Category Archives: Korea

The Libya Model is a Distraction

On Fox News Sunday, United States national security advisor John Bolton brought up the Libya model as a template for the denuclearization of North Korea.

Following up, president Donald Trump noted, “In Libya, we decimated that country. That country was decimated.” However, Trump did assure North Korean chairman Kim Jong-un that he’d remain in power after denuclearization.

Then came US vice-president Michael Pence on Fox News:

There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.

When told that such a comparison could be viewed as a threat, Pence instead considered: “Well, I think it’s more of a fact.”

History tells a tale. After Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi gave up Libya’s nuclear weapons program, he was eventually deposed by NATO bombing in support of rebels who brutally murdered Gaddafi in cold blood. Hillary Clinton gleefully cackled about it on CBS News afterwards.

What kind of dunderhead would Kim have to be not to realize the behind-the-curtain machinations Washington has planned for him and his government. The US simply should not be believed or trusted.

But there seems to be an apparent wrench in the works of Washington’s scheming. Kim, after all, has a nuclear bomb. It makes one wonder: what do Donald Trump and the US military establishment not understand about nuclear deterrence? There are no winners in a nuclear war.

All the blather about a Libya model merely reinforces the correctness of the North Korean decision and the necessity to develop a nuclear deterrence. It must be emphasized that — despite wild proclamations from Washington1 — what North Korea possesses is a nuclear deterrence and not a nuclear threat. Obviously, to initiate a nuclear attack would be sheer folly and a suicidal act for Kim Jong-un and his government. However, North Korea is on record as asserting a no-first-use policy for nukes.2 This is a rational stance.

Contrariwise, the US does not reject its first use of nukes. Thus, the US nukes exist as other than a deterrence factor.

Is the US an irrational actor?

The bigwigs in the Trump administration are not dunderheads either. There is a method to their madness — a desired outcome. The US, despite administration declamations to the contrary, is quite aware that North Korea would not start a nuclear war. The North Koreans are known to be rational.

Yet the strategizing of the military-industrial complex is also based in rationality when its capitalistic motivations are considered. When it comes to warmongering, the greater the number of enemies the US is faced with, the more opportunities for weapons deals to replenish homeland armories and supplying fearful allied countries. Moreover, there are the opportunities created for morally challenged investors to seek profit from war.

The military-industrial complex’s lust for war profiteering motivates it to maintain a hostile posture to designated enemies like North Korea. This is rational in the pecuniary sense. It is rational for the military-industrial complex to assume a hostile posture to Iran. It is logical to support war crimes by the Jewish State against the civilian population of Gaza and also to support the siege of Gaza in hopes of fomenting a violent uprising. It’s rational to keep Syria in conflagration.

It is even rational to poke the Russian bear and prod the Chinese dragon. The more formidable the designated enemy, the greater the potential for evoking fear among home populations and crank over the wheels of the military-industrial ever more.

In this manner arms sales are stimulated, share prices for armaments are sent rising, and thus it happens that the undiplomatic bombast and war crimes committed by military industrialists is rewarded with ensanguined lucre.

Nonetheless, all the money in the world means nothing come a nuclear winter.

  1. Michael Pence in his recent interview stated that the US “is not going to tolerate the regime in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the United States and our allies…”
  2. A translation of the North Korean news agency KCNA quotes Kim saying, “As a responsible nuclear weapons state, our republic will not use a nuclear weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by any aggressive hostile forces with nukes.”

Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution

The inevitable stop, start and stuttering of the Korean peace process was bound to manifest itself soon after the hugs, expansive smiles and sympathetic back rubs.  Dates have been set – the Kim-Trump summit is slated to take place in Singapore on June 12, though there is much time for disruptive mischief to take place.

One field of possible disruption lies in air exercises between the US and South Korea known as Max Thunder.  Such manoeuvres have been of particular interest to the DPRK, given their scale and possible use as leverage in talks.

The latest irritation was occasioned by claims in Pyongyang that the US had deployed B-52 Stratofortress bombers as part of the exercise despite denying that this would take place.  This was construed, in the words of Leon V. Sigal, “as inconsistent with President Trump’s pledge at President Moon’s urging to move toward peace in Korea.”

The position against using such nuclear-capable assets had been outlined in Kim Jong Un’s 2018 New Year’s Day address.  The South, he insisted, should “discontinue all the nuclear war drills they stage with outside forces,” a point reiterated in Rodong Sinmun, the Party newspaper, ten days later: “If the South Korean authorities really want détente and peace, they should first stop all efforts to bringing in the US nuclear equipment and conduct exercises for nuclear warfare with foreign forces.”

While these matters were unfolding, President Donald Trump’s national security advisor was being his injudicious self, doing his bit for global insecurity.  Never a diplomat in the true sense of the term, John Bolton remains a traditional head kicker for empire, the rustler of discontent.

Bolton, history teacher incarnate, wants to impress upon the North Koreans certain jarring examples.  A favourite of his is the so-called Libyan solution. How well that worked: the leadership of a country maligned but convinced in its international rehabilitation to abandon various weapons programs in the hope of shoring up security.  More specifically, in 2003, Libya was convinced to undertake a process US diplomats and negotiators parrot with steam and enthusiasm: denuclearisation.

“We should insist that if this meeting is going to take place,” claimed Bolton on Radio Free Asia with characteristic smugness, “it will be similar to discussions we had with Libya 13 or 14 years ago: how to pack up their nuclear weapons program and take it to Oak Ridge, Tennessee.”

The problem with this skewed interpretation lies in its false premise: that US threats, cajoling and sanctions has actually brought North Korea, tail between legs, to the diplomatic table.  Being firm and threatening, according to Bolton, has been rewarding.  This reading verges on the fantastic, ignoring three years of cautious, informal engagement.  It also refuses to account for the fact that Pyongyang made firm moves in Washington’s direction after the insistence on firm preconditions was abandoned by Trump.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also been rumbling on the issue of a firm line, suggesting that he, like Bolton, has a preference for the stick approach.  Despite speaking about “warm” and “substantive” talks with Kim, he claims that any agreement with Pyongyang must have a “robust verification program” built into it.

The suggestion of the Libyan precedent was enough to sent Pyongyang into a state, given their developed fears about becoming the next casualty of unwarranted foreign intervention.  Libya did denuclearise, thereby inflicting what could only be seen subsequently as a self-amputation.  As missiles rained down upon Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, launched by the British, French and the US ostensibly for humanitarian reasons, a sense of terrible regret must have been felt.  Soon, the mad colonel would be butchered, and his state torn asunder in a sectarian reckoning.

As the air assault was taking place, the North Korean foreign ministry identified the problem: the bargain between Libya and the western powers to surrender its nuclear weapons program was “an invasion tactic to disarm the country”.  The intervention “is teaching the international community a grave lesson”.

The state news agency KNCA took note of Bolton’s remarks, issuing an official rebuff highlighting the status of the DPRK as a true, fully fledged nuclear weapon state: the “world knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq, which have met a miserable fate.  It is absolutely absurd to dare compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya, which had been at the initial stage of nuclear development.”

The DPRK’s vice foreign minister, Kim Kye Gwan, was unequivocal in warning.  “If the US is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-US summit.”  Bolton received specific mention: “We do not hide a feeling of repugnance toward him.”

The Trump White House preferred to give different signals.  Sarah Huckabee Sanders is claiming that the president will be his own man on this, though Trump’s own reading of the “Libya model” has proven confusingly selective.  In any case the leverage brought by US ultimatum to disarm without genuine concessions is hardly likely to gain traction. The response from Pyongyang will be simple: resume missile testing and further enlarge the arsenal.

The Koreas Unified and at Peace?

Peace in the Koreas is what the world expects; and Peace in the world is what humanity expects, the vast majority. 99.9% of the world population wants peace, but it’s the 0.1% that commands war and destruction, since war and destruction is what runs the western economy. Literally. If peace would break out what we in the west still call economy — though it’s a fraud, every day more visible — would collapse. In the US the war industry with all the associated production and service industries, including the Silicon Valley and banking, contributes more than 50% to GDP. Nobody notices and nobody says so. Naturally. Everything that might be revealing and thought-provoking, is lied about or hidden from the public.

This enormous Korean Peace Initiative is a flare of hope. The two Presidents, Moon Jae-in from the South and Kim Jong-un from the North have met last Friday, 27 April 2018, at the Peace House at Panmunjeom, near the 38th Parallel North, or the so-called Military Demarcation Line. It is the first time in more than 60 years that leaders of both Koreas have crossed the line — Mr. Moon to the North, and Mr. Kim to the South. They have declared their willingness to establish Peace, to sign a real Peace Agreement before the end of this year. At present, technically the two nations are still at war, a war sustained by the United States. The DPRK survives from day to day on a shaky armistice agreement from 1953. The American ferocious military forces and those of their NATO allies have totally destroyed, bombed to rubble and ashes North Korea at will, killing one third of her population, between 1950 and 1953. US-NATO did this despite North Korea’s offer to surrender long before the country was but a heap of ruins. Killing for spite, indulging in and enjoying the causing of horrendous suffering and death, is the sadistic and satanic way of the west.

This must be said and never forgotten. Although we look forward now, we, the world at large, want Peace, a live peace experience of Korea which could be replicated. The two leaders promise a number of joint actions and undertakings, including ridding the Peninsula of nuclear weapons – a very ambitious plan. Not because the two are not genuine in their endeavor but will Washington with more than 30,000 troops stationed in the South and a fleet of navy vessels and aircraft carriers as well as fighter jets and bombers, and a nuclear arsenal, withdraw their murderous toys? South Korea is a sovereign nation, she could request the departure of foreign occupiers, what the US is – but will the occupiers leave? – Or will the Pentagon, CIA or the White House invent a false flag event to nullify this peace effort?  Nothing is beyond Washington’s evil intention to hegemonize the world.

And for DPRK’s President Kim Jong-un to recall – John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Advisor, said just a couple of days ago, referring to North Korea’s denuclearization – “Libya should serve as a model”. You may remember in 2003/2004 Gaddafi was accused of hiding weapons of mass destruction (WMD); i.e., a nuclear arms development program. The west blackmailed him to get rid of it, against some ‘economic aid and favors’, of course. Gaddafi accepted. The western sicko leaders all became friends with him, the French then President Nicolas Sarkozy on top, who is now accused in French Courts of receiving up to €50 million ‘illegal money’ (what is legal money by western standards?) from Muammar Gaddafi for Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign. Well, we also remember how in 2011 he was miserably tortured and slaughtered anyway, despite his concessions to the west on his alleged WMDs, by NATO forces led by France and viciously supported by Hillary Clinton, then Obama’s Secretary of State. Had Gaddafi kept his weapons, he may be still be alive and Libya and Libya’s people may still be prospering as they did before the US-NATO onslaught in 2011.

For now, the US of A seems to go passively along with the Peace Initiative. There’s more — the Donald is actually claiming credit for it. It is unbelievable but true. There is even a group of Trump supporters who will propose Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. Imagine! But why not? After all, Obama got the prize before he really started his Presidency, and then he bombed more countries and killed more people than any other US President in recent history. Yes, all is possible. We are living in a world where war is peace, where you are made believe that bombing a country to rubble will bring peace. Seriously. And the western people, brainwashed to the core, believe it.

However, despite Trump the “peacemaker”, be on your guard. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Bahram Qassemi, so pointedly said, never trust any agreement or promise made by Washington. He referred, of course, to the 5+1 (Permanent Security Council Members, plus Germany, and, of course, Iran) Nuclear Deal that Trump wants to abolish, or at best renegotiate, for which he engaged his new friend, Macron, to call Mr. Rouhani to please agree to re-discuss the Nuclear Deal and the issue of Iran’s long-range missiles. Of course, Mr. Rouhani turned him off.

And, as I’m writing these lines, Netanyahu comes to the fore with the most flagrant of lies — but he knows with enough propaganda the west will buy them — accusing with a bland PowerPoint presentation of Iran not adhering to the nuclear agreement and of running a secret nuclear program; he has allegedly ‘tons’ of documents to prove it. And he comes out with this absolute blatant falsehood 12 days before the deadline Trump set to decide whether or not to scrap the Iran Nuclear Deal. As the west, especially Europe and, of course, Master Trump, are all submissively on their knees in front of Israel’s guru, his message, repeated at nauseatum since the 2015 deal was signed, may catch on — and this, despite Europe’s (commercially inspired) adamant wish to adhere to the 5+1 Accord.

Iran is on her guard, and North Korea should be too.

Peace in the Koreas, and in the future a unified Korea, unified families after more than 65 years; certainly, a dream for almost all Koreans. Yet, have the US motives to keep the DPRK under constant threat of war, under permanent fear, to keep the small country as an eastern entry point to Asia – to China and Russia – the same motive that started the war in 1950, has that motive gone?

What does that mean for Syria, Iraq, Iran and Venezuela? Trump at one point within the last weeks has said that the US is going to withdraw her troops from Syria. Really? Or is this a well-orchestrated but little veiled game to give people hope for peace and then let them drop back into the ruins? Remember this little ‘schmoozer’ guy, Macron, went to Washington with one of his priority requests:  Donald, please do not leave Syria, we need you there.

Can you imagine? This little Rothschild implanted ‘call-me-president’ rascal has the nerve to say “we need you there”. Who in heaven does he think he is? Let him militarize ‘his own’ (sic) country. France is already militarized and police patrolled like no other European nation, with the State of Emergency – effectively Martial Law – engraved in the French Constitution. Let the French people deal with Washington’s new baby poodle.

France and the UK, of course, along with Washington, are also following Israel’s cue – destroy and partition Syria and Iran – to create a Greater Israel, from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. And the EU, miserable vassals of Washington, will keep their stranglehold with sanctions on Venezuela — Venezuela that has arguably, together with Cuba, the best democratic system in the world, has never done any harm to anyone, let alone to those sanctioning countries. Even Switzerland had the audacity to join the EU’s sanction regime against Venezuela, a country that has been among the most pleasant partners of Switzerland in the past. One can only wonder how low do these countries pull down their pants to please their ruthless Atlantists neofascist masters.

Will this noble Korean peace spirit stretch through the world and bring about a higher consciousness, one that strives for peace instead of war?

France is engaged in strikes, after strikes, after strikes against the Macron-imposed new labor reform laws that would literally strip French workers of most of the social and labor rights and benefits they have achieved since WWII.  For what?  To make the rich richer, and the poor poorer. That’s what austerity is all about, has always been. The west calls it “structural adjustment”. What a euphemism! And the people haven’t caught-on yet. Or is it the corrupt politicians that go along with it against the will of the people?

Peace in Korea, uniting again a historically peaceful and absolutely non-violent people, may be way more than a political act. It is a social compact of people; a vision to enshrine the non-violent nature of their culture upon Mother Earth, on a tiny fleck of land in eastern Asia, on the Continent where the future lays; the East that brings human values back to the world, the OBI (One Belt Initiative) of China, the broad economic and cultural cooperation enhanced by the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) led by China and Russia, and is already encompassing about half the world’s population, producing about a third of the globe’s economic output.  Could Korea be just that spark that ignites the engine to turning the massive ocean liner around, slowly but steadily, and foremost, peacefully?

The Korean Promise: The Meeting in Panmunjom

It seems, and certainly feels, like a distant number of months since a panel of experts noshed and chatted over how best to overcome the nuclear impasse that pitted North Korea against its southern neighbour and allies.  Held in Seoul last December, the project of attendees hosted by the Korean National Diplomatic Academy was ambitious and lofty: the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

The US angle was one of continued military presence on the peninsula while acknowledging that Pyongyang would not relinquish their top option for empty guarantees.  Parties from Thailand and China felt that area should not become a security buffer zone favourable to the United States and its allies.  Good will entailed true neutrality.  The Russian and Chinese angle was an immediate push to calm the nerves: insist on a “freeze-for-freeze” (a halt to military drills and missile testing), a cold storage metaphor suggesting a seizing up on the road before catastrophe.

Across the parties was a general admission that nothing could be done, or advanced, without genuine measures to seek a state of affairs that would entrench peace even as measures to remove North Korea’s nuclear capability gathered pace.  A peace treaty, in other words, festooned with various security guarantees, would be indispensable.

Now, at the end of April, we have the leaders of Pyongyang and Seoul embracing and emitting tones of rosy confidence, promising steps of reconciliation that would have seemed as eye popping as any Trump tweet.  For the first time since 1953, one of the Kim dynasty found himself on the southern side of the demilitarised zone, chatting at the truce village of Panmunjom.

On Saturday, happy snaps were released of the previous day’s meeting between the DPRK’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in.  Such gestures were bound to tease the driest tear ducts, causing a necessary trickle.  Summaries on the summit points were cobbled together for press circulation.  The Seoul Shinmun was not holding back: “No war on Korean Peninsula, complete denuclearisation, formal end to Korean War this year.”

The agreement, known as the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula itself promises the machinery for “a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”  The “current unnatural state of armistice” was to be ended. “Blood relations” between the states would be reconnected; “practical steps towards the connection and modernisation of the railways and roads on the eastern transportation corridor” would be adopted.

The occasion conjures up, in terms of historical pressings, the initial stages of Ostpolitik, when East and West Germany began a warming process that eventually culminated in re-unification, even if the last stages were induced by the shock of the Iron Curtain’s retreat.  “We are living next door to each other,” claimed Kim, “there is no reason we should fight each other.”

It was impossible to expect certain big mouths to stay silent. “Please do not forget,” came President Donald Trump, “the great help that my good friend, President Xi of China, has given to the United States, particularly at the Border of North Korea.  Without him it would have been a much longer, tougher process!”  All charming, given the berating the man in the White House was giving Beijing’s leadership over previous mouths for not doing enough.

Such events are bound to leave certain parties unmoved.  The minstrel’s song will be falling on deaf ears, notably those hardened by decades of realpolitik cynicism.  Political boffins, notably in the West, continue to obsess with the utterance of the terms “complete denuclearisation”, and wonder whether this will, in fact, happen.

Former US national security advisor H. R. McMaster ran with the line that the DPRK was using its nuclear weapons capability “for nuclear blackmail, and then, to quote, ‘reunify’ the peninsula under the red banner.”  It never occurred to McMaster that pure survival is as good a reason as any, and nuclear weapons supply comforting insurance rather than offensive means.

The Washington Post was ready to throw some cold water on the cosy gathering, reminding readers of 1992, when Pyongyang signed a denuclearisation agreement with Seoul, then 1994, when the DPRK concluded one with the United States.  In April 2005, the gesture was repeated with North Korea’s four neighbours and Washington.  In 2012 came another agreement between Pyongyang and Washington.

Rather than considering the totality of these agreements, and the deeper reasons for their failures, the paper suggested one, inglorious culprit: “North Korea has never stuck to any of its agreements.” Conservative figures such as the Liberty Korea Party’s head, Hong Joon-pyo, find little room to trust, seeing a manipulative dictator highly skilled in stage management. “The inter-Korean summit was a show of fake peace,” he fumed on Facebook.

Still others, such as Michael E. O’Hanlon, are claiming that the recent moves have little to do with the wily Kim or accommodating Moon, but the brutal sanctions regime that brought suitable pressure to bear on the northern regime.  Kim’s moves suggested “that the world’s collective economic sanctions against his regime are starting to bite”.

Again, these old fictions circulate like counterfeit currency, suggesting that the DPRK’s nuclear regime – the supposed object of such measures – would be impaired.  As with all sanctions regimes, citizens tend to head the queue of punishment. Those in power are rarely scarred.

The Korean peninsula has rarely been entitled to prosper and develop on its own accord, ever at the mercy of ruthless powers and case jottings about security and self-interest.  An arbitrary border, drawn at the 38th parallel by two US colonels, one of them the future Secretary of State Dean Rusk, brought Washington and Moscow into potential conflict.

This random division of political mismanagement precipitated a neurosis between Pyongyang and Seoul, as much a product of inward enmity as it was an external inspiration, poked and prodded by those too afraid to let go.  Perhaps that time is now.

Ending the Park Era for Good

Park Geun-hye, the former South Korean president, just got sentenced to 24 years in prison for corruption. This is good.

Some perspective. Following the imposition of the U.S. Occupation on (southern) Korea in September 1945, the U.S. handpicked the Korean nationalist Syngman Rhee (Lee Seungman) to head the emerging South Korean colony. (The Koreans were still viewed by the U.S. forces as hostile, if only because Korea had been part of the Japanese Empire and Koreans had fought in the Japanese Army.  Lt. Gen. John R. Hodge, who headed the occupation administration, explicitly described the Koreans as “enemies,” refused to recognized the newly-formed Korean People’s Republic—which had been recognized by the defeated Japanese—actively suppressed its “people’s committees” throughout the south, and initially ordered Japanese colonial administrators to remain in their posts to serve the U.S. in its occupation goals.)

Rhee had been living in the U.S. since 1904, receiving degrees from George Washington University, Harvard and Princeton and making a name for himself as an advocate for Korean independence. A Christian convert from his youth, married to an Austrian woman, Rhee was little known in Korea. (Kim Gu, who had been based in China, had the greater revolutionary nationalist credentials.) He had spent two years (1910-12) in China and Korea, but otherwise lived in Hawaiian exile. As it was the U.S. imposed him as dictator in the south, while actively preventing national reunification.

Syngman Rhee brutalized his people. An ardent anti-communist, of course, he arrested thousands of opponents, killing some (including his rival Kim Gu). He jailed some 30,000 accused communists, many of whom were tortured in prison. He crushed uprisings with brutal force; in the communist-led revolt on Cheju Island (which is as far removed from the North Korean border as one can be and still be in Korea; that is, the revolt was not directed by Pyongyang) state forces killed about 14,000 rebels. Park’s repeated provocations along the 38th parallel worried some Congressmen who felt Rhee might drag the U.S. into war.

When Kim Il-sung’s forces stormed over the border on June 25, 1950, in order to reunite the artificially divided peninsula, inaugurating the Korean War, they met with general support from the southern population. (This is the key point about the Korean War that is inadequately known or discussed. The fact is, the people wanted reunification, Rhee was unpopular, there was little incentive to resist the “invasion” by patriotic brothers. Had the U.S. not intervened to maintain the division, Korea would be one today.)

Within six weeks, the northern forces gained control of almost the entire peninsula; only the region around Puson remained under the control of the south Korean state. The U.S. summoned the Security Council to approve an international mission to repel North Korean “aggression” Had the Soviet ambassador been in attendance he would have vetoed the resolution approving the mission. But he was absent protesting the failure of the UNSC to confer the China seat on the UNSC to the Beijing government, leaving it instead in the hands of the U.S. puppet regime of Chiang Kaishek on Taiwan. (The PRC did indeed acquire the UNSC seat, twenty-one years later in 1971.)

Posing as UN-approved forces defending international law etc., U.S.-led forces pushed the Northern forces back to the 38th parallel and beyond, threatening to reunite the peninsula on U.S.-dictated terms. As U.S. troops approached the Yalu River, the Chinese felt obliged to intervene big-time. The U.S. forces were defeated in the north, and driven back, despite unprecedentedly savage bombing and Gen. MacArthur’s threat to use nuclear weapons.

The war that took about four million lives ended in a stalemate after thirty-seven months. Nothing had been accomplished, except for massive death and the leveling of the country. The 38th parallel border was reaffirmed; Rhee remained in power. (He attempted to derail the armistice agreement by releasing from prison 25,000 North Korean “anti-communist” prisoners in the south, instead of repatriating them by agreement to their homes.) In 1960 student protests against his manifest corruption and the rigging of a recent election drove him out of the country. The U.S. realizing he was too discredited by now for further use skirted him away to a comfortable Hawai’i retirement in exile (as Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were later to enjoy.)

After a brief politically tumultuous interim, Park Chung-hee (Geun-hye’s father) rose to the helm in a military coup in 1963, remaining president up to his assassination in 1979. Another murderous scoundrel—a career officer in the Japanese Imperial Army, by the way, right up to 1945 (Thus while Kim Il-sung was fighting Japanese in Manchuria, Park Chung-hee was fighting with them against the Allies.)

Among Park’s crimes: the abduction of political opponent Kim Dae-jung from his Tokyo hotel, with the intent to murder him, in 1973; the Kwangju Massacre of 1980, in which South Korean military forces deployed with U.S. consent to suppress demonstrations, resulting in over 200 dead; his comment to his KCIA chief that he didn’t care if it cost 30,000 lives to suppress riots in the country. His secret nuclear weapons program from 1972 to 1978 (aborted by Jimmy Carter, who considered withdrawing U.S. troops from South Korea but was blocked in his plans to do so by the brass).

Revisionist scholars in South Korea are rediscovering Park as a wise economic planner responsible for South Korea’s rise in the world. But he was a swine and it’s not surprising his own intelligence chief shot him to death in 1979, complaining he’d surrounded himself with insects.

Park was followed by Chun Doo-hwan (1980-88) who was sentenced to a long prison term for corruption.  Then Roh Tae-woo, a general implicated in the Kwangju Massacre, was president 1988-93. After leaving office he was sentenced to 17 years in prison for corruption but the sentence suspended.

We can say that from 1945 to 1988 (43 years) South Korea was ruled by a dictator, and that a kind of bourgeois democracy has pertained since.

Kim Yong-sam (1993-98)—finally—was a civilian, liberal reformer who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform. Kim Dae-jung (president 1998-2003) is the more noteworthy figure; Park Chung-hee had so feared him that he wanted him dead. But he embarked on a “sunshine policy” towards Pyongyang that Washington during the Bush/Cheney era actively sabotaged.

After him came Roh Moon-hyun (president 2003-08), a human rights activist who performed badly on the economy, taking responsibility with his suicide in 2009. Then Hyundai CEO and anti-north hardliner Kim Myung-bak governed from 2008-2013. Then this clown Park Geun-hye.

Thirty-four years after her father’s death, Park became the South Korean president. This itself seemed to represent a validation of her father’s dictatorship. In 2013 and 2014 Forbes declared her the most powerful woman in Asia. She’s the one who was disgraced and removed last year, and just got sentenced to 24 years in prison for corruption. In particular she lavished favors on Choi Tae-min, the ex-wife of her onetime Chief of Staff who’s the daughter of a religious cult leader and seems to have wielded inordinate psychological influence over Kim. The South Korean press has compared her to Rasputin. The two extorted some $72 million from Samsung and seventeen other conglomerates to, among other things, finance Choi’s daughter’s equestrian lessons. Her anti-labor policies, a new law requiring schools to use only government-approved history texts, and imposition of censorship produced large-scale protests.

(She does have her supporters. About 1000 protestors with U.S. and South Korean flags and posters reading “Rule of Law is Dead, Stop Deadly Trials Against President Park Geun-hye” rallied outside the courtroom when she was sentenced. But her popularity had been down to 4% when she was removed from office.)  Considered a hard-liner on North Korea, she had support in Washington, whereas current President Moon Jae-in, who favors rapprochement and will meet with Kim Jong-un soon, can be less assured of that.

Park, while not as bad as her dad, was bad enough. She earned the contempt of her people and instant karma got her. Good riddance.

South Korea has been very poorly served by its leaders for 73 years. For 48 of them dictators ruled, naturally with U.S. support. For 25 bourgeois democracy has prevailed—alongside ongoing chaebol-related corruption, ongoing tensions with Japan and the DPRK, occasional crises such as the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis that caused the closure of one-third of South Korean banks. Geun-hye’s embarrassing presidency was the appropriate footnote to her father’s savage, ill-fated one. Her disgrace in a society where family identity is key, disgraces again her vicious father and the whole post-war South Korean polity—marked as it is from birth by Cold War confusion and submission to imperialists’ sadistic infliction of violence on its subjects.

Moon is the anti-Park. A former student activist, human rights campaigner, and secretary to Roh Moon-hyun, he has responded to the DPRK’s expanding nuclear weapons program (and Trump’s irresponsible sabre-rattling) by outreach, friendship and negotiation. He’s done so no thanks to Trump (unless he’s to be thanked for terrifying them both). The Koreas jointly participated in the PyeongChang Olympics, renewed cultural exchanges after many years, and planned a summit in the near future; a revival of Kim Dae-jung’s Sunshine Policy that was sabotaged by Dick Cheney and his minions in 2001.

Quite likely the two sides are exchanging notes about mutual concern that the U.S. will visit “fire and fury” on their peninsula (again). Moon and the Supreme Leader in Pyongyang may regard one another as more reliable and sane than the U.S. president; they know his former Secretary of State called him a “moron” (which is highly unusual in the modern world). There are reasons for everyone to worry. On the other hand, it is possible that Trump actually understands that an attack on the north to force it to dismantle its nuclear program on John Bolton’s terms, with no U.S. concessions, in order to show abject deference to the U.S. and power of its terrorist threats, is untenable. (Lindsey Graham was saying last December that Trump could very well attack North Korea, and anyway, all the fighting afterwards would be “over there.”) He may agree to diplomatic and trade relations, and a reduction in U.S.-ROK military drills, in response to a schedule for denuclearization, in coordination with the south. This would be a joint Korean victory, both in a general sense (over the U.S. which has driven Seoul’s relations with the north since 1945 and actively opposed reunification), and in the particular sense of  victory over Trump’s unstable personality.

He went from saying he’d be honored to meet Kim Jong-un (May 2017) to calling him “Little Rocketman” (November 2017). In August he tweeted a warning to rain down “fire and fury”  on North Korea if they make more threats to the U.S.  In September he actually spoke before the United Nations General Assembly, declaring to the astonished assemblage of “world leaders”: “If the United States] is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” Imagine how Korea, both Koreas, responded to this savage, racist, idiotic rant from an obviously unbalanced old fool knowing nothing about history and not interested in learning.

Fast forward. On March 28 the president opined that there’s a good chance the North Korean leader “will do what’s right.” In the interim, on March 8, a South Korean delegation had come to Washington to brief the White House on recent talks between Seoul and Pyongyang. They delivered to Trump an invitation from Kim Jong-un for a summit by May, and Trump accepted immediately, without even consulting with advisors. Linger on this point.

The South Koreans had held (very cordial) talks with the North Koreans. The North Koreans (while conducting “secret” negotiations with the U.S. in New York and Sweden and maybe elsewhere) decided to make the invitation through their southern compatriots to indicate that everybody involved supports this. The delegation publicly and privately praised Trump for his leadership in helping to relax tensions on the peninsula.

(I suspect the point was not, in fact, to say, “Thank you for your help” as to say, “We’re talking now and would like to solve our own problems. No Korean wants you to conduct a missile strike on the Yongbyong nuclear complex, whatever Bolton has to say about it. We are all concerned about the wild rhetoric and apparent unconcern about the Korean people. Please accept this face-saving alternative of a summit with Kim to more threats.”)

Two days later (March 30) in a speech in Ohio about something or other Trump strangely stated the following, concerning a new trade agreement with Seoul: “I may hold it up until after a deal is made with North Korea, does everybody understand that? You know why? Because it’s a very strong card. South Korea has been wonderful, but we’ll probably hold that deal up for a little while, see how it plays out.”

Who knows what this means? Is Trump telling Moon that he’s going to use the prospect of a peace agreement on the peninsula, and his ability to approve or prevent it, to beat Seoul into restricting steel exports? Can he possibly be hinting, “We might treat you the way we’re treating China, provoking a trade war, while investing in the north?”

Trump’s popularity rating in South Korea was according to Gallup 24% in March. Kim Jong-un’s figure was 10%. There have been points over the last year when Trump was at 9%. As mentioned, Park Geun-hye was at 4% when she fell from power. The era of fascist repression and Cold War bloc contention seems past. North Korea rose from the ashes of the Korean war (in which it lost one-third of its civilian population to U.S. bombing) to a greater height of prosperity by the 1970s than the south. Things went very badly thereafter, as we know. But the state survived and now has obtained a new degree of international respect, having so dramatically augmented its defenses.

Seoul, I think, understands this. Moon may secretly admire how deftly the Dear Leader has played his hand. The Kim-Trump summit itself, if it happens, is a coup for DPRK diplomacy, but also South Korean diplomacy. The offer was made from Pyongyang via Seoul. It’s appropriate that these developments unfold as Park Geun-hye begins her jail term. Let the sun shine in.

Degeneracy and Fundamentalism of Western Media Control

There is nothing sadder and more pathetic, than a notorious liar shouting, spitting saliva, insulting normal people left and right, while terrorizing those who are telling the truth.

Lately, the West has gone clearly berserk. The more it is scared of losing control over the brains of billions of people in all corners of the world, the more aggressively it is screaming, kicking and making a fool of itself.

It doesn’t even hide its intentions anymore. The intentions are clear: to destroy all of its opponents, be they in Russia, China, Iran or in any other patriotic and independent-minded state. To silence all the media outlets that are speaking the truth; not the truth as it is defined in London, Washington, Paris or Berlin, but the truth as it is perceived in Moscow, Beijing, Caracas or Teheran; the truth that simply serves the people, not the fake, pseudo-truth fabricated in order to uphold the supremacy of the Western Empire.

Huge funds are now being allocated for the mortal propaganda onslaught, originating predominantly in both London and Washington. Millions of pounds and dollars have been allocated and spent, officially and openly, in order to ‘counter’ the voices of Russian, Chinese, Arab, Iranian and Latin American people; voices that are finally reaching ‘the Others’ – the desolate inhabitants of the ‘global south’, the dwellers of the colonies and neo-colonies; the modern-day slaves living in the ‘client’ states.

The mask is falling down and the gangrenous face of Western propaganda is being exposed. It is awful, frightening, but at least it is what it is, for everyone to see. No more suspense, no surprises. It is all suddenly out in the open. It is frightening but honest. This is our world. This is how low our humanity has sunk. This is the so-called world order, or more precisely, neo-colonialism.

*****

The West knows how to slaughter millions, and it knows how to manipulate masses. Its propaganda has always been tough (and repeated a thousand times, not unlike corporate advertisements or the WWII fascist indoctrination campaigns) when it originates in the United States, or brilliantly Machiavellian and lethally effective when coming from the United Kingdom. Let us never forget: the U.K. has been murdering and enslaving hundreds of millions of innocent and much more advanced human beings, for many long centuries and all over the world. Due to its talent in brainwashing and manipulating the masses, Great Britain has been getting away with countless genocides, robberies and even managing to convince the world that it should be respected and allowed to retain both a moral mandate and the seat at the U.N. Security Council.

The Western regime knows how to lie, shamelessly but professionally, and above all, perpetually. There are thousands of lies piling up on top of each other, delivered with perfect upper-class ‘educated’ accents: lies about Salisbury, about Communism, Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, South Africa, Libya, refugees. There are lies about the past, present and even about the future.

Nobody is laughing, seeing such imperialist thugs like the U.K. and France preaching, all over the world and with straight face, about both freedom and human rights. Not laughing, yet. But many are slowly getting outraged.

People in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America are beginning to realize that they have been fooled, cheated, lied to; that the so called ‘education’ and ‘information’ coming from the West have been nothing else other than shameless indoctrination campaigns. For years I worked on all continents, compiling stories and testimonies about the crimes of imperialism, and about the awakening of the world, ‘summarized’ in my 840-page book,Exposing Lies Of The Empire.

Millions can now see, for the first time, that media outlets such as BBC, DW, CNN, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, have been encoding them mercilessly and thoroughly, for years and decades. Reuters, AP, AFP and several other Western press agencies, have managed to create a uniformed narrative for the entire planet, with local newspapers everywhere in the world now publishing identical fabrications that originate from Washington, London, Paris and other Western capitals. Totally false pictures about such important subjects as the Soviet Union, Communism, China, but also freedom and democracy, have been engraved into billions of human brains.

The main reason for the opening of the eyes of people of the world which is still oppressed by Western imperialism, is, the relentless work of media outlets such as the Russian-based New Eastern Outlook (NEO), RT and Sputnik, as China-based CGTN, China Radio International and China Daily, Venezuela-based TeleSur, Lebanese Al-Mayadeen, and Iranian Press TV. Of course, there are many other proud and determined anti-imperialist media outlets in various parts of the world, but the above-mentioned ones are the most important vehicles of the counter-propaganda coming from the countries that fought for their freedom and simply refused to be conquered, colonized, prostituted and brainwashed by the West.

One mighty anti-imperialist coalition of truly independent states has been forming and solidifying. It is now inspiring billions of oppressed human beings everywhere on Earth, giving them hope, promising a better, optimistic and just future. Standing at the vanguard of many positive changes and expectations is the ‘new media’.

And the West is watching, horrified, desperate and increasingly vitriolic. It is willing to destroy, to kill and to crush, just in order to stop this wave of ‘dangerous optimism’ and strive for true independence and freedom.

*****

There are now constant attacks against the new media of the free world. In the West, RT is being threatened with expulsion, brilliant and increasingly popular New Eastern Outlook (NEO) came just recently under vicious cyber-attack from, most likely, professional Western hackers. TeleSur is periodically crippled by sanctions shamefully unleashed against Venezuela, and the same banditry is targeting Iranian Press TV.

You see, the West may be responsible for billions of ruined lives everywhere in the world, but it is still faces no sanctions, no punitive actions. While countries like Russia, Iran, China, Cuba, DPRK or Venezuela have to ‘face consequences’ mainly in the form of embargos, sanctions, propaganda, direct intimidation, even military bullying, simply for refusing to accept the insane Western global dictatorship, and for choosing their own form of the government and political as well as economic system.

The West simply doesn’t seem to be able to tolerate dissent. It requires full and unconditional obedience, an absolute submission. It acts as both religious fundamentalist and a global thug. And to make things worse, its citizens appear to be so programmed or so indifferent or both, that they are not capable of comprehending what their countries and their ‘culture’ are doing to the rest of the world.

*****

When being interviewed, I am often asked: “is the world facing real danger of WWIII?”

I always reply “yes”. It is because it appears that both North America and Europe are unable to stop forcing the world into obedience and to virtual slavery. They appear to be unwilling to accept any rational and democratic arrangement on our Planet. Would they sacrifice one, tens or hundreds of millions of human beings, just in order to retain control over the universe? Definitely they would! They already have, on several occasions, without thinking twice, with no regret and no mercy.

The gamble of the Western fundamentalists is that the rest of the world is so much more decent and much less brutal, that it could not stomach yet another war, another carnage, another bloodbath; that it rather surrenders, rather gives up all its dreams for a much better future, instead of fighting and defending itself against what increasingly appears to be an inevitable Western military attack.

*****

Such calculations and ‘hopes’ of the Western fanatics are false. Countries that are now being confronted and intimidated are well aware what to expect if they give up and surrender to Western insanity and imperialist designs.

People know, they remember what it is like to be enslaved.

Russia under Yeltsin, collapsed, being plundered by Western corporations, being spat at, in the face, by the European and North American governments; its life expectancy dropped to sub-Saharan African levels.

China survived unimaginable agony of “humiliation period’, being ransacked, plundered and divided by French, British and the U.S. invaders.

Iran robbed of its legitimate and socialist government, having to live under a sadistic maniac, the Western puppet, the Shah.

The entire ‘Latin’ America, with its open veins, with ruined culture, with Western religion forced down its throat; with literally all democratically-elected socialist and Communist governments and leaders either overthrown, or directly murdered, or at least manipulated out of power by Washington and its lackeys.

North Korea, survivor of a beastly genocide against its civilians, committed by the U.S. and its allies in the so-called Korean War.

Vietnam and Laos, raped and humiliated by the French, and then bombed to the stone ages by the U.S. and its allies.

South Africa… East Timor… Cambodia…

There are living carcasses, decomposing horrid wrecks, left after the Western deadly ‘liberating’ embraces: Libya and Iraq, Afghanistan and Honduras, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to name just a few. These are serving as warnings to those who still have some illusions left about the Western ‘good will’ and spirit of justice!

Syria… Oh Syria! Just look what the West has done to a proud and beautiful country which refused to fall on its knees and lick Washington’s and London’s feet. But also, look how strong, how determined those who truly love their country can be. Against all odds, Syria stood up, it fought foreign-backed terrorists, and it won, surrounded and supported by the great internationalist coalition! The West thought it was triggering yet another Libyan scenario, but instead, it encountered an iron fist, nerves of steel, another Stalingrad. Fascism was identified, confronted and stopped. At an enormous cost, but stopped!

The entire Middle East is watching.

The entire world is watching.

People now see and they remember. They are beginning to remember clearly what happened to them. They are starting to understand. They are emboldened. They clearly comprehend that slavery is not the only way to live their lives.

*****

The Anti-Western or more precisely, anti-imperialist coalition is now solid like steel. Because it is one great coalition of victims, of people who know what rape is and what plunder is, and what thorough destruction is. They know precisely what is administered by the self-proclaimed champions of freedom and democracy – by the Western cultural and economic fundamentalism.

This coalition of independent and proud nations is here to protect itself, to protect each other, as well as the rest of the world.

It will never surrender, never back up. Because the people have spoken and they are sending clear messages to their leaders: “Never again! Do not capitulate. Do not yield to the Western intimidations. We will fight if attacked. And we will stand, proudly, on our own feet, no matter what, no matter what brutal force we have to face. Never on our knees, comrades! We will never again fall to our knees in front of those who are spreading terror!”

And the media in these wonderful countries that are resisting Western imperialism and terror is spreading countless optimistic and brave messages.

And the Western establishing is watching and shaking and soiling its pants.

It knows the end of its brutal rule over the world is approaching. It knows those days of impunity are ending. It knows the world will soon judge the West, for the centuries of crimes it has been committing against humanity.

It knows that the media war will be won by ‘us’, not by ‘them’.

The battlefield is being defined. With some bright exceptions, the Westerners and their media outlets are closing ranks, sticking to their masters. Like several other writers, I had been unceremoniously kicked out from Counterpunch, one of the increasingly anti-Communist, anti-Russian, anti-Syrian and anti-Chinese U.S.-based publications. From their point of view, I was writing for several ‘wrong’ publications. I am actually proud that they stopped publishing me. I am fine where I am: facing them, as I am facing other mass-circulation media outlets of the West.

The extent of Western ideological control of the world is degenerate, truly perverse. Its media and ‘educational’ outlets are fully at the service of the regime.

But the world is waking up and confronting this deadly cultural and political fundamentalism.

A great ideological battle is on. These are exciting, bright times. Nothing could be worse than slavery. Chains are being broken. From now on, there will be no impunity for those who have been torturing the world for centuries.

Their lies, as well as their armor, will be confronted and stopped!

• Originally published by New Eastern Outlook – NEO

 

Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Political Violence

We should be concerned about Jagmeet Singh’s support for political violence. But not the stuff that’s making news. While the media makes much of the new NDP head’s ties/indifference to Sikh violence, they’ve ignored Singh’s leadership of a party/community that has repeatedly backed Canadian aggression.

In a Rabble story on the controversy, Karl Nerenberg described Singh as the “leader of a party that has throughout its history favoured peaceful and non-violent solutions.” As such, Nerenberg called on the NDP leader to “make a stronger statement against any use of violence in furtherance of Sikh goals.”

While not downplaying the terrible human loss in the 1985 Air India bombing or disagreeable aspects of the Khalistan movement, it’s more salient to know Singh’s position on Canadian violence. Contrary to Nerenberg’s claim, the NDP has repeatedly supported Canadian aggression.

Seven years ago the NDP wholeheartedly endorsed bombing Libya, a quarter century ago it applauded the bombing of Serbia and in 1950 it cheerlead Canadian participation in the Korean War. At the beginning of the century important elements of the party backed Canada’s deployment to Afghanistan and the NDP was ambivalent towards Canadian-assisted violence in Haiti.

After the Communists took control of China in 1949 the US tried to encircle the country. They supported Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan, built military bases in Japan, backed a right-wing dictator in Thailand and tried to establish a pro-Western state in Vietnam. The success of China’s nationalist revolution also spurred the 1950-1953 Korean War in which eight Canadian warships and 27,000 Canadian troops participated. The war left as many as four million dead.

The NDP’s predecessor, the CCF, endorsed the US-led (though UN sanctioned) war in Korea. Deputy leader and party spokesperson Stanley Knowles immediately endorsed the deployment of Canadian naval units to the Western Pacific, which the government sent in case they “might be of assistance to the United Nations and Korea.” Before Ottawa committed ground troops the CCF Executive Council called for them. The CCF started to shift its position on the Korean War when Washington had the UN condemn Chinese “aggression” six months into the fighting.

The NDP backed Canada’s significant contribution to NATO’s 1999 bombing of the former Yugoslavia. Contravening international law, the 78-day bombing campaign killed hundreds and spurred the ethnic cleansing of Albanian Kosovars NATO officials claimed to be curbing. The party only turned critical over a month after the bombing began.

Important elements within the NDP initially supported Canada’s October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. Two days after the George W. Bush administration declared war, NDP leader Alexa McDonough and defence critic Peter Stoffer issued a “joint statement”, saying they “completely back the men and women in the Canadian military assigned to the U.S. coalition.”

The NDP was wishy-washy on the February 29, 2004, US/France/Canada coup in Haiti and violence that followed. In the days after the US/France/Canada military invasion NDP foreign critic Svend Robinson called for an investigation into Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s removal and asked if “regime change in Haiti” was discussed at the January 2003 Ottawa Initiative on Haiti, where high level US, Canadian and French officials deliberated on overthrowing the elected President. But, subsequent foreign critic Alexa McDonough largely stayed mum as Canada offered military, policing, diplomatic and financial support to a dictatorship and UN force that killed thousands violently suppressing Port au Prince’s poor (pro-Aristide) neighborhoods.

In 2011 the party supported two House of Commons votes endorsing the bombing of Libya. “It’s appropriate for Canada to be a part of this effort to try to stop Gadhafi from attacking his citizens as he has been threatening to do,’’ said party leader Jack Layton. But, the NATO bombing campaign was justified based on exaggerations and outright lies about the Gaddafi regime’s human rights violations as I discuss in detail in The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s foreign policy. Additionally, NATO forces explicitly contravened the UN resolutions sanctioning a no-fly zone by dispatching troops and expanding the bombing far beyond protecting civilians.

Canada also defied UN resolutions 1970 and 1973 by selling drones to the rebels. After Gaddafi was savagely killed, NDP leader Nycole Turmel released a statement noting, “the future of Libya now belongs to all Libyans. Our troops have done a wonderful job in Libya over the past few months.”

Beyond this history, there are good reasons to fear Singh will support Canadian aggression. During the leadership race he allied himself with pro-US Empire MP Hélène Laverdière and subsequently reappointed the former Canadian diplomat as NDP foreign critic. At last month’s party convention he mobilized supporters to suppress debate on the widely endorsed Palestine Resolution. Singh has also said little (or nothing) about Canada’s new defence policy, which includes a substantial boost to military spending and offensive capabilities.

In the interests of a first do no harm Canadian foreign policy, it’s time for a comprehensive discussion of Singh’s views on political violence.

Trump, North Korea and Post-Olympic Angst

With the icicles still glinting with the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic games, US President Donald Trump, like any disgruntled child, wanted to reassert his relevance.  Little Rocket Man had assumed diplomatic pose, or at the very least adopted a stance of considered caution towards his South Korean counterparts.  While the US seemed stubborn and sulky, South Korea seemed encouraged, taking Pyongyang’s gestures to heart.

This could hardly have been easy for a playtime president. He had been, to some extent, shaded by the spectacle of two Koreas marching and competing together, and murmurings of a possible summit between Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in.

The sentiment had been conveyed via an invitation from Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, that the two leaders meet.  “I hope President Moon will,” claimed Kim’s sibling envoy with historical purpose, “take the leading role to open a new chapter for unification and accomplish a legacy that will be remembered for long.”

During the Olympics, US Vice-President Mike Pence decided to damn such efforts with faint praise.

For all that President Moon has done in outreach and discussions around the Olympics and inter-Korean talks, there is no daylight between the United States and the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program.

Pence affirmed the stance by insisting that, whatever openness might be felt for talks between Washington and Pyongyang, North Korea remained, essentially, a power to be isolated in its refusal to take steps towards nuclear dismantlement.  Sanctions, for instance, would continue their biting way.  What Pence was essentially pushing for was a diplomatic option – at least for Pyongyang – with fewer bargaining chips and a less crowded deck.

This fumbling has become a policy that resists clarity with stubborn conviction.  Sanctions must be used, because they are supposedly eating into the nuclear weapons program.  This point is hard to ascertain with any certainty, given that the North Korean Army will always have first dibs at any rationed pie. “There’s no guarantee,” advances former deputy assistant secretary of State for sanctions and counter threat finance Andrew Keller, “that [Friday’s] action will ultimately be effective in preventing the illicit trade in coal and fuel with Pyongyang. As ever, showmanship is Trump’s boastful bread and butter.

On Friday, another round made their dreary appearance.  Trump deemed these the “heaviest sanctions ever” delved by a US administration.  Debate naturally ensued about the accuracy of the term, though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was pleased to note that the United States had some 450 sanctions against the DPRK.  The Friday bonanza featured some 27 shipping and trade companies, 28 vessels and an individual, all supposedly engaged in illicit trade with Pyongyang.

Whatever the effect of such muscling, it is certainly one that the President wishes to own as his own, even if it risks impairing the roads to diplomatic engagement.  On Monday, Trump assailed, in customary fashion, his predecessors on the broader issue of North Korea.  Such is the nature of a period he has come to identify as singular, unprecedented, remarkable.

“The Bush administration did nothing.  The Obama administration wanted to do something.  He told me it’s the single biggest problem.  They didn’t do anything.  It would have been much easier in those days than it is now.”

Such are the travails of an aggressive superpower’s ill-considered actions.  Maximum pressure on the North remains both dulling mantra and dirty deed, and Trump’s insistence on holding this line in public has a damp lettuce feel to it.

Wearily, he keeps insisting that talks are certainly possible with Pyongyang, only to then frame it as a matter of strict conditionality.  For good measure, he also suggests that North Korea’s refusal to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs will lead to massive “loss of lives, numbers that nobody’s ever contemplated, never thought of”.

North Korea, in turn, wants South Korea and the US to halt massive military drills that can be only construed as having one purpose: a rehearsed invasion of the North.  But military exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle are scheduled to go ahead, though after the Winter Paralympics. As the Korean Central News Agency ill-temperedly retorted, “The Trump group’s racket for resuming the war exercises is a wild act of ruthlessly tramping even a small sprout of peace that has been now seen on the Korean Peninsula.”

In the meantime, the stalemate between the powers will continue to yield room for the Kim nuclear option, while also adding thrills to the sanctions lobby.  It seems that little else gets done on the Hill these days on foreign policy other than pushing the next sanctions agenda.  Ultimately, Washington is asking the impossible at first instance: a North Korea which promises, in advance, to remove its most sacred pillar in favour of talks it has yet to experience.  Sensibility may well have to come from the South Korean side in what promises to be a continuing scrap.

Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire

Only in the world of comic-book fantasies is the United States a friend to the oppressed in Africa or anywhere else on the planet. In the real world, the U.S. is a predator, colonial/capitalist nation. But like the imagined nation of Wakanda, in the latest cultural assault on critical mass consciousness, “American exceptionalism” and “make America great again” – two slogans representing both sides of the imperialist coin, ruling class interests are obscured and the people are reduced to working against their objective interests and being accomplices to imperial lawlessness.

In every part of the world, the United States is engaged in maniacal, criminal assaults on democracy, basic human decency and common sense.  From its support for armed jihadists groups in Syria and its illegal occupation of that nation, transferring heavy military equipment to its puppet regime in Ukraine, supporting unending war in Afghanistan, to the military invasion of Africa, the commitment to maintaining U.S. global dominance has moved war and militarism to the center of U.S. strategy.

But nowhere is U.S. criminality more apparent and unrelenting than right here in the Americas where the Pan-European project was born in 1492. That was the year “Europe” was born, emerging from its relative cultural backwardness using with terrifying efficiency the only advantage it had over the more civilized people of the region—armor protection and steel weapons—to slaughter the people, take the land and begin the 500-hundred-year nightmare the people of the world have suffered ever since.

Today, the barbarism of the Pan-European project continues under the tutelage of what history will record—if humanity survives—as the most violent, racist, oppressive human experience ever to have emerged in the short span of human existence on Earth: The United States of America.

After centuries experiencing the horrors of genocide, slavery, military dictatorships, environmental destruction, and neoliberal exploitation, the people of Latin America began to slowly extract themselves from the clutches of the hegemon from the North. Social movements and peoples undeterred by coups, structural adjustment and death squads started to take back their history in Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, and the rest of the continent. Venezuela has led the way, proclaiming the dawn of a 21st century socialism that would create the new society and the new human in the process.

Because of imperial overreach, the same trap that has ensnared other empires in decline, the U.S. was preoccupied with attempting to manage the mess it had created for itself as a result of the disastrous belief that it could fight two major wars simultaneously. So, while it was bogged down in Western Asia and the so-called “Middle East”, the full force of the U.S. repressive apparatus was not deployed against the fledgling people’s movements and the nominal capture of the state by those movements in Latin America. Of course, the United States helped to engineer a failed coup against Hugo Chavez and it continued training police and military forces in the region. But it wasn’t until the administration of Barack Obama that the deadly gaze of the United States began to really re-focus on Latin America, with Venezuela as its main target.

In what appears on the surface to be a ludicrous position, Barack Obama declared Venezuela a threat to U.S. national security on three different occasions. However, the United States is the enforcer for the global capitalist system and the head of the white, Western, capitalist united front. With that in mind, seeing Venezuela as a threat made sense. Venezuela has been the driving force for the nations of the Americas south of the U.S. border attempting to free themselves from the yoke of U.S. imperialism.

The Trump administration took up with enthusiasm the policy of destabilization, subversion, and economic warfare that was intensified under the Obama administration. Violent regime change is now clearly the objective of the administration. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for the Venezuelan military to overthrow the government while on a visit to the region and reports have surfaced of military forces from Colombia and Brazil being deployed to their respective borders with Venezuela.

Another clear sign that the lives of the people of Venezuela will be sacrificed with violent regime change is the collapse of the dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the counter-revolutionary opposition that had been taking place for almost two years. Up until just a few days ago, it appeared an agreement was in place for a peaceful political resolution.

The move toward a violent intervention became more apparent when discussions abruptly ended as the opposition decided not to sign an agreement designed to move both parties toward an eventual political resolution.

Concerned about the general disarray among the opposition and the fact that the ruling party and government won 18 out of 23 governorships in regional elections in October 2017, the Trump administration announced that it would not recognize the results of the upcoming Presidential election to be held April 22. All the evidence points to the administration, along with the Venezuela oligarchy, opting for a strategy of regime change, even though it will result in mass slaughter and the dictatorship that the United States pretends to be opposed to in Venezuela.

The moves by the Trump administration represent an ominous re-introduction of the worst imperialist excesses of the late 20th century, where violent coups were the preferred response to any threats to the rule of capital and U.S. imperialist control. Yet, what is even more ominous about the situation unfolding in Venezuela is that unlike a few decades ago, when there was a vocal and active radical and left opposition to U.S. imperialism, the left and many radicals in the U.S. are in open class collaboration with imperialism.

The left in the United States and Western Europe has completely abandoned any idea of solidarity with global South’s revolutionary projects. A bizarre example of the reactionary nature of the European left was the European Parliament awarding the Sakharov Freedom Prize to the Venezuelan “opposition,” a group that has openly attacked journalists and burned alive two dozen people of primarily Black or dark complexions who they assumed were probably government supporters because they were poor and black. Clearly for the representatives in the European Union’s only democratic body, the integrity of the press and “Black lives” really don’t matter!

The courageous struggle of the Venezuelan people to defend their national sovereignty and dignity in the face of the murderous intentions of their North American neighbors and the racist obsequious Venezuelan oligarchy deserves the support of all true anti-imperialists. Whatever failure or internal contradiction we see in the Bolivarian process does not outweigh the principle that anti-imperialists must support national independence, especially when a nation is in the cross hairs of the greatest gangster nation on the planet.

For those of us who inhibit the colonized Black and Brown zones of non-being, as Fanon referred to them, to not resist the white supremacist, colonial/capitalist patriarchy at the center of the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination is moral and political suicide.

When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson orders the Venezuelan opposition to undermine the agreement to stabilize the situation in Venezuela while simultaneously undermining the internal Korea efforts toward de-escalating the tensions between North and South Korea, we see the familiar hand of classic European colonialist divide-and-rule tactics that propelled them to global dominance and continues to give Western imperialism a lease on life.

But for James “Mad Dog” Mattis, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and all the Mad Dogs of empire, the people of the world have seen behind the curtain and are not impressed with the diversionary smoke and fire of your weapons and bellicosity. The people know they have the cure for the virus that affects you, but you will not be happy with their treatment plan.

War Preparations Against Venezuela As Election Nears

Since we published “Regime Change Fails: Is a Military Coup or Invasion Next,” we received more information showing steps toward preparing for a potential military attack on Venezuela. Stopping this war needs to become a top priority for the peace movement.

Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) published a newsletter that reported “troubling news of an impending military assault on the sovereign nation of Venezuela by states and forces allied with the United States.” Ajamu Baraka, the director, said the US is concerned that President Maduro will win the April 22 election, which would mean six more years in office. BAP urges people to include “No War On Venezuela” in actions being planned from February 16-23 for the 115th anniversary of the United States occupying Guantanamo.

Is the Path to War Through Border Disputes?

One way to start a war would be a cross-border dispute between Venezuela and Colombia, Brazil or Guyana. On February 12, the Maritime Herald reported that Admiral Kurt Tidd, head of the US Southern Command, arrived in Colombia just two days after the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with President Juan Manuel Santos as part of Tillerson’s unprecedented regime change tour. Tidd met with Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas and other senior officials to coordinate efforts around “regional stability” with a focus on Venezuela.

The Maritime Herald also reports US troops coming to Colombian military bases, paramilitaries coming to Colombian towns along the Venezuelan border, plans for “a joint naval force between the United States, Colombia and Mexico,” and arrival of a contingent of 415 members of the United States Air Force to Panama to create support and logistics points for the operation against Venezuela. Also important are two fast-acting US military bases installed in the communities of Vichada and Leticia, Colombia, bordering Venezuela.

Both Columbia and Brazil have deployed more troops to their borders with Venezuela. Colombian President Santos ordered “the deployment of 3000 additional security personnel to the Venezuelan border. This figure included 2,120 more soldiers.” The decision came the day before officials from the US Southern Command met in Colombia to “discuss security cooperation.” Brazil also announced plans to “double its border patrols on the Venezuelan frontier.” The excuse for these increased deployments was due to Venezuelan migrants crossing the border into Colombia and Brazil.

To calm these concerns, President Maduro called for a meeting between Venezuelan authorities and Colombia over security concerns along their border. The Colombian government estimates that 450,000 Venezuelan migrants have entered the country in the last 18 months.  Maduro said that official numbers did not equate to a “massive exodus” and reminded Colombia that during the Colombian civil war with the FARC, 5.6 million Colombians crossed the border to make Venezuela their home.

The corporate intelligence firm, Stratfor, which works closely with the US government, recently  published a report that could be laying the groundwork for a border dispute. Stratfor wrote that Brazilian intelligence officials are going to meet with Guyana’s officials to warn them that Venezuela is planning to attack Guyana. There is a long-term dispute over land between Venezuela and Guyana that is being litigated before the International Court of Justice. The report includes a questionable claim that there is an “ongoing dialogue with the Trump administration over the terms of President Nicolas Maduro and his party’s departure from power.” The reality is that President Maduro is preparing for the April election.

In response to these actions, President Maduro announced the Venezuelan armed forces will carry out military exercises on February 24 and 25 in “defense” of the nation to fine tune the movement of “tanks, missiles and helicopters as part of the nation’s defense strategy.”

Upcoming Elections in Venezuela

The opposition in Venezuela has been seeking presidential elections since 2016 when they presented a petition for the recall of President Maduro. They claimed to collect enough signatures, but there were allegations of voter fraud, including thousands of dead people’s names listed on the petitions.

Violent protests followed rejection of the petition and Henrique Capriles set a deadline for an election in November 2016, threatening larger protests. On November 1, opposition leader Henry Ramos, the head of the national assembly, announced cancellation of the protests.  The opposition still pressed for an election. The government announced a special election to be held in February or March of 2018.

Now, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza announced:

We have a date for the presidential election, which is the date proposed by the opposition, April 22. Furthermore, we have the electoral guarantees proposed by the opposition, so we are going to the elections and the Venezuelan people will decide their future with democracy and votes.

Officials of the Dominican Republic observers guaranteeing the legitimacy of the elections. Venezuela will invite the United Nations and others to also serve as observers. Despite this, the United States and members of the right wing Lima Group of US allies, say they will not recognize the elections.

Does the Trump Administration Want War to “Unify the Country”

President Trump’s divisive presidency has left him unpopular in the polls. Hours before his State of the Union speech, Trump told television news anchors, “I would love to be able to bring back our country into a great form of unity. Without a major event where people pull together, that’s hard to do. But I would like to do it without that major event because usually that major event is not a good thing.”

We hope President Trump is not looking at the increase in public support that President George W. Bush received after he attacked Iraq as a model for his administration. Instead, he should remember President Lyndon Johnson being driven from office after his landslide election because of the Vietnam war.

The Trump administration has failed in its attempts to instigate war with North Korea and Iran. The terrible diplomatic performance of Vice President Pence at the Olympic games, where the two Koreas began to make progress toward peace and unification, puts the US in a weaker position to threaten North Korea. President Kim invited President Moon to North Korea to continue peace talks. Now there is rising hope for an agreement between the two Koreas.

Similarly, the protests in Iran, which the US may have encouraged, fizzled. When the US brought the protests to the UN Security Council and used them to call for action against Iran, the US was isolated. Countries asked whether the UN should have taken action against the US after the protests in Ferguson over the police killing of Michael Brown. The protests also exposed massive US spending to create opposition to the government in Iran, as well as coordination with Israel.

Stopping the US Attack on Venezuela

In our last article, we indicated the reasons for the threat of a military coup and military attack were because Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves and because Venezuela has set an example of breaking from US dominance of the region and challenging capitalism.

In addition, economic sanctions have pushed Venezuela to have closer relations with Russia and China to circumvent US sanctions.  The US does not want these global rivals in what it has considered its backyard since the Monroe Doctrine.

Finally, the US is concerned with Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency, which will launch within days and be backed by 5.3 billion barrels of oil worth $267 billion. The cryptocurrency is a bid to offset Venezuela’s deep financial crisis. This threatens US economic domination.

We must expose the reasons for increasing US aggression towards Venezuela and work to counter misinformation in the media that is attempting to build support for a military conflict with Venezuela. Here are actions you can take:

  1. Use this tool to contact your Members of Congress. Urge them to use diplomacy with Venezuela and to stop the sanctions, which are a deadly form of economic warfare. CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION.
  2. Share this newsletter widely in your community and through social media.
  3. Join the actions on February 23 with messages of “US out of Guantanamo” and “No war with Venezuela.”

Let’s stop this next war before it begins!