[News] Inside the World Uyghur Congress: The US-backed right-wing regime change network seeking the ‘fall of China’

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 6 14:32:47 EST 2020


https://thegrayzone.com/2020/03/05/world-uyghur-congress-us-far-right-regime-change-network-fall-china/ 



  Inside the World Uyghur Congress: The US-backed right-wing regime
  change network seeking the ‘fall of China’

Ajit Singh - March 5, 2020
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      While posing as a grassroots human rights organization, the World
      Uyghur Congress is a US-funded and directed separatist network
      that has forged alliances with far-right ethno-nationalist groups.
      The goal spelled out by its founders is clear: the destabilization
      of China and regime change in Beijing.


      By Ajit Singh

In recent years, few stories have generated as much outrage in the West 
as the condition of Uyghur Muslims in China. Reporting on the issue is 
typically represented through seemingly spontaneous leaks of information 
and expressions of resistance by Uyghur human rights activists 
struggling to be heard against a tyrannical Chinese government.

True or not, nearly everything that appears in Western media accounts of 
China’s Uyghur Muslims is the product of a carefully conceived media 
campaign generated by an apparatus of right-wing, anti-communist Uyghur 
separatists funded and trained by the US government.

A central gear in Washington’s new Cold War against China, this network 
has a long history of relationships with the US national security state 
and far-right ultra-nationalists.

At the heart of this movement is the World Uyghur Congress 
<https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/introducing-the-world-uyghur-congress/>(WUC), 
an international Uyghur organization that claims to be engaged in a 
“peaceful, nonviolent, and democratic” struggle for “human rights.” The 
WUC considers China’s northwestern Xinjiang region to be East Turkestan, 
and sees its Uyghur Muslim inhabitants not as Chinese citizens but 
instead as members of a pan-Turkic nation stretching from Central Asia 
to Turkey.

As this investigation establishes, the WUC is not a grassroots movement, 
but a US government-backed umbrella for several Washington-based outfits 
that also rely heavily on US funding and direction. Today, it is the 
main face and voice of a separatist operation dedicated to destabilizing 
the Xinjiang region of China and ultimately toppling the Chinese government.

While seeking to orchestrate a color revolution with the aim of regime 
change in Beijing, the WUC and its offshoots have forged ties with the 
Grey Wolves, a far-right Turkish organization that has been actively 
engaged in sectarian violence from Syria to East Asia.

None of these links seem to have troubled the WUC’s sponsors in 
Washington. If anything, they have added to the network’s appeal, 
consolidating it as one of the most potent political weapons the US 
wields in its new Cold War against China.


      *The World Uyghur Congress, brought to you by the US government’s
      regime change arm*

The WUC promotes itself as an “opposition movement against Chinese 
occupation of East Turkistan [sic]” that “represent[s] the collective 
interests” and is “the sole legitimate organization of the Uyghur people 
both in East Turkistan and abroad.”

Headquartered in Munich, Germany, the WUC is an international umbrella 
organization 
<https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/affiliate-organizations/>with a 
network of 33 affiliates in 18 countries around the world. The WUC and 
its affiliates — particularly the Uyghur American Association, Uyghur 
Human Rights Project, and Campaign for Uyghurs — are cited in nearly 
every Western media report on China’s Uyghur Muslims. *
*

 From its inception, the WUC has been backed by the National Endowment 
for Democracy 
<https://thegrayzone.com/2018/08/20/inside-americas-meddling-machine-the-us-funded-group-that-interferes-in-elections-around-the-globe/> 
(NED). With millions in US taxpayer money, the NED and its subsidiaries 
have backed opposition parties, “civil society” groups, and media 
organizations in countries targeted by the US for regime change.

Philip Agee, the late CIA whistleblower, described the work of the NED 
as a more sophisticated version of the old-fashioned covert operations 
that Langley used to engineer. “Nowadays,” Agee explained, “instead of 
having the CIA going around behind the scenes and trying to manipulate 
the process by inserting money here and giving instructions secretly and 
so forth, they have now a sidekick, which is this National Endowment for 
Democracy, NED.”

Agee’s assessment was confirmed by Allen Weinstein, a former Trotskyist 
and founding member of the NED. Weinstein told the Washington Post in 
1991 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1991/09/22/innocence-abroad-the-new-world-of-spyless-coups/92bb989a-de6e-4bb8-99b9-462c76b59a16/>, 
“A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

When the WUC was founded in 2004, the NED’s then-senior Asia program 
officer, Louisa Coan Greve, praised the move 
<https://www.voanews.com/archive/new-uighur-leader-calls-non-violent-opposition-china-2004-06-30>as 
a “great accomplishment.”

The NED has provided the WUC with millions of dollars in funding 
<https://www.ned.org/wp-content/themes/ned/search/grant-search.php?organizationName=World+Uyghur+Congress&region=&projectCountry=&amount=&fromDate=&toDate=&projectFocus%5B%5D=&search=&maxCount=25&orderBy=Year&start=1&sbmt=1>, 
including $1,284,000 since 2016 alone, and millions of dollars in 
additional funding to WUC-affiliate organizations. The grants are 
earmarked for training Uyghur activists and youth in media advocacy and 
lobbying “to raise awareness of and support for Uyghur human rights,” 
with a particular focus on US Congress, European Parliament, and the 
United Nations.

In 2018, the NED provided the WUC and its offshoots with close to 
$665,000, according to the former organization’s website 
<https://www.ned.org/region/asia/xinjiang-east-turkestan-china-2018/>.

The NED has played a direct role in molding the direction and politics 
of the WUC. Besides honeycombing WUC-affiliated organizations with NED 
operatives like Coan Greve, the NED has sponsored and organized annual 
“Leadership Training Seminars” 
<https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/world-uyghur-congress-set-to-stage-its-4th-general-assembly-and-leadership-training-workshop-in-tokyo/>for 
the WUC since 2007.

Many leading members of the WUC have also worked in senior positions for 
Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). 
These US government-run news agencies were created by the CIA 
<https://www.nytimes.com/1977/12/26/archives/worldwide-propaganda-network-built-by-the-cia-a-worldwide-network.html>during 
the Cold War to project propaganda into China and the Soviet Union, and 
to stir up opposition to communism on these countries’ frontiers.

Unsurprisingly, the WUC is tightly aligned with Washington’s foreign 
policy agenda and hostile new Cold War strategy which seeks to contain 
and impede the rise of China. The WUC regularly meets with and lobbies 
US and Western politicians, urging them to isolate and “increase the 
pressure on China”; 
<https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/muenchen-uiguren-weltkongress-china-cables-1.4696618> 
ratchet up economic sanctions; 
<https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/3013293/uygur-leader-dolkun-isa-urges-pressure-china-he-receives-us-award>curb 
ties with China 
<https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/uighur-exile-leader-calls-on-switzerland-to-curb-china-ties/45397286>, 
and withdraw Western companies from the region.

The WUC celebrated 
<https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/press-release-world-uyghur-congress-lauds-passage-of-uighur-act-of-2019/>the 
passage of The Uighur Act of 2019 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/04/us-house-approves-uighur-act-calling-for-sanctions-on-chinas-politburo-xinjiang-muslim>by 
the US House of Representatives, in December 2019. The bill, which 
called on the Trump administration to enact sanctions against the 
Chinese government, was the latest in a string of anti-China achievements.

This regime change apparatus has made its strongest impact through the 
media, providing a constant source of self-styled Uyghur dissidents and 
human rights horror stories to eager Western reporters. The exposure the 
WUC and its affiliates receive extends well beyond corporate media 
outlets known for echoing Washington’s foreign policy talking points; 
even ostensibly adversarial, progressive, and left-wing media such as 
The Intercept 
<https://theintercept.com/2019/12/29/why-dont-we-care-about-chinas-uighur-muslims/>, 
Democracy Now! 
<https://www.democracynow.org/appearances/rushan_abbas>and Jacobin 
Magazine 
<https://jacobinmag.com/2019/06/china-uyghur-persecution-concentration-camps> 
have provided them with an uncritical platform.

While adopting the WUC’s narrative, these self-styled alternative 
outlets never seem to mention the close bonds the organization and its 
offshoots have forged with the US national security state and right-wing 
ethno-nationalist movements abroad. But the relationships are no secret. 
In fact, they appear to be a source of pride for WUC leadership.


      *The Far-Right Roots of the Uyghur “Human Rights” Movement*

Behind its carefully constructed human rights brand, the Uyghur 
separatist movement emerged from elements in Xinjiang which view 
socialism as “the enemy of Islam,” and which sought Washington’s support 
from the outset, presenting themselves as eager foot-soldiers for US 
hegemony.

The founding father of this separatist movement was Isa Yusuf Alptekin. 
His son, Erkin Alptekin, founded the WUC and served as the 
organization’s inaugural president. The senior Alptekin is referred to 
as “our late leader” 
<https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/dolkun-isa-statement-on-indias-recent-visa-cancellation/>by 
the WUC and current President Dolkun Isa.

Born at the turn of the 20th century, Alptekin was the son of a local 
government Xinjiang official. He received a largely Islamic education as 
a youth, as his family intended for him to be a religious scholar.

During the Chinese Civil War that raged between the nationalists and 
communists from 1945 to ’49, Alptekin served under the nationalist 
Kuomintang (KMT) administration 
<https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02634939108400758>in 
Xinjiang. Throughout this period, the KMT received massive military and 
economic backing from the United States 
<https://books.google.ca/books?id=-IbQvd13uToC&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=1.+China+1945+to+1960s+Was+Mao+Tse-tung+just+paranoid?&source=bl&ots=cJy3MeDfgD&sig=ACfU3U24J70qyNbOoz1wL1ISX0CKWmtFPA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjEnvvp-7jnAhVuHzQIHcTiB5gQ6AEwAHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=1.%20China%201945%20to%201960s%20Was%20Mao%20Tse-tung%20just%20paranoid%3F&f=false>— 
including billions of dollars in cash and military hardware, along with 
the deployment of tens of thousands of US marines — in an effort to 
quash the Chinese revolution.

At the same time 
<https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02634939108400758>, 
according to historian Linda Benson, Alptekin “became more active in 
both the Guomindang [sic] and national level politics … and met several 
times with [KMT leader] Chiang Kai-shek personally.” For Alptekin and 
fellow travelers advancing Turkic nationalism and the region’s eventual 
independence, “equally important was the necessity of protecting the 
land they called East Turkestan from Soviet and Chinese communism, both 
of which were viewed as real and present dangers to Islamic peoples.”

For the KMT 
<https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02634939108400758>, Uyghur 
activists like Alptekin made prime candidates for Xinjiang’s provincial 
administration. As Benson explained, “[t]he essential qualification for 
such appointees… was that they be anti-Communist and anti-Soviet.” In 
his memoirs, Alptekin revealed that he “sought to eliminate all Russians 
and leftists in the government,” and said that “schools were also 
encouraged to include religious instruction in their curriculum.”

A fervent opponent of miscegenation, Alptekin worked to prevent 
intermarriage 
<https://books.google.ca/books?redir_esc=y&id=suuXIhetjZcC&q=%22abducted+the+moslem+wives%22#v=snippet&q=%22abducted%20the%20moslem%20wives%22&f=false>between 
Han Chinese and Uyghur Muslims. During his time in government, religious 
fundamentalists “attacked the houses of Han Chinese who were married to 
Moslem [sic] women […] The mob abducted the Moslem wives, and in some 
cases the unfortunate women were forced to marry old Moslem men.” Though 
the violence killed numerous Han Chinese, it proceeded without any 
government response during Alptekin’s tenure.

As the civil war wore on, Alptekin grew frustrated with the declining 
power of the nationalists and met with US and British Consuls 
<https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02634939108400758>in 
Xinjiang, beseeching the twin powers to deepen their intervention in 
China and the region. With the coming victory of the Chinese Revolution, 
Alptekin went into exile in 1949.

Alptekin eventually settled in Turkey, emerging as the pre-eminent 
leader of the Uyghur separatist movement throughout the latter half of 
the 20th century. He set out to enlist international support for the 
cause of East Turkestan independence, courting leading US officials and 
far-right, neo-Ottomanist ideologues in Turkey.

Alptekin, holding a book, leads a demonstration in support of East 
Turkestan separatism in 1966. Alptekin stands in front of a banner that 
reads, “Communism is the enemy of Islam.”

The Uyghur separatist leader wrote to then-US President Richard Nixon on 
several occasions, pleading for him to support East Turkestan 
separatism. In a 1969 missive to the president, Alptekin declared 
full-throated support for the US war on Vietnam: 
<https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208601>“We are hopeful 
and pleased that the US, as a fortress of liberty, is protecting captive 
nations,” he stated. Altepkin then pleaded for his “Excellency” Nixon 
and the US, “the most imminent protector of captive nations”, to support 
East Turkestan independence.

Alptekin wrote Nixon 
<https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208596> the following 
year towarn of the evils of “Red China.” He branded the country “a great 
menace which the whole world as led by the United States of America is 
confronting. This menace is now in the process of evolution to engulf 
the earth. If time is allowed it can upset the balance of the world to 
disadvantage the free nations.”

“The whole world has reason to be apprehensive of Red China,” Alptekin 
insisted to Nixon, “for it is likely to be an irresistible [sic] threat 
on earth… China today is one of the biggest nations in the world where 
the Marxist teach has been implemented… China may prove to be a greater 
menace to all the world, and this menace is likely to cause a total 
destruction to the free nations if they are not prudent and fore-sighted.”

Alptekin advised Nixon to combat the “Chinese war of world conquest” by 
supporting separatist movements, namely that of East Turkestan 
nationalists, and by “speeding up the process of the dismemberment of 
the Chinese empire.”

Mapping out a detailed regime change strategy for Washington, Alptekin 
urged the US to generate support for his cause among the “free world,” 
set up an academic institute to study “every aspect” of minority 
nationalities living within China, develop media propaganda targeting 
minority nationalities by operating “a radio network beaming at these 
peoples in their respective languages”; “devise a plan to secure [the] 
collaboration” of minority nationalities and “train the children of the 
non-Chinese exiles abroad.”

In 1970, Alptekin travelled to Washington to meet with members of US 
Congress and address the House of Representatives 
<https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208600>.

Alptekin and fellow East Turkestan separatists met with members of US 
Congress on a trip to Washington in 1970.


      Forging bonds with fascistic, ethno-supremacist Turkish nationalists

While appealing for Washington’s support, Alptekin developed strong ties 
with the Turkish far-right. Their bonds rested on a solid foundation of 
anti-communist zeal and pan-Turkic, neo-Ottomanist nationalism.

On numerous occasions, Alptekin met with Alparslan Türkeş a fascistic, 
ultra-nationalist who believed ardently in Turkish ethnic superiority 
<https://thehill.com/opinion/international/394554-as-a-kingmaker-turkeys-nationalist-faction-could-bring-trouble> 
over minorities like Kurds and Armenians, and for whom the eradication 
of communism among the Turkic populations of Soviet Central Asia and 
Xinjiang was “the dream he had most cherished” 
<https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-alpaslan-turkes-1266076.html>.

Alparslan Türkeş and Isa Yusuf Alptekin

Türkeş was long-time leader of the far-right Nationalist Action Party 
(MHP) and its paramilitary arm, the Grey Wolves. According to the 
Washington Post, he headed a murderous group of “right-wing terrorists” 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1980/07/06/mounting-political-violence-pushes-turkey-toward-chaos/70b212ca-8508-4e7f-ac49-d166491a0c4d/> 
who are “blindly nationalist, fascist or nearly so, and bent on the 
extermination of the Communists.” The fascistic militant group killed 
numerous left-wing activists, students, Kurds, and notoriously attempted 
to assassinate Pope John Paul II.

With military training from the US, Türkeş co-founded the Turkish cell 
<https://www.questia.com/magazine/1G1-19254727/turkey-s-terrorists-a-cia-legacy-lives-on>of 
Operation Gladio 
<https://www.nytimes.com/1990/11/16/world/evolution-in-europe-italy-discloses-its-web-of-cold-war-guerrillas.html>, 
the US and NATO-backed network of “stay behind” anti-communist 
paramilitary groups that carried out numerous acts of terror and 
sabotage across Europe.

Alptekin appears to have shared the hateful politics of Türkeş and the 
Turkish far-right, often expressing anti-Armenian views 
<http://www.konyayenigun.com/roportaj/isa-yusuf-alptekin-ve-turkiyenin-siyasal-hayatina-etkileri-h93883.html>including 
denial of the Armenian genocide and claims that Armenians were murderers 
of innocent Turks.

The Turkish right-wing has embraced the East Turkestan separatist 
movement with open arms, appealing to them as a key base of political 
support. “The martyrs of East Turkestan are our martyrs,” stated Recep 
Tayyip Erdoğan 
<https://www.ft.com/content/f30ddb40-709c-11de-9717-00144feabdc0>, then 
mayor of Istanbul, as he inaugurated a park named in honor of Alptekin, 
following the death of the Uyghur nationalist in 1995.

In recent decades, the Uyghur separatist movement has deepened its 
connections with Washington and the US national security state. The WUC 
and its affiliate organizations — including the Uyghur American 
Association, Uyghur Human Rights Project, and Campaign for Uyghurs — are 
made up of individuals with direct ties to the US government, military, 
and regime change establishment.

Inspired by pro-free market color revolutions spawned by the US 
government in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, the WUC’s 
regime change network has set out a clear goal of destabilizing China 
and toppling its government.


      With vow to destroy China, WUC leaders earn Western adulation and
      support

In 2004, Erkin Alptekin was named the inaugural president of the WUC 
<https://www.voanews.com/archive/new-uighur-leader-calls-non-violent-opposition-china-2004-06-30>. 
He is the son of the far-right, ultra-nationalist father figure of the 
Uyghur separatist movement, Isa Yusuf Alptekin, whose background is 
explored later in this article. From 1971 to 1995, Erkin Alptekin worked 
for 
<https://web.archive.org/web/20100825080311/http://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/?cat=148>the 
US government-funded RFE/RL media network.

Speaking at the funeral of his father, in 1995, the junior Alptekin 
outlined his anti-communist, separatist views and articulated his desire 
to destroy China <https://youtu.be/sb6nqWNoJt4?t=1420>: “Ten years ago 
no one believed that the USSR would fall apart now you can see that. 
Many Turkic countries have their freedom now. Today the same situation 
applies to China. We believed in the not too distant future we will see 
the fall of China and the independence of East Turkestan.”

Erkin Alptekin calling for the “fall of China” at his father’s funeral. 
 From the WUC film, “Uyghur Leaders in Exile.” 
<https://youtu.be/sb6nqWNoJt4>

The WUC describes 
<https://web.archive.org/web/20100825080311/http://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/?cat=148>Alptekin 
as “close friend” of the Dalai Lama, the U.S-backed, CIA-funded 
<https://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/02/world/world-news-briefs-dalai-lama-group-says-it-got-money-from-cia.html>figurehead 
for Tibetan separatism. “We are working very closely with the Dalai 
Lama,” Alptekin told The Washington Post 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1997/02/23/ethnic-turmoil-roils-western-china/9a51e976-4b35-4218-82bc-3625398a69a5/>in 
1999. “He is a very good example for us.”

In 2006, Erkin Alptekin was succeeded as WUC President by Rebiya Kadeer, 
a self-described multi-millionaire 
<https://uyghuramerican.org/article/biographical-sketch-rebiya-kadeer.html>real 
estate and trading entrepreneur who profited off of China’s economic 
reforms of the 1980s and claims to have once been the seventh wealthiest 
individual in the country. According to The New York Times 
<https://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/us/politics/01gitmo.html>, Kadeer’s 
“[d]issidence brought the end of her Audi, her three villas and her 
far-flung business empire”. Kadeer’s husband, SIdik Rouzi, worked for US 
government media outlets Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

During her tenure as WUC President, Kadeer met with then-US President 
George W. Bush on several occasions. As Bush waged his illegal war on 
Iraq and persecuted Muslim American leadership under the auspices of his 
so-called “war on terror,” Kadeer appealed to the US head of state to 
take up the cause of Uyghur Muslims. “I was deeply honored to meet with 
the President,” Kadeer stated. 
<https://uyghuramerican.org/article/rebiya-kadeer-meets-president-bush-white-house.html> 
She“expressed gratitude for President Bush’s demonstrated commitment to 
promoting freedom and democratic reform in the PRC.”

At the 2007 Democracy & Security International Conference 
<http://www.democracyandsecurity.org/index.htm>in Prague, Bush praised 
Kadeer 
<https://uyghuramerican.org/article/president-bush-praises-rebiya-kadeer-human-rights-defender.html>as 
a human rights defender in his address before the gathering. The 
conference was organized by the Prague Security Studies Institute, a 
think tank that aims to advance free-market societies in post-communist 
states, and the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies, an Israeli 
outfit named for ultra-Zionist Republican casino baron Sheldon Adelson. 
Conference partners 
<http://www.democracyandsecurity.org/partners.htm>included the US 
government and NATO.

Kadeer kept close relationships with the Dalai Lama and Vaclav Havel, 
the leader of the ‘Velvet Revolution’ which brought down 
Czechoslovakia’s communist government. Havel was a “major proponent of 
NATO” 
<https://www.nato.int/docu/review/articles/2012/05/07/vaclav-havel-remembering-the-big-little-man/index.html>and 
instrumental to the Western military alliance’s eastward expansion. 
Kadeer described Havel as 
<https://uyghuramerican.org/article/open-letter-rebiya-kadeer-death-v%C3%A1clav-havel.html>“an 
uncompromising advocate for truth, justice and peace” and pointed to his 
political accomplishments as an example to be emulated for China. “Mr. 
Havel’s vision for the Czech people […] speaks to Chinese democrats 
today”, wrote Kadeer, following Havel’s death, and “contains […] the 
seeds of a new era for political reform in China.”

Rebiya Kadeer pictured with Frederik Willem De Klerk, Vaclav Havel and 
the Dalai Lama.

The current President of WUC is Dolkun Isa, winner of the 2019 Democracy 
Award from the NED. In 2016, Isa received a human rights award from the 
far-right Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which was 
established by the US government in 1993. In his acceptance speech, Isa 
emphasized “the Uyghurs’ resistance to communism” and that “we will not 
stop our work until we consign this destructive ideology, in the words 
of Ronald Reagan, to ‘the ash heap of history.’”

Isa regularly lobbies US and Western politicians to intensify their new 
Cold War agenda by enacting economic sanctions 
<https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/3013293/uygur-leader-dolkun-isa-urges-pressure-china-he-receives-us-award>and 
curbing ties with China. 
<https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/uighur-exile-leader-calls-on-switzerland-to-curb-china-ties/45397286> 
Among those he has met with in recent years areTrump administration 
White House officials 
<https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-xinjiang-usa/u-s-voices-concern-on-chinas-muslim-crackdown-sanctions-weighed-idUSKCN1LR2O2>, 
right-wing Republican Senator Ted Cruz 
<https://twitter.com/Dolkun_Isa/status/1023318822621798400>, the US 
Consul General in Munich 
<https://twitter.com/usconsmunich/status/1148894259531137024>, and the 
fervently anti-China acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard 
Grenell.

    The @UyghurCongress
    <https://twitter.com/UyghurCongress?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> president
    @Dolkun_Isa <https://twitter.com/Dolkun_Isa?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> met
    with the American Ambassador to Germany @RichardGrenell
    <https://twitter.com/RichardGrenell?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> in Berlin
    to brief him on current crisis in East Turkistan & discussed ways
    that the WUC could work with him in the future.
    pic.twitter.com/yottOysIj6 <https://t.co/yottOysIj6>

    — WorldUyghurCongress (@UyghurCongress) July 5, 2019
    <https://twitter.com/UyghurCongress/status/1147058356726718465?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>

In November 2019, Isa attended the Halifax International Security Forum 
<https://twitter.com/Dolkun_Isa/status/1198912319650185216>, a gathering 
convened by NATO and the Canadian Department of National Defence. There, 
he met with leading Western political and military figures.

In January 2020, Isa was hosted at an event 
<https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-leaders-call-for-action-on-chinas-intolerable-treatment-of-uyghurs/>organized 
by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a right-wing British Israeli 
lobby group. At the event, Isa met with with the ultra-Zionist 
organization Bnei Akiva, whose leader called for 
<https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/02/bnei-akiva-israel-palestine_n_5551749.html>the 
Israeli Army “to take the foreskins of 300 Palestinians” amid Israel’s 
punishing 2014 assault on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Omer Kanat <https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/staff/omer-kanat/>serves 
as the WUC’s Chairman of the Executive Committee. Kanat helped found the 
WUC and has been a permanent fixture in its executive leadership. The 
veteran operative has a lengthy history of work with the US government, 
from serving as senior editor of Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service from 
1999 to 2009 to covering the US wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and 
interviewing the Dalai Lama for the network.

In an interview with The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal at a 2018 NED 
awards ceremony in the US Capitol building, Kanat took credit 
<https://thegrayzone.com/2018/08/20/inside-americas-meddling-machine-the-us-funded-group-that-interferes-in-elections-around-the-globe/> 
for furnishing many of the claims about internment camps in Xinjiang to 
Western media. He conceded, however, that the WUC did not know how the 
oft-repeated “millions detained” claim was arrived at aside from 
“Western media estimates.”


      Preparing for a color revolution, WUC offshoots staff up with
      national security state operatives

Established in 1998, the Uyghur American Association (UAA) is a 
Washington D.C.-based affiliate of the WUC. A long time grantee of the 
NED, the UAA has received millions of dollars in funding. According to 
its publicly available tax filings 
<https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/541853876>, 
the group works closely with the US government, particularly the US 
State Department, Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), 
and US Congress’s Human Rights Commission.

“The National Endowment for Democracy has been exceptionally supportive 
of UAA,” stated Nury Turkel 
<https://uyghuramerican.org/article/remarks-5th-biannual-congress-uyghur-american-association-nury-turkel.html>, 
former UAA President, “providing us with invaluable guidance and 
assistance” along with “essential funding.”

Turkel credited the NED with enabling the UAA increase its credibility 
and expand its influence. Among the top achievements he cited was a 
meeting with the new Krygyzstan government “within weeks of [the former 
government’s] fall from power” following the US-engineered Tulip “color 
revolution” which brought a pro-Western regime to power.

Speaking at the 5th Congress of the UAA, in 2006, Turkel confirmed the 
regime change agenda of the UAA, UHRP and broader Uyghur separatist 
movement, stating that 
<https://uyghuramerican.org/article/remarks-5th-biannual-congress-uyghur-american-association-nury-turkel.html>“as 
we witnessed the ‘Tulip Revolution’ and the toppling the former 
government of Kyrgyzstan, our hopes were again reinforced.”

The UAA’s leadership consists of US national security state operators 
including employees of the US government, Radio Free Asia, and 
military-industrial complex.

Kuzzat Altay, the nephew of Reibya Kadeer, is the current president of 
the UAA. Altay is also the founder of the Uyghur Entrepreneurs Network, 
which claims to offer Uyghur Americans with guidance to “start their own 
business”. 
<https://www.eventbrite.com/e/uen-100-by-100-project-opening-tickets-47640125899#>

In 2019, his business network hasorganized an event in collaboration 
with the FBI, <https://www.instagram.com/p/B11ngW6BAf_/> the federal law 
enforcement agency notorious for its surveillance of Muslim Americans 
and ensnaring countless mentally troubled young Muslim American men in 
manufactured terror plots.

Past presidents of UAA include Kadeer; Alim Seytoff 
<https://www.linkedin.com/in/alim-seytoff-2b268927/>, a former Radio 
Free Asia correspondent and current Director of RFA’s Uyghur Service; 
and Ilshat Hassan Kokbore, who has worked at Booz Allen Hamilton 
<https://www.linkedin.com/in/ilshat-kokbore-a34bb956/> since 2008.

Booz Allen is anotorious private US military and intelligence contractor 
<https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/07/us/booz-allen-hamilton-nsa.html>that 
rakes in billions of dollars in contracts with American intelligence 
agencies. Edward Snowden was employed at the firm 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/booz-allen-hamilton-edward-snowden>when 
he decided to blow the whistle on the National Security Agency’s 
invasive, all-encompassing system of mass surveillance.

The main project spun out of the UAA and the NED is the Uyghur Human 
Rights Project (UHRP). The UHRP was founded by the UAA in 2004 
<https://uhrp.org/about> withthe NED as the principal source of funding 
<https://uyghuramerican.org/article/uaauhrp-funding-update.html>. The 
NED granted the UHRP a whopping $1,244,698 between 2016 and ’19.

The UHRP is staffed by WUC leaders <https://uhrp.org/about> like Omer 
Kanat and Nury Turkel, along with former US government officials and 
senior members of the NED.

Dr. Elise Anderson serves as UHRP’s Senior Program Office for Research 
and Advocacy. In 2019, Anderson served as the Liu Xiaobo Fellow, 
occupying a position at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China 
named for the far-right Chinese dissident 
<https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/dec/15/nobel-winner-liu-xiaobo-chinese-dissident>who 
supported colonialism, US militarism and the “Westernisation” of China.

Anderson states <http://www.elisemarieanderson.com/bio/>that from 2012 
to 2016, she was “based out of Ürümchi, the regional capital of 
Xinjiang,” conducting research for her doctorate. The extent of her 
activities in the region are unclear, as Anderson’s CV 
<http://www.elisemarieanderson.com/cv/>indicates that during this time 
she was also working for the US government as “Ürümchi Warden for the US 
Embassy in Beijing, China, 2014–16.”

Louisa Coan Greve, the former vice president of NED, today serves as 
UHRP’s Director of Global Advocacy. Greve formerly worked as Vice 
President of the NED. <https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisagreve/>


      Rushan Abbas, the US national security state’s favorite “human
      rights activist”

Another influential organization spun out of the WUC network is the 
Campaign for Uyghurs. This group is headed by Rushan Abbas, the former 
Vice President of the UAA. Promoted simply as a Uyghur “human rights 
activist” by Western media outlets including the supposedly adversarial 
Democracy Now! <https://www.democracynow.org/appearances/rushan_abbas>, 
Abbas is, in fact, a longtime US government and military operative.

Abbas boasts in her bio of her 
<https://web.archive.org/web/20181207031224/https://www.isi-consultants.com/rushan-abbas/>“extensive 
experience working with US government agencies, including Homeland 
Security, Department of Defense, Department of State, and various US 
intelligence agencies.”

While working for the military contractor L3 Technologies, Abbas served 
the US government and the Bush administration’s so-called war on terror 
as a “consultant at Guantanamo Bay supporting Operation Enduring 
Freedom.” Abbas “also worked as a linguist and translator for several 
federal agencies including work for the US State Department in 
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and for President George W. Bush and former First 
Lady Laura Bush”. Like so many of her colleagues, Abbas enjoyed a stint 
at Radio Free Asia.

While Abbas once shared her history of collaboration with the US 
government in the open, she has attempted to scrub 
<https://medium.com/@rsahthion/a-reddit-ama-claiming-to-be-a-uiyghur-quickly-exposes-a-cia-asset-slandering-china-1d667c098b77>biographic 
information from her online presence following a disastrous publicity 
appearance 
<https://old.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/e9ad4n/i_am_rushan_abbas_uyghur_activist_and_survivor_of/>in 
December 2019. During a Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” question and answer 
forum, participants blasted Abbas as a “CIA asset” and frequent US 
government collaborator, prompting her attempt to disappear her bio from 
the internet.

Besides collaborating with the US government, Abbas’ professional 
experience consists of aiding the expansion of US capitalism in the 
global south. She boasts work with consulting firms such as ISI 
Consultants <https://www.isi-consultants.com/>which “assists US 
companies to grow their business in Middle East and African markets.” 
Abbas claims to have “over 15 years of experience in global business 
development, strategic business analysis, business consultancy and 
government affairs throughout the Middle East, Africa, CIS regions, 
Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and Latin America.”


      *Celebrating the Gray Wolves, proposing US and Turkish military
      intervention*

Along with their extensive ties to Washington, the WUC and Uyghur 
separatist movement has maintained close connections with the Turkish 
far-right.

In 2015, members of the MHP-affiliated Grey Wolves formerly led by 
Alparslan Türkeş attacked South Korean tourists 
<https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/07/turkey-china-random-violence-become-norm-in-lgbt.html>in 
Turkey, mistaking them for Chinese citizens, in protest of the situation 
in Xinjiang.

Turkish MHP party leader Devlet Bahçeli defended the attacks. “How are 
you going to differentiate between Korean and Chinese?” the rightist 
politician questioned. “They both have slanted eyes. Does it really 
matter?” Bahceli’s racist remarks coincided with the display of a Grey 
Wolves banner at party’s Istanbul headquarters reading, “We crave 
Chinese blood.”

The Grey Wolvesand Uyghur militantswere blamed by Thailand’s national 
police 
<https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/16/world/asia/thailand-suspects-uighurs-in-bomb-attack-at-bangkok-shrine.html> 
and an IHS-Jane’s analyst 
<https://www.forbes.com/sites/susancunningham/2015/08/24/thailands-shrine-bombing-the-case-for-turkeys-grey-wolves/#5065f17d5d3f> 
of carrying out a 2015 bombing of a religious shrine in Thailand that 
killed 20 people. The attack was intended as revenge against the Thai 
government’s decision to repatriate a group of Uyghur Muslims to China. 
Beijing had claimed 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/12/uighurs-sent-back-from-thailand-were-on-way-to-join-jihad-says-china>the 
Uyghurs were en route to Turkey, Syria or Iraq to join extremist groups 
fighting in the region such as the al-Qaeda-affiliated East Turkestan 
Islamic Movement (ETIM), or Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP).

Months before the bombing, a group of 200 protesters waving East 
Turkestan flags attacked the Thai consulate 
<https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/618268/thai-consulate-general-attacked-in-turkey>in 
Istanbul in response to the Uyghur repatriation. The group was 
reportedly led by the Grey Wolves 
<http://www.rfi.fr/en/asia-pacific/20150709-uighur-deportation-sparks-anger-turkey>and 
East Turkestan Culture and Solidarity Association. 
<https://finance.yahoo.com/news/anti-china-sentiment-sweeping-over-161008152.html> 
The latterorganization was headed by Seyit Tümturk, who served as WUC 
Vice President 
<https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/introducing-the-world-uyghur-congress/fifth-general-assembly-of-the-world-uyghur-congress/>from 
2008 to 2016 and belonged to the organization’s founding pantheon.

The WUC continues to publish articles 
<https://www.uyghurcongress.org/tr/alparslan-turkesin-doguturkistan-davasina-bakisi/>on 
its website that praise and celebrate Alparslan Türkeş, the far-right, 
ultra-nationalist founder of the Grey Wolves and long-time MHP party 
leader. Its website also promotes endorsements of East Turkestan 
separatism by current leaders of the MHP 
<https://www.uyghurcongress.org/tr/mhp-genel-baskani-dr-bahceli-dogu-turkistan-hakli-ve-baki-kalacak-davamizdir/> 
and Grey Wolves 
<https://www.uyghurcongress.org/tr/ulku-ocaklari-baskani-olcay-kilavuz-soydaslarini-ziyaret-etti/>.

While building links with the Turkish far-right, leading WUC 
representatives have appealed to Turkish President Erdogan to take an 
interventionist role in China akin to Turkey’s actions in Libya and 
Syria, where it supported the regime change efforts of the US, West and 
an array of extremist proxy groups.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal in 2012, Nury Turkel argued that 
<https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303513404577353272107433282>Turkey 
can play a leading role in “rallying democracies” to pressure China on 
Xinjiang: “As a longstanding ally of the US and a neighbor of Europe, 
Turkey is uniquely well-situated to do this.”

As a first step in this strategy, Turkel proposed that Turkey “should 
organize a ‘friends of Uighurs’ conference with democratic allies – 
similar to the ones organized for Libya and Syria – discussing Ankara’s 
vision and policy objectives with respect to the Uighur people in China.”

    A Turkish soldier of the occupying force in NW Syria town of Atareb
    flashes the 'Grey Wolves' hand sign to an AFP photographer. Grey
    Wolves are an openly fascist Turkish ultra nationalist movement in
    Turkey who hold deeply racist hatred towards the Kurds.
    #TwitterKurds
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/TwitterKurds?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>
    pic.twitter.com/j2G61DQVYO <https://t.co/j2G61DQVYO>

    — @Hevallo (@Hevallo) February 19, 2020
    <https://twitter.com/Hevallo/status/1230146403046961152?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>

Other leading representatives of WUC have vocally endorsed Turkish 
military interventionism. The political statements of Seyit Tümturk, who 
served as WUC Vice President 
<https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/introducing-the-world-uyghur-congress/fifth-general-assembly-of-the-world-uyghur-congress/>, 
underscore the extremist and militant politics behind WUC’s carefully 
cultivated image as a “peaceful and nonviolent” human rights organization.

In 2018, Tümturk declared that Chinese Uyghurs view Turkish “state 
requests as orders.” He then proclaimed that hundreds of thousands of 
Chinese Uyghurs were ready to enlist in the Turkish army and join 
Turkey’s illegal and brutal invasion of Northern Syria “to fight for 
God” – if ordered to do so by Erdogan.

    Hundreds of thousands Uyghurs from #China
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/China?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>'s
    Xinjiang region are ready to enlist Turkish army and join #Syria
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Syria?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>'s
    Afrin battle to fight for God with an order from Commander #Erdogan
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Erdogan?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>,
    says Seyit Tümtürk, head of Association for East Turkishtan Culture
    and Solidarity in #Turkey
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Turkey?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>.
    pic.twitter.com/ElgslclOLS <https://t.co/ElgslclOLS>

    — Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) March 11, 2018
    <https://twitter.com/abdbozkurt/status/972712081312100352?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>

    Seyit Tümtürk, Uyghur leader in #Turkey
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Turkey?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>,
    talks to Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu directly on the
    phone when he wanted to lead a rally before #China
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/China?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>
    embassy in Ankara. He says Uyghurs consider Turkish state requests
    as orders and moves rally nearby Kugulu Park after talk
    pic.twitter.com/jsZIhEjfrg <https://t.co/jsZIhEjfrg>

    — Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) December 6, 2018
    <https://twitter.com/abdbozkurt/status/1070764427249623040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>

Shortly after Tumturk’s comments, Uyghur militants dressed in Turkish 
military fatigues and on the Turkish side of the Syrian border released 
a video in which they threatened to wage war against China 
<https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/uyghur-militant-filmed-with-turkish-backed-rebels-near-afrin/#>:

“Listen you dog bastards, do you see this? We will triumph!” one fighter 
exclaimed. “We will kill you all. Listen up Chinese civilians, get out 
of our East Turkestan. I am warning you. We shall return and we will be 
victorious.”

    Uyghur man standing in Turkish army fatigue next to troops threatens
    #China
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/China?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>.
    The video reportedly shot at the Turkish town of Hassa on the border
    with #Syria
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Syria?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> as
    #Turkey
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Turkey?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>'s
    military offensive for #Afrin
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Afrin?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> was
    ongoing. pic.twitter.com/xXvuUHFa14 <https://t.co/xXvuUHFa14>

    — Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) March 22, 2018
    <https://twitter.com/abdbozkurt/status/976689933342707712?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>

The second installment of this investigation will detail the shadowy 
relationship between the WUC’s lobbying apparatus, Western governments 
and violent extremist organizations like the East Turkestan Islamic 
Party, which are waging a separatist religious war from Western China to 
Syria’s Idlib province.


Ajit Singh is a lawyer and journalist. He is a contributing author to 
/Keywords in Radical Philosophy and Education: Common Concepts for 
Contemporary Movements/ (Brill: 2019). He tweets at @ajitxsingh 
<https://twitter.com/ajitxsingh>.

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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