Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Bush’s Bizarro World

by Wayne Madsen

Superman comic book fans will fondly recall the topsy-turvy Bizarro world, a planet shaped like a cube where everything happened backwards and nothing made any sense. Welcome now to the Bush world, where the revered Dalai Lama of Tibet may now be branded by the United States as a “fellow traveler” of terrorists or, worse yet, an “enemy combatant.”

On August 27, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a shadowy ex-Special Forces officer who has been linked to everything from heroin smuggling in Burma’s Golden Triangle to smuggling weapons to the Iranian regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, met with senior Chinese officials in Beijing. According to Reuters, Armitage, representing the world’s second largest totalitarian regime, told the leadership of the world’s largest one that the State Department had added a new group to its list of foreign terrorist organizations: the movement seeking independence for western China’s Sinkiang region, an area that Chinese Uighur (pronounced “wee-ger”) Muslims regard as East Turkestan or Uighurstan.

The only problem with this designation, obviously designed to please the Chinese regime prior to the upcoming October summit in Washington between Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao and President Bush, is that the new “terrorist group” is a member of the same non-government organization as the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan government-in-exile, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), officially recognized by the United Nations as an international human rights organization. UNPO has its headquarters on Eisenhowerlaan (named for a notorious fifties “pinko” U.S. President) in The Hague and regional headquarters in Washington, DC and Tartu, Estonia. In fact, Erkin Alptekin, East Turkestan’s exiled leader serves as Secretary General of UNPO, and thus, represents the Dalai Lama and other ethnic and tribal leaders of 52 members of the organization. The Director General of UNPO, hardly a terrorist, is Karl von Habsburg of the former Austro-Hungarian royal family. Last September 12, Alptekin, America’s newest “terrorist,” stated in a letter to President Bush, “UNPO is greatly shocked and saddened by the immense destruction, injury, and loss of life which have occurred in New York, Washington DC and elsewhere in the United States, as a result of deadly acts of terrorism.” But now Alptekin’s movement has been tossed into the same category as Al Qaeda and Hamas and its Tibetan and Chechen allies now risk similar treatment at the hands of a U.S. administration that could be legitimately ruled by any psychiatrist as clinically insane.

East Turkestan is represented internationally by a number of organizations, now being linked by Armitage to terrorism. They include the Eastern Turkestan National Congress, based in Munich, Germany, and affiliated groups in Istanbul, Turkey; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Almaty, Kazakhstan; and New York. With Armitage’s announcement, all these Uighur groups face sanctions and deportation.

Under the terms of the USA Patriot Act and other U.S. criminal statutes, the State Department’s arbitrary designation of a group as a “foreign terrorist organization” has severe ramifications. People who contribute to such organizations and financial institutions who handle transactions for such organizations can face criminal prosecution. Anyone who contributes money, lodging, expert assistance, transportation or other “material support” to such organizations can face long prison terms and seizure of their assets. Resident aliens in the United States can be deported, or worse, be declared enemy combatants and wind up on a one-way flight to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In fact, this writer once contributed money to UNPO.

Last October, UNPO foresaw moves against it like the one announced by Armitage in Beijing. It stated in a press release: “UNPO is committed towards promoting the legitimate aspirations of its Members through non-violent programs and solutions. However, we strongly believe that renewed restrictive and repressive measures, including the use of force against people striving to preserve their distinct identity and protect their right to self-determination, will, and have served no other purpose than endangering fundamental freedoms, destabilizing society, and perpetuating violence . . . UNPO furthermore strongly condemns any such action being deliberately disguised under the pretext of the need for legitimate measures against terrorist groups. There are many notable examples where these same governments in the past, unequivocally supported so- called freedom fighters striving for self-determination, while they are now practicing double standards against Chechens, Uighurs, Tibetans, and other UNPO Members seeking the same freedoms.”

As has already been seen with the illegal detentions of foreigners and U.S. citizens by the Ashcroft Justice Department and the seizure of files and assets from various organizations and associations, it does not take much for the feds to train their sights on any organization over which they get gas pains and nervous tics, regardless of any hard evidence. In Bush’s binary Bizarro world of “If you’re not with me, you’re against me,” just the mere appearance of disloyalty or opposition to the grand scheme of his administration’s corporate puppet masters will earn someone or some group a penetrating spotlight by dozens of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

UNPO’s web site states: “UNPO offers an international forum for occupied nations, indigenous peoples, minorities, and even oppressed majorities who currently struggle to regain their lost countries, preserve their cultural identities, protect their basic human and economic rights and safeguard the natural environment.”

Considering the fact that Bush boycotted the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, it appears that the “protection of basic human and economic rights” and safeguarding “the natural environment” is what has put a bee in the bonnet of people like Armitage and other corporate shills in the administration. Before his job at State, Armitage headed the Chamber of Commerce. His raison d’etre was and remains – oil, the mainstay of Azerbaijan’s economy. Many of UNPO’s members are at the front lines of fighting exploitative multinational companies over land and water rights. And this is what places them in danger of being branded “terrorists.” Just a brief overview of UNPO membership illustrates the battle lines: Muslims in Aceh province in northwest Sumatra are battling Indonesian army forces fronting for Exxon Mobil, which has extensive installations in the province. The United States is considering resuming military aid to Indonesia to put down that rebellion and another involving UNPO member West Papua, an illegally annexed province fighting Indonesia and the U.S. mining company Freeport McMoran for control of its copper and other natural resources. UNPO member Cabinda, an Angolan enclave fighting for independence against Angola, is now being attacked by U.S. mercenaries in the pay of oil companies like Chevron, on whose board Condoleezza Rice once sat.

Even native Americans are no longer safe from renewed Federal subjugation. One of the members of UNPO is the Sioux Lakota Nation, the scene of past bloody battles between encroaching Federal troops and FBI agent and the Sioux. With a mere stroke of a pen, the State Department can label the Lakota Sioux or native Hawaiians as linked to “terrorists” in East Turkestan, Chechnya, or Burma (Myanmar) – and they can have their assets frozen and their leadership tossed into jails or large capacity “detention centers” now being advanced by two Bush appointees on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

Bush’s war against minorities and downtrodden people everywhere is a true act of evil. He has become what he blathers on and on about when referring to al Qaeda and Sadaam Hussein . It can only be hoped that Secretary of State Colin Powell will rein in his underlings and caution them against future excesses. If he is unable or unwilling to do so, he owes it to his nation and its Constitution to resign from his office.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth.

Madsen can be reached at:


More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 28, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Inside the Invisible Government; War, Propaganda, Clinton & Trump
Andrew Levine
The Hillary Era is Coming: Worry!
Gary Leupp
Seven World-Historical Achievements of the Iraq Invasion of 2003
Paul Street
Standing Rock Water-Protectors Waterboarded While the Cleveland Indians Romped
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel: 1984 Everlasting
Michael Brenner
American Foreign Policy in the Post-Trump Era
Luciana Bohne
Crossing the Acheron: Back to Vietnam
Robert Hunziker
The Political Era of Climate Refugees
Stephen Cooper
Alabama’s Last Execution was an Atrocity
Ira Helfand
Nukes and the UN: a Historic Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons
Pete Dolack
Work Harder So Speculators Can Get More
Joyce Nelson
Canadians Launch Constitutional Challenge Against CETA
John Laforge
US Uranium Weapons Have Been Used in Syria
Paul Edwards
The Vision Thing ’16
Arshad Khan
Hillary, Trump and Sartre: How Existentialism Disrobes the Major Presidential Candidates
Peter Lee
It’s ON! Between Duterte and America
Chris Zinda
The Bundy Acquittal: Tazing of #oregonstandoff
Joseph Grosso
Starchitects in the City: Vanity Fair and Gentrification
Patrick Carr
Economic Racial Disparity in North Carolina
David Swanson
Public vs. Media on War
Chris Gilbert
Demo Derby in Venezuela: The Left’s New Freewheeling Politics
Binoy Kampmark
Nobel Confusion: Ramos-Horta, Trump and World Disorder
Stephen Cooper
Alabama’s Last Execution Was an Atrocity
Binoy Kampmark
Nobel Confusion: Ramos-Horta, Trump and World Disorder
Russell Mokhiber
Lucifer’s Banker: Bradley Birkenfeld on Corporate Crime in America
Ron Jacobs
Death to the Fascist Insect! The SLA and the Cops
Cesar Chelala
Embargo on Cuba is an Embarrassment for the United States
Jack Smith
And the Winner Is….
Ken Knabb
Beyond Voting: the Limits of Electoral Politics
Matt Peppe
An Alternate Narrative on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
James Rothenberg
Water Under the Bridge
Louis Yako
Remembering Rasul Gamzatov: The Poet of the People
Brian Cloughley
The US, NATO and the Pope
Louis Proyect
The Outsider-Insider: Isaac Babel’s Big Mistake
Martin Billheimer
Now and Then, Ancient Sorceries
October 27, 2016
Paul Street
An Identity-Politicized Election and World Series Lakefront Liberals Can Love
Matthew Stevenson
Sex and the Presidential City
Jim Kavanagh
Tom Hayden’s Haunting
CJ Hopkins
The Pathologization of Dissent
Mike Merryman-Lotze
The Inherent Violence of Israel’s Gaza Blockade
Robert Fisk
Is Yemen Too Much for the World to Take?
Shamus Cooke
Stopping Hillary’s Coming War on Syria
Jan Oberg
Security Politics and the Closing of the Open Society
Ramzy Baroud
The War on UNESCO: Al-Aqsa Mosque is Palestinian and East Jerusalem is Illegally Occupied
Colin Todhunter
Lower Yields and Agropoisons: What is the Point of GM Mustard in India?