May 17th, 2017 | Victims of Communism

Victims of Communism — Memorial Foundation

May 17th, 2017


China’s Silk Road Initiative Sows European Discomfort
Mark Magnier and Chun Han Wong, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
China’s bid to mobilize dozens of countries and billions of dollars for its ambitious Silk Road infrastructure plan bumped into European dissent at a high-profile Beijing forum, underscoring difficulties in marshaling consensus over Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s globalization blueprint. China received support for most of its proposals over the two-day meeting, but failed to secure European endorsement of a planned statement on trade, diplomats said. The discord marred an outwardly convivial conclave designed to promote Mr. Xi’s signature economic-diplomacy initiative—known as “One Belt, One Road”—a rebooting of ancient Silk Road routes with ports, railways, and pipelines backed by Chinese money and industry.

China Quietly Releases Draft of Tough New Intelligence Law
Christian Shepherd, REUTERS
China quietly released the first public draft of an intelligence law giving authorities powers to monitor suspects, raid premises, and seize vehicles and devices while investigating domestic and foreign individuals and groups. Communist Party leader Xi Jinping has overseen legislation which bolsters national security against threats from both within and outside China. The government gained new powers with a national security law passed in 2014, followed by a raft of measures on counter-terrorism, the management of foreign non-government bodies and cyber security, among other subjects. “State intelligence work should…provide support to guard against and dispel state security threats (and) protect major national interests,” the document said. National interests listed in the document include state power, sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.

China Moves to Expand DNA Testing in Muslim Region
Matthew Brown, FOX
China appears to be laying the groundwork for the mass collection of DNA samples from residents of a restive, largely Muslim region that’s been under a security crackdown. Police in western China’s Xinjiang region confirmed to The Associated Press that they are in the process of purchasing at least $8.7 million in equipment to analyze DNA samples. Observers from Human Rights Watch said they’ve seen evidence of almost $3 million in additional purchases related to DNA testing. They warned such a collection program could be used as a way for authorities to beef up their political control. The move comes after Chinese authorities last year reportedly required Xinjiang residents to submit DNA samples, fingerprints, and voice records to obtain passports or travel abroad.


Researchers Say Global Cyber Attack Similar to North Korean Hacks
Ju-min Park and Dustin Volz, REUTERS
Cybersecurity researchers have found evidence they say could link North Korea with the WannaCry cyber attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide, as global authorities scrambled to prevent hackers from spreading new versions of the virus. “It is similar to North Korea’s backdoor malicious codes,” said Simon Choi, a senior researcher with Hauri who has done extensive research into North Korea’s hacking capabilities and advises South Korean police and National Intelligence Service. Groups say it is too early to tell whether North Korea was involved in the attacks. The attacks, which slowed on Monday, are among the fastest-spreading extortion campaigns on record.

UN Agency Helps North Korea With Patent Application for Banned Nerve Gas Chemical
George Russell, FOX NEWS
For more than a year, a United Nations agency in Geneva has been helping North Korea prepare an international patent application for production of sodium cyanide—a chemical used to make the nerve gas Tabun—which has been on a list of materials banned from shipment to that country by the UN Security Council since 2006. Information on the website indicates that North Korea started the international patent process on Nov. 1, 2015. The most recent document on the website is a “status report,” dated May 14, 2017, declaring the North Korean applicants’ fitness “to apply for and be granted a patent.” During all that time, however, the UN’s Panel  of Experts on North Korea “has no record of any communication from WIPO to the Committee or the Panel regarding such a serious patent application,” said Hugh Griffiths, coordinator of the international UN expert team, in response to a Fox News question. The Panel of Experts has now officially “opened an investigation into this matter.”


In New Sanctions List, Ukraine Targets Russian Social Media Sites
Ukraine put in place new sanctions seeking to block Russian media and online networks from operating in the country, including VKontakte, the nation’s most popular social network. The decision, signed by President Petro Poroshenko, was announced in an updated sanctions list, which included the Russian search giant Yandex, social media sites like Odnoklassniki, and a number of Russian state and private television channels. The spokesman for the Kremlin described the new sanctions as unfriendly and shortsighted and warned that there could be retaliation. The sanctions, which target the companies that run the sites, mean they cannot do business in Ukraine, but it is not clear if the country has the legal and technical means to totally block them.

Leader of 1953 Soviet Gulag Uprising Dies in Ukraine at 90
One of the leaders of the 1953 Norilsk uprising, a major protest by inmates of the Soviet gulag prison-camp system, has died in Ukraine at the age of 90. Yevhen Hrytsyak died in the western region of Ivano-Frankivsk on May 14. Hrytsyak was a leader of protests by thousands of inmates over prison conditions and alleged torture at several labor camps near Norilsk, a frigid mining city 400 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, shortly after Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s death. The uprising lasted from May 26 to August 4, 1953. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Facebook that Hrytsyak was “one of fearless leaders of political prisoners, who stood against Gulag system.” Hrytsyak had spent many years in the Gulag after he was arrested in 1949 and convicted of fighting in the ranks of a Ukrainian nationalist group in the beginning of the World War II.


Family of American Held in Venezuela Works for His Return
Laurie Holt was shaking. It was the Friday before the Fourth of July weekend and she was looking forward to her traditional barbecue celebration with family in Idaho. Instead, an emergency Facebook message met her when she got home from work. It said her 24-year-old son, Josh Holt, had been seized and imprisoned by a Venezuelan police squad on espionage charges. She didn’t want to believe it. The message came from a family member of Josh’s new wife, an Ecuadorian-Venezuelan woman he had been married to for less than a month. Since reading that Facebook message in June 2016, the Holts have spent over $30,000 in lawyer fees, made repeated trips to Washington, DC, to meet with US government officials and laced their every waking hour with visions of their son’s release.

Guam Residents Cast Wary Eye at North Korea After Launch
While most of the United States is still out of reach of a missile launched by North Korea, the US territory of Guam, a key military hub in the Pacific, could be within range. That realization, coming after a missile launch over the weekend, had residents of the island casting a wary eye amid rising nuclear tensions between Pyongyang and Washington. Some worried they might find war at their doorstep, while others say they are more concerned about the potential loss of vital tourism dollars than they are a nuclear attack. US experts said the missile launched over the weekend could have a range of 2,800 miles, putting Guam easily within range.


Teenager Killed As Mass Protests Rage
Two Venezuelans, including one teenager, were killed on Monday during another day of mass protests against President Nicolás Maduro. Luis Alviarez, 17, was hit in the chest during clashes with police in the western state of Tachira. At a separate protest in the state, Diego Hérnandez, 33, was also killed. Three policemen were injured during protests in the state, authorities said, with one mistakenly reported dead by the local governor. Meanwhile, video emerged online of Hérnandez, lying in the street with blood pouring from his chest, apparently having been shot in the town of Capacho Nuevo. Ombudsman Tarek Saab said he had contacted various authorities to instigate an “exhaustive investigation” into Monday’s deaths. Last month, Saab’s son, Yibram Saab, posted a video on YouTube, calling for his father to do more to stop the violence.