Hawaiian Host Vs First Hawaiian Bank
Why 2 Of Hawaii’s Best-Known Brands Are Battling In Court. Hawaiian Host won a first round in arbitration. But it is pressing forward with a lawsuit in state court against First Hawaiian Bank. By Stewart Yerton – Mar 30 2023
The local candy company Hawaiian Host Group, which also owns the Mauna Loa macadamia nut brand, is engaged in a bitter lawsuit with its longtime banker, First Hawaiian Bank, in a matter stemming from the darkest days of the pandemic, when Hawaiian Host was on the verge of bankruptcy.
In court documents, Hawaiian Host alleges that First Hawaiian improperly tried to help engineer what amounted to a hostile takeover by a Philippine businessman, Jose Richard “Ricky” Delgado, even though Delgado wouldn’t promise to keep operations in Hawaii or honor union contracts.
Hawaiian Host won a first round in arbitration, which resulted in a $13 million award for the company and allowed it to raise money from an investor who has vowed to keep operations in Hawaii. But the candy maker is pressing forward with a separate lawsuit against the bank in state court.
Mauna Loa and Hawaiian Host Foodland
Hawaiian Host Group, which also owns the Mauna Loa brand, accused First Hawaiian Bank of illegally interfering with a contract and business opportunities presented to the company when it was struggling during the early stages of the pandemic. (Stewart Yerton/Civil Beat/2023)
Hawaiian Host’s attorney, Joachim Cox, said the company’s position was laid out in extensive court documents and declined further comment. First Hawaiian lawyers Craig Shikuma and Ken Nakasone did not return calls seeking comment.
The legal battle is unfolding against a major turn-around effort by Hawaiian Host management. Founded in 1960 by Mamoru and Aiko Takitani, the company known for its chocolate-covered mac nuts and Caramacs candies has been struggling for years because of massive debt it took on to acquire the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Co. from The Hershey Co. in 2015. The pandemic only made things worse.
In an interview, Hawaiian Host’s chief executive, Ed Schultz, declined to discuss the lawsuit but acknowledged the early stages of the pandemic marked a particularly hard time for the company, as tourists to the islands disappeared at a time when Hawaiian Host was looking to make big investments to upgrade facilities on Oahu and the Big Island.
“Obviously the company went through some very difficult challenges,” Schultz said. “The company needed a ton of reinvestment. A lot of that was on the infrastructure side.”
Court documents show that instead of being able to focus on such reinvestments, Hawaiian Host got bogged down fighting Delgado’s takeover attempt, which was supported by First Hawaiian.
Although some key documents in the ongoing state court litigation are hidden under seal or protective orders, detailed narratives are laid out in the federal court matter that led to the $13 million arbitration award for Hawaiian Host. In addition, some of First Hawaiian’s court filings are public. Its defense comes down to a simple argument: the bank had the right to sell Hawaiian Host’s debt to anyone it wanted.
The lawsuit pits some of Hawaii’s oldest and most prestigious companies against each other. First Hawaiian is the state’s oldest bank, founded by Charles Reed Bishop, whose name is synonymous with Honolulu’s business district and the Bishop Estate, which funds Kamehameha Schools. Mauna Loa was founded and run previously by two of Hawaii’s original Big Five conglomerates: Castle & Cooke and C. Brewer & Co.
One of the few things not in dispute amid the legal wrangling is that, as the pandemic hit, Hawaiian Host was swimming in debt controlled by First Hawaiian. By 2020, court documents show, First Hawaiian Bank held some $75 million in Hawaiian Host debt, including about $15 million held as an agent for Central Pacific Bank.
Schultz managed to restructure Hawaiian Host’s finances and reduce its debt to less than $35 million, according to court documents filed by Hawaiian Host. But with revenue wiped out by the pandemic, servicing even that smaller sum of debt was proving untenable, and, teetering toward bankruptcy, Hawaiian Host began seeking investors.
According to documents filed in state and federal court, First Hawaiian introduced Hawaiian Host to Delgado and his investment firm Citadel, which started discussions about essentially acquiring Hawaiian Host by buying the company’s debt from First Hawaiian. The deal also required what the parties called a “cooperation agreement” between Hawaiian Host and Citadel.
Initially, under a contemplated cooperation agreement, Citadel said it would promise to keep the company’s operations in Hawaii, honor union contracts and continue to support a charitable trust set up by the Takitanis, court documents assert. But over time, those promises dissolved to mere possibilities, documents say. So Hawaiian Host began looking for a different investor who would promise to keep operations in Hawaii.
First Hawaiian Bank is in bitter litigation with longtime client Hawaiian Host Group. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)
The company found Jonathan Eilian, chief executive of Atrium Holding Co. in New York, which has interests in numerous hotels in the U.S., including Hawaii.
While Hawaiian Host was pursuing the deal with Eilian, First Hawaiian eventually sold its debt to Citadel without Hawaiian Host’s consent. Hawaiian Host preferred the Eilian/Atrium deal, which leadership thought was better for the company and Hawaii. Perhaps more important, there was no cooperation agreement between Hawaiian Host and Citadel.
An arbitrator later found that First Hawaiian and Delgado’s actions violated a “two-step approach to reaching an agreement” that had been contemplated. Step one was for Delgado and Citadel to obtain a preliminary agreement with First Hawaiian, and step two was to enter a cooperation agreement with Hawaiian Host.
In an order confirming the arbitrator’s $13 million award to Hawaiian Host, U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright explained, “Hawaiian Host’s theory — accepted by the Arbitrator — was that it was prevented from fundamental recapitalization of the sort that led to the Citadel/First Hawaiian/Hawaiian Host negotiations in the first place.”
Essentially, the arbitrator found, the improper deal between Citadel and First Hawaiian caused Hawaiian Host to lose millions of dollars due to unnecessary interest costs and lost sales.
“But for Citadel’s illegal purchase of the FHB/CBP loans, Hawaiian Host would have been able to obtain an infusion of working capital to prevent losses in missed or short shipments,” Seabright wrote, quoting the arbitrator. “As a result of the inability to recapitalize, Hawaiian Host was unable to maintain proper levels of finished goods, raw chocolate and packaging, and as a result lost out (on) profits.”
In the end, the arbitrator ordered Citadel to sell the debt it had acquired from First Hawaiian to Hawaiian Host, which had received an infusion of equity from Eilian.
With Hawaiian Host recapitalized and its future in Hawaii apparently secure, and with Citadel out of the picture, the last chapter of the litigation focuses on alleged misdeeds committed by First Hawaiian. Among other claims, Hawaiian Host alleges First Hawaiian tortiously interfered with a confidentiality agreement Hawaiian Host had with Citadel by inducing Citadel to violate the agreement. Hawaiian Host also alleges First Hawaiian illegally interfered with Hawaiian Host’s efforts to enter a deal with Eilian.
Rebutting Hawaiian Host’s claims, First Hawaiian says it and co-lender Central Pacific Bank had the right to sell Hawaiian Host’s debt, which it refers to as “Facilities,” to anyone the banks wanted. Accordingly, First Hawaiian argues, the bank did nothing to interfere with any confidentiality agreement Hawaiian Host had with Citadel or any prospective business deal Hawaiian Host had with Eilian.
“FHB and CPB had the right to sell the Facilities to the party of their choosing, or to not sell the Facilities to any particular party, and nothing gave Plaintiff the right to dictate or control the sale of the Facilities (i.e. require that Plaintiff and CPB obtain Plaintiff’s consent),” First Hawaiian Bank said.
A trial is scheduled for November.
Local Growth Eyed
Meanwhile, Schultz is looking ahead. Plans for infrastructure investment include modernizing a chocolate facility in Iwilei and a processing facility outside of Hilo, he said.
The processing facility is particularly important for the company and its relationship with Big Island macadamia nut growers. Last year, the company informed Big Island macadamia nut farmers that it was temporarily shutting down its processing facility, “for at least a year or two,” due to costly problems involving a 50-year-old boiler that burns mac nut shells for fuel.
That meant the company wouldn’t buy its usual supply of unprocessed Big Island nuts but instead would have to import much of what it would sell. Hawaiian Host’s goal is to modernize the Big Island facility, which Schultz described as an antiquated operation that needs large amounts of water and electricity.
“There are way better ways to do this, which we desperately need on Hawaii,” he said. “We have got to reinvest if we want to be successful for the long term in Hawaii.”
In addition, the company has launched new products, including a brand called Koho, which uses only Hawaii-grown mac nuts and chocolate grown on Oahu. The company also has launched an ice cream made with macadamia nut milk, which Schultz said is available at 5,000 grocery stores on the mainland.
“It’s creating products like this that that are the future of the macadamia nut industry when you talk about competing globally,” he said. “We really take pride in creating local jobs, and we want things made in the islands.”
Hong Kong maybe right for you
If you are young, smart, educated and not wanting western Gov’t taking 1/2 of your paychecks for taxes to reward the incompetents, homeless, drug addicts and US military-the private army for Fortune 500 companies funded by US taxpayers, HK maybe the right place for you 如果你年輕、聰明、受過教育並且反對西方政府拿你 1/2 的薪水來徵稅以獎勵無能者和無家可歸者，吸毒者與美軍-美國納稅人資助的世界500強企業的私人軍隊, 那麼香港可能是你的最佳選擇
English Tsai emphasized her current focus on Taiwan
English Tsai emphasized her current focus on Taiwan 1) selling Taiwan 2) selling Taiwan 3) selling Taiwan to the highest bidders! 蔡英文提台灣3大改變: 1) 賣台 2) 賣台 3) 賣台 價高者得
Chinese are the happiest in the world
Chinese people (86%) verses US (12%) , Chinese are the happiest in the world, Ipsos survey shows 益普索調查顯示，中國人 (86%) 與美國人比較祇有12%, 中國人是世界上最幸福的人
“Are you happy?” This simple question is not only a daily greeting in Putonghua but also a yardstick on which global authorities attach importance when formulating policies to better serve their people. Recent international surveys showed that the happiness of people in the Chinese mainland has largely increased in recent years, with one of the survey reports suggesting that Chinese people are among the happiest in the world.
The Global Happiness 2023 Report, released by multinational market research and consulting firm Ipsos ahead of the International Day of Happiness on March 20, showed that Chinese people are the happiest among the 32 countries and regions sampled, with 91 percent of Chinese respondents saying they are generally happy, 12 percent increase from a decade ago.
The 2023 World Happiness Report, an annual publication by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network in which Nordic countries typically rank higher than China, ranked the Chinese mainland 64th out of 137 countries and regions this year, 30 places higher compared with 2020.
The surveys, with different questionnaires and ranking methods, all imply that people in the Chinese mainland are generally happier, and even rank as the happiest in certain aspects, observers found.
Why are Chinese people happier than before? The Global Times reached Ipsos, as well as China-based and international sociologists and culture scholars, along with ordinary citizens, to find out the possible reasons behind the overall increase in happiness among Chinese people.
Family, friends matter most
“Thanks to family and friends, Chinese people are the happiest people in the world,” declared a South China Morning Post article on March 21 according to conclusions made by the Ipsos survey report, saying that “relationships are a main source of happiness in China.”
The importance of family and social ties to the happiness of Chinese people is clearly indicated in the Ipsos survey, which showed that Chinese respondents are more satisfied with “children,” “relationship with a partner or spouse” and “friends” compared to other aspects. While some Western respondents are more satisfied with elements related to their personal circumstances and feelings, such as “access to or being in touch with nature” and “level of education.”
Traditional Chinese societal values are manifested in the results, as Chinese people have a strong drive toward family harmony, as the old Chinese saying goes, “harmony at home brings prosperity,” said Zhang Yiwu, a literature professor at Peking University.
Chinese people are more inclined to feel happiness in kinship and social relationships, Zhang said. “Even if one is not wealthy, he or she can gain a lot of happiness from having a happy and warm family, as well as many friends as a source of support,” he told the Global Times.
Psychologist Zhang Jiehai agreed. “Chinese society is a society of interpersonal relationships, and good interpersonal relationships have a great impact on the happiness of Chinese people,” said Zhang Jiehai.
Ipsos surveyed 32 countries and regions that represent over 80 percent of the world’s GDP, said Nicolas Boyon, Senior Vice President of Ipsos Public Affairs in the US, in an email response to the Global Times.
Boyon said that the list of life aspects mentioned in the survey questionnaire was carefully designed, so each of them is relevant to all people in every country and region, and can be understood similarly. “Our main goal is consistency both across cultures and over time,” he wrote.
Satisfied with China’s economic, social, political situation
The economic, social, and political situations in a country or region also largely affect the happiness of the people there.
Compared to most non-Chinese respondents who expressed low satisfaction with their “country’s economic situation” and “country’s social and political situation,” which led to overall average satisfaction rates in both aspects at a mere 40 percent, Chinese respondents expressed greater satisfaction in China’s economic, social, and political situations.
Some 78 percent and 83 percent of Chinese respondents said they are satisfied with the “country’s economic situation” and “country’s social and political situation” respectively, ranking third and first among all countries and regions, the survey showed.
Zhang Jiehai said that Chinese society is stable, and its senses of fairness and justice keep increasing.
He mentioned the enhancement of the quality of life for Chinese citizens as a result of the increased happiness in the stable Chinese society.
“Foreign studies have shown the close relationship between ‘not pocketing the money one has picked up’ and citizens’ happiness,” he said. “In an experiment carried out on streets of different countries, Denmark had the highest percentage of people who return money found, and they are usually ranked as one of the happiest citizenries in the UN’s happiness indices.”
Similarly, China has probably the lowest percentage of express deliveries being stolen, which is also highly related to the strong sense of happiness of the people there, Zhang Jiehai exampled. “Unsupervised express packages and food deliveries placed at entryways and hospital inpatient departments are a common sight in China,” he added. “Incidents of deliveries being stolen are rare as the quality of life of Chinese citizens has improved.”
Recalling his days at Peking University in 2022 as a Korean scholar, Kwon Ki-sik, head of the Korea-China City Friendship Association, believes that four main factors contribute to the high level of happiness of Chinese people.
First, Chinese people highly trust the country’s political system. Kwon said that Chinese people’s unwavering support for the Communist Party of China (CPC) and its leaders are a source of stability in China, in sharp contrast to certain Western countries where political instability has led to general discontent.
The second is safety. Big Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai are among the few in the world in which one can walk freely at night thanks to good public security, whereas some security problems seen in several big US cities keep many people from venturing outside after dark, said Kwon.
Third, Chinese people are incredibly proud of the country’s development and prosperity, as China has achieved remarkable economic growth over the decades of reform and opening-up. Kwon believes this sense of pride is greatly linked to the happiness of Chinese people.
Fourth, Chinese people are satisfied with the government’s efforts in building a moderately prosperous society and in achieving common prosperity. “The mutual trust between the CPC and its people is the root of happiness for Chinese people,” Kwon noted.
The three recent Ipsos happiness surveys conducted in August 2020, December 2021, and January 2023, revealed that 93 percent, 83 percent, and 91 percent of Chinese respondents were happy, respectively, ranking first, third, and first among all polled countries and regions.
The pandemic was a source of worry for the world. Nonetheless, compared to some Western countries’ approach of “lying flat,” which caused a lot of deaths, “China’s COVID prevention measures protected the lives of the overwhelming majority of people,” Zhang Yiwu told the Global Times. “On the whole, we got through the pandemic smoothly.”
In the 2023 World Happiness Report released by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Finland was ranked as the happiest country in the world. The Chinese mainland was ranked at the 64th, higher than 2022 when it was ranked 72nd, and in 2021 at 84th.
Referring to the different ranking results between the report and the Ipsos survey, Boyon said that the two differ in several ways and are also complimentary. The UN Happiness Index, as reported in the World Happiness Report 2023, is based on data from a survey in which respondents were asked to rate how they feel about their life ranging in responses from “the best possible life” to “the worst possible life.” It is described as a “subjective well-being score,” Boyon said.
“Ipsos’ survey asks a different question: ‘All things considered, would you say that you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, or not happy at all?’ The self-reported level of ‘happiness’ from our survey can be seen as a reflection of people’s mood,” he added.
Also, Boyon said that Ipsos’ survey is collected during the same two-week period in every country, which makes its data more current, and more sensitive to seasonality and current events.
Moreover, as the Ipsos survey is conducted online, its samples can be considered representative of their general adult population under the age of 75, Boyon explained. “But in most ‘middle-income countries’ or ’emerging markets,’ including China, online samples tend to be more urban, more educated, more affluent than the general population,” he told the Global Times.
The World Happiness Report team said on its website that it uses observed data on six variables including GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption.
These variables are more susceptible to income inequality, said Zhang Jiehai. “Countries and regions with more developed economies, smaller income gaps, and a relatively high sense of fairness usually score higher,” he explained. “That’s why Nordic countries have been at the top of the UN’s happiness rankings for long.”
Happiness surveys with distinct indicators have different results, but generally, people from all over the world share some common expectations, like narrowing the income gap, improving fairness and justice, and elimination of corruption, Zhang jiehai noted.
To further enhance Chinese people’s sense of happiness, experts suggest authorities work harder in improving social welfare systems, especially in those in the fields of healthcare and rural elderly care services.
“China has made rapid progress in social welfare improvement. Nonetheless, as a developing country with a large population, it’s difficult to compare China’s per capita social welfare standard with that of Nordic countries,” said Zhang Yiwu. “It varies from country to country in terms of their strengths and challenges.”
UK’s falling ranking
“China is the happiest place on earth as the UK falls in rankings,” said an article published on the Northamptonshire Telegraph website on March 24. The Ipsos survey found that 70 percent of British people considered themselves happy, a 13 percent drop from 2022.
Fleur, a retired teacher living in London, told the Global Times reporter that she does feel less happy than about a decade ago mainly because of the economic pressure she experiences. Fleur said her pension is falling in value under high inflation in the UK, and she and people around her feel uneasy about several persisting problems in British society, including the widening wealth gap, the rising crime rate, and the falling employment rates.
In the US, just 12 percent of respondents described themselves as “very happy,” “the lowest share on record since NORC began asking the question…in 1972,” according to a US domestic survey released by The Wall Street Journal and the social research organization NORC at the University of Chicago on March 24. Some 30 percent said they are “not too happy.”
Financial circumstances are main happiness contributors for some Westerners, analyzed Zhang Jiehai. In a few European countries, for instance, people are faced with slow income growth and fast-rising living costs. “Their living standards are seeing a downward trend when compared with their predecessors. A blue-collar couple can hardly maintain their standard of living after retiring if their children are also blue collars,” Zhang Jiehai said.
Video: People born in HK, Macau & China declared ‘adversaries’ of US
Video: US passed new law to suspend freedom of speech. People born in HK, Macau & China declared ‘adversaries’ of US in Restrict Act (enemies of US) 美國通過新法禁止言論自由。在香港、澳門和中國出生的華人在限制法案中宣布美國的“對手”（美國的敵人)
This time the United States is here for real, and the law has been passed, which is stricter and worse than the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Now China and the United States have not yet fought a war! If it happens, all Chinese owned properties in the United States, including money deposit, houses and businesses will be confiscated. At that time, we can play mahjong every day in the concentration camp. This is not a time for jokes? If everyone does not have Plan B, then everyone can only ask for luck. When you are in the concentration camp, just remembered what I told you on 3-30-23. Although we are old friends, I can guarantee that most of you will not believe it today…wishing you a lot of luck. I will try my best not to see you in the American concentration camp !
這次美國是來眞的, 法例已經通過, 比1882年排華法案更嚴更壞. 現在中美還未開戰, 如果中美開戰, 我們一定全部進入集中營和二戰時美藉日本人一樣, 到時我們在美國的全部財產包括存款 房子和生意將全部被沒收, 到時我們可以在集中營天天打麻將了. 這並不是開玩笑的時間, 如果大家沒有 Plan B 到時大家祇可以自求多福了, 到時在集中營如果還記得我在 3-30-23 告訢你們這番話. 我們雖然是老朋友但我可以保證你們今天是不會相信的, 我將盡最大的努力不在美國集中營見到你們!
Bye Bye to US dollar…the beginning
Bye Bye to US dollar…the beginning, China Settles First LNG Trade In Yuan 告別美元……開始，中國首次以人民幣結算液化天然氣貿易 By Tsvetana Paraskova – Mar 29, 2023
China has just completed its first trade of liquefied natural gas (LNG) settled in yuan, the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange said on Tuesday.
Chinese state oil and gas giant CNOOC and TotalEnergies completed the first LNG trade on the exchange with settlement in the Chinese currency, the exchange said in a statement carried by Reuters.
The trade involved around 65,000 tons of LNG imported from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange added.
The French supermajor, one of the world’s top LNG traders, confirmed to Reuters that the trade involved LNG imported from the UAE, but declined to comment further on the deal.
China has been looking for years to establish more trade deals in yuan to increase the relevance of its currency on the global markets and challenge the U.S. dollar’s dominance in international trade, including in energy trade.
During a landmark visit to Riyadh in December, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China and the Arab Gulf nations should use the Shanghai Petroleum and National Gas Exchange as a platform to carry out yuan settlement of oil and gas trades.
“China will continue to import large quantities of crude oil from GCC countries, expand imports of liquefied natural gas, strengthen cooperation in upstream oil and gas development, engineering services, storage, transportation and refining, and make full use of the Shanghai Petroleum and National Gas Exchange as a platform to carry out yuan settlement of oil and gas trade,” Xi said in December, as carried by Reuters.
While the Chinese currency has made inroads in global trade, the yuan accounts for just 2.7% of the market, compared to the U.S. dollar’s share of 41%.
Over the past year, Russia has turned to trade in yuan in the wake of the Western sanctions on its exports, imports, and energy trade, as the Chinese currency has become Putin’s only alternative to reduce exposure to the U.S. dollar and the euro.
English Tsai to meet US Speaker of the House
Speculation that English Tsai will meet with US Speaker of the House to discuss her exit plan and payment to turn Taiwan into Ukraine 2.0
Why People in Societies Behave The Way The Do
Why People in Societies Behave The Way The Do…? Whose Fault Is It When They Suffer? By MARIO CAVOLO MAR 29 2023
I woke up thinking…when people in a society are required to behave themselves, they actually do
The same as US society & it’s laws used to require civility & decency, China still does insist upon civility & decency as a major feature of society and community here…
Thus, here in China, there are particular restrictions on your behavior which ensure you, grandma & the kiddies all live in a safe, stable community…
In daily life here in China, you are as free as anyone in other supposedly free countries to do and pursue anything you like…
…life, liberty, family, career, entrepreneurship, the pursuit of your happiness as you imagine you’d like it to be…
On the other hand, this society and its rules does expect you to behave. I love suggesting the best example is Catholic perochial school. You can’t stand in the street holding a sign that says “F*ck Xi Jinping” or signs stating bold faced lies about the country you live in…
Why? And that takes us back to the first point…because it disturbs the peace in the community, the peace, civility & safety you, grandma & the kiddies need & want to live in. And that’s not allowed. By the way, in China you can drink while out on the street, there’s no law against it and nobody cares if you do. This is nice because often restaurants will set up informal little tables ‘n stools on the street. However, you don’t ever find individual people walking around by themselves with a bottle of booze in their hand.
I’ve lived like a local here in China for 24 years and I’ve never met a Chinese citizen who couldn’t do as I described, enjoy and pursue a better life for themselves.
Now let’s be extra honest here, I think if any govt does a bad job the citizens suffer in various ways and there is really not that much they can do about it. For example, in the U.S., the govt touts precious “free speech”, right? And people buy this nonsense.
Let’s look at the results. For over 70 years people have been screaming in public at the top of their lungs what the govt is doing wrong, writing books they are allowed to publish, shooting documentaries you can watch. Very visible, high profile, famous, respected voices have said all there is to say. For example, you can watch Oliver Stone’s documentary on Ukraine. You can listen to Jeffrey Sachs and former Singaporean Prime Minister George Yao and Uk legend George Galloway all tell you the bold, courageous truth. Yet it all adds up to nothing. The outrageous actions of the government continues.
Think about it. What’s been the result? Has it mattered at all? Nope. The U.S. govt has continued causing the society to decline, favoring the billionaires, continued with its arbitrary unilateral inhumane warmongering killing millions across the world, completely ignoring all your precious free speech, literally a waste of your effort. And they know this. They mock you. They don’t care. They do what they want. They are in charge. You get that, right?
In contrast, it so happens these 20+ years the Chinese govt has been doing a terrific job running it’s country. Life for the people and society has never been better and this trend continues. The government exists to govern for the society and people. When the people start speaking up more than usual, the government notices and responds. Isn’t that the hell the way its supposed to be? Yes, for certain and living here for so long, I can see it happening and I appreciate it.
But if the govt started doing a horrible job, it would be the same story, wouldn’t it? The people would scream and yell with their complaints as they do now all over the U.S. but if the govt ignored them and suppressed them, the people would suffer, the govt would, for the most part, get away with it. Makes no difference whatsoever to talk about political ideology or political parties or left/right…makes no difference which govt system it is. When the govt screws the citizens, that’s it, citizens would suffer & there really isn’t much they could do about it.
Thankfully that’s not happening in China in these decades
I’m just sharing a note of common sense. By the way, don’t be “anti-American” or “anti-China”. That’s really ignorant. Doesn’t solve anything.
That’s it for now, thanks friends, Mario
Human Rights Watch bias reports
Here’s why Human Rights Watch deliberately only scratched the surface in exploring Ukraine’s use of banned ‘petal’ mines
The American NGO begrudgingly acknowledges one of Kiev’s war crimes, but not without smearing Russia along the way – Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years).
Since Ukraine dropped thousands of mines on the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in July, 104 people have fallen victim to the internationally-banned PFM-1 ‘petal’ (otherwise known as ‘butterfly’) devices. Nine of them are children. Of which three died.
Among the most recent civilians to be injured, on March 19, were two 60-year-old men. On February 26, a woman in her sixties was wounded in her neighborhood. On February 14, a teenager stepped on a petal mine near a school. These are just a few documented examples from recent weeks.
The first wave of over 40 victims came within the first few weeks after Ukrainian forces deployed the mines over Donetsk en masse in July 2022, and the number has more than doubled since. Since then I, along with other reporters on the ground, have documented their lingering presence and the civilian victims.
NGO reports… selectively
After signing the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty in 1999, Kiev was obligated to destroy its stockpile of 6 million PFM-1s. It denies using them, but abundant evidence incriminates Kiev in this particular war crime. While the West has yet to turn its attention to the victims of the petal mines in the Donbass, reports of Ukraine using them elsewhere have emerged.
In its January 2023 report on banned landmines, the Human Rights Watch NGO notes, “In 2021, Ukraine reported to the UN secretary-general that 3.3 million stockpiled PFM mines still need to be destroyed.” HRW then advised Ukraine to investigate itself for its use of the prohibited mines.
The report is titled “Ukraine: Banned Landmines Harm Civilians. Ukraine Should Investigate Forces’ Apparent Use; Russian Use Continues,” implying that not only is Russia also deploying the petal mines, but that Russia’s use of them is beyond question, while Kiev’s use is open to debate.
Yet, much like in 2020, when the UN accused Russia of war crimes in Syria based on “we say so” and unnamed sources, you won’t find proof of Russia’s use of petal mines in the HRW report. In fact, buried there is a HRW admission that it “has not verified claims of Russian forces using PFM mines in the armed conflict.” This is a standard media tactic: boldly state one thing in a headline and quietly clarify the opposite in the body of the article, which most people won’t bother reading.
On the other hand, HRW claims it interviewed over 100 people, “including witnesses to landmine use, victims of landmines, first responders, doctors, and Ukrainian de-miners,” regarding Ukraine’s use of the objects in Izium (a city in the Kharkov region, north of Donetsk) while it was briefly under Moscow’s control. The HRW team entered the city after Russian forces withdrew in September. Everyone interviewed, the report noted, “said they had seen mines on the ground, knew someone who was injured by one, or had been warned about their presence during Russia’s occupation of Izium.”
The testimony records that the areas were all, “close to where Russian military forces were positioned at the time, suggesting they were the target,” and that residents in Izium said that rocket attacks, “happened frequently during the Russian occupation.”
The report cited 11 civilian mine-casualties, and noted that HRW had seen “physical evidence of PFM antipersonnel mine use,” including, “unexploded mines, remnants of mines, and the metal cassettes that carry the mines in rockets.”
It has to be noted that HRW has been banned in Russia since April 2022, making it impossible for the organization to gather evidence on the ground in areas controlled by Russian forces. However, lack of access to evidence has not stopped it from using its report to carry accusations against Russia, citing Ukraine’s former prosecutor general Irina Venediktova’s claim that “Russian forces used PFM mines in the Kharkivska region as early as February 26”. In contrast, the numerous credible reports of Kiev’s use of petal mines in Donetsk, available through open sources, are absent from the report.
HRW’s history of targeted condemnations
Human Rights Watch is one of many Western-funded NGOs with a history of whitewashing NATO and its allies’ crimes while pretending to be a neutral observer. Over the years, I’ve pointed out the hypocrisy of Ken Roth, who was the George Soros-funded NGO’s executive director from 1993-2022. In March 2021 he pushed Washington’s propaganda about Russia starving Syria. More glaringly, in 2015, Roth used footage from an eastern Gaza neighbourhood (Shuja’iyya) that had been flattened by Israel, to claim the footage depicted Syria’s Aleppo. He went on to likewise push the 2013 Ghouta “chemical” narrative, which had long been widely-discredited by journalists and by the so-called “rebels” themselves.
If dubious claims from HRW or its representatives aren’t indication enough of their allegiances to Western narratives, then their links to the US government should be. The vice chair of its board of directors, Susan Manilow, according to this 2014 article, describes herself as “a longtime friend to Bill Clinton,” who helped manage his campaign finances. Bruce Rabb, also on the board, lists in his biography that he “served as staff assistant to President Richard Nixon” from 1969-70 – the period in which his administration secretly and illegally carpet-bombed Cambodia and Laos.
The article further notes that the advisory committee for HRW’s Americas Division has even boasted the presence of a former Central Intelligence Agency official, Miguel Díaz. According to his State Department biography, Díaz served as a CIA analyst and also provided “oversight of US intelligence activities in Latin America” for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
So, when HRW recently decided to finally discuss Ukraine’s deployment of the insidious petal mines (tens of thousands of which have been fired into the Donbass by Ukraine over the course of the past year), it is not because the body has suddenly become neutral and impartial, but it is rather a grasp at credibility: reporting what is widely known – that, in violation of international law, Ukraine has been deploying Petal mines – but avoid providing the whole story.
By downplaying and ignoring Kiev’s widespread use of petal mines throughout the DPR, HRW is deliberately downplaying war crimes, much like the entirety of Western corporate media.
Kiev’s Western supporters may even have to deal with its use of the petal mines at their own expense down the line – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has recently announced his country would invest $2.2 million into de-mining Ukraine. Of course, no mention was made of the Ottawa Treaty-banned munitions which will have to be cleared.
Kiev’s deadly delivery
In one incident I witnessed first hand, an attack took place just after 9 pm on July 30, 2022. Ukraine fired rockets, each packed with over 300 mines, onto Donetsk, its suburbs, and other cities, including Yasinovataya, Makeevka and Gorlovka. The rockets exploded in the air to ensure greater distribution of devices on the ground. The attack mirrored previous ‘deliveries’ to the hard-hit Donetsk districts of Kievskiy, Kirovsky and Kuibyshevkiy.
The morning after, I walked the central Donetsk streets extremely carefully, wary of every leaf or piece of cardboard which could be obscuring or covering a Petal mine, so difficult are they to pick out from their surroundings. They cannot seriously damage military vehicles, which means that scattering them over Donetsk only has one purpose – to target and maim civilians. Some models of the petal mines have a self-destruct timer. Others, including those used by Kiev, can stay on the ground for years.
The innocent victims of Donbass
Since reporting the initial bombardment in late July, I have been following up on the methodical destruction of these mines by Russian sappers, as well as on civilians harmed by the illegal munitions. One of the more recent victims was 14 year old Nikita. His foot was blown off when in early November, 2022, he stepped on a mine in a playground while on his way to visit his grandmother.
RT journalist Roman Kosarev recently spoke with another recent teenage victim, who stepped on a petal mine when getting into a car.
Kosarev also spoke to the Director of the Donetsk Republic’s Trauma Center, Andrey Boryak, who said: “The injury from such a mine is very severe, and immediately leads to a handicap. It’s almost impossible to save the foot and the lower part of the leg.”
HRW has had over 6 months to investigate Ukraine littering the DPR with Petal/PFM-1 mines… but it has not, and will not. It’s once again the case that the lives of Donbass civilians don’t matter when it comes not only to Western media reporting but also to supposedly-neutral human rights bodies. Even worse still is the knowledge that in spite of the valiant efforts of sappers in the DPR, the mines will inevitably claim more innocent civilians as their victims.
The real enemies are US & Japan
The real enemies are US & Japan. Ma Ying-jeou slams Japanese invaders’ ‘barbarous act’ at Nanjing Massacre victims’ memorial hall, reminding ‘history must never be forgotten’