The acronym VUCA — Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous — may have its origins in the military, but it is increasingly clear that it applies to all aspects of our lives today. The fact is we operate in an age of fast-moving and increasingly unpredictable change. No one country, society, industrial sector or individual organisation is immune. We are all impacted. Navigating this new reality is made even more challenging by the increasingly interdependent nature of today’s world.
The issues and predicaments we face are linked inextricably as never before. There is no better or more dramatic illustration of this than the food, water, energy and climate nexus, so effectively highlighted over recent years by the World Economic Forum and others. How do we guarantee food security for a rapidly rising population in the face of growing water and energy constraints, many of them directly attributable to climate change? No wonder one leading scientist has warned of a ‘perfect storm’ of global events. Increasingly, business has found itself in the eye of this storm, mistrusted by large sections of society and seen, with some justification, as part of the problem and not part of the solution to many of today’s challenges. This has to change. Business can no longer afford to be a bystander, content to sit on the sidelines doing the minimum necessary to acquire its ‘licence to operate.’ The challenges require — and citizens demand — a different approach.
Permissible growth in the future has to be based on sustainable and equitable models. Having acquired a license to operate, it’s time for business to earn a license to lead. The military and defense officials who first identified the VUCA world used to speak of the need for ‘burden sharing’, for sovereign nations to spread more evenly the responsibility for defending freedoms around the world. It’s a military parallel that also has resonance today. For its part, business has to accept a much greater share of the responsibility for everything that goes on within the length and breadth of its value chain. Putting your own house in order is a necessary — but insufficient — condition for developing sustainable growth models.
This is the essence behind the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which gives expression to the company’s commitment to double its size while reducing its overall environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact. It’s a plan that covers the entire value chain, from sourcing to manufacturing to the way consumers use our products.
This requires the kind of holistic, systems-based thinking that Andrea Bassi and Gilbert Probst argue needs to become mainstream, in their book Tackling Complexity: A Systemic Approach for Decision Makers. The book adopts systemic thinking to solve complex problems in socio-political as well as business environments, turning them into opportunities.
The main innovation that systemic thinking introduces — the emphasis on defining the problem-creating system, which is made up of interacting parts, rather than prioritizing events that need immediate fixing — can be used to better understand reality and its complexity. Tackling Complexity proposes a five-step technique with which to better understand problems and the context in which they arise, and tools to directly inform each step of the decision-making process. Practically, systemic thinking can be used to identify problems, analyze their boundaries, design strategies and policy interventions, forecast and measure their expected impacts, implement them, and monitor and evaluate their successes and failures.
If we get this right we can make a difference. However, the sheer size and scale of the challenges we face means that even the largest and most internationally dispersed businesses and organizations are limited in the scope of what they can achieve. System-wide changes rely on a critical mass of interested parties, all willing to enter into deep partnerships and collaborations, founded on new levels of trust and a commitment to action, not debate.
There is still a long way to go. We are far from reaching the tipping point that is needed, though the tide is certainly turning, in my view. The commitment to put an end to illegal deforestation and develop sustainable alternatives for commodities like palm oil and soy, for example, is an inspiring illustration of what can be achieved when governments and industry partners come together determined to bring about transformational market-wide changes. None of this is easy. Everything carries a risk. Taking the first step is often the most difficult. It takes courage and a willingness to focus on long-term horizons, not short-term results. Systemic changes therefore require new forms of leadership from men and women — and especially women — willing to be the vanguards of change. For them, Tackling Complexity provides an invaluable route map of what it takes to drive change and succeed in the VUCA world that is undoubtedly here to stay.
China’s nuclear missile drill seen as warning to US not to meddle in region | South China Morning Post
The People’s Liberation Army has for the first time released photos of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in action – a move seen as a response to US military moves in the region.
The 17 photos published on the PLA Daily’s website on Tuesday provided the first glimpse of a live drill involving the Dongfeng-31 since its delivery to the Second Artillery Corps in 2006.
Photos published by the PLA Daily show for the first time members of the Second Artillery Forces launching a Dongfeng-31 missile. Photo: SCMPThe missile has an estimated range of nearly 10,000 kilometres – enough to deliver a nuclear warhead to the capitals of Europe or the west coast of the United States. Military experts said the release was a warning to the US not to interfere in the country’s territorial disputes with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands, or Senkakus, in the East China Sea.
Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong cited the Pentagon’s decisions to send a dozen advanced F-22 fighter jets to Okinawa and replace the USS George Washington with the younger USS Ronald Reagan at Yokosuka Naval Base near Tokyo.
“The disclosure of the Dongfeng-31 at this time obviously aims to respond to the United States’ two big military moves in Japan, which make Beijing believe it is going to meddle in the territorial disputes between China and Japan,” Wong said.
Several of the photos published by the PLA Daily were also posted on the newspaper’s official Sina Weibo account. It was unclear when the drill took place; the captions said sometime this winter.
The pictures showed a missile fired from a large launcher mounted on a 16-wheeled truck. Operators were shown inside a military camp dressed in protective suits, suggesting that the missile force was simulating the launch of an armed warhead.
The caption cast the exercise as defensive preparation, saying the soldiers were simulating how to disrupt an enemy’s missile attack. The pictures show the launcher was erected on the truck and ready for firing.
Hong Kong-based defence analyst Ma Ding-sheng said the pictures indicated that the PLA was more confident about showing off its military hardware after decades of secret development.
“The PLA realises that it needs to increase its transparency, which would also provide them more opportunities to show off their military muscle, as well as quiet questions from the US and other Western countries,” Ma said, adding the missiles had so far appeared to help deter threats.
“I doubt whether the missile is capable of hitting the US, although they claim it has a range up to 10,000 kilometers,” Ma said. “All its live-launch drills have happened inside Chinese territory, within 5,000 kilometers. And we never see the PLA shooting missiles to the Western Pacific.”
Non-operational versions of the Dongfeng-31 and the more advanced Dongfeng-31A were displayed publicly on October 1, 1999, the 50th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. The Donfeng-31 is the country’s second generation of ICBM, replacing the earlier Dongfeng-4. It was formally delivered to the strategic missile defence force in 2006.
The Pentagon said at the time that the weapon was built using US missile and warhead secrets obtained through espionage and illegal transfers of technology.
Submitted by Peter Schiff via Euro Pacific Capital,
Dedicated readers of The Wall Street Journal have recently been offered many dire warnings about a clear and present danger that is stalking the global economy. They are not referring to a possible looming stock or real estate bubble (which you can find more on in my latest newsletter). Nor are they talking about other usual suspects such as global warming, peak oil, the Arab Spring, sovereign defaults, the breakup of the euro, Miley Cyrus, a nuclear Iran, or Obamacare. Instead they are warning about the horror that could result from falling prices, otherwise known as deflation. Get the kids into the basement Mom… they just marked down Cheerios!
In order to justify our current monetary and fiscal policies, in which governments refuse to reign in runaway deficits while central banks furiously expand the money supply, economists must convince us that inflation, which results in rising prices, is vital for economic growth.
Simultaneously they make the case that falling prices are bad. This is a difficult proposition to make because most people have long suspected that inflation is a sign of economic distress and that high prices qualify as a problem not a solution. But the absurdity of the position has not stopped our top economists, and their acolytes in the media, from making the case.
A January 5th article in The Wall Street Journal described the economic situation in Europe by saying “Anxieties are rising in the euro zone that deflation-the phenomenon of persistent falling prices across the economy that blighted the lives of millions in the 1930s-may be starting to take root as it did in Japan in the mid-1990s.” Really, blighted the lives of millions? When was the last time you were “blighted” by a store’s mark down? If you own a business, are you “blighted” when your suppliers drop their prices? Read more about Europe’s economy in my latest newsletter.
The Journal is advancing a classic “wet sidewalks cause rain” argument, confusing and inverting cause and effect. It suggests that falling prices caused the Great Depression and in turn the widespread consumer suffering that went along with it. But this puts the cart way in front of the horse. The Great Depression was triggered by the bursting of a speculative bubble (resulted from too much easy money in the latter half of the 1920s). The resulting economic contraction, prolonged unnecessarily by the anti-market policies of Hoover and Roosevelt, was part of a necessary re-balancing.A bad economy encourages people to reduce current consumption and save for the future. The resulting drop in demand brings down prices.
But lower prices function as a counterweight to a contracting economy by cushioning the blow of the downturn. I would argue that those who lived through the Great Depression were grateful that they were able to buy more with what little money they had. Imagine how much worse it would have been if they had to contend with rising consumer prices as well. Consumers always want to buy, but sometimes they forego or defer purchases because they can’t afford a desired good or service. Higher prices will only compound the problem. It may surprise many Nobel Prize-winning economists, but discounts often motivate consumers to buy – -try the experiment yourself the next time you walk past the sale rack.
Economists will argue that expectations for future prices are a much bigger motivation than current prices themselves. But those economists concerned with deflation expect there to be, at most, a one or two percent decrease in prices. Can consumers be expected not to buy something today because they expect it to be one percent cheaper in a year? Bear in mind that something that a consumer can buy and use today is more valuable to the purchaser than the same item that is not bought until next year. The costs of going without a desired purchase are overlooked by those warning about the danger of deflation
In another article two days later, the Journal hit readers with the same message: “Annual euro-zone inflation weakened further below the European Central Bank’s target in December, rekindling fears that too little inflation or outright consumer-price declines may threaten the currency area’s fragile economy.” In this case, the paper adds “too little inflation” to the list of woes that needs to be avoided. Apparently, if prices don’t rise briskly enough, the wheels of an economy stop turning
Neither article mentions some very important historical context. For the first 120 years of the existence of the United States (before the establishment of the Federal Reserve), general prices trended downward. According to the Department of Commerce’s Statistical Abstract of the United States, the “General Price Index” declined by 19% from 1801 to 1900. This stands in contrast to the 2,280% increase of the CPI between 1913 and 2013
While the 19th century had plenty of well-documented ups and downs, people tend to forget that the country experienced tremendous economic growth during that time. Living standards for the average American at the end of the century were leaps and bounds higher than they were at the beginning. The 19th Century turned a formerly inconsequential agricultural nation into the richest, most productive, and economically dynamic nation on Earth. Immigrants could not come here fast enough. But all this happened against a backdrop of consistently falling prices.
Thomas Edison once said that his goal was to make electricity so cheap that only the rich would burn candles. He was fortunate to have no Nobel economists on his marketing team.They certainly would have advised him to raise prices to increase sales. But Edison’s strategy of driving sales volume through lower prices is clearly visible today in industries all over the world. By lowering prices, companies not only grow their customer base, but they tend to increase profits as well. Most visibly, consumer electronics has seen chronic deflation for years without crimping demand or hurting profits. According to the Wall Street Journal, this should be impossible.
The truth is the media is merely helping the government to spread propaganda. It is highly indebted governments that need inflation, not consumers. But before government can lead a self-serving crusade to create inflation, they must first convince the public that higher prices is a goal worth pursuing. Since inflation also helps sustain asset bubbles and prop up banks, in this instance The Wall Street Journal and the Government seem to be perfectly aligned.
Geneva II – Syrian Foreign Minister: “The West Publicly Claims to Be Fighting Terrorism, Whilst It Is Covertly Nourishing It.” | Global Research
Montreux, (SANA) – The international conference on Syria, Geneva2, kicked off on Wednesday morning with the participation of Syria’s official delegation, headed by Deputy Premier, Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Walid al-Moallem.
Minister al-Moallem said at the opening session of the conference:
Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the Syrian Arab Republic, SYRIAN – steeped in history for seven thousand years. ARAB – proud of its steadfast pan-Arab heritage despite the deliberate acts of aggression of supposed brotherly Arabs. REPUBLIC – a civil state that some, sitting in this room, have tried to return to medieval times. Never have I been in a more difficult position; my delegation and I carry the weight of three years of hardship endured by my fellow countrymen – the blood of our martyrs, the tears of our bereaved, the anguish of families waiting for news of a loved one – kidnapped or missing, the cries of our children whose tender fingers were the targets of mortar shelling into their classrooms, the hopes of an entire generation destroyed before their very eyes, the courage of mothers and fathers who have sent all their sons to defend our country, the heartbreak of families whose homes have been destroyed and are now displaced or refugees.
My delegation and I also carry the hope of a nation for the years to come – the right of every child to safely go to school again, the right of women to leave their homes without fear of being kidnapped, killed or raped; the dream of our youth to fulfill their vast potential; the return of security so that every man can leave his family safe in the knowledge that he will return.
Finally, today, the moment of truth; the truth that many have systematically tried to bury in a series of campaigns of misinformation, deception and fabrication leading to killing and terror. A truth that refused to be buried, a truth clear for all to see – the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic representing the Syrian people, the government, the state, the Army and the President – Bashar al-Assad.
It is regrettable, Ladies and Gentlemen, that seated amongst us today in this room, are representatives of countries that have the blood of Syrians on their hands, countries that have exported terrorism along with clemency for the perpetrators, as if it was their God given right to determine who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. Countries that have prevented believers from visiting holy places of worship whilst abetting, financing and supporting terrorists. Countries that gave themselves the authority to grant and deny legitimacy to others as they saw fit, never looking at their own archaic glasshouses before throwing stones at acclaimed fortified towers. Countries that shamelessly lecture us in democracy, in development and in progress whilst drowning in their own ignorance and medieval norms. Countries that have become accustomed to being entirely owned by kings and princes who have the sole right to distribute their national wealth granting their associates whilst denying those who fall out of favor.
They lectured Syria – a distinguished, virtuous, sovereign state, they lectured her on honour whilst they themselves were immersed in the mud of enslavement, infanticide and other medieval practices. After all their efforts and subsequent failures, their masks fell from their quivering faces, to reveal their perverse ambitions. A desire to destabilize and destroy Syria by exporting their national product: terrorism. They used their petrodollars to buy weapons, recruit mercenaries and saturate airtime covering up their mindless brutality with lies under the guise of the so-called “ Syrian revolution that will fulfill the aspirations of the Syrian people.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, how is what has happened and continues to plague Syria, meeting these aspirations? How can a Chechen, Afghani, Saudi, Turkish or even French and English terrorists deliver on the aspirations of the Syrian people, and with what? An Islamic state that knows nothing of Islam except perverse Wahhabism? Who declared anyway that the Syrian people aspire to live thousands of years in the past?
In Syria, Ladies and Gentlemen, the wombs of pregnant women are butchered and their foetuses killed; women are raped, dead or alive, in practices so heinous, so vile and repulsive that they can only be attributed to their perverse doctrine. In Syria, Ladies and Gentlemen, men are slaughtered in front of their children in the name of this revolution; worse still, this is done whilst the children of these foreign perpetrators sing and dance. In Syria, how can so-called revolutionaries cannibalize a man’s heart and claim to promote freedom, democracy and a better life?
Under the pretext of the “Great Syrian Revolution,” civilians, clergymen, women and children are killed, victims are indiscriminately blown up in streets and buildings regardless of their political views or ideologies; books and libraries are burned, graves are dug up and artifacts stolen. In the name of the revolution, children are killed in their schools and students in their universities, women are extorted in the name of jihad al-nikah and other forms, mosques are shelled whilst worshipers kneel at prayer, heads are severed and hung in the streets, people are burned alive in a true holocaust that history and many countries will deny without being accused of anti-Semitism.
In the name of a revolution, “to free the oppressed Syrian people from the regime and to spread democracy,” does a father blow himself up with his wife and children to prevent foreign intruders from entering his home? Most of us in this room are fathers – I ask you then, what would compel a man to kill his own family to protect them from freedom fighting monsters. This is what happened in Adra, a place that most of you have not heard of but where the same alien monsters attacked: killing, looting, beheading, slaughtering, raping and burning people alive. You have heard nothing of this brutality for sure, yet you have heard of other places where the same heinous crimes were committed and where the same blood soaked finger was pointed at the Syrian Army and government. And when these flagrant lies were no longer credible, they stopped spinning their web of deceit.
This is what their masters ordered them to do, these countries that spearheaded the war against Syria, trying to increase their influence in the region with bribes and money, exporting human monsters fully soaked in abhorrent Wahabi ideology, all at the expense of Syrian blood. From this stage, loud and clear, you know as well as I do that they will not stop in Syria, even if some sitting in this room refuse to acknowledge or consider themselves immune.
Ladies and Gentlemen, everything you have heard would not have been possible, had our border sharing countries been good neighbours during these challenging years. Unfortunately they were far from it; with backstabbers to the North, silent bystanders to the truth in the West, a weak South accustomed to doing the bidding of others, or the tired and exhausted East still reeling from the plots to destroy it along with Syria.
Indeed, this misery and destruction, wich has engulfed Syria, has been made possible by the decision of Erdogan’s government to invite and host these criminal terrorists before they entered into Syria. Clearly, oblivious to the fact that magic eventually turns on the magician, it is now beginning to taste the sour seed it has sown. For terrorism knows no religion, and is loyal only unto itself. Erdogan’s government has recklessly morphed from a zero problems with its neighbours policy to zero foreign policy and international diplomacy altogether, crucially leaving it with zero credibility.
Nevertheless, it continued on the same atrocious path falsely believing that the dream of Sayyid Qutb and Mohammad Abdel Wahab before him was finally being realized. They wreaked havoc from Tunisia, to Libya, to Egypt and then to Syria, determined to achieve an illusion that only exists in their sick minds. Despite the fact that it has proven to be a failure, they nevertheless are still determined to pursue it. Logically speaking, this can only be described as stupidity, because if you don’t learn from history, you will lose sight of the present; and history tells us: if your neighbor’s house is on fire, it is impossible for you to remain safe.
Some neighbours started fires within Syria whilst others recruited terrorists from around the globe – and here we are confronted with shockingly farcical double standards: 83 nationalities are fighting in Syria – nobody denounces this, nobody condemns it, nobody reconsiders their position – and they impertinently continue to call it a glorious SYRIAN Revolution! While when a few scores of young resistant fighters supported the Syrian Army in a few places, all hell broke loose and it suddenly became foreign intervention! Demands were made for the departure of foreign troops and the protection of Syrian sovereignty and for it not to be violated. Here I affirm, Syria – the sovereign and independent state, will continue to do whatever it takes to defend herself with whatever means it deems necessary, without paying the least bit of attention to any uproar, denunciations, statements or positions expressed by others. These have been and always will be Syria’s sovereign decisions.
Despite all of this, the Syrian people remained steadfast; and the response was to impose sanctions on our food, our bread and our children’s milk. To starve the population, pushing them into sickness and death under the injustice of these sanctions. At the same time, factories were looted and burned, crippling our food and pharmaceutical industries; hospitals and healthcare centers were destroyed; our railroads and electricity lines sabotaged, and even our places of worship – Christian and Muslim – were not spared their terrorism.
When all of this failed, America threatened to strike Syria, fabricating with her allies, Western and Arab, the story about the use of chemical weapons, which failed to convince even their own public, let alone ours. Countries that celebrate democracy, freedom and human rights regrettably only choose to speak the language of blood, war, colonialism and hegemony. Democracy is imposed with fire, freedom with warplanes and human rights by human killing, because they have become accustomed to the world doing their bidding: if they want something, it will happen; if they don’t, it won’t. They have heedlessly forgotten that the perpetrators who blew themselves up in New York follow the same doctrine and come from the same source as those blowing themselves up in Syria. They have heedlessly forgotten that the terrorist that was in America yesterday is in Syria today, and who knows where he will be tomorrow. What is certain, however, is that he will not stop here. Afghanistan is an ideal lesson for anyone who wants to learn – anyone! Unfortunately, most do not want to learn; neither America nor some of the ‘civilized’ western countries that follow its lead, starting from the city of lights to the kingdom over which “the sun never set,” in the past; despite the fact that they have all felt the bitter taste of terrorism in the past.
And then suddenly they became “Friends of Syria.” Four of these ‘friends’ are autocratic, oppressive monarchies that know nothing of a civil state or democracy, whilst others are the same colonial powers which occupied, pillaged and partitioned Syria less than one hundred years ago. These so called ‘friends’ are now convening conferences to publicly declare their friendship with the Syrian people, whilst covertly facilitating their hardship and destroying their livelihoods. They openly express their outrage over the humanitarian plight of Syrians whilst deceiving the international community of their complicity. If you were truly concerned about the humanitarian situation in Syria, you would remove your strangle hold on her economy by lifting the sanctions and the embargo, and by partnering with her government in tightening security by fighting the influx of weapons and terrorists. Only then can we assure you that we will be well as we once were, without your deep concern for our wellbeing.
Some of you may be asking yourselves: Are foreigners the sole manufacturers of the happenings in Syria? No Ladies and Gentlemen, Syrians amongst us here, having been legitimized by foreign agendas, have played a contributing role as facilitators and implementers. They did this at the expense of Syrian blood and the people whose aspirations they claim to represent, whilst they themselves were divided hundreds of times and their leaders on the ground were fleeing far and wide. They sold themselves to Israel becoming her eyes on the ground, and her fingers on the trigger for Syria’s destruction; and when they failed, Israel intervened directly to reduce the capabilities of the Syrian Army and thus ensuring the continued implementation of her decades old plan for Syria.
Our people were being slaughtered while they were living in five star hotels; they opposed from abroad, met abroad betraying Syria and selling themselves to the highest foreign bidder. And yet, they still claim to speak in the name of the Syrian people! No, Ladies and Gentlemen, anyone wishing to speak on behalf of the Syrian people cannot be a traitor to their cause and an agent for their enemies. Those wishing to speak on behalf of the people of Syria should do so from within her borders: living in her destroyed houses, sending their children to her schools in the morning not knowing if they will return safe from mortar shelling, tolerating the freezing cold winters because of the shortage in heating oil and queuing for hours to buy bread for their families because sanctions have prevented us from importing wheat when we were once exporters. Anyone wanting to speak in the name of the Syrian people should first endure three years of terrorism, confronting it head on, and then come here and speak on behalf of the Syrian people.
Ladies and gentlemen,
the Syrian Arab Republic – people and state, has fulfilled its duties. It has welcomed hundreds of international journalists and facilitated their mobility, security and access; and they in turn have reflected the stark and horrific realities they witnessed to their audiences, realities that have perplexed many Western media organisations who couldn’t bear their propaganda and narrative being exposed and contradicted. The examples are too many to count. We allowed international aid and relief organizations into the country, but the clandestine agents of certain parties sitting here, obstructed them from reaching those in dire need of aid. They came under terrorist attack several times, whilst we, as a state, did our duty in protecting them and facilitating their work. We issued numerous amnesties and released thousands of prisoners, some even members of armed groups, at the anger and dismay of their victim’s families; these families though, like the rest of us, ultimately accepted that Syria’s interests come before anything else, and hence we must conceal our wounds and rise above hatred and rancor.
What have you done, you who claim to speak on behalf of the Syrian people. Where is your vision for this great country? Where are your ideas or your political manifesto? Who are your agents of change on the ground other than your armed criminal gangs? I am certain that you have nothing and this is only too apparent in the areas that your mercenaries have occupied or to use your words “liberated.”
In these areas, have you freed the population or have you hijacked their moderate culture to enforce your radical and oppressive practices? Have you implemented your development agenda by building schools and health centres? No, you have destroyed them and allowed polio to return after it had previously been eradicated in Syria. Have you protected Syria’s artifacts and museums? No, you have looted our national sites for your personal profit. Have you demonstrated your commitment to justice and human rights? No, you have enforced public executions and beheadings. In short, you have done nothing at all except muster the disgrace and shame of begging America to strike Syria. Even the opposition, over which you are the self-appointed masters and guardians, do not acknowledge you or the methods in which you manage your own affairs, let alone the affairs of a country.
A country they want to homogenize; not in the sectarian, ethnic or religious sense, but rather in a warped ideological sense. Anyone against them, whether Christian or Muslim, is an infidel; they killed Muslims of all sects and targeted Syrian Christians with severity. Even nuns and bishops were targeted, kidnapping them after they attacked Ma’loula, the last community that still speaks the language of Jesus Christ. They did all this to force Syrian Christians to flee their country. But little did they know, that in Syria we are one. When Christianity is attacked all Syrians are Christians, when mosques are targeted all Syrians are Muslims. Every Syrian is from Raqqa, Lattakia, Sweida, Homs or the bleeding Aleppo when any one of these places is targeted. Their abhorrent attempts to sow sectarian and religious sedition will never be embraced by any levelheaded Syrian. In short, Ladies and Gentlemen, your “glorious Syrian revolution” has left no mortal sin uncommitted.
There is another side to this dark gloomy picture. A light at the end of the tunnel shinning through the Syrian people’s determination and steadfastness, the Syrian Army’s courage in protecting our citizens and the Syrian state’s resilience and perseverance. During everything that has happened, there are states that have shown us true friendship, honest states that stood on the side of right against wrong, even when the wrong was clear for all to see. On behalf of the Syrian people and state, I would like to thank Russia and China for respecting Syria’s sovereignty and independence. Russia has been a true champion on the international stage strongly defending, not only with words but also with deeds, the founding principles of the United Nations of respecting the sovereignty of states. Similarly China, the BRICS countries, Iran, Iraq and other Arab and Muslim countries, in addition to African and Latin American countries, have also genuinely safeguarded the aspirations of the Syrian people and not the ambitions of other governments for Syria.
Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Syrian people, like other people of the region, aspire to more freedom, justice and human rights; they aspire to more plurality and democracy, to a better Syria, a safe, prosperous and healthy Syria. They aspire to building strong institutions not destroying them, to safeguarding our national artifacts and heritage sites not looting and demolishing them. They aspire to a strong national army, which protects our honour, our people and our national wealth, an army that defends Syria’s borders, her sovereignty and independence. They do not, Ladies and Gentlemen, aspire to a mercenary army ‘Free’ to kidnap civilians for ransom or to use them as human shields, ‘Free’ to steal humanitarian aid, extort the poor and illegally trade in the organs of living women and children, ‘Free’ to canibalise human hearts and livers, barbequing heads, recruiting child soldiers and raping women. All of this is done with the might of arms; arms provided by countries, represented here, who claim to be championing “moderate groups”. Tell us, for God’s sake, where is the moderation in everything I have described?
Where are these vague moderate groups that you are hiding behind? Are they the same old groups that continue to be supported militarily and publicly by the West, that have undergone an even uglier face-lift in the hope of convincing us that they are fighting terrorism? We all know that no matter how hard their propaganda machine tries to polish their image under the name of moderation, their extremism and terrorism is one and the same. They know, as we all do, that under the pretext of supporting these groups, al-Qaeda and its affiliates are being armed in Syria, Iraq and other countries in the region.
This is the reality, Ladies and Gentlemen, so wake up to the undeniable reality that the West is supporting some Arab countries to supply lethal weapons to al-Qaeda. The West publically claims to be fighting terrorism, whilst in fact it is covertly nourishing it. Anyone who cannot see this truth is either ignorantly blind or willfully so in order to finish what they have begun.
Is this the Syria that you want? The loss of thousands of martyrs and our once cherished safety and national security replaced with apocalyptic devastation. Are these the aspirations of the Syrian people that you wanted to fulfill? No, Ladies and Gentlemen, Syria will not remain so, and that is why we are here. Despite all that has been done by some, we have come to save Syria: to stop the beheadings, to stop the cannibalizing and the butchering. We have come to help mothers and children return to the homes they were driven out of by terrorists. We have come to protect the civil and open-minded nature of the state, to stop the march of the Tatars and the Mongols across our region. We have come to prevent the collapse of the entire Middle East, to protect civilization, culture and diversity, and to preserve the dialogue of civilizations in the birthplace of religions. We have come to protect tolerant Islam that has been distorted, and to protect the Christians of the Levant. We are here to tell our Syrian expatriates, to return to their home country because they will always be foreigners anywhere else, and regardless of our differences we are all still brothers and sisters.
We have come to stop terrorism as other countries that have experienced its bitter taste have done, whilst affirming loudly and consistently that a dialogue between Syrians is the only solution; but as with other countries that have been struck by terrorism, we have a constitutional duty to defend our citizens and we shall continue to strike terrorism that attacks Syrians regardless of their political affiliations. We have come to hold those accountable, for as long as particular countries continue to support terrorism, this conference will bear no fruit. Political pluralism and terrorism cannot coexist in the same landscape. Politics can only prosper by fighting terrorism; it cannot grow in its shadow.
We are here as representatives of the Syrian people and the state; but let it be clear to all, – and experience is the best proof – that nobody has the authority to grant or withdraw legitimacy from a president, a government, a constitution, a law or anything else in Syria except Syrians themselves; this is their constitutional right and duty. Therefore, whatever agreement is reached here will be subject to a national referendum. We are tasked with conveying our people’s desires, not with determining their destiny; those who want to listen to the will of the Syrian people should not appoint themselves as their spokesperson. Syrians alone have the right to choose their government, their parliament and their constitution; everything else is just talk and has no significance.
Finally, to all those here and everyone watching around the world: in Syria we are fighting terrorism, terrorism which has destroyed and continues to destroy; terrorism which since the 1980’s Syria has been calling, on deaf ears, for a unified front to defeat it. Terrorism has struck in America, France, Britain, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan; the list goes on and it continues to spread. Let us all cooperate to fight it, let’s work hand in hand to stop its black, horrifying and obscurantist ideology. Then, let us as Syrians stand united to focus on Syria and start rebuilding its social fabric and material structures. As I said, dialogue is the foundation to this process, and despite our gratitude to the host country, we affirm that the real dialogue between Syrians should in fact be on Syrian soil and under Syrian skies. Exactly one year ago, the Syrian government put forward its vision for a political solution; think of how much innocent blood we would have saved had some countries resorted to reason instead of terrorism and destruction. For a whole year, we have been calling for dialogue, but terrorism continued to strike at the Syrian state, her people and institutions.
Today, in this gathering of Arab and Western powers, we are presented with a simple choice: we can choose to fight terrorism and extremism together and to start a new political process, or you can continue to support terrorism in Syria. Let us reject and isolate the black hands and the false faces, which publicly smile but covertly feed terrorist ideology, striking Syria today, but ultimately spreading to infect us all. This is the moment of truth and destiny; let us rise to the challenge.
Thank you .
Intermittent renewables–wind and solar photovoltaic panels–have been hailed as an answer to all our energy problems. Certainly, politicians need something to provide hope, especially in countries that are obviously losing their supply of oil, such as the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the more I look into the situation, the less intermittent renewables have to offer. (Please note that I am not talking about solar hot water heaters. I am talking about intermittent renewables added to the electric grid.)
1. It is doubtful that intermittent renewables actually reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
It is devilishly difficult to figure out whether on not any particular energy source has a favorable impact on carbon dioxide emissions. The obvious first way of looking at emissions is to look at the fuel burned on a day-to-day basis. Intermittent renewables don’t seem to burn fossil fuel on day-to-day basis, while those using fossil fuels do, so wind and…
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Venezuela Devalues Bolivar By Another 44% For Some, Still 600% Higher Than Black Market Due To 50% Inflation | Zero Hedge
Less than a year ago, Venezuela shocked the world when it launched the “first nuke” in the ongoing currency wars (which despite having dropped off the front pages, have certainly not ended), by devaluing its currency, the Bolivar from 4.30 to the USD to 6.30, in the process crushing the profits of many companies that operate(d) in the TP-deprived socialist paradise (which as we reported earlier is about to experience food shortages).
Earlier today, Venezuela Oil Minister and Economy Vice President Rafael Ramirez announced on state television that the country just devalued the official Bolivar exchange rate again by another whopping 45%, for some.
Specifically, Venezuelans traveling abroad and airlines will use Sicad FX rate which was last 11.36 bolivars per dollar. Those spared from the most recent devaluation, for now, are students abroad, pensioners, retirees, consular and diplomatic services who will continue using 6.3 bolivars/USD rate. This follows comparable steps taken in late December, when the Bolivar was devalued by the same amount for any non-residents and tourists entering the nation, as the nation unrolled its centrally-planned currency regime in which the Bolivar is offered through a dollar-auction system called Sicad.
The WSJ reported at the time:
Venezuela earlier this year launched a dollar-auction system called Sicad where some importers and tourists could request hard currency at a rate weaker than the official exchange rate of 6.3 bolívares. The government never formally disclosed the exchange rate used in Sicad but local analysts and companies that have participated in the auctions say the rate is close to 12 bolívares per dollar.
Venezuela will increase usage of Sicad in 2014 and will deliver $5 billion into the local economy through the system, according to Mr. Ramirez.
Still, Wall Street analysts widely expect Venezuela to pull off a full-scale devaluation of its currency in the near-term, a move that would help the government shore up a its finances by capturing more in local-currency terms when it converts dollars earned through oil sales.
Indeed, the reason why today’s move is largely meaningless and purely optical, is because there is still an 85% differential between the official rate, and what one can get for a dollar on the black market.Which as the chart below shows is substantially higher, and at last check was 78.38 Bolivars per dollar. Said otherwise, the brand new official exchange rate, which will soon be implemented for everyone, is still 590% higher than the real clearing price of the currency on the black market.
Curious why the currency is crashing so fast? Perhaps ask the 50% (and rising) annual inflation in the socialist paradise.
WSJ chimes in again:
“This new tourist rate is not as compelling as the black market, but it does represent a step in the right direction,” Russ Dallen, a partner at Caracas Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.
“For my colleagues on Wall Street that come down to Venezuela, now supposedly when you use your U.S. credit cards for expenses, you will get billed at this 11.3 rate, not the 6.3 rate,” Mr. Dallen added.
Sadly, for a government seeking to refill its coffers with much needed dollars in order to avoid what soon may be starvation as food distributors don’t have dollars with which to pay their vendors, it will have to be far more generous in what it offers those who have the greenback, instead of continuing to encourage the use of the black market, where the money is simply hoarded by enterprising members of the population.
Oh, and for those confused, the reason why the Caracas stock exchange is the best performing stock market in the world in the past year…
… The answer is simple: follow the gray line showing the true “value” of the Bolivar.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery. This means that if you are a slave today, it’s either illegal, or you have voluntarily accepted your servitude.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
You have a Constitutionally protected right to be free. If you aren’t free, then revolution is your duty.
Many people believe that revolution requires that they lead a march, stand in front of a crowd with a bullhorn, or form a militia. They feel like it’s a job for the Alex Joneses, the Adam Kokeshes, the James Wesley Rawleses, and the Bradley Mannings of the world.
They’re wrong. You don’t have to be a person with thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook . You don’t have to be a person with a military leadership position on your resume. You need not get yourself arrested on the steps of the White House, got to prison forever for telling the truth about your unit in the army, or stare down a bunch of scary-looking thugs in jack boots.
But you do have to do something.
You can’t just sit there and complain unless you are really just another armchair Rambo.
The way you lead your life every single day can be an act of revolution. By refusing to concede your natural rights, quietly and resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution. Walking the walk doesn’t always require civil disobedience or militia membership (although those actions definitely have their places). It requires your consistent determination not to be infringed upon.
It doesn’t matter if you are a soccer mom from the suburbs, a college student in a dormitory, a church-going dad and husband, or a person who has found themselves homeless through the ongoing economic crisis – by living resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution.
Don’t get me wrong – we need the Alexes, the Adams, the militias, the Bradleys, and the JWRs. We need the people who stand in protest. We need those who expose wrongdoing. We need the organizers, the shouters, the big personalities, the quiet strong types, and the leaders. But these are not the only ways to revolt. If every single person was off organizing their own rally, there’d be no one left to march in it.
What it is imperative upon us to do is to find our compass and follow it. We must make ourselves immune to control by not needing what “they” hand out. We have to be armored against the way everyone else lives and choose our own paths. We must stubbornly refuse to participate in the hoop-jumping that is everyday life in North America. By all of us who believe in liberty doing this, we form an army of stubborn non-participants in the status quo.
Here’s an example. It’s a small thing, a battle that today only affected my daughter and me. My daughter is not vaccinated. She attends a public school where the kids must be vaccinated, or hoops must be jumped through. I filled out the initial forms stating that I had an objection of conscience to vaccines. I was contacted by a representative of the school system who suggested that I sign instead the form that stated a religious objection, because that was “easier”. I refused, because my objection is NOT one of religion, and I felt like that was a cop-out. I knew that I was within my rights to have an objection of conscience, and I felt that it was important to make a point that might make it easier for the next parent. I was then told that I’d have to pay $25 and get a statement notarized to allow her exemption on my basis. I said I’d be happy to get a statement notarized, but not at my expense. I pointed out that nowhere does our local law state that I should have to pay any money for my child to NOT do something. Lo and behold, after 5 months of politely going back and forth, being escalated through numerous different superiors of superiors in the school board and public health system, my daughter is still unvaccinated, I have not spent $25, and she was not suspended from school. The point I’m making is not about vaccines, but about not stepping back from your rights, for your convenience or for the convenience of others. This requires that you read the relevant laws and understand them. It requires a certain degree of persistence and a willingness to be a pain in the butt.
There are valid reasons for revolution.
One of the benchmarks of tyranny is the dizzying arrays of laws on the books, with more and more added every single day. It is humanly impossible not to break multiple laws every single day. Regulations are revenue builders and/or control mechanisms. If the “authorities” can ALWAYS find a law that you’ve broken, then they can ALWAYS give a “reason” for punishing you. Punishment might include incarceration, hefty fines, or the removal of some privilege (like taking away your driver’s license or not allowing your child to go to school).
If the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?
~ James Madison, Federalist Papers 62
The police state is growing at a dizzying rate, and often the news makes it look like we live in Nazi Germany. It is now or never. Like cockroaches, “they” – the thugs in jackboots and their masters – multiply in the dark, and will soon overtake us if we don’t put a stop to it right now. They want to take our guns because that would make our resistance more difficult. They keep buying up ammo and now have more than enough to kill every man, woman, and child in America multiple times. The NDAA means that any person can be indefinitely detained. There has been a sustained attack on the Bill of Rights and one by one our rights are being submerged beneath the desires of those who would demand our submission.
How can you be an everyday revolutionary?
The most revolutionary act is to be self-sufficient and in need of nothing that the government can provide for you in exchange for some small liberty. When there is nothing that you require enough to submit, then bullying you becomes much more difficult.
This list of suggestions is by no means comprehensive. Please, add your own random acts of resistance in the comments below.
- Question absolutely everything you hear on the news. Always be a skeptic. All major media goes back to just a few conglomerates. The “news” is now all a propaganda ploy to help the rich get richer and the powerful remain in power. The media can make or break a candidate with unholy zeal in less than a week. These people and others like them are the ones that decide what “we the people” get to see. If they feel like a candidate or a news item might upset the status quo, they black it out by refusing to cover it.
- Call out the media. Let everyone know that the mainstream media is the enemy of the people. When you see coverage that is clearly biased, take a moment to call out the media about it. Take the time to comment on mainstream media websites and point out the unbalanced coverage. If you use social media, share this information and post on the media outlet’s social media pages as well.
- Get out of the banking system. By opting to “unbank” or “underbank” there is a limit to what can be easily stolen from you. When you have physical control of your financial assets, you are not at as high a risk of losing those assets, and therefore, less likely to be dependent on “the system.”
- Turn your savings into precious metals or tangible assets. On the same note as unbanking, you definitely don’t want to rely on a 401K or savings account to provide for you in your old age. Ask the people of Cyprus how well that worked out for them. Diversify with assets you can touch. Purchase tangible goods like land, food, ammo, and seeds. Once you are well supplied, move on to precious metals to preserve your wealth.
- Educate others. At the (very high) risk of people thinking you’re crazy, it’s important to let people know WHY you do what you do. If you are an anti-Monsanto activist, teach others about the dangers of GMOs. If you object to a municipal policy, speak at a town meeting or send a letter to the editor of your local paper. By ranting incoherently or by keeping your mouth shut, you influence no one. By providing provable facts, you can open minds and awaken others to tyranny.
- Get others involved in the fight. For example, if you are fighting with the city council that wants to rip out the vegetables growing in your front yard, let your friends and neighbors know, post a notice at the grocery store, and write a letter to the editor. When injustice occurs, use the power of social media to spread awareness. Often a public outcry is what is necessary to get the “authorities” to back down. Look at the case of Brandon Raub, the veteran who was kidnapped and taken to a mental hospital for things he posted on Facebook. Raub was not charged, but he was detained in the psych ward involuntarily. His friends and family immediately mobilized and spread the videos of his arrest all over the internet. It snowballed and alternative media picked it up – soon Raub was released, and all because of a grass roots and social media campaign to bring the injustice to light.
- Grow your own food. Every single seed that you plant is a revolutionary act. Every bit of food that you don’t have to purchase from the grocery store is a battle cry for your personal independence. When you educate yourself (and others) about Big Food, Big Agri, and the food safety sell-outs at the FDA, you will clearly see that we are alone in our fight for healthy, nutritious foods. Refuse to tolerate these attacks on our health and our lifestyles. Refuse to be held subject to Agenda 21′s version of “sustainability”.
- Take control of your health. It is imperative that you not blindly trust in the medical establishment. Many members of this establishment are merely prostitutes for their pimp, Big Pharma. Millions ofchildren are given powerful psychotropic drugs to help them fit into the neat little classroom boxes, and the numbers are growing every day. Americans spent 34.2 BILLION dollars on psychiatric drugs in 2010. (Source) Big Pharma is an enormously profitable industry that only pays off if they can convince you that you’re sick. Learn about the toxic injections and medications, weight the risks and benefits, and always look for second and third opinions before making a medical decision. Maintain your health by avoiding toxins, exercising, and ditching your bad habits to reduce the number of doctor’s visits that are necessary.
- Refuse to comply. If you know your natural rights, which are guaranteed under the Constitution and its Amendments, then it makes it much harder for “authorities” to bully you. You don’t have to let them search your home without a warrant, you don’t have to answer questions, and you don’t have to comply with laws that are in conflict with the Constitution.
- Learn. Every day, spend time learning. This shouldn’t stop once our formal education ends. Fill your mind with history, with current events, with constitutional law, and information about the natural world. Learn about health, study economics, research things that interest you, and unravel the complicated conspiracies that are afoot. To pursue unbiased knowledge is to free your mind from the prison of propaganda and indoctrination.
- Don’t consume chemicals that cause you to be dumbed down. Avoid chemical-laden food with brain-killing neurotoxins like MSG and aspartame. Don’t drink fluoridated water.
- Embrace your right to bear arms. Be responsible for your own safety and security.
- Don’t be in debt. No one can be free if they are in debt. If you are in debt, you are forced to work in whatever conditions are present, for whatever amount is offered, complying with whatever criteria is necessary to keep your job. in order to either pay your debt or face penalties. As well, the high interest rates that you pay only serve to make the bankers more wealthy. Instead of borrowing, save until you can afford something or realize that if you could actually afford it, you wouldn’t need to borrow money to have it.
- Be prepared for disaster. Have enough food, water, and supplies to take care of your family in the event of a natural disaster. Don’t expect FEMA to take care of you.
- Be involved in your children’s education. For some, this means homeschooling or unschooling, and for others this means being on top of what they are learning in a formal school setting. Join the PTA and actively volunteer if your child goes to school. Be an advocate for your child and insist that the teachers teach. If your child goes to school, supplement this at home with discourse about current events and outings that help them learn about the world around them.
- Be the squeaky wheel. If you see something wrong, don’t just ignore it. Say something about it, and keep saying something until it changes. Whether this is some process that infringes on your privacy, a job requirement that impedes your health, or another injustice, pursue it relentlessly. Ask questions publically, write letters, and use social media to bring pressure to encourage a change.
- Reduce your consumer spending. Spending less helps to starve the beast by reducing the sales taxes you pay and withdrawing your financial support to big conglomerates. If we vote with our dollars, eventually there will, of a necessity, be a paradigm shift that returns us to simpler days, when families that were willing to work hard could make a living without selling their souls to the corporate monoliths. A low-consumption lifestyle reduces your financial dependency, which allows for more freedom.
- Ditch popular culture. If reality TV isn’t a tool for dumbing people down, I don’t know what it is. My daughter recently begged to watch an episode of a popular reality TV show that “everyone” was watching. She managed about 15 minutes of it and then said, “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.” She decided to read a book instead. Popular entertainment is a media tool used to change our perspectives about our personal values, and to tell us how to think and feel about issues.
- Buy locally. Support local small businesses to help others who are fighting for independence from the system. You might pay a little bit more than you would at your big box store, but the only people benefiting from your purchases made at the corporate stores are those with the 7 figure annual bonuses.
- Develop multiple streams of income. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Figure out several ways to bring in income. Not only does this free you from being a wage slave, but it allows you to hire friends or family members. You are less entangled in the system and not subject to corporate whims. If one business fails, or becomes subject to regulations that make it no longer worthwhile, you are not forced to comply just to keep a roof over your head.
- Say thanks, but no thanks. There is no such thing as a benevolent hand out. Nearly anything offered for free (particularly by a government entity) has strings attached. Maybe there is a handy-dandy registration form that you need to fill out. You might be influenced to vote a certain way just to keep the freebies coming. You might have to pee in a cup every two weeks. Perhaps one day you’ll need to have a microchip embedded in your hand. Either way, by accepting handouts from those in “authority”, you become beholden to them or you need them, and someone who is free is neither beholden nor needy.
- Don’t take the easy road. The PTB like to seduce people with simplicity. ”If you just sign this paper, it will be much easier,” they say. ”This chip is for your convenience,” they tell you. ”By giving up this, it lets us take care of you and you will be much safer.” The easy road only gets you to Slave Street a whole lot faster. Take the difficult road and be responsible for yourself. Don’t take shortcuts that compromise your beliefs. Go to court to fight a ticket, read the laws and defend yourself, and know that anything you give up, you will never get back.
According to the Declaration of Independence, ”Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
That means that you don’t have to accept the unjust laws. That means you don’t have to quietly take it, muttering under your breath that it isn’t right, but not daring to raise your voice. That means that “they” are only in control of you if you allow it.
There are nearly 316 million people in the United States. (source)
Only 3% of the population fought in the Revolutionary War, and 10% actively supported them.
If 9,480,000 people quietly and peacefully revolted by withdrawing their consent to be governed by tyrants we could not be silenced.
If 31,600,000 people supported those revolting, we could not be stopped.
The government might be watching us, but we can watch them right back. Make the way you live your life a revolutionary act.
What random act of revolution did you commit today? Please share it in the comments section below.
This essay was originally published on June 1, 2013. The principles outlined here are worth a reminder. Live your life every day as a quiet act of revolution against those who seek to enslave you.
Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at email@example.com
Hong Kong Newspaper Punished for Its Political Stance, Says Publisher
HONG KONG—Mainland Chinese companies have stopped advertising in Hong Kong’s free daily newspaper am730 for political reasons, the paper’s founder Shih Wing-ching claimed recently.
Shih wrote in his opinion column in am730 on Jan. 16 that this withdrawal of funds came as a united front, indicating that there was a uniform reason behind all of the companies’ decisions. He suspected that the actions were motivated by politics rather than commercial interests, because otherwise there would be no reason for the banking and telecommunications industries to act simultaneously.
Shih also stated that he will not yield to any political forces or change the direction of his paper against his will. If worst comes to worst, he will stop running the paper.
He added that the yearly advertising costs of these Chinese companies have exceeded 10 million HKD, while am730’s entire earnings are only 10 to 20 million HKD (US$1.3 to $2.6 million). If these companies continue to withhold their advertising, a large portion of am730’s earnings will vanish.
A very successful businessman and the founder of Centaline Property Agency Limited, Shih said that if a business cannot keep its balance financially, it will not go far.
Financial columnist and senior media professional Liao Shi-ming said, “At present, sales of Chinese companies in Hong Kong have grown large. It has become unfeasible for a daily newspaper to operate relying only on the sales of advertising to local enterprises or foreign investors.”
“This forces Hong Kong media operators to face the test at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party,” Liao said.
According to Liao’s analysis, am730 is classified as conservative and moderate among Hong Kong newspapers. While the paper seldom criticizes the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) directly and never touches the “sensitive” issue of the CCP’s persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Gong, the paper holds firm to the core values of Hong Kong, she said.
However, am730 did mention Falun Gong in a Jan. 3 article called “Hong Kong artists stand by Epoch Times” about Hong Kong celebrities sending New Year’s greetings to readers through the Epoch Times.
The article included quotes from people identified as netizens, showing concern for the celebrities about the Epoch Times “Falun Gong” background. The quotes suggested that publishing greetings in the Epoch Times would cause trouble for the celebrities and prevent them from visiting mainland China, where Falun Gong is severely oppressed. The paper did not contact the celebrities directly to get their opinions about the netizens’ comments.
Shih told the Epoch Times that he was not informed about this article, but he said am730 should have checked with the celebrities before reporting these comments.
Liao believed that am730 attempted with this unusual article as to show its position to the CCP, indicating that the paper would not step out of line on the issue that CCP considers most sensitive and most fears to see discussed openly.
“That is a case of obviously siding with the wicked and bullying good people,” Liao said.
Liao appealed to Hong Kong media to hold on to basic morals when facing critical moments, and avoid siding with the CCP against their conscience.
Translated by Y.K. Lu. Written in English by Sally Appert