Category Archives: Korea

Faschion: Dressing for Obedience 

Asset Deals: John Paul II and his successor ex-Hitler Youth and Roman Grand Inquisitor Joseph Ratzingen, Benedict XVI1

In 2015 I argued that the purpose of the CIA war against Vietnam was two-fold. First of all the company was charged with preserving the now US interest in what had been French business in Indochina. The second objective — a part of its global strategy — was to create a country, the Republic of Vietnam (aka South Vietnam), which could sustain the illusion — created in Korea between 1945 and 1952 — that there were two countries: one that counted as civilised (capitalist and subordinated to the West) and one that was not really Vietnamese (like the PRDK is not really Korean and at that time the PRC was not really China).

To understand this approach to world politics and the general hatred of humanity underlying it, one has to take very seriously a tiny detail in the history of US colonialism. That detail is the personality of the man who turned working class denim trousers into a fashion item, a guy named Edward Lansdale. The history of covert action — namely, the cowards’ war for capitalism or as Agee called it the campaign of “capitalism’s invisible army” — can be simplified as the marriage of desire and deceit. In a sense the opacity of covert action or what has been popularised as the “deep state” can be traced to the doctrine of sacerdotal celibacy. Sacerdotal celebacy — the rule that priests cannot marry — was first a rule to protect the property accumulated by the Church from dissipation by the inheritance in favour of clerical children. The second reason for it was to protect the investments of the Catholic Church in prostitution and slavery.2  As much as I would like to elaborate on this Western cultural phenomenon, a dogma derived from Roman Catholicism, that would go too far for what is intended here as a brief intervention. My intention here is simply to strongly suggest that readers think in broader contexts than are ever presented by any media.

We have now reached a point where the covert action programme formulated by those who organised and conducted the mass killing system in Vietnam and later in Latin America and in Central Asia has become the central product to be marketed worldwide. The so-called pandemic, the Covid-2019, is nothing more or  less than a product of the counter-terror factory that the Anglo-American Empire established in Vietnam — based on the template already developed in Korea.

In Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines and the Surveillance State, Alfred McCoy (2009) wrote that the machinery (now digital) for policing in the US began in the Philippines — a US colony from 1901 until 1949 — and thereafter a protectorate. That is also where the Levi’s marketer, Lansdale, began his career as a terrorist. Douglas Valentine (1990) showed in great detail from the testimony of those who actually created and executed the Phoenix “marketing campaign of South Vietnam” how this system was built and operated. Valentine, in contrast to McCoy,  emphasises the purpose of a system which is consciously defective but infinitely violent. Whereas the vast majority of opponents to US wars object to their injustice, they do so implying that these wars — were they justly waged — would somehow be less or acceptably imperial. Ultimately in his book The CIA as Organised Crime Valentine (2016) shows that the Phoenix program is the “new normal”.

What happened in between October 2019 and March 2020 can be translated into the sequences of the war against the VCI as conceived, planned and implemented by the US Central Intelligence Agency. (Actually it is irrelevant whether it or other government agencies actually was the overall planning and executive instrument.) Daniel Estufin called it in an rather unqualified fashion the recognition that the “limit to growth” had been reached. This explanation reminiscent of the Club of Rome and its eugenic report avoids an elemental difficulty with the entire “growth” concept. One can summarise that in the pathological definition of “cancer” as uncontrolled cell growth at the expense of the healthy organism. This is, in fact, a wonderful example of what the neo-conservative literary scholar described in her book Illness as Metaphor (1978). The economy must grow and grow without purpose or reason. The rulers, like cancer cells, must steal through all seasons. Cancer, the ubiquitous, virtually incurable self-destruction of the individual human body — almost entirely induced by the toxification of the environment by unrestrained theft under capitalism — is the sickness of surplus. In the 19th century people died of consumption — tuberculosis — the toxification by raw accumulation and the exhaustion of human bodies.

However, with the digitalisation of capitalism and its extraction methods, the disease which is the penultimate expression of capitalist pathology, is the virus. Communists were germs or bacteria. After the destruction of virtually anything resembling communism — the European communist parties notwithstanding — a new pathological model was needed. The virus is an insidious metaphor. It is not like bacteria, a life form which can both produce and destroy. The post-communist era — whereby communism was simply a term for any opposition to the ruling gangsters — requires new terror products. That actually means old products in new packages. Anti-communism was repackaged as anti-terrorism (of course, only pseudo-Islamic terror, an utter fantasy, like in the era of the Reconquista and Crusades). The so-called corona virus, for the honest, is really a fabrication — probably developed in the same kind of imperial laboratories where the computer viruses have been designed since a certain entity sought to guarantee the monopoly it expected from its IBM days.

In a previous appreciation I indicated that the “lockdown” should be understood in terms of the “strategic hamlet” program. Now I would advise those who are not saturated in obsequiousness or servility to consider the current phase — called contact tracing — in terms of what was called in Vietnam “census grievance”.

The historical crisis with which we are confronted today is first and foremost a crisis of literacy. It would take too much space to explain what I mean by that. However, reading Paulo Freire’s now very unfashionable Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968) would make my point clearer.

Irony is a term used to describe linguistic practices, reading, writing and speaking. It designates a discrepancy between the circumstances explicitly perceived and the language used to describe them. Yet if one applies the term with that rare quality, sincerity, then there is indeed some irony to be found in the appreciation of that part of the world with the most favourable population density (albeit thanks to the immeasurable homicidal capacity of its ruling class), where the ruling class mandates the most fanatical interest in social distancing and masking (or gloving). The irony lies in the fact that the most sociopathic segment of the world’s population is located in the Western peninsula of Eurasia and North America where very low population densities prevail. People who have on average more living space per capita than anywhere else in the world — just cannot get enough. Now people, who for some five hundred years have vented their malice on Africa, Central and South America, Australia and Asia (not to mention millions slaughtered between 1915-1945) just cannot bear being closer than 1.5 meters to each other and want this to be the British (or German) standard for the world.

It is hard to share sympathy or even affection with much of what is published as “critical” today. It is just as esoteric as the tatoos on so many legs, arms and backsides. Permanent jewelry and stenciled stupidity, masks and gloves substituting thinking or love. My sympathy at least is exhausted by people whose sterility and verility transcend human dimensions.

A few months ago I was adamant about the insincerity of the global warming crusaders. I remain so. I am convinced that these were witting or unwitting campaigners in the crusade of death that the rich white supremacists on this planet are waging against ordinary people. Their message was nothing more or less than the blind religious fanaticism that has made the West the best organised homicidal society on the planet. That is the legacy of Christendom.

Today at lunch I watched a report on the canonisation of the Polish fascist known by his papal name, John Paul II. Roman Catholics are now permitted to venerate this vile cleric as a saint. The rest of the “white” world will venerate him for his contributions to the world we have today. It is a world liberated from every respect for life in whatever form and dedicated to the cult of death.

If we do not resist the cult of death and its sociopathic instruments — like social distancing — we will actually join — but not as TV actors — a society of the “living dead”.

  1. Together with the US regime this dynamic duo in the Catholic cult of death- the ancient foundation of Christendom and global terrorism-  waged war against communism and national liberation.
  2. Henry G. Lea, A History of the Inquisition of Spain, Volume 3, 1907.

Eight Day Journey from Hong Kong to Chile, Covid-19 on my Tail

Imagine that you are in Hong Kong, in a city where “you are actually not supposed to be”, in the first place. You are ready to go home, to South America. But just two days before your departure, via Seoul and Amsterdam, your first Sky Team carrier, Korean Air, unceremoniously decides to cancel all flights from the territory.

Several Korean religious freaks, apparently, are to blame.

On 22 February, 2020, Mail Online, reported:

More than half of all South Korea’s coronavirus cases are linked to a secretive ultra-religious cult whose leader believes he is immortal.

Just reading that, I knew I may get royally screwed. Nothing good comes from ultra-religious fanatics, and South Koreans are notorious for their political and religious extremism.

But that was not all. The report continued:

There are further reports of outbreaks in the psychiatric unit of a hospital in Cheongdo county, infections in Busan, and on the island of Jeju.

Korean Air, which was supposed to fly its glorious new Boeing 747-8 from Hong Kong to Incheon (Seoul international airport), has been carving its service, first reducing it to Boeing 777s, then to Airbus 330s, and in the end, cancelling all of its flights 3 days before my departure.

Korean Air – lounges closed down

To secure my monstrously long commute, I spent most of my Sky Team miles, to secure a business class set of tickets.

There was a reason for it: I could not see. Well, I could hardly see at all.

Before Hong Kong, I had worked in Kalimantan, in the Indonesian part of Borneo, on an island which has been totally plundered by greed, corruption and the ineptness of the Javanese neo-colonialists. An island where the present administration of president Joko Widodo (known as “Jokowi”), is planning to build and move the new capital city, abandoning the enormous, more than 20 million population sized urban area of Jakarta which is “sinking”, ridden with countless urban slums, lack of sanitation and safe drinking water.

Writing a book about this monumental insanity, I continued investigating. And in a process I got attacked, as almost anyone who visits Borneo does, by various and vicious parasites. My guts got infected by something terrible, and then my eyes. I flew between Balikpapan and Pontianak on Lion Air’s Boeing 737 (yes, that Lion Air, which keeps cramming and periodically crashing planes, ever since the beginning of its operation). I have no idea whether my eyes got attacked there, on board, or in some filthy ditch near the palm oil plantations, where they are cutting down what is left of the tropical forest.

Wherever it was, it did get infected. First the left eye. It was like a white foam. I could only see extremely abstract contours, as if between me and the world there was a thick, white blanket. It was scary, very scary. I am not only a writer and a philosopher, but I am also a filmmaker and photographer. Doing what I do and not seeing almost anything is, you know, quite terrifying.

Before flying to Hong Kong, where I have been covering the riots ignited and financed by the West, I stopped over in Bangkok and went to an eye clinic, but the doctors there only cared about the payment. They had no clue what was happening to my eye.

Hong Kong

Then, in Hong Kong, as Korean Air cancelled my flight, my right eye also got attacked.

At night, as I lay awake in my hotel room, I suddenly recalled how on board the Garuda Indonesia, between Pontianak and Jakarta, at least four people were coughing, loudly and desperately. Nobody was checking them. The Indonesian government had suggested that people pray to avoid the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“What else,” I thought. “Am I also going to get the coronavirus?”

*****

I refused to succumb to this horrible situation.

By then I knew that Korean Air was determined to ruin me. While Air France (my Sky Team carrier) and KLM were offering re-routing and compensation to their passengers stranded in Asia, Korean Air showed a clear and vulgar indifference. It did nothing to help. It never even replied to my queries.

I was also aware of the fact that I may have to travel, at least for 7 days, through various detours, and without seeing almost anything. Also, with twisted guts and a diabetic attack which had kicked my backside because of the tremendous stress.

Was it worse than being in Syrian Idlib, in Afghanistan, or near Mosul after it had been taken over by ISIS?

In a way, it was. Being blind, chased by the new coronavirus type, with airports closing one after another, and with the prices of airline tickets going sky-high, everything seemed to be demeaning, depressing and unsettling.

Strangely enough, I felt no fear of the COVID-19. I kept discussing the new type of coronavirus with my medical colleagues, through WhatsApp, until my eyes totally let go and collapsed.

I had to make it through to Santiago de Chile, which happened to be on the total opposite side of the world.

Western doctors that I knew were sending long and useless advice which mainly repeated “go see a doctor” idiocy. I told them I was in Hong Kong, which had been experiencing a near total lock-down. I told them that I had already been to a Thai eye doctor who had absolutely no clue about my condition.

Then, I realized that I could not rely on those that I am fighting against! I needed comrades to help me.

My family contacted a Syrian lady doctor, an expert in infectious diseases, and a sister of my friend in Damascus. I sent photo-images of my eyes. She saw, asked for symptoms and prescribed some powerful oral antibiotics and drops. I managed to convince a Hong Kong pharmacist to sell the medicine over the counter: I said it was a matter of life and death. She understood.

Syria and China saved me. People were guided by intuition, not by rigid rules.

I was going home.

*****

My nearest and dearest began helping me to re-route. It took days. It was horrible.

Airlines, from Korean Air to Cathay Pacific, began to cover their backs; trying to squeeze every penny from those who were still able and willing to fly. Some one-way economy tickets for 2 hours flights shot up to 1,600 US dollars. Business class on certain routes became miraculously cheaper. As long as one could search, and as long as one could look at a screen.

To avoid quarantining, and to get out of Hong Kong, the easiest way was to fly in the totally opposite direction than where I was heading: to Bangkok, on Emirates. A few business class tickets were still available, but at $600, on a route where they used to cost under $400. It was one of the last available ways out of the almost locked out city.

Emirates 380-800 – overpriced but one of the last escapes from Hong Kong

I grabbed a seat on the Airbus 380-800. I somehow pulled through the totally empty Hong Kong Airport. I could hardly see anything. There were hardly any seats to rest on in the departure hall. My backpack was almost 20kg heavy, with a professional camera, computer and mobile phones.

I have no idea how I managed to get to my plane. With my damaged eyes, I could still see those huge numbers indicating gates. I collapsed into my seat. The super-jumbo took off, Southeast; away from where I was trying to fly. I was some 20 thousand kilometers away from Santiago de Chile.

Santiago was bleeding, too! Its eyes were damaged. People were fighting against the fascist regime imposed on them by Washington, and by the multinational corporations, in 1973. Like my own, their eyes were inflamed; some, over 300 individuals, even lost their eyes, as they were shot at by the police.

On board my flight to Bangkok, I was not sure whether I was going to be able to return home, alive.

But I was going through the night towards Bangkok. Would they even let me in? The first step.

*****

They did. Miraculously. I must have looked like shit, but an unfriendly, insulting border police officer slammed a stamp into my passport, fingerprinted me, photographed me, and in the end, let me go.

That was it. Hong Kong does not stamp passports. Officially, my journey would begin in Thailand.

I had only 9 hours on the ground. The airport was eerily empty. People looked like streetwalkers, wearing masks, some even things resembling ski-glasses. I went home to my place by the river, without even opening my luggage, I collapsed into my bed, but could not sleep the entire night. Tugboats were pulling ghost-like barges, 31 floors below. I could not see the barges, only contours. This was my first day into the journey.

In the morning, very early, I somehow managed to return to the airport, and rechecked my luggage all the way to Suriname, as that was the only airport in South America, which I was able to get to free (using my air miles) business class tickets, at least from Seoul. Instead of re-routing or compensating me, Korean Air which had brutally cancelled my tickets from Hong Kong, was now charging me something absolutely ridiculous, to get from Bangkok to Seoul, where I was to catch a KLM flight to Amsterdam and many hours later, to Paramaribo.

Thai fingerprinting and photographing again. The taking the shoes off, precisely as the U.S. masters have ordered. The saturated spite of the Thai officials suffering from superiority complexes, followed by an old, dirty, 777-300 Korean Air aircraft. I crashed into its unmaintained seat. Just glanced at the food (inedible-looking, cheap version of bibimba), and slept all the way to Seoul.

*****

Coronavirus, greed, extreme capitalism, rudeness: everything accumulated into this monstrous journey.

Taking off from Hong Kong and later Bangkok, I experienced almost absolute blindness. Then, the Damascus-prescribed antibiotics began to kick in. They were terrible, but I was warned. Either or. Either blindness and white fog, or total exhaustion, a collapsed body, but clearer sight. I opted for sight.

I landed in Seoul, like a zombie, heavy rucksack on my back, wobbly, almost desperate.

My luggage was automatically transferred all the way to Paramaribo, using the Sky Team system.

But this was South Korea. At the transfer desk I was refused boarding passes: “Go through security, then go to Sky Team Lounge and wait 8 hours for your flight. They will give you boarding passes at the gate,” I was told.

At the security check, they could not read English, or understand what was written on my E-tickets. 3 times I was humiliated, going back and forth between the transfer desk and security checkpoint. The staff were clearly enjoying the game, perhaps waiting for when I would finally collapse. The transfer desk person refused to walk with me to the security check. Security people were stubbornly refusing to read English.

This was precisely one of those moments when one loses all hope in humanity. You think: “Your body will let go! You will collapse, at any moment. Collapse and die.” All this, just because you have been putting your life on the line for some poor, devastated, enormous tropical island. Just because some South Korean religious freaks went bananas. Just because of human indifference and racism. Just because, just because… The brave new world. The creepiness of a capitalist, right-wing trash universe.

Incheon, South Korea. Usually one of the busiest airports

I made it to the lounge, eventually, moving through the empty airport. Everything was shut down. The lounge was empty; almost nothing to eat there. The coronavirus scare.

At this point, all I wanted to do was to sleep. I found a transit hotel and paid an exorbitant price for only a few hours of rest. I collapsed. I cursed capitalism, greed, and humanity’s collapse.

I knew that as I was entering the disturbing world of dreams, or should I say nightmares, the People’s Republic of China, as well as Cuba, were fighting for our human race, against all the odds, against the monstrous propaganda originating from the West.

I had no right to kick the bucket in some bloody transit hotel room at the Incheon Airport. China, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela needed me. I saluted my comrades, the old fashioned way, and fell asleep.

*****

The Korean Air clerk at the gate had no idea where Paramaribo was, or where Suriname is located. He was moonlighting for KLM, but was wearing a Korean Air uniform.

I told him what I thought about Korean Air. Before that, he had not liked me for flying to “some Paramaribo”, but after that he started to hate me, openly. The fact that I am a platinum member of his alliance meant nothing.

He began treating me as if I was the coronavirus incarnated.

By then, I could hardly see him. My legs were about to collapse, at any moment. But I was not going to show weakness.

He began: “Where is your visa to Suriname”?

“Here,” I replied.

“What is that?”

“My visa.”

“So, where is your visa?”

“My visa is here.”

“You have to show it to me.”

“It is in front of you.”

Korean Air had stolen my money by cancelling flights and by refusing to re-route me. Now, it was ruining my health. But, there was zero remorse coming from the staff.

Eventually, a supervisor came, and began abusing me, too.

I told her directly to her face: “You should learn from North Korean people how to treat visitors!”

Her apparatchik essence kicked in. She began threatening me.

I pulled out five press cards: “Do you want to arrest me for expressing my opinion?”

She started to look hesitant. I demanded her name card. She said she does not have one. Bullshit: in north Asia everybody has one.

“Are you a security agent or an airline staff?” I asked her, point-blank. I knew that in South Korea, it was the same thing.

Finally, she gave me my boarding passes, together with a look, which was full of hate.

This legendary racist horror, South Korean -style then disappeared. I saw the way she humiliated herself, bowing and kissing the asses of her fellow, South Korean, citizens.

I was welcomed on board by an outraged flight hostess who was originally from Suriname: “She did not even know that my country exists, did she?” She patted me on the shoulder.

*****

While Seoul was terrified of the coronavirus, the Europeans looked totally indifferent to the possible danger.

That was on March 3rd, 2020.

After the more than 11 hours flight from Seoul to Amsterdam, Schiphol airport appeared to be totally relaxed.

Even passengers from Seoul to Amsterdam looked undisturbed. No masks, no panic. Snoring contently into the air.

777-200ER landed very early, at around 5 am.

Amsterdam Airport – no masks, no fear

I went through security, and located the Sky Team Lounge. It was stuffed with excellent food, but it happened to be totally empty. I found a comfortable chair and fell asleep, almost immediately. When I woke up, the lounge was full; literally packed.

After being used to masks being worn all over North and Southeast Asia, what hit me was the absolute lack of any face protectors at the major Dutch airport.

People were drinking, eating tons, talking. There was no sense of any emergency.

European and North American daily newspapers, in all languages, were full of the coronavirus headlines. Those freely distributed in the lounge were only attacking China, totally and bizarrely avoiding the absolute lack of preparedness in the West.

Even the Italian daily papers, at that time at least, showed no signs of concern.

Not far from me, a group of Italian travelers, was chatting, embracing, kissing, drinking prosecco and coffee for breakfast, and calling home on their mobile phones.

There was only one lax coronavirus checkpoint upon arrival from South Korea, at the time one of the hardest hit countries in the world.

In retrospect, this was all totally bizarre and irresponsible.

Was the Western medical system so unprepared? Or was it told, even ordered, to behave in such a manner?

Waiting for my flight to Paramaribo, I called my 84-year old mom, who has been living in Germany, where she is married.

“They feed us with such crap,” she told me, in Russian. “I mean, that stuff that they tell us through the mass media. I don’t believe anything they say or write,” she concluded. “All this is not going to end well.”

And she was absolutely right.

*****

The Queen of the Sky, a majestic old Boeing 747-400 took off on time, towards Suriname. Both KLM and British Airways were still flying these beautiful planes, although there were rumors that KLM will retire most of them in 2021.

This was the last flight of the captain. He was leaving KLM. The flight hostesses were urging all the passengers to write something short, something personal. There was supposed to be a great celebration, a great party, in Paramaribo.

By then, I was almost losing my consciousness. My eyes cleared, almost totally. But the monstrous antibiotics and chronic exhaustion, doubled my body down. Chile appeared to be far, far away.

Again, no masks, no precautions. The 747 was going southwest, full of passengers, with zero medical safeguards.

The plane landed, and it was sprayed with water by a fire engine, to celebrate the last flight of the captain.

No jet-ways: passengers had to climb down off the enormous aircraft. Those who couldn’t were met by special vehicle, functioning as a lift, and by a bus.

But the lift and other vehicles were quickly engaged by the celebrations of the captain’s retirement. Countless Surinamese passengers who were returning from Holland, after being treated in European hospitals, were waiting in the lift and the bus, abandoned by the ground staff. No one to measure their temperature. Nobody to even ask what kind of medical conditions they were suffering from.

By then, I had turned into a zombie. I somehow managed to sail through the immigration of a shack defined as an airport.

I almost collapsed. I asked for help, but was told by a local staff member: “If you feel sick, go get medical help”. Later, the hotel manager told me that this is the “usual treatment people get here”.

I somehow got stabilized, by getting my hands on a luggage trolley. The universe was spinning around me.

My pre-paid taxi did not wait for me. The hotel was some 50 kilometers from the airport.

In the end, I went to the airport police. Instead of helping me, they began a rude scrutiny, clearly trying to extract some bribe.

“I feel very sick,” I said. They couldn’t care less.

No questions asked about what had made me sick. Was it the coronavirus? By then it was already called COVID-19, and it was on my tail, chasing me as I was circling the globe.

*****

I filmed the Suriname River and the rainforest of Suriname, to show the contrast with Borneo.

Suriname has been terribly damaged, but Borneo has been ruined, endlessly and some say, irreversibly.

Empty crossing of Suriname Rive

I only had one full day. I had to work fast. My Indian driver had to hold me up while I was working, otherwise I’d collapse.

On the 5th of March, I returned to the airport, ready to fly to Belem, Brazil.

Further humiliation, overcharging, insults. I wanted to get out. And never return. One day I will write about those repulsive 48 hours in Suriname, but not now.

A 90 minutes flight, and everything fully changed. Even under the fascist government of Bolsonaro, Brazilians were kind and caring.

Shortly after the plane door opened in Belem, I was put into a wheelchair and zipped through immigration and other formalities. There was no overcharging, no humiliation and no dramas.

Empty river front in Belem, Brazil

Brazil was what it always has been: a great country with dire problems. But a great country, nevertheless.

The next day I flew from Belem to Rio de Janeiro, via Brasilia.

Still, almost no masks. Once or twice my temperature was checked. That is all.

In Belem, all the Amazon riverfront cafes were kept open.

In Rio, while waiting for my flight to Chile, I went to the legendary and packed Vinicius bosanova club, and to the totally packed Caso de Chuva cultural center, where Tom Veloso was singing the songs of Gilberto Gil. Absolutely no precautions, no masks, people squeezed like sardines. The evening of March 8th.

A day later, on March 9th, the airlines in South America began catching up with turbo-capitalist games. Chilean LATAM, when I asked for an extra legroom seat, suggested that I pay $1,500, for 4 hours on board a small Airbus 320 plane. Naturally, I refused.

Coronavirus check iat Santiago Airport, Chile

Santiago airport took the coronavirus seriously. There were several checkups. End of the games.

This is when strange things began to happen.

Two days after I landed in Santiago de Chile, South America moved from inactivity to hyperactivity.

One country after another began lock-ups; from Argentina to Peru, to Chile.

Santiago began resembling a ghost town. Entire regions of Chile began to close down.

I needed to recover, quickly, and to travel to Venezuela and Cuba, but it was becoming thoroughly impossible.

I arrived, I survived, but right away, I was grounded.

*****

From one extreme to another. In South America and the West.

When confronted with the terrible medical emergency, China reacted like a Communist country, which it is. It mobilized in the name of the people, and began fighting the battle. It acted rationally and responsibly. It never performed a total lockdown.

It demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm and discipline.

Without thinking twice, it sacrificed its economic interests, putting the people first.

It has won the battle; beating the virus back. Almost no new cases now. The hospitals constructed to treat the coronavirus are closing down. Doctors and other medical staff are celebrating.

Cuba is near to developing a vaccine for the new coronavirus.

China and Cuba are cooperating. China is sending airplanes with help to Italy, Spain and Serbia.

In the meantime, people in certain Western countries are being told that over 80% of their citizens will get infected, and that hundreds of thousands, even mullions, will die!

Why?

Why the hell, really?

Some nations, from Italy to Chile (where I am right now), are locking up everything: entire countries, entire regions, everything.

At the height of the crises, Beijing was open, and so was Shanghai and almost all other major cities. Flights were arriving and departing. What confidence! What a success!

A clear victory of socialism over capitalism.

Just look at the Western nations, at Southeast Asia, or at South America; people are petrified. Control of the population is much more brutal than anything that has ever been implemented in China.

And what do they tell the Italians, French, Brits and North Americans? That they will be dying like flies! Even now, when this essay is being written, more Italian people have died than the Chinese. That is on a per capita basis about 22 times more. And in the West, things are getting worse and worse.

And, until now, it is not yet clear, who brought the epidemy to Wuhan, to begin with. Many believe that it was the U.S. military. Still, China never stopped behaving like an internationalist country!

*****

During my more than 20,000 kilometers long journey, I have seen a frightened, divided planet.

And then, I saw a great Chinese victory, and a Cuban victory.

I read how Cuba has rescued 600 people stuck on a cruise ship, the MS Braemar, belonging to one of its tormentors.

I witnessed panic in extreme right-wing countries like Chile. I was ready to drive south, to Araucaria, to speak to the discriminated against Mapuche indigenous people (according to Word they do not exist, as I am given red error sign), but precisely that area got hermetically sealed, closed down, one day before my planned 900-kilometer journey, and a month before the planned constitutional referendum.

In the West, and allied countries, the coronavirus has been used for political ends.

I am almost certain the Bolivian elections will be ‘postponed’, “because of the coronavirus”, to prevent socialist MAS from regaining power.

I am back home, but home is not a real home, anymore.

Home is now China, Cuba, Russia. Countries which are fighting against the Western tyranny that is sacrificing millions of human lives.

The coronavirus is a barometer of the state of the world.

It shows which countries bring shame to the word “humanity” and which bring pride.

• First published by 21 Century Wire

• Photos by Andre Vltchek

If the Poles of Mars have melted, why bother writing?

I heard a rumor that the poles have melted on Mars. Could this be in anticipation of US plans to colonise the planet?

In an earlier contribution I observed that the person transported to the Rockefeller-sponsored/ donated headquarters of US faux multilateralism, aka as the United Nations, for a pubescent tirade performance was incredible — in the sense of incredulous and mendacious. Of course, I circulated these comments among my younger, less sceptical friends aware that my unrestrained criticism would not endear me. However, I am simply too old to worry about the “terms of endearment”. I recall just after the GDR/ BRD border was opened — thirty years ago — when I was accidentally in Berlin (was this done for me?) that I watched a lot of very strange things which were not reported on television.

The day after I departed for a trip to the US to visit my mother who was dying of cancer induced by her exposure to photographic chemicals at a medical university where she had worked as photographer and lab technician. Leaving aside the story of her then immanent death, I recall clearly how I tried to explain to a person who was dying (and died several months later) that this was the time, the last time, to talk sincerely. I do not want to say the “truth” because that is another issue entirely. Unlike almost all those (mainly Hollywood) films readers will have seen, my mother was not able to say anything — even knowing that this would be our last conversation ever.

In case the reader cannot imagine, permit me to make the point of this digression clear. Even impending death cannot induce sincerity or candor where it has not been learned and practiced in one’s active life. I do not claim a monopoly of the truth or the right answers to every question but I have spent my entire conscious life trying to achieve sincerity or authenticity if you will. Hence my impatience with the article posted on DV (and certainly elsewhere) that leads me exceptionally to a direct reply — even if in the sense of parliamentary courtesy I refer only to the honourable contributor from Los Angeles (his city of residence according to the Internet sources I consulted).

Hence, Reader, I rise and pray to respond to Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World.

The honourable author represents the phenomenon Extinction Rebellion I presume without sarcasm as a democratic, youthful and positive expression, a response to supposed problems that is to be welcomed and supported.

I disagree emphatically. Moreover, without prejudice to those young people who are justifiably frustrated with the resilience of the ruling corporate elite and the sheer force it is able to wield against any attempts to end wars, poverty, gratuitous state violence, and the massive health hazards created and maintained by parasitic capitalism, I reject and believe that such rejection is justified for critically thinking persons, any of the author’s assertions or insinuations that such a movement is either democratic or even benevolent.

Permit me to elaborate my objections:

First of all, the author insinuates that the so-called sans culottes were disciples of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This is historical nonsense. The sans culottes were what Marx later called “Lumpenproletariat”; i.e., ideologically vacuous opportunists mobilised in part because of their willingness and experience in petty violence (as part of the police-petty criminal dialectic) and in part by their own awareness that in the midst of massive social disruption crime can be dressed in politics. It is absurd to associate this kind of mob violence with Rousseau — an author whom it is reasonable to assume a largely illiterate criminal class had not even read.

It is a minor point but Rousseau may have inspired many of the revolutionaries in France but he was by no means the inspiration for the most powerful who were, in fact, bourgeoisie. Moreover the motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” is nowhere traceable to Rousseau, per se. It is also doubtful that he was responsible for this motto’s establishment. Rousseau held no political office during or after the Revolution.

Second, a mere glance at the Extinction Rebellion website indicates that the demands are not democratic but “statist”. The idea that establishment of “citizens’ committees” makes a top-down state operation more democratic is absurd on its face. I would refer the Reader here to the speeches of the German democratic activist Rudi Dutschke, whose life was ended prematurely by assassination some 40 years ago. Democracy in Dutschke’s view cannot exceed the consciousness of those who are themselves involved in the democratic process. There are no fast tracks to “Bewusstwerdung” (becoming conscious).

There are even more serious objections to the author’s arguments, both explicit and implied. I will limit myself, however, to just a few.

The single issue “climate change” is not only absurd and arrogant it is also deceptive. While it is possible to forgive the vulnerability to absurd ideas, arrogance and deceit cannot be dismissed. Now I must, and am willing to concede that the author does not write to deceive. Yet what he reproduces is deceptive even if he is only the innocent bearer of the message.

It is not necessary to deny climate change. There has always been climate change. Most of us could not help learning in school that the earth rotates, revolves around the sun and in the process is part of an ever-changing universe. The moon we were told partly causes tides — moving more water than in each individual human body. So it is logical to believe that the moon and sun have an impact on our bodies even if we cannot measure it very well. Hence with this basic knowledge what has been added by the millennialism of the “climate change crusade”?

For one let us start with the propaganda. Every day we are told that such and such or so and so does not comply with the Kyoto Accord. But does anyone talk about what the Kyoto Accord really is? No. There is constant self-flagellation (but mainly the flagellation of non-whites) about the failure to reduce carbon emissions. Well, if we all held our breath until we died we would have no more CO2 problems. The Kyoto Accords are not an emission-reduction agreement but an emission trading framework. Ever since NATO was able to disable the Soviet Union and COMECON economies and annex all but the Russian political apparatus, there has been only one mode for exercising non-military power: the “market”. By “market” is really meant the banking and commodities trading cartels domiciled in the US and UK, but whose directors are resident wherever they cannot be reached by accidents of jurisdiction.

‘Compliance with Kyoto has nothing to do with reducing pollution, ending the exploitation of natural resources by international corporations at the cost of the human population. Kyoto is an agreement to implement a regime by which those who are forced to use inefficient and polluting energy sources are compelled to pay to the rich for that privilege — so-called carbon taxes. It is also an agreement to financialise the already virtually unrestricted pollution by international industrial corporations (mainly NATO-defended) by creating and enforcing the “market” for emission credits — a derivative financial instrument. Kyoto — like so many international agreements — has nothing to do with the benefit of ordinary people on the planet. It is an agreement like that adopted at the Berlin Conference in the 19th century: to divide Africa among the Europeans.

Why would the author encourage an organisation with such a dubious impact on the consciousness of those who genuinely are frustrated and interested in improvement of the quality of human life? I will assume for the sake of argument that this interest is sincere and extends beyond satisfaction of one’s own personal anxieties.

I submit to the Readers that the answer is complex, but not complicated. In other words, it is possible to understand but difficult.

Let us begin with the organisation of Extinction Rebellion. If it is, as the author would have us believe, analogous with the sans culottes, then we have to say that it is an organisation that has adopted the tactics of the lumpenproletariat — of opportunistic or ignorant exercise of brute force without consciousness (or interest in) as to the consequences of such violence. The ostensible single issue strategy of the organisation betrays this opportunism.

Since 1945, the Atlantic forces organised in 1947 as NATO have been challenged by the demand for popular sovereignty in the colonies of Europe and the US and socialism even in the reactionary US. The defeat of the NATO in 1949 and the victory of Chinese over Western colonialism (per capita worse than the horrid 1917 revolution in Russia) was probably the most traumatic event of the century for capitalism (the nihilist ideology of Euro-American piracy). The official policy issue was framed in terms of “decolonialisation”. The colonised framed this as “independence”.

The most important practical issue, however, was how to maintain control and how to defeat independence movements and prefer “decolonisation” agents. The most important conflicts for this process were the US war against Korean independence, the French wars against its Indochinese colonies and Algeria and ultimately the US war to absorb French Indochina (with its drug industry) and surround China –which it ultimately lost in forty years ago when the last UH-1 left the CIA compound in Saigon.

As the only military power capable of challenging independence armies, the US armed and funded all its European allies in order to defend its future “open markets”. In Korea and Vietnam, it intervened directly because domination of Asia was seen by the US elite as the logical terminus of Manifest Destiny. The inability of the US to dominate Asia militarily in the same way it dominates Latin America led to massive research investment. On the one hand the war department (renamed “Defense”) spent trillions to develop weapons of mass destruction aimed mainly at peasants. On the other hand it invested millions in social sciences to find witting and unwitting scholars and activists who would create what now is called “Humint” in US military jargon. Humint is a euphemism for what the Gestapo did. In fact, the first advisors to the US military for Humint were Nazis and Madison Avenue marketing types following the lessons of Edward Bernay (used effectively to create mass hysteria for WWI).

In this process the CIA et al. developed a complex program called “Phoenix”, originally ICEX, which cleverly combined civilian operations with assassination and other forms of terrorism. People like the deceased Phoenix operative with ambassadorial rank, Richard Holbrooke, were trained as twens to combine building clinics with killing cadres. This was not an accident of war but the product of a vast intellectual undertaking to which an obscure graduate of Ohio State University belonged, no later than when he published “National Security through Civilian-based Defense” in 1970. This booklet, a reverse engineering exercise, analyses without references, the strategy of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front, derogatively called Viet Cong in the US, and develops the concept of covertly organised middle-class resistance to Communism based on the lessons “learned” by US scholars about the yellow enemy. This work would lead the US war department and other agencies to fund what became the Albert Einstein Institution. From this modest sinecure Dr Gene Sharp (Oxon.) would become the equally modest prosyletiser for “non-violent” warfare against NATO targets.

Around 1989 with the culmination of NATO warfare against the Soviet Union and COMECON, a previously little known financial manipulator from the same right-wing Hungarian clique to which people like Holbrooke were connected by marriage, would borrow the slogans of the anti-communist philosopher Karl Popper to create with his manipulated millions (or billions?) the “civil society” myth. This “civil society” implicates the entirety of outsiders without actually including them. Thus the alleged philanthrope turned the money he stole from the British Treasury (actually British taxpayers) with his naked speculation against sterling into an international organisation for disenfranchising citizens and concentrating civilian authority in unelected, foundation-financed, elite (mostly university-educated) cadre organisations which appropriate the voices of the mass of citizens, especially in countries where NATO is attacking their government.

Extinction Rebellion is one of the products of this “photosynthesis”.

But what makes this possible? Are the people who associate with Extinction Rebellion stupid, ignorant or insincere? Are they “dupes” — as it used to be said of Westerners who remained communists despite the benefits of the West? Are perhaps the facts right — that is to say members are driven by good will and best available knowledge? Honourable author and Readers, I do not assert that everyone associated with Extinction Rebellion or similar organisations is either a “dupe” or stupid.

It is necessary to understand that Extinction Rebellion originates in a complex of political warfare, what the military types call “asymmetric warfare”. That is a euphemism for the fact that the army can incinerate you and your village at enormous cost and you can impede the market simply because you are unable to buy the newest product upon which a major corporation has placed all its bets.

Political warfare is complex but not complicated. As the principal authors from the Albert Einstein Institution are fond of saying it takes only about 3% of the population committed to make substantive change. Anyone who has studied school classroom behaviour can grasp this. I have called this the “bully principle”. The question that I raised in my previous article was if all these activists know that 3% is the critical mass — where is the 3% to stop police murder of Blacks, or to end real estate and bank usury, or to create universal health care (it is being dismantled where it already was achieved)?

The answer is that the single agenda “climate” movement the author so lauds is not a movement at all but a staging. This stage action involves a few people who pose as research and guidance and a mass of people who have little in common beyond (1) their desire to see a simple unifying solution to world problems and (2) their inability to think historically or in terms of class consciousness. The simplification or better said reduction of all problems to one cause mimics the West’s interpretation of Marxism-Leninism, just as radioactive cesium imitates calcium in the bone marrow.

Especially in the US with its medieval fundamentalism and slavery-based political ideology, a scheme of religious-motivated vigilantism is enormously attractive. Witch-burning and lynching, popular but top-down managed forms of retribution, persisted long after Europeans (until the fascist era) had abandoned mass religious persecution. It is still an essential element in popular culture, even among those who do not enjoy John Wayne or Clint Eastwood.

The CIA and other secret police agencies recruited across the political spectrum — especially in the US. The recruit was not always witting. However, one element was always present and the psychologists in the Company understood this very well: the deep belief that no matter how heinous the US regime may be, it was the best of all possible worlds and hence had to be defended. If anyone should doubt this they only have to read the text to Lillian Hellman’s Candide, brilliantly rendered to music by Leonard Bernstein.

This also explains the composition of Extinction Rebellion and the “climate” movement as a whole. It is ultimately a political warfare strategy based inter aliaon the counter-insurgency doctrines developed by the US regime during the war against Vietnam. It is a part of Phoenix. It is mainly “white” and ultimately it is directed at “non-whites” and the poor- – even if many associated with it still believe the contrary.

As I have argued elsewhere, the US regime went to Vietnam for tin, opium, cheap rice, and cheap labour among other things. Just as it was in Indonesia where a million were killed to secure primary commodities from that country and three plus million in Korea before that. “Communism” was just a term used to rile the religious fanatics in the US and Europe to attain the necessary degree of participation in whatever witch-burning, lynching party or mass murder was planned to perfect the theft. “Climate” is the crusade of the post-communism era. It is still a religious crusade. It is rooted in the irrationalism of Christendom.

It is truly regrettable that the author either has not read his history or is at best indifferent to it. It is shameful that he submits to the reader such a superficial and distorted homily.

Readers, I thank you for your attention and yield the floor.

The Japan-Korea Semiconductor Flap

South Korean companies (Samsung and SK Hynix) produce about 17% of the world’s semiconductors. To manufacture these, they’re dependent on imports of Japanese hydrogen fluoride gas, fluorinated polyimide, and photoresists. Japanese firms control 90% of the polyimide market needed for screen applications, so the relationship between these neighboring prosperous northeast Asian countries is crucial to the operation of global communications.

Japan has begun restricting exports of these products to South Korea, in response to a South Korean Supreme Court decision in 2018 requiring Japanese firms to compensate involuntary Korean labor during the colonial period (1910-45). President Moon Jae-in is not responsible for the court decision but his nationalist Democratic Party supports it.

This is a big story, largely eclipsed by Trump-related stories in the U.S. media. It involves the 3rd and 11th largest economies in the world, and the countries which host the first and third largest number of U.S. troops abroad (56,000 in Japan, 25,000 in Korea; compare 35,000 Germany). The United States, Japan and South Korea are linked by a military alliance directed against North Korea, China, and Russia. They hold joint military operations regularly. These operations are threatened by this flap.

Tokyo points out that the 1965 treaty between the two countries settled any Korean outstanding claims for reparations—about $800 million at the time. Tokyo refuses to pay more, lest a precedent be set, and China also be prompted to make demands not already resolved in 1972. Tokyo has called for international arbitration in the wake of the court decision, but Seoul has refused. In response to the court ruling, which particularly targets Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Tokyo has removed South Korea from its “white list” of 27 countries that receive expedited treatment in trade transactions. (There is no direct causal relationship, but it’s understood Japan wants to punish Seoul for the annoying court decision.)

This means that there will be months-long delays involving paperwork, and deliveries of the above-mentioned commodities from Japan to South Korea will not be guaranteed. Stock values in alternative microchip providers in the U.S.(Intel)  and Taiwan (Taiwan Semiconductor) has soared. Largely ignored by the western press, this is a serious trade conflict occurring while Korean nationalism on both sides of the DMZ is at an all-time high, along with sympathy for reunification.

Meanwhile Japanese public opinion is disturbingly anti-Korean. 56% of those polled say the economic retaliation to the court decision was appropriate. The Koreans are depicted as unreasonable, unable to accept multiple sincere, even abject apologies from Japanese prime ministers and emperors for the legacy of Japanese colonialism, insistent on focusing on the past, insatiable in their demands for Japanese compensation. They are just anti-Japanese. Shigataganai. It can’t be helped. (Such sentiments reflect the widespread ignorance, hence insensitivity, in Japan, regarding the painful impact of Japanese colonialism on Korea between 1910 and 1945.)

Trump’s threat to annihilate North Korea (and hence the entire peninsula) caused the two Korean leaders Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in to meet and sign a series of agreements lowering tensions on the peninsula. South Koreans were the intermediaries in preparing the Trump-Kim summits. The best way for the Koreans to obtain the “spiritual victory” over Japan they have proclaimed over the current standoff, is to reunify, withdraw from the tripartite military pact with the U.S. and Japan, and expel the 30,000 U.S. troops.

The threat to the South Korean economy posed by Japanese actions could impede Moon’s Korean reconciliation policy; if Moon falls, the plans for railway links and renewed trade ties could suffer. Or Japanese hostility could encourage Korean unity. Seoul and Pyongyang will always unite in condemning Japan.

One missing element in the evolving crisis is U.S. involvement. The State Department is understaffed, Trump ignorant and indifferent. John Bolton was dispatched to Seoul, not to discuss the Japan-Korea crisis, but to demand that South Korea pay more to support U.S. forces. Washington seems inclined to leave the quarrel alone, which means to encourage Abe Shinzo—the strongest, most durable prime minister ever—in his nationalist militarism, and Moon in his nationalist opportunism rooted in domestic politics.

Trump’s staff claims Moon Jae-in has requested Trump to mediate the dispute. But (aside from being an ignorant buffoon) Trump is not the sort to sympathize with the victims in any historical relationship, or show any sympathies for the subjects of colonialism. After his first meeting with Xi Jinping he declared that he’d learned Korea had once been part of China, a profoundly inaccurate and offensive statement.

Moon is likely to suffer some humiliation as Japan sticks to its guns and Seoul receives little support for its legal claims. Seoul will have to back down to maintain Samsung’s profitability. And if lack of any U.S. support inclines the South Koreans to distance themselves from their patrons, the better to cozy up with the north, well and good!

The point is not more Japanese reparations but the repair of the divided peninsula. There’s no way Mitsubishi’s going to compensate any survivors of wartime slave labor. There’s no point in Korean nationalists demanding endless apologies and concessions from the former colonial power. Japan is not the power preventing Korean reunification. Only the U.S. can do that.

Kim Jung-un’s acquisition of nuclear weapons has forced the U.S. to negotiate with North Korea, and facilitated a series of positive exchanges with the south. A Confederation of Goryeo (on the model of one country, two systems) realistically beckons. There is a Silicon Valley waiting somewhere in the lap of Mt. Paekchong.

Demanding more Japanese reparations at this time is to change the subject, distracting attention from the prospect at hand: Korean  reunification and the expulsion of the occupiers.

Germany, Japan, Iran and Trump: Will Reason and Harmony Triumph in the World?

Japan used to be the number one foreign consumer of Iranian oil, slipping to number two as China increased its purchases. Now, obliged to defer to the U.S., Japan purchases none. Germany has been Iran’s largest European trade partner, and was hoping for major deals following the conclusion of the Iran Deal in 2015. These plans have been sabotaged by the U.S. using its control over the international banking system, one of its main weapons to use against free market principles and free trade, to inflict pain on people who do not submit, and to (try to) assert its global hegemony.

Both Japan and Germany (whom you recall were the U.S. two greatest adversaries in World War II and who emerged soon after the war as close U.S. allies, the third and fourth largest economies, after the U.S. and USSR.  Both not coincidentally were occupied by tens of thousands of U.S. troops from their defeat in 1945, politically controlled by the U.S. and incorporated into its military alliance network, as they remain 74 years later.

(Notice by the way how the Soviets, who defeated the Nazis on the all-important Eastern Front, losing as many as 30 million in that effort, and who occupied what had been Nazi-occupied parts of eastern Europe, withdrew from Finland and Austria while the U.S. consolidated its grip on postwar western Europe, while shaping the emergence of pro-Soviet client states in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany (after the U.S. unilaterally declared West Germany an independent state), and Bulgaria. Other ostensibly socialist states (Albania, Yugoslavia, Romania) always retained a high degree of independence vis-à-vis the Soviets. The U.S. meanwhile pronounced the Truman Doctrine (justifying any means necessary to defeat communism, from electoral interference to assassination to coups and wars) and in 1949 created NATO as a ferocious anti-Soviet military alliance. The Soviets responded seven years later with their own much smaller Warsaw Pact alliance that, of course, was dissolved in 1991, when NATO should have been. The U.S. remains tied by expensive military alliances with the now-reunited Germany and Japan, and continues to station more soldiers in those two countries than anywhere else. They are followed by South Korea (part of the Japanese Empire during the Second World War) and Italy, showing that the U.S. is still in a perverse deluded way fighting that war.

Both Japan and Germany—the third and fourth largest economies in the world, whose combined GDPs equal about half the U.S. figure—oppose the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from, and seek to destroy, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed with Iran four years ago. They want normal ties with Iran. They fear the real prospect that crazies around the U.S. president—known, rapid war-mongering, fanatically Zionist, pathological liars, bible-toting nutcases, smug psychos and wild-eyed brutes like Jared Kushner, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo—will arrange a war to bring on the apocalypse they so crave.

They are surely indignant that a man as obviously as moronic as Tillerson intimated is ordering them, in their maturity, and their nations, in their dignity, to obey U.S. orders to isolate and provoke Iran. And worried about the possible consequences of Trump’s madness and vulnerability to the arguments of evil advisors. They will surely be trying through flattery and patient argument to promote talks with the Iranians.

Trump says he doesn’t want war. He says he wants to talk, but leaves it to the Iranians to call him, to show their respect. He says he doesn’t want regime change (although Bolton surely does and says so continuously). He says President Rouhani is probably a “lovely man.” He just doesn’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons.

The Germans and Japanese know Trump likes others to come to him. So they will get on the phone and urge Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif to stoke Trump’s ego and call him. And they will say, just repeat what you have many times, guarantee him that Iran does not want and will not build nuclear weapons. Give him a way to back down, like the Mexicans just did. Let him claim a better deal, if that allows trade to get going…

Trump is a profoundly ignorant if not stupid human. He genuinely might not know that U.S. intelligence services have been saying since 2003 that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program. The IAEA has ascertained this. The Iranian supreme leader has issued a fatwa banning the production or use of nuclear weapons. The leading western authority on Iran’s nuclear program, Gareth Porter, has exhaustively documented the fact that Iran has never had a serious program to produce nuclear weapons, at least not since the Islamic Revolution.

Anyway, by suggesting that his only demand is that Iran not acquire nukes, Trump allows the Iranians to say, “Fine. We agree. What more assurances do you want?” And then, if his advisors are in the room, Trump will say, actually, we want more than no nukes, we need to you to obey us in all these other areas Pompeo has announced. You have to stop missile tests, and end aid to Hizbollah, Hamas, Iraqi Shiite militias, Houthis and the Syrian government. Only then will we let Japan, Germany and all the countries we indirectly control trade with you.

The German foreign minister Heiko Maas has visited Tehran to meet with his dignified, level-headed counterpart. Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is heading to Iran Wednesday to attempt to mediate between his U.S. bosses and the Iranian leadership. He is perhaps in a good position to do so. Abe has been Japanese prime minister since 2012—a very long time for a Japanese leader. He is an extremely reactionary figure, proud grandson of an accused war criminal who also served as prime minister (1957-60), advocate of constitutional revision (to legalize the huge Japanese military), promoter of a view of history in which Japan once led Asia in sloughing off colonialism. He has deliberately provoked the Koreas and China by statements, actions and threats involving contested claims over islands. His tax hikes and austerity measures have produced much pain for the Japanese. I have no fondness for the man.

But I would like to suggest what he might, speaking from his own point of view perhaps, say to the Iranian president.

He could begin by pointing out that Japan, as a close U.S. ally due to its post-war fate, must follow its leadership on foreign policy. However, he might add that for years Japan was Iran’s number one oil purchaser nation, before it was overtaken by China. Now it buys no oil from Iran; it is not allowed to, due to U.S. secondary sanctions. But for a time Japan, which has towed the U.S. line on virtually all global matters from the time of the Occupation to the present, did have a strong trade relationship with Iran, receiving special permission from the boss-nation to do so due to its complete dependence on foreign oil. (South Korea received this too.) So there is precedent for Japan playing a slightly independent role.

Moreover, there are reports that in the current situation Abe wants to play less the role of messenger than mediator, which makes sense from the point of view of his nationalist agenda.

Abe could further note that Japan and Iran (Persia) have had a trading relationship (since at least the eighth century CE, actually); have until recently enjoyed scholarly exchanges (such as Japanese archeologists’ work with their Iranian counterparts in exploring likely ancient Buddhist sites); and share a history of avoiding western colonization. Both cultures value etiquette, patience, calm and reason.

Abe and Rouhani no doubt share a common contempt for Trump as an ignorant, rude, unpredictable, dangerous, posturing buffoon. This would be how most world leaders see him. But they also no doubt grasp that his vanity can be used to defuse him. So Abe will say, as friend to friend, why not call him? Say that you are contacting him in response to his public invitation and whatever private communications there have surely been, because you have made statements that suggest you want to ease the “tensions” the U.S. claims have gotten higher recently. These statements include a perhaps facetious statement that you, Rouhani, are a “lovely man;” that he is not calling for regime change in Iran; that he wants to make a deal with the present government; even that he wants Iran to thrive under the present regime. All he wants, he insists, is that Iran not get nuclear weapons.

Call him and call his bluff. Remind him that the Iran Deal virtually prevents Iran from getting nuclear weapons any time soon, and that the IAEA knows that, and the UN knows that, and the signatory nations except for Trump’s know that. Offer him even more iron clad assurances; he won’t know what you’re talking about. Dangle before him the prospect of the Nobel Peace Prize. Let him announce that trust has been achieved and the U.S. now looks forward to investing in Iran, which like North Korea, has awesome prospects.

The current head of the IAEA happens to be a Japanese flunky of the U.S.  (He was elected in July 2009 to succeed the Egyptian, Mohammad ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate in part due to his refusal to bow to U.S. disinformation about Iran’s nuclear program provided by the likes of Bolton. There were six rounds of voting, the U.S. each time opposing the favored South African candidate. Amano was more suitable because a diplomatic cable released by the invaluable Wikileaks indicated that Amano “was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.”)

The other day as he opened a meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors, Amano stated blandly, “I… hope that ways can be found to reduce current tensions through dialogue.”  In other words, he faults both sides for such “tensions” and is probably saying: “Meet with Trump, President Rouhani, to reduce these tensions!” May the Iranians respond to Trump’s clueless provocations with a mix of calculated taqiyya and principled insistence on established international law, putting the bullying Wizard of Oz in his place, daring him to please Natanyahu, Jared and MbS by provoking war. And may Trump back down, agreeing on some formula allowing him to claim some victory that had eluded Obama.

US Negotiations: Masters of Defeats

The US is currently engaged in negotiations with at least a dozen countries — which involve fundamental political, military and economic issues.

The US has adopted diplomatic strategies in the face of its ‘inability’ to secure military victories. The purpose of adopting a diplomatic approach is to secure through negotiations, in part or fully, goals and advantages unattainable through military means.

While diplomacy is less subject to military and economic losses it does require making concessions. Negotiations are only successful if there are reciprocal benefits to both parties.

Those regimes which demand maximum advantages and minimum concessions, usually fail or succeed because they are based on very unequal power relations.

We will proceed to evaluate Washington’s success or failure in recent negotiations and analyze the reasons and consequences for the outcome.

US-North Korea Negotiations

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have been engaged in negotiations, for nearly a year. The White House has prioritized the ‘de-nuclearization’ of the peninsula which includes dismantling nuclear weapons, missiles, test sites and other strategic military objectives.

North Korea seeks the end of economic sanctions, the signing of a US-Korean peace treaty and diplomatic recognition. A decisive meeting between the two took place Feb. 26-27, 2019 in Hanoi.

The negotiations were a total failure. Washington failed to secure any gains, nor did they advance the peace process; and there are no future prospects.

North Korea offered three significant concessions which were not reciprocated. President Kim Jong-Un proposed to (1) dismantle nuclear testing sites, (2) announced a moratorium on nuclear tests and inter-continental range ballistic missiles tests, and (3) agreed to partially dismantle missile engine test sites.

Washington offered nothing in return. Instead it demanded total disarmament, no lifting of sanctions, no signing of the end of the US-Korea war.

Washington’s asymmetrical ‘negotiations’ were pre-determined to fail. The US underestimated the capacity of the North Koreans to insist on reciprocity; they believed that future verbal promises would entice the North Koreans to disarm. The Koreans were fully aware of the recent US record of reneging on signed agreements with Iran, China and its partners in the Belt and Road agreement.

Moreover, North Korea has powerful allies in China and Russia and nuclear weapons to resist added US pressure.

US-Iran Negotiations

US and Iran negotiated an agreement to terminate economic sanctions in exchange for ending nuclear weapons development. It temporarily succeeded but was quickly reversed by the Trump regime. The White House demanded Iran dismantle its missile defense program and threatened a military attack. Washington did not bargain, it sought to impose a one-sided ‘solution’. The UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, co-signers of the agreement, rejected the Trump dictate, but a number of major EU multi-national corporations capitulated to the White House demand to tighten sanctions.

As a consequence, the US deliberate sabotage of negotiations pushed Iran closer to Russia, China and alternative markets while the US remained wedded to Saudi Arabia and Israel. The former is engaged in a losing war with Yemen, the latter has remained an international pariah receiving billions of US dollars in handouts.

US-China Negotiations

The US has engaged in negotiations with China to downgrade its economy and retain US global supremacy. Beijing has agreed to increase its imports from Washington and tighten controls over Chinese use of US technology, but the US has not offered any concessions. Instead, Washington has demanded that China end the state’s role in financing its cutting-edge technology, artificial intelligence, and communication innovations.

In other words, China is expected to surrender its structural advantages in order to avoid harsh White House tariffs which would reduce Chinese exports.

There is no reciprocity. The Trump regime operates by threats to China which will have negative effects: on US farmers dependent on Chinese markets; on US importers, especially the retail sector which imports Chinese products; consumers who will suffer higher prices for goods purchased from China.

In addition, China will deepen its links with alternative markets in Asia, Africa, Russia, Latin America and elsewhere.

As of the most recent year (2018) China’s positive trade balance with the US rose to $419 billion dollars while the US was forced to increase its subsidies to US agro-exporters to compensate for loss of sales to China.

After several months of negotiations US representatives have secured trade concessions but failed to impose a breakdown of China’s economic model.

By the middle of 2019, while negotiations continue, the likelihood of a ‘grand bargain’ is dismal. In large part this is because Washington fails to recognize that its weakened global position requires that the US engage in ‘structural changes’, which means that the Treasury invests in technology; labor upgrades and education. The US should practice reciprocal relations with dynamic trading partners; to do so, Washington needs to invest billions to upgrade its domestic infrastructure; and reallocate federal spending from military spending and wars to domestic priorities and productive overseas agreements. US diplomatic relations with China based on threats and tariffs are failing and economic negotiations are deteriorating.

US-Venezuela: Non-Negotiations a Formula for Defeat

Over the past half-decade (2015-2019) Washington has succeeded in restoring client regimes in Latin America, by military coups, political intervention and economic pressure. As a consequence, the White House has successfully ‘negotiated’ one-sided political, economic, social and diplomatic outcomes in the region … with the exception of Cuba and Venezuela.

President Trump has broken negotiated agreements with Cuba to no advantage; US threats have led to Cuba securing greater ties with Europe, China, Russia and elsewhere without affecting Cuba’s tourism business.

The Trump regime has escalated its political and economic propaganda and social war against Venezuela. Multiple overt coup efforts have backfired beginning in April 2002 and continuing to February 2019.

While the US succeeded in the rest of Latin America in consolidating hemispheric hegemony, in the case of Venezuela, Washington has suffered diplomatic defeats and the growth of greater popular resistance.

US interventionist and sanctions policies have sharply reduced the presence of its middle- and lower-middle-class supporters who have fled abroad. US propaganda has failed to secure the support of the Venezuelan military which has become more ‘nationalist’ with very few desertions.

The White House appointment of the convicted felon Elliott Abrams, known as the ‘butcher of Central America’, has certainly undermined any prospect of a favorable diplomatic settlement.

US sanction of political and military leaders precludes efforts to co-opt and recruit leaders. The US appointed as its ‘interim ruler’ one Juan Guaidó who has little domestic support – widely seen domestically as an imperial stooge.

The US non-negotiated successes in Latin America have blinded Washington to the different conditions in Venezuela; where structural socio-economic reforms and nationalist military training consolidated political support.

In the case of Venezuela, the US refusal to enter into negotiations has led to greater polarization and multiple defeats, including the failed coup of February 23/24 2019.

US-Russia: Colluding with Failed Diplomacy

Washington successfully ‘negotiated’ the surrender and break-up of the Soviet Union and the subsequent pillage of Russia. It was the US’ most successful ‘negotiations’ of the century. The US ‘negotiations’ allowed it to expand NATO to the Russian frontier, incorporated most of East Europeans into the EU and NATO and led the US to boast of creating a ‘unipolar world’.

Excess hubris led the US to launch prolonged (and losing) wars in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and elsewhere.

With the election of President Putin, Russia made a comeback, which led to the Kremlin reconstituting its military, economic and geopolitical power.

The White House reacted by attempting to ‘negotiate’ Russia’s military encirclement and to undermine Moscow’s economic growth.

When Russia refused to submit to US dictates, Washington resorted to economic sanctions and power grabs in the Ukraine, Central Asia and the Middle East (Iraq and Syria).

Washington rejected a diplomatic approach in favor of economic intimidation — especially as some US-backed oligarchs were arrested or fled with their wealth to the UK and Israel.

The US refused to recognize the opportunities which still existed in Russia – a neo-liberal economic elite, a mainly mineral export economy, and Moscow’s conciliatory approach toward US military engagement in Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iran.

US ‘negotiations’ were non-starters. The White House defined Russia as an enemy to be undermined. Sanctions became the weapon to deal with Russia’s attempt to regain its world standing. Washington’s aggressive posture included its refusal to recognize that the world had become multi-polar; that Russia had allies in China, partners in Germany, military bases in Syria, and has loyal and advanced scientific elite.

The US, operating from a past image of Russia from the Yeltsin era, failed to adapt to the new realities – a resurgent Russia willing to bargain and secure reciprocal advantages.

The US failed to recognize potential allies and economic advantages in open negotiations with Russia. Many Russian economists close to the Kremlin were neo-liberals, ready and willing to open the economy to US penetration. Russia was willing to concede the US a major role in the Middle East and offered to negotiate their oil export policies.

Instead the US refused to negotiate power sharing .US sanctions forced Russia to embrace China; Washington’s drive for global dominance encouraged Russia to build ties with Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Syria and other independent nations.

Washington’s unipolar policies turned a potentially lucrative and long-term strategic relation into costly confrontations and failed diplomacy.

US and the European Union: Dead End Deals

Bullying Europe has been a successful endeavor, which the US has put on display on innumerable occasions in recent times. Washington negotiates agreements with the French, English and German to end economic sanction on Iran and then reneges and turns around to apply sanctions on European firms which comply with the US and disobey their own government.

The US negotiates with Europe on trade policies and then abruptly threatens to impose sanctions on its crucial auto exports.

Europe negotiates with Washington on NATO security issues and then the White House threatens them in order to raise their military spending.

The US claims that the EU is a strategic ally but treats it as a junior partner.

Negotiations between the two have been a one-sided partnership: the US sells arms and names adversaries, while Europe argues and dissents, eventually submitting and sending troops to fight US wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

The US dictates sanctions against Russia, increasing the price of EU imports of gas and oil. Germany debates, discusses, hems and haws while avoiding an outright rejection.

The US has steadily encroached on EU prerogatives to the point where it claims if the EU fails to comply with the White House’s “America First” agenda, it would cause the US to withdraw from NATO.

Despite a longstanding alliance, the White House no longer negotiates policies – it threatens and expects compliance. Despite a history of EU submission and pro forma debates, as Washington has hardened its opposition to Russia, China and Iran it no longer considers EU trade relations a point of negotiations. While Europe might consider the US as an ally, it will not be allowed to be treated as such, because it is viewed as a trade adversary.

Conclusion

Washington has succeeded in securing non-reciprocal agreements with weak countries. This was the case in post-war Europe, post-Gorbachev Russia and among Latin America’s current colonized regimes.

In contrast, Washington’s rejection of reciprocal agreements with Russia, China, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela has been a failure. US trade wars with China have led to the loss of markets and allowed China to pursue global agreements through its massive billion-dollar ‘Belt and Road’ infrastructure projects.

US one-sided hostile policies toward Russia have increased ties between the Kremlin and Beijing.

Washington has lost opportunities to work with neo-liberal oligarchs in Russia in order to undermine President Putin. Washington has failed to negotiate reciprocal ties with North Korea which would ‘de-nuclearize’ the peninsula in exchange for lifting economic sanctions and opening the door for a capitalist restoration.

Demanding unilateral concession and submission has led to uniform failures; whereas negotiated compromises could have led to greater market opportunities and long-term political advances.

President Trump and his top policy makers and negotiators have failed to secure any agreements.

The Democratic Congress has been as ineffective and even more bellicose – demanding greater military pressures on Russia, expanded trade wars with China and fewer negotiations with North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

In a word, failed negotiations and non-reciprocal diplomacy has become the hallmark of US foreign policy.

The “Unpeople” of South Korea

A term ‘unperson’, from George Orwell’s newspeak, refers to an individual or a member of a group who is systematically stripped of social and political rights, including basic human rights. Who are the ‘unpeople’ of South Korea?  They are an overwhelming majority of illegal migrants in the country who lack basic rights and security and believed to deserve it according to the laws and principles under which Korean society operates.

As of September 23, 2018, there are 330,005 foreigners, mostly from South East Asia and post-Soviet countries, who are residing in South Korea illegally. Those who accepted illegal status in Korea with a goal of supporting their families and improving their economic conditions often have to suffer not only racism, verbal abuses, precariousness, substandard working and living conditions, but also a constant threat of deportation.

Immigration raids periodically conducted by the Korean government not only deprive migrant workers of their means of survival but also leave in them a long-term psychological damage.

August 3, 2017 [Chungju, South Korea]

“He is not answering my phone calls,” said a woman in her late 30s, in a trembling voice. “I sent him a message asking him to lock the door, but he still did not reply”. She feared that her husband, with whom she was illegally residing in Korea, might have been caught by the immigration police.

August 4, 2017 [Chungju, South Korea]

The dead body of her husband was found in a nearby canal, where he was trying to hide from the immigration police. Shocked I was. Others were not. After all, it is not the first time they have come across such an incident.

How come any person can be complicit with the law that resulted in the death of a human being? Should not the law serve the opposite purpose? How come a person who works long hours at a sweatshop to put food on a table is labeled as a criminal, who needs to be chased by the police?

September 5, 2018 [Yangsan, South Korea]

It is 12:46 pm. 14 minutes left until the end of my break, and I should go back to the production line. A factory worker, yells at me and other two migrant workers, ordering us to get to the top floor of the factory building. Then, we are ordered to enter a tiny storage room. A secretary girl explains to me with a broken English that the immigration police came to the factory to catch us. She tells us not to make any noise, turns off the light and locks the door from the outside. It was a long wait; over an hour — an hour of humiliation.

It is 14:24 pm. The door opens. We are told to run towards the car waiting for us outside the factory. We are transferred to safety.

As I was sitting in a tiny room trying not to make a noise, I felt like a prey, a small rabbit hiding in a hole, waiting to be hunted by a predator. I did not understand what was going on. I did understand that the power of an immigration officer to forcefully remove me from that physical space was illegitimate and had nothing to do with me as an individual. Yet irrespective of how hard I tried, a voice inside me kept repeating: “You are nobody. You do not deserve to be treated respectfully”.

What kind of a system is it!? How come otherwise decent people are okay with it? What an absurdity!? What a shame!?

Why illegal migrants have a moral high ground

In my first year in Korea, I have heard a few stories about illegal migrant workers running up to the mountains from immigration police. “It is bad that they have to endure it, but they only have themselves to blame. After all, they have broken the law”, I was told by a friend of mine. But is that really so?

When the law itself is unjust, the only way to act justly is to break that law. According to the North Korean law, North Korean soldiers are not allowed to cross the border between North and South Korea. However, when a North Korean soldier crossed the border to defect to the South (November 2017), he was applauded by almost everyone in South Korea and beyond as a hero fighting for his freedom. By crossing the border, he was breaking the law, but it is common sense that a law that stops a person from moving to a better and safer environment is unjust.

It logically follows that illegal migrant workers are perfectly justified to break immigration laws of South Korea that stop them from escaping their troubled economic, social and political conditions. Their breaking an unjust law should be supported and they should also be applauded as heroes fighting for the betterment of their conditions.

South Korean media outlets love demonizing North Korean regime, yet refuse to look at the injustices of their own. Every time a North Korean defector makes an escape, it is used to fuel state propaganda about how evil tyranny North Korea is and what a wonderful human rights heaven South Korea is. How convenient it is to sit in a comfortable office and to brag about the wrongdoings of another state!? Why not take a moment and take a look at your own tyranny!? Speaking of hypocrisy, it is hard to go beyond that!

Immigration is just an idea. A violent one!

“Oppose the Refugee Act, passed without citizens’ consent,” read signs held by Koreans protesting against the arrival of a few desperate Yemeni refugees on Jeju Island (June 2018). It is not surprising at all, considering the existence of a deep-rooted racism and xenophobia in a Korean society, which very few deny. However, an interesting observation is what they claim as a basis for the legitimacy of their demands – democratic rights. In a democratic society, people collectively make decisions and actively participate in formulating laws and regulations in the government. Yet, history also teaches that when fundamental freedoms and human rights are ignored, society descends into savagery. The same way it was primitive to kill gladiators to please the Colosseum, it is primitive to limit freedom of movement of a human being.

We should look at immigration not as a movement of people across borders, but as an anti-human idea imposed on us through violent means. Just like racism, sexism, and nationalism which put a certain group of people on a superior position over others, immigration is an idea that citizens of a country are superior over so-called immigrants. In a sexist society, it is normal for a husband, who is seen as naturally superior, to make decisions on behalf of his wife. Similarly, in a modern nation-state, it is normal for citizens to make decisions on behalf of immigrants. Those decisions are then imposed on migrants through socio-political institutions of violence. Because, I cannot just say: “Okay, it sounds ridiculous. I do not agree with this idea” and move on freely, my movement is limited by borders, passports, visas, and police.

Future generations will look at immigration with disgust, the same way we now look at slavery. And perhaps, they would be laughing at us for supporting and being complicit with ideas as absurd as an immigration. After all, the debate about immigration is not about how migrants benefit the country economically or how much threat they pose to local residents’ security. The debate boils down to where a society stands in a spectrum of civility. It is about reaching a degree of intellect and humility to be able to ask a simple question: “Who am I to decide the fate of another human being!?”

A dream far away

One thing I learned from my time with illegal migrants is that a migrant worker, toiling all day under verbal abuses, is not interested in innovative research methods, papers, presentations, and debates about his struggles. They do not care if someone comes up with original ideas about how the capitalist system functions and how badly screwed up they are. What is the point of learning about your exploitation from a different angle!? The point is to stop it!

The ‘unpeople’ of South Korea do understand the realities they face on a daily basis. They might not know the terminology and specific facts, but they do recognize who the system works for and against. However, one cannot expect activism from people in dire conditions. Due to their legal status, no realistic chances are available for illegal migrants to make their voices heard for a larger audience in Korea. The hope of improvement through government is not even an option, for obvious reasons. Since even the intend of humane treatment of illegal migrants is missing among Korea’s privileged, structural change looks like a dream far away.

Korea: Unification, but does not have to be “German Style”

It is strange that when you come from the south, near to the DMZ (De-militarized zone, which divides Korea into two parts), you will see many flags and sentimental ‘peace’ slogans, but nothing that would represent the points of view of the North Korean people. All the flags are those of ROC (Republic of Korea, otherwise known as South Korea).

Many people near the division line have turned this entire area into a tourist trap, with observation towers ‘to get a glimpse of North Korea’, with stores selling ROK and US military ‘souvenirs’, even old military gear. As if North Koreans were some rare animals living in a cage, fascinating to study and to observe, but dangerous to touch.

Near DMZ between ROK and DPRK

Yes, all flags here are those of the ROK. Even if the two flags are crossed, in what should be a fraternal symbolic unison, they are always two identical ones – those of South Korea. This looks truly bizarre, but that’s how it is.

Something always seems to be desperately missing in this South Korean ‘strive for peace’ and for the re-united Korea. And what is missing is somehow totally basic: it is at least some essential symbolism from the north – the DPRK!

I know both parts of Korea – DPRK and ROK. And what worries me is that it looks as if the South thinks it can pull this entire ‘businesses of unification’, alone, without considering the needs and desires of the other side.

And the West takes it for granted that the North will be, eventually, simply swallowed by the South. Because it is used to get what it wants. Because in its fundamentalist zeal, it is not even capable of considering the sensitivities and goals of other political, philosophical and social systems.

The plan of both the West and South Korea is simple, although it is mostly never clearly defined, for ‘strategic reasons’: ‘Once the moment of potential unification arrives, the DPRK would simply cease to exist, as East Germany ceased to exist three decades ago. Right after that, the entire Korea would be run on capitalist principles, under the ‘patronage’ and diktat of the West.’

And both the people and the leadership of North Korea will just fall on their knees and surrender, after the masses break down the border fences with their bare hands. Ordinary people will happily renounce their system, as well as the several decades of determined struggle and sacrifice. Everything will be thrown to the altar of mighty South Korean corporations and the pro-Western regime.

Correct? Keep dreaming!

Korea is not Germany. And the second decade of the 21st century is very different from those bizarre, confused years when Gorbachev brilliantly demonstrated to the world how much damage one naïve and useful idiot could cause to his own country and the entire planet.

The truth is – North Korea will never disintegrate the way East Germany did for many reasons, one of them being that, German history is very different: Germany was divided between 4 victorious powers after WWII. The Western part did not necessarily want to be capitalist and pro-Western (US and UK forged the post-war elections), and the East did not necessarily want to be in the Soviet orbit, either. Let’s be honest: the entire country was, just a bit earlier, running amok, shouting bizarre slogans and salivating under swastikas, maniacally admiring a murderous psychopath.

No, North Korea was not and is not East Germany! It was not ‘designated’ to any bloc. It fought a tremendous battle for its own system; it lost millions of its people during the brutal war, or call it genocide, committed by the West. And in the end, after receiving fraternal help from China, it finally won.

Since the beginning, the DPRK was an internationalist country, very much like Cuba. Not yet fully recovered from horrific devastation, it helped to liberate great parts of Africa.

It always knew what it wanted, it fought for it and in the end, it achieved many of its goals!

It never crumbled under sanctions and the combined propaganda of the ROK and its Western backers.

Even after the Soviet Bloc collapsed, it did not change its course.

It is an amazing country, no matter what some people think about its political system. And North Koreans are amazing people (I was privileged to film there, for my ‘poetic’ 25-minute film “Faces of North Korea”). They will not sell their ideals for bigger cars and a pair of designer jeans. Just like for Cuba, the North Korean motherland is not some commodity.

*****

Then also imagine China and Russia, how ‘ecstatic’ both countries (increasingly under threat from the West) would be, if the entire Korea were to fall into North American hands. Imagine those military bases intimidating Herbin, Dalian, Beijing, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok!

South Korea suspects that the North will not yield.

War Museum in Seoul

They have tried everything: erecting enormous propaganda palaces like that infamous “War Museum” in Seoul.

Wedding chapel inside war museum in Seoul

They broadcasted their propaganda sermons via radio stations, even huge loudspeakers, placing them right near the division line. They joined efforts with the West, trying to isolate, even starve, their own sister in the north. Nothing helped.

Propaganda %22 art%22 in Seoul

ROK used to censor the press, disappear and murder its own dissidents, torture and rape political prisoners. All that, just in order to break any sympathy left for Communist ideals in the South. The South Korean campaign of terror was horrible, only comparable to those in South America under the right-wing dictatorships, and, of course, to that in post-1965 Indonesia.

Seoul never really apologized to the victims. Unlike in Taiwan, no monuments or museums were erected to the fatalities of the right-wing terror.

*****

Trying to ‘soften’ the DPRK by sanctions, arms race, and intimidation, has not brought any fruits. And it never will. Just the opposite: North Korea managed to harden itself; to mobilize and learn to produce basically everything: from automobiles to rockets, from computers to cutting edge medical equipment and medicine.

The only way for the two parts of Korea to find a common language is to show to each other deep respect. The German scenario would not, and, never should work here.

Both flags have to fly next to each other. Both political and economic systems have to be respected. When talking about unification, both ‘ways’ should be considered.

If South Korea were to ‘devour’ the North, nothing good would come from it: only more tension, discontent and possible confrontation. The North is a proud land. It has achieved plenty, alone. It has survived, against all the odds. It has helped oppressed parts of the world, honestly and generously. It has much to be proud of. Therefore, it will never surrender.

Yet, Korea is one nation and it is longing for unity. It will get it, but first: the ‘two sisters’, both beautiful, both brilliant, both very different, have to sit together and talk honestly and sincerely. They have done it before, and they will do it again. Both, together, are forming a family. But they cannot live together in one room. Not yet. In one house, yes, but in two different apartments.

And when they talk and try to build their home, again, there should be no interference from outside. They don’t need anybody to tell them what to do. They know, they will find a common language if left alone. It is all possible, and hopefully, soon, it will happen. But not the ‘German way’; it will either happen the ‘Korean way’, or not at all.

First published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook

• Photos by Andre Vltchek

Canada: Preferring Military Might over Peaceful Discussion in Korea

Who prefers military might over peaceful discussion to settle a long festering international dispute? Canada, it seems.

It may surprise some that a Canadian general is undercutting inter-Korean rapprochement while Global Affairs Canada seeks to maintain its 70-year old war footing, but that is what the Liberal government is doing.

At the start of the month Canadian Lieutenant General Wayne Eyre told a Washington audience that the North Koreans were “experts at separating allies” and that a bid for a formal end to the Korean war represented a “slippery slope” for the 28,500 US troops there. “So what could an end-of-war declaration mean? Even if there is no legal basis for it, emotionally people would start to question the presence and the continued existence of the United Nations Command,” said Eyre at the Carnegie Institute for International Peace. “And it’s a slippery slope then to question the presence of U.S. forces on the peninsula.”

The first non-US general to hold the post since the command was created to fight the Korean War in 1950, Eyre became deputy commander of the UNC at the end of July. He joined 14 other Canadian officers with UNC.

Responsible for overseeing the 1953 armistice agreement, UNC has undercut Korean rapprochement. At the start of the month the Financial Times reported, “the US-spearheaded United Nations Command has in recent weeks sparked controversy in host nation South Korea with a series of moves that have highlighted the chasm between Seoul’s pro-engagement attitude to Pyongyang and Washington’s hard line.”  In August, for instance, the UN force blocked a train carrying South Korean officials from crossing the Demilitarized Zone as part of an initiative to improve relations by modernizing cross-border railways.

As it prepares to concede operational control over its forces to Seoul in coming years, Washington is pushing to “revitalize” UNC, which is led by a US General who simultaneously commands US troops in Korea. According to the Financial Times, the UN force “serves to bolster and enhance the US’s position in north-east Asia at a time when China is rising.” To “revitalize” UNC the US is pressing the 16 countries that deployed soldiers during the Korean War to increase their military contribution going forward, a position argued at a Vancouver gathering in January on promoting sanctions against the North.

In other words, Ottawa and Washington would prefer the existing state of affairs in Korea because it offers an excuse for keeping tens of thousands of troops near China.

As part of reducing tensions, ridding the peninsula of nuclear weapons and possibly reunifying their country, the two Korean governments have sought a formal end to the Korean War. It’s an initial step in an agreement the Korean leaders signed in April and last month they asked the UN to circulate a peace declaration calling for an official end to hostilities. But, Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland has responded gingerly to these efforts. In response to Seoul and Pyongyang’s joint announcement to seek a formal end to the Korean War in April Freeland said, “we all need to be careful and not assume anything.”

Two Global Affairs Canada statements released last month on the “North Korea nuclear crisis” studiously ignored the Koreas’ push for an official end to hostilities. Instead they called for “sanctions that exert pressure on North Korea to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs completely, verifiably and irreversibly.” The second statement said UN Security Council sanctions “must … remain in place until Pyongyang takes concrete actions in respect of its international obligations.”

Global Affairs’ position flies in the face of South Korea, Russia, China and other nations that have brought up easing UN sanctions on North Korea. Washington, on the other hand, is seeking to tighten sanctions.

Partly to bolster the campaign to isolate North Korea a Vancouver Island based submarine was sent across the big pond at the start of the year. In April Ottawa also sent a CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft and 40 military personnel to a US base in Japan from which British, Australian and US forces monitor the North’s efforts to evade UN sanctions. A September Global Affairs Canada statement titled “Canada renews deployment in support of multinational initiative to enforce UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea” noted: “A Canadian Armed Forces maritime patrol aircraft will return to the region to help counter North Korea’s maritime smuggling, in particular its use of ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products. In addition, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Calgary, on operations in the area as part of Canada’s continued presence in the region, was named to contribute to this effort.”

Rather than undermine Korean rapprochement, Ottawa should call for an official end to the 70-year old war and direct the Canadians in UNC to support said position. Canada should welcome peace in Korea even if it may trouble those seeking to maintain 30,000 US troops to “contain” China.

Canada: Preferring Military Might over Peaceful Discussion in Korea

Who prefers military might over peaceful discussion to settle a long festering international dispute? Canada, it seems.

It may surprise some that a Canadian general is undercutting inter-Korean rapprochement while Global Affairs Canada seeks to maintain its 70-year old war footing, but that is what the Liberal government is doing.

At the start of the month Canadian Lieutenant General Wayne Eyre told a Washington audience that the North Koreans were “experts at separating allies” and that a bid for a formal end to the Korean war represented a “slippery slope” for the 28,500 US troops there. “So what could an end-of-war declaration mean? Even if there is no legal basis for it, emotionally people would start to question the presence and the continued existence of the United Nations Command,” said Eyre at the Carnegie Institute for International Peace. “And it’s a slippery slope then to question the presence of U.S. forces on the peninsula.”

The first non-US general to hold the post since the command was created to fight the Korean War in 1950, Eyre became deputy commander of the UNC at the end of July. He joined 14 other Canadian officers with UNC.

Responsible for overseeing the 1953 armistice agreement, UNC has undercut Korean rapprochement. At the start of the month the Financial Times reported, “the US-spearheaded United Nations Command has in recent weeks sparked controversy in host nation South Korea with a series of moves that have highlighted the chasm between Seoul’s pro-engagement attitude to Pyongyang and Washington’s hard line.”  In August, for instance, the UN force blocked a train carrying South Korean officials from crossing the Demilitarized Zone as part of an initiative to improve relations by modernizing cross-border railways.

As it prepares to concede operational control over its forces to Seoul in coming years, Washington is pushing to “revitalize” UNC, which is led by a US General who simultaneously commands US troops in Korea. According to the Financial Times, the UN force “serves to bolster and enhance the US’s position in north-east Asia at a time when China is rising.” To “revitalize” UNC the US is pressing the 16 countries that deployed soldiers during the Korean War to increase their military contribution going forward, a position argued at a Vancouver gathering in January on promoting sanctions against the North.

In other words, Ottawa and Washington would prefer the existing state of affairs in Korea because it offers an excuse for keeping tens of thousands of troops near China.

As part of reducing tensions, ridding the peninsula of nuclear weapons and possibly reunifying their country, the two Korean governments have sought a formal end to the Korean War. It’s an initial step in an agreement the Korean leaders signed in April and last month they asked the UN to circulate a peace declaration calling for an official end to hostilities. But, Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland has responded gingerly to these efforts. In response to Seoul and Pyongyang’s joint announcement to seek a formal end to the Korean War in April Freeland said, “we all need to be careful and not assume anything.”

Two Global Affairs Canada statements released last month on the “North Korea nuclear crisis” studiously ignored the Koreas’ push for an official end to hostilities. Instead they called for “sanctions that exert pressure on North Korea to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs completely, verifiably and irreversibly.” The second statement said UN Security Council sanctions “must … remain in place until Pyongyang takes concrete actions in respect of its international obligations.”

Global Affairs’ position flies in the face of South Korea, Russia, China and other nations that have brought up easing UN sanctions on North Korea. Washington, on the other hand, is seeking to tighten sanctions.

Partly to bolster the campaign to isolate North Korea a Vancouver Island based submarine was sent across the big pond at the start of the year. In April Ottawa also sent a CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft and 40 military personnel to a US base in Japan from which British, Australian and US forces monitor the North’s efforts to evade UN sanctions. A September Global Affairs Canada statement titled “Canada renews deployment in support of multinational initiative to enforce UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea” noted: “A Canadian Armed Forces maritime patrol aircraft will return to the region to help counter North Korea’s maritime smuggling, in particular its use of ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products. In addition, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Calgary, on operations in the area as part of Canada’s continued presence in the region, was named to contribute to this effort.”

Rather than undermine Korean rapprochement, Ottawa should call for an official end to the 70-year old war and direct the Canadians in UNC to support said position. Canada should welcome peace in Korea even if it may trouble those seeking to maintain 30,000 US troops to “contain” China.