Mad Sad and Bad North Korea

In the usual  run-up of propaganda stories for countries that are deemed “rogue”, “crazy” or just “not like us”, and therefore worthy of bombing and invading or simply dismantling, we have the latest BBC interview with  an  “undercover”  reporter who  recently  “infiltrated” North Korea http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22003715 and describes it as “mad, sad and bad”. Perhaps if the “journalist” had taken the time to read a little history, he might have had a somewhat  different view of North Korea and its motivations and fears. (It should be noted that the “undercover” journalist  went on a London School of Economics education tour of North Korea, as prescribed by  North Korean authorities; but obviously sufficient for the journalist to make informed sweeping judgements of all  things North Korean!)

Korea’s recent history might be seen  to begin with the invasion by the  Japanese in  1910,  as part of their bid to become a colonial power.  The  annexation of Korea was to last for 35  years until  the defeat of the Japanese in the second world war. It is noteworthy that  neither the invasion of Korea nor China by  the Japanese  raised any protests in  the Western world until Western interests  were threatened. The annexation was brutal,the Korean language was outlawed,  many thousands of  Koreans were tortured and murdered.  During the  war with China and the western countries, Koreans were drafted into the Japanese army and  worked in slave-like conditions.  The Japanese military kidnapped thousands of Korean girls and women and forced them to serve as ‘comfort women’ to be continuously raped by Japanese soldiers. Japan continues to deny responsibility for this brutality. Korean communists,   supported by  the communist  Chinese, fought a guerrilla war  against  the Japanese occupation.

Bruce Cumming’s 2010  book “The Korean War”  states that ” Among the most important things to understand about North Korean behavior then and now, is the longtime enmity between Korea and Japan. Japan took Korea as a colony in 1910, with America’s blessing, and replaced the Korean language with Japanese. Japan humiliated and brutalized Korea in other ways. (During World War II the Japanese Army forcibly turned tens of thousands of Korean women into sex slaves known as “comfort women.”) About this history Mr. Cumings writes, “Neither Korea nor Japan has ever gotten over it.”

North Korea, thus remains virulently anti-Japan; both bitter and fearful of that country and of the United States. It will do whatever it can to stay out of the clutches of South Korea, whose leaders have long-standing historical ties to Japan.

With  the end of the second world war hostilities, Korea was divided up by the victors, without any consultation with  Koreans, with  Russia taking control  to the 38th  parallel  from the North,  and the Americans administering the southern part of Korea.  Divisions between the two “administrations”  increased, with the Americans firstly re-appointing the hated Japanese administrators in  South Korea and the Russians assisting communist   Kim Il Sung to  come to power. Later  in  the south, the Americans facilitated  the “election” of the right-wing dictator Syngman Rhee to power. See Jay Janson’s analysis of how Syngman Rhee came to power, and other US actions in Korea  over the intervening years til the present day, here

Supported logistically by  both  the Chinese communists and the Russians, and after various provocations and skirmishes from both sides, Kim il Sung launched a war to unite the two  Korean entities on 25th  June 1950. After an initial  successful  attack  on South Korean and American troops which  resulted in  the capture of Seoul and positions further south, the North Koreans were pushed back by American troops .  As a result of  a Russian boycott  of the UN, the Americans were able to obtain  a UN mandate to militarily secure the whole of Korea. However as they approached the Chinese border in October 1950 with the likely intent of invading China , Chinese army battalions staged a series of  surprise attacks, which  sent the ‘UN” troops south in retreat-ultimately ending in  a bloody stalemate.

The American Public Broadcasting  Service (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/bomb/peopleevents/pandeAMEX58.html) notes that  “The human cost of the war was catastrophic. In the first month of their operation alone, the Strategic Air Command groups dropped 4,000 tons of bombs. Besides high explosives, the bombers used napalm. In retirement, Curtis LeMay (a general in the US Air Force in Korea) described the devastation saying, “we eventually burned down every town in North Korea… and some in South Korea too. We even burned down [the South Korean city of] Pusan — an accident, but we burned it down anyway.” Estimates of the casualties vary widely, but there is reason to believe that besides the three and a half million military dead, wounded and missing on both sides, more than two million civilians died in North Korea.

While there were numerous atrocities committed by  the North Koreans during the war, the scale of their brutality pales in  comparison  to that inflicted by  the American, South Korean  and other UN troops. Cummings (2010) notes that  “There is no evidence in the North Korean experience of the mass violence against whole classes of people or the wholesale ‘purge’ that so clearly characterized Stalinism”.

Pyongyang

Pyongyang after the “U.N.” fire-bombing

In contrast  to the North Koreans and Chinese and Russians,  the Americans, British  and Australians  carpet-bombed the north for three years with next to no concern for civilian casualties.” The United States dropped more bombs in Korea (635,000 tons, as well as 32,557 tons of napalm) than in the entire Pacific theater during World War II. Our logic seemed to be,  that they are savages, so that gives us the right to shower napalm on innocents.” Cummings (2010)

Japan in Focus: (http://www.japanfocus.org/-Tessa-Morris_Suzuki/3444) notes that -”11 July 1952: the day when US, British, Australian and South Korean planes flew 1,254 bombing sorties and dropped 23,000 gallons of napalm on Pyongyang and its inhabitants. 29 August 1952: the day when the number of sorties reached 1,403, and around 6,000 citizens of the capital were killed.15 The bombardment of Pyongyang ended a few days later, when the US command decided that there was too little left in the city to justify the effort of attack.16 By then, 80% of the city’s buildings were in ruins.”

The armistice agreement was signed  on July 27th  1953 at the Demilitiarised Zone (DMZ)  on the 36th  parallel.   Article IV of the armistice promised, “within three months higher level meetings would be held to settle through negotiation the question of withdrawal of all foreign forces and peaceful settlement.”

The Ubuntu  Works Peace Education Project: (http://www.uwpep.org/Index/KOREAN_WAR.html) notes that  this did not happen ‘because the U.S. refused to meet, despite requests over the years by the North Koreans to meet anywhere and anytime. Over fifty years later the troops remain and no peace treaty has been signed. South Korea never even signed the armistice agreement. The 1953 cease-fire agreement provided that both sides “shall not engage in any blockade of any kind of Korea.” This binding agreement appears to be violated by the U.S. conduct to intercept and discourage the transport of goods, food and other materials to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).” Note that sanctions have been in place by  the US and its proxies since December 1950 and are the likely predominant cause of a series of mass starvations in the North Korean countryside over the intervening years.

This lack of good faith bargaining by  the United States has continued to this day. As just one example,  Wendy Sherman, Clinton’s advisor on North Korea, had indicated that when they entered into the famous Agreed Framework of 1994, wherein the North Koreans would be trading their nuclear capability for two light water reactors and fuel oil, and in exchange for working toward normalizing political and economic relations, the Administration had no intention of complying with the agreement. The Clinton Administration believed the Kim Jong Il administration would collapse long before the U.S. had to provide the reactors. This lack of good faith in international relations surrounding a matter of such importance to the world would be against the common law if the breach of promises were between private parties.- Ubuntu Works-Peace Education Project

America continues to maintain more than  24   military bases across South Korea, while neither the Chinese nor Russians have any in  the North. The US presence  is both in defiance of the armistice agreement of 1953, and a constant provocation  and threat to  the North Koreans.

Since the ascension of Kim Il Jung to  the leadership  of North Korea, the Americans and South Koreans have staged numerous war-games,  with the March 2013 “Foal Eagle”  war games simulating nuclear bombing runs over North Korea in an apparent attempt to  de-stabilise the new leadership.

As Peter Hart at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting points out at  http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/04/03/north-korea-rattles-sabres-meanwhile-u-s-pretends-to-drop-nuclear-bombs-on-them/, North Korea’s ‘sabre rattling” is directly attributable to the recent rash  of menacing war games and threats of pre-emptive strikes from the South Korean and US military war games.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/19/us-b-52-bombers-simulated-raids-over-north-korea-d/

I leave you  to determine who  then is the “mad, sad and bad ” one.

Its time for  the United States to  stop the constant war games,  lift  the sanctions, and start  to negotiate with North Korea in  good faith

As Martin Luther King Jr. said “Violence begets violence…and its aftermath is tragic bitterness.”

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Postscript:

CIA Document Suggests U.S. Lied About Biological, Chemical Weapon Use in the Korean War

Saber Rattling in Korea-Cui Bono

Escalating Korea Crisis Dims Hopes for Denuclearisation by Jim Lobe

via IPS News

Of particular interest is Jim Lobe’s commentary from  Alan Romberg, a former senior State Department Asia expert who currently heads East Asia programmes at the Stimson Center,…who  pointed … to the adoption by the North’s Supreme People’s Assembly Monday of a new law on “consolidating the position of nuclear weapons state for self-defence” which laid out the legal framework for the country’s nuclear strategy.

Among other provisions, the new law states that the main purpose of the North’s nuclear weapons is for deterrence and that they can be used only to “repel invasion or attack from a hostile nuclear weapons state and make retaliatory strikes.” It also provides for cooperation with international non-proliferation and disarmament efforts.

With all sides seeming to climb further up the escalatory ladder over the last several days, defusing the ongoing crisis on the Korean Peninsula — let alone persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arsenal as it once promised to do — looks daunting…read the rest here

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And the demonisation of North Korea goes on… 25/4/16

http://news.antiwar.com/2016/04/24/obama-spurns-north-korea-offer-to-suspend-missile-program/

It is becoming increasingly evident that US policy  towards the Korean  peninsula peoples has  always been to use whatever means necessary  to  create a hostile environment on China’s borders. As it was in  1955, the intent is to  create  a Korean  US vassal  state  that   will  permit the positioning of  U.S.  nuclear and conventional  weapons on China’s borders.. see this recent Brics report

 

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