Exposed: How Russia’s bioweapons claims thrust Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian ties back into the spotlight

Special Exposed: How Russia’s bioweapons claims thrust Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian ties back into the spotlight
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Hunter Biden is accused of using his father’s position as a senator, vice president and president for financial gain by various US politicians, media outlets, and Russia. (Democratic National Convention/AFP file photo)
Special Hunter Biden is accused of using his father’s position as a senator, vice president and president for financial gain by various US politicians, media outlets, and Russia. (AFP)
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Hunter Biden is accused of using his father’s position as a senator, vice president and president for financial gain by various US politicians, media outlets, and Russia. (AFP)
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Updated 27 March 2022

Exposed: How Russia’s bioweapons claims thrust Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian ties back into the spotlight

Exposed: How Russia’s bioweapons claims thrust Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian ties back into the spotlight
  • Russia alleges Joe Biden’s second son was directly involved in US plans to deploy weapons of mass destruction
  • Poll finds 66% of likely voters believe the questions raised by Hunter Biden’s leaked emails are “important”

CHICAGO: When US President Joe Biden accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday of preparing to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, he inadvertently lifted the lid on a long-simmering scandal involving his son, Hunter Biden.

At a White House briefing on March 21, President Biden said Putin’s “back is against the wall” in Ukraine and that he may orchestrate a “false flag” operation to justify the use of outlawed weapons against civilian and military targets.

“We’ve seen it before,” said President Biden. “He’s run a lot of false-flag operations. Whenever he starts talking about something he thinks NATO, Ukraine, or the United States is about to do, it means he’s getting ready to do it.”

The Kremlin responded to Joe Biden’s statements by accusing his son of helping to facilitate a biological weapons program in Ukraine, thus putting Hunter Biden’s scandalous business dealings when his father was the US vice president back in the public limelight. But more on that, later.

Conservative critics allege the president’s second son partnered with his uncle James Biden to exploit Joe Biden’s political influence, first as a long-serving Delaware senator and later as a two-term vice president to Barack Obama, to gain lucrative contracts in Ukraine — allegations that both deny.

Few in the mainstream media ran the story when it first emerged. Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter even blocked posts referencing the allegations, including stories by the conservative-leaning New York Post, prior to the 2020 election.

The controversy first went public after Hunter Biden took his personal laptop to a Delaware computer repair store in April 2019 — the same month his father officially launched his bid for the presidency — but forgot to pick it up.

Legally, the laptop became the property of the store’s owner, who took its contents, including thousands of Hunter Biden’s personal emails, and turned them over to Republican activists.

Those emails, according to several published accounts, include lurid details of a decadent lifestyle, as well as information pertaining to Hunter Biden’s multi-million-dollar foreign contracts with China and Ukraine.

In 2014, Hunter Biden joined Ukraine’s state-owned natural gas company Burisma as a $1 million-per-year consultant. Less than a month after his then-vice president father visited Ukraine and met Burisma executives in April that year, the lucrative contracts began rolling in.




Then-US Vice President, Joe Biden gestures as he delivers on July 22, 2009 an address to the people of Ukraine in Kyiv, a speech to reaffirm US support for the country’s ambitions to integrate more with the West. (AFP/File Photo)

Burisma itself has been plagued by allegations of corruption. Furthermore, critics claim Hunter Biden lacked the necessary qualifications to consult for the firm — except for the fact that his father was vice president and involved in developing Ukraine policy.

A top US diplomat, stationed in Kiev in a classified email sent to the State Department in 2016, warned that Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine while his father was still vice president “undercut” anti-corruption efforts in the country.

The email, dated Nov. 22, 2016, was written by George Kent, who was at the time the deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Ukraine.

He detailed a discussion about a “saga” surrounding the case against Mykola Zlochevsky, a former Ukrainian natural resources minister and founder of Burisma Holdings, according to the email.

A New York Post report of Oct. 4, 2020, quoting Hunter Biden’s laptop emails, claimed Zlochevsky “introduced Vice President Joe Biden to a top executive at Burisma less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.”

The meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board.

In 2017, Hunter also joined the board of the China-based private equity fund Bohai Harvest RST of Shanghai Equity Investment Fund Management Co. with a 10 percent stake.

BHR was founded in 2013 by Bohai Industrial Investment Fund Management Co., which is controlled by the Bank of China. Its founders included Hunter Biden’s investment firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners.

It is not unusual for the children of powerful US politicians to end up in top jobs or to be accused of profiting from their parents’ political clout.

FASTFACT

* “Beautiful Things,” a memoir by Hunter Biden published in 2021 by Gallery Books, has been described as equal parts family saga, grief narrative and addict’s howl.

President Donald Trump’s sons and daughter were constantly in the news for what opponents called “influence peddling” while he was in office and since.

Several investigations are ongoing into the dealings of Trump’s children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., including one launched this January by the New York attorney general.

In their turn, Republicans in Congress introduced a resolution on Oct. 15, 2019, that provided specific details culled from the laptop and demanded an investigation into Hunter Biden’s Ukraine dealings.

In the final weeks before the November 2020 presidential election, President Biden dismissed the allegations against his son, branding them nothing more than “Russian disinformation” and “a last-ditch effort to smear me and my family.”

However, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of California’s 50th District, who has led the charge to expose Hunter Biden’s role in Ukraine and China, told Arab News there was more than enough evidence to warrant a Congressional probe.

Issa said the exposé could be bigger than Watergate, the scandal that brought down former President Richard Nixon in 1974.




At a White House briefing on March 21, President Biden said Putin’s “back is against the wall” in Ukraine and that he may orchestrate a “false flag” operation to justify the use of outlawed weapons against civilian and military targets. (AFP/File Photo)

“This is the scandal that Big Tech and the Democrat industrial complex wish would go away,” said Issa. “They know what they did, and of course they think they’ve gotten away with it. That’s why it’s critical that we not squander the opportunity for accountability.

“What I can’t live with is the fact that Facebook and Twitter and the most major media players shut down the truth with the help of more than 50 of the most informed people in the intelligence world all saying they concluded this was false information.

“That is a conspiracy of monumental size. This is the most consequential political scandal since Watergate, and it deserves an investigation in Congress no less robust and no less bipartisan than that one.”

When Joe Biden accused Moscow this week of preparing to use biological or chemical weapons, the Russians entered the Hunter Biden fray, leveraging the corruption allegations to accuse the US president’s son of funding the production of biological weapons in Ukraine.

Igor Kirillov, head of radiation, chemical and biological defenses at the Russian defense ministry, said on Thursday that Hunter Biden was directly involved in US plans to deploy weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine.

Kirillov accused him of bankrolling “the Pentagon’s biological weapons program in Ukraine” through an investment fund, the Kremlin-backed Sputnik International news agency reported.

“Incoming materials have allowed us to trace the scheme of interaction between US government bodies and Ukraine’s biolabs,” Kirillov told a media briefing.

“The involvement in the financing of these activities by structures close to the current US leadership, in particular the Rosemont Seneca investment fund managed by Hunter Biden, draws attention to itself. The scale of the program is impressive.”




Liberal media quickly came to President Biden’s defense following the Russian allegation USAID and the CDC, with the backing of liberal philanthropist George Soros, were responsible for the establishment of 31 laboratories at 14 locations across Ukraine. (AFP/File Photo)

Citing a common conspiracy theory deployed by Russian state-backed media outlets, Kirillov reportedly said USAID and the CDC, with the backing of liberal philanthropist George Soros, were responsible for the establishment of 31 laboratories at 14 locations across Ukraine.

There is no credible evidence to justify the claim.

Liberal media quickly came to President Biden’s defense following the Russian allegation. Julia Davis, a columnist for the Daily Beast, tweeted: “If you thought Russian propaganda was ever ‘sophisticated,’ I hate to break it to you: it was always quite stupid. Still is. Here is their latest gem: Hunter Biden funded bio-labs in Ukraine. Handcrafted for Fox News.”

However, Russia’s accusations have fueled public interest in Hunter Biden’s Ukraine dealings. A Rasmussen poll released this week reported 66 percent of likely US voters believe the questions raised by Hunter Biden’s leaked emails are “important.”

The allegations have also renewed Republican resolve to push for an investigation, which is likely to cost the Democrats in November’s midterm elections.




Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of California’s 50th District, who has led the charge to expose Hunter Biden’s role in Ukraine and China. (Supplied)

“Big Tech, the mainstream media and the Democrats’ deep state intelligence community want to either rewrite the history of their collusion — or erase it entirely,” Issa told Arab News.

“We’re not going to let them do that. These letters are putting everyone on notice: Real accountability is going to happen. And we won’t rest until the full truth is known.

“We already know for a fact that Big Tech colluded with some of the nation’s most powerful media and most influential Democrat partisan in the intelligence community to suppress the truth, stop the public access to fact-based journalism, and cover up Biden family scandals.”

The White House did not respond to requests from Arab News for comment.


Students protest campus lockdown as China eases Covid curbs

Students protest campus lockdown as China eases Covid curbs
Updated 06 December 2022

Students protest campus lockdown as China eases Covid curbs

Students protest campus lockdown as China eases Covid curbs

BEJING: Students protested against a lockdown at a university in eastern China, highlighting continued anger as huge numbers of people across the country still face restrictions despite the government easing its zero-Covid policy.
Some Chinese cities have begun tentatively rolling back mass testing and curbs on movement following nationwide anti-lockdown demonstrations last week.
But analysts at Japanese firm Nomura on Monday calculated that 53 cities — home to nearly a third of China’s population — still had some restrictions in place.
China’s vast security apparatus has moved swiftly to smother the rallies, deploying a heavy police presence while boosting online censorship and surveillance.
Videos published on social media Tuesday and geolocated by AFP show a crowd of students at Nanjing Tech University on Monday night shouting demands to leave the campus.
“Your power is given to you by students, not by yourselves,” one person can be heard shouting in the footage. “Serve the students!“
A third-year student who asked to remain anonymous confirmed the protest took place, a day after the school announced it would seal off the campus for five days because of just one Covid case.
Chinese universities have restricted movement for months, with many requiring students to apply for permission to leave the campus and banning visitors.
The Nanjing Tech student told AFP her peers were unhappy about poor communication from the university and worried they would be blocked from traveling home for the winter holidays.
In the footage, the crowd can be seen arguing with university representatives and shouting for school leaders to step down.
“If you touch us you will become the second Foxconn!” one protester yells in reference to violent demonstrations last month in central China at a factory run by the Taiwanese tech giant that supplies Apple.
Other clips showed a police car arriving on the scene and university officials promising students they would compile their complaints in a file.
The Nanjing protest comes days after people took to the streets in multiple Chinese cities urging an end to the zero-Covid policy, with some even calling for Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down.
Hundreds gathered at Beijing’s elite Tsinghua and Peking universities at the end of last month as well as on campuses in the cities of Xi’an, Guangzhou and Wuhan.


Authorities have cracked down on subsequent efforts to protest while appearing to answer some demands by easing a number of restrictions.
On Tuesday Beijing said offices and commercial buildings including supermarkets would no longer require visitors to show proof of a negative test.
Major businesses and organizers of large-scale events will be allowed to devise their own testing requirements, authorities said.
Xie Shangguang, a 22-year-old student in Beijing, welcomed the changes as “good news” and told AFP he felt the capital was “coming back to life.”
“I have the impression that it will gradually ease up,” he said. “You can’t let everything go at once, or block everything at once, you have to proceed step by step.”
Another Beijing resident, 28-year-old Wu Siqi, also said the loosening should be incremental.
“You can’t just suddenly tell people they don’t need to do anything,” she said.
A host of other cities including Shanghai have dialled down mass testing mandates in recent days.
In the southern city of Guangzhou, officials began telling people to stay home if they have symptoms — a sharp about-turn from the previous approach of dragging all positive cases to central quarantine facilities.


Rwanda says international community not helping Congo crisis

Rwanda says international community not helping Congo crisis
Updated 06 December 2022

Rwanda says international community not helping Congo crisis

Rwanda says international community not helping Congo crisis
  • Congolese Tutsi group resumed fighting in late 2021 after lying dormant for years, setting off a crisis in eastern DRC

KIGALI: Rwanda’s foreign minister has accused the international community of exacerbating the crisis the Democratic Republic of Congo’s east, after Washington pressed Kigali to end its alleged support for rebels in the restive region.
In a call to Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said foreign support for armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must end, “including Rwanda’s assistance to M23.”
Rwanda has denied repeated US-backed accounts of support for the M23 rebel group, an allegation also made by independent experts for the UN who found that Kigali was aiding and abetting the group.
The mostly Congolese Tutsi group resumed fighting in late 2021 after lying dormant for years, setting off a crisis in eastern DRC.
Rwanda’s foreign minister, Vincent Biruta, said Kagame and Blinken “had good discussions... but differences in understanding of the issue remain.”
“The wrong and misguided approach of the international community continues to exacerbate the problem,” Biruta said in a statement late Monday.
“External interference and dictates” were undermining regional diplomatic efforts to solve the problem, he added.
Rwanda has repeatedly put the blame for DRC’s crisis with its government in Kinshasa, and accuses the international community of turning a blind eye to its support for FDLR, a Congo-based rebel group pitted against Kigali.
Biruta said “the security concerns of Rwanda need to be addressed, and where others may not feel obliged to, Rwanda is and will continue to do so.”
“M23 should not be equated to Rwanda. It is not Rwanda’s problem to solve,” he added.
Talks between DRC and Rwanda in the Angolan capital Luanda unlocked a truce agreement on November 23 but Kinshasa has subsequently accused M23 of massacring civilians despite the cease-fire.
The agreement should have also have been followed by a pullout by the M23 from territory it had seized, but this has not happened.
A separate peace initiative in Nairobi between East African officials and various rebel factions active in eastern Congo — but not the M23 — has been under way for over a week.


Roadside bomb kills 7 in Afghanistan’s Mazar-i-Sharif

Roadside bomb kills 7 in Afghanistan’s Mazar-i-Sharif
Updated 06 December 2022

Roadside bomb kills 7 in Afghanistan’s Mazar-i-Sharif

Roadside bomb kills 7 in Afghanistan’s Mazar-i-Sharif
  • Tuesday’s blast happened near Sayed Abad Square

MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan: A roadside bomb killed seven petroleum company employees aboard a bus in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday, a provincial police spokesman said.
“The bomb was placed in a cart by the roadside. It was detonated as the bus arrived,” said Asif Waziri, of the Balkh police department in Mazar-i-Sharif.
Although the Taliban claim to have improved security across the nation since storming back to power in August last year, there have been scores of bomb blasts and attacks — many claimed by the local chapter of the Daesh group.
At least 19 people were killed and 24 others wounded earlier this month by a blast at a madrassa in Aybak, southeast of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Waziri told AFP Tuesday’s blast happened around 7:00 am (0230 GMT) near Sayed Abad Square in the city.
He said six people were injured in the blast.
Further details were not immediately available, and there has been no claim of responsibility.


Beijing no longer requires COVID test results to enter supermarkets, buildings

Beijing no longer requires COVID test results to enter supermarkets, buildings
Updated 06 December 2022

Beijing no longer requires COVID test results to enter supermarkets, buildings

Beijing no longer requires COVID test results to enter supermarkets, buildings

BEIJING: China’s capital Beijing no longer requires people that enter supermarkets and commercial buildings to show negative COVID-19 tests on their mobile phones, the city government said in a statement on Tuesday.
However, the city still requires negative test results to enter Internet cafes, schools, bars, KTV lounges, indoor gyms and elderly care institutions.

 


North Korea orders new artillery firings over South’s drills

People watch a report on North Korea's artillery firings, at Seoul Station in Seoul, South Korea 05 December 2022. (EPA)
People watch a report on North Korea's artillery firings, at Seoul Station in Seoul, South Korea 05 December 2022. (EPA)
Updated 06 December 2022

North Korea orders new artillery firings over South’s drills

People watch a report on North Korea's artillery firings, at Seoul Station in Seoul, South Korea 05 December 2022. (EPA)
  • Some of the shells landed in a buffer zone near the sea border
  • South Korea and the United States have also stepped up military drills this year

SEOUL, South Korea: North Korea’s military says it has ordered frontline units to conduct artillery firings into the sea for the second consecutive day in a tit-for-tat response to South Korean live-fire drills in an inland border region.
The statement by the North Korean People’s Army’s General Staff came a day after the North fired about 130 artillery rounds into waters near its western and eastern sea boundaries with South Korea in the latest military action raising tensions between the rivals. An unidentified North Korean military spokesperson said the planned artillery firings Tuesday were meant as a warning to the South after the North detected signs of South Korean artillery exercises in the border region.
The South Korean army is conducting live-fire exercises involving multiple rocket launching systems and howitzers in two separate testing grounds in the Cheorwon region, which began on Monday and continues through Wednesday.
North Korea’s military said Monday that it instructed its western and eastern coastal units to fire artillery as a warning after it detected dozens of South Korean projectiles flying southeast from the Cheorwon region.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said those North Korean shells fired fell within the northern side of buffer zones created under a 2018 inter-Korean agreement to reduce military tensions and urged the North to abide by the agreement.
It was the first time North Korea has fired weapons into the maritime buffer zones since Nov. 3, when around 80 artillery shells landed within North Korea’s side of the zone off its eastern coast.
North Korea has fired dozens of missiles as it increased its weapons demonstrations to a record pace this year, including multiple tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile system potentially capable of reaching deep into the US mainland, and an intermediate-range missile launched over Japan.
North Korea has also conducted a series of short-range launches it described as simulated nuclear attacks on South Korean and US targets in an angry reaction to an expansion of joint US-South Korea military exercises that North Korea views as rehearsals for a potential invasion.
Experts say North Korea hopes to negotiate economic and security concessions from a position of strength and force the United States to accept it as a nuclear power. South Korean officials have said North Korea might up the ante soon by conducting its first nuclear test since 2017.