The Coda Story – a media front funded and created by and for the US government, its “Atlanticist” partners, and the corporate interests driving the vast majority of Western foreign policy – recently ran a smear against alternative media figures questioning the US-led “Uyghur-Xinjiang” narrative.
The smear is part of a wider campaign aimed at anyone questioning Washington’s Uyghur-Xinjiang narrative and the US’ attempt to use it to undermine China.
These smears follow a very specific playbook. Step one – deny there is a terrorism problem in Xinjiang, China. Step two – cite reports based entirely on anecdotal stories. Step three – never mention these stories and reports are created wholly by US-based, US government-funded organizations.
Step One: Deny Terrorism in Xinjiang
The article, “Pro-Beijing influencers and their rose-tinted view of life in Xinjiang,” claims, amid the first victim of its smear – Jerry Grey – that:
Grey, who is a former London Metropolitan police officer, admitted that he found Xinjiang’s surveillance network and continual police checks oppressive. “It was a pain in the butt,” he said. “But at no stage were they ever abusive.”
I asked him if he would willingly live under a draconian regime of surveillance and arbitrary detention like the one that operates in Xinjiang, controlling the region’s Muslim population under the guise of combating terrorism.
“Under the guise of combating terrorism?”
Terrorism in Xinjiang carried out by extremists radicalized by US, Saudi, and Turkish programs is real.
Even the Western media whose lies today Coda seeks to buttress have previously admitted the large scale and frequency of terrorism in China’s Xinjiang region.
In the BBC’s 2014 article, “Why is there tension between China and the Uighurs?,” alone it was admitted that (emphasis added):
In June 2012, six Uighurs reportedly tried to hijack a plane from Hotan to Urumqi before they were overpowered by passengers and crew.
There was bloodshed in April 2013 and in June that year, 27 people died in Shanshan county after police opened fire on what state media described as a mob armed with knives attacking local government buildings
At least 31 people were killed and more than 90 suffered injuries in May 2014 when two cars crashed through an Urumqi market and explosives were tossed into the crowd. China called it a “violent terrorist incident”.
It followed a bomb and knife attack at Urumqi’s south railway station in April, which killed three and injured 79 others.
In July, authorities said a knife-wielding gang attacked a police station and government offices in Yarkant, leaving 96 dead. The imam of China’s largest mosque, Jume Tahir, was stabbed to death days later.
In September about 50 died in blasts in Luntai county outside police stations, a market and a shop. Details of both incidents are unclear and activists have contested some accounts of incidents in state media.
Some violence has also spilled out of Xinjiang. A March stabbing spree in Kunming in Yunnan province that killed 29 people was blamed on Xinjiang separatists, as was an October 2013 incident where a car ploughed into a crowd and burst into flames in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Other Western media sources have confirmed terrorist organizations like the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) are funneling extremists from Xinjiang onto battlefields across North Africa and the Middle East and particularly in Syria alongside other extremists armed and backed by NATO.
The Western media admits that potentially thousands of these Uyghur extremists may return home and use their battlefield experience to wage a campaign of terrorism against Beijing.
US State Department-funded and directed Voice of America (VOA) in its article, “Analysts: Uighur Jihadis in Syria Could Pose Threat,” would admit (emphasis added):
Analysts are warning that the jihadi group Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in northwestern Syria could pose a danger to Syria’s volatile Idlib province, where efforts continue to keep a fragile Turkey-Russia-brokered cease-fire between Syrian regime forces and the various rebel groups.
The TIP declared an Islamic emirate in Idlib in late November and has largely remained off the radar of authorities and the media thanks to its low profile. Founded in 2008 in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, the TIP has been one of the major extremist groups in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war in the country in 2011.
The TIP is primarily made up of Uighur Muslims from China, but in recent years it also has included other jihadi fighters within its ranks.
The TIP has already carried out deadly terrorism inside China. For example, it claimed responsibility for the 2011 Kashgar attacks in Xinjiang killing 23 people.
Would the detention of radicalized extremists in networks carrying out this violence or the creation of security check points in a region where such violence is taking place be considered “draconian?”
No. But Coda’s article never discusses this even though the West’s own media – not Chinese state media – has already admitted terrorism is a major security threat. In fact, Coda’s article never mentions terrorism in Xinjiang even once.
Is the BBC lying? Or have the facts reported on by the BBC in 2014 simply become politically inconvenient amid the West’s current and growing information, economic, and proxy war against China?
Steps Two and Three: Cite Anecdotal Stories – Never Mention They are Produced by US-based, US Government-Funded Orgs
Another target of Coda’s smear was a TikTok user who the article quotes as saying:
“I keep seeing people post about the Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, claiming there are concentration camps there – that is not true, it’s fabricated by the CIA.”
The claims being fabricated by the CIA is the closest thing resembling the truth in Coda’s article.
These claims are indeed fabricated – specifically by Washington-based fronts funded directly by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Separatist groups like the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) who openly seek Xinjiang “independence” have literal offices in Washington DC and are funded by the NED.
In fact, the US NED’s grant money to subversion in China is divided into several regions with their own dedicated pages on the NED website. Xinjiang is is listed by NED as “Xinjiang/East Turkestan” – East Turkestan being the fictional country extremists seek to create.
Other organizations funded by NED include the Uyghur American Association and the Uyghur Human Rights Project.
Unsurprisingly, Coda is also funded by the NED.
Not only is Coda itself funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) via admitted supporters including the NED and US State Department-funded International Center for Journalists as well as Europe’s own “European Endowment for Democracy” (EED) – but the author of the above mentioned smear piece – Isobel Cockerell – previously reported for Rappler – a Philippine online media website also funded by the NED.
Is it possible Isobel Cockerell is unaware that the accusations against China she repeats and smears others for questioning originate from DC-based fronts funded by the US government itself?
No. Cockerell herself has cited these very organizations in other articles. For example, in her article, “Revealed: New videos expose China’s forced migration of Uyghurs during the pandemic,” she cites UHRP she herself admits is based in Washington DC – though she omits any mention of the organization’s US NED funding.
The summation of evidence provided in Cockerell’s articles is anecdotal – based on personal accounts – or provided by dubious US-based US government-funded fronts like UHRP which – in turn – depend entirely on anecdotal accounts.
The NED is chaired by many prominent political figures in the US who openly promoted the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, many wars and interventions beforehand, and many since. This includes Elliot Abrams who had until recently oversaw US regime change attempts in Venezuela before being reassigned to targeting Iran.
It was fabricated accusations the US used to first apply sanctions against Iraq, to undermine its government upon the global stage, and eventually justify military aggression against Iraq including a devastating invasion in 2003 and subsequent occupation that is ongoing to this very day.
A similar strategy is now being aimed at China.
NED is also chaired by figures in the US media guilty of helping promote these fabricated accusations – not only against Iraq but against other targets of US military aggression and regime change including Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and more recently China’s Hong Kong.
This includes the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum.
Applebaum is also on Coda’s board of advisers alongside others drawn straight from the US and British corporate and state media.
Thus – from funding the organizations telling the lies – to spreading those lies across the corporate media – to then buttressing those lies with fronts posing as smaller, third-party news organizations like Coda – the US government and those aiding its efforts are involved in every step of the way.
For lies about China’s “abuses” of Uyghurs in Xinjiang – Anne Applebaum literally helped oversee the funding of fronts like WUC and UHRP producing these baseless accusations. Applebaum’s employer – the Washington Post – would then transform these fabrications into headline news – then use Coda she serves as adviser to as one of many “third-party” amplifiers in the US government’s echo chamber.
This is not journalism nor confronting fake news and disinformation. This is an industrialized pipeline pumping out fake news.
Another smear aimed at alternative media publications challenging Washington’s Uyghur-Xinjiang narrative published by Axios – citing Coda – would claim:
One classic Russian disinformation tactic is the amplification of “conspiracy websites,” which Rosenberger said are third-party sites without funding transparency that promote the same theories the state aims to boost.
“Having westerners say things that are in line with the state narrative helps bolster their claims,” Darren Byler, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Asian Studies, said in a July 30 interview with Coda Story.
What separates “disinformation” from information are actual facts – which are clearly absent amidst the West’s attacks on China. Thus, Axios and Coda are accusing “Russia” and “China” of doing precisely what they themselves are clearly doing. Axios and Coda are not only “third-party sites” being amplified by the Western media to help promote their false narratives, they are third-party sites created specifically for this purpose.
It is no surprise that those actually engaged in fake news on an industrial scale would attempt to shift the blame elsewhere. The growing number of organizations across the West dedicated to shifting this blame and smearing those questioning transparently false and politically-motivated narratives promoted by verified liars and aggressors – is itself growing to an industrial scale.
But the necessity for such levels of deception only means there is an equal or greater level of honest people engaged in real journalism and analysis – efforts that are making a difference, and efforts that should continue if not doubled.