Just as news was breaking Thursday that a DOJ official confirmed that Hunter Biden and his associates have been under criminal investigation by the FBI over allegations of money laundering since sometime in 2019, and just as a story was published here at RedState regarding a FOIA lawsuit that was filed by Hong Kong-based Apple Daily seeking Joe and Hunter Biden’s detailed China travel records, NBC News finally published some “investigative” journalism regarding the Bidens.
But that NBC News story wasn’t looking into the veracity of any of the dozens of claims that have been made about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China and the Ukraine or claims of his dad being part of the business or receiving kickbacks from Hunter for trading on his name and power. Nope, the NBC News story was solely focused on discrediting Apple Daily by claiming that the organization had paid for a 64-page report it claimed was “disinformation” and which “laid the groundwork for a Hunter Biden conspiracy deluge.”
The NBC News story doesn’t list one item in the 64-page report as being false. Instead, it focuses on proving that the person who allegedly wrote the report, a “Martin Aspen,” doesn’t exist, and therefore the entire report is false and disinformation. No, Martin Aspen doesn’t exist, and Christopher Balding tells NBC News that the author, “due to personal and professional risks, requires anonymity.”
NBC News’ story has several false statements and, in its own disinformation/misinformation effort, attempts to link the report to alleged sex tapes on Hunter Biden’s laptop and to the “Pizzagate” scandal.
NBC claims that Apple Daily commissioned the report and that Apple Daily confirmed it had worked with Balding on the report. In a statement issued late Friday Hong Kong time (the NBC News story published at 4 a.m. Friday Hong Kong time), Apple News says they never received an inquiry from NBC News prior to publication nor had they made a response:
1. Apple Daily Hong Kong has never commissioned Christopher Balding or any other person to write the 64-page document mentioned in the NBC report. Apple Daily Hong Kong has nothing to do with the document.
2. Apple Daily Hong Kong has not received any inquiry from NBC prior to the publication of the NBC report, nor have we made any formal response concerning the NBC report before the release of this statement.
3. Apple Daily Hong Kong urges NBC to clarify the confusion created by its report as soon as possible.
Apple Daily’s founder, Jimmy Lai, also issued a personal statement. Lai, a billionaire British Hong Kong entrepreneur, made his fortune in the garment industry before transitioning to media. According to BBC, Lai is a prominent pro-Democracy voice in Hong Kong; he participated in and promoted pro-Democracy protests in 2019. In August 2020 Lai was arrested and his offices raided based on bogus allegations of “collusion with foreign forces”:
Mr Lai was arrested on Monday, and his newspaper offices raided by hundreds of police, in scenes that shocked many.
Speaking after his release on bail, Mr Lai told the BBC he believed his arrest was “just the beginning”.
There will be “a long fight” ahead for Hong Kong’s freedoms, he added. He and nine other activists were detained on Monday over allegations including collusion with foreign forces, under a national security law imposed by China in June.
The sweep of arrests has raised fears that China will use the new law to undertake a broad crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists and media figures.
China’s state-run media have a different view of Lai:
Mr Lai’s arrest has been welcomed by Chinese state media, who have described him as a “riot supporter” and his publications as having been “instigating hatred, spreading rumours and smearing Hong Kong authorities and the mainland for years”.
Lai issued his own statement Friday, saying that his personal assistant, Mark Simon, a US citizen, commissioned and paid for the report through a Simon-owned company. Lai added that Simon is not an Apple Daily or Next Media employee, and doesn’t speak for either company. Lai didn’t know about the report’s existence until the NBC News story came out, he said.
NBC News notes that the report’s release pre-dated any news of the Hunter Biden laptop and its contents (an email contained therein has now been deemed “unquestionably accurate” by a cybersecurity expert) but claims:
[I]t helped lay the groundwork among right-wing media for what would become a failed October surprise: a viral pile-on of conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.
A viral pile-on of conspiracy theories? Does NBC News understand irony? They’re claiming some kind of vast conspiracy started with this report as its basis, and that is being perpetrated by President Trump, Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and multiple media outlets? In an appearance on NBC News this morning, one of the authors of the NBC News piece said that this is Pizzagate, but switching the names of the characters, and that there are claims of Hunter Biden torturing young girls. There are absolutely zero references to Hunter Biden’s laptop or any sex crimes in the 64-page report. None.
Don’t believe it? Here’s the entire report, so you can decide for yourself.
I have read the entire report, and have independently verified the vast majority of its contents. Numerous outlets have verified parts of it at various times, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the New York Post. Hell, even the New York Times has written about portions of the report’s contents.
For example, the report claims that Hunter Biden’s Chinese venture capital company, BHR, is controlled by the Chinese government due to state-owned entities having majority ownership. That’s been verified at numerous outlets.
The report discusses BHR’s acquisition of Henniges, in partnership with AVIC Auto. Also independently verified.
The report doesn’t mention Tony Bobulinski and only gives a passing reference to the CEFC deal.
Why, in the middle of everything else going on with the campaign, would NBC News single out this report and Apple Daily? Part of the answer can be found in the piece published at RedState yesterday within minutes of the NBC News report:
Believing that one of Hunter Biden’s business partners, Michael Lin (a Taiwanese man some claim is a Chinese asset) may have been privy to classified briefings during those trips, Freedom of Information Act requests were filed on September 11, 2020, with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense seeking:
“[R]ecords relating to traveling in China conducted by Joe Biden and/or Hunter Biden between January 20, 2009 and January 20, 2017, and to the identities of people or entities that met with the Bidens during the course of such trips.”
Apple Daily, a Hong Kong-based news organization, filed the FOIA requests. As of October 20, 2020, none of the agencies had turned over documents to Apple Daily although they noted they’d found responsive documents. Apple Daily, through Asa Hutchinson’s law firm, then filed a lawsuit to compel disclosure of the records as being in the public interest.
Why might these travel records be problematic to the Bidens?
Clearly, Mr. Lin has some major connections in the Chinese government; meetings like the ones Lin set up, and conferences between the Chinese legislative body and US leaders don’t just happen because some random person wants them to. Considering the fact that shortly after Biden and Lin visited China in 2010 more than 30 CIA assets in the country were rounded up and killed, their identities made known to Beijing after a CIA communications system that was also linked to US government computers was compromised, questions about Lin’s access and activities with the Bidens need to be asked and answered.
It’s in Joe Biden’s interest to have people link Pizzagate and Apple Daily in their minds so that any information that eventually comes out of that FOIA lawsuit can be summarily dismissed by the mainstream media as disinformation. It’s also in Joe Biden’s interest to have attention focused here rather than on the confirmed FBI investigation into his son and, potentially, himself.
When an allegedly serious reporter for a legacy news organization has to throw terms like Pizzagate around and concoct a story about a secret media pipeline… well, you know they’re living in desperate times.