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DEMOCRACY & DICTATORSHIP IN KOREA

Posted on March 21, 2017 11:15 AM | Permalink | 1 Comment | Printer-Friendly View | Share This Article

  THE KOREA PROBLEM
This is What Democracy Looks Like

First published: 21 March 2017
Dissident Voice: 22 March 2017
Expanded herein: 27 March 2017
Edited / clarified: 28 March 2017

keith harmon snow

Dateline: SOUTH KOREA 


                            The United States and its allies have embarked on a dangerous path of aggression against the government of North Korea and its allies China and Russia. 

As usual, the western propaganda system presents a near unified front showing how horrible and atrocious the North Korean government is purported to be, and how murderous and ruthless and amoral their intentions are purported to be, and how their military objectives and missile programs--now allegedly targeting the 'free' world--are out to dominate the rest of the world, starting with their deadly missiles being launched against the United States and our ally Japan.  So goes the propaganda. 

Let's look again.

The people of South Korea--a country permanently occupied by the U.S. military since 1950 with between 326,000 U.S. soldiers (during the Korean War) and closer to 30,000 annually since (with 28,500 U.S. soldiers in occupation today)--have seen massive human rights violations, repression and state terrorism.  Since the first military dictator was installed in South Korea by the United States military in 1953, the Republic of Korea (ROK) has perpetrated massive atrocities against its own citizens and against citizens in other countries.  This is a so-called "member of the international community."  

CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-4.jpg

South Korea -- Seoul, 10 May 1990: 
Student pro-democracy and anti-U.S. imperialism demonstrations 
rocked Seoul for two days on 9 May and 10 May 1990. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow

The Central Intelligence Agency under Allen Dulles launched covert operations in South Korea by 1950--utilizing South Korean police and other secret agents to serve the imperial "pro-democracy" agenda.  The ever touted claim that North Korea launched a very clear war of aggression by crossing the 38th parallel--an arbitrary line of demarcation set up after WW-II by the United States between (then) Soviet Russia and U.S./U.N./allied forces--to invade South Korea is not born out by the facts that existed on the ground in the Korean peninsula in June of 1950.  Not only are there credible reports of death squads crossing into the northern territory and committing atrocities, but the diplomatic record shows a pattern of belligerence and war-mongering on the part of the United States against the then northern 'enemy' that has become de rigeur for the United States all over the world since then. 

THE UN-PRETTY HISTORY OF KOREA

Massive post-WW-II repression and murder (extrajudicial summary executions) by South Korean troops, with U.S. military oversight, occurred against their own people in the south, including such horrible massacres as occurred on Je Ju island 1948-1949 and were white-washed by the western propaganda and intelligence apparatus (see, e.g., the documentary film " The Ghosts of Je Ju").  The somewhat more well-known Koch'ang incident in February 1951 involved some 600 men and women, young and old, that were reportedly herded into a narrow valley in south Korea and mowed down with machine guns by a South Korean army unit on the loosely applied claim that they were "suspected of aiding guerrillas" -- these being Korean people who resisted the overt terrorism that the Korean people (north and south) were subjected to by the southern forces and U.S. troops. 


CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-10-2.jpg

South Korea - May 1990:
A map posted in the northern zone just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) 
showing the DMZ and major dams constructed on both sides of the illegal border.
Photo c. keith harmon snow

"The Governor of Je Ju at the time admitted that the repression of the Island's 300,000 residents led to the murder of as many as 60,000 Islanders," wrote S. Brian Willson, "with another 40,000 desperately fleeing in boats to Japan. Thus, one-third of its residents were either murdered or fled during the "extermination" campaign. Nearly 40,000 homes were destroyed and 270 of 400 villages were leveled."

U.S. troops fired on crowds, conducted mass arrests, combed the hills for suspects, and organized posses of Korean rightists, constabulary and police for mass raids (reported at the time by correspondent Mark Gwyn for the Chicago Sun: see in William Blum Killing Hope).


CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-7-2.jpg

South Korea -- May 1990: 
A partially camouflaged military encampment in the northern region
 of South Korea a few miles south of the Demilitarized 
Zone (DMZ) that separates the Korean people at the 38th parallel. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow

Said one British scholar Jon Halliday at the time: "After all, if civilians could be mowed down in the South on suspicion of aiding (not even being) guerrillas--what about the North, where millions could reasonably be assumed to be Communists, or political militants?" (See: Killing Hope p. 51).

The U.S. military's carpet bombing and chemical napalm bombing against the northern Koreans during the Korean War was murderous and unprecedented (though rivaled by the bombing of Dresden) and set the stage for the horrors that U.S. (and ROK) troops perpetrated on the people of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 1960's and early 1970's.  Some 100,000 British troops also participated in destroying and dividing the Koreas.  Entire villages were obliterated, wiped off the map, wiped off the Korean peninsula.  Some three million Koreans north of the 38th parallel were killed, with one million Korean people killed in the south and over one million Chinese deaths.  

CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-10.jpg

South Korea -- Seoul, 10 May 1990: Student pro-democracy and anti-U.S. imperialism demonstrations rocked Seoul for two days on 9 May and 10 May 1990. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow

Note that United Nations forces were involved in the war: U.N. troops were commanded by General Douglas McArthur and committed egregious atrocities all over the place--and these atrocities were always blamed on the 'north' Korean forces--this being a particularly poignant tactic (blaming the victims) ever exercised by the 'pro-democracy' forces of the New World Order in the process of exercising our military freedoms and exorcising anyone deemed to be undemocratic (meaning: opposed to predatory capitalism, the IMF and the World Bank, multinational corporate destruction, and the feeding, housing, clothing, educating and taking care of the people). 

Under then U.S.-installed puppet dictator Syngman Rhee the allied (U.S./U.N./South Korean) troops confiscated massive tracts of land and other "spoils of war" (confiscated property of the former brutal Japanese occupiers) and doled them out, for example, to ultra-right wing former sympathizers and collaborators with the former Japanese occupation, the most wealthy, and other conservative elements.  This further set the stage for widespread resentment amongst the Korean population--whose ancestors saw and who did not forget the first massacres in Korea at the hands of invading U.S. forces in 1871.  

CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-18.jpg

South Korea -- May 1990: 
A military jeep carries soldiers along a remote road in the northern region
 of South Korea a few miles south of the Demilitarized 
Zone (DMZ) that separates the Korean people at the 38th parallel. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow


The arbitrary and illegal line of demarcation drawn at the 38th parallel became the de facto border separating the Korean people due to U.S./U.N./Nato/South Korean military aggression and refusal to compromise with the northern power structure: the northerners made many overtures and granted many concessions toward reunification, and with every proposal delivered to the south Korean power brokers the United States moved the bar.


South Korea and Mobutu-4.jpg

In the Korean War leaflet above, "Secretary of State Dean Acheson, who held that position under President Truman from 1949 to 1953, is depicted in a humiliating way with his pants down around his ankles. Acheson is credited with convincing President Truman to intervene in the Korean War in June 1950.The message states that although he once agreed that the war should end along the 38th Parallel (where it ultimately did end); he now refuses to agree on that peace line." (Credit: see link above.)


SOUTH KOREA'S DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN TERRORISM

Subsequent to the war, the Republic of Korea military under its U.S. tutelage did not limit the atrocities against innocent civilians to the domestic arena.  Some 300,000 South Korean troops joined the United States NATO war in Indochina--known by the Vietnamese people as the "Resistance War Against America"--and committed serious atrocities and war crimes there: at least several major massacres are well documented.  Examples include: 

* Bình Hòa massacre
* Binh Tai massacre
* Hà My massacre
* Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất massacre

--all being located in SOUTH Vietnam and all being massacres of hundreds of unarmed non-combatant children, the elderly and women, including pregnant women and young mothers. 

The South Korean troops committed brutal atrocities--such as cutting the breasts off women and bayonetting pregnant women in the bellies and bulldozing shallow graves for summary burials to cover up the evidence.  Some of the villages and people so targeted were known to be very sympathetic and supportive of the U.S. military, but after these atrocities many survivors joined the Viet Kong.

CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-12.jpg

South Korea -- May 1990: 
The northern region of South Korea a few miles south of the Demilitarized 
Zone (DMZ) that separates the Korean people at the 38th parallel. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow


There is no doubt the South Korean forces were (and are) trained in brutal and euphemistically named 'counter-insurgency' techniques now well-documented to include the most horrible crimes that people have ever committed against people and hardly ever having anything 'counter' about their insurgents--all under the watchful binoculars and logistical coordination of the United States and our intelligence apparatus (e.g. the Phoenix Program--a campaign of absolute terror and egregious crimes against humanity and war crimes conducted in Indochina during the U.S. wars there). 

For example: at Bình Hòa village (December 1966) in South Vietnam the South Korean "Blue Dragon Brigade" slaughtered over 400 mostly children, women and elderly; ROK troops then burned the village to the ground and slaughtered the people's buffaloes.


CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-2-2.jpg

South Korea -- May 1990: 
Camouflaged cement structures ready to be deployed as barricades 
on the roads in northern South Korea, a few miles south of the DMZ 
that separates the Korean people at the 38th parallel. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow

Since before the end of the war (1955) the people of South Korea have been subject to egregious denial of freedoms under certain 'National Security' directives (laws) including: the (repeated) jailing of thousands of 'dissidents' who have, in one form or another, protested imperialist U.S. involvement and occupation in South Korea; people who have organized against U.S. imperialism; students and other civilians that have maintained contacts with people in North Korea; civil society groups and individuals that have contacted foreign organizations (e.g. in Japan) seeking help against repression; the censoring and destruction of truth in education and educational materials. 

CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-3.jpg

South Korea -- Seoul, 10 May 1990: 
Some 40,000 riot police were deployed on 9 May and 10 May to 
crush demonstrations involving over 100,000 people. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow


There have been suspicious deaths of student activists, and attempts to get outside help to demand proper investigations of such deaths have led to further repression of the petitioners (seeking help).  

On 9 May 1990, some 100,000 Koreans demonstrated against the then latest U.S./U.K./E.U.-backed dictatorship of president Ro T'aeu (1987-1992); over 40,000 South Korean riot police (storm troopers) were mobilized and over 1900 people detained.  Some of the perceived organizers were jailed for several years.  Torture has been selectively used on political prisoners, but was routinely deployed against certain segments of the population during particular periods since the 1950's, such as the run-up to the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

In 1975, the self-declared president-for-life dictator Pak Chonghui (1961-1979) issued a special directive to police and government officials to round up and remove 'vagrants' from South Korea's city streets.  Some 8600 people were initially detained and imprisoned at 36 nationwide facilities, including so-called panhandlers, small-time street merchants, the disabled, lost or unattended children, and dissidents (such as a college students that were holding anti-government leaflets). 

One of these detention centers was a 'welfare facility' called 'Brothers Home', where thousands of small children were subject to years of brutality, including routine and repeated rapes, and often resulting in fatal beatings. The internment program continued under Chonghui's successors presidents Choi Kyu-hah (1979-1980) and Chon Tuhwan (1980-1988) and eventually led to the imprisonment of more than 16,000 people by 1986.  

The dictatorships of President Chon Tuhwan and Ro T'aeu (1987-1992) suppressed any investigation into these massive human rights violations, and the true scale and magnitude of the atrocities, numbers of victims and names of perpetrators did not more fully emerge until 2016.  Few of the survivors have spoken out publicly, and the government has never apologized for, nor compensated, any of the victims, survivors or their families. 

South Korea and Mobutu-6.jpg


Korean War Propaganda.jpg

Two images purported to be anti-American propaganda at a North Korean museum depicting U.S. forces torturing and killing Korean women during the Korean war. 


Dictator Pak Chonghui ruled for 18 years, supporting Washington's militarization and warfare in the Far East and Indochina.  Pak's daughter Pak Geun-hee became the 11th president of South Korea in 2013, and was known as the 'Strongman's Daughter'--appearing under that headline on the front cover of TIME magazine (17 December 2012 issue)--and she was impeached for influence-peddling and other corruption in December 2016.  Throughout her tenure the ROK government naturally blocked all attempts by the citizenry to further expose and gain accountability for the 'Brothers Home' and related atrocities orchestrated by her father and his successors.  For her pro-war pro-U.S. imperialist policies and posturing, and for her other intransigence, duplicity and state-orchestrated repression, the people of South Korea nicknamed president Pak Geun-hee their 'Lady Hitler'

CORPORATE GOON SQUADS AND HIRED THUGS

South Korean labor unions and struggles have in the past been infiltrated and co-opted by gangs of thugs hired by and for multinational corporations like Daewoo, Samsung and Hyundai.  South Korean corporations have also run roughshod over the environment domestically and abroad and slavery conditions have historically prevailed for their labor forces while sweatshop conditions still do.  South Korean corporations are responsible for all the same human rights atrocities, land grabs, dispossession and destruction committed by U.S., U.K., and European corporations in such places as Agadez and Arlit Niger, where South Korea mines uranium on nomadic Tuareg and Toubou lands, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where South Korean electronics corporations get their raw materials by one means or another.  South Korea's nuclear reactor operations involve toxic discharges of nuclear poisons and epidemics of disease (as everywhere a nuclear reactor is sited) and required dispossession of South Korean people's lands (as everywhere a nuclear reactor is sited).

The bribery, influence-peddling, hired thuggery, and other forms of corruption by the chaelbol--giant family run multinational conglomerates--rival those of the Japanese Sogo Shosha (trading houses) and the Japanese mafia (Yakuza) and their western corporate criminal counterparts (CIA/FBI/NSA/DIA/USAID & the one percent)--where anything and everything can be bought and sold with reckless abandon and near zero accountability, and where the corruption and criminals are shielded by the judiciary. 

CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-6.jpg

South Korea -- Seoul, 10 May 1990: 
Some 40,000 riot police were deployed on 9 May and 10 May to 
crush demonstrations involving over 100,000 people. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow

The corporate goon squads have often used various forms of torture, including beatings and kidnappings, and the thuggery by corporate gangs has in many cases been supported by state security and police--who have furthered the extrajudicial punishments and torture against labor organizers and employees of the large corporations targeted, for example, for exercising their freedom of expression.  Public and private school teachers have also suffered retaliation and repression for their involvement in activities that the 'state' deemed a threat to 'national security'--such as labor and pro-democracy organizing against the state or multinational corporations.

South Korean people lived under decades of military dictatorship from 1948 to 1993.  Several of the military dictators came to power through that mainstay of American democracy that has been ubiquitous to maldeveloped nations, especially those that serve as U.S. or European banana republics: the coup d'etat.  Given the corruption and absence of freedoms that have obtained in Korea since 1993 the situation under 'democratically elected' presidents has not been particularly encouraging for the average South Korean, to say the least.  Repressive laws instituted under military dictatorship have continued to serve the repressive state security apparatus--including arbitrary arrests and detentions--and so democracy has been an absolute farce.

As S. Brian Willson discusses, the current inhabitants of South Korea's Je Ju Island have long been opposed to the construction of a deep water port that would serve U.S./ROK military objectives enabling guided missile equipped AEGIS class destroyers access to port facilities at the village of Gangjeong. The ROK's CIA-like Korean National Intelligence Service has spied on and raided citizens and organizations that are opposed to the deep water port that would be built by the criminal Samsung Corporation.  Samsung has a history of more than 50 years of environmental pollution, trade union repression, corruption, tax flight and tax evasion.


CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-27.jpg

South Korea -- One photo of just one of the many Je Ju Island massacres that occurred in South Korea and were committed by U.S.-backed South Korean forces in 1948 and 1949. 
Photo c. unknown

South Korean civilians have also been persecuted from the 1950s to the present day, including arrests, kidnappings, beatings and torture, for advocating reunification with North Korea.  Millions of Koreans were separated from family members by the illegal U.S.-enforced bifurcation of the Koreas before and after the Korean War (1950-1953).  As we can imagine, powerful political interests whose motivations (power, control, private profit) do not serve the greater common interest of the Korean people (north & south) or the rest of us have blocked reunification.

Western officials under the media spotlight will spout off the most glorious promises and slogans about 'nation-building', 'peace,' 'security' and 'international cooperation,' and how we should support the reunification of the Koreas, meanwhile plotting the most egregious crimes against North Korea behind closed doors.  We can predict through experience that the destabilization and dismantling of North Korea will be implemented in so many ways as to always allow our 'leaders' to exercise the western imperative of 'plausible denial' or, worse, point to the most recent atrocities we have committed and claim--with a smile and a wave in the image of Bill and Hillary Clinton--that we have 'liberated' yet another people, 'saved' another nation, all out of the goodness of our hearts and imperatives of humanitarianism.  
 
South Korea is effectively run by an organized crime syndicate with deep ties to the United States power structure (see, for example, notes on The Cohen Group below).  Beyond a repressive security apparatus and pro-imperialist international foreign policy, South Korea suffers very high and epidemic numbers of suicide, alcoholism, and sexual and domestic violence. 


CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-15.jpg

South Korea -- Seoul, 10 May 1990: 
Riot police occupied all major subway stations and city train 
stations in the search for demonstrators. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow


South Korea also became a long-time home to vibrant and violent prostitution and trafficking industries created by and for the interests of U.S. troops stationed at bases that spawned vast military-related 'camp towns', where the selling and buying of sex between U.S. (and Korean) soldiers and Asian women has been a staple of U.S.-Korean relations since before the U.S. war in Korea (1950-1953).  On the front lines during the war, women were forcibly delivered to U.S. and U.N. forces.  By 1953 there were an estimated 350,000 Korean prostitutes, and between the 1950's and 1960's some 60% were serving U.S. soldiers at camp towns located around military bases.

Two core laws enforced by dictator Pak Chonghui after he seized power by coup d'etat in 1961 were aimed protecting camp town prostitutes:(1) excluding camp towns from the government crackdown on prostitution and (2) designating camp towns as 'special tourism districts.'

"U.S. military-oriented prostitution in Korea is not simply a matter of women walking the streets and picking up soldiers for a few bucks," wrote Wellesley professor Katharine H.S. Moon in her book Sex Among Allies: Military Prostitution in U.S.-Korea Relations.  Some 30,000 to 40,000 Korean women have worked annually in the prostitution industry in South Korea, in places known for their seediness, social disorder and violence.  The industry has involved extortion, police corruption, debt bondage of Korean women, and violent crime, while also breeding sexist and racist norms and attitudes amongst and between U.S. soldiers and Korean people.  "It is a system that is sponsored and regulated by two governments: Korean and American (through the U.S. military)."  


South Korea and Mobutu-3.jpg

A North Korean propaganda leaflet #117 from the Korean War quite rightly depicts war as a boon for big business, where elite U.S. leaders sipping wine and smoking cigars enjoy vacations in the sun, while the U.S. troops overseas suffer the hardships of a cold lonely dark war in the Korean winter.  The leaflet was described in a U.S. propaganda film discussing psychological warfare techniques used by North Korea.


The state organized prostitution networks went beyond the crimes associated with merely providing a sex and trafficking industry, with all its seedy and violent accouterments, to serve the U.S. military.  South Korean women survivors of the campaigns have claimed that USFK military police and ROK government officials from the 1960's to the 1980's raided night clubs and brothels and bars and detained thousands of prostitutes believed to be spreading sexually-transmitted diseases to U.S. troops.  ROK police took these women to lock-up cells in 'Monkey Houses' where windows had bars and armed guards ran the place and women were forcibly medicated and 'treated' until 'cured' but forced to wear 'tags' certifying their cleanliness.  
Supplying prostitutes for U.S. troops and regulating the industry became a business where the Korean women were the commodities and 'recreation' was a government provision for the occupying U.S. forces.  South Korea wanted the foreign currency to be spent in South Korea, to patronize South Korean businesses that sprouted concomitantly with the sex and trafficking industries, and not lose the business (or currency) by having U.S. soldiers fly out on leave to Japan or the Philippines and engage with the sex trade there.

The leading South Korean organization that scrutinizes and documents and mobilizes (if necessary) around the actions of U.S. commands and the conduct of U.S. troops as they affect Koreans was born in the aftermath of the murder of a young Korean woman by a U.S. serviceman in 1992.  Twenty-two year old Yoon Guemi, a former camp town prostitute, was brutally raped and murdered by one of her former clients, 20 year-old USFK private Kenneth Lee Markle III.  The victim was sexually assaulted, brutally raped, found with a Coke bottle inserted in her vagina and an umbrella inserted 11 inches in her anus; her body and face were covered with blood and powdered laundry detergent, and her mouth was full of matchsticks.  This was not a singular incident of USFK soldiers committing extreme violence against Koreans in camp towns, and it catalyzed the formation of civil and human rights organization known as The National Campaign for Eradication of Crimes by U.S. Troops in Korea.  

The "Crown Club" where Ms. Yoon Guemi worked is still open for USFK business and reports claim that hundreds of South Koreans suffer violence at the hands of USFK troops annually.  Markle was found guilty, sentenced to 15 years, paroled three years early in 2006 and flown back to the United States--sparking further outrage from Koreans who seek justice and freedom from the U.S. occupation.  
 
In more recent years, South Korean women have been replaced by Filipino, Russian Uzbek, Kazahk and Mongolian women lured and forcibly trafficked to South Korea to serve the sex trade in camp towns near USFK bases.  Meanwhile, national statistics counted some 500,000 South Korean women working in the sex trade in 2013.  The prostitution industry ties to U.S. forces also led to the production of scores of thousands of orphaned or abandoned children fathered by U.S. soldiers.

CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-2.jpg

South Korea -- Seoul, 10 May 1990: 
Riot police searched shop to shop door to door hunting down 
demonstrators and arresting some 1900 people. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow


South Korean farmers have also been forcibly removed from lands that the ROK and USFK confiscated for military base construction.  The expansion of the USFK military base Camp Humphreys, for example, let to a violent standoff in 2006 between more than 15,000 riot police and thousands of farmers and activists who refused to vacate plots of farmland in Daechu village (Pyeongtaek, South Korea) where more than 80 hectares of land were taken by the ROK government.  Some 120 activists, police and soldiers were injured, and 524 people (only 10 of them local farmers) were arrested. 

U.S. military bases have also been the sites of frequent shootings of civilians and, as everywhere, the operation of U.S. military bases brings severe environmental pollution and toxic wastes leading to extreme contamination of water, air and soil.  Simultaneous with the countless abuses perpetrated on the Korean people due to the long U.S. occupation have been the tearing apart of Korean social and cultural institutions and destruction of the environment due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and U.S. enforced Structural Adjustment programs.

WHO PROFITS FROM ALL THIS WAR-MAKING?

While the South Korean government has offered an 'aggressive' public face to the farce of 'calling for reunification', this is mere lip service as they have simultaneously increased military spending, maintained a compulsory draft (with severe penalties for any conscientious objector), and moved to the front of the line as a leading arms exporter.  In recent years South Korea has purchased scores of billions of dollars worth of warplanes, anti-missile systems and other weapons (of mass destruction), and the ROK has annual defense budgets of over $30 billion.

Meanwhile, South Korea and its western allies (including Japan) have escalated aggressive military posturing and rhetoric targeting North Korea, including deployments of troops and weaponry (e.g. battleships) in "joint military exercises" within striking distance of North Korea. The escalation of tensions and probability of war--on the Korean peninsula--are due to the duplicitous sociopathic criminal hegemony and aggression by the United States "government" and its closest allies and their "leaders".

CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990.jpg
South Korea -- Seoul 10 May 1990: 
Riot police search shops and restaurants for demonstrators.
Photo c. keith harmon snow


South Korea sealed its biggest-ever--until then--arms purchase in September 2015 with a U.S. $7.04 billion deal for 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.  South Korea has also been stocking up on spy satellites and drones--courtesy of U.S. weapons manufacturers like Northrup Grumman.  South Korea also sports a large number of Apache attack helicopters, and it has more than "capable" air force and navy.

In the summer of 2016 the United States and ROK militaries announced their decision to deploy an advanced missile defense system--Terminal High Area Missile Defense (THAAD)--that has previously been deployed in both Hawaii and Guam as a supposed "counter-measure" against North Korea's nuclear missile capabilities. The THAAD system is designed, built and integrated by Lockheed Martin Space Systems (prime contractor) with subcontractors Raytheon, Boeing, Aerojet, Rocketdyne, Honeywell, BAE Systems, Oshkosh Defense, MiltonCAT and the Oliver Capital Consortium.  

Said differently, this is a lot of cheese!

South Korea's militarization has benefited U.S., U.K., Canadian, E.U. and Israeli corporations--further wagging the dog of war and serving the powerful interests that will never move toward a peaceful equitable reunification serving the interests the Korean people (north and south) and peace in the Far East.  Permanent war is the desired state of foreign affairs.

On 16 March 2017 a THAAD radar system arrived in South Korea.  The deployment of the THAAD system has critically heightened tensions between China, North Korea, South Korea and the United States primarily because China is adamantly opposed to the deployment in South Korea.  U.S. taxpayers began paying for the development of the THAAD system circa 2005; annual expenditures on THAAD / THAAD AN/TPY-2 radars are: $985.7 / $593.6 million in 2012; $684.2 / $623.2 million in 2013; $824.8 / $328.9 million in 2014; $725.1 / $334.2 million projected for 2015; $718.3 / $300.7 million projected in 2016.  

Said differently, that is a lot of cheese for these U.S. and British corporations!

The ROK is cost-sharing the THAAD system with United States taxpayers, who spend billions annually maintaining the United States Forces Korea (USFK) under a 50% cost-share with the ROK government.  South Korean defense officials requested at least two THAAD batteries be deployed to "help thwart the North's missile attacks."  Operating a single THAAD unit is estimated to cost about $1.6 billion.  One unit consists of six truck-mounted launchers, 49 interceptors, a fire control and communications unit, and an AN/TPY-2 radar.  The USFK is apparently paying for one of the THAAD batteries and the ROK for the other. 

Estimates of the costs to U.S. taxpayers of annually stationing around 30,000 U.S. forces in Korea--the rough number of U.S. troops that have annually been in occupation there for decades--were around $2.9 billion in 2014, with the ROK paying $866 million or approximately 30% of the total costs ($3.75 billion/year).


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South Korea -- Seoul 13 July 2016: 
Thousands of residents in the town of Seongiu hold up banners in a demonstration in opposing the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system there.  Photo c. Yonhap News Agency



Don't miss the revolving doors between these corporations and the United States military.

For example, one Lockheed Martin director is a retired U.S. Air Force General and former director of the profoundly secretive National Reconnaissance Office on Lockheed's board.  The NRO plans, builds and operates North America's spy satellites, and they specialize in intelligence-gathering and information warfare--and the NRO coordinates the analysis of aerial surveillance and satellite imagery from several intelligence and military agencies, including the Defense Investigative Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 

Oh, and, don't miss that retired U.S. Admiral and Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, also on Lockheed's board, who is also a director of the highly dishonest and destructive Institute for Nuclear Power (INPO).  

Oh, and don't miss the revolving door of former admirals and generals and CIA directors now working for Northrup Grumman.

Oh and don't miss the Lockheed directors that are also directors of The Cohen Group -- founded and run by former U.S. Secretary of War (1997-2001) and bonafide war criminal William S. Cohen.  According to his own The Cohen Group web site: "Under his leadership, the U.S. military conducted the largest air warfare campaign since World War II, in Serbia and Kosovo, and conducted other military operations on every continent"--including the U.S. proxy wars in Congo and Sudan--and "The Cohen Group principals have decades of experience working with The Republic of Korea (ROK) government and military and with ROK industry."

I bet they do.

NOW, LET'S TALK ABOUT NORTH KOREA

Imagine, a country like North Korea, which in fact there is no other country like, that does not have the stellar record of committing war crimes and/or crimes against humanity and/or genocide that Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Japan, Rwanda, Uganda or the United States do, but one that has the audacity (please note the irony and sarcasm) to develop a missile (capability) of their own...to defend themselves against the world's leading military aggressor(s), one(s) with long and un-pretty records of massacres, tortures, double-dealing and back-stabbing, amounting to a lot more than massive war crimes, crimes against humanity and mass murder in one country after the next and year after year.  

CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-29.jpg

According to the western propaganda system, the Korean People's Army (North Korea) has some 5,889,000 paramilitary personnel, making it "the largest paramilitary organization on earth."  This includes the local militia, the Worker Peasant Red Guards, which mobilizes at the local village level.  The entire military budget of the paramilitary KPA is considered to be approximately $8-10 billion annually; in contrast, the budget of the U.S. Department of War in 2015 was $597 billion and far overshadows the KPA in superior weaponry, capabilities and technology. 

While the western propaganda system ever decries the supposed horrible human rights atrocities committed in North Korea, there is little or no attention to several more poignant issues: 1. the human rights atrocities and war crimes committed in South Korea by the ROK are far more substantial and 2. there is substantial internal meddling in North Korea by U.S. intelligence and state department agencies and front groups. 

The problem--North Korea's problem--of meddling and foreign intervention in North Korean affairs is even less advertised or exposed by the western propaganda system than the problem of South Korean (the ROK's) own abrogation, denial and trampling of human rights and commission of atrocities, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Beyond the obvious and little known covert operations against North Korea that are hidden in classified black programs and shrouded in the secrecy of U.S. intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and all the other secretive Pentagon operations, are the many other stealthy subversive and clandestine U.S. government organizations that are more openly meddling and intervening in North Korea's domestic affairs. 

These include the North Korea programs of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a 'soft-power' front organization that has more openly pursued many of the former objectives of the covert intelligence apparatus and does so under an open source cover that hides their true agenda and duplicitous activities.  NED's war against Korea is euphemistically defined as a campaign of 'democracy' and 'freedom' building, of 'support' for 'civil society' and 'democratic elections' and 'press' and 'speech' and other 'freedoms'--but which really amount to ultra-rightwing fascistic programs peddling the ruthless predatory capitalism and corporatism of unregulated private enterprise and 'free market' ideas of the 'American dream' variety.  In 2015 alone the NED dispensed some $2,017,290 to individuals, organizations and initiatives designed to leverage, factionalize, divide and destabilize North Korea; in 2014 it was $2,062,913. 

Meanwhile, NED has also dispersed obscene sums of money to destabilize and mold China into the 'American' image: in 2015 alone, for example, NED spent $8,497,642 on China.  NED operations in Mongolia--another country where western meddling, intervention and plunder is completely whited out by the western press--and Russia (need I say more?) are also very substantial, and each of these countries has some stake in regional alliances and allegiances to North Korea.  Of course, NED also dispenses sizable funds for programs in South Korea, but, curiously, the statistics and lists of programs and grantees are not readily discernible from their web sites and annual reports.  Further, the sums noted above do not include the additional very sizable disbursements of U.S. taxpayers dollars to "regional" think tanks, 'training' institutes or so-called 'non-government' organizations like the neoliberal Solidarity Center, The Asia Society, Brookings Institute, Center for International Private Enterprise, and the East Asia Institute.  

FLASH DRIVES FOR FREEDOM

Consider, for example, a single one of these western interventions.  The western human rights nexus-- specifically, through the Solidarity Center mentioned above and other similar agencies--has been advancing this campaign with flash drives that are then dumped from the skies over North Korea onto the land and people. The idea that people who have been indoctrinated by state and corporate and the human rights industry propaganda (I am speaking about North Americans) can donate old flash drives packed with western media garbage (advertising and Hollywood films and New York Times disinformation and TV sitcoms like 'Friends' and pornography and other forms of capitalist propaganda) to then have a U.S. state department-funded entity like the Solidarity Center facilitate the dumping of these flash drives out of drones on the heads and in the soil and waters of North Korea is offensive and problematic on many levels.  

That is what this image of the North Korean president with a flash drive stuck in his mouth is all about--an image used to provoke westerners to do their moral duty to help destabilize a foreign government--and to do so with nary any skin off their backs or bytes out of their computers.  There is a certain implied righteousness to the cause, but it is a misplaced and misdirected righteousness, when seen in juxtaposition to the failure of the same people to entertain any righteousness, or any awareness at all, about the human rights atrocities tied directly to their lifestyles.  


CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-30.jpg

"Silence the Regime with Your Flash Drive" is a western campaign that overtly engages westerners (indoctrinated by western anti-North Korea propaganda) in donating their flash drives, but which covertly engages these do-good westerners in racial warfare against Asian people as illustrated by the campaign image above and those on the related web sites where westerners are stuffing something in the mouths of Asian people--an inherently violent act.  But it also legitimizes the use of deadly drones for supposedly innocuous social engineering and on a 'freedom' platform.

The National Endowment for Democracy is not the only U.S. front organization meddling in North Korean and regional foreign affairs.  The International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute and others are also deeply involved in pushing the U.S. private enterprise and new world order agenda of power, control, and private profit by any means necessary.  And, the United States is not the only country with covert and overt intervention programs assaulting the government of North Korea.  Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (MI-6) and Israeli intelligence services (Aman, Mossad)--and other NATO allied intelligence and defense agencies--are certainly complicit and directly involved. 

There is also the Pentagon's Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR).  "SOCKOR plans and conducts Special Operations," reads their own web site, "in support of the Commander of United States Forces/United Nations Commander/Combined Forces Commander in armistice, crisis and war.  SOCKOR is a functional component command of United States Forces Korea, tasked to plan and conduct Special Operations in the Korean theater of operations." (Emphasis added.)  

The Special Ops of SOCKOR do not sit around and twiddle their handguns, they are on active deployment in the Korean theater of operations -- which means both North and South Korea.  SOCKOR also acts as the operational liaison between ROK Special Forces and U.S. Special Forces (SOCOM).  The latter relationship begs the question: In what kinds of covert operations do ROK Special Forces, SOCKOR and SOCOM jointly deploy?  

ROK and U.S. troops annually engage in military exercises designed and implemented in preparation for very real 'surgical strikes' against North Korea and the overthrow of the North Korean government.  For example, in March 2016 the U.S. and ROK military participated in military planning and training exercises based on 'classified war plans' to perform surgical strikes against North Korea's nuclear, missile and command and control facilities.  The operations code-named 'OPLAN' and 'FOAL EAGLE' were openly reported in the western and South Korean media in March and April 2016, and that had the (additional benefit) effect of simultaneously being a psychological operation against the North Korean government and a massive expensive hegemonic military exercise.  The plan (and the press reports discussing it) also calls for 'decapitation' raids by Special Forces to 'neutralize North Korea's senior leadership.'  

South Korea and Mobutu-8.jpg

South Korean postage stamps commemorating the bilateral relations between South Korea and Zaire (top: U.S.- and Israeli-backed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko) and Liberia (bottom: U.S.- and Israeli-backed dictator Samuel Doe).


Would the 'senior leadership' of the United States feel at all vulnerable or threatened if a superior superpower in an abutting country were engaged in similar military exercises involving more than 317,000 active duty soldiers and some of the world's most sophisticated weapons and weapons systems?

How exactly is a country like North Korea (or Cuba) expected to deal with foreign meddling, interventions and destabilizing operations--especially those interventions/operations that have a propensity to be, and usually are, of the most ruthless and unaccountable variety (such as assassinations, false flag, or snatch and grab operations)?

They aren't.  According to the pundits of the New World Order the leaders of such countries as North Korea (Cuba, Syria, Iran...) are supposed to get down on their hands and knees and beg.  However, given such examples as Iraq or Libya or Syria or Panama, we know that even doing that would not protect these countries from what the 'leaders' of the 'free world' have in store for them. 

THE ARROGANCE OF HUMANISM

The ROK Armed Forces is one of the largest standing armed forces in the world, with a reported personnel strength of 3,725,000 in 2016 (625,000 active duty soldiers and 3,100,000 reserves).  The further militarization of the peninsula serves powerful interests: whether the North Korean missile tests were actually encouraged or discouraged, applauded or reviled by the west doesn't at all matter: either way the U.S. and our allies benefit from weapons sales and radar installations and missile and troop deployments.  

It's obvious that the escalation of tensions that initially provoked the North Koreans to increase their defensive military capabilities was prompted by the growing USFK and ROK and allied military presence/profile--through our military operations and maneuvers or deployments of weapon systems in and around North Korea--and this in turn led to North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and missile systems, which in turn allows Washington and Seoul and Tokyo to justify the deployment of sophisticated radar and missile warning and missile defense systems.  No matter how you look at it, the United States wins.

And such is the mindset of the western war-maker.  No matter how they look at it, they think, the United States wins.  Profits.  Deployments.  Power.  The Korean peninsula is far away.  And this is the true deeper problem: arrogance.  It is also the hubris of the bully who thinks he can never get a black eye.  But people are playing around with the lives of all humanity, and in their hubris and sociopathy they don't have the capability to understand their foolishness.

Will the real war criminals please stand up?  ~


CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-17.jpg

South Korea -- May 1990: 
Scores of military vehicles (background) at a military base in the north of South Korea a few miles south of the DMZ that separates the Korean people at the 38th parallel. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow



P.S.  I have also provided some (amateur) photos of the South Korea's northern zone, where I was able to use my mountain bicycle to gain access to the area just south of the DMZ.  At the time (May 1990) it was highly militarized and I used my camera judiciously, though I always suspected that the ROK patrols that saw me assumed I was U.S. military and gave me a certain carte blanche to bike freely.  The landscape there, it seems to me, was highly manicured devoid of almost all wildness. Other than the soldiers and police, the only people I saw were universally lower class farmers--warm, kind and friendly.  I imagine that this northern region has been substantially more militarized since 1990, but really I have no idea.


CBA pics South Korea Protests 10 May 1990-23.jpg

South Korea -- May 1990: 
Camouflaged cement structures ready to deployed as barricades on the 
roads in northern South Korea, a few miles south of the DMZ 
that separates the Korean people at the 38th parallel. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow

Written by: keith harmon snow

Photography Credits: keith harmon snow (except where otherwise noted)

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1 Comment

Nina Cross | September 5, 2017 11:33 AM

Wonderful piece of research and writing. Thank you.

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