U.S.’s tattered multilateral relationships and tamp down trade frictions.
“If Biden is elected, I think this could be more dangerous for China, because he will work with allies to target China, whereas Trump is destroying U.S. alliances,” said Zhou Xiaoming, a former Chinese trade negotiator and former deputy representative in Geneva. Four current officials echoed that sentiment, saying many in the Chinese government believed a Trump victory could help Beijing by weakening what they saw as Washington’s greatest asset for checking China’s widening influence.
Having a catspaw – Guo – with an irresistible to Republicans and conservatives cover story and lots of money to spread around on those same Republicans and conservatives pet projects, including smearing VP Biden to weaken his election chances, makes sense. It also explains why Russian agitprop that was seeded in 2014 to dirty up VP Biden, Secretary Kerry, and VP Cheney, is now being pushed by a self exiled ultra-wealthy Chinese national who has ingratiated himself with and is funding Steve Bannon and other key Trumpworld figures.
We are off the map and through the looking glass.
* The link is to a lawsuit by a private US research firm that Guo had hired to dig up dirt on Chinese nationals in the US that Guo believed to be working for the PRC. However, in the lawsuit that US research firm alleges that Guo was actually having them try to dig up dirt on Chinese working for the US government under false allegations that they were working for the PRC. The case was ultimately dismissed.
Well, that does it: no way in hell am I going to cast my vote for that guy who isn’t Hunter Biden.
Seriously thou: one has to start wondering if the point of dropping this stuff so late in the game is less about influencing the election and more about giving the Orcs something with which to endlessly hound President Biden.
No pix of zombie Beau munching on gray matter?
I haz a disappoint.
Worth noting that Guo Wengui is probably better known to Americans as Miles Kwok, although he sometimes spices things up by using the name Miles Guo. He has that sort of edgy, original mind.
You can read a Chinese menu? Respect.
What is it they are accusing Malia of?
I guess I have to ask. If all of this stuff is in an online repository, why was Tucker Carlson using UPS at all? Does Fox News require all of their computers to be air gapped to prevent the Deep State and Hillary Clinton’s ninja squad (but I repeat myself) from hacking into them?
@debbie: Aggravated Blackness, 2nd degree.
@debbie: They’re trying to drag Obama’s kid into this? I’d say they’re lower than pond scum but there has to be something lower than that.
TS (the original)
I find it obscene that they do this to anyone, let alone the child of the next US President. They elected trump with their lies and smears and are trying to do it again.
Democrats provided the truth about trump & the media ignored it after 24 hours. This lot will still be talking about Hunter Biden in 4 years time. When I think how the media have let the trump family run the country with barely a murmur, I am distraught.
TS (the original)
@debbie: living while black.
First Amendment or not, she needs to sue for slander. I’m not sure what’s being implied by including “her” credit card, but it sounds like they’re implying criminality.
And NBC news has apparently just reported that the supposed intelligence firm behind this doesn’t exist.
Adam L Silverman
@jeffreyw: Bits and bobs.
Is this why Greenwald was censored?
Adam L Silverman
@debbie: They’re insinuating that Hunter stole her credit card or was given her credit card and that he may have had sex with her and another woman.
This is such a bullshit excuse for a scandal. How is this supposed to convince anyone that was considering voting for Biden to switch to Trump? None of this makes any sense! I’m glad I’m not a pathetic right wing troll who would eat this up.
Adam L Silverman
@dmsilev: Who knows. Who knows if this stuff is what Carlson claims he has been given.
People on Twitter are starting to work on the material too. The consensus (by my follows, anyway) agrees with you, Adam. It’s garbage.
Adam L Silverman
And Snowden’s world travels were in 2013, hmmmm.
Well, the people behind this shitpile appear to be way incompetent, and/or contemptuous of their audience. Granted, MAGAts and Fox viewers (but I repeat myself) will eagerly buy in – but I don’t see how this convinces anyone else. Has the MSM started biting?
In other news (Open Thread) I sat through the training for WisDem’s phone banking – and had to bow out.
The process they have is extremely complicated. First, you call in to an automated caller system, which does the dialing for you on your phone, while simultaneously working an interactive script on your computer.
The script is very long. It’s not just asking people if they will vote or have voted: it’s also walking them through the early voting process, the Election Night voting process, making sure they know where their voting location is (and launching another tab with the information if they don’t), making sure they have the ability to get there (and transferring them to another number if they’re not sure), pinning them down as to exactly when and where they intend to vote, and asking them to join the volunteer effort.
On top of all that, WisDems wants us to keep our computer cameras on (!) so we can share the wonderful experience of phone banking.
It sounded extremely complicated, stressful, and I don’t want to be watched while I navigate all that.
I’m still working with Common Cause, so I’ll stick with that.
QAnon believers will believe anything.
Whale shit on the bottom of the ocean…
I never thought I’d say this…
Wikileaks provided real value to purveyors of disinformation.
Adam L Silverman
@Cheryl Rofer: Thanks for the link!
David Perdue backed out of his last debate with Ossoff. What a fucking chicken. He got filleted last night and can’t stand the heat. Cutting and running like a coward…not the best look right before the election!
Great work Adam, digging into this pile of filth, so we didn’t have to! The entire backstory is absurd – a guy who lives in California flies back to Connecticut to have his laptop computer serviced at some small shop he hadn’t been to before, by a partially blind guy he had never met before and never came back to get it. Yeah right. Real plausible.
I do think Adam might have a point that Hunter Biden’s phone was hacked and then the hackers dumped what files, pics or texts they thought would be useful to blackmail him with and then copied those files to this piece of shit laptop and made a copy for Perv Boy Giuliani. Pathetic.
@NotMax: You win the internets!
The attacks on Hunter Biden are far beyond any level of rational political argument– how is any of this relevant to politics? It’s warfare, and Biden/Obama/Clinton is the enemy you must hate and defeat by any means possible.
Does anyone really think any of this will change a vote? I don’t see it.
Adam L Silverman
@Zinsky: The guy isn’t partially blind. According to his business partner he’s so blind he can’t read anything unless it is up against his face.
Just a reminder. Fox News was sued by Karen McDougal for slander for comments made by Tucker Carlson. The corporation defended itself by claiming that given the general tenor of Carlson’s show, any reasonable person would know that he doesn’t speak facts (which was a nice legal argument that Carlson spews racist garbage). The judge accepted the argument and ruled in Fox News’ favor (McDougal vs Fox News LLC SDNY)
Note: Somebody ( I believe Immanentize) commented today that it felt weird to be wearing pants again.
I said to be sure to tell you how it feels. You can thank me later.
Not sure this was the best thread to bring that up.
Is this Guo fellow at all associated with Epoch Times.
@Adam L Silverman: Is it the Mr. Magoo Kinda Good Computer Repair Shoppe? ?
@Baud: Something probably reminded him.
Adam L Silverman
@OGLiberal: It is unclear. He doesn’t appear to be Falun Gong, but their funding is so opaque who knows. There is some question as to whether Falun Gong are really controlled opposition.
Adam L Silverman
Something to do with Tucker Carlson getting pantsed.
It is filth and they are vermin.
@Adam L Silverman: If he’s blind, how the fuck can he do board repair or data recovery. I watch videos that a guy on YouTube of him doing MacBook board repair and you have look for stuff like corrosion. And you have to use a microscope, these components are small. I smell malarkey.
@Luciamia: They are the parasites that feed on pond scum.
@Adam L Silverman:
Thanks, I guess.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Yup, same reason McConnell wouldn’t bring up another stimulus. Once again, the foreign adversaries and Republicans have a common goal: Weakening a Democratic president.
@Omnes Omnibus: I grew up in a home where a parent was disabled, there are some things that folk with a disability can’t do. I’m 5’4″, I was never going to be center for the Lakers.
TS (the original)
@PsiFighter37: Perdue has chosen to go to a trump rally – where no doubt he will be treated better than the female senators who have attended same.
Given the polls & the current issues around trump’s rallies, he may have had a better chance of surviving a debate with Ossoff.
The Moar You Know
Way too little, way too late. Election’s Tuesday. I’m guessing over 70% of all voters have voted already. This won’t swing anyone. Maybe give some cover to those who were going to vote Trump in the first place. There’s a lot fewer of those folks than the GOP is counting on.
I might also add that I had passing acquaintance with Tucker in high school, including physically throwing him out of a party. I guarantee you he will think every last bit of this is gospel truth. He really is that stupid.
@danielx: I believe it was Mr. Mashpotato, though i don’t recall the spelling of his nym at the moment.
TS (the original)
@MattF: It gives cover to anyone who is looking for a reason to vote for trump – that can be given to family/friends.
Well, not with that attitude.
@PsiFighter37: I was just coming to post that tweet. Perdue is going to a Dolt45 rally in Rome of all places.
The Republicans Party’s decision to turn disdain for expertise and science into their creed has caused them to be bad at all kinds of things. Jacob Wohl and what’s his name saying that Elizabeth Warren was sleeping with a hot young Marine was believed by nobody and this is even flimsier. Also, millions have already voted. I guess they’re trying to rev up the base of crazies to be outraged and go to the polls on Tuesday instead of saying fuck it, our guy’s gonna lose, might as well stay home and drink.
Adam L Silverman
@?BillinGlendaleCA: This is what I was referring to:
I also agreed to do that phone banking. Got an email. Looked at the pdf of instructions and it was 5 pages long.
This old technology-challenged lady is not going to even try that.
Eventheleftistnotreally hesaracist libertarianbut noone seemstocare Griftwald was supposed to have the scoop on this to try to give it more cred. After Ryan Grim(!) refused to publish they pulled the plug – Little Fingers probably yelled at someone to get them to go forward anyway. We’ll see if the Times has learned jack shit, but I have less than zero faith in them.
edited to add spaces so the margins won’t be broken on mobile. WG
@Bobby Thomson: You broke the margins.
Can’t Hunter Biden and Malia Obama sue Tucker for slander/libel? Both are private citizens?
What has Tucker said specifically?
@Baud: All better. (Or it should be.)
@Baud: more accurately, this is the BS that stunk so bad not even Ryan Grim would let it be published.
@Bobby Thomson: That truly is amazing.
@Renie: IANAL, but…depending upon what, exactly, they’re being accused of, they might have a case even if they were deemed to be public figures.
To win a defamation case, a public figure needs to meet 1 of 2 evidentiary thresholds (per New York Times v. Sullivan):
If they were determined to be private citizens, then they’d have a lower evidentiary standard to meet, but what we’re seeing here certainly appears to fall into #2 above. Again, though, IANAL.
How long before PornHub sues FoxNews for copyright infringement on certain pictures and video?
You know these folks are too stupid, lazy, and incompetent to work with material that is hard to trace back to the source.
@TS (the original): can you jump into the mind of one of these people (scary proposition, I know) and explain how this gives cover to vote for Trump? what’s the line of thinking?
Adam L Silverman
@Bobby Thomson: @Baud: Grim had nothing to do with it. It was The Intercept’s Editor in Chief and another senior exec in the NY office that told GG they wouldn’t publish his crap.
@Adam L Silverman: Thre is a reason I do not ever buy Swanson brand broth.
@The Moar You Know: You threw Tucker Carlson out of a party? Excellent. Any more details or shall we assume run-of-the-mill assholery?
Now look just hear me out on this Biden’s people put this stuff out and made it deliberately amateurish so that when Trump’s people took the bait they’d look like idiots and then nobody would trust the real stuff that’s a thousand times worse hey hey wait where are you going?
Adam L Silverman
@Calouste: I didn’t even bother to do a reverse image search because I reckon there’s a better than even chance that these are pics of other people that those people posted somewhere online.
This whole gambit stinks of desperation. It won’t sway any but the biggest conspiracy buffs. This sort of murky glut of maybe scandals has been trotted out too many times in the last few years. Timing matters and over use makes them weak sauce. Total desperation.
Carlson can shriek all he wants but a murky picture is worth a thousand words but not what Carlson thinks. Fake and junk and crap, plus a lot of “try harder” are most likely.
@Adam L Silverman: Plus who would want that in their search history?
@different-church-lady: Have you considered ALL-CAPS?
@Luciamia: Scum floats. Try pond sludge. It’s lower.
@Adam L Silverman: I really want there to be an absolute raft of charges thrown at these stupid fucks after Biden takes office. But in the absence of that, I am ready and entirely willing to throat punch every single whoreson of them.
@CaseyL: But talk about a pyrrhic victory…
TS (the original)
@LurkerNoLonger: Their minds are warped. I truly can’t go there – but if they believe this sh!t you can talk to them forever & it will be why they voted for trump.
I have an ex-friend who told me “but China” was why she wanted trump to win. If trump doesn’t win China will take over the world. There is no logic or sanity with these people, None.
@Kattails: Yeah, but that means he also knew someone who invited Tucker Carlson to a party.
James E Powell
Malia is much too young to have to say “ick” about lies about herself in the press. Ditto Hunter’s kid.
Goku (Amerikan Baka)
These fucks don’t give a shit what innocents are killed, just so long as it helps them politically. Have they completely forgotten about this little thing called climate change? It will affect China too (already is) and destabilizing the US and it’s alliance networks isn’t something I think is beneficial for fighting climate change. One might it call it gross irresponsibility
Like, Putin, it’s almost like Xi and the people who run the CCP are actually fucking nutjobs who should be nowhere near any positions of power
@danielx: A doc last week showed how whale poop is extremely valuable to marine ecosystems. It floats and whales dive deep and brink nutrients to the surface in their poop, nutrients that are scarce in the upper layers of the water column.
Nor indeed with that altitude.
I’ll show myself out.
Adam L Silverman
@different-church-lady: I use a special browser that doesn’t maintain any search history run through a VPN that records no search or other information for things like that.
@Dan B: The whales knew.
@Adam L Silverman: Remind me to never piss you off.
Adam L Silverman
@TS (the original): Show your friend this thread and the article it links to.
@Baud: I thought Tucker was sharing this garbage on his show?
@Renie: Not yet, as far as I know.
Gin & Tonic
@Adam L Silverman: Heh. I’ve, um, heard of that sort of approach.
Anyway, thanks for the rundown. This comports with what the OSINT community has been talking about.
@different-church-lady: ” Seriously thou: one has to start wondering if the point of dropping this stuff so late in the game is less about influencing the election and more about giving the Orcs something with which to endlessly hound President Biden. ”
Only other sense to the late drop I can see is if they expected the media to run with it in the last two weeks to make a big splash, and corporate media news hacks endlessly pestering Democrats about it.
That might explain why the Trumpsters are so infuriated that the media didn’t run with it like they did with so many flimsy charges against HRC.
There were two problems: There is no evidence or history of outrageous or criminal Biden family corruption (there is some of ‘honest graft’ by relatives, but it’s far shy probably of the average for today’s politics). And Trumpster attempts to gin one up are so bogus, they couldn’t establish that narrative.
So, corporate media actually decided to look at the evidence rather than run with it as a cheap narrative for audience capture.
Also fits with Trumpsters trying to run exactly the same swindle over and over again. Much less ability to vary the product than rest of GOP.
Is it this guy, by any chance?
@Luciamia:Whale shit is lower than pond scum.
Actually, it is lower only in terms of vertical displacement. Whale shit serves an important ecological function. As does pond scum, for that matter.
ETA: [email protected] got there first.
Will somebody think of the undecided?!?
@Dan B: Feed low and poop high? Interesting approach. Shows that it’s a big world and takes all kinds of approaches to life to make things work.
I argree on the Chinese backing Trump. The idea of “But TRADE” is a very US way of looking at the benefits of Trump. He actually prefers North Korea to South Korea, not because he’s trying to woo North Korea away into a Western Alliance. But just because he likes the dictator and thinks South Korea has somehow ripped us off. He has done nothing but belittle the ally with the best equiped army in the region. He adores Duterte and is just fine with him letting the Chinese complete their claim to the south China sea. He isn’t trusted in Europe. He could care less about Muslim extermination and probably wishes he could do the same in Detroit. He’s not going to do anything to stem COVID which is going to make China appear to be a world leader with the best model government. There is no downside to him winning.
@James E Powell: I suppose, 2022 the GOP could run on getting to the bottom of whether Malia and Biden had sex. I’d like to think no one would care to have endless hearings about that. But then we are a country that watched Tiger King in March. So…
@Amir Khalid: Yup.
@TS (the original): I guess if it wasn’t this it would be some other excuse. These people are hopeless.
In summation: GORKA!
That is all.
Goku (Amerikan Baka)
But what about climate change?
@danielx: Whale shit on the bottom of the ocean…
Nutrient rich whale shit feeding a bottom fauna? Not low enough.
[Ha! Backtracking through the comments I see that whale shit is getting its due. Good work.]
Fascinating. I’d never really given Guo Wengui / Miles Kwok much thought before, but I took a look at his Wiki page to see what his family history and personal political history are. No mention at all of his parents, so I think we can safely assume that he truly was a nobody before he got rich, i.e. no generational and/or factional baggage between his family and Xi’s.
No actual quotes of what he said that supposedly pissed off Xi, which I feel like would have been blasted everywhere on Chinese media at the very least as evidence of his criminality. And the anti-corruption drive was cover for Xi and other princelings to take out political rivals, i.e. Bo Xilai, who did indeed have the combination of family pedigree and personal popularity that DOES terrify Xi. Given that Guo Wengui had neither, I think it’s also safe to say that he got caught up in the anti-corruption drive because he was an asshole with money, and Xi threatened him with eternal shitty prison conditions, a la Bo Xilai, unless he did whatever Xi wanted. Hence, the current situation laid out in Adam’s post. Makes me wonder about the other businesspeople that got arrested at the same time.
The Moar You Know
@Kattails: He and his two punk weight friends, after driving off all the women within fifteen minutes, then decided to get into it with the wrong guy. I asked that they leave for their own safety. They declined. So I removed them. I did have to lay hands on them, but once I did that it turned out they weren’t exactly up for further argument, so they left.
@different-church-lady: He was not invited. He had two Junior Nazi Party friends with him, and was the most loathed person at his tony private high school. He heard about it from my neighbor, who was the host and also went to the same rich-ass high school. Irony of ironies, if he hadn’t been such a fucking snob he would have had tons of friends at my public high school, which was a Republican kids paradise. Maybe he wouldn’t have grown up to be such a dick.
The Moar You Know
@Goku (Amerikan Baka): Climate change means nothing to a person in their seventies. Nor does eating healthy, or quitting smoking, or a slew of other things. When your future is measured in weeks or days and not years, you’ll understand that.
“…and it was just another case of American blind justice, and the judge wasn’t going to look at no 27 8×10 color glossy photographs with the circles and arrows on the back of each one…”
J R in WV
My grandfather was disabled — he was missing his right leg from the hip. I helped him by spreading compost on his organic garden plot. You can’t work a wheelbarrow with one log, can’t be done!
He could do everything else needed for life.
@Omnes Omnibus: Muggsy Bogues was 5’3″ but he played point guard, and he was good.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: I hear that the Hobbiton Lakers are recruiting…
While I respect Adam’s expertise in this area, I personally rather doubt Miles Guo Wengui is a Chinese intelligence asset assigned to penetrate the American Conservative Movement. A critical difference I can see between Guo and Butina is that Butina’s play was to ingratiate to GOP sensibilities by emphasizing shared sympathies and values that purportedly exist in Russia, which helps to improve impressions of Russia in the conservative circles. Guo’s play was to create boogeymen out of the CCP regime, which has the effect of further hardening the phobia and animosity toward China/CCP regime in these circles. Guo first made a splash on Youtube with wild and baseless allegations of sexual innuendo between top CCP leaders (sexa- and septuagenarians all) and famous Chinese movie stars, similar kind of innuendo published by the small Hong Kong bookstore that so angered Chinese leaders that Chinese intelligence agents went on to kidnap the 5 bookstore owners out of Hong Kong and Thailand into Mainland China. The kidnappings then transformed these purveyors of yellow journalism (“thinly sourced allegations” were the euphemism used by western MSM) into icons for freedom of press in the West, which is ironic, and did not work out so well for the regime in the aggregate. Guo’s most recent venture was to promote the Hong Kong researcher peddling the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was released by the Wuhan Institute of Virology. I get that an intelligence asset sometimes needs to demonstrate value/loyalty to the target to solidify his/her position, but how does flamboyantly inciting Sinophobic or anti-CCP hysteria within the US’ ruling circles (until Jan. 20, fingers crossed) serve China’s national interests or the CCP’s regime interests? For assets that Chinese intelligence are trying to insert into conservative circles, I would think monied Chinese nationals and Chinese Americans who are low-key both in their funding of major conservative organizations and their business dealings with Chinese interests are better candidates.
Russia’s influence operations have served to dilute sanctions and geopolitical pressure on Russia. What has China’s influence operations achieved? While the trade war has proven more damaging to the US than China, the tech war is a different matter (especially in the short to medium term; in the medium to long term, the US may come to regret placing the reliability of US suppliers into doubt). Yes, Trump’s foreign policy has been a boon to China, but that needed no doing on China’s part. Feels too much like nth dimension chess to me.
I have seen Chinese exiles go off the deep end, to the point that their motivation is entirely anti-CCP, rather than pro-democracy/human rights/liberalism, and I see Guo is yet another example. By the way, Guo had to go on self-imposed exile because he was associated with the losing faction of the internal power struggle during the last leadership transition in 2012. Xi Jinping emerged as the consensus choice after much internal wrangling in the late aughts and early teens, but Bo Xilai (supported by a large faction centered around the security apparatus and his power base at Chongqing) sought to overturn that decision and place himself onto the leadership position. Guo was closely associated with the security apparatus at the time. One could see it as a life and death struggle between the mainstream in the regime, and a sizable rogue faction, rather more serious than Guo pissing Xi off personally. The security apparatus has since seen a purge of anyone tied to Bo.
I am sure everyone in China, from the top leaders to the common citizens, has an opinion on who is the preferred winner of the US presidential election, but I have not seen any evidence (not even provided by the Trump’s administration) that China is actually interfering in the election in any meaningful way. If the CCP regime has decided to directly play in the election, and using its purported intelligence asset Guo as the instrument, I would think they can come up with something better than the pathetic material Tucker Carlson is peddling.
Reading Chinese mass and social media, I do not really see any attempt (subtle or overt) to cover Trump more favorably over Biden. The majority opinion I have seen is that Biden is somewhat preferred. While great power rivalry will certainly continue under Biden, the competition will be likely be bounded and there would be grounds for pragmatic cooperation, out which a new modus vivendi might emerge, as opposed to a mutually destructive Cold War 2.0. The CCP regimes hates uncertainty, while a 2nd Trump term will continue to shatter the US geopolitical and military alliance, it may also shatter the entire world. China’s interest is to bend the rules and norms away from favoring the US to favoring China; usurp the US’ leadership position in the global “order” (such as it existed), if you will, or at least diminish the US’ dominant position in said order. Russia’s interest is to upend the order altogether. Trump himself is too chickens*t to get into a military confrontation with China, but the circle of neo-Cold Warriors he has surrounded himself with may not be so hesitant.
Of course, a surprise Trump victory would serve to discredit American democracy in Chinese eyes (elites and average Zhou), and not just Chinese eyes.
@Goku (Amerikan Baka):
I think you are wrong in your analysis on the impact on Climate Change actions. The US lead geopolitical and military alliance is irrelevant when it comes to this matter. Climate Change actions are driven predominantly by domestic politics and policy. Alliance with the US has not stopped the Gulf States from drilling more oil, has not made Australia an exemplar under the conservative government there (even during the Obama years), and all of Trump’s disruptions has not changed Europe’s progressive stance on the issue. As with COVID-19, new alliances and partnerships will simply form around Climate Change if the US continues to be absent.
a thousand flouncing lurkers was fidelio
@Luciamia: Pond scum’s attorney would like to point out that it’s a photosynthetic eukaryotic organism just tying to get along as best it can, and do some good in the world. Unlike most of the current administration and its hangers-on.
Thank you for doing the heavy lifting with this odious task, Mr. Silverman. I read an article earlier today that combined reports from several different ABC news teams in different countries about how those country’s felt about the election. One point about China that was made seems pertinent.
“The prevailing belief is that the short term pain of dealing with Trump for four more years would yield longer-term gains. A popular nickname for Trump on Chinese social media is ‘jianguo’ or “Building the Nation.”
The nation they’re referring to is China., with Trump making China great again by weakening America’s network allies around the world, especially in Asia. While China also has increasingly fewer friends in the region, Beijing sees that a Trump administration is viewed internationally as unreliable and chaotic — creating a major opportunity for them.”
That seems consistent with the portion of the Bloomberg story you quote above about why Trump would be the preferred winner in China’s eyes.
The nickname of “Chuan Jianguo” (Trump the Nation Builder) was invented on Chinese social media for Trump circa 2018 – 2019, as Trump flailed about with the trade war. It was always used in jest, not to be taken seriously. With the sharp escalation of anti-China/anti-CCP rhetoric surrounding COVID-19, as well as sharp escalation of tech war, I see it used less frequently. Before 2020, I would agree that the majority opinion in China (elite and popular) favored Trump, but with the pandemic giving everyone a cold dose of reality of what a world in turmoil really looks like, I sense there is a yearning for a return to stability and normalcy, within and without China. The same dynamic has largely solidified support for the CCP regime in the country, founded on the effective response to COVID-19 from late Jan. on.
@pat: Thanks – I feel less like a total weenie :)
I have the strong impression that Falun Gong is like QAnon — there may, quite probably, be ‘controlled opposition’ behind it now, but most of the True Believers are innocent of anything but gullibility. And a very strong sense of paranoia!
Ironically, it is commonly believed in China, as well as among Mainland Chinese immigrants overseas, that Falun Gong has CIA behind it. Its funding and organization has always been opaque, even during the 90s when its popularity surged across all strata of Chinese society, before it was suppressed. The founder, Li Hongzhi, had already emigrated to the US before the suppression campaign, and had always promoted kooky beliefs. On the other hand, it is inconceivable that Chinese intelligence would not attempt to penetrate the organization, and probably has succeeded at least to some extent.
The problem I have with the thesis that Guo Wengui is a Chinese intelligence asset and that the Falun Gong is controlled opposition is that both have been extremely energetic at demonizing the CCP regime, well beyond actual actions taken by the regime and well into paranoid conspiracy territory, which are getting some influence on the interwebs and certainly among a small minority of ethnic Chinese immigrants. A nuisance when the relations between China and the US are relatively stable, but as the two nations are in danger of hurtling toward a new Cold War, I would think the CCP regime would want their anti-CCP efforts to be less successful.