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No, the UN did NOT report China has “Massive Internment Camps” for Uighur Muslims

by Ben Norton and Arjit Singh, via Grayzone Project,  August 23, 2018

Media outlets from Reuters to The Intercept falsely claimed the UN had condemned China for holding a million Uighurs in camps. The claim is based on unsourced allegations by two independent commission members, US-funded outfits and a shadowy opposition group.

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

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

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

A blatant falsehood introduced by Reuters and echoed across mainstream media

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

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

The claim was feverishly reproduced by outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post to denounce China and call for international action. Even The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan belted out the breathless headline, “One Million Muslim Uighurs Have Been Detained by China, the U.N. Says. Where’s the Global Outrage?” The impression readers were given was that the UN had conducted an investigation and had formally and collectively made such charges against China. In fact, the UN had done no such thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Credible reports” from a government-funded opposition group with zero transparency

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

CHRD, which receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from unnamed governments, advocates full-time against the Chinese government and has spent years campaigning on behalf of extreme right-wing opposition figures.

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

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

CHRD statement of revenue Screen-Shot-2018-08-23-at-8.05.01-PM

CHRD’s 2015 form 990 discloses that $819,553 of its $820,023 revenue that year (99.94 percent) came from government grants. A measly $395 came from investments, with another $75 from other sources. According to its 2016 form 990, CHRD received $859,091 in government grants in that year.

CHRD part 7 Screen-Shot-2018-08-23-at-8.05.31-PM

Which government provided these grants is not clear. The Grayzone did not receive a response to several emailed interview requests sent to the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

However, it appears likely that CHRD could be receiving funding from the US government-backed National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

A search of the NED’s grants database shows funding from 2014 and 2015 totalling approximately half a million dollars to “support the work of Chinese human rights defenders.” It is not clear if this is a reference to the organization specifically, but the description accompanying the grants matches that of CHRD.

CHRD 3 Screen-Shot-2018-08-23-at-8.07.36-PM

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

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

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

CHRD’s forms 990 also reveal that the board of the organization is a Who’s Who of exiled Chinese anti-government activists.

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

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

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

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

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

Support for the “non violence advocate” who loves America’s wars

CHRD’s founder, Xia, was a strong supporter of the imprisoned hard-right neoconservative Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, and she campaigned years for his release.

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

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

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

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

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

Most sources on the Uighur “camps” story are US government-linked

The most-cited source in the CHRD report, accounting for more than one-fifth of the 101 references, is Radio Free Asia (RFA), a news agency created by the US government. Along with Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio y Televisión Martí, and Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Radio Free Asia is operated by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a federal agency of the US government under the supervision of the State Department. Describing its work as “vital to U.S. national interests,” BBG’s primary broadcasting standard is to be “consistent with the broad foreign policy objectives of the United States.”

The near-total reliance on Washington-linked sources is characteristic of Western reporting on Uighurs Muslims in China, and the country in general, which regularly features sensational headlines and allegations. In addition to CHRD and RFA, it is common for reports to cite the World Uighur Congress, an organization funded by the NED. At a recent NED event, Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal interviewed World Uighur Congress chairman Omer Kanat, who took credit for furnishing many of the claims of internment camps to Western media.

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

The latest incident of misreporting by Reuters is part of a trend of increasingly hostile, Cold War-like coverage of China by the Western press that coincides with Washington’s push for conflict with Beijing. In a series of policy statements, the Trump administration has repeatedly identified the “threat” posed by “economic and military ascendance” of China, with Defense Secretary James Mattis declaring that “Great Power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”

Growing anxious about its diminishing global dominance, the United States seeks to forestall the rise of of an alternative node of international power. A longstanding component of US imperialism is the use of ostensibly impartial “civil society groups” and “think tanks” to promote narratives in the media supportive of US foreign policy goals. Often under the guise of “humanitarian concern,” such stories aim to stir up public outrage and weaponize it to advance imperial ambitions.

This time-tested program is at the heart of the intensifying campaign against China, and as the latest raft of bogus stories demonstrated, the corporate media is eager to play along.


79 Comments

  1. Antonym says

    Do you hear the deafening silence on Xinjiang? Compare this to the hullaballoo around Palestine: David vs Goliath.

    Nothing from the Muslim side..
    Nothing from the Western Left, worse, denial.

    Biased hypocrites the lot.

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  2. Antonym says

    How about simply taking a step back: who can freely visit Xinjang?
    Nobody, except trusted Chinese.
    Is this a good sign?
    No, something is hidden.

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  3. jdromero says

    While it’s clear that media manipulated the topic once more and I think it’s great job that Off-Guardian does in debunking fake news – I believe one should concede that situation in this China’s autonomous region is really very, _very_ alarming. There’s a good report of a (as it _seems_ from the article, Russian) journalist, who’s name is concealed for, as article states, security reasons – who, according to himself – travelled to the region once again after not having visited it for 15 years.

    It’s published on the website called Meduza – hardly an unbiased media – but one producing quality content from time to time. Meduza website’s stuff are basically the stuff composed from ex-Lenta.ru journalists who left it after it was reorganized due to change of owners and its editorial policy (there’s a little sum-up on who they are in English section of the website).

    The link is: https://meduza.io/feature/2018/09/18/kontslager-na-10-millionov-chelovek

    It’s obviously in Russian, though it probably might have been translated – not that I know of a translation available, google it. Despite the article’s a bit “sensational” headline, the material actually seems very credible, detailed and trustworthy, once you read it through the title seems totally justified. The reality described by the author is absolutely astonishing and alarming and every sense, Orwell’s 1984 is just nothing in comparison with this seemingly a surveillance-state-and-AI experiment in governance of human beings.

    It would be interesting to know what others visitors and above’s article’s author think of this. Sorry for my English.

    Best regards

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  4. Anyhow, it appears we are entering into the realms of the fantastically theological regime change artists; how many Uighurs can dance on the head of a pin.

    So I’ll wish you all a good night, with a vaguely remembered Shel Silverstein (?) limerick apropos of nothing:

    A lesbian named Bloom
    Wishing a relationship beyond the normal
    Married Percival; a transsexual
    But all their wedding night
    Instead of engaging in carnal delight;
    Argued who’d do what,
    with whom,
    and with what part 🙂

    edited by Admin at author’s request

    • That doesn’t scan very well. I think this is better.

      There was a puff from Khartoum
      Who took a Lesbian up to his room.
      As they lay on the bed,
      One of them said:
      “Who does what, with what to whom?”

      • I was scanning my memory for the original limerick; seemed to remember something similar by Shel Silverstein in Playboy magazine in the 70’s; improvised.

        Though (you) are being fanatically theological
        or, analytically intellectual;
        but I’ll vote for persnicketally anal

        is all my own invention, Ralph.

        And your version (author?) would be
        ‘Chinee’ Gordon and the Mahdi in Khartoum? 🙂

  5. Link to the UNHRHC report. It confirms the Norton and Singh lede

    Media outlets from Reuters to The Intercept falsely claimed the UN had condemned China for holding a million Uighurs in camps. The claim is based on unsourced allegations by two independent commission members, US-funded outfits and a shadowy opposition group

    https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD%2fC%2fCHN%2fCO%2f14-17&Lang=en
    I don’t see where the UNHRHC “condemns” China, do you? In fact it says 38.The Committee, while noting that, according to the State party, the reports are false.

  6. To dispense once and for all with the bogus claim by Norton and Singh that the “extraordinary claim” that “as many as 1 million Uighur Muslims [may be] in “internment camps” is the being made by Gay McDougall, and only Gay McDougall, the sole American on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, I quote from from the Committee’s “concluding observations,” which is the Committee’s final and official retort to the latest obligatory report submitted to it by China:

    Quote begins:

    Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

    The Committee notes the statements delivered by the State party delegation concerning the non-discriminatory enjoyment of freedoms and rights in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The Committee is, however, alarmed by:

    (a) Numerous reports of the detention of large numbers of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, held incommunicado and often for long periods, without being charged or tried, under the pretext of countering religious extremism. The Committee regrets the lack of official data on how many people are in long-term detention or who have been forced to spend varying periods in political “re-education camps” for even non-threatening expressions of Muslim ethno-religious culture, such as a daily greeting. Estimates of the number of people detained range from tens of thousands to over a million. The Committee also notes that the delegation stated that vocational training centres exist for people who have committed minor offences without qualifying what that means;

    (b) Reports of mass surveillance disproportionately targeting ethnic Uighurs, such as frequent baseless police stops and the scanning of mobile phones at police checkpoint stations; additional reports have been received of the mandatory collection of extensive biometric data in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, including DNA samples and iris scans, of large groups of Uighur residents;

    (c) Reports that all residents of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region are required to hand over their travel documents to police and apply for permission to leave the country, and that permission may not come for years. This restriction particularly affects those who wish to travel for religious purposes;

    (d) Reports that many Uighurs who had left China have allegedly been returned to the country against their will. There are fears for the current safety of those returned to China against their will.
    While acknowledging the State party’s denials, the Committee takes note of reports that Uighur language education has been banned in schools in the Hotan (Hetian) prefecture in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (arts. 2 and 5).

    42. The Committee recommends that the State party:

    (a) Halt the practice of detaining individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried and convicted for a criminal offence in any extralegal detention facility;

    (b) Immediately release individuals currently detained under these circumstances, and allow those wrongfully held to seek redress;

    (c) Undertake prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into all allegations of racial, ethnic and ethno-religious profiling, holding those responsible accountable and providing effective remedies, including compensation and guarantees of non-repetition;

    (d) Implement mandatory collection and analysis of data on the ethnicity of all individuals stopped by law enforcement, the reasons for and outcome of those stops, report publicly on the information collected at regular intervals and include it in its follow-up report;

    (e) Ensure that all collection, retention and use of biometric data is regulated in law and in practice, is narrow in scope, transparent, necessary and proportionate to meeting a legitimate security goal, and is not based on any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin;

    (f) Eliminate travel restrictions that disproportionately affect members of ethnic minorities;

    (g) Disclose the current location and status of Uighur students, refugees and asylum seekers who returned to China pursuant to a demand made by the State party in the past five years;

    (h) Provide the number of persons held against their will in all extralegal detention facilities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in the past five years, together with the duration of their detention, the grounds for detention, the humanitarian conditions in the centres, the content of any training or political curriculum and activities, the rights that detainees have to challenge the illegality of their detention or appeal the detention, and any measures taken to ensure that their families are promptly notified of their detention.</b>

    Quote ends.

    In posting this, certain alterations in the formatting of the quoted text were unavoidable.

    The link to the “Concluding observations on the combined fourteenth to seventeenth periodic reports of China (including Hong Kong, China and Macao, China)” can be found “HERE

    I quote from page 7 through to page 8 from the English doc.

    To reiterate and for emphasis, I quote part of section 40:

    “40. The Committee notes the statements delivered by the State party delegation concerning the non-discriminatory enjoyment of freedoms and rights in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The Committee is, however, alarmed by: ”

    Okay, people? It’s not Gay McDougall, the “sole American member” on the Committee making “a provocative claim that China was interning 1 million Muslims” while failing “to provide a single named source,” but the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as a whole.

    But please, don’t let any “facts” get in your way. Keep your end up.

    And do continue insisting on the proven journalistic integrity of Mr. Ben Norton and friends . . .

    • Paul X says

      Did you hear what they were up to in Idlip? How does the re-education programme compare to Britain’s “Prevent” programme that has seen teachers reporting under 10’s to local police for possible terrorist tendencies? Do you think jihadis should be deterred or encouraged?

      • What does Idlib have to do with the point at issue, Paul X? Be nice, and make an effort to clarify the connection for me.

        • Paul X says

          Only to point out that Chinese Muslims do include jihadi elements that seem to be ignored when discussing the issue. China is doing what every other country does to prevent terrorist attacks. Some 6000 Chinese fighters are in Idlip occupying their own town in the South. They are hard line and said to be more extreme than other groups. The griping about China’s ‘re-education’ policy ignores similar attempts even here in the UK (Prevent). The issue is being used simply to knock China .

    • From your reference: CERD/C/CHN/CO/14-17

      “37. The Committee recommends that the State party review its existing relevant laws, regulations and practices in order to ensure that they are narrowly tailored, that there are effective monitoring mechanisms and sufficient safeguards against abuse, and that they are implemented in a manner that does not constitute profiling or discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, descent, nationality, ethnicity or ethno-religious identity. The Committee requests the State party to provide in its next periodic report statistics, disaggregated by ethnicity, on prosecutions, convictions, sentences and other sanctions for crimes relating to terrorism, separatism and extremism.
      Torture and ill-treatment
      38. The Committee, while noting that, according to the State party, the reports are false, is concerned by reports according to which certain Tibetans, Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, peaceful political protestors and human rights defenders have been tortured or otherwise subjected to ill-treatment. It is also concerned by reports that certain Uighur detainees have been held incommunicado for prolonged periods, which puts them at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
      39. The Committee recommends that the State party:
      (a) Strengthen measures to prevent acts of torture and ill-treatment committed against members of ethnic minorities, including by improving their access to lawyers;
      (b) Ensure that all custodial deaths, allegations of torture and ill-treatment, harassment and reported use of excessive force against members of ethnic minorities are promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent mechanism, and that perpetrators are brought to justice;
      (c) Allow independent experts to conduct an investigation into the deaths of members of ethnic minorities in custody;
      (d) Fully implement the recommendations contained in paragraph 41 of the concluding observations adopted in 2015 by the Committee against Torture (CAT/C/CHN/CO/5);
      (e) Take all necessary measures to provide a safe environment for those working to protect and promote human rights.
      Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
      40. The Committee notes the statements delivered by the State party delegation concerning the non-discriminatory enjoyment of freedoms and rights in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The Committee is, however, alarmed by:
      (a) Numerous reports of the detention of large numbers of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, held incommunicado and often for long periods, without being charged or tried, under the pretext of countering religious extremism. The Committee regrets the lack of official data on how many people are in long-term detention or who have been forced to spend varying periods in political “re-education camps” for even non-threatening expressions of Muslim ethno-religious culture, such as a daily greeting. Estimates of the number of people detained range from tens of thousands to over a million. The Committee also notes that the delegation stated that vocational training centres exist for people who have committed minor offences without qualifying what that means;
      (b) Reports of mass surveillance disproportionately targeting ethnic Uighurs, such as frequent baseless police stops and the scanning of mobile phones at police checkpoint stations; additional reports have been received of the mandatory collection of extensive biometric data in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, including DNA samples and iris scans, of large groups of Uighur residents;” …etc, etc.

      So, a generalized expression of concern, based on stove piped general allegations from where? Various NGO’s of the type we are quite used to by now?

    • Jen says

      There is nothing in the Committee’s report stating that it as a collective agrees with Gay McDougall’s claim that China was interning up to 1 million Uyghur Muslims and the report itself makes no reference to those particular reports (which McDougall says are credible) on which the Committee based its recommendations.

      The report does not even define what it means by “numerous” reports or what is meant by “reports”. For all we know, unless these “reports” are produced, they could be hearsay or repetitions by media outlets of the one original report, whatever that one is.

      The only one insisting on the proven journalistic integrity of Ben Norton and his like is the one who continues to troll Off-Guardian with hair-splitting cynicism and faux internationalist nihilism.

      • Dear Jen,

        Do you know how to read?

        Let me simplify the quote for you so that you don’t miss the relevant and incontrovertible bits:

        Quote Begins:

        The Committee is, however, alarmed by: {Norm’s note: that’s “the Committee as a whole, Jen, not McDougall as an isolated outlier on the Committee.]

        [. . .]

        Numerous reports of the detention of large numbers of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities [my emphasis], held incommunicado and often for long periods, without being charged or tried, under the pretext of countering religious extremism. [. . .] Estimates of the number of people detained range from tens of thousands to over a million. [my emphasis]

        Quote Ends.

        Question: given that I am quoting the Concluding observations on the combined fourteenth to seventeenth periodic reports of China (including Hong Kong, China and Macao, China), “[a]dopted by the Committee at its ninety-sixth session (6–30 August 2018),” is it McDougall or the Committee who is making the allegation, and making it official?

        Now you can twist and deflect all you want, but this document “PROVES” that Norton’s and Singh’s claim that only a lone American voice on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a Committee of 18, was the only person making the claim that they said was both “extraordinary” and “simply false.”

        Now the claim at hand about the mass incarcerations of Uighurs and others may indeed be “extraordinary” and “false.”

        But it is incontestably false, as I have here demonstrated, that McDougall is the only person on the Committee at hand which both raises a concern about and alleges the existence of “numerous and credible reports.”

        On this point, Norton and Singh are wrong, proven to be wrong, and finally, simply and incontrovertibly wrong.

        Period.

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        • Jen says

          Dear Norman,

          I know how to read. The Committee makes references to estimates of the numbers of people being held as ranging from tens of thousands to over a million but that’s not the same as saying the Committee agrees with one of its number saying that the Chinese were definitely detaining up to 1 million people.

          In other words, the Committee has not committed to a definite figure.

          Perhaps the question should be whether a troll knows how far to carry on without shooting himself / herself down in flames with trolling behaviour and attitude.

          • Dear Jen,

            Sorry about the attitude. Sorry about the trollilng. I call it being dedicated to the truth.

            I note that you do not answer my question: is it McDougall or the Committee who is making the allegation, and making it official?

            Regardless of what the definite numbers may be, the Committee as a whole — not merely and only McDougall, as Norton and Singh allege, spinning a significant part of their article to “establishing” that very allegation — raises alarm about “[n]umerous reports of the detention of large numbers of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.”

            And that’s my point, isn’t it?

            You know, the thing that you keep avoiding and skirting around.

            Norton and Singh write:

            Quote begins:

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

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

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

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

            Quote ends.</b

            What is in bold is my emphasis.

            Now read that and tell me that isn’t an out and out travesty of McDougall’s role in all of this.

            Norton and Singh are trying to create in their readership the impression that McDougall is an outlier among the 18 member Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, that she is alone in making “her remarkable claim,” which is a patent falsehood.

            As with Karadjis, so with McDougall.

            I call bullshit on Norton and Singh, and demonstrate their bullshit.

            And you claim that I am trolling with attitude.

            Ah…insults.

            The last refuge of those who have trouble reading, I guess.

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            • And, why, I wonder, would Norton and Singh take notice of the fact that McDougall — the only Committee member making “that” remarkable claim — was “echoed” by a Mauritanian member, one who goes by the name “Yemhelhe Mint Mohamed?”

              Slipped in there for good measure, maybe? One sole American, echoed by only one other among the others, with a muslim sounding name.

              You can’t make this shit up, can you?

            • Jen says

              The Committee’s report expresses the Committee’s concerns and recommendations but the Committee itself stops short of supporting Gay McDougall’s statement that up to one million Uyghur people have been detained in camps by the Chinese government. The recommendations call on the Chinese government to provide the number of people held in all extralegal detention camps in Xinjiang Autonomous Region over the last five years.

              That’s my refuge as compared to the troll’s refuge in deliberate obfuscations designed to trap readers in endless and specious arguments over language and whether absence of evidence in this context can equate to evidence of absence.

              You can abuse me and others all you like – we’ll just keep leaning over the edge of the abyss to watch you drown in your own banalities.

              • You write:

                “The Committee’s report expresses the Committee’s concerns and recommendations but the Committee itself stops short of supporting Gay McDougall’s statement that up to one million Uyghur people have been detained in camps by the Chinese government. ”

                False. Completely false.

                In the video that I’ve posted in this comment section, McDougall says (@ 1 minute 2 sec.): “there are estimates of up to 1 million people…” The committee states: “Estimates of the number of people detained range from tens of thousands to over a million.”

                You say, “the Committee itself stops short of supporting Gay McDougall’s statement that up to one million Uyghur people have been detained in camps by the Chinese government.” But McDougall doesn’t say that, does she? She doesn’t categorically affirm the one million, as though it wasn’t an “estimate.” Furthermore, and in fact . . . IN POINT OF FACT . . . the Committee says that estimates range to OVER one million, but I’m willing to grant that it says essentially the same thing as McDougall, which you deny it says, certainly as pertains the upper limits of the estimates, though the Committee does specify a lower limit of 10 thousand in its statement.

                Again, you misrepresent McDougalls’ purports, which are actually not HER purports, but those of the Committee, purports that even in McDougall’s own utterances have always only been those of the Committee.

                Banalities, I know, and a lot of quibbling. But if the quibbling is endless, that isn’t my fault, but yours for not being precise in your claims of “fact,” indeed, for being obfuscatory. And you accuse me of obfuscations?

                And speaking of my alleged obfuscations, they are according to you, ” designed to trap readers in endless and specious arguments over language and whether absence of evidence in this context can equate to evidence of absence.” But I’m the one playing endless word games?

                And on top of it all, I’m abusing you! For engaging with your comments? For sometimes being cheeky with you in the way that I have witnessed you being with others?

                Get over yourself.

                No abuse is intended.

                The salt is merely an expression of my exasperation with your endless and deliberate evasions.

                Norton slandered Karadjis. He and Singh also slander McDougall. These are facts. Demonstrable and demonstrated. And these prove that they are hacks. I rest my case.

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        • In my reply to Jen, HERE, the paragraph that begins with, “Now you can twist and deflect all you want . . .”, should read as:

          “Now you can twist and deflect all you want, but this document [“DISPROVES”] that Norton’s and Singh’s claim that only a lone American voice on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a Committee of 18, was the only person making the claim that they said was both “extraordinary” and “simply false.”

          If WordPress had an edit function available to readers, I could have made that edit. Unfortunately . . .

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  7. Johny Conspiranoid says

    No official memeber of any committee speaks for that committee unles the commitee nominates them to do so and agrees on what they should say. The use of “we” does not show that such a process has happened. Has the committee issued an official report and what does it say? To say there are credible reports is not the same as saying there are proven reports. Some due process must be required for the official report of this committee to be accepted as the position of the UN. Has that process happened?

    • “To say there are credible reports is not the same as saying there are proven reports.”

      Yes, that is exactly right.

      But what do Norton and Singh contend?

      They contend, without having seen the alleged “numerous and credible reports,” that the substance of those reports, summarized in McDougall’s statement and that makes for an “extraordinary claim,” “is simply not true.

      How do they know that the “extraordinary claim is simply not true?”

      Have they examined the specific bases of the specific details of that claim?

      Or have they, precisely in the manner of the mainstream media, manipulated words and context to make what is essentially a baseless case?

      In my opinion, Eric Blair, who comments below, has it exactly right: “They are playing the same devious game as the mainstream media and the right-wing groups they claim to oppose.”

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      • And btw: if they are playing the same devious game, what would that game be? I mean apart from manipulating words and contexts?

        Let us assume, for the sake of simplicity, that in the world in which we live, the main lines of enmity and struggle are between three essential groupings: there are capitalist factions that are at enmity with each other, a level of rivalry that at a minimum presupposes two blocs (but there may be more and, of course, in reality, there are a great many). That would be two of the three essential groupings. Then there are all of the contending capitalist factions on one side, and the thing for which they contend on the other, the people who are their wage slaves, the third essential group of the three groupings

        One obvious way of keeping a lid on your wage slaves is to convince them that they must ally themselves with “their” capitalist masters according to “nationalist” designations.

        You are either with the Americans or with the Chinese, say, but you are never — and God forbid that you should ever be — only and resolutely on the side of the wage slaves bereft of their “nationalist” designation.

        In this way, the democratic aspirations that the wage slaves may harbor forever remain bound to an affiliation in “nationalist” terms, and never rises to a truly “internationalist” one.

        You are always either for the Chinese or the Americans, regardless of whether you “are” Chinese or Amereican, and this in complete disregard of whatever crimes your favored capitalist faction my be perpetrating against its captive population.

        Always, the discussions and the analyses remain within the limits of “lesser evilism:” it is always and only a matter of which capitalist bloc is morally superior, of which of these blocs and only these blocs to support, and never about the “fact” that all of these blocs are capitalist blocs.

        But what if we learned the lesson? What if we condemned, as we should, all capitalist regimes? Would our outlook not become more truly internationalist? Would we not be more focused on issues more truly pertinent to ourselves as wage slaves everywhere?

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  8. Fair dinkum says

    When it comes to prisons and suppression, the US and for that matter Australia, are at the top of the leader board.
    Divide and rule, along with avarice and fear, are what drives the ruling psychopaths of those ‘holier than thou’ plutocracies.

  9. kevin morris says

    I do despair over the left’s determination to accommodate China.

    Whether or not Uighurs are subjected to re-education camps, life in the main cities is increasingly unpleasant with Uighur families subjected to notices on their flat doors stating how many people live inside and whether or not the family is trustworthy or not. Recently, the Communist Party announced the rolling out of plans to produce such status reports for every person living in China, which of course begs the question what will happen to those whose status is deemed to be ‘unreliable’.

    China has the highest rate of executions in the world, almost no legal protections, almost no civil society, massive corruption amongst party officials, often leading to innocent parties either being jailed or executed. That fact alone should cause us to ask, what gives the Chinese Communist Party which puts itself before everyone and everything else the right to judge every one of its subjects ‘reliable’ or ‘unreliable’, since with no democratic mandate to seek, they have no need to fear whether anyone is questioning their reliability.

    Certain figures in the medical profession in the west have wondered why there is almost no waiting time for transplant surgery- for those who can afford to pay- in China and began to research how this could be so, given the traditional reluctance of Chinese to donate their organs after death. It has long been known that fully equipped mobile operating theatres stand by at public executions. What is less known is that many of those sentenced to death are tissue typed and then executed to order so that their organs may be ‘harvested’. Slowly, the news is being revealed, thanks to freed dissidents, that prisoners often find themselves being told that they require an operation and during such operations it is not uncommon for prisoners to die,having had organs removed which makes life impossible beyond a day or two. Adherents to Falun Gong often found themselves in such a position with an estimated million dying in such a manner.

    So whilst I have no great positive feelings about the US, I fear deeply the increasing power of China, and knowing of the way Tibetans have been treated since China took over their country in 1951, I believe it is more than likely that China will have set up re-education camps for Uighurs. Knowing of the brutality meted out to Tibetans who have the courage to unfurl Tibetan flags, or who having set themselves alight in protest fail to die, I would state with grim confidence that it is very likely that ‘untrustworthy’ Uighurs will meet rather more than simply ‘re-education’.

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    • bevin says

      The question is not what goes in in China but whether imperialist propaganda, trade sanctions, terrorist militias and outright warfare will assist in solving the internal problems of that enormous country.
      You appear to be arguing that we should support launching adventures down that road. My own view is that we should not.
      I think that it is disingenuous not to put the storm of anti-China propaganda into perspective. Those who still dream of turning the power of the US military into global hegemony regard China as the biggest single obstacle to their ambitions. They are therefore churning out propaganda against China in order to prepare public opinion for future war. What this post does is to put the widely publicised ‘news’ that China has been setting up Concentration Camps in Sinkiang unto perspective by pointing out that, in fact, and, obviously to your surprise, there are, so fart as we know, no such camps.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Mendacious, racist, Orientalist, Sinophobe tripe. Western racists are personally affronted, to the point of rabidity, by the prospect of a non-Western, non-‘JudeoChristian’ power rising to world eminence. Not dominance, of course-the Chinese refuse that genocidal Western habit. Obviously a pro-Dalai claque fool, who thinks that providing education, health and modern amenities, liberating women and ending vicious theocratic rule and serfdom in Tibet are signs of ‘repression’. Despicable.

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  10. Mehdi Hasan published an article at The Intercept a while back implying that his readers are Assad apologists.
    That said, it appears that the US is waging a disinformation campaign against China much as it has been against Russia, to state the obvious.

    • @nwwoods.
      Why would you give any credence to Prof. Dr. Hasan? He’s won a great many accolades but his socialist opeds are nearly always focussed on countries the US and UK want to have a go at. He is published in the US(which takes some doing unless you stay well clear of condemning the US as the worst offenders) and Pakistan and has slots in Voice of America(without damning Washington all to hell), the BBC which is the voice of the evil axis, not to mention the specials he does for AP, Deutsche Welle and Reuters(now isn’t that a surprise)and I believe he is a columnist at the English Daily(The News International). Any condemnation for the murderous west’s wars against the countries he is denouncing is usually lip service only and one liners we could all quote with crocodile tears. He definitely knows which side his bread is buttered. He is representative only of the kind of reporting currently under discussion on OffG, that of cherry picking the facts and putting asise “inconvenient truths”.

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  11. Johny Conspiranoid says

    The subject of the article is the accuracy of Reuters’ and others reporting that the UN said that China had massive internment camps for Uighur Muslims. They are saying that the UN made no such claim. The person making the claim was the co-rapporteur for the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She claimed to have heard off credible reports of the existance of these camps and brought the matter up durring a meeting of the committee. So, is her bringing up the matter that she has heard reports of something in the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination the same thing as her making a definite statement that the reports are true on behalf of the whole UN? Then there is the question of the accuracy of the reports and the credibility of the sources which is seperate from the accuracy of what Reuters said the UN said.

    • “So, is her bringing up the matter that she has heard reports of something in the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination the same thing as her making a definite statement that the reports are true on behalf of the whole UN?”

      I have been hearing rumours that you’ve been diddling kindergarten kids. Now, I acknowledge that I have been unable to confirm this, but it would be a very serious matter indeed, if true, and certainly bears further scrutiny.

      • The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination review of the report of China, as it is posted on the website of the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, states unequivocally: “GAY MCDOUGALL, Committee Co-Rapporteur for China, raised concern about the numerous and credible reports. . .

        The review doe not state that the Committee Co-Rapporteur for China “claims to have heard about numerous and credible reports,” the existence of which have yet to be established, but that she raised concerns about “the numerous and credible reports,” i.e., about reports with which, as the wording clearly conveys, the Committee as a whole is already conversant.

        Thus, although the the published review of the report of China doesn’t include references to “the numerous and credible reports” themselves, it is clear that the Committee does not question the existence of “the numerous and credible reports,” and, therefore, that the UN, based on the actual wording of the review, does indeed possess “numerous and credible reports” of millions having been or being forced into so-called “re-education camps” for political and cultural indoctrination.

        The question of the truth of “the numerous and credible reports” is a separate issue from the “fact” that the UN acknowledges, by the fact of publishing its review of the report of China as it has written it, that the Committee is indeed in possession of “numerous and credible reports” preserved in one medium or another — which is the thing which Norton and Singh “deny” and that they believe to have “proven” to the contrary.

        They have proven nothing other than either their incompetence or mendacity, and perhaps even both.

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        • Thomas Peterson says

          Great, where are the ‘reports’ and who produced them? Let’s see for ourselves.

          • I entirely agree. One thing we can be certain of, however, is that Norton and Singh have not seen them anymore than you and I have, and therefore have not, as they claim they have, shown “the extraordinary claim” to be “simply untrue.”

            As for discrediting McDougall, that’s just grasping at straws and self-discrediting.

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            • When we see extraordinary claims sourced by NGO’s, we require a reasonable standard of evidence. Otherwise, you could apply the same standards to “hundreds of thousands of Muslim girls undergo FGM” and “thousands of gays are executed in Iran” then hold up respective governments failure to keep data on such ephemera as proof of something and allow anti-democratic Western NGO’s to slip in unverifiable allegations.

              Sorry, but you been busted, Norman.

              • Who has been discussing NGOs? Are you sure you are addressing your comment to the right person?

                But okay, I’ll assume you are directing your comment at me.

                Have you seen the “numerous and credible reports” alleged by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination? If you have, can you post them or link to them so that we can examine them for both their content and their references and/or sources? Which NGOs are, as you allege, the sources of the “numerous and credible reports” with which the UN Committee claims to be familiar and on which it bases its “concern?”

                Do you think that I uncritically accept the substance of alleged “numerous and credible reports” without either having access to them or knowing from where these reports are being sourced?

                Is there a difference between a) claiming that McDougall is the only person on the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination who alleges the mass internments of Uighurs and other Muslim and b) claiming that McDougall isn’t the only person, but that the entire Committee of 18 ‘independent experts’ alleges the internments?

                The latter is my point of contention, see.

                If part a) is false and part b) is true, then half of the article that has been written by Norton and Singh is rubbish, and if half of their article is factually false, the whole of the article is bullshit.

                I have shown a) to be false and b) to be true. Therefore the entire first half of the article by Norton and Singh is rubbish, as is the rest of it. Capiche?

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                • See my previous posted limerick; are being fanatically theological
                  or, analytically intellectual;
                  but I’ll vote for persnicketally anal

                  To answer your question, the article infers the sources are on the same street address as Human Rights Watch, enuf said 🙂

                    • You seem not to read the article either but indulge in ipso facto arguments, that if Norton slandered Karadjis (actually, no, since we have to accept your contextual argument as proven) then it follows that Norton slandered MacDougall, LOL.

                    • Right. You did read this comment, I presume. If you can’t see the glaring difference what Norton claims Kradjis to have said and what Karadjis actually did say, you need the category spectacles inside your head examined. LOL

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                    • I did read Norton’s whole article https://bennorton.com/michael-karadjis-syrian-al-qaeda-jabhat-al-nusra/ thanks, and not the excerpt you ‘contextualized’ as well as the other Michael P. Karadjis articles he helpfully (and honestly) linked to, so Norton wins the argument when he writes

                      Leftist’ Syria regime change brigade

                      Michael Karadjis is by no means the only so-called leftist supporter of Syrian rebels who has said positive things about Jabhat al-Nusra. He joins other prominent figures of the “socialist” Syria regime change brigade.

                      Even more obsessive blogger Louis Proyect, who writes under the name “The Unrepentant Marxist,” has likewise expressed support for Syrian al-Qaeda.

                      Louis Proyect is a serial liar with extremely deranged behavior who has written numerous falsehoods and smears about me (and who photoshopped my head onto a cockroach).

                      Michael Kardjis and Louis Proyect are just two parts of the group. Other “leftist” Syria regime change figures include:
                      •Muhammad Idrees Ahmad (or Idrees Ahmad), who staunchly supported NATO’s dismemberment of Libya and cheered on Donald Trump’s missile attack on Syria;
                      •Oz Katerji, who has worked for Turkish state media TRT World, who openly calls for US-led regime change in Syria, who proudly tries to no-platform and economically attack anti-interventionist journalists, and who smears everyone who opposes regime change — including British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn — as “Stalinists” (UPDATE: After this article was published, Oz Katerji made it angrily clear to “little runt” me that he is a liberal, not a leftist);
                      •Sam Charles Hamad, whose diatribe in the neoconservative website The Daily Beast was picked apart by Glenn Greenwald;
                      •along with the disgraced Trotskyite writer Andrew Pollack, of the MENA Solidarity Network US, who was accused of harassment by numerous female socialist activists.

                      Michael Karadjis’ soft-imperialist politics have been noticed by other leftist organizations. The World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) has condemned Karadjis as one of the “Australian pseudo-lefts complicit in US war drive against Syria.”

                      WSWS wrote very presciently, back in 2013 (emphasis mine):

                      “Socialist Alternative’s most recent article on the situation in Syria, “Assad’s backers on the left are ignoring reality,” published four months ago on May 5, was, for example, written by Socialist Alliance member Michael Karadjis.

                      The main purpose of Karadjis’s article was to blind its readers to the Obama administration’s preparations for war, and to cover over the reactionary character of the regime-change campaign. Blatantly denying well-established facts, such as the dominant role of Al Qaeda-connected sectarian militias among the so-called rebel fighters, and the active role of the CIA along the Syrian-Turkish border in coordinating the flow of weapons, money, and foreign Islamist fighters into Syria, Karadjis denounced all those who were “convinced that the US is hell-bent on backing the Syrian rebellion against the regime of Bashar Assad, who claim the US is backing these ‘Islamist’ forces, or even that the whole Syrian rebellion is a ‘US war on Syria’.”

                      The article ridiculed the prospects of a US military intervention based on a chemical weapons pretext. “[W]ith all the hoo-ha about the Syrian military allegedly using chemical weapons, and leftist claims that this was the parallel of the ‘WMD’ excuse to invade Iraq, one might have expected the US to order some kind of ‘strong’ action,” Karadjis wrote. “In sharp contrast to the lies about Iraqi WMD peddled in order to justify an invasion, in this case Obama has reacted to allegations of use of chemical weapons by stressing that the evidence ‘was still preliminary’ and thus he was in no rush to intervene… Most analysis concludes the US is very unlikely to change course.”

                      Karadjis has a long record of providing right-wing, nationalist US proxy forces in different conflicts with a “left” gloss, under the cover of promoting “self-determination” and “democracy.” For example, on May 12, 1999, as the US-NATO bombardment of Serbia was underway, and on the eve of the army intervention into Kosovo, Karadjis wrote an article for Green Left Weekly entitled, “Chossudovsky’s frame-up of the KLA,” declaring that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was a “genuine liberation movement representing the aspirations of the oppressed Albanian majority.” He defended the heroin trafficking operations that funded the KLA, and absurdly claimed that Washington aimed to destroy the KLA and was opposed to an independent Kosovo. These bald faced lies were quickly exposed by the subsequent US-led ground intervention into Kosovo and recognition of the territory’s “independence” under the domination of the former KLA forces.

                      Karadjis is now recycling the same reactionary politics on behalf of the US proxy forces in Syria. On July 9, 2013, the Socialist Alliance publication Links featured a lengthy article by him, “Issues in the current stage of Syrian revolution”, that angrily dismissed any concerns about the role played by Al Qaeda among the so-called Syrian “revolutionaries.” Karadjis insisted that “there have been remarkably few open sectarian attacks, let alone massacres, on Alawi or Christian minorities by radical Sunni elements of the opposition”—an extraordinary remark in the context of a brutal sectarian war that has seen tens of thousands of Christians and other minorities purged from “rebel”-held cities and towns. Karadjis went on to issue an equally extraordinary apologia for outright barbarism—insisting that videotaped footage of an opposition commander extracting and eating the organs of a corpse constituted mere “minor cannibalism.” This was not, he insisted, “an attack on an innocent person or ordinary soldier, still less a sectarian attack on an Alawite as some claimed.”

                      Karadjis’s political depravity sums up the evolution of the entire pseudo-left. His positions have served a definite purpose: to cover up for the drive by US imperialism to carry out regime change in Syria. Declaring that a “full-scale imperialist intervention” into Syria “has never been an option”, he added: “if the US or other imperialist states did decide for their own reasons to provide some arms, we should also not protest against it, robotic style.”

                      Norton concludes, and IMO wins the argument here:

                      In the same manner as Corey Oakley’s denunciations of “knee jerk anti-imperialism”, Karadjis’s positions further expose the August 29 Socialist Alliance statement and its claims to “reject the interventions of the US and its allies in Syria.”

                      So my initial impression of you, yep, co-opted Toxic Trotskyite of the “Socialist Alliance” is also er, prescient 🙂 but let me be clear, I fully support Assad, and the Syrian people, and if they choose to ally themselves with Russia and Iran against those groups who would dismember the country along ethno-national lines, then, fuck you and the pseudo-left horse you rode in on.

                    • So by quoting only Norton’s slanderous claptrap, rather than doing a careful comparison and contrast between what Norton claims others are arguing and what those others actually are arguing, you’ve demonstrated Norton’s integrity in matters of interpretation and analysis?

                      In that case, you are a lot more insightful than I am, Mr. manfromataln, in being able to judge the quality of a piece of writing by simply taking it at face value without doing the work of following up on its references in detail and ensuring that you’ve grasped the content of those references.

                      Furthermore, let’s suppose that had you had actually taken the time to do your due diligence, and had actually went and read, say, Corey Oakley, but not only read him, but actually understood him, and you then came back yet giving high marks to Norton’s pieced, I myself, if no one else, would know that you are not a very astute reader, that is to say, not a very reliable witness to anything at all, certainly not in matters of the printed word. In that case, I wouldn’t waste my time seriously engaging with you to debate the merits or demerits of any work by Ben Norton.

                      But do keep writing those limericks and reading Ben Norton and feeling smug in the certainty of your certainties. At least in that respect, you’re certainly not alone.

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                    • If there’s anything more boring than arguing with a Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyite’s dialectical analysis as to ‘who slandered whom with what’ (since you didn’t read my limerickal effort putting you down last night 🙂 it would be poring over some Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyite’s turgid prose to contextualise side by side exegesis texts to see who’s credible or not.

                      In the real world, we determine what country, nation or economic model we favour without wasting a lot of time, thanks. So cater to your buddies who seem to lurk on the internet slandering Ben Norton. Sorry, but you haven’t proved your case and no amount of saddo discussion videos can disprove you’ve been sussed out as pseudo-left Russophobes and Sinophobes who disapprove those countries because they haven’t reached that state of Marxist Utopia yet.

                      Now excuse me while I put you on “ignore”.

                    • Jen says

                      @ ManfromAtlan: Thanks for taking on the troll and his circular arguments and belligerent and sarcastic attitude.

                      Other readers may think we were wasting our time and valuable Off-Guardian space here churning through his rubbish but at least now we know how he works and how rapidly he becomes unpleasant and abusive in shooting down not just Ben Norton (for exposing Karadjis and other faux “leftist” writers) but also in attacking you, me and others personally.

                      Shooting the messenger is still the first resort of scoundrels.

                    • You’re welcome, Jen. He’s welcome to his mendacious opinions but not his er, “facts”. There are many leftists I do respect, and there’s the sort of pseudo leftist drivel that seems to emanate from Australia oddly enough (Michael Karadjis). The anti-Julian Assange crowd, the Vanessa Beeley/Eva Bartlett haters, then there’s the Syrian regime change artists who post threats against them, and the security services sponsored ‘Imam of Peace’.

                      WSWS had the pseudo left crowd pegged perfectly.

                    • Please, Jen, enough with the personal abuse. It makes you look quite frantic, not to say rather ugly.

                      You know, and I know, that I spoke very precisely to the substance of Norton’s journalistic modus operandi, and showed it to be what it is, in both its mendacity and maliciousness, in its unwarranted manipulation of words and context.

                      Nothing is easier than reading Norton, noting his attributions to and interpretations of other authors, and checking on them. There is a pattern: it’s in the same vein that I have here demonstrated.

                      You had and have nothing to counter the truth and fact of that matter as I have exposed it, and now you resort to slinging personal insults, to shooting the messenger, by behaving in precisely the way that you attribute to me and of which from the top of your mountain of principles you apparently strongly disapprove.

                      But Jen, you and I both know that you are not at all beneath resorting to verbal belligerence and sarcasm, with this particular outburst being but just another case in point.

                      I think this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Don’t you?

                      Best Regards,

                      Matt from Venezuela

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                    • Admin says

                      This conversation has gone beyond anything useful don’t you think. How about wrapping up and moving on.

  12. Well, okay, let’s have one look at one reference. Norton and Singh write:

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

    Now let’s read the section in which the only mention of alleged re-education “camps” in China was made by the sole American member of the UN’s “Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination,” the Committee Co-Rapporteur for China:

    GAY MCDOUGALL, Committee Co-Rapporteur for China, raised concern about the numerous and credible reports that in the name of combatting “religious extremism” and maintaining “social stability”, the State party had turned the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region into something that resembled a massive internment camp shrouded in secrecy, a “no rights zone”, while members of the Xinjiang Uyghur minority, along with others who were identified as Muslim, were being treated as enemies of the State based on nothing more than their ethno-religious identity. The Co-Rapporteur noted reports of mass detention of ethnic Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities, and estimates that upwards of a million people were being held in so-called counter-extremism centres and another two million had been forced into so-called “re-education camps” for political and cultural indoctrination. All the detainees had their due process rights violated, while most had never been charged with an offense, tried in a court of law, or afforded an opportunity to challenge the legality of their detention.

    Hmm. They got that exactly right, didn’t they? Gay McDougall, who is Committee Co-Rapporteur for China, and thus in that capacity very much does speak for the UN, really did say something about a million or so Uyghurs being detained and ‘re-educated.’

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

    So what’s the “extraordinary” claim? That as many as 1 million Uighur Muslims are in “internment camps?” Or that the UN has reports that the Chinese government is holding as many as 1 million Uighur Muslims in “internment camps?”

    Which of these claims do Norton and Singh apparently “prove” to be simply not true?

    Not a single one.

    Neither the extraordinary claim, whichever one that might be, nor the ordinary one, whichever one that might be.

    They don’t prove that as many as 1 million Uighur Muslims are not in “internment camps,” which would have been the falsification of what to my mind was the “extraordinary claim.”
    And they don’t prove, either, that the UN does not have reports that as many as 1 million Uighur Muslims may be in “internment camps,” which would have been the falsification of what to my mind is a less than extraordinary claim.

    In point of fact, their reference to “the OHCHR’s official news release on the committee’s presentation of the report” actually proves the very opposite of their contention as it pertains to the less than extraordinary claim, which appears to be the focus of their article.

    But I guess there are plenty of grey zones, eh? Hence the aptly named, ‘Greyzone Project?’

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    • Jen says

      The Ben Norton and Ajit Singh article begins as thus:

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

      What the authors say is not true is the claim made by media is that the UN has these reports.

      The authors then go on to say that the claim about 1 million Uyghur Muslims being held in the camps was made by an “independent expert” who sits on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a panel that does not speak for the UN and whose opinions are presumably not endorsed by the UN itself.

      Then the authors make reference to attempts by Reuters et al to demonstrate that what Gay McDougall, who appears to have little knowledge about China (based on her Wikipedia entry), is correct by relying on information by CHRD, a Washington-based advocacy group among other sources.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_McDougall

      If one peruses the Wikipedia article on Xinjiang re-education camps, one finds that most of its sources are mainstream Western media, Radio Free Asia and the China Digital Times whose website reports the National Endowment for Democracy among others as a major financial sponsor.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xinjiang_reeducation_camps
      https://chinadigitaltimes.net/about/sponsors/

      So while Norton and Singh may over-generalise in their leading statement, there does appear to be some substance behind what they say.

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      • You write:

        “The authors then go on to say that the claim about 1 million Uyghur Muslims being held in the camps was made by an “independent expert” who sits on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a panel that does not speak for the UN and whose opinions are presumably not endorsed by the UN itself.”

        FIRSTLY: to address the Norton and Singh claim that the UN allegation at hand was essentially made by only one committee member, and an American at that:

        They write:

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

        Translation: McDougall is the only member of the committee that makes the allegation about the re-education “camps,” and she also happens to be the sole American member. Though we don’t spell it out for you, we juxtapose those two elements so as to suggest that in her motivation for raising her concern, what is probably showing through is McDougall’s anti-Chinese pro-American bias. But not to make this juxtaposition too transparently deliberate, in an effort to mute it to a subliminal level of suggestion, and because we are somewhat constrained by the actual details of the committee’s presentation, we also note that although McDougall is the only committee member making the said allegation, it’s true, she is echoed an another committee member, whose nationality we will also mention, but as a cover for having skillfully emphasized the fact that McDougall is an American.

        Norm’s note: if McDougall is echoed by another committee member, then that’s not just one committee member making the allegation, but at least two committee members.

        But it gets even worse.

        Let’s all listen to the first few seconds or so of this video, because those first few seconds are rather revealing:

        And I quote — McDougall: “Uh, I would say that we are deeply concerned . . .” [my emphasis].

        That is to say: McDougall does not say, “I am deeply concerned,” but that “WE are deeply concerned about the numerous and credible reports that WE have received . . .”

        Question: if McDougall is only speaking for herself, expressing only her concern as the sole American on the committee, why would she express her concern as being a collective concern, as though she were speaking on behalf of the entire committee? Why, as she does very unequivocally, use the first-person plural personal pronoun “we” instead of the first-person singular pronoun “I?”

        It is obvious that she is not expressing her concern as the sole American on the committee, contrary to the impression that Norton and Singh clearly want to convey and work hard at conveying, but that she is expressing the concern that the entire committee has agreed to collectively express about the ‘numerous and credible reports’ to which they were all privy, and it just so happens that she herself was given the task of expressing that concern on behalf of the whole committee.

        SECONDLY: to address the Norton and Singh claim that “the panel does not speak for the UN, whose opinions are presumably not endorsed by the UN itself:”

        Norton and Singh write:

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

        Right. So the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is comprised of people who, in their official capacities as members of that Committee, do not speak for that Committee as a whole, in the way that McDougall did not, and thus certainly not for the UN, either in part or in whole. After all, they are all “independent,” right?

        How that works, only Norton and Singh know.

        Nevertheless, let us try to recreate for ourselves the brilliant line of reasoning that Norton and Singh must have brought to bear on how that actually works: they, the committee members, are “independent experts,” see, presumably like Norton and Singh, who presumably also see themselves as “independents,” and thus certainly not as UN officials; so if the UN committee members are “a body of independent experts,” and it certainly says so right there on the website of the United Nations, that they are “independent experts,” then that must mean that just like Norton and Singh themselves, because of their effective status as “independents” relative to the UN, as in presumably “unaffiliated” with the UN, then they can’t possibly ever speak for the UN, right?

        Actually, that would be wrong.

        If the committee members aren’t UN officials, how do Norton and Singh explain this:

        “All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every two years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.”

        But then maybe Norton and Singh should approach all UN States parties to explain to them all that they, too, are a pair of “independent experts,” and that consequently, as per all States parties obligations, all States must also report directly to them, too, no? No.

        You see, Mr. Norton and Mr. Singh, being an “independent expert” with the UN doesn’t mean that you can’t, in your official function with the UN, speak for the UN, in the way, for example, that you, Mr. Norton and Mr. Singh, cannot on account of actually being unaffiliated with the UN.

        Rather, being an “independent expert” with the UN means that no one at the UN can in any way compel you to come to any conclusions other than the ones to which your own professional integrity compels you.

        So, no, just because a UN committee is made up of “independent experts,” that is to say, of “independent experts who are persons of high moral standing and acknowledged impartiality,” doesn’t mean that those experts, as committee members, don’t speak for the UN. In fact, the very opposite is true: they most emphatically do. Otherwise, how could any UN Committee address its concerns and recommendations to any State party in the form of “concluding observations” about a report that was by obligation submitted to that Committee?

        As Committee Co-Rapporteur for China, GAY MCDOUGALL does indeed speak for both the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the UN.

        Norton and Singh write:

        “Thus the OHCHR implicitly acknowledged that the comments by McDougall, the lone American member of an independent committee, were not representative of any finding by the UN as a whole.”

        Question: if the findings of the UN as a whole come to it by way of independent committees whose remits are to produce those very findings, how does the UN as a whole ever come by way of any “impartial” findings?

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        • Jen says

          I listened to Gay McDougall’s speech. When she says “we …”, she is referring to herself and other members on the Committee but there is nothing in the context of her speech that she is speaking for the Committee as a collective. One could say that she is speaking for herself and the other Committee members as individuals. If they have all received the same reports that she believes are credible, then she can hardly say “I” when all Committee members have received the same reports. And what are these reports? She does not say what the reports are: they could be reports by the very media organisations that claim that the Committee “has”, in the sense of possessing, “credible” reports.

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          • “there is nothing in the context of her speech that she is speaking for the Committee as a collective.”

            The “we” part of McDougall’s speech and that she is speaking in her capacity as the Committee Co-Rapporteur for China as the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination publicly delivers its review of the obligatory report of China should give you the necessary cues, Jen, that and that McDougall appears to be reading from a ‘prepared’ statement.

            “And what are these reports? She does not say what the reports are: they could be reports by the very media organisations that claim that the Committee “has”, in the sense of possessing, “credible” reports.”

            Yup. And the point of your speculation is what exactly, in terms of a substantive rebuttal to the fact that the UN has declared that it has such credible reports?

            Until you see their reports and how they have been sourced, all you can do is remain skeptical. Your skepticism, though very much warranted, isn’t proof of anything, however. But Norton and Singh aver that the “extraordinary claim” is simply not true. But they present nothing in the context of their article that they are critiquing the substance of the UN’s “numerous and credible reports.” For that, they would need to have access to those reports. But everyone knows that those reports are as yet hidden away from public view.

            The article, as it is written, is a piece of journalistic dreck, of a piece with the articles it purports to critique. Of course, the UN review is very much being exploited in MSM to propagandistic ends. But Norton and Singh clearly go beyond the facts to make unwarranted assertions, and that is precisely my point.

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          • Dear Jen,

            Read THIS, in particular sections 40 & 42, PP. 7-8 in the ‘doc’ format, and then come back and tell me whether, as Norton and Singh insist, it is only McDougall who is concerned about the “numerous and credible reports” about “ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities” being ‘interned,’ and that she therefore only speaks for herself, as a minority of one and as the only American on the Committee, or whether it is the whole Committee — a total of 18 independent experts from various nations — that is officially registering its concern about many credible reports of arbitrary mass detentions, reports that it, as a whole, alleges.

  13. Antonyl says

    So how many Uighurs are interned in China? Over 120,000? Half a million? Imagine the uproar in Western MSM AND blogs if Israel or India did like wise with local Muslims! Instead silence.

    Again might is right, whether during Islam imperialism, US imperialism or Chinese imperialism.

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    • bevin says

      “So how many Uighurs are interned in China? Over 120,000? Half a million? ..”
      “None” perhaps?
      Or ‘all of them’ in the sense that all Scots are kept without their consent, interned, in the UK.
      Or a couple of million, including a majority of men at one stage in their lives, as is the case of black people in the United States.
      A deliberate attempt to falsify the record has been made. This happens with alarming frequency in the United States which has made similar charges against almost every one of the increasing number of states refusing to follow its diktats- Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Haiti, Yemen, etc- it is normally used to soften up public opinion before military attacks, direct or through mercenaries, on the objects of its ire and the victims of its lies.
      Given that those urging us to join them in shedding crocodile tears are themselves responsible for human rights abuses, orders of magnitude larger than any which they blame on others, not to be critical of their lies is to be an accessory in their crimes.
      What is the name of the last country that Chinese (imperialist) forces invaded and occupied?
      Please explain what you mean by the Islamic Empire? Or even, perhaps, ‘Empire’.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      You Zionazis REALLY do hate and fear China, in your habitual racist contempt for all those who do not bow and grovel before you. When China has MURDERED several million Moslems, as Israel’s puppet the USA has done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, etc, directly through military aggression, or vicious, deliberately murderous, sanctions, all on Zionazi orders, then perhaps a monumental hypocrite like you might have some reason to condemn it. Until then I suggest you keep quiet.

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    • The resident hasbara troll asks us to imagine “the uproar in blogs if Israel did like wise with local Muslims!” while ignoring the fact that Gaza is the world’s largest internment camp at just under 2 million.

  14. The usual lack of due diligence by the gossip organisations.

    UN report needed due dili by Reuters.

    Reuters needed due dili by everyone else.

    Credibility and authority take another huge hit….

  15. A bunch of liars on one side, and a bunch of liars on the other. All of the liars are sourcing from all of the other liars, and accusing each other of being liars in real time.

    Recently, someone who wanted to discredit someone had me read a piece by Ben Norton. In that piece, Ben Norton wrote:

    “Karadjis, who has declared that Syrian al-Qaeda shooting down Russian planes would be “a victory for all humanity,” is part of a small yet obsessive crew of so-called leftists who viciously attack anti-war socialists.”

    Now compare that with what Karadjis actually declared, and I quote somewhat at length to contextualize the upshot of Karadjis’ remark:

    The other main issue often arising in discussion is that of which rebel groups control the various parts of Aleppo now under attack.

    For many Rojava-Firsters, this is a good excuse to support this counterrevolutionary action: “Oh, but that area is controlled by Nusra, so it’s good that the “democratic” forces are ejecting them” (even if with Russian air power – let me try that: Oh, but Iraq is run by Saddam Hussein, who is an extremely brutal tyrant, so of course we need to fight on the side of the US Blitzkrieg to unseat him, etc etc).

    A particularly disgusting (and disappointing in the extreme, given the source) example of this was a tweet sent by the head of the leftist/Kurdish-based HDP in Turkey, Selahattin Demirtaş: “Davutoğlu says #Azez won’t fall. Who’s in Azez? Al Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham. Rapists & people who sell women”.

    Now the level of outright racism and dehumanisation in this tweet is unbelievable (so ordinary Arabic people don’t live there? Were the babies killed by Russian bombing of the maternity hospital there also rapists?); and of course it is also a lie that either Nusra or Ahrar al-Sham engage in a policy of rape (that would be the Assad regime) or sell women (ISIS), regardless of their other sins. But as we will see, it is also a lie about who is actually in control of Azaz.
    ………………………………………………………………………..
    First, however, I disagree with the premise in any case. It is up to the local peoples to choose their political/military leaderships in revolutionary situations (in the same way as the PYD/YPG is in control of Kurdish regions), and to change them; and even if we dislike some of them, it is not up to an outside force; still less one operating with Russian air support, to forcefully eject them; and the ethnic factor in a military attack cannot be ignored, even if the SDF may theoretically be very good on the multi-ethnic issue.

    And even in the case of Nusra, a group I detest, it is a new development in left-wing thinking that it is OK to be on the side of an invading imperialist power bombing the country to bits against even a reactionary local militia; in the conditions of this genocide from the sky, if even Nusra got its hands on good anti-aircraft missiles and shot dozens of Russian warplanes out of the sky it would be a victory forall humanity (and anyone wanted (sic) to now express outrage, kindly express it to children ripped to bits by Russian bombs in Aleppo).

    Now I ask you, because my English is probably not as good as it should be, does this read to you as though Karadjis is a supporter of Nusra (or Al Qeada)? As Mr. Ben Norton would have you believe? Or is Karadjis rather not expressing a deeply felt outrage at the slaughter of innocents?

    You will forgive me, then, if I can’t take anything that Mr. Ben Norton writes very seriously in terms of its purported accuracy, or that I won’t waste my time verifying his references or claims. Not that I buy into the propaganda in the MSM about China, but I neither will I be fooled more than once by the same hack.

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  16. Michael Cromer says

    People should embrace the opportunity to be educated free of charge – Lucky them!

  17. Paul X says

    How does the Chinese re-education scheme compare with our Prevent strategy? I thought it was agreed that radicalisation of Muslims is a real danger? As soon as the first (of many!) articles in the Guardian appeared about the ‘dreadful repression of peace loving Salafists’ it was clear this was a new propaganda front. Notice how the references to the Chinese Jihadi fighters in Idlip, where they occupy a town of their own is never mentioned although there are some 6000 of them heavily armed. They are said to be the most fanatical of all the Headchoppers and scare the Turks let alone the Syrians.

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    • Maggie says

      @ Paul
      Radicalisation means, recruited by CIA/MI6 then brainwashed/blackmailed into being patsies/mercenary soldiers to be deployed at any time to support the false flags/ demonstrations/invasions… and be useful idiots whose lives are inconsequential. Cannon fodder, they used to be called.

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