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Resources updated between Monday, October 21, 2019 and Sunday, October 27, 2019

October 26, 2019

Image courtesy of the China Tribunal

Having hepatitis C may very well have saved Jennifer Zeng's life.

In February 2000, she was arrested for being a Falun Gong practitioner and interrogated intensely about her medical history at a Labor Camp in China's Da Xing County, she said. Zeng's blood was drawn and she told them she had hepatitis C before she took up the spiritual practice.

"Twelve days later, my (cellmate) died as a result of forced feeding," Zeng told Fox News. "Having hepatitis C might have unqualified me as an organ donor."

It's the stuff of nightmares. And it has been buried from public view, hard to prove, and shrouded beneath the cloak of silence for almost two decades.

But anecdotes and evidence are slowly bubbling to the surface that the organs of members of marginalized groups detained in Chinese prisons and labor camps are unwillingly harvested. Most affected is a spiritual minority, the Falun Gong, who have been persecuted for adhering to a Buddhist-centric religious philosophy grounded in meditation and compassion.

After 12 months of independent assessment of all available evidence, the seven-person China Tribunal panel which was initiated by the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC), an international human rights charity delivered its final findings in June. The tribunal, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC who led the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic in the International Criminal Trial for the former Yugoslavia, stated with "certainty" that "in China, forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time."

"Forced organ harvesting has been committed for years, and Falun Gong practitioners have been one and probably the main source of organ supply," the report concluded, pointing to the growing transplant industry already worth more than $1 billion.

The report underscored that there were "extraordinarily short waiting times for organs to be available for transplantation," and numerous websites advertised hearts, lungs, and kidneys for sale suggesting an on-demand industry. The Tribunal concluded that the commission of Crimes Against Humanity against Falun Gong and Uighurs had been committed.

Witness testimonies provided to the tribunal, and interviewed by Fox News, paint the picture of an unfathomably callous trade often performed when the victims are still alive.

Han Yu was kidnapped on July 20, 2015, and detained for 37 days in Beijing's Haidian District Detention Center.

In May 2004 three months after her father disappeared into a detention center Han Yu received a call that her father, a Falun Gong practitioner, was dead. But it wasn't until almost a month later that the family was allowed to view the body at Liangxiang District Xiao Zhuang village morgue, with dozens of authorities surveilling their every move.

"I saw obvious injuries on his face, even after the makeup, the severe bruise below his left eye stood out. There was a trace of stitches starting from the throat down to where his clothes covered," Yu recalled. "I tried to unbutton the clothes, the police saw and quickly dragged me out. Later another family member went in and continued to unbutton and found stitches that went all the way to the stomach."

She suspects her father was a victim of organ harvesting. The family was not given an autopsy, Hu stressed, and the body was hurriedly cremated.

"We were not even allowed to cry when he was buried," Hu continued, reflecting on the throngs of authorities that trailed their every move and prohibited any photographs from being taken. "After I heard about organ harvesting, I couldn't imagine what had happened to my father before his death. It happened, and it is happening."

Jiang Li also believes her father, Jiang Xiqing also of the Falun Gong faith was a victim to the harrowing practice. He was arrested on May 2008 and sent to a forced labor camp. On the afternoon of January 27, 2009, she and three other family members went to visit him.

"His mental and physical health was normal. Then at 3.40 p.m. the next day, the labor camp called my brother and said he had died and immediately hung up," she said. "Seven of my family members arrived at the mortuary house at 10.30 p.m. with the guidance of police officers. They read out the regulations we could see the body for only five minutes, no cameras or communication devices, and we could only go to the freezer room to see Jiang's head and not his whole body."

But when her older sister touched his face, she screamed that his philtrum was still warm, and his upper teeth were biting his lower lip. He was alive.

"We pulled out my father's body halfway. We touched his chest, and it was warm. He was wearing a down jacket. My older sister prepared to perform CPR," Li continued. "But were each forcibly dragged out of the freezer by four people. Uniformed and plainclothes officers pushed my father's body into the freezer. They demanded that we quickly sign for cremation and pay the fees."

The family has since attempted to seek some sense of justice their lawyers ended up behind bars, and their family home was raided. In 2010, Li said she was terminated from her job without explanation and detained.

Survivors routinely point to the frequent physical screenings, ultrasounds, and X-rays as further corroboration that victims are being monitored to determine whose organs are healthy enough for transplantation purposes, as most are pushed to the brink in allegedly tortuous interrogation sessions.

Moreover, the China Organ Harvest Research Center (COHRC), which also testified before the China Tribunal, published its own incriminating report in July after years of underground research and analysis, deducing that the "on-demand killing of prisoners of conscience is driven by the state, run on an industrial scale and carried out by both military and civilian institutions."

China boasts that it sustains the largest voluntary organ donation system in Asia, but experts contend that the country does not have a history of willful organ donation and the official figures 10,000 transplants each year "understates the real volume," which researchers pledge is likely upward of 60,000-100,000 annually.

According to the COHRC, there are mountains of money to be made. Data from 2007 shows that hospitals charged more than $65,000 for a kidney transplant, $130,000 for liver, and more than $150,000 for lung or heart. Desperate patients might make a high-price "donation" for a new organ at top-speed.

The practice is alleged to have started in the 90s on a small-scale, but kicked into high gear around 2000 and focused on the Falun Gong. It was initially characterized as targeting the forcible removing of organs of prisoners on death row.

"China later claimed that death row prisoners consented to donate their organs to the State to redeem themselves for the crimes they had committed against the State, a practice China claimed to have stopped in January 2015. However, the explosion of organ transplant activities in China from 2000, together with reports of thousands of transplant tourists going to China to purchase organs, suggests a larger supply of organs than could be sourced from executed criminals alone," the Tribunal states. "The scale of the Chinese transplant industry, together with other evidence, points to the possibility that China is involved in forced organ harvesting and selling for profit organs from prisoners of conscience."

The Tribunal affirmed that it "has had no evidence that the significant infrastructure associated with China's transplantation industry has been dismantled and absent a satisfactory explanation as to the source of readily available organs concludes that forced organ harvesting continues till today."

Grace Yin, a leading researcher at the COHRC, also asserted that by admitting to less severe abuse and proclaiming it was only happening to those awaiting capital punishment, the government was purporting to "divert attention away from the more severe issue."

"The root issue still goes back to the Communist Party's persecution of faith groups and its animosity toward groups that it perceives as threats to its ideological control," she said.

Olivia Enos, a senior policy analyst and Asian studies expert at The Heritage Foundation, concurred that organ harvesting has long been a largely overlooked aspect of human rights abuses and has been predominantly reported by the Falun Gong.

"In recent months, however, as the crisis in Xinjiang gathered steam, new reports have emerged that Uighurs may be having their organs harvested," she observed.

US SPEAKS UP FOR MINORITY MUSLIM UIGHURS IN CHINA - WHILE ISLAMIC COUNTRIES STAY MOSTLY SILENT

Xinjiang, also referred to by some as East Turkistan, has made headlines with the revelations that upwards on one million belonging to the Muslim minority have been carted off into concentration camps. Chinese leaders have categorically denied misconduct, insisting that Uighurs are in "re-education camps" and doubled-down that the government respects religious rights. Four Uighurs testified before the China Tribunal that they had been organ scanned whilst in detention.

Salih Hudayar, ambassador to the U.S. for the East Turkistan Government in Exile and a leader in the beleaguered Uighur community, told Fox News that the Chinese government claims that "written consent is required for all organ transplants," but in reality it is hardly likely there was any such consent, and if there was it would have been "extracted through torture."

"Voice prints and retina scans were collected in 2016-2017 in East Turkistan, and some of us fear that they might be used for organ matching," Hudayar continued. "We fear that today, the Chinese Communist Party may be harvesting the organs of not just Falun Gong practitioners, but also Uighurs, Tibetan Buddhists, Chinese Christians and other prisoners of conscience."

But some political leaders are pushing for the U.S. to take a stronger stance in investigating the horrific allegation.

"It is just so bizarre it was hard to believe. That (governments) can defile a human being like that," Shawn Steel, California's Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman, told Fox News. "Medical tourism is big business; if you are wealthy, you can get the organ you need in a couple of weeks. Thousands are being sacrificed every year, and it is not being discussed."

Earlier this year, Steel introduced a resolution to the RNC condemning Beijing's practice of involuntary organ harvesting from inmates, which was unanimously adopted at the quarterly conference in August. It marked the first explicit charge from a prominent U.S political party on the matter.

Representatives for the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment, but the government has previously denied any accusations of illicit organ harvesting or mistreatment of prisoners.

And many assert the practice is still happening.

Yu Ming, 47, another member of Falun Gong and newly arrived in the United States, claimed that he was "kidnapped" multiple times by law enforcement, the most recent time in August 2013, and locked up in the Shenyang Detention Center where he was allegedly beaten into oblivion.

As time when on, his friends disappeared. The family of one Falun Gong companion, Gao Yixi, recalled seeing "his eyes opened wide, his stomach deflated and no organs inside."

He secretly recorded footage of undercover interviews at major military hospitals in mainland China over the past couple of years, he said, and has turned it over to the Tribunal as evidence for unlawful organ transplants.

"Only a pile of ashes is given to the family members," he added. "We cannot be silent."

Survivors and victims on shocking state-sanctioned organ harvesting in China Document

Protesters in Baghdad (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

At least 25 protesters were killed in Iraq on Friday when security forces used tear gas and an Iranian-backed militia opened fire to try to quell renewed demonstrations against corruption and economic hardship, security sources said.

A government intelligence officer and a member of the powerful Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia were killed in a clash with protesters in the southern city of Amara, police sources said.

Nearly 1,800 people were injured nationwide, according to medical sources, as demonstrators vented frustration at political elites they say have failed to improve their lives after years of conflict.

"All we want are four things: jobs, water, electricity, and safety. That's all we want," said 16-year-old Ali Mohammed who had covered his face with a T-shirt to avoid inhaling tear gas, as chaotic scenes overwhelmed Baghdad's central Tahrir Square.

Sirens wailed and tear gas canisters landed amid groups of young protesters draped in Iraqi flags and chanting "with life and blood we defend you Iraq."

The bloodshed is the second major bout of violence this month. A series of clashes two weeks ago between protesters and security forces left 157 people dead and over 6,000 wounded.

The unrest has broken nearly two years of relative stability in Iraq, which lived through foreign occupation, civil war and an Islamic State (IS) insurgency between 2003 and 2017. It is the biggest challenge to security since IS was declared beaten.

On Friday, eight protesters were killed in Baghdad, the Iraqi Human Rights Commission said. At least five of them were protesters struck by tear gas canisters, security sources said.

In the south, at least six protesters were killed when members of the Iranian-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) militia opened fire on protesters who tried to set fire to the group's office in the city of Nasiriya, according to security sources.

Eight people were killed in Amara city, including six protesters, one AAH member and one intelligence officer, police sources said. Three protesters were killed in oil-rich Basra and one in Samawa, security sources said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khalid al-Muhanna said at least 68 members of the security forces were injured.

The sometimes violent demonstrations erupted in Baghdad on Oct. 1 and spread to southern cities.

They pose the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi since he took office just a year ago. Despite promising reforms and ordering a broad cabinet reshuffle, he has so far struggled to address the protesters' discontent.

Poverty, despite oil wealth

Despite the OPEC member country's vast oil wealth, many Iraqis live in poverty, have limited access to clean water, electricity, basic healthcare or decent education as the country tries to recover from years of conflict and economic hardship.

Many Iraqis view the elite as subservient to one or other of Iraq's two main allies, the United States and Iran. Many suspect these powers use Iraq to pursue their struggle for regional influence via proxies unconcerned with ordinary people's needs.

"They hit us last night and again this morning. We don't have any demands anymore, we want the government toppled," said demonstrator Salah Mohammad.

"We want Iran to take its parties and leave, America to take its parties and leave, and let the Iraqi people decide."

In Basra, Reuters footage showed protesters clashing with security forces who launched tear gas canisters and stun grenades and were met by rocks thrown at their vehicles. Young men carried the injured away, as protesters set police cars on fire.

An 8 p.m. curfew was imposed until further notice in the southern provinces of Basra, Muthanna, Wasit, Babel and Dhi Qar, after protesters torched offices of lawmakers, Shi'ite political parties and militia headquarters.

How the government and security forces handled Friday's planned protests had been seen as a litmus test for the stability of the country with political leaders already on edge.

Rage against the elite

In a Thursday night address, Abdul Mahdi stressed that violence would not be tolerated and warned that any collapse of the government would drag Iraq into further turmoil.

Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who in recent weeks criticized the government's handling of the protests, urged calm on all sides during his sermon on Friday.

In Baghdad, many demonstrators initially believed authorities would refrain from violence after security forces killed dozens of protesters earlier this month.

Hundreds tried throughout the day to march into the city's fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, when they were stopped by security forces.

By afternoon, the mood had shifted with thousands of angry protesters wrapped in Iraqi flags under pouring rain, chanting that they were peaceful and calling political leaders corrupt.

As clashes broke out, tuk-tuks carried the injured to hospitals. Medical sources told Reuters hundreds of people had been treated for injuries, most related to tear gas exposure.

At Least 25 Killed as Fresh Protests Engulf Iraq Document

Badge of Malawi police (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Malawi protesters demand inquiry into allegations of rape by police officers Document

October 25, 2019

The fingers of a thief being amputated in Iran, January 2013 (File photo, courtesy)

A Thief's Hand Is Amputated In Iran As Islamic Punishment Document

Dvir Sorek, 18, a yeshiva student and off-duty IDF soldier who was found stabbed to death outside a West Bank settlement on August 8, 2019 (Courtesy)

'Try to kidnap the settler. If you can't, murder him': Terrorists recount attack Document

October 24, 2019

U.S. State Department Special Representative James Jeffrey testifying to the House of Representatives

President Donald Trump's special envoy for Syria said on Wednesday that U.S. forces had seen evidence of war crimes during Turkey's offensive against the Kurds in Syria, and had demanded an explanation from Ankara.

"We haven't seen widespread evidence of ethnic cleansing," said James Jeffrey, special representative for Syria, at a House of Representatives hearing.

"Many people fled because they're very concerned about these Turkish-supported Syrian opposition forces, as we are. We've seen several incidents which we consider war crimes," Jeffrey said.

He said U.S. officials were looking into those reports and at "a high-level" had demanded an explanation from Turkey's government. He also said U.S. officials were investigating a report that the restricted burning white phosphorus had been used during the Turkish offensive.

Jeffrey and Matthew Palmer, a deputy assistant secretary of state who handles issues including relations with Turkey, spent a second straight day testifying in the U.S. Congress.

Many lawmakers, including Trump's fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, disagree with Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria, which cleared the way for Turkish troops to cross the border to fight against Kurdish forces who for years helped U.S. troops fight against Islamic State militants.

"How could the United States do something so senseless, so disgraceful, so contrary to our values?" Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said as he opened the hearing.

Jeffrey called Turkey's crossing the border and offensive against the Kurds "a tragic disaster for northeast Syria."

As the hearing took place, Trump announced that he was lifting recent sanctions imposed in response to violence in Syria, after Turkey said it is stopping combat and making a ceasefire in northern Syria permanent.

Jeffrey also confirmed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's statement that more than 100 Islamic State fighters had escaped. "We do not know where they are," Jeffrey told the hearing.

Jeffrey had said in Senate testimony on Tuesday that "dozens" of the militants had escaped prison since the Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria began about two weeks ago.

Turkish officials have denied that war crimes were committed.

Evidence found of war crimes during Turkish offensive in Syria, says U.S. official Document

A screenshot of a video from the Turkish-backed fighters

NATO member Turkey has sent hundreds of far-right extremists that it recruited under the banner of the Syrian National Army to fight in Syria. It has used them as both shock troops and canon fodder to fight mostly Kurdish forces along the border, but as a ceasefire began last week these units turned to looting attacking civilians and mutilating corpses, according to videos they posted online. The US says human rights violations may be occurring. Kurdish activists wonder why NATO stands behind religious extremists whose statements look little different than ISIS.

The first videos of jihadists being sent to fight Kurds under the banner of 'Syrian rebel' groups appeared in the lead-up to Turkey's offensive on October 9. Videos showed men waving swords and chanting about "killing the kuffar" or "infidels," terminology often used by ISIS. On October 12 a video emerged of a group executing two Kurdish detainees by the side of a road in Syria. According to reports it took place near the M4 highway inside Syria.

Another group of Turkish-backed Syrian rebels stopped a convoy of cars that included Future party leader Hevrin Khalaf. She was dragged from the car by her hair, shot and her body stomped on. Members of Ahrar al-Sharqiya, one of many groups in the SNA, were accused of the attack. Video showed the cars being stopped and the aftermath with her lifeless body covered in dirt while the jihadists praise God for helping them murder an unarmed woman. Initial reports said she had been "stoned to death," but the autopsy said she had been been beaten on the head, beaten on the leg, "dragged from her hair causing the hair to take off from the skin of the head." Turkey, a "NATO ally," as the US describes the country, claimed the murder was a "neutralization" of the woman, "a successful operation," according to its leading right wing daily Yeni Safak.

On October 16 more extremists were caught on video on a bus singing about killing "infidels" before arriving in Syria. Another video on October 19 alleged to show the execution of civilians near the village of Suluk. A video from the same day shows a unit of Arab fighters backed by Turkey saying they will "behead" the infidels they encounter. The men, with small beards and long hair, say "in just a few hours we will show you the heads." A video that circulated at that time showed men in fatigues beheading people, but it was unclear where it was from, even though it appeared to be recent and take place in Syria. That video was so graphic it was taken down by social media accounts.

A photo from October 20 shows elements of Jabha al-Shamiya in Tel Abyad, along with members of other groups such as Liwa al-Salam, Faylaq al-Majd of the "Third Legion" painting graffiti on houses belonging to Armenians and Syriac Christians, claiming them for themselves, similar to what ISIS did in Mosul in July 2014. Another photo from the same days shows civilians executed in Sere Kaniye and members of the Sultan Murad group posing with the bodies.

On October 21 a video of a group calling itself Jaish Islam, calls on its members to treat Christians as second-class citizens in areas that are conquered and to make them pay special taxes in accordance with discriminatory religious laws. More accounts that emerged on October 22 showed a man with a beard and his friends celebrating the killing of what they call "the corpses of pigs." They claim to be from the "mujahideen of Faylaq al-Majd." The man shows off a dead body of a woman and says "this is one of your whores whom you have sent us. This whore is under our feet." Another video from the same day shows a member of Ahrar al-Sharqiya hitting a male civilian and calling him a "pig."

An October 24 video shows more Turkey-backed extremists shouting and holding a woman prisoner. They claim to be fighters from the "Dar Izza regiment" and claim the woman is a "PKK member."

The pattern of videos emerging tends to show similar incidents and rhetoric. The young men chant and dance and celebrate killing and boast of wanting to murder people who are not members of their religious extremist group. They appear to have been given free rein to do whatever they want in the area Turkey calls a "safe zone" in northern Syria, a formerly peaceful area where thousands of Kurdish and Arab civilians have now had to flee from. For instance, an October 20 video shows men looting shops in a border community. A day later a video shows a member of the umbrella Syrian National Army tell the men not to loot homes, but only political party offices.

US diplomats have refused to say if these are human rights violations by America's NATO ally. NATO has only called for Turkey to show restraint.

Among many Kurdish activists there is anger that a western-backed military would use extremists, many expressing views similar to ISIS, to attack them, even when western governments had been asking the SDF to continue fighting ISIS. US lawmakers such as Senator Chris Van Hollen have expressed outrage that "Turkey and others have been allowed to slaughter" America's Kurdish allies, according to a statement he made on October 23.

The behavior of the Turkey-backed groups and Turkey's unwillingness to rein them in, monitor them or even take responsibility for their actions, appears to show that these Syrian rebel groups have been allowed to do whatever they want on the Syrian side of the border, transforming peaceful towns into centers of looting as the men glory in mutilating bodies and calling women "whores" and Kurdish men "pigs." Little separates these groups from the videos and rhetoric of ISIS when it controlled this same area in 2014 before the SDF was able to defeat ISIS in eastern Syria. Hatred of women, hatred of non-Muslims and calling ethnic minorities "pigs", as well as orgies of toxic male violence and mutilation of bodies, are all ISIS-like qualities. It remains to be seen if the US will investigate the alleged war crimes and if Russia's agreement with Turkey will prevent further abuses.

TURKEY-BACKED JIHADISTS IN SYRIA CALL WOMEN 'WHORES,' EXECUTE PRISONERS Document

Puppets of Jews on display at the Aalst Carnival in Belgium (Courtesy of Jewish Organization in Flanders/FJO)

European Jews to UNESCO: Stop funding antiSemitic carnival Article

October 23, 2019

A screenshot of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas speaking at the UN General Assembly

Terrorists Call for Killing Jews -- from UN HQ in Gaza

October 22, 2019

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A Palestinian Authority court has ordered that dozens of social media pages and news sites be blocked, prompting fierce criticism from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and others.

The Ramallah Magistrate's Court ruled last Thursday that 49 social media pages and news sites be blocked, an official in the PA Attorney General's Office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Tuesday.

"These sites are not registered with the Information Ministry as required by the law," the official told The Times of Israel. "They are also publishing materials that threaten national security and public order."

Many of the social media pages and news sites that the official said were blocked are highly critical of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and a number are either connected to or sympathetic to his rivals, the Hamas terror group and exiled Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan.

Part of the court decision, which was published on several Palestinian news sites, referred to Clause 39 of the PA's controversial electronic crimes law.

That clause outlines a system by which authorities seek court permission to block websites that publish what is described as "expressions, numbers, pictures, videos, promotional materials or anything else that threatens national security and public order and morals." The official noted that 15 of the social media pages and news sites were not being blocked for the first time.

"Some of the sites were originally blocked two years ago," he said. "The Attorney General's Office asked to block those again because each order barring them only lasts six months."

It was not clear whether authorities had blocked all of the pages and sites yet, nor if they would be able to implement the decision in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Palestinian internet users can get around restrictions on access to websites by using a virtual private network, which allows one to appear to live in a city abroad.

Several Palestinian news sites published what appeared to be a list of 59 pages and sites that the court ordered blocked. The official in the Attorney General's Office said the list was not accurate, stating that the court ruled that only 49 pages and sites be blocked.

The PA government called on relevant authorities to walk back the decision to block the Facebook pages and news sites, government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem said in a statement late Monday carried by the official PA news site Wafa.

It also urged the administrators of social media pages and news sites to "follow professional and moral standards in publishing news and media items," Milhem said.

PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said in July that he affirmed to a delegation of Human Rights Watch officials his "government's commitment to guarantee the right of Palestinian citizens to free speech through constructive criticism."

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate blasted the court's ruling, calling it a "massacre of free speech and expression."

The syndicate added that it would take legal measures to appeal the decision and its legitimacy.

In a statement, senior Hamas official Husam Badran said: "The new decision only means the Palestinian Authority and the occupation are standing together in waging war against written and photographed Palestinian works that have exposed the occupation's violations, corruption and crimes.

"We call on the PA to stop its war against Palestinian journalism that has resisted the occupation," he added.

Hani al-Masri, the head of Masarat, a Ramallah-based research institute, wrote on his Facebook page that blocking sites "is suppression and is indicative of stupidity."

Palestinian Authority court orders dozens of social media pages and news sites blocked Document