Babes in a China Shop

A few random thoughts on the passing scene at the start of this new week:

On Rush lately I’ve emphasized a particular point re Beijing: Twenty years ago, Americans were told, “Get used to it: Manufacturing’s not coming back. We can’t make widgets for the price they can be made in China. So instead we’re going to be ‘the knowledge economy’…”

Yet mysteriously China wound up with “the knowledge economy”, too. For example, how did this 5G stuff become a Beijing thing? Well, maybe because they just stole it. Do you remember Nortel? They were Canadian, yet fifteen years ago they bestrode the world when it came to what we now know as 4G and 5G. And then one morning:

The documents began arriving in China at 8:48 a.m. on a Saturday in April 2004. There were close to 800 of them: PowerPoint presentations from customer meetings, an analysis of a recent sales loss, design details for an American communications network. Others were technical, including source code that represented some of the most sensitive information owned by Nortel Networks Corp., then one of the world’s largest companies.

At its height in 2000, the telecom equipment manufacturer employed 90,000 people and had a market value of C$367 billion (about $250 billion at the time), accounting for more than 35% of Canada’s benchmark stock market index, the TSE 300.

Those 800 documents came from Nortel CEO Frank Dunn – or rather from someone who’d hacked in to his account. They were sent to an IP address belonging to “Shanghai Faxian Corp”, a Chinese entity that had no business relationship with Nortel or, indeed, anybody else:

Years later, [systems security advisor Brian Shields] would look at the hack, and Nortel’s failure to adequately respond to it, as the beginning of the end of the company. Perhaps because of the hubris that came from being a market leader, or because it was distracted by a series of business failures, Nortel never tried to determine how the credentials were stolen. It simply changed the passwords; predictably, the hacks continued. By 2009 the company was bankrupt.

Whether or not Huawei was in on the heist, it was certainly the principal beneficiary:

It poached Nortel’s biggest customers and, eventually, hired away the researchers who would give it the lead in 5G networks. “This is plain and simple: Economic espionage did in Nortel,” Shields says. “And all you have to do is look at what entity in the world took over No. 1 and how quickly they did it.”

While Americans re-litigate the antebellum south, an actual racially-supremacist state – one that enslaves its minorities, and in fact sterilizes them and harvests their body parts – is taking control of the planet.

~Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire the other day, since when some impertinent readers have speculated whether she was in the Granite State for a little bit of horizontal sequestering with yours truly. No, thank you. I have had one brief encounter with Miss Maxwell long ago, and have no desire to renew the acquaintance. Her father was one of the most repellent human beings ever to walk the face of the earth. He doted on his daughter – although I’m surprised to see her referred to as “Robert Maxwell’s heiress”, as he died broke, and having looted his employees’ pension fund. Dad supposedly fell off the yacht he’d named for Ghislaine, so Jeffrey Epstein is not the first of Miss Maxwell’s menfolk to die in dubious circumstances. Whether or not she was a procurer of under-age sex slaves for Epstein et al, I would have loathed her anyway, purely for the company she kept.

Still and all, I regard the US federal justice system as fundamentally corrupt. And, knowing what it did to everyone from Conrad Black to Michael Flynn to Roger Stone to a New Hampshire neighbor of mine, I am disinclined to apply a different standard to Miss Maxwell – especially as in this case the most brazen crime appears to be the cozy deal Epstein did with the Feds in Florida over what should have remained a state case.

So one notes yet again the money-no-object flood-the-zone butcher-than-thou approach: Fifteen vehicles, multiple spy planes overhead, twenty-four FBI agents plus the usual state-local multi-agency pile-ons (including, somewhat puzzlingly, New York officers), all in the full Robocop, to take down one middle-aged English socialite. And of course it wouldn’t be an FBI raid without at least one braggart wanker chest-puffing to the media:

“And let’s just say, we didn’t knock politely on the door,” the officer said. “It was smashed down.”

Wow. Ain’t you the butch one! Such a pity that, unlike Mrs Roger Stone, Miss Maxwell was already up and about, so you couldn’t humiliate her in her boudoir as she fumbled for her nightgown.

Commentators anticipating courtroom fireworks miss the point: The Feds win 97 per cent of their cases without going to trial, and kicking in the door is designed to facilitate that end – to communicate that it’s in your interest to do whatever deal the government is offering. In a traditional case, the way to that deal for a relatively minor figure like Ghislaine Maxwell would be to sing like a canary about all the big fish higher up the chain. But in this case the big fish are the Clintons, Bill Richardson, George Mitchell, various other Democrat high-ups, and Ehud Barak (the eighth in line to a foreign throne is a minnow in such waters, which is why presumably he’s being played up to the rube media).

So it could just as easily be that the deal being dangled is for Miss Maxwell not to sing like a canary…

Or have the workings of the dirty rotten stinking corrupt Department of Justice made me too cynical?

~One other detail from the story: as a minor example of his generally appalling judgment, the Duke of York entertained Ghislaine and Jeffrey at Buckingham Palace, along with other questionable types like Kevin Spacey. In the course of the knees-up, the revelers found themselves in the throne room, where the Queen presides in Majesty, as they say (and where my daughter and I were a while back, in less Bacchanalian circumstances), and Ghislaine and Kevin thought it would be a spiffing wheeze to sit on the thrones in mimickry of the sovereign and her consort.

What a ghastly revolting twerp Prince Andrew is: just when you think your opinion of him couldn’t sink any lower, they drop the old limbo stick and he effortlessly sails under.

The closest I’ve come to pulling a Spacey-Maxwell was a few years ago at Queen’s Park in Toronto, where I was giving evidence to the Ontario Parliament’s Human Rights Committee. Randy Hillier, a very convivial MPP, invited me to drop by his office afterwards for a beer, and gave me directions – second left, at the end of the corridor take a right, then third left – which I promptly forgot. So, wandering round the maze, I opened a door and found myself in the throne room.

And I thought, “Hey, cool, I wonder what it feels like to sit on it?”

And I got within a foot of the thing before I realized, no, this would be a terrible thing to do… So I slunk away to Randy’s office and had several cold ones to steady my nerves.

His Royal Highness would have done better to ask me over to dinner. But I’d have refused. Because he’s always been a tosspot.

~It was a busy weekend at SteynOnline. We started with a special Fourth of July edition of The Mark Steyn Show in partial compensation for the canceled parades and tumbling statues. Kathy Shaidle’s Saturday movie date revisited Mary Harron’s film I Shot Andy Warhol, and our Sunday song selection closed out the holiday weekend with a hymn to a lost America. If you were too busy smashing the Liberty Bell to pieces this weekend, I hope you’ll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.

The Mark Steyn Show is made with the support of members of The Mark Steyn Club. For more on the Steyn Club, see here.

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