Patterico's Pontifications

8/18/2019

Hong Kong And Russia: Pro-Democracy Supporters Battle On

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:47 am



[guest post by Dana]

It’s incredible what is happening in Hong Kong and Russia.

From Hong Kong:

Water cannon trucks were kept on standby as pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong marched through the dense city centre after assembling at Victoria Park in Hong Kong on a rain-soaked Sunday afternoon, reported South China Morning Post.

The demonstrators filled the streets as there was not enough space at the park. The police approved the rally but objected to plans to march to the central district because of previous clashes that had occurred there. However, protestors defied the police instructions and marched anyway, reported The New York Times.

By mid-afternoon, the park was filled with tens of thousands of people. Protestors brought traffic on a multilane main road in the Causeway Bay shopping district to a halt. As the crowd inched toward the park, they shouted: “People of Hong Kong, keep fighting.”

China is none too happy with the support protesters are receiving from the US:

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for China’s legislature condemned statements from US legislators supporting the protestors. You Wenze called the statements by senators and Congress representatives “a gross violation of the spirit of the rule of law, a blatant double standard and a gross interference in China’s internal affairs”.

(Actually, neither China nor Russia are happy with the US support of the freedom-seeking protesters.)

From Russia:

Russian opposition activists staged a string of pickets in central Moscow on Saturday to call for free elections and for charges against protesters detained at recent rallies to be dropped.

Moscow has been rocked by weekly protests for more than a month since the authorities barred opposition candidates from running in an election for the city’s legislature in September.

Police have briefly detained more than 2,000 protesters in recent weeks, launched criminal cases against some dozen people for mass disorder and used force to disperse what they said were illegal protests.

The recent opposition demonstrations have turned into the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013, when protesters took to the streets against perceived electoral fraud.

Russia is also dealing with fallout from the explosion of a small nuclear reactor last week that left five scientists dead:

The blast occurred Aug. 8 during a test of a missile that used “isotope power sources,” Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom said over the weekend. The Defense Ministry initially reported two were killed in the accident, which it said involved testing of a liquid-fueled missile engine. The ministry didn’t mention the nuclear element.

It caused a brief spike in radiation in the nearby port city of Severodvinsk, according to a statement on the local administration’s website that was later removed. The Russian military said radiation levels were normal but disclosed few details about the incident.

[…]

The incident comes after a series of massive explosions earlier last week at a Siberian military depot killed one and injured 13, as well as forcing the evacuation of 16,500 people from their homes. Russia’s navy has suffered numerous high-profile accidents over the years. In July, 14 sailors died in a fire aboard a nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea in an incident on which officials initially refused to comment. A top naval official later said the men gave their lives preventing a “planetary catastrophe.”

Horribly, hospital workers were not informed about the serious risks of treating the injured who had been exposed to radiation:

The three injured men arrived at the hospital around 4:30 pm, naked and wrapped in translucent plastic bags. The state of the patients made staff suspect they were dealing with something very serious. But the only information they had at the time was that there had been an explosion at a nearby military site around noon.

“No one — neither hospital directors, nor Health Ministry officials, nor regional officials or the governor — notified staff that the patients were radioactive,” one of the clinic’s surgeons told The Moscow Times by phone this week. “The hospital workers had their suspicions, but nobody told them to protect themselves.”

Reportedly, after the explosion, radiation spiked to as much as 20 times its normal level for about 30 minutes within the region. Medical professionals tasked with treating the patients were “encouraged” by state authorities to sign non-disclosure agreements. The general consensus among staff was, you don’t say no to such a request.

Hospital workers were angered by the lack of information given them about the danger they faced when treating the patients, but officials refused to address their concerns directly:

All of the accounts also ask why state personnel exposed to radiation would be sent to a civilian hospital, rather than a military one, in the first place. The doctors who spoke to The Moscow Times said they and their colleagues had prepared a thorough list of questions for Health Ministry representatives who visited on Aug. 12 to clarify the staff’s concerns, and not a single one was answered clearly.

Rather than answers, the doctors were offered a trip to Moscow for tests…one of the doctors flown to Moscow was found to have Caesium-137 — a radioactive isotope that is a byproduct of the nuclear fission of uranium-235 — in their muscle tissue.

[…]

According to three of the doctors, two of the three patients that were treated at the Arkhangelsk Regional Clinical Hospital didn’t even reach Moscow, dying en route to the airport.

They said that security services officers who visited the hospital on Aug. 9 recovered and deleted all of the information about the incident that was in the hospital’s records.

“It’s as if the event no longer exists,” one of the doctors said. “With no documentation the staff couldn’t try to take anyone to court, even if they wanted to.”

P.S. U.S. officials believe [the exploion] may have involved work on a new nuclear-powered cruise missile, and could have contaminated the region with radioactive waste.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

50 Responses to “Hong Kong And Russia: Pro-Democracy Supporters Battle On”

  1. Looking for any statements of support for protesters in Russia, and can’t find any… Lukewarm comments from him on protesters in Hong Kong. Sad!

    Dana (fdf131)

  2. Are the ladies from the band “Pussy Riot” still detained?
    Maybe the Dixie Chicks (are they still a thing?) can go do a benefit concert in Vladivostok

    steveg (354706)

  3. God invented vodka to keep the Russians from dominating Russia

    steveg (354706)

  4. “Meanwhile, a spokesperson for China’s legislature condemned statements from US legislators supporting the protestors.”

    Good for the legislators. Now they need to help Trump grow a spine.
    __

    Also:

    Dan Crenshaw
    @DanCrenshawTX
    ·
    In Hong Kong, antifascists wave American flags, demand freedom and actually fight fascists.

    In Portland, “antifascists” burn American flags, demand violence in the name of socialism.

    Portland is a sad showing of where we are today. All around.
    .

    harkin (cf32fb)

  5. 1… why is what Trump has to say about this so important to you?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  6. Let me go out on a limb to say that Trump’s constant drumbeat of “fake news!” has really resonated in those countries where the news/social media really is controlled by the government. Here, in the U.S. Not everyone believes our media is totally corrupt, so we do not understand how powerful Trump’s words can be, and how inspiring to others his words become in such oppressive societies.

    felipe (023cc9)

  7. “Here, in the U.S. Not everyone believes our media is totally corrupt..”

    Heck no, only about 90%, and as Crenshaw implies, if they were doing their job they’d counterpoint protestors in HK waving Americans flags and singing our national anthem with Antifa mobs in Portland chasing down and assaulting people waving or wearing the same flag.

    ……but I agree Trump should be much more vocal that freedom is kind of important and that suffocating government hegemony has never led to anything good.
    _

    harkin (cf32fb)

  8. Col Haiku,

    I’m surprised you would ask that. Trump holds the most powerful position in the world, and as such, his words matter – whether they are condemnatory or whether they are supportive.

    Let me ask you, how did you feel when Obama refused to condemn the crack down on the Iranian protests until several days after it began? And then it was just an add-on to a presser from Hawaii where he was spending Christmas. I remember feeling outraged that he was silent in the face of freedom fighters risking their lives, and condemned him for that. Did you?

    I don’t see a difference here.

    Dana (fdf131)

  9. Why is what Trump has to say about this so important to you?

    Why is it not important to you? Presidents used to exercise their moral authority and support groups of people seeking more freedoms. I remember when Obama was criticized by conservatives for not supporting the Iranian people after a phony baloney election.
    http://www.theforvm *dot* org/diary/bird-dog/millions-iranian-scofflaws-update-presidents-stern-response

    Paul Montagu (a2342d)

  10. Here is a look at the different responses by Trump to the both protests.

    Dana (fdf131)

  11. Can someone lift the ban on the website where I blog? It’s theforvm dot org, and it’s harmless.

    Paul Montagu (a2342d)

  12. Here is how I responded to another commenter about the importance of Obama denouncing the Iranians during the protests in 2009:

    Do you believe it possible that others might follow Obama’s lead if he denounced the violence, and made an unwavering stand for freedom? After all, he is the leader of the freest nation in the world. I think America’s ability to influence others throughout the world is unparalleled. Ms. Merkel was brave and bold but I don’t think she has the same clout and voice as the President of the United States and that’s the real shame of his silence.

    If he spoke, fearlessly, smartly, and boldly – very likely others would follow. And for those whose lives are on the line in their battle for freedom, that would give them great courage as well as making it clear to A-jad and company that they are being called out [before the world].

    Dana (fdf131)

  13. 5…why is what Trump has to say about this so important to you?

    Why is it so triggering that someone would even wonder what the president might have to say about international events?
    Why so touchy about the slightest hint that Trump may not approach every situation in the most heroically great manner?

    Radegunda (efd02a)

  14. I remember when Obama was criticized by conservatives for not supporting the Iranian people after a phony baloney election.

    New rules. Anything that previous presidents were criticized for must absolutely never be held against Donald Trump.

    Radegunda (efd02a)

  15. Let’s turn this around: Why is it so easy for Trump criticize Fake News all day long, and yet he can’t muster the moral authority or courage to condemn China and Russia?

    Is it because he admires Vladimir Putin and President Xi as much as he admires Kim Jong Un?

    Dana (fdf131)

  16. Yes, Dana. I think It is.

    felipe (023cc9)

  17. we have sanctions against Russia, we’re even supplying their hated enemy Ukraine with weapons, you can ask Michael yon, who has been in the frontlines of the protests how he feels about trump, I think there has been clear examples of the policies against the Iranian regime, after the fraud that corker pushed through the senate,

    narciso (d1f714)

  18. 8… Dana, I think most of us know by now (or should) that his words mean close to nothing. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it is. I wish it were different, but he’s as liable to reverse course the next day as he is to continue down the same verbal path. I focus on the actions, the things he’s able to do, often despite fierce headwinds.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  19. The words of a US President (who is not John Kerry) DO mean something. “Red line” did, till people realized it was only empty talk. That was not good. Its not good to be known as just talk.

    Nonetheless, people seething at some actions 8,000 miles away, want presidential condemnations of Saudi Arabia, Israel, Yemen, Qatar, Venezuela, and numerous other countries, not to mention the mayors in Portland, and Chicago.

    Heated demands that US presidents hector foreign ministers on every imposition that offends us, betray multiple blind spots.

    The US President was not elected as a universal scold, or the enforcer of mores 8,000 miles away.

    Plus, Trump support of HK protestors might well trigger the mistaken belief that the US will DO something. That might in turn trigger more violent protests in the mistaken belief that the US “has their backs,” etc. Then we will look worse: we “led them on.” (That will be the point where the people that wanted condemnation will say “Oh gosh, we didn’t mean for him to encourage that! We just wanted some fine sounding words with no impact!”).

    And of course if the Chinese act badly, the usual Boltonesque hotheads–w/o draft age kids of their own of course—will push for escalation in our treatment of China.

    Right now of course, “some” say “Gee, what could explain Trump’s silence? I know! He must love dictators!” The better answer was provided in part by Lincoln. He had been hounded to make a premature Emancipation Proclamation. He said no: that the US had no way -then-to enforce it; the war was still in doubt; he would look, he said, as ridiculous as the Pope, who had just issued a bull against a comet.

    Respectfully, talking is easy. Assessing ramifications is maybe a little harder.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  20. Obama was wrong not to support those protestors, I felt so then and still do. But I had no expectations that he would, as I had a fairly good understanding of what he and his ilk are all about.

    It would be good if Trump spoke words of support for those in Hong Kong, for what that is worth, but I think it’s more important that he hold firm in trade negotiations with the Chinese and it may be helpful if he has his negotiators work behind the scenes to press the Chinese to live up to the agreement they struck with the UK and Hong Kong two decades ago.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  21. did one forget Venezuela, so quickly, now the company used a worthless Nazgul like raul gorrin, to buy support among the military class, for now targeted sanctions are what suffice, unless you want an invasion,

    narciso (d1f714)

  22. Advocating for freedom and democracy which has worked out better for people than every other system since we began writing on tablets is not the same as implying intervention.

    Most US presidents were able to help defend the people of Taiwan and we didn’t go to war.

    But Trump isn’t exactly the master at nuance, so his minders probably have their work cut out for them to generate the effective and thoughtful comment which shouldn’t be difficult for most.

    harkin (cf32fb)

  23. @15. Theses protests are more or less passing storms and, as even a Greenlander said in a recent on camera person-on-the-street interview, everybody pretty laughs at what Trump says about anything, anyway. Why invite more national humiliation.

    The real red flag here is this Russian nuclear incident. This dangerous research stinks of a Hail Mary move by Vlad, akin to Ronnie’s costly Star Wars folly; a ‘last gasp’ attempt to be the Russia that once was. It’s foolish. And dangerous.

    Does the world really want little Russian nuclear reactors -literally potential flying Chernobyls- buzzing about the skies of our planet, spewing out radioactive contaminates into the atmosphere; into the very air we and all life share? This is madness. Even w/t massive precautions back in the Cold War days when flying crewed, nuclear armed aircraft 24/7 around the skies and atomic-tipped missiles nestled in their silos, several accidents managed to occur w/near nuclear disasters.

    The nations of the world, not just the U.S., should be quite alarmed that Russia is pursuing this folly and they have to be smacked hard across the snout on this through whatever venue is available.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  24. ^pretty = pretty much

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  25. So, Tim Cook had a long conversation with rump about tariffs, and apparently got his point across (that Samsung was eating their lunch due to tariffs). Two thoughts: 1) well, whose fault is that, Tim, and 2) Mr Cook must have the patience of a saint.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  26. @25. “Tim Apple.”

    ‘Nuff said.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  27. Paul Montagu (a2342d) — 8/18/2019 @ 12:26 pm

    Paul, I hope they’ll lift the ban; until then you could probably use tinyurl.com to make the links inoffensive to the filter.

    Dave (1bb933)

  28. Does the world really want little Russian nuclear reactors -literally potential flying Chernobyls- buzzing about the skies of our planet, spewing out radioactive contaminates into the atmosphere; into the very air we and all life share? This is madness.

    What if it helps neuter the modern conservative movement?

    Dave (1bb933)

  29. Donald Trump is actually , can you believe it?

    Speaking softly and carrying a big stick.

    Sammy Finkelman (6a3404)

  30. “Yesterday’s protest was massive. I have not even slept yet. Estimated 1.7m people. Crowds are notoriously difficult to estimate, but I will confirm it was absolutely massive, stretching for miles in pouring rain. Massive.

    Hong Kong is China’s brain tumor. Do nothing…tumor grows. Operate…the procedure could kill the communist party.

    This is very serious, Gentlemen. Do not underestimate what is happening here.”

    — email from Michael Yon

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  31. #25: I actually tried to type “Trump.”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  32. Does the world really want little Russian nuclear reactors -literally potential flying Chernobyls- buzzing about the skies of our planet,

    Well, the IDEA is to use them only in the event of a thermonuclear exchange, at which point a bit more radiation isn’t going to matter.

    Still, testing them is probably a violation of the nuclear test-ban treaty.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  33. All China has to do is turn off the water. Did you know that? That Hong Kong gets 70% of its water from “mainland China”, and that the remaining 30% includes sea water used for flushing toilets?

    nk (dbc370)

  34. How is the fresh water delivered?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  35. The 70% from China, by pipeline.

    nk (dbc370)

  36. @32. The ‘IDEA’ is incredibly irresponsible. Who says it only needs to be flown after a thermonuclear exchange? And, of course, beyond the obvious danger of any ‘testing’ phase, w/an ‘unlimited’ fuel supply aboard, the range is global. Who knows how long they could stay aloft… weeks, months, years… salting the skies with an exhaust plume peppered w/radioactive residue. You want one buzzing around in circles in int’l air space off of friendly coastlines burping out nuclear debris?

    Weapons systems are expensive– even for Russians. There’s always the economical strategy of simply programming them- or a derivative w/t propulsion system transferred- to fly in droned patterns on ‘patrol’ — armed or unarmed, as a deterrent– or a threat– for an indeterminant amount of time as an alternative to crewed aircraft and fixed missile sites– even subs… spewing out atomic laden vapor trails. The propulsion system is really the issue: it’s a fool’s errand, a danger to the world and given Russian history playing w/such technology, a disaster in the making.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  37. I always liked the idea of putting our deterrent on the moon. Good luck with the surprise attack, and also good luck stopping the retaliation.

    But heck, why not do a Strangelove and put 40 1-gigaton bombs under Yellowstone.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  38. @37. Meh. Geologists will tell you there’s one of sorts ‘ticking’ under Yellowstone as it is, calibrated in magma-tons. Deterrents on Luna; the ‘Red Moon’ thing is a bit dusty… but dolphins with friggin’ lasers attached to their heads — yeah, baby! 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  39. @37. Better still, why not ‘beneath’ St. Patrick’s Cathedral and trust it to the baboon-bloodied hands of Chuck Heston…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQVxMtcXAhA

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  40. Relax, radioactivity is natural!

    All the interesting atoms in our bodies (and everywhere else) were produced in some kind of nuclear reaction.

    Back when physicists tested the first nuclear bomb at Alamogordo, they thought there was a few-in-a-thousand chance that it could ignite the earth’s atmosphere and destroy all life on earth. Did they let that stop them? Of course not! Enrico Fermi, in the proper spirit of exploration and adventure, even took wagers on the end of all life a) on Earth and b) only in New Mexico.

    About ten years ago, some nervous Nancys calculated that the first high-energy proton-proton collisions at the LHC might destroy the entire universe, but physicists bravely took that chance and soldiered on.

    People should really stop trying to second-guess us physicists. We know this stuff. More or less.

    Dave (1bb933)

  41. People should really stop trying to second-guess us physicists. We know this stuff. More or less.

    Ha, ha, ha! You know effects. Your explanations of them are all assumptions. A caveman hitting two rocks together to make sparks and a physicist compressing U-235 to make a boom … all samey-samey. Cavemen found out by trial and error which rocks are pyrophoric, Fermi and company found out by trial and error which things that made a Geiger counter buzz are fissionable. All that other proton, neutron, positron, neutrino, aywatsantimatteryou stuff are as fully things of your imaginations as the fire spirits the caveman evoked.

    nk (dbc370)

  42. 33. nk (dbc370) — 8/18/2019 @ 9:25 pm

    All China has to do is turn off the water. Did you know that?

    More or less. It matters less than even in Gaza.

    The government of China won’t do that for the same reason, or they have the same reason (and more!) not to do that, that they won’t readily do a Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong. They have more reason ot to do that because that impacts their friends as well as their enemies. And the government now more or less does their bidding. Even some corporations. The Chairman of Cathay Pacific had to resign becaue he wasn’t enough against the demonstrators, and already what he did he made the employees unhappy.

    Of course the government of China is slowly realizing it is not just 20% or 30% of the population who is against them – it runs into 80s and the 90s. But they are peaceful. For now.

    Hong Kong is not a tumor for China, precisely because it has not been incorporated outright into China. There is a different legal situation there.

    If there was not, people in what used to be called Canton, and in further away places, would learn from their example. And people in government positions who were from Hong Kong who had different from the usual ideas might get transferred other places. And people from Hong Kong would try to change he government of China much more than do now (which is minimal)

    Sammy Finkelman (6a3404)

  43. @40. We know this stuff. More or less.

    And now there are seven less– that we know of– killed tinkering with this idiocy in the Russian explosion– and who knows how many more people — and property- contaminated locally.

    Spewing a concentration of radioactive particulates into the Earth’s atmosphere through the exhaust plume of a nuclear fueled projectile is not a ‘natural release’ of radioactivity, either.

    Not only should government funded physicists be second guessed–but quadruple-guessed— times ten to the 23rd power.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. All that other proton, neutron, positron, neutrino, aywatsantimatteryou stuff are as fully things of your imaginations as the fire spirits the caveman evoked.

    Unbeliever can meet fire spirits himself – in dinner pot! Taste good with potato.

    Dave (1bb933)

  45. still splitting atoms with your mind, Russian containment protocols as pointed from out the 1979 sverdlovsk outbreak,

    narciso (d1f714)

  46. And now there are seven less– that we know of– killed tinkering with this idiocy in the Russian explosion

    Brave pioneers, like Grissom, White and Chaffee.

    Sometimes you have to put a sociopathic lunatic into the Oval Office to neuter the modern conservative movement, and sometimes you have to dump a few rems into the ecosystems downrange to tease out that pesky bug in your thermal FEA codes.

    Progress never comes without a cost, you see.

    Dave (1bb933)

  47. @46. ‘… sometimes you have to dump a few rems into the ecosystem down range…’

    No. You don’t. Times ten to the 23rd power.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  48. @47 Well if you don’t understand the strategy, that’s your problem!

    P.S. Welcome to 1964!

    Dave (1bb933)

  49. the hong kong protesters have adopted pepe, run and hide,

    narciso (d1f714)

  50. https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2019/information_operations_directed_at_Hong_Kong.html

    This disclosure consists of 936 accounts originating from within the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Overall, these accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground. Based on our intensive investigations, we have reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation. Specifically, we identified large clusters of accounts behaving in a coordinated manner to amplify messages related to the Hong Kong protests.

    As Twitter is blocked in PRC, many of these accounts accessed Twitter using VPNs. However, some accounts accessed Twitter from specific unblocked IP addresses originating in mainland China….

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)


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