China’s Emergence as a 21st Century Superpower

The China Complex: the Big Picture – Part 2

Al Jazeera (2019)

Film Review

Part 2 starts with the 1989 so-called Tiananmen Square “massacre,” which recent evidence suggests was a failed CIA-instigated color revolution.* Five months later, the Berlin Wall would collapse. According to historian F William Engdahl, the CIA also played a much greater role in the collapse of the Soviet Union than they have officially admitted.**

The 1990s saw an increasingly prosperous middle class under Deng Xiaoping’s “Strike Harsh” policy. This is described as harsh “extra legal” punishments against dissidents and “hooligans.” Much of this repression was directed against violent protests by Tibetan  (China annexed the protectorate of Tibet in 1951) and Uyhgar separatists. Though not mentioned in the documentary, both groups continue to receive significant funding and support from the CIA (see How the CIA Uses the Uyghurs to Destabilize China).

Uyghur jihadists have received additional funding and support from Turkey. With a stated goal of liberating Xinjian province as independent East Turkmenistan, they have been conducting major bombing campaigns against transportation and other government facilities.

In 2019, documents leaked by US intelligence supposedly indicate China is holding two million Uyghurs in concentration camps, as well as forbidding them to have bears or to display Arabic symbols. Given that China is far less Islamaphobic than the US, I am more inclined to believe Chinese claims the CIA photos are of voluntary vocational centers serving unemployed Uyghur youth as part of a government deradicalization program. See How Dare the US Lecture China About the Rights of Muslims

In Part 2, commentators also discuss growing Western concerns (after China joined the WTO in 2001) that it would usurp the US and Japan as the world’s major trading partners. These concerns sharply escalated when China literally saved the world from economic collapse in 2008 – by buying up a large quantity of US Treasury bonds and using central bank funding to stimulate internal economic growth.

Filmmakers go on to describe Xi Jinping’s accession to the Chinese presidency in 2012 and the immense popularity of his “Tigers and Flowers” anti-corruption campaign. The latter has resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of many notoriously corrupt local officials.

The documentary then explores China’s Belt and Road trade program that now extends from Asia into Africa. There China has essentially replaced the World Bank in handing out infrastructure development loans to struggling economies.

The film concludes by describing the trade war Trump started with China in 2018, allegedly to reduce the country’s trade surplus with the US and to punish them for failing to enforce international property treaties.


*See Tiananmen Square: The Failure of a 1989 US-inspired Color Revolution and The US-China Trade War Can be Traced Back to the Failed Tiananmen Square Color Revolution. According to several US reporters on the scene, there were no actual deaths when Chinese tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square (see The Tiananmen Square Massacre: Facts Fiction and Propaganda/).

**See Russia’s Criminal Oligarchy and the Rule of Bush Senior and the CIA

Fethullen Gulen, Turkey’s 2016 Coup, and the US Charter School Movement

Turkey’s Coup: The Gulen Mystery

RT (2018)

Film Review

This alarming RT documentary series concerns the secretive Turkish imam accused by Turkish president Recep Erdogan of orchestrating the 2016 coup. Fethullen Gulen, founder of Turkey’s Hizmet movement, defected to the US in 1995, after being charged with trying to start a secret religion. At the height of the movement’s power in 2008, it had 2-3 million Turkish followers and ran 2,000 Gulen schools and universities in 140 countries, including the US.

The US is resisting Turkey’s demands for Gulen’s extradition to stand trial for his role in the coup.

What I found most concerning about the series is learning (in Part 4) of Hizmet’s extensive role in starting 170 taxpayer funded Gulen charter schools in the US. The FBI raided a number of Gulen schools in 2011 as part of an ongoing investigation. For some mysterious reason, the mainstream media made no mention of this at the time of the Turkish coup.

Some Russian analysts believe Gulen received CIA support in expanding his private school network to newly independent Muslim republics following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 2008, the Justice Department appealed the State Department’s decision to award Gulen permanent residency in the US. They lost the appeal based on two letters from the CIA and one from the US ambassador in Ankara.

Gulen presently lives on a 25 acre estate in Pennsylvania.

Part 1 describes the formation of the Hizmet movement in Turkey in the sixties and seventies and the spread of Gulen schools to Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Bosnia, Ukraine and Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. During the same period, they also spread to many countries in Africa and Asia.

Part 2 describes the expansion of Gulen schools into Russia and Germany. After Putin came to power, many Russian Gulen schools were closed after parents complained about their children being indoctrinated with Islamic beliefs.

Part 3 includes interviews with Turkish immigrants in Germany and the extortion-style techniques the Hizmet movement used to pressure them to help fund new Gulen schools.

Part 4 examines the history of Gulen charter school movement in the US. One former American Gulen school teacher describes their abusive treatment of women and the complaint she made to the FBI about her husband being forced contribute 40% of his salary to the Hizmet movement. At the height of their power, the Hismet movement represented a powerful tightly controlled international corporation and had major presence in number of Turkish government agencies.

Part 5 explores the powerful role of the Turkish military in maintaining Turkey’s status as a secular state. It also describes a brief alliance between Erdogan and Gulen in the early 1990s to advocate for greater Islamic influence over Turkish society. Prior to the 2016 coup, the Hizmet movement controlled the second largest media empire in Turkey – with six TV stations, two radio stations and several newspapers, magazines and publishing companies. Following the coup, Erdogan arrested 102,000 members of the Izmet movement and fired 130,000 others who held government jobs. He closed all Turkey’s Gulen schools or arranged for their takeover by local authorities, He also shut down 1,500 Hizmet-funded NGOs and their Turkish media network. The subsequent drop in their funding led to the closure or takeover of many Gulen schools worldwide.

Part 5, which can’t be embedded, can be viewed free at

The Rise and Fall of Fethullah Gulen

 

Policing International Drug Trafficking in Iran

Drugs: No Way Out

Press TV (2018)

Film Review

This is a very interesting documentary about the role of Iranian customs officials  in disrupting the flow of Afghan heroin to Europe. At present, Afghanistan (thanks largely to the CIA) is the world largest producer of opium and heroin. Between 2001-2010, the Afghan opium/heroin trade took in over $68 billion in revenue. Of this, $66 billion went to the drug “mafia” (CIA?), $2 billion to the Afghan government and $200 million to the Taliban insurgency.

The principal (shortest) route for transporting heroin to the lucrative European market is via Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey. Most of the illicit heroin is smuggled in trucks across the Turkmenistan border. Iranian customs officials also intercept a lot of diazepam (Valium) originating from Pakistan, where the drug is available without prescription.

At the Turkish border, Iran intercepts large volumes of hydrochloric and acetic acid. These chemicals are destined for Afghanistan, where they are used to refine opium into heroin. Large amounts of ephedrine (used to manufacture methamphetamine) and synthetic drugs (eg tramadol and ecstasy) are also intercepted at the Turkish border.

Running the Gauntlet: The Tortuous Path to Political Asylum in Europe.

Sky and Ground

Directed by Joshua Bennett (2018)

Film Review

Sky and Ground is about two refugee families from battle torn Aleppo who illegally smuggle themselves from Turkey to Germany, where they are eligible to apply for asylum. Due to archaic and tortuous EU law, they are unable to apply for political asylum unless they run the gauntlet and illegally cross a number of countries to reach German soil.

Using smugglers to cross the Mediterranean, they decide to leave Greece after a hepatitis A outbreak in their refugee camp. An uncle, a filmmaker, captures their journey on his Smartphone. He also uses the phone to communicate with brothers in Germany, who track them via GPS and advise them of the best routes to take.

In 2016, Macedonia has just closed their border, which means they must find an unguarded wilderness crossing point. They seek medical help when one of the women sprains her ankle. The Red Cross turns them into the police – who return them to the Greek refugee camp.

On their second attempt they walk mainly at night across Macedonia. They openly cross the Serbia border, where police transport them to a hostel in Belgrade.

They stay in a refugee camp on the Serbian-Hungarian border, where the Hungarian police demand a $50 bribe not to return them to Greece. As a single man, their uncle is forced to remain in the refugee camp for 28 days. A relative from Germany flies to Hungary to assist the other family members in traveling by train from Hungary to Austria. There, they are taken to the police station, where they are issued a 14-day permit.

Eventually the entire group reaches Germany, where they apply for, and receive, temporary asylum.

 

 

Italy: The Mafia and the Migrants

Italy: The Mafia and the Migrants

Al Jazeera (2018)

Film Review

This documentary concerns Mafia ties to Italy’s privately run immigrant reception centers. In the last four years Italy has admitted 600,000 migrants, who have crossed the Mediterranean by boat from Turkey and North Africa. The European Union pays the Italian government to operate emergency reception centers to provide migrant accommodation, food, clothes, medical services, “processing” (ie assistance in applying for refugee status), language training, employment referral and other integration services.

The Italian government, which pays these centers $35 per day per migrant, makes little effort to monitor them. Many are unsafe and unsanitary and so overcrowded that residents are forced to sleep in kitchens and showers. Likewise many reception center managers have little or no management or social service experience. Even more ominous, many are openly contracting with Mafia-run businesses.

In the eyes of the Italian Mafia, “migrants are worth more than drugs.” Although it’s illegal for any company convicted of Mafia affiliations to receive government contracts, generous kickbacks ensure local officials (and clergy) look the other way. In one reception center, a mob-run catering company routinely charges for 500 more meals than it serves.

A state prosecutor investigating the catering company estimates the mob has already made more than $1 billion of the refugee industry.

Turkish Invasion Pits Neocons Against Traditional Imperialists

Syrian Kurds celebrate a victory over ISIS. One of the most disciplined forces in the region—aside from Damascus’ own army and Hezbollah—they have been well armed and trained. Their military includes women fighters. Their alliance with the USA will probably cost them dearly.

 

US foreign policy in the Middle East is not merely adrift, it is in a state of severe crisis.

Even as Turkish tanks and warplanes continue to pound US allies in northwestern Syria (The Kurds), powerbrokers in the White House and the Pentagon are unable to settle on a way forward. The frantic attempts to placate their NATO ally, Turkey, while trying to assuage the fears of their mostly Kurdish proxy-army (Syrian Democratic Forces) has further underscored the dismal absence of a coherent policy that would not only address the rapidly-changing battlespace  but also deal with the prospect that a critical regional ally (Turkey) might seek strategic objectives that are directly at odds with those of Washington.  The present disaster that is unfolding in the Afrin canton in Syria’s northwest corner could have been avoided had the Trump administration abstained from announcing that it planned a permanent military presence in east Syria, which implied its tacit support for an independent Kurdish state. This, in fact, was the trigger for the current crisis, the provocation that set the dominoes in motion.

The unexpected escalation of fighting on the ground (Afrin), along with Turkey’s promise to clear the Syrian border all the way to Iraq, has only increased the sense of panic among Trump’s top national security advisors who are making every effort to minimize the damage by trying to bring Turkey’s invasion to a swift end. As yet, there is no sign that Turkey will stop its onslaught short of achieving its goals which involve defeating elements of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) that have joined the US-backed SDF. Ankara has already warned Washington that it will defend its national security against Kurdish forces (which it considers “terrorists”) whether US troops are located in the area or not. The possibility that one NATO ally might actually attack US Special Forces operating on the ground in Syria has ignited a flurry of diplomatic activity in Washington and across Europe. What started as an announcement that was intended to send a warning to Moscow and Tehran that the US planned to be in Syria “for the long-haul”, has dramatically backfired pitting Ankara against Washington while casting doubt on the Trump administration’s ability to diffuse a potentially-explosive situation. . .

Source: http://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/02/01/turkish-invasion-pits-neocons-against-traditional-imperialists/

Hidden History: The 1915 Armenian Genocide

1915 Aghet: The Armenian Genocide

NDT (2010)

Film Review

Aghet is a documentary based on eyewitness accounts from German, Danish, French and Swedish diplomatic and military archives about the Armenian genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire between 1915-1923.

Turkey and US Refuse to Acknowledge Armenian Genocide

Although most of Europe acknowledges that Turkish authorities killed 1.5 million Armenians during this period, the current Turkish government denies the genocide ever occurred – in fact it’s currently illegal under Turkish law to mention the Armenian genocide in public.

The US government also refuses to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. Presumably this relates to Turkey’s threats to suspend diplomatic relations and close US bases there.

Most of the archival evidence examined in the film comes from Germany, Turkey’s World War I ally. As Germany provided Turkey’s weaponry and military training Turkey during World War I, they were in the best position to know that Armenians were being arbitrarily detained for extermination. Yet they did nothing to stop it. Most of the photos and film footage features in this documentary was smuggled out of Turkey by German soldiers.

At the start of World War I, the global Armenian population was approximately 5 million, divided between Persia (Iran), Russia and Turkey. Turkey’s two million Armenians had a history of discrimination in education housing and employment. As Christians in a Muslim nation, they were required to pay a special tax. In 1895, 250,000 were killed in a pogrom.

Ethnic Purity and Turkey for Turks

Turkey’s 1908 revolution brought a new government to power that heavily emphasized ethnic purity and “Turkey for Turks.” However the immediate justification for rounding up and expelling Armenian Turks was their alleged collaboration with Russian invaders.

While a small number of Armenians were either imprisoned and tortured or beaten to death, the majority were condemned to a bizarre forced march into the Syrian desert (at the time Syria was part of the Ottoman Empire). As the Turkish soldiers who accompanied them gave them nothing to eat or drink, most died of hunger, thirst or disease long before they reached Syria. Amazingly, with the help of Christian missionaries, around 500,000 out of 2 million survived.

Turkish Government Tries to Collect on Armenian Life Insurance Policies

Over time both Turkey’s and Germany’s attitude towards the Armenian genocide have been extremely schizophrenic. The German ambassador flatly refused to contact New York Life insurance company to assist the Turkish government to collect on the life insurance policies of Armenian victims. However the German government had no problem smuggling the three Turkish leaders responsible for the genocide into Europe. At the end of the war, Turkish courts tried and convicted them for crimes against humanity.

In 1919, an Armenian refugee Salomon Teilirian assassinated one of them in Berlin. His acquittal – based on evidence he presented documenting the Armenian genocide – is credited for bringing this atrocity to world attention.