“We cannot be fooled again”

A photo of Lisa Nandy
Credit: Kevin Walsh.

Lisa Nandy on the ‘Left’ but an agent of liberal imperialism: Does she want Xinjiang to be another Iraq?

Iraqi troops ripping out babies from incubators? Nope, was a blatant lie. WMD? Only the ones sold to Iraq by the West. Libyan troops ordered to commit Viagra fueled rape? Sounds like a film script. Assad gassed his own people? Not according to the in-depth research by The Grayzone

Now the UK Labour party is, yet again, set to swallow the liberal elite’s atrocity propaganda. In a recent letter from Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, to Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, Nandy claims that Britain must oppose giving China a seat on the UN’s human rights body in protest of its abuse of Uighur Muslims.

Nandy writes, “You know, as well as anyone, that international law matters and that silence in the face of such horrors will be seen by some as complicity. The UK must take this opportunity to show solidarity with the Uighur people and demonstrate that we can still be trusted to defend human rights around the world.”

The fact is the UK cannot be trusted to defend human rights around the world. There have been over 800,000 people killed in the war on terror. This combined with the de-development caused by that war represents the greatest human rights atrocity, one perpetrated by the UK with the complicity of the  Labour Party and Tony Blair. 

Nandy’s letter which buttresses potential belligerent actions, makes her complicit too. Her claims show that history has been forgotten and that British politicians on the left, who are denied power, without acquiescing, like Blair, to mainstream corporate interests, are shamefully unaware of how power processes “truth” to create an all-encompassing reality.

When looking at Xinjiang today we must, instead, ask what the evidence is based on, who produces these “facts”, how these facts are disseminated into the media, and what is the context surrounding Xinjiang.

In terms of context, Xinjiang has witnessed thousands of brutal terrorist attacks leading to the deaths of Han and Uyghurs alike. Terrorist groups such as the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) desire a sharia state in Xinjiang. Both the TIP and the ETIM are listed as terrorist organizations by the UN, the US and the UK.

Ironically, Western wars have exacerbated the terrorist problem in Xinjiang. In February 2018 NATO bombed the ETIM stationed in Afghanistan. Thus, Uyghurs make up to 5000 jihadi fighters in Syria. Many of these same fighters have returned home to wreak havoc in China.

The words of, China’s Foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying in response to the US’s passing of the “Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019” apply just as much to Britain today when she said, “what ignorance, what brazenness, what hypocrisy! Have they forgotten? The two-century long American history is tainted with the blood and tears of native Indians, who were originally masters of the continent.”

She added that the US used human rights and counter-terrorism as a cover to wage wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, killing millions of innocent civilians and turning many more into displaced refugees: “…. acts in total contempt of people’s right to life and development are a real ‘outrage to the collective conscience of the world’!”

Claims of genocide and figures in the region of an incredulous 3 million Uyghurs in “camps” make for an obvious attempt to equate China with the NAZI holocaust. However, thus far all of the sources that venture these claims are CIA and military funded.

The so called independent “civil society” organisations and think-tanks – such as China Human Rights Watch (CHRW) and Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) – are directly funded by the New Endowment for Democracy (NED) as is the World Uyghur Congress (WUC). NED is the organization that took over from the CIA to conceal government involvement in regime change.

Adrien Zenz, who works for Washington’s Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VCMF), is the source of much of the Xinjiang atrocity research. VCMF seek to label NAZI deaths in WWII and deaths from COVID-19 under the headng “victims of communism”. Their stated goal is to bring down China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam.

The VCMF says on its mission page that, “positive attitudes toward communism and socialism are at an all-time high in the United States. We have a solemn obligation to expose the lies of Marxism for the naïve who say they are willing to give collectivism another chance.”

The latest report on Xinjiang from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), an organisation which, between 2019-2020, received 90% of its funding came from defense industries, government and the Department of Defense. The military-industrial companies that fund ASPI, such as BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon, have all been found to use prison labour.  

Headlines concerning Xinjiang atrocities are finally emerging in corporately-owned  media. Previously, reports were strategically placed. For example, Zenz’s and CHRW reports were pushed by the US’s propaganda arm Radio Free Asia (RFA). 

Zen’s original report on Xinjiang appeared in the Jamestown Foundation, a US Think Tank with generals such as Gen. Hayden (the ex-director of the CIA and NSA) on its board. He openly supported torture at Guantanamo Bay, was responsible for Pakistan drone strikes, and oversaw the illegal surveillance over US citizens. 

Military and strategic connections between these think-tanks and civil society groups are not uncommon. Sitting on the board of VCMF is Paula Dobriansky, who was one of the original signatories of the think-tank “Project for a New American Century” (PNAC) responsible for the strategy of invading Iraq and Afghanistan. That body controlled much of the media narrative that led up to support of these wars. PNAC also set the strategy for the US’s “pivot to Asia” to counter China.

At times the sources of atrocity propaganda are brazen. For example, Rushan Abbas, a former Uighur service journalist with RFA, who wrote in a Washington Post report that she is fighting for human rights has outed as one of the “ISI Consultants” formerly working at Guantanamo Bay. It is assumed, with her background in intelligence and linguistic skills, that she was interrogating Uyghur detainees and not serving up food in the canteen. 

Not only can we not trust these sources but the data is hogwash too. In terms of the “millions” of people in camps, the CHRD came to this estimate by interviewing only eight people. This “evidence” was “reinforced” by Zenz’s report, which looked at 73 official procurement contracts for facilities in Xinjiang. He found there was $108 million dollars spent, or about $108 per person (if one takes the 1 million claim as fact).

Published within the Jamestown foundation Zen’s report was an enhanced picture saying, “police officers standing outside a facility in Xinjiang believed to house a re-education camp”. In fact, the picture is of two Uyghur policemen standing in front of a Uyghur owned scrap yard as clearly stated in the Uyghur script. 

An ASPI report compiled a database of 28 centres though it says it can only be sure of the existence of 16 centres. The problem here is that these centers are about the size of an average school, capable of holding a few thousand people at most. As such the official Chinese statistic of 160,000 people going through de-radicalization training seems more credible. 

As claims get debunked new evidence comes in to fill in for the porkies. Recently ASPI launched a new report detailing 380 facilities, which are formed by looking at satellite images of new constructions in Xinjiang. However, looking at these “camps” some have no walls, some do, some are made up of one or two buildings. Adding to the confusion, in China schools, universities, community centers, businesses have walls around them.

Many of these “camps” are in the middle of cities and sit next to residential buildings. These don’t seem good places to hide genocidal activities. Some may be police stations, prisons, schools, and of course, some may well be correction centres. 

In terms of Zen’s reports of a Uyghur genocide taking place figures show that the Uyghur population – which was never subject to the One Child Policy – has increased from 21.82 million in 2010 to 24.87 million 2018. Their relative rise is the greatest amongst all Chinese ethnicities. These are official statistics and so one may claim they are unreliable. But Zen has never had a problem drawing on official statistics for his reports.

China has said it is engaged in re-educating hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, who have been captured by jihadi ideology. While some may not agree with this method, it is far superior to the current Western war on terror. The methods used by China have been hailed as valid in Indonesia without anyone raising the prospect of a holocaust. China, for its part, has already invited the U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to Xinjiang. 

We need to have a sensible conversation about Xinjiang and indeed our treatment of China overall. We jump all too quickly to uphold false human rights abuse accusations. 

Our political elites must discard their colonial mindset, one which places them in a moral high ground, fit to judge and reign over the “barbarians”. We must realise that Western violence increasingly destabilises the world, which not only causes terrorism, but is the greatest violation of human rights. We do not need another Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria atrocity. We cannot be fooled again.