?Dealing with China now

tibet“Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam,” – in English: “Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed” reportedly was the concluding line of every speech given in the Roman Senate by Cato the Elder (234-139 B.C.).  Carthage was Rome’s primary enemy and was defeated.  It is this writer’s hope that U.S. Senators and Representative adopt such a line to conclude their speeches.    Even if it is a speech about price support for milk.

The goal now is to see the destruction of China’s regime.

These United States are at war with China.  It is not a war with actual physical weapons:  it is a war of cyber espionage and destruction, of vicious trade actions by the Chinese.  The United States is letting all this happening ignoring massive human rights violations, mass executions, ethnic cleansing and worse. Never forget that this nation was founded to preserve basic freedoms against the rather mild yoke of His Britannic Majesty King George III.

What is the problem with China?  Not only are they stealing our very valuable industrial and intellectual secrets; not only are they attempting to force media, movie producers and politicians to mute any possible criticism of China’s Regime; they are also plotting to defeat the United States on all fronts.

China is in big trouble.  That country’s economy is failing and while there are no reliable data on just how bad it is:  the aggressive capital flight by Chinese insiders is telling.

China has corrupted U.S. companies large and small with the promise of quick profit.  In exchange, the Chinese demand access to industrial secrets and muted comments on the evilness of that regime.

How do we fight back?  I have no problem with the Chinese.  My justified rancor is limited to a cruel regime and companies that enable that regime.

How can we hurt the regime in China so it falls?  China is internally fractured and susceptible to civil unrest.  China faces what Karl Marx defined as pre-revolutionary conditions.   Thus we must increase funding for movements that fight for their very survival inside the troubled Middle Kingdom.  This means support for the Tibetans, Mongols, and Uighurs – just to name a few.  We must help return to the period of the “Warring States Period.”

We also must cut-off access to technology and money.  Companies such as WalMart are major importers of “low cost” Chinese goods.  It is believed that WalMart alone is responsible for about 25 percent of all import from China.  There are plenty of other places where Chinese goods can be replaced and sourced.

Fashion houses in New York should protect themselves: they should stop using Chinese suppliers and go elsewhere.  It may cost a bit more for each garment but ultimately fashion companies will save money – Chinese firms will not have access to designs which rapidly enter the market well before major firms such as Dior, Prada or Chanel can start selling their own products.

Businesses – large and small – should curtail dealings with China.  All they are doing is being complicit in mass murder, human rights violations and strengthening an avowed enemy of the United States. Do executives of these companies want to see their daughters and sons killed in a shooting war with China?

When President Richard Nixon opened diplomatic and business relations with China the one argument was that working with U.S. firms would help reform a cruel regime.  This did not happen.

How do the Chine pressure U.S. firms?  It is basic bribery.  Here is one example:

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/02/07/jpmorgan-faces-fresh-scrutiny-over-asia-hiring-practices.html

This is Chase.  Here is one other example.  Washington Square Analytics, Inc… (WSA) – a small consulting firm in New York City an operated in part by at least on felon who was convicted for financial fraud, has been working with Hony Capital, a Chinese private equity firm, owned by Legend Holdings. Legend Holdings provided Hony, a pioneer in China’s private equity industry, with its start-up capital. Hony has about US$7 billion under management. According to Hony, its core strategy is to invest in large state-owned enterprises and restructure them to increase profits. Hony also invests in overseas consumer brands in order to create value by expanding their presence in China. http://washingtonsquareanalytics.com/

So Chase and WSA along with many others is complicit is enabling more human rights violations by the Chinese.

We have a small window to hurt China’s dictators and get them to fall.   And what can we – The Repton Group LLC – do to help U.S. firms in their combat with China?  And what about the over $1.2 trillion in on Treasury Bonds held by China?

Here is an action plan:

  • Let us all make public who cooperates with the Chinese to the detriment of U.S. national security
  • Encourage curtailing trade with China – we have many other attractive options such as India, Vietnam, Indonesia, or The Philippines among many.
  • Offer ideas for a boycott of Chinese goods not limited to the many tainted food products
  • Report hacking attempts by the Chinese to the Federal Bureau of Investigations
  • Push our politicians to fight for U.S. values:  the U.S. went to war for our very freedoms against Germany and Japan.  Did we forget?
  • As for the debt – let us follow the example of President Frank D. Roosevelt – and by executive order say this debt is null and void and a repayment for the economic damage done by China
  • Foster – we can help – relations with the Chinese opposition now. This will lead to major business in the fruitier after the regime falls.

To adapt Cato the Elder:  furthermore the Chinese Regime must be destroyed.

Agostino von Hassell

The Repton Group LLC

www.thereptongroup.com

How Should Business deal With Turkey Now?

I happen to hear from friends from Turkey often these days that the country is not “soup du jour”. It is not “business as usual” anymore.

How should U.S.A. companies and others (from Europe or Asia) deal with Turkey now? Investments there – in our view – are unsafe and that once proud nation will become increasingly unstable.

We strongly advocate that current investors in Turkey consider how to limit their exposure and avoid new investments. The sense is that Turkey is set to devolve into chaos in a prolonged crackdown of established democratic processes labeled as “terrorist-linked” from the existing government. I cannot imagine businesses from civilized nations wanting to support a regime that is adverse to human rights of any kind.

The badly planned coup failed, I regret it. The distant shout, “I would free the state from a tyrant!”, was left unheard and silent in the night.

Friedrich von Schiller in 1797 in his famous poem (hated by the Nazis) wrote:

To Dionysius, the tyrant, would sneak

Damon, concealing a dagger;

He’s slapped by the guards in a fetter.

“What would you do with that dagger, speak!”

Demands the despot, his visage bleak.

“I would free the state from a tyrant!”

“For that, on the cross be repentant.”

 

Now Erdo?an wants to reinstate the death penalty. On July 26, 2016 in an interview Erdo?an pledged to follow up on his promise to reintroduce capital punishment if such a request is submitted by the country’s parliament, saying the government could not ignore the will of the people.  He was quoted:

What do the [Turkish] people say today? They want the death penalty reintroduced. And we as the government must listen to what the people say. We can’t say ‘no, that doesn’t interest us…I am not a king. I am only a country’s president. To be a stronger president does not mean to act in breach of constitution. Only in Europe is there no death penalty. Otherwise, it is almost everywhere.”

The death penalty was abolished by Turkey in 2004 in order to facilitate its acceptance as a European Union member. Since the failed coup well over 13,000 people, largely soldiers, have been detained in the massive purge. The fair trial and fate of these people is more than questionable and this is an issue, which worries me.

Resisting dictators is important. Turkey’s current president Recep Tayyip Erdo?an is one of the most vicious dictators to emerge in past years and he proudly takes the place in a select group of others such as Putin and the leader of China who do not hesitate to violate human rights on a daily basis. Thus the May 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey was a joke. It is as if the Nazis had celebrated human rights in a concentration camp.

Turkey has a long history of brutality and repression.  The country has a sad history of persecuting ethnic minorities.

The vicious occupation of Northern Cyprus continues.

Turkey’s argument that it faces terrorism is dangerous: none of the ancient battles against the Kurds (and Armenians) justifies massive repression of human rights, jailing of any and all opponents as well as the continued denial and defense of the Genocide of the Armenians. The major military incursions into Kurdish territory in past weeks were thinly camouflaged efforts at wiping out the Kurds.

The Kurdish people are repressed.  This has been going on for centuries and the brutal persecution of the Kurds is an activity shared by Iraq and Iran. Will they be subject of ethnic cleansing by Turkey’s president? Note that between 1925 and 1939 possibly over 1.5 million Kurds were deported or murdered. Will Erdo?an, the President, force a new ban on speaking Kurdish – akin to the 1924 mandate? In 1930 Turkey’s Minster of Justice reportedly stated:

I won’t hide my feelings. The Turk is the only lord, the only master of this country. Those who are not of pure Turkish origin will have only one right in Turkey: the right to be servants and slaves.

Turan Gunes, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, at a session of the Council of Europe, reportedly said as he responded to the issue of Kurdish independence: “Let me tell you, with the tolerance of just a few countries like West Germany, France and England, we will have no problem liquidating millions of Kurds.”

Note that terrorism can be battled respecting human rights.  Note also that when I met many suffering Kurds in April 1991 during Operation Provide Comfort and Provide Comfort II I realized that Turkey’s approach to the Kurds was just as evil as was the case with Iraq.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk established a secular Turkey and in many ways Turkey’s military as well as the TNP have been the protectors of the values established by Atatürk. Turkey’s current president has tried to emasculate the military with the most questionable arrest of senior generals and admirals – instilling a climate of fear in military (Operation Cage Action Plan).

Dictators rarely have a good end to their life. While I am certainly not advocating violence one must hope that brave officers of Turkey’s military and police possibly act again to rescue human right and the values of Atatürk. Turkey has a long history of coups (1960, 1971, 1980, and possibly 1993) and incidents such as the 1997 “military memorandum” or “Operation Sledgehammer” in 2003.

Investments in Turkey are questionable at best. Russia’s Gazprom – probably instructed so by the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin – on September 2, 2016 pledged a $1 billion investment in Turkey. Gazprom, which serves as a political instrument for negotiations with Europe, has today lost $300 billion market capitalization from its 2008 heyday valuation and the company is a financial shadow to what it was. And now Turkey invites Apple to invest in Turley following the ruling on taxes by Brussels.

Some U.S. firms with a modicum of historical memory know how IBM and Ford as General Motor’s Adam Opel unit supported the Nazis and provided some key tools for the murder of millions. It is a lesson, I hope, that has been remembered and learned.

Investing in Turkey now is but a support of a vicious regime. Europe is terrified of offending Turkey – the latter in order to apply pressure has reopened the doors for refugees to flood Europe. Over 300,000 came from Turkey since the failed coup. And this can be a powerful tool to negotiate with the others.

What now?

Businesses have many other options. Investments in countries such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania or Israel are probably more attractive and certainly safer and do not carry the odor of complicity with murderers. All these countries are empowered by young, educated and talented people, which is a treasure for any investment.

This company can provide advisory here as well as guide companies on a most treacherous complicated path. A consumer boycott of Turkish goods would also be useful.

Numerous U.S. companies are shying away from Turkey. Note this report:

The same cannot be said of investors from the West, particularly, if ironically, Silicon Valley, where “saving the world” has become a catchphrase. Many have pulled out of upcoming conferences and events to take place in Istanbul this fall.

“We’ve had nearly everyone from Silicon Valley cancel their plans to come to Startup Istanbul this October,” says Burak Büyükdemir, founder of the Istanbul based startup accelerator eTohum. eTohum hosts Startup Istanbul, a global demo day and conference that draws entrepreneurs and investors from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, every October.

Others from Europe and the U.S., Turkish venture capital investor Numan Numan says, are using Turkey’s many crises to “short change” Turkish startups, presenting term sheets and acquisition offers at reduced valuations. Numan is a partner at the Istanbul based firm 212.

Agostino von Hassell

The Repton group LLC

www.thereprongroup.com

RDNY Speach

RDNY

On November 12, 2008 Agostino von Hassell spoke to the Retired Detectives of the New York Police Department (RDNY) about the sacrifices of warriors and police officers for the better good of the country. Read on…