Propaganda and the Media: Part 1 – Introduction

May 10, 2021

By Larry Romanoff for The Saker Blog, May 10, 2021

China Daily - Unmasking Hypocrisy and Propaganda -- Western Media Unlocked Episode 3 | Facebook

Note to Readers:

For a period of about ten years, I operated a website of political commentary that contained thousands of articles, many of which were content from various media, but many being my own work. That website experienced occasional but persistent DDOS and other attacks by forces unknown

Some years ago, I published on that website a three-page article on the Western media similar in content to the media series I am presenting here. Of all my written work, only this one article was under constant attack. Most often, the pages wouldn’t load properly, preventing readers from seeing the full contents and preventing them from clicking through to the following pages. It was clear I had attracted the attention of someone who preferred to not have this information in the public realm.

A short while ago, I wrote an article titled, A Search for Truth and Understanding. It provides an excellent lead-in to this series and I suggest you read it. It isn’t long. (1)

When I arrived in China the news reporting format was one of the first things to draw my attention. There was something different, unusual; the reporting seemed somehow stilted, a bit dry or reserved, perhaps cautious. Reserve and caution are of course Chinese tradition, but  I had difficulty assessing it. My first thought was that perhaps the government controlled not only content but method – the way news was reported.

But it slowly dawned on me that the unusual aspect was simply that I was seeing news without commentary – a simple chronology of events. I had become so inured to the rampant opinion-based journalism in North America that the absence of this in China made articles seem somehow barren and empty. But they weren’t empty of news; they were empty of the opinions, biases, propaganda, conjectures and moral judgments that in the West are always inextricably mixed with fact. Looking at most Western newspapers today, and certainly on topics related to politics, capitalism, religion or US imperialism, seemingly every article contains 3 facts, 4 conjectures, 2 false hypotheses, 6 moral judgments, 12 baseless opinions and at least 6 unfounded accusations, all following a coherent agenda. It is impossible to find honest reporting in America’s mainstream media today – and indeed in all the Western media, the reported “news” being little more than an ideology surge, journalism having openly become nothing more than perception management for imperialism or political power.

The US and Canada, and primarily all English-speaking countries, once had factual news reporting. But with competition for readers or viewers, the media began adding what they called ‘color’ to the news, additional information intended to make a news story more interesting, reporting for e.g., that someone in the news had a son who was an Olympic athlete; not related directly to the story, but adding human interest. The trouble with color is that there isn’t very much of it, and the media wasted no time replacing it with commentary, essentially editorialising news with ideological viewpoints.

Of course, the Western governments and the media were well-versed in Bernays’ clandestine propaganda theories, but by the 1980s ‘clandestine’ was no longer operative and even subtlety had been abandoned, ideology being not only ubiquitous but in the open. With the English media today, there is no longer any separation of fact and opinion. This is so true that many articles contain no news other than an oblique reference to some past event, and consist entirely of ideological editorialising, in fact heavily biased op-ed pieces providing primarily a political interpretation the elites want us to adopt, creating abuses of every description. Americans, Canadians, Brits and Aussies have now for two generations been exposed to this deceitful reporting and are no longer aware of the extensive propagandising even though it no longer remains hidden.

As someone wrote so accurately: “Traditional journalistic news room culture determines the basic nature of a story before the facts are assembled.”

“A young reporter writes an expose, but the editor says, “I don’t think we’re going to run that.” The second time the reporter goes to her editor, the editor says, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She doesn’t research and write the story. The third time the reporter has an idea. But she doesn’t go to her editor. The fourth time she doesn’t get the idea.” – Nicholas Johnson, former FCC commissioner (2)

It is true that we now have a daily stream of fabricated news. Some of it is completely fabricated in the sense that there was no newsworthy event that occurred, but where a few small facts from a topic of current interest are used to provide an excuse for political editorials. Most of it is driven by a political/capitalist ideology promulgated with a startling lack of regard for truth, using badly twisted interpretations of a few facts to spin an entirely false story. Journalistic integrity has all but disappeared from the Western countries. And indeed it is much worse than this, because a great deal of our “news” is in reality totally fabricated, with the requisite faked video and audio, misleading headlines, twisted information and bald outright lies. I am referring here to actual fabricated concoctions – invented ‘news’ – things that never happened, or that didn’t occur at all in the way they are presented. And we aren’t talking about ‘color’ or ‘bias’ here; we’re speaking of actually fabricating an event and making firm statements that are knowingly false. I will provide some typical – and outrageous – examples. You can begin with this story of Jessica Lynch and another of Osama bin Laden. (3) (4)

For most of us, it seems incredible that a news story could possibly be a fiction. We are apparently unable to accept that our government and media would actually lie. But lie, they do. Several years ago, CNN was sued by one of their news anchors for being ordered to lie in the newscasts. CNN won the case. They did not deny ordering the news anchor to lie. Their defense was based simply on the position that American news media have “no obligation to tell the truth”. In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States. FOX asserted that there were no written rules against distorting news in the media, arguing that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. Fox attorneys did not dispute a news anchor’s claim that they pressured her to broadcast a false story; they simply maintained that it was their right to do so. (5) In these cases, and in others, the position of the US courts implied that First Amendment rights belong to the few individuals who own and/or control the entire media landscape, a kind of shield protecting their vast propagandising campaign.

We have come to the point where Western media are practicing a kind of psychological warfare. “We all know that our State Department, the Pentagon, and the White House have brazenly proclaimed that they have the right and the power to manage the news, to tell us not the truth but what they want us to believe.” – Myron Fagan (6)

This is a large and complex topic, but let’s begin with something simple. Since we are indeed being propagandised by our own media on a daily basis, how do we recognise what is happening to us? How do we distinguish propaganda? How do we separate truth from lies? What are the main things to look for?

1.Atrocity tales.

The first is what some people today call “atrocity porn”, in fact violent pornographic tales of events that have never occurred. For this, you can recall my comments in an earlier Propaganda article on the recommendations of Bernays and Lippman that the best way to create hate and anger towards a people is to fabricate atrocity tales. The Germans having tubs full of Jewish eyeballs, of using Jewish fat to make soap and industrial lubricants, of skewering babies and raping nuns. (7) We progressed to Saddam Hussein having WMDs ready to launch, his using wood shredders to eliminate his political opponents, of gassing millions of Kurds and burying them in mass graves, of his soldiers tossing babies out of incubators.

We had Khadaffi issuing Viagra to his soldiers, enabling them to rape more women. And we had “proof” of this, in the woman who did a survey (during a war) of abused women. 1,300 questionnaires sent out, 1,200 returned and all 1,200 women claimed to have been raped. When the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch tracked down the woman and asked to interview some of the victims, well the woman had unfortunately “lost touch” with all of them. After all, there’s a war on.

We had Bashar al-Assad in Syria gassing his people with chlorine. In the end, no evidence – no evidence – was ever discovered to substantiate any of these claims, but it was too late; the countries had already been attacked and destroyed.

Today we have the ‘genocide’ in China’s Xinjiang, the ‘concentration camps’ imprisoning millions in forced labor, and with unlimited forced sterilisations, the forced extermination of the Uigur language, the destruction of Moslem temples and graveyards and much more. In fact, the only thing happening in Xinjiang is the Chinese government’s astonishing success in de-radicalising hundreds of thousands of (Western-trained) potential terrorists, replacing religious extremism with gainful employment. We have Pompeo’s “proof” that COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese lab. Again, no evidence has ever been presented to substantiate any of these claims; as always, idle claims are equated to evidence.

2. Hate literature

Almost without exception, anything leading you to form a negative opinion of (usually) a country or its people, is propaganda, normally to build support for outrageous political action or in preparation for the next war. You need think only of the constant stream of negative news items about Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, formerly Iraq and Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba . . . To the extent possible, atrocity tales (1) are part of this media onslaught.

3.Framing

This is one of the more insidious tools of propaganda – instructing us ‘how to think’ about a particular event. The invasion and destruction of Iraq were termed by the military and in the media as “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. People who are genuinely concerned about contamination and dangerous side-effects of vaccines are termed “Vaccination terrorists”. When Radio Free Europe started broadcasting its lies about the East in 1950, people were asked to donate “truth dollars” to fight communism, a bit like sending “freedom fighters” to Libya and Syria. As George Carlin said, “If fire fighters fight fires, what do America’s freedom fighters fight?” Hong Kong’s terrorists are defined in the media as “democracy protestors” – who, in one university lab alone, had created more than 10,000 petrol bombs which were used on government buildings and police stations (and on the police themselves), and who poured gasoline on a man and set him on fire. (8) In all these cases, the first step is to provide a useful propaganda definition which, if adopted by the public, eliminates independent thought in one swoop.

4.Flooding the Media

If you think back to recent world events, even very major items like the destruction of Japan’s Fukushima reactor and the leakage of vast amounts of radioactivity into the Pacific, grab the headlines for only a short time, then disappear. Most events are ‘news’ for only a day or two. But whenever we see an item recurring repeatedly in the media for weeks and months, and even sometimes for years, this is a 100% sign that we are being propagandised and that the media flow will not cease until polls tell our masters that a majority of the population has accepted the position being promoted or that the political pressure has achieved its desired result.

One such occurrence was the exchange value of China’s RMB. You may recall that when Japan was in a competitive position similar to China 40 years ago, the US forced the Plaza Accord onto Japan, revaluing the currency upward by nearly 300%, destroying the economy and eliminating Japan as a contender. The same was planned for China, led by Paul Krugman, the NYT’s Renminbi Rambo, screaming that China needed to revalue its currency by “at least 25% to 40%”. These stories of ‘China cheating’ on its currency and the necessary 40% revaluation occurring at least weekly in the Western media and the US Congress for perhaps ten years. But in fact, China’s currency had always traded in an appropriate range, as has been proven by subsequent events, and the Chinese government did not bow to the media and political pressure.

Today’s stories of China’s Xinjiang, yesterday’s stories of the ‘horrors’ of ZIKA, and more. One of the more noticeable of these is the new religion of “sexual preferences” which has been hyped in the media non-stop to the extent that few politicians would have the courage (or the death wish) to refuse participation in a Gay Pride parade. The power of propaganda. (9)

China’s Huawei is another such item, garnering far more media attention than an actual circumstance would require, and with good reason. Huawei has been in the US, Canada, and many other nations during G1, G2, G3 and G4, and never a hint of a suggestion of espionage or any threat to ‘national security’, so what happened suddenly with G5? You may care to read this, to understand the details. (10)

5.Changing Your Values

Anything suggesting you alter your moral values especially sexual, or on abortion, assisted death, pornography, immigration, family values, today’s Western white trash. In this category we have had an enormous volume on all of these topics. I would include here a recent NYT article freeing corporate executives from responsibility for all crimes including negligent manslaughter (11) (12), the movie Pretty Woman, and the flood referred to above on our new sexual perversions presented as “preferences”.

6.Hit Pieces

Whenever you see an author or a publication being trashed in the media, you know there is something they don’t want you to know. The best is to go there immediately and find out what that is. Almost invariably, whenever people are being demonised, you know that’s propaganda; you are being indoctrinated to avoid information they don’t want you to have.

When James Bacque (12) (13) published his historically-surprising works of the millions of Germans killed in American concentration camps in Europe in the years following the end of the war, (14) he was bitterly excoriated in the North American media, his research being derided as “worse than useless” even though he’d relied entirely on US military records and the introduction to his books was written by a senior US military officer. His work was denounced as “a deeply-flawed book” (15). Someone didn’t want Americans to know, while Bacque’s books have been translated into about 15 languages and in Europe he is widely admired as an historian of consequence.

When the President of Tanzania derided Western vaccines for COVID-19 and claimed Tanzania would refuse to participate in the global vaccine money-making machine, the UK Guardian published an astonishing article stating that “this man must be removed” from his office (16). A short while later, Magufuli mysteriously collapsed on a public stage and was pronounced dead, the Guardian writing a dozen or more articles celebrating the event. It was a surprise, to say the least, that the Guardian would have any interest in such a minor person and item. Magufuli was the same man who denounced the American virus tests, claiming a goat and a papaya tested positive. (17) (18)

The same is true of Henry Ford’s series of articles on The International Jew. (19) (20) This has for more than 100 years been denounced in vicious terms as ‘anti-Semitic rants’ but, on reading them, we are surprised to discover they are no such thing and that Ford in many instances praised the Jews for their talents. But the articles contain information that some people don’t want widespread in the public domain and, the best defense being a good offense, the attacks are intended to pre-empt examination.

7.Confusion of Information

Whenever a media propaganda topic arises and contrary opinions and conclusions are leaking into the public realm, we invariably see a multitude of articles creating floods of extraneous information that serve only to create confusion in the public mind and prevent rational thought and conclusions. Often, this flood of unwelcome information is used to direct public thought in wrong directions and avoid if possible any focus on the core of the issue. COVID-19 is one such example, with columnists, apparently medically-qualified, proving that lockdowns are either useful or a crime against humanity, that masks will either prevent infection or starve you of oxygen and leave your children brain-dead. Or that the virus originated in either bats or pangolins or bananas, or frozen salmon, or Fort Detrick or the Wuhan university, or caves in Sichuan, and that it was unleashed either deliberately, or by accident, or by lab Ph.D’s selling the diseased animals on the street for coffee money. And at least 100 “facts” to support each of these claims.

Whenever we are reading about a serious current event and find suddenly multiple opinions and conclusions by multiple persons all apparently qualified, we know we are suffering a propaganda attack. It will never occur otherwise.

8.Fake NGOs

One common strategy for propagandists when promulgating questionable theories about events or accusations against a nation, is to produce ‘off-the-shelf’ NGOs with legitimate-sounding names as the actual author of the accusation or theory in question. So we suddenly see the “Center for Democratic Transition (CDT)” promoting “honest and accountable government” somewhere, or vicious trade agreements promoted with the support of the “Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in Washington”. And of course we have the ‘World Uigur Congress’ in Washington, created by the CIA with two people, masquerading as the only legitimate world voice of China’s millions of Xinjiang Uigurs, to say nothing of the “Tibet Government in Exile”, also created by the CIA with two people and also in Washington.

If you haven’t heard of the organisation before, it very likely did not exist before, and was created only yesterday to lend a bit of credibility to an otherwise-hapless tale.

9.Fact-Checking

You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that fact-checking is a huge worldwide industry conceived and created years ago as a powerful censorship tool, and funded with seemingly unlimited millions of dollars primarily by George Soros, the Gates Foundation, various media companies, and similar. They were never created to fact-check George Bush’s claims about Iraq WMDs, but to ‘fact-check’ you and pronounce you false when you disputed Bush’s claims.

I recently wrote a heavily-documented article on the thesis (now widely-accepted, I believe) that the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was not influenza but was instead a bacterial infection (proven and accepted) the tragic result of a misguided experiment by the Rockefeller Medical Institute of a meningitis vaccine that began at Fort Riley in the US and spread around the world not by the soldiers but by Rockefeller itself. (21) Reuters immediately conducted a ‘fact-check’ of the thesis and pronounced it false. Reuter’s evidence? Non-existent, the claim sufficing as irrefutable proof. (22) Moreover, some of their claims were completely false.

You will be surprised to learn of the tricks these fact-checkers play in producing their results, and of the actual violations and crimes (civil, at least) they will commit in pursuing their ends. To my best knowledge, there are no fact-checkers that are not part of this worldwide network. Some like to rely on sites like Snopes, but these have also been co-opted and have now become part of the propaganda chain, filling in one of the last holes in the highway of lies. As one quick example of the latter, almost everyone has seen the video of Pompeo stating “We lied, we cheated, we stole.” Snopes’ fact-check experts tell us it is only “partially true” that Pompeo said this. In simple terms, whenever any major media outlet claims that something has been fact-checked, delete this information from your consciousness because it is almost certainly false.

10.Too much of the story known in advance

There are many such examples and all should raise an extreme cautionary awareness in readers. In the event of 9-11, the full story of who, how, and why was flooding the media the next morning, while in real life there wasn’t even sufficient time to fully realise what had happened. ZIKA was another such tale, (23) as were the reports of gassings in Syria, replete with all details which were later proven to have no substantiation.

11.Negative and Unpleasant Emotions

Anything creating a negative emotional response, other than perhaps the story of a tragic death or similar. Propaganda relies heavily on emotion, often primarily fear and usually of fears you might not care to discuss openly. It also relies heavily on hate and anger, arousing feelings of injustice or horrible crimes against populations. The rule is that whenever you find a news item creating a negative emotional response in yourself, you are almost certainly being deliberately stuffed with false propaganda. Think of all the tales of Iran, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Russia, China, so many nations and so many events, and yet none of those terrible things have ever been substantiated.

12.Opinion-based articles . . .

. . . with a few truths and many lies, articles that provide no detail or omit crucial details. These may be difficult for you to identify without some research of your own. I will provide some excellent examples.

13.Things that Just Don’t Make Sense

The two epidemics of UK foot and mouth disease (24) that resulted in the culling of millions of cattle and bankrupting most small farmers. “Animal Rights Activists” entered the Level-4 Military bio-weapons labs at Pirbright and Porton Down and stole thousands of liters of the deadly pathogen and spread it throughout the entire country. Alternatively, “a leaky drain” at Porton Down released a pathogen that killed cattle 500 Kms. distant – and nobody noticed. The fact that anyone attempting to penetrate a military bio-weapons lab would most likely be shot dead, was ignored, as were dozens of other facts.

“Pork Speculators” in turn obtained thousands of liters of deadly swine flu pathogen and used small drones to kill several hundred million pigs in China. No explanation as to why they would do that, nor whether they obtained the pathogen at the nearest 7-11 or at Wal-Mart, and all the rest. A Chinese scientist in the US announces he is on the verge of a great discovery (25a) as to the origin of COVID-19, but a day later this happily-married man has an argument with a gay lover who kills him and commits suicide. Discovery is lost. Two Chinese scientists working on COVID-19 fired from a government lab in Winnipeg, Canada, (25b) police involved, but no accusations, no crimes, merely a “procedural issue” which instantly disappears from the media, meaning they saw something they weren’t meant to see. Chinese medical students taking back to China samples of some “brown fluid” related to COVID-19, and arrested for ‘smuggling’ – which is usually a crime of bringing in, not of taking out.

14.Censorship

Propaganda, whether positive or negative, can be undermined if contrary views – or the truth – can be disseminated to the public at the same time, so media control  is vital to eliminate other views or prevent them from gaining traction. Death is the ultimate censorship. Ask Gary Webb, the only known example of a man committing suicide by shooting himself in the head twice. It isn’t difficult to determine if event coverage is being censored, and you can be very certain of it when even the social media de-platform you, cite you for ‘fake news’, and Google suddenly cannot remember who you are.

15.Pablum for the Masses

This is one sure way to know that you are being fed propaganda. An easy example is recurrent articles in a Canadian newspaper with titles like “What is in the COVID-19 vaccines?” (25c), articles that omit all the real concerns of real people and provide no information of value, and which specifically omit mention of aluminum and the female hormones and other contamination which have been widely-reported to be contained in these.

16.Polls

Interestingly, public polls can tell us much about the agenda underlying various propaganda campaigns. As one example, the Western media have been flooded for more than one year with anti-China hate propaganda, centered on the coronavirus but including much else.(26) We can almost sense the glee in Gallup or Pew in reporting that assaults against “Asians” have increased by 793% during the past year, since that was clearly the point of the propaganda. And this is far from the first time such has occurred; the practice began in England during the war years. You may care to read this (25).

17.You don’t know what you don’t know

Propaganda does not only involve telling you what to think and how to think, or what not to think. There is also a huge industry that ensures much news never comes to your attention so that you don’t think ‘the wrong things’ about the wrong people. One example: In 2011, a Saudi judge advertised for a doctor to perform spinal surgery on a man, for the purpose of destroying his spine and leaving him crippled for life. The man had apparently caused a traffic accident that left another man with a damaged spine and the judge determined the appropriate punishment was “an eye for an eye”. Did you read about this? No. It’s not on the agenda.

18.Propaganda Success

Lastly, here are two examples of how successful a propaganda campaign can be, with the power to have all the media onside and to crush dissenting voices. The first is the story of China’s great famine in 1959, the story propagated in Western minds attributing the blame to Mao and being rubbish in entirety. (27) The second is the real story of China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, certainly one of the greatest propaganda victories of all time. (28) The article referenced is considered the definitive work on this topic, at least in English, though the Internet gatekeepers will not permit many of the necessary photos to be reproduced on any website.

I will cover all these and more in a brief series of articles on Media Propaganda.


Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 30 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’.

His full archive can be seen at https://www.moonofshanghai.com/

and http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/

He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com

Notes

(1) http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1282/

(2) http://www.nicholasjohnson.org/writing/masmedia/

(3) Fake News and “The Naked Government”: Jessica Lynch

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/618/

(4) The Death of Osama bin Laden

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1409/

(5) https://www.projectcensored.org/11-the-media-can-legally-lie/

(6) http://usa-the-republic.com/illuminati/fagan_index.html

(7) Bernays and Propaganda – Part 2 of 5 — The Marketing of War

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1582/

(8) https://www.rt.com/news/473115-hong-kong-man-set-on-fire/

(9) Social Change: If Greed is Good, Maybe Smoking is Gooder

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1187/

(10) Huawei, Tik-Tok and WeChat

https://www.moonofshanghai.com/2020/08/huawei-tik-tok-and-wechat-august-8-2020.html

(11) https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/20/business/in-corporate-crimes-individual-accountability-is-elusive.html

(12) https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/15/business/dealbook/theprospects-for-pursuing-corporate-executives.html

(13) https://www.jamesbacque.com/

(14) https://archive.org/details/CrimesAndMerciesByJamesBacque1997

(15) https://www.positionpapers.ie/2019/06/james-bacques-other-losses-a-deeply-flawed-book/

(16) https://amp.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/feb/08/its-time-for-africa-to-rein-in-tanzanias-anti-vaxxer-president

(17) https://newspunch.com/tanzanian-president-who-questioned-covid-vaccine-found-dead/

(18) https://www.africanews.com/2021/03/26/tanzania-s-magufuli-laid-to-rest-after-mysterious-death//

(19) https://archive.org/details/TheInternationalJew_655

(20) https://educate-yourself.org/cn/The-International-Jew-Vols1-4-Henry-Ford-645pages.pdf

(21) The 1918 Rockefeller-US Army Worldwide Pandemic

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1319/

(22) https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-vaccines-caused-1918-influe-idUSKBN21J6X2

(23) ZIKA: https://www.moonofshanghai.com/2020/06/larry-romanoff-zika-june-12-2020.html

(24) UK Foot and Mouth Disease

https://www.moonofshanghai.com/2020/06/larry-romanoff-uk-foot-and-mouth.html

(25a) https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-chinese-american-researcher-studying-virus-murdered/1831236

(25b) https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/virologists-escorted-out-of-lab-in-canada-66164

(25c) https://globalnews.ca/news/7525406/covid-vaccine-ingredients-pfizer/

(26) The Anger Campaign Against China

https://www.moonofshanghai.com/2020/08/blog-post_49.html

(27) China’s 1959 Famine

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1369/

(28) Tiananmen Square: The Failure of an American-instigated 1989 Color Revolution

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/tiananmen-square-the-failure-of-an-american-instigated-1989-color-revolution/

The original source of this article is The Saker Blog

Copyright © Larry RomanoffMoon of ShanghaiBlue Moon of Shanghai, 2021

An empire in love with its Afghan cemetery

MAY 06, 2021

An empire in love with its Afghan cemetery

The New Great Game 3.0 is just beginning with a hat tip to Tacitus and dancing to the Hindu Kush groove

By Pepe Escobar with permission from the author and first posted at Asia Times

One cannot but feel mildly amused at the theatrical spectacle of the US troop pullout from Afghanistan, its completion day now postponed for maximum PR impact to 9/11, 2021.

Nearly two decades and a staggering US$2 trillion after this Forever War was launched by a now immensely indebted empire, the debacle can certainly be interpreted as a warped version of Mission Accomplished.

“They make a desert and call it peace,” said Tacitus – but in all of the vastness of the Pentagon there sits not a single flack who could imagine getting away with baldfacedly spinning the Afghan wasteland as peaceful.

Even the UN bureaucratic machinery has not been able to properly account for Afghan civilian deaths; at best they settled for 100,000 in only ten years. Add to that toll countless “collateral” deaths provoked by the massive social and economic consequences of the war.

Training and weaponizing the – largely inefficient – 300,000-plus Afghan Army cost $87 billion. “Economic aid and reconstruction” cost $54 billion: literally invisible hospitals and schools dot the Afghan landscape. A local chapter of the “war on drugs” cost $10 billion – at least with (inverted) tangible results: Afghanistan now generates 80% of the world’s opium.

All these embarrassing facts disappear under the shadow play of 2,500 “official” departing troops. What really matters is who’s staying: by no means just a few out of some 17,000 “contractors,” over 6,000 of whom are American citizens.

“Contractor” is a lovely euphemism for a bunch of mercenaries who, perfectly in tune with a shadow privatization drive, will now mingle with Special Forces teams and covert intel ops to conduct a still lethal variation of hybrid war.

Of course this development won’t replicate those David Bowie-style Golden Years in the immediate post-9/11 era. Ten years ago, following the Obama-Petraeus surge, no fewer than 90,000 contractors were dancing to the Hindu Kush groove, lavishly compensated by the Pentagon and dabbling in everything from construction, transportation and maintenance to “enhanced interrogation services.”

Collectively, this shadow army, a triumph of private enterprise many times cheaper than the state-sponsored model,  bagged at least $104 billion since 2002, and nearly $9 billion since 2016.

Now we’re supposed to trust CENTCOM commander General Kenneth McKenzie, who swears that “the U.S. contractors will come out as we come out.” Apparently the Pentagon press secretary was not briefed: “So on the contractors, we don’t know exactly.”

Some contractors are already in trouble, like Fluor Corporation, which is involved in maintenance and camp construction for no fewer than 70 Pentagon forward operating bases in northern Afghanistan. Incidentally, no Pentagon PR is explaining whether these FOBs will completely vanish.

Fluor was benefitting from something called LOGCAP – Logistics Civil Augmentation IV Program – a scheme set by the Pentagon at the start of Obama-Biden 1.0 to “outsource logistical military support.” Its initial five-year deal was worth a cool $7 billion. Now Fluor is being sued for fraud.

Enhancing stability forever

The current government in Kabul is led by a virtual nonentity, Ashraf Ghani. Like his sartorially glamorous predecessor Hamid Karzai, Ghani is a US creature, lording it over a rambling military force financed by Washington to the tune of $4 billion a year.

So of course Ghani is entitled to spin a rosy outlook for an Afghan peace process on the pages of Foreign Affairs.

It gets curioser and curioser when we add the incandescent issue that may have provoked the Forever War in the first place: al-Qaeda.

“former security coordinator for Osama bin Laden” is now peddling the idea that al-Qaeda may be back in the Hindu Kush. Yet, according to Afghan diplomats, there is no evidence that the Taliban will allow old-school al-Qaeda – the Osama/al-Zawahiri incarnation – to thrive again.

That’s despite the fact that Washington, for all practical purposes, has ditched the Doha Agreement signed in February 2020, which stipulated that the troop pullout should have happened this past Saturday, May 1.

Of course, we can always count on the Pentagon to “enhance security and stability”  in Afghanistan. In this Pentagon report we learn that “AQIS [al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent] routinely supports and works with low-level Taliban members in its efforts to undermine the Afghan government, and maintains an enduring interest in attacking US forces and Western targets.”

Well, what the Pentagon does not tell us is how old-school al-Qaeda, pre-AQIS, metastasized into a galaxy of “moderate rebels” now ensconced in Idlib, Syria. And how contingents of Salafi-jihadis were able to access mysterious transportation corridors to bolster the ranks of ISIS-Khorasan in Afghanistan.

The CIA heroin ratline

All you need to know, reported on the ground, about the crucial first years of the imperial adventure in Afghanistan is to be found in the Asia Times e-book Forever Wars, part 1.

Two decades later, the politico-intel combo behind Biden is now spinning that the end of this particular Forever War is an imperative, integrated to the latest US National Security Strategy.

Shadow play once again reigns. Withdrawal conditionals include the incompetence and corruption of the Afghan military and security forces; that notorious Taliban-al-Qaeda re-engagement; the fight for women’s rights; and acknowledging the supreme taboo: this ain’t no withdrawal because a substantial Special Forces contingent will stay in place.

In a nutshell: for the US deep state, leaving Afghanistan is anathema.

The real heart of the matter in Afghanistan concerns drugs and geopolitics – and their toxic intersection.

Everyone with transit in the Dubai-Kandahar axis and its ramifications knows that the global-spanned opium and heroin business is a matter very close to the CIA’s heart. Secure air transport is offered by bases in Afghanistan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

William Engdahl has offered a concise breakdown  of how it works. In the immediate post-9/11 days, in Afghanistan, the main player in the opium trade was none other than Ahmed Wali Karzai, presidential brother and a CIA asset. I interviewed him in Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, in October 2001 (the interview can be found in Forever Wars). He obviously did not talk about opium.

Ahmed Karzai was snuffed out in a Mafia-style hit at home, in Helmand, in 2011. Helmand happens to be Afghanistan’s Opium Central. In 2017, following on previous investigations by Seymour Hersh and Alfred McCoy, among others, I detailed the workings of the CIA heroin ratline in Afghanistan.

New Great Game 3.0 is on

Whatever happens next will involve layers and layers of shadow play. CENTCOM’s McKenzie, at a closed-door hearing at the US House Armed Services Committee, basically said they are still “figuring out” what to do next.

That will certainly involve, in McKenzie’s own assessment, “counter-terrorism operations within the region”; “expeditionary basing” (linguistic diversion to imply there won’t be any permanent bases, at least in thesis); and “assistance” to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (no details on what this “assistance” will consist of).

Now compare it with the view by major Eurasian powers: Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran, three of them members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with Iran as an observer and soon full member.

Their number one priority is to prevent any mutating Afghan jihadi virus to contaminate Central Asia. A massive 50,000 troop-strong Russia-Tajikistan military exercise in late April had exactly that in mind.

Ministers of defense of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) met in Dushanbe with the objective of further fortifying the porous Tajik-Afghan border.

And then there’s the Turkmen-Afghan border, from which the opium/heroin trail reaches the Caspian Sea and diversifies via Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Moscow, even more than the CSTO, is particularly worried by this stretch of the trail.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is poppyfield-300x168.jpg

The Russians are very much aware that even more than different opium/heroin routes springing up, the top danger is a new influx of Salafi-jihadis into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Even if analyzing it from completely different perspectives, Americans and Russians seem to be equally focused on what Salafi-jihadists – and their handlers – may come up with in post-9/11, 2021 Afghanistan.

So let’s go back to Doha, where something really intriguing is afoot.

On April 30, a so-called extended troika – Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan – issued a joint statement in Doha on their discussions regarding a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.

The extended troika met with the Kabul government, the Taliban and host Qatar. At least they agreed there should be “no military solution.”

It gets curioser and curioser again: Turkey, backed by Qatar and the UN, is getting ready to host a conference to further bridge the gap between the Kabul government and the Taliban. Realpolitik cynics will have a ball wondering what Erdogan is scheming at.

The extended troika, at least rhetorically, is in favor of an “independent, sovereign, unified, peaceful, democratic, neutral and self-sufficient Afghanistan.” Talk about a lofty undertaking. It remains to be seen how Afghanistan’s “neutrality” can be guaranteed in such a nest of New Great Game serpents.

Beijing and Moscow will be under no illusions that the newly privatized, Special Forces Afghan-American experiment will eschew using Salafi-jihadis, radicalized Uighurs or other instant assets to destabilize what in effect should be the incorporation of Afghanistan to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (where it’s already an observer) and the larger Eurasia integration project.

An extra-intriguing piece of the puzzle is that a very pragmatic Russia – unlike its historical ally India – is not against including the Taliban in an overall Afghan settlement. New Delhi will have to go along. As for Islamabad, the only thing that matters, as always, is to have a friendly government in Kabul. That good old “strategic depth” obsession.

What the major players – Russia and China – see in the framework of a minimally stabilized Afghanistan is yet one more step to consolidate the evolution of the New Silk Roads in parallel with the Greater Eurasia partnership. That’s exactly the message Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivered during his recent visit to Pakistan.

Now compare it with the – never explicit – strategic deep state aim: to keep some sort of military-intel “forward operating base” in the absolutely crucial node between Central and South Asia and close, oh so close, to national security “threats” Russia and China.

The New Great Game 3.0 is just beginning at the graveyard of empires.

The Dragon lays out its road map, denies seeking hegemony

July 29, 2019

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

The Dragon lays out its road map, denies seeking hegemony

The key merit of China’s National Defense in the New Era, a white paper released by the State Council in Beijing, is to clear any remaining doubts about where the Middle Kingdom is coming from, and where it’s going to by 2049, the mythical date to, theoretically, be restored as the foremost global power.

Although not ultra-heavy on specifics, the white paper certainly should be read as the Chinese counterpoint to the US National Security Strategy, as well as the National Defense Strategy.

It goes without saying that every sentence is being carefully scrutinized by the Pentagon, which regards China as a “malign actor” and “a threat” – the terminology associated with its “Chinese aggression” mantra.

To cut to the chase, and to the perpetuating delight of China’s supporters and critics, here are the white paper’s essentials.

What global stability?

The Beijing leadership openly asserts that as “the US has adjusted its national security and defense strategies, and adopted unilateral policies” that essentially “undermined global strategic stability.” Vast sectors of the Global South would concur.

The counterpart is the evolution of “the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era,” now playing “a significant role in maintaining global strategic stability.”

In parallel, Beijing is very careful to praise the “military relationship with the US in accordance with the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.” The “military-to-military relationship” should work as “a stabilizer for the relations between the two countries and hence contribute to the China-US relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability.”

Another key counterpart to the US – and NATO – is the increasingly crucial role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is “forging a constructive partnership of non-alliance and non-confrontation that targets no third party, expanding security and defense cooperation and creating a new model for regional security cooperation.”

The white paper stresses that “the SCO has now grown into a new type of comprehensive regional cooperation organization covering the largest area and population in the world”, something that is factually correct. The latest SCO summit in Bishkek did wonders in featuring some of the group’s much-vaunted qualities, especially “mutual trust,” “consultation,” “respect for diverse civilizations” and “pursuit of common development.”

On hot spots, contrary to Western skepticism, the white paper asserts that, “the situation of the South China Sea is generally stable,” and that a “balanced, stable, open and inclusive Asian security architecture continues to develop.”

There should be no illusion regarding Beijing’s position on “Taiwan independence” – which will never deviate from what was set by Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s: “Separatist forces and their actions remain the gravest immediate threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the biggest barrier hindering the peaceful reunification of the country.”

And the same applies to “external separatist forces for ‘Tibet independence’ and the creation of ‘East Turkestan’.” How Beijing dealt with – and economically developed – Tibet will continue to be the blueprint to deal with, and economically develop, Xinjiang, irrespective of the Western outcry over China’s subjugation of more than a million Uighurs.

In regard to the turmoil Hong Kong and the degree it reflects interference by “external forces,” the white paper shapes Hong Kong as the model to be followed on the way to Taiwan. “China adheres to the principles of ‘peaceful reunification,’ and ‘one country, two systems,’ promotes peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and advances peaceful reunification of the country.”

On the South China Sea, the white paper notes that

“countries from outside the region conduct frequent close-in reconnaissance on China by air and sea, and illegally enter China’s territorial waters and the waters and airspace near China’s islands and reefs, undermining China’s national security.”

So there won’t be any misunderstanding, it says: “The South China Sea islands and Diaoyu Islands are inalienable parts of the Chinese territory.” ASEAN and Japan will have to deal with what Beijing says are facts.

Chinese soldiers in the PLA Hong Kong Garrison take part in a drill during an open day on June 30 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the return of the city from Britain to China. Photo: AFP

No hegemony, ever

While noting that “great progress has been made in the Revolution in Military Affairs with Chinese characteristics” – the Sino-version of the Pentagon’s – the white paper admits that “the PLA still lags far behind the world’s leading militaries. The commitment is unmistakable to “fully transform the people’s armed forces into world-class forces by the mid-21st century.”

Special emphasis is placed on China’s relatively quiet, behind-the-scenes diplomacy. “China has played a constructive role in the political settlement of regional hotspots such as the Korean Peninsula issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and Syrian issue.” The corollary could not be more clear-cut. “China opposes hegemony, unilateralism and double standards.”

Arguably the most important point made by the white paper – in stark contrast with the “Chinese aggression” narrative – is that “Never Seeking Hegemony, Expansion or Spheres of Influence” is qualified as “the distinctive feature of China’s national defense in the new era.”

This is backed up by what could be defined as the distinctive Chinese approach to international relations – to respect “the rights of all peoples to independently choose their own development path,” and “the settlement of international disputes through equal dialogue, negotiation and consultation. China is opposed to interference in the internal affairs of others, abuse of the weak by the strong, and any attempt to impose one’s will on others.”

So the road map is on the table for all to see. It will be fascinating to watch reactions from myriad latitudes across the Global South. Let’s see how the “Chinese aggression” system responds.

Sultan shines in the court of the Dragon King

Sultan shines in the court of the Dragon King

by Pepe Escobar : Posted with permission

July 10, 2019

The graphiSultan shines in the court of the Dragon Kingc image of Turkey pivoting away from NATO towards the Russia-China strategic partnership was provided, in more ways than one, by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing right after the G20 in Osaka.

Turkey is a key hub in the emerging New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative. Erdogan is a master at selling Turkey as the ultimate East-West crossroads. He has also expressed much interest in joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by Russia-China, whose annual summit took place in Bishkek a few days before Osaka.

In parallel, against hell and high water – from threats of sanctions by the US Congress to NATO warnings – Erdogan never budged from Ankara’s decision to buy Russian S-400 defense missile systems, a $2.5-billion contract according to Rostec’s Sergei Chemezov.

The S-400s start to be shipped to Turkey as early as this week. According to Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar, their deployment should start by October. Much to Washington’s ire, Turkey is the first NATO member state to buy S-400s.

Xi, as he welcomed Erdogan in Beijing, stressed the message he crafted together with Putin in their previous meetings in St Petersburg, Bishkek and Osaka: China and Turkey should “uphold a multilateral world order with the United Nations at its core, a system based on international law.”

Erdogan, for his part, turned up the charm – from publishing an op-ed in the Global Times extolling a common vision of the future to laying it out in some detail. His target is to consolidate Chinese investment in multiple areas in Turkey, directly or indirectly related to Belt and Road.

BEIJING, CHINA – JULY 02: President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) walk past the honor guards during an official welcoming ceremony at Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on July 02, 2019. Volkan Furuncu / Anadolu Agency

Addressing the extremely sensitive Uighur dossier head on, Erdogan deftly executed a pirouette. He eschewed accusations from his own Foreign Ministry that “torture and political brainwashing” were practiced in Uighur detention camps and would rather comment that Uighurs “live happily” in China. “It is a fact that the peoples of China’s Xinjiang region live happily in China’s development and prosperity. Turkey does not permit any person to incite disharmony in the Turkey-China relationship.”

This is even more startling considering that Erdogan himself, in the past decade, had accused Beijing of genocide. And in a famous 2015 case, hundreds of Uighurs about to be deported from Thailand back to China ended up, after much fanfare, being resettled in Turkey.

New geopolitical caravan

Erdogan seems to have finally realized that the New Silk Roads are the 2.0 digital version of the Ancient Silk Roads whose caravans linked the Middle Kingdom, via trade, to multiple lands of Islam – from Indonesia to Turkey and from Iran to Pakistan.

Before the 16th century, the main line of communication across Eurasia was not maritime, but the chain of steppes and deserts from Sahara to Mongolia, as Arnold Toynbee wonderfully observed. Walking the line we would find merchants, missionaries, travelers, scholars, all the way to Turko-Mongols from Central Asia migrating to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. They all formed the stuff of interconnection and cultural exchange between Europe and Asia – way beyond geographical discontinuity.

Arguably Erdogan is now able to read the new tea leaves. The Russia-China strategic partnership – directly involved in linking Belt and Road with the Eurasia Economic Union and also the International North-South Transportation Corridor – considers Turkey and Iran as absolutely indispensable key hubs for the ongoing, multi-layered Eurasia integration process.

A new Turkey-Iran-Qatar geopolitical and economic axis is slowly but surely evolving in Southwest Asia, ever more linked to Russia-China. The thrust is Eurasia integration, visible for instance via a frenzy of railroad building designed to link the New Silk Roads, and the Russia-Iran transportation corridor, to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea and, eastwards, the Iran-Pakistan corridor to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, one of Belt and Road’s highlights.

This is all being supported by interlocking transportation cooperation agreements involving Turkey-Iran-Qatar and Iran-Iraq-Syria.

The end result not only consolidates Iran as a key Belt and Road connectivity hub and China’s strategic partner, but also by contiguity Turkey – the bridge to Europe.

As Xinjiang is the key hub in Western China connecting to multiple Belt and Road corridors, Erdogan had to find a middle ground – in the process minimizing, to a great extent, waves of disinformation and Western-peddled Sinophobia. Applying Xi Jinping thought, one would say Erdogan opted for privileging cultural understanding and people-to-people exchanges over an ideological battle.

The flags of China and Turkey flutter in Beijing during Erdogan’s visit to China on July 2. Photo: Wang Xin/ ImagineChina / AFP

Ready to mediate

In conjunction with his success at the court of the Dragon King, Erdogan now feels emboldened enough to offer his services as mediator between Tehran and the Trump administration – picking up on a suggestion he made to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20.

Erdogan would not have made that offer if it had not been discussed previously with Russia and China – which, crucially, are member signatories of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA).

It’s easy to see how Russia and China should consider Turkey the perfect mediator: a neighbor of Iran, the proverbial bridge between East and West, and a NATO member. Turkey is certainly much more representative than the EU-3 (France, UK, Germany).

Trump seems to want – or at least gives the impression of imposing – a JCPOA 2.0, without an Obama signature. The Russia-China partnership could easily call his bluff, after clearing it with Tehran, by offering a new negotiating table including Turkey. Even if the ineffective – in every sense – EU-3 remained, there would be real counterbalance in the form of Russia, China and Turkey.

Out of all these important moves in the geopolitical chessboard, one motivation stands out among top players: Eurasian integration cannot significantly progress without challenging the Trumpian sanction obsession.

Xinjiang : The New Great Game

The world crossed a geopolitical watershed at the end of 2017. That was when the American Empire officially declared China its No.1 national-security threat, alongside Russia.

Since then, Washington has spared no effort to confront and contain China on multiple fronts. These include an intensifying trade war, bans on Chinese acquisitions of US assets, a witch-hunt against Chinese companies and individuals in America, military and political provocations in the South China Sea and relating to Taiwan, and whipping up Sinophobic activity among US allies (translation: vassals). And playing a key role in fanning and marketing these efforts, as usual, are the Western corporate media.

The latest such assault centers on Xinjiang’s sensitive Uighur issue. With the Empire’s support, Uighur radicals have in recent years stirred tensions in the Western Chinese region, even as foreign-trained Uighur militants staged high-profile terror attacks in various parts of the country. Chinese authorities’ efforts to defuse such tensions and combat the violence are being mendaciously depicted as systematic, large-scale repression of one of China’s biggest ethnic minorities.

The recent spate of Western media reports alleging brutal repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang marks a new phase of a propaganda drive to demonize China and destabilize its periphery. Highlighted by screaming headlines in Western corporate media are accounts of a million Uighur Muslims (or 2 in 5 Uighur male adults!) being interned in concentration camps and subject to torture, such as waterboarding. The suggestion or assertion is that Xinjiang has become an open-air prison (which actually reminds one of the real one operated by Washington’s ally Israel in Palestine).

That bald and barefaced accusation was made with nary a shred of supporting evidence by the lone American on an external committee (with no representation from UN officials) of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Western media such as Reuters went to town with the allegation, misrepresenting it as a charge levelled by OHCHR against China. An OHCHR spokesperson denied that the UN agency had made that finding and criticism against Beijing.To cover up the lie, Reuters cited reports issued by an anti-China, extreme right wing group based in Washington and funded by the American government and NGOs such as National Endowment for Democracy.

That’s not the first time allegations of Beijing’s repression of Uighur Muslims were made by western media . Previous provocative and unsubstantiated claims of Chinese authorities banning fasting by Uighurs during Ramadan had surfaced periodically. Furthermore, malicious and ludicrous lies that Uighur Muslims were forced by the government to eat pork and drink alcohol were making the rounds in Western press and social media last year.  In recent times, China-hating lies fabricated and spread by western corporate media have become more vile and venomous. The intent is to demonize China, incite hatred and instigate violence and even Jihad by Uighur militants in Xinjiang and Islamic State terrorists outside China.

It’s the third time in as many decades that the CIA has sought to dominate Central Asia (the Great Game), with Afghanistan as the core and other parts of Central Asia including Xinjiang in the Empire’s cross hairs.

The first attempt was in the 1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union but before the 9/11 cataclysm. The CIA worked hand in glove with the mujahideen in Afghanistan as well as Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. Boot camps were set up in Afghanistan to train Uighur separatists, in much the same way as Islamic State extremists were trained and armed to overthrow the Syrian government a decade later. CIA-instigated destabilization culminated in the bombing of three public buses in Urumqi in February 1997. Nine people died and more than 70 were injured. Chinese authorities swiftly put down the insurrection and stabilized the situation.

In 2007-08, Uighur separatists saw and seized a historic opening — the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing — to internationalize their cause. An attempted suicide bombing on a China Southern Airlines flight was thwarted. The terrorist attack in Kashgar in southern Xinjiang resulted in the death of 16 police officers four days before the start of the Games. In July 2009, riots by Uighur extremists in the provincial capital Urumqi caused the death of nearly 200 people, mostly Han Chinese. True to the imperial double standard, Washington didn’t consider and characterize such calamitous riots and other deadly attacks by Uighur militants as acts of terrorism.

The orgy of violence continued through to 2014. There were two more failed hijackings of commercial planes as well as scores of bombings, killing tens of civilians each time. The knife attack at the southwestern China city of Kunming railway station in March 2014 was a watershed, resulting in 31 dead and 141 injured.

Faced with such armed insurrections, many sovereign states would have imposed martial law or declared a state of emergency nationwide or in the affected region, suspending the rule of law. That was the case in southern Thailand and Indonesia’s Aceh province. Even peninsular Malaya’s British colonial rulers imposed emergency rule from 1945 to 1957 when confronted with a communist insurgency. And post-9/11, US authorities enacted a draconian security law (the Patriot Act) and implemented other measures that stripped away civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism.

China has done nothing of that sort. It has stepped up security, including armed patrols and checkpoints in hot spots. The objective is clear and transparent: to restore law and order, and go after terrorists and prevent them from inflicting more violence. Chinese authorities describe their action as high-intensity regulation. The strategy has succeeded in containing the spread of terrorism beyond Xinjiang and purging religious extremists and separatists from the civil society. Beijing’s counter-terrorism efforts have been helped by Shanghai Cooperation Organization members like Kyrgyzstan, as well as President Erdogan of Turkey, who has stopped acting as the Empire’s proxy in Xinjiang by funnelling money and providing a secret corridor for Uighur terrorists to flee China.

Almost a decade after the Urumqi riots, China has turned its anti-terrorism focus to undoing the toxic brainwashing of ordinary Uighurs by extremists. Neighborhood religious institutes have been set up to educate citizens on the perils of religious extremism (these community centres where classes are held to detoxify radical Wahhabism were labelled “re-education camps” or concentration camps by the western press, and those attending the classes claimed to be “incarcerated”!) Programs to eradicate poverty are implemented to train and prepare Uighurs for jobs in towns and cities. Some 600,000 Uighurs were lifted out of poverty in 2016, and another 312,000 in 2017. More than 400,000 have been relocated from remote villages to places where they are gainfully employed.

The Chinese government, through various programs, has been winning the hearts and minds of ordinary Uighurs. That is bad news for the US Empire and the Uighur separatists. They are making a desperate, all-out bid to unravel the good work done by Beijing to eradicate religious extremism and poverty in Xinjiang. The deluge of fake news from Western corporate media since the beginning of this year seeks to demonize the Chinese government, painting it as a gross violator of human rights, when the truth is the exact opposite.

It would be funny if it wasn’t serious that Washington has taken up the cudgels against unproven abuses and repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang when the American Empire and its allies, under the guise of War on Terror and humanitarian intervention, have droned, bombed and killed millions of Muslim children, women and civilians in a dozen of countries from Afghanistan to Yemen, and displaced millions more.

By THOMAS HON WING POLIN – GERRY BROWN
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