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North Korea and Trump’s “Reality Free Zone”: Tweeting About Armageddon

NOVANEWS

When US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, stated of North Korea (4th September 2017): “When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon and an ICBM pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. No one would do that”, she unwittingly put her finger on why the DPRK has been conducting missile tests and stating that they have ever bigger, better and longer range capabilities.

There is no certainty that either of the latter is the case, but the tiny country has been subject to nearly seventy years of vilification and ever more threatening behavior from the US and allies, with the language of Donald Trump, from near day one of his Presidency of the US regime reaching ever more apocalyptic heights.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has stressed that dialogue and communication are vital:

“Confrontational rhetoric may lead to unintended consequences … The solution must be political. The potential consequences of military action are too horrific.”

One can only hope “diplomat” Haley – who told the UN Security Council:

“The time has come to exhaust all of our diplomatic means …” and that North Korea was “begging for war” – was listening.

This of a country which in living memory had every town, village and its capital city near erased from the map by the United States and lost at least twenty percent, some estimates state nearer thirty percent, of it’s population of then just nine million people.

Pyongyang 1953. totally destroyed

Pyongyang rebuilt today (Trump Doesn’t like it, competes with Trump Tower?)

In 1953 when the US had destroyed all and there was nothing left to bomb they turned to bombing the dams, flooding the rice fields and causing starvation. North Korea’s government and the country’s collective and inherited memory have not forgotten and are simply attempting to insure such a horror never again afflicts their small nation.

There has been no empathy, knowledge of history, compassion in the Trumposphere. The five times draft dodger, has threatened “fire and fury” along with legality-detonating assassination of the Head of State, referring to him as “Little Rocket Man”, adding that he and his government: “won’t be around much longer.”

Kindergarten Level Rhetoric

Trump is also threatening generating the potential extinction of life on earth. His obsession with “if we’ve got nuclear weapons why don’t we use them” argument goes back decades – but his kindergarten level rhetoric shows a frightening disconnect from statesmanship, diplomacy – and reality. This is not conjecture. Twenty seven eminent psychiatrists have put their reputation on the line writing in the just published book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” (1)

“that he is dangerously mentally ill and presents a clear and present danger to the nation …  (exploring) Trump’s symptoms and potentially relevant diagnoses (they) find a complex, if also dangerously mad, man.”

When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told journalists whilst on a recent visit to Beijing that the State Department had: “a couple of, three channels open to Pyongyang” and “We can talk to them … we do talk to them”, Trump tweeted: “save his energy” as “we’ll do what has to be done!”

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” wrote the President from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

How cheap human life is to a man who has never witnessed, indeed five times evaded, seeing the carnage even one bullet can do. In context, it has just come to light (3) that:

“President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room …

“According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the build-up. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.

“The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide U.S. forces and operations. It was soon after the meeting broke up that officials who remained behind heard Tillerson say that Trump is a ‘moron.’ “

Trump has vociferously denied the report, predictably falling back on his seemingly miniscule vocabulary and calling it “fake news”, even threatening the broadcaster’s licence. So far he hasn’t threatened to nuke their New York headquarters.

Back to North Korea and the President’s chilling ignorance. On 1st October he tweeted:

“Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail.”

Kim Jong-un is thirty three and was formally announced as his father’s successor on 26th December 2011. He has thus been power just short of six years. Twenty five years ago he would have been eight years old.

In the last such manoeuvres in August one South Korean defense official told the newspaper Chosun Ilbo that this year’s exercises would include: “a nuclear war game for the first time.” 

USS Theodore Roosevelt Dispatched to the Korean Peninsula, October 12

Currently, in addition to the massive war games, the US has been overflying North Korea with B-52 bombers, with further exercises taking place in and with South Korea and in the last days also with Japan. It should also be remembered that the US has in the Pacific (3):

Total military personnel

87,000

US 7th Fleet

 50-70 ships and subs including …

Up to 14 destroyers and cruisers

1 aircraft carrier

Up to 12 nuclear powered submarines

140 aircraft

In South Korea

23,468 personnel

300+ tanks

In Guam

3,831 personnel

B52 bombers and fighter jets

In Hawaii

40,000 military personnel

200 ships including …

5 aircraft carriers

1,060 aircraft

Moreover, as has been pointed out (4):

“In Donald Trump’s first six months in office, he dropped over 20,650 bombs in approximately seven countries, which killed thousands of civilians. By comparison, Kim Jong-un bombs the ocean.”

The same source makes a vital point, ignored by media and politicians:

“The media’s insistence that North Korea will never give up its weapons systems is completely disingenuous when one reads the entire context of the statements offered by Kim Jong-un’s government. On July 4, Kim’s statement read as follows:

“The DPRK would neither put its nukes and ballistic rockets on the table of negotiations in any case nor flinch even an inch from the road of bolstering the nuclear force chosen by itself unless the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat to the DPRK are definitely terminated.” 

Indeed – and with arch hawk retired Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters writing an op-ed in the New York Post (4th September): “Better a million dead North Koreans than a thousand dead Americans” and with the Pyongyang government and people well aware of what happened to Libya which was persuaded to give up its weapons programme and Iraq which had done the same after 1991. Of course Kim Jong-un and his colleagues are going to try to persuade that they can give as good as they fear getting in hope of avoiding annihilation.

Given the reckless rhetoric of Trump and others, as the New York Times puts it (5):

“Congress has been sufficiently alarmed to consider legislation that would bar the president from launching a first nuclear strike without a declaration of war by Congress.

“ …  As things stand now, the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, passed when there was more concern about trigger-happy generals than elected civilian leaders, gives the president sole control. He could unleash the apocalyptic force of the American nuclear arsenal by his word alone, and within minutes.” 

Moreover:

“A New York Times analysis found the U.S. could use 1,103 nuclear warheads and decimate China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Iraq, and Syria … and still have 2,897 left.”

Given that the man who tweets casually about “fire and fury” and smirks as he talks of “calm before the storm”, took the nuclear “football” (briefcase) down to his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort and allowed its minder to have “selfies” taken with it, him and guests, it seems pretty clear that the current incumbent of the White House still resides in the fantasy land of reality shows with no grasp of the potential global pyromaniacal armageddon he jokes about unleashing.

Twenty seven eminent psychiatrists of course, have far more disturbing diagnoses.

Apparently he likes watching movies.

Perhaps someone should give him a copy of  “The Day After.”

Notes

1.    https://www.amazon.com/ Dangerous-Case-Donald-Trump- Psychiatrists/dp/1250179459

2.    https://www.nbcnews.com/ politics/donald-trump/trump- wanted-dramatic-increase- nuclear-arsenal-meeting- military-leaders-n809701

3.    https://www.theguardian.com/ world/2017/sep/04/north-korea- nikki-haley-sanctions-nuclear- test-begging-for-war

4.    https://nworeport.me/2017/09/ 17/north-korea-offers-to-give- up-their-nukes-media-blackout/

5.    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/ 10/11/opinion/trump-korea-war- competence.html?action=click& pgtype=Homepage&clickSource= story-heading&module=opinion- c-col-left-region&region= opinion-c-col-left-region&WT. nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

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Dollar Blow: China Launches New ‘Yuan-Ruble’ Payment Mechanism

NOVANEWS

The US received a major blow to its global hegemony, and one which is sure to trigger more fighting talk from hawks in Washington.

This week it was announced that China has established a ‘payment versus payment‘ (PVP) system to clear Chinese yuan and Russian ruble transactions. The aim, we’re told, is to to “reduce risks and improve the efficiency” of its foreign exchange system.

The new mechanism, which could rival the long-held monopoly of the US SWIFT inter-bank payment system (allowing for simultaneous settlement of transactions in two different currencies) was launched on Monday after receiving approval from China’s central bank, according to a statement by the country’s foreign exchange trading system.

However, financial oligarchs in Wall Street will view this move as an act of aggression in challenging the preeminence of the US dollar as the planet’s global reserve currency – which is inextricably tied and nearly completely dependent on the US ‘Petrodollar’ to prop-up the value of the US fiat currency. Georgetown University scholars note here:

Since petrodollars and petrodollar surpluses are by definition denominated in U.S. dollars, then purchasing power is dependent on the U.S. rate of inflation and the rate at which the U.S. dollar is exchanged (whenever there is need for convertibility) by other currencies in international money markets. It follows that whenever economic or other factors affect the U.S. dollar, petrodollars will be affected to the same magnitude. The link, therefore, between the U.S. dollar and petrodollar surpluses, in particular, has significant economic, political, and other implications.

First, the placement of petrodollar surpluses of the Arab oil exporting nations in the United States may be regarded politically as hostage capital. In the event of a major political conflict between the United States and an Arab oil-exporting nation, the former with all its military power can confiscate or freeze these assets or otherwise limit their use.

China to Buy Saudi Oil in Yuan

This breaking development coincides with other recent moves, including news that China will “compel” Saudi Arabia to trade oil in yuan. If this happens, the rest of the global oil market could follow suit, which would spell catastrophe for the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

Yuan pricing of oil is coming, economist says from CNBC.

These two stories are absolutely linked. This is full-frontal challenge to the Anglo-American World Order.

Russia and China are also working behind the scenes to shore-up their precious metal/gold trading standards, possibly in preparation of a new ‘gold-backed’ currency valuation initiative.

Zero Hedge adds:

CFETS said it plans to introduce PVP systems for yuan transactions with other currencies based on China’s Belt and Road initiative, and complying with the process of renminbi [Yuan] internationalization. Russia, however, is a top priority: the world’s biggest oil producer recently became the largest source of oil for China, the world’s top energy consumer.

To be sure, the monetary convergence between Beijing and Moscow is hardly new. The most notable recent development took place in April, when the Russian central bank opened its first overseas office in Beijing on March 14, marking a step forward in forging a Beijing-Moscow alliance to bypass the US dollar in the global monetary system, and to phase-in a gold-backed standard of trade. As the South China Morning Post reported at the time, the new office was part of agreements made between the two neighbours “to seek stronger economic ties” since the West brought in sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis and the oil-price slump hit the Russian economy.

At the time, Vladimir Shapovalov, a senior official at the Russian central bank, said the two central banks were drafting a memorandum of understanding to solve technical issues around China’s gold imports from Russia, and that details would be released soon, to which we said that If Russia – the world’s fourth largest gold producer after China, Japan and the US – is indeed set to become a major supplier of gold to China, the probability of a scenario hinted by many over the years, namely that Beijing is preparing to eventually unroll a gold-backed currency, increases by orders of magnitude.

***

Expect that the West not to take this major financial challenge by China and Russia lying down. Washington may use its North Korea, Myanmar or Philippines cards – as a means to increase its leverage in Asia, in an effort to extract Chinese concessions, and head-off China’s new financial ascendancy.

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The US on the Brink of War with North Korea

Amid accelerating US preparations for conflict with North Korea, yesterday’s night-time flight by two B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula was designed to provoke a North Korean response that could be used as the casus belli for all-out war.

The supersonic bombers were joined by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets for the first joint night-time training exercise that involved practicing air-to-ground missile drills in waters off the east coast of South Korea, then off the west coast. This rehearsal for war with North Korea followed another first when two B-1B bombers late last month flew the furthest north along the North Korean coast since the start of this century.

At the same time, the Pentagon is assembling a naval armada off the Korean Peninsula. The nuclear attack submarine USS Tucson arrived off South Korea on Saturday. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group of cruisers and destroyers is due to arrive later this month for joint exercises with the South Korean navy. Two Australian frigates are also en route to Korean waters.

The Trump administration’s relentless campaign of bellicose threats and military provocations makes clear that the danger of a catastrophic war, which could drag in major powers such as China and Russia and escalate into a nuclear exchange, is real and imminent. As he faces a mounting political crisis at home, the US president may see a war with North Korea as a means of shoring up his administration and crushing domestic political opposition.

From the standpoint of military logic, the US has deliberately placed the Pyongyang regime in an impossible situation. In his fascistic rant at the UN last month, Trump declared that North Korea confronted “total destruction” unless it capitulated completely to US demands. He flatly ruled out any negotiations with Pyongyang when he rebuked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for “wasting his time” in sending out diplomatic feelers.

North Korea’s foreign minister responded to Trump’s UN speech by declaring that it amounted to a declaration of war and warned that his country had the right to take countermeasures, including the shooting down of US strategic bombers in international airspace. Yet the Pentagon has continued to send B-1Bs to conduct war games in close proximity to North Korea.

Confronted with the most powerful military on the planet armed to the teeth with thousands of nuclear weapons, the Pyongyang regime could conclude that it has to attack first, including with its limited nuclear arsenal, before its military is totally destroyed. Each B-1B flight poses the immediate question to the generals in Pyongyang: is this another drill, or the start of an all-out attack?

In Washington, the military is being prepared and primed for war against North Korea. In a keynote speech to top army officers on Monday, Defence Secretary James Mattis insisted that the military had to be “ready to ensure we have military options that our president can employ if needed.”

The Army Association paraphrased General Robert Abrams, commander of US Army Forces Command, who spoke at the same event as saying,

“Sending American forces to fight a World War II-style all-out war would mean facing a harsh reality: Troops will die, and in large numbers. “

Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford met with Trump on Tuesday to review military options, including “to prevent North Korea from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons.” In other words, the Trump administration is on the brink of an illegal war of aggression on the pretext that North Korea’s small nuclear arsenal poses a threat to the US.

A US attack on North Korea would inevitably lead to a confrontation with China and Russia, which have repeatedly called for an easing of tensions and a return to negotiations. A war on their borders and the installation of a US puppet regime in Pyongyang cuts directly across their strategic interests in Asia. Moreover, the subjugation of North Korea is part of Washington’s far broader ambition to undermine, encircle and, if necessary, go to war with China to ensure American hegemony in Asia and the world.

Trump has accelerated the Obama administration’s so-called “pivot to Asia” against Beijing on every front—diplomatically, economically and militarily. He has strengthened US ties throughout the region, threatened China with trade war and confronted Beijing militarily, not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the South China Sea. On Tuesday, a US navy destroyer carried out another provocative intrusion near China’s Paracel Islands to challenge Beijing’s “excessive maritime claims.”

The US drive to war is not simply the product of the fascistic President Trump. Rather, he is the expression of the deepening political, social and economic crisis of American imperialism, which has sought to arrest its historic decline through its aggressive use of military might. Having created one disaster after another in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, Washington is upping the ante and preparing for a direct conflict with its major rivals, China and Russia in the first instance.

The danger of war is further heightened by the immense turmoil and conflicts within the American political establishment, including in the White House, and more broadly, popular opposition to war and austerity. Trump is publicly at odds with both Tillerson and Mattis, who have suggested that diplomatic efforts need to be exhausted before any attack on North Korea—not because they are opposed to war, but because they fear the immediate eruption of a mass anti-war movement in the event of undisguised US aggression.

The bitterness of the infighting was underscored when a well-sourced NBC article last week revealed that Tillerson had threatened to resign and called Trump “a moron” following a top-level Pentagon meeting.

On Wednesday, NBC reported that what prompted Tillerson to make that remark was a proposal by Trump to increase the number of US nuclear weapons ten-fold, which would put the US in violation of all existing nuclear treaties and effectively render it a pariah state.

In a chilling expression of the type of crackdown that could be imposed in the context of a further escalation against North Korea, Trump threatened in a tweet to suspend NBC’s broadcasting license over the story.

The deep divisions in American ruling circles that are fuelling speculation about Trump’s impeachment were summed up in a Washington Post editorial on Tuesday headlined “What to do with an unfit president.”

Far from halting the drive to war, the political crisis only adds to the danger. Beset with conflict at home, Trump is being propelled to extricate himself by seeking to project political and social tensions outwards against a foreign foe. His critics and opponents are not opposed to war—many are criminally culpable for the US acts of aggression over the past 25 years. The differences are purely tactical—how to attack and who to attack first.

Without the development of a mass anti-war movement of the working class in the United States and internationally, war is not only possible but inevitable. Such a movement cannot be based on appeals to the powers-that-be, but rather on a revolutionary socialist perspective to abolish the diseased capitalist order that threatens to drag humanity into the abyss.

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“Calm Before the Storm”? Trump Sends Second Aircraft Carrier to Korean Peninsula with 7,500 Marines Aboard

NOVANEWS
 

Just one week after uttering his now-infamous “this is the calm before the storm” statement to the press ahead of a dinner with military leaders, we now learn that President Trump has dispatched a second nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, filled with 7,500 marines, to the Korean Peninsula. Of course, this comes after rumors swirled earlier this week that North Korea is preparing to fire multiple short-range rockets around the opening of the Chinese Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress on Oct. 18th.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, is en route to the western Pacific after leaving San Diego port last week.

The Roosevelt will focus on maritime security operations in the Pacific and Middle East, the US military announced.

But the £3.4billion ($4.5billion) warship, known as “the Big Stick”, has been sent to boost US defence on the Korean peninsula, according to South Korean media.

It is expected to arrive in region in the coming weeks amid fears North Korea is about to test another missile or nuclear weapon.

Per the following map from Stratfor, the USS Theodore Roosevelt will join the USS Ronald Reagan which is already operating in the region.

Ship Positions

According to a statement from Admiral Steve Koehler, a strike group commander on the ship, the Roosevelt is carrying some 7,500 sailors and marines that are “ready as a war fighting force”.

“The US Navy carrier strike group is the most versatile, capable force at sea,” he said in a statement before the ship’s launch.

“After nearly a year of training and integration exercises, the entire team is ready as a warfighting force and ready to carry out the nation’s tasking.”

Of course, as we noted above, this buildup of naval forces in the Pacific follows an ominous warning from the President last week that preceded a dinner with military leaders: “You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” he said: “It could be the calm… before… the storm.”

A reporter quickly asked what the storm might be –“Is it Iran, ISIS, what’s the storm?”  to which he replied… “…you’ll find out.”

TRUMP: “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”

REPORTER: “What storm Mr. President?”
TRUMP: “You’ll find out.” (via Satellite News)

So what say you? Just more bluster from a headline seeking President and normal-ish naval patrols in the Pacific or have we reached a point of no return in an escalating conflict with a rogue North Korean leader that could turn violent at any moment?

Posted in USA, North Korea, South Korea0 Comments

Carter Offers to Meet with Kim Jong-un to Prevent War with N.Korea

NOVANEWS

Jimmy Carter wrote that his more than 20 years’ worth of experience in dealing with the North taught him that what the country’s leadership wants more than anything is direct talks with the U.S. that would lead to a permanent peace treaty.

  

With tensions once again flaring up between the United States and North Korea, it was reported Tuesday that former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has offered to meet with leader Kim Jong-un to discuss ways to achieve peace.

The revelation comes by way of South Korean news outlet JoongAng Ilbo, which spoke with Park Han-shik, a prominent scholar on North Korean-related issues. Park previously helped Carter plan diplomatic trips to the country in 1994 and 2010.

JoongAng Ilbo writes that Park met with the former president at his home in Georgia on September 28, and it was there that Carter reportedly expressed his wishes.

“Should former President Carter be able to visit North Korea, he would like to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and discuss a peace treaty between the United States and the North and a complete denuclearization of North Korea,” Park told the outlet, “and contribute toward establishing a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

Earlier in September, while speaking before gatherers at his Carter Center in Atlanta, the former president was highly critical of the Trump administration, particularly in the area of foreign policy. Then, last week, Carter penned an editorial for The Washington Post in which he addressed North Korea directly.

Carter wrote that his more than 20 years’ worth of experience in dealing with the North taught him that what the country’s leadership wants more than anything is direct talks with the U.S. that would lead to a permanent peace treaty. Technically, the agreement to cease the Korean War in 1953 was only an armistice, and the two countries are still at war.

The former president says that, indeed, “the preservation of their regime” is priority one for the government in Pyongyang, and current strategies that attempt to de-escalate the situation are failing because the North Korean leadership “believes its survival is at stake.”

Carter says what’s needed now is for the U.S. to “send a high-level delegation to Pyongyang for peace talks or to support an international conference” of all the relevant regional players, including China.

In his piece, Carter doesn’t nominate himself to lead such an effort, but if Tuesday’s report out of South Korea is accurate, he seems willing to fill the role. He would need permission from the federal government, however, as a ban on U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea went into effect in September.

Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

Why North Korea Wants Nuke Deterrence

NOVANEWS

The revelation that North Korea hacked into South Korea’s military secrets and found U.S. plans for a preemptive “decapitation” of Pyongyang’s leadership explains its rush to build a nuclear deterrent, says Nicolas J S Davies.

Featured image: North Korean missile launch on March 6, 2017.

The Western media has been awash in speculation as to why, about a year ago, North Korea’s “crazy” leadership suddenly launched a crash program to vastly improve its ballistic missile capabilities. That question has now been answered.

In September 2016, North Korean cyber-defense forces hacked into South Korean military computers and downloaded 235 gigabytes of documents. The BBC has revealed that the documents included detailed U.S. plans to assassinate North Korea’s president, Kim Jong-un, and launch an all-out war on North Korea. The BBC’s main source for this story is Rhee Cheol-hee, a member of the Defense Committee of the South Korean National Assembly.

These plans for aggressive war have actually been long in the making. In 2003, the U.S. scrapped an agreement signed in 1994 under which North Korea suspended its nuclear program and the U.S. agreed to build two light water reactors in North Korea. The two countries also agreed to a step-by-step normalization of relations. Even after the U.S. scrapped the 1994 Agreed Framework in 2003, North Korea did not restart work on the two reactors frozen under that agreement, which could by now be producing enough plutonium to make several nuclear weapons every year.

However, since 2002-03, when President George W. Bush included North Korea in his “axis of evil,” withdrew from the Agreed Framework, and launched an invasion of Iraq over bogus WMD claims, North Korea once again began enriching uranium and making steady progress toward developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them.

By 2016, the North Koreans also were keenly aware of the horrific fate of Iraq and Libya and their leaders after the countries did surrender their unconventional weapons. Not only did the U.S. lead bloody “regime change” invasions but the nations’ leaders were brutally murdered, Saddam Husseinby hanging and Muammar Gaddafi sodomized with a knife and then summarily shot in the head.

So, the discovery of the U.S. war plan in 2016 sounded alarm bells in Pyongyang and triggered an unprecedented crash program to quickly expand North Korea’s ballistic missile program. Its nuclear weapons tests established that it can produce a small number of first-generation nuclear weapons, but it needed a viable delivery system before it could be sure that its nuclear deterrent would be credible enough to deter a U.S. attack.

In other words, North Korea’s main goal has been to close the gap between its existing delivery systems and the missile technology it would need to actually launch a retaliatory nuclear strike against the United States. North Korea’s leaders see this as their only chance to escape the same kind of mass destruction visited on North Korea in the first Korean War, when U.S.-led air forces destroyed every city, town and industrial area and General Curtis LeMay boasted that the attacks had killed 20 percent of the population.

Through 2015 and early 2016, North Korea only tested one new missile, the Pukkuksong-1 submarine-launched missile. The missile launched from a submerged submarine and flew 300 miles on its final, successful test, which coincided with the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises in August 2016.

North Korea also launched its largest satellite to date in February 2016, but the launch vehicle seemed to be the same type as the Unha-3 used to launch a smaller satellite in 2012.

However, since the discovery of the U.S.-South Korean war plans a year ago, North Korea has vastly accelerated its missile development program, conducting at least 27 more tests of a wide range of new missiles and bringing it much closer to a credible nuclear deterrent. Here is a timeline of the tests:

Two failed tests of Hwasong-10 medium-range ballistic missiles in October 2016.

Two successful tests of Pukguksong-2 medium-range ballistic missiles, in February and May 2017. The missiles followed identical trajectories, rising to a height of 340 miles and landing in the sea 300 miles away. South Korean analysts believe this missile’s full range is at least 2,000 miles, and North Korea said the tests confirmed it is ready for mass production.

Four medium-range ballistic missiles that flew an average of 620 miles from the Tongchang-ri space center in March 2017.

Two apparently failed missile tests from Sinpo submarine base in April 2017.

Six tests of Hwasong-12 medium-range ballistic missiles (range: 2,300 to 3,700 miles) since April 2017.

A failed test of a missile believed to be a “KN-17” from Pukchang airbase in April 2017.

Test of a Scud-type anti-ship missile that flew 300 miles and landed in the Sea of Japan, and two other tests in May 2017.

Several cruise missiles fired from the East coast in June 2017.

A test of a powerful new rocket engine, maybe for an ICBM, in June 2017.

North Korea tested two Hwasong-14 “near-ICBMs” in July 2017. Based on these tests, the Hwasong-14 may be capable of hitting city-sized targets in Alaska or Hawaii with a single nuclear warhead, but cannot yet reach the U.S. West Coast.

Four more missiles tested in August 2017, including a Hwasong-12 that flew over Japan and travelled 1,700 miles before breaking up, maybe as a result of a failure in a “Post Boost Vehicle” added to improve range and accuracy.

Another ballistic missile flew 2,300 miles over the Pacific on September 15, 2017.

An analysis of the two tests of the Hwasong-14 in July by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) concluded that these missiles are not yet capable of carrying a 500 kg payload as far as Seattle or other U.S. West Coast cities. BAS notes that a first generation nuclear weapon based on the Pakistani model that North Korea is believed to be following could not weigh less than 500 kg, once the weight of the warhead casing and a heat shield to survive reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere are taken into account.

Global Reaction

Awareness of the role of the U.S. war plan in spurring the dramatic escalation of North Korea’s missile program should be a game changer in the world’s response to the crisis over Korea, since it demonstrates that the current acceleration of the North Korean missile program is a defensive response to a serious and potentially existential threat from the United States.

If the United Nations Security Council was not diplomatically and militarily intimidated by the United States, this knowledge should trigger urgent action in the Security Council to require all sides to make a firm commitment to peaceful and binding diplomacy to formally end the Korean War and remove the threat of war from all the people of Korea. And the whole world would unite politically and diplomatically to prevent the U.S. from using its veto to avoid accountability for its leading role in this crisis. Only a unified global response to potential U.S. aggression could possibly convince North Korea that it would have some protection if it eventually halted its nuclear weapons program.

But such unity in the face of a threat of U.S. aggression would be unprecedented. Most U.N. delegates quietly sat and listened on Sept. 19 when President Donald Trump delivered explicit threats of war and aggression against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, while boasting about his missile strike against Syria on April 6 over dubious and disputed claims about a chemical weapons incident.

For the past 20 years or more, the United States has swaggered about as the “last remaining superpower” and the “indispensable nation,” a global law unto itself, using the dangers of terrorism and weapons proliferation and highly selective outrage over “dictators” as propaganda narratives to justify illegal wars, CIA-backed terrorism, its own weapons proliferation, and support for its favored dictators like the brutal rulers of Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies.

For even longer, the United States has been two-faced about international law, citing it when some adversary can be accused of a violation but ignoring it when the U.S. or its allies are trampling on the rights of some disfavored country. When the International Court of Justice convicted the United States of aggression (including acts of terrorism) against Nicaragua in 1986, the U.S. withdrew from the ICJ’s binding jurisdiction.

Since then, the U.S. has thumbed its nose at the entire structure of international law, confident in the political power of its propaganda or “information warfare” to cast itself as the guardian of law and order in the world, even as it systematically violates the most basic rules spelled out in the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions.

U.S. propaganda treats the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions, the world’s “Never again” to war, torture and the killing of millions of civilians in the Second World War, as relics of another time that it would be naive to take seriously.

But the results of the U.S. alternative — its lawless “might makes right” war policy — are now plain for all to see. In the past 16 years, America’s post-9/11 wars have already killed at least two million people, maybe many more, with no end in sight to the slaughter as the U.S.’s policy of illegal war keeps plunging country after country into intractable violence and chaos.

An Ally’s Fears

Just as North Korea’s missile programs are a rational defense strategy in the face of the threat Pyongyang faces from the U.S., the exposure of the U.S.’s war plan by American allies in South Korea is also a rational act of self-preservation, since they too are threatened by the possibility of war on the Korean peninsula.

Now maybe other U.S. allies, the wealthy countries that have provided political and diplomatic cover for the U.S.’s 20-year campaign of illegal war, will finally reassert their humanity, their sovereignty and their own obligations under international law, and start to rethink their roles as junior partners in U.S. aggression.

Countries like the U.K., France and Australia will sooner or later have to choose between forward-looking roles in a sustainable, peaceful multi-polar world and a slavish loyalty to the ever-more desperate death throes of U.S. hegemony. Now might be a good moment to make that choice, before they are dragged into new U.S. wars in Korea, Iran or Venezuela.

Even Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is afraid that Donald Trump will lead humanity into World War III. But it might come as a surprise to people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and parts of a dozen other countries already engulfed by U.S.-driven wars to learn that they are not already in the midst of World War III.

Perhaps what really worries the Senator is that he and his colleagues may no longer be able to sweep these endless atrocities under the plush carpets of the halls of Congress without a genteel Barack Obama in the White House to sweet-talk U.S. allies around the world and keep the millions being killed in U.S. wars off U.S. TVs and computer screens, out of sight and out of mind.

If politicians in the U.S. and around the world need the ugliness of Donald Trump as a mirror for their own greed, ignorance and temerity, to shame them into changing their ways, so be it – whatever it takes. But it should not escape anyone anywhere that the signature on this diabolical war plan that now threatens to kill millions of Koreans was not Donald Trump’s but Barack Obama’s.

George Orwell might well have been describing the partisan blindness of the West’s self-satisfied, so easily deluded, neoliberal society when he wrote this in 1945,

“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its color when it is committed by our side… The Nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Here’s the bottom line: The United States has been planning to assassinate Kim Jong Un and to launch an all-out war on North Korea. There. You’ve heard it. Now, can you still be manipulated into believing that Kim Jong Un is simply “crazy” and North Korea is the gravest threat to world peace?

Or do you now understand that the United States is the real threat to peace in Korea, just as it was in Iraq, Libya and many other countries where the leaders were deemed “crazy” and U.S. officials (and the Western mainstream media) promoted war as the only “rational” alternative?

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In Iran and North Korea, Trump Is Playing with Nuclear Fire

NOVANEWS

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which spearheaded a landmark nuclear disarmament treaty, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The significance of this award cannot be underestimated.

Donald Trump‘s bombastic and frightening threats against North Korea and Iran may portend a catastrophic attack that could impact the entire world.

The US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing 210,000 people. During the week following the bombings, thousands of survivors experienced a unique combination of symptoms, Susan Southard wrote in the Los Angeles Times:

Their hair fell out in large clumps, their wounds secreted extreme amounts of pus, and their gums swelled and bled. Purple spots appeared on their bodies, signs of hemorrhaging beneath the skin. Infections ravaged their internal organs. Within a few days of the onset of symptoms, many people lost consciousness, mumbled deliriously and died in extreme pain; others languished for weeks before either dying or slowly recovering.

In the face of Trump’s nuclear threats, the danger the world faces is immeasurable.

Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons

On July 7, more than 120 countries approved the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which requires ratifying countries “never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” The treaty also prohibits the transfer of, use of, or threat to use nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.

Fifty-three countries officially signed the treaty, and three have already ratified it, which makes them parties to the accord. Ninety days after 50 countries ratify it, the treaty will enter into force.

However, the five original nuclear-armed countries — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — boycotted the treaty negotiations and the voting. North Korea, Israel, Pakistan and India, which also have nuclear weapons, refrained from participating in the final vote as well. In October 2016, during negotiations, North Korea had voted for the treaty.

The State Department issued a statement saying,

“The United States does not support and will not sign the [treaty].”

Trump Threatens to Blow Up the Iran Deal

Meanwhile, Trump is moving the world closer to nuclear war, threatening North Korea with destruction and attempting to blow up the nuclear deal with Iran. The day before the new treaty was concluded, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacked; that amounted to a threat to commit genocide.

Peace prize historian Oeivind Stenersen said the Nobel committee intended “to send a signal to North Korea and the US that they need to go into negotiations. The prize is also coded to support the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.”

The Iran deal is embodied in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It rescinded the punishing US and international sanctions on Iran, amounting to billions of dollars of relief. In return, Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program.

Under the US Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, the president must determine every 90 days whether Iran remains in compliance with the JCPOA and whether it still serves US interests. The next 90-day period ends on October 15. Trump will reportedly refuse to certify that Iran is compliant with the agreement on October 12, in spite of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency’s finding that Iran is in compliance.

If Trump refuses to certify that Iran is compliant with the JCPOA or determines the agreement is not in the national interest, Congress will then have 60 days to act. If Congress reimposes sanctions, it would likely cause the JCPOA to unravel. Iran would then proceed with a program to develop nuclear weapons.

The White House has signaled that Trump will urge Congress not to reimpose sanctions, but rather hopes Congress will pass new legislation beyond the scope of the original deal.

“If Congress complies, such unilateral action to change a multilateral agreement will effective kill it,” Wendy Sherman, former under secretary of state for political affairs and US lead negotiator for the JCPOA, wrote in The New York Times.

Moreover, if Trump’s actions scuttle the Iran deal, it will send a dangerous message to North Korea that the United States cannot be trusted to abide by its multilateral agreements.

Both Trump’s threats against North Korea and his undermining of the JCPOA could lead to nuclear war.

US Violates Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

The 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires nuclear states to eliminate their nuclear weapons and non-nuclear states to refrain from acquiring them. In 2005, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara told the Institute for Public Accuracy,

“The US government is not adhering to Article VI of the NPT and we show no signs of planning to adhere to its requirements to move forward with the elimination — not reduction, but elimination — of nuclear weapons.”

In 1996, the International Court of Justice stated in an advisory opinion,

“There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

But the nuclear powers have ignored that decision.

And in spite of UN Security Council Resolution 687, which established a weapons-of mass-destruction-free zone in the Middle East, Israel maintains a formidable nuclear arsenal.

“The nuclear weapons states, governed by political realists, basically have no trust in law or morality when it comes to national security,” international law expert Richard Falkwrote, “but base their faith in the hyper-rationality of destructive military power, which in the nuclear age is expressed in the arcane idiom of deterrence, an idea more transparently known in the Cold War Era as Mutually Assured Destruction (or MAD!!).”

Indeed, Trump is planning a $1 trillion rebuilding of the US nuclear weapons program.

Only the US Has Used Nuclear Weapons

The United States is the only country ever to use nuclear weapons. On the day of the Hiroshima bombing, 19-year-old Shinji Mikamo was on the roof of his house helping his father prepare it for demolition when he saw a huge fireball coming at him. He heard a deafening explosion and felt a searing pain throughout his body. It felt as if boiling water had been poured over him. His chest and right arm were totally burned. Pieces of his flesh fell from his body like ragged clothing. The pain was unbearable. Shinji was three-quarters of a mile from the epicenter of the bomb. He survived, but most of his family perished.

Shinji’s daughter, Dr. Akiko Mikamo, author of Rising From the Ashes: A True Story of Survival and Forgiveness, told a Veterans for Peace Convention that 99 percent of those who were outdoors at the time of the blast died immediately or within 48 hours.

This should serve as a cautionary note to Trump — and Congress — that there is no trifling with nuclear weapons.

“The Calm Before the Storm”

Yet during a photo opportunity he staged with military leaders after meeting with them to discuss North Korea and Iran, Trump issued an ominous warning:

“You guys know what this represents? … Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”

What storm?

“You’ll find out.”

Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council, told The Hill that Trump’s decertification of the Iran deal “will trigger a process that very likely will lead to the collapse of the deal.”

Parsi said on Democracy Now!,

“The buzz here is that there’s going to be a very significant ramping up, an escalation, in the region against Iran, potentially including shooting down Iranian airplanes, sinking Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf, targeting Iranian troops or Iranian-allied troops in Iraq and in Syria.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are reportedly counseling Trump to certify that Iran is complying with the JCPOA.

But Trump has consistently criticized the Iran deal, probably because it was concluded on Barack Obama‘s watch and Israel is dead set against it.

In any event, Trump is playing with fire — nuclear fire — in both North Korea and Iran. We must pressure the White House and Congress members alike, and hope that cooler heads prevail. The stakes are unbearably high.

Posted in USA, Iran, North Korea0 Comments

US-North Korean War Could Trigger a Russian-American Nuclear Exchange

NOVANEWS

On Russian radars any US attempts to intercept a North Korean missile would look a lot like a strike aimed at Russia’s Far East

In the event that North Korea tests another Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) or potentially launches an attack on the United States, the Pentagon could try to intercept those missiles with the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. However, as many analysts have pointed out, the interceptors that miss their target could reenter the Earth’s atmosphere inside Russian airspace. Such an eventuality could prove to be a serious problem unless steps are taken to address the issue now.

“You should also be aware of the concern that those interceptors fired from Alaska that miss or don’t engage an incoming North Korean ICBM(s) will continue on and reenter the Earth’s atmosphere over Russia,” Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association told The National Interest.

“This carries a nontrivial risk of unintended escalation.”

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, told The National Interest that the United States should open a dialogue with Russia on the issue immediately.

“Good god, yes,” Lewis said emphatically.

Olya Oliker, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies agreed.

“We have time now to consult with Moscow, talk about plans, discuss how notification would work,” Oliker told The National Interest.

“This isn’t the rocket science part of all this.”

Indeed, in a recent op-ed, Lewis argues that an American interceptor launch could accidentally trigger a nuclear exchange if the Russians mistook such a weapon for an incoming ICBM.

“We can’t assume that Russia would realize the launch from Alaska was a missile defense interceptor rather than an ICBM. From Russia, the trajectories might appear quite similar, especially if the radar operator was under a great deal of stress or pressure,” Lewis wrote for The Daily Beast.

“It doesn’t matter how Russia’s early warning system ought to work on paper, the reality of the Russian system in practice has been a lot less impressive.”

Joshua H. Pollack, editor of the The Nonproliferation Review and a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said that the danger is real.

“Whether they actually would enter Russian airspace is probably less important than whether they break the line of sight of Russia’s early-warning radars,” Pollack said.

“They do appear to plan in terms of launch-on-warning. That’s why I call this scenario ‘Russian Roulette.’”

But how exactly the United States might attempt to shoot down a North Korean missile is scenario dependent.

“In an attack on Hawaii, it seems to me that they might not do so, and ought to be clearly identifiable as being aimed well south of Russian territory if they are detected,” Pollack said.

“In an attack on North America, they almost certainly would be detected by Russian radars.”

While defending against an attack on Hawaii should not cause major issues, shooting down an ICBM that is targeted against the U.S. mainland would be problematic. Indeed, to defend against an attack on Washington D.C.—for example—the intercept might take place over Russia.

“In fact, depending on the target of the attack, the actual engagement could take place above Russia,” Pollack said.

“If interceptors in Alaska are going to try to catch the attack more or less head-on, they’ll have to fly out in the direction of Russia. Someone else might be able to model the geometry of the engagement, but just eyeballing it, I could easily envision it happening over Russia’s Far East. If the interceptors had to launch later and attempt a crossing shot, they could even end up flying out in the direction of European Russia.”

Pavel Podvig, an independent analyst based in Geneva who runs the Russian Nuclear Forces research project disagreed with Lewis and Pollack. Podvig noted that the Russian early warning system is in far better shape today than it was during the 1990s. While a GMD launch from Alaska might cause alarm, the Russian philosophy has been to essentially absorb the first initial blows before launching a retaliatory counterstrike.

“The Russian system is built to ‘absorb’ events like this,” Podvig told The National Interest.

“We don’t have hard data, of course, but my understanding is that even at the height of the Cold War the Soviet Union would have chosen to get a single hit—or maybe even a few—rather than launch its missiles in response, especially in a ‘bolt out of the blue’ situation. Having said that, things do happen and a real-world situation may introduce factors that nobody can predict or control. Coincidences of various kind are possible and the command and control system may react in unpredictable ways. So, the real answer is, we don’t know.”

The Russians, however, are not too worried by the prospect of discarded American interceptors landing on their soil. However, Moscow would likely want to be consulted because the interceptors might set off Russia’s ballistic missile early warning system (BMEWS).

“Basically, we would be happy to see them on our soil for study,” Vasily Kashin, a senior fellow at the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, told The National Interest.

“Anyway, the chance of them hitting in a populated area in the Russian Far East is extremely small. But of course there is a BMEWS issue, so it is better to hold consultations and establish info exchange mechanism.”

What is surprising to the Russians is that the United States did not install a self-destruct system on the GMD interceptors to prevent the missiles from landing where they should not.

“The fact that it does not have self destruct is surprising,” Kashin said.

“And I am not sure anyone here knew about that.”

Indeed, Lewis flatly stated that the GMD interceptor does not have a self-destruct mechanism while Pollack explained that the weapon is a kinetic kill vehicle with no warhead.

“I’ve never heard of any self-destruct mechanism on GMD’s interceptors,” Pollack said.

“They’re lightweight, hit-to-kill systems that don’t involve any explosives.”

The question that remains, of course, is even if there was a consultative body set up between the United States and Russia, would there be enough time to use such a mechanism?

According to Lewis, the answer is probably not.

“The timeline for a missile defense intercept is so tight—just a few minutes—that the president probably won’t even know about an intercept until after it happens,” Lewis wrote.

Thus, at the end of the day, the United States should probably consult with Russia about the possibility of intercepting North Korean ICBMs over Moscow’s territory and set up an agreement ahead of time. But even then, during a real intercept attempt, the United States will likely have to count on Russia’s early warning system operating correctly and the Kremlin’s restraint to avoid an unintended nuclear war.

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Red star over Nepal

NOVANEWS
Image result for RED STAR
By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline 

The Communist Party of Nepal-UML led by KP Oli, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) led by Prachanda and the breakaway Naya Shakti Nepal led by Baburam Bhattarai have announced on October 3 the formation of a grand leftist alliance for the forthcoming provincial and federal elections in Nepal on November 26 and December 7 under the new constitution. The polarization of Nepal’s fragmented political spectrum on ideological lines makes the forthcoming elections a watershed event.

In reaction to the unexpected development, the Nepali Congress is reportedly planning to assemble a motley coalition of right-wing forces with some smaller parties to counter the grand leftist alliance. Interestingly, the constituents of the right-wing alliance may include the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, which was formed in April with the merger of six “pro-India” Madhesi parties on the advice of their mentors in India. Even more interesting is the prospect of the Hindu right-wing, cultural conservative and royalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party Democratic – a veritable clone of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party – joining the Nepali Congress-led alliance.

It doesn’t require much ingenuity to figure out that the leitmotif of the polarization into two grand alliances lies in their respective disposition toward India. The announcement of the formation of the leftist alliance on October 3 seems to have taken not only the Nepali Congress but Delhi also by surprise. The Nepali Congress is scrambling to come up with a credible contestation – conceivably, with some encouragement from Delhi.

The polarization in Nepali politics is a good thing to happen since it presents a clear-cut choice to the electorate. The blurring of the ideological divide through the period of democratization in Nepal had been a major factor breeding the politics of expediency resulting in instability in the past. The big question is whether political stability as such guarantees good governance and can deliver on growth and development. India’s current experience speaks otherwise.

To be sure, the Leftist alliance is ideologically motivated and can be trusted to be far more cohesive and capable of offering a stable government. It will be campaigning on the plank of social justice, egalitarianism and Nepali nationalism. The alliance hopes to secure a two-thirds majority in the new Parliament which will strengthen their hands to steer future amendments to the Constitution smoothly, unlike in the past. During the general election, 165 members of the National Parliament will be elected by simple vote, while another 110 will be appointed through a system of proportional representation.

Based on the performance of the two main communist parties in the elections for the constituent assembly in 2013 and this year’s local polls, the leftist alliance has a distinct chance of winning a majority in the forthcoming elections. (The communists also have a strong party machinery all over the country.) If so, Nepal will be coming under communist rule – an unprecedented political feat not only for Nepal’s fledgling democracy but for the South Asian region as a whole. Importantly, based on the leftist alliance’s performance in the November elections, they intend to form a united Nepal Communist Party. It will be a big rebuff to the Indian establishment, which succeeded so far in splintering the Left in Nepal by fuelling internecine feuds and personality clashes.

These are early days but a communist government in Nepal will profoundly impact the geopolitics of South Asia. It is useful to factor in that Nepal took a neutral stance on the India-China standoff in Doklam. India’s capacity to influence Nepal’s foreign policies under a communist government will be even more limited. Equally, it remains to be seen how Nepal’s ‘defection’ from the Indian orbit might have a domino effect on Bhutan.

A ‘tilt’ toward China may well ensue under a communist government in Nepal.  The country may embrace China’s Belt and Road Initiative unequivocally. Chinese investments can phenomenally transform Nepal. And comparisons will be inevitably drawn with the neighboring impoverished regions of Bihar and UP, which are run by India’s ruling party.

The forthcoming elections in Nepal assume great importance for India’s neighbourhood policies under the Modi government. The right-wing Hindu nationalist forces mentoring the Modi government will have a hard time in accepting the prospect of a communist government ruling the abode of the god Shiva. Will they attempt to interfere in the elections? Any overt Indian interference risks  a furious backlash, given the pervasive anti-India sentiments in the country.

On the other hand, while the BJP is unable to tolerate a communist government even in the tiny southern state of Kerala, ironically, the Modi government may have to drink from the chalice of poison by doing business with a sovereign communist government in next-door Nepal. Read, here, an interview by Baburam Bhattarai, the well-known Marxist ideologue of Nepal, on the dramatic political developments in the country.

Posted in South Asia0 Comments

Expert Exposes US Biological Warfare During Korean War

NOVANEWS
  • The U.S. responded to north Korean military advances with biological warfare.
    The U.S. responded to north Korean military advances with biological warfare. | Photo: YouTube.
TeleSUR spoke with retired Prof. Stephen Endicott about his definitive book on the U.S. use and cover up of biological warfare during the Korean War.

“You may rest assured that I stand by every word of ‘The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets of the Early Cold War and Korea’,” Stephen Endicott told teleSUR about his 1999 book co-authored by the late Edward Hagerman. The book looks in-depth at the U.S. military’s use and coverup of banned biological weapons against the Korean and Chinese people during the Korean War of 1950-53.

RELATED: Putin: Kim Jong-Il Said North Korea Had Nukes In 2001, Pressure Leads to a ‘Dead End’

For Endicott, the United States’ use of germ warfare during its war against Korea is both personal and professional. He told teleSUR his father, James G. Endicott, a Canadian and former missionary in China, “witnessed the American germ war campaign during a return visit to the country in 1952. The Canadian government threatened to try him for treason for his report affirming the charges made by China and North Korea that the U.S. had engaged in biological warfare.” This was the impetus to his academic research on the topic.

Endicott and Hagerman conducted extensive archival research and interviews with Chinese, U.S., Canadian, Japanese, and British officials and civilians. The authors were the firsts to gain access to declassified U.S. records regarding the Korean War, which Endicott says showed the “U.S. engaged in shameful tactics employing many kinds of weapons whose use was banned by international law” by the 1925 Geneva Protocol, and later the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.

With the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan and the end of WWII, the U.S. took over Japanese territories in Asia, including redrawing Korea, splitting it into the northern and southern regions at the 38th latitudinal parallel. In the south, the United States occupied and set up a military base, which has remained to this day, while the Soviet Union sent troops to the north.

RELATED: China: A Revolutionary Present

Kim had the Soviet’s support and was well-equipped, quickly taking over all but a small portion of the peninsula’s southeast tip. Left-wing movements were mounting in the region and Endicott says, the “United States was determined to turn back the tide of change and revolution in East Asia.”

The United States sent troops to prop up its Korean allies in the south and China sent troops to support forces under Kim. By late 1951 the Chinese/North Korea alliance was gaining the upper hand. The United States answered by using germ warfare, among other tactics.

In the winter of 1952 Chinese military members in the north reported, “American aircraft were dropping strange objects” including live spiders, flies, bees, snakes, fleas, ticks, dead rats, and mosquitos encased in U.S. military tubes. Even dropping pork, dead crow and chicken feathers.

Endicott told teleSUR the U.S. military created a policy of using “a secret covert channel as well as on overt channel for conducting biological and chemical warfare … whenever it was militarily advantageous and without regard to precedent.”

A follow-up report the authors released in 2016 detailed how 46 Chinese medical experts investigated the creatures and found fleas with bubonic plague, unprecedented in Korean history. Sixteen Chinese troops contracted the disease. Civilians were diagnosed with smallpox and typhus. Korean military documents Endicott and Hagerman uncovered show that 44 Korean troops contracted encephalitis and meningitis and 16 died, while three died of cholera. The U.S. military was crafting these very pathogens at the U.S. Biological Warfare laboratories.

Some 20 military personnel died suddenly of “acute diseases” after the presence of the odd objects and insects in the area. The very presence of such animals, insects and diseases were unheard of during snowy Korean winters. Additionally, several times during the winter of 1952, the U.S. bomb-shelled the Chinese and Korean military forces with “poisonous gas shells” immediately killing several troops in each instance.

RELATED: Washington and Pyongyang React to Trump’s Tillerson Tweet

A book published by the Beijing Academy of Military Science in 1982 found that “384 Chinese soldiers were infected” with a variety of diseases across several northern Korean provinces during the war, while 126 of them died.

Endicott and Hagerman revealed U.S. military documents from August 1953 where U.S. military leaders wanted to continue “the operational use of biological agents, perhaps putting GB (nerve gas) agents into the munitions mix.” What’s more disturbing than the U.S. use of banned warfare is that the military was seemingly disappointed with the results.

The U.S. military told its “Canadian and British partners they were unable to achieve a ‘highly lethal, stable, viable, easily disseminated, low cost” agent. U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Arthur Radford lamented that the campaign against the north, “suffered from over-optimism and consequent attempts to get a job done quickly.”

Endicott told teleSUR there have been few revelations since he and Hagerman first published their book almost 20 years ago. However, Endicott noted that “shortly before his death,” retired CIA agent Norman Cournoyer who worked in the Biological Warfare Center in Fort Detrick “broke his oath of secrecy to the government” for a 2002 documentary titled, “Code Name Artichoke,” revealing, “There were people who had biological weapons and they used them. I won’t say anything more than that. They used them.”

Endicott said that despite the evidence, “The United States government continues to make every effort to cover-up, deceive and deny its criminal use of biological weapons in the Korean War,” adding, “One of the defenses of the U.S. was that the Chinese scientists (who investigated the matter in 1952) were poorly trained and not able to properly identify what was happening. In fact, many of the Chinese scientists were highly trained. A number of them had been trained in the West, including the U.S., or studied at the Rockefeller funded Beijing Medical College. They were well qualified to carry out the investigations and draw valid conclusions.”

RELATED: US-North Korea Relations: Experts Weigh in on Future Course

Additionally, Endicott said some “U.S. airmen who carried out the attacks” admitted to using germ warfare after being captured by the Chinese. When they returned home, U.S. military leaders alleged the soldiers “were forced to confess to something that they did not do, but that what actually happened is that when they returned home to the U.S., they were threatened with court martial (including possible death sentences) if they did not repudiate the confessions that they gave to their Chinese captors.”

Despite the official coverup, G. Cameron Hurst, head of the East Asia Department at the University of Pennsylvania called the authors’ expose book “far and away the most authoritative writing on the subject.”

Endicott concluded, “This was a shameful episode in American history.” The U.S. military remains immune and unaccountable for the deaths it caused of Chinese and Korean military as well as civilians during the Korean War, only adding insult to injury by covering up its germ and biological warfare campaign.

WATCH: Global Empire – State Of The World

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