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FTR#1176 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

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FTR #1176 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Dave Emory in the KFJC stu­dio.

Intro­duc­tion: As the title indi­cates, this broad­cast updates old sub­jects of inquiry and intro­duces new sto­ries.

Con­tin­u­ing reflec­tions on the “Capi­tol Riot” of 1/6/2021, the pro­gram reviews and flesh­es out Nazi links to the 9/11 attacks, this in the con­text of George W. Bush’s rhap­sodiz­ing about the “peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er” in this coun­try.

We call atten­tion to a num­ber of things:

  1. What hap­pened in Wash­ing­ton D.C. on 1/6/2021 was not fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent from the “Brooks Broth­ers Riot” in Flori­da that aid­ed the theft of the 2000 elec­tion. Orga­nized by Trump flak catch­er Roger Stone, that inci­dent and the efforts of cur­rent Supreme Court Jus­tices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Bar­rett saw to it that Shrub would inher­it his father’s Pres­i­den­tial man­tle.
  2. In the wake of the Capi­tol Riot, the “Opin­ing Heads” raised the sub­ject of the Turn­er Diaries and its fore­shad­ow­ing of fas­cist vio­lence. In 1998, the author of that tome,–William Luther Pierce–explic­it­ly fore­shad­owed the 9/11 attacks which defined and cement­ed Dubya’s admin­is­tra­tion. “ . . . . In one chill­ing com­men­tary Pierce, (after not­ing that Bin Laden and the rest of the lost gen­er­a­tion of angry Moslem youth had it with their par­ents’ com­pro­mis­es and were hell bent on revenge against infi­del Amer­i­ca) issued this stark, prophet­ic warn­ing in a 1998 radio address titled, ‘Stay Out of Tall Build­ings.’ ‘New York­ers who work in tall office build­ings any­thing close to the size of the World Trade Cen­ter might con­sid­er wear­ing hard hats . . .’ Pierce warned.’ . . . The run­ning theme in Pierce’s com­men­taries is—to para­phrase his hero Hitler—that Osama Bin Laden’s warn­ing to Amer­i­ca is ‘I Am Com­ing.’ And so is bio-ter­ror­ism.’ . . .”
  3.  In (among oth­er pro­grams) FTR #186–the last pro­gram record­ed in 1999–Mr. Emory not­ed that George W. Bush’s first busi­ness venture–Arbusto Energy–was cap­i­tal­ized by the fam­i­ly of Osama Bin Laden.
  4. Also in FTR #456, we also not­ed that Fran­cois Genoud was a key finan­cial advis­er to the Bin Laden fam­i­ly. One of the most impor­tant fig­ures in the Nazi dias­po­ra, Genoud was the heir to the col­lect­ed works and polit­i­cal last will and tes­ta­ment of: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Mar­tin Bor­mann. “ . . . . Accord­ing to [finan­cial expert Ernest] Back­es’ infor­ma­tion, the trail leads to Switzer­land, to the accounts of an orga­ni­za­tion that was found­ed by the late lawyer Fran­cois Genoud and evi­dent­ly still sur­vives. Says Back­es, ‘One of the grounds for accu­sa­tion is that this Swiss attor­ney had the clos­est con­nec­tions with the Bin Laden fam­i­ly, that he was an advi­sor to the fam­i­ly, one of its invest­ment bankers. It’s known for cer­tain, that he sup­port­ed ter­ror­ism and was the estate execu­tor for Hitler and part of the ter­ror milieu.’ . . .”
  5. The Bank Al-Taqwa had an account for Al Qaeda’s oper­a­tions with an unlim­it­ed line of cred­it. Also in FTR#456, we not­ed that Al Taqwa chief (and for­mer Nazi intel­li­gence agent) Youssef Nada helped the Grand Mufti escape from Europe in the after­math of World War II. “ . . . . Anoth­er val­ued World War II Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor was Youssef Nada, cur­rent board chair­man of al-Taqwa (Nada Man­age­ment), the Lugano, Switzer­land, Liecht­en­stein, and Bahamas-based finan­cial ser­vices out­fit accused by the US Trea­sury Depart­ment of mon­ey laun­der­ing for and financ­ing of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qae­da. As a young man, he had joined the armed branch of the secret appa­ra­tus’ (al-jihaz al-sir­ri) of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and then was recruit­ed by Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence. When Grand Mufti el-Hus­sei­ni had to flee Ger­many in 1945 as the Nazi defeat loomed, Nada report­ed­ly was instru­men­tal in arrang­ing the escape via Switzer­land back to Egypt and even­tu­al­ly Pales­tine, where el-Hus­sei­ni resur­faced in 1946.) . . . .”
  6. The San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle report­ed that: “ . . . . Author­i­ties believe Genoud found­ed Al Taqwa Bank and allo­cat­ed its resources to sup­port inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ists such as Vladimir Ilich Ramirez, alias Car­los the Jack­al, and Bin Laden. . . . .”
  7. One of the most impor­tant ele­ments in the inves­tiga­tive trail lead­ing to and from the 9/11 attacks is SICO–the Swiss-based hold­ing com­pa­ny that man­ages the Bin Laden fam­i­ly inter­ests. Here, too, we see the influ­ence of Genoud: “ . . . . This com­pa­ny, estab­lished by the bin Ladens in 1980, is the flag­ship for the group’s activ­i­ties in Europe. It is head­ed by Yeslam bin Laden, and the board of direc­tors is made up almost exclu­sive­ly of mem­bers of the fam­i­ly clan, except for a Swiss cit­i­zen, Bau­doin Dunand. This well-known lawyer from French-speak­ing Switzer­land, who is on the boards of sev­er­al dozen com­pa­nies, came to pub­lic notice in 1983 when he agreed to rep­re­sent the Swiss banker Fran­cois Genoud, a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure who had been a dis­ci­ple of Hitler . . . .”

Anoth­er of the croc­o­diles shed­ding tears in the after­math of the Capi­tol Riot was Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger, who com­pared the events of 1/6/2021 to Kristall­nacht. In FTR #492, we detailed Schwarzeneg­ger’s links to William Arm­stead Robin­son, who may well be a political/financial cat’s paw for the dead­ly Bor­mann net­work.

Next, we note that Mer­rick Gar­land has been con­firmed as Attor­ney Gen­er­al. Pre­vi­ous­ly, he had been the fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor in the Okla­homa City Bomb­ing. Numer­ous evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries were not investigated–those evi­den­tiary ele­ments led in the direc­tion of a much wider con­spir­a­cy.

Gar­land failed to inves­ti­gate pro­found links between the Okla­homa City Bomb­ing, the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter Bomb­ing and the 9/11 attacks.

Gar­land also failed to pur­sue the appar­ent role of Andreas Strass­meier in the bomb­ing.

9/11 Attacks’ Links to OKC Bomb­ing detailed in FTR#456 Include:

  1. A motel at which wit­ness­es saw Tim­o­thy McVeigh in the com­pa­ny of a num­ber of Mid­dle East­ern men/Arabs, includ­ing Mohamed Atta and “20th hijack­er” Zac­cha­rias Mous­saoui. Mous­saoui was rep­re­sent­ed by Jacques Verges, a pro­tege of Fran­cois Genoud (see above).
  2. Andreas Strass­meier’s appar­ent pur­suit of a Lufthansa sur­plus Boing 747.
  3. Philip­pine intel­li­gence agent Edwin Ange­les’ report of a meet­ing in the Philip­pines involv­ing Ramzi Youssef (mas­ter­mind of the first attack on the World Trade Cen­ter.

Next, we not­ed the refusal of Ukraine to extra­dite an accused mur­der­er, who had fought with Pravy Sek­tor (Right Sec­tor) in Ukraine.

Anoth­er out­crop­ping of Ukrain­ian fas­cism is man­i­fest­ing in the full-court pro­pa­gan­da press against Chi­na. Adri­an Zenz has become the “Go-To” source for U.S. polit­i­cal and media fig­ures on the polit­i­cal fan­ta­sy of Chi­nese “geno­cide” against the Uighurs.

The mil­i­tary coup in Myan­mar has been wide­ly report­ed on, how­ev­er there has been lit­tle dis­cus­sion of the pos­si­ble effect of the coup on Chi­na, which bor­ders that benight­ed nation and has part­nered with the deposed civil­ian gov­ern­ment on eco­nom­ic projects.

We con­clude with analy­sis of the Japan­ese fas­cist cult Hap­py Sci­ence, and their rein­force­ment of offi­cial Japan­ese his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism.

1. Notable among the croc­o­diles shed­ding tears over the Capi­tol Riot was for­mer Pres­i­dent George W. Bush. Con­demn­ing the riot in one breath, he intoned that he would be attend­ing the inau­gu­ra­tion and that “ . . . . wit­ness­ing the peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er is a hall­mark of our democ­ra­cy that nev­er gets old,’ he added. . . .”

We call atten­tion to a num­ber of things:

  1. What hap­pened in Wash­ing­ton D.C. on 1/6/2021 was not fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent from the “Brooks Broth­ers Riot” in Flori­da that aid­ed the theft of the 2000 elec­tion. Orga­nized by Trump flak catch­er Roger Stone, that inci­dent and the efforts of cur­rent Supreme Court Jus­tices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Bar­rett saw to it that Shrub would inher­it his father’s Pres­i­den­tial man­tle.
  2. In the wake of the Capi­tol Riot, the “Opin­ing Heads” raised the sub­ject of the Turn­er Diaries and its fore­shad­ow­ing of fas­cist vio­lence. In 1998, the author of that tome,–William Luther Pierce–explic­it­ly fore­shad­owed the 9/11 attacks which defined and cement­ed Dubya’s admin­is­tra­tion. “ . . . . In one chill­ing com­men­tary Pierce, (after not­ing that Bin Laden and the rest of the lost gen­er­a­tion of angry Moslem youth had it with their par­ents’ com­pro­mis­es and were hell bent on revenge against infi­del Amer­i­ca) issued this stark, prophet­ic warn­ing in a 1998 radio address titled, ‘Stay Out of Tall Build­ings.’ ‘New York­ers who work in tall office build­ings any­thing close to the size of the World Trade Cen­ter might con­sid­er wear­ing hard hats . . .’ Pierce warned.’ . . . The run­ning theme in Pierce’s com­men­taries is—to para­phrase his hero Hitler—that Osama Bin Laden’s warn­ing to Amer­i­ca is ‘I Am Com­ing.’ And so is bio-ter­ror­ism.’ . . .”
  3.  In (among oth­er pro­grams) FTR #186–the last pro­gram record­ed in 1999–Mr. Emory not­ed that George W. Bush’s first busi­ness venture–Arbusto Energy–was cap­i­tal­ized by the fam­i­ly of Osama Bin Laden.
  4. Also in FTR #456, we also not­ed that Fran­cois Genoud was a key finan­cial advis­er to the Bin Laden fam­i­ly. One of the most impor­tant fig­ures in the Nazi dias­po­ra, Genoud was the heir to the col­lect­ed works and polit­i­cal last will and tes­ta­ment of: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Mar­tin Bor­mann. “ . . . . Accord­ing to [finan­cial expert Ernest] Back­es’ infor­ma­tion, the trail leads to Switzer­land, to the accounts of an orga­ni­za­tion that was found­ed by the late lawyer Fran­cois Genoud and evi­dent­ly still sur­vives. Says Back­es, ‘One of the grounds for accu­sa­tion is that this Swiss attor­ney had the clos­est con­nec­tions with the Bin Laden fam­i­ly, that he was an advi­sor to the fam­i­ly, one of its invest­ment bankers. It’s known for cer­tain, that he sup­port­ed ter­ror­ism and was the estate execu­tor for Hitler and part of the ter­ror milieu.’ . . .”
  5. The Bank Al-Taqwa had an account for Al Qaeda’s oper­a­tions with an unlim­it­ed line of cred­it. Also in FTR#456, we not­ed that Al Taqwa chief (and for­mer Nazi intel­li­gence agent) Youssef Nada helped the Grand Mufti escape from Europe in the after­math of World War II. “ . . . . Anoth­er val­ued World War II Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor was Youssef Nada, cur­rent board chair­man of al-Taqwa (Nada Man­age­ment), the Lugano, Switzer­land, Liecht­en­stein, and Bahamas-based finan­cial ser­vices out­fit accused by the US Trea­sury Depart­ment of mon­ey laun­der­ing for and financ­ing of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qae­da. As a young man, he had joined the armed branch of the secret appa­ra­tus’ (al-jihaz al-sir­ri) of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and then was recruit­ed by Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence. When Grand Mufti el-Hus­sei­ni had to flee Ger­many in 1945 as the Nazi defeat loomed, Nada report­ed­ly was instru­men­tal in arrang­ing the escape via Switzer­land back to Egypt and even­tu­al­ly Pales­tine, where el-Hus­sei­ni resur­faced in 1946.) . . . .”
  6. The San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle report­ed that: “ . . . . Author­i­ties believe Genoud found­ed Al Taqwa Bank and allo­cat­ed its resources to sup­port inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ists such as Vladimir Ilich Ramirez, alias Car­los the Jack­al, and Bin Laden. . . . .”
  7. One of the most impor­tant ele­ments in the inves­tiga­tive trail lead­ing to and from the 9/11 attacks is SICO–the Swiss-based hold­ing com­pa­ny that man­ages the Bin Laden fam­i­ly inter­ests. Here, too, we see the influ­ence of Genoud: “ . . . . This com­pa­ny, estab­lished by the bin Ladens in 1980, is the flag­ship for the group’s activ­i­ties in Europe. It is head­ed by Yeslam bin Laden, and the board of direc­tors is made up almost exclu­sive­ly of mem­bers of the fam­i­ly clan, except for a Swiss cit­i­zen, Bau­doin Dunand. This well-known lawyer from French-speak­ing Switzer­land, who is on the boards of sev­er­al dozen com­pa­nies, came to pub­lic notice in 1983 when he agreed to rep­re­sent the Swiss banker Fran­cois Genoud, a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure who had been a dis­ci­ple of Hitler . . . .”

Andreas Strass­meier and John Doe #2: One and the same?

2. Mer­rick Gar­land has been con­firmed as Attor­ney Gen­er­al. Pre­vi­ous­ly, he had been the fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor in the Okla­homa City Bomb­ing. Numer­ous evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries were not investigated–those evi­den­tiary ele­ments led in the direc­tion of a much wider con­spir­a­cy.

Gar­land failed to inves­ti­gate pro­found links between the Okla­homa City Bomb­ing, the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter Bomb­ing and the 9/11 attacks.

Gar­land also failed to pur­sue the appar­ent role of Andreas Strass­meier in the bomb­ing.

9/11 Attacks’ Links to OKC Bomb­ing detailed in FTR#456 Include:

  1. A motel at which wit­ness­es saw Tim­o­thy McVeigh in the com­pa­ny of a num­ber of Mid­dle East­ern men/Arabs, includ­ing Mohamed Atta and “20th hijack­er” Zac­cha­rias Mous­saoui. Mous­saoui was rep­re­sent­ed by Jacques Verges, a pro­tege of Fran­cois Genoud (see above).
  2. Andreas Strass­meier’s appar­ent pur­suit of a Lufthansa sur­plus Boing 747.
  3. Philip­pine intel­li­gence agent Edwin Ange­les’ report of a meet­ing in the Philip­pines involv­ing Ramzi Youssef (mas­ter­mind of the first attack on the World Trade Cen­ter.

3. Anoth­er of the croc­o­diles shed­ding tears in the after­math of the Capi­tol Riot was Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger, who com­pared the events of 1/6/2021 to Kristall­nacht. In FTR #492, we detailed Schwarzeneg­ger’s links to William Arm­stead Robin­son, who may well be a political/financial cat’s paw for the dead­ly Bor­mann net­work.

4. Next, we not­ed the refusal of Ukraine to extra­dite an accused mur­der­er, who had fought with Pravy Sek­tor (Right Sec­tor) in Ukraine.

5. Anoth­er out­crop­ping of Ukrain­ian fas­cism is man­i­fest­ing in the full-court pro­pa­gan­da press against Chi­na. Adri­an Zenz has become the “Go-To” source for U.S. polit­i­cal and media fig­ures on the polit­i­cal fan­ta­sy of Chi­nese “geno­cide” against the Uighurs.

6. The mil­i­tary coup in Myan­mar has been wide­ly report­ed on, how­ev­er there has been lit­tle dis­cus­sion of the pos­si­ble effect of the coup on Chi­na, which bor­ders that benight­ed nation and has part­nered with the deposed civil­ian gov­ern­ment on eco­nom­ic projects.

7. We con­clude with analy­sis of the Japan­ese fas­cist cult Hap­py Sci­ence, and their rein­force­ment of offi­cial Japan­ese his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism.

 

Discussion

6 comments for “FTR#1176 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates”

  1. Here’s a Gray Zone arti­cle that under­score both how wide­ly and aggres­sive­ly Uygher “geno­cide” mis­in­for­ma­tion orig­i­nat­ing from Adri­an Zenz is being pushed by US gov­ern­ment agen­cies and nation­al secu­ri­ty ‘think-tanks’. The kinds of nation­al secu­ri­ty ‘think-tanks’ that appear to spe­cial­ize in regime-change advo­ca­cy, as we’ve come to expect.

    The arti­cle is about a report pub­lished on March 8 by the New­lines Insti­tute for Strat­e­gy and Pol­i­cy, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Raoul Wal­len­berg Cen­tre for Human Rights. But as we’re going to see, it also turns out there’s a fas­ci­nat­ing rela­tion­ship between the net­work of pseu­do-aca­d­e­mics at these think-tank spe­cial­iz­ing in push­ing Uygher ‘geno­cide’ claims and the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Islam­ic Thought (IIIT), an orga­ni­za­tion at the heart of the DC estab­lish­men­t’s (most­ly Repub­li­can Par­ty’s) overt and covert rela­tion­ship with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and the sup­port of far right Sau­di-sup­port­ed strains of Islam.

    On one lev­el, see­ing a group like the IIIT being involved with push­ing Uygher geno­cide claims is about as sur­pris­ing as see­ing peanut but­ter paired with jel­ly. It’s what we would expect of one of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s lead­ing lob­by­ing ‘non-prof­its’ in North Amer­i­ca. It would almost be weird if the Hern­don, Vir­ginia, orga­ni­za­tion was­n’t pro­mot­ing pro­pa­gan­da of this nature.

    But when we look at this episode of the IIIT work­ing hand-in-glove with US agen­cies and regime-change-push­ing right-wing nation­al secu­ri­ty think-tanks to pro­mote Adrien Zen­z’s garbage schol­ar­ship, it’s the kind of sit­u­a­tion that fur­ther calls for a re-exam­i­na­tion of the Oper­a­tion Green­quest inves­ti­ga­tions and the should-be-noto­ri­ous 2003 meet­ing at the White House where the 9/11 inves­ti­ga­tion into Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-con­nect­ed SAAR Foun­da­tion enti­ties was effec­tive­ly halt­ed. Recall how it was the IIIT’s Talat Oth­man, long-time asso­ciate of the Bush fam­i­ly, who gave a bene­dic­tion at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia in August 2000. And in 2003 it was Oth­man who led the del­e­ga­tion to meet with then-Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Paul O’Neill to dis­cuss the SAAR Foun­da­tion inves­ti­ga­tion, which effec­tive­ly halt­ed the inves­ti­ga­tion. Oth­man sat on the board of Amana Mutua Funds Trust, an invest­ment firm found­ed by M. Yac­qub Mirza, the North­ern Vir­ginia busi­ness­man who set up most of the enti­ties tar­get­ed by the raid. The net­work of orga­ni­za­tions around the IIIT were both at the heart of the US gov­ern­men­t’s inves­ti­ga­tion into the role the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s finances played in the 9/11 attacks — an oper­a­tion now wide­ly rec­og­nized as at least qua­si-state spon­sored by the Sau­di gov­ern­ment — and at the heart of what stopped that inves­ti­ga­tion, in part a reflec­tion of Grover Norquist’s clout at the time but also a reflec­tion of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s Sau­di-backed efforts in DC. Don’t for­get that Sau­di Ara­bia did­n’t turn on the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood until the Arab Spring, and much of that split has the feel of a con­trived effort to dis­tance the Sau­di gov­ern­ment from the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s role as the orga­ni­za­tion and ide­o­log­i­cal foun­da­tion­al net­work of Sun­ni extrem­ist groups.

    So how does the IIIT relate to the ongo­ing Uygher ‘geno­cide’ dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign? Well, the founder and pres­i­dent of the New­lines Insti­tute is Ahmed Alwani, who has pre­vi­ous­ly served on the advi­so­ry board for the U.S. military’s Africa Com­mand (AFRICOM). Alwani also hap­pens to be the Vice Pres­i­dent of the IIIT and son of IIIT found­ing fig­ure Taha Jabir Alwani. Recall how Taha Jabir Al-Alwani was one of the fig­ures who facil­i­tat­ed the Sau­di gov­ern­men­t’s attempts to pro­mote Wahaabism inside the US prison pop­u­la­tion via the US chap­lain sys­tem when he arranged for 17 US Mus­lim chap­lains to trav­el to Sau­di Ara­bia on a Sau­di-gov­ern­ment-fund­ed trip where Wahab­bism was pushed and was an asso­ciate of Imam Warith Deen Umar, a tar­get of the Green Quest raids. When asked by Gray Zone about his ties to the IIIT, Alwani claimed his sta­tus as the IIIT Vice Pres­i­dent was a sort of fam­i­ly lega­cy fol­low­ing his father’s death in 2018. So, even if we take Alwani’s depic­tion of his rela­tion­ship with the IIIT at face val­ue, his father was clear­ly a very impor­tant fig­ure in the group. So impor­tant his son inher­it­ed his vice pres­i­den­tial sta­tus. So the right-wing pro-regime change think-tank push­ing Zen­z’s regime-change pro­pa­gan­da about Chi­na is like a fusion of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s DC influ­ence net­work with the kind of hawk­ish nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment that, in years fol­low­ing 9/11, would have been per­pet­u­al­ly freak­ing out about groups like the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. It’s a sign of the times.

    The New­line Insti­tute’s par­ent insti­tu­tion is the Fair­fax Uni­ver­si­ty of Amer­i­ca (FXUA). The FXUA appears to be a diplo­ma mill tar­get­ing inter­na­tion­al stu­dents. It lost its accred­i­ta­tion in 2016 under the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion but had its sta­tus rein­stat­ed under the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. And just days before the New­lines Insti­tute pub­lished its report accus­ing Chi­na of geno­cide, an advi­so­ry board to the US Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion rec­om­mend­ed ter­mi­nat­ing recog­ni­tion of FXUA’s accred­i­tor, plac­ing its license in jeop­ardy. So the pro-regime-change ‘think-tank’ push­ing this agen­da was found­ed by the IIIT’s VP and can bare­ly keep itself from being shut down over fraud. The US nation­al secu­ri­ty war hawk indus­try has nev­er been known for its intel­lec­tu­al integri­ty, but wow:

    The Gray­zone

    ‘Inde­pen­dent’ report claim­ing Uyghur geno­cide brought to you by sham uni­ver­si­ty, neo­con ide­o­logues lob­by­ing to ‘pun­ish’ Chi­na

    US media hailed a New­lines Insti­tute report accus­ing Chi­na of Uyghur geno­cide as a “land­mark” inde­pen­dent analy­sis. A look beneath the sur­face reveals it as a regime change pro­pa­gan­da tool by inter­ven­tion­ist oper­a­tives at a sham uni­ver­si­ty.

    AJIT SINGH
    MARCH 17, 2021

    Through­out March 2021, head­lines in cor­po­rate media out­lets from CNN to The Guardian blared about the release of the “first inde­pen­dent report” to author­i­ta­tive­ly deter­mine that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has vio­lat­ed “each and every act” of the Unit­ed Nations con­ven­tion against geno­cide, and there­fore “bears State respon­si­bil­i­ty for com­mit­ting geno­cide against the Uyghurs.”

    The report, pub­lished on March 8 by the New­lines Insti­tute for Strat­e­gy and Pol­i­cy, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Raoul Wal­len­berg Cen­tre for Human Rights, fol­lows a last-minute accu­sa­tion made in Jan­u­ary by the out­go­ing Trump admin­is­tra­tion, along with sim­i­lar dec­la­ra­tions by the Dutch and Cana­di­an Par­lia­ments. It was pub­lished short­ly after the release of a remark­ably sim­i­lar report on Feb­ru­ary 8 that was com­mis­sioned by the US gov­ern­ment-backed World Uyghur Con­gress, and which alleged that there is a “cred­i­ble case” against the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment for geno­cide.

    CNN, The Guardian, AFP, and the CBC hailed the March 8 New­lines report as an “inde­pen­dent analy­sis” and a “land­mark legal report” that involved “dozens of inter­na­tion­al experts.” Saman­tha Pow­er, the Biden administration’s nom­i­nee to direct the US Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment (USAID), also pro­mot­ed it: “This report shows how this [geno­cide] is pre­cise­ly what Chi­na is doing with the Uighurs,” the noto­ri­ous human­i­tar­i­an inter­ven­tion­ist stat­ed.

    The 1948 Geno­cide Con­ven­tion, the UN’s first human rights treaty, defines geno­cide as attempt­ed destruc­tion of a group. This report shows how this is pre­cise­ly what Chi­na is doing with the Uighurs. Exam­ine the evi­dence for your­self: https://t.co/MfOTT8XUF6— Saman­tha Pow­er (@SamanthaJPower) March 11, 2021

    The report’s authors have insist­ed that they are “impar­tial” and are “not advo­cat­ing any course of action what­so­ev­er.” But a clos­er look at the report and the insti­tu­tions behind it reveals its authors’ claims of “inde­pen­dence” and “exper­tise” to be a bla­tant decep­tion.

    Indeed, the report’s prin­ci­pal author, Yon­ah Dia­mond, recent­ly called on the Biden admin­is­tra­tion to uni­lat­er­al­ly “con­front,” and “pun­ish” Chi­na for sup­pos­ed­ly com­mit­ting geno­cide, and expand sanc­tions against the coun­try. Mean­while, the think tanks behind the report have advo­cat­ed fer­vent­ly for the West to “com­bat” and sanc­tion Chi­na, and have pro­mot­ed US regime change poli­cies tar­get­ing Syr­ia, Venezuela, Iran, and Rus­sia.

    A major­i­ty of the report’s “expert” sig­na­to­ries are mem­bers of the New­lines Insti­tute and the Wal­len­berg Cen­tre. Oth­ers are mem­bers of the hawk­ish Inter-Par­lia­men­tary Alliance on Chi­na, for­mer US State Depart­ment offi­cials, and ardent sup­port­ers of US mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion­ism. The report relies most sub­stan­tial­ly on the “exper­tise” of Adri­an Zenz, the far-right evan­gel­i­cal ide­o­logue, whose “schol­ar­ship” on Chi­na has been demon­strat­ed to be deeply flawed, rid­dled with false­hoods and dis­hon­est sta­tis­ti­cal manip­u­la­tion.

    The reliance on the volu­mi­nous but demon­stra­bly fraud­u­lent work of Zenz is not sur­pris­ing, giv­en that the report was financed by the New­lines Institute’s par­ent orga­ni­za­tion, the Fair­fax Uni­ver­si­ty of Amer­i­ca (FXUA). FXUA is a dis­graced insti­tu­tion that state reg­u­la­tors moved to shut down in 2019 after find­ing that its “teach­ers weren’t qual­i­fied to teach their assigned cours­es”, aca­d­e­m­ic qual­i­ty was “patent­ly defi­cient,” and pla­gia­rism was “ram­pant” and ignored.

    Just days before the New­lines Insti­tute pub­lished its “expert” report accus­ing Chi­na of geno­cide, an advi­so­ry board to the US Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion rec­om­mend­ed ter­mi­nat­ing recog­ni­tion of FXUA’s accred­i­tor, plac­ing its license in jeop­ardy.

    “New” report regur­gi­tates old, dis­cred­it­ed “evi­dence”

    The New­lines report presents no new mate­r­i­al on the con­di­tion of Uyghur Mus­lims in Chi­na. Instead, it claims to have reviewed all of “the avail­able evi­dence” and applied “inter­na­tion­al law to the evi­dence of the facts on the ground.”

    Rather than con­duct­ing a thor­ough and com­pre­hen­sive review of “the avail­able evi­dence,” the report restrict­ed its sur­vey to a nar­row range of deeply flawed pseu­do-schol­ar­ship along with reports by US gov­ern­ment-backed lob­by­ing fronts for the exiled Uyghur sep­a­ratist move­ment. It was upon this faulty foun­da­tion that the report applies legal analy­sis relat­ed to the UN Geno­cide Con­ven­tion.

    New­lines’ report relies pri­mar­i­ly on the dubi­ous stud­ies of Adri­an Zenz, the US gov­ern­ment pro­pa­gan­da out­let, Radio Free Asia, and claims made by the US-fund­ed sep­a­ratist net­work, the World Uyghur Con­gress. These three sources com­prise more than one-third of the ref­er­ences used to con­struct the fac­tu­al basis of the doc­u­ment, with Zenz as the most heav­i­ly relied upon source – cit­ed on more than 50 occa­sions.

    Many of the remain­ing ref­er­ences cite the work of mem­bers of New­lines Institute’s “Uyghur Schol­ars Work­ing Group”, of which Zenz is a found­ing mem­ber and which is made up of a small group of aca­d­e­mics who col­lab­o­rate with him and sup­port his con­clu­sions.

    As The Gray­zone has report­ed, Zenz is a far-right Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ist who has said he is “led by God” against China’s gov­ern­ment, deplores homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and gen­der equal­i­ty, and has taught exclu­sive­ly in evan­gel­i­cal the­o­log­i­cal insti­tu­tions. A care­ful review of Zenz’s research shows that his asser­tion of geno­cide is con­coct­ed through fraud­u­lent sta­tis­ti­cal manip­u­la­tion, cher­ry-pick­ing of source mate­r­i­al, and pro­pa­gan­dis­tic mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions. His wide­ly-cit­ed reports were not pub­lished in peer-reviewed jour­nals over­seen by aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions, but rather, by a DC-based CIA cut-out called the Jamestown Foun­da­tion and “The Jour­nal of Polit­i­cal Risk,” a pub­li­ca­tion head­ed by for­mer NATO and US nation­al secu­ri­ty state oper­a­tives.

    Trump & Biden admins base their accu­sa­tion of geno­cide against Chi­na on the bunk research of Chris­t­ian extrem­ist @adrianzenzHere’s Zenz on the show of anti-gay, Islam­o­pho­bic @FRCdc Pres. Tony Perkins: “I was actu­al­ly being pre­pared by God for this work.” https://t.co/00ZWvHBTE7 pic.twitter.com/dT8nG5oFlC— Max Blu­men­thal (@MaxBlumenthal) March 12, 2021

    As his aca­d­e­m­ic mal­prac­tice comes to light, Zenz has faced increas­ing scruti­ny and embar­rass­ment, as evi­denced by his threat to take legal action against his schol­ar­ly crit­ics.

    In order to shore up the report’s cred­i­bil­i­ty, and to deflect from its essen­tial reliance on Zenz’s reports, its authors have empha­sized their sup­posed “inde­pen­dence” and “impar­tial­i­ty.”

    “This [is] not an advo­ca­cy doc­u­ment, we’re not advo­cat­ing any course of action what­so­ev­er”, stat­ed Azeem Ibrahim, Direc­tor of Spe­cial Ini­tia­tives at New­lines Insti­tute. “There were no cam­paign­ers involved in this report, it was pure­ly done by legal experts, area experts and Chi­na eth­nic experts.”

    How­ev­er, just weeks before the pub­li­ca­tion of the report, its prin­ci­pal author, Yon­ah Dia­mond, penned a bel­li­cose call for the Biden admin­is­tra­tion to eschew the UN (which Dia­mond deems to be “behold­en to the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment”) and uni­lat­er­al­ly con­front Chi­na. Fol­low­ing the Trump administration’s dec­la­ra­tion that Chi­na was com­mit­ting geno­cide in Xin­jiang, Dia­mond argued that the US is legal­ly oblig­ed to “pun­ish” Chi­na and that “the Biden admin­is­tra­tion must now take con­crete action to that end togeth­er with U.S. allies”.

    The report attempts to con­struct an appear­ance of broad expert con­sen­sus sup­port­ing its con­clu­sions, includ­ing a list of 33 “inde­pen­dent expert” sig­na­to­ries. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, this list con­sists of indi­vid­u­als push­ing for a New Cold War and con­fronta­tion with Chi­na, and who sup­port sep­a­ratist efforts to trans­form the min­er­al-rich, geopo­lit­i­cal­ly impor­tant region of Xin­jiang into a NATO-ori­ent­ed eth­no-state:

    Irwin Cotler and Hele­na Kennedy — co-chairs, along with Mar­co Rubio, of the hawk­ish Inter-Par­lia­men­tary Alliance on Chi­na (IPAC). Com­posed almost exclu­sive­ly of white West­ern law­mak­ers, IPAC formed in 2020 in order to mount a “com­mon defence” against the “rise of the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na.” Mem­bers of the World Uyghur Con­gress exec­u­tive, Erkin Ekrem and Rahi­ma Mah­mut, sit on IPAC’s advi­so­ry board and sec­re­tari­at; Adri­an Zenz also sits on the advi­so­ry board.

    David Schef­fer, Beth von Schaack, and Gre­go­ry H. Stan­ton — Schef­fer and Schaack are both for­mer US State Depart­ment Ambas­sadors-at-Large, while Stan­ton is a for­mer US State Depart­ment offi­cial.

    Lloyd Axwor­thy and Allan Rock — the for­mer Cana­di­an Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs and for­mer Cana­di­an UN Ambas­sador, respec­tive­ly.

    Adri­an Zenz –– found­ing mem­ber of New­lines Institute’s “Uyghur Schol­ars Work­ing Group”

    Rather than con­sult a wide range of author­i­ties and aca­d­e­m­ic experts, or sub­ject its study to peer review, New­lines relied entire­ly on a nar­row­ly focused com­mu­ni­ty of like-mind­ed ide­o­logues. A major­i­ty of the sig­na­to­ries are mem­bers of the two think tanks behind the report, the New­lines Insti­tute and the Wal­len­berg Cen­tre. Far from “inde­pen­dent”, these orga­ni­za­tions are deeply par­ti­san, self-described “cam­paign­ers” that align close­ly with US and West­ern for­eign pol­i­cy goals, advo­cat­ing for sanc­tions and inter­ven­tion against Chi­na and oth­er non-aligned nations across the Glob­al South.

    New­lines Insti­tute: A col­lec­tion of regime-change ide­o­logues and “Shad­ow CIA” oper­a­tives

    The sup­pos­ed­ly inde­pen­dent report accus­ing Chi­na of geno­cide was pub­lished by the New­lines Insti­tute for Strat­e­gy and Pol­i­cy based in Wash­ing­ton, DC and known for­mer­ly as the Cen­ter for Glob­al Pol­i­cy. Found­ed in 2019, the think tank’s stat­ed aim is “to enhance US for­eign pol­i­cy” with a “spe­cial­iza­tion in Mus­lim states and soci­eties.”

    With exten­sive ties to the US regime-change estab­lish­ment, the New­lines Insti­tute is a reli­able repos­i­to­ry of anti-Chi­na mate­r­i­al. For exam­ple, it has fea­tured the ram­blings of Robert Spald­ing, the for­mer Senior Direc­tor for Strat­e­gy to Pres­i­dent Trump and one of the archi­tects of the Trump administration’s 2018 nation­al secu­ri­ty doc­trine, which for­mal­ly reori­ent­ed US for­eign pol­i­cy from a focus on the so-called “glob­al war on ter­ror” towards great pow­er com­pe­ti­tion with Chi­na and Rus­sia.

    The lead­er­ship of New­lines Insti­tute includes for­mer US State Depart­ment offi­cials, US mil­i­tary advi­sors, intel­li­gence pro­fes­sion­als who pre­vi­ous­ly worked for the “shad­ow CIA” pri­vate spy­ing firm, Strat­for, and a col­lec­tion of inter­ven­tion­ist ide­o­logues. Its con­trib­u­tors rep­re­sent a who’s who of Syr­ia regime chang­ers who cheer­lead­ed for US mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion­ism while intim­i­dat­ing and bul­ly­ing any promi­nent fig­ure that dared present a crit­i­cal per­spec­tive on the proxy war.

    Has­san Has­san, Direc­tor; Founder and Edi­tor-in-Chief of New­lines Mag­a­zine — Ardent sup­port­er of US impe­ri­al­ism, includ­ing wars on Iraq, Libya, Yemen and espe­cial­ly Syr­ia. Along with New­lines con­trib­u­tor Michael Weiss, Has­san called for the US mil­i­tary to balka­nize Syr­ia, per­ma­nent­ly occu­py its oil-rich Jazi­ra region and turn the coun­try into “an Amer­i­can secu­ri­ty pro­tec­torate.”

    Azeem Ibrahim, Direc­tor — Adjunct Research Pro­fes­sor at the Strate­gic Stud­ies Insti­tute, US Army War Col­lege. Ibrahim is a co-author of the New­lines report.

    Kam­ran Bokhari, Direc­tor — Pre­vi­ous­ly served as the Cen­tral Asia Stud­ies Course Coor­di­na­tor at US Depart­ment of State’s For­eign Ser­vice Insti­tute

    Faysal Itani, Deputy Direc­tor — For­mer res­i­dent Senior Fel­low at the US State Depart­ment-fund­ed Atlantic Coun­cil, which func­tions as the semi-offi­cial think tank of NATO in Wash­ing­ton, DC.

    Michael Weiss, Senior Edi­tor – A vet­er­an Israel lob­by­ist, neo­con­ser­v­a­tive activist and anti-Mus­lim agi­ta­tor-turned advo­cate of Islamist insur­gents in Syr­ia, Weiss has brand­ed him­self as an expert on Rus­sia despite hav­ing nev­er vis­it­ed the coun­try and speak­ing no Russ­ian.

    Muham­mad Idrees Ahmad, Senior Edi­tor – In 2016, Ahmad phoned Gray­zone edi­tor Max Blu­men­thal unso­licit­ed before Blu­men­thal pub­lished a two-part inves­tiga­tive exposé on the Syr­i­an White Hel­mets, threat­en­ing him with severe con­se­quences if he went ahead. (Lis­ten to a record­ing of Ahmad’s threat­en­ing call here). A lec­tur­er on dig­i­tal jour­nal­ism at Stir­ling Uni­ver­si­ty in the UK, Ahmad recent­ly attacked Democ­ra­cy Now! for host­ing schol­ar Vijay Prashad for a dis­cus­sion on the dan­ger of a new Cold War with Chi­na.

    Rasha Al Aqee­di, Senior Ana­lyst — Iraq-born pun­dit who for­mer­ly worked as a research fel­low at the neo­con­ser­v­a­tive For­eign Pol­i­cy Research Insti­tute (FPRI), a neo­con­ser­v­a­tive think tank orig­i­nal­ly found­ed by white suprema­cists and Cold War hard­lin­ers that has hon­ored Iraq war advo­cates John Bolton and James Mat­tis. Like her col­league Ahmad, Aqee­di ded­i­cates a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of her time to smear­ing anti-war fig­ures on social media.

    Eliz­a­beth Tsurkov, Non-Res­i­dent Fel­low — Pre­vi­ous­ly worked for a num­ber of neo­con­ser­v­a­tive and estab­lish­ment think tanks, includ­ing the Atlantic Coun­cil, For­eign Pol­i­cy Research Insti­tute and Free­dom House. Tsurkov served in the Israeli mil­i­tary, dur­ing Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon. Through­out the Syr­i­an proxy war, Tsurkov main­tained friend­ly con­tacts with mem­bers of the Sau­di-backed jihadist mili­tia, Jaish al-Islam, and boast­ed about links both she and Israel’s mil­i­tary-intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus main­tained with Syria’s armed oppo­si­tion.

    Nicholas A. Heras, Senior Ana­lyst — Pre­vi­ous­ly a research asso­ciate at the US Depart­ment of Defense’s Nation­al Defense Uni­ver­si­ty, Heras is also a fel­low at the arms indus­try-fund­ed Cen­ter for New Amer­i­can Secu­ri­ty. There, he pro­posed using “wheat [as] a weapon of great power…to apply pres­sure on the Assad regime.” In oth­er words, Heras advo­cat­ed for the mass star­va­tion of Syr­i­an civil­ians by occu­py­ing their wheat fields, a US pol­i­cy that is cur­rent­ly under­way in the country’s north­east­ern region.

    Car­o­line Rose, Senior Ana­lyst — Pre­vi­ous­ly served as an ana­lyst at Geopo­lit­i­cal Futures, head­ed by Strat­for founder, George Fried­man. Strat­for is a pri­vate spy­ing and intel­li­gence firm com­mon­ly referred to as a “Shad­ow CIA.” It has con­tract­ed exten­sive­ly with the US gov­ern­ment, and has trained the rad­i­cal wing of Venezuela’s oppo­si­tion and advised them on desta­bi­liza­tion tac­tics.

    Robin Black­burn, Man­ag­ing Edi­tor — For 12 years, Black­burn served as a writer and edi­tor with Strat­for.

    Robert Inks, Edi­tor — Pre­vi­ous­ly served as Direc­tor of the Writ­ers Group and Spe­cial Projects Edi­tor at Strat­for.

    Daryl John­son, Non-Res­i­dent Fel­low — Served in the US Army and pre­vi­ous­ly worked as a senior ana­lyst at the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty. He is the founder of DT Ana­lyt­ics, a pri­vate con­sult­ing firm for police and law enforce­ment.

    Eugene Chausovsky, Non-Res­i­dent Fel­low — Lec­tures on the “geopol­i­tics of Cen­tral Asia” at the US State Department’s For­eign Ser­vice Insti­tute. Pre­vi­ous­ly worked as Senior Eura­sia Ana­lyst at Strat­for for over a decade.

    Imti­az Ali, Non-Res­i­dent Fel­low — Pre­vi­ous­ly worked as a cur­ricu­lum spe­cial­ist at the US State Department’s For­eign Ser­vice Insti­tute.

    Ahmed Alwani is the founder and pres­i­dent of the New­lines Insti­tute. Alwani pre­vi­ous­ly served on the advi­so­ry board for the U.S. military’s Africa Com­mand (AFRICOM) and is the Vice Pres­i­dent of the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Islam­ic Thought (IIIT); his father, Taha Jabir Al-Alwani was one of IIIT’s founders.

    New­lines Insti­tute recent­ly took steps to counter rumors of IIIT’s con­nec­tions to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. In an inter­nal email obtained by The Gray­zone, dat­ed Novem­ber 17, 2020, New­lines Direc­tor Has­san Has­san addressed the “accu­sa­tion” against the then-Cen­ter for Glob­al Pol­i­cy. Has­san wrote that while a dif­fer­ent “old­er enti­ty” was fund­ed by IIIT, “[t]he cur­rent one has no rela­tion to IIIT.” Has­san attempt­ed to assuage con­cerns by down­play­ing Alwani’s con­nec­tion to IIIT, claim­ing that Alwani “inher­it­ed the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute for Islam­ic Thought as Vice Pres­i­dent as a sort of lega­cy”, fol­low­ing his father’s death in 2018.

    New­lines Insti­tute over­seen by dis­graced sham “uni­ver­si­ty”

    New­lines Insti­tute is a branch of a dis­graced edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tion that has repeat­ed­ly vio­lat­ed state edu­ca­tion­al stan­dards, rais­ing fur­ther ques­tions about the qual­i­ty of the think tank’s work.

    New­lines Institute’s par­ent insti­tu­tion is Fair­fax Uni­ver­si­ty of Amer­i­ca (FXUA), a school also found­ed and led by Alwani, and for­mer­ly known as Vir­ginia Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty. FXUA is a pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty in Fair­fax, Vir­ginia. Found­ed in 1998, FXUA’s short track record has been rid­dled with numer­ous aca­d­e­m­ic scan­dals and efforts by state reg­u­la­tors to shut the insti­tu­tion down.

    In 2019, the State Coun­cil of High­er Edu­ca­tion for Vir­ginia ini­ti­at­ed pro­ceed­ings to revoke FXUA’s (then known as Vir­ginia Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty) cer­tifi­cate to oper­ate. The move came after state reg­u­la­tors found wide­spread non­com­pli­ance with state edu­ca­tion­al stan­dards.

    Accord­ing to the Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch, audi­tors deter­mined that “teach­ers weren’t qual­i­fied to teach their assigned cours­es”, the aca­d­e­m­ic qual­i­ty and con­tent of class­es were “patent­ly defi­cient”, and stu­dent work was char­ac­ter­ized by “ram­pant pla­gia­rism” that went unpun­ished.

    “Unqual­i­fied stu­dents reg­u­lar­ly sub­mit pla­gia­rized or infe­ri­or work; fac­ul­ty turn a blind eye and low­er grad­ing stan­dards (per­haps to avoid fail­ing an entire class); and admin­is­tra­tors do not effec­tive­ly mon­i­tor the qual­i­ty of online edu­ca­tion being pro­vid­ed”, the audit said.

    “That such sub­stan­dard course­work could con­tin­ue with no com­plaints from stu­dents, fac­ul­ty or admin­is­tra­tors rais­es con­cerns about the pur­pose of edu­ca­tion at VIU [Vir­ginia Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty].”

    Indeed, signs point to FXUA/VIU serv­ing as a “visa mill” rather than a legit­i­mate edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tion. As Inside High­er Ed explains, the term “visa mill” refers to a sham oper­a­tion where an insti­tu­tion “offers lit­tle by way of edu­ca­tion­al val­ue,” but instead lures inter­na­tion­al stu­dents through its abil­i­ty to offer access to stu­dent and work visas, while exploit­ing them by charg­ing exor­bi­tant tuition costs. FXUA/VIU’s accred­i­tor, the Accred­it­ing Coun­cil for Inde­pen­dent Col­leges and Schools (ACICS), has long faced accu­sa­tions of cer­ti­fy­ing such insti­tu­tions.

    In 2019, Inside High­er Ed report­ed that FXUA/VIU’s “appears to exist pri­mar­i­ly to enroll inter­na­tion­al stu­dents,” find­ing that over the pre­vi­ous five years, “the per­cent­age of stu­dents from North Amer­i­ca var­ied between 1 and 3 per­cent”. Audi­tors found that the the stu­dent body was large­ly com­prised of inter­na­tion­al stu­dents with an “abysmal­ly poor com­mand” of the Eng­lish lan­guage. The stu­dents were charged $2,178 per grad­u­ate class and $1,266 per under­grad­u­ate class to receive their “patent­ly defi­cient” edu­ca­tion.

    Although Vir­ginia Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty reached an agree­ment with state reg­u­la­tors that allowed it to con­tin­ue oper­at­ing and has rebrand­ed itself as Fair­fax Uni­ver­si­ty of Amer­i­ca, sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns remain about the uni­ver­si­ty, along with its sub­sidiary New­lines Insti­tute.

    Just days before New­lines Institute’s report on Chi­na was released, its FXUA’s accred­i­ta­tion was once again in poten­tial jeop­ardy. On March 5, an advi­so­ry board to the US Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion rec­om­mend­ed ter­mi­nat­ing recog­ni­tion for ACICS. The Nation­al Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee on Insti­tu­tion­al Qual­i­ty and Integri­ty vot­ed 11-to‑1 to rec­om­mend that ACICS lose the fed­er­al recog­ni­tion it needs to oper­ate.

    The advi­so­ry com­mit­tee made the same rec­om­men­da­tion in 2016, lead­ing to the ACICS’s recog­ni­tion being revoked under the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, before recog­ni­tion was restored to the trou­bled accred­i­tor in 2018 by then-Pres­i­dent Trump’s Sec­re­tary of Edu­ca­tion, the infa­mous pri­va­ti­za­tion activist and oli­garch Bet­sy Devos.

    The Wal­len­berg Cen­tre: A haven for anti-Chi­na hawks and regime-change lob­by­ists

    New­lines Insti­tute pub­lished its report in col­lab­o­ra­tion with The Raoul Wal­len­berg Cen­tre for Human Rights. The report’s prin­ci­pal author, Yon­ah Dia­mond, is legal coun­sel for The Wal­len­berg Cen­ter, and many of the report’s sig­na­to­ries hold affil­i­a­tions with the orga­ni­za­tion.

    Based in Mon­tre­al, The Wal­len­berg Cen­tre was found­ed by Irwin Cotler, for­mer Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and Attor­ney Gen­er­al of Cana­da. While often tout­ed as a “human rights cham­pi­on”, Cotler is, in fact, a cham­pi­on of the “respon­si­bil­i­ty to pro­tect” and “human­i­tar­i­an inter­ven­tion” doc­trines, reg­u­lar­ly invoked by West­ern states in order to jus­ti­fy impe­r­i­al inter­ven­tions in the glob­al south.

    Cotler rou­tine­ly lev­els pro­pa­gan­dis­tic accu­sa­tions of human rights abus­es, atroc­i­ties, and geno­cide in ser­vice West­ern impe­ri­al­ism, includ­ing inter­ven­tions in Libya and Syr­ia, Iran, and Venezuela, where Cotler served as legal coun­sel for far-right, US-backed Venezue­lan coup leader Leopol­do López. Lopez’s wife, Lil­ian Tin­tori, holds an advi­so­ry posi­tion at The Wal­len­berg Cen­tre.

    Cotler is also active in Haiti, serv­ing as the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice in the Cana­di­an admin­is­tra­tion that worked with the US and France to help over­throw for­mer Hait­ian Pres­i­dent Jean-Bertrand Aris­tide in 2004. In 2014, Cotler invit­ed Maryam Rajavi, leader of the exiled Iran­ian MEK cult, to speak on Canada’s par­lia­ment hill. Four years lat­er, he nom­i­nat­ed US and UK-fund­ed Syr­i­an White Hel­mets for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Justin Trudeau taps Irwin Cotler, the Cana­di­an ver­sion of Alan Der­showitz, as de fac­to anti-Pales­tin­ian czar. Cotler will lead the cen­ter-left gov­ern­men­t’s assault on free speech and polic­ing of Pales­tine sol­i­dar­i­ty orga­niz­ing. https://t.co/UK7HXdKGlZ— Max Blu­men­thal (@MaxBlumenthal) Novem­ber 26, 2020

    Cotler is an ardent sup­port­er of Israeli apartheid and long­time advi­sor to Moshe Ya’alon, for­mer Israeli Defense Min­is­ter and Chief of Staff of the Israeli mil­i­tary. Cotler has played sig­nif­i­cant role in the Cana­di­an government’s efforts to equate crit­i­cism of Israel with anti-Semi­tism and smear the non­vi­o­lent boy­cott, divest­ment and sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment for Pales­tin­ian rights.

    Cotler has long har­bored hos­tile sen­ti­ments towards Chi­na. For a num­ber of years, Cotler served on the inter­na­tion­al legal team for Chi­nese anti-gov­ern­ment dis­si­dent Liu Xiaobo, a right-wing ide­o­logue who called for the pri­va­ti­za­tion and “West­ern­i­sa­tion” of Chi­na, ardent­ly sup­port­ed for­mer Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, and cheered on US wars on Viet­nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

    More recent­ly, dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, Cotler echoed calls of right-wing US law­mak­ers for inter­na­tion­al legal action and sanc­tions to pun­ish Chi­na for sup­pos­ed­ly caus­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic.

    In its mis­sion state­ment, the Wal­len­berg Cen­tre out­lines its right-wing, West­ern impe­r­i­al out­look in detail, explic­it­ly iden­ti­fy­ing Chi­na, Venezuela, Iran, and Rus­sia as coun­tries that it is push­ing to “com­bat” with sanc­tions.

    The Wal­len­berg Cen­tre has become a haven for anti-Chi­na hawks, includ­ing Senior Fel­lows David Kil­go­ur, for­mer Cana­di­an Sec­re­tary of State, and David Matas, senior legal coun­sel for B’nai Brith Cana­da, a right-wing orga­ni­za­tion that describes itself as ded­i­cat­ed to “Israel advo­ca­cy”.

    Kil­go­ur and Matas have exten­sive ties to the far-right, anti-Chi­na reli­gious cult Falun Gong. Both men are reg­u­lar­ly con­trib­u­tors to the group’s pro­pa­gan­da arm, The Epoch Times, a media net­work that The New York Times has described as an “anti-Chi­na, pro-Trump media empire” and “lead­ing pur­vey­or of right-wing mis­in­for­ma­tion”. In 2019, an NBC News exposé found that The Epoch Times spent over $1.5 mil­lion on approx­i­mate­ly 11,000 pro-Trump adver­tise­ments in just six months, “more than any orga­ni­za­tion out­side of the Trump cam­paign itself, and more than most Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have spent on their own cam­paigns.”

    In 2006, Kil­go­ur and Matas were com­mis­sioned by Falun Gong to author a report which made sen­sa­tion­al accu­sa­tions that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment was secret­ly con­duct­ing a mass cam­paign of live organ har­vest­ing Falun Gong dis­ci­ples. In 2017, an inves­ti­ga­tion by The Wash­ing­ton Post deter­mined that the claims made by Kil­go­ur and Matas were unfound­ed, with experts com­ment­ing that their alle­ga­tions were “not plau­si­ble” and “unthink­able.”

    ...

    ————

    “‘Inde­pen­dent’ report claim­ing Uyghur geno­cide brought to you by sham uni­ver­si­ty, neo­con ide­o­logues lob­by­ing to ‘pun­ish’ Chi­na” by AJIT SINGH; The Gray­zone; 03/17/2021

    The report, pub­lished on March 8 by the New­lines Insti­tute for Strat­e­gy and Pol­i­cy, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Raoul Wal­len­berg Cen­tre for Human Rights, fol­lows a last-minute accu­sa­tion made in Jan­u­ary by the out­go­ing Trump admin­is­tra­tion, along with sim­i­lar dec­la­ra­tions by the Dutch and Cana­di­an Par­lia­ments. It was pub­lished short­ly after the release of a remark­ably sim­i­lar report on Feb­ru­ary 8 that was com­mis­sioned by the US gov­ern­ment-backed World Uyghur Con­gress, and which alleged that there is a “cred­i­ble case” against the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment for geno­cide.”

    The pow­er of rep­e­ti­tion in action: the Trump admin­is­tra­tion makes some last-minute accu­sa­tion of geno­cide in Jan­u­ary, the US-backed World Uygher Con­gress issues a report rehash­ing these claims in Feb­ru­ary, and a month lat­er we find a new report by the New­lines Insti­tute and Raoul Wal­len­berg Cen­tre for Human Rights mak­ing the same unfound­ed claims. A who’s who of Syr­ia regime chang­ers ped­dling unfound­ed claims that, in many cas­es, orig­i­nat­ed from Adri­an Zenz. But what is per­haps most remark­able about this report is the iden­ti­ty of the per­son who found­ed New­lines: IIIT Vice Pres­i­dent Ahmed Alwani, son of Taha Jabir Al-Alwani. On one lev­el, it makes per­fect sense. But on anoth­er lev­el, again, wow:

    ...
    New­lines’ report relies pri­mar­i­ly on the dubi­ous stud­ies of Adri­an Zenz, the US gov­ern­ment pro­pa­gan­da out­let, Radio Free Asia, and claims made by the US-fund­ed sep­a­ratist net­work, the World Uyghur Con­gress. These three sources com­prise more than one-third of the ref­er­ences used to con­struct the fac­tu­al basis of the doc­u­ment, with Zenz as the most heav­i­ly relied upon source – cit­ed on more than 50 occa­sions.

    Many of the remain­ing ref­er­ences cite the work of mem­bers of New­lines Institute’s “Uyghur Schol­ars Work­ing Group”, of which Zenz is a found­ing mem­ber and which is made up of a small group of aca­d­e­mics who col­lab­o­rate with him and sup­port his con­clu­sions.

    ...

    The lead­er­ship of New­lines Insti­tute includes for­mer US State Depart­ment offi­cials, US mil­i­tary advi­sors, intel­li­gence pro­fes­sion­als who pre­vi­ous­ly worked for the “shad­ow CIA” pri­vate spy­ing firm, Strat­for, and a col­lec­tion of inter­ven­tion­ist ide­o­logues. Its con­trib­u­tors rep­re­sent a who’s who of Syr­ia regime chang­ers who cheer­lead­ed for US mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion­ism while intim­i­dat­ing and bul­ly­ing any promi­nent fig­ure that dared present a crit­i­cal per­spec­tive on the proxy war

    ...

    Ahmed Alwani is the founder and pres­i­dent of the New­lines Insti­tute. Alwani pre­vi­ous­ly served on the advi­so­ry board for the U.S. military’s Africa Com­mand (AFRICOM) and is the Vice Pres­i­dent of the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Islam­ic Thought (IIIT); his father, Taha Jabir Al-Alwani was one of IIIT’s founders.

    New­lines Insti­tute recent­ly took steps to counter rumors of IIIT’s con­nec­tions to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. In an inter­nal email obtained by The Gray­zone, dat­ed Novem­ber 17, 2020, New­lines Direc­tor Has­san Has­san addressed the “accu­sa­tion” against the then-Cen­ter for Glob­al Pol­i­cy. Has­san wrote that while a dif­fer­ent “old­er enti­ty” was fund­ed by IIIT, “[t]he cur­rent one has no rela­tion to IIIT.” Has­san attempt­ed to assuage con­cerns by down­play­ing Alwani’s con­nec­tion to IIIT, claim­ing that Alwani “inher­it­ed the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute for Islam­ic Thought as Vice Pres­i­dent as a sort of lega­cy”, fol­low­ing his father’s death in 2018.
    ...

    And New­lines is just one enti­ty in what appears to be a large net­work of sham insti­tu­tions and diplo­ma mills run by Alwani. War mon­gers aren’t gen­er­al­ly known for their intel­lec­tu­al rig­or, but that’s just sad:

    ...
    New­lines Institute’s par­ent insti­tu­tion is Fair­fax Uni­ver­si­ty of Amer­i­ca (FXUA), a school also found­ed and led by Alwani, and for­mer­ly known as Vir­ginia Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty. FXUA is a pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty in Fair­fax, Vir­ginia. Found­ed in 1998, FXUA’s short track record has been rid­dled with numer­ous aca­d­e­m­ic scan­dals and efforts by state reg­u­la­tors to shut the insti­tu­tion down.

    ...

    Indeed, signs point to FXUA/VIU serv­ing as a “visa mill” rather than a legit­i­mate edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tion. As Inside High­er Ed explains, the term “visa mill” refers to a sham oper­a­tion where an insti­tu­tion “offers lit­tle by way of edu­ca­tion­al val­ue,” but instead lures inter­na­tion­al stu­dents through its abil­i­ty to offer access to stu­dent and work visas, while exploit­ing them by charg­ing exor­bi­tant tuition costs. FXUA/VIU’s accred­i­tor, the Accred­it­ing Coun­cil for Inde­pen­dent Col­leges and Schools (ACICS), has long faced accu­sa­tions of cer­ti­fy­ing such insti­tu­tions.

    ...

    Just days before New­lines Institute’s report on Chi­na was released, its FXUA’s accred­i­ta­tion was once again in poten­tial jeop­ardy. On March 5, an advi­so­ry board to the US Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion rec­om­mend­ed ter­mi­nat­ing recog­ni­tion for ACICS. The Nation­al Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee on Insti­tu­tion­al Qual­i­ty and Integri­ty vot­ed 11-to‑1 to rec­om­mend that ACICS lose the fed­er­al recog­ni­tion it needs to oper­ate.

    The advi­so­ry com­mit­tee made the same rec­om­men­da­tion in 2016, lead­ing to the ACICS’s recog­ni­tion being revoked under the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, before recog­ni­tion was restored to the trou­bled accred­i­tor in 2018 by then-Pres­i­dent Trump’s Sec­re­tary of Edu­ca­tion, the infa­mous pri­va­ti­za­tion activist and oli­garch Bet­sy Devos.
    ...

    And note the rela­tion­ship between the Wal­len­berg Cen­tre’s Irwin Cotler and Leopol­do López. Recall the cen­tral role Lopez played in orches­trat­ing the Venezue­lan regime-change oper­a­tions with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, which is a reminder that these ‘think-tanks’ are by no means exclu­sive­ly focused on regime-change in Chi­na:

    ...
    New­lines Insti­tute pub­lished its report in col­lab­o­ra­tion with The Raoul Wal­len­berg Cen­tre for Human Rights. The report’s prin­ci­pal author, Yon­ah Dia­mond, is legal coun­sel for The Wal­len­berg Cen­ter, and many of the report’s sig­na­to­ries hold affil­i­a­tions with the orga­ni­za­tion.

    Based in Mon­tre­al, The Wal­len­berg Cen­tre was found­ed by Irwin Cotler, for­mer Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and Attor­ney Gen­er­al of Cana­da. While often tout­ed as a “human rights cham­pi­on”, Cotler is, in fact, a cham­pi­on of the “respon­si­bil­i­ty to pro­tect” and “human­i­tar­i­an inter­ven­tion” doc­trines, reg­u­lar­ly invoked by West­ern states in order to jus­ti­fy impe­r­i­al inter­ven­tions in the glob­al south.

    Cotler rou­tine­ly lev­els pro­pa­gan­dis­tic accu­sa­tions of human rights abus­es, atroc­i­ties, and geno­cide in ser­vice West­ern impe­ri­al­ism, includ­ing inter­ven­tions in Libya and Syr­ia, Iran, and Venezuela, where Cotler served as legal coun­sel for far-right, US-backed Venezue­lan coup leader Leopol­do López. Lopez’s wife, Lil­ian Tin­tori, holds an advi­so­ry posi­tion at The Wal­len­berg Cen­tre.
    ...

    Final­ly, note the entire­ly expect­ed cozy rela­tion­ship between The Wal­len­berg Cen­tre’s ‘schol­ars’ and the Epoch Times:

    ...
    The Wal­len­berg Cen­tre has become a haven for anti-Chi­na hawks, includ­ing Senior Fel­lows David Kil­go­ur, for­mer Cana­di­an Sec­re­tary of State, and David Matas, senior legal coun­sel for B’nai Brith Cana­da, a right-wing orga­ni­za­tion that describes itself as ded­i­cat­ed to “Israel advo­ca­cy”.

    Kil­go­ur and Matas have exten­sive ties to the far-right, anti-Chi­na reli­gious cult Falun Gong. Both men are reg­u­lar­ly con­trib­u­tors to the group’s pro­pa­gan­da arm, The Epoch Times, a media net­work that The New York Times has described as an “anti-Chi­na, pro-Trump media empire” and “lead­ing pur­vey­or of right-wing mis­in­for­ma­tion”. In 2019, an NBC News exposé found that The Epoch Times spent over $1.5 mil­lion on approx­i­mate­ly 11,000 pro-Trump adver­tise­ments in just six months, “more than any orga­ni­za­tion out­side of the Trump cam­paign itself, and more than most Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have spent on their own cam­paigns.”
    ...

    Birds of a feath­er flock togeth­er. And dis­in­form togeth­er, as we can see. Again, it’s all entire­ly to be expect­ed, and yet, from a his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive, some­what remark­able. Yes, the US nation­al secu­ri­ty state has long had a qui­et covert rela­tion­ship with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and its glob­al net­work of gov­ern­ment an pri­vate spon­sors. But that rela­tion­ship isn’t typ­i­cal­ly this overt, with the vice pres­i­dent of the IIIT active­ly found­ing a pro-regime-change ‘think-tank’. This is kind of new, at least from an aes­thet­ic stand­point. As an exam­ple, here’s a quick look back at a 2003 St. Peters­burg Times piece about the extreme con­ster­na­tion Grover Norquist’s rela­tion­ship with IIIT was cre­at­ing with­in the hawk­ish fac­tions of US nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment, with uber-hawk Frank Gaffney lead­ing the charge. This is how the hawk­ish DC nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment used to react to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s lob­by­ing efforts in DC:

    St. Peters­burg Times

    Friends in high places

    By MARY JACOBY
    Pub­lished March 11, 2003

    The rum­pled, bald­ing fig­ure was spot­ted dart­ing into the offices of Repub­li­can pow­er bro­ker Grover Norquist last July. When Sami Al-Ari­an emerged more than two hours lat­er, some­one was wait­ing for him.

    Con­ser­v­a­tive activist Frank Gaffney, whose think tank on nation­al secu­ri­ty issues has offices on the same floor, was eager to con­firm a tip that the sus­pect­ed Pales­tin­ian Islam­ic Jihad oper­a­tive was next door.

    Best known for his high-pro­file cam­paign for a “Star Wars” nation­al mis­sile defense sys­tem, Gaffney for months had been qui­et­ly pur­su­ing anoth­er project: try­ing to con­vince the Bush admin­is­tra­tion to more close­ly scru­ti­nize the Mus­lim activists whom Norquist was bring­ing into the pres­i­den­t’s orbit.

    As part of Norquist’s well pub­li­cized strat­e­gy to mine the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty for GOP votes, Al-Ari­an had cam­paigned for Bush in 2000, posed for a pho­to with the can­di­date at Plant City’s Straw­ber­ry Fes­ti­val and boast­ed pub­licly that Mus­lims in Flori­da may have tipped the close pres­i­den­tial elec­tion to Bush.

    Now, Al-Ari­an was vis­it­ing the Islam­ic Insti­tute, a Mus­lim out­reach group cofound­ed by Norquist and housed with­in his office suite.

    And so Gaffney found a rea­son to be in the hall­way when Islam­ic Insti­tute chair­man Khaled Saf­fu­ri walked a man Gaffney rec­og­nized as Al-Ari­an to the ele­va­tor. Saf­fu­ri said good­bye, then head­ed for the bath­room.

    Gaffney fol­lowed. Tak­ing a place at the next uri­nal, he said, “So, Khaled, was that Sami Al-Ari­an get­ting on the ele­va­tor?”

    Saf­fu­ri made a gag­ging sound, Gaffney said, then fell into a long silence. “No, I don’t think so,” Saf­fu­ri final­ly answered, accord­ing to Gaffney.

    Saf­fu­ri was not avail­able for com­ment. But in a writ­ten state­ment, he called Gaffney, head of the Cen­ter for Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy, “bit­ter for his lack of access to some impor­tant “polit­i­cal cir­cles,’ par­tic­u­lar­ly the White House.”

    Saf­fu­ri added: “I believe that Mr. Gaffney is very irri­tat­ed by the fact that a Mus­lim group has bet­ter access than he does. How­ev­er, I tru­ly believe that he dis­likes Mus­lims and Islam because of reli­gious big­otry.”

    ...

    Once the leader of a cranky cabal of out-of-pow­er Repub­li­cans, Norquist after 1994 became a polit­i­cal gate­keep­er. Can­di­dates sought his advice, and dark-suit­ed lob­by­ists clam­ored to attend week­ly strat­e­gy meet­ings Norquist held for Capi­tol Hill aides and GOP activists in his offices each Wednes­day.

    Those in Norquist’s favor sit at the con­fer­ence table in the mid­dle of the room. The oth­ers stand, packed shoul­der-to-shoul­der. Among those with a reg­u­lar seat at the table, par­tic­i­pants say, is the Islam­ic Insti­tute’s Saf­fu­ri.

    Norquist and Saf­fu­ri found­ed the Islam­ic Insti­tute in 1999 with seed mon­ey from Qatar, Kuwait and oth­er Mid­dle East­ern sources. Among the con­trib­u­tors, records show, was Saf­fu­ri’s for­mer boss, a Mus­lim char­i­ty direc­tor and founder of the Amer­i­can Mus­lim Coun­cil, Abdu­rah­man Alam­ou­di.

    The records show Alam­ou­di gave at least $35,000 to the insti­tute, although Alam­ou­di said in a writ­ten state­ment he did “not rec­ol­lect hav­ing been quite that gen­er­ous.”

    Also fund­ing the insti­tute were two Vir­ginia-based non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions. The Safa Trust donat­ed at least $35,000, and the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Islam­ic Thought gave $11,000, the records show.

    Last March, fed­er­al author­i­ties raid­ed those groups and oth­ers in Oper­a­tion Green­quest, a major assault on sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ist finan­cial net­works.

    Among the more than 50 tar­gets of the raid were peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions con­nect­ed to Norquist and the Islam­ic Insti­tute. They includ­ed Sami Al-Ari­an, a char­i­ty asso­ci­at­ed with Alam­ou­di, Safa Trust and the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute for Islam­ic Thought, or IIIT.

    In addi­tion to finan­cial­ly sup­port­ing Norquist’s insti­tute, the IIIT also had fund­ed Al-Ari­an’s think tank at USF, which the FBI shut down in a 1995 raid, and the school Al-Ari­an found­ed, the Islam­ic Acad­e­my of Flori­da.

    The Amer­i­can Mus­lim Coun­cil had long been viewed with sus­pi­cion by fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors, ter­ror­ism experts and Jew­ish groups.

    Although it preached tol­er­ance, its co-founder, Alam­ou­di, had been video­taped at a pro-Pales­tin­ian ral­ly out­side the White House in 2000 exhort­ing the crowd: “We are all sup­port­ers of Hamas . . . I am also a sup­port­er of Hezbol­lah.”

    In his writ­ten response, Alam­ou­di said: “I regret that I made an emo­tion­al state­ment in the heat of the moment and I retract it.”

    Still, a few months after the ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton, Alam­ou­di was pho­tographed in Beirut at a con­fer­ence attend­ed by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the ter­ror groups Hamas, Islam­ic Jihad, Hezbol­lah and al-Qai­da.

    Today, Alam­ou­di is under inves­ti­ga­tion for his role in anoth­er Vir­ginia char­i­ty, the Inter­na­tion­al Relief Orga­ni­za­tion, sus­pect­ed of being part of a Sau­di-con­nect­ed ter­ror mon­ey laun­der­ing oper­a­tion.

    Alam­ou­di said he is coop­er­at­ing ful­ly with inves­ti­ga­tors. “I expect the inves­ti­ga­tion will end favor­ably,” he said.

    After Norquist’s Islam­ic Insti­tute began try­ing to woo Mus­lims to the GOP in 1999, then-can­di­date Bush began pop­ping up in pho­tographs with var­i­ous polit­i­cal­ly con­nect­ed Mus­lims.

    The only prob­lem was, many of these same promi­nent Mus­lims were also under scruti­ny by fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors for links to ter­ror­ism.

    “In some ways he’s very naive about peo­ple,” con­ser­v­a­tive activist Paul Weyrich said of his friend and some-time polit­i­cal rival, Norquist. “I don’t blame him for push­ing whomev­er he thinks is going to help him with his polit­i­cal objec­tives. But some­body on the inside (of the admin­is­tra­tion) has to say no.”

    In 2000, then-can­di­date Bush was pho­tographed at the gov­er­nor’s man­sion in Austin, Texas, with Alam­ou­di, Saf­fu­ri, and Amer­i­can Mus­lim Alliance founder Agha Saeed.

    Saeed appeared often on pan­els with Al-Ari­an at con­fer­ences of the Islam­ic Asso­ci­a­tion for Pales­tine (IAP), a group Al-Ari­an cofound­ed that fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors have linked to Hamas.

    At an IAP con­fer­ence in Chica­go on Dec. 29, 1996, Alam­ou­di said: “I think if we were out­side this coun­try, we can say, “Oh, Allah, destroy Amer­i­ca,’ but once we are here, our mis­sion in this coun­try is to change it . . . You can be vio­lent any­where else but in Amer­i­ca.”

    In June 2001, Al-Ari­an was among mem­bers of the Amer­i­can Mus­lim Coun­cil invit­ed to the White House com­plex for a brief­ing by Bush polit­i­cal advis­er Karl Rove.

    The next month, the Nation­al Coali­tion to Pro­tect Polit­i­cal Free­dom _ a civ­il lib­er­ties group head­ed by Al-Ari­an _ gave Norquist an award for his work to abol­ish the use of secret intel­li­gence evi­dence in ter­ror­ism cas­es, a posi­tion Bush had adopt­ed in the 2000 cam­paign.

    For a time, the point per­son at the White House arrang­ing the Mus­lim groups’ access was Suhail Khan, a for­mer direc­tor of the Islam­ic Insti­tute.

    Con­ser­v­a­tives were sus­pi­cious of Khan because his late father had been imam at a mosque in San­ta Clara, Calif., which once host­ed Osama bin Laden’s sec­ond in com­mand, the Egypt­ian doc­tor Ayman al-Zawahiri.

    ...

    ————

    “Friends in high places” by MARY JACOBY; St. Peters­burg Times; 03/11/2003

    “Best known for his high-pro­file cam­paign for a “Star Wars” nation­al mis­sile defense sys­tem, Gaffney for months had been qui­et­ly pur­su­ing anoth­er project: try­ing to con­vince the Bush admin­is­tra­tion to more close­ly scru­ti­nize the Mus­lim activists whom Norquist was bring­ing into the pres­i­den­t’s orbit.”

    Yes, estab­lished war mon­ger Frank Gaffney had a new war back in 2003: con­vinc­ing the GOP to rebuke Grover Norquist’s net­work­ing with Mus­lim Broth­er­hood asso­ciates. And as Gaffney learned, that’s eas­i­er said than done because it was­n’t just Grover doing the net­work­ing, as George W. Bush made clear dur­ing his 2000 cam­paign:

    ...
    As part of Norquist’s well pub­li­cized strat­e­gy to mine the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty for GOP votes, Al-Ari­an had cam­paigned for Bush in 2000, posed for a pho­to with the can­di­date at Plant City’s Straw­ber­ry Fes­ti­val and boast­ed pub­licly that Mus­lims in Flori­da may have tipped the close pres­i­den­tial elec­tion to Bush.

    Now, Al-Ari­an was vis­it­ing the Islam­ic Insti­tute, a Mus­lim out­reach group cofound­ed by Norquist and housed with­in his office suite.

    And so Gaffney found a rea­son to be in the hall­way when Islam­ic Insti­tute chair­man Khaled Saf­fu­ri walked a man Gaffney rec­og­nized as Al-Ari­an to the ele­va­tor. Saf­fu­ri said good­bye, then head­ed for the bath­room.

    ...

    Once the leader of a cranky cabal of out-of-pow­er Repub­li­cans, Norquist after 1994 became a polit­i­cal gate­keep­er. Can­di­dates sought his advice, and dark-suit­ed lob­by­ists clam­ored to attend week­ly strat­e­gy meet­ings Norquist held for Capi­tol Hill aides and GOP activists in his offices each Wednes­day.

    Those in Norquist’s favor sit at the con­fer­ence table in the mid­dle of the room. The oth­ers stand, packed shoul­der-to-shoul­der. Among those with a reg­u­lar seat at the table, par­tic­i­pants say, is the Islam­ic Insti­tute’s Saf­fu­ri.

    Norquist and Saf­fu­ri found­ed the Islam­ic Insti­tute in 1999 with seed mon­ey from Qatar, Kuwait and oth­er Mid­dle East­ern sources. Among the con­trib­u­tors, records show, was Saf­fu­ri’s for­mer boss, a Mus­lim char­i­ty direc­tor and founder of the Amer­i­can Mus­lim Coun­cil, Abdu­rah­man Alam­ou­di.
    ...

    And sure enough, we find that the IIIT was one of the enti­ties that cut the orig­i­nal checks for Norquist’s Islam­ic Insti­tute, reflect­ing the IIIT’s role as a kind of par­ent orga­ni­za­tion of this broad­er net­work:

    ...
    The records show Alam­ou­di gave at least $35,000 to the insti­tute, although Alam­ou­di said in a writ­ten state­ment he did “not rec­ol­lect hav­ing been quite that gen­er­ous.”

    Also fund­ing the insti­tute were two Vir­ginia-based non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions. The Safa Trust donat­ed at least $35,000, and the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Islam­ic Thought gave $11,000, the records show.

    Last March, fed­er­al author­i­ties raid­ed those groups and oth­ers in Oper­a­tion Green­quest, a major assault on sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ist finan­cial net­works.

    Among the more than 50 tar­gets of the raid were peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions con­nect­ed to Norquist and the Islam­ic Insti­tute. They includ­ed Sami Al-Ari­an, a char­i­ty asso­ci­at­ed with Alam­ou­di, Safa Trust and the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute for Islam­ic Thought, or IIIT.

    In addi­tion to finan­cial­ly sup­port­ing Norquist’s insti­tute, the IIIT also had fund­ed Al-Ari­an’s think tank at USF, which the FBI shut down in a 1995 raid, and the school Al-Ari­an found­ed, the Islam­ic Acad­e­my of Flori­da.

    ...

    After Norquist’s Islam­ic Insti­tute began try­ing to woo Mus­lims to the GOP in 1999, then-can­di­date Bush began pop­ping up in pho­tographs with var­i­ous polit­i­cal­ly con­nect­ed Mus­lims.

    The only prob­lem was, many of these same promi­nent Mus­lims were also under scruti­ny by fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors for links to ter­ror­ism.

    “In some ways he’s very naive about peo­ple,” con­ser­v­a­tive activist Paul Weyrich said of his friend and some-time polit­i­cal rival, Norquist. “I don’t blame him for push­ing whomev­er he thinks is going to help him with his polit­i­cal objec­tives. But some­body on the inside (of the admin­is­tra­tion) has to say no.”
    ...

    Times change. Well, at least in some respects. Now it’s the IIIT spon­sor­ing the hawk­ish think-tanks push­ing out the regime-change pro­pa­gan­da, at the behest of a far right Chi­nese cult no less. It’s what pass­es as progress for the GOP. Beg­gars can’t be choosers.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 26, 2021, 2:43 pm
  2. Fol­low­ing up on the fas­ci­nat­ing recent Gray Zone piece about the role the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Islam­ic Thought (IIIT) lead­er­ship has played in the cre­ation and pro­mo­tion of Uygher geno­cide claims, here’s a Gray Zone piece from a cou­ple of months ago about a major main­stream pro­mo­tion of the geno­cide claims via a New York Times op-ed writ­ten by an Amer­i­can woman of Uygher ances­try that more or less regur­gi­tat­ed the geno­cide claims of Adri­an Zenz. The op-ed neglect­ed men­tion that the author, Amelia Pang, was an employ­ee of the Epoch Times from 2011–2016.

    But the Gray Zone arti­cle does much more than detail a major exam­ple of main­stream media push­ing cat­a­pult­ing this mis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign. The arti­cle under­scores how the ‘con­cen­tra­tion camp’ claims from the West sud­den­ly erupt­ed in 2017, after the Trump admin­is­tra­tion basi­cal­ly made a new Cold War with Chi­na a major for­eign pol­i­cy objec­tive in keep­ing with Steve Ban­non’s vision of a new Great Pow­ers war. Claims echoed by Zenz but orig­i­nat­ing from a a lone Uyghur sep­a­ratist media out­let in Turkey, Istiqlal TV, known for pro­vid­ing a plat­form to the al Qae­da-affil­i­at­ed East Turkestan Islam­ic Move­ment (ETIM). Mike Pompeo’s State Depart­ment removed ETIM from the US government’s offi­cial ter­ror­ist list in Octo­ber 2020. In oth­er words, when we’re look­ing at this pro­pa­gan­da effort we’re watch­ing a coor­di­nat­ed high-lev­el inter­na­tion­al effort to legit­imize al Qaeda’s pro­pa­gan­da. Because of shared inter­ests:

    The Gray Zone

    NY Times’ pseu­do-expert accus­ing Chi­na of geno­cide worked for far-right cult Falun Gong’s pub­lic­i­ty arm

    The New York Times recy­cled flim­sy claims by a right-wing apoc­a­lyp­tic extrem­ist to accuse Chi­na of “geno­cide,” in an op-ed by an Amer­i­can with 1/8th Uighur her­itage who worked for Epoch Times, a far-right, pro-Trump out­let backed by cult Falun Gong.

    Ben Nor­ton
    Jan­u­ary 28, 2021

    The New York Times pub­lished a fac­tu­al­ly chal­lenged op-ed accus­ing Chi­na of com­mit­ting “geno­cide” against its Uighur minor­i­ty. The arti­cle sourced its spu­ri­ous accu­sa­tions to a right-wing oper­a­tive who insists his research is part of a divine “mis­sion” against Bei­jing that is “led by God.”

    The author of the New York Times op-ed, Amelia Pang, hap­pens to be a for­mer employ­ee of the Epoch Times, a far-right pro­pa­gan­da arm of a fanat­i­cal anti-Chi­na cult called Falun Gong. The extrem­ist group preach­es that race-mix­ing, homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, fem­i­nism, and sci­ence are Satan­ic plots, and reveres Don­ald Trump as a God-like fig­ure who was sent down from heav­en to destroy the Com­mu­nist Par­ty of Chi­na.

    In a state­ment to The Gray­zone, Pang said, “The Epoch Times and the Falun Gong group do not rep­re­sent my views in any way.”

    How­ev­er, a review of her five years of work at the Epoch Times shows Pang churned out hyper­bol­ic anti-Chi­na report­ing while pub­lish­ing at least 17 arti­cles pro­mot­ing the Falun Gong cult or its cul­tur­al front group, Shen Yun.

    The New York Times’ deci­sion to run Pang’s com­men­tary was iron­ic in light of the lengthy fea­ture it pub­lished on the Falun Gong pro­pa­gan­da arm in Octo­ber 2020, which brand­ed the Epoch Times a “lead­ing pur­vey­or of right-wing mis­in­for­ma­tion” that is “push­ing dan­ger­ous con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries” with a “will­ing­ness to feed the online fever swamps of the far right,” and a “grow­ing influ­ence in Mr. Trump’s inner cir­cle.”

    In her Times op-ed, Pang deployed her 1/8th Uighur her­itage to por­tray her­self and her fam­i­ly as vic­tims of a pur­port­ed “geno­cide” car­ried out by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. At the same time, she acknowl­edged that she has lived her entire life in the Unit­ed States, and there­fore has lit­tle famil­iar­i­ty with Chi­na and its soci­ety.

    Pang’s op-ed ran just days before the Trump admin­is­tra­tion for­mal­ly accused Bei­jing of geno­cide. US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo, a far-right rap­ture-ready evan­gel­i­cal, alleged that Chi­na “has com­mit­ted geno­cide against the pre­dom­i­nant­ly Mus­lim Uyghurs and oth­er eth­nic and reli­gious minor­i­ty groups in Xin­jiang.”

    The Pom­peo State Depart­ment pro­vid­ed no evi­dence to bol­ster its extreme accu­sa­tions, yet alleged that China’s cam­paign of “geno­cide” began in March 2017.

    The Gray­zone has report­ed exten­sive­ly on the West­ern dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign against Chi­na, chron­i­cling how dis­crim­i­na­tion against the Uighurs and oth­er minori­ties have been spun into accu­sa­tions of geno­cide, includ­ing claims of “con­cen­tra­tion camps” hold­ing mil­lions of detainees. In near­ly every case, incen­di­ary cor­po­rate media and State Depart­ment claims relat­ed to the issue rely on ques­tion­able research by a sin­gle far-right oper­a­tive with extrem­ist views and a net­work of anti-Chi­na NGOs fund­ed by the US gov­ern­ment and the arms indus­try.

    The New York Times has been a cen­tral con­vey­or belt for the trans­mis­sion of the US infor­ma­tion war against Chi­na, pro­vid­ing it with a crit­i­cal pati­na of jour­nal­is­tic cred­i­bil­i­ty and mar­ket­ing it to the lib­er­al intel­li­gen­sia that com­pris­es the Times’ read­er­ship.

    For­mer Epoch Times reporter relies on far-right oper­a­tive in New York Times

    The New York Times print­ed Pang’s op-ed, “It Took a Geno­cide for Me to Remem­ber My Uighur Roots,” on Jan­u­ary 10. The faulty arti­cle was a case study in how lit­tle evi­dence cor­po­rate media edi­tors require to green light a piece as long as it accus­es offi­cial US ene­mies of the most titan­ic of war crimes.

    The Times trans­lat­ed the op-ed from Eng­lish into both sim­pli­fied and tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese so it could be read around the world.

    In the arti­cle, Pang acknowl­edged, “I have lived in the Unit­ed States my entire life,” and “no one [in my fam­i­ly] had ever vis­it­ed Xin­jiang apart from my moth­er and one aunt, and nei­ther of them had stayed in touch with the rel­a­tives they met.”

    But she wrote, “my mater­nal grand­moth­er was half Uighur” – or, her great-grand­moth­er was Uighur, which made her 1/8th Uighur. And in the hyper-iden­ti­tar­i­an neolib­er­al cul­ture that now dom­i­nates the New York Times news­room, this was enough to con­fer unas­sail­able author­i­ty upon the author.

    Despite her dis­tant con­nec­tion to Chi­na, Pang char­ac­ter­ized her­self and her fam­i­ly as vic­tims of the Chi­nese com­mu­nist par­ty. “China’s forced assim­i­la­tion poli­cies still reached me,” she wrote, attribut­ing her total lack of knowl­edge of Uighur cul­ture not to her family’s fair­ly typ­i­cal sto­ry of assim­i­la­tion as Amer­i­can immi­grants, but rather to Beijing’s sup­posed cru­el­ty.

    “I’m sor­ry it took a geno­cide for me to remem­ber I am Uighur,” Pang tweet­ed.

    My essay in the @nytopinion on my fam­i­ly’s lost Uighur roots. I’m sor­ry it took a geno­cide for me to remem­ber I am Uighur.https://t.co/nUpmTsFKy6— Amelia Pang (@ameliapangg) Jan­u­ary 11, 2021

    It is notable that the Times was so will­ing to enter­tain the accusato­ry angst of a US pun­dit with 1/8th Uighur her­itage, while it active­ly ignores and silences the many Uighurs born and raised in China’s Xin­jiang province, who sup­port the Com­mu­nist Par­ty of Chi­na and the government’s devel­op­men­tal poli­cies. The de fac­to pol­i­cy is sim­i­lar to its dis­portion­ate reliance on quotes from lib­er­al and Islamist exiles from Syr­ia while refus­ing to quote mem­bers of the country’s loy­al­ist major­i­ty liv­ing inside Syr­ia.

    Mean­while, social media plat­forms like Twit­ter and Face­book have sus­pend­ed the accounts of promi­nent Uighurs and oth­er Chi­nese Mus­lims who pro­vid­ed an alter­na­tive per­spec­tive on the con­flict. In West­ern media, only one view­point is allowed: that which serves the inter­est of Wash­ing­ton and its new Cold War.

    Pang’s Times arti­cle was also sig­nif­i­cant in the polit­i­cal mark­er it estab­lished: It allowed the news­pa­per of record to accuse Bei­jing of geno­cide, echo­ing the US gov­ern­ment, while main­tain­ing a veneer of inde­pen­dence by doing so through an op-ed.

    In her arti­cle, Pang moved well beyond crit­i­ciz­ing Chi­nese dis­crim­i­na­tion against the minor­i­ty Uighur com­mu­ni­ty and the government’s heavy-hand­ed approach to com­bat­ing Islamist extrem­ist sep­a­ratist groups in the region, who have car­ried out a wave of ter­ror­ist attacks tar­get­ing both gov­ern­ment tar­gets and civil­ians.

    To make her case that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment was guilty of “geno­cide,” Pang mis­lead­ing­ly implied that the Unit­ed Nations has accused Chi­na of the crime – a dis­in­for­ma­tion tac­tic that has become com­mon in anti-Chi­na report­ing in the West­ern media. But the UN has not done so.

    “In recent years, iden­ti­fy­ing as Uighur has become a mat­ter of life and death,” Pang wrote. “What start­ed as a cul­tur­al geno­cide has pro­gressed into a lit­er­al one, as defined by the Unit­ed Nations.”

    In this decep­tive­ly word­ed line, Pang linked to an arti­cle by US gov­ern­ment-fund­ed broad­cast­er NPR, titled “Chi­na Sup­pres­sion Of Uighur Minori­ties Meets U.N. Def­i­n­i­tion Of Geno­cide, Report Says.” This arti­cle is also mis­lead­ing.

    The report both Pang and NPR were cit­ing was not a Unit­ed Nations doc­u­ment, but rather an inves­ti­ga­tion by a far-right Ger­man aca­d­e­m­ic named Adri­an Zenz.

    The Gray­zone has pre­vi­ous­ly revealed Zenz to be an extrem­ist Chris­t­ian who oppos­es homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and gen­der equal­i­ty and claims to be “led by God” against Chi­na.

    Claims that Chi­na has detained mil­lions of Uyghur Mus­lims are based large­ly on two stud­ies. @ajitxsingh & @MaxBlumenthal exam­ine these dubi­ous papers, their US gov­ern­ment back­ers, shod­dy method­olo­gies – and the rap­ture-ready “researcher” Adri­an Zenz.https://t.co/jvEy8WvrOO— The Gray­zone (@TheGrayzoneNews) Decem­ber 25, 2019

    Zenz even told the Wall Street Jour­nal that his high­ly ques­tion­able work on Xin­jiang is “like a mis­sion, or a min­istry” for him. That is to say, his research is explic­it­ly moti­vat­ed by his ide­ol­o­gy, the pre­cise oppo­site of social sci­ence.

    The far-right Ger­man aca­d­e­m­ic is the source for prac­ti­cal­ly every West­ern media report alleg­ing “geno­cide” and enor­mous con­cen­tra­tion camps in Xin­jiang. Zenz, who has not spent a sig­nif­i­cant peri­od of time in Chi­na, and has no evi­dent schol­ar­ly exper­tise on Chi­nese pol­i­tics, his­to­ry, or soci­ety, is not so much an aca­d­e­m­ic as he is a right-wing oper­a­tive.

    Zenz has also found time to vol­un­teer his belief that God’s apoc­a­lyp­tic Rap­ture will soon come, and Jews who refuse to con­vert to Chris­tian­i­ty will, in his words, be “wiped out” and shoved in a “fiery fur­nace,” as jour­nal­ist Dan Cohen report­ed.

    Adri­an Zenz, the pri­ma­ry source of west­ern media reports on Uyghur “con­cen­tra­tion camps”, is a Ger­man anti-Semi­te who believes Jews that refuse to con­vert to Chris­tian­i­ty will be “wiped out” and put into a “fiery fur­nace”.https://t.co/4iMObYmEzC pic.twitter.com/Unc7rvprCN— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) August 10, 2020

    Adri­an Zenz works for the Vic­tims of Com­mu­nism Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion, a right-wing lob­by group that was found­ed by the US gov­ern­ment and is linked close­ly to the Repub­li­can Par­ty. His research on Xin­jiang is clear­ly polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed by his explic­it desire to demo­nize the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and even­tu­al­ly over­throw the com­mu­nist par­ty.

    ...

    As Ajit Singh and Max Blu­men­thal report­ed for The Gray­zone, Zenz’s esti­mate that “over 1 mil­lion” Mus­lim minori­ties are held in “con­cen­tra­tion camps” in Xin­jiang was based on a lone report by Istiqlal TV, an Islamist media out­let run by Uyghur sep­a­ratists based in Turkey. The out­let pro­vides a friend­ly plat­form for extrem­ist sup­port­ers of the East Turkestan Islam­ic Move­ment (ETIM), a sep­a­ratist group that seeks to build an Islam­ic state in Xin­jiang, which it calls East Turkestan.

    ETIM, also known as the Turk­istan Islam­ic Par­ty (TIP), is an al-Qae­da-linked extrem­ist mili­tia that has car­ried out numer­ous ter­ror­ist attacks in Xin­jiang. It is rec­og­nized as a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion by the Unit­ed Nations, Euro­pean Union, and many coun­tries. Pompeo’s State Depart­ment removed ETIM from the US government’s offi­cial ter­ror­ist list in Octo­ber 2020, as part of Washington’s inten­si­fy­ing cold war on Chi­na.

    Despite the mas­sive and well-doc­u­ment­ed flaws in Zenz’s research, Amelia Pang cit­ed him by name in her Times op-ed, echo­ing his work to accuse Chi­na of over­see­ing a mas­sive increase in “forced ster­il­iza­tions” in Xin­jiang.

    In her arti­cle, Pang referred to Zenz sim­ply as “an expert on China’s eth­nic poli­cies,” con­ve­nient­ly over­look­ing his extreme-right polit­i­cal views and his work for a US gov­ern­ment-linked right-wing lob­by group.

    Despite his wide­spread por­tray­al as an “expert,” it is not clear if Zenz even speaks Man­darin Chi­nese or Uighur. The aca­d­e­m­ic has not done any pub­lic events show­ing pro­fi­cien­cy in either lan­guage. When jour­nal­ists from The Gray­zone asked Zenz about his qual­i­fi­ca­tions, he blocked them on social media.

    Mis­lead­ing­ly dis­tort­ing China’s anti-extrem­ism re-edu­ca­tion cen­ters

    From the very first line, Amelia Pang’s New York Times op-ed was based on dis­tor­tions. She wrote, “The first time I tru­ly real­ized I was Uighur was just three years ago, when I saw the now-infa­mous viral pho­to of rows of Tur­kic men in dark blue uni­forms, sit­ting in a con­cen­tra­tion camp in Hotan, Xin­jiang, a so-called Uighur autonomous region in Chi­na.”

    The pho­to Pang ref­er­enced has been heav­i­ly cir­cu­lat­ed by West­ern media out­lets and NGOs, and is upheld as prac­ti­cal­ly the only image prov­ing the exis­tence of “con­cen­tra­tion camps” run by Bei­jing. This char­ac­ter­i­za­tion is how­ev­er deeply mis­lead­ing.

    The pho­to was not tak­en by some coura­geous pris­on­er or cru­sad­ing inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist; it was pub­lished by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment itself, in a press release from 2014 — three years before the State Depart­ment claimed the “geno­cide” began in Xin­jiang.

    In fact, the orig­i­nal image was pub­lished on the Xin­jiang Bureau of Justice’s own WeChat account, with a water­mark iden­ti­fy­ing it as an offi­cial pho­to tak­en by Chi­nese author­i­ties. West­ern anti-Chi­na pro­pa­gan­dists have sub­se­quent­ly cropped off the water­mark and pre­sent­ed the pho­to as proof of Chi­na caught in the act.

    The pho­to shows a de-rad­i­cal­iza­tion pro­gram at a Chi­nese deten­tion cen­ter in Luopu Coun­ty, Xin­jiang on April 7, 2014.

    The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment press release said the event fea­tured talks from local Mus­lim lead­ers and pre­sen­ta­tions focused on “social sta­bil­i­ty” and “long-term peace” which “clear­ly clar­i­fied the tra­di­tion­al teach­ings and rules of Islam and right­eous­ness; clar­i­fied the seri­ous harm of reli­gious extrem­ism and vio­lent ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties; clar­i­fied the impor­tance of the uni­ty and strug­gle of all eth­nic groups in Xin­jiang for com­mon pros­per­i­ty and devel­op­ment; clar­i­fied the impor­tance of Xinjiang’s devel­op­ment.”

    Oth­er pho­tos tak­en at the same 2014 anti-extrem­ist event in Xin­jiang have nev­er been shared in West­ern media reports, and for obvi­ous rea­sons: they depict innocu­ous scenes that stand at odds with the offi­cial US gov­ern­ment por­tray­al.

    While the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has chal­lenged hyper­bol­ic accu­sa­tions of run­ning “con­cen­tra­tion camps,” it has open­ly admit­ted to oper­at­ing de-rad­i­cal­iza­tion cen­ters for Islamist extrem­ists – mem­bers of the same sep­a­ratist orga­ni­za­tions that have car­ried out scores of mass casu­al­ty attacks in the Xin­jiang region, killing state offi­cials and civil­ians alike.

    It is cer­tain­ly fair to char­ac­ter­ize the tac­tics used in the Chi­nese government’s crack­down on extrem­ism and sep­a­ratism in Xin­jiang as heavy-hand­ed, and even repres­sive, but the real­i­ty is a far cry from a cam­paign of “geno­cide.”

    The term “con­cen­tra­tion camp” in West­ern anti-Chi­na pro­pa­gan­da is clear­ly meant to invoke the mass exter­mi­na­tion that took place in Nazi death camps. Washington’s goal is to depict Bei­jing as a Nazi-like gov­ern­ment, in order to jus­ti­fy aggres­sive US actions against the coun­try and an even­tu­al push for regime change.

    The high­ly sus­pect research from anti-Chi­na activists like Adri­an Zenz have absurd­ly exag­ger­at­ed the num­ber of peo­ple who have passed through these re-edu­ca­tion cen­ters. The bot­tom-feed­ing pun­dits des­per­ate to val­i­date Zenz’s shod­dy research have resort­ed to car­toon­ish­ly pre­pos­ter­ous pro­pa­gan­da that por­trays the sit­u­a­tion as worse than the Nazi Holo­caust.

    This car­toon­ish & insult­ing pro­pa­gan­da illus­trates why @TheGrayzoneNews has chal­lenged dom­i­nant US gov’t/media claims on Xin­jiang. CJ’s “source” works w/ an NED-fund­ed sep­a­ratist group. (https://t.co/5KR3ELwaxb). Just as dubi­ous as far-right Adri­an Zenz. (https://t.co/1TSEZbXAuA) https://t.co/bScwv9zAmx— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) August 24, 2020

    Before the US ini­ti­at­ed its new Cold War with Chi­na, West­ern cor­po­rate media out­lets open­ly acknowl­edged that Chi­na faced a major nation­al secu­ri­ty threat in Xin­jiang in the form of a Wah­habist sep­a­ratist move­ment deter­mined to desta­bi­lize the entire region and ulti­mate­ly break away.

    In a 2017 report titled “Uighurs fight­ing in Syr­ia take aim at Chi­na,” the Asso­ci­at­ed Press report­ed, “Since 2013, thou­sands of Uighurs, a Tur­kic-speak­ing Mus­lim minor­i­ty from west­ern Chi­na, have trav­eled to Syr­ia to train with the Uighur mil­i­tant group Turk­istan Islam­ic Par­ty and fight along­side al-Qai­da, play­ing key roles in sev­er­al bat­tles.”

    The AP con­tin­ued: “Uighur mil­i­tants have killed hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, in attacks inside Chi­na in a decades-long insur­gency that ini­tial­ly tar­get­ed police and oth­er sym­bols of Chi­nese author­i­ty but in recent years also includ­ed civil­ians.”

    The out­let quot­ed a Uighur mil­i­tant who said his group trav­eled to Syr­ia “to learn how to use the weapons and then go back to Chi­na.” Anoth­er extrem­ist said they were bas­ing their move­ment on Zion­ism, and hoped to cre­ate an Islamist ver­sion of Israel in mod­ern-day Xin­jiang.

    “The end of Syria’s war may be the begin­ning of China’s worst fears,” the AP wrote.

    While Wash­ing­ton has pre­ferred killing Islamist extrem­ists like these with drones and mil­i­tary inter­ven­tions, Chi­na has resort­ed to re-edu­ca­tion cen­ters.

    For Bei­jing, the Xin­jiang region is extreme­ly impor­tant. It is a key geo-strate­gic loca­tion that lies at the heart of the New Silk Road that will pro­vide an eco­nom­ic bridge between Chi­na and Cen­tral Asia.

    Wash­ing­ton has made it clear that it wants to sab­o­tage Beijing’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, an ambi­tious plan to link Glob­al South nations and recen­ter Asia in the glob­al econ­o­my.

    And the Unit­ed States knows it can throw a mas­sive wrench in China’s plans by encour­ag­ing sep­a­ratist move­ments in Xin­jiang.

    This is pre­cise­ly why Washington’s regime-change arm the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy (NED), a CIA cutout estab­lished by the Ronald Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion at the end of the first Cold War, has poured mil­lions of dol­lars into Uighur sep­a­ratist groups.

    The NED pub­licly boast­ed of its sup­port for the Uighur sep­a­ratist move­ment on Twit­ter in Decem­ber 2020.

    To fur­ther #human­rights & human dig­ni­ty for all peo­ple in Chi­na, the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy has fund­ed Uyghur groups since 2004. #NEDemoc­ra­cy #Human­Rights­Day https://t.co/C0LJEyWxq1 pic.twitter.com/OqZdehdxXN— NEDemoc­ra­cy (@NEDemocracy) Decem­ber 10, 2020

    The accu­sa­tions of geno­cide and con­cen­tra­tion camps in Chi­na also fail to take into account a glob­al per­spec­tive. The Unit­ed States has less than 5 per­cent of the planet’s pop­u­la­tion, but near­ly 25 per­cent of its pris­on­ers.

    ...

    Careerism in the new Cold War

    Amelia Pang is the author of “Made in Chi­na: A Pris­on­er, an SOS Let­ter, and the Hid­den Cost of America’s Cheap Goods,” a book advanc­ing the forced labor alle­ga­tions made against Chi­na by the US State Depart­ment.

    Though she presents her­self as a lib­er­al, Pang sup­port­ed the Trump administration’s eco­nom­ic attacks on the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, clam­or­ing for the most aggres­sive mea­sures avail­able.

    In Jan­u­ary, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion announced strict trade poli­cies ban­ning the import of cot­ton and toma­toes from China’s Xin­jiang province, the autonomous region where most Uighurs live.

    The right-wing Vic­tims of Com­mu­nism Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion, which employs Adri­an Zenz and has exten­sive links to the US gov­ern­ment, claimed cred­it for help­ing to advanc­ing the new pol­i­cy.

    Pang took to Twit­ter to praise the Trump administration’s eco­nom­ic restric­tions.

    YES. https://t.co/WCTYEoqcf2— Amelia Pang (@ameliapangg) Jan­u­ary 14, 2021

    When Pang pub­lished her op-ed with the New York Times, the news­pa­per of record curi­ous­ly omit­ted her five years of work for the Epoch Times from her bio.

    Pang’s pub­licly avail­able LinkedIn pro­file shows that she worked for the pro­pa­gan­da arm of the Falun Gong cult between 2011 and 2016.

    Iron­i­cal­ly, the New York Times’ report­ing on the Epoch Times acknowl­edged that many of Falun Gong’s “stri­dent accounts of per­se­cu­tion in Chi­na can some­times be dif­fi­cult to sub­stan­ti­ate or veer into exag­ger­a­tion.”

    The New York Times referred to the Epoch Times as a “glob­al-scale mis­in­for­ma­tion machine that has repeat­ed­ly pushed fringe nar­ra­tives into the main­stream,” not­ing that the Falun Gong pro­pa­gan­da out­let has even pro­mot­ed the out­landish QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry.

    Pang fre­quent­ly report­ed on Chi­na-relat­ed issues for the Epoch Times. Some of her arti­cles includ­ed bla­tant PR for Falun Gong, with titles like “Lis­ten: Musi­cians From Swe­den to Mex­i­co Sing for Falun Gong.”

    Pang’s anti-Chi­na Epoch Times reports go all the way back to 2011, when she ampli­fied Falun Gong protests and described China’s Nation­al Day, the anniver­sary of the found­ing of the People’s Repub­lic, as a “Nation­al Tragedy Day to rebuff the Com­mu­nist Par­ty and its his­to­ry of vio­lence and atroc­i­ty.”

    Pang also wrote at least 12 PR pieces open­ly pro­mot­ing Shen Yun, a dance form that is used as a cul­tur­al front for the Falun Gong cult. In one, she quot­ed an Oba­ma White House staff mem­ber who called it the “best show around the world.”

    Pang also churned out a puff piece on anti-Chi­na sep­a­ratist leader Rebiya Kadeer, the mul­ti­mil­lion­aire Uighur oli­garch who, from inside the Unit­ed States, pre­vi­ous­ly ran the right-wing group the World Uyghur Con­gress, which is fund­ed by the US government’s NED regime-change arm.

    In the fawn­ing pro­file, Pang herozied Kadeer as the “Dalai Lama of Xin­jiang.” Not­ing that Kadeer was “China’s Rich­est Woman” and “the sev­enth rich­est per­son in Chi­na at the time,” Pang tout­ed the Uyghur sep­a­ratist leader as “one of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s top pub­lic ene­mies.”

    Not only was Pang aware of the US gov­ern­ment fund­ing for Kadeer’s sep­a­ratist activ­i­ties, she cel­e­brat­ed it in the arti­cle. “Remark­ably, Kadeer has man­aged to get fund­ing from the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy and pri­vate donors for the two orga­ni­za­tions she heads, the Uyghur Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion and the World Uyghur Con­gress,” Pang wrote.

    Pang also not­ed how, in a pri­vate meet­ing with George W. Bush in 2007, the US pres­i­dent praised Kadeer as “far more valu­able than the weapons of [China’s] army or oil under the ground.”

    In this Epoch Times puff piece, Pang went so far as to accuse Chi­na of “har­vest­ing the organs of live Uyghur pris­on­ers.”

    As her source for the accu­sa­tion, Pang cit­ed a book by Ethan Gut­mann, an eccen­tric Amer­i­can anti-Chi­na activist who has tes­ti­fied for the CIA, US Con­gress, and Knes­set. His research has been fund­ed in part by the NED.

    Gut­mann also worked for neo­con­ser­v­a­tive think tanks like the Project for the New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry (PNAC) and Foun­da­tion for Defense of Democ­ra­cies (FDD), key insti­tu­tion­al forces behind the Iraq War and the push for a war on Iran. Gutmann’s high­ly ide­o­log­i­cal research, which is often based on lit­tle more than rumors, was called into ques­tion even by the for­mer may­or of Taipei, Tai­wan, Beijing’s prin­ci­pal polit­i­cal rival.

    ...

    The Gray­zone con­tact­ed Amelia Pang with a request for com­ment, inquir­ing if she was aware of the Epoch Times’ close rela­tion­ship with Falun Gong and if she has had any affil­i­a­tion with the cult. She replied with just one line: “The Epoch Times and the Falun Gong group do not rep­re­sent my views in any way.”

    Inter­est­ing piece by @malipaquin @guardian. A Falun Gong prac­ti­tion­er seeks the Miss World crown – in Chi­na http://t.co/aesSV5NIwf— Amelia Pang (@ameliapangg) August 28, 2015

    Anti-Chi­na book pro­mot­ed by influ­en­tial US regime-change activist

    At the top of her per­son­al web­site, Amelia Pang adver­tis­es her book, “Made in Chi­na: A Pris­on­er, an SOS Let­ter, and the Hid­den Cost of America’s Cheap Goods,” which is due in Feb­ru­ary 2021.

    The book’s home­page high­lights a blurb writ­ten by Orville Schell, the direc­tor of the Cen­ter on U.S.-China Rela­tions at the Asia Soci­ety, an influ­en­tial NGO fund­ed by the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion and oth­er foun­da­tions with his­toric links to the US intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus.

    Schell also has an eye­brow-rais­ing record of work at the Ford Foun­da­tion, a CIA cut-out, in Indone­sia from 1964 to 1966, at pre­cise­ly the time when the country’s US-backed mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship was enact­ing an actu­al geno­cide. With help from the CIA, Indonesia’s dic­ta­tor Suhar­to mur­dered between 1 and 3 mil­lion com­mu­nists, left-wing sym­pa­thiz­ers, labor orga­niz­ers, and eth­nic Chi­nese peo­ple, in what the CIA pri­vate­ly admit­ted was “one of the worst mass mur­ders of the 20th cen­tu­ry,” along­side the Nazi Holo­caust.

    Schell under­took his Ford Foun­da­tion fel­low­ship in Jakar­ta when he was a grad­u­ate stu­dent at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley – the same insti­tu­tion where an infa­mous group of Indone­sian econ­o­mists known as the “Berke­ley Mafia” were trained with Ford Foun­da­tion fund­ing in the cap­i­tal­ist shock ther­a­py they imposed on Indonesia’s for­mer­ly social­ist-ori­ent­ed econ­o­my.

    The endorse­ment of Pang’s book by a fig­ure like Schell high­lights the use­ful­ness of her writ­ing to West­ern for­eign pol­i­cy elites. Her work was so use­ful, in fact, that her many years of employ­ment by a far-right pub­lic­i­ty arm for an anti-Chi­na cult that even the New York Times has lam­bast­ed was appar­ent­ly nec­es­sary to con­ceal.

    ———-

    “NY Times’ pseu­do-expert accus­ing Chi­na of geno­cide worked for far-right cult Falun Gong’s pub­lic­i­ty arm” by Ben Nor­ton; The Gray Zone; 01/28/2021

    Pang’s op-ed ran just days before the Trump admin­is­tra­tion for­mal­ly accused Bei­jing of geno­cide. US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo, a far-right rap­ture-ready evan­gel­i­cal, alleged that Chi­na “has com­mit­ted geno­cide against the pre­dom­i­nant­ly Mus­lim Uyghurs and oth­er eth­nic and reli­gious minor­i­ty groups in Xin­jiang.””

    Tim­ing is every­thing. Just days before the Trump admin­is­tra­tion for­mal­ly accused Bei­jing of geno­cide, the New York Times runs Amelia Pang’s op-ed that makes the same charge. Based heav­i­ly on the same flim­sy body of evi­dence from Adri­an Zenz that the New­lines Insti­tute report’s geno­cide claims were based on. And yet despite the New York Times’s ear­li­er report­ing about the Epoch Times becom­ing a lead­ing out­let of pro-Trump dis­in­for­ma­tion, the fact that Pang worked as a report­ed for the Epoch Times from 2011–2016 nev­er made it into the op-ed:

    ...
    When Pang pub­lished her op-ed with the New York Times, the news­pa­per of record curi­ous­ly omit­ted her five years of work for the Epoch Times from her bio.

    Pang’s pub­licly avail­able LinkedIn pro­file shows that she worked for the pro­pa­gan­da arm of the Falun Gong cult between 2011 and 2016.

    Iron­i­cal­ly, the New York Times’ report­ing on the Epoch Times acknowl­edged that many of Falun Gong’s “stri­dent accounts of per­se­cu­tion in Chi­na can some­times be dif­fi­cult to sub­stan­ti­ate or veer into exag­ger­a­tion.”

    The New York Times referred to the Epoch Times as a “glob­al-scale mis­in­for­ma­tion machine that has repeat­ed­ly pushed fringe nar­ra­tives into the main­stream,” not­ing that the Falun Gong pro­pa­gan­da out­let has even pro­mot­ed the out­landish QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry.

    Pang fre­quent­ly report­ed on Chi­na-relat­ed issues for the Epoch Times. Some of her arti­cles includ­ed bla­tant PR for Falun Gong, with titles like “Lis­ten: Musi­cians From Swe­den to Mex­i­co Sing for Falun Gong.”
    ...

    Giv­en Pang’s abil­i­ty to just waltz into an NY Times op-ed with­out any men­tion of her work at a known dis­in­for­ma­tion out­let, it should­n’t be a sur­prise that the geno­cide accu­sa­tions in Pang’s op-ed relied on many of the same poor­ly sourced accu­sa­tions that have been ped­dled by main­stream out­lets like US gov­ern­ment-fund­ed broad­cast­er NPR and pushed by UN pan­el. It’s all based on Zen­z’s ‘research’:

    ...
    To make her case that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment was guilty of “geno­cide,” Pang mis­lead­ing­ly implied that the Unit­ed Nations has accused Chi­na of the crime – a dis­in­for­ma­tion tac­tic that has become com­mon in anti-Chi­na report­ing in the West­ern media. But the UN has not done so.

    “In recent years, iden­ti­fy­ing as Uighur has become a mat­ter of life and death,” Pang wrote. “What start­ed as a cul­tur­al geno­cide has pro­gressed into a lit­er­al one, as defined by the Unit­ed Nations.”

    In this decep­tive­ly word­ed line, Pang linked to an arti­cle by US gov­ern­ment-fund­ed broad­cast­er NPR, titled “Chi­na Sup­pres­sion Of Uighur Minori­ties Meets U.N. Def­i­n­i­tion Of Geno­cide, Report Says.” This arti­cle is also mis­lead­ing.

    The report both Pang and NPR were cit­ing was not a Unit­ed Nations doc­u­ment, but rather an inves­ti­ga­tion by a far-right Ger­man aca­d­e­m­ic named Adri­an Zenz.

    ...

    The far-right Ger­man aca­d­e­m­ic is the source for prac­ti­cal­ly every West­ern media report alleg­ing “geno­cide” and enor­mous con­cen­tra­tion camps in Xin­jiang. Zenz, who has not spent a sig­nif­i­cant peri­od of time in Chi­na, and has no evi­dent schol­ar­ly exper­tise on Chi­nese pol­i­tics, his­to­ry, or soci­ety, is not so much an aca­d­e­m­ic as he is a right-wing oper­a­tive.

    ...

    Adri­an Zenz works for the Vic­tims of Com­mu­nism Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion, a right-wing lob­by group that was found­ed by the US gov­ern­ment and is linked close­ly to the Repub­li­can Par­ty. His research on Xin­jiang is clear­ly polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed by his explic­it desire to demo­nize the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and even­tu­al­ly over­throw the com­mu­nist par­ty.
    ...

    And Zen­z’s claims of over a mil­lion Mus­lims being held in Chi­nese con­cen­tra­tion camps research were, in turn, based on a lone report by Istiqlal TV, the media out­let run by Uyghur sep­a­ratists based in Turkey and asso­ci­at­ed with an al-Qae­da-linked mili­tia respon­si­ble for ter­ror­ist attacks in Xin­jiang. That’s the qual­i­ty of the pro­pa­gan­da being pushed here. Al-Qae­da pro­pa­gan­da. They might as well be pass­ing around copies of Inspire to sup­ple­ment their case:

    ...
    The Pom­peo State Depart­ment pro­vid­ed no evi­dence to bol­ster its extreme accu­sa­tions, yet alleged that China’s cam­paign of “geno­cide” began in March 2017.

    ...

    As Ajit Singh and Max Blu­men­thal report­ed for The Gray­zone, Zenz’s esti­mate that “over 1 mil­lion” Mus­lim minori­ties are held in “con­cen­tra­tion camps” in Xin­jiang was based on a lone report by Istiqlal TV, an Islamist media out­let run by Uyghur sep­a­ratists based in Turkey. The out­let pro­vides a friend­ly plat­form for extrem­ist sup­port­ers of the East Turkestan Islam­ic Move­ment (ETIM), a sep­a­ratist group that seeks to build an Islam­ic state in Xin­jiang, which it calls East Turkestan.

    ETIM, also known as the Turk­istan Islam­ic Par­ty (TIP), is an al-Qae­da-linked extrem­ist mili­tia that has car­ried out numer­ous ter­ror­ist attacks in Xin­jiang. It is rec­og­nized as a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion by the Unit­ed Nations, Euro­pean Union, and many coun­tries. Pompeo’s State Depart­ment removed ETIM from the US government’s offi­cial ter­ror­ist list in Octo­ber 2020, as part of Washington’s inten­si­fy­ing cold war on Chi­na.
    ...

    And as the arti­cle points out, the West­ern media was more than hap­py to acknowl­edge the real secu­ri­ty threats fac­ing Chi­na from Uyghurs trav­el­ing to Syr­ia and return­ing with skills and ide­olo­gies acquired from their al Qae­da affil­i­ates. Until the Trump admin­is­tra­tion reignit­ed its new Cold War with Chi­na in 2017:

    ...
    Before the US ini­ti­at­ed its new Cold War with Chi­na, West­ern cor­po­rate media out­lets open­ly acknowl­edged that Chi­na faced a major nation­al secu­ri­ty threat in Xin­jiang in the form of a Wah­habist sep­a­ratist move­ment deter­mined to desta­bi­lize the entire region and ulti­mate­ly break away.

    In a 2017 report titled “Uighurs fight­ing in Syr­ia take aim at Chi­na,” the Asso­ci­at­ed Press report­ed, “Since 2013, thou­sands of Uighurs, a Tur­kic-speak­ing Mus­lim minor­i­ty from west­ern Chi­na, have trav­eled to Syr­ia to train with the Uighur mil­i­tant group Turk­istan Islam­ic Par­ty and fight along­side al-Qai­da, play­ing key roles in sev­er­al bat­tles.”

    The AP con­tin­ued: “Uighur mil­i­tants have killed hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, in attacks inside Chi­na in a decades-long insur­gency that ini­tial­ly tar­get­ed police and oth­er sym­bols of Chi­nese author­i­ty but in recent years also includ­ed civil­ians.”

    The out­let quot­ed a Uighur mil­i­tant who said his group trav­eled to Syr­ia “to learn how to use the weapons and then go back to Chi­na.” Anoth­er extrem­ist said they were bas­ing their move­ment on Zion­ism, and hoped to cre­ate an Islamist ver­sion of Israel in mod­ern-day Xin­jiang.

    “The end of Syria’s war may be the begin­ning of China’s worst fears,” the AP wrote.
    ...

    But per­haps the most telling fun fact here reveal­ing the nature of the qual­i­ty of schol­ar­ship these are based on is the fact that the lone pho­to in Pang’s op-ed pur­port­ed­ly show­ing one of these Chi­nese con­cen­tra­tion camps was a pho­to released in 2014 by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment itself. One of many pho­tos released by the gov­ern­ment at the time, and yet this lone pho­to is the only one that has made its way into this pro­pa­gan­da effort. Because the rest of the pho­tos were damn­ing enough to fit the nar­ra­tive:

    ...
    From the very first line, Amelia Pang’s New York Times op-ed was based on dis­tor­tions. She wrote, “The first time I tru­ly real­ized I was Uighur was just three years ago, when I saw the now-infa­mous viral pho­to of rows of Tur­kic men in dark blue uni­forms, sit­ting in a con­cen­tra­tion camp in Hotan, Xin­jiang, a so-called Uighur autonomous region in Chi­na.”

    The pho­to Pang ref­er­enced has been heav­i­ly cir­cu­lat­ed by West­ern media out­lets and NGOs, and is upheld as prac­ti­cal­ly the only image prov­ing the exis­tence of “con­cen­tra­tion camps” run by Bei­jing. This char­ac­ter­i­za­tion is how­ev­er deeply mis­lead­ing.

    The pho­to was not tak­en by some coura­geous pris­on­er or cru­sad­ing inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist; it was pub­lished by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment itself, in a press release from 2014 — three years before the State Depart­ment claimed the “geno­cide” began in Xin­jiang.

    In fact, the orig­i­nal image was pub­lished on the Xin­jiang Bureau of Justice’s own WeChat account, with a water­mark iden­ti­fy­ing it as an offi­cial pho­to tak­en by Chi­nese author­i­ties. West­ern anti-Chi­na pro­pa­gan­dists have sub­se­quent­ly cropped off the water­mark and pre­sent­ed the pho­to as proof of Chi­na caught in the act.

    The pho­to shows a de-rad­i­cal­iza­tion pro­gram at a Chi­nese deten­tion cen­ter in Luopu Coun­ty, Xin­jiang on April 7, 2014.

    The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment press release said the event fea­tured talks from local Mus­lim lead­ers and pre­sen­ta­tions focused on “social sta­bil­i­ty” and “long-term peace” which “clear­ly clar­i­fied the tra­di­tion­al teach­ings and rules of Islam and right­eous­ness; clar­i­fied the seri­ous harm of reli­gious extrem­ism and vio­lent ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties; clar­i­fied the impor­tance of the uni­ty and strug­gle of all eth­nic groups in Xin­jiang for com­mon pros­per­i­ty and devel­op­ment; clar­i­fied the impor­tance of Xinjiang’s devel­op­ment.”

    Oth­er pho­tos tak­en at the same 2014 anti-extrem­ist event in Xin­jiang have nev­er been shared in West­ern media reports, and for obvi­ous rea­sons: they depict innocu­ous scenes that stand at odds with the offi­cial US gov­ern­ment por­tray­al.
    ...

    It’s easy to for­get that it was­n’t that long ago that Chi­na’s chal­lenges with Uyghur sep­a­ratists and their inter­na­tion­al ties to groups like al Qae­da was one of those rare points of com­mon ground between Chi­na and the West. The peo­ple cap­ture in Afghanistan and sent off to Guan­tanamo Bay includ­ed Uyghurs, and the Bush admin­is­tra­tion declared the ETIM a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion, after all. And then, all of a sud­den in 2017, spe­cious claims of geno­cide and mass con­cen­tra­tion camps become the default assump­tion. Because that’s how this works. Strate­gi­cal­ly craft­ed nar­ra­tives are devel­oped and pro­ject­ed across the globe via the con­cert­ed efforts of right-wing think-tanks, sep­a­ratist orga­ni­za­tions, gov­ern­ment agen­cies, and even UN pan­els, all coor­di­nat­ed by a shared agen­da of see­ing Chi­na bro­ken up by a sus­tained ter­ror­ist cam­paign and civ­il war. And no, that agen­da does not come close to meet­ing the def­i­n­i­tions of geno­cide. But it is pro­found­ly awful.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 27, 2021, 3:23 pm
  3. In light of the recent Gray Zone arti­cles about the IIIT’s rela­tion­ship to the net­work pro­mot­ing the ‘research’ of far right Ger­man aca­d­e­m­ic Adri­an Zenz as evi­dence of a Uygher geno­cide in Chi­na and, in turn, the reliance of those claims on sto­ries orig­i­nat­ing from a Turk­ish al Qae­da-affil­i­at­ed Uygher sep­a­ratist media out­let, here’s a Gray Zone piece from 2018 that address­es anoth­er one of the sources of these types of claims. Specif­i­cal­ly, claims of mas­sive “re-edu­ca­tion camps” alleged­ly hous­ing up to 2 mil­lion Uyghers at the time. Here’s the source of those claims:

    On August 10, 2018, the UN Com­mit­tee on the Elim­i­na­tion of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion con­duct­ed its reg­u­lar review of China’s com­pli­ance with the Inter­na­tion­al Con­ven­tion on the Elim­i­na­tion of All Forms of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion. That same day, Reuters pub­lished a report with the head­line “U.N. says it has cred­i­ble reports that Chi­na holds mil­lion Uighurs in secret camps,” which was enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly shared across the media. Here’s the prob­lem with that head­line: the UN Com­mit­tee on the Elim­i­na­tion of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion isn’t a com­mit­tee of UN experts. It’s a com­mit­tee of inde­pen­dent experts and their find­ings were there­fore not UN find­ings. It was basi­cal­ly a pan­el invit­ed to present their own con­clu­sions, some­thing wild­ly dif­fer­ent from a UN-backed find­ing. And it was the sole Amer­i­can on this pan­el, Gay McDougall, who was the source of the ‘2 mil­lion in re-edu­ca­tion camp claims’, with zero evi­dence pro­vid­ed for this claim dur­ing their hear­ing. So the UN invites a pan­el of inde­pen­dent ‘experts’ to tes­ti­fy about Chi­na’s poli­cies towards minori­ties, the Amer­i­can on the pan­el makes unsourced claims of mas­sive re-edu­ca­tion camps, and it gets trum­pet­ed across the main­stream West­ern press as a UN dec­la­ra­tion of Chi­nese con­cen­tra­tion camps. It’s a peek at how the sausage is made:

    The Gray Zone

    No, the UN did not report Chi­na has ‘mas­sive intern­ment camps’ for Uighur Mus­lims

    Media out­lets false­ly claimed the UN report­ed Chi­na is hold­ing a mil­lion Uighurs in camps. The claim is based on unsourced alle­ga­tions by an Amer­i­can com­mis­sion mem­ber, US-fund­ed out­fits, and a shad­owy gov­ern­ment-fund­ed oppo­si­tion group.

    Ben Nor­ton and Ajit Singh
    August 23, 2018

    Numer­ous major media out­lets, from Reuters to The Inter­cept, have claimed that the Unit­ed Nations has reports that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment is hold­ing as many as 1 mil­lion Uighur Mus­lims in “intern­ment camps.” But a close exam­i­na­tion of these news sto­ries, and of the evi­dence behind them — or the lack there­of — demon­strates that the extra­or­di­nary claim is sim­ply not true.

    A spokesper­son from the UN Office of the High Com­mis­sion­er for Human Rights (OHCHR) con­firmed in a state­ment to The Gray­zone that the alle­ga­tion of Chi­nese “camps” was not made by the Unit­ed Nations, but rather by a mem­ber of an inde­pen­dent com­mit­tee that does not speak for the UN as a whole. That mem­ber hap­pened to be the only Amer­i­can on the com­mit­tee, and one with no back­ground of schol­ar­ship or research on Chi­na.

    More­over, this accu­sa­tion is based on the thin­ly sourced reports of a Chi­nese oppo­si­tion group that is fund­ed by the Amer­i­can government’s regime-change arm and is close­ly tied to exiled pro-US activists. There have been numer­ous reports of dis­crim­i­na­tion against Uighur Mus­lims in Chi­na. How­ev­er, infor­ma­tion about camps con­tain­ing 1 mil­lion pris­on­ers has orig­i­nat­ed almost exclu­sive­ly from media out­lets and orga­ni­za­tions fund­ed and weaponized by the US gov­ern­ment to turn up the heat on Bei­jing.

    A bla­tant false­hood intro­duced by Reuters and echoed across main­stream media

    On August 10, the UN Com­mit­tee on the Elim­i­na­tion of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion con­duct­ed its reg­u­lar review of China’s com­pli­ance with the Inter­na­tion­al Con­ven­tion on the Elim­i­na­tion of All Forms of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion. The review, which is con­duct­ed peri­od­i­cal­ly for all 179 par­ties to the Con­ven­tion, has gen­er­at­ed a fren­zied response by the West­ern cor­po­rate press — one which is uni­form­ly mis­lead­ing.

    On the day of the review, Reuters pub­lished a report with an explo­sive head­line: “U.N. says it has cred­i­ble reports that Chi­na holds mil­lion Uighurs in secret camps.”

    The claim was fever­ish­ly repro­duced by out­lets such as The New York Times and The Wash­ing­ton Post to denounce Chi­na and call for inter­na­tion­al action. Even The Inter­cept’s Meh­di Hasan belt­ed out the breath­less head­line, “One Mil­lion Mus­lim Uighurs Have Been Detained by Chi­na, the U.N. Says. Where’s the Glob­al Out­rage?”

    The impres­sion read­ers were giv­en was that the UN had con­duct­ed an inves­ti­ga­tion and had for­mal­ly and col­lec­tive­ly made such charges against Chi­na. In fact, the UN had done no such thing.

    The head­line of Reuters’ report attrib­uted its explo­sive claim to the UN; yet the body of the arti­cle ascribed it sim­ply to the UN Com­mit­tee on the Elim­i­na­tion of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion. And this committee’s offi­cial web­site makes it clear that it is “a body of inde­pen­dent experts,” not UN offi­cials.

    What’s more, a look at the OHCHR’s offi­cial news release on the committee’s pre­sen­ta­tion of the report showed that the only men­tion of alleged re-edu­ca­tion “camps” in Chi­na was made by its sole Amer­i­can mem­ber, Gay McDougall. This claim was then echoed by a Mau­ri­tan­ian mem­ber, Yemhel­he Mint Mohamed.

    Dur­ing the committee’s reg­u­lar review of Chi­na, McDougall com­ment­ed that she was “deeply con­cerned” about “cred­i­ble reports” alleg­ing mass deten­tions of mil­lions of Uighurs Mus­lim minori­ties in “intern­ment camps.” The Asso­ci­at­ed Press report­ed that McDougall “did not spec­i­fy a source for that infor­ma­tion in her remarks at the hear­ing.” (Note that the head­line of the AP news wire is much weak­er than that of Reuters: “UN pan­el con­cerned at report­ed Chi­nese deten­tion of Uighurs.”)

    Video of the ses­sion con­firms that McDougall pro­vid­ed no sourc­ing to back up her remark­able claim.

    This is to say, one Amer­i­can mem­ber of an inde­pen­dent UN body made a provoca­tive claim that Chi­na was intern­ing 1 mil­lion Mus­lims, but failed to pro­vide a sin­gle named source. And Reuters and the West­ern cor­po­rate media ran with it any­way, attribut­ing the unsub­stan­ti­at­ed alle­ga­tions of one US indi­vid­ual to the UN as a whole.

    In an email to The Gray­zone, OHCHR spokesper­son Julia Gron­n­evet con­firmed that the CERD was not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the UN as a whole. “You are cor­rect that the Com­mit­tee on the Elim­i­na­tion of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion is an inde­pen­dent body,” Gron­n­evet wrote. “Quot­ed com­ments were made dur­ing pub­lic ses­sions of the Com­mit­tee when mem­bers were review­ing State par­ties.”

    Thus the OHCHR implic­it­ly acknowl­edged that the com­ments by McDougall, the lone Amer­i­can mem­ber of an inde­pen­dent com­mit­tee, were not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of any find­ing by the UN as a whole. The report by Reuters is sim­ply false.

    ‘Cred­i­ble reports’ from US gov­ern­ment-fund­ed oppo­si­tion group with zero trans­paren­cy

    In addi­tion to this irre­spon­si­ble mis­re­port­ing, Reuters and oth­er West­ern out­lets have attempt­ed to fill in the gaps left by McDougall, refer­ring to reports made by so-called “activist group” the Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers (CHRD).

    Con­ve­nient­ly left out of the sto­ry is that this orga­ni­za­tion is head­quar­tered in Wash­ing­ton, DC and fund­ed by the US government’s regime-change arm.

    CHRD advo­cates full-time against the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, and has spent years cam­paign­ing on behalf of extreme right-wing oppo­si­tion fig­ures.

    CHRD is not at all trans­par­ent about its fund­ing or per­son­nel. Its annu­al reports con­tain notes stat­ing, “This report has been pro­duced with the finan­cial sup­port of gen­er­ous donors.” But the donors are nev­er named.

    Pub­licly avail­able 990 IRS fil­ing forms reviewed by The Gray­zone show that the orga­ni­za­tion is sub­stan­tial­ly fund­ed by gov­ern­ment grants. In fact, in 2015 vir­tu­al­ly all of the organization’s rev­enue came from gov­ern­ment grants.

    CHRD’s 2015 form 990 dis­clos­es that $819,553 of its $820,023 rev­enue that year (99.94 per­cent) came from gov­ern­ment grants. A measly $395 came from invest­ments, with anoth­er $75 from oth­er sources.

    Accord­ing to its 2016 form 990, CHRD received $859,091 in gov­ern­ment grants in that year.

    The gov­ern­ments that pro­vid­ed these grants have not been dis­closed. The Gray­zone did not receive a response to sev­er­al emailed inter­view requests sent to the Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers.

    How­ev­er, tax doc­u­ments uncov­ered by The Gray­zone show that a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of this group’s bud­get comes from the US government’s Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy (NED), a CIA-linked soft-pow­er group that was found­ed by the Ronald Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion in the 1980s to push regime change against inde­pen­dent gov­ern­ments and sup­port “free mar­kets” around the world.

    In 2012, the NED gave the Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers $490,000. In 2012, it got a $520,000 grant from the NED.

    In 2014, the NED gave the group anoth­er $514,068.

    This mas­sive stream of fund­ing con­tin­ued: $496,000 from the NED in 2015, and anoth­er $412,300 in 2016.

    This NED grant in 2015 con­sti­tutes more than 60 per­cent of the $819,553 in gov­ern­ment grants CHRD received that year. The gov­ern­ments that pro­vid­ed the addi­tion­al $323,553 in fund­ing have not been dis­closed.

    A search of the NED’s grants data­base fur­ther con­firms that this CIA-linked US gov­ern­ment soft-pow­er orga­ni­za­tion allo­cat­ed approx­i­mate­ly half a mil­lion dol­lars in 2014 and 2015 to “sup­port the work of Chi­nese human rights defend­ers.”

    CHRD has used its gen­er­ous fund­ing to pro­vide grants to oppo­si­tion activists inside Chi­na, bankrolling dozens upon dozens of projects in the coun­try.

    On its tax forms, CHRD lists its address as the Wash­ing­ton, DC office of Human Rights Watch. HRW has long been crit­i­cized for its revolv­ing door with the US gov­ern­ment and its exces­sive­ly dis­pro­por­tion­ate focus on des­ig­nat­ed ene­mies of Wash­ing­ton like Chi­na, Venezuela, Syr­ia, and Rus­sia.

    Human Rights Watch did not respond to an email from The Gray­zone inquir­ing about its rela­tion­ship with CHRD.

    A who’s who of right-wing oppo­si­tion activists

    The Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers’ forms 990 also reveal that the board of the orga­ni­za­tion is a Who’s Who of exiled Chi­nese anti-gov­ern­ment activists.

    The chair of the group is the US-based activist Su Xiaokang, who pro­claimed that the Chi­nese pub­lic sup­pos­ed­ly “wants the U.S. to watch over activists, and is dis­ap­point­ed when Wash­ing­ton fails.” Fel­low US-based dis­si­dent Teng Biao is a CHRD direc­tor who has sar­cas­ti­cal­ly boast­ed of how the Chi­nese com­mu­nist par­ty dubbed him a “reac­tionary.”

    CHRD’s sec­re­tary is the Amer­i­can aca­d­e­m­ic Per­ry Link, who has built on wind­ing up on the Chi­nese government’s aca­d­e­m­ic “black­list.” Link tes­ti­fied for the US House Com­mit­tee on For­eign Affairs in 2014, claim­ing that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment is threat­en­ing aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom in the US.

    In his con­gres­sion­al tes­ti­mo­ny, CHRD sec­re­tary Link insist­ed the US gov­ern­ment should crack down on the Chi­nese government’s Con­fu­cius Insti­tute orga­ni­za­tion and instead fund its own pro-US Chi­nese-lan­guage pro­grams. Link char­ac­ter­ized Chi­nese-lan­guage pro­grams as a poten­tial Amer­i­can weapon against the Chi­nese com­mu­nist par­ty, argu­ing they could “very arguably do more to blunt the CPC’s advance than the [B‑2 Spir­it Bomber] air­plane could.”

    These are some of the pro-US, anti-Chi­nese gov­ern­ment fig­ures who lead the Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers.

    Oth­er­wise, there is very lit­tle pub­licly avail­able infor­ma­tion about CHRD. It appears to large­ly be the brain­child of its inter­na­tion­al direc­tor, Renee Xia, an oppo­si­tion activist who has pub­licly called for the US gov­ern­ment to impose sanc­tions on Chi­nese offi­cials under the Mag­nit­sky Act.

    Sup­port for a ‘non vio­lence advo­cate’ who loves America’s wars

    The Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers’ founder, Xia, was a strong sup­port­er of the impris­oned hard-right neo­con­ser­v­a­tive Chi­nese dis­si­dent Liu Xiaobo, and she cam­paigned years for his release.

    An archived ver­sion of the group’s web­site shows that as far back as 2010, CHRD was vocif­er­ous­ly advo­cat­ing on behalf of Liu, while liken­ing the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to Nazi Ger­many.

    While Liu Xiaobo became a cause cele­bre of the West­ern lib­er­al intel­li­gen­sia, he was a staunch sup­port­er of colo­nial­ism, a fan of the most blood-soaked US mil­i­tary cam­paigns, and a hard­core lib­er­tar­i­an.

    As writ­ers Bar­ry Saut­man and Yan Hairong report­ed in The Guardian in 2010, Liu led numer­ous US gov­ern­ment-fund­ed right-wing orga­ni­za­tions that advo­cat­ed mass pri­va­ti­za­tion and the West­ern­iza­tion of Chi­na. He also expressed open­ly racist views against the Chi­nese. “To choose West­ern­i­sa­tion is to choose to be human,” Liu insist­ed, lament­ing that tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese cul­ture had made its pop­u­la­tion “wimpy, spine­less, and fu cked up.”

    While CHRD described Liu as an “advo­cate of non-vio­lence,” he prac­ti­cal­ly wor­shiped Pres­i­dent George W. Bush and strong­ly sup­port­ed the ille­gal US-led inva­sion of Iraq, as well as the war in Afghanistan. “Non-vio­lence advo­cate” Liu was even a fan of America’s wars in Korea and Viet­nam, which killed mil­lions of civil­ians.

    CHRD’s most recent Chi­na report — the one cit­ed by Reuters and oth­er out­lets to give cre­dence to the alle­ga­tions of Uyghur re-edu­ca­tion camps — fur­ther high­lights the organization’s links to Wash­ing­ton and com­pro­mised impar­tial­i­ty.

    Most sources on the Uighur ‘camps’ sto­ry are US gov­ern­ment-linked

    A look at the sourc­ing of the Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers’ research rais­es many doubts about its legit­i­ma­cy. For one, the most-cit­ed source in the CHRD report, account­ing for more than one-fifth of the 101 ref­er­ences, is Radio Free Asia, a news agency cre­at­ed by the CIA dur­ing the Cold War pump out anti-Chi­na pro­pa­gan­da, and still today fund­ed by the US gov­ern­ment.

    Even The New York Times has referred to Radio Free Asia as a “World­wide Pro­pa­gan­da Net­work Built by the CIA.” Along with Voice of Amer­i­ca, Radio Free Europe / Radio Lib­er­ty, Radio y Tele­visión Martí, and Mid­dle East Broad­cast­ing Net­works, Radio Free Asia (RFA) is oper­at­ed by the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors (BBG), a fed­er­al agency of the US gov­ern­ment under the super­vi­sion of the State Depart­ment. Describ­ing its work as “vital to U.S. nation­al inter­ests,” BBG’s pri­ma­ry broad­cast­ing stan­dard is to be “con­sis­tent with the broad for­eign pol­i­cy objec­tives of the Unit­ed States.”

    The near-total reliance on Wash­ing­ton-linked sources is char­ac­ter­is­tic of West­ern report­ing on Uighurs Mus­lims in Chi­na, and on the coun­try in gen­er­al, which reg­u­lar­ly fea­tures sen­sa­tion­al head­lines and alle­ga­tions.

    In addi­tion to CHRD and RFA, it is com­mon for news reports to cite the World Uighur Con­gress, an orga­ni­za­tion fund­ed by the NED. At a recent NED event, The Gray­zone edi­tor Max Blu­men­thal inter­viewed World Uighur Con­gress chair­man Omer Kanat, who took cred­it for fur­nish­ing many of the claims of intern­ment camps to West­ern media.

    Anoth­er puta­tive human rights orga­ni­za­tion whose dubi­ous reports are fre­quent­ly echoed by Radio Free Asia, the Inter­na­tion­al Uyghur Human Rights and Democ­ra­cy Foun­da­tion, is like­wise bankrolled by the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy.

    This group received a stag­ger­ing $473,608 from the NED in 2009, along with $240,000 in 2010 and anoth­er $187,918 grant in 2011, putting it in the top tier of grantees those years.

    The US government’s regime-change arm sim­i­lar­ly finances the Uyghur Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion. This group, anoth­er source for Radio Free Asia sto­ries, raked in $280,000 grants from the NED in 2010 and then again in 2011, along with $265,000 in 2009.

    Yet anoth­er favorite con­gres­sion­al and main­stream media source for infor­ma­tion about Chi­na is the Jamestown Foun­da­tion, a neo­con­ser­v­a­tive think tank found­ed dur­ing the height of the Cold War by Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion per­son­nel with the sup­port of then-CIA Direc­tor William J. Casey. For­mer Jamestown board mem­bers include Dick Cheney and Zbig­niew Brzezin­s­ki.

    The lat­est inci­dent of mis­re­port­ing by Reuters is part of a trend of increas­ing­ly hos­tile, Cold War-like cov­er­age of Chi­na by the West­ern press — one that coin­cides with Washington’s push for con­flict with Bei­jing.

    ...

    ———-

    “No, the UN did not report Chi­na has ‘mas­sive intern­ment camps’ for Uighur Mus­lims” by Ben Nor­ton and Ajit Singh; The Gray Zone; 08/23/2018

    The claim was fever­ish­ly repro­duced by out­lets such as The New York Times and The Wash­ing­ton Post to denounce Chi­na and call for inter­na­tion­al action. Even The Inter­cept’s Meh­di Hasan belt­ed out the breath­less head­line, “One Mil­lion Mus­lim Uighurs Have Been Detained by Chi­na, the U.N. Says. Where’s the Glob­al Out­rage?””

    The UN found mil­lions of Uyghers liv­ing on con­cen­tra­tion camps. That was more or less the mes­sage trum­pet­ed across the head­lines. But when we dig down, it was actu­al­ly just the unsourced claim of Gay McDougall, a sin­gle mem­ber of an inde­pen­dent pan­el invit­ed to present its own find­ings. And sure, the con­tent of inde­pen­dent pan­els pre­sent­ing at the UN isn’t com­plete­ly non-news. But it’s a far cry from a ‘UN-backed find­ing by UN offi­cials’:

    ...
    The impres­sion read­ers were giv­en was that the UN had con­duct­ed an inves­ti­ga­tion and had for­mal­ly and col­lec­tive­ly made such charges against Chi­na. In fact, the UN had done no such thing.

    The head­line of Reuters’ report attrib­uted its explo­sive claim to the UN; yet the body of the arti­cle ascribed it sim­ply to the UN Com­mit­tee on the Elim­i­na­tion of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion. And this committee’s offi­cial web­site makes it clear that it is “a body of inde­pen­dent experts,” not UN offi­cials.

    What’s more, a look at the OHCHR’s offi­cial news release on the committee’s pre­sen­ta­tion of the report showed that the only men­tion of alleged re-edu­ca­tion “camps” in Chi­na was made by its sole Amer­i­can mem­ber, Gay McDougall. This claim was then echoed by a Mau­ri­tan­ian mem­ber, Yemhel­he Mint Mohamed.

    Dur­ing the committee’s reg­u­lar review of Chi­na, McDougall com­ment­ed that she was “deeply con­cerned” about “cred­i­ble reports” alleg­ing mass deten­tions of mil­lions of Uighurs Mus­lim minori­ties in “intern­ment camps.” The Asso­ci­at­ed Press report­ed that McDougall “did not spec­i­fy a source for that infor­ma­tion in her remarks at the hear­ing.” (Note that the head­line of the AP news wire is much weak­er than that of Reuters: “UN pan­el con­cerned at report­ed Chi­nese deten­tion of Uighurs.”)

    Video of the ses­sion con­firms that McDougall pro­vid­ed no sourc­ing to back up her remark­able claim.

    This is to say, one Amer­i­can mem­ber of an inde­pen­dent UN body made a provoca­tive claim that Chi­na was intern­ing 1 mil­lion Mus­lims, but failed to pro­vide a sin­gle named source. And Reuters and the West­ern cor­po­rate media ran with it any­way, attribut­ing the unsub­stan­ti­at­ed alle­ga­tions of one US indi­vid­ual to the UN as a whole.
    ...

    It’s also worth not­ing the exten­sive NED finan­cial back­ing to groups like the Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers (CHRD). Recall how far right gold-bug Judy Shel­ton was made the head of the NED in 2017. It’s a group effort:

    ...
    In addi­tion to this irre­spon­si­ble mis­re­port­ing, Reuters and oth­er West­ern out­lets have attempt­ed to fill in the gaps left by McDougall, refer­ring to reports made by so-called “activist group” the Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers (CHRD).

    Con­ve­nient­ly left out of the sto­ry is that this orga­ni­za­tion is head­quar­tered in Wash­ing­ton, DC and fund­ed by the US government’s regime-change arm

    ...

    In 2012, the NED gave the Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers $490,000. In 2012, it got a $520,000 grant from the NED.

    In 2014, the NED gave the group anoth­er $514,068.

    This mas­sive stream of fund­ing con­tin­ued: $496,000 from the NED in 2015, and anoth­er $412,300 in 2016.

    This NED grant in 2015 con­sti­tutes more than 60 per­cent of the $819,553 in gov­ern­ment grants CHRD received that year. The gov­ern­ments that pro­vid­ed the addi­tion­al $323,553 in fund­ing have not been dis­closed.

    A search of the NED’s grants data­base fur­ther con­firms that this CIA-linked US gov­ern­ment soft-pow­er orga­ni­za­tion allo­cat­ed approx­i­mate­ly half a mil­lion dol­lars in 2014 and 2015 to “sup­port the work of Chi­nese human rights defend­ers.”
    ..

    Final­ly, note the role Radio Free Asia — run by the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors — has been play­ing as a major CHRD source. It’s like an enclosed dis­in­for­ma­tion ecosys­tem, but broad­cast to the world:

    ...
    A look at the sourc­ing of the Net­work of Chi­nese Human Rights Defend­ers’ research rais­es many doubts about its legit­i­ma­cy. For one, the most-cit­ed source in the CHRD report, account­ing for more than one-fifth of the 101 ref­er­ences, is Radio Free Asia, a news agency cre­at­ed by the CIA dur­ing the Cold War pump out anti-Chi­na pro­pa­gan­da, and still today fund­ed by the US gov­ern­ment.

    Even The New York Times has referred to Radio Free Asia as a “World­wide Pro­pa­gan­da Net­work Built by the CIA.” Along with Voice of Amer­i­ca, Radio Free Europe / Radio Lib­er­ty, Radio y Tele­visión Martí, and Mid­dle East Broad­cast­ing Net­works, Radio Free Asia (RFA) is oper­at­ed by the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors (BBG), a fed­er­al agency of the US gov­ern­ment under the super­vi­sion of the State Depart­ment. Describ­ing its work as “vital to U.S. nation­al inter­ests,” BBG’s pri­ma­ry broad­cast­ing stan­dard is to be “con­sis­tent with the broad for­eign pol­i­cy objec­tives of the Unit­ed States.”

    The near-total reliance on Wash­ing­ton-linked sources is char­ac­ter­is­tic of West­ern report­ing on Uighurs Mus­lims in Chi­na, and on the coun­try in gen­er­al, which reg­u­lar­ly fea­tures sen­sa­tion­al head­lines and alle­ga­tions.

    In addi­tion to CHRD and RFA, it is com­mon for news reports to cite the World Uighur Con­gress, an orga­ni­za­tion fund­ed by the NED. At a recent NED event, The Gray­zone edi­tor Max Blu­men­thal inter­viewed World Uighur Con­gress chair­man Omer Kanat, who took cred­it for fur­nish­ing many of the claims of intern­ment camps to West­ern media.
    ...

    Now, as an grim­ly amus­ing look at how shady these num­bers are com­ing out of groups like the CHRD, here’s a twit­ter exchange from Novem­ber of 2018 between two fig­ures express­ing reser­va­tions about the CHRD esti­mates of 2 mil­lion peo­ple in intern­ment. One of those two fig­ures just hap­pens to be Adri­an Zenz. So the CHRD is ped­dling fig­ures even Zenz found dif­fi­cult to swal­low:

    First here’s a tweet from Rian Thum rais­ing ques­tions about a US embassy spokesper­son giv­ing an esti­mate of 800k‑2 mil­lion Uyghurs and Kaza­khs being held in intern­ment camps in Xin­jiang:

    US embassy spokesper­son gives esti­mate of 800k to over 2 mil­lion Uyghurs and Kaza­khs in intern­ment in Xin­jiang. These look like inter­nal num­bers. They’re not obvi­ous­ly derived from pub­licly avail­able stud­ies like UN CERD num­bers were. https://t.co/zbGQX6FdD2— Rian Thum (@RianThum) Novem­ber 15, 2018

    Zenz replies with a tweet point­ing out the 2 mil­lion esti­mate was cre­at­ed by adding “(fuzzy) part-time esti­mates”:

    800k was a Jan­u­ary esti­mate by Maya Wang, not based on much actu­al empir­i­cal data. Over 2M could have been derived from the CHRD research report which had high fig­ures from adding (fuzzy) part-time esti­mates.— Adri­an Zenz (@adrianzenz) Novem­ber 17, 2018

    Rian Thum replies with a tweet point­ing out that it would be add to pair these two vague esti­mates togeth­er, espe­cial­ly since the CHRD itself nev­er actu­al­ly claims 2 mil­lion peo­ple claim:

    That would be an odd pair­ing Also CHRD nev­er said 2m peo­ple in intern­ment camps.— Rian Thum (@RianThum) Novem­ber 17, 2018

    Zenz replies that, yes, the 2 mil­lion fig­ure actu­al­ly came from Gay McDougall and came from an exile Uygher group. Zenz then acknowl­edges that, yes, they may just be throw­ing around num­bers:

    Actu­al­ly 2M fig­ure was stat­ed by Gay McDougall at CERD. Which may have come from an exile Uyghur group esti­mate which tend to cite high­er fig­ures than 1M. Odd pair­ing indeed. You could be right but they may just throw around num­bers. https://t.co/Oe9LnPOfXb— Adri­an Zenz (@adrianzenz) Novem­ber 17, 2018

    Then Rian Thum points out that Gay McCougal­l’s 2–3 mil­lion esti­mates may actu­al­ly be a mis­read­ing of the CHRD’s num­bers for day indoc­tri­na­tion com­bined with intern­ment num­bers:

    I think Mac­Dougall said 2–3m, fol­low­ing CHRD’s num­bers for day indoc­tri­na­tion com­bined with intern­ment, but mis­read­ing them as intern­ment num­bers (or repeat­ing some­one else’s mis­read­ing).— Rian Thum (@RianThum) Novem­ber 17, 2018

    And Zenz replies that, yes, Thum is prob­a­bly cor­rect, mean­ing that McDougal­l’s num­bers are prob­a­bly based on a mis­read­ing of the CHRD’s own num­bers:

    Yes you are prob­a­bly right. The thing is that esti­mates like these get repeat­ed very eas­i­ly esp. when giv­en in high pro­file con­texts. Hence I am some­what scep­ti­cal re actu­al new data base in that let­ter.— Adri­an Zenz (@adrianzenz) Novem­ber 17, 2018

    That’s the qual­i­ty of data these accu­sa­tions are based on. We have Adri­an Zenz essen­tial­ly agree­ing on twit­ter that the main­stream reports on 800k‑2 mil­lion peo­ple held in Xin­jiang intern­ment camps was based on an odd pair­ing of two poor­ly sourced esti­mates, with McDougal­l’s the 2 mil­lion esti­mate com­ing from a mis­read­ing of the CHRD’s already ques­tion­able num­bers. Even Zenz has issues with the data qual­i­ty here.

    Or at least Zena had issues with those 2 mil­lion esti­mates back in Novem­ber of 2018. At the time, Zenz him­self was still esti­mate over 1 mil­lion being held in such camps. Flash for­ward to Novem­ber of 2019, and we find a Radio Free Asia report where Zenz shares with the audi­ence new­ly updat­ed esti­mates on the num­ber of peo­ple held in intern­ment camps. He’s revised his esti­mate up to around 1.8 mil­lion:

    Radio Free Asia

    Expert Says 1.8 Mil­lion Uyghurs, Mus­lim Minori­ties Held in Xinjiang’s Intern­ment Camps

    -By Joshua Lipes
    2019-11-24

    Author­i­ties in north­west China’s Xin­jiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have detained up to 1.8 mil­lion Uyghurs and oth­er Mus­lim minori­ties in as many as 1,300 to 1,400 intern­ment camps, one of the world’s fore­most experts on mass incar­cer­a­tions in the region said in a paper released Sun­day.

    Adri­an Zenz, senior fel­low in Chi­na Stud­ies at the Wash­ing­ton-based Vic­tims of Com­mu­nism Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion, obtained a cache of more than 25,000 files from dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ment depart­ments in the XUAR to inform his lat­est esti­mate of the num­ber of Uyghurs and oth­er Mus­lim minori­ties being held in a vast net­work of camps in the region since April 2017.

    Zenz had ini­tial­ly esti­mat­ed that some 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple are or have been detained in the camps, which he refers to as Voca­tion­al Train­ing Intern­ment Camps (VTICs), but in March this year revised his assess­ment to 1.5 mil­lion. Camp inmates have been accused of har­bor­ing “strong reli­gious views” and “polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect” ideas.

    “Adding 177,000 to the cur­rent intern­ment esti­mate of 1.6 mil­lion results in a com­bined fig­ure of 1.777 mil­lion, or approx­i­mate­ly 1.8 mil­lion,” he said in the report, which also cit­ed mem­bers of the Hui Mus­lim minor­i­ty as being among those detained.

    “This means that 15.4 per­cent of the adult Tur­kic and Hui minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tion are or have been interned. This is equiv­a­lent to just below one in six mem­bers of that pop­u­la­tion, with the dif­fer­ence to the author’s pre­vi­ous esti­mate from July 2019 of 1.5 mil­lion being explained by using updat­ed pop­u­la­tion fig­ures, includ­ing the Hui pop­u­la­tion in the sam­ple.”

    Zenz said that his new esti­mate was based on infor­ma­tion obtained most­ly from rur­al minor­i­ty regions in the XUAR’s Hotan (in Chi­nese, Het­ian), Kash­gar (Kashi), and Kizil­su Kirghiz (Kezileisu Keerkezi) Autonomous pre­fec­tures.

    Camps in the region num­ber up to 1,400, Zenz said in Sunday’s report, pro­vid­ing more spe­cif­ic details fol­low­ing an inter­view with RFA’s Uyghur Ser­vice ear­li­er this month, in which he said that he had obtained con­vinc­ing evi­dence to sug­gest that his “orig­i­nal esti­mate of at least one camp per admin­is­tra­tive unit between town­ship and pre­fec­ture lev­els, which adds up to 1,200, was accu­rate.”

    “Xin­jiang has at least 119 deten­tion cen­ters, one per admin­is­tra­tive unit above town­ship lev­el,” the report said.

    “Like­ly, there are more than that. That means that the region has prob­a­bly some­where between 1,300 and 1,400 extra­ju­di­cial intern­ment facil­i­ties (exclud­ing pris­ons).”

    In one tranche of data includ­ed in Sunday’s report, Zenz post­ed a spread­sheet con­tain­ing detailed infor­ma­tion on near­ly 1,500 per­sons detained from just one vil­lage in Kashgar’s Yarkand (Shache) coun­ty, with the last six dig­its of their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­bers redact­ed for pri­va­cy rea­sons.

    The report more gen­er­al­ly includes lists of detainees includ­ing “young per­sons with their sta­tus of study or work, lists of chil­dren with both par­ents in some form of deten­tion and how they are being cared for, lists of cou­ples of mixed eth­nic­i­ty and whether they still live togeth­er, lists of fam­i­lies and their ful­fill­ment of fam­i­ly plan­ning require­ments.”

    It also details “lists of per­sons below the pover­ty line or who are cur­rent­ly (or no longer) receiv­ing min­i­mum wel­fare pay­ments, or lists of per­sons who have failed or are unable to repay their gov­ern­ment-issued debt.”

    ‘Coer­cive and abu­sive’

    While Bei­jing once denied the exis­tence of the camps, Chi­na this year changed tack and began describ­ing the facil­i­ties as “board­ing schools” that pro­vide voca­tion­al train­ing for Uyghurs, dis­cour­age rad­i­cal­iza­tion, and help pro­tect the coun­try from ter­ror­ism.

    Report­ing by RFA’s Uyghur Ser­vice and oth­er media orga­ni­za­tions, how­ev­er, has shown that those in the camps are detained against their will and sub­ject­ed to polit­i­cal indoc­tri­na­tion, rou­tine­ly face rough treat­ment at the hands of their over­seers, and endure poor diets and unhy­gien­ic con­di­tions in the often over­crowd­ed facil­i­ties.

    Accord­ing to Zenz’s report, offi­cial gov­ern­ment doc­u­men­ta­tion “repeat­ed­ly and unam­bigu­ous­ly tes­ti­fies to the fact that Xinjiang’s VTICs engage in known and pre-exist­ing forms of coer­cive and abu­sive polit­i­cal re-edu­ca­tion.”

    He cites at least five dif­fer­ent XUAR gov­ern­ment or edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tion web­sites as stat­ing that the VTICs “are ded­i­cat­ed brain-wash­ing insti­tu­tions” that claim to “wash clean the brains of peo­ple who became bewitched by the extreme reli­gious ide­olo­gies of the ‘three forces,’” or the ter­ror­ism, sep­a­ratism, and reli­gious extrem­ism Chi­na says are threat­en­ing Xin­jiang.

    Zenz’s report also bol­sters reports that intern­ment camp detainees are “in invol­un­tary intern­ment” and that the camps are “heav­i­ly guard­ed, prison-like facil­i­ties.”

    Shift­ing strat­e­gy

    Speak­ing with RFA ear­li­er this month, Zenz said that Chi­na sig­nif­i­cant­ly increased its intern­ment and intern­ment capac­i­ty in the XUAR in 2018, but grad­u­al­ly shift­ed from “voca­tion­al train­ing” into what he called “invol­un­tary or coer­cive forms of labor” in the sec­ond half of last year.

    Zenz said that while it is dif­fi­cult to con­firm such trends, as there is lim­it­ed evi­dence to work from and China’s gov­ern­ment doesn’t pro­vide sta­tis­tics, he believes that “in 2019 Xin­jiang has been mov­ing from intern­ment into forced labor.”

    Last month, at a hear­ing in Wash­ing­ton held by the Con­gres­sion­al-Exec­u­tive Com­mis­sion on Chi­na (CECC), wit­ness­es includ­ing Zenz high­light­ed reports of a wide­spread sys­tem of forced labor in the XUAR, which requires Uyghurs and oth­er eth­nic minor­i­ty Mus­lims to work in the pro­duc­tion of tex­tiles, food, and light man­u­fac­tur­ing.

    Zenz detailed a forced labor sys­tem he called even “more shock­ing” than that of the intern­ment camps, which he said involved coerced mil­i­tary, polit­i­cal, and voca­tion­al train­ing for the pur­pose of work­ing in offi­cial­ly sub­si­dized com­pa­nies as part of a “busi­ness of oppres­sion.”

    ...

    ———–

    “Expert Says 1.8 Mil­lion Uyghurs, Mus­lim Minori­ties Held in Xinjiang’s Intern­ment Camps” by Joshua Lipes; Radio Free Asia; 11/24/2019

    Zenz had ini­tial­ly esti­mat­ed that some 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple are or have been detained in the camps, which he refers to as Voca­tion­al Train­ing Intern­ment Camps (VTICs), but in March this year revised his assess­ment to 1.5 mil­lion. Camp inmates have been accused of har­bor­ing “strong reli­gious views” and “polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect” ideas.”

    He start­ed off with a 1.1 mil­lion esti­mate, then bumped it up to 1.5 mil­lion in March of 2019. And by Novem­ber, Zenz had found enough ‘evi­dence’ to add up to almost 1.8 mil­lion intern­ment camp detainees. Esti­mat­ed detainees. Why, it’s almost as if Zenz is just throw­ing num­bers around:

    ...
    “Adding 177,000 to the cur­rent intern­ment esti­mate of 1.6 mil­lion results in a com­bined fig­ure of 1.777 mil­lion, or approx­i­mate­ly 1.8 mil­lion,” he said in the report, which also cit­ed mem­bers of the Hui Mus­lim minor­i­ty as being among those detained.

    “This means that 15.4 per­cent of the adult Tur­kic and Hui minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tion are or have been interned. This is equiv­a­lent to just below one in six mem­bers of that pop­u­la­tion, with the dif­fer­ence to the author’s pre­vi­ous esti­mate from July 2019 of 1.5 mil­lion being explained by using updat­ed pop­u­la­tion fig­ures, includ­ing the Hui pop­u­la­tion in the sam­ple.”
    ...

    And note what appears to be part of the expla­na­tion for the increased esti­mat­ed num­ber of intern­ment camp detainees: Chi­na was appar­ent­ly shift­ing from “voca­tion­al train­ing” into forms of slave labor in the sec­ond half of 2018. Or at least that’s what Zenz believes start­ed hap­pen­ing. He admits he does­n’t actu­al­ly have evi­dence for this:

    ...
    Speak­ing with RFA ear­li­er this month, Zenz said that Chi­na sig­nif­i­cant­ly increased its intern­ment and intern­ment capac­i­ty in the XUAR in 2018, but grad­u­al­ly shift­ed from “voca­tion­al train­ing” into what he called “invol­un­tary or coer­cive forms of labor” in the sec­ond half of last year.

    Zenz said that while it is dif­fi­cult to con­firm such trends, as there is lim­it­ed evi­dence to work from and China’s gov­ern­ment doesn’t pro­vide sta­tis­tics, he believes that “in 2019 Xin­jiang has been mov­ing from intern­ment into forced labor.”
    ...

    Yes, it’s dif­fi­cult to prove such claims due to a lack of evi­dence, but Zenz assures us that he believe them nonethe­less. Appar­ent­ly that’s sup­posed to be reas­sur­ing.

    All in all, it’s a rather gross peek at how the pro­pa­gan­da sausage gets made. The decep­tive pro­pa­gan­da sausage intend­ed to be the main ingre­di­ent of a recipe for WWIII. Beware of food poi­son­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 29, 2021, 4:46 pm
  4. Here’s a sto­ry that’s like an inter­sec­tion between two major sto­ries. A some­what sur­pris­ing and dis­turb­ing inter­sec­tion:

    The Geor­gia Repub­li­can response was swift after a num­ber of major US cor­po­ra­tions pub­licly came out against the recent vot­er sup­pres­sion laws passed by the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Geor­gia leg­is­la­tures and signed by Repub­li­can gov­er­nor Bri­an Kemp, with the GOP-con­trolled Geor­gia House vot­ing to rescind jet fuel tax breaks after Delta’s CEO crit­i­cized the new law.

    But it was the response from the GOP at the nation­al lev­el where we saw how this sto­ry about the GOP’s nation-wide push for ultra-restric­tive vot­ing laws could end up get­ting inter­twined with the broad­er push by the West to pro­mote the ‘Uygher geno­cide in Xin­jiang’ pro­pa­gan­da cam­paign. A pro­pa­gan­da cam­paign deeply root in far right sources like the works of far right ‘schol­ar’ Adrien Zenz or fig­ures asso­ci­at­ed with Falun Gong. Flori­da Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Mar­co Rubio joined in on the media out­rage over the cor­po­rate crit­i­cism by call­ing on the CEO of Delta to speak out about geno­cide in Xin­jiang. He did­n’t specif­i­cal­ly men­tion the Geor­gia elec­tion law, but the tim­ing made the mes­sage obvi­ous. This is appar­ent­ly going to be the GOP’s go-to ‘whataboutism’ response to its vot­er sup­pres­sion cam­paign: what about Chi­na? How can any­one dare crit­i­cize laws that harken back to the Jim Crow era unless they first denounce that obvi­ous geno­cide tak­ing place in Chi­na?

    It’s the new strate­gic meme that unfor­tu­nate­ly is going to be but­tressed by the State Depart­men­t’s deci­sion to but­tress the “geno­cide” claims of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle excerpt points out, this is hap­pen­ing in the con­text of the US State Depart­ment reit­er­at­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s last-minute dec­la­ra­tion of “geno­cide” in Xin­jiang a few days ago.

    Beyond that, there’s bipar­ti­san sup­port in Con­gress for a bill that would ban imports unless com­pa­nies can cer­ti­fy they are not using forced labor. Beyond that, And while that’s cer­tain­ly a worth­while import ban to impose when there’s cred­i­ble evi­dence of forced labor, it’s the kind of law that could end up under­min­ing legit­i­mate human rights laws if it turns out to be based on a bunch of garbage ‘research’ con­coct­ed for a regime-change push. The truth does tend to even­tu­al­ly come out on these things and there real­ly are long-term con­se­quences to mass lying cam­paigns even if the lies are tar­get­ing author­i­tar­i­an regimes. Long-term con­se­quences like a dilu­tion of the impact of legit­i­mate claims of forced labor and geno­cide in the future. So it’s look­ing like the gross­ly unsourced Chi­na geno­cide claims are going to be used as a rhetor­i­cal shield for the GOP’s attack on Democ­ra­cy at the same time the GOP’s attack on democ­ra­cy will be used to cat­a­pult the geno­cide claims into the nation­al dia­logue:

    The Finan­cial Times

    West­ern brands caught between US and Chi­na over human rights

    Com­pa­nies in invid­i­ous posi­tion as both sides ratch­et up pres­sure over Xin­jiang

    Demetri Sev­astop­u­lo in Wash­ing­ton and Andrew Edge­cliffe-John­son in New York
    April 1, 2021 12:28 pm

    West­ern com­pa­nies are being forced to choose between sup­port­ing human rights and prof­its from Chi­na, caught up in a bat­tle the US and its allies are wag­ing with Bei­jing over its per­se­cu­tion of Uyghur Mus­lims.

    As Chi­na comes under scruti­ny ahead of the 2022 Bei­jing Win­ter Olympics, human rights activists are urg­ing com­pa­nies to take a stand over the repres­sion of Uyghurs, which the US this week for­mal­ly declared was “geno­cide”.

    Mean­while, the US Con­gress is con­sid­er­ing leg­is­la­tion that would force com­pa­nies to ensure their sup­ply chains use no forced labour from Xin­jiang.

    The ris­ing pres­sure comes as Bei­jing has begun whip­ping up nation­al­ist oppo­si­tion to brands such as Nike and H&M that have voiced con­cerns about Xin­jiang or vowed to elim­i­nate the use of forced labour from the north­west­ern Chi­nese region from their sup­ply chains.

    While some com­pa­nies have stood their ground, oth­ers have removed crit­i­cisms from their web­sites.

    ...

    Jew­her Ilham, an activist whose father Ilham Tohti, a Uyghur rights advo­cate jailed for life by Chi­na on wide­ly-denounced sep­a­ratism charges, said it was “extreme­ly con­cern­ing” that some brands were embold­en­ing Bei­jing.

    “They’ll have to realise that they’re doing the wrong thing,” said Ilham, who works at Work­er Rights Con­sor­tium, a labour rights mon­i­tor­ing group. “This is a moral test that will be remem­bered by his­to­ry.”

    Can they ‘feel at peace’?

    While appar­el com­pa­nies face par­tic­u­lar pres­sure because Xin­jiang is the dom­i­nant source of Chi­nese cot­ton, con­cerns extend to oth­er sec­tors where the region is a crit­i­cal sup­pli­er, such as poly­sil­i­con used to make solar pan­els.

    Sophie Richard­son, Chi­na direc­tor at Human Rights Watch, said she was receiv­ing a del­uge of calls from com­pa­nies as pres­sure mounts.

    “I’ve got­ten more calls since the begin­ning of this year than in my pre­vi­ous 15 years at Human Rights Watch,” she said. “Banks, man­u­fac­tur­ers, invest­ment firms, tex­tile com­pa­nies are all ask­ing the same ques­tion — in light of all the infor­ma­tion . . . about Xin­jiang, can they main­tain their busi­ness there and feel at peace with it?”

    ...

    “These appar­el brands are . . . in a near­ly impos­si­ble place and they just have to decide which side of his­to­ry they’re on,” Free­man said. “There are no easy outs.”

    Ris­ing pres­sure in Wash­ing­ton

    A bipar­ti­san group of US sen­a­tors has intro­duced a bill that would ban imports unless com­pa­nies can cer­ti­fy they are not using forced labour.

    Mar­co Rubio, a Repub­li­can sen­a­tor who is help­ing dri­ve the bill, called on Ed Bas­t­ian, chief exec­u­tive of Delta Air Lines, to speak out about “geno­cide” in Xin­jiang after air­line com­ment­ed on vot­ing rights in the US.

    “Far too many multi­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions are too eager to make their voic­es heard on the woke issues of the day in the US, but remain stun­ning­ly silent, or in Delta’s case, com­plic­it, in real, ongo­ing atroc­i­ties in coun­tries like Chi­na,” Rubio wrote in a let­ter to Delta. “One can only con­clude that you believe stand­ing up to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist par­ty would be bad for Delta’s busi­ness in Chi­na.”

    Sup­port for the bill — which is sim­i­lar to one that eas­i­ly passed the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives last year — high­lights rapid­ly grow­ing con­cern in Con­gress about Chi­na that match­es ris­ing investor focus on social and geopo­lit­i­cal risks.

    “Com­pa­nies are frozen like rab­bits in the head­lights,” said Ali­son Tay­lor of New York University’s Stern busi­ness school. “The sup­ply chain over­sight night­mare is com­ing to a head.”

    In Decem­ber the Coali­tion to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region asked Ama­zon, Apple, Coca-Cola and oth­ers to “come clean” on where they stood on the bill after reports that some had lob­bied to water it down. Some com­pa­nies are push­ing law­mak­ers to give them more time to make sure that they are com­ply­ing with any changes.

    Jen­nifer Bis­ceglie, chief exec­u­tive of Interos, a sup­ply chain con­sul­tan­cy, said busi­ness­es want­ed help iden­ti­fy­ing their expo­sure but strug­gled with the many tiers of sup­pli­ers on which they depend.

    Sanc­tions and Beijing’s response

    Adding to the sup­ply chain chal­lenges, Ash­ley Craig, a part­ner at Ven­able, a law firm, said com­pa­nies were grap­pling with sanc­tions that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion imposed on the Xin­jiang Pro­duc­tion and Con­struc­tion Corp, a para­mil­i­tary group involved in using forced labour in cot­ton pro­duc­tion.

    “There is a com­pli­cat­ed cal­cu­la­tion of risk being con­duct­ed by sec­tors sub­ject to, or on the periph­ery of, US sanc­tions,” said Craig, adding that unwind­ing sup­ply chains at the speed urged by the gov­ern­ment was hard.

    The Trump admin­is­tra­tion also issued “with­hold release orders” that require US Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion to block imports of cot­ton and toma­to that use forced labour from Xin­jiang. But com­pa­nies have raised con­cerns about not receiv­ing ade­quate guid­ance from the US gov­ern­ment about com­ply­ing with the restric­tions.

    Craig said that beyond the oth­er chal­lenges, Chi­na had a new statute that lets Chi­nese com­pa­nies sue for­eign com­pa­nies with busi­ness in Chi­na that com­ply with US sanc­tions. “It’s kind of a per­fect storm,” he said.

    ————

    “West­ern brands caught between US and Chi­na over human rights” by Demetri Sev­astop­u­lo and Andrew Edge­cliffe-John­son; The Finan­cial Times; 04/01/2021

    “As Chi­na comes under scruti­ny ahead of the 2022 Bei­jing Win­ter Olympics, human rights activists are urg­ing com­pa­nies to take a stand over the repres­sion of Uyghurs, which the US this week for­mal­ly declared was “geno­cide”.

    It’s offi­cial. It’s “geno­cide” in Xin­jiang claims made by Mike Pom­peo on Jan­u­ary 19, the sec­ond-to-last day of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, just got val­i­dat­ed by the US State Depart­ment. A cyn­i­cal move that’s going to make the GOP’s new ‘whatabout Chi­na?’ rhetor­i­cal cud­gel that much more potent:

    ...
    Mean­while, the US Con­gress is con­sid­er­ing leg­is­la­tion that would force com­pa­nies to ensure their sup­ply chains use no forced labour from Xin­jiang.

    ...

    A bipar­ti­san group of US sen­a­tors has intro­duced a bill that would ban imports unless com­pa­nies can cer­ti­fy they are not using forced labour.

    Mar­co Rubio, a Repub­li­can sen­a­tor who is help­ing dri­ve the bill, called on Ed Bas­t­ian, chief exec­u­tive of Delta Air Lines, to speak out about “geno­cide” in Xin­jiang after air­line com­ment­ed on vot­ing rights in the US.

    “Far too many multi­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions are too eager to make their voic­es heard on the woke issues of the day in the US, but remain stun­ning­ly silent, or in Delta’s case, com­plic­it, in real, ongo­ing atroc­i­ties in coun­tries like Chi­na,” Rubio wrote in a let­ter to Delta. “One can only con­clude that you believe stand­ing up to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist par­ty would be bad for Delta’s busi­ness in Chi­na.

    Sup­port for the bill — which is sim­i­lar to one that eas­i­ly passed the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives last year — high­lights rapid­ly grow­ing con­cern in Con­gress about Chi­na that match­es ris­ing investor focus on social and geopo­lit­i­cal risks.

    “Com­pa­nies are frozen like rab­bits in the head­lights,” said Ali­son Tay­lor of New York University’s Stern busi­ness school. “The sup­ply chain over­sight night­mare is com­ing to a head.”
    ...

    The mes­sage was clear when Mar­co Rubio called out Delta’s CEO: any cor­po­ra­tion doing busi­ness in Chi­na that also rais­es an objec­tion to the GOP’s grow­ing anti-democ­ra­cy cam­paign is going to get the same treat­ment. The ‘why haven’t you pulled your busi­ness out of Chi­na over the geno­cide if you real­ly care about human rights?’ rhetor­i­cal cud­gel and the promise of hav­ing your com­pa­ny’s rep­u­ta­tion run through the far right media dis­in­for­ma­tion smear treat­ment.

    Which is obvi­ous­ly not to say that large multi­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions aren’t doing plen­ty of things wor­thy of con­dem­na­tion. The com­pa­nies decry­ing the new vot­er sup­pres­sion laws have no doubt engaged in plen­ty of cor­po­rate behav­ior wor­thy of legit­i­mate con­dem­na­tion. Just not bogus con­dem­na­tion root­ed in far right dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns. There’s no short­age of real issues to flog these com­pa­nies over. For exam­ple, when asked whether or not the cor­po­ra­tions decry­ing the GOP would stop donat­ing to the par­ty, these com­pa­nies like Delta sud­den­ly got awful qui­et. That seems worth of some con­dem­na­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 2, 2021, 2:32 pm
  5. Here’s a set of arti­cles about three dif­fer­ent announce­ments relat­ed to the glob­al rare earth met­al indus­try and the geopo­lit­i­cal ten­sions under­ly­ing those announce­ments. Geopo­lit­i­cal ten­sions that promise to extend beyond the globe:

    First, here’s a Finan­cial Times arti­cle from back in Feb­ru­ary that under­scores how Chi­na’s present-day near monop­oly on rare earth min­ing is being used as a point of lever­age in the increas­ing­ly tense rela­tion­ship between the US and Chi­na. Back in Jan­u­ary, the Chi­nese Min­istry of Indus­try and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy pro­posed draft con­trols on the pro­duc­tion and export of 17 rare earth min­er­als in Chi­na, which con­trols about 80 per cent of glob­al sup­ply. Min­ing indus­try exec­u­tives were report­ed­ly asked by gov­ern­ment offi­cials how bad­ly com­pa­nies in the US and Europe, includ­ing defense con­trac­tors, would be impact­ed by rare earth export restric­tions dur­ing a bilat­er­al dis­pute. In oth­er words, if Chi­na turns off the rare earth spig­ot, who gets hurt?

    But there’s anoth­er catch, as we’ll look at in the next arti­cle: while the world relies on Chi­na for its rare earth sup­plies, Chi­na rare earth indus­try relies on Myan­mar. In par­tic­u­lar, rare earth sup­plies con­trolled by Myan­mar’s autonomous mili­tias.

    Next, we’ll take a look at a Bloomberg arti­cle pub­lished a week lat­er about the Biden admin­is­tra­tion announc­ing a review of the US’s rare earth sup­ply chain, with strong indi­ca­tions that the US was going to be turn­ing to Cana­da for a more secure rare earth sup­ply going for­ward. But, cru­cial­ly in rela­tion to the poten­tial lever­age Chi­na has dur­ing bilat­er­al dis­putes, the US was report­ed­ly at least a decade away from secur­ing a rare earth sup­ply that isn’t depen­dent on Chi­na, even if it starts work­ing on secur­ing that sup­ply now.

    A cou­ple weeks after the Biden admin­is­tra­tion announced that review, Russ­ian and Chi­na signed a mem­o­ran­dum of under­stand­ing to build what the two coun­tries call an “Inter­na­tion­al Lunar Research Sta­tion” (ILRS) on the moon. As we’ll see, inten­tion­al­ly or not, this new Russ­ian-Chi­na project is being seen as a direct chal­lenge to the what has come to be known as the Artemis Alliance being formed by NASA with a num­ber of coun­tries and com­mer­cial part­ners. And what’s the big com­mer­cial inter­est on the moon? Rare earth min­ing! So the next space race could end up being a race for rare earth met­als as part of a larg­er race for lever­age and con­trol over an indus­try cru­cial to the tech­nolo­gies of tomor­row.

    Ok, first, here’s a look at Chi­na’s inter­nal analy­sis into the reper­cus­sions of a rare earth export ban. Reper­cus­sions felt in the US defense con­trac­tor indus­try in par­tic­u­lar in the event of a future “bilat­er­al dis­pute”:

    Finan­cial Times

    Chi­na tar­gets rare earth export curbs to hob­ble US defence indus­try

    Bei­jing asks indus­try exec­u­tives if pro­posed restric­tions will harm west­ern con­trac­tors

    Sun Yu in Bei­jing and Demetri Sev­astop­u­lo in Wash­ing­ton
    Feb­ru­ary 15 2021 11:17 pm

    Chi­na is explor­ing lim­it­ing the export of rare earth min­er­als that are cru­cial for the man­u­fac­ture of Amer­i­can F‑35 fight­er jets and oth­er sophis­ti­cat­ed weapon­ry, accord­ing to peo­ple involved in a gov­ern­ment con­sul­ta­tion.

    The Min­istry of Indus­try and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy last month pro­posed draft con­trols on the pro­duc­tion and export of 17 rare earth min­er­als in Chi­na, which con­trols about 80 per cent of glob­al sup­ply.

    Indus­try exec­u­tives said gov­ern­ment offi­cials had asked them how bad­ly com­pa­nies in the US and Europe, includ­ing defence con­trac­tors, would be affect­ed if Chi­na restrict­ed rare earth exports dur­ing a bilat­er­al dis­pute.

    “The gov­ern­ment wants to know if the US may have trou­ble mak­ing F‑35 fight­er jets if Chi­na impos­es an export ban,” said a Chi­nese gov­ern­ment advis­er who asked not to be iden­ti­fied. Indus­try exec­u­tives added that Bei­jing want­ed to bet­ter under­stand how quick­ly the US could secure alter­na­tive sources of rare earths and increase its own pro­duc­tion capac­i­ty.

    Fight­er jets such as the F‑35, a Lock­heed Mar­tin air­craft, rely heav­i­ly on rare earths for crit­i­cal com­po­nents such as elec­tri­cal pow­er sys­tems and mag­nets. A Con­gres­sion­al Research Ser­vice report said that each F‑35 required 417kg of rare-earth mate­ri­als

    The Chi­nese move fol­lows dete­ri­o­rat­ing Sino-US rela­tions and an emerg­ing tech­nol­o­gy war between the two coun­tries. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion tried to make it hard­er for Chi­nese com­pa­nies to import sen­si­tive US tech­nol­o­gy, such as high-end semi­con­duc­tors. The Biden admin­is­tra­tion has sig­nalled that it would also restrict cer­tain exports but would work more close­ly with allies.

    Beijing’s con­trol of rare earths threat­ens to become a new source of fric­tion with Wash­ing­ton but some warn any aggres­sive moves by Chi­na could back­fire by prompt­ing rivals to devel­op their own pro­duc­tion capac­i­ty.

    In a Novem­ber report, Zhang Rui, an ana­lyst at Antaike, a gov­ern­ment-backed con­sul­tan­cy in Bei­jing, said that US weapons mak­ers could be among the first com­pa­nies tar­get­ed by any export restric­tion.

    China’s for­eign min­istry said last year it would sanc­tion Lock­heed Mar­tin, Boe­ing and Raytheon for sell­ing arms to Tai­wan, the self-ruled island that Bei­jing claims as its sov­er­eign ter­ri­to­ry.

    The pro­posed guide­lines would require rare earth pro­duc­ers to fol­low export con­trol laws that reg­u­late ship­ments of mate­ri­als that “help safe­guard state secu­ri­ty”. China’s State Coun­cil and Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion will have the final say on whether the list should include rare earths.

    Rare earth min­er­als are also cen­tral to the man­u­fac­ture of prod­ucts includ­ing smart­phones, elec­tric vehi­cles and wind tur­bines.

    Some exec­u­tives and offi­cials are, how­ev­er, ques­tion­ing the wis­dom of for­mal­ly includ­ing rare earths in the export con­trol regime. They argue that it would moti­vate Beijing’s rivals to accel­er­ate their own pro­duc­tion capac­i­ties and under­mine China’s dom­i­nance of the indus­try.

    “Export con­trols are a dou­bled-edged sword that should be applied very care­ful­ly,” said Zhang of Antaike.

    The Pen­ta­gon has become increas­ing­ly con­cerned about the US reliance on Chi­na for rare earths that are used in every­thing from pre­ci­sion-guid­ed mis­siles to drones.

    Ellen Lord, the top defence offi­cial for acqui­si­tions until last year, told Con­gress in Octo­ber that the US need­ed to cre­ate stock­piles of cer­tain rare earths and re-estab­lish domes­tic pro­cess­ing. She said the US had a “real vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty” because Chi­na floods the mar­ket to destroy any com­pe­ti­tion any time nations are about to start min­ing or pro­duc­ing.

    In recent months, the Pen­ta­gon has signed con­tracts with Amer­i­can and Aus­tralian min­ers to boost their onshore refin­ing capac­i­ty and reduce their reliance on Chi­nese refin­ers.

    ...

    Chi­nese rare earth min­ers them­selves are wor­ried about the enhanced pow­er the reg­u­la­tions would give MIIT to con­trol their out­put.

    Chi­na began set­ting rare earth pro­duc­tion lim­its in 2007 to keep prices high and reduce pol­lu­tion but the pol­i­cy is not legal­ly bind­ing and many min­ers reg­u­lar­ly exceed their out­put quo­ta. The lat­est reg­u­la­tions would allow the gov­ern­ment to impose steep fines for unap­proved sales.

    “The new rule is not going to make Chi­na stronger in the glob­al sup­ply chain when local mines can’t oper­ate at full capac­i­ty and an export ban is eas­i­er said than done,” said an exec­u­tive, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied, at Guang­dong Rare Earth Group, one of the nation’s largest rare earth groups.

    In a state­ment, MIIT said the new law would help “pro­tect nation­al inter­est and ensure the secu­ri­ty of strate­gic resources”.

    Accord­ing to gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics, China’s demand for rare earths is so high that it has con­sis­tent­ly exceed­ed domes­tic sup­ply over the past five years, prompt­ing a surge of Chi­nese imports from min­ers in the US and Myan­mar.

    A wide range of indus­tries are dri­ving demand for the strate­gic resource, includ­ing China’s elec­tric vehi­cle and wind pow­er gen­er­a­tion sec­tors.

    “China’s eco­nom­ic plan­ners have failed to pre­dict the surge in rare earth con­sump­tion,” said an exec­u­tive at Gold Drag­on Rare Earth Co in south-east­ern Fujian Province.

    “China’s own rare earth secu­ri­ty isn’t guar­an­teed,” said David Zhang, an ana­lyst at Sub­lime Chi­na Infor­ma­tion, a con­sul­tan­cy. “It can dis­ap­pear when the US-Chi­na rela­tion­ship dete­ri­o­rates or Myanmar’s gen­er­als decide to shut the bor­der.”

    While China’s dom­i­nance in rare earth min­ing is under threat, it main­tains a near monop­oly in the refin­ing process that turns ores into mate­ri­als ready for man­u­fac­tur­ers.

    The coun­try con­trols about four-fifths of glob­al rare earth refin­ing capac­i­ty. Ores mined in the US must be sent to Chi­na as the US has no refin­ing capac­i­ty of its own yet.

    Indus­try exec­u­tives, how­ev­er, said China’s strength in refin­ing had more to do with its high­er tol­er­ance for pol­lu­tion than any tech­no­log­i­cal edge.

    ———–

    “Chi­na tar­gets rare earth export curbs to hob­ble US defence indus­try
    ” by Sun Yu and Demetri Sev­astop­u­lo; Finan­cial Times; 02/15/2021

    The Min­istry of Indus­try and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy last month pro­posed draft con­trols on the pro­duc­tion and export of 17 rare earth min­er­als in Chi­na, which con­trols about 80 per cent of glob­al sup­ply.”

    Moves are afoot in the rare earth space. Or at least plans are in the works should glob­al ten­sions trans­late into out­right dis­putes or con­flicts. Chi­na is exam­in­ing its lever­age at the same time the West is exam­in­ing its alter­na­tives:

    ...
    Indus­try exec­u­tives said gov­ern­ment offi­cials had asked them how bad­ly com­pa­nies in the US and Europe, includ­ing defence con­trac­tors, would be affect­ed if Chi­na restrict­ed rare earth exports dur­ing a bilat­er­al dis­pute.

    “The gov­ern­ment wants to know if the US may have trou­ble mak­ing F‑35 fight­er jets if Chi­na impos­es an export ban,” said a Chi­nese gov­ern­ment advis­er who asked not to be iden­ti­fied. Indus­try exec­u­tives added that Bei­jing want­ed to bet­ter under­stand how quick­ly the US could secure alter­na­tive sources of rare earths and increase its own pro­duc­tion capac­i­ty.

    ...

    Beijing’s con­trol of rare earths threat­ens to become a new source of fric­tion with Wash­ing­ton but some warn any aggres­sive moves by Chi­na could back­fire by prompt­ing rivals to devel­op their own pro­duc­tion capac­i­ty.

    ...

    In recent months, the Pen­ta­gon has signed con­tracts with Amer­i­can and Aus­tralian min­ers to boost their onshore refin­ing capac­i­ty and reduce their reliance on Chi­nese refin­ers.
    ...

    And then there’s the inter­est­ing ques­tion of how Myan­mar, a coun­try in the midst of a coup, could impact the glob­al rare earth sup­ply. It turns out Myan­mar is cru­cial to Chi­na’s rare earth indus­try:

    ...
    “China’s own rare earth secu­ri­ty isn’t guar­an­teed,” said David Zhang, an ana­lyst at Sub­lime Chi­na Infor­ma­tion, a con­sul­tan­cy. “It can dis­ap­pear when the US-Chi­na rela­tion­ship dete­ri­o­rates or Myanmar’s gen­er­als decide to shut the bor­der.”
    ...

    How cru­cial? We’ll, as the fol­low­ing arti­cle from Feb­ru­ary describes, about half of the rare earth con­cen­trates refined in Chi­na’s rare earth refin­ing indus­try came from Myan­mar in 2020. But the sup­ply chain was­n’t been dis­rupt­ed by the coup because it’s under the con­trol of autonomous mili­tias. So a cru­cial sup­ply for Chi­na’s rare earth near-monop­oly relies on autonomous mili­tias in Myan­mar. It’s not a great state of affairs:

    Reuters

    Explain­er: Pos­si­ble impact of Myan­mar coup on Chi­na’s met­al and rare earth sup­ply

    By Reuters Staff
    Feb­ru­ary 10, 2021 3:50 AM
    Updat­ed

    (Reuters) — Myanmar’s mil­i­tary coup and dec­la­ra­tion of a state of emer­gency has sparked con­cern in neigh­bour­ing Chi­na over met­al and min­er­al sup­plies amid already high tin, cop­per and rare earth prices.

    Below is a descrip­tion of trade flows from Myan­mar to Chi­na, the world’s top met­als con­sumer, with com­ment from ana­lysts and asso­ci­a­tions on the prospects of dis­rup­tion.

    TIN

    Myan­mar is the world’s third-biggest min­er of tin, accord­ing to the Inter­na­tion­al Tin Asso­ci­a­tion (ITA), and in 2020 account­ed for more than 95% of China’s imports of tin con­cen­trate, used by smelters to make refined tin for cir­cuit-board sol­der­ing.

    China’s over­all import reliance is 30–35%.

    Ship­ments from Myan­mar, which bor­ders China’s tin-smelt­ing heart­land of Yun­nan, fell 13.5% last year amid coro­n­avirus-relat­ed dis­rup­tion.

    But since Myanmar’s main tin-min­ing area is the autonomous eth­nic Wa region near Chi­na, which acts sep­a­rate­ly from the cen­tral gov­ern­ment, it has not been affect­ed by the coup and ship­ments are still pos­si­ble, says the ITA, which sees con­cen­trate exports hold­ing steady in Feb­ru­ary.

    Mines in south­ern Myan­mar are like­ly to reduce pro­duc­tion and may even­tu­al­ly have to sus­pend oper­a­tions as Chi­nese min­ing sup­plies, which enter at the Ruili bor­der cross­ing in the north, have been cut off, the ITA says. But these mines only make up about 20% of out­put, it said.

    RARE EARTHS

    Chi­na is the world’s dom­i­nant pro­duc­er of rare earths, a group of 17 min­er­als used in con­sumer elec­tron­ics and mil­i­tary equip­ment. But it relied on Myan­mar for about half its heavy rare earth con­cen­trates in 2020, says Adamas Intel­li­gence man­ag­ing direc­tor Ryan Castil­loux.

    Myan­mar is there­fore an “excep­tion­al­ly crit­i­cal sup­pli­er of ... feed­stocks that are essen­tial ingre­di­ents in high-strength per­ma­nent mag­nets for elec­tric vehi­cle trac­tion motors, wind pow­er gen­er­a­tors, indus­tri­al robots and a wide array of defence-relat­ed appli­ca­tions”, he said.

    There has been no sign of dis­rup­tion for now, since Myanmar’s rare earth mines are under the con­trol of autonomous mili­tia groups, but the test will come after the Lunar New Year hol­i­day, which begins at the end of this week.

    “When China’s indus­try pow­ers back on in March, steady and abun­dant sup­plies from Myan­mar will be more crit­i­cal than ever,” Castil­loux said.

    ...

    ————

    “Explain­er: Pos­si­ble impact of Myan­mar coup on Chi­na’s met­al and rare earth sup­ply” by Reuters Staff; Reuters; 02/10/2021

    “Chi­na is the world’s dom­i­nant pro­duc­er of rare earths, a group of 17 min­er­als used in con­sumer elec­tron­ics and mil­i­tary equip­ment. But it relied on Myan­mar for about half its heavy rare earth con­cen­trates in 2020, says Adamas Intel­li­gence man­ag­ing direc­tor Ryan Castil­loux.

    As we can see, it’s not exact­ly a Chi­nese glob­al rare earth monop­oly. It’s more like a China/Myanmar glob­al rare earth monop­oly. Or, rather, a Chinese/Myanmar autonomous mili­tia glob­al rare earth monop­oly:

    ...
    Myan­mar is there­fore an “excep­tion­al­ly crit­i­cal sup­pli­er of ... feed­stocks that are essen­tial ingre­di­ents in high-strength per­ma­nent mag­nets for elec­tric vehi­cle trac­tion motors, wind pow­er gen­er­a­tors, indus­tri­al robots and a wide array of defence-relat­ed appli­ca­tions”, he said.

    There has been no sign of dis­rup­tion for now, since Myanmar’s rare earth mines are under the con­trol of autonomous mili­tia groups, but the test will come after the Lunar New Year hol­i­day, which begins at the end of this week.
    ...

    It’s not exact­ly a sta­ble monop­oly. Then again, it’s not like there are a lot of oth­er options. That’s the thing about rare earth min­ing: there are only so many places on the globe with high enough con­cen­tra­tions to make the min­ing com­mer­cial­ly worth it, espe­cial­ly fac­tor­ing in all of the asso­ci­at­ed pol­lu­tion from the noto­ri­ous­ly dirty indus­try. And that’s why secure rare earth sup­plies for the US are at least a decade away. Assum­ing Cana­da agrees to coop­er­ate and become the US’s new rare earth secure source:

    Bloomberg

    Biden’s Hopes for Rare Earth Inde­pen­dence at Least a Decade Away

    * Cana­da and Aus­tralia may be the answer to secure sup­ply chains
    * Min­ers see U.S. per­mit­ting process as cum­ber­some, slow

    By Joe Deaux and Stephen Lee
    Feb­ru­ary 26, 2021, 3:23 PM CST
    Updat­ed on Feb­ru­ary 27, 2021, 6:00 AM CST

    Joe Biden’s ambi­tion to make the U.S. less depen­dent on oth­er nations for rare earths and min­er­als crit­i­cal to the clean ener­gy tran­si­tion will take years to accom­plish.

    A review of the U.S. crit­i­cal min­er­als and rare earths sup­ply chain that the pres­i­dent ordered this week is like­ly to show that even with sweep­ing changes the nation is at least a decade from becom­ing self suf­fi­cient. That will mean turn­ing to coun­tries such as Cana­da, which has the the largest num­ber of rare earth projects in the world, accord­ing to Gareth Hatch, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Strate­gic Mate­ri­als Advi­sors Ltd.

    “There’s far greater exper­tise in rare earths and crit­i­cal min­er­als in Cana­da and Aus­tralia than there is in the U.S.,” said Hatch, who is also the CEO of Inno­va­tion Met­als Corp., a sub­sidiary of Ucore Rare Met­als, which has a rare-earth project in the U.S. “But the down­stream mar­kets are in the U.S., so it’s in the inter­est of all three coun­tries to work togeth­er with the U.S. being the ulti­mate end mar­ket.”

    Amer­i­ca lacks capac­i­ty to pro­duce enough per­ma­nent mag­nets, need­ed to run the engines of every­thing from mis­sile guid­ance sys­tems to the wind tur­bines and elec­tric cars at the cen­ter of the clean ener­gy tran­si­tion. Min­ers say it takes so long to get fed­er­al and state envi­ron­men­tal per­mits, and that the process is so unpre­dictable and open-end­ed, that they strug­gle to plan new mines.

    Lit­tle Capac­i­ty

    The U.S. has only one oper­a­tional rare earths mine — the Moun­tain Pass site in Cal­i­for­nia owned by MP Mate­ri­als — with a hand­ful of oth­ers a decade away from start­ing pro­duc­tion. Right now, the mined ore all gets sent to Chi­na for pro­cess­ing, com­pared with China’s dozens of mines and hun­dreds of refin­ing and sep­a­ra­tion facil­i­ties.

    The Defense Depart­ment award­ed MP Mate­ri­als con­tracts to fund pro­cess­ing and sep­a­ra­tion of rare earths, putting it on track to become the only U.S. com­pa­ny capa­ble of doing so.

    “The sup­ply-side response is always so slow com­pared to demand side events, so you absolute­ly have to start now for putting this capac­i­ty in place,” Hatch said. “The red tape asso­ci­at­ed with devel­op­ment of new min­er­als or min­ing projects in the U.S. has been pret­ty sig­nif­i­cant.”

    The Trump admin­is­tra­tion went some way toward speed­ing up per­mit­ting in July 2020, when it rewrote the way agen­cies scru­ti­nize projects under the Nation­al Envi­ron­men­tal Pol­i­cy Act. But Biden is expect­ed to either undo those changes or wait on the out­come of pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion.

    Biden’s order doesn’t specif­i­cal­ly call for more domes­tic extrac­tion, but law­mak­ers are gear­ing up for a fight. House Democ­rats say they sup­port Biden’s goal of for­ti­fy­ing the nation’s sup­ply chains, but not if it means more min­ing. Repub­li­cans counter that grow­ing demand, espe­cial­ly for elec­tric vehi­cles and renew­able ener­gy projects, can’t be met with­out more min­ing.

    To the argu­ment that the U.S.’s reliance on imports from poten­tial­ly hos­tile for­eign nations like Chi­na cre­ates a nation­al secu­ri­ty risk, Aaron Mintzes, senior pol­i­cy coun­sel at envi­ron­men­tal group Earth­works, coun­ters that oth­er nations will swift­ly fill any voids. That hap­pened in 2010, when Chi­na put trade restric­tions on rare earth min­er­als, and Aus­tralia, Indone­sia, Cana­da, and the U.S. almost imme­di­ate­ly opened new mines.

    ...

    ————

    “Biden’s Hopes for Rare Earth Inde­pen­dence at Least a Decade Away” by Joe Deaux and Stephen Lee; Bloomberg; 02/26/2021

    “A review of the U.S. crit­i­cal min­er­als and rare earths sup­ply chain that the pres­i­dent ordered this week is like­ly to show that even with sweep­ing changes the nation is at least a decade from becom­ing self suf­fi­cient. That will mean turn­ing to coun­tries such as Cana­da, which has the the largest num­ber of rare earth projects in the world, accord­ing to Gareth Hatch, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Strate­gic Mate­ri­als Advi­sors Ltd.”

    Good luck not rely­ing on Chi­nese rare earth sup­plies for at least the next decade. That’s the sup­ply-demand sta­tus quo. For now. The sit­u­a­tion can change, as Chi­na’s own inter­nal analy­ses have no doubt con­clud­ed. Based on what we’re see­ing, there’s a decade win­dow where Chi­na will have out­sized lever­age in the rare earth space and all the par­ties involved know this. How that lever­age can be exploit­ed with­out effec­tive­ly coerc­ing the rest of the world into devel­op­ing their own rare earth sup­ply chains is some­thing Bei­jing is no doubt look­ing into. Care­ful­ly. After all, if they screw this up, the fight for a secure rare earth sup­ply-chain could end up becom­ing a bat­tle for the moon. Which would be mani­a­cal but the kind of mani­a­cal future out­come that seems entire­ly plau­si­ble at this point:

    The Hill

    The new race to the moon: the Artemis Alliance vs. the Sino-Russ­ian Axis

    By Mark Whit­ting­ton, opin­ion con­trib­u­tor — 03/28/21 11:00 AM EDT
    The views expressed by con­trib­u­tors are their own and not the view of The Hill

    Space News recent­ly report­ed that Chi­na and Rus­sia have signed a mem­o­ran­dum of under­stand­ing to build what the two coun­tries call an “Inter­na­tion­al Lunar Research Sta­tion” (ILRS). The facil­i­ty would con­duct a num­ber of activ­i­ties either on the lunar sur­face or lunar orbit and would be “open to all inter­est­ed coun­tries and inter­na­tion­al part­ners.”

    Whether delib­er­ate or not, the two coun­tries have formed an axis against what has come to be known as the Artemis Alliance being formed by NASA with a num­ber of coun­tries and com­mer­cial part­ners. In effect, Chi­na and Rus­sia have chal­lenged the Unit­ed States and the rest of the world to a new race to the moon.

    With the Biden admin­is­tra­tion hav­ing endorsed the Trump-era Artemis pro­gram, it looks like two cred­i­ble, rival return-to-the-moon pro­grams are now ongo­ing. Since one of those pro­grams is run by two author­i­tar­i­an nations and the oth­er is led by NASA and con­sists of what many would con­sid­er the civ­i­lized world, the very def­i­n­i­tion of a race to the moon has devel­oped, with­out fan­fare, with­out brave speech­es throw­ing down gauntlets.

    Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    On the pos­i­tive side, noth­ing like com­pe­ti­tion with a hos­tile pow­er or two focus­es the mind and ensures that the Artemis pro­gram remains on track and on a sen­si­ble sched­ule. The Apol­lo pro­gram suc­ceed­ed because the win­ner of the race to the moon would have brag­ging rights for being the more tech­no­log­i­cal­ly adept super­pow­er.

    On the neg­a­tive side, what hap­pens to deter­mine which side “wins” the mod­ern space race? Dur­ing the Apol­lo-era, the answer was easy. Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy declared the goal of send­ing a man to the moon and return­ing him safe­ly to the Earth before the end of the 1960s. In July 1969, the mis­sion was accom­plished. Indeed, the Apol­lo pro­gram had enough momen­tum for six more manned lunar mis­sions before the Unit­ed States stopped going to the moon and turned to oth­er pri­or­i­ties.

    What must hap­pen for the win­ner to be declared in the new moon race? Who is first to return to the moon is not as impor­tant as what hap­pens next.

    The south pole of the moon is replete with water ice in shad­owed craters, Water can be used to help sus­tain a lunar base. Water can be refined into rock­et pro­pel­lent, mak­ing the moon a refu­el­ing stop for space­craft head­ed to oth­er des­ti­na­tions in the solar sys­tem, such as Mars.

    The moon also has a num­ber of oth­er resources rang­ing from rare earths, to plat­inum-group met­als, to indus­tri­al met­als such as tita­ni­um, iron and alu­minum. Helium‑3, an iso­tope embed­ded in lunar soil, could serve as fuel for future fusion pow­er plants.

    In short, the side that first exploits lunar resources effec­tive­ly will be the side that cre­ates a space-based indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tion enabled by lunar resources. Either the Sino-Russ­ian Axis or the Artemis Alliance will own the future.

    ...

    The Out­er Space Treaty pro­hibits any asser­tion of sov­er­eign­ty on the moon or any oth­er celes­tial body. How­ev­er, Con­gress passed a law a few years ago called the U.S. Space Launch Com­pet­i­tive­ness Act that asserts that Amer­i­can cit­i­zens who mine space resources, includ­ing on the moon, own those resources. The fact that the Unit­ed States owns the moon rocks that the Apol­lo astro­nauts gath­ered is seen as a prece­dent. On the oth­er hand, some sug­gest that since the act can be seen as an asser­tion of sov­er­eign­ty, it vio­lates the spir­it of the Out­er Space Treaty. The gov­ern­ments of Chi­na and Rus­sia might be expect­ed to sup­port the lat­ter view.

    In order to avoid con­flict over resources on the moon or any­where else in space, some kind of agree­ment, per­haps based on the Artemis Accords, needs to be struck between the Artemis Accords, and the Sino-Russ­ian Axis. The first side to exploit a deposit of min­er­als should own it. Oth­er­wise, we might expect the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the Third World War might start on the moon with cat­a­stroph­ic con­se­quences.

    ———-

    “The new race to the moon: the Artemis Alliance vs. the Sino-Russ­ian Axis” by Mark Whit­ting­ton; The Hill; 03/28/2021

    “In short, the side that first exploits lunar resources effec­tive­ly will be the side that cre­ates a space-based indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tion enabled by lunar resources. Either the Sino-Russ­ian Axis or the Artemis Alliance will own the future.

    Either the Sino-Russ­ian Axis or the Artemis Alliance will own the future. That’s how this loom­ing space race is going to be framed. And there’s more than a grain of truth to it. The min­er­al wealth of the moon is poten­tial­ly immense. Some­thing Con­gress took note of when it passed the U.S. Space Launch Com­pet­i­tive­ness Act that asserts that Amer­i­can cit­i­zens who mine space resources, includ­ing on the moon, own those resources:

    ...
    On the neg­a­tive side, what hap­pens to deter­mine which side “wins” the mod­ern space race? Dur­ing the Apol­lo-era, the answer was easy. Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy declared the goal of send­ing a man to the moon and return­ing him safe­ly to the Earth before the end of the 1960s. In July 1969, the mis­sion was accom­plished. Indeed, the Apol­lo pro­gram had enough momen­tum for six more manned lunar mis­sions before the Unit­ed States stopped going to the moon and turned to oth­er pri­or­i­ties.

    What must hap­pen for the win­ner to be declared in the new moon race? Who is first to return to the moon is not as impor­tant as what hap­pens next.

    ...

    The moon also has a num­ber of oth­er resources rang­ing from rare earths, to plat­inum-group met­als, to indus­tri­al met­als such as tita­ni­um, iron and alu­minum. Helium‑3, an iso­tope embed­ded in lunar soil, could serve as fuel for future fusion pow­er plants.

    ...

    The Out­er Space Treaty pro­hibits any asser­tion of sov­er­eign­ty on the moon or any oth­er celes­tial body. How­ev­er, Con­gress passed a law a few years ago called the U.S. Space Launch Com­pet­i­tive­ness Act that asserts that Amer­i­can cit­i­zens who mine space resources, includ­ing on the moon, own those resources. The fact that the Unit­ed States owns the moon rocks that the Apol­lo astro­nauts gath­ered is seen as a prece­dent. On the oth­er hand, some sug­gest that since the act can be seen as an asser­tion of sov­er­eign­ty, it vio­lates the spir­it of the Out­er Space Treaty. The gov­ern­ments of Chi­na and Rus­sia might be expect­ed to sup­port the lat­ter view.
    ...

    As we can see, the resources of the moon are a com­mer­cial mega-prize. And noth­ing dri­ves for­eign pol­i­cy quite like com­mer­cial mega-prizes. It’s hard to imag­ine a greater invi­ta­tion to future con­flict than a moon that hap­pens to have a bunch of the stuff we don’t have a lot of on earth, just float­ing away up there wait­ing for us all to share it. It does­n’t bode well. At this point it’s look­ing more like a ques­tion of when, not if, the moon wars will be fought. This is the stu­pid nature of human­i­ty.

    And while that future bat­tle for the moon prob­a­bly won’t be exclu­sive­ly about rare earth sup­plies, it’s going to be at least par­tial­ly about secu­ri­ty those sup­plies. After all, rare earth met­als of vital for not just the tech­nolo­gies of the future but, in par­tic­u­lar, the the weapons sys­tems of the future. The bat­tle for the moon will be, in part, a bat­tle for the abil­i­ty to fight in the future. That’s how hor­ri­bly meta the rare earth sup­ply chain ten­sions fun­da­men­tal­ly are on one lev­el: it’s not so much a fight for the future as it is a fight to keep fight­ing in the future. Every­thing else is kind of an after­thought. And when that’s the kind of dynam­ic at work for a cru­cial com­mod­i­ty we should expect the worst kind of risk tak­ing and vio­lent gam­bles, on all sides. This is a very big fight we’re see­ing slow­ly unfold. Too big for the plan­et, some might argue.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 3, 2021, 6:36 pm
  6. Here’s anoth­er pair of exam­ples of how the Uyghur geno­cide myth is increas­ing­ly turn­ing into polit­i­cal cud­gel. An increas­ing­ly right-wing polit­i­cal cud­gel that dou­bles as a shield against the GOP’s own attacks on democ­ra­cy:

    First, here’s a Politi­co arti­cle about how the US State Depart­ment just had to back away from a threat to boy­cott the 2022 Olympics in Bei­jing. The threat was issued on Tues­day when State Depart­ment spokesper­son Ned Price empha­sized the impor­tance of work­ing close­ly with the US’s part­ners to deal with Chi­na, men­tion­ing how dis­cus­sions with allies about 2022 Olympics are still ongo­ing. This set off a fren­zy of spec­u­la­tion about 2022 boy­cotts, prompt­ing the State Depart­ment to issue a state­ment deny­ing any joint nego­ti­a­tions over boy­cotts are tak­ing place.

    The inci­dent fol­lowed calls ear­li­er in the day from Flori­da Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Rick Scott that Pres­i­dent Biden demand the 2022 Olympics be relo­cat­ed to the Unit­ed States instead (classy). Scott was mak­ing the point in rela­tion to Biden’s sup­port for the deci­sion by Major League Base­ball to move its All-Start Game out of Geor­gia over its new­ly passed vot­ing law. Chi­na ‘whataboutism’ has become the GOP’s shield for any and all crit­i­cisms of the par­ty’s increas­ing­ly anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic moves.

    And as the arti­cle notes, this same dynam­ic is more or less play­ing out in Cana­da, where the Trudeau gov­ern­ment was also spend­ing Tues­day issu­ing state­ments about how its con­sid­er­ing boy­cotting the 2022 Olympics over its con­cerns about the Uyghur geno­cide claims at the same time Trudeau faced calls to sim­i­lar­ly demand a relo­ca­tion of the Olympics. It’s the kind of report that makes clear that not only should we expect the cur­rent glob­al fer­vor over the Uyghur geno­cide myth to con­tin­ue for the fore­see­able future, but it’s pos­si­ble we’re head­ing into a year-long grow­ing glob­al ampli­fi­ca­tion of the geno­cide myth dri­ven by all the proxy-out­rages inevitably prompt­ed by Bei­jing host­ing the Olympics:

    Politi­co

    State Depart­ment says it’s not con­sid­er­ing joint boy­cott of 2022 Bei­jing Olympics

    By BENJAMIN DIN
    04/06/2021 04:11 PM EDT
    Updat­ed: 04/06/2021 10:18 PM EDT

    The State Depart­ment denied Tues­day that it was con­sult­ing with allies about a joint boy­cott of the 2022 Bei­jing Olympics amid grow­ing calls for the U.S. to back out of the event due to human rights vio­la­tions in Chi­na.

    “Our posi­tion on the 2022 Olympics has not changed. We have not dis­cussed and are not dis­cussing any joint boy­cott with allies and part­ners,” a State Depart­ment offi­cial said.

    There was con­fu­sion ear­li­er Tues­day after a brief­ing from State Depart­ment spokesper­son Ned Price, caus­ing the need for a clar­i­fi­ca­tion.

    “The State Depart­ment Spokesper­son did not say we had, con­trary to some report­ing. As the Depart­ment said, we reg­u­lar­ly dis­cuss com­mon con­cerns vis-à-vis the PRC with our allies and part­ners. We will con­tin­ue to do so, cog­nizant that a shared approach will always be in our inter­est,” the offi­cial said.

    In his brief­ing, Price empha­sized the impor­tance of work­ing close­ly with oth­er coun­tries, so that any step the U.S. takes would have more influ­ence on Bei­jing. He said that the State Depart­ment is cur­rent­ly weigh­ing dif­fer­ent approach­es to respond to the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, point­ing to sanc­tions that the U.S. recent­ly enact­ed with the U.K., Cana­da and the Euro­pean Union over the human rights abus­es.

    ...

    “We’re talk­ing about 2022, and we are still in April of 2021, so these Games remain some time away,” Price said. “I would­n’t want to put a time frame on it, but these dis­cus­sions are under­way.”

    In a tweet after the brief­ing, Price said that the State Depart­ment did­n’t have an announce­ment regard­ing the Olympics, but would “con­tin­ue to con­sult close­ly with allies and part­ners to define our com­mon con­cerns and estab­lish our shared approach to the PRC.”

    ...

    Hawk­ish Repub­li­cans in the last month have called on the Biden admin­is­tra­tion to pun­ish the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment over its human rights abus­es, but even with­in the GOP, there has been dis­agree­ment over how far to push with the Olympics. Some have called for boy­cotts, while oth­ers have sug­gest­ed mov­ing the Games to a dif­fer­ent host coun­try.

    Ear­li­er Tues­day, Sen. Rick Scott (R‑Fla.) said Pres­i­dent Joe Biden should request the relo­ca­tion of the 2022 Olympics to the Unit­ed States. Scott, who has been advo­cat­ing for a poten­tial move since 2019, said it was hyp­o­crit­i­cal for Biden to sup­port last week’s efforts to move Major League Base­bal­l’s All-Star Game out of Geor­gia over its new­ly passed vot­ing law, but not take a stand on the Olympics.

    “It is now time for Pres­i­dent Biden to lead Amer­i­ca and the world and make clear that the Unit­ed States will nev­er tol­er­ate the oppres­sion and geno­cide occur­ring in Com­mu­nist Chi­na,” Scott said.

    Boy­cott calls in Cana­da

    In Cana­da, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau has faced polit­i­cal pres­sure to take a hard­er line against Chi­na — includ­ing calls for his gov­ern­ment to push for the relo­ca­tion of the Bei­jing Games.

    Late Tues­day, the Trudeau gov­ern­ment said any deci­sion by Cana­da to boy­cott the Bei­jing Olympics would involve the inde­pen­dent Cana­di­an Olympic and Par­a­lympic com­mit­tees.

    “We are con­fi­dent that they will con­tin­ue to con­sid­er our ath­letes’ life­time of train­ing and ded­i­ca­tion to pre­pare for the Games and Canada’s com­mit­ment to basic fun­da­men­tal rights for all peo­ples in any future deci­sion lead­ing up to the Games,” Camille Gag­né-Ray­nauld, a spokesper­son for Cana­di­an Her­itage Min­is­ter Steven Guil­beault, wrote in an email to POLITICO.

    She said the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment is “deeply con­cerned by hor­rif­ic reports of human rights vio­la­tions” against Uyghurs and oth­er eth­nic minori­ties in Xin­jiang.

    Cana­da recent­ly joined oth­er West­ern democ­ra­cies in announc­ing sanc­tions on indi­vid­u­als and enti­ties alleged­ly linked to the abus­es in Chi­na. Gag­né-Ray­nauld said Cana­da is also call­ing for Chi­na to pro­vide inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tors “unfet­tered access” to the region. In Feb­ru­ary, Canada’s Par­lia­ment vot­ed over­whelm­ing­ly in favor of a motion declar­ing Bei­jing’s mis­treat­ment of Uyghur Mus­lims a geno­cide.

    The motion also called on the Trudeau gov­ern­ment to demand that the Win­ter Olympics in Bei­jing be moved if the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues with its “geno­cide.” Trudeau and his 36 cab­i­net min­is­ters abstained from vot­ing on the motion that, while sym­bol­ic, angered the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment at a time of already tense bilat­er­al rela­tions.

    Ottawa-Bei­jing diplo­mat­ic ties col­lapsed after Canada’s Decem­ber 2018 arrest of Huawei senior exec­u­tive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extra­di­tion war­rant. Meng is under house arrest in Van­cou­ver while fight­ing her extra­di­tion.

    Days after she was tak­en into cus­tody, Chi­nese author­i­ties detained Cana­di­ans Michael Kovrig and Michael Spa­vor, who have been charged with espi­onage and are being held in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions. Trudeau has called their arrests arbi­trary and has been ral­ly­ing oth­er coun­tries to press Chi­na for their release.

    ———–

    “State Depart­ment says it’s not con­sid­er­ing joint boy­cott of 2022 Bei­jing Olympics” by BENJAMIN DIN; Politi­co; 04/06/2021

    “We’re talk­ing about 2022, and we are still in April of 2021, so these Games remain some time away,” Price said. “I would­n’t want to put a time frame on it, but these dis­cus­sions are under­way.”

    Dis­cus­sions are under­way. That was the kind of talk that sud­den­ly had peo­ple talk­ing about an inter­na­tion­al 2022 Olympic boy­cott. But even before there was talk of a boy­cott, we had Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors like Rick Scott using the idea of relo­cat­ing the 2022 Olympics in response to the relo­ca­tion of the All-Start Game:

    ...
    In a tweet after the brief­ing, Price said that the State Depart­ment did­n’t have an announce­ment regard­ing the Olympics, but would “con­tin­ue to con­sult close­ly with allies and part­ners to define our com­mon con­cerns and estab­lish our shared approach to the PRC.”

    ...

    Ear­li­er Tues­day, Sen. Rick Scott (R‑Fla.) said Pres­i­dent Joe Biden should request the relo­ca­tion of the 2022 Olympics to the Unit­ed States. Scott, who has been advo­cat­ing for a poten­tial move since 2019, said it was hyp­o­crit­i­cal for Biden to sup­port last week’s efforts to move Major League Base­bal­l’s All-Star Game out of Geor­gia over its new­ly passed vot­ing law, but not take a stand on the Olympics.

    “It is now time for Pres­i­dent Biden to lead Amer­i­ca and the world and make clear that the Unit­ed States will nev­er tol­er­ate the oppres­sion and geno­cide occur­ring in Com­mu­nist Chi­na,” Scott said.
    ...

    And while the idea of sud­den­ly relo­cat­ing the Olympics might seem like the kind of absur­dist polit­i­cal rhetoric one should­n’t be tak­ing seri­ous­ly, it’s not like Sen­a­tor Scott is alone in his calls for relo­cat­ing the games. The Cana­di­an par­lia­ment over­whelm­ing­ly passed a res­o­lu­tion in Feb­ru­ary declar­ing a geno­cide in Xin­jiang and call­ing on the Trudeau gov­ern­ment to demand that the games be moved if the ‘geno­cide’ con­tin­ues:

    ...
    In Cana­da, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau has faced polit­i­cal pres­sure to take a hard­er line against Chi­na — includ­ing calls for his gov­ern­ment to push for the relo­ca­tion of the Bei­jing Games.

    Late Tues­day, the Trudeau gov­ern­ment said any deci­sion by Cana­da to boy­cott the Bei­jing Olympics would involve the inde­pen­dent Cana­di­an Olympic and Par­a­lympic com­mit­tees.

    “We are con­fi­dent that they will con­tin­ue to con­sid­er our ath­letes’ life­time of train­ing and ded­i­ca­tion to pre­pare for the Games and Canada’s com­mit­ment to basic fun­da­men­tal rights for all peo­ples in any future deci­sion lead­ing up to the Games,” Camille Gag­né-Ray­nauld, a spokesper­son for Cana­di­an Her­itage Min­is­ter Steven Guil­beault, wrote in an email to POLITICO.

    She said the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment is “deeply con­cerned by hor­rif­ic reports of human rights vio­la­tions” against Uyghurs and oth­er eth­nic minori­ties in Xin­jiang.

    Cana­da recent­ly joined oth­er West­ern democ­ra­cies in announc­ing sanc­tions on indi­vid­u­als and enti­ties alleged­ly linked to the abus­es in Chi­na. Gag­né-Ray­nauld said Cana­da is also call­ing for Chi­na to pro­vide inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tors “unfet­tered access” to the region. In Feb­ru­ary, Canada’s Par­lia­ment vot­ed over­whelm­ing­ly in favor of a motion declar­ing Bei­jing’s mis­treat­ment of Uyghur Mus­lims a geno­cide.

    The motion also called on the Trudeau gov­ern­ment to demand that the Win­ter Olympics in Bei­jing be moved if the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues with its “geno­cide.” Trudeau and his 36 cab­i­net min­is­ters abstained from vot­ing on the motion that, while sym­bol­ic, angered the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment at a time of already tense bilat­er­al rela­tions.
    ...

    So that was an exam­ple of how the effects of the Xin­jiang geno­cide myth are grow­ing as this pro­pa­gan­da cam­paign con­tin­ues. The US and Cana­di­an gov­ern­ments, both sources of the myth, have become cap­tives of it. Mis­sion accom­plished.

    But if that was­n’t gross enough, here’s a look at how Peter Thiel has jump aboard the geno­cide myth band­wag­on. It was just a mat­ter of time with Thiel giv­en that he’s been join­ing Steve Ban­non in using Chi­na as a polit­i­cal cud­gel for years. Dur­ing a vir­tu­al event held by the Richard Nixon Foun­da­tion, Thiel called on the US gov­ern­ment to con­sid­er tighter restric­tions on cryp­tocur­ren­cies, warn­ing that Bit­coin could be thought of at this point as a part of a Chi­nese finan­cial weapon against the dom­i­nance of the US (pre­sum­ably a ref­er­ence to the large role Chi­nese ‘min­ers’ play in the net­work). It was a bit iron­ic giv­en Thiel’s long-stand­ing sup­port of cryp­tocur­ren­cies and, in turn, an implic­it reminder that the memes about cryp­tocur­ren­cies ‘decen­tral­iz­ing mon­ey’ should real­ly be thought of as ‘recen­tral­iz­ing mon­ey around the peo­ple who already have the most’. Because that’s how pri­vate­ly run cur­ren­cies work: the group that owns the most con­trols, whether its min­ers in Chi­na or fas­cists in Sil­i­con Val­ley.

    Thiel went on to claim that he at one point pressed the employ­ees of Google’s par­ent com­pa­ny Alpha­bet about whether or not Google’s AI soft­ware was some­how being used to admin­is­ter Chi­na’s geno­cide in Xin­jiang. The employ­ees replied, “Well, we don’t real­ly know—and don’t ask any ques­tions,” accord­ing to Thiel. He went on to assert, “You have this almost mag­i­cal think­ing that by pre­tend­ing that every­thing is fine, that’s how you engage and have a con­ver­sa­tion.” So Thiel was effec­tive­ly accus­ing Google of con­scious­ly turn­ing a blind eye to its tools being used for geno­cide. A charge root­ed, again, in what has become a de fac­to assump­tion of geno­cide in Chi­na regard­less of evi­dence, which some might argue is mag­i­cal think­ing. Although oth­ers might argue it’s just cyn­i­cal decep­tion:

    Bloomberg

    Peter Thiel Calls Bit­coin ‘a Chi­nese Finan­cial Weapon’ at Vir­tu­al Round­table

    By Max Chafkin
    April 7, 2021, 2:53 PM CDT
    Updat­ed on April 7, 2021, 9:47 PM CDT

    Peter Thiel is “pro-cryp­to” and “pro-Bit­coin max­i­mal­ist,” but he also thinks the cryp­tocur­ren­cy may be under­min­ing Amer­i­ca.

    Thiel, the ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist and con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal donor, urged the U.S. gov­ern­ment to con­sid­er tighter reg­u­la­tions on cryp­tocur­ren­cies in an appear­ance on Tues­day. The state­ments seemed to rep­re­sent a change of heart for Thiel, who is a major investor in vir­tu­al cur­ren­cy ven­tures as well as in cryp­tocur­ri­ences them­selves.

    “I do won­der whether at this point, Bit­coin should also be thought [of] in part as a Chi­nese finan­cial weapon against the U.S.,” Thiel said dur­ing an appear­ance at a vir­tu­al event held for mem­bers of the Richard Nixon Foun­da­tion. “It threat­ens fiat mon­ey, but it espe­cial­ly threat­ens the U.S. dol­lar.” He added: “[If] China’s long Bit­coin, per­haps from a geopo­lit­i­cal per­spec­tive, the U.S. should be ask­ing some tougher ques­tions about exact­ly how that works.”

    Thiel was joined by for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo and for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor Robert O’Brien. The con­ver­sa­tion between Thiel, who has fre­quent­ly crit­i­cized Amer­i­can com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with Bei­jing, and two hawk­ish for­mer mem­bers of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, was large­ly focused on U.S.-China rela­tions. It was mod­er­at­ed by Hugh Hewitt, the talk radio host and the chief exec­u­tive of the Nixon Foun­da­tion. Forbes pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed some details of the event.

    Dur­ing the talk, Thiel expand­ed upon pre­vi­ous crit­i­cism of Alpha­bet Inc.’s Google, which he accused of work­ing against Amer­i­can inter­ests in a 2019 speech. On Tues­day, he added that he’d pressed employ­ees in the company’s arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence divi­sion about whether their tech­nol­o­gy was being used in China’s Xin­jiang region, where the U.S. says the coun­try has detained eth­nic Uyghurs in intern­ment camps, which some U.S. offi­cials have said amounts to geno­cide. The answer, Thiel said, was, “Well, we don’t real­ly know—and don’t ask any ques­tions.” Thiel con­tin­ued: “You have this almost mag­i­cal think­ing that by pre­tend­ing that every­thing is fine, that’s how you engage and have a con­ver­sa­tion.”

    Chi­na has denied mis­treat­ment of eth­nic and reli­gious minori­ties in Xin­jiang. In a state­ment, Google said it does­n’t work with the Chi­nese mil­i­tary and is “proud to con­tin­ue our long his­to­ry of work with the U.S. gov­ern­ment, includ­ing the Depart­ment of Defense, in many areas includ­ing cyber­se­cu­ri­ty, recruit­ing and health­care.”

    ...

    Thiel also sug­gest­ed that the U.S. should fol­low India in ban­ning Tik­Tok, the social app owned by Chi­nese com­pa­ny ByteDance Ltd., and which he called “this sort of incred­i­ble exfil­tra­tion of data about peo­ple.” Thiel not­ed that if it were banned, Tik­Tok would like­ly be replaced by sim­i­lar apps, as has hap­pened in India. “I don’t think it was like a tremen­dous, tremen­dous loss” in India, he said.

    The Tik­Tok com­ments dove­tail with mes­sag­ing from Face­book Inc., where Thiel sits on the board of direc­tors. Face­book has por­trayed Tik­Tok as a threat to U.S. val­ues. But Thiel also crit­i­cized Face­book itself, for nur­tur­ing what he called “woke pol­i­tics,” not­ing that the com­pa­ny had declined to take a firm stand on protests in Hong Kong last year. “There were more employ­ees at Face­book who were born in Chi­na than who were born in Hong Kong,” he said. “And the Chi­nese nation­als actu­al­ly said that, you know, it was just West­ern arro­gance, and [the com­pa­ny] shouldn’t be tak­ing Hong Kong’s side … And the rest of the employ­ees at Face­book sort of stayed out of it.”

    Thiel also crit­i­cized Facebook—along with oth­er tech companies—for “de-plat­form­ing Pres­i­dent Trump,” a ref­er­ence to the company’s deci­sion to ban Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for incit­ing the Jan. 6 storm­ing of the U.S. Capi­tol. “There’s been out­right cen­sor­ship,” Thiel said. “And when you do it with the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, that does feel like you have real­ly crossed some kind of Rubi­con.”

    The appear­ance with Pom­peo could have impli­ca­tions for the 2024 pres­i­den­tial race. The for­mer sec­re­tary of state is wide­ly seen as a pos­si­ble can­di­date for the Repub­li­can nomination—and Thiel has sig­naled a will­ing­ness to back fig­ures close­ly aligned with Trump. He was a major backer of Trump in 2016, and recent­ly donat­ed $10 mil­lion to a PAC sup­port­ing the poten­tial Sen­ate can­di­da­cy of J.D. Vance, an author and con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal fig­ure who pre­vi­ous­ly worked at a Thiel-backed ven­ture cap­i­tal fund.

    ———–

    “Peter Thiel Calls Bit­coin ‘a Chi­nese Finan­cial Weapon’ at Vir­tu­al Round­table” by Max Chafkin; Bloomberg; 04/07/2021

    “Dur­ing the talk, Thiel expand­ed upon pre­vi­ous crit­i­cism of Alpha­bet Inc.’s Google, which he accused of work­ing against Amer­i­can inter­ests in a 2019 speech. On Tues­day, he added that he’d pressed employ­ees in the company’s arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence divi­sion about whether their tech­nol­o­gy was being used in China’s Xin­jiang region, where the U.S. says the coun­try has detained eth­nic Uyghurs in intern­ment camps, which some U.S. offi­cials have said amounts to geno­cide. The answer, Thiel said, was, “Well, we don’t real­ly know—and don’t ask any ques­tions.” Thiel con­tin­ued: “You have this almost mag­i­cal think­ing that by pre­tend­ing that every­thing is fine, that’s how you engage and have a con­ver­sa­tion.”

    Is Google’s AI tech­nol­o­gy being used to pow­er Chi­na’s geno­cide of the Uyghurs? There’s no evi­dence of this, but evi­dence obvi­ous­ly isn’t top a pri­or­i­ty for this top­ic. Mag­i­cal think­ing based on the assump­tion that geno­cide must be tak­ing place will fill in the gaps.

    It’s also worth recall­ing that if we’re look­ing for com­pa­ny that allowed their tech­nol­o­gy to be used for the in a man­ner that rais­es con­cerns about mass human rights vio­la­tions, it was Thiel’s own Palan­tir that was revealed to be suf­fer­ing for plum­met­ing inter­nal morale as a result of the com­pa­ny’s case man­age­ment soft­ware being using to track migrant fam­i­lies of undoc­u­ment­ed chil­dren and iden­ti­fy tar­gets for depor­ta­tions.

    And note who appeared along side Thiel: Mike Pom­peo, one of the chief archi­tects and pro­po­nents of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s geno­cide claim, the ‘Chi­na made COVID in a lab’ claim, and a fig­ure seen as pos­si­ble 2024 can­di­date. Recall how Pom­peo declared a geno­cide in Xin­jiang on Jan­u­ary 19th, lit­er­al­ly one day before the end of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. So ensur­ing there was an offi­cial geno­cide claim was one of his very last moves as Sec­re­tary of State:

    ...
    The appear­ance with Pom­peo could have impli­ca­tions for the 2024 pres­i­den­tial race. The for­mer sec­re­tary of state is wide­ly seen as a pos­si­ble can­di­date for the Repub­li­can nomination—and Thiel has sig­naled a will­ing­ness to back fig­ures close­ly aligned with Trump. He was a major backer of Trump in 2016, and recent­ly donat­ed $10 mil­lion to a PAC sup­port­ing the poten­tial Sen­ate can­di­da­cy of J.D. Vance, an author and con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal fig­ure who pre­vi­ous­ly worked at a Thiel-backed ven­ture cap­i­tal fund.
    ...

    Pom­peo and Thiel seem to see eye to eye on Chi­na. Was this joint vir­tu­al appear­ance a sig­nal that Thiel might be will­ing to back a Pom­peo 2024 run? That remains to be seen. But it was def­i­nite­ly anoth­er sig­nal that the glob­al cam­paign to turn this ‘geno­cide’ claim into a con­flict with Chi­na is nowhere close to over.

    Oh, and it’s a sig­nal that future claims of geno­cide will prob­a­bly face a high­er evi­den­tiary bar than nec­es­sary thanks to the ongo­ing glob­al cam­paign. A glob­al smear cam­paign that is approach­ing such lev­els of absur­dism that it’s risks the smear­ing of future geno­cide claims, whether they are false claims or very real. It’s one of those obvi­ous and extreme­ly seri­ous con­se­quences to all of this that is so stark you have to won­der if the peo­ple push­ing this real­ize the impli­ca­tions of what they are doing. We seem to be oper­at­ing in an envi­ron­ment were large num­bers of peo­ple are excus­ing the fab­ri­ca­tion of geno­cide claims under the premise that it’s ok because it’s tar­get­ing a very bad gov­ern­ment that sure­ly must be doing lots of bad things any­way. It’s as if the long-term impli­ca­tions of throw­ing around strong geno­cide claims based on a body of flim­sy evi­dence aren’t even being con­sid­ered here.

    Unless, of course, these long-term impli­ca­tions about the via­bil­i­ty of future geno­cide claims are being con­sid­ered by the peo­ple behind this. After all, while Thiel and Pom­peo — two fig­ures with long-stand­ing and exten­sive ties to the far right — clear­ly have no prob­lem lev­el­ing geno­cide claims for polit­i­cal pur­pos­es, they don’t actu­al­ly seem like the types of peo­ple who care about actu­al geno­cides. Mike Pom­peo is the kind of Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ist who is look­ing for­ward to the apoc­a­lypse and Thiel is like the patron saint of the Dark Enlight­en­ment. If any­thing, they would prob­a­bly cheer it on, as long as the ‘right’ peo­ple were being exter­mi­nat­ed.

    It’s all part of the increas­ing­ly grim con­text of the glob­al Xin­jiang fake geno­cide cam­paign: The low qual­i­ty but high vol­ume of the geno­cide claims are mak­ing future geno­cide cam­paigns eas­i­er to pull off. And giv­en the extrem­ist nature of fig­ures who seem to be the chief pro­po­nents of this cam­paign, that might be part of the plan too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 8, 2021, 4:35 pm

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