Bully-Boy Minister’s Christmas Message to UK Universities….

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

Adopt anti-Semitism definition that’s ‘too vague to be useful’, or I’ll axe your funding!
Gavin Williamson ef951

Gavin Williamson is Education Secretary in the screwball government of Boris Johnson. And he has just threatened universities that they could have their funding cut if they don’t adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism before Christmas.

Williamson wrote to vice-chancellors last week saying he was “frankly disappointed” that there were still “too many disturbing incidents of anti-Semitism on campus and a lack of willingness by too many universities to confront this”, and that the number of universities adopting the definition “remains shamefully low”.

“These providers are letting down all their staff and students, and, shamefully, their Jewish students in particular,” he said.

He insists that adopting the IHRA definition “is morally the right thing to do” – and he underlines morally! “You should have no doubt: this government has zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism. If I have not seen the overwhelming majority of institutions adopting the definition by Christmas then I will act.”

“The repugnant belief that anti-Semitism is somehow a less serious, or more acceptable, form of racism has taken insidious hold in some parts of British society, and I am quite clear that universities must play their part in rooting out this attitude and demonstrating that anti-Semitism is abhorrent.”

The OfS said they will explore with the Department for Education what practical steps should be taken to ensure the IHRA definition’s wider adoption. But Universities UK were more cautious: “We recommend universities do all they can to tackle anti-Semitism, including considering the IHRA definition, whilst also recognising their duty to promote freedom of speech within the law.” And that last bit is what Williamson ought to have considered before stupidly going off the deep end.

Individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions

Williamson’s first problem is his ignorance. He’s completely at odds with the opinion of top legal experts who were asked for their views by Free Speech on IsraelIndependent Jewish VoicesJews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. In a nutshell, those in public life cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression which applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or anyone else.

There is a further obligation to allow all concerned in public debate “to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”.

Read Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Mr Williamson, which says that everyone has the right to freedom of expression including “freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”

Also, check Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which says the same sort of thing, subject of course to the usual limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee recommended that before accepting the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, two caveats should be included:

  • It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the Government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.
  • It is not anti-Semitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.

The Government, in its eagerness to appease the Zionist lobby, dropped the caveats saying they weren’t necessary.

Eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC also criticised the definition. Firstly, it wasn’t a legally binding so didn’t have the force of a statutory one. And it couldn’t be considered a legal definition of anti-Semitism as it lacked clarity. Therefore any conduct contrary to the IHRA definition couldn’t necessarily be ruled illegal.

Secondly, the language was far too vague to be useful as a tool.  In Tomlinson’s view the Government’s decision to adopt the IHRA Definition was simply a freestanding statement of policy, a mere suggestion. No public body is under an obligation to adopt or use it, or, given the unsatisfactory nature of the definition, should be criticised for refusing.

He warned that if a public authority did decide to adopt the definition then it must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with its statutory obligations. In particular, it cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

A further obligation put on public authorities is “to create a favourable environment for participation in public debates for all concerned, allowing them to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if they are contrary to those defended by the authorities or by a large part of public opinion”.

So, in Tomlinson’s opinion the IHRA Definition doesn’t mean that calling Israel an apartheid state that practises settler colonialism, or advocating boycott, divestment or sanctions (BDS) against Israel, can properly be characterized as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, a public authority seeking to apply the IHRA Definition to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully.”

Government’s ‘naive stance’

Retired Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Stephen Sedley, also offered advice criticising the IHRA working definition for lack of legal force. “At the same time, it is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally.”

He added that the right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, “places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed”. Moreover the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”.

Sedley was of the view that the IHRA definition is open to manipulation and “what is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of government from a stance which it has naively adopted in disregard of the sane advice given to it by the Home Affairs Select Committee.”

Williamson’s second problem is his prejudice. He’s a fanatical Israel worshipper and far from neutral in the hype surrounding anti-Semitism in the UK. In January 2018 when he was defence secretary he addressed an audience of over 250 Conservative Friends of Israel and supporters, including 50 parliamentarians, telling them that “Britain will always be Israel’s friend” and praising Israel as a “beacon of light and hope, in a region where there is so much hatred and hurt”. He added: “We shouldn’t underestimate how difficult it is to keep that light bright and burning”.

Recalling his visit to Israel as a teenager, he said: “What I found was a liberal, free, exciting country that was so at ease with itself, a country that absorbed and welcomed so many people. That made an enormous impression upon me”.

Williamson condemned the “completely unreasonable…sheer simple hatred” channelled towards Israel and asked: “If we are not there to stand up for a country, whose views and ideals are so close, or are simply our own, what are we as a nation? What are we in politics, if we cannot accept and celebrate the wonderful blooming of democracy that is Israel?”

Achingly funny. And highlighting the UK’s role in the creation of Israel, he said: “Britain and Israel have an amazing relationship. We would like to think that we were very much at the birth of the nation, and very much helped it in terms of its delivery and coming into the world”.

He said that Britain and Israel have “a strong and firm relationship of working together. It’s a relationship of partners….  It’s a partnership of equals. A partnership of friends”.

So hopelessly brainwashed.

Then, in April 2018 at a similar meeting to celebrate the regime’s 70th anniversary Williamson waxed lyrical describing Israel as a “light unto the nations” and adding that not only do Israel and Britain face shared security threats, “our relationship is underpinned by a shared sense of values: justice, compassion, tolerance”. He emphasised that Israel is a “liberal, free and exciting country” and that the UK-Israel relationship is the “cornerstone of so much of what we do in the Middle East”.

Breaching the Ministerial Code?

But Gavin Williamson is not the only Government minister to threaten our universities in this crude manner. A year ago Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick vowed to take action against universities and “parts of local government” who, he said, had become “corrupted” by anti-Semitism. He directed his attack on the universities who receive public money but “choose not to accept our IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and use it when considering matters such as disciplinary procedures”.

Writing in the Sunday Express, he added: “I will use my position as Secretary of State to write to all universities and local authorities to insist that they adopt the IHRA definition at the earliest opportunity.

“I expect them to confirm to me when they do so. Failure to act in this regard is unacceptable and I will be picking up the phone to Vice Chancellors and local government leaders to press for action, if none is forthcoming.”

According to Wikipedia Jenrick’s wife was born in Israel and their children are brought up in the Jewish faith. He told the Board of Deputies he would not tolerate local authority approved BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaigns against those profiteering from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. “Local authorities should not be wasting time and taxpayer’s money by dabbling in foreign policy or pursuing anti-Israel political obsessions, but instead focusing on delivering first class local public services.” The same could be said of his colleague Williamson’s pro-Israel obsession – and his own – when they should be getting on with governing Britain, but of course they are exempt from their own rules.

Both Jenrick and Williamson appear to fall foul of the Ministerial Code. The first two paragraphs are enough to banish them to outer darkness, one would have thought.

1.1 Ministers of the Crown are expected to maintain high standards of behaviour and to behave in a way that upholds the highest standards of propriety.

1.2 Ministers should be professional in all their dealings and treat all those with whom they come into contact with consideration and respect. Working relationships…. should be proper and appropriate. Harassing, bullying or other inappropriate or discriminating behaviour wherever it takes place is not consistent with the   Ministerial Code and will not be tolerated.

Elsewhere the Code decrees that “ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests” and they are expected to observe the Seven Principles of Public Life. The Principle of Integrity states that holders of public office “must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence their work”.

That suggests to me they ought to be slung out on their ear and never allowed near the levers of power again. But nobody in government is principled enough or has the balls to do it.

What do you think?

The United Nations and the Neglected Conflict of Kashmir

By Ghulam Nabi Fai

Source

Washington D.C, October 08 (KMS): The principle of ‘right of self-determination’ and its applicability to the 72-year-old Kashmir conflict needs to be considered during the 75th session of the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly that is taking place between October 08 to November 10, 2020 at its headquarters in New York. The committee will discuss and deliberate the issues related to international conflicts and decolonization. What I do hope to offer is an unstarry-eyed view of the fate of self-determination in Kashmir; and, the indispensability of convincing the United Nations that international peace and security would be strengthened, not weakened, by resolving the Kashmir conflict to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.

The self-determination of peoples is a basic principle of the United Nations Charter, which has been reaffirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and applied countless times to the settlement of international disputes.

The concept seems to be as old as government itself and was the basis of French and American revolutions. In 1916, President Wilson stated that self-determination is not a mere phrase. He said that it is an imperative principle of action and included it in the famous 14-point charter. This gave a prominence to the principle. Self-determination as conceived by Wilson was an imprecise amalgamation of several strands of thought, some long associated in his mind with the notion of “self-determination”, others hatched as a result or wartime developments, but all imbued with a general spirit of democracy.

Self-determination is a principle that has been developed in philosophic thought and practice for the last several hundred years. It is an idea that has caused people throughout the world to rise up and shed the chains of oppressive governments at great risk.

Finally, in 1945 the establishment of the UN gave a new dimension to the principle of self-determination. It was made one of the objectives, which the UN would seek to achieve, along with equal rights of all nations. Article 1.2 of the Charter of the United Nations reads: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”

From 1952 onwards, the General Assembly of the UN adopted a series of resolutions proclaiming the right to self-determination. The two most important of these are resolution 1514 of 14 December 1960 and resolution 2625 of 24 October 1970. Resolution 1514 was seen almost exclusively as part of process of decolonization. 1514 is entitled: Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

International Court of Justice considered the several resolutions on decolonization process and noted: “The subsequent development of International Law in regard to non-self governing territories as enshrined in the Charter of the UN made the principle of self-determination applicable to all of them.” This opinion establishes the self-determination as the basic principle for the process of decolonization.

The principle of self-determination in modern times can be defined as the right of peoples to determine their own political status and pursue their own economic, social and cultural policies. Self-determination in its literal meaning or at a terminological level also implies the right [of a people] to express itself to organize in whatever way it wants. A people must be free to express their will without interference or threat of interference from a controlling authority. This includes alien domination, foreign occupation and colonial rule.

Although, the applicability of the principle of the self-determination to the specific case of Jammu and Kashmir has been explicitly recognized by the United Nations, it was upheld equally by India and Pakistan when the Kashmir dispute was brought before the Security Council. Since, on the establishment of India and Pakistan as sovereign states, Jammu and Kashmir was not part of the territory of either, the two countries entered into an agreement to allow its people to exercise their right to self-determination under impartial auspices and in conditions free from coercion from either side. The agreement is embodied in the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, explicitly accepted by both governments. It is binding on both governments and no allegation of non-performance of any of its provisions by either side can render it inoperative.

It is apparent from the record of the Security Council that India articulated the principle, accepted the practical shape the Security Council gave to it and freely participated in negotiations regarding the modalities involved. However, when developments inside Jammu & Kashmir made it doubt its chances of winning the plebiscite, it changed its stand and pleaded that it was no longer bound by the agreement. Of course, it deployed ample arguments to justify the somersault. But even though the arguments were of a legal or quasi-legal nature, it rejected a reference to the World Court to pronounce on their merits. This is how the dispute became frozen with calamitous consequences for Kashmir most of all, with heavy cost for Pakistan and with none too happy results for India itself.

By all customary moral and legal yardsticks, 23 million Kashmiris from both sides of the Ceasefire Line (CFL) enjoy a right to self-determination. Kashmir’s legal history entitles it to self-determination from Indian domination every bit as much as Eritrea’s historical independence entitled it to self-determination from Ethiopian domination.

India’s gruesome human rights violations in Kashmir also militate in favor of self-determination every bit as much as Yugoslavia’s human rights violations and ethnic cleansing created a right to self-determination in Bosnia and Kosovo. Kashmir’s history of social and religious tranquility further bolsters its claim to self-determination every bit as much as East Timor’s history of domestic peace before Indonesia’s annexation in 1975 entitled it to self-determination in 1999.

If law and morality are overwhelmingly on the side of Kashmiri self-determination, then why has that quest been thwarted for 72 years? The answer is self-evident: the military might of India. India is too militarily powerful, including a nuclear arsenal, and too economically mesmerizing to expect the United States, the United Nations, NATO, or the European Union to intervene. The United States is reluctant to exert moral suasion or pressure to prod India because it covets more India’s alluring economic markets and collaboration in fighting global terrorism. Further, the size and wealth of the Indian lobby in the United States dwarfs the corresponding lobbies supporting Kashmir.

The world powers need to understand that there is no way the dispute can be settled once and for all except in harmony with the people’s will, and there is no way the people’s will can be ascertained except through an impartial vote. Secondly, there are no insuperable obstacles to the setting up of a plebiscite administration in Kashmir under the aegis of the United Nations. The world organization has proved its ability, even in the most forbidding circumstances, to institute an electoral process under its supervision and control and with the help of a neutral peace-keeping force. The striking example of this is Namibia, which was peacefully brought to independence after seven decades of occupation and control by South Africa; East Timor and Southern Sudan, which got independence only through the intervention of the United Nations. Thirdly, as Sir Owen Dixon, the United Nations Representative, envisaged seven decades ago, the plebiscite can be so regionalized that none of the different zones of the state will be forced to accept an outcome contrary to its wishes.

In conclusion, a sincere and serious effort towards a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute must squarely deal with the realities of the situation and fully respond to the people’s rights involved in it. Indeed, any process that ignores the wishes of the people of Kashmir and is designed to sidetrack the United Nations will not only prove to be an exercise in futility but can also cause incalculable human and political damage.

How a Black Evangelical Denomination was Duped into “Blessing” Israel

Glen Plummer Social Media

By Kathryn Shihadah

Source

“There are more than 40 million Black Americans, they spend more than $1.3 trillion a year, so we’re a measurable market, a measurable group of people, easily identified, and we think we can also contribute to the advancement of Israel.”  – Glenn Plummer, Bishop of Israel

The Church of God in Christ, or COGIC, is certainly not the first evangelical group to embrace the state of Israel. But unlike most evangelical denominations, this one is mostly African American. Its leadership includes the newly-minted and first-ever “Bishop of Israel,” Dr. Glenn R. Plummer, who now resides in Jerusalem – and he cherishes his new post.

The Plummers’ move from their Detroit home is the culmination of a years-long targeted outreach by pro-Israel organizations to the African American Christian community, including a carefully curated public relations campaign that oscillates between portraying Israel as a victim of Palestinian violence and ignoring Palestinian existence completely.

The mission: American dollars for Israel

Plummer defines his mission in terms of creating mostly commercial ties between African Americans and Jewish Israelis. The two million Muslim and Christian Palestinians who live in Israel do not figure into his plans. As he explains it:

It’s a perfect time to show our support for the Jewish people, and for Israel in particular, and we intend to do that in very tangible ways. There are more than 40 million Black Americans, they spend more than $1.3 trillion a year, so we’re a measurable market, a measurable group of people, easily identified, and we think we can also contribute to the advancement of Israel.”

Plummer, pictured in a matching tracksuit and Nike fanny pack, with a member of his congregation during a 2019 tour in Jerusalem. Photo | COGIC

Plummer’s wife, who now claims the title “the first lady of Israel,” adds that the couple hopes to correct what she calls “misunderstandings” about Israel among Black Americans. “God blesses those who bless Israel, she said, “We want to make sure that Black Americans understand that the way to bless Israel is to speak well of Israel.”

Last month, the foundation Israel Allies named Plummer one of Israel’s “Top 50 Christian Allies.”

African American views on Israel

Black Americans as a group are primarily Protestant – a characteristic usually associated with robust support for Israel – but also predominantly Democrats, the less pro-Israel party. 

Most African American Christians lean left when it comes to the Jewish State. Less than half — 48 percent — endorse Israel, and 27 percent sympathize with the Palestinians.

Although traditional religious teaching in many denominations calls on believers to support Israel, the majority of Black Christians sympathize equally with both Israeli and Palestinian struggles (seventy percent); over forty percent also believe that Israel denies Palestinians their basic human rights and that Israeli laws discriminate against Palestinians (about the same percentage say they don’t know).

The link: pro-Israel charity

The modern African American connection to Israel can be traced back to the late American Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who in 1983 created a collaborative charity called the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ). Eckstein has since grown it into a $100 million-a-year organization. IFCJ claims to support the Israeli military, provide aid to needy Jewish families, and promote Jewish emigration to Israel.

Eckstein addresses a Baptist Church in Detroit during the Martin Luther King Day weekend. Photo | Phil Lewis | The Fellowship

In 2014, after over thirty years of cultivating support for the Jewish state among White American Christians, Eckstein began pursuing the African American Christian community. He found the work tricky. Black Christians, after all, tend to be Democrats and not supportive of the more hawkish pro-Israel policies for which he sought backing. But Eckstein had a secret weapon.

He targeted COGIC because of one particular doctrine: a belief that the creation of the State of Israel was ordained by God.

Selective pilgrimage

By 2015 a group of COGIC ministers, including the Plummers, visited Israel with Eckstein, taking in a hand-picked list of Jewish and Christian holy sites, a bomb shelter in Tel Aviv, and the Holocaust memorial.

In 2017, with financial assistance from Hobby Lobby, another COGIC group visited Israel. Notably, the week-long trip did not include Bethlehem, which is in Palestinian territory, or any meetings with Palestinians. A senior COGIC delegate explained that the purpose of the visit was to focus on the strength of Israel, adding, “that’s not to say the Palestinian issue is not deserving of consideration as well. Anything that helps humanity.”

The itinerary for African American church leaders included a stop in southern Tel Aviv, where most of Israel’s 45,000 African asylum-seekers live. The group discussed the challenges these immigrants faced, including racism and economic inequity. But again, the narrative was incomplete.

Israel has been openly trying for over ten years to stop the flow of refugees from Africa and to deport those already present. Human Rights Watch reported that it “recognized fewer than one percent of asylum applicants,” choosing instead to “bully” them or ignore their applications. The government even funded a wall on its border with Egypt and then initiated a policy of detention and expulsion, housing African refugees in large camps in the middle of the southern desert.

Despite the carefully curated itinerary, one church leader summed up his takeaway from the trip thusly, “[D]espite the achievement of some [Africans in Israel], educational and economic inequity remain.”

“From Ferguson to Palestine”

Just before the COGIC trip to Israel, the U.S. saw a surge of Black support for the Palestinian cause – something Plummer has yet to acknowledge.

The summer of 2014 highlighted the parallel issues faced by African Americans and their Palestinian brethren. As Blacks in America protested the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Israel waged a brutal war against the people of Gaza. Over 2,200 Palestinians were killed, 65 percent of them civilians. More than 500 Palestinian children lost their lives in the Israeli campaign along with 73 Israelis, just eight percent of whom were civilians.

The 2015 Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine, signed by over 1,000 activists and 39 organizations, was born of this shared adversity and read, in part:

The past year has been one of high-profile growth for Black-Palestinian solidarity. Out of the terror directed against us—from numerous attacks on Black life to Israel’s brutal war on Gaza and chokehold on the West Bank—strengthened resilience and joint-struggle have emerged between our movements.

Neighborhood watch

Bishop Plummer and his wife made their new home in an upscale Israeli suburb of Jerusalem called Mevaseret Zion, a neighborhood whose backstory is noteworthy if one is willing to search it out.

Before 1948, Mevaseret Zion was the site of the mostly-Arab Palestinian village of Qalunya, population: 1,056. The violent Jewish paramilitary force, the Haganah, destroyed the village as recounted by historian Walid Khalidi, author of “All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948.” The village was one of over five hundred depopulated and demolished in the wake of Israel’s creation.

Plummer poses with African members of the IDF in Jerusalem in 2016. Photo | COGIC

Ottoman records indicate that it had been in existence since at least 1596. Its Palestinian farmers grew (and paid taxes on) wheat, barley, and vegetables, and tended citrus and olive trees.

Kerem Navot, a non-profit Israeli group that monitors land policy, recently pointed out that Mevaseret Zion lies partly inside Palestine. But instead of resolving the trespassing issue, Israel recently approved plans for further construction in the town, requiring the appropriation of yet more Palestinian land.

Zooming toward racism

On June 4, Bishop Plummer participated in a video conference vigil hosted by Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Its objective: to pray for racial reconciliation in the United States following the death of George Floyd.

Plummer and his colleagues may not have been aware that following a 1967 agreement, only Muslims are supposed to be allowed to perform religious rituals on the Temple Mount, the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and one of Islam’s most revered sites.

In recent years, Israeli radicals have stormed the mosque compound more and more frequently, often under the protection of Israeli police. Despite having exclusive access to the Wailing Wall, a nearby Jewish holy site, they storm the compound under the auspices of a desire to pray in the mosque compound, a move seen by many Muslims as intentionally provocative. Yehudah Glick’s prayer vigil was both illegal and provocative.

Glick also ignored the fact that both the religious establishment and the Israeli government openly discriminate against the Palestinians in their midst to the point that many experts have described the government’s actions as apartheid. And even as Glick urged his listeners to chant “no more violence,” his country observed the 53rd anniversary of its brutal occupation of Palestine.

Israel’s widely publicized narrative of innocence overshadows the reality of its intolerance, though both Israeli and Palestinian historians have chronicled it thoroughly.

The state of Israel displaced 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 simply because they were not Jewish. It defied international law by refusing to allow them to return; appropriated 78 percent of their land in 1948, and occupied the rest in 1967, with no end in sight.

Numerous human rights organizations have been tallying and reporting on Israel’s decades of ongoing human rights abuses.

In Gaza alone 7,400 Palestinians have been killed through direct Israeli violence (thousands more due to lack of food and medicine caused by the now fourteen-year-old blockade); during the same time period, about 250 Israelis were been killed by Palestinians in Gaza.

Glick mourned the May 25 death of George Floyd and the nationwide unrest in its aftermath. He left unspoken the name of Eyad al Hallak, a disabled Palestinian man executed by Israeli police on May 30 in Jerusalem – not far from where Glick’s own vigil was held.

Palestine and the Other Philby

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Philby of Arabia 518d9

This reading of history is substantially but not wholly based on Elizabeth Monroe’s book Philby of Arabia (London: Quartet Books, 1973). With the exception of Kim Philby’s references to his wife, his father, and his once best friend, Nicholas Elliott, all the quoted material is taken from the book.

The young generation may never have heard of Kim Philby, so a few words by way of introduction are necessary. Philby was at Cambridge University in 1934 when he was recruited as a Soviet agent. He went to Spain to report the civil war before being recruited by M16 in 1940, rising to senior positions, including control of the Soviet desk, even as he handed Britain’s secrets to his Soviet controller. By 1949 he was head of intelligence at the British embassy in Washington, which, through his close friendship with James Jesus Angleton, the head of the CIA’s special operations section, gave him insights into American secrets as well, and perhaps the secrets themselves.

In 1951, Guy Burgess and Donald McLean, both friends of Philby and his colleagues in the British intelligence community in the US, and both Soviet agents, defected. Philby also came under suspicion and was compelled to resign, before being cleared of any wrongdoing by Prime Minister Harold MacMillan in 1955.

In 1956 Philby moved to Beirut as a correspondent for the London Observer. A Soviet defector having pointed the finger at him again, MI6 sent another old friend and colleague, Nicholas Elliott, to Lebanon in 1963 to question him. They had one meeting, during which Philby verbally confessed but refused to put anything down in writing. Before their planned second meeting, Philby made his way at night to the docks where a Soviet freighter took him to Odessa. Honored by the Soviet government, he lived in Moscow until his death in 1988.

Philby is ranked as the most successful of all cold war agents. The information he passed on led to the death of hundreds of people, including armed men sent into Albania to overthrow the Stalinist government of Enver Hoxha and a defector who tipped off the British consulate in Istanbul. Soviet agents got to him and once back in Moscow, he and his family disappeared forever.

Philby expressed no regret for any of this, on the basis that these victims of the spy game knew, like him, what they were letting themselves in for. He even provided information to the Soviet Union on his wife Aileen (“bourgeois and philistine”), his old friend Nicholas Elliott (“ugly and rather pig-like”) and even on his father, Harold St John Philby, which is where the central point of this article begins.

If Philby made his way into the intelligence community and then journalism with such ease it was because he was ‘one of us,’ the privileged elite which ran Britain. His father was also ‘one of us,’ even if generally out of tune with what his government was doing. Whereas Kim concealed who he really was, Harold spoke openly, critically and often angrily, irrespective of the effect on his listeners. He would never have been a good choice for the intelligence community, but he did serve the government after 1918, holding down numerous positions in Iraq, Transjordan (as it then was) and Saudi Arabia.

If he irritated senior figures wherever he went he was always respected for his knowledge, his explorations and his close and useful personal connection with the Saudi monarch, Abd al Aziz ibn Saud.

Even when serving the government Philby used his spare time to explore Arabia. He crossed the fearsome desert expanse known as the ‘empty quarter (ruba’ al khali), he looked for (and found) evidence of ancient cities and culture. He also amassed collections of rare specimens of butterflies and birdlife, many ending up in British museums.

Privately, Philby ran two families, one in England and one in Riyadh. At the age of 60, having become a Muslim, he accepted the ‘gift’ of a girl of 16 from the Saudi king and went on to have several children with her. He was still running his other home and wife, Dora, in England,   seeing her only when he visited or she visited him. As illegal and as abhorrent as it would be in England for a man of Philby’s age to take as a wife a girl of 16, it was probably unremarkable in Saudi culture.

His Cambridge background, his butterfly and bird collecting and his life-long love of cricket established Philby as a conventional upper-middle-class Englishman but there was this other maverick side, often intemperate and deeply critical of imperialism, in particular Britain’s policies in the Middle East, establishing him as another kind of conventional Englishman, strongly individual and eccentric by the standards of others. The two sides lived somewhat awkwardly with each other throughout his life.

Philby was immediately hostile to the post-1918 mandates system, which he regarded as a “fig leaf” for French and British imperialism. In Iraq and Syria, it was clear to him that both Britain and France had betrayed their promises of national governments to be established on the basis of the free choice of the indigenous people. The exception in this stream of thinking was Palestine.

Charged with going to the Hijaz to smooth over differences with the Sharif Husain of Mecca – now self-proclaimed king of the Hijaz as well – over British policy on Palestine and the rising power of Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, Philby got somewhere on the first issue, Husain seeming to understand “that the British wished to settle some Jews in Palestine,” but he was immovable on the second. Abdul Aziz ibn Saud was preparing to pounce on the Hijaz, driving Husain and his family into exile, and forbade Philby from making a side trip to the Saudi kingdom in Najd (central Arabia) before returning to Cairo.

On Palestine, Philby was inconsistent. If the Iraqi and Syrian people were to be given the right to their own government through the free choice of their people, why not the people of Palestine? From official quarters the answer was clear if usually muffled: because we intend to give Palestine to zionist settlers and until they reach a majority, independence has to be withheld.

In Britain Philby sat on a League of Nations Union committee alongside academics, politicians, and zionists charged with coming up with a model mandate for Palestine. Although the British government and the Zionist movement knew what they wanted in Palestine, a Jewish state at the expense of the Palestinians (as Balfour had made clear in public statements),   the Zionist intention from the start to get rid of the Palestinians through ‘transfer’ was concealed by the zionists and bypassed as a subject for polite conversation by the British government.

Far from speaking against the zionist colonization of Palestine, Philby and T.E. Lawrence, forever linked in British minds with the struggle for Arab independence, believed, as Elizabeth Monroe has written, that “an injection of Jewish brains and money into the Arab world would improve Arab chances of successful independence.”

Thus swayed by zionist thinking, Philby was supported by Chaim Weizmann, whom he later took tea with in London, when he applied for a position in Palestine, only to be turned down because of advice to the High Commissioner that he was argumentative and would prove to be a nuisance.

Philby’s views on Palestine were nothing if not inconsistent with each other and with his general support for Arab independence. He regarded the Balfour Declaration as “an act of betrayal for whose parallel, the shekels and the kiss and all the rest of it, we have to go back to the Garden of Gethsemane.”

At the same time, he thought British governments should reaffirm the declaration because Jews had a “perfect right” to settle in Palestine on “a basis of equality with the existing population.”   Transjordan, he thought, would only be too happy to accept Jewish investment and immigration into a territory that should never have been separated in the first place. He never budged from his belief that the Jews had it in them to benefit the Arab world as long as – the critical qualification – they dropped any wish to dominate. Of course, Weizmann and others in the Zionist leadership gave endless assurances that this was the last thing they had in mind.

Philby frequently tried to bring Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud around to his way of thinking on Palestine. The king shared the general Arab view that to take land from the indigenous population of Palestine and give it to Zionist settlers was unjust. He opposed partition when it was proposed in 1937 (the Peel plan) and said that even if all other Arab states recognized a Jewish state he never would, a statement of contemporary relevance given the recognition of Israel by the UAE and Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s scarcely concealed dealings with Israel.

In 1939 Philby showed how poorly he understood Abdul Aziz ibn Saud on the question of Palestine. During a meeting in London with Professor Lewis Namier, Jewish, and a zionist, he said the king would come on board with British policies in the Middle East (as against the growing influence of Germany and Italy) if he were given money and weapons.

Namier suggested a meeting with Weizmann to see what might be arranged. When Namier, Philby and Moshe Shertok (later Sharett), political secretary of the Jewish Agency, met Weizmann on October 8, Philby proposed that if the zionists could come up with a 20 million pound ‘subsidy’ for the king, they could be given western Palestine, with the exception of the ‘Vatican City’ in east Jerusalem. At the same time, they should commit themselves to help secure Arab unity and independence (outside Palestine of course), which in Philby’s view was only attainable under Abdul Aziz’s leadership.

According to Weizmann, the conversation included references to “considerable transfers of the Arab population”: hedging his position, he said there was not much the zionists could do to advance the situation politically, apart from which they were bound by their “loyalties” to Britain and France.

Forever chasing money, Philby no doubt saw some coming to him if this scheme could be pulled off. He presented it to Abdul Aziz on January 8, 1940, when, in his own understanding, the king did not turn it down, saying only that he would give an answer at the appropriate time. In truth, the king was probably taken by surprise and did not like what he was hearing. Philby misconstrued silence as consent, wrote to his wife about the king agreeing and was sufficiently indiscreet to mention it to Syrians in the king’s entourage.

In February 1940, Weizmann contacted him from Washington to see how things we going. “Slowly,” Philby had to respond, while remaining confident that the king was “quite favorably inclined towards the proposal and is just thinking about how it can be worked out without producing howls of anger among certain Arab elements.” While Weizmann worked on the Americans, the plan would have to wait for the king to work out how to overcome Arab objections.

In 1940 and 1942 Weizmann saw President Roosevelt and, in the second of these years, Churchill as well. In Weizmann’s account, Churchill talked of wanting to make Abdul Aziz the “boss of bosses” in the Middle East “provided he settles with you.” This was an opportunity for Weizmann to try and dovetail the Zionist-Philby plan with what the Americans and British were both thinking.

In August 1942, Roosevelt sent Colonel Harold B. Hoskins to the Middle East as the head of a mission to engender goodwill. At a time the Middle East was unanimously hostile to the zionist presence in Palestine, not much goodwill was going to be generated by the plan which came out of the Hoskins mission, which was to admit 500,000 Jews into Palestine and set up a binational state as part of a Levant Federation that would include all of historic Syria.

In 1943 Roosevelt sent a message to the Saudi king that both “Arabs and Jews” would be consulted over the future of Palestine.   In August Hoskins was sent to Saudi Arabia to see if the king would agree to meet Weizmann. When he made the suggestion the king blew up. In Elizabeth Monroe’s summary of the occasion, “he hated Weizmann personally because the latter had impugned his character by offering a bribe of 20 million pounds if he would accept Arab settlers from Palestine.”

Furthermore, the king had been told the payment would be guaranteed by Roosevelt, which was certainly due to Weizmann’s campaigning. The king was so incensed at the offer and the involvement of the US president “in such a shameful manner” that he never brought it up again in his discussions with Hoskins.   Hoskins went to London, where he “disabused” Weizmann and Namier of the idea that Philby’s views represented the Saudi king’s. Philby persisted in believing that if Hoskins had approached the king with a firm offer on behalf of the US and British governments it would have been accepted. Of course, with oil being drilled in commercial quantities since 1938, the money on offer would soon be eclipsed by the vast sums flowing into the kingdom.

With partition passed by the UN General Assembly and the situation in Palestine worsening, the king could not bring himself to listen to the radio. Tears would come to his eyes. He agreed to meet members of an Anglo-American Commission bent on linking “Jewish victims of Nazi persecution everywhere” to the zionist colonization of Palestine. The king distrusted Philby when it came to Palestine so he was not at the meeting, at which Abdul Aziz told his visitors that “if the immigration of Jews continues and their possessions in Palestine increase, they will become one of the most powerful governments, equipped with arms and wealth and everything else. They will be against the Arabs and at the same time [will be] difficult for them.”

With the British leaving Palestine, he said a continued British mandate would be better than a triumph for the Jews or an enlarged kingdom for King Abdullah of Jordan, then conspiring with the Zionist leadership.

With the Arab states under foreign domination, and the Arab League newly formed and ineffectual, Philby came to admire “the courage and fanaticism of the Jews as much as I deplore the futility of the Arabs.” It was no wonder that many in Saudi court circles regarded him as a zionist spy, a British intelligence agent or a communist. As Philby’s son Kim was a committed communist and at the time was handing secrets from inside MI6 to the Soviet Union, there was certainly irony in their suspicions.

Philby needed to be in Saudi Arabia for further desert explorations and to make money from his various commercial ventures. He must have known that if he pushed the king any further on the question of Palestine he would he putting his own interests at risk. He continued to argue for the right of the Arabs to run their own affairs, all the Arabs, that is, except the Palestinians.

– Jeremy Salt taught at the University of Melbourne, at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara for many years, specializing in the modern history of the Middle East. Among his recent publications is his 2008 book, The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (University of California Press). He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Western Anger as China, Russia Elected to UN Human Rights Council and Saudi Arabia Rejected

By Alan Macleod

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The rejection of Saudi Arabia, the only country that did not receive the required number of votes from UN member states, has been seen as a repudiation of the Kingdom’s decreasing international support.

In a secret ballot at the United Nations yesterday, Saudi Arabia was rejected for a position on the body’s 47-country Human Rights Council (HRC). The only country that did not receive the required number of votes from member states, the failure has been seen as a repudiation of the Kingdom’s abysmal human rights record and its decreasing international support.

15 positions were filled yesterday, although most of them were pre-selected. Only the Asia-Pacific region faced an open vote from UN member states. Pakistan received 169 “yes” votes out of a possible 193, Uzbekistan 164, Nepal 150, and China 139. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, received just 90.

Saudi Arabia’s allies in the West had actually been campaigning to halt the election of states that draw Washington’s ire, including China, Russia, and Cuba, trying to organize opposition against those nations, but were ultimately unsuccessful. China received 41 fewer votes than it did in 2016, amid increased global concern over the alleged treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang Province, but ultimately comfortably surpassed the 50 percent threshold for admission.

U.N. Watch, a western NGO that has a history of attacking Washington’s enemies and has condemned the UN for its supposed antisemitic bias over its criticism of Israeli human rights abuses, claimed that “electing these dictatorships as UN judges on human rights is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade.”

The reaction from the U.S. government, which left the HRC in 2018 over its perceived bias against Israel, was similarly angry. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement claiming that the election of countries like China, Russia, Cuba (and Venezuela in 2019) has shown that the institution is now broken beyond repair.https://cdn.iframe.ly/qY2oDPd?iframe=card-small&v=1&app=1

“The United States’ commitment to human rights consists of far more than just words,” Pompeo said, as he boasted of employing sanctions against all those nations. “Our commitments are spelled out clearly in the UN’s Declaration, and in our record of action. The United States is a force for good in the world, and always will be,” he added. Yet earlier this year Pompeo himself said that the U.S. should abandon most of the rights enshrined in the UN Declaration and focus only on property rights and religious freedoms.

The spin war

Much of the media today has been in a furor that the “world’s worst abusers” (The Times) like China, Russia, and Cuba are set to join or rejoin the council. The Guardian suggested that the institution’s credibility is at stake. Yet in the talk of human rights violators joining the council, the election of other states with questionable records was never discussed. Bolivia, whose murderous far-right government came to power in a U.S.-backed military coup in November, was also elected, but with no fanfare or condemnation. As was Cameroon, whose dictatorial head of state Paul Biya has been in charge of the country since Gerald Ford was president of the United States. Other states with contentious records included were Narendra Modi’s India, Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines, and the Qatari dictatorship.

Both the Guardian, left, and the Times, right, failed to report on other human rights violators being elected to the council

Saudi Arabia was elected twice to the HRC between 2014-2016 and 2017-2019. Its new failure to secure more than 90 votes is a sign of increasing discontent with its policies in Yemen, declared the world’s worst humanitarian disaster by the United Nations, where 24 million people (80 percent of the country) need some form of humanitarian assistance. Yet under pressure from the U.S. government, aid has been cut to just 25 cents per person, per day. The kingdom has played a key role in stymying any international action to deal with the humanitarian catastrophe, using its position at the HRC to block UN inquiries into its own abuses in Yemen.

Internally, the country is often described as the most repressive regime on the planet, with millions of people suffering under slave-like conditions, according to Human Rights Watch. While on the council, it attempted to block a resolution that condemned the use of torture by law enforcement and reaffirms the human rights of LGBT people. Inside Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is still punishable with the death penalty.

Ultimately, while yesterday’s election is the sign of a slightly more multipolar world, the results are unlikely to seriously change the direction of the organization, with the United Nations constantly blocked from taking action unless all of the world’s superpowers allow it.

More on the Anti-Semitism Scam: Jewish Students Get Protected Status

By Philip Giraldi

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In both the United States and Europe there has been an increase in the passage of laws that are intended to protect Jews. Indeed, one might say that one of the few growth industries in Donald Trump’s United States has been the protection of Jewish citizens and their property from a largely contrived wave of anti-Semitism that is allegedly sweeping the nation. Even while potentially catastrophic developments both in the Middle East and the United States continue to unfold, the threat of anti-Semitism continues to find its way into much of the news cycle in the mainstream media.

A survey conducted last month in all fifty states was released with the headline “First-Ever 50-State Survey On Holocaust Knowledge Of American Millennials And Gen Z Reveals Shocking Results. Disturbing Findings Reveal Significant Number Of Millennials And Gen Z Can’t Name A Single Concentration Camp Or Ghetto, Believe That Two Million Or Fewer Jews Were Killed And A Concerning Percentage Believe That Jews Caused The Holocaust.”

The survey is based on the premise that detailed knowledge of the so-called holocaust should be an essential part of everyone’s education. Currently, 12 states already require holocaust instruction in their public school curricula, though that includes five of the six biggest states, and recently passed federal legislation will eventually fund holocaust education everywhere in the U.S.  But, of course, the real back story that one must not mention is that the standard holocaust narrative is at least as much fiction as fact and it is employed regularly to create special benefits and protections for both Jews in general and also for the State of Israel. That is why the usual sources in the media become outraged whenever it seems that the propaganda is not effective.

The ignorance of the holocaust story inevitably received wide play in the mainstream media but there are a number of things that all Americans should know about the anti-Semitism hysteria that drives the process. First of all, the extent to which there is actual anti-Semitism and the background to many of the incidents has been deliberately distorted or even ignored by the press and by the government at all levels. Anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews for either their religion or their ethnicity, but many of the so-called anti-Semitic incidents are actually related to the policies advanced by the state of Israel. Organizations like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which have a vested interest in keeping the number of anti-Semitic incidents high, deliberately conflate the two issues in their reports.

In its 2018 report, ADL reported “1,879 acts,” in the United States during the course of the year. It is not a particularly large number given the size and population of the U.S. and also with respect to what is included. There were certainly some physical attacks, including two shooting incidents at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, but most of the incidents were much less kinetic, including shouting and name calling on university campuses between groups supportive of and opposed to Israel’s repression of the Palestinians.

Europe is way ahead of the game when it comes to punishing so-called holocaust denial or anti-Semitism, which now includes any criticism of Jews and/or of Israel. As one critic put it, Europeans generally can exercise something like free speech, but the speech is limited by certain rules that must be observed. Three weeks ago, the French nationalist writer and critic of Jewish power Hervé Ryssen was jailed for the fifth time for the crime of “hate speech.” He faces up to 17 months in prison for having been found guilty of “…insult, provocation, and public defamation due to origin, ethnicity, nationality, race, or religion.” In 2016 he was imprisoned for 5 months, in 2017 for 6 months and in 2018 for one year on similar charges. He also had to pay a 2000 Euros fine to the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism. In January 2020, Ryssen was found guilty of “contesting the existence of crimes against humanity,” i.e. questioning the so-called holocaust which labels him as a négationniste, a “holocaust denier.”

Ryssen has written numerous books on Jewish power in Europe and on Israel. His scholarship has rarely been questioned, but his willingness to speak out sometimes boldly on issues that are forbidden has put him in prison more often than not. Curiously, the French law against vilifying ethnic groups and religions has de facto only rarely been applied to protecting either Christians or Muslims. Satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo continues to “blaspheme” against both religions without any intervention from the authorities, but it is careful not to make fun of Jews.

The United States is clearly moving in the direction of France, at least insofar as the Jewish community and Israel are concerned. But it is also refreshing to note that a revived progressive wing of the Democratic Party is engaging in a bit of pushback. Three weeks ago, 162 Democratic congressmen plus one Republican and one independent actually voted against an amendment intended to “Protect Jewish Students from Antisemitism at School.”

The vote took place on Sept. 16th, and was over a Republican proposed amendment to the  Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act (H.R.2574). The amendment designated anti-Semitism to be a form of discrimination included in the bill and would allow private citizens to file lawsuits claiming damages under the Civil Rights Act’s Title VI, focusing particularly on education programs. In spite of the considerable level of opposition, unfortunately the amendment still passed by a vote of 255 to 164.

According to the Concerned Women for America  (CWA), a group that lobbied for the added language, “The amendment ensures that recipients of federal education funding act against anti-Semitism in our communities. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) on college campuses is one of the ways such discrimination is being displayed.” The bill allows suits directed against any program receiving federal money if it can be claimed that one is the victim of discriminatory practices that negatively affect a protected class more than another class. Previously, the protected classes were identified as “race, color, or national origin,” but Jews and, by extension, Israel are now also protected. The specific additional language that was inserted was: “In carrying out the responsibilities of the recipient under this title, the employee or employees designated under this section shall consider antisemitism to be discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin as prohibited by this title.”

In practice, the new legislation will mean that Jewish students or their families or proxies can use Civil Rights legislation to sue educational institutions if they are made uncomfortable by the presence of critics of Israel. The real targets are groups like BDS, which have obtained some traction on university campuses and have been targeted by both the Israeli government and domestic Israel Lobby organizations. But, of course, the real danger is that once protected status is granted to one chosen group that promotes the interests of a foreign government there is no control over how “hate speech” will be defined and the consequences for American fundamental liberties will be catastrophic, moving far closer to the European model of freedom limited by “rules.”

John Lennon at 80: One Man Against the Deep State ‘Monster’

By John Whitehead

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“You gotta remember, establishment, it’s just a name for evil. The monster doesn’t care whether it kills all the students or whether there’s a revolution. It’s not thinking logically, it’s out of control.”—John Lennon (1969)

John Lennon, born 80 years ago on October 9, 1940, was a musical genius and pop cultural icon.

He was also a vocal peace protester and anti-war activist, and a high-profile example of the lengths to which the Deep State will go to persecute those who dare to challenge its authority.

Long before Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government’s war crimes and the National Security Agency’s abuse of its surveillance powers, it was Lennon who was being singled out for daring to speak truth to power about the government’s warmongering, his phone calls monitored and data files illegally collected on his activities and associations.

For a while, at least, Lennon became enemy number one in the eyes of the U.S. government.

Years after Lennon’s assassination it would be revealed that the FBI had collected 281 pages of files on him, including song lyrics. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI at the time, directed the agency to spy on the musician. There were also various written orders calling on government agents to frame Lennon for a drug bust. “The FBI’s files on Lennon … read like the writings of a paranoid goody-two-shoes,” observed reporter Jonathan Curiel.

Document with portions of text blacked out, dated 1972.

Confidential (here declassified and censored) letter by J. Edgar Hoover about FBI surveillance of John Lennon (Public Domain)

As the New York Times notes, “Critics of today’s domestic surveillance object largely on privacy grounds. They have focused far less on how easily government surveillance can become an instrument for the people in power to try to hold on to power. ‘The U.S. vs. John Lennon’ … is the story not only of one man being harassed, but of a democracy being undermined.”

Indeed, all of the many complaints we have about government today—surveillance, militarism, corruption, harassment, SWAT team raids, political persecution, spying, overcriminalization, etc.—were present in Lennon’s day and formed the basis of his call for social justice, peace and a populist revolution.

For all of these reasons, the U.S. government was obsessed with Lennon, who had learned early on that rock music could serve a political end by proclaiming a radical message. More importantly, Lennon saw that his music could mobilize the public and help to bring about change. Lennon believed in the power of the people. Unfortunately, as Lennon recognized: “The trouble with government as it is, is that it doesn’t represent the people. It controls them.”

However, as Martin Lewis writing for Time notes: “John Lennon was not God. But he earned the love and admiration of his generation by creating a huge body of work that inspired and led. The appreciation for him deepened because he then instinctively decided to use his celebrity as a bully pulpit for causes greater than his own enrichment or self-aggrandizement.”

For instance, in December 1971 at a concert in Ann Arbor, Mich., Lennon took to the stage and in his usual confrontational style belted out “John Sinclair,” a song he had written about a man sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing two marijuana cigarettes. Within days of Lennon’s call for action, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Sinclair released.

What Lennon did not know at the time was that government officials had been keeping strict tabs on the ex-Beatle they referred to as “Mr. Lennon.” Incredibly, FBI agents were in the audience at the Ann Arbor concert, “taking notes on everything from the attendance (15,000) to the artistic merits of his new song.”

The U.S. government, steeped in paranoia, was spying on Lennon.

By March 1971, when his “Power to the People” single was released, it was clear where Lennon stood. Having moved to New York City that same year, Lennon was ready to participate in political activism against the U. S. government, the “monster” that was financing the war in Vietnam.

The release of Lennon’s Sometime in New York City album, which contained a radical anti-government message in virtually every song and depicted President Richard Nixon and Chinese Chairman Mao Tse-tung dancing together nude on the cover, only fanned the flames of the conflict to come.

The official U.S. war against Lennon began in earnest in 1972 after rumors surfaced that Lennon planned to embark on a U.S. concert tour that would combine rock music with antiwar organizing and voter registration. Nixon, fearing Lennon’s influence on about 11 million new voters (1972 was the first year that 18-year-olds could vote), had the ex-Beatle served with deportation orders “in an effort to silence him as a voice of the peace movement.”

Then again, the FBI has had a long history of persecuting, prosecuting and generally harassing activists, politicians, and cultural figures. Most notably among the latter are such celebrated names as folk singer Pete Seeger, painter Pablo Picasso, comic actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, comedian Lenny Bruce and poet Allen Ginsberg.

Among those most closely watched by the FBI was Martin Luther King Jr., a man labeled by the FBI as “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” With wiretaps and electronic bugs planted in his home and office, King was kept under constant surveillance by the FBI with the aim of “neutralizing” him. He even received letters written by FBI agents suggesting that he either commit suicide or the details of his private life would be revealed to the public. The FBI kept up its pursuit of King until he was felled by a hollow-point bullet to the head in 1968.

Lennon and Ono sit in front of flowers and placards bearing the word "peace." Lennon is only partly visible, and he holds an acoustic guitar. Ono wears a white dress, and there is a hanging microphone in front of her. In the foreground of the image are three men, one of them a guitarist facing away, and a woman.

Recording “Give Peace a Chance” during the Bed-In for Peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal (CC BY 2.5/Roy Kerwood)

While Lennon was not—as far as we know—being blackmailed into suicide, he was the subject of a four-year campaign of surveillance and harassment by the U.S. government (spearheaded by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover), an attempt by President Richard Nixon to have him “neutralized” and deported. As Adam Cohen of the New York Times points out, “The F.B.I.’s surveillance of Lennon is a reminder of how easily domestic spying can become unmoored from any legitimate law enforcement purpose. What is more surprising, and ultimately more unsettling, is the degree to which the surveillance turns out to have been intertwined with electoral politics.”

As Lennon’s FBI file shows, memos and reports about the FBI’s surveillance of the anti-war activist had been flying back and forth between Hoover, the Nixon White House, various senators, the FBI and the U.S. Immigration Office.

Nixon’s pursuit of Lennon was relentless and in large part based on the misperception that Lennon and his comrades were planning to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention. The government’s paranoia, however, was misplaced.

Left-wing activists who were on government watch lists and who shared an interest in bringing down the Nixon Administration had been congregating at Lennon’s New York apartment. But when they revealed that they were planning to cause a riot, Lennon balked. As he recounted in a 1980 interview, “We said, We ain’t buying this. We’re not going to draw children into a situation to create violence so you can overthrow what? And replace it with what? . . . It was all based on this illusion, that you can create violence and overthrow what is, and get communism or get some right-wing lunatic or a left-wing lunatic. They’re all lunatics.”

Despite the fact that Lennon was not part of the “lunatic” plot, the government persisted in its efforts to have him deported. Equally determined to resist, Lennon dug in and fought back. Every time he was ordered out of the country, his lawyers delayed the process by filing an appeal. Finally, in 1976, Lennon won the battle to stay in the country when he was granted a green card. As he said afterwards, “I have a love for this country…. This is where the action is. I think we’ll just go home, open a tea bag, and look at each other.”

Lennon’s time of repose didn’t last long, however. By 1980, he had re-emerged with a new album and plans to become politically active again.

The old radical was back and ready to cause trouble. In his final interview on Dec. 8, 1980, Lennon mused, “The whole map’s changed and we’re going into an unknown future, but we’re still all here, and while there’s life there’s hope.”

The Deep State has a way of dealing with troublemakers, unfortunately. On Dec. 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman was waiting in the shadows when Lennon returned to his New York apartment building. As Lennon stepped outside the car to greet the fans congregating outside, Chapman, in an eerie echo of the FBI’s moniker for Lennon, called out, “Mr. Lennon!”

Lennon turned and was met with a barrage of gunfire as Chapman—dropping into a two-handed combat stance—emptied his .38-caliber pistol and pumped four hollow-point bullets into his back and left arm. Lennon stumbled, staggered forward and, with blood pouring from his mouth and chest, collapsed to the ground.

John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. He had finally been “neutralized.”

Yet where those who neutralized the likes of John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy and others go wrong is in believing that you can murder a movement with a bullet and a madman.

Lennon and Ono performing at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in December 1971 (Public Domain)

Thankfully, Lennon’s legacy lives on in his words, his music and his efforts to speak truth to power. As Yoko Ono shared in a 2014 letter to the parole board tasked with determining whether Chapman should be released: “A man of humble origin, [John Lennon] brought light and hope to the whole world with his words and music. He tried to be a good power for the world, and he was. He gave encouragement, inspiration and dreams to people regardless of their race, creed and gender.”

Sadly, not much has changed for the better in the world since Lennon walked among us.

Peace remains out of reach. Activism and whistleblowers continue to be prosecuted for challenging the government’s authority. Militarism is on the rise, with local police dressed like the military, all the while the governmental war machine continues to wreak havoc on innocent lives across the globe.

For those of us who joined with John Lennon to imagine a world of peace, it’s getting harder to reconcile that dream with the reality of the American police state.

Meanwhile, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, those who dare to speak up are labeled dissidents, troublemakers, terrorists, lunatics, or mentally ill and tagged for surveillance, censorship, involuntary detention or, worse, even shot and killed in their own homes by militarized police.

As Lennon shared in a 1968 interview:

“I think all our society is run by insane people for insane objectives… I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal means. If anybody can put on paper what our government and the American government and the Russian… Chinese… what they are actually trying to do, and what they think they’re doing, I’d be very pleased to know what they think they’re doing. I think they’re all insane. But I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

So what’s the answer?

Lennon had a multitude of suggestions.

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

“War is over if you want it.”

“Produce your own dream…. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders…. You have to do it yourself. That’s what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshipped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be. There’s nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.”

“Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”

“If you want peace, you won’t get it with violence.”

And my favorite advice of all:

“Say you want a revolution / We better get on right away / Well you get on your feet / And out on the street / Singing power to the people.”

US Is the Top Human Rights Violator in the World, and It’s Not Even Close

By Danny Haiphong

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Few things are more politicized and distorted in the United States than the subject of human rights. Over the last two generations, the U.S. political class and its conduits in the corporate media have weaponized human rights to serve an imperialist agenda. NGOs such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International tend to focus much of their time crafting human rights narratives on matters of critical importance to the U.S. Department of State. Syria, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and a host of countries have been condemned by these organizations for alleged human rights violations. Since 2018, China has been targeted for the same treatment.

China is accused of detaining millions of Xinjiang-based Uyghurs in “concentration camps.” Thanks to Ajit Singh and The Grayzone, we know that the sources for these allegations are far from reliable. We know that the principle source for all things Xinjiang in the U.S. is Adrian Zenz, a far-right Christian fundamentalist who believes he is led by God to overthrow the Communist Party of China. We know that the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders responsible for the study that conducted a total of eight total interviews to derive conclusions of mass Uyghur internment is heavily funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA-linked organization. We also know that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) currently leading the charge to demonize China on human rights issues is sponsored by military contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

The primary concern of institutions such as ASPI is not the issue of human rights, but rather the creation of an atmosphere of war that will service its donors in the U.S. weapons industry. This is exactly what the propagation of the “Uyghur oppression” narrative has achieved. While relying completely on speculation, faulty satellite imagery, and testimonies from Uyghur-exile groups funded by the NED, the successful penetration of the baseless claim that China is detaining millions of Muslims in camps has played an important role in building up public support in the U.S. for a New Cold War against China. U.S. public opinion of China has dropped significantly over the past year. The U.S. has used the Uyghur human rights narrative to successfully sanction businesses and Communist Party of China officials in Xinjiang.

When U.S. officials accuse other countries of human rights violations, what comes afterward is always far worse than the allegations. After 9/11, U.S. intelligence agencies accused Saddam Hussein of stockpiling non-existent Weapons of Mass destruction. The U.S. went on to invade Iraq in 2003—a war that caused the death of over one million Iraqi civilians and poisoned thousands more with toxic depleted uranium. In 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was accused of “murdering his own people” only to have Libya transformed into a failed state following a more than six month bombing campaign by NATO to protect a jihadist insurgency. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons “on his own people.” Syria has been mired in an endless war with both the U.S. and its regional allies which has left hundreds of thousands of dead, millions displaced, and nearly one-third of its oil-rich and water-rich territory occupied by the U.S. military.

These examples are just a few of many that demonstrate why the U.S. is the chief human rights violator in the world. However, it is important to note that how the United States conducts itself abroad is a reflection of the myriad of ways that it violates the human rights of people living in the United States. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Sandra Bland, and Michael Brown are just a few of hundreds of examples of Black Americans that have been killed by police officers without redress. An average of 1,000 people in the United States are killed by police officers each year. Unlike the U.S.-led Xinjiang narrative, it is well-documented that over 2 million people reside in U.S. prisons and that nearly three-quarters of that prison population is Black, Latino, or Native American.

The U.S. is home to a quarter of all prisoners in the world. Around 80,000 of these prisoners are held in solitary confinement, a practice of prolonged isolation that the U.N. has firmly declared to be an act of torture. Research suggests that solitary confinement is directly linked to a host of psychological maladies from psychosis to suicide. Solitary confinement also causes lasting structural damage to the brain, especially in the hippocampus region responsible for memory and spatial awareness. Widespread use of solitary confinement in the U.S. is not a benign practice but one that specifically targets racial groups. Over forty percent of all male prisoners in solitary confinement are Black American. The world has long known that the U.S. engages in torture abroad at CIA black sites and Guantanamo Bay Prison but fewer are aware of how torture is commonplace in the U.S.’ numerous prisons.

For decades, the U.S. has accused countries such as China of the very policies that make up the foundations of its domestic and foreign policy. U.S. elites have accused China of suppressing free speech but say little about the NSA’s massive surveillance program or the attempted extradition of a non-citizen in Julian Assange for publishing documents relating to U.S. war crimes. China has been accused of sterilizing ethnic minorities yet U.S. officials have failed to scrutinize documented cases of sterilization within U.S. immigration detention centers or its mistreatment of Muslim citizens since the War on Terror was declared in 2001. The Economist has accused China of using its anti-poverty campaign to build loyalty to the Communist Party of China but has yet to call out Joe Biden or Donald Trump for ignoring the needs of the forty percent of people in the U.S. who have virtually no disposable income. China is routinely accused of possessing an “aggressive” foreign policy by the same policy makers and thought leaders who have kept the U.S. at war for more than two-hundred years of its existence.

The ideology of American exceptionalism has created the illusion that the U.S. deserves to hold a monopoly on the issue of human rights. American exceptionalism presumes that the United States is the model example for countries and peoples all over the world. However, the days when the world was forced to bow to the U.S. are over. Most of the world sees the U.S. as the biggest threat to human rights and a peaceful existence. The U.S.’s human rights track record suggests that the world is correct, and it is the entire planet that suffers when issues such as war, climate change, poverty, and racism are blamed on China rather than addressed with solidarity and cooperation at a global level. 

IOJK Going through the Darkest Phase of a Mental Health Crisis

Source

Srinagar, October 11 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the medical experts have said that after struggling through two consecutive sieges since August, 2019, the territory has been pushed to the limit in its mental health crisis.

The health experts said on 5th August 2019, when the Indian government unilaterally repealed the special status of IIOJK and imposed a strict military siege, it instilled distress among most of the residents, especially women and children.

“We are now going through the worst and the darkest phase of the mental health situation,” said a Kashmir-based doctor from at a govt-run hospital, who wished not to be named.

“There is an immense rise in the number of cases of depression, anxiety, stress, and trauma. Any doctor in Kashmir, whether a psychiatrist or not, will tell you the same.”

Dr Junaid Nabi, consultant psychiatrist at the Department of Psychiatry of Government Medical College in Kashmir, said: “For more than 30 years, the state of the mental health situation in Kashmir has been bad, but due to the back-to-back sieges, anxiety and distress increased massively.”

He added that psychiatric patients faced difficulties in accessing healthcare and medicine since last year and women and children were particularly hard hit.

“In our society, females are a part of the interdependent family structure,” he explains. “The closure of schools for so long led to anger issues among children and also parents. Among women, symptoms of depression and somatic symptom disorder are on the rise.”

Health officials say most people are not truthful about their experiences because of taboos.
“We see around 300-400 patients with depressive symptoms every day but due to stigma, most people do not seek help,” says Nabi.

Surveys conducted in Kashmir by various international organisations show that the territory had continuous human rights abuses, including killings, torture, blinding of youngsters, imprisonments, and everyday humiliation of citizens, leading to social and economic deterioration.

In 2015, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) concluded that 45 percent of the total population in the occupied territory has significant symptoms of mental distress. “Nearly half of all adults showed symptoms of mental distress. 41 percent…showed signs of depression, 26 percent showed signs of anxiety and 19 percent showed probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” according to its independent study.

Israeli Security Forces Kill Palestinians with Impunity

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Since stealing 78% of Occupied Palestine in 1948, the rest in 1967, Israeli soldiers and police have systematically killed and terrorized defenseless Palestinians with impunity.

The Jewish state gets away with murder and much more because the world community fails to hold it accountable.

Notably the US and other Western countries turn a blind eye to its high crimes of war, against humanity, and daily apartheid persecution of a long-suffering people – illegally blockaded Gazans harmed most since 2007.

Law Professor Francis Boyle earlier accused Israel of “heinous war crimes inflicted every day…against the Palestinian people,” including “willful killing” and state terror.

The late Law Professor Michael Mandel called illegal Israeli settlements “war crimes,” citing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Geneva Conventions, along with other international and Canadian law.

On October 1, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel highlighted the disturbing reality for long-suffering Palestinians under apartheid occupation, saying the following:

“Israel’s perception of Palestinian citizens as (the Jewish state’s) ‘enemy’ continues to grant blanket impunity to police for killings.

The 10 commandments and hundreds of others fundamentalist Jews believe were given to their people by the almighty apply only to others of the faith, no one else — including No 6: Thou shalt not kill.

In October 2000, Israeli police killed 13 Palestinians who were nonviolently protesting for rights denied them.

All but one were Israeli citizens, the other a Gaza resident.

The killings Israel calls the “October 2000 events” followed Likud-leader Ariel Sharon’s provocative, heavily guarded, visit to the Haram al-Sharif, Islam’s third holiest site – sparking the Second Intifada.

The horrific five-year toll included:

• 4,166 Palestinian deaths, including 886 children and 271 women;

• 554 extrajudicial assassinations, including 253 peaceful bystanders;

• 3,530 Palestinians disabled or maimed;

• 8,600 imprisoned, including 288 children and 115 women;

• 576 students killed, including 199 university-level ones and 32 teachers;

• another 4,713 students injured and 1,389 detained;

• 2,329,659 dunums of confiscated Palestinian land;

• another 73,613 dunums of razed land plus 1,355,290 uprooted trees; and

• 7,761 demolished homes and another 93,842 damaged.

All of the above are unpunished high crimes of war and against humanity — an apartheid Israel speciality.

Established to investigate what happened in October 2000, Israel’s Or Commission found no justification for the killings that sparked all of the above.

Nothing warranted lethal and related violence against nonthreatening Palestinians.

To this day, no Israeli police officer or anyone more senior was held accountable for cold-blooded murder.

At the time, “(a)bout 660 Palestinian citizens of Israel were arrested in connection with these events, and hundreds, including scores of minors, were indicted and detained without bond until the end of trial,” Adalah explained.

In September 2005, Israeli police formally declined to hold officers in its ranks accountable for butchery.

In January 2007, Israel’s attorney general closed the case.

“Adalah has continued to demand justice and accountability for the Palestinians killed and for their families, including the punishment of those responsible,” it said, adding: 

“Adalah has also continued to confront the Israeli police and Mahash for their brutality and unaccountability towards Palestinian citizens of Israel, while calling for adherence to the Or Commission’s recommendations.”

For over 72 years and events preceding them, Israeli security forces have terrorized, brutalized and massacred defenseless Palestinians for crime of being Arabs in a Jewish state — their mark of Cain.

The Covid-19 Numbers Game: The “Second Wave” is Based on Fake Statistics

By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Source

Image CTV report, September 

“Red zones”, travel bans, quarantines, “red lists”. A “Second Wave” has been announced. 

The fear campaign has gone into overdrive. Millions of people are lining up for Covid-19 testing.

Drastic state measures are contemplated, including restrictions on social gatherings, marriages, funerals, the closing down of restaurants and bars, the outright paralysis of civil society. 

Coming to the rescue of our citizens. What is the justification? 

This article focusses on the “Numbers Game”.  How statistics and “estimates” are used by politicians to justify the closure of the national economy and the derogation of fundamental civil rights.  

From the onset of the Covid crisis in January 2020, far-reaching decisions taken by the WHO and national governments have been justified by citing “estimates” of the Covid-19 disease as well “statistics” pointing to a  Worldwide spread of a new deadly coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China. 

Scientific analysis confirms that these estimates of “confirmed cases” tabulated by the WHO and the CDC are flawed. The tests do not detect or identify the virus. The figures are often manipulated to justify political decisions. Moreover, official studies confirming the identify of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have not been released. 

Both the concepts as well as the test results do not point to the existence of a Worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Nor do they justify social distancing, the face mask and the closing down of the global economy.

Corruption prevails at the highest levels of government as well within the upper echelons of the United Nations system. The entire state apparatus as well as inter-governmental organizations are controlled by powerful financial interests. 

Millions of people are now being tested which contributes to increasing the number of so-called “confirmed” Covid positive cases Worldwide. These statistics are then carefully tabulated.  The governments need those numbers to justify their totalitarian measures.

What’s the Big Lie? What’s the Smoking Gun?

SARS-CoV-2 is NOT A “KILLER VIRUS”. The fear campaign has no scientific basis. (See analysis below)

The standard RT-PCR test used to “detect” the insidious Virus, “cannnot identify the Virus”. 

The governments which claim “to be protecting us” are using meaningless and manipulated statistics to justify the imposition of Covid-19 “Code Red”. 

The Virus

In early January 2020, a so-called novel coronavirus  entitled SARS-CoV-2 , which causes “coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19” was identified. It was given a similar name to an existing coronavirus, namely SARS-CoV, i.e. the beta coronavirus that causes the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

According to renowned immunologist Dr. Beda Stadler of Bern University,

“this so-called novel virus is very strongly related to SARS-1 as well to as other beta-coronaviruses which make us suffer every year in the form of colds.”

Stadler also begs the question: Is this a new virus or the mutation of an existing virus, “similar to the corona beta cold viruses”.

According to a recent study by Tsan-Yuk Lam, Na Jia, et al (Joint Institute of Virology, Shantou and Hong Kong universities):

…the [SARS-2] virus [is] most closely related (89.1% nucleotide similarity) to a group of SARS-like coronaviruses (genus Betacoronavirus, subgenus Sarbecovirus) (Nature, April 2020).

Moreover, the studies of Dr. Anthony Fauci et al in the New England Journal of Medicine as well as the WHO acknowledge that Covid-19 has similar features to seasonal influenza (Viruses A and B). (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, September 2020)

What these scientific statements convey is that SARS-2 (which causes Covid-19) is not a killer virus. In fact quite the opposite.

But neither the governments nor the media have reassured public opinion.

The fear campaign not only prevails, it is gaining momentum.

At this juncture of the Covid-19 crisis, governments are envisaging the launching of extreme measures in response to a so-called “Second Wave”. In turn, several media are now spreading stories that this Second Wave is comparable to the 1918 Spanish Flu:

At this point in the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 32 million infected and more than 980,000 dead worldwide, describing this time as “unprecedented” may sound like nails on a chalkboard. This pandemic, however, actually isn’t without precedent: The last time we dealt with a pandemic so mysterious, uncontained and far-reaching was in 1918, when influenza devastated populations around the globe. (CNN, September 25, 2020)

Flashback to March 11, 2020: The Launching of the WHO Pandemic 

On March 11, the WHO officially declared a Worldwide pandemic at a time when there were 18,000 confirmed cases and 4291 deaths out of a total World population outside China of the order of 6.4 billion people.  What do these “statistics” tell you? Most of these confirmed “positive cases” were estimated using the RT-PCR test which does not detect or identify the virus. (See our analysis below)

Immediately following the March 11 WHO announcement the fear campaign went into high gear. Confinement instructions were transmitted to 193 member states of the United Nations. The outright closing down of national economies was upheld as a means to resolving a public health crisis.

Politicians are the instruments of powerful financial interests. Was this far-reaching decision justified as a means to combating the Virus? Did the “numbers” (of confirmed cases) justify a Worldwide pandemic?

Unprecedented in history, applied almost simultaneously in a large number countries, entire sectors of the World economy were destabilized. Small and medium sized enterprises were driven into bankruptcy. Unemployment and poverty are rampant.

In some countries famines have erupted. The social impacts of these measures are devastating.

The devastating health impacts (mortality, morbidity) of these measures including the destabilization of the system of national health care (in numerous countries) far surpass those attributed to Covid-19.

The Rush to Get Tested

In a large number of countries, simultaneously, people are encouraged to get tested which in turn contributes to increasing exponentially the number of so-called confirmed  Covid-19 “positive cases”. Facilities are set up all over the country.

Screenshot, Daily Express

Panic prevails. national authorities establish testing facilities, do it yourself testing kits, etc.

People stand in line to get tested. The estimates are often manipulated.

In England “People stand in drive-thru lines as testing centres hit capacity”

CBC News Screenshot

Screeshot Reuters. Test at German airports

With increasing numbers, as of early June, the health authorities in several countries have pointed to an imminent “Second Wave”.

What is the intent of the Second Wave?

To postpone “normalization”? To prevent the reopening of national economies? To trigger more unemployment?

Currently, national economies have partially reopened.  This Second Wave constitutes the “second phase” of a bankruptcy program, targeting the services economy, air transport, the tourism industry, retail trade, etc.

Social distancing prevails. Schools, colleges and universities are closed down, social gatherings and family reunions are prohibited.

The face mask is reimposed despite its negative health impacts. We are told that it is all for a good cause. Combat the transmission of the virus.

These far-reaching decisions which derogate fundamental civil rights, are based on the “estimates” of Covid-19 positive cases, not to mention the manipulation of the test results.

Video; The Covid-19 Numbers Game with Michel Chossudovsky
https://www.youtube.com/embed/43VdZOhe-5s

The Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (RT-PCR)  

The standard test used to detect / identify SARS-2 around the World is The Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (RT-PCR) which is used to estimate and tabulate the number of confirmed positive Covid-19 cases. (This is not the only test used. Observations below pertain solely to the standard PCR).

According to Nobel Laureate Dr. Kary Mullis, who invented the PCR test:

“PCR detects a very small segment of the nucleic acid which is part of a virus itself. The specific fragment detected is determined by the somewhat arbitrary choice of DNA primers used which become the ends of the amplified fragment.”

The PCR test was never intended to identify the virus.

PCR detection of viruses is helpful so long as its accuracy can be understood: it offers the capacity to detect RNA in minute quantities, but whether that RNA represents infectious virus may not be clear” (see also Lancet report)

The standard PCR Test applied in relation to Covid-19 does not detect or identify the virus. What it detects are fragments of several viruses. According to renowned Swiss immunologist Dr B. Stadler

So if we do a PCR corona test on an immune person, it is not a virus that is detected, but a small shattered part of the viral genome. The test comes back positive for as long as there are tiny shattered parts of the virus left. Even if the infectious viri are long dead, a corona test can come back positive, because the PCR method multiplies even a tiny fraction of the viral genetic material enough [to be detected].

According to Dr. Pascal Sacré, “these tests detect viral particles, genetic sequences, not the whole virus”

What this means is that the PCR test cannot detect or identify SARS-CoV-2. What it detects are fragments, which suggests that a standard “PCR positive” cannot be equated to a so-called Covid-19 Positive.

The PCR test will pick up fragments of several viruses including corona viruses as well as influenza (flu viruses A and B)

While SARS-2 which causes Covid-19 is considered to be similar to SARS-CoV-1, it has similar symptoms to seasonal influenza (Viruses A and B). Moreover, some of its milder symptoms are similar to those of the common cold corona viruses. According to the CDC: “Sometimes, respiratory secretions are tested to figure out which specific germ is causing your symptoms. If you are found to be infected with a common coronavirus (229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1), that does not mean you are infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus.”

According to the CDC  there are “seven [human] coronaviruses that can infect people” the first four of which (alpha, beta) are associated with the common cold.

229E (alpha coronavirus)

NL63 (alpha coronavirus)

OC43 (beta coronavirus)

HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)

SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)

In the above context, what this means is that a PCR test will pick up fragments of corona as well as influenza viruses. It will not be able to identify individual viruses including SARS-2.

“Fragments of viruses positive” does not mean “SARS-2 positive” (or Covid-19 Positive). The PCR test may pick up fragments of influenza viruses (A, B) as well as common cold beta coronaviruses (e.g. OC43, HKU1).In other words, the published estimates of COVID-19 positive (resulting from the standard PCR test) in support of the Second Wave hypothesis are often misleading and cannot be used to measure the spread of SARS-2..There are currently, at the time of writing (according to WHO statistics) almost 33 million so-called “confirmed cases” and 1 million deaths. Are these alleged “Covid-19 positive” estimates which are in large part based on the RT-PCR test reliable? Global Research has published numerous reports on theses issues..In addition to the issue of false positive (which has been amply documented), a person with a bad cold or a flu, could be categorized as SARS-2 (Covid-19) positive, allegedly a dangerous virus.

What governments have done is to give the PCR positive test a single label namely Covid-19, when in fact the PCR positive test could be the result of other viruses including those pertaining to influenza or coronavirus common cold, which (according to the CDC) have similar symptoms to Covid-19.

Once the Covid-19 Positive label is established and accepted, it is then subject to numerous forms of manipulation, not to mention the falsification of death certificates.

These fake figures are then used to sustain the fear campaign and justify political decisions by corrupt national governments.

The public is led to believe that there is a “Second Wave” and the government is there to save lives through social distancing, the face mask, the closing down of economic activity, the paralysis of the national health system and the closing down of schools and universities.

There is a circular causal relationship. The more people get tested as a result of the fear campaign, the more PCR positive cases. …

It’s a Big Lie.

When the Lie becomes the Truth, there is no moving backwards.

Don’t Be Fooled: The 2020 Election Has Already Been Decided

Election 2020 Feature photo

By John Whitehead

Source

Voting booths have already been hijacked by a political elite comprised of Republicans and Democrats who are determined to retain power at all costs. The outcome is a foregone conclusion: the Deep State will win and “we the people” will lose.

Republicans and Democrats alike fear that the other party will attempt to hijack this election. President Trump is convinced that mail-in ballots are a scam except in Florida, where it’s safe to vote by mail because of its “great Republican governor.” The FBI is worried about foreign hackers continuing to target and exploit vulnerabilities in the nation’s electoral system, sowing distrust about the parties, the process, and the outcome.

I, on the other hand, am not overly worried: after all, the voting booths have already been hijacked by a political elite comprised of Republicans and Democrats who are determined to retain power at all costs.

The outcome is a foregone conclusion: the Deep State will win and “we the people” will lose.

The damage has already been done.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has been tasked with helping to “secure” the elections and protect the nation against cyberattacks, is not exactly an agency known for its adherence to freedom principles.The 20-Year Journey From 9/11 To COVID-19 and the Freedoms Lost Along the WayHere are some of the freedoms lost under the Constitution, post-9/11, and in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic.

After all, this is the agency largely responsible for turning the American republic into a police state. Since its creation, the DHS has ushered in the domestic use of surveillance drones, expanded the reach of fusion centers, stockpiled an alarming amount of ammunition (including hollow point bullets), urged Americans to become snitches through a “see something, say something” campaign, overseen the fumbling antics of TSA agents everywhere, militarized the nation’s police, spied on activists and veterans, distributed license plate readers and cell phone trackers to law enforcement agencies, contracted to build detention camps, carried out military drills and lockdowns in American cities, conducted virtual strip searches of airline passengers, established Constitution-free border zones, funded city-wide surveillance cameras, and undermined the Fourth Amendment at every turn.

So, no, I’m not losing a night’s sleep over the thought that this election might by any more rigged than it already is.

And I’m not holding my breath in the hopes that the winner of this year’s popularity contest will save us from government surveillance, weaponized drones, militarized police, endless wars, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture schemes, overcriminalization, profit-driven private prisons, graft and corruption, or any of the other evils that masquerade as official government business these days.

You see, after years of trying to wake Americans up to the reality that there is no political savior who will save us from the police state, I’ve come to realize that Americans want to engage in the reassurance ritual of voting.

They want to believe the fantasy that politics matter.

They want to be persuaded that there’s a difference between the Republicans and Democrats (there’s not).

Some will swear that Donald Trump has been an improvement on Barack Obama (he is not).

Others are convinced that Joe Biden’s values are different from Donald Trump’s (with both of them, money talks).

Most of all, voters want to buy into the fantasy that when they elect a president, they’re getting someone who truly represents the citizenry rather than the Deep State (in fact, in the oligarchy that is the American police state, an elite group of wealthy donors is calling the shots in cooperation with a political elite).

The sad truth is that it doesn’t matter who wins the White House, because they all work for the same boss: Corporate America. Understanding this, many corporations hedge their bets on who will win the White House by splitting their donations between Democratic and Republican candidates.

Politics is a game, a joke, a hustle, a con, a distraction, a spectacle, a sport, and for many devout Americans, a religion. It is a political illusion aimed at persuading the citizenry that we are free, that our vote counts, and that we actually have some control over the government when in fact, we are prisoners of a Corporate Elite.

In other words, it’s a sophisticated ruse aimed at keeping us divided and fighting over two parties whose priorities, more often than not, are exactly the same so that we don’t join forces and do what the Declaration of Independence suggests, which is to throw the whole lot out and start over.

It’s no secret that both parties support endless war, engage in out-of-control spending, ignore the citizenry’s basic rights, have no respect for the rule of law, are bought and paid for by Big Business, care most about their own power, and have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty. Most of all, both parties enjoy an intimate, incestuous history with each other and with the moneyed elite that rule this country.

Despite the jabs the candidates volley at each other for the benefit of the cameras, they’re a relatively chummy bunch away from the spotlight. Moreover, despite Congress’ so-called political gridlock, our elected officials seem to have no trouble finding common ground when it’s time to collectively kowtow to the megacorporations, lobbyists, defense contractors and other special interest groups to whom they have pledged their true allegiance.

So don’t be fooled by the smear campaigns and name-calling or drawn into their divide-and-conquer politics of hate. They’re just useful tactics that have been proven to engage voters and increase voter turnout while keeping the citizenry at each other’s throats.

It’s all a grand illusion.

It used to be that the cogs, wheels and gear shifts in the government machinery worked to keep the republic running smoothly. However, without our fully realizing it, the mechanism has changed. Its purpose is no longer to keep our republic running smoothly. To the contrary, this particular contraption’s purpose is to keep the Deep State in power. Its various parts are already a corrupt part of the whole.

Just consider how insidious, incestuous and beholden to the corporate elite the various “parts” of the mechanism have become.

Congress. Perhaps the most notorious offenders and most obvious culprits in the creation of the corporate-state, Congress has proven itself to be both inept and avaricious, oblivious champions of an authoritarian system that is systematically dismantling their constituents’ fundamental rights. Long before they’re elected, Congressmen are trained to dance to the tune of their wealthy benefactors, so much so that they spend two-thirds of their time in office raising money. As Reuters reports, “For many lawmakers, the daily routine in Washington involves fundraising as much as legislating. The culture of nonstop political campaigning shapes the rhythms of daily life in Congress, as well as the landscape around the Capitol. It also means that lawmakers often spend more time listening to the concerns of the wealthy than anyone else.”

The President. What Americans want in a president and what they need are two very different things. The making of a popular president is an exercise in branding, marketing and creating alternate realities for the consumer—a.k.a., the citizenry—that allows them to buy into a fantasy about life in America that is utterly divorced from our increasingly grim reality. Take President Trump, for instance, who got elected by promising to drain the swamp in Washington DC. Instead of putting an end to the corruption, however, Trump has paved the way for lobbyists, corporations, the military industrial complex, and the rest of the Deep State (also referred to as “The 7th Floor Group”) to feast on the carcass of the dying American republic. The lesson: to be a successful president, it doesn’t matter whether you keep your campaign promises, sell the American people to the highest bidder, or march in lockstep with the Corporate State as long as you keep telling people what they most want to hear.

The Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court—once the last refuge of justice, the one governmental body really capable of rolling back the slowly emerging tyranny enveloping America—has instead become the champion of the American police state, absolving government and corporate officials of their crimes while relentlessly punishing the average American for exercising his or her rights. Like the rest of the government, the Court has routinely prioritized profit, security, and convenience over the basic rights of the citizenry. Indeed, law professor Erwin Chemerinsky makes a compelling case that the Supreme Court, whose “justices have overwhelmingly come from positions of privilege,” almost unerringly throughout its history sides with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.

The Media. Of course, this triumvirate of total control would be completely ineffective without a propaganda machine provided by the world’s largest corporations. Besides shoveling drivel down our throats at every possible moment, the so-called news agencies which are supposed to act as bulwarks against government propaganda have instead become the mouthpieces of the state. The pundits which pollute our airwaves are at best court jesters and at worst propagandists for the false reality created by the American government. When you have internet and media giants such as Google, NBC Universal, News Corporation, Turner Broadcasting, Thomson Reuters, Comcast, Time Warner, Viacom, Public Radio International and The Washington Post Company donating to political candidates, you no longer have an independent media—what we used to refer to as the “fourth estate”—that can be trusted to hold the government accountable.

The American People. “We the people” now belong to a permanent underclass in America. It doesn’t matter what you call us—chattel, slaves, worker bees, it’s all the same—what matters is that we are expected to march in lockstep with and submit to the will of the state in all matters, public and private. Unfortunately, through our complicity in matters large and small, we have allowed an out-of-control corporate-state apparatus to take over every element of American society.

We’re playing against a stacked deck.

The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. The people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern, and that is to maintain their power and control over the citizenry, while milking us of our money and possessions.

It really doesn’t matter what you call them—Republicans, Democrats, the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that while they are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favor.

As I make clear in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, our failure to remain informed about what is taking place in our government, to know and exercise our rights, to vocally protest, to demand accountability on the part of our government representatives, and at a minimum to care about the plight of our fellow Americans has been our downfall.

Now we find ourselves once again caught up in the spectacle of another presidential election, and once again the majority of Americans are acting as if this election will make a difference and bring about change. As if the new boss will be different from the old boss.Divide We Fall: America Has Been Blacklisted and McCarthyism Refashioned for a New AgeCancel culture: Who needs a government censor when the American people are already doing such a great job at censoring themselves.

When in doubt, just remember what the astute commentator George Carlin had to say about the matter:

The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork…. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. …The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice…. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on…. It’s called the American Dream, ’cause you have to be asleep to believe it.

Xinjiang: An In-Depth Analysis and Resource Compilation

Source

Based on a handful of think tank reports and witness testimonies, Western governments have levied false allegations of genocide and slavery in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. A closer look makes clear that the politicization of China’s anti-terrorism policies in Xinjiang is another front of the U.S.-led hybrid war on China.

This resource compilation provides a starting point for critical inquiry into the historical context and international response to China’s policies in Xinjiang, providing a counter-perspective to misinformation that abounds in mainstream coverage of the autonomous region.


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction and Summary
  2. Timeline of Events
    1. 1989-2016
      1. Formation of the World Uyghur Congress (1989-2006)
      2. Violence and Unrest (2009-2016)
      3. Chinese Anti-Terrorism Policy and Context (2012-2016)
    2.  2017-present
      1. The Seeds of Controversy (2017-Aug 2018)
      2. Entrenching the Narratives (Aug 2018-Jan 2020)
      3. U.S. Pursues Unilateral Action (Jan 2020-present)
    3. On the Nature of Unsubstantiated Allegations
  3. Resources
    1. Overview
    2. Chinese Perspectives on the Problem of Terrorism
    3. Geopolitical Context
    4. Poverty Alleviation and Economic Development in Xinjiang
    5. Overview of Chinese Minority/Religious Policies
    6. The Misinformation Industrial Complex
    7. Views from Xinjiang: People, Cultures, and History

1. Introduction and Summary

In the mid-2010s, China launched far-reaching de-radicalization and economic development programs in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Before then, few casual Western observers were even aware of the province’s existence, which makes up 17% of China’s land and whose population consists of 65% ethnic minority peoples. Fewer still could speak to the autonomous region’s complex political, cultural, and religious history as well as to its complex legacies as a crossroads between diverse peoples over many centuries.

However, since 2018, Western media and state officials have put Chinese government policy in Xinjiang under intense scrutiny, citing just a handful of think tank reports and witness testimonies to lodge charges of forced labor, slavery, and genocide.       

Having saturated Western media, these charges are difficult to systematically refute. The situation on the ground is complex, and there are limits to what we can know. While we recognize that there are aspects of PRC policy in Xinjiang to critique, these critiques should be debated and resolved on Chinese terms and in Chinese dialogues, and not be used as crude ammunition in the U.S.-led geopolitical assault on China. Based on the history of Western atrocity propaganda, its funding sources, and the poor quality of the ‘research’ being pushed, we are skeptical that the U.S.—having engaged in two decades of perpetual war in Muslim-majority nations—has any legitimate moral interest or grounds on which to defend Muslim religious rights in Xinjiang. 

Moreover, given the history of PRC ethnic and religious minority policy, and the reports from first-hand delegations to Xinjiang from countries and organizations including Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Thailand, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and even the World Bank, neither genocide nor slavery accurately describe the realities of Xinjiang. It is not a coincidence that these accusations have ramped up during a period of unprecedented Western antagonism towards China. Instead, these unfounded claims serve primarily to build consensus for conflict, intervention, and war with China. 

The effectiveness of Western propaganda lies in its ability to render unthinkable any critique or alternative—to monopolize the production of knowledge and truth itself. In this context, it is important to note that the U.S. and its allies are in the minority when it comes to its critiques of Chinese policy in Xinjiang. At two separate convenings of the UN Human Rights Council in 2019 and 2020, letters condemning Chinese conduct in Xinjiang were outvoted, 22-50 and 27-46. Many of those standing in support of Chinese policy in Xinjiang are Muslim-majority nations and/or nations that have waged campaigns against extremism on their own soil, including Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, and Nigeria. On the issue of Xinjiang, the clear break in consensus between the Global South and the U.S. bloc suggests that Western critiques of Xinjiang are primarily politically motivated. 

These resources are preceded by a timeline that focuses on the events preceding China’s Xinjiang de-radicalization program, the international responses it provoked, and other relevant contexts.       

This resource list is intended only for initial inquiry into the immediate controversy over China’s de-radicalization program in Xinjiang. In the spirit of seeking truth from facts, this resource does not offer definitive answers, nor is it comprehensive in scope. It aims only to be a starting point for critical inquiry, and we urge readers to seek a diversity of sources and form their own opinions. A more complete and nuanced view requires further study into the region’s history, China’s policies towards ethnic and religious minorities, and ongoing geopolitical developments.

Note: There are several ways to spell “Uygur” in English, including “Uygur,” “Uighur” and “Uyghur.” “Uyghur” is perhaps the most common in international settings, although “Uygur” is the official romanization by the Chinese government. We will use “Uyghur” in accordance with the common spelling in Western dialogue, except when referring specifically to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Similarly, the common Western spelling of “Kazakh” and “Kyrgyz” differs from the Chinese government’s official romanizations of “Kazak” and “Kirgiz.” We will similarly use the common Western spelling.


2. Timeline of Events

a. 1989-2016

From 1990-2016, China considered the terrorism problem to be particularly severe in Xinjiang. It is a period marked by immense difficulty and upheaval for China, unilateral U.S. military action throughout West Asia, and rapid Chinese economic growth.

i. Formation of the World Uyghur Congress (1989-2006)

➤ 1989 June 4 – The Tiananmen June 4th Incident, born of contradictions from market reform, inflamed by Gorbachev’s perestroika, and combined with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its fall on December 26, 1991, sparks a generational crisis in China. A wave of disillusioned students and upwardly-mobile young people leave China for the U.S. and other Western nations, with some receiving lavish attention and platforms as ‘dissidents’ who serve a strategic interest for U.S. ambitions vis-a-vis China.

  • Some of the most prominent Uyghur diaspora activist leaders today are as follows: Erkin Alptekin, Rushan Abbas, Dolkun Isa, Rebiya Kadeer, Omer Kanat, and Nury Turkel. Of these six, four arrived in the West on or after 1989 (Abbas 1989; Isa 1994; Turkel 1995; Kadeer 2005, as the cause célèbre of Turkel). Alptekin left around 1949 as part of the Guomindang’s defeat and Kanat left in 1971.  

➤ 1990 April 5 – Baren Township Riots, considered the first terrorist attack of a phase lasting till 2016 during which terrorism was considered a severe problem in Xinjiang. This is also the first attack China has attributed to the then East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), now Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) (ETIM/TIP). (see White Paper: The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang)

➤ 1996 November – The World Uyghur Youth Congress (WUYC) is established in Germany, with Omer Kanat and Dolkun Isa playing important roles. Both of them still hold high positions (Chairman of the Executive Committee and President, respectively) in the WUYC’s successor organization, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC). Kanat apparently left China in 1971 to Afghanistan, then to Turkey in 1979, before moving to the United States in 1999; Isa left China in 1994. Kanat has served as the Senior Editor of Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service from 1999 to 2009.

➤ 1998 April – The Uyghur American Association (UAA) is founded. One of the people who played an important rule in its founding is Rushan Abbas, who would serve as Vice President for the UAA for two terms while also reporting for Radio Free Asia. Abbas arrived in the United States in 1989 and co-founded the United States’ first Uyghur association, the Uyghur Overseas Student and Scholars Association, in 1993.

  • Abbas would later serve the United States at Guantanamo as a linguist and a translator. This has caused some netizens to doubt her legitimacy to speak on human rights issues.

➤ 2001 June 15 – In the inaugural meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China identified the “three evils” (the Chinese term 三股势力 is more akin to the “three forces” or “three influences”) of extremism (极端主义), separatism (分裂主义), and terrorism (恐怖主义). It has since applied this framework to the terrorism problem in Xinjiang. (see The Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism)

➤ 2001 September 11 – The 9/11 attacks claim the lives of 2,977 people (excluding the perpetrators). In response, the United States begins to wage the “War on Terror” and engaged itself in combat in at least 24 countries. This war has displaced anywhere between 37 to 59 million, according to a recent report (September 2020) from Brown University. This report also notes that 801,000 have died as a direct result from combat, but “indirect deaths” may reach up to 3.1 million after a war that has lasted almost two decades. 

➤ 2002 September 11 – The United Nations registers the ETIM/TIP as a terrorist organization. As of 2020, the United States Department of State has still not classified the ETIM/TIP as a terrorist organization, although the Department of State designated ETIM/TIP under E.O. 13224 prohibiting transactions with “Persons Who Commit, Threaten To Commit, or Support Terrorism” on September 3, 2002.

➤ 2003 December 15 – China designates the ETIM/TIP, the WUYC, and two other organizations as terrorist organizations.

➤ 2004 April 16 – The WUC is founded in Munich, merging the East Turkestan National Congress and the WUYC. Its inaugural president is Erkin Alptekin, the son of Isa Yusuf Alptekin, a Guomindang affiliate who was virulently anti-communist (to the point that he largely opposed the Soviet-backed Second East Turkistan Republic) and violently opposed marriage between Hans and Uyghurs. Isa Alptekin remained active in Turkey after the Communist victory in China. 

  • Presumably around the same time, the Uyghur American Association founded the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) with a supporting grant from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The UHRP was co-founded by Nury Turkel, who arrived in the United States in 1995 and was appointed to be a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on May 26, 2020.
  • The NED has since boasted on May 29, 2020 that it “has awarded $8,758,300 to Uyghur groups since 2004, serving as the only institutional funder for Uyghur advocacy and human rights organizations.”
  • Erkin Alptekin himself is a longtime affiliate of the CIA, helping the CIA to build up “network of contacts with the Uighur separatist elements” in the 1970s and 1980s, and enjoying close relations with the 14th Dalai Lama. (see Raman, Bahukutumbi. “US & Terrorism in Xinjiang.” South Asia Analysis Group (Paper no. 499) (2002).)

➤ 2006 November 26 – Rebiya Kadeer is elected president of the WUC. Kadeer was sentenced to 8 years in prison for providing state information to foreign entities in 2000. This was after a career as a business owner, Vice-Chairwoman of the Xinjiang Federation of Industry and Commerce, Vice-Chairwoman of the Xinjiang Association of Women Entrepreneurs, and as a member of the 8th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. She was given leave on March 17th, 2005 to seek medical treatment in the United States on condition that she not engage in any subversive activities abroad.


ii. Violence and Unrest (2009-2016)

The extent of terrorist violence in China during this period is not well known in the West. Although there were many attacks between 1990 and 2016 and not all of the information is yet available, some high-profile attacks are as follows:

➤ 2009 July 5The Urumqi Riots, 197 killed, 1700 wounded. Chinese investigations allege that the riots were enflamed by foreign entities such as the WUC to undermine regional stability and unity. As an aside, due to Facebook’s failure to provide information to the Chinese government following the attacks, Western social media was banned from China.

➤ 2013 October 28 – Tiananmen Attack, 5 killed, 40 wounded. Usmen Hasan, along with his mother and wife, drives a jeep through a crowd at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square before setting the vehicle on fire. Authorities find “extremist religious content” and a jihadi flag in the remains of the vehicle.

➤ 2014 March 1 – Kunming Train Station Attack, 31 killed, 141 wounded. Eight attackers burst into the city’s rail station, stabbing people at random before police arrive at the scene. Officials identify the leader of the group as Abdurehim Kurban, and state that insignias and flags worn by the attackers point to political involvement as “East Turkestan” separatists. The international community, including U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, joins China in denouncing the attack as an act of terrorism. 

➤ 2014 May 22 – Urumqi Attack, 39 killed and 94 injured as attackers drive two cars into a crowded marketplace and throw explosives towards surrounding buildings.

➤ 2014 July 30Assassination of Imam Jume Tahir at the Id Kah Mosque after morning prayers. Tahir was the practicing imam of Id Kah, China’s largest mosque, as well as a deputy to the National People’s Congress and vice president of the China Islamic Association. Tahir had called for peace and stability amidst rising violence in the region. (see also)

➤ 2016 September 6 – Kyrgyzstan’s state security service attributed the suicide bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Bishkek to the ETIM/TIP.


iii. Chinese Anti-Terrorism Policy and International Context (2012-2016)

➤ 2012 October 30 – Chinese officials announce that since May 2012, ETIM/TIP has been participating in the Syrian Civil War, which had started in early 2011. (Later Anadolu Agency report from 2014)

➤ 2014 May 25 – The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region issues a notification on “Striking Hard Against Terrorist Activities Within the Confines of the Law,” indicating a turn of attention towards the problem of terrorism in Xinjiang.

➤ 2015 – A “Turkish passport plot” (see Global Times report) is exposed in which Turkey provided false passports to Chinese nationals in third countries (usually Thailand & Malaysia) for passage to Turkey.

➤ 2015 January 1Shohrat Zakir, a CPC cadre of Uygur nationality, assumes his current position of Chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. He additionally remains the Deputy Party Secretary of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a position he has held since December 2014, and Secretary of the Party Group of the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a position he has held since December 2013. This is in culmination of a decades-long career serving the CPC and Xinjiang, including serving on the Party Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) from December 2005 to June 2011.

➤ 2015 May 29 – China receives a loan from the World Bank on the “Xinjiang Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project,” a five-year project lasting until April 30, 2020. It is the “fourth technical and vocational education and training project that the World Bank has supported in China since 2007.” This loan would be reviewed by the World Bank later on November 11, 2019. On March 31, 2019, it was reported that 113,880 students had enrolled in schools funded by this project, of which 40,413 were women and 65,015 were minorities.

➤ 2015 July – Thailand repatriates 109 Chinese nationals allegedly en route to Turkey to join terrorist groups in Syria. A few weeks later on August 17, 2015, terrorists detonated a bomb in Bangkok, claiming 20 lives. 2 Chinese nationals of the Uyghur nationality were charged. The prevailing theory is that it was in retaliation for the repatriation.

➤ Mid-2015 – The ETIM/TIP becomes settled in Idlib Province, Syria, particularly in the city of Jisr al-Shughur, near the border with Turkey. The ETIM/TIP occupation of Jisr al-Shughur is marked by “changing demographics” (p. 15) and sectarian violence.

➤ 2015 October – France begins operating “de-radicalization programs.” It would seem these programs have since garnered mostly criticism from the public, but mainstream Western discourse has not accused France of cultural genocide.

  • While France’s de-radicalization program largely attracted controversy, programs like Denmark’s preceding France’s mostly went unnoticed, even being praised as a “groundbreaking de-radicalization program focused on providing opportunity to reintegrate versus punishment.”
  • A year later in October 2016, the United Kingdom began the “Desistance and Disengagement Programme” aimed at “address[ing] the root causes of terrorism, build resilience, and contribute towards the deradicalisation of individuals.”
  • New York Times reported on Kazakhstan’s de-radicalization program on August 10, 2019.

➤ 2015 December 27 – The 12th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passes the “Anti-Terrorism Law” (Chinese-language text), the first of its kind in the country.

➤ 2016 Chen Quanguo is appointed the Party Secretary of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the First Commissar of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (The First Commissar of XPCC is always held by the Party Secretary of Xinjiang). As his previous tenure from 2011 to 2016 was as the Party Secretary of Tibet Autonomous Region, Western NGOs cite Chen’s influence for alleged increase in human rights abuses in Xinjiang. A year later in 2017, Chen would be appointed a seat in the Politburo while retaining his two posts.

➤ 2016 December 23 – Adrian Zenz begins his career pivot to Xinjiang after a brief focus on Tibetan language and culture (and born-again Christian writings) with a Foreign Affairs article about Xinjiang’s police and surveillance apparatus.


b. 2017-Present

The waning of the severity of extremist violence in Xinjiang by 2017 coincided with elevated antagonisms in the U.S.-China relationship. The Trump Administration’s inaugural National Security Strategy document identified China as a strategic threat to U.S. power, setting the stage for ongoing trade, tech, and ideological attacks on China. During this time, the U.S. raised the issue of Xinjiang in international bodies and federal legislation as part of its efforts to isolate China on the world stage.

i. The Seeds of Controversy (2017-Aug 2018)

➤ 2017 March 6 – President Donald Trump signs Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” or “Travel Ban 2.0,” superseding EO 13769 issued on January 27, 2017. It originally banned the entry of citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—all Muslim-majority countries. This was all done quickly after President Trump assumed his post on January 20, 2017, after fervently advocating a “Muslim Ban” during his candidacy (see J. Sotomayor’s dissent in Trump v. Hawaii). 

➤ 2017 March 14 – Zenz joins the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief and continues his pivot to Xinjiang, initially focusing on the securitization of Xinjiang. (2017-3-14 Article, 2017-9-21 Article, 2018-3-12 Article) Interestingly, Adrian Zenz’s March 14th, 2017 article was considered a “fair assessment,” if biased, by Ian Goodrum, writer and digital editor for China Daily, indicating that there may have been a time Adrian Zenz did not feel as clearly “led by God” on a mission against China, as he indicated on May 21, 2019.

➤ 2017 March 29 – The 12th Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region passes the “Xinjiang De-radicalization Regulations” (Chinese-language text). Contemporary mainstream media’s focused criticisms on the “ban on long beards, veils” (Al-Jazeera) articulated in Article 9 of the original Regulations and not on Article 14, which outlined education and psychological counseling as part of de-radicalization work. 

➤ 2017 May 11 – Syrian ambassador tells China that up to 5000 ethnic Uyghurs were fighting in various militant groups in Syria.

➤ 2017 June 1 – China releases the white paper “Human Rights in Xinjiang – Development and Progress.”

➤ 2017 August 1 – WUC begins activism and writing on “internment camps,” citing April and May as the first months of detainment of Uyghur citizens. Sporadic reporting include: 

  • September 10, 2017 Human Rights Watch report alleging “thousands” of detainees. Interestingly, Human Rights Watch reported that “State media in Xinjiang, including the Xinjiang Daily, have reported on these facilities,” which would seem to contradict Reuters’ later 2018 headline that the facilities were “secret.” 
  • January 22, 2018 Radio Free Asia report claims “around 120,000” detainees based on information provided by an anonymous source from Chasa Township (possibly 恰萨美其特乡)
  • February 28, 2018 Foreign Policy article by a “Special Correspondent” on “A Summer Vacation in China’s Muslim Gulag.”
  • March 13, 2018 Newsweek Japan article (Japanese-language) by Naoko Mizutani (Japanese researcher previously barred from China for her support of Rebiya Kadeer) reporting “890,000 or more” detainees based on an unverified “leak” by Istiqlal TV (Uyghur-language, “leaked information” at 3:14), a Turkey-based media platform advocating for separatism from China. Also runs the English-language Turkistan Times.
    • As an aside, Rebiya Kadeer has also previously visited the Yasukuni Shrine on May 14th, 2012. The Yasukuni Shrine honors, among others, 1068 war criminals, including 14 Class A war criminals, as ruled by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.

➤ 2017 September – Presumably around this time, Rushan Abbas founds the Campaign for Uyghurs.

  • On November 12, 2017, Dolkun Isa takes Rebiya Kadeer’s place as President of the World Uyghur Congress. Although Kadeer said, “It is time for the younger generation to take up the leadership role at the WUC,” Isa seems to have been involved in diaspora Uyghur organizations longer than she has, at least overtly (since at least 1996 for Isa and since at least 2005 for Kadeer). 
  • Similarly, Omer Kanat sometime in 2017 took up both the Chairman of the World Uyghur Congress Executive Committee and Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project.

➤ 2018 April 26 – Mike Pompeo, former Director of the CIA and notoriously proud of lying, cheating, and stealing, assumes office as Secretary of State, heralding a new era of rapidly deteriorating U.S.-China relations.

  • Prior to assuming the post of the United States’ foremost diplomat, Pompeo had a long and distinguished history of being a relentless Islamophobe. Among other instances, he declared that “silence [in condemning the 2013 Boston bombings] has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit.”

➤ 2018 May 15 – Zenz starts to fix his eyes on Xinjiang’s de-radicalization program and criticizes education as de-radicalization work authorized by Article 14 of the Xinjiang De-radicalization Regulations. Between “several hundred thousand and just over one million” detainees are “estimate[d]” from “information from various sources…”, citing specifically Naoko Mizutani’s Newsweek Japan article.

➤ 2018 May 29 – The United States Department of State, Office of International Religious Freedom releases the 2017 Report on International Religious Freedom. Its report on China raises concerns that “human rights groups and others reported hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims… forcibly sent to re-education camps…”

➤ 2018 August 3 – Chinese Human Rights Defenders publishes a report “China: Massive Numbers of Uyghurs & Other Ethnic Minorities Forced into Re-education Programs.” This is the report taking eight anonymous interviewees and extrapolating 1 million incarcerated (or even up to 3 million) from their unverified statements.


ii. Entrenching the Narratives (Aug 2018-Jan 2020)

➤ 2018 August 10 – Meeting of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is here that Gay McDougall alleged concentration camps, forcing the controversy over the de-radicalization program in general, and the vocational centers in particular, into wide public discourse for the first time. (press release, 2018-8-13)

  • Reuters on the same day erroneously reported it as “U.N. says it has credible reports that China holds million Uighurs in secret camps.” Most news outlets failed to clarify that the UN CERD—let alone a sole committee member thereof—cannot speak for the UN; Gay McDougall said she had credible reports but failed to cite them.
    • Grayzone rebuttal by Ben Norton & Ajit Singh
  • The Press release actually reads: “Committee Experts, in the dialogue that followed, congratulated China for creating extraordinary prosperity and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, including in the eight multi-ethnic provinces and regions, but remain concerned over the growing inequality, particularly for ethnic minorities who continued to disproportionately experience poverty… A great source of concern was racial discrimination in the context of laws fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism, particularly against Tibetans, Uyghurs, and other ethnic minorities.” (As it turns out, Gay McDougall was both the only American at the meeting and the only person at the meeting to bring up “internment camps”)

➤ 2018 August 20 – While being interviewed by Max Blumenthal from the Grayzone, Omer Kanat admits that the “one million” figure was from “Western media estimates.” 

➤ 2018 September 6 – Adrian Zenz publishes “Thoroughly Reforming Them Towards a Healthy Heart Attitude: China’s Political Re-Education Campaign in Xinjiang” in the Central Asian Survey, a peer-reviewed article version of Zenz’s May 15, 2018 report. In it, Zenz clarifies the sources for his estimate of “approx. 1,060,000”: Naoko Mizutani’s Newsweek Japan article and Radio Free Asia.

➤ 2018 October 9 – The 13th Standing Committee of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region People’s Congress amends the “Xinjiang De-radicalization Regulations” (amended Chinese text here) to expressly outline vocational education as a central strategy for de-radicalization work (Global Times report, SCMP report) (Relevant changes: Article 14 amended; Articles 17, 21, 33 added).

  • It is important to note that vocational education is not unique to Xinjiang. For instance, the Ministry of Education reported in 2015 that 7.25 million adult students were undergoing non-academic degree higher education, while the Ministry reported in 2018 that 11.3 million students were registered in vocational colleges. The white paper “Employment and Labor Rights in Xinjiang” provides further that from 2014 to 2019 “Xinjiang provided training sessions [vocational education] to an average of 1.29 million urban and rural workers [annually], of which 451,400 were in southern Xinjiang.” This 1.29 million figure here is for all vocational education, not just persons who undergo vocational education as a part of the de-radicalization program.

➤ 2018 November 1 – The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) publishes “Mapping Xinjiang’s ‘re-education’ camps,” a report analyzing satellite imagery. Mainly, ASPI analyzes “28 facilities,” but alleges 181 (Agence France-Presse) or “as many as 1,200” (Adrian Zenz) such facilities, although an examination of their cited sources reveals no evidentiary basis for such allegations. (Note: ASPI is primarily funded by the Australian government and maintains strong funding relationships with weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin)

➤ 2018 November 15 – China releases the white paper “Cultural Protection and Development in Xinjiang.”

➤ 2018 December 19 – Relying on ASPI personnel and witnesses, AP condemns Hetian Taida Apparel for using “forced labor” due to its public association with a vocational training program, which AP insinuated were “concentration camps.” The Hetian Taida Apparel ordeal is the birth of the “forced labor” allegations in the current controversy. 

➤ 2018 December 28-30 – Diplomats from 12 countries (Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Thailand, and Kuwait) visit Xinjiang. Pakistani diplomat Mumtaz Zahra Baloch reported that the delegation was given full and open access to three vocational centers and that she “did not find any instance of forced labor or cultural and religious repression” during her tours of the region.

➤ 2019 January 6 – Reuters visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 January 9-16 – A media group of 12 representatives from 6 countries (Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 January 22 – The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation announces its one-week-long visit to China. This is presumably the visit on which the later OIC resolution is based.

➤ 2019 January 25-31 – A media delegation from Egypt visits Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 February 16-19 – Senior diplomats from the permanent missions of eight countries to the United Nations Office at Geneva visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 February 22-27 – A group of 11 journalists from Indonesia and Malaysia, as part of the ASEAN Elites China Tour 2019, visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 February 25-27 – Around 200 representatives of 50 political parties from nearly 30 countries visit Urumqi Xinjiang for a meeting aimed at showcasing China’s ethnic policy in Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 February 28-March 2 – Diplomats from Myanmar, Algeria, Morocco, Vietnam, Hungary, Greece, Singapore and the mission of the League of Arab States visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 March 1-2 – 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Resolutions on Muslim Communities and Muslim Minorities in the Non-OIC Member States (OIC/CFM-46/2019/MM/RES/FINAL), ¶20 of Resolution No.1/46-MM [pg.5] (“… commends the efforts of the People’s Republic of China in providing care to its Muslim citizens…”).

➤ 2019 March 18 – China releases the white paper “The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang.” A transfer employment program for 100,000 people was mentioned and would presumably be the object of consternation in the ASPI report of March 2020 alleging slavery.

  • CGTN summary with some infographics

➤ 2019 March 25 – The European Union rejects China’s offer of Xinjiang tour, but says it is open to one later. The EU would sit on its rain check for 539 days before once again demanding “independent” investigations into Xinjiang on September 14, 2020, despite the nearly 1,000 personnel from diplomatic, media, and academic circles who were invited to visit Xinjiang in 2019. 

➤ 2019 March 27-29 – Milan Bacevic, Serbian Ambassador to China, and Selim Belortaja, Albanian Ambassador to China, visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 May 7 – NPR releases its report on its visit to a vocational center.

➤ 2019 May 10 – Val Thompson, founder and publisher of International Focus Magazine – Houston, writes on his experiences visiting Xinjiang. He states that in his group of media visitors were journalists from “Afghanistan, Egypt, Belgium, Bangladesh, Belarus, Jordan, Japan, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia, UAE, USA, Switzerland, and a Geneva Delegation.”

➤ 2019 June 15 – Under Secretary-General of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office Vladimir Voronkov visits Xinjiang and reaches a “broad consensus” with China on the issue of counter-terrorism.

➤ 2019 June 18 – BBC’s visit to a vocational center.

➤ 2019 June 18-21 – Diplomats from 14 countries (including Algeria, Burkina Faso, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Laos, Malaysia, Nigeria, Serbia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Togo) and a representative from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation based in Geneva visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 July 1 – Hong Kong protestors storm and vandalize the Legislative Council. It would appear that Western media would spend most of the remaining summer fixated on Hong Kong.

➤ 2019 July 8, 12 – 41st Session of the Human Rights Council. Two joint letters took opposing views of China’s conduct in Xinjiang.

  • A/HRC/41/G/11 [criticizing] – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom [22]
  • A/HRC/41/G/17 [supporting] – Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Congo (Republic of), Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Kuwait, Laos, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Palestine [50]

➤ 2019 July 12 – Adrian Zenz pushes the “forced labor” angle with his paper, “Beyond the Camps: Beijing’s Grand Scheme of Forced Labor, Poverty Alleviation and Social Control in Xinjiang,” which would not get peer-reviewed until its publication in the Journal of Political Risk (a journal with a long history of involvement with U.S. military and intelligence) on December 10, 2019. Zenz relies on scaremongering about China’s poverty alleviation programs and pair assistance programs (whereby a richer province gives monetary and other material aid to poorer provinces, manifesting in factories or educational support) to draw foregone conclusions of forced labor. One such poverty alleviation workshop mentioned in Zenz’s report can be seen in this vlogger’s video.

➤ 2019 July 14-22 – Journalists from 24 countries including India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, and Uzbekistan visit Xinjiang.

  • One of the journalists on this trip was Tunç Akkoç, General Manager of Turkey’s Aydınlık Daily (newspaper of Turkey’s Vatan Partisi). His report published on Xinhua is as follows. (2019-8-11)
  • Aydınlık Daily and Vatan Partisi have since rebuked the United States’ position in the controversy (Aydınlık 2020-2-21, Vatan Partisi’s statement reported in Aydınlık 2020-9-10 [Turkish language]).

➤ 2019 July 21 – China releases the white paper “Historical Matters Concerning Xinjiang.”

➤ 2019 August 17 – China releases the white paper “Vocational Education and Training in Xinjiang” (this is the white paper that states that “No terrorist incidents have occurred in Xinjiang for nearly three years since the education and training started.”). 

➤ 2019 August 17-23 – A media group from 16 countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 August 19-21 – Diplomats from Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bahrain and Nigeria visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 August 28-September 1 – Diplomats from Yemen, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Zambia, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 August 29 – ABC’s visit to the vocational centers.

➤ 2019 September 9-12 – Diplomats from 16 African countries (including Burundi, Djibouti, Uganda, Lesotho, Sudan and Zimbabwe) and the African Union visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 October 17 – Amy K. Lehr & Mariefaye Bechrakis from Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) publish “Connecting the Dots in Xinjiang: Forced Labor, Forced Assimilation, and Western Supply Chains.” Noticeably, in the interceding 10 months since the Hetian Taida Apparel report, the researchers do not have another “‘smoking gun’ for forced labor in Xinjiang,” and are left with witness testimonies and Zenzian logic that vocational training and rural poverty alleviation carries “a significant risk that in many cases the detainees and rural poor are not participating by choice,” without anything to back up that assertion.

  • Global Times 10/25 rebuttal

➤ 2019 October 29 – 74th Session of the General Assembly (A/C.3/74/SR.37).

  • Total 24 countries and the European Union criticized China’s position on Xinjiang
    • ¶41 – United Kingdom joint statement on behalf of itself, Albania, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United States
    • Represented in joint statement and criticized in individual capacity: United States (¶43)
    • Criticized in individual capacity: European Union (¶58), Turkey (¶45)
  • Total 57 countries supported China’s position on Xinjiang
    • ¶40 – Belarus joint statement on behalf of itself, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Congo (Republic of), Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Laos, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Togo, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Palestine
    • Represented in joint statement and supported in individual capacity: Bolivia (¶56), Burundi (¶52), Cambodia (¶49), Cameroon (¶48), China (¶66), Cuba (¶53), Congo (Republic of) (¶77), Equatorial Guinea (¶60), Guinea (¶70), Laos (¶76), Myanmar (¶61), Nicaragua (¶64), Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of) (¶73), Pakistan (¶68), Syria (¶55), Zimbabwe (¶57)
    • Supported in individual capacity: Ethiopia (¶72), Kyrgyzstan (¶59), Saudi Arabia (¶75 – note: qualified support)

➤ 2019 November – Sometime in November, Former Deputy Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives Fahri Hamzah led a delegation to visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2019 November 11 – World Bank releases a statement regarding its visit to Xinjiang concerning the vocational centers, finding no aberrations.

➤ 2019 November 16 – New York Times publishes a story about “leaked documents” concerning Xinjiang. These documents had strange grammatical errors and have been disavowed as false.

➤ 2019 December 5 – CGTN releases two specials about terrorism in Xinjiang, with footage never released to the public before, including footage of the above-mentioned attacks. They were made available to YouTube on December 11th. 

➤ 2019 December 9 – Xinhua reports that students “participating in education and training programs of standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law, vocational skills and deradicalization at vocational education and training centers” have all graduated.

By the end of 2019 – 

  • Nearly 1,000 personnel from diplomatic, media, and academic circles were invited to visit Xinjiang in 2019. 
  • Xinjiang received more than 200 million tourists in 2019, up 41.6% from 2018’s 150 million.
  • From 2014 to 2019, nearly 2,923,200 residents of Xinjiang constituting 737,000 households were lifted out of poverty, dropping the poverty rate from 2013’s 19.4% to 1.24%. (original Chinese editorial, English summary) 645,000 were lifted out of poverty in 2019 alone. Xinjiang must still lift another 165,000 people out of poverty to meet China’s 2020 goals for poverty alleviation. (see CGTN report)

iii. U.S. Pursues Unilateral Action (Jan 2020-present)

➤ 2020 January 23 – Having confirmed human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 in tandem with the World Health Organization, China locks down Wuhan City and later the entire Hubei Province. While still pushing the Xinjiang issue, Western media became fixated on the pandemic response, seizing on human suffering to push a political and often racist agenda.

➤ 2020 February – Adrian Zenz publishes a report about the “Karakax List” in the Journal of Political Risk, supposedly a leaked document from 2017 provided by the Uyghur Human Rights Project proving collection of information about 3,000 Uyghurs and detention of 311 of them in Karakax (Moyu) County.

➤ 2020 March 1 – ASPI publishes “Uyghurs for sale,” a report alleging forced labor (and, notably, “slavery”) of Uyghur people around China. This seems to be scrutinizing the transfer employment program from an earlier Chinese white paper. It also builds on the material previously pushed by Adrian Zenz and CSIS. 

  • 2020 March 26 Grayzone rebuttal by Ajit Singh. Global Times 3/1, 3/16 rebuttals.

➤ 2020 April 4 – China holds a national mourning ceremony for the victims and first responders of COVID-19. China’s ability to contain COVID comes in sharp contrast to the United States, which declared a state of emergency on March 13th and has since watched its situation worsen significantly. The United States accelerates escalation of tensions with China.

➤ 2020 June 17 – President Trump signs the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act into law, ending a process started after it was first passed as a bill by the Senate on September 11, 2019.

➤ 2020 June 18 – CGTN releases another special about terrorism in Xinjiang, Tianshan: Still Standing

➤ 2020 June 29 – Adrian Zenz publishes a report alleging mass sterilization of Uyghur people through the Jamestown Foundation. This report has a blatant mathematical error

➤ 2020 July – 44th UN Human Rights Council meeting, in which two joint statements took opposing sides as to China’s conduct in Xinjiang

  • [criticizing] (2020-6-30) – United Kingdom on behalf of itself, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland [27]
  • [supporting] (2020-7-1) – Belarus on behalf of itself, Bahrain, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, China, Comoros, Congo (Republic of), Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Laos, Lesotho, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Togo, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe [46]
  • The criticizing statement also attacked China’s sovereignty on Hong Kong, leading to a same-day joint statement on Hong Kong made by Cuba on behalf of 53 countries.

2020 July 6 – The Washington Post editorial board publishes the opinion piece, “What’s happening in Xinjiang is genocide,” marking the rapid escalation of allegations. The opinion references “new evidence” of forced sterilizations, but cites only Adrian Zenz’s June 2020 report for the Jamestown Foundation and an Associated Press “investigative report” which similarly relies on Zenz’s research.

➤ 2020 July 16 – An Urumqi resident is found to be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19 (Chinese source), leading to an identified COVID-19 cluster in Urumqi, Xinjiang, which had until then seen minimal cases since January 25. However, China’s efforts to combat COVID in Xinjiang go largely unreported.

  • As an aside, photos from February 19, 2020 show doctors, police, and border guards on horseback on snowy Kurte (Ku’erte) Plains (near the border with Mongolia), Fuyun County, Altay Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (Business Insider and People’s Daily Wechat Post). This demonstrates the extent of China’s COVID response, as officials made sure every person was provided for, in this case agro-pastoral citizens in border regions. 

➤ 2020 July 24 – In response to the United States ordering the Chinese Consulate in Houston to close, China ordered the United States Consulate in Chengdu to close. Radio Free Asia among others speculated that this would stymie United States intelligence gathering on Xinjiang.

➤ 2020 July 30 – Amy K. Lehr of CSIS publishes a brief “Addressing Forced Labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: Toward a Shared Agenda.” Particularly noticeable about this brief is its emphasis on the XPCC, with assertions cited backed up by sources from Radio Free Asia, Uyghur Human Rights Project, and Citizen Power Initiatives for China (an otherwise opaque organization based in Brookline, Massachusetts founded by Yang Jianli, a self-described “Tiananmen survivor”). Footnote 33 cites Bao Yajun’s article on the XPCC but misrepresents the source, which does not mention labor camps as Lehr asserts.

➤ 2020 July 31 – The United States imposes Global Magnitsky sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps over accusations that it is connected to human rights abuses against minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions include Chen Quanguo, the first Politburo member to be sanctioned by the United States. 

➤ 2020 July 30 and August 7 – Coda Story—a self-described counterweight to Russian and Chinese “disinformation” funded by the U.S. and EU—runs two pieces seeking to undermine The Grayzone, Jerry Grey, and Carl Zha, some of the few Western sources to contradict the mainstream media narrative on Xinjiang. 

  • The Grayzone’s rebuttal by Ben Norton (8/18).

➤ 2020 August 15-16Carl Zha and Daniel Dumbrill both release interviews held with Arslan Hidayat, an activist noted for spreading many lies about Xinjiang by faking captions and taking Douyin and other videos out of context on social media (see this Twitter thread, which also exposes similar lies made by CJ Werlemen, who would shortly afterwards write an article alleging 9 million incarcerated in Xinjiang). Among other happenings, Hidayat admits to putting fake captions on videos he posts as well as to having no hard evidence for his claims, instead relying on mainstream media and “scholars” like Adrian Zenz. Hidayat also displays a seeming ignorance of the general contours of Xinjiang history and its people.

➤ 2020 August 17 – Radio Free Asia reports that Xinjiang hospital kills babies, relying on witnesses and Adrian Zenz’s mathematically suspect June 29 report.

➤ 2020 August 24 – CJ Werlemen at Byline Times reports “evidence that up to nine million Uyghurs are unaccounted for and allegations Chinese authorities plan to kill, incarcerate or convert the whole population.” His only source is Dr. Erkin Sidick, President of the Uyghur Projects Foundation and senior advisor to the World Uyghur Congress, who left China in the late 1980s and whose own sources are ever reliable anonymous Chinese government sources. The report also cites Zenz’s mathematically suspect June 29, 2020 report and the NYT’s November 16, 2019 grammatically wanting “leaks” to back up Dr. Sidick’s otherwise baseless allegations. Near the end of the article, Dr. Sidick decides to liberally tamper with the statistics to prove his own foregone conclusions.

➤ 2020 August 25 – CGTN releases a new documentary collecting the experiences of students of the vocational centers, Lies and truth: Vocational education and training in Xinjiang.

➤ 2020 August 27 – Buzzfeed, backed by ASPI and Open Technology Fund (part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which runs Radio Free Asia, and a key supporter of 2019 Hong Kong riots) among others, pushes a two-part report relying satellite imagery, blanked-out images on Baidu Maps which are otherwise common occurrences, and witness testimony to further the Western narrative on Xinjiang. One such “camp” is in actuality an apartment complex with a five-star rating.

➤ 2020 September 2 – After about a month and a half, the COVID-19 cluster in Xinjiang is contained and Urumqi’s lockdown is lifted.

➤ 2020 September 9 – The U.S. State Department creates a new page just for propagandizing “CCP”’s atrocities in Xinjiang, in addition to releasing a short condemnatory video. Neither add anything new. The webpage relies on “recent, documented evidence” for “forced population control,” presumably Adrian Zenz’s mathematically suspect June 29 report; “NGO estimates and media reports” for “forced labor,” presumably ASPI’s and CSIS’ scare pieces; and unsubstantiated nonsense such as “CCP target[ing]… Uyghur language and Uyghur music.”

➤ 2020 September 14 – The United States restricts cotton and apparel imports from Xinjiang, citing “forced labor.” Both cotton and apparel industries are important to poverty alleviation and economic development in Xinjiang.

➤ 2020 September 15 – China agrees to and will arrange for European Union diplomats in China to visit Xinjiang.

➤ 2020 September 17 – China releases the white paper “Employment and Labor Rights in Xinjiang.” Some actors have twisted the white paper’s statistics (“Every year from 2014 to 2019 Xinjiang provided training sessions to an average of 1.29 million urban and rural workers, of which 451,400 were in southern Xinjiang”) to allege that China admitted to interning “8 million” into camps (presumably 1.29 x 6 = 7.74 for the headlining “8 million”). It bears repeating that this figure includes normal vocational education as well as those educated in institutions funded by the 2015 World Bank project. To date, the Chinese government has not released a figure on the number of people who have undergone vocational education as part of its de-radicalization program.

  • The relevant statistics in the original Chinese reads as follow: 据统计,2014年至2019年,全疆年均培训城乡各类劳动者128.8万人次,其中,南疆地区年均培训45.14万人次。

2020 September 22 – The U.S. Congress passes the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act,” authorizing sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and any other Xinjiang entity as determined by the discretion of the Department of Commerce. It expressly targets China’s poverty alleviation and pair-assistance programs designed to develop Xinjiang and bring residents out of absolute poverty. For more about the genocidal impact of U.S. sanctions as a form of economic warfare primarily targeting civilians, see Robin Davis, Onyesonwu Chatoyer, & Nancy Wright, “Sanctions Kill: The Devastating Human Cost of Sanctions,” Hood Communist (blog), March 26, 2020.

2020 September 23 – ASPI launches a “Xinjiang Data Project” (reportedly mapping “380 sites of suspected re-education camps, detention centres and prisons that have been built or expanded since 2017”) with an accompanying report on “Cultural erasure.” The former in particular has been heavily criticized online for designating common schools and offices as concentration camps and listing the renovated Keriya Aitika Mosque as demolished.


c. On the Nature of Unsubstantiated Allegations

The World Uyghur Congress began conducting activism based on the allegation of Xinjiang “concentration camps” in August 2017, four months after the promulgation of the Xinjiang De-radicalization Regulations. The controversy entered mainstream Western discourse a year later in August 2018 with Gay McDougall’s unsubstantiated claims at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

In the interceding time, claims of concentration camps, cultural genocide, demographic genocide, slavery, and mass sterilization have saturated media and political discourse. The evidentiary weakness of these rapidly escalating claims is evinced by the shifting numbers of alleged detainees, which has ebbed and flowed from 120,000 on the low end to up to 9 million out of a Uyghur population of roughly 12 million (2019).

While Western media often paints Xinjiang as a black box, Xinjiang has in fact never been closed or restricted to outside visitors until the outbreak of COVID-19 in January 2020 (unlike Tibet Autonomous Region, which requires most foreigners to acquire special permits to visit). Indeed despite the nearly 1,000 visits by outside observers and 200 million tourists to Xinjiang in 2019, no convincing photo or video evidence has emerged of supposed genocide in Xinjiang, much less the complete absence of any recent refugee crisis originating from Xinjiang.

Photos and videos fallaciously used to prove, show, or insinuate either concentration camps or slave labor of Xinjiang people include:

It is clear that the burden of evidence for disproving allegations of slavery and genocide in Xinjiang has been set far higher than the burden of evidence for lodging these allegations in the first place. With the popular imagination saturated with images of alleged atrocities, it is difficult to argue for any course of U.S. action other than sanctions, isolation, and intervention. Such is the nature, by intent, of atrocity propaganda as it has been wielded to justify U.S. imperial adventurism. If nothing else, the context and evidence provided in this timeline should make clear that spurious claims based on weak evidence have been wielded unilaterally by the U.S. and its allies to spurn China despite broad international approval for Chinese policy in Xinjiang.


3. Resources

a. Overview

These readings are general overviews of Xinjiang in general and the current controversy in particular. They can act as effective one-stop resources for those seeking a quick summary.  

Ang, Matthias & Wong, Kayla. “Different media report differently on controversial Xinjiang re-education camps in China. Read them all.”, Mothership, July 21, 2019.

  • Ang and Wong offer an even-handed survey of the biases and conflicting diagnoses of different news reports on the Xinjiang controversy. The authors don’t try to take a side but advocate seeking a diversity of sources. 

Kanthan, Chris. “Xinjiang and Uyghurs – What You’re Not Being Told,” World Affairs Blog (blog).

  • A quick collection of facts about key cultural, historical, and political aspects of Xinjiang.

Notes on China-Uighur Controversies: An Ever Increasing Collection of Notes, Links, Sources, & Observations

  • A well-sourced and extensive ongoing Google Document written by a leftist in critical evaluation of the Xinjiang controversy.

Singh, Ajit & Max Blumenthal. “China detaining millions of Uyghurs? Serious problems with claims by US-backed NGO and far-reach researcher ‘led by God’ against Beijing.” The Grayzone. December 21, 2019.

  • A rather thorough examination of the handful of sources from which claims of ‘millions’ in concentration camps has been uncritically adopted by mainstream media. The argument focuses on the personal records and financial ties of frequently-cited ‘experts’ such as Adrian Zenz. 

Zhao, He. “Xinjiang: Facts vs. Fiction.” Medium. November 16, 2019.

  • This is perhaps the quickest yet comprehensive read on Xinjiang generally and the current controversy in particular. 

b. Chinese Perspectives on the Problem of Terrorism

These sources document the scope and extent of the recent history of terrorism in China, which received little attention in the Western press. These sources also highlight official Chinese perspectives on how to resolve the problem as peacefully as possible. China’s stated policies of economic development and poverty alleviation are key pathways towards improving social stability and tackling some of the root causes that foment violence—an approach that stands in stark contrast to the tactics employed during the U.S. so-called “War on Terror.” 

It is important to note that Western reports and figures have failed to differentiate between generalized vocational education in Xinjiang—which is an aspect of poverty alleviation programs throughout China—and vocational education as part of targeted de-radicalization programs.

CGTN. “Fighting terrorism in Xinjiang.” YouTube video, 50:01. December 11, 2019.

  • CW: Violence. This documentary in particular is notable for releasing previously unreleased footage of terrorist attacks as well as extensive interviews with a wide variety of people including victims, former terrorists, religious authorities, locals, and police. [some of the interviewees speak in Uyghur]

CGTN. “The Black Hand – ETIM and Terrorism in Xinjiang.” YouTube video, 29:06. December 11, 2019.

  • CW: Violence. This documentary shares some footage with the above, but otherwise is a shorter film focused more on the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM/TIP), its links to al- Qaeda, and the international nature of the threat it poses. [some of the interviewees speak in Uyghur]

CGTN. “Tianshan: Still Standing – Memories of fighting terrorism in Xinjiang.” YouTube video, 57:52. June 18, 2020.

  • CW: Violence. This documentary revisits the lingering impacts of terrorism in today’s Xinjiang. Some highlights include the revisiting of Dilqemer’s story from the “Fighting terrorism” documentary; new interviews with police and locals such as Memet Jume, son of former Id Kah imam Jume Tahir assassinated in 2014, and Muhpira Rahman, a female People’s Armed Police member; and exclusive looks at Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County and the Chinese-Afghan border. [some of the interviewees speak in Uyghur; the interviewee Memetrehim Ibrahim speaks in Sarikoli] 

CGTN. “Lies and truth: Vocational education and training in Xinjiang.” YouTube video, 35:08. August 25, 2020.

  • CW: Violence. This documentary focuses on vocational centers and their students. There is some overlap with the “Embracing a New Life” mini-series (see below), particularly in the stories of the painter Ablizkari Ubul and dancer Aqida Arslan. Has a short section near the end containing comments by international observers to Xinjiang. [some of the interviewees speak in Uyghur]

Why are western media silent on China’s documentaries on Xinjiang?CGTN. December 9, 2019. (Based on Tong, Li. “CGTN发“大尺度”新疆反恐纪录片,西方媒体却沉默了.” Guancha. December 9, 2019.)

  • From a Chinese perspective, this article questions why Western voices which claim to value human rights have not paid heed to issues of violence and terrorism directed against civilians in Xinjiang and beyond. 

Joint Letter to Mike Pompeo, From Scholars and Religious Personnel in Xinjiang.” Tianshan Net. July 19, 2019.

  • A letter from about 100 scholars and religious personnel in Xinjiang rebuking comments made by Secretary Pompeo.

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang. 2019. 

  • A white paper concerning the broader strategy against terrorism undertaken in Xinjiang.

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. Vocational Education and Training in Xinjiang. 2019.

  • A white paper focusing specifically on the vocational centers and their operations.

Sha, Yuan. “China’s contribution to the international counter-terrorism cause.” CGTN. September 26, 2019.

  • Paraphrasing remarks made by Wang Yi at the UN – clearly identifying poverty as a root cause of terrorism.

Ed. Xiang, Bo. “Full transcript: Interview with Xinjiang government chief on counterterrorism, vocational education and training in Xinjiang.” Xinhua. October 16, 2018. 

  • Xinhua interview with Shohrat Zakir, Chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, concerning the roots of terrorism, poverty alleviation and education as solution, and the vocational centers.

c. Geopolitical Context

These sources place the current controversy in light of geopolitical interests. In particular, the Belt and Road Initiative, a massive Chinese-led multi-national infrastructure project that has drawn ire as a threat to U.S. unipolarity, runs through Xinjiang as a strategic region connecting China to North and West Asia.

While the U.S. has long recognized that its naval supremacy in the South China Sea could effectively “strangle” China’s economy in the event of hot war, Xinjiang in particular and the Belt and Road Initiative in general provide an overland route for Chinese trade which undermines U.S. military supremacy. As such, these sources contextualize the Xinjiang controversy amidst broader U.S. efforts to contain and isolate China.

Al-Ghadhawi, Abdullah. “Uighur Jihadists in Syria.” Center for Global Policy. March 18, 2020.

  • A short article about the circumstances surrounding ethnic Uyghur fighters in Syria.

Azam, Azhar. “BRI is instrumental to realizing ‘no poverty’ vision.” CGTN. October 18, 2019.

  • A short article making clear BRI’s role in Xinjiang’s poverty alleviation as well as its potential for poverty alleviation in other countries.

Bhadrakumar, M.K. “US lacerates China’s Uighur wound.” Indian Punchline (blog). March 28, 2019.

  • Indian Punchline is a blog run by M.K. Bhadrakumar, a retired career diplomat of India. This blogpost—slightly dated now given the evolution of the controversy—properly examines the Xinjiang controversy in the U.S.’s strategic calculus.

Fuller, Graham E. & S. Frederick Starr. “The Xinjiang Problem.” Central Asia-Caucasus Institute. 2003.

  • An interesting dated report on the then situation in Xinjiang, written by a former Vice-chair of the National Intelligence Council and CIA Station Chief in Kabul. Not only a primer on some of the longer-term background of the issue through the lenses of the United States (and a light on the severity of the terrorism issue), but also a window into a prior time in which a prominent United States thinker urged cooperation with China to defeat terrorism and to avoid over-politicizing the issue in the hopes of greater global stability. 

Gunaratna, Rohan. “Salafism in China and its Jihadist-Takfiri strains.” Al Mesbar Studies & Research Center. January 18, 2018.

  • A short report on Salafism in China and the connection of some of its more extremist strands to terrorist activities over time.

Novák, Izak. “The War on China.” Izak Novák (blog). April 17, 2020.

  • A general overview essay about the longstanding decades-long strategy of the United States against China. Importantly, it discusses the Belt and Road Initiative as a strategy to break out of U.S. encirclement, hegemonism, and imperialism, and Xinjiang’s central importance to the BRI.

Prashad, Vijay. “Trade and tensions between the U.S. and China.” Monthly Review. August 3, 2020.

  • Only a small part of this article is about Xinjiang, but it places the Western fixation on it into proper context in advancing Western “political and commercial ends.”

Ron Paul Liberty Report. “‘What is the Empire’s Strategy?’ – Col. Lawrence Wilkerson Speech at Ron Paul Institute Media & War Conference.” YouTube video, 26:10. August 22, 2018. 

  • One former U.S. military official’s insider perspective as to why the United States is in Afghanistan. He asserts it “has nothing to do with fighting terrorism” and more to do with establishing military control over a territory of strategic interest to Chinese trade routes. Time stamp starting at 20:55 is included in the link. 

d. Poverty Alleviation and Economic Development in Xinjiang

These sources describe a small slice of Xinjiang’s poverty alleviation efforts and economic development initiatives, while exploring the real and concrete impacts these programs have on the lives of ordinary people.

Animal husbandry helping to drive up incomes.” CGTN. May 7, 2020.

China’s Xinjiang generates 260 bln kWh clean electricity.” Xinhua. August 8, 2020.

  • Xinjiang is quickly becoming a hub for green energy production and distribution. This short note and video offers a small glimpse into the greening of Xinjiang and China.

E-commerce development boosts farm produce sales.” CGTN. May 6, 2020.

Voices from the Frontline: China’s War on Poverty. Film. Directed by Peter Getzels. The Kuhn Foundation & PBS Socal, 2020. [available here]

  • A documentary hosted by Robert Lawrence Kuhn offering an insightful look into the war against absolute poverty. The documentary not only provides an on-the-ground look at the procedures and effects of poverty alleviation efforts as well as their often imperfect executions, but also shine a light on the workings of the Communist Party of China, including mobilization, promotion, corruption, monitoring, and discipline. Kuhn travels to Hainan, Gansu, Guizhou, Xinjiang, and Sichuan, gaining a rare and balanced insight into Chinese society and policies. Ironically, some of the entities involved in poverty alleviation in Xinjiang, such as the one highlighted by the documentary, are the very entities being sanctioned and boycotted by U.S. legislation and private brands such as H&M. [the interviewees speak in a wide variety of local dialects and accents; the Xinjiang interviewees except for Murzabek Tapi speak in Kazakh]
  • First aired on May 11 and 12 of 2020, and despite its award-winning status, the documentary was quickly taken down barely a week after release on May 20, citing “editorial standards.” Kuhn called it “a shame” that PBS removed his film from its platform due to “extraneous internal political matters in the United States.”

Jie, Shan. “Xinjiang scores victories in the war on poverty.” Global Times. December 18, 2019.

  • A very short and succinct article with small snippets of human stories concerning poverty alleviation in Xinjiang.

Labor transfer program boosts employment.” CGTN. May 8, 2020.

Localized factories lift Xinjiang locals out of poverty.” CGTN. May 8, 2020.

Lu, Yin & Zhang Xinyuan. “Xinjiang’s millennial entrepreneurs make the most of the Internet age.” Global Times. July 4, 2016.

  • An older article from 2016 about new Xinjiang entrepreneurs harnessing both the power of the internet and the increasing interconnectivity of Xinjiang to the world via the Belt and Road Initiative.

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. Employment and Labor Rights in Xinjiang. 2020.

  • This white paper provides an overview of the employment and labor in Xinjiang, providing statistics, giving personal anecdotes, and highlighting labor laws and the efforts being made to improve them, in the context of poverty alleviation programs.

Trans-regional job offers help Xinjiang farmers shake off poverty.” CGTN. May 3, 2020.

Villagers get access to clean water as projects continue.” CGTN. May 2, 2020.

Wellness of people in remote areas safeguarded.” CGTN. May 4, 2020.

Ed. Yang, Yi. “China highlights support to Xinjiang through pairing assistance.” Xinhua. July 16, 2019.

  • Pairing assistance is a common practice in the People’s Republic whereas richer provinces and localities directly send aid, expertise, and cadres to poorer provinces and localities in order to help them develop. This is a short article about the visit of a senior Party official Wang Yang to Xinjiang and the re-emphasizing of this program. 

e. Overview of Chinese Minority/Religious Policies

These sources provide a quick overview of China’s policies towards minority nationalities and religion, with some focus on efforts with relevance to Xinjiang and Islam. 

Beech, Hannah. “If China is Anti-Islam, Why are These Chinese Muslims Enjoying a Faith Revival?Time. August 12, 2014.

  • A relatively honest Western media attempt to look at Islam in China before the current 2018 controversy. The author notes that thriving Hui Muslim communities in China have also been targeted by terrorist attacks.

CCTV. “Students’ Daily Life [sic] at Xinjiang Islamic Institute in Northwest China.” YouTube video, 2:19. June 19, 2016.

  • This is a short video showing daily life at an Islamic educational institute in China.

Kasim, Muhabbat (Muhabaiti Hasimu). “新世纪新疆双语教学:七大变化,三点建议.” China Minzu Cultural Resources. September 20, 2018. (reprinted from Zhongguo Minzu Bao (China Ethnic News), August 13, 2010, 6)

  • A Uyghur scholar of bilingual education and Turkic languages reflects on the changing situation of bilingual education in Xinjiang, noticing seven changes from her personal experience and leaving three recommendations for the future. Of particular note, it was not until the recent decade that Chinese language was taught to minority children starting in the first grade (previously it started in the fourth grade). [Chinese language]

Li, Qian. “Chinese government goes to great lengths to help Muslims go on the hajj.” Global Times. August 14, 2017.

  • Documents Chinese state programs to offer support for those who want to go on hajj pilgrimage.

Lim, Louisa. “Female Imams Blaze Trail Among China’s Muslims.” NPR. July 21, 2010. 

  • Documents the unique Chinese Muslim tradition of women-led mosques. The article ends with a curious line: “And so it appears the future of female imams in China is threatened — not by the state, not by resistance from inside Islam, but by the forces of market economics.” This seems to reflect the shifting and inconsistent media agenda on China: from ‘ruthlessly capitalist’ forces stymying Chinese state efforts to preserve minority cultures and religious practices to godless Communist entity seeking to wipe out Islam.

Liu, Xin. “Xinjiang Muslims welcome govt’s efforts on hajj journeys.” Global Times. August 2, 2019.

  • A more recent article detailing the governmental measures offering support for rural Xinjiang Muslims who wish to go on hajj pilgrimage.

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. National Minorities Policy and Its Practice in China. 1999. 

  • Although dated, many of the policies described in this paper are still in effect today.

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. China’s Ethnic Policy and Common Prosperity and Development of All Ethnic Groups. 2009.

  • Like the above, a dry read, but full of data that demonstrates the efforts of the government in minority policies – Qiao recommends drawing attention to the passages in the white paper addressing tax exemption programs (Section V), minority languages, and intangible heritage (Section VI).

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. Freedom of Religious Belief in Xinjiang. 2016.

  • A white paper devoted to the progress of ensuring religious freedom in Xinjiang, although written shortly before the controversial 2017 de-radicalization regulations.

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. Cultural Protection and Development in Xinjiang. 2018.

  • A white paper devoted specifically to cultural policies in Xinjiang, with special considerations for the minority nationalities of Xinjiang.

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China. 2019. 

  • A more recent white paper about China’s progress on human rights issues. Section V is devoted to minority policies.

Why does China have women-only mosques.” BBC. February 23, 2016. 

  • An article which shows that as late as 2016, there was some attempt by the West to understand Islam in China on its own terms, even by the world’s largest “public broadcasting company.”

Zhang, Hui. “China bans anti-Islam words on social media.” Global Times. September 21, 2017. 

  • China’s infamous censoring apparatus actively tries to censor Islamophobic hate speech on social media.

新疆维吾尔自治区计划2020年全面普及双语教育.” Zhongguo Zhengfu Wang. October 6, 2010. 

  • A simple news report from 2010 that explains the plans of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to have widespread bilingual education in the autonomous region by 2020. [Chinese language]

新疆维吾尔自治区人口与计划生育条例 [Xinjiang Population and Family Planning Regulations] (promulgated by the People’s Congress of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, November 28, 2002) (made available on the website of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Health & Hygiene Commission) (current law, rev’d July 28, 2017) (previous version, rev’d June 3, 2010, available on the website 51labour)

  • This is the statute currently governing Xinjiang’s family planning. Particular attention should be placed on the general rule articulated in Article 15, pre and post-2017: [Chinese language]
    • Pre-2017: Couples of urban Han residents can have one child, and couples of ethnic minority residents can have two children. Couples of Han farmers and herdsmen can have two children, and couples of ethnic farmers and herdsmen can have three children.
    • Post-2017: Couples of urban residents can have two children, and couples of rural residents can have three children.

f. The Misinformation Industrial Complex

These sources provide some general context as to the bias and agenda of Western non-state actors, particularly mainstream media and NGOs, which often act in concert with Western imperialist state agendas rather than a check on them. 

In particular, these sources highlight the historic uses of “atrocity propaganda,” through which the U.S. has galvanized public opinion for war and intervention through misrepresentations and outright lies vis-a-vis ‘humanitarian concerns.’ In particular, the wars in Iraq and intervention in Syria provide a historical warning for how mainstream media and research institutes amplify State Department ambitions. 

Bruton, F. Brinley & Tony Brown. “U.S. targets Chinese Uighur militants as well as Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.” NBC News. February 8, 2018.

  • Addresses U.S. aerial bombing campaigns in Afghanistan, painting the U.S. bombing of ethnic Uyghur terrorist camps in Afghanistan as good, even natural. At the same time, the article paints these same actors as repressed freedom fighters in China’s domestic context—clear instances of double standards that speak to U.S. geopolitical interests in the region.  

Butt, Ahsan I. “Why did Bush go to war with Iraq?Al Jazeera. March 19, 2019. 

  • One more exploration of the now infamous lies that built consensus for American intervention in Iraq, a war that has directly led to a disastrous humanitarian crisis.

Fisk, Robert. “Bashar al-Assad, Syria, and the truth about chemical weapons.” Independent. December 8, 2012.

  • An article about the history of Western allegations of atrocities committed in the Middle East in the leadup to war and intervention.

Ignatius, David. “Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups.” The Washington Post. September 22, 1991.

  • This article quotes from the horse’s mouth the role of the National Endowment for Democracy as the “sugar daddy of overt operations” for State Department anti-communist and regime change agendas. The admission of NED intent to undermine ‘enemy nations’ should call into serious question why the NED funds groups as diverse as the World Uyghur Congress to the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions.  

McIntyre, Jamie. “Meet ETIM, the terrorist group the US just bombed in Afghanistan.” Washington Examiner. February 10, 2018.

  • This article from the right-wing Washington Examiner cites Pentagon officials designating the East Turkistan Islamic Movementas a terrorist group of security concern to U.S. ambitions in the Middle East—a label which speaks to the double standard of Western media when it comes to ETIM/TIP as a threat to U.S. interests or a cudgel to be wielded against China.  

Noble Peace Laureates Slam Human Rights Watch’s Refusal to Cut Ties to U.S. Government.” Alternet. July 6, 2014.

  • An older open letter expressing concern over Human Rights Watch’s “revolving door” with the United States government, causing it to overlook the U.S.’s own abysmal human rights record and subjecting the organization to partisan politics.

Norton, Ben. “Twitter spreads paid US gov’t propaganda while falsely claiming it bans state media ads.” The Grayzone. August 10, 2020.

  • While focused on Twitter and its pushing of American governmental agenda, this article has a helpful section on the U.S. Agency for Global Media, and demonstrates clearly how the agency and its constituent platforms including Radio Free Asia are nothing more than “soft-power arm[s] of the US government,” a context that should be taken into mind when consuming its contents.

O’Neill, Brendan. “The missing people-shredder.” The Guardian. February 24, 2004. 

  • A retrospective inquiry finds the sensationalist accounts of Saddam Hussein’s “people shredder” circulated by Western media in the leadup to the Iraq war were never substantiated. 

Sinophobia Inc: Understanding the Anti-China Industrial Complex.” Qiao Collective. September 3, 2020.

  • An in-depth review of the financial ties of prominent China think tanks such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute reveals a deep conflict of interest: many such institutes are funded by Western state entities and the same weapons manufacturers now cutting record arms deals to equip the anti-China “Pivot to Asia.” Many of the aforementioned think tanks have promulgated serious allegations with regards to Xinjiang.

Singh, Ajit. “Inside the World Uyghur Congress.” The Grayzone. March 5, 2020.

  • An extensively-sourced and medium-length exploration of the World Uyghur Congress, a focal organization from which many of the other organizations advocating East Turkistan independence branches off, and its shady connections with U.S. regime changers and Turkish far-right actors.

Sheridan, Tommy. “Syria and Chemical Weapons – Secrets and Convenient Lies.” Sputnik. May 31, 2019.

  • An article outlining the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and how it was manipulated to serve consensus-building for war against Assad.

Sun, Feiyang. “Letters to the Editor: The Case of the Keriya Aitika Mosque.” CGTN. July 7, 2020.

  • This is an editorial briefly discussing the “case” of the Keriya Aitika Mosque, in which it was claimed that the mosque was demolished and insinuated that the People’s Republic was engaging in mass demolition of places of worship, but it turned out to be renovation work for the historic mosque.

The Propaganda Multiplier.” Swiss Policy Research. March 2019.

  • This article does not talk about Xinjiang, but about the general procedures of “international news coverage” and why stories appearing consistently across “major” and “respectable” news sources is not in fact a strong indicator that it is credible. The current media structure is highly susceptible to misinformation, and in fact government agencies are very involved.

Witness to War. “Former CIA Agent John Stockwell Talks about How the CIA Worked in Vietnam and Elsewhere.” YouTube video, 15:12. September 29, 2017.

  • This video is an interview of a former CIA officer (field case officer) John Stockwell, who speaks about the CIA’s close ties with the news media and journalists, the feeding of “pure raw false propaganda… creating illusions of Communists eating babies for breakfast,” and the particular process through which United States intelligence comes to shape and mold narratives around the world.

Xiong, Jack. “The Fake News in 1990 That Propelled the US into the First Gulf War.” Citizen Truth. May 7, 2018.

  • A somewhat recent article that explores the background of the “Nayirah testimony,” arguably the first instance of atrocity propaganda in the then new world order of American unilateralism. 

Zhang, Chi. “One Uighur Man’s Journey Goes Viral.” Foreign Policy. May 14, 2014.

  • An interesting look at a contemporary account of Xinjiang’s society at the height of the period between 2009 and 2014 when the problem of terrorism was particularly severe in Xinjiang. Not only does this article explore the perspective of an actual Uyghur person living in China, but this article, in tandem with other articles on this list dealing with female imams and Islamic revival in China, shows how drastically the media agenda on China has changed since 2014. This article ultimately provides an even-handed and frank look at a snapshot of Xinjiang before the current controversy of 2018. 

g. Views from Xinjiang: People, Cultures, and History

These are miscellaneous sources covering contemporary Xinjiang, Xinjiang’s diverse people and cultures, Xinjiang’s modern and ancient history, and the little-understood, even within China, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC). 

Xinjiang’s Diverse People, Cultures, and Experiences

安妮古丽. “191.新疆叼羊比賽見過嗎?哈薩克族馬背上的熱血競技,現場燃爆了!YouTube video, 4:43. August 16, 2019.

  • CW: Animal harm. Anniguli is a Uyghur woman living in Xinjiang who mostly vlogs about her everyday life. Here she spectates Kazakhs participating in the sport, buzkashi. Buzkashi is a traditional Central Asian sport that often involves playing polo with a sheep carcass while on horseback. [Chinese language, some Kazakh can be heard]

安妮古丽. “新疆零下20°怎麼出門?維吾爾美女有妙招,你覺得這樣有效果嗎?YouTube video, 3:55. May 23, 2019. 

  • This is Anniguli’s most popular video to date. Here she mostly remarks on how cold it got in Urumqi. [Chinese language, some Uyghur can be heard accompanying the pedestrian crossing signal]

阿依图娜. “017南疆偏僻的一个巴扎,每天的交易量惊人!和田人都是隐形的富豪?YouTube video, 3:48. July 14, 2020.

  • Ayituna is another Uyghur woman living in Xinjiang who mostly vlogs about her everyday life. Here, in her most popular video to date, she goes to the goat market and watches its bustling business. [Chinese language]

阿依图娜. “054南疆姑娘开始臭美了!迫不及待到厂子拿新裙子,回家换上转个圈!.” YouTube video, 4:10. August 20, 2020.

  • In this video, Ayituna visits a workshop to shop for clothing. The workshop appears to be part of a poverty alleviation program, the type that Adrian Zenz scaremongered about back in July 2019. [Chinese language, Uyghur spoken in the workshop]

CCTV. “Our Stories of the Past 40 Years” Series

CCTV中国中央电视台. “[2019非遗公开课]《十二木卡姆》 表演:莎车县十二木卡姆民间艺术团.” YouTube video, 2:39. June 7, 2019.

  • Muqam is a rich Uyghur musical tradition well-known across China. It was among the first four intangible heritages registered by China to the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008, alongside Guqin, Kunqu Opera, and Mongolian Long Song (Urtiin Duu). This video is a short performance of Muqam as well as traditional Uyghur dance.

CGTN. Amazing Xinjiang Series

  • This CGTN playlist contains a number of Xinjiang-focused videos on various topics and localities, largely low-key and laidback content. 

CGTN. “Assignment Asia Episode 75: Transforming lives and building bridges in Xinjiang.” YouTube video, 25:16. November 5, 2017.

  • This video from before the 2018 controversy covers many aspects of developmental work in Xinjiang, including education, labor transfer, grassroots governmental work, and living standards for people finding employment outside Xinjiang. The footage does not shy away from showing the difficulties and adjustments people in Xinjiang face as they go through changes in their lives. [Uyghur spoken in some scenes]

CGTN. “Dolan Muqam music tradition thrives among local Uygurs.” YouTube video, 4:04. August 16, 2017.

  • This video provides a quick overview of Muqam as well as over a distinct rural tradition within Muqam.

CGTN. Eid al-Fitr Series

CGTN. “Epic of Manas: The history of Kirgiz in Xinjiang.” YouTube video, 1:15. May 22, 2018.

  • The Epic of Manas is a Kyrgyz epic poem traditionally passed down orally. The storytelling of Manas was registered by China in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. This video provides a quick overview of the tradition of Manas storytelling in China.

CGTN. “Looking China: Akyns song that brings happiness.” YouTube video, 9:33. January 23, 2017. 

  • This video is a collection of Akyns (song-like recitative improvisation accompanied by dombra) performed by Kazakh musician Jiahnur Ohas, overlaid by scenes of Xinjiang’s Kazakh regions. [songs are sung in Kazakh language]

CGTN. “Looking China: Xibe ethnic group in Xinjiang.” YouTube video, 11:59. Jan 22, 2017.

  • This video is a slice-of-life feature of a young Xibe girl living in Xinjiang, entirely narrated in the Xibe language, a relative of the Manchu language.

CGTN. “Modern designs revive traditional craft and industry.” YouTube video, 4:25. October 6, 2016. 

  • This serves both as an introduction to “atlas silk,” a characteristic material in traditional Central Asian clothing, as well as a short look at fashion designer Alim Adil’s hope to introduce atlas more into modern clothing. 

CGTN. “The everlasting spirit of the Kazaks on grasslands.” YouTube video, 5:04. May 22, 2019.

  • This is a look at the life of a nomadic Kazakh family, including worries and concerns for the future, displaying the still wide experiences of modern life in Xinjiang, much less China today.

CGTN. “Travelogue with Tajik people: Modern life in Xinjiang’s rocky mountains.” YouTube video, 29:19. June 27, 2016.

  • This is an older documentary of a Chinese-British diaspora CGTN host spending time in a rural Tajik village. It does a good job of showing the developmental difficulties as well as unique features of high-altitude mountain valley life. 

CHINA LIVE. “帕米尔高原上牦牛叼羊比赛 / Buzkashi with Yaks on the Chinese Pamir.” YouTube video, 2:57. March 20, 2016. 

  • CW: Animal harm. Buzkashi is a traditional Central Asian sport that often involves playing polo with a sheep carcass while on horseback. The Tajiks of Xinjiang are distinguished by their playing of buzkashi while mounted on yaks. 

Guangming Online. “Fascinating China” Series

Looking China Official Channel. “Manas 玛纳斯.” YouTube video, 9:28. August 24, 2016.

  • This video provides a more detailed look at the tradition of Manas in China and the scholarly efforts dedicated to researching the Epic of Manas further and preserving it. In particular, the role of the Manas Research Center in Xinjiang Normal University is explored.

New China TV. “Xinjiang Rediscovered” series.

  • This is a series of more mundane experiences: average residents of Xinjiang who talk about their lives, experiences, and hopes for the future.

xinjiang china.” YouTube channel.

  • This YouTube channel periodically shares videos of Xinjiang, its people and its places. Particularly recommended are:
    • A short film series called 《我的家乡更美好》, or “Better Hometown, Better Life.” It is a series interviewing several students of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine who are minority youth from Xinjiang, who talk about their experiences in Xinjiang and in university as well as go back to their hometowns to see how much they have developed. Some are only in Chinese. [Chinese source here]
    • 7 videos currently available about people who have studied at the vocational centers, as part of a series called 《拥抱新生活》or “Embracing a New Life.” [Chinese source here, although the videos on this site are now unavailable]


第一次的离别》(《تۇنجى ئايرىلىش》, A First Farewell). Film. Directed by Wang Lina. Tencent Pictures, 2020.

Xinzhao Li 李馨曌. “新疆 塔什库尔干塔吉克族 “Through The Unknown Tashkurgan”.” YouTube video, 8:28. January 3, 2020. 

  • This is a short overview of a photographer’s extended stay in Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, and her experiences as the locality and its people changed and grew.

Xinjiang’s History

Dickens, Mark. “The Soviets in Xinjiang: 1911-1949.” 1990.

  • An older but excellent overview of the complexities of Soviet involvement in Xinjiang, as well as the Republican history of the region before 1949.

Grousset, René. Walford, Naomi, trans. Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1970.

  • A classic historical text on Central Asia with an emphasis on nomadic empires. It covers broader Central Asia beyond Xinjiang, but also summarizes Xinjiang history up to the Qing Dynasty’s defeat of the Khoja Uprising in 1759.

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. Historical Matters Concerning Xinjiang. 2019. 

  • An official Chinese document concerning the history of Xinjiang. While it does paint in broad strokes, it provides a quick overview of the history of the region.

Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC)

Bao, Yajun (包雅钧). “The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps: An Insider’s Perspective.” Blavatnik School of Government Working Paper Series (BSG-WP-2018/023)  (2018). 

  • One of the few English-language scholarly reports—more of a summary—on the XPCC. Nonetheless, an interesting perspective from a scholar who studied the XPCC on behalf of the Central Organization Department of the CPC (Central Compilation and Translation Bureau 中央编译局) during a restive period in Xinjiang’s history.

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. The History and Development of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. 2014. 

  • A white paper on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) that gives an overview of the XPCC, its history, and its operations. The XPCC as a sort of “government within a government” plays an important if little understood role in Xinjiang.

Turning a Blind Eye on Pellet Use in IOJK

Source

Kashmiri children injured by Indian forces firing pellets in Kashmir

On 28 August 2020, Indian forces in Srinagar opened fire with “pellet guns” on a peaceful religious procession. More than forty people were wounded while several were blinded. As usual, Pakistan protested vehemently. As usual, Indians responded on Twitter with triumphalism and aggression — if you don’t want to get shot, they said, don’t come out on the streets. And as usual, the world watched in silence.

It was not always so. India first started using pellet-firing shotguns against the Kashmiris in 2010 but the matter only hit international prominence in 2016 when protests following the death of Burhan Wani resulted in thousands of injuries, the blinding of hundreds and the deaths of over 70 people. The Guardian, for example, published a story asking if Kashmir represented “the world’s first mass blinding.” Even Indians were rocked by a viral series of pictures showing the distorted faces of celebrities.

The storm of international condemnation resulted in India scaling back the use of pellet-firing shotguns but not abandoning the weapons. In August 2019, when protests erupted against the revocation of Article 370, the Kashmiris were again dispersed with shotguns. Subsequently, shotgun usage subsided but that was simply because there was an unprecedented months-long lockdown in Kashmir in which people were confined to their houses. But as recent events show, India has not given up on shotguns. They remain India’s weapon of choice to deal with the Kashmiris.

One of the many tragedies of Kashmir is that it often gets subsumed into a larger narrative about the “unfinished business of Partition.” This narrative imposes a geostrategic lens on the issue and leads to a reductive analysis about whether Kashmir belongs to either India or Pakistan, a debate which India then further muddies by trying to paint all Kashmiri opposition as Islamic terrorists, a debate which the rest of the world has long since learned to tune out.

greater kashmir pellet victim

Kashmiris are not just symbols of injustice: they are real people living real lives in terrible pain. They also have rights under international law, rights which are being consistently violated. Irrespective of how the territorial issue of Kashmir is eventually resolved, there is a human aspect to Kashmir which needs to be confronted now. This is not just a dry legal dispute to be debated in textbooks and seminars: India’s ongoing use of shotguns is a war crime.

Indian sources and by extension, many international sources — normally do not use the word “shotgun” to describe the weapons used by Indian forces in Kashmir. Instead, they use the term “pellet gun.” This is a misnomer. The term “pellet gun” is associated with the type of airguns used to shoot balloons at village fairs; that is, guns which fire individual pellets and must be reloaded after every shot. However, the guns used by Indian forces bear no resemblance to such weapons. Instead, Indian forces use standard 12 gauge pump-action shotguns, each of which can be loaded with up to four shotgun shells.

Admittedly, each shotgun shell is in turn loaded with up to 600 pellets. But that, by itself, is no excuse to refer to a deadly weapon as if it was a child’s toy. As Orwell advised many years ago, it is generally better to use plain words. To quote a group of English parliamentarians,”[The phrase ‘shotgun’ may better convey the violence which these weapons embody. These shots can mutilate and blind and have had an impact on hundreds of individuals caught in the crossfire.”

So far as international law is concerned, the position is very simple: there is no legal regime which permits a state to routinely disperse crowds of civilians by firing shotguns at them. This is true whether it is assumed that India has illegally occupied and annexed Kashmir (as per Pakistan), that Kashmir is “disputed territory” (as per the UN Security Council, the UNGA and the OIC); or whether one assumes that Kashmir is an integral part of India (as per the Government of India).

If we start with India’s contention that it exercises undisputed sovereignty over Kashmir, it follows that the Kashmiris are entitled to the full range of human rights afforded to them under international law (including the right not to be shot at random with shotguns). Of course, India may argue that (a) international law is only applicable to the extent enacted into domestic law; and (b) India’s independent judiciary has decided that the use of shotguns for crowd control does not violate Indian law. However, there are certain human rights obligations which cannot be ignored by any state, irrespective of domestic laws and domestic judges. Article 6(1) of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is one such norm and states as follows:

Kashmiri doctors and paramedics, their eyes covered by patches, protest at a hospital in India-held Kashmirs Srinagara area in hopes of evoking the plight of victims of pellet guns fired by Indian security forces to disperse crowds.

“Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”

The key word here is “arbitrary.” And in this context, it is important to examine the weapon itself which is being used.

The shotguns used by the Indian army are manufactured at the Ordnance factory in Ishapore. Till date, Indian authorities have refused to divulge information about them on national security grounds. However, reports suggest that the guns are crude copies of the American Mossberg 500 series which were originally used in World War 1 for close-quarter combat.

In Kashmir, Indian forces have been using No. 6 (300 pellets of 2.79mm each) and No. 9 (600 pellets of 2.30 mm each) cartridges. For such small pellets the key issue is the distance from which they are fired. If they are shot at a closer range, the pellets do not have time to disperse and instead travel in a high-speed clump behaving almost like a handgun bullet. This makes them incredibly harmful and they can penetrate tissue and even bone, causing serious damage. However, if they are fired from a distance, the pellets disperse haphazardly.

According to the Omega Research Foundation (ORF), an independent UK-based organisation that monitors military equipment, “the spread pattern specified by the pellet manufacturer is so inaccurate that even when security forces use the weapon to target protesters’ legs, pellets are still likely to hit areas of the body above the waist.” According to a spokesman for the ORF, “This weapon should not be used at all. No modification could make its use compliant with international human rights law and standards.”

In simple terms, there is no safe or legal way to use a shotgun for crowd control. At close quarters, a shotgun is lethal. When used from a distance, a shotgun is entirely arbitrary and indiscriminate. Either way, the result is unjustifiable cruelty.

International human rights law on policing and the use of lethal weapons is enunciated most clearly in two documents approved by the UN General Assembly, the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (1973) and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990). Each of these is now regarded as declaratory of the customary law.

The content of these two documents amounts to basic common sense: that the use of force should be limited to the extent necessary, that it should not be disproportionate, that it should be backed by law and that there should be an effective means of accountability if force is used. In relation to the use of deadly force, these principles require additional care and precision: intentional lethal force can thus only be used if there is an imminent danger of death or serious injury that cannot otherwise be averted. Finally, there is the principle of precaution: that all operations be “planned, prepared, and conducted so as to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the recourse to lethal force’.

India’s use of shotguns for crowd control fails all of these tests. Shotguns are not just inherently indiscriminate weapons, but India’s usage of them is horrendously cruel. Human beings instinctively shudder when confronted with the prospect of being blinded. One reason why the world banned chemical weapons after World War I is because of the collective trauma of watching blinded soldiers shuffle past, each with their hand on the soldier in front. More recently, an international convention banning the use of blinding laser weapons was promulgated in 1998 precisely because there is a unique revulsion attached to the deliberate blinding of humans.

More importantly, India regularly uses shotguns against crowds even when there is no imminent danger of death or serious injury to Indian forces. In the most recent instance, for example, the people who were fired upon were not even protesting: they were simply taking out a religious procession. There is also no realistic possibility of accountability. Back in 2015, Amnesty International noted that over the previous 25 years, “not a single member of the security forces deployed in [Kashmir] has been tried for human rights violations in a civilian court.”

Finally, there has been no serious attempt by India to develop alternate means of crowd control. A committee was set up to examine such options as far back as 2016 but till date, shotguns remain the preferred option for Indian forces in Kashmir. And India’s insistence that it has no other option is absurd. There is no other country in the world besides India which uses shotguns for crowd control. And even within India, there is no other place besides Kashmir where shotguns are regularly and consistently used for crowd control.

When faced with such queries, Indian defenders retreat to different norms. Kashmir is not a normal civilian area, they argue. It is instead a warzone where Indian soldiers are confronted with an externally fomented Islamist insurgency. In short, they argue, India’s actions in Kashmir need to be judged using the laws of war, not the laws of peace.

But the problem for these defenders is that Indian actions in Kashmir fail even the laws of war.

The precise relationship between international human rights law and the laws of armed conflict is heavily debated. However, there is a broad consensus that the laws of war represent a specialized set of rules which take precedence over international human rights law, but only to the extent there is an actual conflict in terms of the applicability of the two sets of laws. Thus, the mere fact that there is an armed conflict does not by itself negate the applicability of international human rights law. In fact, the ICJ has specifically held that “the right not to arbitrarily be deprived of one’s life [under Art. 6 ICCPR] applies also in hostilities.”

In the case of Kashmir, there is no actual conflict between the two sets of laws. This is because India is not using shotguns to fight militants. Instead, it is using shotguns as a crowd control measure against civilians. The laws of war do not regulate the conduct of normal policing measures or the manner in which local administrations can control otherwise peaceful protests. In fact, to the extent a state is called upon during times of war to perform normal policing functions with respect to a civilian population, it must act in accordance with normal policing procedures. And as already noted, the established norms of policing do not permit states to disperse crowds by firing shotguns at them.

One of the most fundamental principles of the laws of war is the principle of distinction, i.e., that fighting states must always distinguish between combatants and civilians. Even if it is assumed that Kashmir is the site of an armed conflict, that only authorizes the Indian military to use deadly force against combatants, not civilians. Furthermore, the law of armed conflict recognizes a very bright and clear line between the two categories: civilians cannot be attacked in the same manner as combatants “unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.”

Participating in a protest against Indian occupation does not constitute taking “a direct part in hostilities.” That standard is only met when a specific act directly targets military operations or military capacity of a party to an armed conflict and is specifically designed to cause a certain, non-minimal level of harm to that party. Shouting slogans at a march does not qualify as taking a “direct part in hostilities.” Even throwing stones at soldiers does not qualify as taking a “direct part in hostilities.”

Another, equally fundamental principle of the law of armed conflict is the principle of proportionality. In simple words, this principle prohibits attacks against a military objective if the incidental loss of civilian life would be “excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.” Even if some people participating in demonstrations are also actively helping Kashmiri freedom fighters, the use of shotguns is still illegal. Indian forces have no way of knowing which protestors — if any — are also active in the Kashmiri resistance. It cannot therefore use weapons which kill, blind, and maim at random.

It is this arbitrary aspect of shotgun usage which is the biggest issue. When an Indian soldier fires a shotgun at a crowd of Kashmiris, the current SOPs stipulate that he should fire from a distance of at least 40-50 metres. At that distance, it is impossible to aim a shotgun with any degree of accuracy: one is only aiming at a mass of people, knowing full well that a certain number of them are likely to die, that a slightly greater number are likely to be blinded, and that an even greater number are likely to be injured. The usage of shotguns for crowd control is thus no different from rounding up protestors and blinding (or killing) an arbitrary number of them.

Collective punishment has a long and inglorious history. The word “decimate” comes from the Roman Army’s tradition of killing every tenth member of a mutinous cohort. Conquering armies in Europe were traditionally allowed three days of pillage after subduing a city while the Mongols preferred to build towers from the skulls of those foolish enough to resist. In more recent times, the Nazis during World War II regularly massacred entire villages in response to the killing of a single German (see, for example, the 1942 killing of 340 Czechs in response to the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich). It is precisely for this reason that collective punishment is clearly prohibited by both the Third and the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949 as well as the Hague Regulations of 1899 (all of which have been signed and accepted by India).

In theory, India could argue that Kashmir is not an “armed conflict” of the type to which the laws of war apply. However, that debate misses the point: what India has deliberately and consciously adopted as a state policy in Kashmir is so cruel and so inhumane that it would constitute a war crime even if that type of armed conflict existed. Furthermore, international human rights law and the laws of armed conflict do not exist in separate silos. As noted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in the Tadic matter, “elementary considerations of humanity and common sense” mandated that “[w]hat is inhumane, and consequently proscribed, in international wars, cannot but be inhumane and inadmissible in civil strife.”

The Security Council has chosen to remain quiet for many years on Kashmir. But the fact that Kashmir is disputed has nothing to do with the human rights of the Kashmiris. Their human rights are undisputed. And it is time that the international community stopped turning a blind eye to India’s violation of those rights.

John Pilger: Eyewitness to the Agony of Julian Assange

John Pilger Assange Feature photo

By John Pilger

Source

John Pilger has watched Julian Assange’s extradition trial from the public gallery at London’s Old Bailey. He spoke with Timothy Erik Ström of Arena magazine, Australia:

Q: Having watched Julian Assange’s trial firsthand, can you describe the prevailing atmosphere in the court?

The prevailing atmosphere has been shocking. I say that without hesitation; I have sat in many courts and seldom known such a corruption of due process; this is due revenge. Putting aside the ritual associated with ‘British justice’, at times it has been evocative of a Stalinist show trial. One difference is that in the show trials, the defendant stood in the court proper. In the Assange trial, the defendant was caged behind thick glass, and had to crawl on his knees to a slit in the glass, overseen by his guard, to make contact with his lawyers. His message, whispered barely audibly through face masks, WAS then passed by post-it the length of the court to where his barristers were arguing the case against his extradition to an American hellhole.

Consider this daily routine of Julian Assange, an Australian on trial for truth-telling journalism. He was woken at five o’clock in his cell at Belmarsh prison in the bleak southern sprawl of London. The first time I saw Julian in Belmarsh, having passed through half an hour of ‘security’ checks, including a dog’s snout in my rear, I found a painfully thin figure sitting alone wearing a yellow armband. He had lost more than 10 kilos in a matter of months; his arms had no muscle. His first words were: ‘I think I am losing my mind’.

I tried to assure him he wasn’t. His resilience and courage are formidable, but there is a limit. That was more than a year ago. In the past three weeks, in the pre-dawn, he was strip-searched, shackled, and prepared for transport to the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, in a truck that his partner, Stella Moris, described as an upended coffin. It  had one small window; he had to stand precariously to look out. The truck and its guards were operated by Serco, one of many politically connected companies that run much of Boris Johnson’s Britain.

The journey to the Old Bailey took at least an hour and a half. That’s a minimum of three hours being jolted through snail-like traffic every day. He was led into his narrow cage at the back of the court, then look up, blinking, trying to make out faces in the public gallery through the reflection of the glass. He saw the courtly figure of his dad, John Shipton, and me, and our fists went up. Through the glass, he reached out to touch fingers with Stella, who is a lawyer and seated in the body of the court.

We were here for the ultimate of what the philosopher Guy Debord called The Society of the Spectacle: a man fighting for his life. Yet his crime is to have performed an epic public service: revealing that which we have a right to know: the lies of our governments and the crimes they commit in our name. His creation of WikiLeaks and its failsafe protection of sources revolutionised journalism, restoring it to the vision of its idealists. Edmund Burke’s notion of free journalism as a fourth estate is now a fifth estate that shines a light on those who diminish the very meaning of democracy with their criminal secrecy. That’s why his punishment is so extreme.

The sheer bias in the courts I have sat in this year and last year, with Julian in the dock, blight any notion of British justice. When thuggish police dragged him from his asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy—look closely at the photo and you’ll see he is clutching a Gore Vidal book; Assange has a political humour similar to Vidal’s—a judge gave him an outrageous 50-week sentence in a maximum-security prison for mere bail infringement.

For months, he was denied exercise and held in solitary confinement disguised as ‘heath care’. He once told me he strode the length of his cell, back and forth, back and forth, for his own half-marathon. In the next cell, the occupant screamed through the night. At first he was denied his reading glasses, left behind in the embassy brutality. He was denied the legal documents with which to prepare his case, and access to the prison library and the use of a basic laptop. Books sent to him by a friend, the journalist Charles Glass, himself a survivor of hostage-taking in Beirut, were returned. He could not call his American lawyers. He has been constantly medicated by the prison authorities. When I asked him what they were giving him, he couldn’t say. The governor of Belmarsh has been awarded the Order of the British Empire.

At the Old Bailey, one of the expert medical witnesses, Dr Kate Humphrey, a clinical neuropsychologist at Imperial College, London, described the damage: Julian’s intellect had gone from ‘in the superior, or more likely very superior range’ to ‘significantly below’ this optimal level, to the point where he was struggling to absorb information and ‘perform in the low average range’.

This is what the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Nils Melzer, calls ‘psychological torture’, the result of a gang-like ‘mobbing’ by governments and their media shills. Some of the expert medical evidence is so shocking I have no intention of repeating it here. Suffice to say that Assange is diagnosed with autism and Asperger’s syndrome and, according to Professor Michael Kopelman, one of the world’s leading neuropsychiatrists, he suffers from ‘suicidal preoccupations’ and is likely to find a way to take his life if he is extradited to America.

James Lewis QC, America’s British prosecutor, spent the best part of his cross-examination of Professor Kopelman dismissing mental illness and its dangers as ‘malingering’. I have never heard in a modern setting such a primitive view of human frailty and vulnerability.

My own view is that if Assange is freed, he is likely to recover a substantial part of his life. He has a loving partner, devoted friends and allies and the innate strength of a principled political prisoner. He also has a wicked sense of humour.

But that is a long way off. The moments of collusion between the judge— a Gothic-looking magistrate called Vanessa Baraitser, about whom little is known—and the prosecution acting for the Trump regime have been brazen. Until the last few days, defence arguments have been routinely dismissed. The lead prosecutor, James Lewis QC, ex SAS and currently Chief Justice of the Falklands, by and large gets what he wants, notably up to four hours to denigrate expert witnesses, while the defence’s examination is guillotined at half an hour. I have no doubt, had there been a jury, his freedom would be assured.

The dissident artist Ai Weiwei came to join us one morning in the public gallery. He noted that in China the judge’s decision would already have been made. This caused some dark ironic amusement. My companion in the gallery, the astute diarist and former British ambassador Craig Murray wrote:

I fear that all over London a very hard rain is now falling on those who for a lifetime have worked within institutions of liberal democracy that at least broadly and usually used to operate within the governance of their own professed principles. It has been clear to me from Day 1 that I am watching a charade unfold. It is not in the least a shock to me that Baraitser does not think anything beyond the written opening arguments has any effect. I have again and again reported to you that, where rulings have to be made, she has brought them into court pre-written, before hearing the arguments before her.

I strongly expect the final decision was made in this case even before opening arguments were received.

The plan of the US Government throughout has been to limit the information available to the public and limit the effective access to a wider public of what information is available. Thus we have seen the extreme restrictions on both physical and video access. A complicit mainstream media has ensured those of us who know what is happening are very few in the wider population.

There are few records of the proceedings. They are Craig Murray’s personal blog, Joe Lauria’s live reporting on Consortium News, and the World Socialist Website. American journalist Kevin Gosztola’s blog, Shadowproof, funded mostly by himself, has reported more of the trial than the major US press and TV, including CNN, combined.

In Australia, Assange’s homeland, the ‘coverage’ follows a familiar formula set overseas. The London correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald, Latika Bourke, wrote this recently:

The court heard Assange became depressed during the seven years he spent in the Ecuadorian embassy where he sought political asylum to escape extradition to Sweden to answer rape and sexual assault charges.

There were no ‘rape and sexual assault charges’ in Sweden. Bourke’s lazy falsehood is not uncommon. If the Assange trial is the political trial of the century, as I believe it is, its outcome will not only seal the fate of a journalist for doing his job but intimidate the very principles of free journalism and free speech. The absence of serious mainstream reporting of the proceedings is, at the very least, self-destructive. Journalists should ask: who is next?

How shaming it all is. A decade ago, the Guardian exploited Assange’s work, claimed its profit and prizes as well as a lucrative Hollywood deal, then turned on him with venom. Throughout the Old Bailey trial, two names have been cited by the prosecution, the Guardian’s David Leigh, now retired as ‘investigations editor’ and Luke Harding, the Russiaphobe and author of a fictional Guardian ‘scoop’ that claimed Trump adviser Paul Manafort and a group of Russians visited Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy. This never happened, and the Guardian has yet to apologise. The Harding and Leigh book on Assange—written behind their subject’s back—disclosed a secret password to a WikiLeaks file that Assange had entrusted to Leigh during the Guardian’s ‘partnership’. Why the defence has not called this pair is difficult to understand.

Assange is quoted in their book declaring during a dinner at a London restaurant that he didn’t care if informants named in the leaks were harmed. Neither Harding nor Leigh was at the dinner. John Goetz, an investigations reporter with Der Spiegel, was at the dinner and testified that Assange said nothing of the kind. Incredibly, Judge Baraitser stopped Goetz actually saying this in court.

However, the defence has succeeded in demonstrating the extent to which Assange sought to protect and redact names in the files released by WikiLeaks and that no credible evidence existed of individuals harmed by the leaks. The great whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg said that Assange had personally redacted 15,000 files. The renowned New Zealand investigative journalist Nicky Hager, who worked with Assange on the Afghanistan and Iraq war leaks, described how Assange took ‘extraordinary precautions in redacting names of informants’.

Q: What are the implications of this trial’s verdict for journalism more broadly—is it an omen of things to come?

The ‘Assange effect’ is already being felt across the world. If they displease the regime in Washington, investigative journalists are liable to prosecution under the 1917 US Espionage Act; the precedent is stark. It doesn’t matter where you are. For Washington, other people’s nationality and sovereignty rarely mattered; now it does not exist. Britain has effectively surrendered its jurisdiction to Trump’s corrupt Department of Justice. In Australia, a National Security Information Act promises Kafkaesque trials for transgressors. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has been raided by police and journalists’ computers taken away. The government has given unprecedented powers to intelligence officials, making journalistic whistle-blowing almost impossible. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Assange ‘must face the music’. The perfidious cruelty of his statement is reinforced by its banality.

‘Evil’, wrote Hannah Arendt, ‘comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought tries to engage itself with evil and examine the premises and principles from which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there. That is the banality of evil’.

Q: Having followed the story of WikiLeaks closely for a decade, how has this eyewitness experience shifted your understanding of what’s at stake with Assange’s trial?

I have long been a critic of journalism as an echo of unaccountable power and a champion of those who are beacons. So, for me, the arrival of WikiLeaks was exciting; I admired the way Assange regarded the public with respect, that he was prepared to share his work with the ‘mainstream’ but not join their collusive club. This, and naked jealousy, made him enemies among the overpaid and undertalented, insecure in their pretensions of independence and impartiality.

I admired the moral dimension to WikiLeaks. Assange was rarely asked about this, yet much of his remarkable energy comes from a powerful moral sense that governments and other vested interests should not operate behind walls of secrecy. He is a democrat. He explained this in one of our first interviews at my home in 2010.

 
What is at stake for the rest of us has long been at stake: freedom to call authority to account, freedom to challenge, to call out hypocrisy, to dissent. The difference today is that the world’s imperial power, the United States, has never been as unsure of its metastatic authority as it is today. Like a flailing rogue, it is spinning us towards a world war if we allow it. Little of this menace is reflected in the media.

WikiLeaks, on the other hand, has allowed us to glimpse a rampant imperial march through whole societies—think of the carnage in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, to name a few, the dispossession of 37 million people and the deaths of 12 million men, women and children in the ‘war on terror’—most of it behind a façade of deception. 

Julian Assange is a threat to these recurring horrors—that’s why he is being persecuted, why a court of law has become an instrument of oppression, why he ought to be our collective conscience: why we all should be the threat.

The judge’s decision will be known on the 4th of January. 

The COVID-19 Vaccine. The Imposition of Compulsory Vaccination with a Biometric Health Passport?

By Dr. Pascal Sacre

Source

The COVID-19 vaccine…

Is this THE final goal of this crisis, to impose a compulsory vaccination on everyone, with a biometric health passport and without it, the impossibility to move, to buy, to eat?

The near future will tell.

With time, the accumulation of side effects, the testimonies of more and more doctors, vaccination has become a subject of controversy, often passionate, sometimes violent.

This is not just a question of being for or against vaccination in general.

It is about being vigilant in the face of enormous pressure from companies and governments to inject billions of healthy people with a hastily manufactured product, using immature technologies such as DNA manipulation, with as yet unknown side effects.

The cure should not be worse than the disease.

Given the fear, the terror in people’s minds, given the enthusiasm of certain leaders and given the power of the vaccine companies and manufacturers, will we, as ordinary citizens, be able to resist, keep our cool and prevent these people from playing with our health?

Do you know what the marketing of vaccines brings to the pharmaceutical companies?

References on the Statista website, figures for the year 2019 [1] :

  1. GSK (GlaxoSmithKline): more than 8 billion euros.
  2. Merck: €7.3 billion
  3. Pfizer: €5.9 billion
  4.  Sanofi: €5.8 billion

Billions, in a single year!

Do you think that the conservation of such gains would not motivate the transgression of limits by sweeping away everything in its path, all scientific ethics, all moral values?

As Emma Kahn [2] stated to the AIMSIB (International Association for Scientific, Independent and Benevolent Medicine) website, May 3, 2020:

“Strangely enough, the three vaccines in clinical trials in the West (excluding China) against COVID-19 are being developed by start-ups and not by Big Pharma (the nickname of the pharmaceutical industry). Why haven’t the big companies (Merck, GSK, Sanofi, Pfizer) launched any clinical studies? A first reason is worrying: … industry experts already know that coronavirus vaccines are too risky, they induce facilitation and immunopathological phenomena. The phenomenon of facilitation of infection by antibodies” is crucial to understand.

Vaccines too risky!

Facilitation and immunopathological phenomena!

This is not conspiracy, nor the elucubrations of a quidam [dictionary]. It is published data, well known to scientists, virologists and published in many journals.

These facts are particularly relevant to the coronavirus family and SARS [3].

With vaccines,

the biggest problem is the fear of an ADE (antibody dependant enhancement, facilitation of infection by the vaccine, mediated by antibodies induced by vaccination): facilitation of the penetration of the virus into cells by the receptor for the Fc fragment of immunoglobulins” [4].

On March 5, 2020, Peter Hotez [5] (vaccine expert) warned the U.S. Congress about the facilitation of antibody infection and its relationship to vaccination [6] :

“We must be very careful and go slowly with clinical trials, animal trials have shown facilitation”!

So Big Pharma is cautious. This confirms the credibility of this information.

Not only will this vaccine not protect you at all or not enough, but it can make things worse by facilitating your infection with COVID-19!

The phenomenon of facilitating viral infection by antibodies (ADE or antibody dependent enhancement) has been known for a long time and exists for many viruses.

Antibodies of this type have been demonstrated in vitro in the case of SARS-CoV-2 and candidate vaccines would only aggravate this immunopathological effect!

This is even more likely if we skip the steps.

Journalist Céline Deluzarche, in an article on Futura Sciences (Futura Santé) of March 19, 2020 reviewed on June 15, said :

“Coronavirus: the dangers of a hastily developed vaccine.

Faced with the urgency, scientists call for speeding up testing procedures and dispensing with the usual animal tests. A laudable strategy, but one that could prove to be at best counterproductive and at worst cause deaths” [7].

“Normally, it takes between 15 and 20 years to obtain an effective, non-toxic and usable vaccine. The first step is to develop a formulation with the chemical and pharmaceutical prerequisites, conduct immunogenicity studies [8] in animals, evaluate the toxicity of the vaccine [9] in animals, then in humans, and finally test its effectiveness on a large scale.”

Yet some people are putting pressure on, invoking urgency.

Why do they do that?

They exploit fear to get reach their goal. It’s never good to decide anything out of fear.

What dangerous game are these people playing?

The Europe Union (EU) in particular, and its new president, Ursula von der Leyen, after organising a world telethon to fund research for a vaccine [10], is trying to impose the idea that only a vaccine can save us.

“… in the face of urgency and pressure from governments and health authorities, some are calling for the procedures to be speeded up. The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday that she hoped for a vaccine against the new coronavirus before the autumn.” [7].

One has the feeling that all this was planned in advance, when one knows that Brussels, today, has been working for a long time on a “vaccine” passport in order to put the population under total surveillance and control [11].

Is COVID-19  just a pretext for imposing totalitarian measures which would otherwise have been impossible to accept?

I ask the question.

We find Peter Hotez [5], who advises us to be very careful:

A vaccine is not insignificant: it is most often a deactivated or weakened virus, and in some cases it can aggravate the disease it is supposed to prevent. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, who worked on the SARS outbreak in 2003, found that some vaccinated animals developed even more severe symptoms when exposed to the virus because of a weakened immune system. This is called “antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE)” [7].

The work and research on vaccines against CVDO 19 in Cambridge, Oxford, sponsored by the NIH (National Institute of Health in the United States, Anthony Fauci, Donald Trump’s anti-COVID czar) does not reassure me at all, and should not reassure you either [12]!

These same people are behind one of the worst vaccine and medical scandals of the last ten years by wanting already, in 2009-2010, to vaccinate the entire population for a fake pandemic (H1N1) [13-14-15].

A survey in France reports that nearly a quarter (25%) of the French population do not intend to accept the vaccine against COVID-19 [16].

I understand them and even find it surprising that this figure is not higher.

These vaccines are a race for profits [17], huge amounts of money!

Even independently of plausible and frightening ideas such as the association of the vaccine with GMOs [18], with a puçage and tracing of the population [19], the inherent danger of any vaccine and the specific danger of an anti-coronavirus vaccine (facilitation of viral infection by antibodies – ADE or antibody dependent enhancement) should make all citizens think about accepting such a measure without flinching!

Through the fear instilled by our mainstream media, fear maintained by the experts of our own governments, people would be ready to accept remedies as dangerous as they are ineffective.

Like Tony Carlucci says:

“While Covid-19 may be a true pathogen, evidence suggests it does not justify the overreactions we’ve seen around the world. Covid-19 hysteria has – by far – a far more devastating impact on humanity than the virus itself. In the midst of this hysteria, the greatest real threat to human health – a corrupt pharmaceutical industry and its partners in government – are on the verge of increasing both their profits at the expense of the public and their power over the public.” [20]

Citizens should no longer take everything they are told at face value, even, or even more so, if it comes from the official media or governments [21].

Their health, mental and physical, is at stake.

As for the vaccine, the mere fact that it can itself facilitate coronavirus infection and aggravate symptoms should put a stop to any craze for it.

The loss of time and money in the search for this vaccine prevents the population from turning to other, healthier and more realistic solutions:

  1. Return to a healthy social lifestyle with an acceptable compromise between imposing targeted and limited quarantines (for really sick people and not just RT-PCR positive), and allowing the virus to circulate among those least at risk (healthy youth and adults) protected by their healthy immunity.
  2. Give greater preference to effective NPIs (non-pharmaceutical measures) such as hand washing, physical distance and ventilation of confined spaces, rather than continuous mask wearing, which is more harmful than beneficial.
  3. Allow front-line physicians to freely prescribe hydroxychloroquine and zinc early enough at the onset of symptoms of COVID-19 under medical supervision to minimize the well-known cardiac risks of HCQ.
  4. Give priority again to the recovery of the economy, of social activity, because today, the solution against the problem of COVID is worse than the problem itself (by far).
  5. Remember that we have immunity! Innate and cell specific immunity, not just antibody-mediated immunity! That the best allies of these immunities are our lifestyles (diet, physical activity, stress management, mental management). Everything should be done, today more than ever, to improve this.
  6. To deal with the immense fear and post-traumatic stress that have been generated in recent months by the media and by our governments.

This fear alone makes us more vulnerable both to illness and to totalitarian abuses.

Provided that we wean ourselves from fear, lies and illusions, everyone can regain power over their health, their society and their lives.

Navalny Incident – A Made-in-the-USA False Flag to Harm and Contain Russia?

Stephen Lendman | Author | Common Dreams

By Stephen Lendman

Source

The US has much to gain from Navalny’s illness.

Most obvious is its aim to block Nord Stream 2’s completion.

If Russia’s gas pipeline to Germany becomes operational next year, it will double what Gazprom can supply Germany and other Western countries.

If the project is suspended or halted altogether, it will advantage US LNG producers — despite the much higher cost of this energy supply.

Republicans and Dems have greater aims.

They want Russia harmed economically, geopolitically and strategically. 

They want the country marginalized, weakened, and isolated.

The above objectives have been US policy throughout the Cold 

War and after its aftermath to the present day — no matter which right wing of its one-party state runs things.

Post-WW II, containing Russia became official US policy. 

US diplomat/envoy to Soviet Russia/presidential advisor George Kennan (1904 – 2005) was “the father of containment.”

He was a core member of so-called foreign policy “wise men” in Washington. 

His 1946 “Long Telegram” from Moscow and 1947 “Sources of Soviet Conduct” claimed its government was inherently expansionist. 

In February 1948, his “Memo PPS23” said the following:

“(W)e have 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. (It makes us) the object of envy and resentment. 

“Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships (to let us) maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national society.” 

“We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction…”

“We should dispense with the aspiration to ‘be liked’ or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism.”

“We should (stop talking about) unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization.” 

“The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.” 

“The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans (ideas and practices), the better.”

In July 1947, his so-called “X” article on the “Sources of Soviet Conduct urged countering it “effectively.”

The US “can never be on Moscow’s side,” he stressed.

In March 1948, NSC 7 detailed “The Position of the United States with Respect to Soviet-Directed World Communism,” saying:

“(A) defensive policy cannot be considered an effective means of checking the momentum of Soviet expansion.”  

“Defeat(ing)” communism was considered “vital to the security of the United States.”

NSC 68 (April 1950 — issued weeks before Harry Truman’s preemptive war on nonbelligerent North Korea) officially inaugurated anti-Soviet Russia containment.

It called the country an enemy “unlike previous aspirants to hegemony…animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own (wishing to) impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world.” 

Ignored was the scourge of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan — or that WW II devastated Soviet Russia, requiring years of rebuilding.

Its government posed no threat to the US — not then, notably not now.

After Soviet Russia’s dissolution in December 1991, capitalism replaced its communist system.

It remains Russian Federation policy today. 

Because Moscow is independent of US control, made-in-the-USA adversarial relations continue.

No Russian threat to US/Western interests exists so it was invented, notably since Vladimir Putin became president.

Bipartisan hostility toward Russia in Washington is all about wanting the country transformed into a US vassal state.

It’s about gaining control over its vast resources and population, along with eliminating a strategic rival — whose overtures for normalized relations are consistently spurned.

The Trump regime is using the Navalny incident to further its strategic interests.

It’s pressuring Germany and the EU to punish Russia for an incident no evidence suggests it had anything to do with.

Last week, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said that if the chemical watchdog OPCW — an imperial lapdog serving Western interests — says Navalny was poisoned by novichok exposure, “I am convinced that (EU) sanctions will be unavoidable” on Russia, adding:

“(S)uch a grave violation of the International Chemical Weapons Convention cannot go unanswered.”

Earlier, a German military lab and facilities in France and Sweden claimed that the deadly nerve agent caused his illness.

Unmentioned by these countries was that exposure to novichok — the deadliest known toxin — causes death in minutes.

Navalny is very much alive over a month after falling ill. 

Discharged from hospitalization in Berlin, German doctors expect him to recovery fully or near-fully.

If poisoned by novichok, he’d have died before boarding a flight from Tomsk, Russia to Moscow.

What’s obvious is suppressed in the West by hostile-to-Moscow political officials and media.

Heroic efforts by Russian doctors in Omsk that saved Navalny’s life was erased from the EU’s historical record.

So was their biological analysis — finding no toxins in his blood, urine, liver, or elsewhere in his system.

According to former German diplomat Frank Elbe, Europe is “making a giant step backwards – back to the Cold War” by allying with US hostility toward Russia instead of normalizing relations, adding:

US policymakers are furious about an alliance by Germany and other EU countries with Russia to construct Nord Stream 2, “pursu(ing) their own independent policy.”

Elbe urged Europe to break from the US when their interests diverge — to uphold their sovereign independence.

Most often, European countries bend to Washington’s will — even  when harming their interests.

So far, opposing the Trump regime’s pressure to abandon the landmark JCPOA nuclear deal is an exception to the rule — if it sticks.

Will Nord Stream 2 be another? 

Will Germany support its completion or shoot itself in the foot by allying with US interests against its own?

More Than Just Statistics: On the Future of the Palestinian Discourse

More Than Just Statistics: On the Future of the Palestinian Discourse |  SALAM ALQUDS ALAYKUM - سلام القدس عليكم

By Ramzy Baroud

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A single chart, or a thousand, can never truly describe the actual terror felt by a million children who feared for their lives during those horrific days; or transport us to a bedroom where a family of ten huddled in the dark, praying for God’s mercy as the earth shook, concrete collapsed and glass shattered all around them.

Palestine can never be truly understood through numbers, because numbers are dehumanizing, impersonal, and, when necessary, can also be contrived to mean something else entirely. Numbers are not meant to tell the story of the human condition, nor should they ever serve as a substitute for emotions.

Indeed, the stories of life, death – and everything in-between – cannot be truly and fully appreciated through charts, figures and numbers.  The latter, although useful for many purposes, is a mere numerical depository of data. Anguish, joy, aspirations, defiance, courage, loss, collective struggle, and so on, however, can only be genuinely expressed through the people who lived through these experiences.

Numbers, for example, tell us that over 2,200 Palestinians were killed during the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip between July 8 and August 27, 2014, over 500 of them being children. Over 17,000 homes were completely destroyed, and thousands of other buildings, including hospitals, schools and factories were either destroyed or severely damaged during the Israeli strikes.

This is all true, the kind of truth that is summarized into a neat infographic, updated occasionally, in case, inevitably, some of the critically wounded eventually lose their lives.

But a single chart, or a thousand, can never truly describe the actual terror felt by a million children who feared for their lives during those horrific days; or transport us to a bedroom where a family of ten huddled in the dark, praying for God’s mercy as the earth shook, concrete collapsed and glass shattered all around them; or convey the anguish of a mother holding the lifeless body of her child.

It is easy – and justifiable – to hold the media accountable for the dehumanization of the Palestinians or, sometimes, ignoring them altogether. However, if blame must be apportioned, then others too, including those who consider themselves ‘pro-Palestine’, must reconsider their own position. We are all, to an extent, collectively guilty of seeing Palestinians as sheer victims, hapless, passive, intellectually stunted and ill-fated people, desperate to be ‘saved.’

When numbers monopolize the limelight in a people’s narrative, they do more damage than merely reduce complex human beings to data; they erase the living, too. Regarding Palestine, Palestinians are rarely engaged as equals; they persist at the receiving end of charity, political expectations and unsolicited instructions on what to say and how to resist. They are often the fodder for political bargains by factions or governments but, rarely, the initiative takers and the shapers of their own political discourse.

Under the shadow of the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, a shopkeeper visits with a girl and her mother where he sells snacks in the Old City of Jerusalem, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

The Palestinian political discourse has, for years, vacillated between one constructed around the subject of victimhood – which is often satisfied by numbers of dead and wounded – and another pertaining to the elusive Fatah-Hamas unity. The former only surfaces whenever Israel decides to bomb Gaza under any convenient pretext at the time, and the latter was a response to western accusations that Palestinian political elites are too fractured to constitute a potential ‘peace partner’ for Israeli rightwing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Many around the world can only understand – or relate to – Palestinians through their victimization or factional affiliation – which, themselves, carry subsidiary meanings relevant to ‘terrorism’, ‘radicalism’, among others.

The reality is, however, often different from reductionist political and media discourses. Palestinians are not just numbers. They are not spectators either, in a political game that insists on marginalizing them. Soon after the 2014 war, a group of Palestinian youth, together with supporters from around the world, launched an important initiative that aimed to liberate the Palestinian discourse, at least in Gaza, from the confines of numbers and other belittling interpretations.

‘We Are Not Numbers’ was launched in early 2015. The group’s ‘About Us’ page reads: “numbers don’t convey  … the daily personal struggles and triumphs, the tears and the laughter, the aspirations that are so universal that if it weren’t for the context, they would immediately resonate with virtually everyone.”

Recently, I spoke to several members of the group, including the Gaza Project Manager, Issam Adwan. It was, indeed, inspiring to hear young, articulate and profoundly resolute Palestinians speaking a language that transcends all the stereotypical discourses on Palestine. They were neither victims nor factional, and were hardly consumed by the pathological need to satisfy western demands and expectations.

“We have talents – we are writers, we are novelists, we are poets, and we have so much potential that the world knows little about,” Adwan told me.

Khalid Dader, one of the Organization’s nearly 60 active writers and bloggers in Gaza, contends with the designation that they are ‘storytellers.’ “We don’t tell stories, rather stories tell us  … stories make us,” he told me. For Dader, it is not about numbers or words, but the lives that are lived, and the legacies that often go untold.

Somaia Abu Nada wants the world to know her uncle, because “he was a person with a family and people who loved him.” He was killed in the 2008 Israeli war on Gaza, and his death has profoundly impacted his family and community. Over 1,300 people were also killed in that war. Each one of them was someone’s uncle, aunt, son, daughter, husband or wife. None of them was just a number.

“‘We Are Not Numbers’ made me realize how necessary our voices are,” Mohammed Rafik told me. This assertion cannot be overstated. So many speak on behalf of Palestinians but rarely do Palestinians speak for themselves. “These are unprecedented times of fear, when our land appears to be broken and sad,” Rafik said, “but we never abandon our sense of community.”

Adwan reminded us of Arundhati Roy’s famous quote, “There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”

It was refreshing to talk to Palestinians who are taking the decisive step of declaring that they are not numbers, because it is only through this realization and resolve that Palestinian youth can challenge all of us and assert their own collective identity as a people.

Indeed, Palestinians do have a voice, and a strong, resonating one at that.

As His Extradition Trial Drags on, Media and Rights Groups Are Still Ignoring Julian Assange

By Alan Macleod

Source

Many mainstream rights groups and media organizations have a mixed history when it comes to opposing Washington’s agenda. The case of Julian Assange has been no exception.

The extradition case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange continues in London. The U.S. government is indicting the Australian living on the other side of the world under its own Espionage Act, with the case widely seen as setting an important precedent for freedom of speech and of the media worldwide.

Yet as the case reaches its pinnacle, a number of press freedom groups have gone silent on the matter. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has not mentioned Assange in months, on either its website or its Twitter account. London-based PEN International has only one article this year on the Australian and appears to have gone quiet since July. The CPJ has also refused to include him among its list of jailed journalists, arguing that Wikileaks’ role is more that of a publisher. While this could be debatable, the omission of by far the most famous and influential of the world’s 248 imprisoned media figures could be seen as a politically calculated decision.

Big media outlets seem just as uninterested in the U.S. government’s attempts to capture the man who released hundreds of thousands of documents detailing American war crimes, including the deliberate killing of two Reuters journalists. The New York Times, for instance, has published only two articles on the subject, and nothing in eleven days. But the Times’ coverage is better than most outlets, with nothing whatsoever in CNN, and MSNBC’s entire coverage amounting to one sentence, which discussed the DNC hacks, but not the hearing.

To be fair to the media, the conditions the U.K. government has set for the case make it absurdly difficult for journalists to follow. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that public access is highly restricted, while only a small handful of journalists are allowed into the courtroom every day. Journalists wishing to watch live proceedings must register as journalists and log in between exactly 9:30 and 9:40 a.m. If they miss the time, they cannot access the session, and if they disconnect at any time, even because of a momentary lapse in wifi, they are shut out of the system. Journalists have complained throughout Assange’s cases of poor connections and an inability to hear anything during proceedings. That has not stopped the committed, however, with smaller organizations continuing to report the proceedings live.

In recent days the argument between the prosecution and the defense has revolved around Assange’s mental state. A psychiatrist on the U.S.’ government’s side told the Old Bailey yesterday that he believes Assange to be a “resilient” character with only “mild clinical depression” and would therefore be able to “resist any suicidal impulse” were he to be sent to the U.S. Assange is facing up to 175 years in a Colorado supermax jail, sometimes described as one of the few blacksites on American soil. Inmates at the center are regularly force fed and are barred from sharing their stories.

On the other hand, a doctor who treated him while he was forced to live in the Ecuadorian embassy in London stressed her dismay at his deterioration while being held in Belmarsh Prison. “I think Mr. Assange is at very high risk of completing a suicide if he were to be extradited,” she told the judge.

FILE – In this Sunday, June 16, 2013 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, left, appears with Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)

The Assange case has enormous ramifications for the future of press freedom. The government has included a great many standard journalistic procedures — such as protecting sources’ names, using encrypted files, and encouraging sources to leak more to them — among its reasons for indictment. This, many have argued, would essentially criminalize investigative journalism. Trevor Timm, a co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told the courtroom that if Assange is prosecuted, then every journalist who has possessed a secret or leaked file — the lifeblood of the industry — could be charged.

Speaking to German filmmakers, ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta was remarkably blunt about the U.S.’ goal: “All you can do is hope you can ultimately take action against those that were involved in revealing that information so you can send a message to others not to do the same thing,” he said, strongly implying that the indictment is politically motivated and a warning to others who might challenge the empire.The Cost of ResistanceWhere will Julian Assange end up if his extradition is successful and Roger Hallam and the end of the revolutionary initiative.

Unfortunately, many of the mainstream rights groups that the world relies on to lead on matters of importance have a mixed history when it comes to directly opposing Washington’s agenda. Human Rights Watch (HRW), for instance, carried water for the U.S.-backed coup in Bolivia last year, its director, Kenneth Roth, describing it as a “transitional moment” and an “uprising,” rather than the manifestly more appropriate word, “coup.” HRW also described the new military government’s law giving all security forces complete immunity from prosecution merely a “problematic decree,” rather than a license to massacre, which is exactly what they did immediately.

HRW has not discussed Assange for nearly 18 months, the most recent result on its website dated May 2019 (although this was a clear defense of his rights). Amnesty International, on the other hand, has forcefully condemned the U.S. attempt and has been repeatedly blocked in its attempts to have its fair trial monitors enter the courtroom. “This hearing is the latest worrying salvo in a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression,” said Amnesty’s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks.

J&K Never Was An Indian Territory, Never Will Be: Pakistan

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United Nations, September 26 (KMS): Pakistan has asserted that the territory of Jammu and Kashmir is not a part of the India – it has never been, nor will it ever be – and that the Indian government is resorting to the worst state terrorism against the oppressed people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan Mission’s First Secretary, Muhammad Zulqarnain Chheena, said this while delivering the first Right of Reply during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly. He was responding to the false claims of Indian representative that Jammu and Kashmir is India’s “integral part”.

The Pakistani diplomat said, Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir will be free one day. “Jammu & Kashmir is not a part of India: it never was and it never will be. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory as decreed by the Security Council,” he said.

The Kashmir dispute, he said, will be settled as per the will of the people as expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations. He said the Kashmiri people have a legitimate right to resist the Indian occupation by all means at their disposal.

The Pakistani diplomat said the Kashmiris’ just freedom struggle cannot be described as terrorism. It is the occupying state which is guilty of terrorism against the occupied people, he pointed out.

Zulqarnain Chheena said, “The Indian right of reply was another shameful attempt to deflect the attention from the real issues. India, however, will not be able to escape accountability for its crimes.”

Indian UN Mission’s First Secretary, Mijito Vinito, in his right to reply following the speech of Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, had claimed that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India and the rules and legislation brought in the territory are strictly internal affairs of India. Vinito had earlier walked out of the hall when PM Imran Khan’s pre-recorded statement was played.

The Pakistani diplomat highlighting the oppression of India in IIOJK said the Kashmiri people have been resolutely facing Indian state terrorism, noting that over 70,000 Kashmiri people have been martyred by Indian troops during past three decades. Moreover, he said, India knows a lot about terrorism, as it has used terrorism against each of its neighbours, its own people and against the innocent people of IIOJK.

Zulqarnain Chheena underlined that India is actively involved in orchestrating, financing and providing logistical support to terrorist organisations like the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and the Jamaat-ul-Ahraar to target Pakistan from across the border. “India has hired and organised criminal groups located at our western borders to conduct terrorist attacks in Pakistan, especially to disrupt the development of the western and southern regions of my country,” he pointed out.

Making a mention of the Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, captured by Pakistan, the First Secretary said the Indian intelligence agent had confessed that he was organising and supporting these criminal groups to perpetrate terrorism in Pakistan. He added that Pakistan and entire region face Hindutva terrorism as well.

He said the BJP and RSS extremists continue to espouse the fiction of Akhand Baharat [or Greater India] which represents their desire for a unified sub-continent dominated by the Hindu religion where minorities are either converted to Hinduism or become second-class citizens.

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