Press TV Iran produces superior, intellectual interviews and debates for the English language viewer and this interview is no exception. Waqar Rizvi interviews author and former US diplomat, Michael Springmann, from Washington, about the planned meeting between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Springman has a wry sense of humour and a good feeling for comparative history, which sets him somewhat ahead of many Washington commentators. If you are interested in how Kim Jong-un and the US president came to be nose to nose, you will enjoy this. If you are really worried about nuclear holocaust, it might make some sense out of our predicament.
In this podcast interview inside, Christine Hong speaks about the Korean history not told in corporate media, present day moves towards peace on the peninsula, and more. The interview is by journalist Eva Bartlett.
Christine Hong is an associate professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an executive board member of the Korea Policy Institute. She has spent time in North Korea, including as part of a North American peace delegation.
She specializes in transnational Asian American, Korean diaspora, critical Pacific Rim, and comparative ethnic studies.
She is a board member of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association, an executive board member of the Korea Policy Institute, a coordinating committee member of the National Campaign to End the Korean War, and a member of the Working Group on Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific.
Korea Policy Institute
National Campaign to End the Korean War
Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific
Legacies of the Korean War
The games have begun. The younger sister of North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un has captured the attention of the media, while US Vice President Mike Pence was mocked as a dud, even undiplomatic. The two Koreas are engaging each other. This makes the Washington foreign policy swamp fume. CrossTalking video with Brian Becker, Gregory Elich, and Myung-Koo Kang. This Crosstalk video pretty much covers the major bases in 30 minutes, with a stunningly well-informed cast.
An Arab-speaking friend of mine just sent me his translation of an article in Al-Akhbar, written by a journalist who was actually in North Korea recently -- unlike most American journalists who are basically arm-chair speculators who wouldn't go near Pyongyang with a ten-foot pole and, instead, just want to make up negative stories.
The author was writing about celebrations of the 69th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea few days ago. She says, "North Koreans have not been able to relax and take a breath from hostilities since the end of World War II". Good grief. That's a hecka long time to live in fear. And also remember that in the two years after 1950, five million Koreans were slaughtered by American invaders. Think Iraq's Shock and Awe -- only on a much larger scale. Pyongyang, for instance, was totally flattened, all due to the same type of lies that started the U.S. "war" on Iraq.
The article's author accompanies a Lebanese soccer team to the Hermit kingdom and here are the results.
"Months before my trip, I learned by chance that a soccer match would be bringing the Lebanese national football team to play the Korean team in Pyongyang, so I applied to accompany the team. 'No kidding!' was the first reaction of my colleagues, who admitted that no one 'even thinks of escorting the sports teams there'.
"'Why are you in Pyongyang anyway?' is a question I've been asked constantly both before and during my five-day visit to the Korean capital, and before even reaching it." She was given many warnings before she left. "Do you know that you will not be able to talk to anyone on the street over there? You do know that you won't be able to write a political article when you get back, right? And after this trip, you will not be able to get any visa to any other country!" Interesting. Sounds more like the USA's policy than North Korea's. She was also warned that, "They will take away your books, pens, camera and phone."
"It was a tiring journey and after long travel, we got to Beijing and from there to Pyongyang via Korean Airlines. The elegant flight attendants smiled, but nothing reduced our tension, enthusiasm and adrenaline as we entered Pyongyang airport, which was empty of any other passengers. The inspection was precise, automatic and manual, the security men and women checked our faces carefully. One of the security personnel at the entry window smiled and stamped my passport, giving me permission to enter. No one searched my larger suitcase, and the security men did not open my carry-on bag. They asked me very gently to hand over my phone and the camera. After a few seconds, they returned them to me without any question, request or condition." TSA, eat your heart out!
"Tension gradually disappeared and the view of green fields along the road leading to the city helped to calm minds and souls. We entered Pyongyang at sunset. Workers and staff returning from their jobs, walking and biking, wide paved clean streets semi-empty of cars, and lots of trees on both sides of the road. Pyongyang welcomes its visitors with an amazing serenity. The calmness was even present inside the hotel's huge lobby, until it was broken by the noise of the Lebanese soccer team complaining about not having wi-fi, only cable internet.
"Despite the weight of the boisterous Lebanese presence, the staff maintained permanent warm smiles, quick service and a helpful response to all demands. The female cleaning workers apologized shyly when they entered our rooms to perform their duties. They noted that I am the only woman in the Lebanese delegation. The next day, they replaced the blue bed sheets with others embroidered with pink flowers. Koreans do not pretend their kindnesses. They perform them every day, in their smiling greetings in the elevators, in the shop, and in the restaurant inside the hotel.... On the street, however, passers-by look at you directly in the eyes with a little surprise and a lot of seriousness." Americans could use a few such lessons in politeness.
"The traffic of the passers-by does not get lighter until nightfall. Everyone is walking with fast steps, walking a long distance on their feet. No one has a private car, and the public transportation is very small compared with the population, so the buses and trams are always overcrowded. Women, as well as men, take part in cleaning the streets of the city, mowing its grass, arranging the squares' gardens and paving their pavements. Hygiene and cleanliness are eye-catching in the main and secondary streets and even in the underground tunnels of the road. The beautiful and quiet city is lying between two rivers, with a constant human movement during the day. The atmosphere is polluted by the smoke of nearby factories, but the abundance of trees does not make you feel the smoke. The most striking aspect of the city are the green, pink, yellow and blue buildings, like huge Lego pieces, a beautiful childish feeling in a nuclear capital. The wide sidewalks include a restless bicycle line and very few passers-by talking on their cell phones, which most often takes place in the vicinity of the train station."
Can you imagine Americans taking care of their cities with such pride? Or even putting their cell phones down long enough to enjoy the beauty of their cities? Nah.
"Thus, a visitor to Pyongyang is able to restore the pleasure of seeing the faces of the passersby and their features -- their heads in their natural position, raised, exposed, not curved and attached to cell phones. Revolutionary posters and national emblems adorn some columns and walls and pictures of flowers are also spread across the city and on locally manufactured products. The magnolia flower is a national symbol of the country. There are public parks filled with them in the city. In the residential neighborhoods, there are public parks, playgrounds for children and others facilities for sports. In the afternoon, these playgrounds are filled with boys and young people who practice their various sports. Some families also stretched on the green gardens and rest from productive daytime labor."
And there's culture here too. "There is a huge People's Library building, an Art Museum, the National Theater, the Cinema Hall, the Recreation Center, Hairdressing and Body Care. Here is an outdoor music band playing and practicing, and women in colorful traditional costumes practicing for the upcoming National Day celebrations.
"The silence of the city is enchanting, but it may sometimes feels sad and gloomy. People are calm and tired as well. Fatigue appears on faces and slim bodies -- the hard work of a country under the harshest economic sanctions in the world, and in political isolation for decades. In fact, Koreans have not yet taken a safe breath since the end of the Second World War! After the Japanese occupation was disbanded in 1945, the Korean War between its northern and southern parts came only five years later, with much blood spilled and divisions within one people on a land no longer united." That "war" on Korea was sad, sadistic and unnecessary in my humble opinion -- even after watching too much MASH.
"The Americans had completely destroyed Pyongyang, and its people rebuilt it with their hands, but the truce that ended the Korean War in 1953 did not end the tragedies of the Koreans. While the country began to promote urbanization, industrialization and agriculture, it was also hit by floods that caused great famine, destruction of infrastructure and land between 1995 and 1998, and new floods within the last year. Despite all this, many today do not speak about what the Korean people have suffered and still suffer up to this moment. All that matters to Western and U.S. propaganda makers is to present an exaggerated, cynical and often unrealistic picture of the most anti-US radical regime in both word and deed since the collapse of the Soviet Union (USSR).
But what about the citizens themselves and the rise of their country and the challenges they face daily due to sanctions? What about their achievements in sports and music despite everything? There is no mention of this in the Western daily media because it does not serve the cartoonish picture that the Western media seeks to circulate.
"During my stay in the Korean capital, I took 166 photos with my camera. The Korean attendant of the Lebanese team asked to see some of them but then deleted only two pictures because one of them had a slanted frame that had an impact on the image of the late Korean president's face; and the other because it showed one of the slogans written on the walls in a truncated manner that diminished its meaning. The slogan, by the way, says, 'The more crises ... the more straight ahead we go.'
The main feeling in Pyongyang seems to be, "What does the West want from us? To surrender to their sanctions?"
Then the journalist had the same experience that I had when I was in North Korea a few years ago. "To provide visitors to Pyongyang with an accompanying person to go with them wherever they go outside the hotel, is known to anyone who wants to visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and if the visitor is a journalist, the escort seems inevitable. The accompanying person of the Lebanese sport team in Pyongyang, named Sen, was joined by another accompanying person who serves as an interpreter (translator) for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), named Ree. Sen and Ree were two young men in their 20s. They committed no repressive behavior. They did not let us feel that there was any censorship or restraint in our movement. On the contrary, they eased our visit in more than one place. Sen, for example, organized tours of the Zuchei Tower, Kim Il Sung Square and the largest sports stadium in the world -- while Ree, the interpreter, spoke to me about politics, the 'nuclear subject', life in general and the conditions of Lebanon and its region."
Regarding the nuclear subject, Ree asked her, "Have you heard the news today? What do you think about what happened," with regard to the test of the hydrogen bomb. The journalist had followed the news on TV in her hotel room, which received Chinese and Japanese TV channels, France 24, English Aljazeera and Russia Today (RT).
She answered, "From one side, I do not like the idea of a nuclear bomb, and it frightens me; but from the other side, you are telling the world that you are strong as well." Ree smiled and said, "Do not be afraid, we will not throw the bomb at your country, it is only for the peace of our country."
Ree learned his excellent English at the Pyongyang Institute of Languages. What? Not by watching Sesame Street?
"'It is our right to protect the security of our country and our people,' Ree explained regarding his view of possessing of nuclear weapons, and then asked, 'How should we act, for example, toward the implementation of military drills on our borders by the United States and South Korea? Why can't we address their constant threats?' He paused a little then continued saying: 'What do they want from us? To surrender and submit to their sanctions?'
"On one occasion, Ree gently invited me to taste Korean beer, Taedonggang, made locally from white rice. We sat in the lobby of the hotel more than once to continue our discussions on a variety of things. The young man was surprised when I told him that South Lebanon had been under Israeli occupation for years and he admired the popular and armed resistance that drove the Israeli enemy out of Lebanese territory. 'Resistance and patriotism are the most important things I have learned in life,' Ree said. This young Korean dreamed of visiting some of the world's capitals that he hears about while accompanying tourists. His face changed positively when I told him that in Lebanon, there are many who saw Israel and the United States as enemies, and that I, too, hated U.S. imperialism." Me too!
"'I learned yesterday that the U.S. threw a bomb in Syria and killed many civilians, and that saddened my heart,' he said seriously and honestly. Ree was shocked when he learned that in Lebanon we had to pay huge sums for medicine, education and sports -- while they were all free in his country.
"Ree accompanied me at the Kim Il Sung Stadium during the enjoyable Korean-Lebanese match. He was enthusiastically encouraging his own country's team yet delighted me by being the only person among the 29,000 spectators who encouraged the Lebanese team. Then he reassured me: 'No one will bother you. People here are friendly.'
"He worked hard to convince the organizers to allow me to take pictures from the pitch, because I was not a certified press photographer. He succeeded and, thanks to him, I was able to take pictures of the Lebanese team and the match. In the break between the two halves, we talked about God and faith, and we agreed that faith in one's own abilities is very important.
"When we left North Korea, Ree escorted us to the airport, to say farewell to us, and we shook hands with some team members with affection. 'You are not alone,' I finally told him. 'We are with you and understand your suffering because we have lived wars and tested its horrors in Lebanon as well.' Ree lowered his eyes and said, 'Thank you.'
"Ree told me in an earlier meeting that he listens to Korean and Russian music because 'music makes him feel calm and with tranquility,' after long and hard work as an interpreter. So, I left him a Fayrouz Ziad Rahbani album as a gift, wishing him to have the best and the most elegant image of Lebanon.
In the Lebanese journalist's next dispatch, she wrote, "Leave them in peace. They are the workers who go to their jobs and factories on foot every day. They are the children who learn in their schools that patriotism is like a mother's love. They are the people of Pyongyang, so good and so shy. They are the tired ones of the injustice of the entire world. They are hard-working in order to remain in their world, which stands in the face of imperialism in all its forms.
"North Korea is the sun that shines on the impact of music and factory wheels.
She is the state that, despite the blockade, is keen on free medicine and education, green gardens, superior sport and early music education. They are the thin bodies and slim faces, their daily worries greater than the mountains. Leave them in peace, and do not increase their load more."
Holy crap. North Koreans receive free "MediCare for all" and their government actually cares about them? Wow.
"You in the West talk about them with arrogance and irony, describing their world as 'closed', and treating them as 'robotic' -- but for God sake, look in the mirror and in the images spread on your own 'social' networking sites. You are the robotic ones to the limit of boredom. You are robotic in your external shapes that don't match your identities; in the way you speak; your clothes; your smiles; your jokes; your mainstream music; the absence of your wrinkles; the forms of your relationships even including the intimate ones; and the way you live in the smallest details. Look around you, your dominant culture isolates free thinkers, and your generalized ideas classify the different as 'backward'. You are boasting of your freedom, but the more allegedly open-minded you become, the more racism increases. And your closed mindset builds up even more when borders are erased. You too are walled in, but while your wall is huge, the Korean wall is ... Great!
"I will not pretend to know the truth about North Koreans' lives, their mental state, and how they think. I did not ask them if they were happy, and I did not know whether their love for their leaders was real, but certainly, their love for their country is clear. They are tired and admit it, even in their songs. They are honest. I do not need to ask them this. A look in their eyes says enough. They teach you kindness and they are the most suffering people. They forgive us, although they are floundering in crises that they are not guilty of. They forgive us, we who stood watching them suffering and did nothing.
"I will not claim that the Koreans are perfect, and I will not speculate on what is best for them, but I will salute their productive daily fatigue. I will silence myself in particular, the tourist journalist who came from Lebanon. How can a visitor coming from Lebanon, a country of garbage and feces in food, sewage in fresh water, and poison in medicine, feel superior to any other country in the universe?
"We may deserve what the U.S. and the West have forced upon us by their excessive speed of culture and intellectual flattening, and we may also deserve nuclear missiles sent from oppressed peoples because we do not want to see their tragedies... But surely no one in the world deserves the kindness of the Korean people and their shy smiles. Therefore, let them alone, they do not want anything from us. Let them exist in peace and stop inflicting your misery on them. Perhaps, just then, you may also wake up to your lives, look into the eyes of your beloved ones, finally see the depth of your own tragedy -- and also begin to resist."
PS: But what does all this mean? If North Korea isn't a Bad Guy after all, then why is the American media trying so hard to make it into one? Why? For money of course. Ka-ching.
Endless "war"? Cold War on Russia and China? War on Muslims? War on crime, war on drugs, war on American protestors? War on Black people, war on immigrants, war on kids, war on pets, war on climate, war on grandma -- whatever.
As long as there's a "war" going on somewhere, then there's money to be made by people who are not us.
Original article by Jane Stillwater at https://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2017/09/not-lost-in-translation-lebanese-news.html
Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.
And while you're at it, please buy my books -- thus helping me support my addiction to Justice and Truth. http://straitwellbooks.blogspot.com/2016/04/our-top-best-seller-right-now-is-bring.html
Plus here's a sneak preview of my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled "Road Trip to Damascus," hopefully coming out by February 2018:
Since 1945 the Korean people have been at war. Shortly after the establishment by anti-Japanese resistance fighters of the Korean People's Republic that was to become the government of North Korea, in Seoul, the US has been at war with North Korea both technically and in reality. The most bloody chapter in that war was the three year war between 1950 and 1953. In this war, approximately 20% of the population of North Korea perished in fighting under aerial bombardment, through biological warfare and flooding. Many hundreds of thousands of their allies in the South also perished at the hands of the American occupiers and their south Korean puppets. The Korean Peninsula was divided up between the United States and Russia after the defeat of the Japanese. Under President Roosevelt the arrangement might have been temporary, but President Truman's cold war politics furthered the desires of military-industrial-complex's ambition to enforce capitalism on the whole world and the Korean War was a part of this.
Back to the future
It's back to the 1960s. In 1962 with the Cuban Missile Crisis, children learned that they might be snuffed out at any time. The assassination in November 22, 1963, of President John F Kennedy, who prevented the threatened atomic war with Russia over Cuba, seemed to make this clearer.
Someone we knew who was 11 when Kennedy was assassinated, suicided in their late 20s because they had never recovered from despair at the prospect of the nuclear holocaust destroying all the forests and creatures in the world, along with the species that had unleashed this insanity.
But the first and the last nuclear attack on a country for war purposes was when America bombed Hiroshima in August 1945, although many 'tests' have since been conducted. (See Arms Control Org's nuclear test tally.)
So we had begun to relax. ...
Until August 7th, 2017, when President Trump lashed out at Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, promising "fire and fury" if North Korea persisted with its nuclear program. North Korea has been conducting nuclear tests since 1990 (See again Arms Control Org's nuclear test tally.)
President Trump presented no reflection about North Korea's motivation to acquire these nuclear weapons. In that sense, if you knew the story, it was like hearing a drunk threaten to punch his wife if she tried to protect herself.
David and Goliath
Trump is sitting on top of a mountain of nuclear warheads and the US has armadas of warships constantly patrolling Korean waters in a threatening fashion. That is what Kim Jong-un is responding to; the current US military presence and the past record of occupation and war by the same presence. North Korea does not have ships patrolling US waters.
A few years ago the United States threatened to annihilate Libya if Gaddafi did not give up defending the state against rebel attacks. He insisted that he had complied, but the United States financed people to go in and assassinate him and tear his country to pieces anyway. (See "Book Review: Destroying Libya and World Order by Francis A. Boyle")
Basically, the United States invades any country it wants to, unless that country has nuclear weapons. It has done this on similar pretexts already to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and constantly threatens Iran. It would do it to Russia if Russia had no nuclear weapons. Indeed it has Russia quasi surrounded by US military bases, many situated in Europe in countries where the local populations may not want them. The United States has "800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad," yet it pretends that Russia, which has ten foreign military bases, close to its own borders, is the one bent on military expansion. China has one military base in Djibouti and several in process in the Pacific on artificially augmented islands.
History of US attempts to stop the nuclear arms race
When President John Kennedy stopped nuclear war on Russia via Cuba, President Kruschev and he talked on the phone and began a nuclear weapons disarmament program in 1963. See https://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/JFK-in-History/Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty.aspx. In 1996, 71 nations, including those possessing nuclear weapons, signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited all nuclear test explosions including those conducted underground. Though it was signed by President Bill Clinton, the Senate rejected the treaty by a vote of 51 to 48. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 much of the impetus for a nuclear program seemed to disappear. Perhaps the United States really thought that Russia was going to become a subservient client state, like Australia, but Russia has its own history and traditions. It has not gone back to communism, but it does not seek the same kind of free-market regime as America and does not want NATO on its borders.
The United States does not appear to accept this political and economic independence in Russia or China or, indeed, in any state. Hence their ramping up of nuclear threat when people hoped it was reducing. Now, today's young people must live in that terrible shadow of nuclear holocaust again, and some will lose hope.
US role in Korean war and massive loss of Korean life
North Korea has been under siege for about 72 years since the Japanese colony of the Korean Peninsula was divided in two between Soviet and American occupation forces after Japan surrendered in 1945. In August 1948 the Republic of Korea was established in the south with Syngman Rhee as President. In September 1948 the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established with Kim Il-sung as Premier. In 1949 Kim Gu, a Korean independence activist who wanted a unified Korea was shot in his home by a South Korean Army lieutenant.
The United States say that North Korea invaded South Korea and so the United States went to war against North Korea. North Korea says the war started when the South launched an attack against the North and so the North counter-attacked. But that in itself is not the critical issue. The critical issue is that sovereignty in the south was violated by the US occupation and thousands, maybe tens of thousands of supporters of the 'North' Korean government were murdered and jailed by the South Korean government with the help of the Americans.
Something like 20% of North Koreans died in the subsequent war. They were victims of America's massively disproportionate firepower. America only agreed to a truce because China and North Korea were able to resist with their own firepower until US loss of lives (much fewer than those of North Korean soldiers) became unpopular in America. Australians also participated in this war and at one stage Australian warfies blackbanned supplies to the Australian armed forces.
Understandably North Korea sees the continuing presence of US military armadas for the threat that they are, along with annual US military 'exercises' on South Korean soil.
North Korea forms a buffer for China
As John Pilger explains in his Coming war on China the US threats against North Korea may also be interpreted as threats against China. The United States is demanding that China take military action against North Korea if North Korea fails to disarm its nuclear program. But North Korea is useful for China by providing a bullwark against US aggression. And Russia and China share a defensive attitude to US expansionism.
Meanwhile just about every US ally (or are we US hostages?) mass media and much of the supposed alternative newsmedia, including Infowars, Hannity and Tucker Carlson, is reporting all this as Trump portrays it, vis, that North Korea is insane and threatening America with no reason at all.
No, Kim Jong-un does have a reason.
If America does not lead nuclear disarmament and stop its expansionism, which is what Trump led people to believe he would do, then who can lead it?
The Washington Post has published a story claiming that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un has succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead small enough to fit onto an intercontinental ballistic missile. It’s another “leak” coming from an intelligence community that seemingly does little these days but leak like a sieve. Which raises the question: Should we believe them? [This article by Justin Raimondo was first published at original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/08/10/what-are-we-to-believe/ on August 11, 2017.]
What we are dealing with is a national security bureaucracy that is not only highly politicized – that’s not really anything new – but is also engaged in an extended campaign to accomplish specific political objectives. The leaks coming out of Washington have had a clear political purpose – to a) discredit President Donald Trump, and b) push us closer to some sort of conflict on the
international stage. And of course the two are not mutually exclusive: indeed, they are congruent. For a war on the Korean peninsula, for example, would define – and, I would submit, discredit – Trump’s presidency, as many thousands would die in a conflagration of unimaginable horror.
The Post quotes a single sentence of a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment dated July 28:
“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles.”
That’s it: that’s the whole thing. The Post hasn’t actually seen the document: it was read to reporters by the leaker. Oh, and “Two U.S. officials familiar with the assessment verified its broad conclusions.”
What “broad conclusions”? The conclusions drawn by this article aren’t in the least bit broad, but are instead quite specific. Are they true? We just don’t know, and, what’s more, we cannot know. Indeed, we know almost nothing about this alleged “assessment.” We don’t know the identity of the leakers. We don’t know their motives. Based on the sparse information we have, we cannot evaluate the veracity of this latest “revelation,” and this is doubly true not only due to the laconic nature of the reporting, but also because of the journalistic context in which it appears.
To begin with, this story is nothing new. Back
in 2013, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) blurted out the DIA’s assessment on Capitol Hill:
“Three hours into a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, Lamborn said the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is under the Pentagon, determined with ‘moderate confidence’ that North Korea has the capability to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be launched with a ballistic missile.
“The Colorado Springs Republican gleaned the information from the conclusion of a classified report, though that sentence was unclassified, said his spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen.
“Pentagon officials told The New York Times that the information had previously not been released publicly.
“Pentagon spokesman George Little issued a statement after the hearing, saying ‘it would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed, or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the passage.’”
The Post is telling us the DIA assessment is fresh off the presses, finished as late as “last month” – not so! Whether the Post is being deluded by its sources, or is trying to delude us in collaboration with its sources, is up for debate.
Which brings us to another problem, not only with this story but with all the “news” we’re getting from the mainstream media these days: reporters have become as politicized as their sources in the intelligence community. The Obama holdovers in the national security Establishment are not alone in their campaign to discredit the President. The media have been complicit
all along: indeed, the legacy media’s journalists have been eagerly cheerleading the Russia-gate witch-hunt, and openly proclaiming their hostility to this administration. This is in addition to their traditional role as the War Party’s journalistic camarilla.
While this particular story is not directly linked to Russia-gate, or the President’s political fortunes, what it comes down to is that neither the sources of this story nor those who are reporting
it can be trusted. It could be true that the North Koreans have developed the capability of miniaturizing nuclear warheads, but we just don’t know. The observant reader is left in a fog – the fog of an information war in which journalism is not a means of discovering knowledge, but a weapon to be deployed in a political-ideological conflict.
If the media is on a war footing, wielding the battle-cry “democracy dies in darkness,” then today the truth is tangential – because a few untruths may be necessary in the fight to push back against the “darkness.”
People complain that there’s too much news, that the sheer volume is overwhelming, and disorienting, but in reality we’re living in a news vacuum because we don’t know what’s true anymore. All standards have been thrown out: sure, the mainstream media was never really objective, but now even that pretext has been abandoned.
If we liken the function of the media in a free society to the function of our eyes and ears, then we have, in effect, been struck blind and rendered deaf. Although actually it’s far worse than that: rather than conveying information about the real world, the mainstream media is giving us a highly distorted version of events –in many cases, a Bizarro World inversion of what is actually occurring.
All this is bad enough, but we must take it one step further. If the media is the eyes and ears of the public then the intelligence agencies and the national security bureaucracy of which they are a part are Uncle Sam’s sensory organs. The price to be paid for the politicization and corruption of the intelligence community is that US policymakers are operating in the dark – where not only democracy dies, but also any sort of rational decision-making. In which case Uncle Sam is a blinded Titan, deaf to the entreaties of those he unknowingly tramples underfoot, stumbling this way and that – with the very strong possibility of ending up at the bottom of a cliff.
This epistemological disability brings to mind two citations, one from the run-up to the Iraq war and one more recent. The former is the famous “reality-based community” quote reported by Ron Suskind in the course of an interview with a top aide in George W. Bush’s White House:
“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ … ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’"
Suskind wasn’t reporting anything all that unusual: this is how our political class thinks. After all, they create the political reality in which the rest of us are forced to live. Yet there is a point beyond which this kind of hubris becomes dangerous – and suicidal. Encased in a bubble, the Beltway elites never saw the victory of Trumpism coming – and that failure may be just the beginning of their undoing (and our own). For as Vladimir Putin put it to Oliver Stone:
“I think that when the United States felt they were at the forefront of the so-called civilized world and when the Soviet Union collapsed, they were under the illusion that the United States was capable of everything and they could act with impunity. And that’s always a trap, because in this situation, a person and a country begins to commit mistakes. There is no need to analyze the situation. No need to think about the consequences. No need to economize. And the country becomes inefficient and one mistake follows another. And I think that’s the trap the United States has found itself in.”
A person who cannot distinguish fantasy from reality is clinically insane, or perhaps senile. What do we call an entire society so afflicted?
A report provided by the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs contains lists of weapons provided by the United States to Iraq, many of which - including aircraft - would later be seized by ISIS and probably later deployed in Iraq and Syria. These included an horrendous US-manufactured arsenal of chemical and biological weapons: including anthrax, botulinium, and E.Coli as well as human and bacterial DNA. Grotesquely, the United States, which had provided these weapons, has later accused the Syrian Government of using chemical weapons, and Trump has used this as an excuse to invade Syria.
Book: Indefensible: Seven myths that sustain the global arms trade
The quotes below are taken from
Paul Holden, Ed.'s Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade was first published in 2016 by Zed Books,UK, a well-written and well-resourced book that brings us up to date with the trade and also explores its many motives. I don't know if it was overtly stated anywhere in the book, but I formed the impression that excessive arms are collected, bought, and sold by national leaders as a power display and that their buying and selling is a kind of social interplay between globally hypertrophied alpha apes, currying favour or swaggering at each other from the top of their weapons piles and taunting smaller apes. In this anthropological light perhaps we can understand North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un's resort to nuclear weapons as North America teases him with ostentatious displays of military strength while the world press taunts him as mad. Similarly Gaddafi's purchase of over $30b worth of weapons from world powers was perhaps an unsuccessful attempt to palliate the ferocity of the mad apes in the west.
I was particularly interested to read the history of who sold weapons to the Middle East and was not surprised to find out that it is the same powers that are intervening there to 'stop wars'.
US helped Iraq build factories for chemical weapons
"In the early 1990s, the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs released a report confirming that The United States provided the Government of Iraq with ‘dual use’ licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-system programs, including: chemical warfare agent precursors, chemical warfare agent production facility plans and technical drawings (provided as pesticide production facility plans); chemical warhead filling equipment; biological warfare related materials; missile fabrication equipment; and, missile-system guidance equipment." 
Chemical and biological weapons made by US sold to the Middle East
"The list of biological material the US provided [to Iraq and which were later stolen by ISIS] was shocking, including anthrax, botulinium, E.Coli as well as human and bacterial DNA. There is credible evidence that when the US invaded Iraq in 1991, US troops were exposed to the very agents that the US had supplied, over and above fighting against the weapons whose acquisition the US had helped to fund and arrange. In the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein, the world was witness to another type of blowback: namely, when an ally is provided arms but fails to stop those arms being stolen by enemies."
"[...]a 2014 UN Security Council Report noted that in June 2014 alone ISIS seized sufficient Iraqi government stocks from the provinces of Anbar and Salah al-Din to arm and equip more than three Iraqi conventional army divisions. Reviewing the evidence, the same report provided a chilling summary of the range of weapons ISIS has at its disposal:
From social media and other reporting, it is clear that ISIL assets include light weapons, assault rifles, machine guns, heavy weapons, including possible man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) (SA-7), field and anti-aircraft guns, missiles, rockets, rocket launchers, artillery, aircraft, tanks (including T-55s and T-72s) and vehicles, including high-mobility mobility multipurpose military vehicles." 
ISIS took many weapons, almost undoubtedly including chemical weapons, which it probably later deployed in Iraq and Syria, but the United States, which had provided these weapons, later accused the Syrian Government of using chemical weapons, and Trump used this as an excuse to attack Syria militarily.
 Source: Holden, Paul. Indefensible (Kindle Locations 978-982). Zed Books. Kindle Edition.
 US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Second Staff Report on US Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual-Use Exports to Iraq and the Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the War, 1995. 9Ibid, Chapter 1. 10Ibid, Chapters 2 and 3.
 Source: Holden, Paul. Indefensible (Kindle Locations 987-992). Zed Books. Kindle Edition.
 The Islamic State and the Levant and the Al-Nusrah Front for the People of Levant: Report and Recommendations Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2170 (2014), S/2014/815, paragraph 39.
 Source: Holden, Paul. Indefensible (Kindle Location 1009-1015). Zed Books. Kindle Edition.
Dr Paul Craig Roberts is interviewed by Julian Charles of The Mind Renewed, UK, for his explanation of President Trump's about turn on all foreign policy. The conclusion is that Trump has been sidelined and others have taken over his role at the White House. The term 'coup d'etat' is not used, but that is what is assumed. Paul Craig Roberts also suggests that the only hope of reducing the United States' dangerous power is for Europe to decouple from it. He says that we cannot hold out hope for the UK to do anything because they are completely tied to the United States, but that if the anti-globalist parties, notably the French National Front, win in Europe, there is some hope that Europe will draw back from the USA-dominated EU. Australia and Canada are held responsible, along with some European leaders, for inexplicably enabling this dangerous situation by supporting the United States in its illegal wars. First Published on Saturday, 22 April 2017 20:50 at http://themindrenewed.com/interviews/2017/1035-int130
Paul Craig Roberts interviewed by Julian Charles, The Mind Renewed, UK
First Published on Saturday, 22 April 2017 20:50 at http://themindrenewed.com/interviews/2017/1035-int130
We are joined once again by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former US Assistant Secretary to the Treasury for Economic Policy, for a discussion on the Trump presidency so far.
Dr. Roberts assesses the performance of the new president and his administration with reference to pre-election promises; shares with us his view that the deep state has effectively neutralised Donald Trump as US president; gives his reaction to the so-called "Syrian gas attack" in Idlib, and the subsequent military action by the US against Syria; and considers the very real prospects for war as Washington steps up its warmongering around the globe.
5 March 2012/Geneva: The announcement that North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) will halt its enrichment of uranium, stop long-range missile and nuclear weapons testing, and allow international IAEA inspectors back into the Yongbyon nuclear facility is a major step forward to renewing progress in denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Candobetter.net received this press release from Green Cross International. It is a welcome announcement but we don't know much about Green Cross International. It seems to be into corporate charity spin, such as "smart water" and "development" in "poor countries", which we have come to associate with disaster capitalism. That's just going by its internet site at http://www.gci.ch/
Green Cross International welcomes North Korean suspension of uranium enrichment, calls for restart of Six-Party talks on Korean denuclearization
5 March 2012/Geneva: The announcement that North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) will halt its enrichment of uranium, stop long-range missile and nuclear weapons testing, and allow international IAEA inspectors back into the Yongbyon nuclear facility is a major step forward to renewing progress in denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, according to Green Cross International.
"This is a most welcome initiative by North Korea, especially in light of the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul in late March," says Green Cross International (GCI) President Alexander Likhotal. “By reducing the nuclear threat, lasting peace can be achieved on the Korean Peninsula and wider region.”
GCI, which has advocated and promoted economic development and demilitarization globally since its founding by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993, believes this initiative was welcome not only from an arms control and nonproliferation perspective, but also a humanitarian perspective.
Dr. Paul Walker, head of the GCI's Environmental Security and Sustainability Program, says: "240 thousand metric tons of food aid, as promised by the United States, will improve security and peacemaking on the Korean Peninsula, while nuclear bombs would have dramatically undermined it. The world is well aware of the dire economic and food situation in North Korea, and helping to save lives anywhere is a very worthy goal."
"North Korea, should it continue to follow through on nuclear disarmament, and join the nuclear, chemical, and biological arms control regimes, will establish a much more peaceful and prosperous northeast Asia for all,” Dr. Walker adds. “We urge the other parties in the six-party talks - China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States - to respond positively to this North Korea initiative and push for reopening long stalled negotiations."
Green Cross points out that South Korea had taken a major step forward several years ago when it unilaterally destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile under the watchful eyes of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Green Cross International, founded in 1993 by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev, is an independent non-profit and nongovernmental organization working to address the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty eradication and environmental degradation through a combination of advocacy and on-the-ground projects. GCI is headquartered in Geneva and is present in over 30 countries.
The chapters I submitted to The Final Energy Crisis 2 are the ones on the connections between fossil energy resources and food production in Japan and North Korea (DPRK). If you have any questions or comments about the content of these chapters, I will be very happy to hear from you, and also to reply to you on this blog. If it is necessary to give more than a short answer, I may start a new blog topic based on your question or comment.
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