Archive | North Korea

A Murderous History of Korea

More than four decades ago I went to lunch with a diplomatic historian who, like me, was going through Korea-related documents at the National Archives in Washington. He happened to remark that he sometimes wondered whether the Korean Demilitarised Zone might be ground zero for the end of the world. This April, Kim In-ryong, a North Korean diplomat at the UN, warned of ‘a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment’. A few days later, President Trump told Reuters that

‘we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea.’

American atmospheric scientists have shown that even a relatively contained nuclear war would throw up enough soot and debris to threaten the global population:

‘A regional war between India and Pakistan, for instance, has the potential to dramatically damage Europe, the US and other regions through global ozone loss and climate change.’

How is it possible that we have come to this? How does a puffed-up, vainglorious narcissist, whose every other word may well be a lie (that applies to both of them, Trump and Kim Jong-un), come not only to hold the peace of the world in his hands but perhaps the future of the planet? We have arrived at this point because of an inveterate unwillingness on the part of Americans to look history in the face and a laser-like focus on that same history by the leaders of North Korea.

North Korea celebrated the 85th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People’s Army on 25 April, amid round-the-clock television coverage of parades in Pyongyang and enormous global tension. No journalist seemed interested in asking why it was the 85th anniversary when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was only founded in 1948. What was really being celebrated was the beginning of the Korean guerrilla struggle against the Japanese in north-east China, officially dated to 25 April 1932.

Image result for korean guerrilla struggle against japan 1932

After Japan annexed Korea in 1910, many Koreans fled across the border, among them the parents of Kim Il-sung, but it wasn’t until Japan established its puppet state of Manchukuo in March 1932 that the independence movement turned to armed resistance. Kim and his comrades launched a campaign that lasted 13 difficult years, until Japan finally relinquished control of Korea as part of the 1945 terms of surrender. This is the source of the North Korean leadership’s legitimacy in the eyes of its people: they are revolutionary nationalists who resisted their country’s coloniser; they resisted again when a massive onslaught by the US air force during the Korean War razed all their cities, driving the population to live, work and study in subterranean shelters; they have continued to resist the US ever since; and they even resisted the collapse of Western communism – as of this September, the DPRK will have been in existence for as long as the Soviet Union. But it is less a communist country than a garrison state, unlike any the world has seen. Drawn from a population of just 25 million, the North Korean army is the fourth largest in the world, with 1.3 million soldiers – just behind the third largest army, with 1.4 million soldiers, which happens to be the American one. Most of the adult Korean population, men and women, have spent many years in this army: its reserves are limited only by the size of the population.

Image result for Kim Il-sung 1932The story of Kim Il-sung’s resistance against the Japanese is surrounded by legend and exaggeration in the North, and general denial in the South. But he was recognisably a hero: he fought for a decade in the harshest winter environment imaginable, with temperatures sometimes falling to 50° below zero. Recent scholarship has shown that Koreans made up the vast majority of guerrillas in Manchukuo, even though many of them were commanded by Chinese officers (Kim was a member of the Chinese Communist Party). Other Korean guerrillas led detachments too – among them Choe Yong-gon, Kim Chaek and Choe Hyon – and when they returned to Pyongyang in 1945 they formed the core of the new regime. Their offspring now constitute a multitudinous elite – the number two man in the government today, Choe Ryong-hae, is Choe Hyon’s son.

Kim’s reputation was inadvertently enhanced by the Japanese, whose newspapers made a splash of the battle between him and the Korean quislings whom the Japanese employed to track down and kill him, all operating under the command of General Nozoe Shotoku, who ran the Imperial Army’s ‘Special Kim Division’. In April 1940 Nozoe’s forces captured Kim Hye-sun, thought to be Kim’s first wife; the Japanese tried in vain to use her to lure Kim out of hiding, and then murdered her. Maeda Takashi headed another Japanese Special Police unit, with many Koreans in it; in March 1940 his forces came under attack from Kim’s guerrillas, with both sides suffering heavy casualties. Maeda pursued Kim for nearly two weeks, before stumbling into a trap. Kim threw 250 guerrillas at 150 soldiers in Maeda’s unit, killing Maeda, 58 Japanese, 17 others attached to the force, and taking 13 prisoners and large quantities of weapons and ammunition.

In September 1939, when Hitler was invading Poland, the Japanese mobilised what the scholar Dae-Sook Suh has described as a ‘massive punitive expedition’ consisting of six battalions of the Japanese Kwantung Army and twenty thousand men of the Manchurian Army and police force in a six-month suppression campaign against the guerrillas led by Kim and Ch’oe Hyon. In September 1940 an even larger force embarked on a counterinsurgency campaign against Chinese and Korean guerrillas:

‘The punitive operation was conducted for one year and eight months until the end of March 1941,’ Suh writes, ‘and the bandits, excluding those led by Kim Il-sung, were completely annihilated. The bandit leaders were shot to death or forced to submit.’

A vital figure in the long Japanese counterinsurgency effort was Kishi Nobusuke, who made a name for himself running munitions factories. Labelled a Class A war criminal during the US occupation, Kishi avoided incarceration and became one of the founding fathers of postwar Japan and its longtime ruling organ, the Liberal Democratic Party; he was prime minister twice between 1957 and 1960. The current Japanese prime minister, Abe Shinzo, is Kishi’s grandson and reveres him above all other Japanese leaders. Trump was having dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Abe on 11 February when a pointed message arrived mid-meal, courtesy of Pyongyang: it had just successfully tested a new, solid-fuel missile, fired from a mobile launcher. Kim Il-sung and Kishi are meeting again through their grandsons. Eight decades have passed, and the baleful, irreconcilable hostility between North Korea and Japan still hangs in the air.

In the West, treatment of North Korea is one-sided and ahistorical. No one even gets the names straight. During Abe’s Florida visit, Trump referred to him as ‘Prime Minister Shinzo’. On 29 April, Ana Navarro, a prominent commentator on CNN, said: ‘Little boy Un is a maniac.’ The demonisation of North Korea transcends party lines, drawing on a host of subliminal racist and Orientalist imagery; no one is willing to accept that North Koreans may have valid reasons for not accepting the American definition of reality. Their rejection of the American worldview – generally perceived as indifference, even insolence in the face of overwhelming US power – makes North Korea appear irrational, impossible to control, and therefore fundamentally dangerous.

But if American commentators and politicians are ignorant of Korea’s history, they ought at least to be aware of their own. US involvement in Korea began towards the end of the Second World War, when State Department planners feared that Soviet soldiers, who were entering the northern part of the peninsula, would bring with them as many as thirty thousand Korean guerrillas who had been fighting the Japanese in north-east China. They began to consider a full military occupation that would assure America had the strongest voice in postwar Korean affairs. It might be a short occupation or, as a briefing paper put it, it might be one of ‘considerable duration’; the main point was that no other power should have a role in Korea such that ‘the proportionate strength of the US’ would be reduced to ‘a point where its effectiveness would be weakened’. Congress and the American people knew nothing about this. Several of the planners were Japanophiles who had never challenged Japan’s colonial claims in Korea and now hoped to reconstruct a peaceable and amenable postwar Japan. They worried that a Soviet occupation of Korea would thwart that goal and harm the postwar security of the Pacific. Following this logic, on the day after Nagasaki was obliterated, John J. McCloy of the War Department asked Dean Rusk and a colleague to go into a spare office and think about how to divide Korea. They chose the 38th parallel, and three weeks later 25,000 American combat troops entered southern Korea to establish a military government.

It lasted three years. To shore up their occupation, the Americans employed every last hireling of the Japanese they could find, including former officers in the Japanese military like Park Chung Hee and Kim Chae-gyu, both of whom graduated from the American military academy in Seoul in 1946. (After a military takeover in 1961 Park became president of South Korea, lasting a decade and a half until his ex-classmate Kim, by then head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, shot him dead over dinner one night.) After the Americans left in 1948 the border area around the 38th parallel was under the command of Kim Sok-won, another ex-officer of the Imperial Army, and it was no surprise that after a series of South Korean incursions into the North, full-scale civil war broke out on 25 June 1950. Inside the South itself – whose leaders felt insecure and conscious of the threat from what they called ‘the north wind’ – there was an orgy of state violence against anyone who might somehow be associated with the left or with communism. The historian Hun Joon Kim found that at least 300,000 people were detained and executed or simply disappeared by the South Korean government in the first few months after conventional war began. My own work and that of John Merrill indicates that somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people died as a result of political violence before June 1950, at the hands either of the South Korean government or the US occupation forces. In her recent book Korea’s Grievous War, which combines archival research, records of mass graves and interviews with relatives of the dead and escapees who fled to Osaka, Su-kyoung Hwang documents the mass killings in villages around the southern coast.

In short, the Republic of Korea was one of the bloodiest dictatorships of the early Cold War period; many of the perpetrators of the massacres had served the Japanese in their dirty work – and were then put back into power by the Americans.

Americans like to see themselves as mere bystanders in postwar Korean history. It’s always described in the passive voice: ‘Korea was divided in 1945,’ with no mention of the fact that McCloy and Rusk, two of the most influential men in postwar foreign policy, drew their line without consulting anyone. There were two military coups in the South while the US had operational control of the Korean army, in 1961 and 1980; the Americans stood idly by lest they be accused of interfering in Korean politics. South Korea’s stable democracy and vibrant economy from 1988 onwards seem to have overridden any need to acknowledge the previous forty years of history, during which the North could reasonably claim that its own autocracy was necessary to counter military rule in Seoul. It’s only in the present context that the North looks at best like a walking anachronism, at worst like a vicious tyranny. For 25 years now the world has been treated to scaremongering about North Korean nuclear weapons, but hardly anyone points out that it was the US that introduced nuclear weapons into the Korean peninsula, in 1958; hundreds were kept there until a worldwide pullback of tactical nukes occurred under George H.W. Bush. But every US administration since 1991 has challenged North Korea with frequent flights of nuclear-capable bombers in South Korean airspace, and any day of the week an Ohio-class submarine could demolish the North in a few hours. Today there are 28,000 US troops stationed in Korea, perpetuating an unwinnable stand-off with the nuclear-capable North. The occupation did indeed turn out to be one of ‘considerable duration’, but it’s also the result of a colossal strategic failure, now entering its eighth decade. It’s common for pundits to say that Washington just can’t take North Korea seriously, but North Korea has taken its measure more than once. And it doesn’t know how to respond.

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To hear Trump and his national security team tell it, the current crisis has come about because North Korea is on the verge of developing an ICBM that can hit the American heartland. Most experts think that it will take four or five years to become operational – but really, what difference does it make? North Korea tested its first long-range rocket in 1998, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the DPRK’s founding. The first medium-range missile was tested in 1992: it flew several hundred miles down range and banged the target right on the nose. North Korea now has more sophisticated mobile medium-range missiles that use solid fuel, making them hard to locate and easy to fire. Some two hundred million people in Korea and Japan are within range of these missiles, not to mention hundreds of millions of Chinese, not to mention the only US Marine division permanently stationed abroad, in Okinawa. It isn’t clear that North Korea can actually fit a nuclear warhead to any of its missiles – but if it happened, and if it was fired in anger, the country would immediately be turned into what Colin Powell memorably called ‘a charcoal briquette’.

But then, as General Powell well knew, we had already turned North Korea into a charcoal briquette. The filmmaker Chris Marker visited the country in 1957, four years after US carpet-bombing ended, and wrote:

Extermination passed over this land. Who could count what burned with the houses? … When a country is split in two by an artificial border and irreconcilable propaganda is exercised on each side, it’s naive to ask where the war comes from: the border is the war.’

Having recognised the primary truth of that war, one still alien to the American telling of it (even though Americans drew the border), he remarked:

‘The idea that North Koreans generally have of Americans may be strange, but I must say, having lived in the USA around the end of the Korean War, that nothing can equal the stupidity and sadism of the combat imagery that went into circulation at the time. “The Reds burn, roast and toast.”’

Since the very beginning, American policy has cycled through a menu of options to try and control the DPRK: sanctions, in place since 1950, with no evidence of positive results; non-recognition, in place since 1948, again with no positive results; regime change, attempted late in 1950 when US forces invaded the North, only to end up in a war with China; and direct talks, the only method that has ever worked, which produced an eight-year freeze – between 1994 and 2002 – on all the North’s plutonium facilities, and nearly succeeded in retiring their missiles. On 1 May, Donald Trump told Bloomberg News:

‘If it would be appropriate for me to meet with [Kim Jong-un], I would absolutely; I would be honoured to do it.’

There’s no telling whether this was serious, or just another Trump attempt to grab headlines. But whatever else he might be, he is unquestionably a maverick, the first president since 1945 not beholden to the Beltway. Maybe he can sit down with Mr Kim and save the planet.

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Pyongyang slams ‘Israel’ as ‘disturber of peace armed with illegal nukes under US patronage’

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Image result for ISRAELI NUCLEAR CARTOON

North Korea has accused the Jewish Nazi regime of being the “only illegal possessor” of nukes and threat to peace in the Middle East, and threatened Tel Aviv with a “thousand-fold punishment” after Nazi Defense Minister called Pyongyang’s leadership a “crazy and radical group.”

In an interview with Hebrew news site Walla this week, Nazi Avigdor Lieberman stated that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is a “madman” in charge of a “crazy and radical group” which is “undermining global stability.”

Pyongyang “seems to have crossed the red line with its recent nuclear tests,” the Nazi defense minister said, according to the Times of Israel.

In response, Pyongyang promised a “thousand-fold punishment to whoever dares hurt the dignity of its supreme leadership,” calling Nazi Lieberman’s “sordid and wicked” remarks a part of Nazi regime smear campaign to cover up its own crimes.

Firing back at the perceived hypocrisy, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that, unlike the Jewish Nazi regime, which is a “disturber of peace” in its neighborhood, their country is fully entitled to seek deterrence against “US aggression.”

“Israel is the only illegal possessor of nukes in the Middle East under the patronage of the US. However, Israel vociferated about the nuclear deterrence of the DPRK, slandering it, whenever an opportunity presented itself,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said, as cited by state-run agency KCNA.

While Nazi regime has never publicly confirmed or denied possessing nukes, it is universally believed to have dozens of warheads, and maintains ambiguous policy that it will not be the first to “introduce” them in the Middle East.

“The DPRK’s access to nuclear weapons is the legitimate exercise of its righteous right for self-defense to cope with the US provocative moves for aggression and the DPRK’s nuclear force is the treasured sword of justice firmly defending peace on the Korean peninsula and in the region,”  the North Korean statement added.

Pyongyang went on to call ‘Israel’ a “culprit of crimes against humanity” and an “occupier” which seeks to dominate the region and oppress Palestinians.

Nazi Lieberman’s remarks also sparked criticism at home, with some Nazi politicians noting that their country has enough enemies to create even more with such reckless statements.

“We have enough enemies. Let’s focus on them,” MP Shelly Yachimovich of the Zionist Union said on Twitter.

“The minister of talk is chattering irresponsibly about North Korea. And there is no prime minister to rein in the babbling and posturing ministers,” former defense minister Nazi Moshe Ya’alon wrote on Twitter, Times of Israel reports.

Already heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated further on Saturday after the North conducted yet another failed test of its ballistic rocket technology. The test was conducted as US kicked off joint naval exercises with South Korea just after the US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Carl Vinson entered the Sea of Japan.

For some time now, it has been speculated that Pyongyang is also getting ready to conduct its sixth nuclear test. Speaking about North Korea on Saturday, Trump noted that neither China nor the US would welcome a further North Korean nuclear test.

“I would not be happy,” Trump said in a CBS interview for Sunday’s Face the Nation. When asked if the sixth Korean nuclear test would prompt American military action, Trump responded: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.”

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Anti-DPRK Propaganda War – a Cavalcade of Comedy

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dprk 123

People living in western Europe and North America are bombarded with stories about north Korea – often centred around rumour, mysterious ‘intelligence’ sources, or the south Korean and US governments.

Most stories are nothing but rumours, spread to portray the DPRK as crazy and unpredictable, but now, more and more often, we are seeing major news sources such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, and the Independent being forced to apologise and write retractions after these blatant lies have been exposed.

This writer’s favourite example is a story published this year by Yonhap news agency (a south Korean news company) claiming that south Korea had ‘captured a spy drone’ from the north.

The ‘drone’ was examined by the south Korean military and, upon closer inspection, was revealed to be the door of a portable toilet and not, after all, a piece of sophisticated military hardware.

RT wrote a story in response titled ‘Truth flushed out:”Crashed drone” near Seoul is portable toilet door’.

RT: http://rt.com/news/158980-korea-drone-crashed-door/

Think about this for a second.

The USA can fly heavily-armed bombing or hi-tech surveillance drones over foreign countries with no objection from imperialist politicians and media. It can blow up weddings and kill scores of innocent people in countries where it has no jurisdiction without consequences. But if the DPRK is suspected of fling a single unarmed drone within its own borders then the world needs to be alerted to its ‘criminal’ activity.

The emperor can light entire villages on fire but the people are forbidden from lighting a single candle.

But not only did the ‘drone’ turn out to be the door of a portable toilet, but YTN (a south Korean news channel) superimposed an image of the ‘drone’ onto a photograph of Kim Jong-un.

Now we’ve established the level of desperation that the bourgeoisie media go to ridicule the DPRK, let’s have a brief look at some of the other ludicrous stories that have emerged in the last few years – this cavalcade of comedy is a gift that keeps on giving.

1. North Korea discovers a unicorn lair

In 2012, a story spread which asked us to believe that the DPRK was claiming to have discovered the lair of a unicorn and this was a conformation that the people there believe the creatures really exist.

In reality, DPRK archaeologists had reported the discovery of a rock with engravings that translated to “unicorn lair” and that this was an important archaeological site that referred to an ancient legend of a unicorn ridden by King Tongmyong – one of the founders of the kingdoms of Korea 2,000 years ago.

One of the first western media sources to report this was a media source called USnews, and the Guardian was among the many papers that repeated the story. It later printed a retraction, blaming the original on a mistranslation.

USnews: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/11/30/north-korea-says-its-found-a-unicorn-lair

Guardian repeat: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/30/unicorn-lair-discovered-north-korea

Guardian retraction: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/dec/05/north-korea

2. Execution by pack of dogs

Following the arrest of DPRK political official Jang Song-thaek on charges of corruption, the media went wild with stories that he had reportedly been fed to a pack of starving dogs.

The British Independent spread the story that Kim Jong-un’s uncle had been fed to a pack of hungry dogs, but later published a retraction admitting the story was satire.

According to the Independent, “The story was nonetheless reported by the English-language Singapore daily Straits Times, and from there quickly made headlines around the western world.

Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/kim-jonguns-executed-uncle-jang-song-thaek-stripped-naked-fed-to-120-dogs-as-officials-watched-9037109.html

Independent retraction: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/kim-jongun-uncle-fed-to-120-dogs-story-begun-by-chinese-satirist-9042072.html

Explanation on RT with George Galloway and Keith Bennet from the CPGB-ML:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7_GnhOSEyY&list

3. Executions for watching foreign films

This was another satire story that was shared by the Independent as fact.

The Independent said “Seoul’s Joong Ang Ilbo daily reported that the killings were carried out in seven separate cities on 3 November, with an alleged 10,000 people forced to attend one group execution held in a sports stadium in the eastern port city Wonsan.

This story might seem solid on the front – that is, if we didn’t live in the information age, where a quick YouTube search for Pyongyang’s 13th International Film Festival can prove this story false.

The festival featured films from countries including France, Indonesia, China, Pakistan, Egypt, Russia and Switzerland (and a joint film was made by artists from Britain and the DPRK called Comrade Kim Goes Flying).

Germany won Best Actor for Daniel Brühl in a film called Der Ganz Grosse Traum des Konrad Koch, a movie about an English teacher in a German boarding school who upsets the strict rigged order of the school to teach the children football.

He also played parts in films such as The Fith EstateInglorious Bastards7 Days in Havana,Eva, and Goodbye Lenin.

Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/north-korea-executes-80-people-for-watching-foreign-films-8932104.html

Pyongyang 13th International Film Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCPZJ6plxR0

Daniel Brühl and his movie, Der Ganz Grosse Traum des Konrad Koch:http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/daniel-bruhl-kicks-german-soccer-25223

4. Kim Jong-un executed his girlfriend

The Chosun Ilbo published a story saying “Sources in China said singer Hyon Song-wol as well as Mun Kyong-jin, head of the Unhasu Orchestra, were arrested on 17 August for violating north Korean laws against pornography and were executed in public three days later.

The article went on to say they were accused of videotaping themselves having sex and selling the videos. The tapes have apparently gone on sale in China as well.

The Huffington PostBusiness Insider and the Telegraph repeated the story that Hyon Song-Wol had been executed.

However, after some time had passed the Telegraph published a retraction admitting that Ms Hyon had actually appeared alive and well on television.

Business Insider wrote that the reported ‘sex tape’ was actually a video of a woman dancing to Elvis Presley’s, Aloha Oe.

Chosun Ilbo: http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/08/29/2013082901412.html

Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/hyon-song-wol-pornographic-video-kim-jong-un-ex-girlfriend-2013-9

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/08/29/kim-jong-uns-ex-lover-hyon-song-wol-executed-north-korean-firing-squad-sex-tape_n_3835131.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/10272953/Kim-Jong-uns-ex-lover-executed-by-firing-squad.html

Telegraph retraction: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/10837897/Executed-Kim-Jong-Un-girlfriend-reappears-on-North-Korea-television.html

5. How Americans live

In 2013, a short film entitled How Americans Live spread on YouTube.

The film featured film scenes from the USA with an English narrator making over-the-top claims about how the people there were forced to eat snow for sustenance.

Spencer Ackerman of WIRED called the film evidence of a “north Korean propaganda video” while the Washington Post, in its ‘analysis’, declared that the video’s “message is consistent with north Korean propaganda“.

The film actually turned out to be satire posted by the British travel writer Alun Hill.

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/how-americans-live-today-north-korea-fake-video_n_2868121.html

There are far too many such stories for us to dismantle them all, but these are just a sample of the most prominent.

If you would like to get behind the hostile imperialist propaganda barrage and understand a little more of the truth about the DPRK, we recommend this short interview with CPGB-ML member Keith Bennet on George Galloway’s RT programme Sputnik:

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The Korean War and Crimes against Humanity: Forgotten When We Need to Remember

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The world is so constructed that unless we look at what’s happened in the past, we won’t be able to deal with the present.

“ON JANUARY 3 [1951] AT 10:30 AM, AN ARMADE OF 82 FLYING FORTRESSES LOOSED THEIR DEATH-DEALING LOAD ON THE CITY OF PYONGYANG. … 

“THE NUMBER OF INHABITANTS OF PYONGYANG KILLED BY BOMB SPLINTERS, BURNT ALIVE AND SUFFOCATED BY SMOKE IS INCALCULABLE, SINCE NO COMPUTATION IS POSSIBLE. SOME FIFTY THOUSAND INHABITANTS REMAIN IN THE CITY, WHICH BEFORE THE WAR HAD A POPULATION OF FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND.” [UN Repository]

With tension ever mounting in the Korean peninsular, all the higher every year with US bombers conducting annual drills over South Korea within direct strike range of North Korea, it is notable and deeply regrettable the West has lost all sight and memory of the enormous suffering of the Korean people in the Korean War 1950-53.

How can we ever in the West begin to understand the large scale militarisation of North Korea if, in the US and UK in particular, political assessment and judgement takes no account of Korean history?

North Korea was as a matter of historical fact through the Korean war carpet bombed for three years by US bombers. There was, after the first months of the war, mounting air defences in northern most North Korea bordering China, including Russian MIG fighters but, none-the-less, US B29s bombing was for most of the war free-range over the whole peninsular

To quote from testament from both sides,

“The US airforce destroyed every town and village in north Korea”. “The destruction was enormous”.

In the  words of Air Force General Curtis LeMay:

“We burned down every town in North Korea …. over a period of three years or so we killed – what – 20 percent of the population”.

And this including the very worst of it large scale use of napalm. To quote Senator John Glenn, then a major in the US air force before becoming an astronaut:

“We did a lot of napalm work dropping fuel tanks loaded with napalm, flying in low, called a Nape Scrape”.

Napalm, jellied petroleum and phosphorus. No-one likes to spell it out but people quite simply burn to death.

In all some 600,000 tons of bombs were dropped on the towns and villages and cities of the country. That is well over a million concussion bombs, along with 40 million gallons of high octane napalm. And to add to this, in the final stages of the war, mass bombing (1,514 sorties) of Sui-ho hydro-electric and irrigation dams (the world’s fourth largest) on the Yalu River then flooding and destroying huge areas of northern farmland and crops.

“Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.10 Only emergency assistance from China, the USSR, and other socialist countries prevented widespread famine”. [Asia-Pacific Journal 2009]

In the words of Professor Charles Armstrong, Director of the Centre for Korean Research, Columbia University:

“The physical destruction and loss of life on both sides was almost beyond comprehension, but the North suffered the greater damage, due to American saturation bombing and the scorched-earth policy of the retreating UN forces”.

That then is the horror of the brutal Korean war. Over two million Korean civilians died including many tens of thousands of children. On US pilot testament destruction was “indiscriminate”.

Is it then any wonder North Korea turns out a highly militarised state, deeply loathing the “Yankees”, raining bombs and death and destruction on their towns and villages for three years ?

No-one can deny the one-party state authoritarianism of North Korea but then we surely have to ask how much of this huge militarisation has been created by the horrors of warfare, all the more so large scale bombing impacting on civilian populations. As also not to forget, until the end of WW2, Korea suffered 35 long years of brutal occupation by the Japanese. Over one million forced deportations, suppression of Korean culture and identity, deaths in Japanese labour camps estimated at over half a million.

In all Korea was a long suffering country for many decades, the very worst not forgotten by the Koreans the enormous destructive US bombing ’50-53.

International Perspective – East or West trauma is not forgotten.

The US, and New York in particular, were devastated by the attack on the Trade Centre towers in 2001. Terrible shock traumatic destruction with 2,996 deaths and 6,000 injuries. And that huge and deep trauma living on to this day and for whole lifetimes in those directly affected, all who lived and live in New York, and indeed in the consciousness of the whole of the US, and the world.

But the West forgets and is oblivious or indifferent to the suffering visited on the Korean people 1950-53. And that is bombing and destruction and loss of life of many thousands of Trade Centre attacks. Not loss of life from air attacks on armies in combat but bombing of civilian populations in towns and cities to “terrorise” a country into submission. That was, on all the evidence, in the face of huge Chinese troop influx into the peninsular, US military policy.

In the end you have to say the US and West have, historically, clearly played a hugely determinate role in the creation of the deeply alarming militarised state of Korea which the West now condemn. Three years of carpet bombing and loss of life, and this following brutal Japanese occupation, surely provides an understandable rationale why a country would become formidably militarised. Defence of the country the all-consuming priority.

For the people of North Korea the mass killing and destruction of civilians a holocaust against their people. For them, United States enormous war crimes and atrocities never brought to any court of justice.

Instead the great and hugely admired US East Asia commanding general of the time, General Douglas MacArthur, returned home in 1951 to a huge New York ticker-tape heroes welcome. And this is MacArthur who at the time advocated dropping atomic bombs on “five Chinese cities” to get the war over and unite Korea.

“His [MacArthur’s) plan was to drop between 30 and 50 atomic bombs-strung across the neck of Manchuria, and spread behind us, from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea – a belt of radioactive cobalt for at least 60 years there would be no invasion of Korea from the North.” [B-29s Over Korea – Wayland Mayo]

History Repeating – self same military mind-sets gathering again.

And now we have history on the brink of repeating yet again. The whole situation enormously high risk and dangerous with Secretary of State Tillerson indicating in his view, as he did in discussion April 12th with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov over Crimea and Syria, “history is not the issue”. What matters, as Tillerson said, is dealing with “current threats”. Mr Tillerson excluding all relevance of historical causes and motivations why North Korea is so vehemently anti-American.

Foreign Ministr Sergy Lavrov:

“As far as Syria is concerned and Bashar al-Assad, we talked today about the history, and Rex [Tillerson] said that he was a new man and is not interested so much in history; he wants to deal with today’s problems. But the world is so constructed that unless we look at what’s happened in the past, we won’t be able to deal with the present”. [US Dept of State – Lavrov-Tillerson meeting 12th April]

Since then the Secretary of State has made clear, in the UN Security Council 28th April, “the time for strategic patience is over”. And all the more deeply alarming telling the Council there will be “no negotiations” until North Korea “first” takes “concrete steps” to shut down all missile activity and “de-nuclearise”. For Tillerson, and UK Foreign Secretary Johnson, in considerable contrast to the views of China and Russia, the reasons why North Korea has become one of the most militarised states in the world are not relevant. The Korean War with 3 million dead not counted in contemporary political calculus.

And so it is the West makes no effort to understand another nation’s history then history repeats. But then in the US and in the UK the Korean war is known as the Forgotten War. Forgotten for one reason as in burying memory of large scale war crimes against civilian populations. Horror for civilian population, horror for combatant troops. The West in so many ways in denial of a war that was “long ago” but then, for the Koreans, as alive today as terror and fear of the US and West as sixty years ago.

And from the side of the West, to face up to responsibility for the huge numbers of civilian casualties from bombing of Korean towns and cities a US governments would, as at Nuremberg, face the self same charges the West brought against the Nazi regime after WW2: Crimes against Humanity. War crimes against civilian populations.

Understanding the other side – understanding ourselves.

Such Human Rights courts of justice not on any agenda anywhere in the West a very good start to ease tension would be, as is being called for by China and Russia, high level meetings between all major parties. And in this respect, at the heart of the whole current tension, it is of the deepest concern that in the West it is rarely brought to light that the US has repeatedly turned down North Korea offers to end nuclear weapon development.

Image result for nuclear north korea

That will come as a shock to many but negotiation records show that offers have been put forward by North Korea back to the Clinton administration in the 1990s but then rejected by the US as, in return, North Korea asks that the US and South Korea end annual large-scale “warfare exercises” on their borders. The most recent offer 2015:

“North Korea announces offer to suspend nuclear testing …in exchange for the United States and South Korea calling off annual joint-military exercises slated for spring 2015. The United States rejects the offer.” [Arms Control Association]

As of May 2017 Warfare exercises including the newly installed US  anti-missile THAAD system, low flying bombers within immediate strike range of North Korea, together with an aircraft carrier battle fleet, including who knows how many nuclear strike submarines, in Korean off-shore waters.

North Korea finds all this US “menace”, as both China and Russia have repeatedly emphasised, hugely threatening (as indeed do the Chinese). And one would think, if it was our own country, terrifying. For UK just compare the 1940 blitz with cities across the UK from London to Liverpool ablaze. British people do not forget. And for the US, missiles on Cuba in the early ’60s and that very nearly leading to world nuclear war. But on the North Korean offers to de-nuclearise the US repeatedly refuses quid pro quo de-escalation with parallel negotiations.

On scores for belligerance the US, and others in the West including the UK, could surely not be higher. On four counts: enormous destruction of North Korean civilian population by vastly superior US air forces 1950-53 (albeit bannered under the “UN”) ; repeated US refusal of North Korea’s offers of quid pro quo de-escalation of forces on both sides; US bringing even more over-whelming military force into South Korea and off-shore seas ; US and UK calling for and indeed demanding, through the UN, imposition of more and more powerful sanctions, most crippling closing international access to sources of financial exchange. This then closing off (blockading) routes for trade driving North Korea into deeper isolation and poverty.

Threats mounting on both sides, racking up more and more tension and fear. As in all conflicts so much mirroring, of behaviour, both sides then condemning the other. Defence and survival on one side seen by the other as threat and belligerence. In the case of North Korea desperation leading who knows where.

The enormous tragedy for Korea – for all Korean people.

In all an enormous tragedy for all Koreans. Bitterly and deeply ironically both sides in Korea want to unite, as one Korea. Huge loss of life and huge casualties, three years of war with estimates of over three million dead, both sides fighting to “unite their country”, only to end up summer 1953 exactly where they started on the 38th parallel. Such utter futility. The pity and insanity of war at its most tragic.

As matters stand now, with increasingly intense US and South Korean military exercises each year, in the face of ever increasing North Korean nuclear strike capacity, the whole situation is clearly becoming progressively more precarious year by year for the whole peninsular, and for the world. High level careful communication is clearly needed, as repeatedly promoted by the Chinese. Not warships and missiles, from either side, ending up mirroring each other into destruction.

For the North Koreans, how ever hollow we view their society, however much it appears or indeed is a sham, the people clearly have enormous pride. In so many ways (the great buildings and missiles and military parades) trying to show to the world how much they have achieved, and that is achieved from ground zero 1953 total destruction of their country.

And this achievement in huge contest and rivalry, with powerful national jealousies, between North and South. The two sides the great misfortune to end up on the world’s most volatile tectonic plates between communism and capitalism. Both sides showcasing what their “side” has achieved: the South hosts the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, the North parades and launches missiles. This whole psychological cauldron is surely what the West needs to understand and respect.

Respect Fuche – self-reliance – the founding ideology of the country. However badly from the West we view North Korea, to the country’s credit they made huge and indeed heroic efforts to provide universal education, health care, and housing, for all their population. Its not all bad, unless we in the West will only see it that way: esse est percipi -thinking makes it so.

SOURCES:

Interviews and Transcripts

Korean War – Part 19 – Use of Napalm … Senator John Glenn – in 1950 a major in US Air Force : “We did a lot of napalm work … dropping fuel tanks loaded with napalm .. we call it a Nape Scrape” “You could strafe them, bomb them, napalm them. Quite a variety of weapons.

Korean War – Part 22 – bombing of North Korea .. the United States Air Force destroyed every town and city in Norht Korea. Kim Un Sun – factory worker – “Lets make bullets of revenge to give to the Americans”.

North Korea Remembers US War Crimes – what the West wants to forget … the view of North Korea : “Brutal atrocity of US Imperial Aggressors”.

Air Force General Curtis LeMay – “… we burned down every town in North Korea …”

Air&Space 2015 – How the Korean war almost went nuclear … Operation Hudson Harbor …

B-29s Over Korea – US Planned to A-Bomb N. Korea: [MaArthur’s] plan was to drop between 30 and 50 atomic bombs-strung across the neck of Manchuria, and spread behind us, from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea- a belt of radioactive cobalt for at least 60 years there would be no invasion of Korea from the North

Attacks on the Sui-ho Dam … the hydroelectric targets were subjected to attacks totalling 1,514 sorties.

Asia-Pacific Journal 2009: Professor Charles Armstrong “Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.10 Only emergency assistance from China, the USSR, and other socialist countries prevented widespread famine”.

The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea – 2009: Professor Charles Armstrong, “The US Air Force estimated that North Korea’s destruction was proportionately greater than that of Japan in the Second World War, where the US had turned 64 major cities to rubble and used the atomic bomb to destroy two others. American planes dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on Korea — that is, essentially on North Korea –including 32,557 tons of napalm”.
“The DPRK government never forgot the lesson of North Korea’s vulnerability to American air attack,…”

New York Times – Choe Sang-Hun – 2015: North Korea offers US Deal to Halt Nuclear Tests …

Arms Control Association – 2015: North Korea announces offer to suspend nuclear testing …in exchange for the United States and South Korea calling off annual joint-military exercises slated for spring 2015. The United States rejects the offer.

12th April 2017 Tillerson Lavrov Press Conference on Syria – Lavrov emphasises “historical context” – Tillerson dismisses history with emphasis on “current threats”.

US Dept of State – 12th April 2017 Tillerson Lavrov Transcript:  Foreign Ministr Lavrov : “As far as Syria is concerned and Bashar al-Assad, we talked today about the history, and Rex said that he was a new man and is not interested so much in history; he wants to deal with today’s problems. But the world is so constructed that unless we look at what’s happened in the past, we won’t be able to deal with the present”.

28th April 2017 – UN Security Council Meeting on Korea … full meeting.

US Dept of State – 28th April 2017 – Secretry Tillerson Statement to UN Security Council: “The policy of strategic patience is over”. Call for economic and financial isolation of DPRK. North Korea must take concrete steps to end illegal weapons programs before we can even consider talks.

NY Times – Choe Sang-Hun – 2nd May 2017 – US Antimissile System Goes Live in South Korea ….

CGTN – 2nd May 2017 – Us B-1B Lancer bombers fly over South Korea angering DPRK

Commentary and Analysis

2012 – Washing Post John Tirman : Why do we ignore the civilians killed in American wars? “Estimates of Korean war deaths …. widely believed to have taken 3 million lives, about half of them civilian.”

Global Research 2010 – Professor Michel Chossudovsky: “It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37-month long “hot” war, 1950 – 1953.” “US Sources acknowledge 1.55 million civilian deaths in North Korea”.

Wikipedia Civilian Casualty Ratio – Korean War: The median total estimated Korean civilian deaths in the Korean War is 2,730,000.

March 2015 – Washington Post fomer reporter Blaine Harden: The US war crime North Korea won’t forget – “War reporters rarely mentioned civilian casualties from U.S. carpet-bombing. It is perhaps the most forgotten part of a forgotten war”. “People in the North feel backed into a corner and threatened”.

Boundless – World History – Korea under Japanese Rule: The 1910-1945 Japanese occupation of Korea was marked by the suppression of Korean culture and heritage, mass exploitation of the Korean labor, and violent repressions against the Korean independence movement.

Vox – Max Fisher August 2015 – Americans have forgotten what we did to North Korea:  You can glimpse both the humanitarian and political consequences in an alarmed diplomatic cable that North Korea’s foreign minister sent to the United Nations .. in January 1951 : THE NUMBER OF INHABITANTS OF PYONGYANG KILLED BY BOMB SPLINTERS, BURNT ALIVE AND SUFFOCATED BY SMOKE IS INCALCULABLE, SINCE NO COMPUTATION IS POSSIBLE. SOME FIFTY THOUSAND INHABITANTS REMAIN IN THE CITY, WHICH BEFORE THE WAR HAD A POPULATION OF FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND.

UN DAG Repostory – source of 1951 diplomatic cable: English copy of cable.

Democracy Now – April 2017 – Noam Chomsky on North Korea ….”China and North Korea proposed to freeze the North Korean missile and nuclear weapons systems. And the U.S. instantly rejected it … “

Posted in North Korea0 Comments

Why Do North Koreans Hate Us?

NOVANEWS

Korean women weep as they identify bodies on Oct. 28, 1953. The army said the victims were among political prisoners killed by suffocation by the Communists outside Hambung, Korea. The Army said the victims were forced into caves which were then sealed off. (AP Photo)

[Editor’s note: The great secret of the Korean War is that the North invaded the South in order to liberate them from the brutal, murderous totalitarian Rhee regime that had been installed by the US. They almost succeeded in pushing the foreigners out of the country but in the end, they got embroiled in three long years of war that saw the US and their UN allies burn virtually every village and town in the North and bombing raids to rival those inflict on Japan in WW2 in their murderous slaughter of civilians. By the time of the ceasefire the North was a wasteland and it’s people were starving, homeless refugees; they had been ‘bombed back to the stone age’ to use a US military phrase. Small wonder the North has not forgiven or forgotten and maintains a burning hatred. Ian]

__________
The Intercept
Why Do North Koreans Hate Us? One Reason — They Remember the Korean War.

“WHY DO THEY hate us?”

It’s a question that has bewildered Americans again and again in the wake of 9/11, in reference to the Arab and Muslim worlds. These days, however, it’s a question increasingly asked about the reclusive North Koreans.

Let’s be clear: There is no doubt that the citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea both fear and loathe the United States. Paranoia, resentment, and a crude anti-Americanism have been nurtured inside the Hermit Kingdom for decades. Children are taught to hate Americans in school while adults mark a “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month” every year (it’s in June, in case you were wondering).

North Korean officials make wild threats against the United States while the regime, led by the brutal and sadistic Kim Jong-un, pumps out fake news in the form of self-serving propaganda, on an industrial scale. In the DPRK, anti-American hatred is a commodity never in short supply.

“The hate, though,” as longtime North Korea watcher Blaine Harden observed in the Washington Post, “is not all manufactured.” Some of it, he wrote, “is rooted in a fact-based narrative, one that North Korea obsessively remembers and the United States blithely forgets.”

Forgets as in the “forgotten war.” Yes, the Korean War. Remember that? The one wedged between World War II and the Vietnam War? The first “hot” war of the Cold War, which took place between 1950 and 1953, and which has since been conveniently airbrushed from most discussions and debates about the “crazy” and “insane” regime in Pyongyang? Forgotten despite the fact that this particular war isn’t even over — it was halted by an armistice agreement, not a peace treaty — and despite the fact that the conflict saw the United States engage in numerous war crimes, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, continue to shape the way North Koreans view the United States, even if the residents of the United States remain blissfully ignorant of their country’s belligerent past.

For the record, it was the North Koreans, and not the Americans or their South Korean allies, who started the war in June 1950, when they crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded the south. Nevertheless, “What hardly any Americans know or remember,” University of Chicago historian Bruce Cumings writes in his book “The Korean War: A History,” “is that we carpet-bombed the north for three years with next to no concern for civilian casualties.”

How many Americans, for example, are aware of the fact that U.S. planes dropped on the Korean peninsula more bombs — 635,000 tons — and napalm — 32,557 tons — than during the entire Pacific campaign against the Japanese during World War II?

How many Americans know that “over a period of three years or so,” to quote Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, “we killed off … 20 percent of the population”?

Twenty. Percent. For a point of comparison, the Nazis exterminated 20 percent of Poland’s pre-World War II population. According to LeMay, “We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea.”

Every. Town. More than 3 million civilians are believed to have been killed in the fighting, the vast majority of them in the north.

How many Americans are familiar with the statements of Secretary of State Dean Rusk or Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas? Rusk, who was a State Department official in charge of Far Eastern affairs during the Korean War, would later admit that the United States bombed “every brick that was standing on top of another, everything that moved.” American pilots, he noted, “were just bombing the heck out of North Korea.”

Douglas visited Korea in the summer of 1952 and was stunned by the “misery, disease, pain and suffering, starvation” that had been “compounded” by air strikes. U.S. warplanes, having run out of military targets, had bombed farms, dams, factories, and hospitals. “I had seen the war-battered cities of Europe,” the Supreme Court justice confessed, “but I had not seen devastation until I had seen Korea.”

How many Americans have ever come across Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s unhinged plan to win the war against North Korea in just 10 days? MacArthur, who led the United Nations Command during the conflict, wanted to drop “between 30 and 50 atomic bombs … strung across the neck of Manchuria” that would have “spread behind us … a belt of radioactive cobalt.”

How many Americans have heard of the No Gun Ri massacre, in July 1950, in which hundreds of Koreans were killed by U.S. warplanes and members of the 7th U.S. Cavalry regiment as they huddled under a bridge? Details of the massacre emerged in 1999, when the Associated Press interviewed dozens of retired U.S. military personnel. “The hell with all those people,” one American veteran recalled his captain as saying. “Let’s get rid of all of them.”

How many Americans are taught in school about the Bodo League massacre of tens of thousands of suspected communists on the orders of the U.S.-backed South Korean strongman, President Syngman Rhee, in the summer of 1950? Eyewitness accounts suggest “jeeploads” of U.S. military officers were present and “supervised the butchery.”

Millions of ordinary Americans may suffer from a toxic combination of ignorance and amnesia, but the victims of U.S. coups, invasions, and bombing campaigns across the globe tend not to. Ask the Iraqis or the Iranians, ask the Cubans or the Chileans. And, yes, ask the North Koreans.

For the residents of the DPRK, writes Columbia University historian Charles Armstrong in his book “Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992,” “the American air war left a deep and lasting impression” and “more than any other single factor, gave North Koreans a collective sense of anxiety and fear of outside threats, that would continue long after the war’s end.”

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not pretending that Kim’s violent and totalitarian regime would be any less violent or totalitarian today had the U.S. not carpet-bombed North Korea almost 70 years ago. Nor am I expecting Donald Trump, of all presidents, to offer a formal apology to Pyongyang on behalf of the U.S. government for the U.S. war crimes of 1950 through 1953.

But the fact is that inside North Korea, according to leading Korea scholar Kathryn Weathersby, “it is still the 1950s … and the conflict with South Korea and the United States is still going on. People in the North feel backed into a corner and threatened.”

If another Korean war, a potentially nuclear war, is to be avoided and if, as the Czech-born novelist Milan Kundera famously wrote, “the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting,” then ordinary Americans can no longer afford to forget the death, destruction, and debilitating legacy of the original Korean War.

Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

The Korean War and Crimes against Humanity: Forgotten When We Need to Remember

NOVANEWS

The world is so constructed that unless we look at what’s happened in the past, we won’t be able to deal with the present.

 

“ON JANUARY 3 [1951] AT 10:30 AM, AN ARMADE OF 82 FLYING FORTRESSES LOOSED THEIR DEATH-DEALING LOAD ON THE CITY OF PYONGYANG. … 

“THE NUMBER OF INHABITANTS OF PYONGYANG KILLED BY BOMB SPLINTERS, BURNT ALIVE AND SUFFOCATED BY SMOKE IS INCALCULABLE, SINCE NO COMPUTATION IS POSSIBLE. SOME FIFTY THOUSAND INHABITANTS REMAIN IN THE CITY, WHICH BEFORE THE WAR HAD A POPULATION OF FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND.” [UN Repository]

With tension ever mounting in the Korean peninsular, all the higher every year with US bombers conducting annual drills over South Korea within direct strike range of North Korea, it is notable and deeply regrettable the West has lost all sight and memory of the enormous suffering of the Korean people in the Korean War 1950-53.

How can we ever in the West begin to understand the large scale militarisation of North Korea if, in the US and UK in particular, political assessment and judgement takes no account of Korean history?

North Korea was as a matter of historical fact through the Korean war carpet bombed for three years by US bombers. There was, after the first months of the war, mounting air defences in northern most North Korea bordering China, including Russian MIG fighters but, none-the-less, US B29s bombing was for most of the war free-range over the whole peninsular

To quote from testament from both sides,

“The US airforce destroyed every town and village in north Korea”. “The destruction was enormous”.

In the  words of Air Force General Curtis LeMay:

“We burned down every town in North Korea …. over a period of three years or so we killed – what – 20 percent of the population”.

And this including the very worst of it large scale use of napalm. To quote Senator John Glenn, then a major in the US air force before becoming an astronaut:

“We did a lot of napalm work dropping fuel tanks loaded with napalm, flying in low, called a Nape Scrape”.

Napalm, jellied petroleum and phosphorus. No-one likes to spell it out but people quite simply burn to death.

In all some 600,000 tons of bombs were dropped on the towns and villages and cities of the country. That is well over a million concussion bombs, along with 40 million gallons of high octane napalm. And to add to this, in the final stages of the war, mass bombing (1,514 sorties) of Sui-ho hydro-electric and irrigation dams (the world’s fourth largest) on the Yalu River then flooding and destroying huge areas of northern farmland and crops.

“Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.10 Only emergency assistance from China, the USSR, and other socialist countries prevented widespread famine”. [Asia-Pacific Journal 2009]

In the words of Professor Charles Armstrong, Director of the Centre for Korean Research, Columbia University:

“The physical destruction and loss of life on both sides was almost beyond comprehension, but the North suffered the greater damage, due to American saturation bombing and the scorched-earth policy of the retreating UN forces”.

That then is the horror of the brutal Korean war. Over two million Korean civilians died including many tens of thousands of children. On US pilot testament destruction was “indiscriminate”.

Is it then any wonder North Korea turns out a highly militarised state, deeply loathing the “Yankees”, raining bombs and death and destruction on their towns and villages for three years ?

No-one can deny the one-party state authoritarianism of North Korea but then we surely have to ask how much of this huge militarisation has been created by the horrors of warfare, all the more so large scale bombing impacting on civilian populations. As also not to forget, until the end of WW2, Korea suffered 35 long years of brutal occupation by the Japanese. Over one million forced deportations, suppression of Korean culture and identity, deaths in Japanese labour camps estimated at over half a million.

In all Korea was a long suffering country for many decades, the very worst not forgotten by the Koreans the enormous destructive US bombing ’50-53.

International Perspective – East or West trauma is not forgotten.

The US, and New York in particular, were devastated by the attack on the Trade Centre towers in 2001. Terrible shock traumatic destruction with 2,996 deaths and 6,000 injuries. And that huge and deep trauma living on to this day and for whole lifetimes in those directly affected, all who lived and live in New York, and indeed in the consciousness of the whole of the US, and the world.

But the West forgets and is oblivious or indifferent to the suffering visited on the Korean people 1950-53. And that is bombing and destruction and loss of life of many thousands of Trade Centre attacks. Not loss of life from air attacks on armies in combat but bombing of civilian populations in towns and cities to “terrorise” a country into submission. That was, on all the evidence, in the face of huge Chinese troop influx into the peninsular, US military policy.

In the end you have to say the US and West have, historically, clearly played a hugely determinate role in the creation of the deeply alarming militarised state of Korea which the West now condemn. Three years of carpet bombing and loss of life, and this following brutal Japanese occupation, surely provides an understandable rationale why a country would become formidably militarised. Defence of the country the all-consuming priority.

For the people of North Korea the mass killing and destruction of civilians a holocaust against their people. For them, United States enormous war crimes and atrocities never brought to any court of justice.

Instead the great and hugely admired US East Asia commanding general of the time, General Douglas MacArthur, returned home in 1951 to a huge New York ticker-tape heroes welcome. And this is MacArthur who at the time advocated dropping atomic bombs on “five Chinese cities” to get the war over and unite Korea.

“His [MacArthur’s) plan was to drop between 30 and 50 atomic bombs-strung across the neck of Manchuria, and spread behind us, from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea – a belt of radioactive cobalt for at least 60 years there would be no invasion of Korea from the North.” [B-29s Over Korea – Wayland Mayo]

History Repeating – self same military mind-sets gathering again.

And now we have history on the brink of repeating yet again. The whole situation enormously high risk and dangerous with Secretary of State Tillerson indicating in his view, as he did in discussion April 12th with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov over Crimea and Syria, “history is not the issue”. What matters, as Tillerson said, is dealing with “current threats”. Mr Tillerson excluding all relevance of historical causes and motivations why North Korea is so vehemently anti-American.

Foreign Ministr Sergy Lavrov:

“As far as Syria is concerned and Bashar al-Assad, we talked today about the history, and Rex [Tillerson] said that he was a new man and is not interested so much in history; he wants to deal with today’s problems. But the world is so constructed that unless we look at what’s happened in the past, we won’t be able to deal with the present”. [US Dept of State – Lavrov-Tillerson meeting 12th April]

Since then the Secretary of State has made clear, in the UN Security Council 28th April, “the time for strategic patience is over”. And all the more deeply alarming telling the Council there will be “no negotiations” until North Korea “first” takes “concrete steps” to shut down all missile activity and “de-nuclearise”. For Tillerson, and UK Foreign Secretary Johnson, in considerable contrast to the views of China and Russia, the reasons why North Korea has become one of the most militarised states in the world are not relevant. The Korean War with 3 million dead not counted in contemporary political calculus.

And so it is the West makes no effort to understand another nation’s history then history repeats. But then in the US and in the UK the Korean war is known as the Forgotten War. Forgotten for one reason as in burying memory of large scale war crimes against civilian populations. Horror for civilian population, horror for combatant troops. The West in so many ways in denial of a war that was “long ago” but then, for the Koreans, as alive today as terror and fear of the US and West as sixty years ago.

And from the side of the West, to face up to responsibility for the huge numbers of civilian casualties from bombing of Korean towns and cities a US governments would, as at Nuremberg, face the self same charges the West brought against the Nazi regime after WW2: Crimes against Humanity. War crimes against civilian populations.

Understanding the other side – understanding ourselves.

Such Human Rights courts of justice not on any agenda anywhere in the West a very good start to ease tension would be, as is being called for by China and Russia, high level meetings between all major parties. And in this respect, at the heart of the whole current tension, it is of the deepest concern that in the West it is rarely brought to light that the US has repeatedly turned down North Korea offers to end nuclear weapon development.

Image result for nuclear north korea

That will come as a shock to many but negotiation records show that offers have been put forward by North Korea back to the Clinton administration in the 1990s but then rejected by the US as, in return, North Korea asks that the US and South Korea end annual large-scale “warfare exercises” on their borders. The most recent offer 2015:

“North Korea announces offer to suspend nuclear testing …in exchange for the United States and South Korea calling off annual joint-military exercises slated for spring 2015. The United States rejects the offer.” [Arms Control Association]

As of May 2017 Warfare exercises including the newly installed US  anti-missile THAAD system, low flying bombers within immediate strike range of North Korea, together with an aircraft carrier battle fleet, including who knows how many nuclear strike submarines, in Korean off-shore waters.

North Korea finds all this US “menace”, as both China and Russia have repeatedly emphasised, hugely threatening (as indeed do the Chinese). And one would think, if it was our own country, terrifying. For UK just compare the 1940 blitz with cities across the UK from London to Liverpool ablaze. British people do not forget. And for the US, missiles on Cuba in the early ’60s and that very nearly leading to world nuclear war. But on the North Korean offers to de-nuclearise the US repeatedly refuses quid pro quo de-escalation with parallel negotiations.

On scores for belligerance the US, and others in the West including the UK, could surely not be higher. On four counts: enormous destruction of North Korean civilian population by vastly superior US air forces 1950-53 (albeit bannered under the “UN”) ; repeated US refusal of North Korea’s offers of quid pro quo de-escalation of forces on both sides; US bringing even more over-whelming military force into South Korea and off-shore seas ; US and UK calling for and indeed demanding, through the UN, imposition of more and more powerful sanctions, most crippling closing international access to sources of financial exchange. This then closing off (blockading) routes for trade driving North Korea into deeper isolation and poverty.

Threats mounting on both sides, racking up more and more tension and fear. As in all conflicts so much mirroring, of behaviour, both sides then condemning the other. Defence and survival on one side seen by the other as threat and belligerence. In the case of North Korea desperation leading who knows where.

The enormous tragedy for Korea – for all Korean people.

In all an enormous tragedy for all Koreans. Bitterly and deeply ironically both sides in Korea want to unite, as one Korea. Huge loss of life and huge casualties, three years of war with estimates of over three million dead, both sides fighting to “unite their country”, only to end up summer 1953 exactly where they started on the 38th parallel. Such utter futility. The pity and insanity of war at its most tragic.

As matters stand now, with increasingly intense US and South Korean military exercises each year, in the face of ever increasing North Korean nuclear strike capacity, the whole situation is clearly becoming progressively more precarious year by year for the whole peninsular, and for the world. High level careful communication is clearly needed, as repeatedly promoted by the Chinese. Not warships and missiles, from either side, ending up mirroring each other into destruction.

For the North Koreans, how ever hollow we view their society, however much it appears or indeed is a sham, the people clearly have enormous pride. In so many ways (the great buildings and missiles and military parades) trying to show to the world how much they have achieved, and that is achieved from ground zero 1953 total destruction of their country.

And this achievement in huge contest and rivalry, with powerful national jealousies, between North and South. The two sides the great misfortune to end up on the world’s most volatile tectonic plates between communism and capitalism. Both sides showcasing what their “side” has achieved: the South hosts the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, the North parades and launches missiles. This whole psychological cauldron is surely what the West needs to understand and respect.

Respect Fuche – self-reliance – the founding ideology of the country. However badly from the West we view North Korea, to the country’s credit they made huge and indeed heroic efforts to provide universal education, health care, and housing, for all their population. Its not all bad, unless we in the West will only see it that way: esse est percipi -thinking makes it so.

SOURCES:

Interviews and Transcripts

Korean War – Part 19 – Use of Napalm … Senator John Glenn – in 1950 a major in US Air Force : “We did a lot of napalm work … dropping fuel tanks loaded with napalm .. we call it a Nape Scrape” “You could strafe them, bomb them, napalm them. Quite a variety of weapons.

Korean War – Part 22 – bombing of North Korea .. the United States Air Force destroyed every town and city in Norht Korea. Kim Un Sun – factory worker – “Lets make bullets of revenge to give to the Americans”.

North Korea Remembers US War Crimes – what the West wants to forget … the view of North Korea : “Brutal atrocity of US Imperial Aggressors”.

Air Force General Curtis LeMay – “… we burned down every town in North Korea …”

Air&Space 2015 – How the Korean war almost went nuclear … Operation Hudson Harbor …

B-29s Over Korea – US Planned to A-Bomb N. Korea: [MaArthur’s] plan was to drop between 30 and 50 atomic bombs-strung across the neck of Manchuria, and spread behind us, from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea- a belt of radioactive cobalt for at least 60 years there would be no invasion of Korea from the North

Attacks on the Sui-ho Dam … the hydroelectric targets were subjected to attacks totalling 1,514 sorties.

Asia-Pacific Journal 2009: Professor Charles Armstrong “Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.10 Only emergency assistance from China, the USSR, and other socialist countries prevented widespread famine”.

The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea – 2009: Professor Charles Armstrong, “The US Air Force estimated that North Korea’s destruction was proportionately greater than that of Japan in the Second World War, where the US had turned 64 major cities to rubble and used the atomic bomb to destroy two others. American planes dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on Korea — that is, essentially on North Korea –including 32,557 tons of napalm”.
“The DPRK government never forgot the lesson of North Korea’s vulnerability to American air attack,…”

New York Times – Choe Sang-Hun – 2015: North Korea offers US Deal to Halt Nuclear Tests …

Arms Control Association – 2015: North Korea announces offer to suspend nuclear testing …in exchange for the United States and South Korea calling off annual joint-military exercises slated for spring 2015. The United States rejects the offer.

12th April 2017 Tillerson Lavrov Press Conference on Syria – Lavrov emphasises “historical context” – Tillerson dismisses history with emphasis on “current threats”.

US Dept of State – 12th April 2017 Tillerson Lavrov Transcript:  Foreign Ministr Lavrov : “As far as Syria is concerned and Bashar al-Assad, we talked today about the history, and Rex said that he was a new man and is not interested so much in history; he wants to deal with today’s problems. But the world is so constructed that unless we look at what’s happened in the past, we won’t be able to deal with the present”.

28th April 2017 – UN Security Council Meeting on Korea … full meeting.

US Dept of State – 28th April 2017 – Secretry Tillerson Statement to UN Security Council: “The policy of strategic patience is over”. Call for economic and financial isolation of DPRK. North Korea must take concrete steps to end illegal weapons programs before we can even consider talks.

NY Times – Choe Sang-Hun – 2nd May 2017 – US Antimissile System Goes Live in South Korea ….

CGTN – 2nd May 2017 – Us B-1B Lancer bombers fly over South Korea angering DPRK

Commentary and Analysis

2012 – Washing Post John Tirman : Why do we ignore the civilians killed in American wars? “Estimates of Korean war deaths …. widely believed to have taken 3 million lives, about half of them civilian.”

Global Research 2010 – Professor Michel Chossudovsky: “It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37-month long “hot” war, 1950 – 1953.” “US Sources acknowledge 1.55 million civilian deaths in North Korea”.

Wikipedia Civilian Casualty Ratio – Korean War: The median total estimated Korean civilian deaths in the Korean War is 2,730,000.

March 2015 – Washington Post fomer reporter Blaine Harden: The US war crime North Korea won’t forget – “War reporters rarely mentioned civilian casualties from U.S. carpet-bombing. It is perhaps the most forgotten part of a forgotten war”. “People in the North feel backed into a corner and threatened”.

Boundless – World History – Korea under Japanese Rule: The 1910-1945 Japanese occupation of Korea was marked by the suppression of Korean culture and heritage, mass exploitation of the Korean labor, and violent repressions against the Korean independence movement.

Vox – Max Fisher August 2015 – Americans have forgotten what we did to North Korea:  You can glimpse both the humanitarian and political consequences in an alarmed diplomatic cable that North Korea’s foreign minister sent to the United Nations .. in January 1951 : THE NUMBER OF INHABITANTS OF PYONGYANG KILLED BY BOMB SPLINTERS, BURNT ALIVE AND SUFFOCATED BY SMOKE IS INCALCULABLE, SINCE NO COMPUTATION IS POSSIBLE. SOME FIFTY THOUSAND INHABITANTS REMAIN IN THE CITY, WHICH BEFORE THE WAR HAD A POPULATION OF FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND.

UN DAG Repostory – source of 1951 diplomatic cable: English copy of cable.

Democracy Now – April 2017 – Noam Chomsky on North Korea ….”China and North Korea proposed to freeze the North Korean missile and nuclear weapons systems. And the U.S. instantly rejected it … “

Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

North Korea crisis: US should apologize THEN negotiate

NOVANEWS

The administration of US President Donald Trump’s various policies with regard to North Korea are rooted in Washington’s long-time desire to monopolize nuclear weapons, says an American analyst.

Veterans Today Editor Kevin Barrett, a journalist in Wisconsin, made the remarks while discussing Trump’s call for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un amid reports that the CIA had been trying to assassinate him.

Earlier this week, Trump said he “would be honored” to meet the North Korean leader, a day after praising him as “a pretty smart cookie.”

Barrett said the animosity between the North and the US goes back to the Korean War, when the US killed scores of Koreans, specially in the North.

This horrific, genocidal assault on Korea by the United States and the occupation of South Korea ever since naturally has led all Koreans who have any shred of dignity and desire for self-determination to want to fight to keep their independence,” Barrett said. “And that is the real reason for the tensions between the US and North Korea.”

The analyst argued that if Trump was to hold a press conference with Kim and tell the world about the “American genocide” and accept Washington’s mistakes towards Pyongyang and many other nations then we would see real progress towards peace.

Barrett also talked about the “inflammatory” story by North Korea that American intelligence agencies had planned to assassinate Kim in close coordination with Seoul.

The North’s ministry of state security said in a statement on Friday that the CIA “assassination by use of biochemical substances including radioactive substance and nano poisonous substance is the best method that does not require access to the target.”

Barrett said the fact that Pyongyang was revealing the plot news at the same time that Trump was softening his tone was not a coincidence.

“That does mean that regardless of whether the North Korean leadership decides to go along with the softened American tone and perhaps even set up some kind of a high-level meeting, there is [still] a very serious crisis,” he added.

Noting that a possible assassination attempt would lead to a war between the US and North Korea, the analyst said such acts would prompt a “proportionate” response from North Korea.

“So, this does throw the crisis into a whole different level of magnitude,” he added. “One does hope that it will not lead to the worst.”

North Korea has so far carried out 5 nuclear tests and is said to be preparing for a sixth one. It has also stepped up its testing of nuclear-capable missiles.

The US has warned the North of a military confrontation in case it keeps carrying out the tests.

Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

What Western Media Never Tells You about North Korea

NOVANEWS
Related image
By Joe Clifford | Dissident Voice 

There is a great deal of propaganda and deliberate misinformation about North Korea, which the public should know. While neocons, a cheering corporate media, and Deep State, rush to war with North Korea, information is the ultimate weapon. For example, did you know that North Korea, China, and India, are the only three nations who have committed to a “no nuclear first” policy. They have pledged never to use nuclear weapons “first”, but of course reserve the right to use them if attacked. How many times has the US threatened to use nuclear weapons against North Korea? Do you know that North Korea has repeatedly asked the US to engage in bi-lateral talks, to cool off the ever-escalating tension? The offer was flatly rejected by both Obama and Trump. Can you resolve differences within your family without dialog? No dialogue, no peace. Why won’t the US talk to North Korea?? The neocons, Deep State, and media argument, insist Kim Jong-un is irrational, and therefore you cannot negotiate with him. A look back at recent history illustrates the US and its complicit media demonize anyone we do not like, and the demonizing usually ends up with a war. Manuel Noriega in Panama, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi, and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, serve as recent examples. But the demonizing of Kim Jong-un continues as we move towards another war, and once again the public buys into the myth. There are no western reporters allowed in North Korea, and since North Korea is a virtual closed society, one must wonder who knows what Kim Jong-un really is like? On the other hand, some might suggest we have a very irrational leader in this country. This attitude of demonizing is akin to the Taliban’s offer to turn over Osama Bin Laden so many years ago, and the US, then under Bush, flatly rejected the Taliban offer. Sixteen years later we are still at war in Afghanistan. War is the result of failed diplomacy or the absence of diplomacy. Perhaps we did not want diplomacy; perhaps we don’t want diplomacy now.

Do you know North Korea has agreed to suspend its nuclear testing if the US agreed to end the annual war games along the border of North Korea? You may not know the US conducts war games that simulate the overthrow of the North Korean government, and this year there were almost 400,000 soldiers participating. Did you know that?? Do you know the Korean War has never officially ended because there was no formal truce signed? This is one of North Korea demands. A final treaty to end the Korean War was never signed, because if there was a treaty, the US would have no legal basis for the occupation of South Korea with our many military bases. Do you know that in 1993 the US announced it was re-targeting hydrogen bombs from the old USSR to North Korea?

Do you know George Bush called the leader of North Korea a “pygmy”, and said he wanted to “topple his regime”? Do you know Bush also prepared a policy of “preemptive” attack, and referred to North Korea as a member of the “axis of evil”? It was shortly thereafter that North Korea left the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and threw all inspectors out of the country. Neocons, Deep State, and the corporate media, argue North Korea is a threat to the US, and just days ago Trump said they were a “threat to the world”? That is asinine, as Trump’s increase in military spending of 54 billion, is 11 times greater than the entire North Korean military budget. To suggest North Korea is a “threat to the US” or the “world” is either stupidity or an outright lie, and yet a CNN poll shows 37% of the US public believes North Korea is a threat to the US. Who says propaganda isn’t effective? Do you know the recent leader of South Korea was impeached for corruption, and there is a pending election to decide on new leadership? The opposition party wants the US out of South Korea, and wants the THAAD missile system just installed by the US, out.

Theresa May, in Great Britain, shocked many recently, when she announced she would be willing to use nuclear weapons in a “first strike”? Why have we not declared war on Britain, as Theresa May is apparently a bit “irrational”? Experts suggest North Korea has perhaps 8 nuclear weapons, but has no effective delivery system. The US has 7,000.

North Korea has not invaded or attacked any nation since the end of the Korean War, while the US has bombed over 30 countries. How many countries is the US currently bombing?? Can’t answer? Who is the aggressor here? Who has refused to “talk” to North Korea? Who has threatened to use nuclear weapons repeatedly against North Korea?

Why can’t the US simply sit down and agree to bi-lateral talks? Is there a logical reason why this cannot be done? What is there to lose by such talks? This whole policy of antagonizing, instead of talking, is insane! We know its insanity; we don’t know if it is intentional rejection of diplomacy.

Posted in North Korea0 Comments

Nazi regime and North Korea’s war of words sheds light on western hypocrisy over nukes

NOVANEWS

Image result for Avigdor Lieberman CARTOON

Israel and North Korea’s war of words sheds light on western hypocrisy over nukes
By Adam Garrie | The Duran

A war of words between North Korea and Israel has done a lot to highlight the hypocrisy of the west when it comes to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other WMD. Israel’s illegal and unaccounted for nuclear weapons programme is generally ignored by the west, while America appears ready to go to war with North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme, in spite of no consensus over weather Pyongyang has the ability to deliver its nuclear weapons or even how many nuclear weapons the communist state has.

Ultra right-wing Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that North Korea is “undermining global stability” and that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is a “madman” leading a “crazy and radical” regime.

North Korea did not waste time in responding, issuing a statement reading,

“Israel is the only illegal possessor of nukes in the Middle East under the patronage of the US. However, Israel vociferated about the nuclear deterrence of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea/North Korea), slandering it, whenever an opportunity presented itself”.

One needn’t have a positive view of North Korea to understand this statement as an objective truth.

Israel frequently conducts unprovoked attacks on Syria without any retribution from the so-called international community.

North Korea’s statement continued,

“The DPRK’s access to nuclear weapons is the legitimate exercise of its righteous right for self-defence to cope with the US provocative moves for aggression and the DPRK’s nuclear force is the treasured sword of justice firmly defending peace on the Korean peninsula and in the region”.

North Korea went on to accuse Israel of “crimes against humanity” and of being an occupier of Palestinian territory.

North Korea called for a “thousand-fold punishment to whoever dares hurt the dignity of its supreme leadership” and referred to Lieberman as “sordid and wicked”.

While both Israel and North Korea are widely seen as rogue states, only Israel is currently engaged in the occupation and invasion of other countries.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, North Korea0 Comments

The Haircut (2017) – A North Korean Adventure

NOVANEWS

Image result for north korean photos

 

Boy Boy

The isolated, hermit kingdom of the DPRK is shrowded in secrecy, It’s nearly impossible to get any reliable information from behind the bamboo curtain. Nonetheless, every week, on T.V. and online, we are bombarded by the bizzare media-spectacle of North Korea. From nuclear apocalypse and prison camps to banned sarcasm and compulsory identical haircuts – any shred of information regarding North Korea becomes a viral media hit, regardless of how dubious the story is.

But that’s all about to change.

Two Aussie boys decided to take matters into their own hands and go to North Korea to find out the truth for themselves. Join us as we look past the clickbait and unpack the forces behind the way our media represents the “Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea”.

– Warning – Graphic Content

Posted in North Korea0 Comments

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