Category Archives: Domestic Terrorism

The Real ‘Killing Eve’ -Female ETA Terrorist Was A Sadistic Killer

Real ‘Killing Eve’ Female ETA Terrorist – Sadistic Killer

The terrorist called “the Tigress” had “spectacular” blue eyes and mounds of curly black hair. Idoia López Riaño wore skin-tight jeans and leather jackets, and thought nothing of seducing the officers she was assigned to kill. She was so vain that she once put her entire cell of Basque separatists at risk during an attempted terrorist strike because she was busy admiring herself.

But she was also one of the most bloodthirsty members of Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), an armed separatist group involved in a campaign of bombings and assassinations in Spain between 1968 and 2010.

Pursued by Spanish and French authorities for years, López Riaño was little known outside the Basque Country of northern Spain and southwestern France until two weeks ago — when British novelist Luke Jennings told a literary conference in the UK that he modeled Villanelle, his fictional femme fatale, after López Riaño in the novellas that became the basis for the hit BBC America series “Killing Eve.”

“She was clearly a psychopath and completely, completely without empathy,” said Jennings of the real assassin who killed 23 people in the 1980s and ’90s in Spain.

In “Killing Eve” — the third-season finale of which airs tonight — Emmy winner Jodie Comer plays the glamorous and mercurial Villanelle, a hired assassin obsessed with Eve (Sandra Oh), the MI6 operative pursuing her. Villanelle is ruthless but also incredibly vain. After savagely killing her targets — in one case, hoisting a man upside down by a pulley and disemboweling him — Villanelle treats herself to luxury shopping sprees.

López Riaño, who was also known by fellow militants as “the princess,” shared the same habits. “Idoia was, above everything, a slave to her body and to her hair,” writes Juan Manuel Soares Gamboa in a memoir about his years in ETA. “I never met an ETA militant who was more vain than this woman.”

Once, López Riaño missed a target when she “didn’t actually see him because she was so entranced with the window of a fashionable store and her own reflection,” Jennings said.

López Riaño was born in San Sebastian, a city on the northern coast of Spain, in 1964. As a child, she dreamed of becoming a firefighter. Instead, at 18, she was recruited to ETA by her boyfriend, a member, just as the group launched a civil war that would result in more than 800 civilian and military casualties throughout Spain.

“I became involved with ETA at a very young age,” López Riaño told a court. “I was full of romantic and idealistic ideas, and those who recruited me knew straight away how to make me choose: ‘Would you prefer to save a few people as a firefighter or a whole town? We need committed kids like you.’”

In her early days with the group, she had a string of lovers, including a policeman who learned she was part of ETA when he saw her on TV — after she killed his colleagues.

“Idoia was, above everything, a slave to her body and hair.” – Fellow militant Juan Manuel Soares Gamboa

Savvy and ambitious, the young militant longed to prove herself to the upper echelons of the separatist group and, on Nov. 16, 1984, participated in her first killing. Along with her ETA boyfriend Jose Angel Agirre and two other comrades, she stole a car at gunpoint and drove to a restaurant in Irun where their target — French businessman Joseph Couchot, suspected of financing a group of paramilitaries formed by Spanish authorities to kill ETA fighters — was in the middle of his lunch. López Riaño and her comrades shot Couchot six times, “finishing him off with a coup de grace as he lay on the floor,” according to “Dirty War, Clean Hands: The ETA, the GAL and Spanish Democracy” by Paddy Woodworth.

López Riaño was a rising star in ETA, and soon elevated to an elite cadre of assassins. During her first five months with the Madrid Command she participated in 20 murders, including the bombing of the Plaza Republica Dominicana in Madrid on July 14, 1986, which killed 12 people.

But she soon became a nuisance. López Riaño delayed an operation because she lost a shoe, and another had to be postponed because she needed a pregnancy test.

In one instance, she showed up to work without her gun, but was unrepentant when she was chastised by her commanders for putting the entire cell at risk.

“What do you want me to do?” she said, shrugging her shoulders. “I forgot. Period.”

Like Villanelle, she could be reckless. During a hit against a group of military operatives in June 1986, López Riaño grew tired of holding her submachine gun as she waited for a car carrying her targets to pass, and started to shoot indiscriminately, Soares Gamboa recalled. The officers died in a hail of submachine gun fire in the car that was transporting them to dinner.

In addition to her entitled attitude and reluctance to follow basic rules, López Riaño presented another problem for ETA. In his memoir, written with the journalist Matias Antolin, Soares Gamboa recalled that her stunning features — her “spectacular” blue eyes and “voluminous hair” — attracted too much attention on hits.

“It took 20 days of deliberations, 1,000 French francs for brown contact lenses, and countless meetings to convince her that she should alter her physical appearance because we had to go unnoticed,” he said. “She could not move in Madrid because she would attract too much attention … None of us wanted to accompany her.”

Exasperated with her insubordination, constant clubbing and revolving door of lovers, ETA leaders forced López Riaño into exile in Algeria, where she lived under the alias Tania. She continued to wear tight jeans and leather jackets, according to press reports.

After five years, ETA moved her to the south of France, where she was arrested in 1994. In 2001 she was extradited to Spain and later tried for the murders of 23 people. She was originally sentenced to 2,000 years but the maximum any prisoner can serve under Spanish law is 30 years. So she was released in 2017 after 23 years — one for every person she killed.

While in jail, López Riaño married twice. In 2011, she was formally expelled from ETA after publicly condemning their use of violence and issuing an apology to her victims.

Her current whereabouts are unknown. None of the families of her victims believed she was ever sorry for what she had done.

By Isabel Vincent

UNHRC Member Countries Have Massive Problems with Racism & Police Brutality

UNHRC Member Countries Have Massive Problems with Racism & Police Brutality

Racist and oppressive regimes should recuse themselves from today’s UN Human Rights Council urgent debate on racism and police brutality, says UN Watch, a Geneva-based independent human rights group that monitors the United Nations.

In testimony delivered before the 47-nation council yesterday (see below), UN Watch directed its appeal to such council members as Mauritania, which has up to 500,000 black slaves; Libya, which has up to a million African migrants treated as virtual slaves; and Venezuela, which kills protesters and has been accused of crimes against humanity.

Other council members with egregious records of racism or police brutality who approved today’s urgent debate include Burkina Faso (which initiated the session on behalf of African states), Bangladesh, Cameroon, DR Congo, Pakistan, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Qatar.

Russia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and China are expected to be elected to the council in October.

China recently chaired the UNHRC process for interviewing and recommending the UNHRC’s next expert on freedom of speech, to be appointed in July.

The following statement was delivered by UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer in testimony before the United Nations Human Rights Council, in its debate on June 16, 2020:

Mr. Chairman,

In the archives of Reverend Martin Luther King, there is a telegram from March 1965, sent to him in Selma, Alabama, by his friend and fellow civil rights leader Morris Abram, our founder, days after Bloody Sunday. Morris Abram condemned the “shameful exhibition of brutality” by police officers at the peaceful protests, and expressed solidarity with the “great cause” of justice and equality.

Sadly, a half century later, UN Watch must again today condemn the shameful exhibition of brutality by police officers, in the killing of George Floyd. We continue to stand unequivocally with the struggle against racism and police brutality.

In the spirit of Morris Abram—who served at the United Nations, and drafted the 1964 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination—UN Watch has been a leading voice at this Human Rights Council, fighting discrimination worldwide. When there was genocide in Darfur, it was UN Watch that organized the global Activist Summit, held here in 2007.

And every year, we campaign against the election of racist and brutal regimes to this Council. Too often, however, because of back-room political deals, they win. The accused become the judges.

If we wish to honor the memory of George Floyd, tomorrow’s urgent debate on racism and police brutality must be serious and credible — and not become a farce.

Accordingly, we propose that Council members which practice systematic racism or police brutality refrain from taking part — that they recuse themselves.

We ask Mauritania: given that you have an estimated 500,000 black slaves, with CNN referring to Mauritania as “slavery’s last stronghold,” will your country recuse itself from this urgent debate on racism against blacks?

We ask Libya: given that your country subjects up to a million African migrants to virtual slavery—trapped in a terrifying cycle of extortion, imprisonment, forced labor and prostitution—will Libya recuse itself?

We ask Eritrea: given that your country has been condemned—by this Council itself—for “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations,” including arbitrary detention and torture, will Eritrea recuse itself?

We ask Cameroon: given that your country systematically bans peaceful demonstrations, crushes protests by the English-speaking population, and has committed atrocities, including massacring civilians, rape, and burning villages, will Cameroon recuse itself?

We ask the Democratic Republic of Congo: aside from being the rape capital of the world, given that your police just 2 months ago killed 55 people, in a coordinated crackdown on a religious sect, will DRC recuse itself?

We ask Venezuela: given that in just 5 days last year, your forces killed 47 protesters, and arbitrarily detained 900 people, will the Maduro government recuse itself?

Mr. Chairman, when will the UN stop electing racists and oppressors to be judges on human rights?

I thank you.

Campus cults: Buccaneers, Black Axe and other feared groups

Campus cults: Buccaneers, Black Axe and other feared groups

Roland* was a first-year student when he joined the Buccaneers, a secret, illegal student society in Nigeria. A brutal initiation ritual was held late at night in the forest.

Older members, singing, dancing and drinking, formed a ring around him and other blindfolded initiates, beating them severely until the early hours of the morning.

The ritual was supposedly to purge the initiates of weaknesses and instil bravery in them.

“The moment you go in there and come out, you are a different person,” Roland told the BBC.

These societies, also referred to as confraternities and campus cults, have names like Vikings, Black Axe, Eiye (a word in the local Yoruba language for bird), and the Buccaneers.

Illustration of cult initiation ceremony

They have a chain of command similar to militia groups, use code words and have insignia bearing the favourite weapon of the cult, along with its colour.

Members are promised protection from rival gangs, but it is mostly about power and popularity.

These secret societies are banned in Nigeria and hundreds of members have been arrested and prosecuted over the years. Nevertheless, they continue to operate, especially on university campuses, where they still attract new members.

‘Fake news’ about gangster attacks

These cults have been accused of being behind serious violence, including killings, at universities across the country and sometimes harassing lecturers for good grades.

In some cases, students are lured with promises of networking opportunities.

Most societies now operate off campus as well, often with members who never went to university. They have increasingly resorted to crime.

In places like the commercial capital Lagos and oil hub Port Harcourt, cults have been known to recruit teenagers into street gangs that serve as a training ground for membership if they get to university.

In April, residents of Lagos and neighbouring Ogun state resorted to forming vigilante groups as reports spread that hundreds of gangsters belonging to One Million Boys and Awawa Boys were attacking some neighbourhoods.

There was a lockdown in the state to halt the spread of the coronavirus and some residents said the gangs had become more daring and were robbing homes.

Soon there were more reports, especially on social media, of gangs attacking people in other communities in what looked like massive coordinated attacks.

Notice of fake attack
Police say messages like this were used to frighten the public

The police denied there were widespread robberies in the state, describing the reports as “fake news” spread by the gangsters to cause panic as a prelude to launching attacks.

Police, nevertheless, confirmed they had arrested more than 200 suspected cultists for being involved in a gang war that broke out after the death of a cult leader in a fight.

Why Roland became a Buccaneer

Roland decided to join a cult to get protection at his university in eastern Nigeria.

A friend of his was robbed by a confraternity member resulting in a feud. Roland got dragged into the feud, and was assaulted on two occasions.

Illustrations of Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have a reputation for living the good life

He reported the attacks to university authorities, but campus security guards could do little.

These unarmed private guards were – and remain – no match for the cultists, who carry guns and other deadly weapons.

Roland’s search for the “least violent fraternity” led him to the Buccaneers after he declined an invitation to join the notorious Black Axe.

But once inside he lived in fear of rival groups.

Nobel laureate’s role in formation of societies

The confraternity system in Nigeria was not always so violent.

It was started way back in 1952, during the last years of British colonial rule, by a set of young idealistic men.

They included Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka at Nigeria’s prestigious University of Ibadan in Oyo State in south-western Nigeria.

Wole Soyinka

“At no time did I imagine that anything could degenerate” Wole Soyinka
Pyrates founding member

The students named their confraternity the National Association of Seadogs, or Pyrates, to rebel against notions of elitism by middle-class Nigerians.

The original founders, known as the Magnificent Seven, were committed to the pirate theme. They used to even pretend to be pirates, wearing bandanas and carrying cutlasses.

“We were having fun with a social orientation,” Soyinka told the BBC.

He described the present confraternities as “vile, evil groups”.

“I never imagined that any university-based group could actually adopt a mafia style, which involved manhood tests like raping, robbery, arms, murder, kidnapping.

“At no time did I imagine that anything could degenerate. And why did it degenerate? Instead of these kids being treated as the criminals they were, they were being protected by their parents and their relations,” he said.

Old photo of Wole Soyinka
A young Wole Soyinka as a lecturer at the University of Ibadan in the 1960s

The Pyrates, of which Soyinka is still a member, now exist as a group dedicated to “humanitarian and charitable endeavours”.

It no longer recruits students, and its leadership took it off campuses in 1984 in order to distance the Pyrates from violence.

How the societies became violent

A split in the Pyrates in the late 1960s had led to breakaway students starting the Buccaneers, and other societies.

Petty rivalries developed between them as they jostled for prestige, power, women and access to corrupt politicians who began hiring cult members to unleash violence against opponents.

Some groups are more violent than others and not all members are involved in crime. Nevertheless, they all strike fear in the hearts of Nigerians.

The Black Axe are among the most notorious. They emerged in the 1970s and were originally known as the Neo Black Movement. Its founders said the group’s aim was to “liberate” the black race.

But at universities, the group no longer seems to be driven by any political ideology.

Instead, Black Axe members are accused of numerous killings and sexual attacks.

Military accused of funding cults

In 1999 they killed five members of the student union at Obafemi Awolowo University in the ancient city of Ile-Ife in Osun State.

Black Axe members have also been victims of brutal violence.

At the University of Port Harcourt in the mid-1990s, a cult leader was decapitated and his bloodied head was hung on a pole at the university’s entrance as a sign of triumph.

Cult violence on campuses has decreased in recent years. It was at its worse in the 1980s and 1990s when Nigeria witnessed numerous coups.

The military was repeatedly accused of funding and arming confraternities to attack and suppress the student protest movement demanding democracy.

Omoyele SoworeThey stabbed me in the head, left the knife there and stripped me naked” Omoyele Sowore Ex-student union leader

Journalist Omoyele Sowore knows the groups well from that era, when he was a student at the University in Lagos.

Cults were causing havoc on campus and as president of the student union he decided to take them on.

It would prove costly.

“I almost lost my life,” Sowore told the BBC.

In March 1994, he was held at gunpoint and injected with an unknown substance.

“Several of them pounced on me. They stabbed me in the head and left the knife there and stripped me naked,” Sowore said.

He was later rescued by other students and taken to hospital.

Cults, drugs and people trafficking

The activities of some of these groups are not restricted to Nigeria. The Eiye cult is accused of criminal activities as far away as Europe.

Its members were among a group of 23 arrested by police the Spanish region of Catalonia in 2015 for being part of an international syndicate accused of trafficking people and narcotics (cocaine and marijuana) and forging passports.

The group was also accused of facilitating the transport of stolen crude oil into Europe.

Lagos area boys
Gangsters known locally as area boys operate in most bus-stops and flyovers in Lagos

Rarely do members leave a cult while still in university – those who dare to do so are assaulted or, in some cases, killed.

Some students have quit their studies to escape the grip of the cults.

Others remain lifelong members of their cult. It provides them with networking opportunities to get good jobs and to access power.

They also fund the cults, whose members in turn act as pimps. They hook them up with female students, sometimes for sex orgies involving politicians and businessmen.

Roland believes the cults offer a false sense of security, prestige and power. Members are always on the edge, not knowing when a rival group will attack.

“Half the time you would be afraid. No matter what they [members] say, they are always afraid,” he said.

* Roland’s name has been changed for his own protection

By Helen Oyibo

Disturbing parallels between Russia before the Revolution and contemporary America

Communist Nazi KKK Antifa

The similarities between this week’s riots and the Los Angeles riots of 1992 are obvious. Both were occasioned by appalling video images, and both divided the nation along partisan and ideological lines. The differences between the two events, however, are more revealing. The violence in 1992 came after a court verdict; the beating and arrest of Rodney King had happened more than a year before. This year’s riots came within days of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis officers. The riots of 1992 were mostly confined to poor and working-class areas of Los Angeles. This week saw mayhem all over America, and in Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere the rioters targeted wealthy streets and neighborhoods.

But perhaps the most striking difference is the rationalization, and sometimes full-throated defense, of violence from left-wing elites: the glorification of havoc, the vilification of cops and their middle-class admirers, highfalutin defenses of vandalism. The sense of revolution and class warfare was everywhere this week: the cognoscenti and underclass arrayed against the petty bourgeois shop owners; the elite and those they claim to represent against everybody else.

Gary Saul Morson says he has no special insight regarding police actions and the death of George Floyd. But he does have a provocative thesis about America’s current political moment: “To me it’s astonishingly like late 19th-, early 20th-century Russia, when basically the entire educated class felt you simply had to be against the regime or some sort of revolutionary.”

Mr. Morson, 72, is a professor of Russian literature at Northwestern University and an accomplished interpreter of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy. Obviously we haven’t arrived at anything like what Lenin called a “revolutionary situation,” Mr. Morson says, but we have arrived at a situation in which well-intentioned liberal people often can’t bring themselves to say that lawless violence is wrong.

In late czarist Russia, some political parties and other groups—the Social Democrats, the anarchists, the Marxists—explicitly endorsed terrorism. “The liberal party—the Constitutional Democrats, they called themselves—did not condone terrorism,” Mr. Morson says. “But they refused to condemn it. And indeed they called for the release from prison of all terrorists, who were pledged to continue terrorism right away. . . . A famous line from one of the liberal leaders put it this way: ‘Condemn terrorism? That would be the moral death of the party.’ ”

The lesson seems highly relevant today. “When you’re dragged along into something you don’t really believe yourself—because otherwise you are identified with those evil people, and your primary identity is being a ‘good guy,’ not like those people—you will wind up supporting things you know to be wrong. And unless there is some moral force that will stop it, the slide will accelerate.”

Mr. Morson, ensconced in his delightfully untidy and book-laden office in Chicago as we chat on Zoom, concedes that a scholar who spends much of his time thinking and writing about Russia’s revolutionary period will tend to look for parallels between that time and our own. The parallels don’t obtain in every way.

But some of them make the analogy worth considering. One is that many of today’s revolutionaries are wildly successful and privileged. Take Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman, both New York lawyers in their 30s, who have been criminally charged for attempting to firebomb a police vehicle with a Molotov cocktail. Mr. Mattis was educated at Princeton and New York University, Ms. Rahman at Fordham.

Why do people at the top want to destroy the system that enabled them to get there? “No,” Mr. Morson says, “you have it wrong. When you’re such a person, you don’t feel you’re at the top. The people at the top are wealthy businesspeople, and you’re an intellectual. You think that people of ideas should be at the top.”

The word “intelligentsia,” he notes, comes from Russian. In the classic period, from about 1860 to the First Russian Revolution in 1905, “the word did not mean everybody who was educated. It meant educated people who identified with one or another of the radical movements. ‘Intelligents’ believed in atheism, revolution and either socialism or anarchism.

“The idea was that since they knew the theory, they were morally superior and they should be in charge, and that there was something fundamentally wrong with the world when ‘practical’ people were. So what you take from your education would be the ideology that would justify this kind of activity—justify it because the wrong people have the power, and you should have it. You don’t feel like you’re the establishment.”

Is American society, shaped by Protestant Christianity and dominated by a kind of dovish, humanitarian left-liberalism, ever likely to fall into the barbarity of the Russian Revolution? Aren’t we too—I fumble for a word as I formulate the question—soft for that sort of totalizing violence?

“I don’t know,” Mr. Morson answers after a long pause. “I don’t know if that means people won’t go as far as they did in Russia, or if it just means there will be less resistance to it.”

The danger begins, he thinks, when complex social and political problems can’t be debated any longer. “You get into a revolutionary situation because people can’t hear,” he says. “Can there be a dialogue on important questions, or is there only one thing to say about every question? Are people afraid to say, ‘Well, yes, but it’s not quite as simple as that’? . . . When you can’t do that, you’re heading to a one-party state or a dictatorship of some sort. If one party is always wrong and another always right, why not just have the right one?”

Mr. Morson speaks with conviction about the peril of “ideological segregation”: “It was very easy for white people to believe evil things of black people when they never met any. But when you live with somebody, you realize that they’re no worse than you are. . . . We’ve increasingly had ideological segregation on both sides. Each side has caricature views of the other.”

The assumption of historical inevitability may play a part here. You hear it in our political language: A favored policy is “an idea whose time has come,” a disfavored one is “on the wrong side of history.” This sort of teleological thinking—history has a direction, and that direction is identical with our political views—is fervently, if unconsciously, embraced by highly educated people today. It was also “one of the central arguments of late-19th-century Russian thought,” Mr. Morson says.

“Does history have a direction? And is later necessarily better? The greatest thinkers—Tolstoy, Alexander Herzen—answered no, later is not always better. They believed that sort of thinking was an importation of religious providentialism into history—the determinism of Hegel and Marx. The difficulty of this form of thinking is that it paralyzes you from acting. Between the wars, it was common for people to say: ‘Yes, you may like liberal democracy, but that’s of the past. We fascists are of the future.’ Or ‘We communists are of the future.’ People would resign themselves to the inevitable and conclude, ‘Well I can’t fight the future, I can’t resist the fascists or the communists.’ ”

I suggest that the American left is very fond of this teleological language—Barack Obama spoke in his first inaugural address of the “worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.” But Mr. Morson reminds me that Ronald Reagan used similar rhetoric. “Part of being a revolutionary is knowing that you don’t have to acquiesce to the tired, old ideas of the past,” he said in a 1985 speech.

Another marker of the Russian intelligentsia was the sheer contempt its members had for the peasants and workers they claimed to represent. “How many workers, how many peasants, were even in the Bolshevik Party? Very few. . . . Lenin’s whole idea was that ‘the working class, left to itself, will never develop more than a trade-union consciousness.’ That’s his famous phrase. They had to be led by the intelligentsia and completely disciplined. No matter what you say, they will do it, no matter how violent. They don’t have to understand the reasons, they’ll just do it. Because they’re the agents of history, as Marx described them. . . . That implies a contempt for the working class and a greater contempt for the peasantry.”

The supposition that America is moving toward anarchy or revolution because we’ve had a week of riots—or three years of bad faith and acrimony, or three decades of polarization—still seems hard to accept. Mr. Morson is careful not to predict the course of events. He uses the phrase “insofar as the Russian example applies” more than once.

But, he says, “we have a major depression, we have terrible fear from the illness, and now we have mass riots in the street, which our leaders do not seem to know how to handle. That’s a very rapid slide from only a year ago. And there’s no reason to think it will slow down. The slide could well continue.”

And history can unfold in unpredictable ways. Who would have guessed 20 years ago, he asks, that the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantee would become passé on the liberal left? “I used to get a laugh from students by quoting a Soviet citizen I talked to once. He said to me, ‘Of course we have freedom of speech. We just don’t allow people to lie.’ That used to get a laugh! They don’t laugh anymore.”

By Barton Swaim Mr. Swaim is an editorial page writer for the Journal.

FACTS ABOUT OPIOID CRISIS: China Is Using Fentanyl as ‘Chemical Warfare’

FACTS ABOUT OPIOID CRISIS: China Is Using Fentanyl as ‘Chemical Warfare’

Behind the deadly opioid epidemic ravaging communities across the United States lies a carefully planned strategy by a hostile foreign power that experts describe as a “form of chemical warfare.”

It involves the production and trafficking of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that caused the deaths of more than 32,000 Americans in 2018 alone, and fentanyl-related substances.

China is the “largest source” of illicit fentanyl in the United States, a November 2018 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission stated. That same commission said that since its 2017 report, they found no “substantive curtailment” of fentanyl flows from China to the United States. They also noted that in “large part, these flows persist due to weak regulations governing pharmaceutical and chemical production in China.”

President Donald Trump has continued to increase his crackdown on fentanyl—he recently ordered all U.S. carriers to “search for and refuse” international mail deliveries of the synthetic opioid pain reliever. Trump specifically named FedEx, Amazon, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Jeff Nyquist, an author and researcher of Chinese and Russian strategy, said China is using fentanyl as a “very effective tool.”

“You could call it a form of chemical warfare,” Nyquist told The Epoch Times. “It opens up a number of opportunities for the penetration of the country, both in terms of laundering money and in terms of blackmail against those who participate in the trade and become corrupt like law enforcement, intelligence, and government officials.” 

China also uses the money generated by the importing of fentanyl to effectively “influence political parties,” according to Nyquist. 

“It opens doors for Chinese influence operations, Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and intelligence services, so that they can get control of certain parts of the U.S.,” he said. 

In August, Trump called out Chinese leader Xi Jinping, accusing him of not doing enough to stop the flow of fentanyl, which enters the United States mostly via international mail.

Liu Yuejin, vice commissioner of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, disputed Trump’s criticism, telling reporters on Sept. 3 that they had started going after illicit fentanyl production, according to state-controlled media. China also denies that most of the illicit fentanyl entering the United States originates in China.

“President Xi said this would stop—it didn’t,” Trump said on Twitter on Aug. 23.

Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl surged from around 29,000 in 2017 to more than 32,000 in 2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Not all opioid-related deaths in the United States can be blamed on China’s fentanyl export policies, as some come from prescription overdoses, according to Dr. Robert J. Bunker, an adjunct research professor at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute.

But Bunker told The Epoch Times that China is still “greatly contributing” to America’s opioid epidemic. Bunker described how Beijing is using the trafficking of dangerous drugs to achieve its greater Communist Party goals.

“Contributing to a major health crisis in the U.S., while simultaneously profiting from it would in my mind give long-term CCP plans to establish an authoritarian Chinese global system as a challenge to Western liberal democracy,” he said via email.

“[It’s] a win-win situation for the regime,” he continued. “In fact producing and sending fentanyl to the U.S., which could be considered a low-risk policy of ‘drug warfare,’ is very much in line with the means and methods advocated in the 1999 work ‘Unrestricted Warfare.’”

The book mentioned by Bunker is authored by two of China’s air force colonels, Qiao Liang, and Wang Xiangsui, and published by the People’s Liberation Army.

Local police, fire department, and deputy sheriffs help a man
Local police, fire department, and deputy sheriffs help a man who is overdosing in the Drexel neighborhood of Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 3, 2017. It’s unclear what he overdosed on. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Recent cases of fentanyl-related overdose and deaths are linked to “illegally made fentanyl,” the CDC has said. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.

Fentanyl has been approved for treating severe pain for conditions such as late-stage cancer. It is prescribed by doctors typically through transdermal patches or lozenges. Fentanyl should only be prescribed by doctors who are experienced in treating pain in cancer patients, according to Medline Plus, an online site by the United States National Library of Medicine. It may become addictive, especially with prolonged use.

A USPS spokesman told The Epoch Times they are “aggressively working” to add in provisions from the STOP Act. The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention legislation, signed in 2018 by Trump, aims to curb the flow of opioids sent through the mail while increasing coordination between USPS and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

USPS has notified China’s postal operations that if any of their shipments don’t contain Advance Electronic Data (AED), they “may be returned at any time,” the spokesman said via email. CBP is also notifying air and ocean carriers to confirm that 100 percent of their postal shipment containers have AED before loading them onto their conveyance.

Recent Seizures

In August, law enforcement seized 30 kilograms (around 66 pounds) of fentanyl, among other narcotics as part of a major arrest operation over the course of three days. As a result, officers arrested 35 suspects for “conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute large amounts of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and cocaine base.”

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement that the amount of fentanyl seized was enough to “kill over 14 million people.” One of the suspects in Virginia had ordered the fentanyl from a vendor in Shanghai and was receiving it at his residence through USPS, according to the indictment.

“The last thing we want is for the U.S. Postal Service to become the nation’s largest drug dealer, and there are people way above my pay grade working on that, but absolutely, it’s about putting pressure on the Chinese,” Terwilliger said.

CBP Enforcement Statistics reveal that fiscal year seizures of illicit fentanyl spiked from about one kilogram (2.2 pounds) in 2013 to nearly 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) in 2018. The number of law enforcement fentanyl seizures in the United States also vaulted from about 1,000 in 2013 to more than 59,000 in 2017.

Also, in August, the Mexican navy found 52,000 pounds of fentanyl powder in a container from a Danish ship that was coming from Shanghai. The navy intercepted the unloaded 40-foot container on Aug. 24, at the Port of Cardenas.

“There is clear evidence that fentanyl or fentanyl precursors, chemicals used to make fentanyl is coming from China,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, told The Epoch Times.

Epoch Times Photo
A fatal dose of fentanyl displayed next to a penny. (DEA)

Two commonly used fentanyl precursors are chemicals called NPP and 4-ANPP. In early 2017, journalist Ben Westhoff started researching the chemicals, finding many advertisements for them all over the internet from different companies. He later determined a majority of those companies were under a Chinese chemical company called Yuancheng, according to an excerpt from his upcoming book “Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic,” an excerpt of which was published in The Atlantic.

Fentanyl Analogs

One of the concerns related to the production of illicit opioids is the creation of fentanyl analogs, products that are similar to fentanyl and also simple to make.

“You can very easily manipulate the molecule and create a new fentanyl-like product that hasn’t been banned, that’s not technically illegal,” Kolodny told The Epoch Times. “Some of the manufacturers, the folks creating the drugs, are aware of that.”

“We saw this with other synthetic drugs that are abused in the U.S., when law enforcement make the drug illegal or when they ban the molecule,” he said. “In some cases, fentanyl analogs are even stronger than fentanyl. There’s an analog called carfentanil, which is even more potent than fentanyl.” 

Carfentanil has a quantitative potency “approximately 10,000 times that of morphine and 100 times that of fentanyl,” according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Just one microgram is needed for carfentanil to affect a human. The drug is “one of the most potent opioids known” and is marketed under the trade name Wildnil “as a general anesthetic agent for large animals.”

“Sometimes, it’s hard for law enforcement to keep up with the chemist,” Kolodny added. 

A bill dubbed the SOFA Act or the “Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act,” has yet to pass Congress. The act was introduced in May by Republican senators and would give law enforcement “enhanced tools to combat the opioid epidemic and close a loophole in current law that makes it difficult to prosecute crimes involving some synthetic opioids.”

Kolodny said pharmaceutical industries have been lobbying to stop any legislation meant to restrict fentanyl analogs “because these are products they are trying to bring to market.” 

In August, an Oklahoma judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572.1 million to the state for deceitfully marketing addictive opioids. The sum was less than what investors had expected, according to Reuters, which resulted in shares of the multinational corporation rising in value.

“We should be doing everything we can to keep fentanyl out of the country,” Kolodny said. “We should be doing everything we can to ban fentanyl analogs.” 

Billion-Dollar Grants

As part of the Trump administration’s latest efforts to combat the opioid crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Sept. 4 announced nearly $2 billion in funding to states.

The funding would expand access to treatment and also support near-real-time data on the drug overdose crisis, according to a release.

In announcing the move, White House counsel Kellyanne Conway told reporters in a conference call that their administration is trying to interject the word “fentanyl” into the “everyday lexicon” as part of their efforts to increase awareness.

Data suggests that of the approximately 2 million Americans suffering from opioid use disorder, approximately 1.27 million of them are now receiving medication-assisted treatment, according to the HHS.

“Central to our effort to stop the flood of fentanyl and other illicit drugs is our unprecedented support for law enforcement and their interdiction efforts,” she said.

Conway then brought up the DHS seizures of fentanyl in 2018, which totaled an equivalent of 1.2 billion lethal doses.

“Ladies and gentlemen, that is enough to have killed every American four times,” she told reporters.

Just weeks ago, the White House released a series of private-sector advisories aimed to help businesses protect themselves and their supply chains from inadvertently trafficking fentanyl and synthetic opioids.

The four advisories aim to stem the production and sale of illicit fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and other synthetic opioids. The advisories focus on the manufacturing, marketing, movement, and monetary aspects of illicit fentanyl.

In March 2018, the Interior Department created a task force aimed to specifically combat the crisis on tribal lands. Since then, the department has arrested more than 422 individuals and seized 4,000 pounds of illegal drugs worth $12 million on the street, including more than 35,000 fentanyl pills.

Conway, on the conference call, described the epidemic of pain relievers as an “opioid and fentanyl crisis.”

BY BOWEN XIAO

BREAKING VIDEO: Bill Ayers Planned to Kill 25 Million Americans in Re-Education Camps

Basically Ayers believes the biggest problem in American is education. So the answer to that problem was to round up 100 million people and ship them by train to the Southwest and re-educate them in Marxist ideology.

Out of that 100 million they were ready to kill 25% off the top they estimated could not be re-educated. This is the mentality of Stalin killing hundreds of millions of peasants because it would take too much time and effort to re-educate them to Marxist thought. If given the chance these people would turn the US into the Cambodian killing fields.

“Abolish the police.” City Council of Seattle and Chicago

“Abolish the police.” City Council of Seattle and Chicago

The latest call to action from some criminal-justice activists: “Abolish the police.”

From the streets of Chicago to the city council of Seattle, and in the pages of academic journals ranging from the Cardozo Law Review to the Harvard Law Review and of mainstream publications from the Boston Review to Rolling Stone, advocates and activists are building a case not just to reform policing — viewed as an oppressive, violent and racist institution — but to do away with it altogether. When I first heard this slogan, I assumed that it was a figure of speech, used to legitimize more expansive criminal-justice reform. But after reading the academic and activist literature, I realized that “abolish the police” is a concrete policy goal. The abolitionists want to dismantle municipal police departments and see “police officers disappearing from the streets.”

One might dismiss such proclamations as part of a fringe movement, but advocates of these radical views are gaining political momentum in numerous cities. In Seattle, socialist city council candidate Shaun Scott, who ran on a “police abolition” platform, came within 1,386 votes of winning elected office. During his campaign, he argued that the city must “[disinvest] from the police state” and “build towards a world where nobody is criminalized for being poor.” At a debate hosted by the Seattle Police Officers Guild, Scott blasted “so-called officers” for their “deep and entrenched institutional ties to racism” that produced an “apparatus of overaggressive and racist policing that has emerged to steer many black and brown bodies back into, in essence, a form of slavery.” Another Seattle police abolitionist, Kirsten Harris-Talley, served briefly as an appointed city councilwoman. Both Scott and Harris-Talley enjoy broad support from the city’s progressive establishment.

What would abolishing police mean as a practical policy matter? Nothing very practical. In The Nation, Mychal Denzel Smith argues that police should be replaced by “full social, economic, and political equality.” Harris-Talley, meantime, has traced policing’s origins back to slavery. “How do you reform an institution that from its inception was made to control, maim, condemn and kill people?” she asks. “Reform it back to what?” If cities can eliminate poverty through affordable housing and “investing in community,” she believes, the police will become unnecessary. Others argue that cities must simply “help people resolve conflicts through peace circles and restorative justice programs.”

Police abolitionists believe that they stand at the vanguard of a new idea, but this strain of thought dates to the 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who believed that stripping away the corruptions of civilization would liberate the goodness of man. What police abolitionists fail to acknowledge is the problem of evil. No matter how many “restorative” programs it administers, even a benevolent centralized state cannot extinguish the risks of illness, violence and disorder. Contrary to the utopian vision of Rousseau and his intellectual descendants, chaos is not freedom; order is not slavery. In the modern world, civilization cannot be rolled back without dire consequences.

If anything like police abolition ever occurred, it’s easy to predict what would happen next. In the subsequent vacuum of physical power, wealthy neighborhoods would deploy private police forces, and poor neighborhoods would organize around criminal gangs — deepening structural inequalities and harming the very people that the police abolitionists say they want to help. Even Scott, when pressed by a local journalist about how he would respond to a shooting in his district, conceded that “we live in a world where it’s not possible to turn anywhere for help on big questions like this but to the police force.”

Reform the police? Sure. Abolish them? Never.

Christopher F. Rufo is a contributing editor of City Journal, documentary filmmaker, and research fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. He’s directed four films for PBS, including his new film, “America Lost,” which tells the story of three “forgotten American cities.” This piece originally appeared in City Journal.

“The Christians are dogs and children of dogs.” The New War Against Africa’s Christians

“The Christians are dogs and children of dogs.”

Lagos, Nigeria

A slow-motion war is under way in Africa’s most populous country. It’s a massacre of Christians, massive in scale and horrific in brutality. And the world has hardly noticed.

A Nigerian Pentecostal Christian, director of a nongovernmental organization that works for mutual understanding between Nigeria’s Christians and Muslims, alerted me to it. “Have you heard of the Fulani?” he asked at our first meeting, in Paris, speaking the flawless, melodious English of the Nigerian elite. The Fulani are an ethnic group, generally described as shepherds from mostly Muslim Northern Nigeria, forced by climate change to move with their herds toward the more temperate Christian South. They number 14 million to 15 million in a nation of 191 million.

Among them is a violent element. “They are Islamic extremists of a new stripe,” the NGO director said, “more or less linked with Boko Haram,” the sect that became infamous for the 2014 kidnapping of 276 Christian girls in the state of Borno. “I beg you,” he said, “come and see for yourself.” Knowing of Boko Haram but nothing of the Fulani, I accept.

The 2019 Global Terrorism Index estimates that Fulani extremists have become deadlier than Boko Haram and accounted for the majority of the country’s 2,040 documented terrorist fatalities in 2018. To learn more about them, I travel to Godogodo, in the center of the country, where I meet a beautiful woman named Jumai Victor, 28. On July 15, she says, Fulani extremists stormed into her village on long-saddle motorcycles, three to a bike, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” They torched houses and killed her four children before her eyes.

When her turn came and they noticed she was pregnant, a discussion ensued. Some didn’t want to see her belly slit, so they compromised by cutting up and amputating her left arm with a machete. She speaks quickly and emotionlessly, staring into space as if she lost her face along with her arm. The village chief, translating for her, chokes up. Tears stream down his cheeks when she finishes her account.

I venture north to Adnan, where Lyndia David, 34, tells her story of survival. On the morning of March 15, rumors reached her village that Fulani raiders were nearby. She was dressing for church as her husband prepared to join a group of men who’d stand watch. He urged her to take refuge at her sister’s home in another village.

Her first night there, sentinels woke her with a whistle. She left the house to find flames spreading around her. Fulani surrounded her. Then she heard a voice: “Come this way, you can get through!” She did, and her putative savior leapt out of the underbrush, cut three fingers off her right hand, carved the nape of her neck with his machete, shot her, doused her body with gasoline, and lit it. She somehow survived. A few weeks later she returned to her village and learned that the raiders had leveled it the same night. Her husband was among the 72 they murdered.

The Christian Middle Belt is a land of blooming prairies that once delighted English colonizers. On the outskirts of Jos, capital of Plateau state, I visit the ruins of a burned-down church. I spot another, intact. A man emerges to yell at me in English that I don’t belong there. Stalling, I learn that he is Turkish, a member of a “religious mutual assistance group” that is opening madrassas for the daughters of Fulani.

That day I crisscross the Middle Belt. Roads are crumbled, bridges collapsed; destroyed houses cast broken shadows over tree stumps and trails of black ash and blood. Maize rots in the abandoned fields. The local Christians have been killed or are too terrorized to come out and harvest it. In the distance are clusters of white smudges—the Fulani herds grazing on the lush grass. When we approach, the armed shepherds wave us off.

The Anglican bishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, has had his livestock stolen three times. During the third raid he was dragged into his room, a gun to his head. He dropped to his knees and prayed at the top of his voice until the thrumming of a helicopter drove his assailants off.

Bishop Kwashi describes the Fulani extremists’ pattern: They usually arrive at night. They are barefoot, so you can’t hear them coming unless they’re on motorcycle. Sometimes a dog sounds the alert, sometimes a sentinel. Then a terrifying stampede, whirling clouds of dust, cries of encouragement from the invaders. Before villagers can take shelter or flee, the invaders are upon them in their houses, swinging machetes, burning, pillaging, raping. They don’t kill everyone. At some point they stop, recite a verse from the Quran, round up the livestock and retreat. They need survivors to spread fear from village to village, to bear witness that the Fulani raiders fear nothing but Allah and are capable of anything.

The heads of 17 Christian communities have come to the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, to meet me in a nondescript compound. Some have traveled for days in packed buses or minivans. Each arrives accompanied by a victim or two.

Here they are, an exhausted yet earnestly hopeful group of some 40 women and men, keenly aware of the moment’s gravity. One carries a USB key, another a handwritten account, a third a folder full of photos, captioned and dated. I accept these records, overwhelmed by the weight of the bearers’ hope that the world will recognize the horrors they experienced.

Taking the floor in turn, the survivors confirm the modus operandi Bishop Kwashi described, each adding an awful detail. The mutilated cadavers of women. A mute man commanded to deny his faith, then cut up with a machete until he screams. A girl strangled with the chain of her crucifix.

Westerners here depict the Fulani extremists as an extended, rampant Boko Haram. An American humanitarian says the Fulani recruit volunteers to serve internships in Borno State, where Boko Haram is active. Another says Boko Haram “instructors” have been spotted in Bauchi, another northeastern state, where they are teaching elite Fulani militants to handle more-sophisticated weapons that will replace their machetes. Yet whereas Boko Haram are confined to perhaps 5% of Nigerian territory, the Fulani terrorists operate across the country.

Villagers west of Jos show the weapons they use to defend themselves: bows, slings, daggers, sticks, leather whips, spears. Even these meager arms have to be concealed. When the army comes through after the attacks, soldiers tell the villagers their paltry weapons are illegal and confiscate them.

Several times I note the proximity of a military base that might have been expected to protect civilians. But the soldiers didn’t come; or, if they did, it was only after the battle; or they claimed not to have received the texted SOS calls in time, or not to have had orders to respond, or to have been delayed on an impassable road.

“What do you expect?” our driver asks as we take off in a convoy for his burned-down church. “The army is in league with the Fulani. They go hand in hand.” After one attack, “we even found a dog tag and a uniform.”

“It’s hardly surprising,” says Dalyop Salomon Mwantiri, one of the few lawyers in the region who dare to represent victims. “The general staff of the Nigerian army is a Fulani. The whole bureaucracy is Fulani.”

So is President Muhammadu Buhari. In April 2016 Mr. Buhari ordered security forces to “secure all communities under attack by herdsmen.” In July 2019 a spokesman for the president said in a statement: “No one has the right to ask anyone or group to depart from any part of the country, whether North, South, East or West.”

Most Christians I meet express disgust at the vague language suggesting culpability on both sides. Their stories tend to validate claims of the government’s complicity. In Riyom district, three displaced Nigerians and a soldier were gunned down this June as they attempted to return home. The villagers know the assailants. Police identified them. Everyone knows they took refuge in a nearby village. But there they are under the protection of the ardos, a local emir. No arrests occurred.

Village chief Sunday Abdu recounts another example, a 2017 attack on Nkiedonwhro. This time the military came to warn villagers of a threat. They ordered the women and children to take shelter in a school. But after the civilians complied, a soldier fired a shot in the air. A second shot sounded in the distance, seemingly in response. Minutes later, after the soldiers had departed, the assailants appeared, went directly to the classroom, and fired into the cowering group, killing 27.

I also meet some Fulani—the first time by chance. Traveling by road near a river bed, we come on a checkpoint consisting of a rope stretched across the road, a hut and two armed men. “No passage,” says one, wearing a jacket on which are sewn badges in Arabic and Turkish. “This is Fulani land, the holy land of Usman dan Fodio, our king—and you whites can’t come in.” The conquests of dan Fodio (1754-1817) led to the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate over the Fula and Hausa lands.

The second encounter is on the outskirts of Abuja. Driving toward the countryside, we reach a village unlike the others we’ve seen in the Christian zone. There’s a ditch, and behind it a hedge of bushes and pilings. The place seems closed off from the world. From huts emerge a swarm of children and their mothers, the women covered from head to foot.

It’s a village of Fulani nomads who carried out a tiny, localized Fulanization after the Christians cleared out. “What are you doing here?” demands an adolescent boy wearing a T-shirt adorned with a swastika. “Are you taking advantage of the fact that it’s Friday, and we’re in the mosque, to come spy on our women? The Quran forbids that!” When I ask if wearing a swastika isn’t also contrary to the Quran, he looks puzzled, then launches into a feverish tirade. He says he knows he’s wearing “a German insignia,” but he believes that “all men are brothers,” except for the “bad souls” who “hate Muslims.”

Later I encounter Fulani near Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, which is in the south on the Gulf of Guinea. North of the city is an open-air market where Fulani sell their livestock. I am with three young Christians, survivors of a Middle Belt massacre who live in a camp for displaced persons. They pretend to be cousins buying an animal for a family feast. As they negotiate over a white-horned pygmy goat, I look for Fulani willing to talk.

Most have come from Jigawa state, on the border with Niger, crossing the country south in trucks to bring their stock here. Although I learn little about their trip, they eagerly express their joy in being here, on the border of this contemptible promised land, where they expect to “dip the Quran in the sea.”

There are “too many Christians in Lagos,” says Abadallah, who looks to be in his 40s. “The Christians are dogs and children of dogs. You say Christians. To us they are traitors. They adopted the religion of the whites. There is no place here for friends of the whites, who are impure.” A postcard vendor joins the group and offers me portraits of Osama bin Laden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He agrees the Christians will eventually leave and Nigeria will be “free.”

Some professional disinformers will try to reduce the violence here to one of the “interethnic wars” that inflame Africa. They’ll likely find, here and there, acts of reprisal against the Fula and Hausa. But as my trip concludes, I have the terrible feeling of being carried back to Rwanda in the 1990s, to Darfur and South Sudan in the 2000s.

Will the West let history repeat itself in Nigeria? Will we wait, as usual, until the disaster is done before taking notice? Will we stand by as international Islamic extremism opens a new front across this vast land, where the children of Abraham have coexisted for so long?

Mr. Lévy is author of “The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World” (Henry Holt, 2019). This article was translated from French by Steven B. Kennedy.

Pro-Chinese Government American Communist take credit for Virginia Election Wins

China-based American Communist take credit for Virginia Election Wins

It’s official. The once deep-red Commonwealth of Virginia is now a blue state. As a result of the Nov. 5 election, Democrats now hold all three of the statewide constitutional offices, both U.S. Senate seats, the majority of its Congress members, and both chambers of the State House.

Virginia went blue because a handful of well-organized pro-Chinese communists made it happen.

The group in question, New Virginia Majority (NVM), has exploited Virginia’s changing population and “liberal bleed out” from the Washington area to flip not just Northern Virginia but also districts across the state. Based in Alexandria and Richmond, NVM has sent hundreds of paid workers and volunteers out across the commonwealth to register and send to the polls hundreds of thousands of new voters.

NVM endorsed and supported 23 Virginia candidates this cycle and won with 15 of them, including two state Senate races and nine Assembly victories.

NVM Co-Chair Tram Nguyen has already published an op-ed in The New York Times saying, “Democrats could learn a lot from what happened in Virginia.” The message? “Democrats, do what we did in Virginia—everywhere.” By going after the minority vote with mass voter registration drives, you can flip almost any state.

According to Nguyen:

“The national Democratic Party spent millions in Virginia this year, but the state wasn’t always such a priority. From its position in the South to its prominent role in America’s legacy of oppression, Virginia was long considered reliably conservative—unbreakable. As recently as six years ago, Republicans controlled the office of the governor and the General Assembly.

“Local organizations like mine understood the political potential of Virginia when we got started 12 years ago. We are winning because we recognize the power of an electorate that includes and reflects the diversity of our state. We don’t talk to voters only when campaign season rolls around. We try to reach voters of all colors, women, low-income workers and young people where they are, which has made it possible for us to develop a robust base of support along Virginia’s so-called Urban Crescent, from Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads. Long before Election Day, we registered more than 300,000 voters, knocked on more than 2.5 million doors, and organized within communities of color to help win significant policy changes like Medicaid expansion, which covered nearly 400,000 people.”

Nguyen (who was part of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s transition team) also went on to explain the importance of the ex-convict vote.

“Virginia’s state constitution bars anyone with a felony conviction from voting until their rights have been restored by the governor. For more than nine years, we organized formerly incarcerated women and men to help them demand that their full civil rights be restored. The former governor, Terry McAuliffe, restored the voting rights of more than 173,000 Virginians during his term, more than any other governor in Virginia’s history. In 2016, of the nearly 20,000 men and women who registered to vote for the first time as a result of the restoration of their rights, a whopping 79 percent voted. They were a key voting bloc in Virginia, the only Southern state that Hillary Clinton won.”

NVM worked closely with McAuliffe to win ex-felon voting rights. The organization actually gave the governor an award at its annual dinner for his sterling work.

And the path to success lies in organizing and energizing minority voters who already lean left, but normally vote at very low rates:

“Changes in the shape of the electorate and rising enthusiasm among voters can only go so far, without campaign architecture that channels those changes into tangible political outcomes. …

“Engaging meaningfully with voters of color means talking to tens of thousands of voters to make sure they have the information they need to cast their ballots even after receiving racist Republican campaign communications. … We didn’t need to persuade voters to embrace our worldview—they were already there on the issues. They just needed to be convinced that their vote mattered. To give one example of how this works in practical terms, in precincts in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, turnout this year increased by 24 percent over 2017. …

“States don’t become battlegrounds overnight. Democrats and national progressive organizations have the resources to take their case to the people and win, but they have to start early and organize relentlessly. When they lose, they have to stay in place and keep fighting for every political inch they can get. No place is unwinnable forever.”

All this would be serious enough if NVM members were merely well-meaning “liberal Democrats,” which unfortunately isn’t the case.

NVM is a front for Liberation Road, known until April this year as Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), the United States’ most influential Maoist organization.

Maoist Groups

NVM is led by longtime FRSO/Liberation Road cadre Jon Liss of Alexandria. Several FRSO cadres have served in NVM over the years, as have many activists from two NVM satellite groups, LeftRoots and the Virginia Student Power Network.

FRSO/Liberation Road comes out of the militantly pro-China American Maoist student movement of the 1970s. While it’s more discreet about its Chinese loyalties these days, several of its leading supporters maintain close ties to the People’s Republic.

Fred Engst is a longtime FRSO supporter. Born to U.S. communist parents and raised in China, Engst was educated in the United States, where he became immersed in Maoist politics. He returned to China in 2007 and is now teaching at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

Alex Tom, a leader of LeftRoots and the pro-Beijing San Francisco-based Chinese Progressive Association, in 2012 formed the China Education and Exposure Program to “build a deeper analysis of China for US progressives and leftists and to build relationships with the grassroots movement in China,” according to his 2013 LeftForum speaker’s bio.

John Marienthal, a San Jose-based FRSO member, has been a leader of the pro-Beijing U.S.–China Peoples Friendship Association for more than 40 years and has taught in several Chinese educational establishments since the 1980s.

Steve McClure is a former Washington resident who, in the 1970s, was active in the pro-Mao Revolutionary Student Brigade. He has close ties to FRSO and NVM. Since 2010, he has worked with the Geography Department of Wuhan University in China, and he is a research associate with the State Key Laboratory of Engineering Information in Surveying, Mapping, and Remote Sensing at the university.

McClure has used his skills in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to supply highly targeted voter identification information to NVM.

As far back as 2005, McClure was using GIS technology to identify low-income voters for Liss’s Tenant Workers Support Committee. McClure “plotted lower-income, high-rental housing areas to get a picture of where there was affordable housing in Northern Virginia,” according to the Mason Gazette. This information probably proved very useful when Liss established NVM two years later.

According to an Aug. 25, 2011, post on McClure’s blog:

“I have been recently working with New Virginia Majority to make a series of maps to inform planning for precinct walks in Virginia State house districts. … The core data are lists of individual households by pan-ethnic census categories. … The results are subjective but do suggest … the ways that actual communities conform or diverge from the discrete territorial units which define an electoral terrain in a democracy.”

All this wasn’t theoretical. It was designed to help NVM flip districts across the state by micro-targeting potential Democratic voters in low-income and minority communities. In another post, he wrote:

“In the general elections of 2008, Virginia voted Democratic for the first time since 1964 with Obama carrying the state. Demographic shifts and increased voter participation rather than a shift in political allegiances account for this outcome. …

“Focusing on Prince William County, Virginia, I applied spatial interpolation techniques in a GIS to translate the 2008 election returns from the geography of precincts to year 2000 zoning classification areas for further quantitative analysis. The goal was to produce actionable intelligence for working class organizations building popular power at the base. …

“The results are presented as maps and diagrams which might illuminate challenges and opportunities for organizations engaging with electoral efforts.”

McClure is still actively engaged in giving advice to his U.S. comrades on winning elections for the Democrats.

An article co-written by McClure and Bob Wing, “The Importance of the Fight for the South—and Why It Can and Must Be Won,” appeared on the Liberation Road-linked website Organizing Upgrade on Sept. 4, 2017. It states:

“The far right, racism, militarism, inequality, and poverty are all centered in the South. The majority of African Americans, the main protagonist of progressive politics in this country, live in the South. And the South has more electoral votes, battleground state votes, population, and congresspersons than any other region.

“The South is changing rapidly, giving rise to more progressive demographic groups—especially Black and Latino migrations, LGBTQs and urbanites—and a growing Democratic vote. These trends can only be maximized if the importance of the South is understood as a strategic necessity and the chance to win state by state, is acknowledged and acted upon.

“Hard as the fight is and will be, downplaying the Southern struggle is a losing political strategy and forfeits the moral high ground on the biggest issues facing the country.”

McClure and Wing (another “former” Maoist associated with FRSO) argue that to destroy the Republican Party in the South, black communities must be targeted and mobilized to vote:

 “(1) A critical mass of Southern states can and must be won if we are to block or defeat the right in presidential elections. Three of the five or so critical battleground states are in the South: Florida, Virginia and North Carolina. Southern blue and battleground states plus Washington D.C. hold 38 percent of the electoral votes needed to win.

“(2) Winning an anti-rightwing congressional majority depends on winning in the South, as the South has a bigger congressional delegation than any other region and Southern congresspersons also hold key leadership posts within the Republican Party’s congressional hierarchies.

“(3) There are tremendous opportunities to build progressive political power and governance at the local level in the South as 105 counties have a Black majority. …

“While some might dismiss the South, focusing strategically on the Northeast and Pacific Coast as central to a progressive program and the Midwest as the main political battleground, the South’s dynamic growth, historical legacy of Black struggle and powerful political weight make it a critical battlefield.

“The nuance is that the South cannot be won as a bloc, but only state by state and county by county. In fact, winning the South in large part means understanding that it is not a monolithic entity and winning it piece by piece: i.e. politically deconstructing the South.”

President Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 shocked the left and, according to McClure and Wing, has made their goal of flipping the South even more urgent:

“This essay was prepared in March 2015, prior to the 2016 election season that eventually resulted in Donald Trump’s victory. However, the far rightwing’s capture of the presidency makes this essay’s main arguments even more important. …

“The South is the key center of the far right and the Republican Party; neither can be defeated without battling for the South.”

Liberation Road has a large presence in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina (Durham for All), and Florida (the New Florida Majority). Now that Virginia is safely in the Democrat column, look to see an upsurge of Maoist electoral activity in North Carolina and Florida to turn those states blue in 2020; Tennessee and Georgia will be next. Then, Texas.

Chinese ‘Collusion’?

Trump has been tougher on Beijing than has any other president in living memory. It’s no secret that China doesn’t like Trump and would love to see him defeated in 2020.

Rather than risk war, or suffer huge economic setbacks, wouldn’t it be much cheaper and easier to use China’s American assets, such as Liberation Road, to ensure Trump’s defeat by “democratic” means?

It’s inconceivable that the Chinese government didn’t know what McClure was up to. After all, they presumably pay his salary or living costs while he is in China.

It’s clear that Liberation Road is tied to China. It’s also clear that their front-group NVM is heavily involved in U.S. electoral politics and played a decisive role in turning Virginia blue. It’s also obvious that Liberation Road’s goal is to destroy President Trump and the Republican Party to pave the way for a socialist America.

Is there Chinese “collusion” here? Do we need investigations and executive action against these subversive groups before they’re able to fully realize their goals? With less than a year until the 2020 election, there’s not much time left to do so.

Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.