Prosecute the torture.

May 1, 2010

Subtle and Simple: The Trib Today.

There are a couple of things to say about one of this morning's editorials at Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune Review.

The first is simple, the second subtle. I'll start with the simple.

Here's the editorial:
If the Obama administration underwent a backbone transplant, it might have something to say about China's barbaric practice of harvesting executed religious dissidents' organs for worldwide sale.

Human rights activists say the White House has "no clear policy" regarding the main victims of China's butchery -- imprisoned members of Falun Gong, the quasi-Buddhist group, more than 70 million strong, that China forbids as a "dangerous cult."

And, The Washington Times reports, China's now taking organs from dissident Christians, Muslim Uighurs and Tibetan Buddhists, too.
Let's take care of the obvious: China denies the allegations (no surprise there) and I am not supporting the People's Republic of China at all (who could?). But let's dig a little and see what the Washington Times had to say about the press conference:
China's hidden policy of executing prisoners of the forbidden quasi-Buddhist group Falun Gong and harvesting their organs for worldwide sale has been expanded to include Tibetans, "house church" Christians and Muslim Uighurs, human rights activists said Monday.

In a news conference on Capitol Hill, several speakers, including attorney David Matas of B'nai Brith Canada and Ethan Gutmann of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said their investigations have unearthed a grisly trade in which an estimated 9,000 members of Falun Gong have been executed for their corneas, lungs, livers, kidneys and skins.

They likened the practice to the Nazi treatment of Jewish prisoners in World War II concentration camps, which included using them for sadistic medical experiments and taking the gold fillings from the teeth of corpses.

The newest wrinkle, they said, is that organs from other religious prisoners — specifically dissidents from China's Christian, Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist communities — are also being harvested to satisfy an insatiable global demand.
Now we're approaching the simple. The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies? You know where this leads, right??
  • In 2008 the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies received $250,000 in grant money from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation.
  • In 2007 the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies received $250,000 in grant money from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation.
  • In 2006 the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies received $200,000 in grant money from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation.
  • In 2005 the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies received $275,000 in grant money from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation.
  • In 2004 the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies received $125,000 in grant money from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation.
That's $1.2 million since in 5 years. And no mention of that in the editorial?

That's the simple.

Now on to the subtle.

The braintrust makes the charge about the inactivity of the Obama Administration regarding these allegations. Fair enough, given the charge's severity. If there isn't a denunciation off the charges, there should be.

But it's also not a new charge, and that's the subtle. From the Times:
Although the practice of harvesting organs from prisoners has been documented as early as 1992 by Chinese dissident Harry Wu's Laogai Research Foundation, it was not until 2006 that the Epoch Times, a Falun Gong publication, accused the Chinese government of using its adherents for the practice.

In 2005, Chinese Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu acknowledged that 95 percent of all transplanted organs come from executions, said Mr. Matas, whose 2009 book "Bloody Harvest," co-written with David Kilgour of Ottawa, a former member of the Canadian Parliament, details the practice.
Bloody Harvest dates back at least to early July of 2006. But the story of Chinese organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners bubbled over a few months earlier. From the New York Times:
President Bush and President Hu Jintao of China, meeting for the first time at the White House today, pledged closer cooperation on fighting nuclear proliferation and addressing their massive trade imbalance. But they broke little new ground on a host of disputes that have strained the relationship between the countries in recent years.

The meeting, which required more than a year of intensive diplomacy to arrange and was postponed by Hurricane Katrina, did more to emphasize the long list of tensions between the world's richest country and its fastest-rising rival than it did to offer fresh solutions. The two presidents did not announce any new agreements after their 90-minute meeting in the Oval Office.

A carefully choreographed welcome ceremony for Mr. Hu on the South Lawn was interrupted by an activist of the Falun Gong religious sect who managed to join the event as a reporter for the organization's United States-based newspaper, Epoch Times.

The protester screamed about China's persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and partially drowned out Mr. Hu during his opening remarks before security officers managed to remove her from a press podium, leaving Mr. Bush, standing side-by-side with Mr. Hu, visibly angered.
The day got off to a rocky start when the heckler interrupted Mr. Hu, shouting at him from a platform where news photographers were covering the event.

The Asian woman shouted in Chinese, but also broke into English, yelling "Stop the torture and killings!" and shouting the name of the Falun Gong, a religious and exercise sect that is outlawed in China. "Falun Dafa is good," she yelled.

Mr. Hu looked at first confused and then hesitated before continuing to speak.

"You're O.K., " Mr. Bush said to him in a low voice, prodding him on.
And finally:
Chinese authorities consider the Falun Gong a major threat to national security and have outlawed the group. Members of the sect are regularly interned in camps without being tried.

Supporters of the movement also protested Mr. Hu's visit in Washington state on Tuesday, using sound trucks to blast messages into his hotel that accused China's internal security forces of torture, organ harvesting and other atrocities.
So we can safely assume that the Trib had a similar editorial 4 years ago when the Chinese President was being reassured about that heckler, right? How about how when Bush apologized for the heckler's outburst?
"President Hu, your days are numbered. President Bush, make him stop persecuting Falun Gong," the woman yelled. U.S. officials later identified her as Wang Wenyi, 47, a reporter with The Epoch Times, an English-language publication strongly supportive of the meditation movement that is banned in China.

"This was unfortunate, and I'm sorry this happened," Bush told Hu, according to Dennis Wilder, a senior official with the National Security Council.
You know the answer to that one, don't you?

So what's changed? Why does the braintrust criticize this White House for being silent but not the previous White House? Could it be because there's a Democrat sitting in the Oval Office?

Yea, I guess so.

ONE MORE THING: The Trib notes:
The U.S. House supported Falun Gong and decried China's organ harvests in a March 16 resolution.
House Resolution 605 passed 412-1.

So who was that one dissenting vote?

Ron Paul (R-Tx).

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