THROWING STONES FROM GLASS HOUSES

“People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
~ English idiom.

It appears that Katil Erdoğan has characterized the killing of some 180 people in China’s Xinjiang province–historically the homeland of Turkic Uighurs–earlier this month as “genocide”. There’s no word in official state propaganda organs as to how many of those 180 were Han Chinese but, aside from that, I wonder how Katil Erdoğan would characterize the Ottoman Turks’ killing of 1.5 million Armenians? But we all know the answer to that, don’t we? We also know that Katil Erdoğan would not characterize his state’s approach to its official attempts to destroy the Kurdish people and their culture as cultural genocide, although it is.

The official propaganda organs here in the US have been reporting somewhat on the situation in Xinjiang and they have done so in a manner that tends to emphasize China’s dirty laundry. Naturally, this is just as hypocritical as Katil Erdoğan’s “genocide” remark. Eric Walberg at Counterpunch noted the hypocrisy earlier this week:

However, Chinese colonialism — veni, vidi, vici — pales in comparison to the US/ British variant in nearby Afghanistan — We come, destroy, and murder in the name of freedom. It is repulsively hypocritical for the Western press to take such delight in exposing China’s dirty linen, as it slavishly hails US neo-imperial ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Uighurs riot, US drones massacre hundreds of innocent Afghans and Pakistanis, and Obama sends thousands more troops to Afghanistan in a mission that makes China’s arrogant encroachment on Eastern Turkistan look like an act of selfless generosity.

With huge new bases in Afghanistan and 90,000 troops, the death toll on both sides is skyrocketing as Afghans prepare to “elect” the hated — by both Afghans and Americans — Hamid Karzai on August 20. The new US strategy is designed to reduce civilian casualties, according to General Stanley McChrystal, the new commander of NATO forces in the country, though “a price worth paying”, he assures us.

Walberg draws a comparison between the Kurds, Uighurs, and Tibetans and independence struggle:

The Uighurs and Tibetans have old and unique cultures which the Chinese would do well to respect and nurture within greater China. But supporting the independence struggle is part of a cynical geopolitical chess game, and merely worsens the Uighurs’ plight. We are reminded of Britain’s scheming there in the 19th century. If Britain had stood by the Uighurs then, there would probably be an Uighuristan today. Instead, the destruction of Urumqi and the Old City in Kashgar continue. The latter will soon be a theme park where Uighurs will dress up and sell Han tourists plastic souvenirs.

China should “respect and nurture” its distinct cultures just as Turkey “would do well to respect and nurture” the Kurdish people and culture within Turkey, actions which would, without doubt, be supported by both DTP and the PKK. However, as Walburg points out, support for Uighur independence really is “part of a cynical geopolitical chess game.” But don’t rely on official state propaganda organs to fill you in on the details. Let’s look a little further north, to Canada, for an explanation of this game of chess:

After the tragic events of July 5 in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, it would be useful to look more closely into the actual role of the US Government’s ”independent“ NGO, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). All indications are that the US Government, once more acting through its “private” Non-Governmental Organization, the NED, is massively intervening into the internal politics of China.

The reasons for Washington’s intervention into Xinjiang affairs seems to have little to do with concerns over alleged human rights abuses by Beijing authorities against Uyghur people. It seems rather to have very much to do with the strategic geopolitical location of Xinjiang on the Eurasian landmass and its strategic importance for China’s future economic and energy cooperation with Russia, Kazakhastan and other Central Asia states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The major organization internationally calling for protests in front of Chinese embassies around the world is the Washington, D.C.-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC).

The WUC manages to finance a staff, a very fancy website in English, and has a very close relation to the US Congress-funded NED. According to published reports by the NED itself, the World Uyghur Congress receives $215,000.00 annually from the National Endowment for Democracy for “human rights research and advocacy projects.” The president of the WUC is an exile Uyghur who describes herself as a “laundress turned millionaire,” Rebiya Kadeer, who also serves as president of the Washington D.C.-based Uyghur American Association, another Uyghur human rights organization which receives significant funding from the US Government via the National Endowment for Democracy.

The NED was intimately involved in financial support to various organizations behind the Lhasa ”Crimson Revolution“ in March 2008, as well as the Saffron Revolution in Burma/Myanmar and virtually every regime change destabilization in eastern Europe over the past years from Serbia to Georgia to Ukraine to Kyrgystan to Teheran in the aftermath of the recent elections.

Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, was quite candid when he said in a published interview in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

You can find more on the NED at SourceWatch and a description of its links to the neoconservatives, including PNAC, at RightWeb. These days, the president of NED is Richard Gephardt, former Armenian Genocide supporter turned lobbyist for Turkey. Listed as a director of the NED is the guy who brought genocide to East Timor in the 1970s, and who now appears to be doing the same in Pakistan and Afghanistan–Richard Holbrooke.

And what would be the purpose of the chessgame? The same as usual:

Over the past few years, in the face of what is seen as an increasingly hostile and incalculable United States foreign policy, the major nations of Eurasia—China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan have increasingly sought ways of direct and more effective cooperation in economic as well as security areas. In addition, formal Observer status within SCO has been given to Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia. The SCO defense ministers are in regular and growing consultation on mutual defense needs, as NATO and the US military command continue provocatively to expand across the region wherever it can.

[ . . ]

There is another reason for the nations of the SCO, a vital national security element, to having peace and stability in China’s Xinjiang region. Some of China’s most important oil and gas pipeline routes pass directly through Xinjiang province. Energy relations between Kazkhstan and China are of enormous strategic importance for both countries, and allow China to become less dependent on oil supply sources that can be cut off by possible US interdiction should relations deteriorate to such a point.

This is the reason why the US is in Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place; it’s all because of the Mega-Lie. It is in Central Asia that NATO and the SCO collide and we know that Turkey is one of the NATO players. Therefore it should come as no surprise to learn that, just days before trouble erupted in Xinjiang, Turkish President Abdullah Gül made his first visit to Xinjiang. Gül has also called for a “transparent investigation” into events in Xinjiang. Coming from Gül, this might sound more credible if there were a transparent investigation into his state’s Dirty War against the Kurdish people, which resulted in tens of thousands dead, millions forcibly displaced, and thousands of villages destroyed. It might sound more credible if, for example, Gül’s state had actually carried out a transparent investigation of the Şemdinli bombing. After all, now that Büyükanıt is retired, he’s ripe to be plucked from the Ergenekon tree along with all the other retired paşas.

DTP parliamentarian Selahattin Demirtaş was among those who accompanied Gül on his China visit:

Two deputies, who accompanied Gül in his visit, said no sign of an extensive uproar was apparent during a Turkish committee’s visit. But, Selahattin Demirtaş, the head of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, parliamentary group said Uighurs spoke about the government’s oppression to the committee and said that they were anxious to talk.

So the question is, did members of Gül’s entourage carry a message from the NED to the Uighurs? Is Gül acting on behalf of his American allies in Xinjiang as Turkey is doing throughout the rest of Central Asia?

As noted in the Christian Science Monitor, Turkey better walk the fine line:

Turkey has, in recent years, been working to raise its foreign policy profile and establish itself as a regional political and economic power. Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gul, actually visited Urumqi as part of a recent state visit shortly before the violence broke out there. Turkey signed a reported $1.5 billion worth of trade deals during the visit.

But analysts say Ankara’s criticism could lead to a rupture with Beijing.

“The Turks really have a tough decision to make, whether they keep this going or back off. This is a major test for Turkey’s new foreign policy,” says Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “This is a serious problem for the Turks from every angle.”

Ankara now also needs to decide if it will grant a possible request to visit Turkey by Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur diaspora activist based in the United States whom China has accused of being behind the violence in Xinjiang.

“All hell is going to break loose if she shows up in Turkey, especially after the comment that Erdogan made,” Mr. Aliriza says.

Turkey’s hypocrisy is not lost on the Chinese:

One netizen wrote, “First of all, the July 5 riot in Urumqi is China’s internal affair, with which Turkey has no right to interfere, let alone distort the facts and criticize unscrupulously. Secondly, since Turkey itself does not have a “clean record” in its own affairs, should it be allowed to blame China?

A netizen with the IP 202.108.251.xxx wrote: The Chinese government has simply been preserving the integrity of the country, ethnic unity and property of its people. The Chinese government is facing a group of terrorists. The Kurdish massacres in Turkey were a kind of genocide and Nazism. Linking China to genocide is like a thief shouting “stop thief!”

A netizen with the IP 121.14.234.xxx wrote: What Turkey did to the Kurdish people was bloody genocide. With all sense and reason, China should support the Kurdish people’s pursuit of independence.

[ . . . ]

A netizen under the name “genuine knowledge and profound view” wrote: Look at how Turkey treated its ethnic minorities: the Kurdish language is banned in schools and congress, and the use of non-Turkish languages is deemed as undermining the country’s unity.

Nor is it lost on the Armenians:

Doubtless, the events in China should be condemned. Yet, there is another factor at play here, which reminds us of the saying, “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

Turkey has its own legacy of genocide and denial, as the killing of 1.5 million Armenians remains unrecognized. It also has Kurdish blood on its hands.

For the Turkish prime minister to have the audacity to compare the killing of a few dozen Uighurs to genocide while it continues to spend millions to deny the killing of a million and a half Armenians is—if we must put it mildly—ridiculous.

But it also begs the following: Would the prime minister—who seems quick to use the term genocide to refer to the Uighurs or, before that, the atrocities in Eastern Europe and the Palestinian territories—refer to the “events of 1915” as genocidal?

After all, even by the official Turkish account, there were more than 150 people who were killed in 1915…

Of course, China has always opposed separatism:

One of the basic components of post-Mao China’s policy, domestic and international, is opposition to separatism. This policy reflects China’s uncompromising adherence to the maintenance of territorial integrity at all costs—primarily with regard to Taiwan, but also to Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. Similarly, the Chinese are fundamentally and officially opposed to separatist movements elsewhere, suggesting recently that self-determination should not necessarily involve national independence and that stateless nations should not necessarily form, or be given, states.

These rules also apply to the Kurds. To be sure, Chinese scholars deplore the Kurdish “tragedy:” the fact that a nation with such a long history could never set up its own country; the refusal of any country to seriously help the Kurds; and the use of force by host governments (primarily Turkey) to suppress Kurdish nationalism. Nevertheless, the Chinese ultimately admit that the Kurds’ demand for independence endangers these countries’ territorial integrity and national security. They claim that Kurdish legal rights should be respected and protected, but only within an autonomous arrangement in an existing state. Separatism will only lead to war, engender terrorism, and will ultimately be rejected by the international community.

But this means, in the final analysis, that China should have absolutely no problem backing the Kurdish people in Turkey because PKK’s policy is to find a political solution within the borders of Turkey. “We would like as a movement to emphasize once again that the right solution is a democratic autonomy within the borders of Turkey. We believe that a solution in the unity of Turkey will be for the benefit of firstly the Kurdish people and all the people of the region.”

American hypocrisy regarding Uighurs–aside from the whole energy resources thing mentioned above–takes on a whole new meaning when you realize that the Bush administration allowed Chinese agents to question Uighur prisoners at Gitmo.

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