South Korean peace activists banned from the USA


South Korean peace activists. The sign says 'We condemn the U.S. for denying entry'. Photo: Ban Trump’s Crazy Action (BTC) delegation

From www.zoominkorea.org:

South Koreans Opposed To War On North Korea Banned From Entering US

October 29th, 2017

Fourteen members of the Fellowship of South Korean Youth — calling themselves the “Ban Trump’s Crazy Action” (BTC) delegation — were stopped at Incheon airport on October 25 and prevented from boarding their planes to the United States, where they had planned to protest Trump’s war threats in Korea. The group, which had planned to visit New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles to demand an end to U.S. sanctions and war threats against North Korea, was turned away despite having acquired proper documentation to visit the United States.

The members of the delegation were told by the United Airline staff that there were problems with their visas. When the delegation asked for an explanation, they were told, “You need to find out why from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. Due to privacy concerns, we cannot release any information.”

Following their entry denial, the BTC delegation held a press briefing at Incheon Airport. One representative of the delegation stated, “We received our visas through the proper channels, but suddenly our visas were rejected. We don’t understand what is so free about the so-called ‘land of the free.’ Every member of the BTC delegation is furious about this.”

Every member of the delegation had received an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) approval. According to the delegation, there was no further explanation from the airline staff as to why the visas they had received were denied. Later, the delegation members found out that their ESTA approval’s were canceled prior to checking in to their flights.

One of the members of the delegation took a separate flight and managed to arrive at JFK International Airport in New York before being detained without telephone access and deported back to South Korea the next day.

U.S. anti-war/peace activists, including the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea & Militarism in Asia and the Pacific and Nodutdol for Korean Community Development released a joint statement denouncing the U.S. government’s decision to ban the entry of the South Korean activists:

As organizations and individuals who advocate open borders, freedom of speech, and peaceful resolution of international conflicts, we strongly protest the U.S. entry ban of the members of BTC and demand a full explanation for this action and immediate reversal of this decision. We also forcefully oppose the Trump administration’s escalation of tension with North Korea, fully support South Korean peacemakers mobilizing to protest Trump’s visit to their country and preparing for mass demonstrations on November 4th, and stand in solidarity with all people – Koreans, citizens of the United States, and others throughout the world – unconditionally committed to preventing a second Korean War.

The list of organizations endorsing the statement include CODEPINK, Peace Action, US Labor Against the War, Veterans For Peace, the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), among many others.

Trump will visit South Korea on November 7 and 8 as part of his upcoming Asia tour, and South Korean anti-war/peace activists plan to hold a series of actions to protest Trump’s hostile policies and war threats against North Korea. Peace groups are planning a mass demonstration in Seoul on November 4. Korean Americans plan to hold solidarity protests in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington DC.

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Trump’s Korean nuclear war threat and corporate media


This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Speaks To UN, Threatens To Destroy North Korea

19 September 2017

Trump keeps saber-rattling on North Korea. Does he intend to commit genocide with a nuclear first strike? Ana Kasparian, Michael Shure, and Brett Erlich, hosts of The Young Turks, discuss.

“ON TUESDAY MORNING, Donald Trump gave a bombastic speech to the assembled delegates of the United Nations. Pay special attention to how he addressed North Korea and its looming nuclear threat. Unlike most of what Trump said otherwise, its implications are as wide-ranging as they are grim.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” said Trump. “‘Rocket Man’ is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

“Rocket Man,” you rightly guessed, refers to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. … And while Trump has made similar provocations before, either in impromptu remarks or ill-advised tweets, his UN taunting worsens an already alarmingly combustible situation—while also making it harder to defuse.”

Read more here.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

Obscuring the truth with lies and demonisation

Saturday 14th October 2017

IAN SINCLAIR on the media’s drumbeat for war

“Defence news is highly sensitive and tends to be conservative especially at times of crisis,” the Glasgow University Media Group noted in its influential 1985 book War and Peace News.

The nuclear standoff between the US and North Korea is the perfect illustration of this truism, with the mainstream media — bar a few exceptions — acting as a well-oiled propaganda system, echoing the official line of Western governments and minimising the public’s understanding of the ongoing confrontation.

This mass production of ignorance occurs in several ways.

First, the media tends to focus on immediate events and ignore the wider historical context. When some history is discussed, it tends to be a simplistic, limited and Western-biased narrative which is presented.

“As the war memorials in South Korea tell you: freedom isn’t free. In the Korean war four million died on both sides — soldier and civilian — in just three years, after the communist Korean People’s Army invaded the pro-Western South.” This was Asia correspondent Jonathan Miller’s take on the crisis for Channel 4 News in August 2017.

Compare Miller’s suggestion the war was fought for freedom with a 2008 report in the Sydney Morning Herald which noted that, by the start of the war in 1950, South Korean leader Syngman Rhee “had about 30,000 alleged communists in his jails, and had about 300,000 suspected sympathisers enrolled in an official ‘re-education’ movement.”

In his book The Death of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars, John Tirman notes the CIA knew Rhee was “bent on autocratic rule,” with repression of trade unions, liberal newspapers and political parties proceeding with US support.

Miller’s quote highlights the conflict’s gigantic human death toll but doesn’t give any indication of the central role played by the US in the slaughter. Journalist Blaine Harden summarised the largely unknown history in the Washington Post in 2015: in 1984, General Curtis LeMay, head of the US Strategic Air Command during the Korean war, told the Office of Air Force History: “Over a period of three years or so, we killed off — what — 20 per cent of the population.”

Picasso's Massacre in Korea

This is Pablo Picasso‘s painting Massacre in Korea.

Dean Rusk, who served as US secretary of state in the 1960s, said the US bombed “everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.” After running low on urban targets, US aircraft destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams, flooding farmland and destroying crops, notes Harden.

While the Korean war has largely been forgotten in the West, “the American air war left a deep and lasting impression” on North Koreans, notes Professor Charles Armstrong from Columbia University in his 2013 book Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992. The aerial bombardment, “more than any other single factor, gave North Koreans a collective sense of anxiety and fear of outside threats, that would continue long after the war’s end.”

Another key propaganda technique, wilfully amplified by the media, is the demonisation of the enemy’s leader — in this case Kim Jung Un, who has ruled North Korea since 2011.

In addition to focusing the public’s attention on a single, supposedly evil person rather than the millions of ordinary people who would be killed in any war, the demonisation campaign has painted Kim as unstable, perhaps insane. However, after weeks of interviews with “experts and insiders,” Benjamin Haas and Justin McCurry noted in the Guardian that while Kim “may be ruthless and bellicose, few believe he is a madman with his finger on the button.”

The portrayal of the North Korean leader as mad chimes with another argument pushed by the Western media: that it is impossible — and therefore pointless to try — to negotiate with North Korea. In contrast, in a 2008 report for Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Co-operation, John Lewis and Robert Carlin, a senior adviser on North Korea from 1989 to 2002 in the US State Department, wrote: “Forgotten is the reality that from 1993 to 2000, the US government [had] 20 or more issues under discussion with [North Korea] in a wide variety of settings.”

“A large percentage of those talks ended in agreements or made substantial progress,” they note.

Discussing the recent history of US-North Korean relations, Professor Noam Chomsky told Democracy Now! earlier this year: “maybe you can say it’s the worst regime in history … but they have been following a pretty rational tit-for-tat policy.”

Chomsky pointed to the establishment of the Framework Agreement between the Clinton Administration and North Korea in 1994, which agreed a freeze on North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions in exchange for the US providing North Korea with fuel oil, assistance with building two nuclear reactors and the normalisation of relations between the two nations. Though neither side fully lived up to their commitments, Chomsky noted that “it more or less worked,” meaning that up until 2000 “North Korea had not proceeded with its nuclear weapons programmes.”

James Pierce, who was part of the US State Department team which negotiated the agreement, tells a similar story. “The bottom line is, there was a lot in the 1994 agreement that worked and continued for some years,” he told The Nation magazine. “The assertion, now gospel, that the North Koreans broke it right away is simply not true.”

Finally, the way in which the media chooses to present important information or arguments plays a crucial role in the public’s level of knowledge and understanding. “The best way to erase-a-story-while-reporting-it is to give no hint of it in the title or in most of the article, and to drop it in at the end of the piece without any context, like a throwaway remark which deserves no attention,” activist and author Milan Rai recently argued in Peace News.

One could add an additional test: is the information or argument voiced by a particular actor? If so, are they a credible source to readers?

For example, in a August 30 2017 Guardian 34-paragraph report on the crisis — titled “Donald Trump on North Korea: all options are on the table” — US-South Korean military exercises are only mentioned in paragraphs 20 and 26 by Chinese and North Korean government officials, respectively. These war games have previously included training for striking North Korea and assassinating Kim and top North Korean military figures.

This is hugely significant because China and North Korea have repeatedly suggested a deal in which North Korea freezes its nuclear weapons programme in return for an end to the joint US-South Korean military exercises — the lastest of which took place in August 2017, likely escalating the face-off.

The offer has been rejected by Washington. Chomsky, however, believes the proposed deal “to end the highly provocative actions on North Korea’s border could be the basis for more far-reaching negotiations, which could radically reduce the nuclear threat and perhaps even bring the North Korea crisis to an end.”

Surveying the US media’s reluctance to report on the willingness of North Korea to negotiate, The Intercept’s Jon Schwarz argues: “there are huge roadblocks” to finding a peaceful solution to the crisis “and one of the biggest is the Western media’s failure to simply inform their audience of the basics of what’s happening.”

The peace movement and general public in the West therefore have an important role to play in this suicidal game of nuclear chicken: to apply pressure on their governments to sincerely explore the Chinese-North Korean offer, and work to de-escalate and resolve the crisis as quickly as possible.

Comments Tuesday by Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM), underscore the advanced state of US preparations for war with North Korea. Delivering a speech in Singapore, Harris dismissed warnings by various strategic analysts and military commentators that a conflict on the Korean Peninsula would cost millions of lives and was therefore unthinkable: here.

Amid a deepening standoff with North Korea and rising tensions with Russia and China, the United States is preparing to place its fleet of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers on 24-hour alert for the first time since 1991: here.

Trump: US “totally prepared” for war with North Korea: here.

Trump team drawing up fresh plans to bolster US nuclear arsenal: here.

Trump’s nuclear war in Korea?


This 8 August 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump threatens North Korea with “Fire and Fury”

In his new song, United States rapper Eminem states about Trump:

What we’ve got in office now‘s a kamikaze that’ll probably cause a nuclear holocaust.

US army chief urges greater “combat readiness” for war with North Korea. By Peter Symonds, 11 October 2017. The US is planning an illegal war of aggression against North Korea on a scale that would dwarf its military interventions into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria: here.

Australia deploys for war with North Korea and confrontation with China. By James Cogan, 11 October 2017. A flotilla of six Australian warships is making its way toward the Korean Peninsula and an Australian attack submarine is already in the area exercising with US and Japanese subs: here.

As Trump faces a mounting political crisis at home, the US president may see a war with North Korea as a means of shoring up his administration and crushing domestic political opposition: here.

Trump to light fuse under Iran nuclear deal, as part of more aggressive anti-Iran strategy: here.

South Koreans keep opposing Trump’s missiles


This video from South Korea says about itself:

7 September 2017

At least 38 people were left wounded as protesters clashed with police at a demonstration in the South Korean village of Soseong-ri, Thursday, as residents demonstrated against the deployment of the four remaining anti-missile THAAD launchers 217km (135 miles) south of Seoul. Of those injured, 21 have reportedly been admitted to hospital.

By James Tweedie:

Korea: Activists fight on after delivery of Thaad launchers

Wednesday 13th September 2017

SOUTH KOREANS vowed more protests against US anti-ballistic missiles sited in their country yesterday while North Korea remained defiant in the face of new sanctions.

At a press conference in Soseong-ri village in Seongju county, local campaigners against the deployment of the Thaad missiles said they would keep fighting after the final four of six launchers were delivered last week.

Eight thousand riot police were deployed against 500 protesters blocking the road to the golf course where the Thaad battery has been set up.

The Anti-Thaad Association said 100 demonstrators were injured in tussles with police, five seriously.

Trump’s dangerous militarism on Korea, Afghanistan


This video from the USA says about itself:

Forget Russia. Is Provoking a Nuclear War with North Korea Grounds for Impeachment?

9 August 2017

Tension between the U.S. and North Korea escalated sharply Tuesday after President Trump suggested he was prepared to start a nuclear war, threatening to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea. Hours later, North Korea threatened to strike the U.S. territory of Guam in the western Pacific. Guam is home to 163,000 people as well as major U.S. military bases. For more, we speak with longtime investigative journalist Allan Nairn.

A transcript of this video is here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Why Is U.S. Threatening War with North Korea Instead of Pushing for Negotiations?

10 August 2017

The war of words between the U.S. and North Korea continues to intensify, with North Korea threatening to strike the U.S. territory of Guam, while Defense Secretary General Mattis warned North Korea’s actions could result in the “destruction of its people.” This came after Trump vowed to strike at North Korea with “fire and fury.” … We speak with journalist Tim Shorrock, who recently returned from South Korea.

See also here.

We Need a Mass Movement to Prevent Nuclear Conflict in the Korean Peninsula: here.

TRUMP DOUBLES DOWN ON NORTH KOREA THREATS President Donald Trump argued Thursday that his “fire and fury” comments may have not been tough enough. Over 60 members of Congress have condemned the president’s statements in a letter sent to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

In the midst of high tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the US is provocatively proceeding with joint military exercises with South Korea, involving tens of thousands of troops and aimed at training and preparing for war with North Korea: here.

US President Donald Trump has again placed North East Asia and the world on a knife edge by threatening North Korea with war. In a tweet yesterday, following North Korea’s launch of a missile that passed over Japan on Tuesday, he lashed out at Pyongyang and those advocating a diplomatic solution by flatly declaring: “Talking is not the answer!”. Here.

Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Urges Trump to Privatize Afghan War and Install Viceroy to Run Nation: here.

The spectre of ‘pre-emptive’ war. The US could be heading for another ‘pre-emptive’ war and another overwhelming disaster: here.

Reese Erlich, August 22, 2017: On my first reporting trip to Afghanistan, I was surprised to find that so many people supported the US invasion. They loved President George Bush because he got rid of the hated Taliban regime. But when I asked what should the US do now, most answered “go home.” That was in January 2002, just three months after the US invasion. Almost 16 years later, the US remains in Afghanistan and President Donald Trump just announced plans to send yet more troops to a losing occupation. The war has resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths, killed more than 2,400 US soldiers, and will cost an estimated $2 trillion, including veterans’ benefits: here.

Trump, like Obama, is ensnared by Afghanistan: here.

Don’t Privatize the Afghan War — Just End It: here.

The US Military’s Bloody “Successes”: Training Foreign Militaries to Start Coups: here.

The US government’s bellicose response to the North Korean regime’s nuclear test on Sunday has placed the world only a few steps away from a global war that would rapidly engulf Europe. As European governments denounce the North Korean regime in Pyongyang, Washington is pressing for aggressive actions leading to regime change in North Korea and a military standoff with North Korea’s neighbors, Russia and China, that could lead to nuclear war in Europe: here.

Will US threats against North Korea yield a global catastrophe? Here.