ACTiON ALERT: Tell Trump to Stop Threatening North Korea: Negotiation, Not Detonation
August 9, 2017
Roots Action & Nuclear Age Peace Foundation & Medea Benjamin / CODE PINK & Sputnik News & teleSUR & Richard Becker / Global Research & John Laurits / JohnLaurits.com & Jason Le Miere / Newsweek
Donald Trump claims he has no choice but to threaten North Korea with war -- a war that would prove disastrous to the entire world. Legally, when North Korea tests missiles it breaks no laws. The US tests missiles all the time. But when the US threatens war it commits a grave violation of the law as well as risks getting us all killed. North Korea has repeatedly offered to abandon its nuclear weapons program in exchange for a halt to US/South Korea military exercises. Let's chart a different course before it is too late.
ACTiON ALERT: Tell Trump to Stop Threatening North Korea: Negotiation, Not Detonation
(April 27, 2017) -- Donald Trump claims he has no choice but to threaten North Korea with war -- a war that would prove disastrous for multiple countries, if not the entire world. In reality, from all appearances, Trump has no clue as to the choices available or the history at work.
The fact that North Korea is a horrific dictatorship does not change the reality that threatening to attack that nuclear-armed country is an extremely reckless policy that gravely risks setting off a cataclysmic catastrophe.
North Korea has repeatedly offered to abandon its nuclear weapons program if the United States and South Korea would stop flying over North Korea practicing to bomb it as well as engaging in other explicitly threatening military exercises nearby. North Korea has shown interest in developing a peace treaty with the South to finally end the Korean War.
North Korea adhered to an agreement to halt its nuclear weapons program right up until George W. Bush labeled it a member of an axis of evil and viciously attacked one of the other designated members, Iraq. A lot of such information is unfamiliar to Americans. The "Background" links below provide a bit of that information.
When Trump says he's sending ships to North Korea, people in North Korea with historical knowledge will remember the devastating bombing inflicted on the country by the United States nearly 70 years ago.
The US bombed dams, bridges, and villages. It dropped huge quantities of napalm. It dropped insects and feathers infected with anthrax, cholera, encephalitis, and bubonic plague. The United States has never relinquished wartime command of the South Korean military, and it has been building big new bases in South Korea opposed by serious popular protests.
The US is building what it calls a missile defense system in South Korea that North Korea and China consider offensive and part of an offensive first-strike policy. The people of South Korea have been protesting it in huge numbers.
Legally, when North Korea tests missiles it breaks no laws. The United States tests missiles all the time. But when the United States threatens war it commits a grave violation of the law as well as risks getting us all killed. Let's chart a different course before it is too late.
Let's remind Trump and the US media of this context, and of the options it opens up.
Threatening to attack a nuclear-armed country is extremely reckless, as well as illegal, quite regardless of any flaws the country possesses.
North Korea has repeatedly offered to abandon its nuclear weapons program if the United States and South Korea would stop flying over North Korea practicing to bomb it.
North Korea has shown interest in developing a peace treaty with the South to finally end the Korean War.
North Korea adhered to an agreement to halt its nuclear weapons program right up until George W. Bush labeled it a member of an axis of evil and viciously attacked one of the other designated members, Iraq.
Peace is possible. We demand that the US government stop pushing for war and work toward a peaceful solution.
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RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former US Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
Bruce Cumings, The Nation, "Korean War Games"
Dave Chaddock: "This Must Be the Place: How the US Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since"
John DeLury, The Washington Post: "Instead of threatening North Korea, Trump should try this."
Tell Your Senators:
No Military Attack Against North Korea
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
(April 25, 2017) -- Donald Trump has summoned all 100 US Senators to meet at the White House on April 26, regarding the situation in North Korea. This sounds ominous. President Trump and members of his cabinet have stated that "all options are on the table."
Preemptive military action, not sanctioned by the UN Security Council, would be illegal, immoral and unwise. It could lead to a prolonged war in the Korean peninsula, and could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
In addition, the US has scheduled a test of its nuclear-capable Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile for the early morning hours of April 26, just before Trump's meeting with Senators. Continually escalating the nuclear threat level with North Korea endangers us all.
Write/call your Senators today insisting upon a diplomatic -- rather than a military -- solution to the conflict with North Korea. Insist Upon a Diplomatic Solution with North Korea:
I am writing today with an urgent request for you to insist upon a diplomatic -- rather than a military -- solution to the conflict with North Korea.
It is unclear what President Trump aims to accomplish with his meeting with all 100 US Senators on April 26, but any incitement to support US military action must be opposed. Preemptive military action, not sanctioned by the UN Security Council, would be illegal, immoral and unwise. It could lead to a prolonged war in the Korean peninsula, and could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
In addition, the US has scheduled a test of its nuclear-capable Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile for the early morning hours of April 26, just before President Trump's meeting with you. Continually escalating the nuclear threat level with North Korea endangers us all.
Please use your position to stop this unnecessary march towards war with North Korea.
Urgent Warning: Washington Needs to
Deescalate Military Threats Against North Korea
Given the specter of nuclear war,
the rational policy is one of de-escalation
Medea Benjamin / CODE PINK & Nation of Change
(August 1, 2017) -- Touching down in Washington, D.C. Friday night after a peace delegation to South Korea, I saw the devastating news. No, it was not that Reince Priebus had been booted from the dysfunctional White House. It was that North Korea had conducted another intercontinental ballistic missile test, and that the United States and South Korea had responded by further ratcheting up this volatile conflict.
The response was not just the usual tit-for-tat, which did happen. Just hours after the North Korean test, the US and South Korean militaries launched their own ballistic missiles as a show of force.
Even more incendiary, however, is that South Korean President Moon Jae-in also responded by reversing his decision to halt deployment of the US weapon system known as THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense). President Moon gave his military the green light to add four more launchers to complete the system.
South Korea's new liberal president came into office May 10 on the wave of a remarkable "people power" uprising that had led to the impeachment and jailing of the corrupt President Park Geun-hye.
Part of the legacy Moon inherited was an agreement with the US to provide land and support for THAAD, a missile defense system designed to target and intercept short and medium-range missiles fired by North Korea.
THAAD is controversial on many fronts: military experts say it doesn't work; environmentalists say it emits dangerous radiation; national assembly members say it was never submitted for a vote; China says the radar is aimed at it and has responded with economic sanctions; and the local residents of Seongju, where the system is placed, are furious that their tranquil lives have been pierced by a billion-dollar Lockheed-Martin weapon system about which they were never consulted.
Our peace delegation, which was organized by the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea (STIK), was composed of former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, Reece Chenault of US Labor Against the War, Will Griffin of Veterans for Peace and myself. We had the opportunity to visit Seongju, a farming town 135 miles southeast of the capital, and the neighboring town of Gimcheon.
The feisty residents, including women farmers in their 80s, have been protesting every single day for the past year. We attended a rally with thousands, which concluded with a symbolic smashing of a cardboard version of THAAD and a candlelight vigil that takes place in both towns every night, rain or shine.
The villagers have blockaded the roads to prevent entry of the launchers, fought with police, publicly shaved their heads in opposition, and set up a 24/7 protest camp. They are joined by the local Won Buddhists, who consider the THAAD site their sacred ground.
It was the resilience of Seongju and neighboring Gimcheon residents that pushed the Moon administration to pause the deployment process until a thorough environmental impact assessment had been completed, which would have taken about a year.
This gave the villagers hope that they would have time to convince President Moon to rethink and reverse the THAAD agreement altogether. The president's recent decision will only spark more local outrage.
The North Korean nuclear program is certainly alarming, as are the myriad human rights violations of that repressive regime. But the question is how best to de-escalate the conflict so it doesn't explode into all-out nuclear war. Adding another weapon system into the mix is not the answer.
The North Korean regime feels encircled. It knows that the most powerful nation in the world, the United States, wants to overthrow it. There's Trump's belligerent rhetoric: "If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."
There's the ever-tightening screws of sanctions. Just a few hours before the latest North Korean missile test, Congress approved yet another round of sanctions to squeeze the North.
There are 83 US military bases on South Korean soil and US warships often patrol the coast. US-South Korean military exercises have been getting larger and more provocative, including dropping mock nuclear bombs on North Korea.
The US military also announced that it would permanently station an armed drone called Gray Eagle on the Korean Peninsula and it has been practicing long-range strikes with strategic bombers, sending them to the region for exercises and deploying them in Guam and on the peninsula.
The United States has also long held a "pre-emptive first strike" policy toward North Korea. This frightening threat of an unprovoked US nuclear attack gives North Korea good reason to want its own nuclear arsenal.
North Korea's leadership also looks at the fate of Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, leaders who gave up their nuclear programs, and concludes that nuclear weapons are their key to survival. So the North Korean leadership is not acting irrationally; on the contrary.
On July 29, the day after the test, North Korean President Kim Jong-un asserted that the threat of sanctions or military action "only strengthens our resolve and further justifies our possession of nuclear weapons."
Given the proximity of North Korea to the South's capital Seoul, a city of 25 million people, any outbreak of hostilities would be devastating. It is estimated that a North Korean attack using just conventional weapons would kill 64,000 South Koreans in the first three hours.
A war on the Korean Peninsula would likely draw in other nuclear-armed states and major powers, including China, Russia and Japan. This region also has the largest militaries and economies in the world, the world's busiest commercial ports, and half the world's population.
Trump has few options. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has warned that a pre-emptive strike on the North's nuclear and missile capabilities could reignite the Korean War.
Trump had hoped that Chinese President Xi Jinping could successfully rein in Kim Jong-un, but the Chinese are more concerned about the collapse of North Korea's government and the chaos that would ensue. They are also furious about the deployment of THAAD in South Korea, convinced that its radar can penetrate deep into Chinese territory.
But the Chinese do have another proposal: a freeze for a freeze. This means a freeze on North Korean missile and nuclear tests in exchange for a halt on US-South Korean war games.
Given the specter of nuclear war, the rational alternative policy is one of de-escalation and engagement. President Moon has called for dialogue with the North and a peace treaty to permanently end the Korean War. North Korean diplomats have raised the possibility of a "freeze for a freeze." Time has proven that coercion doesn't work.
There's an urgent need to hit the reset button on US-Korean policy, before one of the players hits a much more catastrophic button that could lead us into a nuclear nightmare. The massive war games have been taking place every year in March, with smaller ones scheduled for August.
A halt would alleviate tensions and pave the way for negotiations. So would halting the deployment of the destabilizing THAAD system so disliked by South Korean villagers, North Koreans and the Chinese.
How US Provoked North Korea before Missile Launch
South Korea, US Launch Five-day Joint Naval Drill in Face of North's Anger
(July 16, 2017) -- South Korea and the United States on Wednesday launched a five-day joint naval drill in the face of angry North Korean protests and warnings backed by missile tests. Two separate drills began simultaneously in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) and off the southern port of Mokpo, South Korean military officials said.
The drill off Mokpo was led by the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, which will also participate in a search and rescue exercise next week with South Korean and Japanese maritime forces.
The presence of the flagship carrier has been especially galling for Pyongyang, which denounced it as a "reckless" act of provocation and a modern-day example of "gunboat diplomacy".
The joint exercises follow an unusually extended series of rocket and missile tests by North Korea, which fired 100 artillery shells into the East Sea on Monday. South Korean and the United States hold a series of army and navy drills every year that are habitually condemned by Pyongyang as rehearsals for invasion. Seoul and Washington insist they are defensive in nature.
The recent North Korean missile tests have coincided with various peace overtures to Seoul, including a proposal to halt all provocative military activity. Officials from both sides are due to hold rare talks on Thursday to discuss North Korea's participation in the upcoming Asian Games in the South Korean port city of Incheon.
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye has accused Pyongyang of adopting a "two-faced attitude" by proposing a lowering of tensions while continuing its missile launches.
BACKGROUND: A History of Military Provocations
N Korea Protests US-S Korea Naval Drills
13 May 2013, 15:07
US Launches Joint Naval Drill with S Korea, Japan Despite N Korea Threat
10 October 2013, 08:13
US Manoeuvres in Vicious Circle of KoreanCrisis
13 May 2013, 23:52
US and S Korea to Hold Military Drills Despite Protest from Pyongyang
10 February 2014, 05:12
N Korea Warns of 'All-out war', Urges US to Stop 'Nuclear Blackmail'
12 October 2013, 13:15
N Korea Threatens to "Bury in the Sea" a US Warship
11 October 2013, 10:09
South Korea Kicks Off Joint Military Exercises with US Despite Opposition from DPRK
24 February 2014, 07:35
Joint Military Exercises with US Despite Opposition from DPRK
24 February 2014, 07:35
N Korea Warns of Disaster over S Korea-US Drills
15 January 2014, 18:07
Countries the US Has Imposed Sanctions Against
(March 9, 2015) -- As a means of "twisting the arms" of sovereign counties so that they "do what we need them to do," as President Barack Obama described US sanctions to Vox, the United States has imposed a host of sanctions against countries around the world. The government of Venezuela is only the most recent of those punished for supposedly representing a "threat" to US national security.
The most common argument for imposing sanctions is that the country in question violates human rights or supports terrorism. However, these so-called human rights violators and terrorism supporters are all countries that adamantly oppose US imperialist policies; those who are close allies and true violators of human rights, on the other hand, receive a free pass.
Of course, one of the main propagators of terrorism is the United States itself, with its drone warfare program that strikes fear and random destruction on innocent civilians in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen.
Below is a list of 19 countries where the US Department of the Treasury, specifically the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions. OFAC itself was formally created in December 1950, following the entry of China into the Korean War, when President Truman declared a national emergency and blocked all Chinese and North Korean assets subject to US jurisdiction.
The first sanctions against North Korea were applied in 1950, when the United States entered into a war against the country. These sanctions, intended to weaken one of the Soviet Union's key allies, affected the country severely, and were maintained until 2008.
The US weakened these sanctions in 1995-96, with the supply of energy and loans to the country.
However, in 2013 the US strengthened sanctions again, particularly against weapons and financing, when North Korea expanded its nuclear weapons program. At the start of this year yet more sanctions were announced after it claimed the Asian nation was carrying out destabilization attacks due to satirical film "The Interview."
The blockade against Cuba, which has been maintained for over 50 years, represents much more than sanctions. When Fidel Castro was first chosen to be prime minister of Cuba in 1959, and decided not to submit to the wishes of the United States, the republican government of Dwight Eisenhower applied the first sanctions against the island in 1960. The administration of John. F. Kennedy maintained and strengthened these in response to the nationalization of US companies in Cuba.
The US effort to undermine Cuba took particularly extreme measures, such as withdrawing support for all countries that did business with Cuba, organizing a failed invasion against Cuba in 1961 ("Bay of Pigs Invasion"), and planning hundreds of assassination attempts against Fidel Castro.
The US has prohibited its citizens from visiting Cuba since 1966, under penalty of the law, punishable with up to 10 years in prison and considerable fines.
The Clinton administration further tightened the blockade in 1996, with the Helms-Burton Law, which imposed sanctions on companies that did business in Cuba. Furthermore, in the year 2000, frozen Cuban bank accounts with US$120 million were used to pay "compensation to the victims of Cuban terrorism."
A recent report of the Cuban government indicates that between January 2009 and June 2014 the Obama administration compelled 36 US-and-foreign companies to US$ 2.6 billion for their economic involvement in Cuba and in other countries.
The United States has led the international community in imposing economic sanctions on Iran since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which toppled the US-sponsored government of the time. The US froze all Iranian assets, including gold reserves, in retaliation for the occupation of the US embassy in Tehran.
In 1987, President Reagan imposed a complete import embargo on Iranian-origin goods and services. The policy was further tightened in 1996, when sanctions were extended to any country that invested over US$20 million in Iran. The sanctions also included an exclusion of Iran from interbank transaction activities.
These sanctions were further tightened in 2012 in response to Iran's nuclear program, which made it extremely difficult for Iran to transfer money internationally.
In response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, the United States imposed comprehensive sanctions, including a trade embargo against Iraq and a freeze of the assets of the then-Iraqi government.
The Burma sanctions program began in May 1997 when the President issued an Executive Action after determining that the government of Burma had committed large-scale repression of the democratic opposition in Burma, declaring a national emergency with respect to the actions and policies of that government.
In May 2012, the President and the Secretary of State announced that the United States would begin easing certain financial and investment sanctions on Burma in response to political reforms taking place there. Since July 2012, the US Government has taken various actions in response to the reforms in Burma.
The US government slapped sanctions on Zimbabwe's government in 2003, when the US targeted government officials and entities in the African nation, as a result of the actions and policies of certain members its government, and other individuals, in undermining democratic institutions and processes.
During the 1991 Balkans War, the UN Security Council adopted a series of sanctions that targeted arms purchases as well as financial transactions. The United States further tightened sanctions in 1998, primarily against government officials. Also, again affecting third party transactions, the sanctions punished anyone who did not comply with the sanctions and who invested over US$500 million for businesses and US$250 million for individuals.
In 2004 the US Senate passed the "Law for Democracy in Belorussia," in which it required the country to provide the US with information about its arms and technology purchases. The law also allowed the US government to "support democratic processes," meaning efforts to destabilize the country. In 2011 the sanctions were further tightened.
The sanctions against Syria were related to Syria's supposed support of terrorist organizations and those officials who had participated in the occupation of Lebanon. The government was further accused of supporting rebels in Iraq and of developing weapons of mass destruction. The US bank accounts of Syrian government officials and of companies were frozen and the import of practically all products except food and medicine were prohibited.
About 30 Sudanese companies were prohibited from maintaining commercial relations with the US, and their assets in US banks were frozen in 2007. The US has maintained sanctions of one type or another against Sudan since 1997.
Sanctions against Somalia were particularly targeted against the radical Islamic group al-Shabab, which had come to power in Somalia as a result of US efforts to destabilize the previous government. Members of al-Shabab were prohibited from entering the US and their assets were frozen.
In 2011 the United States imposed commercial and financial sanctions against the government of Moammar Gadhafi. These sanctions were part of a much larger effort from Western governments to overthrow the Gadhafi government, with the help of a NATO bombing campaign, which eventually allowed rebels to take over and kill Gadhafi. Libya is currently in the ongoing throws of violence and chaos, which is the direct result of the US-and-NATO-supported intervention.
In 2011 the United States imposed sanctions against the Ivory Coast's president, Laurent Gbagbo, as well as his wife and his followers, because elections were canceled and human rights were violated.
With the excuse of wanting to stop people who were strangling "the sovereignty of Lebanon," sanctions were imposed on individuals in 2012 that prevented them from entering the US and that froze their US-based assets.
In March of 2014 the US imposed sanctions against then-president Viktor Yanukovich and the politician Viktor Medvedchuk, prohibiting their entry to the US and freezing their assets. The US went on to support the overthrow of the Yanukovich government and the division of the country.
The US imposed sanctions against government officials in 2012 during its civil war. These sanctions were further tightened in 2014, which included the freezing of government officials' assets in the US and prohibits US citizens and institutions from engaging in financial transactions with Yemen.
In the wake of the conflict between South Sudan and rebels, the US imposed sanctions on indiviuals involved in the conflict in 2014.
When the coup took place against Ukraine's president Yanukovich, Russia's president Putin supported the independence of regions of the Ukraine and the re-incorporation of Crimea into Russia, following an overwhelming referendum in favor.
The US subsequently announced sanctions against Russian government officials in March 2014, which it justified with the argument that Russia was violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. One of the first to be affected by these sanctions was the Prime Minister of Crimea, Sergei Axionov, who was denied entry into the US and whose assets were frozen.
Russia retaliated by imposing sanctions on the US and the European Union, for a year, prohibiting food exports to these countries.
US and EU sanctions were further tightened in September 2014, when Obama announced, "We will deepen and broaden our sanctions across Russia's banking, energy, and defense sectors." Sanctioned enterprises include Gazprom Neft; Lukoil, Rosneft, Gazprom, Surgutneftegaz, Transneft, Rostec and the aerospace company Oboronprom. Affected banks include Sberbank, Bank of Moscow, Gazprombank, Rosseljozbank, Vneshekonobank amd VTB.
On March 3, 2015, Preisdent Obama announced that the sanctions against Russia would be extended for another year, so as to pressure Russia to accept the policies that the US and the EU are pursuing in the Ukraine.
On December 18, 2014, president Obama signed the sanctions into law that the US Congress had passed a little earlier. The sanctions include the freezing of assets and the prohibition of visas for Venezuelan government officials who the US claims have participated in human rights violations during anti-government violent protests in early 2014. These protests had resulted in the deaths of 43 Venezuelans.
Obama then signed an executive order Monday, declaring that Venezuela represents an "extraordinary threat" to the national security of the United States. This executive order further enables the Obama administration to impose more sanctions against Venezuela whenever it chooses to do so.
Why No Economic Sanctions against the US --
A Country with a Long and Bloody Record of "Crimes against Peace"?
Richard Becker / Global Research and Liberation
(July 7, 2012) -- July 1  marked the start of a new round of sanctions designed to destroy the economy of Iran, create widespread suffering among the Iranian people, and thereby effect regime change in that country.
The ostensible reason for the sanctions is that Iran has a nuclear program, which Washington and its allies allege is leading to the development of nuclear weapons. The Iranian government has denied any such intention, stating that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Iran is far from the first country to suffer from a cutoff or sharp reduction in trade due to sanctions. Over the past several decades, the US -- sometimes through the United Nations Security Council, sometimes in coordination with its imperialist allies, sometimes on its own -- has imposed sanctions, embargoes and blockades on dozens of countries. Some of the sanctions regimes have lasted for decades, in the case of Cuba a half-century.
The justifications for imposing sanctions have included alleged human rights violations, lack of democracy, military aggression in violation of international law, and engaging in terrorist acts. But a giant asterisk must be attached here, with a notation reading: "Not applicable to the United States, its imperialist allies, surrogates and puppets."
At Washington's prompting, the UNSC imposed a blockade on Iraq in 1990. The blockade, which was enforced by the US Navy, lasted 13 years and took over a million Iraqi lives, half of them children under the age of five years.
The pretext for the most stringent sanctions regime in modern history was Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August 1990, after a long dispute between the two states. Iraq charged that Kuwait, which it had long claimed as part of its national territory, was stealing Iraqi oil and undermining its economy.
After Iraq was driven out of Kuwait by a six-week US-led bombing campaign that destroyed most of the country's civilian infrastructure, the sanctions were kept in place. A new pretext was now needed and quickly found: Iraq's alleged "weapons of mass destruction."
Why are there no sanctions against the US? Why are no US leaders -- past or present -- currently occupying prison cells or awaiting trial?
Top US officials were well aware of the devastating impact on the Iraqi population. When asked on CBS's 60 Minutes in May 1996, whether the deaths of a half-million Iraq children due to the sanctions were "worth the price," US ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright replied, "we think the price is worth it." Albright's remarks actually constituted a confession to war crimes.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton declared that "some want to see the sanctions ended, I am not one of them," and signed the "Iraq Liberation Act," declaring the official policy of the US to be what it had actually been all along: regime change in Iraq. The new justification was a supposed concern for "human rights."
Five years later, having not achieved its goal by other means, the US invaded and occupied Iraq under the resurrected claims of Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction." It was not some "intelligence failure," as later claimed by neo-con and liberal imperialists alike.
The US occupation cost a million more Iraqi lives and thousands of US lives. At least 4.5 million Iraqis were displaced and Iraqi society torn apart. Torture was commonplace for the tens of thousands of Iraqis imprisoned.
Taken together, the Twenty Years War the US waged on Iraq killed, wounded or forced into exile more than one-third of Iraq's population. All of this death and destruction in a war justified on fabricated pretenses, also known as lies.
Then, there is the on-going US war and occupation in Afghanistan, and the drone missile strikes killing people every day in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. In the 1990s, there was the bombing and blockade of the former Yugoslavia as well as Iraq, and in the 1980s the invasions and interventions in Central America and the Caribbean.
And before that came Vietnam, Chile, Korea, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Congo, Iran, Guatemala, etc., etc.-- a long and bloody history. Where the US succeeded in overthrowing revolutionary or progressive governments, they were replaced with right-wing, police-state dictatorships.
None of the above countries threatened or could threaten the United States, meaning that all of those wars and interventions were the most serious violations of international law -- crimes against peace.
Washington has sent hundreds of billions of dollars and vast amounts of military aid making possible Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The US has propped up and protected the most repressive and anti-democratic regimes in the world, like Saudi Arabia and the other hereditary monarchies in the Middle East.
And, of course, the US, which possesses thousands of nuclear warheads, is the only country that has actually used those weapons, destroying the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians near the end of World War II.
So why are there no sanctions against the US? Why are no US leaders -- past or present -- currently occupying prison cells or awaiting trial?
The answer is that the international "justice" system operates much like the domestic one. The rich administer punishment on the poor. The notion of "equal justice before the law" is as mythical internationally as it is domestically. Who ends up in prison or under sanctions has nothing to do with real justice and everything to do with real power.
The Obama administration and congressional leaders are today trying to win popular support for sanctions and other forms of intervention in Iran and Syria by presenting themselves as concerned about "human rights" and "democracy.
No one should be fooled.
The Truth About North Korea:
Why the US Should Stop Provoking the DPRK
John Laurits / JohnLaurits.com
(April 15, 2017) -- In a recent interview, Donald Trump warned -- with stunning diplomatic grace -- that, if China does not "solve North Korea," the US will. That's right, solve them -- because North Korea is a problem, not a country inhabited by millions of human beings who have hearts, dreams, and fears like you and I do.
Now that the despicable cowards in congress let Trump illegally attack Syria -- a nation we are not at war with -- his threat will certainly be seen as credible, especially after sending a US aircraft carrier and strike group to the region.
Then, at 5 AM on April 11th -- as if to intentionally provoke them -- King Tiny-Hands tweets: "North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! USA."
In response, a spokesperson for the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) warned of "the catastrophic consequences" for any US aggression or preemptive attack, saying the DPRK is "ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US." As the annual US-South Korean war games unfold amid unconfirmed reports of Chinese troops moving near the DPRK border, it is crucial to understand the conflict before Donald Trump does something awful and stupid . . . .
North Korea vs. the World:
A Crash Course on the Context of the Conflict
The first thing to understand is that North Korea has existed for less than 70 years -- before 1948, there had only been one Korea. In 1910, Imperial Japan annexed the Korean Peninsula and tried to integrate Korea into the Japanese Empire -- naturally, the Koreans were pretty miffed about it and a long period of lots of fighting began . . . .
The Japanese Occupation: 1910-1945
When Japan took control of Korea, demands for independence were met with repression, prompting Koreans to form resistance groups that waged a guerrilla war against them for 35 years. Koreans were brutally oppressed -- Japanese landlords swiped their land, villages suspected of hiding resistance members were massacred, and Korean newspapers were banned.
By the end of WWII, Japan had forced 450,000 Koreans into labor camps to assist the war effort, in addition to an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 Korean women were forced into sexual slavery as "comfort girls" for Japan's military.
The Korean resistance was pushed into Manchuria, China, and the Soviet Union, where they allied with the Chinese and Russian communists who fought Japan until the end of WWII -- but, after 35 years of resisting, the Korea they had fought for was not to be . . . .
How One Korea Became Two
In August 1945, the Soviets drove Japanese forces out of the North Korean Peninsula before they surrendered on the 15th. When they reached Pyongyang, the Red Army met the CPKI (Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence), formed by Koreans to organize People's Committees all over the country.
By the 25th, the People's Committees had declared the People's Republic of Korea, or the PRK. Japan's surrender, however, gave control of Korea to the Allies, instructing Japanese forces in the South to surrender to the US, which arrived in September. Korea was split into Soviet and US zones at the 38th parallel.
Unlike the USSR, the US refused to meet with the People's Committees or the PRK and Lt Gen. John Hodge kept the authorities of the Japanese occupation in place. After public outcry forced the US to remove the Japanese officials, a military government was formed -- and the communist PRK was outlawed. The suppression of people's committees and the PRK ensured that the conservative right and anticommunist factions dominated the interim government that emerged.
In the North, the Soviets worked with the CPKI to seize and redistribute land stolen by the Japanese. The USSR supported the People's Committees and allowed the Koreans to form a provisional government under the leadership of Kim Il Sung.
How Cold War Anti-Communism Screwed Up Everything
When Cold War politics caused US-Soviet negotiations to break down, the US approached the UN, which resolved that a new Korean government would be created by holding UN elections. But there were a few big problems.
The Soviet Union, as well as the provisional North Korean government and the majority of Koreans in the South, opposed UN involvement. Apparently, this was not seen as a huge deal by the UN because they went ahead with the plan to hold elections, anyway. The date was set for May 10th, 1948 -- but only in the South.
Correctly sensing their country was about to be torn in half, South Koreans organized general strikes and massive protests against the elections, while a full-scale uprising broke out on the Southern island of Jeju. Dominated by the right-wing supporters of Syngman Rhee and overseen by the US military, South Korean forces killed about 60,000 Korean communists (and suspected communists) to put down the uprising. To use the words inscribed on a Jeju island memorial, they made it "a place of killing, tragedy, and sad ghosts." The elections were held.
And, despite what they say, nobody really won.
How the Hope to Unify Korea Was Destroyed
Before the USSR and US withdrew in 1948-49, the ROK (the Republic of Korea) was declared in the South and the DPRK in the North. The South Korean president, Syngman Rhee -- a right-wing anti-communist -- had multiple rebellions on his hands, including a mutiny by ROK soldiers outraged at the Jeju massacre. The ROK rounded up communists and leftists to "re-educate," lock up, or shoot.
As Rhee was crushing revolt among his people, Kim Il Sung led the Korean People's Army into the South, in an attempt to unify Korea under the DPRK. Today, South Korea's Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimates that, on Rhee's orders, 100,000-200,000 leftists and communists were slaughtered by retreating ROK forces as the DPRK overran the peninsula.
The Korean Holocaust Forgotten by the US Public
Undoubtedly, the DPRK could have beaten Rhee and it probably would have been the end of it -- but the US intervened. American forces not only drove the DPRK out of South Korea but nearly captured North Korea. Chinese forces -- who had fought beside Koreans against Japan -- joined the DPRK and helped to hold a line near the 38th parallel.
Over the next 3 years, the United States dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on North Korea, including 32,557 tons of napalm -- up to 3 million North Koreans died, or 10%-15% of the population. The 85%-90% who lived mostly lived underground, coming out to farm at night.
According to the records of the US Air Force, they were forced to stop bombing because there was literally nothing left to bomb. After erasing every city -- including 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, and 600,000 homes -- the USAF's last targets were the irrigation dams on the Yalu River, which flooded a few thousand acres of farmland, destroying the North Korean rice crop that millions depended on (which is a war crime, by the way).
An armistice was signed in 1953, ending the fighting -- but US forces never left. Soon, they will be joined by Donald Trump's new aircraft carrier and naval strike group.
The North Korean Perspective Today
Try to understand today from the perspective of North Korean history -- from the occupation by Japan in 1910 to the military government and ROK massacres of the '40s, to US bombs and cascades of napalm raining fire from the sky onto their people. 107 years -- that's how long ago Korean autonomy was ripped away by an empire that tried to erase the Korean culture and exploit its people.
After 35 years of struggle -- an inch away from regaining independence -- the Korean right to self-determination was torn away again by foreign empires. Then, for the crime of attempting to overthrow a brutal dictator in order to re-unify their country, the North Koreans -- who lived through 2 occupations -- were nearly wiped from the face of the earth and all that they had was destroyed. Destroyed -- by us -- the United States.
We did that.
And now our public officials are openly discussing a US attack on North Korea, as if they were the aggressors. Apparently, it does not matter that we have kept our soldiers on the cusp of North Korea's border for 70 years and nevermind the fact that the US and the Republic of Korea have held yearly dress-rehearsals for invading North Korea since 1961. The DPRK is, somehow, the aggressor -- not us.
The US has invaded 50 countries since WWII -- North Korea invaded just one, which was the ROK in South Korea -- and, to be fair, North Koreans saw it as the other half of Korea (which it kind of is) that was being ruled by a dictator.
North Korea Is Responding Sanely
To an Insane Set of Circumstances
North Korean leaders have explained repeatedly that their pursuit of ballistic and nuclear technology is for the purpose of possessing a nuclear deterrent -- as the US and many others have -- that will prevent the US from destroying them. Again.
The DPRK consistently tells us that their rational fear of US invasion is based on a combination of the experience of almost being annihilated by us in 1950 and their observation that the US military is objectively on their border -- which makes a lot of sense. It sounds more rational than paranoid, really.
What does not make sense, however, is that both Obama and Trump turned down North Korean offers to suspend their pursuit of nuclear missiles capable of reaching our mainland, in exchange for ending the US' "joint military exercises" on the DPRK's border.
Looking at history, it is startlingly clear that North Korea has never been hostile toward the United States itself -- only toward US military forces that traveled across the Pacific Ocean to the Korean Peninsula.
The US, on the other hand -- well, let's be real, the US really fucked up and needs to acknowledge that before any real progress can be made. Instead of sending aircraft carriers to the Korean peninsula, the US strategy should be to send its forces back to its own shores -- or that would be the decent thing to do, at least. North Koreans never bombed or even set a foot in the US and so our military should leave Korea alone.
US Prepared to Launch 'Preventive War'
Against North Korea, Says H.R. McMaster
Jason Le Miere / Newsweek
(August 5, 2017) -- The United States is preparing for all options to counter the growing threat from North Korea, including launching a "preventive war," national security adviser H.R. McMaster said in an interview with MSNBC that aired Saturday. The comments come following North Korea carrying out two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) last month.
"What you're asking is are we preparing plans for a preventive war, right?" he said in response to a question from MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt. "A war that would prevent North Korea from threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon. And the president's been very clear about it. He said he's not gonna tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States. If they have nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States. It's intolerable from the president's perspective. So of course, we have to provide all options to do that. And that includes a military option."
North Korea has claimed that its latest missiles, which it says can carry large nuclear warheads, can now strike anywhere in the United States. Experts believe that the country's missile program, led by Kim Jong Un, has greatly accelerated in recent months putting it far ahead of previous predictions about when it could launch reliable long-range missiles.
Speaking to in recent days, several experts said that an attack would be the deadliest the US has ever received and potentially kill more than 100,000 people if it struck in large population centers like New York City or Los Angeles.
"I'm not going to confirm [whether the latest ICBM could reach anywhere in the US] but whether it could reach San Francisco or Pittsburgh or Washington, I mean how much does that matter? It's a grave threat," McMaster said. He added: "It's impossible to overstate the danger associated with a rogue, brutal regime."
McMaster cautioned that he was aware of the fact that any strike against North Korea could bring about a "very costly war" that would cause immense "suffering of mainly the South Korean people."
North Korea has consistently blamed the US for escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula by carrying out joint military exercises in the region with South Korea. It claims that its missile program is a powerful deterrent against such threats.
In recent weeks, the US has been attempting to further squeeze North Korea economically, including by drafting a United Nations Security Council resolution that aims to cut the country's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo last month floated another option for dealing with the North Korea threat, saying that he was "hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system."
North Korea responded by threatening swift and brutal consequences for any attempt to topple Kim. "Should the US dare to show even the slightest sign of an attempt to remove our supreme leadership, we will strike a merciless blow at the heart of the US with our powerful nuclear hammer, honed and hardened over time," a foreign ministry spokesman said.
Still, McMaster did not rule out such an attempt when asked whether it could be a legitimate tool. "I think it depends on the legal justifications for that. And this goes back to just war theory. And what is the nature of the risk? And does that risk justify acting in defense of your people and your vital interests?"
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