Illegal? 50 US Leftists Get Political With Communists in Cuba

By: Trevor Loudon | New Zeal

View of the 685 Neptuno street taken on Nov. 12, 2019, in Havana. (Adalberto Roque/AFP via Getty Images)

In early November, 50 U.S. leftists traveled to Cuba for meetings with communist organizations on the island.

The delegation, which included known members of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and its satellite group LeftRoots, met with officials of a major international communist front organization, an auxiliary of the Cuban government, and several “non-governmental organizations.”

There should be major questions raised over the legality of this visit.

In June, the Trump administration announced new restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba. Until then, Americans could travel to the island only under specific categories, which included organized group travel known as “group people-to-people travel.” That loophole—long exploited by U.S. communist groups—is now technically closed.

According to CNN:

“Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement that the restrictions are a result of Cuba continuing ‘to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up US adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes.’

“The State Department announced that ‘going forward, the United States will prohibit US travelers from going to Cuba under the previous ‘group people-to-people educational’ travel authorization.’”

The 50 U.S. delegates arrived in Cuba on Oct. 30 to attend the “Anti-imperialist Meeting of Solidarity, for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism,” which took place in Havana from Nov. 1 to 3.

The conference was organized by the government-controlled Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, the Central Organization of Cuban Trade Unions, the Cuban Chapter of Social Movements, and the Continental Convergence for Democracy and against Neoliberalism.

According to the communist-controlled World Peace Council, the event was designed to build international opposition to the U.S. government’s attempts to isolate the Cuban communist regime:

“The meeting in Havana expresses the Cuban Revolution’s decision to respond to the demand of the political, social left-wing and the Solidarity Movement with Cuba that our country continues to be a meeting point of the people’s struggles in our continent.

“We have proposed the event to be a real contribution to confronting the current counterrevolutionary offensive of US imperialism, to the search for the widest possible unity of the leftist forces in the region and to strengthening militant solidarity with the just causes defended by the peoples. In the current political situation, marked by the aggressiveness of the Trump administration, new ways will be sought to reinforce solidarity with these causes in the world, mainly in our region. …

“The growing hostility against Cuba and other countries in the region, the judicial persecution of progressive leaders, the imposition of recycled neoliberalism, are distinctive features of the current North American policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean that awaken the fighting capacity of Latin American and Caribbean peoples.

“In the same way, the mobilization for the occasion of hundreds of social fighters, political leaders, intellectuals, peasants, women, indigenous people, solidarity activists, among others; will constitute a formidable encouragement to the heroic resistance of the Cuban people, determined to defeat … the blockade and to carry forward the updating of its economic and social development model.”

Does this sound political to you? Does it sound like the conference was designed to unite the broadest possible coalition of forces against current U.S.–Cuba policy?

The delegation traveled under the name of an umbrella group called “It Takes Roots,” an alliance of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Right to the City Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and the Climate Justice Alliance. All of these organizations are closely linked to the pro-China communist group Liberation Road (until April known as Freedom Road Socialist Organization or FRSO) and LeftRoots.

The delegate’s explicit purpose was to “build deeper relationships, to affirm the principles of solidarity and grassroots internationalism, and to continue to fight for a systemic transformation against capitalism, patriarchy, colonialism, and racism,” according to a Facebook post.

Before and after the conference, It Takes Roots delegates held meetings with several Cuban organizations.

First up was a meeting at the innocuously named Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Havana—one of the conference organizers. The center was founded on April 25, 1987, as “an initiative aimed at promoting values such as solidarity and justice,” according to a Climate Justice Alliance Facebook post. The center works with religious leftists “from a critical and liberalizing theology”—otherwise known as Marxist “Liberation Theology.”

Also on the visiting list were a Cuban childcare center and Casa Tomada MirArte, a community project that is “using popular education and art to explore issues of race, gender, and sexuality.” The group met with Norma Rita Guillard Limonta, “social psychologist, investigator of gender, sexuality, race, and identity, and co-founder of Grupo Oremi, a lesbian discussion group in Cuba,” according to an It Takes Roots Facebook post.

More obviously political was a visit to the so-called Puerto Rican mission in Havana for “a conversation about the fight for the independence of the Puerto Rican people, the historical relationship between Cuba and Puerto Rico, Indigenous peoples in both countries, [and] the US embargo,” according to another Facebook post.

Cuba has long supported Puerto Rican communist groups, including violent revolutionaries, in their quest for independence from the United States.

Also on the itinerary was a meeting with the Federation of Cuban Women. A state-sponsored body, the federation was founded in the earliest days of the Cuban revolution under the leadership of Vilma Espin—who fought in the Sierra Maestras with communist leader Fidel Castro and Raul Castro. Espin married Raul Castro in 1959 and remained president of the federation until her death in 2007.

Even more disturbing was the delegation’s meeting with the Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples (MOVPAZ) to “discuss antimilitarism efforts.”

“MOVPAZ shared insightful information and taught the delegation about its powerful workaround efforts to close the Guantanamo prison, push for nuclear disarmament, fight for climate justice, and more,” It Takes Roots wrote in a Facebook post.

MOVPAZ is the Cuban affiliate of the World Peace Council—once the Soviet Union’s largest international front organization. Now run largely by Greek and Cuban communists, the Peace Council is still one of the most influential communist coordinating bodies on the planet. It has affiliates all over the world, including the U.S. Peace Council, Canadian Peace Congress, and the Movimiento Mexicano por la Paz y el Desarollo, plus two “friendly” organizations, the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament and the Russian-based International Federation for Peace and Conciliation.

Many U.S. Peace Council affiliates are active in the anti-Trump protest movement, and others work with Congress members to promote U.S. deindustrialization, disarmament, and the slashing of the U.S. military budget—long goals of Russia, China, and Cuba.

In January, It Takes Roots and Climate Justice Alliance leaders went to Congress where they were “excited to share our vision for a Just Transition and the Green New Deal with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” according to a Climate Justice Alliance Facebook post.

In June, It Takes Roots and Climate Justice Alliance leaders met with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders “to discuss how we can move the Just Transition to a Regenerative Economy and push for Climate Justice,” according to another post.

Clearly, It Takes Roots is an intensely political organization. It’s also obvious that members of the recent delegation are sympathetic to Cuban communist organizations working to further Havana’s agenda against the U.S. government.

This is legally problematic on multiple fronts. The delegation may have been breaking U.S. law by meeting with Cuban government bodies on clearly political matters. Are any of the delegates registered with the U.S. Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)?

While I understand that the U.S. Justice Department has been busy protecting America from Russian collusion and Ukrainian corruption, maybe it could spare a little time to focus on Cuban collaboration?

American leftists appear to be working with Cuban organizations against U.S. government policy. Maybe the Justice Department could comment on the legality of the It Takes Roots Cuba delegation and its related actions?

Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.


Echoes of Pol Pot: Bernie Movement’s Close Ties to Norwegian Communists

By: Trevor Loudon | The Epoch Times

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum in Sioux City, Iowa, on Aug. 20, 2019. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

“Our Revolution” and “People for Bernie,” two key elements of the Bernie Sanders for President movement, have developed a close relationship with a militant Norwegian communist party.

The party in question, Rodt (Red Party), was formerly known as the Arbeidernes Kommunistparti (AKP or Workers’ Communist Party) and was notorious in Norway for its open support of Cambodian communist leader and mass murderer Pol Pot.

The Sanders movement’s ties to one of the most extreme communist parties of Europe gives the lie to Sanders’ often-repeated claim that his “democratic socialism” has nothing to do with communism.

The AKP was founded in 1973 as a Maoist competitor to the pro-Soviet Norwegian Communist Party. The AKP, in common with many other Maoist parties of the era, openly supported mass-murderers Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot.

According to the “Black Book of Communism,” Pol Pot’s Beijing-backed Communist Party of Kampuchea,  or “Khmer Rouge,” was responsible for the deaths of approximately 2 million of Cambodia’s 6 million people in its bloody three-year reign. Approximately 1.3 million of these victims were deliberately executed by the regime and buried in about 23,000 mass graves.

The AKP openly endorsed the Khmer Rouge. When Pol Pot’s Maoist forces conquered Cambodian capital Phnom Penh in April 1975, AKP’s newspaper Klassekampen (Class Struggle) emblazoned “Long live the free Cambodia” as their front-page headline. The AKP dismissed reports of massacres under the Khmer Rouge rule as anti-communist propaganda and continued to send delegations to Cambodia until Vietnamese troops expelled the Khmer Rouge from Phnom Penh in January 1979.

The AKP openly called for armed revolution before 1990 and kept the possibility of having to “defend the revolution with arms” open for some time after.

In 2007, the AKP re-branded itself as “Rodt” and turned its focus more toward electoral politics. The party claims to no longer support violence but does state that its goal is still a “classless society” or “what Karl Marx called communism.”

The AKP maintained close ties to foreign Maoist parties including the New Zealand Workers Communist League and especially the United States’ Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO). In recent years, Rodt has broadened its Maoist base to admit Trotskyists and “democratic socialists.”

This has been mirrored in the United States by the backbone of the Sanders movement, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which includes in its rank Trotskyists from “Solidarity” and Maoists from Liberation Road, the new name for FRSO.

Rodt’s broadened base has given it a little more traction in Norwegian politics. Rodt now has 20 county council representatives and 190 municipal and city council representatives. The party made a small breakthrough in the 2017 election, winning 2.4 percent of the vote and its first seat in the Norwegian Parliament.

Sanders Movement

After developing deep ties with FRSO over several years, Rodt began to build links with the wider Sanders movement during the 2016 election cycle. In October 2016, the New York City branch of FRSO sponsored a small get-together of “local labor activists, Sandernistas and other lefties” to meet Reidar Strisland—former youth leader of the Oslo section of Rodt. Strisland was in the United States for two months gathering material for a book on the Sanders movement.

Strisland visited comrades in Detroit and Lansing, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, as well as in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and at the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in South Dakota. Strisland was back during the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, scoring photo-ops with several DSA-supported candidates, including Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke in Texas and congressional candidate James Thompson in Kansas.

A delegation of Norwegian activists, including Strisland, attended the Sanders movement’s People’s Summit in Chicago in June 2017. A few days later, three American activists, Winnie WongClaire Sandberg, and Moumita Ahmed, accepted Strisland’s invitation to travel Oslo to see “Nordic social democracy” firsthand.

Wong was a leader of People for Bernie and a newly minted DSA member at the time. Sandberg was an organizing director for Bernie 2016 and a founder of the FRSO-linked electoral organization We Will Replace You. Ahmed was a leader of People for Bernie and Millennials for Revolution and a member of the DSA.

In Oslo, the three Americans socialists addressed a Rodt-run political and cultural festival “Popvenstre,” met with Rodt leaders and even trained grassroots comrades in U.S. election campaigning techniques in the party’s downtown Oslo office.

According to Wong and Sandberg: “We spent hours in trainings and breakout strategy sessions with Rodt party organizers digging into the nuts and bolts of digital and social media best practices, barnstorms, peer-to-peer text messaging, dank memes, and more.”

The training seems to have worked. In the 2017 elections, Rodt leader Bjornar Moxnes was elected as the sole representative of the party in the Norwegian Parliament.

In a play on the Sanders slogan “Feel the Bern,” Rodt campaigners wore “Feel the Bjorn” T-shirts as they campaigned in Oslo.

Is it legal for American Marxists to involve themselves in Norwegian elections?

In February 2018, Larry Cohen, chairman of the Sanders support network Our Revolution, traveled to Oslo to address a special Rodt strategy conference.

The leader of a Sanders support organization claiming more than 200,000 members and 600 groups across the United States gave a keynote speech at a high-level planning conference with one of Europe’s most militant communist parties—with zero media scrutiny.

Key operatives in the movement to elect Sanders to the U.S. presidency are working with a European communist party that once openly supported Pol Pot. Senior American Sanders supporters seem to have played a role in electing a revolutionary Marxist to the Norwegian parliament.

Does the Sanders movement really support Scandinavian “social democracy,” or does it really favor flat-out Norwegian communism?

Nothing to see here, folks.

Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.


Thanksgiving: The Forgotten History of America’s Thanksgiving and What It Commemorates


Thanksgiving: The Forgotten History of America's Thanksgiving and What It CommemoratesThanksgiving is the oldest national holiday in the United States. However, it’s observation is not a continuous presence in American history. While the celebration of Thanksgiving predates even the founding of the nation, it was proclaimed by George Washington, then ignored by Thomas Jefferson. From then on, it was sporadically observed until Abraham Lincoln, who once again introduced a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving to the United States.

Indeed, it was Lincoln who set the day as the last Thursday in November. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt changed the day between 1939 and 1941, which was highly controversial. The days were called “Franksgiving.” Roosevelt changed the date because retailers communicated to him through the Retail Dry Goods Association and the Secretary of Commerce, that the late date of Thanksgiving that year (the last day of November) might negatively impact retail sales. It was considered bad form to put up Christmas decorations or put on Christmas sales before Thanksgiving.

If only we still lived in such times.

In 1942, Congress set Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of the month, and here it has stood since then.

The Early Days of Thanksgiving

Harvest feasts date back centuries, with the earliest “thanksgiving” celebrations in the New World dating to the 16th Century with the French and the Spanish. The Commonwealth of Virginia had regular celebrations of this type dating back to 1607. The first permanent settlement, Jamestown, Virginia, had a thanksgiving celebration in the year of its founding, 1610.

Of course, anytime someone says “Thanksgiving,” one immediately thinks of the Pilgrims. “Thanksgiving” as we know it is generally dated back to when the Pilgrims first celebrated it in 1621. This was in response to a successful harvest, however, it was not the first of a consistent celebration. The Pilgrims celebrated this only sporadically.

No one is entirely sure when the Thanksgiving celebration took place. There was a three-day celebration following their harvest, sometime between September 21 and November 11, with the Feast of Michaelmas (September 29) being the most likely date. We do, however, know that all 50 surviving Mayflower passengers were there, as well as 90 Native Americans. The feast was cooked primarily by four women, all of whom were on the Mayflower. Two years later, in 1623, following another boat of colonists arriving, the first civil (not religious) Thanksgiving took place in July.

The Revolution to the Civil War

The day of national Thanksgiving jumped around until the founding of the nation. During the late Colonial period, the Continental Congress merely recommended the day be celebrated by the various colonies. Samuel Adams drafted the first national proclamation, issued in 1777 – something to remember when you tip back one of his beers while watching the game. Revolutionary Commander General George Washington set the date in December of that year to celebrate early revolutionary victories.

In 1789, President George Washington would proclaim November 26, 1789, to be a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving. This day also provides the roots for America’s National Day of Prayer. In 1795, Thanksgiving was celebrated, again by presidential proclamation, on February 19. President John Adams continued the tradition in 1798 and 1799. The tradition was undone by deist and skeptic President Thomas Jefferson. President James Madison revived the tradition in 1814, but it remained sporadic until the Civil War. Many governors proclaimed celebrations statewide.

In November 1863, however, President Lincoln made the celebration national again. He was inspired by an editorial series written by “Mary Had a Little Lamb” author Sarah Josepha Hale. Secretary of State William H. Seward wrote the proclamation. During this period, traditions were regional and some of the food is decidedly not what we would consider to be traditional Thanksgiving fare today (pigeon pie, for example).


Franksgiving is one of those things like the court-packing plan that made FDR’s opponents squeal with laughter. FDR’s moving of the date of Thanksgiving caused his opponent in the previous election, Alf Landon, to compare him to Hitler. James Frasier, chairman of the Plymouth, Massachusetts board of selectmen heartily disapproved of the change.

The change caused a number of problems, not least of all holiday travel plans. Football teams around the nation played before empty stadiums because they couldn’t change their schedule. Many games were canceled. In what is a familiar scenario to anyone who has followed 21st-century politics, Democrats narrowly supported Franksgiving (52 to 48), Republicans widely despised it (79 to 21) and most of America didn’t like it (62 to 38).

All told, 23 states and the District of Columbia recognized the new date, while 22 preferred the traditional date. The remaining three (Colorado, Texas, and Mississippi) went with both dates, meaning there was plenty of time off for everyone. In 1940, 32 states and the nation’s capital went with Franksgiving, while the remaining 16 opted for what was called “Republican Thanksgiving.”

A report from the Department of Commerce issued in 1941, found that there was no difference in retail sales due to the day of the month. Indeed, barely more than a third of all retailers even observed Franksgiving. What’s more, only two out of every seven Thanksgivings would fall on a fifth Thursday rather than a fourth. Still, a joint resolution of Congress, signed into law by President Roosevelt, permanently moved the date to the fourth Thursday, where it has stood ever since. Most states concurred, and while revelry was on the back burner thanks to the war, Thanksgiving in its final form took root by 1945.

If you ever find yourself watching the Merrie Melodies cartoon Holiday Highlights, you’ll notice a reference to two different Thanksgivings – one for Republicans and one for Democrats – that will now make sense to you.

Texas was the last state to observe the traditional “last Thursday” Thanksgiving in 1956.

Thanksgiving Haters

While it has its roots in European harvest festivals, there is perhaps no more quintessentially American holiday than Thanksgiving. Americans eat more food this day than they will any other day of the year, including the Fourth of July and Christmas Day. Unsurprisingly, there are people who think that the celebration of Thanksgiving is shameful and should be abandoned.

Both liberal college professors and some Native American activists believe the traditional story of Thanksgiving has been whitewashed by conquerors. They believe in replacing the day with a National Day of Atonement and fasting. Other prominent Native Americans such as Tim Giago, who founded the Native American Journalists Organization, believe that the celebration of Thanksgiving is a synthesis of both European and Native American traditions and is, as such, uniquely American.

The rest of us, however, will enjoy stuffing ourselves with turkey, slipping into a tryptophan coma, and waking up just in time to catch the big game or the parade. Real Americans, as it turns out, would much rather enjoy a day off than complain.


China’s Prison Labor Camps Proven

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code


The United States gives foreign aid to China. Actually, that is against the law. Hello Pelosi and Schiff. Oh but wait, it is all justified as money to counter those abuses. Anyone trust that actually or has anyone followed that money?

It is packaged this way: U.S. foreign assistance efforts in the PRC aim to promote human rights, democracy, and the rule of law; support sustainable livelihoods, cultural preservation, and environmental protection in Tibetan areas; and further U.S. interests through programs that address environmental problems and pandemic diseases in China. The United States Congress has played a leading role in determining program priorities and funding levels for these objectives. These programs constitute an important component of U.S. human rights policy toward China. Among major bilateral aid donors to China, the United States is the largest provider of nongovernmental and civil society programming, according to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Based on what abuses Beijing is applying to the freedom fighters in Hong Kong coupled with that of the prison labor camps (500 of them) of the Uighurs, having a trade agreement between the United States and China is an arguable quest at best or is it?

Uyghur Turk exposes torture in Chinese prison

The Uighur internment camps are actually prison labor camps for the Chinese Belt Road Initiative.

classified blueprint leaked to a consortium of news organizations shows the camps are instead precisely what former detainees have described: Forced ideological and behavioral re-education centers run in secret.

The classified documents lay out the Chinese government’s deliberate strategy to lock up ethnic minorities even before they commit a crime, to rewire their thoughts and the language they speak.

The papers also show how Beijing is pioneering a new form of social control using data and artificial intelligence. Drawing on data collected by mass surveillance technology, computers issued the names of tens of thousands of people for interrogation or detention in just one week.

The documents were given to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists by an anonymous source. The ICIJ verified them by examining state media reports and public notices from the time, consulting experts, cross-checking signatures and confirming the contents with former camp employees and detainees.

They consist of a notice with guidelines for the camps, four bulletins on how to use technology to target people, and a court case sentencing a Uighur Communist Party member to 10 years in prison for telling colleagues not to say dirty words, watch porn or eat without praying.

The documents were issued to rank-and-file officials by the powerful Xinjiang Communist Party Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the region’s top authority overseeing police, courts, and state security. Much more detail here from Associated Press.

After bloody race riots rocked China’s far west a decade ago, the ruling Communist Party turned to a rare figure in their ranks to restore order: a Han Chinese official fluent in Uighur, the language of the local Turkic Muslim minority.

Now, newly revealed, confidential documents show that the official, Zhu Hailun, played a key role in planning and executing a campaign that has swept up a million or more Uighurs into detention camps.

Published in 2017, the documents were signed by Zhu, as then-head of the powerful Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party in the Xinjiang region. A Uighur linguist recognized Zhu’s signature scrawled atop some of the documents from his time working as a translator in Kashgar, when Zhu was the city’s top official.

“When I saw them, I knew they were important,” said the linguist, Abduweli Ayup, who now lives in exile. “He’s a guy who wants to control power in his hands. Everything.”

Zhu, 61, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Long before the crackdown and despite his intimate familiarity with local culture, Zhu was more hated than loved among the Uighurs he ruled.

He was born in 1958 in rural Jiangsu on China’s coast. In his teens, during China’s tumultuous Cultural Revolution, Zhu was sent to Kargilik county, deep in the Uighur heartland in Xinjiang. He never left.

Zhu joined the Party in 1980 and moved up Xinjiang’s bureaucracy, helming hotspot cities. By the 90s, he was so fluent in Uighur that he corrected his own translators during meetings.

“If you didn’t see him, you’d never imagine he’s Han Chinese. When he spoke Uighur, he really spoke just like a Uighur, since he grew up with them,” said a Uighur businessman living in exile in Turkey, who declined to be named out of fear of retribution.

The businessman first heard of Zhu from a Uighur friend who dealt with the official while doing business. His friend was impressed, describing Zhu as “very capable” — a Han Chinese bureaucrat the Uighurs could work with. But after years of observing Zhu oversee crackdowns and arrests, the businessman soon came to a different conclusion.

“He’s a crafty fox. The really cunning sort, the kind that plays with your brain,” he said. “He was a key character for the Communist Party’s policies to control Southern Xinjiang.”

Ayup, the linguist, met Zhu in 1998, when he came to inspect his township. He was notorious for ordering 3 a.m. raids of Uighur homes, and farmers would sing a popular folk song called ‘Zhu Hailun is coming’ to poke fun at his hard and unyielding nature.

“He gave orders like farmers were soldiers. All of us were his soldiers,” Ayup said. “Han Chinese controlled our homeland. We knew we needed to stay in our place.”

Months after a July 5, 2009 riot left hundreds dead in the region’s capital of Urumqi, Zhu was tapped to replace the city’s chief. Beijing almost always flew in officials from other provinces for the job, in part as training for higher posts. But central officials on a fact-finding mission in Urumqi concluded that Zhu, seen as tougher than his predecessor, needed to take charge.

“They were super unhappy,” said a Uighur former cadre who declined to be named out of fear of retribution. “It had never happened before, but because locals said he was outstanding at maintaining stability, he was snatched up and installed as Urumqi Party Secretary.”

Upon appointment, Zhu spent three days holed up in the city’s police command, vowing to tighten the government’s grip. Police swept through Uighur neighborhoods, brandishing rifles and rounding up hundreds for trial. Tens of thousands of surveillance cameras were installed.

But instead of healing ethnic divisions, the crackdown hardened them. Matters came to a head in April 2014, when Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Xinjiang on a state visit. Just hours after his departure, bombs tore through an Urumqi train station, killing three and injuring 79.

Xi vowed to clamp down even harder.

In 2016, Beijing appointed a new leader for Xinjiang — Chen Quanguo. Chen, whose first name means “whole country”, had built a reputation as a hard-hitting official who pioneered digital surveillance tactics in Tibet.

Zhu was his right-hand man. Appointed head of the region’s security and legal apparatus, Zhu laid the groundwork for an all-seeing state surveillance system that could automatically identify targets for arrest. He crisscrossed the region to inspect internment centers, police stations, checkpoints and other components of an emerging surveillance and detention apparatus.

After Chen’s arrival, Uighurs began disappearing by the thousands. The leaked documents show that Zhu directed mass arrests, signing off on notices ordering police to use digital surveillance to investigate people for having visited foreign countries, using certain mobile applications, or being related to “suspicious persons”. State television shows that Zhu continued on his relentless tour of Xinjiang’s camps, checkpoints, and police stations, personally guiding the mass detention campaign.

Zhu stepped down last year after turning 60, in line with traditional practice for Communist Party cadres of Zhu’s rank. Chen remains in his post.

“Chen Quanguo came in the name of the Party,” said the Uighur businessman. “Zhu knows how to implement, who to capture, what to do.”


Fix Bayonets Secretary Spencer, Remember?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

In an interview with CBS News after being fired Monday evening, Spencer said Trump’s insistence on maintaining Gallagher’s rank as a Navy SEAL tells troops that they “can get away with it,” if they commit a crime. “We have to have good order and discipline, it’s the backbone of what we do,” he said. Spencer added be believes Trump doesn’t fully understand the definition of a warfighter. “A warfighter is a profession of arms,” Spencer told CBS’s David Martin outside the Pentagon. “And a profession of arms has standards.”

Did any of the Pentagon military brass or bureaucracy (profession of arms) speak out at all when President Obama interfered/intervened in the scandal of Bowe Berghdal and the trade of 5 Taliban commanders? What about when President Obama commuted the 35-year sentence of Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning for stealing thousands of pages of classified material? Secretary Spencer where is your commentary on those cases? What about General Cartwright when he admitted to lying to federal investigators on the 2012 leak of classified material to the press regarding the covert cyberattack against Iran’s nuclear program, a cyber operation known at Stuxnet?

As the daughter of a Marine that fought in World War ll and Korea, it is striking to me the unique differences of war then as to military conflict today. Anyone out there care to comment on the number of bureaucrats and lawyers today as compared to those battles in the last several decades? Anyone? To be sure, the ethos of the military for decades has been core values, ethics, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. But hold on. To currently serving military and to veterans, please comment, has the brass bureaucracy and lawyers impeded the ethos of the military over political correctness and rules of engagement?

Secretary Spencer has earnestly defended the handling of the Gallagher case. Do you sir defend the Navy prosecutors for spying on Gallagher’s defense team among other tactics such that the prosecution team was fired? So, the latest review on Gallagher was to review the case for keeping his rank and trident over a photo with a corpse. Others ‘posing’ with the corpse were not punished, why not? Oh yeah, they got immunity in exchange for testimony. You mean no penalty or drop in rank or removal of an award?

I hold the collection of slides and films my father took at war in Korea. Among those photos. he stands beside a corpse with a cigarette in the mouth. Should my father’s Navy Cross be posthumously revoked? And when it comes to Rules of Engagement, would the bureaucracy and lawyers forbid fixed bayonets?

From the Arlington National Cemetery website in part:

First Lieutenant Lucian L. Vestal of “Fox” Company, 2d Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment was a man with an easy smile who liked to joke with his platoon. The smile left his face when he received his mission on May 28 to make a frontal assault across open ground near Hangye and take a hill.

He ordered his men to fix bayonets and led them out. There is something inherently eerie about the command to fix bayonets in combat. The sound of cold metal sliding from the scabbard, the metallic click of the knife locking to the rifle lug and bonding with its man chills the soul more than chambering a round. Men can chamber a round when hunting game or on the rifle range. Marines seldom fix naked steel unless against other men when death is imminent; one-on-one, muno u mum. The site of Marines advancing with fixed bayonets also has a disturbing psychological effect on the enemy. The Communists opened up with everything they had; machine guns, small-arms fire and grenades.

Marines around Vestal were dropping and only a few feet from the enemy position, Vestal himself was painfully wounded in the stomach. They closed with the Communists, driving them in fear from their  positions while Vestal calmly redeployed his platoon, directed the evacuation of his wounded and set up a screen of protective fire. They evacuated Vestal with the last of the wounded. He used his smile to hide his pain and again joked with his fellow Marines, who promptly recommended Vestal for the Navy Cross.

War is for sure ugly. It could be argued today it is uglier by an additional means and that is bureaucracy. In 2018, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the first ‘chief management officer’ for the Pentagon to ‘shake up the bureaucracy. Congress has rewritten the law many times and that bureaucracy seeps down to the commanders and battlefield. The warfighters see it, feel it, experience it while ‘winning hearts and minds of the enemy’ but not so much for our own warfighters.

Image result for marines with dead viet cong

December 1967, dead Viet Cong

Image result for marines with dead viet cong

A dead Viet Cong soldier who broke into the airbase at An Khe in the Highlands of the Republic of South Vietnam

Take a look at the Army soldiers and what they are wearing above. This is 1968 and in the Highlands, some of them have not been issued jungle fatigues, boots and M16’s. However, back in Saigon, all the brass were wearing starched jungle fatigues and M16’s were everywhere. No wonder we called them REMF’s. Tom Bigelow photo.

Today frontal assaults on the enemy or fixed bayonets are but a forgotten memory. Bureaucracy and lawyers make it so. Law and order is well understood among the ranks as is the military ethos, a photo with a corpse is hardly a crime for court-martial or is it? And the long war goes on.