Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Most Koreans know their history very well, even if most Americans and most Australians and others do not. 
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The ‘news’ media is largely to blame for this ignorance, with its simplistic and one-sided reporting. Owners of the media and the vested interests they represent profit more from the obscene business of war than from diplomacy and peace. Instead of believing the self-serving lies and propaganda of warmongers echoed by the mainstream ‘news’ media, do your own research. 
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The Korean War did NOT start in 1950, and “we” were NOT the “good guys”. Understanding the diabolical US-led crimes against Korea, at least from 1945 until today, should lead to empathy for North Korea. This is an essential first step to a peaceful and sustainable solution to the Korean peninsula crisis.
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There is no desirable military solution. 



Some enlightening reading:

The Problem is Washington, Not North Korea
By Mike Whitney

This Is What’s Really Behind North Korea’s Nuclear Provocations
It’s easy to dismiss Kim Jong-un as a madman. But there’s a long history of US aggression against the North, which we forget at our peril.
By Bruce Cumings

The Mindless Hawkish Response to North Korea’s Missile Test
"Threatening North Korea with regime change... is one of the stupidest things the U.S. could do..."

What the N. Korean “Crisis” Is Really About
By Paul Craig Roberts

What Corporate Media Never Tells You About North Korea
By Joe Clifford

NYT’s ‘Impossible to Verify’ North Korea Nuke Claim Spreads Unchecked by Media

Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
By Paul Atwood

Facts of the Korean War: UN Security Council, Instrument of US led Wars, Blatantly Biased Against North Korea

How History Explains the Korean Crisis
August 28, 2017. Special Report: Many Americans simply view North Korea and its leaders as “crazy,” but the history behind today’s crisis reveals of a more complex reality that could change those simplistic impressions.
By William R. Polk

“History of U.S. Sabotage of Korean Peace and Reunification”
By S. Brian Willson
“…The well documented but little publicly known historical record of the United States in Korea is nothing short of demonic and shameless… This pattern of U.S. behavior pre-dates the Cold War…”

Facts of the Korean War: UN Security Council, Instrument of US led Wars, Blatantly Biased Against North Korea

Trump and the Geopolitics of Crazy
The Times They Are A-Changin’ in North Korea
By John Feffer. August 22, 2017.
” The United States has beaten its head against the wall of North Korea for more than 70 years, and that wall has changed little indeed as a result. The United States, meanwhile, has suffered one headache after another… It's way past time for the Trump administration to take a few aspirin and a few deep breaths, and seize this opportunity to talk with the North Koreans before both head and wall sustain irreparable damage.”
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176320/tomgram%3A_john_feffer%2C_avoiding_war_with_pyongyang/#more



Why Trump Won’t Start a War With North Korea
By Mike Whitney. September 8, 2017.
“…The US already has the arrangement it wants on the Peninsula… North Korea agreed to end its nuclear weapons program in 1994 if the US met its modest demands?...The North kept its word, but the US didn’t. It’s that simple…It’s the same game Washington has been playing for the last hundred years…”



Additional references:

Bruce Cumings, "A Murderous History of Korea", London Review of Books, May 18, 2017

Tim Shorrock, "Diplomacy With North Korea Has Worked Before, and Can Work Again", The Nation, Sept. 5, 2017 

Darrell Prince, "North Korea situation Sept 3, 2017: You catch more flies with honey, than vinegar"


Bruce Cumings, Korea's Place in the Sun. A Modern History (New York: W.W. Norton Co., 1997)


Read more by following my page on Facebook - Bruce McPhie


Trump Quietly Promises Billions in New Nuke Contracts

This could trigger a new arms race with Russia and China.



“Baker Shot”, part of Operation Crossroads, a nuclear test by the United States at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Credit: U.S. Department of Defense/Public Domain.

“…America’s collective nuclear amnesia has led to the lessons of the past having been largely forgotten… 
The Trump administration has just announced that it is moving ahead with an Obama-era plan to modernize America’s nuclear arsenal, sprucing up the nuclear Triad with a new fleet of land-based missiles, missile-carrying submarines, and air-delivered nuclear weapons that will cost the American taxpayer well over $1 trillion in the coming years. 
The ostensible purpose behind this modernization effort is to maintain America’s nuclear deterrence capability for decades to come. 
The harsh reality, however, is that through this nuclear upgrade, America is simply repeating the mistakes of the past, building weapons whose precision and speed will trigger a new arms race with Russia and China as they seek to match this new American capability with weapons designed to sustain their version of nuclear deterrence.  
Mutually assured destruction (MAD), once relegated to the trash bin of history, has had new life breathed into it. 
This time there is no foundation of arms control in place to limit the insanity—the ABM treaty is a thing of the past, and America today hides behind the false promise of a missile-defense shield that has questionable utility against a North Korean madman armed with a handful of missiles, let alone a Russian or Chinese military armed with hundreds. Disarmament talks with Russia—once a hallmark of the Trump foreign-policy vision—are stillborn...  
American tanks patrol the Polish frontier opposite their Russian counterparts, while U.S. and Russian warplanes share the skies over Syria, and play cat and mouse over the Baltics. 
Into this volatile mix, President Trump now wants to deploy a new generation of nuclear weapons that any enemy possessing a modicum of strategic insight would have no choice but to view as possessing genuine first-strike capability. 
Given the enhanced performance of these weapons, there will be no “fail safe” mechanism to limit the scope and scale of inadvertent use. There won’t be time for military officers to call home with a furtive warning of impending doom… 
Today Americans are unable or perhaps unwilling to hold their elected leaders responsible as they play nuclear Russian roulette—a game as avoidable as it is insane.
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Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.  He is the author of Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West’s Road to War (Clarity Press, 2017).

READ the complete article:


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

WikiLeaks Reveals How the US Aggressively Pursued Regime Change in Syria, Igniting a Bloodbath


Friday, October 09, 2015
By Robert NaimanVerso Books | Book Excerpt


Syrian soldiers and children at a checkpoint in the besieged and devastated city of Homs, Syria, March 23, 2014. For both sides of Syria's civil war, Homs, a central Syrian crossroads with a diverse prewar population of 1 million, is crucial to the future. (Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times)


In 2010, WikiLeaks became a household name by releasing 251,287 classified State Department cables. Now, a new book collects in-depth analyses of what these cables tell us about the foreign policy of the United States, from authors including Truthout staff reporter Dahr Jamail and our regular contributors Gareth Porter, Robert Naiman, Phyllis Bennis and Stephen Zunes.


"The essays that make up The WikiLeaks Files shed critical light on a once secret history," says Edward Snowden. 


The following is Chapter 10 of The WikiLeaks Files:

"...History shows that public understanding of US foreign policy depends crucially on assessing the motivations of US officials. It is likely inevitable as a result that US officials will present themselves to the public as having more noble motivations than they share with each other in private, and therefore that if members of the public had access to the motivations shared in private, they might make different assessments of US policy. This is a key reason why WikiLeaks' publishing of US diplomatic cables was so important.

The cables gave the public a recent window into the strategies and motivations of US officials as they expressed them to each other, not as they usually expressed them to the public. In the case of Syria, the cables show that regime change had been a long-standing goal of US policy; that the US promoted sectarianism in support of its regime-change policy, thus helping lay the foundation for the sectarian civil war and massive bloodshed that we see in Syria today; that key components of the Bush administration's regime-change policy remained in place even as the Obama administration moved publicly toward a policy of engagement; and that the US government was much more interested in the Syrian government's foreign policy, particularly its relationship with Iran, than in human rights inside Syria...

Knowing that the US never really abandoned a regime-change policy in Syria informs our understanding of the question of US military intervention in Syria today. It shows us that the US is not an innocent victim of circumstance, having to consider the use of force because diplomacy has been exhausted; rather, the US faces a situation that it helped create, by pursuing regime change for years and never fully switching to diplomacy."


READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE, AND READ/POST PUBLIC COMMENTS: 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Philippine: Western Media is Distorting Reality, People and Army Unite to Battle “ISIS”.

By Andre Vltchek


“…The Western establishment media and various servile NGOs (including those which are “defending human rights” in several rebellious and independent-minded countries) consistently demonize President Duterte, an anti-imperialist, progressive leader who enjoys well over 80 percent approval rating.

It is no secret in the Philippines there are two distinct factions inside the military – one supports the president and his drive for independence from the West. The other, which is trained and often corrupted by Washington and other Western capitals, would love to see him go….

Before President Duterte came to power little over one year ago, social situation in many parts of Mindanao was desperate and therefore there was at least some support for radical ‘solutions’. Since then, however, things changed dramatically.

Healthcare, education and public housing are improving. Indiscriminate mining by multi-national companies has been deterred. People here; as well as in almost all other parts of the Philippines finally feel hopeful and optimistic about their future. This converts into great support for both the government and the military…



A month ago I wrote an essay exposing the complex network of Western-sponsored terrorism in Asia (“Washington Jihad Express: Indonesia, Afghanistan, Syria and Philippines”)


I argued that in the 1980’s, Indonesian and Malaysian jihadists, indoctrinated by the Southeast Asian brand of extreme anti-Communism, went to fight in Afghanistan against the socialist governments of Karmal, and then Mohammad Najibullah, with the ultimate goal of destroying the Soviet Union.

Hardened and further brainwashed, they returned home to Southeast Asia, participated in several ethnic strives and pogroms (including those in Ambon and Poso), and then, in order to ‘bridge the generational gap’, embarked on the coaching of a young generation of terrorists, who eventually ended up fighting in Syria and recently in the Philippines…

In the Indonesian city of Bandung, Prof. Iman Soleh, a professor at the Faculty of Social and Political Science (University of Padjadjaran- UNPAD) offered his take on why the West is now so obsessed with destabilizing and smearing the Philippines and its current rebellious administration:

“Since World War Two, the U.S. was afraid of so-called ‘domino effects’. Among other things that are now happening in the Philippines under president Duterte, the government is curbing activities of the multi-national mining conglomerates, and the West cannot accept that. Philippines are putting its environmental concerns above the short-term profits! For the millions of left-wing activists here in Indonesia and all over Southeast Asia, President Duterte is a role model.”

It is no secret that the West punishes such ‘bad paradigms’ brutally and decisively.

Prof. Soleh continued:

“I think all that is happening is not just to ‘destabilize’ the Philippines, but also because the country has conflict areas that could be ‘nurtured’. The best example is the predominantly Muslim island of Mindanao, vs. the rest of the Philippines, which is predominantly a Catholic country…”

The West is regularly using ‘jihad,’ directly and indirectly, to destabilize socialist, anti-imperialist, and just patriotic countries and governments. In the past, it managed to ruin countries like Afghanistan, Indonesia (1965) and Syria. Many believe that the Philippines is the latest addition to the ‘hit-list.’…

As Drei Toledo, a prominent Philippine journalist, educator and pro-Duterte activist, originally from Mindanao, explained:

“The reason why the West is hostile toward President Duterte is simple: he is working hard to reach a peace agreement with China, a country that is seen by Washington as its arch-enemy. Another ‘adversary of the West,’ Russia, is admired by Duterte and increasingly by his people. Recently, Russia and the Philippines signed a defense agreement. The president is also forging close ties with Cuba, particularly in the area of health…

Before Duterte became our President, poverty by design in Philippines was restored and perpetuated by the U.S. and Malaysia-controlled Cojuangco-Aquino clan. Foreign and local entities that have long benefited financially from Philippines being a weak state are now threatened overwhelmingly by President Duterte’s unifying agenda to create a socialist system in the Philippines.”…

Marawi is just one new chapter in the already long book of horrors of brutal religious terrorist acts, most of them directly or indirectly triggered by Western imperialism.

In the first wave of its fight again the secular socialist Muslim governments, the West destabilized Iran, Egypt and Indonesia. Then came the Afghanistan ‘gambit’, followed by the arch-brutal destruction of Iraq and Libya. Then it was Syria’s turn. ‘Jihad’ is consistently used against Russia, China as well as the former Central Asian Soviet republics.

All this I described in my 840-page book: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”, but one can never write fast enough and fully catch up with the crimes committed by the West. 

It is often easy to pinpoint Western involvement in the religious conflicts, particularly in such places as Afghanistan and Syria. In the Philippines, the link is still indirect, well concealed, but it certainly exists. 


To rebel against the Western Empire is always a costly and bloody affair. It often leads to coups sponsored by Washington, London or Paris, and even to direct military conflicts, interventions and full-scale wars…

No matter what the West and local corporate media are saying, most Filipinos know: this is their struggle; this is their president and their military fighting against something extremely foreign, violent and dreadful.”



Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries...

Read the complete article, and read/post interesting public comments:


Friday, July 28, 2017

When was America great?


By Kim Petersen

July 27, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - 


Racism, Poverty, Violence…

“Make America Great Again” was Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. It appeals to the people whose hearts beat with patriotic fervor. But what does such a slogan explicitly point out?

Syntactically, Trump is telling Americans that the United States of America is not great. A country can only become something again when it is currently not that something it seeks to recapture – in this case, that something is greatness. So currently the US is not great according to the mantra of Trump.

Two questions are raised by this?

1. When was America great?
2. How will Trump make America great again?

When was America great?

Obviously, to be become great again, America must have at one time been great. When was that?

Was America great at its inception? In an era when it was killing Indigenous peoples, violating treaties, and stealing their land? Can you be great when the early colonists, many professedly Christians, broke sacred commandments like “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not steal”?

Was going to war with Mexico from 1846 to 1848 to aggrandize the US landmass great?

Was it great when the US allowed slave labor for the profit of slave owners? The Emancipation Proclamation was not issued until 1863, so unless a person believes that a country in which slavery can be practiced is great, then greatness must not have been possible until the later half of the 19th century. There are, however, some niggling complications to be discussed below.

In 1893, US corporate interests engineered an overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and annexed the islands. Was this great? Yes, the US Congress apologized, but how great of an apology is that? If someone steals your car and says sorry, but that person does not return your car and instead continues driving it around town, would you be content with the apology? Can such an apology even be construed as sincere?

Near the close of the 19th century, the US went to war with Spain. While docked in Havana Harbor, an onboard explosion occurred sinking the USS Maine with huge loss of life. The cause of the sinking remains mysterious; some point to a spontaneous combustion fire. Nevertheless, despite unclear etiology, the US government, urged on by the yellow journalism of newspaper magnates, blamed Spain and went to war.

Spanish colonies fought with the US against Spain. At the war’s end, the US subsumed administration of the former Spanish colonies. Aspirations for self-determination by Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines were crushed. After bloody wars against the US, the Philippines finally gained independence in 1946. Cuba liberated itself in 1959 (although Guantanamo Bay remains occupied by the US). Guam and Puerto Rico remain de facto colonies of the US.

The 20th century also does not look great on the moral front for the US. The US entered WWI and WWII in the later stages of each war, and it helped to defeat imperialist warmongers in Europe and East Asia. It came up with the Marshall Plan to help Europe back on its feet again and provide markets for US capitalism.(1) Then in 1969, the US accomplished a spectacular feat by placing the first men on the moon. 

However, at the same time back on planet Earth, the US was waging war against an already war-ravaged Viet Nam that wound up killing millions of Vietnamese, and this came on the heels of waging war against North Korea also killing millions of Koreans. Neither of these countries posed a military threat to the US, and both wars imposed military defeats on the US. As soon as China entered the war in Korea, it pushed the US back from the Yalu River all the way to the 38th parallel. The US war on Viet Nam was a resounding defeat for the US, one that witnessed US troops scampering, at war’s end, from a Saigon rooftop to be transported to safety by helicopters.

Elsewhere, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, lies the Chagos archipelago, the site of more questionable American greatness. There the British government conspired with the US to remove all Chagossians from the British colony (which Britain had severed from Mauritius) to serve as an unfettered American military installation. It remains an ethnically cleansed strategic platform for American imperialism and militarism, as well as a site for extraordinary renditions.

Slavery was long ago outlawed, but racism and discrimination were still rife in 20th century America. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that the legal sanctions of racist Jim Crow laws were repealed.

Aside from the violence against Blacks on the homefront, the US was involved in several violent incidents in the 20th century such as the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the invasion of Grenada, Panama, Chile, etc. Is greatness conferred by waging violence? Especially violence against smaller, less militarily armed countries?

Has America ever been a noble beacon on the hill? Has it been an exemplar for democracy, freedom, human rights, and equal opportunity – values that would indicate greatness?

Has the 21st century seen a move toward American greatness? In 2003, the Persian Gulf Slaughter, led by the US, saw a genocide committed against Iraq based on a contrived casus belli.

In 2004, the US, abetted by Canada and France, orchestrated a military coup against the elected president of Haiti that forced Jean-Bertrand Aristide into exile overseas.

Then there is the ongoing war against Afghanistan; the war against Libya; the warring against Syria; a US-backed coup in Honduras; US-backed coup plots against the government in Venezuela; and unabated, continued support for the occupation and oppression of Indigenous Palestinians by the Jewish state. The litany of moral depredations that America wreaks upon peoples or that it is fully complicit with demand legal redress.

Given the above, this writer regards with extreme skepticism the notion of America ever having been great in any meaningful sense. Granted, great deeds have been accomplished in America, including developing a leading university system; technological breakthroughs in astronomy, aviation, transportation, communication, armaments; entertainment; sports; etc. However, the deeds do not add up to a great nation.

How will Trump make America great again?

Or, more correctly posed: how will Trump make America great?

Because it seems that America was never truly great. As per the foregoing arguments, I will dismiss the “again” part of Trump’s slogan. Sans the “again,” the slogan is not quite appealing. After all, a reformulated slogan like “Let’s finally make America great” probably wouldn’t be great for attracting votes. Better to appeal to the capricious American dream. 

But Trump’s slogan alone will not reify American greatness. So how is Trump going to make America great?

By building a wall to keep Mexicans out?

Trump is also pushing for a ban on travel from, originally seven now, six predominantly Muslim countries. Is this selective isolationism — identifying certain, purportedly undesirable nationalities and keeping them out — a nascent sign of greatness?

Is eliminating health insurance for millions of people while cutting taxes for the wealthy a great idea?

Is Trump chumming with Saud clan fat cats — the kleptocratic, misogynistic moneybags for ISIS — a great choice of allies?

Is shooting down a Syrian plane in Syrian airspace, unilaterally setting up US military bases in sovereign Syria, and bombing the country legal, ethical, or a sign of greatness?

Was the lethal US raid on Yemen and its ongoing involvement is a siege creating a cholera epidemic that is killing thousands of children a sign of America becoming great?

Is it great that Donald Trump is repeating the folly of the inarticulate former US president George W Bush who back-tracked on a deal to keep North Korea nuclear free? The result is that North Korea became a nuclear-armed nation. Despite having certified that Iran is compliant with the terms of a 2015 nuclear deal, Trump is determined to undermine the deal by violating the terms. Did Trump learn nothing from the US breaking its deal with North Korea? (2)

Is championing fossil fuels, disregarding the precautionary principle, and jettisoning participation in the Paris climate accord a sign of greatness?

One wonders, just how is it that Trump will make America great, regardless of whether it is again or for the first time?

The Chinese way to Greatness

Greatness is not conferred by having the most billionaires and neither by having the biggest corporations. When at the same time there are millions of working poor and unemployed what is indicated? When there are millions who are homeless and nourished by dumpster diving what does this tell one about the greatness of a country? Clearly, there is a wide chasm between the haves and have-nots. This is not greatness. The number of skyscrapers, the number of overseas military bases, the number of nuclear weapons, Silicon Valley, and the glitz of Hollywood do not mask the stench of a having a huge underclass that refutes any claim to greatness.

Greatness is a transcendent quality that sets itself above all else. Greatness is anathema to moral turpitude. The destruction of Indigenous peoples, the subjugation of others to slavery, the constant resort to lethal violence to impose one’s will, and the deteriorating quality of life for millions of people on the domestic front point toward a quality that rebuts any claim to greatness.

Instead of his bellicose rhetoric against China, Trump would be better advised to consider how the Chinese are pursuing a peaceful path to greatness. Unlike the US, China has pledged no first use of nukes. Although China has strengthened itself militarily (and who can blame it given that China is ringed by US military bases, and given the way an unfriendly US conducts itself in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the world), Chinese Communist Party chairman Xi Jinping affirms that peace is the way to settle disputes. 

China has an extraordinary goal: it is on target to eliminate poverty by the year 2020. Imagine that! No manned moon landing can compare since the elimiation of poverty is not based on a vicarious pride; rather, it is a social development that affects every citizen directly. Moreover, the rising dragon is also poised to place humans on lunar soil. Instead of imposing the scourge of war on small countries, China is a country that aspires to greatness through peaceful dialogue and by ridding itself of the scourges of hunger, homelessness, and other attributes of poverty. 

China partners with other nations to develop their economies; as such it funds and engages in multilateral economic development with a host of nations. Africa is not just a source for resource exploitation; China invests heavily in African infrastructure development. Across Asia and into Europe China invests in the mega Belt and Road Initiative that is spurring economic activity across Eurasia.

Is China great? In terms of the nation state, some kind of agreed upon definition is required. Assuredly, any meaningful definition of greatness would preclude wreaking violence on others. And how great are you if you can not properly care for and provide the basic necessities for your own citizens? I am not ready to pronounce China to be great,(3) but the policy directives and the steps China has embarked on appear promising.

Conclusion

In the case of America, to become genuinely great a first step is demanded. Since America exists as a nation state through its denationalization of Indigenous nations, it must first address and atone for this longstanding injustice. 

Second, America must sincerely address the historical wrongs committed against African-Americans. And should that day arrive — and hopefully soon — when America has ridden itself of racism, poverty as well as resolutely disavowing violence, then it may be considered to have genuinely attained greatness.

  1. In Understanding Power (New York: The New Press, 2002) anarchist professor Noam Chomsky says, “… the Marshall Plan was designed largely as an export-promotion operation for American business, not as the noblest effort in history …” p 39. 
  2. It must be noted that the US National Intelligence Estimate of 2007, endorsed by senior officials in 2011, concluded that Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program.
  3. At this stage of development, which chairman Xi notes is in the primary stage of socialism, China is still plagued by serious income inequality, albeit this inequality is tapering.

Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be reached at: kimohp@gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersenRead other articles by Kim.