By John Kusumi
Now that everyone is regurgitating the decade of 2000 – 2009, I thought that I might take the challenge. Writing off the cuff, what do I recall from top of mind awareness?
2000 I began the year fully persuaded that I was opening the doors on my new software company. During 2000, those doors slammed shut, and a product offering became abortive. I pulled software off of the market, not because of any intrinsic technical problem, but simply because an unexpected financial blow found me then to be losing my roof. I couldn’t keep my business open, because I couldn’t keep my lights on, literally. The unexpected financial blow happened with exquisite timing — I had just spent 2 and a half years doing the research, development, and programming so that I had a product.
At this time, the China Support Network (CSN) was 100% my responsibility, because I had kept it in my back pocket after its founding in 1989. The financial blow managed to stop the forward progress of this author, and hence it closed off an avenue to resources for CSN. Translation: Expected resources were subtracted out of the picture, just at the time when CSN needed resources the most!
Communist China had recently begun the Falun Gong crackdown. Bill Clinton was offering a setback to Chinese dissidents in the form of a free trade deal with Communist China — something that would reward China’s communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs for bad behavior.
In 2000, my software entrepreneuring was rudely interrupted; the Congress passed the PNTR free trade deal for China; and I moved from Arizona back to the east coast, where I was to be better situated for pro-Chinese democracy activism.
And in 2000, George W. Bush was selected to be the next U.S. President, in a foul arrangement where justices of the Supreme Court violated the principle of one man, one vote — because those nine justices voted a second time for President. The nation got to live with the outcome of their second vote.
2001 I was cut off from software entrepreneuring. But never mind that; I was re-establishing the China Support Network. In 2001, I was able to publish an Op-Ed suggesting that Bush should reconsider China’s trade deal, and I gave a speech at the observance for the anniversary of Tiananmen Square’s massacre, outside the Chinese embassy in Washington DC. Radio Free Asia broadcast me into China. The International Olympic Committee selected Beijing to be the host city of the 2008 Olympics. That was an affront to Chinese dissidents and gave us something more to protest; and, the Bush administration freed Zhang Hongbao, a dissident who had been detained in Guam as he tried to reach the United States for political asylum.
There was a summer of outrage — a summer of protests against globalization and the WTO. However, the networks made it the summer of Gary Condit (the Congressman) and Chandra Levy (the missing intern). The networks went “wall to wall” with that coverage to the point where they clearly had changed their format from news. To focus on Condit and Levy was a smooth way to avoid showing the American people the summer of protest against the WTO.
Meanwhile, news organizations had formed a consortium to complete the recount of ballots in Florida. As I understand it, they determined that Gore had won the state of Florida. They were just about to announce the results of their recount, but another matter intervened.
That’s when September 11 happened. Yes, I remember well watching the carnage on television from Cheshire, Connecticut. The crime of the century had clearly occurred, but (a) where were the interceptors of NORAD? Why was there no response from America’s air defenses? (b) Who gets to hit the Pentagon, of all places? Of all places to be undefended, where were Pentagon defenses? (c) How did those buildings fall so quickly? Why was the scene “too Hollywood,” such an exactly fatal blow on such a pristine clear day? (d) Why did the anchormen know that it was Osama bin Laden by lunchtime? (e) Why did the FBI have mug shots of these dead hijackers already on file, like a prepared slide? (f) Why did a third skyscraper, Building 7, that was not hit by an airplane fall? (g) Why were passenger lists not released? (h) Why were the black boxes not recovered, or not released? (i) Why was there no investigation by the NTSB? (j) Why did families have to push for a year before there was any investigation of any sort? (k) Why did no one lose their job?
Three more things happened in 2001: The PATRIOT Act was rushed through Congress; the U.S. invaded Afghanistan; and, there were attacks with military-grade, weaponized anthrax.
2002 George W. Bush decided that he was less interested to get bin Laden, and more interested to get Saddam Hussein. He began to prepare America for another war. And, it’s easy to gin up a war when your anchormen are Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather. The drum beat for war proceeded, with no questions seriously asked. Phil Donahue became “a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.”
Also in 2002, after a second term as a political prisoner in China, Yongjun “Majer” Zhou made his way back to the United States where he had permanent residency and a young son. Zhou and I both appeared and spoke at a human rights rally on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Also, we travelled to Crawford, Texas. We beat Cindy Sheehan to the punch, protesting at the ranch of U.S. President George Bush, as he hosted Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
At the end of 2002, Chinese dissident Xu Wenli was freed and exiled to the United States. In 2002 and 2003, the China Support Network was the premier source for English language news and information about the Chinese democracy movement. CSN had a then-new website, and while the U.S. media wasn’t covering us, Taiwan’s Central News Agency was. Meanwhile, the Falun Gong crackdown was growing worse and worse.
2003 The U.S. invaded Iraq. Meanwhile, with spokesman David Chu, the China Support Network did a series of talk radio interviews, promoting a boycott of goods ‘Made In China.’ I met former Soviet dissident Lev Navrozov, who had become a columnist (and still ran the Center for the Survival of Western Democracies). He wrote a glowing column, speaking highly about the China Support Network and myself. Navrozov’s assistant Isak Baldwin became a friend to both myself and to Majer Zhou, a Chinese dissident mentioned earlier.
2003 included the development of a nasty rift in the Chinese democracy movement. In California, Zhang Hongbao (the guru of Zhong Gong, another qi gong movement) was arrested for allegedly beating his maid. Other dissidents were adamant that this was not the first time for Zhang Hongbao to beat women. The dissident Majer Zhou chose to move to California and to work with, or for, Zhang Hongbao — at basically the same time that criminal charges came down. The Free China Movement, based in Washington under dissident Lian Shengde, was split by this maneuver. Lian “fired” Zhou from his position as the North America director for the Free China Movement. There began to be a lot of civil lawsuits and litigation between California dissidents and those based around Washington DC.
2004 George W. Bush was “re-elected,” although results in the state of Ohio were statistically implausible. The Democrat’s nominee, John Kerry, did not challenge the election results, but the Green Party nominee, David Cobb, did. Once again, America’s news anchors asked no questions, and hence smoothed over what was likely a stolen election. Thankfully, this election was the last hurrah for the triumverate of Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather.
In 2004, I visited the dissidents in California, where Zhang Hongbao was open with me as he frankly told me that he wanted to be President of China. I visited his gated mansion in Pasadena, where he was preparing something called the China Shadow Government.
Also in 2004, there appeared an English language edition of the Epoch Times, a newspaper created by Falun Gong sympathizers. Late in 2004, they published the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, and the stage was set for a movement, in which disgusted Chinese citizens would sever their ties and quit their membership in the Communist Party and related organizations.
2005 In 2005, a coalition of Chinese dissident groups was lined up with the China Shadow Government, and the China Support Network joined in to protest as the European Union proposed to lift its arms embargo on China. The arms embargo was a post-Tiananmen Square sanction, and where China had made no progress politically or in human rights, there was no change of circumstances to justify lifting the ban on military arms sales. This coalition of pro-Chinese democracy groups pushed against the “Jacques Chirac” plan. The U.S. White House came around and similarly objected to any lifting of the arms ban. Under U.S. pressure, the EU abandoned the idea.
However, in 2005 the coalition of Zhong Gong and the China Shadow Government (both under the thumb of Zhang Hongbao) was eclipsed by a coalition of Falun Gong and myriad other groups. CSN joined in the Global Coalition to Quit the [Communist] Party, otherwise known as the “tuidang” coalition. At a web site connected with the Epoch Times, the tuidang campaign was registering statements of resignation as Chinese people proceeded to quit from the CCP and two related organizations, the Communist Youth League and the Young Pioneers.
In book form, the Nine Commentaries was smuggled around in China, where it was having a “distribution build.” In tandem with that distribution build, increasing numbers of Chinese citizens quit from the party through the tuidang campaign. By April, 2005, they had recorded one million Chinese resigning from the Party. I spoke at a rally to mark the occasion, but CNN refused to cover the event. By June, 2005, the campaign reached two million people quitting. (If you’ve never heard of this campaign, perhaps it’s because CNN won’t tell you about it.)
Early in 2005, I had obtained a demo CD with four rock songs recorded by NoManZero. One song, ‘Global Warning,’ had politically-charged lyrics, and I thought that this band might like to lend its talents to the Chinese democracy movement. I booked them to appear at the annual commemoration of the anniversary of Tiananmen Square. With only a couple of weeks time before the event, they wrote and recorded a new song, ‘Remember Tiananmen Square.’ I vetted the lyrics as the band’s political advisor. Suddenly, CSN’s cause was being remembered in American rock music, and the China Support Network got its theme song! 🙂
NoManZero was a hit with Falun Gong practitioners who were at the anniversary. I had urged them to play the old standby song, ‘Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye’ for the Communist Party. That song from 1969 became an anthem familiar to generations of American high school students — it is commonly played at football games. Here in 2005, NoManZero did play that song, but a well placed woman named Jianmei Yu told them, “I wish you had a Quit CCP song.”
By the end of the summer, NoManZero recorded the *new* tune, Bye Bye CCP, and delivered it to New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) — the television outfit of Falun Gong practitioners — and NTDTV added a video montage to thereby yield a music video. NTDTV also made a video montage for the Remember Tiananmen Square song, although it did not premier until the next anniversary of Tiananmen in 2006.
By the end of 2005, seven million people had quit from the Communist Party. 2005 was also a time when YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook were beginning to make their presence felt in the world scene.
2006 By 2006, Author D.J. McGuire (author of Dragon In The Dark, a book warning about China) had become the President of the China Support Network.
McGuire’s political views were largely neoconservative, but this aspect fit in with the times, as America had a neoconservative administration. Yet, the American people had begun to sour on the Iraq war, as evidenced by Ned Lamont’s successful primary challenge to Senator Joe Lieberman.
In the November elections of 2006, McGuire endorsed Republicans, and the American people turned control of Congress over to Democrats. Perhaps feeling repudiated, McGuire abruptly quit from the CSN presidency the next day.
2006 had an occasion when Zhang Hongbao pleaded “no contest” to reduced charges in the criminal case against him. This seemed to be the end of the China Shadow Government. Then, in July 2006, Zhang was killed in a highway crash in northern Arizona. Hence, 2006 was the end of Zhang Hongbao all together.
2006 also had a visit by China’s President Hu Jintao to the U.S. White House. On the South Lawn of the White House, while Presidents Bush and Hu were exchanging remarks, Falun Gong practitioner Wenyi Wang unfurled a banner and began to shout “stop the killing!” and “Falun dafa hao!” (Falun Gong is good). She instantly became the Rosa Parks of the cause for Chinese civil rights. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewed her on The Situation Room, but did not breathe a word about what Wang was upset about: the killing, and in fact the forcible removal of organs from Falun Gong practitioners for profitable transplant surgery. 2006 will be remembered as the year that Organ Harvesting came to light. Wenyi Wang was working for the Epoch Times newspaper, which broke the story. Wenyi Wang related the story that, when she was in an elevator at CNN, Blitzer’s producer instructed her: “Don’t talk about organs.” The wider world learned that CNN is just as given to news suppression as delivery.
Also during 2006, a further 10 million people quit the Communist Party, for a total of 17 million. And the rock group NoManZero recorded an album (including both Remember Tiananmen Square and Bye Bye CCP), but then had its singer quit during post-production.
2007 Apart and away from my role for the China Support Network — simply as myself — I published the article, ‘Breaking My Silence on 9/11 Truth.’ At this point, I had seen enough material from the 9/11 truth movement to be ready to stand with them in demanding that the U.S. re-open its investigation into the events of 9/11/2001.
Even though I was simply exercising my own right to political free speech, this was too much for some directors of CSN, who quit. I think of them as “fallen freedom fighters,” because how can one advocate free speech in China while disapproving of the same for myself, a citizen in the United States? Through being so disapproving of my article, it means that these neoconservative directors had forgotten just what the fight is all about in relation to political freedom. And, the CSN got a board of directors that was now clean of neoconservatives. That’s fine. I added a new director, named Robert Gerald Lorge, who had been the 2006 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in the state of Wisconsin. His recent election campaign had not succeeded to unseat Senator Herb Kohl (one of the richest men in the Senate), but Lorge was strongly anti-communist and I welcomed him as a new member of the CSN board of directors. –His recent political campaign would be one where he offered a health plan, and other political ideas. Is that okay? Does he have the freedom of speech to express his own politics? Well, yes. At CSN, directors do enjoy their political rights. And the dissenting directors are free to make use of the door if they’d rather not be there. In my view, an organization can be all about political freedom, or it can be all about political correctness, but not both at the same time. CSN continues to be about political freedom.
In fact, CSN started the Freedom First / Olympics Second coalition, to push against the upcoming Beijing Olympics of 2008. I found other groups that would line up with us politically, and did an interview on NTDTV to promote the coalition. The CSN coalition had mostly Chinese dissident groups. Tibetans had their own coalition, and Falun Gong was gearing up a coalition against the Olympics. Separately, the Save Darfur Coalition was also pressing hard for China to change its foreign policy with Sudan.
Now that Democrats had gained control of the U.S. Congress, what can we remember 2007 for? –I think it is best remembered for Nancy Pelosi’s line: “Impeachment is off the table.” (George McGovern correctly wrote that the crimes of the Bush administration were far worse than Watergate. Evidently not for Pelosi.) This was said as Barack Obama began his campaign for the U.S. White House. Also in 2007, the wheels began to come off of sub-prime lending and the U.S. housing market, and a recession began by the end of the year.
2008 The Olympics were coming. The rock group Light Club — the new project of NoManZero’s guitarist — wrote and recorded the ‘Freedom First / Olympics Second’ theme song.
Meanwhile, in March ’08, Tibet experienced a new crackdown and uprising against Chinese rule. The Freedom First song became the first rock song to mention the unrest in Tibet. It was debuted at the end of March, as several coalitions coalesced on the Boston Common to launch the Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR), an alternative to the Olympic Torch relay. I did a lot of travel and gave a lot of speeches for the HRTR and for the Freedom First / Olympics Second Coalition.
In fact, a recent documentary film about the unrest in Tibet features sound bites from speeches that were given in that time frame. One can go to this URL:
–And there, you will see speech excerpts from Dennis Kucinich, and myself, and several Tibetan speakers. In this short (9.5 minute) film, I am heard scolding the Chinese government: “Stop the killing, release the prisoners, and talk to the Dalai Lama!”
A humanitarian emergency in Tibet put a whole new light upon the 2008 Olympics. The IOC should have moved the games away from China, and failing that, the West should have boycotted the games. That is what should have happened, but instead the Olympics became a festival of depravity. I believe there should be an investigation to determine whether human rights abuse *always* coincides with the Olympics. If they are a quadrennial calamity for human kind, then the Olympics should be discontinued altogether.
During the Olympics, China was covering up its poison baby milk scandal. A large number of infants died from ingesting milk, after milk powder was contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine. Milk is not the first deadly product to be ‘Made In China.’ In 2007, the U.S. received toothpaste spiked with anti-freeze, and pet food was recalled after killing thousands of U.S. cats and dogs. Also the previous year, there were recalls for 450,000 ‘Made In China’ tires, and 19.5 million Chinese made toys, contaminated with lead, nearly made it “the year without a Christmas.”
2008 is also when I published my article, ‘CNN Caught In Genocidal Correctness.’ Immediately after the Olympics, further evidence corroborated the allegations of the deadly practice of organ harvesting in China. As we may remember from the discussion above, CNN knew about this story beginning in 2006. Upon arrival of the further evidence, with organ harvesting confirmed, I wrote my article excoriating CNN.
Also in 2008, the financial system seized up in anticipation of cascading cross-defaults on financial derivatives. Barack Obama supported telco immunity over FISA wiretapping, and he then supported a mugging of the U.S. taxpayers to cover the gambling debts of Wall Street. Just as with 9/11, there is a good question to be asked: Why did no one lose their job? –Then, Obama was elected President of the United States. During the financial crisis, the Chinese dissident Majer Zhou attempted to return to China to see his aging parents. He was arrested by Hong Kong authorities, who then made the secret rendition of turning Zhou over to Mainland Chinese authorities.
Just prior to International Human Rights Day — December 10, 2008 — a group of Chinese dissidents released “Charter 08,” a petition and manifesto for the reform of China. The authorities of the Mainland arrested Liu Xiaobo, a leading intellectual and writer who had participated in both the Tiananmen Square uprising and the Charter 08 development.
2009 It was the disastrous first year of Barack Obama as the U.S. President. In my view, the Bill Clinton economic team belongs in prison, not in the President’s cabinet. But, Obama packed his team with retreads from the Clinton administration. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an early trip to China, with the message: “Kiss kiss, please buy U.S. T-bonds.” U.S. unemployment soared, and Obama blew off many opportunities to create more U.S. jobs. The development of his health reform bill reflected a leadership style that says, “Look Ma, no hands!” The memorable phrases of the year were “cash for clunkers” and “cash for caulkers.” The memorable phrases of the year /*should*/ have been “justice for war criminals” and “justice for 9/11.”
2009 included a scare about H1N1, or “swine flu.” The U.S. government should be a laughingstock after one reviews the comedy of errors that ensued.
In July 2009, another crackdown happened, this time with the Chinese government versus the Uighurs of East Turkestan / Xinjiang. Just like Tibet, it is a colonized and restive region of western China. And just like Tibet in 2008, the Uighur crackdown of 2009 was deadly.
During 2009, along with much material about the Majer Zhou case, new recordings appeared at the China Support Network website. Light Club had recorded ‘Chinese Democracy (defiled)’ and their remake of the Beatles’ ‘Revolution.’ The tuidang counter approached 66 million resignations from the Communist Party.
In November, 2009, Obama made a trip to China in which Communist Party members were planted in his audience to pretend to be college students. Obama did not bring back so much as a Panda or a ping pong ball, much less gain the release of any Chinese dissidents. Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng published a tract, ‘Why Did Obama Fail So Much [in China]?’
In the latter part of the year, China placed Majer Zhou and Liu Xiaobo on trial, choosing International Human Rights Day to indict Liu and Christmas Day to announce that he was sentenced to 11 years in prison. An outcome for Majer Zhou is still pending.
Decade summary It was complete bullshit. On the day before 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that the Pentagon cannot account for $2.3 trillion of money that has gone missing. This decade was good for whoever got away with that money. And, it was good for defense contractors, especially those like Halliburton and KBR who were getting no-bid contracts from cronies inside the U.S. administration. And the decade was mostly good for Bernard Madoff, who was swindling investors out of $50 billion with a ponzi scheme that went undetected for most of the decade.
It’s also a decade when the U.S. trade deficit with China swelled beyond a quarter of a trillion dollars annually. At the other end of the trade, the surplus has served to fuel and build up a nuclear-armed, communist superpower. And, it’s the decade when the Chinese democracy movement “went dark” on U.S. TV networks. I should announce the China Support Network’s award for “Most Corrupt Newscaster of the Decade,” but there are so many good candidates, it’s hard to choose one.
I am sorely tempted to give that award to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, whose producer famously told Wenyi Wang, “Don’t talk about organs.” However, another leading candidate is ABC News’ Ted Koppel. And actually, I have called for Nuremberg-style trials for Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather. So why pick on Ted Koppel?
Well, here is why Koppel can at least share the prize. –In 2000, as noted above, “Bill Clinton was offering a setback to Chinese dissidents in the form of a free trade deal with Communist China — something that would reward China’s communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs for bad behavior.” Chinese dissidents were mobilized against the deal, called PNTR. But, did Ted Koppel check in with any Chinese dissidents? No! He didn’t tell you that they were literally making a bus trip across the country to tell anyone who would listen that PNTR was a grievous mistake.
What did Ted Koppel do instead? He waited until the night before the vote in Congress, to have his first — and only — show looking into trade with China. His guests? –He chose three guests in favor, and zero guests against, PNTR. This was at a time when polls showed the American public 79% against the trade deal. He dutifully put lipstick on a pig, and then the House of Representatives dutifully passed the measure on the floor of Congress. This was a decade in which the establishment was singing “Bye Bye American Jobs,” while ignoring those for freedom, democracy, and human rights, who sang “Bye Bye CCP.” It should be safe to say that the sorry state of affairs, above, reflects a disconnect between the interests of newscasters and the interests of the American public.
For covering up genocide in China, I think that *all* managing editors and talk producers for network television should jointly share in the China Support Network’s “Most Corrupt Newscaster of the Decade” award. And to Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather, I say good riddance. Ding dong, their evil has passed from the scene. (But their replacements walk in the same shoes. That’s a shame, and a disservice to the news viewing public.)
I happen to think, enough is enough of this decade. Sheesh!