Several weeks ago two Canadians were arrested in China on national security grounds. The two men were Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. Their arrest came almost immediately after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on charges of violating US sanctions placed against Iran. The arrest was made on behalf of the United States which accuses Meng and the company Huawei of several crimes, including banking fraud.
Immediately it was assumed, and did appear as though, that the arrests of the two Canadians were a tit-for-tat retaliation. However, more information has come to light on the activities of the two men which changes the situation. Canada and its corresponding media have claimed that the two Michaels are innocent men who have done nothing and are merely being persecuted by the Chinese as part of a scheme. Canadian media have referred to them as honest businessmen that were doing just that.
Despite this claim, I have been in contact with an individual in the area who paints a different picture. This person has spoken to me on the condition of anonymity. This person points out the very suspicious actions of Kovrig. His actual job is working for a Non-Governmental Organization called the Crisis International Group. They claim they are, “an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.” With such a vague description one should already be suspicious. They have publicly denounced Kovrig’s arrest and have demanded his release.
My source has revealed that Kovrig spent a good deal of time around the border between China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). This is significant as generally, foreigners are not welcome in the area between the two countries. The border is a highly sensitive national security issue. It is often claimed that China carries out illegal trade with the DPRK along this border. These accusations have yet to be confirmed with any solid evidence. The fact that Kovrig spent so much time in this region seems, not only highly suspicious but deliberately antagonistic to the Chinese.
Crisis International Group claims on their website: “Crisis Group aspires to be the preeminent organisation providing independent analysis and advice on how to prevent, resolve or better manage deadly conflict. We combine expert field research, analysis and engagement with policymakers across the world in order to effect change in the crisis situations on which we work.”
We must keep in mind that the International Crisis Group’s function is to research and investigate conflicts around the world, supposedly to prevent and resolve conflicts from taking place. It seems more likely, to me, that this group carries out intelligence gathering on behalf of the US government. A few of the notable groups funding the NGO are: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Flora Hewlett Foundation, Open Society Institute, and the United States Institute of Peace.
The Open Society Institute is a George Soros funded group. This alone is enough to raise alarms. The Soros Foundation has been a workhorse of civilian covered US imperialist endeavours. Their actions include funding and supporting fascist forces inside of Ukraine to undermine Russian influence. In other areas, it has been used to undermine anti-imperialist governments and forces to forward US influence. The legacy of the Soros Foundation is long and well known.
Another interesting source of donations to Crisis International Group is the United States Institute of Peace. “In 1981, a congressionally chartered commission recommended the creation of a national peace academy. The United States Institute of Peace was signed into law in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan.” The crimes of Ronald Reagan and the US government during his time are well documented. Particularly mass rapes of nuns in El Salvador and genocide Guatemala . The less said about Iran/Contra the better.
With funders like this, the public should be very skeptical of the organization. It seems to me that the group is dedicated to forwarding US imperialist interests. I see little reason why the organization would be operating so heavily around the border of China and the DPRK. I think it’s very likely their mission was to collect intelligence on relations between the two countries and possibly sound the alarm on any possible illegal trade between the two countries. I see no reason to believe that the Crisis International Group had anything but antagonistic intentions toward China.
This is all well and good for Michael Kovrig, but what about Michael Spavor? It’s a matter of fact that he writes for Destination Pyongyang and Christopher Green, who in turn, is a consultant and analyst for Crisis International Group. Green is also the editor of Sino NK, “A collective of Koreanists & Sinologists dedicated to analyzing the borderland dynamics, transnational ties, & history of relations between China & North Korea.” It should be noted they have a book coming out next year “#Decoding the Sino-North Korean Borderlands”. Spavor is also affiliated with the Paektu Cultural Exchange. Their website and Facebook page have not made any posts since Nov. 26th and the 21st respectively.
In addition to all of this, the Twitter account of Michael Spavor has been removed. It causes you to wonder what those in control of his account are hiding? The Wayback Machine is limited to Nov. 10th. Are there certain connections that they don’t want the public to make? Has he said things that may incriminate him, or just shed light on the reason for his work in China?
I think given all this China was looking to clean house. They’ve got this organization snooping around a strategically sensitive area of the country. That organization is funded by forces that run counter to Chinese interests. There is a very long history of the US using NGOs as a means of sowing dissent among countries that are opposed to being controlled by the US. The National Endowment for Democracy is the most famous example of this.
If their actions are as subversive as they appear to be, then China is right to take security measures to remove what appear to be saboteurs from their country. We, the public, need to be made aware of what these men were really doing in China if we’re supposed to denounce China.
 Judith Noone, The Same Fate as the Poor, Orbis Books (1995) pp. 1-2. (ISBN 1570750319)