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Chinese balloon was not spying, US gov’t admits months after manufactured crisis

The Pentagon admitted that a Chinese balloon that crossed into US territory in February was not spying; it was likely blown off course by wind. But Washington and the media milked this manufactured scandal for new cold war propaganda.

China balloon not spying US
The Chinese balloon that crossed into US airspace in February 2023, likely by accident

The US government has admitted that severe accusations it made against China were just a lot of hot air.

The highest-ranking official in the US military has clarified that a Chinese balloon that crossed into US territory in February 2023 was not spying; it was likely blown off course by wind.

CBS News published an interview this September with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, who stated, “The intelligence community, their assessment – and it’s a high-confidence assessment – [is] that there was no intelligence collection by that balloon”.

Milley conceded that the large rubber object was probably pushed off track by powerful wind.

This report, released seven months after the incident, has confirmed exactly what the Chinese government stated at the time: its balloon was not spying on the United States, and only accidentally entered its airspace.

The US government has still insisted that the Chinese balloon had technology that could have potentially been used to gather information – although it has not clarified if that technology was focused specifically on collecting data on weather patterns, which is what Beijing said it was doing.

Regardless, in another massive blow to Washington’s narrative, CBS News acknowledged in its report that, “After the Navy raised the wreckage from the bottom of the Atlantic, technical experts discovered the balloon’s sensors had never been activated while over the Continental United States“.

So even if the Chinese balloon had the technological capacity to spy on the United States, as Washington claims, the sensor was never turned on.

This is not the first time a senior US official has admitted that the Chinese balloon was not spying.

In June, Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder made very similar comments.

“We’re aware that [the balloon] had intelligence collection capabilities, but it was our — and it has been our — assessment now that it did not collect while it was transiting the United States”, the Defense Department spokesman said, in remarks quoted by ABC News.

These statements confirm that Geopolitical Economy Report was accurate in its analysis in February, which synthesized existing evidence at the time and concluded that the Chinese balloon had likely been blown off course by unexpected weather.

US admits weather pushed Chinese balloon off course, US shot down hobbyists’ $12 balloon in $2M missile attack

Despite these bombshells proving the entire scandal to be manufactured, Washington and the US media turned this weather accident into a diplomatic crisis, milking the incident to demonize China and depict it as a grave “threat”.

The nationwide freakout was reminiscent of crude propaganda from the first cold war, when the US government produced “Duck and Cover” films instructing students to hide under their desks in the case of a sudden Soviet nuclear strike, or when Hollywood churned out blockbuster movies imploring North Americans to suspect their neighbors of being dastardly Russian communist spies.

Today, the United States is waging a new, second cold war. Moscow is still a target, but this time Washington’s main adversary is Beijing.

As CNN put it bluntly in February, “the Chinese balloon crisis could be a defining moment in the new Cold War”.

During the manufactured scandal, the US State Department claimed the “high altitude balloon’s equipment was clearly for intelligence surveillance”, and was “capable of conducting signals intelligence collection operations”.

The Pentagon referred to the rubber object as a “maneuverable Chinese surveillance balloon” that “violated U.S. airspace and international law, which is unacceptable”.

The White House accused Beijing of operating a “global” espionage program, stating, “We know that these [Chinese] surveillance balloons have crossed over dozens of countries on multiple continents around the world, including some of our closest allies and partners”.

Hawkish US politicians, like Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher, the chair of the House of Representatives’ Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, declared that the large rubber object “is a threat right here at home. It is a threat to American sovereignty, and it is a threat to the Midwest”.

Fox News brought on air neoconservative activists from think tanks funded by the weapons industry, who argued that Beijing was using the balloon to spy on the US to “prepare the battlefield” for war.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg even claimed the rubber object was a threat to other Western governments.

While standing next to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Stoltenberg insisted, “The balloon over the United States confirms a pattern of Chinese behavior where we see that China has invested heavily in new capabilities, including different types of surveillance and intelligence platforms… We need to be aware of the constant risk of Chinese intelligence and step up what we do to protect ourselves and react in a prudent and responsible way”.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. deletedontpost

    2023-09-20 at 22:34

    “So even if the Chinese balloon had the technological capacity to spy on the United States, as Washington claims, the censor was never turned on.”

    Censor should be sensor.

  2. Cure E Us

    2023-09-21 at 10:07

    RE: “The US government has admitted that severe accusations it made against China were just a lot of hot air.”

    Have you ever noticed that the U.S. government/ruling class frequently admits to wrongs or lies after the fact? It is as though they are employing this strategy – through inculcation – to engineer public approval for condoning their behavior. Do they not have an internal-means-of-control mechanism? Is this situational ethics, or a double-standard?

    For example, according to RollingStone.com: “Murdoch (Fox News) not only admitted the hosts were pushing lies about the election, he suggested it was helping Fox make money. Court documents released earlier this month revealed that Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham knew the idea that the election was rigged was bunk, and thought the Trump lawyers pushing it like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell were, as Ingraham put it in a text, “complete nuts.” One of Dominion’s lawyers asked Murdoch if he could have ordered people like Giuliani and Powell off the air. “I could have,” Murdoch responded. “But I didn’t.”

    Or, CIA Director Mike Pompeo “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” – Texas A M University April 2019
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCjWAq7563I

    Most likely, if the American public is caught lying, cheating and stealing, they might have to spend some time incarcerated. On the other hand, if a high-ranking American official admits to lying, cheating and stealing, they might receive a commendation or lucrative bonus. Have you ever noticed that?

  3. Cure E Us

    2023-09-21 at 13:03

    RE: Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, who stated, “The intelligence community, their assessment – and it’s a high-confidence assessment – [is] that there was no intelligence collection by that balloon”.

    If the intelligence community’s assessment was ‘high-confidence’, wouldn’t the ‘intelligence community’ have concluded that the balloon was not collecting intelligence in advance of having to destroy the balloon – ‘with one of this country’s most sophisticated jet fighters against a balloon with a putt-putt motor.’ Moreover, ‘after the Navy raised the wreckage from the bottom of the Atlantic, technical experts discovered the balloon’s sensors had never been activated while over the Continental United States.’ In light of this, shouldn’t General Mark Milley redesignate the intelligence community assessment from ‘high-confidence’ to ‘very-low-confidence’? At the very least, the General should deploy a search for a competent intelligence community (or maybe they are too-big-to-fail?).

    In short, the U.S. government (Pentagon): scrambled an expensive jet fighter; paid to train and employ a highly-skilled pilot; funded (American tax payer expropriations) the maintenance and arming of the sophisticated jet-fighter; appropriated monies for the intelligence community’s (high-confidence?) assessment, and for the U.S. Navy to raise the wreckage from the bottom of the Atlantic! Can you imagine the costs for all of these actions? If this is an example of U.S. military proficiency, I strongly propose that the MIC be defunded, and the excess misappropriations should be redirected to me, so I may discharge my dastardly, oppressive and insidious student loan!

  4. Cure E Us

    2023-09-21 at 14:20

    RE: Stoltenberg insisted, “We need to be aware of the constant risk of Chinese intelligence and step up what we do to protect ourselves and react in a prudent and responsible way”.

    Beautiful, spurious, propaganda. If Stoltenberg – and the West – were genuinely concerned about “reacting in a prudent and responsible way”, he, and the West, would have exercised the alleged prudence to preclude bombing of the Nord Stream pipeline, and hastily withdrawn from the illegal Ukraine proxy war in a “responsible way.”

    Stoltenberg needs to be constantly aware of the vacuous, depreciating status of Western intelligence; and redress grievances in the international community (e.g.- detente, compromise, cooperation, advocate self-determination, stop the belligerence and war profiteering, etc.).

  5. Eric Arthur Blair

    2023-09-22 at 01:16

    Waaaweeewaaah!! Be afraid, be very afraid!! Them spy balloons ain’t nuthin compared to the weaponised Russian 14 armed Antarctic octopus
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/735175/vladimir-putin-killer-octopus-organism-46-b-russian-army-secret-weapon-russia
    So if the entire US armed forces ever decide to fight Russia by deep diving under the ice in an Antarctic lake, they will all be killed!!!

    Much better if everyone in the West slit their wrists right now because we are all doooooooomed!!!!

  6. Doug Hope

    2023-09-22 at 11:15

    2 million to shoot down a $12 balloon. what a deal. How much jet fuel did they burn?

  7. Cure E Us

    2023-09-22 at 18:24

    Does China’s spy balloon, with its deactivated sensors and putt-putt motor, really represent a threat to the national security of the United States? Or, was China’s balloon a kind of metaphor, to illustrate the malicious, ballooning ‘inflation’ caused by the United States and their harmful economic sanctioning policies? And so while no one could have predicted it, China’s balloon may well spur America’s awakening.

    Awakening to what? Awakening to why the American public: is overwhelmingly not compensated a livable wage for their employment; or subject to unpaid vacations (if offered at all) while not on their terms; or disposed to exploitation (on-call, forced overtime, draconian treatment, etc.) through capricious ‘gig economy’ employment; or precluded from receiving benefits, such as healthcare or M4A; or constrained by an obstructive U.S. congress, unresponsive to anyone not named the billionaire class or dynastic ruling class. The American public, and much of the world, has been pilfered, plundered and swindled. It’s time to be awakened; read on:

    Around $12 trillion, a quarter of the world’s wealth, goes untaxed in tax havens. If banks and companies were included, the amount would be at least twice that. Every FTSE 100 company has subsidiaries or partners in tax havens to avoid tax. The United States and the United Kingdom are the biggest tax havens in the world, claiming that the US (Delaware, Wyoming, Florida and Nevada) is responsible for approximately 21 percent of offshore business, while the UK is responsible for about 20 percent. A further 10 percent derives from trade carried out through Britain’s dependent territories. Switzerland is responsible for around 6 percent of the offshore trade. London is described as the center of a spider web that links to the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Caribbean, serving the needs of global capital. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_Islands

  8. Cure E Us

    2023-09-22 at 23:26

    RE: The Pentagon referred to the rubber object as a “maneuverable Chinese surveillance balloon” that “violated U.S. airspace and international law, which is unacceptable”.

    According to the Pentagon, this relatively harmless balloon violated U.S. airspace and international law – and was unacceptable. Are the following U.S. war crimes unacceptable or acceptable to the Pentagon (?): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_war_crimes

  9. JonnyJames

    2023-09-24 at 11:59

    When I first saw the breaking story of the Chinese balloon hysteria, I had a good laugh. The irrational, ridiculous nonsense that is passed off as “news” just gets more ridiculous. This story should have been ruthlessly ridiculed on comedy shows.

    A fkn balloon? Maybe the FBI should inspect all balloons at children’s birthday parties, this is serious national security.

    What next, the pandas in US zoos are fitted with sophisticated spy equipment? Be very suspicious of any panda bears, they are spies!

    Be afraid! The Yellow Peril!, the Asiatic Hordes are coming to take over ‘merka! OMG!!

  10. Cure E Us

    2023-09-24 at 16:21

    RE: Hawkish US politicians, like Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher, the chair of the House of Representatives’ Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, declared that the large rubber object “is a threat right here at home. It is a threat to American sovereignty, and it is a threat to the Midwest”.

    Mike Gallagher states that the Chinese are a threat to American sovereignty. He says he “will work in a bipartisan fashion to educate Americans on the threat China poses.” Mike’s objective is to be reelected and to manipulate, deceive and propagandize the American public – according to dictates from his dynastic directorates. He’s a shill for Corporate America and the billionaire class. The actual threat to American sovereignty is the corporate coup d’etat that has usurped American society.

    Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform—the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions—we are left defenseless against corporate power.

    A handful of corporate oligarchs around the globe have everything—wealth, power and privilege—and the rest of us struggle as part of a vast underclass, increasingly impoverished and ruthlessly repressed. There is one set of laws and regulations for us; there is another set of laws and regulations for a power elite that functions as a global mafia. https://truthout.org/articles/vast-underclass-must-rise-up-against-global-mafia-or-die/

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