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Monday, March 31

To leaders of the Free World on the matter of a boycott of the 2008 Olympics

For many years you have acted as enablers by not saying 'no' in unequivocal, unifed fashion to Chinese leaders who demand that China be addressed on the same level as democracies.

So I don't know which is sillier: your calls for dialogue between the Dalai Lama and China's leaders, or the assertion by the Speaker of Tibet's Parliament in exile that world leaders "must use the Olympics to force China to conform with international rules."

By listening to the Dalai Lama on how to deal with China you are acting like relatives of a drug addict who clutch at a sermon to justify giving the addict one more fix.

Get it straight: it is not your place to lecture China because you long ago killed off all respect that China's leaders had for you by not sticking to your principles.

Your place is that of an enabler; that's the place you fell into after you repeatedly betrayed democratic values in your dealings with China. So this not about China. This is about you. You learn to deal with yourselves. You recognize what you are in relation to China's leaders, then correct your behavior.

As for the Olympics -- just don't go. No fancy speeches, no ringing explanations; just give your regrets and don't go. That is the kind of advice any psychologist would give people who plead to know how to help an addicted family member. Just stop giving him dope.

Learning to stop being an enabler is not rocket science; the hardest part is confronting the destructive aspect of an obsessive co-dependent relationship.

So you don't need to ponder how to deal with China. You need to phone a psychologist who specializes in dealing with co-dependents. If necessary, you need an intervention.

What's that? Okay I'll show you. First you need to recognize that while humans are not by nature stupid they can be conditioned to act stupidly. So while the actions of Chinese leaders toward Tibetans are not your fault, it is your fault that they stupidly assumed they could get away with their actions by throwing a tantrum if you crossed them.

How to correct your fault? You need to find strength to resist the temptation to go on treating adults as if they're two year's old as the way to keep peace in the family. For this an intervention can be necessary. There are two types of intervention, often deployed in stages. The first stage is external, physical intervention:

You tell me to lock you in a room because you're feeling the overpowering urge to undertake "confidence building" measures in response to China's leaders throwing a tantrum at you.

Then you spend the next 12 hours pounding on the door and yelling that I'm going straight to hell if I don't open the door immediately.

You spend the next 12 hours offering me a $100 billion in cash if I'll unlock the door.

The next 12 hours are spent telling me that whatever bad happens to China will be all my fault because I didn't let you out.

When if finally dawns on you that you're using the same strategies on me that China's leaders use on you, I unlock the door.

The second stage is self-intervention. If you don't feel you have enough strength of will to resist old habits of behavior, you find help in maintaining resolve from a support group -- which you have readily available in the form of the citizens you represent and your relationship with other leaders of democratic nations.

And you learn to fall on your knees frequently and ask whatever higher power you believe in to give you Nelson Mandela's tenacity.

Some clarifications: A second look at the Lhasa, Tibet riots. Part 7

Here are my responses to criticism of Part 5 and Part 6 of this series of posts.

> It is undeniable that Epoch Times picked up on the SARS outbreak story "very early," given the length of time that Beijing denied the existence of the story, which doesn't mean I'm saying that ET did original reporting on the story very early on.

> What was done or not done to a photograph/film footage (e.g., cropping, photoshopping) of the man with the knife/sword is not the key point. What's key is the eyewitness account relating to the footage. The eyewitness, a Thai Chinese woman, claims that she recognized the man as a Chinese policeman working for the police in Tibet, and that she saw him removing Tibetan clothes when he arrived at the Lhasa police station. (See the report in Part 6.)

> The white scarf issue I raised in my Rent-a-mob post (Part 5) is admittedly tenuous but suggestive in light of anecdotes that non-Tibetan or non-Lhasa Tibetan accents/dialects were heard among the March 14 rioters. The key point is that if there were indeed outsiders used to stage attacks on Han property, then it seems logical that there would need to be some method of clearly identifying Han shops/residences for the outsiders. The white scarf might have been such a method, although of course there could have been others.

> In discussing the issue of the white scarfs I made specific reference to the Bharkor area, not to "Lhasa." While Lhasa can be termed a big enough place where Lhasa Tibetans might not be expected to recognize every Tibetan shop, the Bharkor area is not big. And it is there that the hanging of white scarfs to identify Tibetan shops is worth noting, as I pointed out in the earlier post.

> Re the argument that China authorities wouldn't start a riot on the theory that it could get out of hand: eyewitness accounts indicate a large and capable police/ military presence, which for the most part stood down until the riots fizzled out on March 17. In other words, if the March 14 riots were started by the authorities, they obviously felt so much in control of the situation that they didn't need to act.

The April 1 edition of an Australian newspaper passes along observations from a Chinese blogger that are worth considering in the context of studying the Lhasa riots:
[...] Chinese blogger Lian Yue, who campaigned to stop a massive chemical factory being built in downtown Xiamen, a port city in Fujian province, puts the other extreme position in his now removed blog (translated courtesy of China Digital Times - a website banned in China):

1. If there is a power that wants to block information, then we should assume this power is bad.

2. If this power actually blocked the information, then this power should be assumed to be worse.

3. If the power which blocked information now publishes only one-sided information, then we should assume this information is false.

4. For all untrue information, the power which blocks information should be held most responsible.

5. The power which blocks information has no credibility to judge related information that flows around.

6. Information blocking is the only reason for making the divide deeper and the situation worse, since people in different positions are all talking from their own perspectives, and cannot be verified.

7. Ultra-nationalism is an emotion, not reason; therefore censorship is a bed for such emotion, fostering extreme-Tibetan, extreme-Han, Japan hatred, Taiwan hatred and other extreme emotions.

8. Mainland China is a place full of such extreme emotions. This extreme emotion supports the power, and likely prevents reform of the power.

9. Only sufficient information and sufficient expression can dissolve such extreme emotion. Trying to control so-called "dangerous speech" is the biggest danger.

10. Therefore, allowing the media to freely enter Tibet to report is a critical way to solve this problem.
While we're on the subject of SARS news reporting and censorship, this August 2003 report by Erping Zhang titled SARS: Unmasking Censorship in China is very instructive and also appropriate to Lian Yue's remarks.

Pundita brain furballs ack ack!

Re my brief post Ontario QC supports my prediction ...

Part of the original wording of my mention of Mr Langlois's analysis of Marc Lemire's case (i.e., that Langlois "came down on the side of ...") could easily have been misinterpreted to mean that he approved of the tribunal making a decision based on the need to save face.

Of course a reading of Langlois's letter makes it clear that he was simply assessing the decision on Lemire against the kangaroo court's need to preserve face, and so my revised mention explains this in more precise fashion: "But his informed analysis shrewdly explains why an acquittal would be in the best interests of the kangaroo court system."

A reader once advised that I wouldn't have to apologize for brain furballs if I were not so nit-picking -- a criticism I gladly accept. The often hurried remarks one posts while blogging can sometimes be better put, on reflection. And the published word does not allow for the back-and-forth and nuances of expression and intonation that conversation provides, and which smooth over imprecise language.

So if I think I have misrepresented the views of another (or my own) I will revise after publication -- a practice that has admittedly exasperated some readers -- until I am satisfied I have clearly conveyed a thought.

This doesn't mean I won't deploy statements that are quite obviously wild exaggerations or misstatements in order to pound home a point -- or, in the manner of tit-for-tat -- to match an agendist or propagandist for nonsense. Once, while chewing out an official for spinning, I snapped that our ancestors didn't trouble themselves to invent iron in order to see their adult descendants acting like kindergartners.

But the need for precision in published comments has taken on vital dimensions. That's because this era in mass communications has spawned a cat-and-mouse game between spin artists and members of the public who are determined to get at the truth.

Nowhere is this phenomenon more prevalent than in news relating to foreign policy -- and these days many newsworthy matters relate to foreign policy. This situation has placed several bloggers, Pundita among them, in the position of an intelligence analyst. We can spend hours poring over tiny shreds of data in the attempt to catch the propagandists in a lie or at least raise a warning flag.

Yet often there's a gray area where 'spin' might simply be a reporter too rushed to meet a deadline to write in the clearest fashion, or an official employing sloppy language.

Separating the chaff of honest miscommunication from the grain of calculated spin can be a tedious exercise, which has engendered in me a great respect for precision in writing and speaking for news publication.

To be frank, yesterday was a bad day for my brain because instead of giving it a day of rest from playing intel analyst I did something stupid. I plowed through several opinion pieces about China and the Tibet riots that were penned by Western reporters who had spent years writing about China.

This led me to attempt to figure out whether the reporters were apologists for China's government, products of an education system that elevated multiculturalism above all other concerns, loyally supporting the Panda Hugging policy of top officials in their government, overwhelmed by mountains of conflicting data, or simply confused. This piece by Richard Spencer is representative of what I suppose could be called an emerging genre.

I am certain the attempt to see through that much fog created brain furballs -- which, I might add, led to other sloppy writing yesterday. I have a standing joke when I add a blog to my blogroll that probably has more readers than mine: "Don't stay up all night celebrating." But making the joke public without explaining it could have created misunderstanding.

Also, I foolishly drew attention to my blogroll, which I haphazardly updated yesterday without explaining why I dropped certain blogs from the list. This led to inquires by two fans of one blog and the argument from another reader that if I had more than blog in the GWOT category, why couldn't I have more than one blog in the Canada Brigade category?

Regarding the blog in question, I added it to the blogroll in a rush of enthusiasm for the blog's concept, but later realized that my knowledge of 4GW was not sufficient for properly assessing the arguments put forth on the blog.

Regarding the argument: the Canadian freedom of speech issue has an important yet greatly overlooked connection to foreign policy matters, which is why a reference to the issue was overdue for mention on my blogroll. But the war has a huge impact on US foreign relations. Each blog under the GWOT heading represents a different specialty with regard to the war, although one blog -- Belmont Club -- is generalist oriented with regard to war matters.

Technically, Ya Libnan belongs in a country category, where I originally had it. I may move it back to that category the next time I update the blogroll. And Gates of Vienna is long overdue for its own category; it's just a matter of my thinking up a pithy title for the category. This American blog has definitely come to specialize in what Spengler termed Europe in the House of War.

Yet few entries on my blogroll stay within the bounds of a specialization; e.g., Belmont Club often forays into US politics. This can make it hard to categorize a blog; for example ZenPundit (listed under Eclectic) technically belongs in the GWOT category, or at least a subcategory of 4GW, but he also takes up discussions of topics related to epistemology.

Why bother with categories? I think a simple listing of blogs works best for sites that can be readily categorized and which have an easily identifiable readership. In that case a new visitor can readily assume that all the blogs on the blogroll support the blogger's viewpoint.

None of the above applies to this blog; it's not possible to gauge my view on US foreign policy from studying the blogroll. There's an understandable reason for this when you know my history of US foreign policy in the modern era:

During the Cold War years, US foreign policy was run out of a post box near NATO headquarters. Then US foreign policy was run out of a post box near the European Parliament. After 9/11, US foreign policy consisted of a big cloud of dust, as you see in a cartoon fight, with "BIFF! BAM! OW!" overhead in US official and policy circles.

In short there is no true 'United States of America' foreign policy yet. And forging one requires traveling a steep learning curve -- a journey that many US politicians and policy analysts are not willing to make, prefering instead to rehash the past. Pundita prefers to slog it out on the learning curve.

Sunday, March 30

An Ontario QC supports my prediction that Marc Lemire will be acquitted

But his informed analysis shrewdly explains why an acquittal would serve the kangaroo court system. See the update at the bottom of yesterday's first post for the QC's letter.

Saturday, March 29

Video and text of Dalai Lama accusing China of staging Lhasa riots: A second look at Lhasa riots, Part 6

The Times of India reports that today the Dalai Lama:
... accused China of staging violence in Lhasa and sought the help of the international community to bring China to the dialogue table.

(Watch the press conference: Rioters were Chinese, says Dalai Lama)

Chinese soldiers in the garb of Tibetan monks and ordinary people were indulging in violence shown on Chinese television, the Dalai Lama said at a press conference here on Saturday.

"To a lay person, soldiers dressed like monks may look like monks. But we watched the images carefully and realized that they were not monks. Also, in a photograph showing a Tibetan with a sword, the sword is Chinese. They all look like Chinese people dressed like Tibetans," the Dalai Lama said [...]
The Dalai Lama's accusation jibes with an ancedote that many guests in a Chinese-run hostel in Lhasa said they heard different (non-local Tibetan) dialects among rioters they encountered.

And it jibes with eyewitness testimony that a Chinese policeman in Lhasa dressed as a Tibetan and took part in the riots.

Don't stay up all night celebrating, Binky

I've added the Free Mark Steyn! website to the Pundita blogroll under the heading "Canada Free Speech Brigade." The lone entry will surely raise eyebrows. Why didn't I also add links to Steyn Online and Ezra Levant and Deborah Gyapong and FreedomSite and -- and that's just the point. If I listed all the Canadian websites posting about restoring freedom of speech in Canada, the list would be a yard long.

Free Mark Steyn! is 'information central.' The site carries a daily scoop of news and opinion relating to Canada's free speech movement and related issues, and so it provides a gateway to all the newspapers and websites that discuss Canada's free speech deficit.

If you're reading this from Cairo or Shanghai you might sniff that you have no interest in the protests of people who already enjoy genuine democracy and a great measure of freedom of speech.

Let me answer you this way: if I told you the number and type of rights that Canada's government suspends in the name of defending multiculturalism but I didn't name the country, then asked you to tell me which country I was referring to you'd probably answer, "North Korea."

To put this another way Canadians don't actually have basic rights accorded under a genuine democracy; they have the illusion of such rights.

If you tell me that can't possibly be or you would have heard about it before -- it took wide publicity about a spectacular attack on the illusion to blow the lid off Canada's supposedly 'liberal' democracy.

The attack came in the form of discrimination complaints against Canada's only weekly newsmagazine, Maclean's, and while the complaints had been filed early in 2007 they didn't start to gain publicity until December.

Until then many Canadians didn't understand the extent to which they'd sacrificed their rights because until the Maclean's case, the state suspended basic Constitutional rights only for a tiny minority of Canadians: those who publicly expressed politically incorrect views that were roundly despised by the majority of Canadians.

However, suspending basic rights to defend political correctness is a slippery slope, as Canadians have now learned the hard way. So no matter where in the world you call home, you can learn much that's applicable to your country from studying the Canada free speech movement.

By the way, many Canadian FreeSpeechers are writing on freedom of speech issues in countries outside Canada. Yes indeed, there is nothing like discovering that North Koreans might have greater freedom than you to make you a big supporter of freedom of speech around the world. So if you have a rant about your country's problems with free speech, send it to Binky at Free Mark Steyn!

Aside to readers who keep up with news on the Section 13 War:

I think that Athanasios Hadjis will find in favor of Marc Lemire, thus skewing the 100% conviction rate of Canada's kangaroo courts. I know you'll file this under "Dumbest Prediction in 2008" but I arrived at it by putting myself in Hadjis's place while he presided over the March 25 tribunal hearing.

Even kangaroo courts have to keep up appearances, but on that day the complainants went out of their way to mock the process -- and they did so with knowledge that the hearing was open to the public and would receive wide publicity.

So, while a decision against Lemire has been read into Hadjis's impatient comments throughout the hearing that "We're done," look it from another angle. If you were Hadjis wouldn't you say, "We're done here," after you found your position publicly treated with so much open contempt by the complainants?

Also, I think that when Hadjis comes across Warren Kinsella's published fake photo of Marc Lemire, he may decide to acquit Lemire by way of teaching Mr Kinsella a lesson in how to be a human.

Yes, I am probably dreaming, but that's my prediction and I hope not to have to eat it come June when Hadjis rules.

On second thought, I might add Lemire's primary website to the blogroll. After all, while the vast majority his fellow Canadians were sleepwalking, he was wide awake and fighting for their Constitutional rights.

March 30 12:30 AM Update
Pundita:
As one somewhat experienced after years of litigation in the real courts,along with some of the quasi courts and tribunals, I believe I will be proven right when I say Chairman Hadjis last Tuesday was clearly looking to the end of the hearing so that he could retire to chambers and ponder how he could let Lemire walk away. For that reason I read the words "that's done", to be the equivalent to "let's move on" and finalize the proceedings.

As I have stated elsewhere, my take on it will be that he will find the conduct of the Commission investigators (including Warman) to be so egregious and offensive as to irreparably have tainted the entire process.

In consequence, he will be able to solemnly pronounce that because of the conduct of these individuals (and that is important) the Tribunal cannot see its way clear to accepting that Marc Lemire offended the Act and particularly Section 13 (1). He has the opportuntiy to cast Steacy and Riczk to the wolves and effectively blame their shameful investigative conduct and incredibility for the loss of the Commission's case, thereby saving the Commission and the Tribunal from the ignomy of further public approbation. After all, the only real loser would be Warman, wouldn't it?

That opinion is supported somewhat by my reading of the transcripts of earlier proceedings, particularly those involving the Section 37 objections to the requests to disclose information. He was very clearly vexed by the conduct of solicitor Vigna who seemed to posture his way through a "sick plea" to get the proceedings adjourned.

There is very little a Chairman can do in those circumstances, short of calling Mr Vigna a liar to his face, which of course would not do either in polite society or in a courtroom. Forcing him to continue despite his protestations could create the grounds for appellate review.

That said, Chairman Hadjis is no fool. If he condemns Lemire, he undoubtedly faces a review in Federal Court and further appeals to higher levels. In view of the offensive nature of the investigation, and the massive publicity surrounding this matter, he will do the prudent thing and put the matter to rest by simply acquiting Lemire of any offense under the Act: case closed once and for all with no Charter challenge.

The Commission will survive a bit of a bruising; the Tribunal will appear "just, fair and equitable"; and Lemire will walk away with empty pockets.

Gerald E Langlois QC
Hawkesbury, Ontario

Friday, March 28

Evidence emerges that authorities staged Lhasa riots: A second look at the riots in Lhasa, Tibet: Part 5

March 31 Update
Here are my responses to criticism of Part 5 and Part 6 of this series of posts.

> It is undeniable that Epoch Times picked up on the SARS outbreak story "very early," given the length of time that Beijing denied the existence of the story, which doesn't mean I'm saying that ET did original reporting on the story very early on.

> What was done or not done to a photograph/film footage (e.g., cropping, photoshopping) of the man with the knife/sword is not the key point. What's key is the eyewitness account relating to the footage. The eyewitness, a Thai Chinese woman, claims that she recognized the man as a Chinese policeman working for the police in Tibet, and that she saw him removing Tibetan clothes when he arrived at the Lhasa police station. (See the report in Part 6.)

> The white scarf issue I raised in my Rent-a-mob post (Part 5) is admittedly tenuous but suggestive in light of anecdotes that non-Tibetan or non-Lhasa Tibetan accents/dialects were heard among the March 14 rioters. The key point is that if there were indeed outsiders used to stage attacks on Han property, then it seems logical that there would need to be some method of clearly identifying Han shops/residences for the outsiders. The white scarf might have been such a method, although of course there could have been others.

> In discussing the issue of the white scarfs I made specific reference to the Bharkor area, not to "Lhasa." While Lhasa can be termed a big enough place where Lhasa Tibetans might not be expected to recognize every Tibetan shop, the Bharkor area is not big. And it is there that the hanging of white scarfs to identify Tibetan shops is worth noting, as I pointed out in the earlier post.

> Re the argument that China authorities wouldn't start a riot on the theory that it could get out of hand: eyewitness accounts indicate a large and capable police/ military presence, which for the most part stood down until the riots fizzled out on March 17. In other words, if the March 14 riots were started by the authorities, they obviously felt so much in control of the situation that they didn't need to act.

The April 1 edition of an Australian newspaper passes along observations from a Chinese blogger that are worth considering in the context of studying the Lhasa riots:
[...] Chinese blogger Lian Yue, who campaigned to stop a massive chemical factory being built in downtown Xiamen, a port city in Fujian province, puts the other extreme position in his now removed blog (translated courtesy of China Digital Times - a website banned in China):

1. If there is a power that wants to block information, then we should assume this power is bad.

2. If this power actually blocked the information, then this power should be assumed to be worse.

3. If the power which blocked information now publishes only one-sided information, then we should assume this information is false.

4. For all untrue information, the power which blocks information should be held most responsible.

5. The power which blocks information has no credibility to judge related information that flows around.

6. Information blocking is the only reason for making the divide deeper and the situation worse, since people in different positions are all talking from their own perspectives, and cannot be verified.

7. Ultra-nationalism is an emotion, not reason; therefore censorship is a bed for such emotion, fostering extreme-Tibetan, extreme-Han, Japan hatred, Taiwan hatred and other extreme emotions.

8. Mainland China is a place full of such extreme emotions. This extreme emotion supports the power, and likely prevents reform of the power.

9. Only sufficient information and sufficient expression can dissolve such extreme emotion. Trying to control so-called "dangerous speech" is the biggest danger.

10. Therefore, allowing the media to freely enter Tibet to report is a critical way to solve this problem.
While we're on the subject of SARS news reporting and censorship, this 2003 report by Erping Zhang titled SARS: Unmasking Censorship in China is very instructive and also appropriate to Lian Yue's remarks.
End of Update
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I will not be tedious and intone, "I told you so," -- well, okay, I'll be tedious. And I am smug enough to predict that the evidence compiled by Sound of Hope reporters is just the beginning of the lid blowing off the Lhasa riots.

Before we proceed, nobody needs to warn me about considering the source. I have done my share of ragging on Epoch Times at this blog -- and most recently the other day.

Yes, you need to take with a grain of salt hit pieces by ex-CCP officials. But let us not forget that ET picked up on the SARS outbreak story very early, and stayed with it while Beijing was hotly denying that an epidemic existed.

What follows is simply great reporting by Sound of Hope. Visit the article for photographs presented in evidence and links; I have capitalized and bolded words in the article where there is a link.
Chinese Regime Implicated in Staging Violence in Lhasa—UPDATED
http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-3-28/67906.html

Witness identifies policeman who played part of 'rioter'

By Qin Yue and Qi Yue
Sound of Hope
Mar 28, 2008

Evidence is accumulating that the Chinese regime orchestrated violence in Lhasa in order to discredit the peaceful protests of Buddhist monks. According to the Dalai Lama's Chinese translator, Ngawang Nyendra, a witness reported that a Chinese policeman in Lhasa disguised himself as a Tibetan and joined the protesters holding a knife in his hand. This witness also recognized the man from BBC NEWS footage and news photos provided by China.

A Chinese woman from Thailand (who prefers that her name not be used) was studying in Lhasa when the protests broke out in March. As one of her friends is a policeman, she visited him at the local police station quite often and got to know other policemen there.

After the protests on March 14, she and other foreigners were sent to the police station where she saw a man with a knife in his hand walking in with some arrested Tibetans. The man later took off the Tibetan-style clothes and put on a police uniform. This woman was sent out of Lhasa with other foreigners the next day. When she arrived in India via Nepal, she recognized the policeman she had seen in Tibetan garb from BBC TV news and PHOTOS that the Chinese embassy had provided to the media.

Ngawang Nyendra said the witness was shocked when she saw the policeman in the BBC broadcast. She realized then that the man had disguised himself as a Tibetan in order to incite people to riot. The witness contacted a Tibetan organization in India and told them what she had seen. At a rally on March 17, the organization publicized a news photo originally provided by the Chinese Embassy in India in which the policeman appeared as a Tibetan rioter.

On Xinhua and other Chinese-language Web sites friendly to the regime, after the rally at which the witness spoke, the policeman in disguise had disappeared from photos taken at the same scene in which he had previously been visible. Recently, the original man-with-the-knife photo has returned to these Web sites.

Ngawang Nyendra said, "This photo with this man in it was sent by the Chinese embassy to BBC and Radio Free Asia. The other photo was sent out later. They are exactly the same except the man has disappeared from the second photo. "From the TV news footage, you can see this man attempting to stab other people with a knife. But in later shots you can't find this person any more. They were acting. After people raised questions about these shots, this footage never appeared on TV again."

Other Evidence

The main claim of the dramatic story told last week by the Dalai Lama's translator -- that the Chinese regime incited the riots in Lhasa -- has lately found corroboration from other sources. There is first of all the Chinese regime's track record of staging this kind of deception. This is not the first time that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has sent policemen to act as rioters in civilian protests in Tibet to stir up violence and frame the protesters.

In his "Events in Lhasa March 2-10, 1989", the Chinese journalist Tang Daxian revealed how the CCP orchestrated violence as part of a plan to suppress the 1989 protests in Tibet.

According to the article, "On the dawn of March 5, the Armed Police in Tibet received the action order from the Chief Commander of Armed Police headquarter, Mr. Li Lianxiu.…The Special Squad should immediately assign 300 members to be disguised as ordinary citizens and Tibetan monks, entering the Eight-Corner Street and other riot spots in Lhasa, to support plain-clothes police to complete the task.

"Burn the Scripture Pagoda at the northeast of Dazhao Temple. Smash the rice store in the business district, incite citizens to rob rice and food, attack the Tibet-Gansu Trading Company. Encourage people to rob store products, but, only at the permitted locations."

According to the commentator Mr. Chen Pokong, "In this year's protest, the riot scene was quite similar to that of 1989. A group of young men in their twenties acted in a well organized way. They first shouted slogans, then burnt some VEHICLES near the Ramoche Monastery, and then broke into nearby stores and robbed them, and finally burnt scores of the stores.

"The actions seemed well planned and coordinated, and were conducted with skill. At the crossroads near the Ramoche Monastery, someone prepared in advance many stones of a similar size, each weighing a couple of kilograms. These stones magically escaped the attention of numerous policemen and plainclothes agents who flooded the city." Mr. Chen's account of what happened this year is corroborated by the British high-tech spy agency GCHQ, whose satellites observed Chinese police incite the riots in Lhasa, according to a report in the G2 Bulletin.

These accounts also HELP make sense of puzzling aspects of a report in the New York Times on the scene on the streets of Lhasa on March 14. According to the NY Times, "Foreigners and Lhasa residents who witnessed the violence were stunned by what they saw, and by what they did not see: the police. Riot police officers fled after an initial skirmish and then were often nowhere to be found."

"One monk reached by telephone said other monks noticed that several officers were more interested in shooting video of the violence than stopping it. 'They were just watching,' the monk said. 'They tried to make some videos and use their cameras to take some photos,'" according to the NY Times. The publication of the photo of the man with the knife by Xinhua and its distribution by the Chinese Embassy, as reported by the Dalai Lama's translator, would be consistent with this monk's observation.

Meanwhile, the Tibetans continue to assert that the Chinese regime has been hoodwinking the world about what happened during the protests in Lhasa. 30 young monks broke into a press briefing behind held on Thursday by the Chinese regime in Jokhang Temple in Lhasa.

According to USA Today reporter Callum MacLeod (as reported by Reuters), the young monks shouted, "Don't believe them. They are tricking you. They are telling lies."

With reporting by Stephen Gregory and Hao Feng
For background to this post see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of A second look at the Lhasa, Tibet riots.

Also, thanks to Jeremiah Jenne, blogging at The China Beat, for sending me the link to a Christian Science Monitor eyewitness report and for answering my query:
James Miles was the only accredited [Western] journalist [in Lhasa on March 14] and that's an important distinction, but a freelance journalist who was also in Lhasa at the time filed a story with the Christian Science Monitor that same day:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0314/p01s03-wogn.html?page=1
Also, you might want to check in this weekend with two websites that are serving as a relay station for reports and opinion on the Tibet situation: Phayul, run by Tibetan exiles, and the Chinese-English East South West North.

Now I'll rush to update my earlier post of today to reflect news about the statement last week by the Dalai Lama's translator. The accusation is not exactly a call for an investigation (although I haven't read the entire statement) but it's enough to suggest that the Tibetan government in exile will do so at some point, if they haven't already.

Rent-a-mob: A second look at the Lhasa, Tibet riots. Part 4

6:15 PM Update
Evidence has emerged that China authorities staged the Lhasa riots.
* * * * * * *
Thanks to Nitin at Acorn website for sending me the Washington Post report I quote in this post.

The set-up
Watch carefully, don't blink (emphasis throughout mine):

From the CNN interview with James Miles about what he saw of the riots in Lhasa on March 14:
What I saw was calculated targeted violence against an ethnic group, or I should say two ethnic groups, primarily ethnic Han Chinese living in Lhasa, but also members of the Muslim Hui minority in Lhasa. [...] Those two groups were singled out by ethnic Tibetans. They marked those businesses that they knew to be Tibetan-owned with white traditional scarves. Those businesses were left intact.[...] (1)
The Bharkor, where much of the destructive rioting took place, and where most of the scarves were hung, is like a small town. All the Tibetans and Chinese know who runs which shop. So why would it be necessary to mark the Tibetan shops to prevent their destruction?

From a Washington Post compilation of interviews with nine eyewitnesses to the rioting and events that led up to it:(2):
The city was fairly quiet Wednesday and Thursday. But late on the morning of Friday, March 14, Rune Backs, a 35-year-old tourist from Copenhagen, saw trucks of riot police driving in circles near the Potala Palace, the onetime residence of the Dalai Lama and now one of the region's biggest tourist attractions.

Backs did not see police advance farther into the city, but a line of officers blocked the square in front of the palace, letting no one through.

After watching the scene, Backs turned and headed back downtown, puzzled by what he had seen and figuring he could visit the palace another day. That's when he saw the smoke.
The smoke signaled the outbreak of rioting. So, as soon as a large contingent of riot police got settled in place to protect the big tourist attraction, by coincidence rioting broke out in the Bharkor.
Zhang Bing Quan saw [the smoke] too. The 38-year-old Beijing native was standing on the roof of the hostel he owns in Lhasa, watching the tendril of smoke rise [...]

[Later] Back at Zhang's hostel, guests began pouring in from the streets. Many headed to the roof, transfixed by the sight of a city in flames. Five Tibetan neighbors crawled over nearby rooftops to join them, Zhang said.

Then, about 3 p.m., he heard a "strange, high-pitched sound." He looked down to see a gang of 30 to 40 people swing into his street, howling. He was surprised to see that most in the mob were young women, who had masks over their mouths and were wearing backpacks.

"They were attacking even more fiercely than the boys," he said. The mob began kicking down doors and wrenching open shops, including the offices of the state-run Tibet Daily newspaper and the local bureau of the official New China News Agency.

Zhang saw a man in his 30s shouting into a megaphone and a woman nearby, pointing. They appeared to be directing the mob where to attack, he said.

One group grabbed a white barrel of gasoline, poured the liquid into the doorway of a shop and ignited it. In the space of about 30 minutes, seven fires were blazing on the block, including one in the building next door. [...]

A firetruck soon arrived, though, and the flames were extinguished. Zhang's street remained quiet the next day. A few riot police officers appeared and positioned themselves in front of the news bureaus.

Zhang said the police ordered him and his guests to stay inside. They did, discussing Friday's chaos and swapping stories of rioters they felt certain could not have been local Tibetans; many of the guests said they had heard different dialects.
It's on the basis of such eyewitness accounts, which also support James Miles's claim that on the 14th he saw no police presence around the rioting (even though there were a few minor confrontations that he was unaware of), that many are coming to believe what I suspected from the start: The bulk of the damage during the rioting was done by a rent-a-mob.

The question is who rented the mob. Some Chinese officials are claiming that the Dalai Lama and his 'clique' are the culprits. But that makes no sense. In fact, it's laughable.

The Buddhist monks in Tibet are not the Buddhist monks in Burma. Western journalists outside the United Kingdom first had to find Burma on the map when the protests broke out there; remember? The Burma monks protested to bring the world's attention to the situation in Burma -- a situation that relatively few outside Burma knew about.

But Tibet's monks didn't have to protest to bring their plight to world attention. Veritable armies of human rights activists, Tibetan Buddhist practitioners around the world, and expat Tibetans had been gearing up for the Big Year of Tibet -- to protest worldwide on behalf of the Tibetans in the run-up to the Olympics.

So all the Tibetans in Tibet had to do was know their lines and not bump into the furniture. They only needed to wait for the world's camera crews to show up in June when the Olympic torch arrived. They would have been crazy to undercut their cause by initiating highly destructive rampages.

But it would not be a crazy move on the part of Hu Jintao to see that the Tibetan cause was marred by accusations of violence and ethnic hatred.

Does all the above mean I've abandoned my working hypothesis about the paddy wagon routine? (See Part 1) Yes, I think the situation is deeper than I originally assumed.

If I'm near the mark, then why didn't the Dalai Lama call for an investigation of the riots before his spokesperson described the riots as pent-up Tibetan rage exploding? I don't have a crystal ball but some guesses: It's fairly certain that Tibetans who were not part of the rent-a-mob did join in the rampage. And maybe he wanted to move quickly to express disapproval for the violence while at the same time highlighting Tibetan anger about their situation in Tibet.
(Update: Last week the Dalai Lama's translator did accuse China's government of instigating the riots; see the update link)

For background to this post see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

1) CNN interview with James Miles.

2) How a Protest Became a Rampage
By Jill Drew, Washington Post Foreign Service, Thursday, March 27, 2008; Page A01

Thursday, March 27

John McCain's remarks about Russia

ZenPundit's pithy observations have spared me the trouble of commenting.

Why should you boycott the 2008 Olympics? Do it for Mrs Wang.

The biggest lie broadcast in this century is that capitalist enterprise has been so successful in China that communism is virtually dead in that country.

How can that be, when property in China is owned by the state?

How can that be, when Chinese can be thrown out of their houses and off the land they lease from government and village collectives -- thrown off with no notice and no compensation, in order to make way for business developments?

How can that be, when millions of elderly Chinese farmers are left to starve after the state has stripped them of the land they lease?

How can that be, when millions of Chinese who attempt to legally protest eviction or unfairly small compensation are ignored by the state?

How can that be, when Chinese who attempt to defend their property are beaten, or murdered, or imprisoned and tortured?

How can that be, when China's 900 million rurals are getting the worst end of the stick in a communist country that governments in developed countries laud as an economic miracle?

What kind of economic miracle is this? What kind of capitalism?

Why do we persist in condemning the governments in Sudan and Zimbabwe for genocide and democide that are thinly disguised land grabs when they're only taking a page from communist China's method of land clearing?

How long do we think civilization can last if we back down every time an apologist for China's government calls us a bumpkin for pointing out that China is a communist country?

In 2005 there were (by conservative estimate) 87,000 riots and other types of mass protesta across China; many of these were pitched battles between villagers and government forces or goons hired by companies to clear land of inhabitants.

The unrest among China's poorest has come to the point where this March even TIME magazine -- a booster of China's "economic miracle" -- carried a report titled China's Fighting Farmers.

What we can do to help? Correct our most cherished assumptions about our trade with China, for a start. The journalist Jonathan Watts neatly summed our end of the problem in his Guardian report The big steal:
There is a widely held assumption in the west that increased wealth automatically ushers in greater democracy and social justice. But what is happening in Guangdong suggests the opposite. This is China's richest province, but it has also witnessed some of the most violent demonstrations, bloody crackdowns and ruthless measures to silence media criticism and crush grass-roots activism. The government's answer to the unrest is to promise the peasants more money and to beef up its security forces. In the meantime, the land is being moved into ever fewer and richer hands.
So while we continue to trade with China we can at least stop rationalizing for China's government; they do plenty of that without our help.

And if you believe that your presence and the presence of your country's leaders at the 2008 Olympics will help the poorest Chinese raise themselves up -- why don't you dig deeper than financial projections before making that argument?

You can start by reading a book called Will the Boat Sink the Water? which "Depicts life among the nine hundred million peasants who inhabit the rural areas of China, revealing the destitute conditions under which they live and the reasons why they have been excluded from China's economic revolution."

That's a polite way of describing "an exposé of torture, murder and exploitation of peasants by brutal local officials," as Jonathan Watts puts it.

You can also read the TIME article I cited above and Jonathan Watts's report, which could be subtitled, "The Education of Mrs Wang:"
When China's economic miracle caught up with Mrs Wang's cabbage patch, she was having her hair done in a neighbouring village -- too far away to hear the township official's bellowed orders, "You have one hour to harvest your crops and then the bulldozers move in."

So by the time she found out what was going on and rushed to the site, the fields her family had farmed for generations were already being churned up by mechanical diggers.

She was distraught. But with hundreds of armed police and security guards surrounding the area, there was nothing that she -- and the hundreds of other villagers who lost their land that day -- could do, except stand by and watch helplessly as their property was claimed for development.

"Many villagers were sobbing. I wanted to cry, too, but the tears wouldn't come out," Mrs Wang recalls. "I was so furious."

[...]

Normally a pillar of rural society, Mrs Wang was so incensed that she let rip at the deputy chief of the district. "This is illegal. You have no humanity. Even the Japanese were not this bad. When they invaded, we at least had food and land. But now, you take it away from us."

[...]

Six months later, the lame 60-year-old peasant -- who had never been in trouble before -- was in prison, charged with fomenting social unrest.
That was not the end of Mrs Wang's transformation into an activist; I invite you to read more of her story, which is the story of many millions of Chinese.

Wednesday, March 26

A Hu howdunit. But is Ruan Ming talking through his hat? A second look at the riots in Lhasa, Tibet

"The riots in Tibet were spontaneous expressions of resentment against the policies of the Chinese government. It was tanked up anger that found expression in Lhasa."
-- Tempa Tsering, the Dalai Lama’s representative in New Delhi

"The CCP carefully staged the unrest in Tibet to deceive the world."
-- Ruan Ming, former advisor to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary

Today, Phayul (a website run by Tibetan exiles) published a March 24 article in The Epoch Times titled Former Advisor to Party General Secretary Claims Regime Staged Lhasa Incident.

By "incident" they're referring to Tibetan riots against Han Chinese and Hui Muslims that started in Lhasa on the afternoon of March 14.

I've been asked to comment on Ruan's observations, which Epoch Times (ET) picked up from a Sound of Hope interview with him. Reading ET is somewhat of an art, like reading tea leaves. The thing to keep uppermost in mind when reading ET is that the CCP is to that newspaper what Moriarity is to Sherlock Holmes.

So, disgruntled or ex-CCP members have used ET to stage vendettas against each other or various bureaucracies and military factions inside China. This means that separating chaff from the grain can be an adventure for ET readers. But ET stories about the CCP are often an accurate barometer on weather conditions in the CCP.

If I read the tea leaves right, I'd venture that ET editors heard on the grapevine that Hu Jintao was scrambling to find sacrificial goats. (If so, this might not bode well for the political careers of Tibet's CCP boss and the governor.) From that view, publishing Ruan's comments was ET's contribution to pouring gasoline on Hu's head.

With those caveats out of the way, from my reading of Ruan's comments, I'd say he's in the same boat as Pundita, except that he has many contacts in the CCP. Knowing Hu Jintao, Ruan is certain that Hu again got away with murder, but he's speculating on how Hu did it. And he's speculating from tiny mosaics of data and hearsay.

Ruan Ming clearly has his facts wrong in certain places; e.g., "Before the [March 14 rioting], the authorities drove away all foreign reporters and even forbade them from going out."

Or course that's wrong; James Miles was in Lhasa during the rioting and he was left to wander around on his own.

Other of Ruan's statements are unclear; e.g., "The demonstration on March 10 was meant to be peaceful. You can see from the pictures that the demonstration was all monks."

The photographs issue is important, as I pointed out in yesterday's post. So I want to know what pictures he's referring to. If he's describing a "peaceful" demonstration in Lhasa or immediate outskirts on March 10, none of them were peaceful for any more than a few minutes. That's because Lhasa police moved in immediately to halt the demonstrations and/orstop them before they got underway. Those are the kind of pictures I'm looking for.

That doesn't mean there are no published photos of the demonstrations on the 10th but I haven't seen them yet.

There has been much confusion about photographs of Tibetan monks at a demonstration; some published photos were not taken in Lhasa or even Tibet but were wrongly attributed to a Lhasa demonstration.

On March 14 Phayul wrote that "TCHRD has obtained pictures and identities of the 15 monks who staged a peaceful protest in Barkhor street in Lhasa on 10 March 2008."

Okay, but it's not clear from that statement whether the pictures show the monks demonstrating on the 10th or whether the photos represent individual or group shots taken at another time.

Yet to his credit Ruan understands the great significance of the photographs issue. He floats what might be at least a partial explanation for the dearth of photos and footage showing police breaking up the Lhasa demonstrations on March 10:
"Why did the CCP need to do a door-to-door search right after the suppression? They fear there were pictures taken during the suppression and don't want them to leak out and circulate around. What could the CCP be searching for door-to-door if it wasn't for the pictures? I doubt it was for guns and weapons. [...]"
Okay, but he's not clearly stated which round of suppression he's referring to: After the initial demonstrations on the 10th and 11th? Or after the crackdown in wake of the riots?

So, following Ruan's attempt to explain how Hu done it is very frustrating, yet this doesn't mean the gist of his accusation is wrong. There is still not much to go on, but from the mosaics available so far, a highly suspicious pattern has emerged:

Draconian measures were used to halt all peaceful demonstrations by the Tibetan monks in Lhasa, while no measures were taken to halt Tibetan rioting against Lhasa's Han Chinese and Hui Muslims -- not until after the rioting was clearly fizzling out and widespread damage had been done to Han businesses.

And unlike Ruan, I think there is indication to suggest that the "spontaneous expressions of resentment" in Lhasa got big help. The same kind of help made famous by Soviet Communist Party bosses under orders from Moscow to turn East European democracy marches into deadly mob violence.

That said, here is the ET report:
Former Advisor to Party General Secretary Claims Regime Staged Lhasa Incident
The Epoch Times
March 24, 2008
By Wang Qian and Chang Qing
Sound of Hope

The violent riots that the Chinese state-run media have reported as having taken place in Lhasa are not what they seem to be, according to a former highly placed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official.

Mr. Ruan Ming claims the CCP carefully staged the incidents in Tibet in order to force the Dalai Lama to resign and to justify future repression of the Tibetans.

Since 1997 Ruan has lived in Taiwan, where he has served as a diplomatic advisor to President Chen Shui-bian. He is also the author, among other books, of Deng Xiaoping: Chronicle of an Empire.

Earlier in his life, he worked as the main speechwriter for Mr. Hu Yaobang, who served as General Secretary of the CCP from 1981-1987 and was admired by democracy activists as a reformer. Hu's death in 1989 is said to have sparked the student demonstrations in Beijing of that year.

In an interview with Sound of Hope, Ruan warned international society that in considering the unrest in Lhasa, it must keep its eyes open and be aware of the CCP's violent and deceptive nature.

At the heart of the deception in Lhasa was the murder of peaceful monks.

"The CCP carefully staged the unrest in Tibet to deceive the world. Before the incident, the authorities drove away all foreign reporters and even forbade them from going out," according to Ruan.

"The demonstration on March 10 was meant to be peaceful. You can see from the pictures that the demonstration was all monks," Ruan explained.

"The CCP arrested some of these monks and killed them. The killing angered some young Tibetans. By March 14, the Tibetans could no longer stand the killing of innocent monks and protested."

According to Ruan, when the young Tibetans reacted, they fell into the CCP's trap.

"The CCP seized this opportunity and took pictures of these Tibetans in violent actions and sent out officers to do a door-to-door search, calling on the 'guilty' to surrender themselves."

While Ruan said the CCP meticulously staged the whole thing in Lhasa, there were things it missed.

"All pictures from inside Lhasa came from the CCP, but the CCP forgot about the small Tibetan autonomous counties in Gansu, Qinghai, and Sichuan Provinces. Pictures of the dead bodies of those killed by the CCP that we saw came from outside of Lhasa. The CCP couldn't have imagined pictures of its killing would leak out from these small villages."

Ruan believes the events in Tibet are aimed at influencing world opinion.

"This time the CCP has a more thorough plot with carefully designed propaganda," said Ruan.

"The Dalai Lama has always proposed a peaceful solution to Tibet issues and has won the world's recognition. With all that in mind, the CCP has framed the Dalai Lama for having 'carefully planned and stirred up the event.'

"This is exactly like how the CCP framed Zhao Ziyang for the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989 and accused Zhao of 'splitting the Party and supporting unrest.'

"The Dalai Lama had already said he would resign if the unrest continued. The Dalai Lama is influential globally and if he really retired, the CCP could gradually push and label the Tibetans as terrorists like the Xinjiang independence movement.

"This will give the CCP an excuse to ignore Tibetans appeals and to further repress them."

The CCP has kept out foreign media, because their reports might expose what is really happening there, according to Ruan.

"If the CCP opens up Tibet for foreign media, someone brave has got to talk. I don't believe there wasn't a single picture taken during the suppression.

"Why did the CCP need to do a door-to-door search right after the suppression? They fear there were pictures taken during the suppression and don't want them to leak out and circulate around.

"What could the CCP be searching for door-to-door if it wasn't for the pictures? I doubt it was for guns and weapons. It there were only few violent protestors as they claimed, how come 170 people are said to have confessed?

"How many monks have the CCP arrested and killed? The international media should be allowed to go into Tibet to investigate."

Tuesday, March 25

A second look at the riots in Lhasa, Tibet

"On March 6, 1989, some 380 defenseless [Tibetan] demonstrators were mercilessly massacred. The person who ordered the killings was a certain Hu Jintao, then Communist Party Chief in Tibet and today President of the People’s Republic of China, whom the Tibetans remember as the “Butcher of Lhasa”. On that day, Hu earned the esteem of the Elders in the Party who soon propelled him to the top."(1)

Their Man in Lhasa
"What you say you saw corroborates the official version. What exactly did you see?"

-- question put by CNN International to The Economist's James Miles about news reports he filed from Lhasa, March 14-19.(2)
If the wording of that question seems an awfully rude way for one accredited member of the press to interview another -- well, it was more of an interrogation than an interview.

Along with at least 29 other accredited news organizations, CNN had tried hard and failed to make their way into Tibet to report to the world on what was going on Lhasa, only to be met at every mountain pass and entry point by Chinese officials and turned back.(3) All CNN had to show for their pains was footage of their crew being turned away from the Tibet border.

However, Mr Miles, alone among accredited Western journalists, "just happened to be in Lhasa," as The Economist put it. He also just happened to snare an entry visa into Tibet for that period when no other Western journalist could manage the feat.

The Economist also just happened to remove Mr Miles from his beat in Beijing to send him into Tibet at that particular time, even though the National People's Congress was going full tilt in Beijing and the most important Tibetan officials were in Beijing for the event.

And so, by miraculous luck Mr Miles allegedly arrived in Lhasa just two days ahead of the March 14 riots, which allowed him to settle in before bravely reporting from the riot front.

I write "allegedly" because there is a report filed by a Chinese journalist -- an accredited one working with a major Chinese news organization -- that seems to greatly contradict Mr Miles's oft-repeated explanation about his visa and its dates, but we'll arrive at that discussion in good time.

For now, it was James Miles's accounts of what he saw that greatly shaped the outside world's view of the unrest in Lhasa. What he saw he termed "racially" motivated riots; an outpouring of hatred by Tibetans for Han Chinese and Hui Muslims.

During that visit, his first to Tibet, Miles provided eyewitness reports about the riots that were seized upon by China's government in their attempt to portray themselves as victims of Tibetan ingratitude and the Dalai Lama as a terrorist mastermind. While these portraits were rejected in the West, they went over big in China.

Just as importantly, Miles's assessment of the situation in Lhasa neatly explained away the most glaring question: Why had Tibet's authorities allowed the riots to occur unimpeded for almost two days?
Han Chinese in Lhasa were baffled and enraged by the slow reaction of the security forces. Thousands of people probably lost most, if not all, of their livelihoods (the majority of Lhasa's small businesses have no insurance, let alone against rioting). But the authorities were clearly hamstrung by the political risks involved.

Going in with guns blazing -- the tactic used to suppress the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and the last serious outbreak of anti-Chinese unrest in Lhasa earlier that year -- would risk inciting international calls for a boycott of the Olympic games.(4)
Yet the rioters could have been stopped without heavy firepower, and with the same well-practiced clockwork efficiency -- involving cordoning, copious use of tear gas, and a heavy show of armed force -- that Lhasa security forces deployed from March 10-14 to quash protest marches by Tibetan monks.

Since the 1989 protests, Lhasa has been one of the most locked down cities in the world. Large troop deployments are always nearby, in addition to large contingents of heavily armed and well-trained police at the ready.

None of the above is meant to impugn Mr Miles's integrity as a reporter; as he emphasized over the course of his filings from Lhasa he was wandering around alone in a strange city that had descended into chaos, and trying to make sense of his impressions.

If his impressions were sometimes contradictory -- sometimes he described the rioters as acting spontaneously, other times as acting in methodical, organized fashion -- that is the readily understandable fog of war syndrome.(5)

However, Mr Miles speaks fluent Mandarin and his journalism on Chinese affairs met with enough approval from Beijing to allow him to report from there for a total of 15 years.

In other words, if Hu Jintao and the Tibetan authorities had been looking for one Western journalist they could depend on to give the world a 'fair and balanced' account of what events in Tibet looked like to someone on good terms with China's government, James Miles was their man.

If it had been Pundita, I would have walked up to the first rioter I saw carrying a backpack containing Molotov cocktails and crowbars and asked, "How much you paid for this job? I have better job; maybe pay you more."

The stunt would not have been as dangerous as it sounds; the rioters were under orders not to harm foreigners.

That's enough chitchat about the weather in Mashed Potato Falls, Wyoming. Let's get down to brass tacks.

The Butcher of Lhasa vs Tibet activists
I observed in yesterday's post that the logical time to stage a protest in Lhasa was in June, when the Olympic torchbearer would arrive amidst much pomp and ceremony. Any doubts that my reasoning is correct can be settled by reading the front page article in today's Wall Street Journal.(6)

Because it is known to all human rights activists that China's president is a mass murderer with a hard-line reputation to defend on Tibet, they also know there would be only one way to stage an effective protest in Tibet in answer to China's hosting of the 2008 Olympics games.

As soon as the news broke that China would be the site of the 2008 Olympics, human rights activists worldwide, and Tibetans who supported the Dalai Lama's call for greater autonomy for Tibet, were aware that Hu Jintao would order draconian measures to suppress any protest march in Lhasa during 2008.

So they were absolutely clear that they had to get visual documentation of the suppression, and smuggle or transmit it outside the country, then get the footage to the world's major media outlets. For all that, they would need good strategies and a network stretching from Tibet to Western capital cities.

That is a well worn drill by now. It's the drill followed by expat Burmese democracy activists and their Western activist supporters. They spent years building strategies and a network for visually documenting atrocities and getting the documentation out of Burma. So Burma's activists were ready when Burma's monks took to the streets in protest last year.

Yet just because of the demonstrated effectiveness of Burma's 'underground railroad' and their success in showing the world the Burma military's attacks on unarmed civilians, Hu Jintao knew he would have to beat the Tibet activists at their own game.

Blind Man's Bluff
Writing for Slate on March 17, Anne Applebaum rhapsodized about the role that electronic technologies are playing in getting news out about the world's most repressed regions, including Tibet:
Cell-phone photographs and videos from Tibet, blurry and amateur, are circulating on the Internet. Some show clouds of tear gas; others burning buildings and shops; still others purple-robed monks, riot police, and confusion.(7)
There's just one problem with those images: they don't document the protest marches in Lhasa that took place on March 10 and 11, and yet those were the key protests -- the biggest in almost 20 years in Tibet.

Yet the images floating around the internet, and all photographs published in newspapers during the period of March 10 - 17, document incidents that occurred days after the original protest marches.

And the vast majority of the images -- and all the newspaper photos -- depict the results of Tibetan riots starting the afternoon of March 14 in Lhasa against Han Chinese and Hui Muslims. The photographs showed the effects of the rioting: fires, looted and destroyed Han business establishments, and Han Chinese beaten by Tibetans.

But when it came to reporting on the peaceful attempt to march on March 10 and a smaller attempt on the next day, news organizations and websites outside Tibet had to rely on anecdotes. The wording used by Reuters news and the Phayul Tibetan website to describe the attempts at peaceful protest marches is typical of the game of blind man's bluff that news organizations were forced to play: "Radio Free Asia cited a source as saying..." "According to sources within Tibet..."(8)(9)

In his March 13 report for the United Kingdom's Guardian newspaper, Jonathan Watt, cooling his heels in Beijing, bluntly described his unwilling part in the game. Watt snapped:
The Guardian was unable to confirm the reports from these regions, where the Tibetan communities are tightly controlled by the Chinese government.(10)
But if activists inside and outside Tibet had years to prepare for a historic protest march in Lhasa, and if the monks had been waiting almost 20 years to stage a mass protest, where was the network to record the attempted march and the inevitable crackdown by the authorities?

And why would the monks sally forth in the evening to commemorate Tibet Uprising Day? Payul reports:
...on the evening of 10 March, about three hundred monks from Drepung Monastery, located on the outskirts of the capital, attempted to start a planned peaceful protest march towards Barkhor Street, Lhasa.(9)
The march never got off the ground; before the monks got to Lhasa they were surrounded by "a large number of Chinese armed police."

But it would extremely hard if not virtually impossible to film this in failing light or darkness -- not without using devices that would immediately draw attention from the police.

So what possessed the monks to organize a march in the evening? And why wouldn't they stick with the program that had been carefully constructed by rights activists, and which focuses on dates that the Olympic torch relay arrives in certain cities?

Next: The Set-up.

6:30 PM March 28 Update: See also Evidence emerges that authorities staged Lhasa riots: A second look at the riots in Lhasa, Tibet: Part 5

1) Tibet keeps alive true spirit of the Games by Claude Arpi, Sify, March 2008

2) James Miles Interview on Tibet, CNN, March 20

3) News of Tibet under scrutiny, CNN International, March 19

4) Trashing the Beijing Road, James Miles, The Economist, March 19

5) Compliation of James Miles's reports from Lhasa, March 14-19: From East South West North website.

6) Protests Kick Off The Torch Relay, by Stephanie Kang in New York, Mei Fong in Beijing and Stacy Meichtry in Olympia, Greece, Wall Street Journal, March 25

7) Live From Lhasa: Shaky cell-phone videos from Tibet foretell doom for the Chinese empire by Anne Applebaum, Slate, March 17

8) Tibetan monk protest in Lhasa draws China's ire, Reuters, March 11

9) Tibet reeling under tense situation: Nuns of Chutsang Nunnery join the protest, Phayul, March 14

10) Monks in Tibet go on hunger strike as protests spread by Jonathan Watts, Guardian Unlimited, March 13

Monday, March 24

Have you noticed something very strange about the riots in Tibet?

I've had inquires about why Pundita blog has made no comment regarding the Tibet situation. Some readers remarked that they were confounded by the silence given that early on I'd thrown myself into reporting on the Burma protests and stayed with the story for weeks.

The solution to the mystery is that it depends on how news smells to me. Sometimes I make a huge noise straightway on the basis of earliest news reports. At other times I mentally take on the hunting pose of the Great Blue Heron, who stands motionless for hours on end watching what goes on beneath the water's surface.

My first reaction to the March 10 protest march in Lhasa was, "At this time of year?" Correspondents reminded me that the date was the anniversary of the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising.

I reminded the correspondents that the Chinese considered the Olympics one of the most important and symbolic events in China's modern history, and that every pro-Tibet activist on the planet knew this -- and that China's leaders knew the activists knew.

Everyone also knew that the eyes of the world would be on Lhasa in June, when Beijing had planned a big ceremony to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic torch bearer. I argued that the ceremony would be the logical time to stage a protest in Lhasa that was coordinated with worldwide protests.(1)

After hearing counterarguments I fell into a stony silence. Perhaps I'd overreacted in this instance. Yet I'd been watching the machinations of China's Communist party leaders for many decades. So I asked myself, 'If I were Hu Jintao, what would I do?'

The task for Beijing would be to get Lhasa locked down before June without outraging world opinion. In best bao jia fashion, they would leave the planning and execution of the chore to the Tibet big boss; in this way Beijing's hands would be clean if it ever came out how the boss acted on the order.(2)

Tibet's Beijing-controlled governor and CCP big boss wouldn't dare pen up all the monks and turn Lhasa into an armed camp in June -- not with the world's television cameras trained on the city. Hu Jintao wouldn't want a repeat of Rangoon.

What the local bosses could do was provoke an incident and blame it on the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans in Lhasa. This would create the excuse to lock down Lhasa and all Tibetan regions so they'd be peaceful as the grave by the time June rolled around.

The big boss in Tibet would be conveniently in Beijing attending the 2008 National People's Congress; Tibet's governor, highly unpopular among Tibetans, could take the fall if the cat escaped the bag or the plan went awry.

That pretty much exhausted my attempt to think like China's president. The rest would be taking up a watch of media reports, to see if I could find any facts to fit my theory -- granted a most subjective and unfair approach. But then all's fair when trying to outguess the CCP.

I was looking for signs of the old paddy wagon routine. Draw 'em out, then lock 'em up until the poobahs leave town.

(Of course the routine is by no means a Chinese invention; it's surely as old as cities that had to host visiting VIPs.)

So, after that big buildup, did I snap up anything fishy? I think so. Tomorrow morning I'll display my catch. I warn it's not much, but it's enough to break my silence about the Tibet situation.

1) "In Tokyo, over 100 Tibetans living in Japan and members of a Japanese group supporting Tibetans in exile marched in the Yoyogi Park shouting slogans for protest against China on 16 March. It was originally planned as a part of the torch relay for Tibetan Olympics." -- from Wikipedia article 2008 Unrest in Tibet

2) On bao jia:
WEIFANG, China (2000) -- Rising out of the North China Plain in a jumble of dusty apartment blocks and crowded roads, this is an unremarkable Chinese city in every respect but one: Local police regularly torture residents to death. [...]

Across this country of 1.3 billion, at least 77 Falun Dafa adherents have now died in detention, according to reports by human-rights groups.Weifang, which has less than 1% of the national population, accounts for 15% of those deaths.

Why?

The answer has its roots in imperial China, when the country developed a system of social control that is still used today. It puts huge pressure on local officials to comply with central edicts -- but gives them absolute discretion over implementation. For officials running Weifang, that means they were under strict orders to eliminate the huge number of Falun Dafa protesters in their district but faced no scrutiny of the methods they used. [...]

Officials in Beijing set up the framework for the killings one year ago after they became impatient with the continued flow of protesters from around China into the capital. Deciding drastic measures were needed, they reached for a tried-and-true method of enforcing central edicts, one honed over centuries of imperial rule.

Based on the 2,200-year-old bao jia method of controlling society, the system pushes responsibility for following central orders onto neighborhoods, with the local boss responsible for the actions of everyone in his territory. In ancient times, that meant the headman of a family or clan was personally responsible for paying taxes, raising troops and apprehending criminals.

A variant of this is now in use to implement even broader policy goals. After the Communist Party launched economic reforms in the late 1970s, it had great success by signing "contracts" with peasants and factory chiefs, who had to deliver a certain amount of grain or industrial output but were given complete latitude over the methods used. By the late 1980s, provincial governors were also signing similar contracts, being held personally responsible for maintaining grain output in their province or holding down births to a certain level.

Now the problem was Falun Dafa. The government's Office 610, a bureau that was coordinating the crackdown, issued an order in December 1999, telling officials of local governments they would be held personally responsible if they didn't stem the flow of protesters to Beijing, according to Weifang officials. As in years past, no questions would be asked about how this was achieved -- success was all that mattered. [...]
-- from Death Trap: How One Chinese City Resorted to Atrocities To Control Falun Dafa by Ian Johnson, who received a Pulitzer Prize for his series of articles on Falun Gong.

For more on bao jia, see November 2005 Pundita post Bao Jia: nine families die with one person's crime

Saturday, March 22

An American tale with striking similarity to the attempt to muzzle Maclean's magazine in Canada

Once upon a time in 2001, David Horowitz -- the anti-left activist who is today the editor of Front Page Magazine -- set a trap for the inheritors of the Berkeley University Free Speech Movement. The tragicomedy that ensued will be very familiar to opponents of Section 13. It also serves as a reminder to Canada's FreeSpeechers that the United States has its share of speech squelching anti-hate goons.

Before turning to the story, a couple of asides to American readers who are new to the Section 13 'war,' which was touched off when many Canadians undertook an epic struggle to restore freedom of speech in their country.

What is Section 13? It's a law that's part of Canada's Human Rights Act. In one sentence here's how Section 13 works out in practice: if I'm a member of a 'protected' group, and you say anything in public that I believe exposes me to the "likelihood" that I can become the target of hatred and contempt, I can ruin you.

If you think I must be exaggerating, you have much to learn about Section 13.

For a detailed introduction to the Section 13 war, you can't do better than to read Kathy Shaidle's Free Speech vs Muslim Sensibilities, published by Front Page Magazine in February. Events have moved very fast since the article was written, but Shaidle pulls together many parts of a very complicated situation to present a coherent picture.

I have just two criticisms of the piece: the title, which was probably supplied by Front Page Magazine, is an insult to Canadian Muslims who have gone on record to defend free speech and oppose Section 13 complaints against Maclean's, which is Canada's only national weekly news magazine.

And I believe the last two paragraphs in the piece distract from the momentous issues Shaidle so eloquently summarizes. The Section 13 war cuts across all political and religious lines in Canada, and has united many conservatives and liberals in the struggle to restore freedom of speech in that country.

Also, for those who recoil at the names David Horowitz and James Lubinskas, kindly focus on the issue at hand, which is not the views of either man but their right to express them. If you think nothing like Section 13 can happen in the United States, read on.

In order to highlight the free speech issue and its similiarity to the tactics and arguments used against Maclean's, I have abridged James Lubinskas's review of David Horowitz's 2002 book Uncivil Wars: Controversy Over Reparations for Slavery. Read the entire review for background on Horowitz's decision to take on the issue of reparations and an overview of his arguments against reparations.
The Reparations Battle:
A combat report from the front line
By James Lubinskas
American Renaissance, May 2002

[...] In Uncivil Wars, Mr. Horowitz describes what happened when he tried to place an advertisement in college newspapers listing ten reasons why blacks do not deserve reparations for slavery.

Mr. Horowitz decided to buy the ads in response to the growing momentum of the movement to have the US government pay damages to the descendents of black slaves — 137 years after abolition. This book actually deals with two subjects — the reparations issue itself and left-wing censorship of racial dissent on campus.

In February and March of 2001, Mr. Horowitz sent the ad to 71 college papers of which 43 rejected it outright. Those that did print it often came under intense pressure from blacks and left-wingers. Uncivil Wars focuses on three schools — the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin, and Brown — to illustrate the controversy.

Reaction on Campus
Berkeley is the author’s alma mater and the home of the so-called “Free Speech” movement of the 1960s. In choosing what is perhaps the most liberal campus in America, Mr. Horowitz tried to highlight leftist intolerance of dissenting views.

The students swallowed the bait. The day the ad appeared in The Daily Californian, a mob of over forty black students led by a professor of African-American studies stormed the office of student editor Daniel Hernandez. They bullied Mr. Hernandez, tore up copies of the newspaper, and demanded a printed apology in the next issue.

A terrified Mr. Hernandez did as he was told, and even wrote he was sorry his paper had become “an inadvertent vehicle for bigotry.”

The University of Wisconsin’s newspaper, The Badger Herald also ran the ad and faced similar harassment. Tshaka Barrows, son of the university’s vice chancellor for student affairs and leader of the Multicultural Student Coalition, led over 100 screaming protesters in a rally outside the paper’s offices.

They demanded that the chancellor’s office bar the paper from campus newsstands and that it publish a statement by the Multicultural Student Coalition, denouncing the paper as a “perpetrator of racist propaganda.”

When asked if his position wasn’t against the principles of free speech Mr. Barrows explained: “Free speech has been used against African-Americans for a long time. Free speech has meant freedom for white folks to say pretty much whatever they want about African Americans … Free speech does not exist for everybody.”

Another protester, junior Becky Wasserman, agreed: “Freedom of speech does not mean you can infringe on other people’s freedom, right? We’re dealing with hate speech, and that doesn’t fall under freedom.”

Unlike her counterpart at Berkeley, Badger Herald editor Julie Bosman refused to grovel. The editors even wrote a stiff response to the protesters saying: “…we only regret that the editors of the Daily Californian allowed themselves to give in to pressure in a manner that unfortunately violated their professional integrity and journalistic duty to protect speech with which they disagree.”

The Brown campus newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald, also ran the ad, and its editors came under heavy fire. The leaders of the Brown mob were a Nigerian immigrant named Asmara Ghebremichael, and a black professor named Lewis Gordon, head of Brown’s Afro-American studies department.

Miss Ghebremichael promptly organized a “Coalition of Concerned Brown Students,” which included the Black Student Union, Third World Action, the Young Communist League, and the International Socialist Organization.

The coalition demanded that the Daily Herald give the money from the ad to the school’s Third World Center, and that the paper give the coalition a free page “for the purpose of educating the greater Brown community on related issues and other issues important in the minority community in order to protect ourselves in the future from irrational publications like this one authored by David Horowitz.”

The editors refused Miss Ghebremichael’s demands but did print an op-ed piece by her called Free Speech Is Only for Those Who Can Afford to Pay.

Despite the fact that Brown is considered to be a selective university, the article contained sentences like this: “Dare us to even ask ourselves to distinguish between right and wrong. Naw, you all like to hide behind the code words like ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ and the most nefarious of all, ‘paid advertisement.’ “

She concluded by demanding, “we want one free page of advertisement space to print whatever the hell we want to print.”

The Daily Herald refused this demand, so students stole the entire run — 4,000 copies — of the next issue. Coalition members admitted to the theft but Brown administrators did nothing to punish them.

Prof. Gordon defended the thieves saying, “If something is free, you can take as many copies as you like. This is not a free speech issue. It is a hate speech issue.”

It was apparently also a medical concern. Another member of the Afro-American studies department declared, “I have talked to students who told me that they can’t perform basic functions like walking or sleeping because of this ad.”

Because of threats of violence, the Brown College Republicans were forced to cancel a speech by Mr. Horowitz. [...]

Lost in all the commotion over the ads was the fact that almost none of the protesters attempted to refute [Horowitz's] arguments. The radicals did nothing but accuse Mr. Horowitz — and anyone who defended his right to express his views — of “racism.” [...]
I spent more than two months on this blog fighting alongside Canada's FreeSpeechers. So for those who want to learn more about Section 13, you can start with my January 8 post (see archive on the sidebar) and work forward. To keep up with news from the war front, visit Steyn Online (note the three boxes at the top of the page) and Free Mark Steyn!
* * * * * * *
1:30 PM Update
Today's front page story in Canada's National Post, Scrutinizing the human rights machine presents the latest big development in the Section 13 war and a very helpful overview of the range of complex issues involved.

I have quibbles with a few of the article's observations, including labeling Marc Lemire a white supremacist. I've not found the time yet to study his writings but from my published email exchanges with him about Section 13, in which I asked him point-blank whether he was a neo-Nazi (another label that's been applied to him), he replied no.

From other comments he's made, I think he sees himself as fighting for equal rights for whites. Not incidentally, all the defendants or "respondents" as they are termed in Section 13 cases have been white. It's possible Lemire is a white supremacist, but given the amount of name-calling that goes on with regard to Section 13 cases, I'm keeping an open mind until I can judge for myself.

In any event, the Post article is well worth the read.
March 24 update
It is also worth noting Marc Lemire's comment that "After a 6 year investigation the CHRC [Canadian Human Rights Commission] could not find a single word I have written which violates Section 13," and that he strongly objects to the label of white supremacist. See this post for details. I apologize to Marc for not mentioning in the first update that he has repeatedly brought out the point about the CHRC's failure to find his writings in violation of Section 13.

Thursday, March 20

Barack Obama's race speech is a knowledge test, not a Rorschach Test

Yesterday I came across comments that Barack Obama's race speech is a "Rorschach Test;" i.e., if you support Obama you think it's a great speech and if you don't, you think the speech is awful. That view is a cop-out by people who are too poorly informed about black liberation theology and Barack's past to provide an objective analysis of the speech.

Obama depended on widespread ignorance of such matters to pull the wool over America's eyes about his church -- just as he depends on widespread ignorance of Chicago political corruption and the intricacies of his relationship with Tony Rezko to dupe the gullible.

I also came across mention yesterday that in lieu of betraying Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama "threw his own grandmother under the bus."

Obama threw so much and so many under the bus it looked like a massacre by the time the speech ended. He threw Martin Luther King, Jeremiah Wright, his church congregation, the civil rights movement, black liberation theology and his grandmother under the bus -- and not to mention truth.

The truth is that Obama attempted to separate Wright from the church he built. The truth is that Obama fooled all but informed listeners into believing that it was possible to attend the church without being steeped in the doctrine of black supremacy that Wright preached. The church begs to differ, as they clearly state on their website:
Dr. Wright’s talking points (3.1.7) for Trinity United Church of Christ its Web site and the Black Value System [...] The vision statement of Trinity United Church of Christ is based upon the systematized liberation theology that started in 1969 with the publication of Dr. James Cone’s book, Black Power and Black Theology. ...
Whatever you may think of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright's speeches, he's not as Barack Obama portrayed him; he's not a relic of the past and he's not a cranky old man who sometimes pops out with outrageous statements. He's a torch bearer for black liberation theology, and everything he says at the pulpit is true to that belief system. So the least that Obama could have done for a man who gave him great help over many years was stand up and say that.

The least Obama could have done for the church he's belonged to for almost 20 years, and which gained him entree into many segments of Chicago society, was acknowledge that it was built by the faith of people who believe in Black Liberation Theology. Instead, he cheapened their faith in the eyes of the world by portraying them merely as angry blacks.

I can't recall whether it was Wright or someone else who characterized Obama as Jesus being persecuted by the Romans. Yet once you understand how many people and principles Obama betrayed in his "race" speech, someone associated with Jesus immediately comes to mind as the right characterization for him.

But here we come to a snag. It might be closer to the truth to call black liberation theology an offshoot of Christianity, depending on your interpretation of Christian theology. In any event, it's not the Christianity taught by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Dan Riehl of Riehl World View and Rob at Say Anything were not caught napping by Barack Obama's speech. They noted it was very unlikely that Dr. King would have supported the doctrine preached by Dr. Jeremiah Wright.

And it's beyond question that the doctrine challenges the message of equality and integration preached by Dr. King, which formed the basis of the civil rights movement he led.

Thus the mercilessly observant Spengler, who is also somewhat of an expert on Christian theology, peered down from his lofty perch at the Asia Times and announced that Barack Obama had talked himself into quite a pickle.

Before turning to Spengler's dissection of black liberation theology, some history -- in case Obama's speech misled you into believing that he joined Rev. Wright's church because Wright led him to Jesus:
From [Jeremiah] Wright and others, Obama learned that part of his problem as [political] organizer was that he was trying to build a confederation of churches but wasn't showing up in the pews on Sunday. When pastors asked him the inevitable questions about his own spiritual life, Obama would duck them uncomfortably.

A Reverend Philips put the problem to him squarely when he learned that Obama didn't attend services. "It might help your mission if you had a church home," he told Obama. "It doesn't matter where, really. What you're asking from pastors requires us to set aside some of our more priestly concerns in favor of prophesy. That requires a good deal of faith on our part. It makes us want to know just where you're getting yours from."

After many lectures like this, Obama decided to take a second look at Wright's church. Older pastors warned him that Trinity was for "Buppies" -- black urban professionals -- and didn't have enough street cred. But Wright was a former Muslim and black nationalist who had studied at Howard and Chicago, and Trinity's guiding principles -- what the church calls the "Black Value System" -- included a "Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclassness.'"

The crosscurrents appealed to Obama. He came to believe that the church could not only compensate for the limitations of Alinsky-style [political] organizing but could help answer the nagging identity problem he had come to Chicago to solve. "It was a powerful program, this cultural community," he wrote, "one more pliant than simple nationalism, more sustaining than my own brand of organizing."

As a result, over the years, Wright became not only Obama's pastor, but his mentor. The title of Obama's recent book, The Audacity of Hope, is based on a sermon by Wright. (It's worth noting, however, that, while Obama's book is a coolheaded appeal for common ground in an age of political polarization, Wright's sermon, "The Audacity to Hope," is a fiery jeremiad about persevering in a world of nuclear arms and racial inequality.) (1)
That's enough to make it clear that whatever faith Obama developed in Jesus with help from Wright would have come sometime after Obama joined the church, which he did for purely strategic reasons.

Now I'll turn to some quotes from Spengler's discussion, which I recommend that you read in full. Rev. Wright and others may protest that the discussion about black liberation theology is too narrow. But I think Spengler does a fair job of explaining what distinguishes the theology in its essence from other Christian theologies and why Barack Obama cannot sunder it from his church experience:
The peculiar theology of black liberation
By Spengler, March 18, Asia times

[...] During the black-power heyday of the late 1960s, after the murder of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, the mentors of [Jeremiah] Wright decided that blacks were the Chosen People. James Cone, the most prominent theologian in the "black liberation" school, teaches that Jesus Christ himself is black. As he explains:

"Christ is black therefore not because of some cultural or psychological need of black people, but because and only because Christ really enters into our world where the poor were despised and the black are, disclosing that he is with them enduring humiliation and pain and transforming oppressed slaves into liberating servants."

Theologically, Cone's argument is as silly as the "Aryan Christianity" popular in Nazi Germany, which claimed that Jesus was not a Jew at all but an Aryan Galilean, and that the Aryan race was the "chosen people". Cone, Hopkins and Wright do not propose, of course, to put non-blacks in concentration camps or to conquer the world, but racially-based theology nonetheless is a greased chute to the nether regions.

Biblical theology teaches that even the most terrible events to befall Israel, such as the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, embody the workings of divine justice, even if humankind cannot see God's purpose. James Cone sees the matter very differently. Either God must do what we want him to do, or we must reject him, Cone maintains:

"Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love. "[See article for footnoted reference]

In the black liberation theology taught by Wright, Cone and Hopkins, Jesus Christ is not for all men, but only for the oppressed:

"In the New Testament, Jesus is not for all, but for the oppressed, the poor and unwanted of society, and against oppressors ... Either God is for black people in their fight for liberation and against the white oppressors, or he is not [Cone]."

In this respect black liberation theology is identical in content to all the ethnocentric heresies that preceded it. [...]
Toward the end of the discussion Spengler notes in part about Barack Obama:
Whether Obama takes seriously the doctrines that Wright preaches is another matter. It is possible that Obama does not believe a word of what Wright, Cone and Hopkins teach. Perhaps he merely used the Trinity United Church of Christ as a political stepping-stone. African-American political life is centered around churches, and his election to the Illinois State Senate with the support of Chicago's black political machine required church membership. Trinity United happens to be Chicago's largest and most politically active black church. [...]

It is possible that because of the Wright affair Obama will suffer for what he pretended to be, rather than for what he really is
.
If that should turn out to be the case, I believe that is what's called poetic justice. Couldn't happen to a more deserving rascal.

1) From The Agitator, a report on Obama's approach to organizing in Chicago.

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