25th August 2019 – (Hong Kong) The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has funded the 2014 Occupy Central in the past but many have begun to wonder if the Americans did indeed have a hand in the latest anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong. Numerous meetings between pro-democracy political activists, representatives from NED and top government officials have left us wondered if NED has funded the frontline protesters . We have mentioned earlier in our previous article that, there are in principle two factions of protesters, the genuine protesters (90%) and the frontline protesters (10%). Only the 10% frontline protesters are potentially funded by the Americans as the mass of Hong Kong protesters fit naturally into their agenda.
What is NED? NED is a U.S. non-profit soft power organization that was founded in 1983 with the stated goal of promoting democracy abroad. In principle, NED is a grant-making foundation, distributing funds to private non-governmental organisations for promoting democracy abroad. NED does not directly fund any political party, as this is forbidden by law. According to NED, it funds election monitoring and also civic education about voting, such as student-led “get-out-the-vote” campaigns.
However, according to American Conservative, in 1984, the year after it was founded, it channeled secret funds to a military-backed presidential candidate in Panama, gave US$575,000 to a right-wing French student group, and delivered nearly half a million dollars to right-wing opponents of Costa Rican president Oscar Arias—because Arias had refused to go along with our anti-communist policy in Central America.
A year later, it gave US$400,000 to the anti-Sandinista opposition in Nicaragua and then another US$2 million in 1988. It used its financial muscle in the mid-1990s to persuade a right-wing party to draw up a “Contract with Slovakia” modeled on Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America; persuaded free marketeers to do the same in Mongolia; gave nearly US$1 million to Venezuelan rightists who went on to mount a short-lived putsch against populist leader Hugo Chavez in 2002; and then funded anti-Russian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine in 2005, and the later anti-Russian coup there in 2014.
NED funding for ‘democracy’ in Venezuela
According to Consortium News, anti-government protests in Venezuela that seek regime change have been led by several individuals and organizations with close ties to the U.S. government.
Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado- two of the public leaders behind the violent protests that started in February (2014) – have long histories as collaborators, grantees and agents of Washington. NED and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have channeled multi-million dollar funding to Lopez’s political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and Machado’s NGO Sumate and her electoral campaigns.
The NED, a “foundation” created by Congress in 1983 to essentially do the CIA’s work overtly, has been one of the principal financiers of destabilization in Venezuela throughout the Chavez administration and now against President Maduro. According to NED’s 2013 annual report, the agency channeled more than US$2.3 million to Venezuelan opposition groups and projects. Within that figure, US$1,787,300went directly to anti-government groups within Venezuela, while another US$590,000was distributed to regional organizations that work with and fund the Venezuelan opposition. More than US$300,000 was directed towards efforts to develop a new generation of youth leaders to oppose Maduro’s government politically.
In direct violation of Venezuelan law, NED also funded the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), via the U.S. International Republican Institute (IRI), with US$100,000 to “share lessons learned with [anti-government groups] in Nicaragua, Argentina and Bolivia…and allow for the adaption of the Venezuelan experience in these countries.”
NED’s funding of ‘Occupy Central’ movement in Hong Kong in 2014
According to China daily in 2014, documents released by informed sources show opposition lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, head of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, received funds from an American organization to finance the “Occupy” campaign. It has been reported that since 1993, Lee received around US$1.64 million (nearly HK$13 million) from American Center for International Labor Solidarity which was believed to have received funding from NED. According to these documents, including agreements and receipts, some of the funding proposals mentioned the Occupy Central campaign.
SCMP subsequently reported in an article that Jimmy Lai donated more than HK$10 million to pan-democratic parties and politicians since 2013. The donations included HK$5 million to the Democratic Party and HK$3 million to the Civic Party according to the 900 leaked files.
Other donations detailed in the files included amounts totalling HK$900,000 to the Hong Kong Civic Education Foundation and Hong Kong Democratic Development Network, both co-founded by Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, an organiser of the Occupy Central civil-disobedience movement.
Some media reports suggested the total donations since April 2012 could have been as much as HK$40 million.
Is United States involved with anti-extradition protests via NED “
On 23rd March 2019, Anson Chan, met up with Mike Pence in Washington. She went there together with opposition lawmakers Charles Mok and Dennis Kwok at the invitation of the White House (Click HERE for original news). According to SCMP, their 10-day trip coincided with the release of the US government’s annual Hong Kong Policy Act Report which the Beijing government had increased their intervention in Hong Kong despite the ‘One Country, Two System.’ policy.
On 14th May 2019, several pro-democracy political figures met up with representatives from NED i.e. Lee Cheuk Yan, Mak Yin-Ting and Nathan Law in Hong Kong.
Two days later, Martin Lee and his delegation flew to Washington to meet up with US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo to discuss the status of Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework. Secretary Pompeo expressed concern about the Hong Kong government’s proposed amendments to the Fugitive Ordinance law, which threaten Hong Kong’s rule of law. He also expressed support for Hong Kong’s longstanding protections of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and democratic values, which are guaranteed under the Basic Law. (Click here for the original press release by the White House).
On 16th June, 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund was set up to provide legal expenditure, medical expenses, psychological counselling and other related assistance for protesters during anti-extradition protests. An amount of HK$12,110,598.59 was also raised for the Fund and labelled merely as ‘616 rally’. The donor’s entity has been kept confidential by the Fund. It is mind boggling as to how the fund could raise such a large amount over a short period of time. Meanwhile, Apple Media also contributed HK$300,000 officially to the fund. Interestingly, the stock price of Next Digital Ltd (282:HK) owned by Jimmy Lai also started to spike from 6th June this year, trading volume increased from over 2,940,000 on 5th June to 117,987,304 on 17th June. The stock price slowly receded to HK$0.21 with a trading volume of 5,870,000 on 5th August before it started to move up again. We explained in our article earlier that the share price reached a high of HK$0.38 before some large blocks of shares could be potentially offloaded to an undisclosed buyer in open market to avoid being traced. If we assume 200,000,000 shares have changed hands and sold at an average price of HK$0.30 to HK$0.32 cents, the seller would have raised at least HK$60 million in cash. To buy back the shares in near future, the seller will then wait till the share price has receded to the average low and he can then make the purchase again.
Eventually on 8th July 2019, U.S. Vice President, Mike Pence and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met with Jimmy Lai in Washington, D.C in the wake of multiple protests by Hong Kongers against the proposed amended extradition bill together with his right hand man, Mark Simon. Morgan Ortagus, spokesperson for the US Department of State announced that Michael Pompeo and Jimmy Lai discussed developments related to amendments to Hong Kong’s Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the status of Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.
On 3rd August 2019, Jimmy Lai and his aide, Mark Simon met up with Christian Whiton, a national security expert who has served in multiple White House administrations and 7 others i.e.Martin Lee, Chairman of Democratic Party, Anson Maria Elizabeth Chan Fang On-sang who served as ex-Chief Secretary, Cardinal Joseph Zen (Trustee of 616 Humanitarian Relief Fund), legislative councillors including Alan Leong, Jeremy Jansen Tam, Lee Wing-tat and Albert Ho for dinner a an Italian fine dining restaurant in Central. Christian Whiton also makes regular appearance of FOX NEWS which allegedly provides biased reporting in favor of conservative political positions, the Republican Party and President Donald Trump.
In the past few weeks since August, we have also noted the increased presence of US flag bearers in districtwide protests.
FOX TV – MEDIA USED FOR U.S. PROPAGANDA
Jimmy Lai appeared on Fox TV on 15th July in the United States and again live via Skype from Hong Kong on 19th August after he led an illegal rally in Causeway Bay.
On 17th June, Mark Simon, Jimmy’s aide contributed an article to Fox News in which he glorified millions of Hong Kongers for taking it to the streets in defiance of the government to protest against the extradition bill. Meanwhile, Christian Whiton also wrote an opinion piece on Hong Kong on 15th August titled ‘China’s Xi is looking increasingly dazed and confused and he questioned ‘Could Hong Kong win this showdown?’
So, it seems like FOX TV purportedly arranged by Christian Whiton is the ‘unofficial’ American media used as propaganda machinery against Hong Kong. In the past few days, American social media platforms such as Facebook, Tweeter and also Youtube have disabled multiple Chinese state media linked pages and channels. Google announced two days ago that the YouTube accounts “related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong” and the discovery was “consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.” It seems like the attempt to disband the online Chinese propaganda machinery is the latest menacing move to checkmate the Beijing government.
On August 6th 2019, two separate meetings took place between a US political counsellor, Julie Eadeh from US Consulate General and pro-democracy leaders. Julie was caught on camera by Chinese state media to have met up with Anson Chan and Martin Lee, both are close allies of Jimmy Lai, the owner of Apple Daily. On the same day, Julie also met up with Joshua Wong and Nathan Law at a hotel lobby. With regards to the meetings, Morgan Ortagus, spokesperson for the US Department of State defended their meetings and argued ‘they were just doing their jobs, just like diplomats from every other country’.
If we analyse the historical involvement of NED in Occupy Central and the sequence of events that took place from March in 2019, it is highly possible that the Americans may be potentially involved in the current civil unrest via NED albeit not conclusive. We have always reiterated that it is cheaper to fund a 10% small group of frontline protesters to cause chaos and disruptions in the city since the other 90% is genuinely aligned to their anti-Beijing agenda.
Christian Whiton said in a podcast interview on 16th August , ‘CAUSING THIS CRISIS for the Chinese Government at the time of difficult negotiations between US and China, it is good in the national interest of the United States.‘