Tiananmen Square Massacre

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Imploding Turtle
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Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Imploding Turtle » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:04 pm

I hadn't seen this before but a couple of years ago a cable communication about the Tiananmen Square Massacre was declassified by the UK. It's pretty grim reading.

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/UK_cable ... e_Massacre" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by MG70 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:24 pm

Jesus, that’s hard to read. And we only got to see the guy walking in front of the tank.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Lancasterclaret » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:34 pm

Aye, a reminder to all that autocracies will stop at nothing if they are threatened.

The Politiburo must have absolutely **** themselves when local PLA troops refused to fire on the demonstrators and they had to bring in units from thousands of miles away to do it.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by thatdberight » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:04 pm

Who's this document supposed to be from and to?

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Imploding Turtle » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:10 pm

thatdberight wrote:Who's this document supposed to be from and to?
From our ambassador in China, to the government here.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by thatdberight » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:42 pm

Imploding Turtle wrote:From our ambassador in China, to the government here.
Ta. Found the original - it's been through an OCR obviously which explains the errors.

US cables say there was no massacre in Tiananmen Square, as does James Miles who reported for the BBC from Beijing on the days in question. That absolutely contradicts Donald's Fact 5 unless I'm misreading something.

None of which diminishes that some horrific stuff took place; probably of a scale and type outlined in the UK cable.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Imploding Turtle » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:51 pm

thatdberight wrote:Ta. Found the original - it's been through an OCR obviously which explains the errors.

US cables say there was no massacre in Tiananmen Square, as does James Miles who reported for the BBC from Beijing on the days in question. That absolutely contradicts Donald's Fact 5 unless I'm misreading something.

None of which diminishes that some horrific stuff took place; probably of a scale and type outlined in the UK cable.

Yeah. Definitely something atrocious happened. Just by seeing how aggressively China works to suppress all mention, within the country, of anything that happened tells the rest of the world that something terrible happened.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Paul Waine » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:17 pm

Published in The Times, (on-line version) today:

How the hope of Tiananmen Square gave way to despair
Extracts from the diaries of the British academic Paul Thompson reveal how the mood of optimism, anger and a yearning for change among young Chinese was met with an iron fist thirty years ago today


Paul Thompson, a British professor at Lancashire Polytechnic, was teaching through an exchange agreement at the Beijing Business Institute when pro-democracy protesters occupied Tiananmen Square. Some of his students joined the demonstrations. He kept a diary during the six weeks of turmoil and detailed how he, his wife and ten-year-old daughter fled the country. Apart from Professor Thompson and his family, all other names have been abbreviated to protect their identities.

Monday April 17, 1989
It’s been a day of great excitement in the Institute, the cause being the death of ex-Communist Party chief Hu Yaobang. He was forced to step down in 1987 by the Party leadership for his “softness” in dealing with so-called bourgeois liberalism — democratic ideas to you and me.

This and his reputation for incorruptibility (his children are among the few who haven’t been abroad or given cushy jobs) greatly endeared him to the population, particularly the intelligentsia and that was made very clear today. As has become the practice since the mourning of Zhou Enlai [former Chinese premier], Tiananmen Square was the focus, with lots of wreaths. The big universities were also the focus of hundreds of dzhaobo, or big character posters, praising Hu.

Even in the Institute, three posters were put up, which led to an emergency meeting of department heads to find the evil perpetrators. The posters were later torn down by “unknown” hands. This response was indicative of the general panic of the authorities who also closed the gates of Beijing University today, to keep the students in and the sympathisers out. Of course not a peep of this appeared in the papers or on the television news.

Tuesday April 18
Students, mainly from Beijing University, staged a sit-down protest outside the Great Hall of the People. They say they will not move until their demands for democracy and freedom of speech have been dealt with by the authorities.

Wednesday April 19
Z [one of Thompson’s friends] and her friends had been down to Tiananmen Square to see and join in the demonstrations and of course Mrs Y was delighted to chip in with her usual denunciations of the regime which for once were getting a more sympathetic hearing. Mass rallies and even sit-ins are still going on every day in the centre of the city. The demands are escalating. Aside from the slogans — Long Live Freedom, Long Live Democracy, Long Live Hu (bit of a non-starter that one) — the students have now demanded that the party leaders reveal their finances and that of their families. It would probably be easier to get the regime to institute parliamentary democracy.

Thursday April 20
Plans to go with some students to see the demonstrations were quickly scuppered this morning. The Foreign Affairs office [the department within the Institute which looked after and monitored the two foreign staff of whom Professor Thompson was one] had got wind of it and I got something between advice and a threat that such actions could jeopardise the students’ careers and drop the unit in the ****. Whether this is true or not, I decided to go on my own on Friday instead.

The institute leadership is getting really jumpy. Last night a load of our students were bussed by the police back to the campus of Beijing University and had to be picked up early this morning. We also have our very own “democracy wall” (at Tiananmen Square big character wall posters briefly blossom now and again) next to the main teaching block. I surreptitiously rode past to take some pictures of the posters and bumped into a student doing the same thing. When I got my camera out he jumped about six foot thinking I was going to photograph him. Having reassured him of my intentions, he whispered “careful” and was off. It was so furtive that I felt as if I was photographing a military installation.

Friday April 21
A high speed day mostly spent rushing round the city centre, reading the papers, shopping and most importantly, going to Tiananmen Square. The situation hots up at night and tonight the demonstrations continued. The media has finally acknowledged the existence of the student protest, though of course they are “hooligans chanting reactionary slogans”. What a joke. The pictures of the crowd trying to get into Communist Party headquarters were pretty good though.

Saturday April 22
It was one of those boring Saturdays stuck at home working except for one real bit of luck. Having been shopping for fruit in a district a couple of kilometres away, I was riding back when I suddenly ran smack up against the students marching back from their demonstration in Tiananmen. The government had ordered them to keep away on the day of Hu’s funeral, but they went anyway, all 100,000 of them, mostly in the middle of the night. It was bloody exciting. Thousands of them, tired after 20 hours in the Square, but well disciplined, banners waving and chanting slogans. What the onlookers in the busy streets made of them, I don’t know, though there was some applause.

I chipped in with some much appreciated victory signs and quick exchanges. Back at the ranch, the Institute authorities made strenuous efforts to keep students and staff on the campus, corralling them into the big hall to watch the funeral on the telly, and warning anyone leaving that they would be on their own if they got into trouble. At 11pm last night, staff went round door to door in the dormitories to make sure everyone was physically present if not ideologically correct. It didn’t work.

Sunday April 23
I perked up when some friends came round to tell me another demo was in the offing. About 500 students had gathered in the gloom outside the main dormitory. They greeted any good points the speakers made by deafening roars. One of the calls was for a strike tomorrow in line with most other places in Beijing. The unifying cause has partly become police brutality mainly on April 20 when one girl was killed by a police car and many others were savagely beaten.

Monday April 24
The student strike was a partial success, estimates varying between half and two thirds boycotting lectures. Most of the strikers were first and second year students. You can’t blame those about to graduate. As the unit still has almost total say over job distribution, it really has them by the short and curlies.

Thursday April 27
This was truly the day that the students called the Party’s bluff and won! And yours truly was there to witness it. Thirty-eight universities and colleges in Beijing decided to defy the ban on demonstrations and march into the centre. A large number of our own students gathered in the Institute at 10am, but they were blocked from leaving by Deans and internal security. One student enraged the head of security by telling him: “You are sixty and I am twenty, but I already understand more than you ever did.” Unbelievably, the students simply waited for the bigwigs to go for lunch and then escaped to freedom. This attempt to block exits was repeated elsewhere, but the numbers were generally far too large. My plan was to go into town after my lecture then work my way back along the main street to get a look at the masses.

It didn’t quite work out like that. No buses were getting through because the army and police had cordoned off the whole of the city centre. The centre was crawling with army personnel and we had to walk miles with thousands of others to wend our way round the cordons. Camera crews suddenly came running past us saying the army lines couldn’t hold and within minutes the prediction proved true. They poured through triumphantly in the tens of thousands, banners of every institution and conceivable slogan. “Give us democracy or give us death” proclaimed one. Medical students marched in their white coats, students studying English and those studying French having their banners in those languages. There was little doubt that the immense crowd of onlookers supported the movement. Bread, other food and cartons of drink flew through the air and landed among the marchers.

Sunday May 14
The students have upped the stakes by starting a mass hunger strike until their demands for recognition and public dialogue are met. Obviously, it’s timed to cause maximum embarrassment and publicity during the Gorbachev visit. [Mikhail Gorbachev, the then Russian Communist Party general secretary], was due in China for a four-day Sino-Soviet summit from May 18. Plans for the Soviet delegation to be welcomed with a grand ceremony in Tiananmen Square were abandoned.] I decided to cycle down and take a look for myself.

It was impossible to get near the hunger strikers themselves as there were tens of thousands of supporters and onlookers milling about. Lots of smaller demonstrations were feeding into the city centre from outlying areas and judging from the applause from bystanders and people leaning out of buses, the students still have public support. But the crunch has yet to come.

Monday May 15
The hunger strikes continue and friends who went down today tell me that workers and peasants from many different provinces came to the square to make speeches in support of the students. President Li Pong had to hot foot it to the biggest steel plant in Beijing on Saturday to head off a threatened strike. So the authorities know they are up **** creek.

Tuesday May 16
There’s four from the Institute taking part in the hunger strike.

Wednesday May 17
This was the day that the dam burst. The first signs were inside the college. More than 100 staff marched out at 10am. All morning and lunchtime a steady stream of demonstrators headed past the flat on bikes, hitching lifts and walking. I knew it was different when no one turned up to my class for the first time. So if you can’t beat them, join them. The dam burst simply because all sections of the Beijing population mobilised and did it spontaneously.

I saw contingents of factory workers, school students, artists, dancers, and film makers. 2,000 came on a special train from Nanjing, 1,157 km away. I couldn’t get right into the centre but it didn’t matter. There were so many people that separate demonstrations were going in every conceivable direction. The mood had also shifted away from the immediate demands of the students to a wider concern for a shake-up and shake-out of the ageing and conservative top leadership. Perhaps it was summed up best by a huge banner in English — “You can’t cheat the people all of the time”.

Saturday May 20
It’s not everyday you wake up to a declaration of martial law. Actually, we knew something was up late last night when rumours swept our little community that Zhou Ziyang [General Secretary of the Communist Party] had been ousted and that army units were moving into the city. Having been advised to get some food in case of subsequent problems, I set off by bike for the Friendship Hotel and the Shangri-La. About half way I came across a massive roadblock set up by hundreds of local people. Trying to force their way through was a small convoy of trucks piled full of soldiers. This wasn’t easy as mini buses and other vehicles barred the way, to say nothing of a sizeable crane manoeuvred into place by the smiling driver. Scenes like this were being repeated at many other intersections in the city. Someone told me later that he’d seen a convoy of 17 turned round, many of the soldiers crying after being told what the situation really was by the locals.

When I was younger I talked a lot about popular revolution but experienced nothing more exciting than a mass picket. Now I’m an ageing reformist, I find myself in the middle of one. The news blackout has already started. When I went into the Shangri-La, they’d taken down their satellite transmission dish, presumably on order from above. Foreigners have been given explicit instructions to keep their noses clean and the eight areas under martial law are subject to a 10pm curfew. No one seems to be taking any notice of that as people wait around anxiously in the street, perhaps for confirmation that the soldiers are returning armed this time.

Sunday May 21
Gossip and rumour has replaced the newly liberalised media we had enjoyed for about a week. Leaflets from the students are read avidly. I’ve given out thousands of leaflets in my time but I was never engulfed and had them snatched out of my hands like those I saw today. People actually fought each other for them and staggered away happily clutching fragments of paper.

Thursday May 25
Another big demonstration blocking the streets was called by the newly-formed and grandly-titled Union of Intellectuals. Good to get into the centre again and get my first look as the post-hunger strike Tiananmen. It’s a wonder that any buses can run at all given how many are now parked in the square as makeshift dwellings for the students. The stench is pretty bad now, not helped by the practice of using two of the buses as toilets.

Weekend of May 27 & 28
There is no doubt that the protest movement has been defeated. [The effects of martial law and exhaustion among the protesters were widely seen as the reasons for the early defeat.] The time of the democratic movement will come again before too long but there will be a lot of blood spilled first. What these bastards cannot do any longer, however, is to police people’s thoughts. The last fling of the movement took place on Sunday with what may turn out to be the last major rally for a while. Understandably smaller than before, it was a sad but defiant occasion.

Tuesday May 30
Stopped off at Tiananmen to check the progress of the protests. Only a few thousand left now, but they did make one audacious move early this morning, erecting a 40ft Statue of Liberty look-alike. More and more notables are leaping on the bandwagon to support martial law in advance of the purge [political purge of the ruling communist party to rid it of liberal factions].

Thursday June 1
China’s rulers organised a pathetic pro-government demonstration today in a distant suburb with a motley and hand-picked crew of policemen, peasants and others marching for five yuan (57p), a meal and a paper hat. Most of them slouched along with no attempt to join in the slogans.

Weekend of June 3 & 4
We [Paul’s wife and 10-year-old daughter had just flown to Beijing for a long-scheduled holiday] set off for the town centre and were puzzled to find no buses at the big terminus at Gongzhufen. It turned out that the merry-go-round had started again with the army making another attempt to get into Tiananmen earlier that morning. Again they were turned back by massive crowds. Three people were killed by a truck though the authorities made strenuous efforts to claim that it was an isolated accident. But soldiers later emerged from the Party headquarters near the square to attack demonstrators with tear gas. Serious violence took place for the first time.

As the night went on, the sounds of protest drifted into the flat through the balcony door, open because of the intense heat. Then suddenly the situation exploded directly outside the flat. We rushed to the balcony to see about 15 trucks with about 20-30 hard-hatted men each surrounded by the local citizens who had poured out of houses. It was puzzling at first [to ascertain] who those in the trucks were. They turned out to be plainclothes policemen and workers from the big local iron and steel works threatened with withdrawal of money [having their salaries withheld], sent to Tiananmen armed with sticks to evict students. Within a few minutes those sticks had been taken from them by the locals and were being carried about by young and old, men and women. But this happy scene was set against the sounds of violence coming through the night air, reported by people arriving on the scene to be tear gas and rubber bullets.

A restless and noisy night was ended by a 7.30am phone call from my Head of School checking for our safety. It was to be the start of a terrible day. As I am typing this at 11pm, there is a row of burning vehicles in the road immediately outside the flat, set on fire by citizens with nothing else to vent their anger on, many of whom had lost loved ones in the last 24 hours. The scale of the violence from the previous events quickly became apparent from a stream of friends visiting the flat, many of whom had been up most of the night. Z spoke of sidewalks flowing with blood and the charred remains of a soldier in Xidan. L had seen half a dozen tanks at the end of a nearby road San Li He, also burnt out and reportedly by the soldiers themselves.

W had been at the Navy Hospital in our street, seventeen people being brought in dead from clashes in the surrounding area. I managed to cycle out to Ganjiakou and see some of the destruction for myself. Further into the centre the army had carried out a cold-blooded massacre on a huge scale. Tanks with the grotesque slogan ‘the people’s army loves the people’ tied to the back had rolled over and crushed many huddled in their tents on the square, while soldiers randomly machine-gunned students linking arms and protesting citizens alike. Housing blocks and hotels such as the Minzu had been sprayed with bullets. Our presence here is no longer viable and being prisoners in the flat hardly desirable. I am not only frightened for Jill and Jane [his wife and daughter] but just frightened full stop.

Monday June 5
A horrendous night as explosions and fires raged outside. Advice from the embassy was stay indoors and no evacuation yet, which is OK if you’re in a big hotel, but not much good if you are imprisoned on the front line. Even the students and staff are frightened to venture far from the campus given reports of indiscriminate shooting. The drivers are even refusing to take the cars out which doesn’t make it any easier to fix up our plane ticket but we’ll try tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, June 6 to Saturday June 10 — written from Hong Kong
We received a message from the British Embassy that we were to be evacuated. We had to be ready to leave at thirty minutes’ notice and only allowed to pack a single bag between us. We were bundled into a minibus, with assorted students and UK nationals, before being taken to dorms at the Friendship Hotel. It was a nervous, wary atmosphere enlivened by the presence of Kate Adie [BBC journalist] who told stories about events at the square.

In the morning Jane, Jill and I were put into an embassy car and taken to the airport. It was a horrendous journey. Soldiers with rifles lined the streets and rooftops. We were told to crouch down in our seats for some of the difficult part of the journey. At the airport, it was predictably chaotic. Foreign residents and others desperate to leave milled about, short of information. Some light relief was provided by my increasingly frantic attempt to spend my remaining Chinese currency in the airport. There’s only so much chocolate a family can take and PLA [Chinese People’s Liberation Army] paraphernalia was inappropriate.

It was a huge relief to take off on the plane specially chartered by the UK Government and even more so to land in Hong Kong. Our nightmare was over. The same could not be said for the Chinese people.

The author is professor of employment studies at University of Stirling. He can be found on Twitter: @pithompson1

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Paul Waine » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:24 pm

Above - it's a lengthy post - many may appreciate the diary of a Lancashire based academic who was present, and who knew the students, who joined the protest in Tiananmen Square.

If you are old enough, you will remember the events through April and May being extensively reported in British media, including BBC. April/May was period of some optimism.... maybe there'd be some moves towards democracy in Peoples' Republic of China. And, then the massacres in Tainanmen Square were reported....

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Tribesmen » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:23 am

In 89 I was in China for 5 months before during and after Tiananmen .
I never got to see what the western world were watching everyday on their TV sets but meeting the people was something else as I travelled .
So many people wanted to talk to me as I was what they saw as the west and freedom then came the night when they PLA killed people in many cities around China not just Beijing I was lucky to be in the mountains at the time but cut off from the world for 10 days as all transport was cut . After day 11 were told that we could leave around 14 of us and so we did and did see a clean up from what had happened .
Nobody wanted to talk to me I was classed as an outsider an treated as such .
Very strange times I must say .

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by SirAlec » Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:05 am

I’ve been to Tiananmen Square, I have to admit I was totally naive to the level of violence that occurred. There really is no kind of monument or memorial to those who where slaughtered there. Shocking.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by thatdberight » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:49 am

SirAlec wrote:There really is no kind of monument or memorial to those who where slaughtered there. Shocking.
Putting aside the "did it actually happen there?" question - because a substantial atrocity certainly happened nearby at least - there wouldn't be a memorial because the same group who carried it out are still in charge and saying it didn't happen. In a very controlled society, I'm not sure how a memorial could exist?

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Imploding Turtle » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:53 am

Like this

Image
This user liked this post: thatdberight

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Beagleheart » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:23 pm

My son lives in Beijing. His 30 year old girlfriend knows practically nothing about ithe events even though they live not too far away from the square.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by claret_in_exile » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:26 pm

SirAlec wrote:I’ve been to Tiananmen Square, I have to admit I was totally naive to the level of violence that occurred. There really is no kind of monument or memorial to those who where slaughtered there. Shocking.
That would be because, and I quote:

THEY WERE GIVEN ONE HOUR TO LEAVE SQUARE BUT AFTER FIVE MINUTES APCS ATTACKED. STUDENTS LINKED ARMS BUT WERE MOWN DOWN INCLUDING SOLDIERS. APCS THEN RAN OVER BODIES TIME AND TIME AGAIN TO MAKE QUOTE PIE UNQUOTE AND REMAINS COLLECTED BY BULLDOZER. REMAINS INCINERATED AND THEN HOSED DOWN DRAINS.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by claret_in_exile » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:27 pm

If you read closely, you can see that it wasn't just a massacre of students - army units actually fought against other army units, who had refused to fire on the students.

It was, essentially, a very short civil war and it sounds like it could have easily tipped into a revolution.

Also: MINIMUM ESTIMATE OF CIVILIAN DEAD 10,000

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Imploding Turtle » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:56 pm

claret_in_exile wrote:That would be because, and I quote:

THEY WERE GIVEN ONE HOUR TO LEAVE SQUARE BUT AFTER FIVE MINUTES APCS ATTACKED. STUDENTS LINKED ARMS BUT WERE MOWN DOWN INCLUDING SOLDIERS. APCS THEN RAN OVER BODIES TIME AND TIME AGAIN TO MAKE QUOTE PIE UNQUOTE AND REMAINS COLLECTED BY BULLDOZER. REMAINS INCINERATED AND THEN HOSED DOWN DRAINS.
I could've gone quite a while and be content to not be reminded of that quote/unquote.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by claret wizard » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:06 pm

They had to bring loyal troops in from the outlying areas, over 1000 miles away to quell the uprising which had spread to the PLA.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by BurnleyFC » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:42 pm

thatdberight wrote:Who's this document supposed to be from and to?
Ted McMinn.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Spijed » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:46 pm

So, to get this clear, all this guff about the war on terror is a myth when the worst culprits are actually governments with whom we do trade with.

Sounds like groups such as Al-Quaeda & Islamic state have a bit of catching up to do in the mass murder stakes.

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Re: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Post by Imploding Turtle » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:08 pm

Spijed wrote:So, to get this clear, all this guff about the war on terror is a myth when the worst culprits are actually governments with whom we do trade with.

Sounds like groups such as Al-Quaeda & Islamic state have a bit of catching up to do in the mass murder stakes.

Well, yes. The War on Terror™ was always a scam.

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