CIA Further Discredits ‘Uyghur Genocide’ by Admitting Covert Influence Campaign

by | Mar 21, 2024

CIA Further Discredits ‘Uyghur Genocide’ by Admitting Covert Influence Campaign

by | Mar 21, 2024

central intelligence agency

On March 14, Reuters released a bombshell report: in 2019 the Donald Trump White House began a clandestine CIA influence campaign to smear China’s international reputation.

According to three former U.S. officials with direct knowledge, “the CIA created a small team of operatives who used bogus internet identities to spread negative narratives about Xi Jinping’s government while leaking disparaging intelligence to overseas news outlets.” The information releases “targeted public opinion” both internationally and in China itself. Along with influencing public opinion, the campaign sought to “foment paranoia among top leaders [in China]” as they tried to trace the leaked information.

The report specifically stated that CIA operatives “promoted [corruption] allegations” against Chinese government officials and “slammed as corrupt and wasteful China’s Belt and Road Initiative.” Although these specific efforts were identified, the former U.S. officials declined to name additional narratives that were advanced.

Reuters did not confirm that the campaign has continued into the Joe Biden presidency however two “unnamed intelligence historians” told Reuters that such “presidential findings” often remain in place across administrations.

The existence of this CIA influence campaign is probable given the broader historical context.

The Trump Administration marked the extreme acceleration of the United States’ new cold war against China. This began when the Pentagon issued its 2018 National Defense Strategy, which declared a refocus from Middle East “counter-terrorism” to “Great Power Competition” with Russia and China.

Subsequently, 2019 was a banner year for Western escalation against Beijing. In October 2019, the Department of Defense created a new office focused solely on confronting China, called the “deputy assistant secretary of defense for China.” In December 2019, NATO named China as an emerging “challenge.” In 2019 and 2020, the Trump administration doubled U.S. naval transits of the Taiwan Strait over previous years and conducted approximately 1,000 reconnaissance flights over the South China Sea. Of course, when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in 2020, it was immediately blamed on China.

The above efforts notwithstanding, the main thrust of America’s new cold war against China was informational. America sought to isolate China on the world stage by shredding its international reputation, justifying sanctions, and inhibiting trade. This was clear even before the CIA’s new revelation.

Aside from blaming that nation for COVID-19, the “Uyghur Genocide” narrative was the most prominant vehicle for achieving that goal. But just what focus, if any, does the CIA’s revelation provide to the facts of that narrative as we already know them?

Well, the CIA was there every step of the way.

2019 is the same year that an NGO called the “China Tribunal” began petitioning the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the Chinese Communist Party of conducting an industrial organ harvesting operation that preyed upon Chinese dissidents and Uyghur Muslims.

In January 2021, the Trump administration weaponized this claim when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, fresh off his post as CIA director, formally accused China of committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims in its Westernmost autonomous region, Xinjiang. To back this claim, Pompeo referred to the findings of a 2020 report written by a German sociologist named Adrian Zenz. The report was titled “Setilizations, IUDs, and Mandatory Birth Control: The CCP’s Campaign to Suppress Uyghur Birthrates in Xinjiang.” In March 2021, Zenz published an additional report, “The Uyghur Genocide: An Examination of China’s Breaches of the 1948 Convention.”

News outlets the world over declared that these reports were being made by “independent third parties.” Nothing could have been further from the truth.

The China Tribunal has direct connections to the fringe religious group Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritualist cult that runs The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty. Furthermore, Zenz’s reports were published by neoconservative think tanks, including the Jamestown Foundation, the Newlines Institute, and the Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. The Jamestown Foundation itself was founded by the late CIA Director William Casey. The Newlines Institute is led, inter alia, by former employees of the “shadow CIA” private spying firm Stratfor.

Myself and others, including Max Blumenthal, Gareth Porter, and Ajit Singh, have demonstrated significant statistical errors, credibility issues, mistranslations of source material, and propagandistic misrepresentations present in each report. These analyses are available elsewhere.

Each of Zenz’s reports rely in part on “leaked PRC government document[s]” to support their findings. These documents are cited by Zenz as the “Karakax List,” the “Aksu List,” and the “China Cables.”

The Karakax List allegedly shows the reasons why 311 Uyghur individuals were interned in “reeducation camps” in Xinjiang.

The China Cables purportedly consist of “an operations manual for running mass detention camps,” four “secret intelligence briefings” from a mass Chinese Uyghur data collection system, and a regional court sentencing document where a Uyghur man was ordered 10 years’ imprisonment for telling coworkers to practice “Halal.”

According to Zenz, the Karakax List was leaked by the same source that leaked the China Cables. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the organization that published the China Cables, says it received the leaks “via a chain of exiled Uyghurs,” but confirmed the document’s authenticity with several leading experts, including James Mulvenon, vice-president of Defense Group Inc, Zenz, and several intelligence sources who cannot be identified.

In 2019, the leaker identified herself as Ms. Asiye Abdulaheb, an exiled Uyghur living in the Netherlands. Ms. Abdulaheb told Dutch newspapers that she moved from China in 2009, though the documents she leaked were dated from 2017. She did not reveal how she obtained the documents.

As for the Aksu List, Human Rights Watch admits it was leaked to them by Radio Free Asia, a Cold War era CIA cutout created to disseminate American propaganda across the continent.

In July 2022, Zenz jointly published a leak with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, another anti-communist Cold War project co-founded by President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbiegniew Brzezinski. Zenz gave it the ominous title “The Xinjiang Police Files.”

Zenz claims the documents are “unprecedented evidence” that “proves [the] prison-like nature of re-education camps [and] shows top Chinese leaders’ direct involvement in the mass internment campaign.” The release consists of what is claimed to be “2,800+ Images of Detainees, 300,000+ Personal records, 23,000+ Detainee Records, and 10+ Camp Police Instructions.” According to Zenz, the documents were obtained through hacking by “a third party” who broke into the computer systems of local Chinese government officials.

When the documents were made available for public scrutiny, some anomalies were detected.

For instance, some of the documents’ metadata indicated they had been edited by Zenz and a national security contractor named Ilshat Kokbore. As it turns out, Kokbore was also the president of the American Uyghur Association and was the Director for China Affairs for the World Uyghur Congress—an NGO based in Washington that receives funding from the National Endowment for Democracy. The NED was referred to as the “second CIA” by one of its founders, Allen Weinstein, because it openly performs the work that the CIA used to do covertly.

Others questioned visual anomalies in the detainee images, which suggested they may have been computer generated.

Together, Zenz used the leaks as the centerpiece of his reports accusing China on the international stage. They were cited by every major news outlet, the U.S. State department, and even by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Zenz’s reports were sold internationally as being “unbiased” and “independent,” but the Reuters revelations place CIA operatives in China “leaking intelligence” for the admitted purpose of destroying China’s international reputation. This operation ran during the primary years of the Uyghur Genocide allegations.

The full weight of this revelation cannot be overstated.

About Patrick Macfarlane

Patrick MacFarlane is the Justin Raimondo Fellow at the Libertarian Institute where he advocates a noninterventionist foreign policy. He is a Wisconsin attorney in private practice. He is the host of the Vital Dissent at www.vitaldissent.com, where he seeks to oppose calamitous escalation in US foreign policy by exposing establishment narratives with well-researched documentary content and insightful guest interviews. His work has appeared on antiwar.com, GlobalResearch.ca, and Zerohedge. He may be reached at patrick.macfarlane@libertyweekly.net

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