Aletho News


The US Military Attack on Korea in 1871

Tales of the American Empire | March 14, 2019

Hundreds of Koreans were slaughtered as punishment because the Joseon Dynasty refused to sign a trade agreement with the United States.

May 31, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Bolton is ‘war fanatic’ working to destroy peace – Pyongyang

RT | May 27, 2019

US National Security Advisor John Bolton is a “war fanatic” and “defective human product” who works to destroy peace rather than maintain it, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry has said.

The tough assessment, cited by state news agency KCNA, comes after Donald Trump’s adviser lambasted Pyongyang for recently carrying out short-range missile tests. Bolton described the drills as “no doubt” violating UN resolutions.

Hitting back, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry argued that scrapping missile tests completely would hamper the country’s national security.

“Banning launches using ballistic technology is equal to telling us to give up our right to self defence.”

The ministry official added that even in the US Bolton is well-known as a “war fanatic” and that such a “human defect must go away as soon as possible.”

Earlier in May, the North Korean military test-fired a number of rockets and missiles. Washington’s war hawks were quick to cite it as another reason to mount pressure on Pyongyang.

Trump for his part wrote on his favorite social media platform, Twitter, that the tests of “small weapons” did bother some of his people, but not him.

The tests have been viewed as a way to put pressure on Washington to roll back sanctions imposed on North Korea, while Bolton is a staunch opponent of easing the restrictions.

Calling the hawkish American’s comment “more than ignorant,” the North Korean official added that Bolton was working to “destroy peace and security.”

John Bolton has been lambasted before for his “warmongering” position not only in relation to North Korea, but also for “looking for a fight” with Iran. Former congressman Ron Paul recently told RT that such a position is “very dangerous,” lamenting Trump for appointing neocons to his team.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 4 Comments

North Korea warns no more talks until US backs off ‘impossible demands’

RT | May 24, 2019

Negotiations between the United States and North Korea over the latter’s nuclear program will not resume until the US administration backs off from what Pyongyang has characterized as a unilateral demand that it disarm.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un held summits in Singapore in June 2018 and in Hanoi in February of this year, but talks broke off after the two sides were unable to bridge an impasse between their respective positions.

On Friday, North Korea’s state-run Central News Agency published comments by an unnamed Foreign Ministry official who said that the talks have broke down due to “impossible” US demands.

“The underlying cause of setback of the DPRK-US summit talks in Hanoi is the arbitrary and dishonest position taken by the United States, insisting on a method which is totally impossible to get through,” the statement read, accusing the US of having “deliberately pushed the talks to a rupture by merely claiming the unilateral disarmament.”

If it sticks to its current demands, “the United States would not be able to move us even an inch,” the Korean official stressed, barring any future more flexible approaches from US officials, “the prospect for resolving the nuclear issue will be much gloomy.”

The North Korean remarks contrast with statements by Trump, who framed the dissolution of talks between the two nations as resulting from unreasonable Korean demands for significant sanctions reduction, in exchange for only a partial nuclear disarmament on its part.

In April, the North Korean leader gave Trump a deadline until the end of the 2019 calendar year to formulate a deal which would be acceptable to both sides.

May 24, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

When North Korea’s Air Force Fought Israel

The Beginnings of Pyongyang’s Military Involvement in the Middle East and its Evolution Over Half a Century

Military Watch Magazine | October 7, 2018

While the Yom Kippur War is a well known Cold War engagement between Soviet and Western aligned forces which took place in the midst of the Vietnam War, pitting the forces of a number of Arab states including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Algeria against their longstanding adversary Israel, the role played by personnel deployed from external powers remains less well known. One party which played a significant role in the conflict, the beginnings of its extensive involvement in the Middle East to undermine the Western Bloc’s regional interests which continues to this day, was the Korean People’s Army (KPA) – the armed forces of North Korea. Having waged an intensive and brutal war with the Untied States and its allies in the 1950s, where an estimated 20-30% of its population was lost primarily due to the American bombing campaign, North Korea well understood the importance of air superiority and set about rebuilding its air and air defence forces with the most capable Soviet made weapons systems available. North Korean pilots and air defence crews were tasked not only with guarding the country’s airspace in the event of a future war with the Untied States, but also of contributing to the war efforts of a number of friendly countries – which they continue to do to this day. North Korean pilots played a considerable role in the Vietnam War, and according to Korean sources downed several U.S. fighter jets over the country. As the air war over Vietnam neared its end in the early 1970s, the KPA Air Force dispatched pilots to Egypt to aid the Soviet aligned country’s own war effort.

North Korean pilots had been stationed to aid Egyptian forces in defending their airspace months before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, and according to the Egyptian Military’s Chief of Staff Saad Al Shazly, Korean assistance provided critical assistance at a time of great need. Recalling that personnel from the USSR had been flying approximately 30% of the Egyptian MiG-21 fleet and operating about 20% of the country’s surface to air missile batteries, he noted that following the departure of Soviet forces under the decree of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat the Egyptian Air Force had struggled with a significant shortage of trained MiG pilots. Regarding North Korea’s role in solving this issue, the General stated in his memoirs:

“The solution occurred to me in March 1973, during the visit to Egypt of the Vice President of the Democratic (People’s) Republic of Korea (official name of North Korea.) On March 6, while escorting their Vice Minister of War, General Zang Song, on a tour of the Suez front, I asked if they could support us – and give their pilots useful combat training – but sending even a squadron of men. I knew at that time that his country flew MiG-21s. After much political discussion, in April I went on an official visit to president Kim Il Sung to finalise the plan. My fascinating ten day tour of that extraordinary republic, an inspiring an example of what a small nation of the so called Third World can achieve with its own resources is, alas, rather outside the scope of this memoir, as is my stopover in Peking (former English name for Beijing.)

Korean pilots – all highly experienced, many with more than 2,000 hours, arrived in Egypt in June and were operating by July. Israel or her ally ( the United States) soon monitored their communications, of course, and on August 15 announced their presence. To my regret, our leadership would never confirm it. The Korean s were probably the smallest international military reinforcement in history: only 20 pilots, eight controllers, give interpreters, three administrative men, a political advisor, a doctor and a cook. Bu their effect was disproportionate. They had two or three encounters with the Israelis in August and September and about the same number in the war. Their arrival was a heartwarming gesture. I mention the story here mainly to pay tribute to them and to apologise for the churlishness of our leadership in not also doing so.”

While Egyptian forces had long claimed that the MiG-21 was poorly suited to engage the F-4E, Israel’s prime air superiority fighter, and that the Soviet jet lacked the necessary survivability against the heavier American made platform, they were proven wrong not only by the successes of North Vietnamese pilots against the United States – but also by North Korean pilots operating against Israeli Phantoms over Egyptian airspace itself. According to Israeli sources, reporting on an engagement between North Korean piloted MiGs and their own Phantoms, the Korean pilots demonstrated considerable skill and were effectively untouchable in close range engagements – taking full advantage of the MiG-21’s superior manoeuvrability to evade multiple Israeli strikes with impunity. Whether North Korean pilots downed any Israeli fighters remains unknown, though reports indicate that no Koreans were shot down by Israeli jets. A number of reports do indicate however that the poorly trained Egyptian surface to air missile (SAM) crews mistook returning Korean MIG-21 fighters for Israeli jets, and proceeded to fire upon them. This was a common error made by Egyptian SAM crews, one which cost the country a number of fighter jets.

North Korean pilots’ participation in the Yom Kippur War represented only the beginning of the country’s military involvement in the Middle East, nor the last time the country would aid Arab states at war with Israel. While Egypt pivoted towards the Western Bloc in the war’s aftermath, abandoning the Soviet Union and its Arab allies, the country would pursue a number of joint weapons projects with North Korea and continues to import significant quantities of arms from the country. The Egyptian ballistic missile arsenal has North Korean origins, and the Korean Rodong-1 remains the country’s most capable platform in service today. North Korean assistance was also commissioned to construct a war museum in Egypt commemorating the Yom Kippur War, which was based heavily on the larger Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang commemorating the Korean War. North Korean forces have since the Yom Kippur War also formed close ties to Syria and Yemen, and the KPA is involved in wars against Western aligned forces in both countries.

Korean assistance has been key to upgrading Syria’s surface to air missile network, while special forces have reportedly been deployed for ground operations. KPA personnel were also reportedly involved in the Lebanon War in alongside their Syrian allies, and were later responsible for aiding the Lebanese militia Hezbollah to construct underground fortifications key to its military success against Israel in 2006. A number of key figures in Hezbollah’s leadership, including its leader Hassan Nasraallah, reportedly travelled to Korea for military training in the 1980s. Korean assistance has been key to strengthening the missile capabilities of Libya, Syria and Yemen, as well as Iran and Hezbollah, with all these parties relying heavily on a wide variety of the country’s missile designs until today. The East Asian state has since the Yom Kippur War played a considerable role in supporting regional forces against the Western Bloc and their allies, and is set to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Anything is possible’: Trump talks North Korea peace after phone call with Putin

RT | May 4, 2019

President Trump took to Twitter to declare his support for peace on the Korean Peninsula, after discussing the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. North Korea, meanwhile, test-fired short-range missiles.

“Anything in this very interesting world is possible,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “But I believe that Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it. He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!”

Trump’s tweet came after he spoke with Putin by phone on Friday. The two leaders discussed a range of geopolitical issues, including nuclear arms control and the Korean peace process.

The president touted the success of the call on Saturday, heralding the “tremendous potential for a good/great relationship with Russia, despite what you read and see in the Fake News Media.” After the phone call, certain media outlets chided Trump for not pressing Putin on supposed Russian election meddling.

Despite Trump’s insistence that a “deal will happen” with North Korea, results thus far have been lacking. A much-anticipated summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore last year ended with a vague promise from Kim to work towards denuclearization, while a follow-up summit in Hanoi, Vietnam this year collapsed with no agreement when Trump found Kim’s demands untenable.

Kim has since broadened his horizons, meeting with Putin in Vladivostok last month. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also reportedly considering a meeting with Kim, according to a Friday report in the Shankei newspaper.

Diplomacy aside, Pyongyang has reportedly reversed its dismantling of missile and rocket test sites in the wake of the failed Hanoi summit, and on Saturday morning fired a salvo of short-range projectiles out to sea from the city of Wonsan, on its east coast.

May 4, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

N. Korea warns of ‘corresponding response’ as Washington & Seoul stage joint war games

RT | April 25, 2019

North Korea has warned of a “corresponding response” as it vented anger at the ongoing military drills between the US and South Korea. Pyongyang says such steps simply hamper the reconciliation process.

In a strongly-worded statement issued by the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country on Thursday, Pyongyang blasted the joint air force exercises as “acts of perfidy.”

It added that the maneuvers go against the “trend toward the reconciliation on the peninsula” and threatened the “valuable spark of peace, reconciliation and cooperation” between the two Koreas.

The committee, which oversees inter-Korean affairs, also warned the South Korean authorities “to behave with discretion,” and said the exercises risked north-south bilateral ties.

It finished by saying that such a “military provocation” would garner a “corresponding response,” noting that authorities in Seoul “can never make a complaint” over whatever actions Pyongyang eventually undertakes.

The two-week joint air force exercises, which kicked off on Monday, had been organized as a more low-key alternative to the annual Max Thunder drills usually conducted by the US and South Korea.

It follows a call made by Trump following his first summit with Kim Jong-un last June to suspend the “very provocative” war games after an agreement was reached by both parties to back “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.

Since then, several military exercises have been either canceled or scaled-back.

However, the negotiations floundered following a second meeting between the two leaders in Vietnam in late February. Back then, both heads of state walked away without securing a deal amid disagreements over the lifting of sanctions on Pyongyang.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

North Korea pitched state-of-the-art submarine system to Taiwan military: report

By Sophia Yang -Taiwan News – 2019/04/05

TAIPEI — As Taiwan’s first indigenous submarine project is underway, media reported the North Korean government years ago reached out to Taiwan’s military in an attempt to sell its advanced marine propulsion technology – Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) – for the project.

People familiar with the matter told UPmedia that a number of submarine builders and software providers from the United States, Europe among 16 other countries showed their interest in participating in the country’s indigenous submarine project. To the military department’s surprise, the North Korean military was among the bidders, reportedly pitching their products through a Taiwanese trading company.

The name of the trading company was not disclosed in the news story.

The report indicated that the company was pitching on behalf of the isolated nation, which has been enduring severe financial stress under the sanctions imposed by international bodies and a number of countries. The products on the list included North Korea’s miniature Yono-class submarine, Yugo-class submarine, Sang-O-class submarine, as well as the North Korean self-made AIP system.

The system is believed to enable the submarine to remain submerged for up to four weeks to better extend its underwater endurance, compared to an underwater endurance of only a few days in traditional diesel-electric submarines.

A submarine expert working for Taiwan’s military reportedly made a fact-checking trip years ago to the China-DPRK border city of Dandong to meet the North Korean military officials, from whom the expert verified the authenticity of the bid and its capability to carry out the task. However, Taiwan’s military eventually didn’t consider the technologies out of concern that it would violate UN sanctions against North Korea.

Also, recently at a press event, a military official told media that Taiwan’s first indigenous submarine would not be equipped with the advanced and expensive AIP system, but will consider it for the other indigenous submarines in the future.

April 21, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Kim Jong-un May be The World’s Most Strategic Head of State

By Adam Garrie | EurasiaFuture | April 18, 2019

Last night it was confirmed that the DPRK tested a new tactical guided weapon. While this particular weapon does not violate the agreement by Pyongyang to refrain from testing ICMBs and nuclear warheads during the course of the peace process, it would be impossible to argue that the test is unrelated to the public disappointment that Kim Jong-un has voiced at the lack of progress on sanctions relief in the aftermath of the largely uneventful Hanoi summit between himself and Donald Trump.

Thus, the DPRK was able to show that it continues to develop its domestic defence industry while remaining committed to the letter of the no-ICMB/no-nuclear testing agreements which have thus far provided a foundation for the ongoing peace process. At the same time, the test is an indication that Kim Jong-un was not bluffing when he gave until the end of 2019 as a deadline for progress in the ongoing peace process before his country would examine alternative paths forward.

But most importantly was the timing. On the morning of the 18th (Washington D.C. time) it was known that the full contents of the Robert Mueller report would be made public (minus certain redactions). Because US Attorney General Barr’s previous summery of the report made it clear that the US President has been exonerated by Mueller, Kim would have known that Donald Trump’s spirits would likely be up as the entire world will now get to read first hand that the man many thought would destroy Trump has ended up vindicating much of what Trump has said over the last three years.

This is crucial for two reasons. First of all, in his recent speech, Kim indicated that while the last few months have seen a downturn in DPRK-US relations, his personal relationship with Donald Trump remains strong. Later, Trump agreed that he has a highly friendly relationship with Kim Jong-un and that he takes an optimistic view on the overall prospects of a successful peace process.

As such, Kim made it clear that yesterday’s new missile test was not intended to embarrass Trump personally. Because Kim and his colleagues (like the rest of the world) will have known that the public release of the Mueller report was coming within hours, Kim could have and self-evidently did use deductive reasoning to assume that short of a world war breaking out, all of US media would be totally fixated on reading and analysing the Mueller report throughout the 18th of April. On a slower news day, the DPRK’s missile test would have otherwise been headline news.

In this sense, Kim was able to make his point but do so in a matter made subtle due to the fact that the weapons test was going to necessarily be obscured by what for Americans is a bigger news story. The DPRK also used this opportunity to reiterate that far from having a problem with Trump, it is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who Pyongyang views as the main obstacle to progress in the peace talks.

When taken as a whole, the events of the last 24 hours have revealed Kim to be not only a master of grace under pressure but more importantly, a master of combining important messages with a subtle delivery that avoids inflaming the situation.

The stagnation within the peace process since the Hanoi summit may well have made the DPRK’s new missile test inevitable but Kim Jong-un’s understanding of America’s internal political situation has helped to minimise any potentially negative fall out from Washington within the framework of a delicate and extremely important ongoing peace process.

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Trump & the Bolton-Pompeo Axis

By Patrick Lawrence | Consortium News | April 16, 2019

Moon Jae-in’s Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump last Thursday marked an important step forward for both leaders. The South Korean president appears to have drawn Trump away from the all-or-nothing “big deal” he proposed when he last met Kim Jong-un — an offer we now know was intended to precipitate the North Korean leader’s rejection. Trump won, too: The encounter with Moon has effectively put the Dealmaker back on his feet after the calamitous collapse of the second Trump–Kim summit in Hanoi two months ago. A top-down agreement on the North’s denuclearization is once again within reach.

Moon facing Trump in DC, April 11, 2019. (White House/ Shealah Craighead via Flickr)

The importance of the Moon–Trump summit, while eclipsed by news of Julian Assange’s arrest in London the same day, is not be underestimated. Even before receiving Moon, Trump announced for the first time that he is willing to summit with Kim for a third time. While still stressing the North’s complete denuclearization as the U.S. objective, Trump also said he is open to the incremental diplomacy he precluded with his everything-at-once offer in Hanoi.

“There are various smaller deals that maybe could happen,” Trump said before he and Moon withdrew to the Oval Office. “Things could happen. You can work out step-by-step pieces, but at this moment we are still talking about the big deal.”

New Stance

This new stance is a big deal in itself. Moon and Kim — with Chinese and Russian support — have advocated talks based on gradualist reciprocity from the first. “Action for action,” Moon calls it. This strategy is widely accepted at the other end of the Pacific as the only plausible path to a sustainable denuclearization agreement. The U.S. has been the only nation engaged on the Korean question to argue otherwise.

In addition, Trump appeared to signal that Moon may get something he dearly wanted when he arrived in Washington: dispensation to proceed with inter–Korean economic projects — including transport links, an industrial park, and a joint-venture resort in the North — that are now blocked by a plethora of U.S. and UN–imposed sanctions. Moon views these as essential confidence-builders and the first steps toward integrating the North into a Northeast Asian economic hub that will also include South Korea, China, and the Russian Far East.

In Pyongyang, Kim responded to the events in Washington when he addressed the Supreme People’s Assembly last Friday. The speech was carefully balanced between optimism and caution, the latter reflecting Kim’s view that he was betrayed in Hanoi when Trump marshaled an offer he could not possibly embrace. “I am willing to accept if the United States proposes a third North Korea — United States summit,” Kim told North’s legislative body, “on condition that it has a right attitude and seeks a solution that we can share.”

Kim had other things to add. “We don’t like — and we are not interested in — the United States’ way of dialogue, in which it tries to unilaterally push through its demands,” he said. “We don’t welcome — and we have no intention of repeating—the kind of summit meetings like the one held in Hanoi.” The North Korean leader went on to set a year-end deadline “for the United States to make a bold decision.”

While Washington and Pyongyang had sharply conflicting versions of what transpired in Hanoi — each blaming the other for the summit’s failure — there is now little question that the U.S. side was at fault. A post–Hanoi Reuters exclusive reports that, prior to their famously canceled lunch, Trump handed Kim a sheet of paper listing, in English and Korean, extensive U.S. conditions that began with “a blunt call for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the United States,” according to the piece filed by Leslie Broughton and David Brunnstrom.

The English-language version of the letter, the Reuters team reports, went on to demand “fully dismantling North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure, chemical and biological warfare program and related dual-use capabilities; and ballistic missiles, launchers, and associated facilities.”

The Libya Model 

In simple terms, this was a kitchen-sink proposition — effectively a demand for unilateral disarmament — that was intended to prompt Kim to walk away. The Reuters reporters suggest that the fatal gambit was the work of John Bolton, Trump’s hyper-hawkish national security advisor. They quote North Korean officials as also implicating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, another administration hawk, in what amounts to an act of diplomatic sabotage. The device used was Bolton’s “Libya model,” a laden reference if ever there was one. When Muammar Gaddafi gave up his chemical and nuclear weapons programs in 2003, he did so by sending Libya’s nuclear materials and equipment to the U.S. Eight years later, of course, he was assassinated in the wake of a NATO bombing campaign led by the U.S.

“The document appeared to represent Bolton’s long-held and hardline ‘Libya model’ of denuclearization that North Korea has rejected repeatedly,” Broughton and Brunnstrom report. “It probably would have been seen by Kim as insulting and provocative, analysts said.” One of those analysts was Jenny Town, a North Korea specialist at the Stimson Center in Washington. “‘This is what Bolton wanted from the beginning and it clearly wasn’t going to work,’” Reuters quotes Town as observing. “‘If the U.S. was really serious about negotiations, they would have learned already that this wasn’t an approach they could take.’”

Formidable Challenges

As this record of the Hanoi proceedings makes plain, Trump and Moon will assume formidable challenges to the extent they agree to work together toward a resolution of the Korea question on new terms. It is not clear why Trump — who went to Hanoi eager to cut his “big deal” with Kim — accepted the Bolton-inspired design and handed it on to the North Korean leader. But he has now set himself up for another in what appears to be a long line of conflicts with his foreign policy minders, Bolton and Pompeo chief among them.

The outlook in this connection is mixed at best. Trump was able to overrule new sanctions against North Korea that were announced several weeks after the Hanoi debacle. It is a matter of interpretation, but he effectively lost a battle with the Bolton–Pompeo axis when the administration designated the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization earlier this month. That move is understood widely to have pushed renewed negotiations with Tehran, for which Trump had been hoping, well beyond the point of no return.

For Moon, the challenges ahead are two. Most immediately, he must keep both Trump and Kim seated at the chess table between now and the end of the year. If no third summit is set by then, Kim has already signaled, he will consider this chapter in the long history of U.S.–North Korean negotiations closed — another story of failure. In such a case, the question facing Moon could hardly be more daunting: Can a South Korean leader determined to end nearly seven decades of enmity between the Koreas decisively wrest control of the diplomatic process from the U.S.?

That would amount to an unprecedented showdown between Seoul and Washington. Despite Moon’s admirable dedication, this is unlikely to materialize — not in the near term, in any case. Moon has formidable allies in Beijing and Moscow; Kim is plainly eager to break North Korea out of its isolation. But the U.S., perfectly satisfied to act as “spoiler” in Northeast Asia (as elsewhere), remains too powerful an obstacle despite the many signs that it is in the sunset phase of its global preeminence.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale).

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Gradually Re-establishing Historical Truth about Jeju Uprising

By Konstantin Asmolov – New Eastern Outlook – 14.04.2019

On 3 April, 2019 a commemoration ceremony to honor victims of a bloody suppression by government forces of the people’s uprising in 1948-1954 was held on the island of Jeju. More than 10,000 people, including representatives of the government and the National Assembly, revolt participants and offspring of the victims of its clampdown, took part in the memorial. South Korea’s Prime Minister, Lee Nak-yeon, gave a speech at the ceremony. He proposed to honor the memory of all those lost and expressed his deepest condolences to their families. The minister also referred to the incident in Jeju as the worst event in South Korea’s modern history. Lee Nak-yeon emphasized that Moon Jae-in’s administration has undertaken the monumental task of uncovering the truth behind the Jeju massacre, and of restoring the victims’ dignity.

The head of South Korea’s National Police Agency, Min Gap-Ryong, participated in a commemoration ceremony in Seoul. He wrote the following words in the visitor’s book: “I humbly share my condolences before the spirits of all those innocent people who were killed during Jeju April 3, and I respectfully share my wishes that they rest in peace.” Vice Minister of National Defense Seo Joo-seok, who made the aforementioned statement, was also in attendance. He highlighted that the army was fully committed “to the government investigation efforts going forward” and would “take part in healing the wounds and suffering of the family members while restoring the honor of those who were slain”. This was the first comment about the incident made by a South Korean military agency.

Officially, at least 10,000 Jeju residents were killed and almost 3,600 went missing, as a result of the tragedy that stemmed from Korea’s ideological split following its emancipation from Japanese colonial rule, which lasted from 1910 to 1945. In reality, the situation was even more complex.  Propaganda from both North and South Koreas portray the uprising as a communist revolt against elections, which were to take place in the South on dividing the peninsula. However, in reality, the uprising was instigated by actions of the police and agitators from so-called “youth groups”, who used racketeering and violence to bring the region, with a powerful left-wing movement, under control.

South Korea’s current strategic policy has its origins at the start of the rebellion, 1 March 1947, when a child who suffered a blow from a police horse’s hoof died during a street protest in celebration of May Day. This led to a confrontation with the police and the crowd was fired on. In response, the Workers’ Party of South Korea declared a general strike. Instead of calming people down, the government made a decision to destroy the left-wing forces once and for all, which led to an even tougher response from the people.

On 3 April 1948, more than 350 armed civilians simultaneously attacked 12 police precincts and homes of representatives of legislative bodies, in order to free detained relatives and force the government to reconsider its policy. The leadership reacted even more violently in turn.  Death squads mercilessly dealt with protesters and local residents who helped them. On 17 October 1948, a ban on movement in inner and mountainous regions of the island, with the exception of its 5-km coast line, was introduced. All the villages outside this perimeter were completely destroyed and so were their residents if they refused to leave these territories. 2,500 islanders were imprisoned although there were no charges against them or any written verdicts.

The bloodshed continued during the Korean War too. The truth is, however, in 1953 armed units had only approximately 60 people in them, and by the beginning of 1954, this number decreased to 5. 21 September 1954 is viewed as the last day of the uprising, when the ban on movement was finally lifted. The last guerrilla member was arrested on 2 April 1957.

Since a substantial portion of the population was massacred, and their bodies were often submerged or burned, the number of estimated victims ranges from 14,000 to 30,000 people. And if those who were indirectly affected by the government’s crackdown (i.e. victims of hunger or subsequent social cleansing) are added to the total, the number is even higher. Incidentally, only 14% of protesters were killed.

For decades after the uprising, memories of this event and the atrocities committed during the rule of Syngman Rhee were hidden from the public by means of censorship and repression. And only on 12 January 2000, a Special Act was decreed, in accordance with which a truth committee was established to investigate the Jeju massacre and to exonerate its victims. Approximately 14,000 people applied to have the status of a victim of those events. On 28 August of the same year, the special committee for investigating causes of death of the residents and their exoneration began their work.

In 2006, Roh Moo-hyun’s government issued an official apology for its role in the massacre. The leadership also promised reparations for the victims, but by the end of 2018 nothing had been done to this end.

On the plus side, a lot of work is being done to clear the good name of people, who, during the uprising, were preemptively jailed and tortured, without a single charge brought against them. Those who were released had to live under the umbrella of suspicion. And, finally, in January 2019, the Jeju District Court dismissed military court’s rulings with regard to the 18 plaintiffs, who survived, and recognized them as victims instead. The accusations levelled against them were deemed unsubstantiated since the military court did not follow prescribed legal procedures. This conclusion, in the opinion of those who issued the verdict, is supported by the fact that the plaintiffs were not aware of the criminal charges against them. Also the sheer number of people brought before the military courts-martial within a short period of time indicated relevant investigations were unlikely to have been carried out.

The plaintiffs demanded that their cases be reviewed as far back as 2017, as they claimed to have been arrested and jailed for a period of up to 20 years without as much as a fair trial. Since that time not a single court record has been found to indicate why the plaintiffs received such harsh sentences. Even after researchers had travelled to the peninsula and accessed central archives, they were unable to find any existing records about the investigation at that time. It turns out that people were detained and tortured without being charged for any crimes , which is consistent with the practice of preemptive arrests.

The court decided to retry the case in September 2018 due to renewed interest in the incident following the commemoration of its 70th anniversary and the official apology issued by President Moon Jae-in.

A few months later, on 17 January 2019, the Jeju court exonerated all the participants of the people’s uprising on 3 April 1948, who had served the sentences handed down to them by the military courts-martial.

This policy, exercised by Moon Jae-in’s government towards residents of Jeju, is part of a common trend.  As part of this new shift, “a former police investigation building in Namyeong-dong, Seoul”, where intelligence agents “tortured hundreds of pro-democracy” and anti-government “activists in the 1970s and 1980s, has been turned into a memorial hall for human rights and democracy.” The Ministry of the Interior and Safety plans to outsource the building’s “operation to the Korea Democracy Foundation”. Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon participated in the transfer ceremony, along with Minister of the Interior and Safety Kim Boo-kyum; Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon; Commissioner General of the Korean National Police Agency Min Gap-Ryong, and victims of torture and their family members.

In 1976, the anti-communism investigation division office was located where the current facility stands now. During both the Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan administrations, the building was used to detain, interrogate and torture anti-government activists. Over a period of approximately 30 years, a combined total of 391 activists were tortured there. Their ranks included Seoul National University student Park Jong-chul, whose death resulted in mass protests that led to the fall of the Fifth Republic of South Korea.

In response to criticism, in 2005 the National Police Agency closed the Namyeong-dong division and transformed it into a human rights police center. However, civic groups demanded that the police stop operating this facility. This process began in earnest in June 2018, when Moon Jae-in promised to convert the building into a memorial for human rights and democracy.

In his speech, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said that Namyeong-dong “will forever contribute to the people and history as a place to warn against the state’s abuse of power”.

A similar policy is being used with respect to persecuted members of the Bodo League. This political organization was comprised of “re-educated” left-wing activists. But once the Korean War began, most of its members were subject to repression (as a preventative measure), and the majority were executed by firing squads. Groups, such as the Korean War Bereaved Family Members’ Association, claim that after this war 200,000 members of the League were killed throughout the country.

Numerous testimonies from family members of victims paint a grim picture: activists were gathered together under the pretense of going on an excursion to the mountains or to a ceremony. They were then transported out of town or city, executed by a firing squad and buried in unmarked graves.

Only in June 2014, did a number of residents gather enough courage to corroborate evidence of a civilian massacre, which local witnesses remembered. They carried out an excavation and unearthed burial sites, but there have not been any official exhumations so far.

On 22 June 2016, a testimony by prosecutor Song Jung-won (1918-2014), who is viewed as the founder of the Bodo League, became public knowledge. On 18 October 2007, he testified in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and said that many members of the League were not partisans and, in fact, did not even know what a communist party was. As a rule, these were simple peasants or intellectuals, who wished to expunge the “Red Menace” label from their family name.

Civilian activists think this testimony may be viewed as proof of the fact that the government massacred countless numbers of innocent people knowing full well that they were not members of the Communist Party.

In addition, as far back as 2009, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission confirmed mass killings of at least 3,400 civilians and inmates held in prisons in Busan, Masan and Jinju from July to September 1950.  Jail employees, police officers and members of counterintelligence services took part in these reprisals. Victims were either killed inside prisons or taken to the mountains, executed, and their bodies were disposed of in the sea. Only in a few cases were executions carried out after an official sentence was handed down by a military tribunal. Incidentally, most of these victims were prisoners sentenced to less than three years in jail, and they were killed only because of concerns that they would collaborate with DPRC.

Most investigations of this nature were conducted in the course of the work performed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It was established in December 2005 and tasked with researching information connected with the anti-Japanese independence movement; mass killings of civilians during the Korean War, and violation of human rights by government forces during the military dictatorship. During a fairly short 5-year period, the commission uncovered the truth about 8,468 cases by concluding that extrajudicial massacres had taken place during the Korean War and earlier. In addition, the commission ascertained that evidence in a number of espionage cases from the 1980s was either distorted or completely fabricated.

However, during Lee Myung-bak’s presidency the work conducted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was discontinued. The final report highlighted the fact that both sides were responsible for atrocities, but failed to mention the fact that there were twice as many victims of the “White Terror”, and many culprits were absolved of responsibility. “As a result, true reconciliation and reckoning with the past ended up being put off until another day.”

And now, possibly, this day has arrived. Although old political myths often have a tendency to transform into new ones during Moon Jae-in’s presidency, hope remains that the final picture will be an accurate reflection of the historical truth.

Konstantin Asmolov, Ph.D. in History, is a leading research fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of the Far East at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

April 14, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

North Korea’s Kim says US must stop ‘way of calculation’, gives deadline

Press TV – April 13, 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says the United States has raised the risk of returning to past tensions after the collapse of his second summit with President Donald Trump, stressing that yet another meeting between the two leaders is only possible if Washington comes with the right attitude.

The North’s official KCNA news agency on Saturday quoted Kim as making the remarks, two days after Trump floated the idea of holding a potential third nuclear summit with the North’s leader.

“What is needed is for the US to stop its current way of calculation, and come to us with a new calculation,” Kim was quoted as saying in a speech to the Supreme People’s Assembly on Friday.

He also said that he would wait “until the end of this year” for Washington to decide.

Back in late February, Trump and Kim reached an impasse at their second face-to-face denuclearization talks in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, with Washington demanding full disarmament and Pyongyang demanding economic incentives through partial lifting harsh sanctions.

The second summit in fact did collapse when the American president abruptly walked away from the talks without reaching a deal or even issuing a final statement.

Trump claimed that he quit the talks because Kim demanded to lift all economic sanctions as a prerequisite to denuclearization.

However, Pyongyang quickly responded that it had never asked for the removal of all sanctions, but only the partial removal of them.

In June last year, the two leaders met at a historic summit for the first time in Singapore, where they agreed to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Subsequent diplomacy between the two sides, however, made little progress, mainly because Washington refused to lift its crippling sanctions.

“The second DPRK-US summit in Hanoi in February raised strong questions about whether the steps we took under our strategic decision were right, and gave us a sense of caution about whether the US is even really trying to improve the DPRK-US relationship,” Kim added, using the initials of North Korea’s full name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The North’s leader also said that Washington came with “completely unrealizable plans” to Hanoi and that the US was “not really ready to sit with us face-to-face and solve the problem.”

“By that sort of thinking, the US will not be able to move us one iota even if they sat with us a hundred, thousand times, and will not be able to get what it wants at all,” Kim stressed.

The North Korean leader further blamed the US for continuing “to ignore the basic way of the new DPRK-US relations, including withdrawing hostile policies.”

Kim also warned that the White House mistakenly believes that “if they pressure us to the maximum, they can subdue us”, stressing that he had no interest in a third summit if it is a repeat of Hanoi.

The North’s leader also noted that his relations with Trump remained excellent.

So far, Pyongyang has taken several steps toward the goal by suspending missile and nuclear testing, demolishing at least one nuclear test site, and agreeing to allow international inspectors into a missile engine test facility.

The US, however, has insisted that sanctions on the North must remain in place until it completely and irreversibly dismantles its nuclear program.

The collapse of the Hanoi summit also disappointed US-ally South Korea, which has been improving relations with the North since early 2018.

Moon, who acts as a go-between in diplomacy involving Washington and Pyongyang, flew to Washington earlier this week in his third official visit to the US with the objective of helping put denuclearization talks with North Korea back on track after the Hanoi failed summit.

Despite the fact that that the situation on the Korean Peninsula had significantly improved following a number of high-level talks last year between Pyongyang and Seoul, as well as Washington, the North is still subject to harsh international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

April 13, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

What Monroe Doctrine?

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 04.04.2019

Because there is a presidential election coming up next year, the Donald Trump Administration appears to be looking for a country that it can attack and destroy in order to prove its toughness and willingness to go all the way in support of alleged American interests. It is a version of the old neocon doctrine attributed to Michael Ledeen, the belief that every once in a while, it is necessary to pick out some crappy little country and throw it against the wall just to demonstrate that the United States means business.

“Meaning business” is a tactic whereby the adversary surrenders immediately in fear of the possible consequences, but there are a couple of problems with that thinking. The first is that an opponent who can resist will sometimes balk and create a continuing problem for the United States, which has a demonstrated inability to start and end wars in any coherent fashion.

This tendency to get caught in a quagmire in a situation that might have been resolved through diplomacy has been exacerbated by the current White House’s negotiating style, which is to both demand and expect submission on all points even before discussions begin. That was clearly the perception with North Korea, where National Security Advisor John Bolton insisted that Pyongyang had agreed to American demands over its nuclear program even though it hadn’t and would have been foolish to do so for fear of being treated down the road like Libya, which denuclearized but then was attacked and destroyed seven years later. The Bolton mis-perception, which was apparently bought into by Trump, led to a complete unraveling of what might actually have been accomplished if the negotiations had been serious and open to reasonable compromise right from the beginning.

Trump’s written demand that Kim Jong Un immediately hand over his nuclear weapons and all bomb making material was a non-starter based on White House misunderstandings rooted in its disdain for compromise. The summit meeting with Trump, held in Hanoi at the end of February, was abruptly canceled by Kim and Pyongyang subsequently accused Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of making “gangster-like” demands.

The second problem is that there are only a few actual casus belli situations under international law that permit a country to attack another preemptively, and they are usually limited to actual imminent threats. The current situation with Venezuela is similar to that with North Korea in that Washington is operating on the presumption that it has a right to intervene and bring about regime change, using military force if necessary, because of its presumed leadership role in global security, not because Caracas or even Pyongyang necessarily is threatening anyone. That presumption that American “exceptionalism” provides authorization to intervene in other countries using economic weapons backed up by a military option that is “on the table” is a viewpoint that is not accepted by the rest of the world.

In the case of Venezuela, where Trump has dangerously demanded that Russia withdraw the hundred or so advisors that it sent to help stabilize the country, the supposition that the United States has exclusive extra-territorial rights is largely based on nineteenth and early twentieth century unilaterally declared “doctrines.” The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 and the Roosevelt Corollary of 1904 de facto established the United States as the hegemon-presumptive for the entire Western Hemisphere, stretching from the Arctic Circle in the north to Patagonia in the south.

John Bolton has been the leader in promoting the Monroe Doctrine as justification for Washington’s interference in Venezuela’s politics, apparently only dimly aware that the Doctrine, which opposed any attempts by European powers to establish new colonies in the Western Hemisphere, was only in effect for twenty-two years when the United States itself annexed Texas and then went to war with Mexico in the following year. The Mexican war led to the annexation of territory that subsequently became the states of California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Colorado. In the same year, the United States threatened war with Britain over the Oregon Territory, eventually accepting a border settlement running along the 49th parallel.

Meanwhile the march westward across the plains continued, forcing the Indian tribes back into ever smaller spaces of open land. The US government in the nineteenth century recognized some Indian tribes as “nations” but it apparently did not believe that they enjoyed any explicit “Monroe Doctrine” rights to continue to exist outside reservations when confronted by the “manifest destiny” proponents who were hell bent on creating a United States that would run from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

The Roosevelt Corollary of 1904 amended the Monroe Doctrine, making it clear that the United States believed it had a right to interfere in any country in the western Hemisphere to maintain good order, which inevitably led to exploitation of Latin American nations by US business conglomerates that could count on a little help from US Marines if their trade agreements were threatened. In 1898, Washington became explicitly imperialist when it defeated Spain and acquired effective control over Cuba, a number of Caribbean Islands and the Philippines. This led to a series of more than thirty interventions by the US military in the Caribbean and Central America between 1898 and 1934. Other states in the region that were not directly controlled by Washington were frequently managed through arrangements with local autocrats, who were often themselves generals.

Make no mistake, citing the Monroe Doctrine is little more than a plausible excuse to get rid of the Venezuelan government, which is legitimate, like it or not. The recent electrical blackouts in the country are only the visible signs of an aggressive campaign to destroy the Venezuelan economy. The United States is engaging in economic warfare against Caracas, just as it is doing against Tehran, and it is past time that it should be challenged by the international community over its behavior. Guns may not be firing but covert cyberwarfare is total warfare nevertheless, intended to starve people and increase their suffering in order to bring about economic collapse and take down a government to change it into something more amenable to American interests.

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment