Hands Off Korea!
U.S. Efforts to Provoke War Are Crimes
The U.S. government is continuing war preparations and war propaganda against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Using the DPRK's legal and legitimate nuclear test of May 25, and now a planned test of a long-range missile in the coming weeks, the U.S. is attempting to create conditions to justify its own aggression. The effort is much the same as that leading up to the war against Iraq, where the U.S. first attempted to paint Iraq as a threat also using the claim of "weapons of mass destruction." Now, to try and convince Americans the "threat" is real, President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates are promoting the lie that the DPRK plans to launch a missile at Hawai'i. And as occurred with the lies about Iraq, the monopoly media is promoting this lie.
On June 22, responding to a question about the missile test, President Obama said, "Our military is fully prepared for any contingencies." While claiming this was not a threat of military action, he added, "I do want to give assurances to the American people that the 't's are crossed and the 'i's are dotted in terms of what might happen." The comments reflect the fact that the Pentagon had already put in place more missiles and other war machinery in Hawai'i and Alaska. Secretary of Defense Gates reported June 18, "I've directed the deployment again of THAAD missiles to Hawaii. And the SBX Radar has deployed, away from Hawaii, to provide support. Based on my visit to Fort Greely [in Alaska] the ground-based interceptors are clearly in a position to take action." These U.S. missiles are designed not only to take out missiles in the air, but also before they launch. Gates also reported that on his recent stop in Singapore: "I had bilateral meetings with both my South Korean and Japanese counterparts, and then we had the first-ever trilateral meeting of the defense ministers of the three countries. And our focus was on how do we improve our defensive capabilities together in response to what's going on in North Korea." Gates also indicated the U.S. is planning more wars when he said, concerning Pentagon plans, "I have insisted that we try and get away from [the] construct that we've had, for such a long time, that we size our forces to be able to fight two major combat operations. I think that is not a realistic view of the world. We are already in two major conflicts. So what if we have a third one or a fourth one or a fifth one?"
It is the U.S. military that already has its nuclear and other missiles, its bombers, destroyers, aircraft carriers, submarines, radar, spy satellites, 30,000 troops occupying south Korea and another 50,000 occupying Japan, all targeting Korea and China. It is the U.S. and south Korea that in March conducted massive war games openly aimed at the DPRK. It is the U.S. that has the south Korean military, which it has armed and trained, planning yet more war games. They have chosen June 24-25, corresponding to the date the U.S. instigated the Korean War, June 25, 1950. The south Korean military command directly stated the exercises are for "implementing an operational plan reminiscent of the June 25 war." This action, calculated to remind Koreans of the brutality the U.S. will inflict, follows the announcement June 16 by President Obama that the U.S. will maintain its "nuclear umbrella" over south Korea. The timing of the announcement — a day after Koreans south, north and worldwide celebrated the June 15 Joint Declaration promoting peaceful reunification of the country — was another insult designed to inflame Korean sensibilities.
Hands off Korean Ships
In addition, the U.S. now has one of its guided missile destroyers, the USS John McCain, following a DPRK cargo ship. According to current news reports, the U.S. may attempt to use the destroyer to intercept the Korean ship, under the guise that it is carrying cargo forbidden by the recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution. It is expected to wait until the ship leaves the area near China's coast. The U.S. may also attempt to have the Korean ship boarded in Singapore, a possible refueling stop. Or it may try to have Singapore refuse to provide fuel, as dictated by the U.S.-imposed UNSC resolution. The danger imposed by U.S. military action can also be seen in the fact the USS John McCain, shadowing the Korean ship just off China's coast, was trailing sonar equipment in the water and had an accident with a Chinese submarine on June 16. To contribute to peace and security, it is the U.S. that needs to remove its ships and troops from Korea and the region.
The DPRK, consistent with international law, has rightly said that any use of force to stop its ships will be seen as an act of war. It has carried out no aggression, has no troops outside its borders, and continues to oppose U.S. efforts to incite war while defending its sovereignty. It also has the right to safely conduct missile tests.
Hawai'i is about 7,000 miles from Korea. In order to test its missiles safely, without harm to anyone, just about any long-range missile the DPRK launches could be said to be "headed" toward Hawai'i — geographically, that is the direction of the open ocean. The U.S. military estimates the test missile will travel about 3,000 miles into open ocean. Why then all this hysteria about missiles headed to Hawai'i? It is yet one more effort to create a pretext for U.S. aggression. This too is a well-known U.S. weapon of deception. The U.S. carries out an attack, then blames it on the country it has targeted for attack, as it did in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in Vietnam and as it did with the infamous photos at the United Nations showing a building purported to house Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction."
The U.S. military, many thousands of miles from home, occupying Korea and Japan, is not defending its homeland. It is the U.S. imperialist empire that is being defended — an empire notorious for its brutality and genocide, at home and abroad. It is the U.S. that has a long history of aggression, occupation and war crimes, including against Korea. During the Korean War, which lasted from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953, the U.S. used massive bombing attacks to level much of the north and its civilian infrastructure, chemical weapons, germ warfare, civilian massacres, all criminal actions according to the laws of war, which forbid attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. Even so, the U.S. lost the war and signed an armistice that outlawed any modernization of weapons on the peninsula and called for peace to be negotiated. The U.S. has adamantly refused to sign a peace treaty and continually upgraded the armaments in south Korea, including nuclear weapons, bombers and now drones and bunker busters — all contrary to the armistice signed. And now it is coming dangerously close to instigating yet anther war against Korea, possibly China and the world.
It is vital for Americans to reject the government’s efforts at war hysteria and demonizing of north Korea so as to launch another aggressive war. The path to peace lies in bringing All U.S. Troops Home Now! It lies in eliminating the U.S. nuclear umbrella, disarming U.S. nuclear weapons, respecting sovereignty and renouncing use of U.S. military might in resolving international conflicts.
Hands Off Korea!
Major War Exercises Targeting DPRK
June 25, 1950 is the date the U.S. instigated the war against Korea. The U.S. military is now organizing the south Korean military, which it arms, trains and commands, to carry out large-scale war games on the anniversary of the war. June 24-25. The Command of the First Army Corps of the south Korean military announced June 19 that it would stage "exercises for implementing an operational plan reminiscent of the June 25 war" in all parts of Kangwon Province of south Korea, according to south Korean Yonhap News.
The war exercises will involve all units of the south Korean army such as forces of the corps, divisions and brigades under the command. The south Korean Command reports that large military drills including occupation of enemy positions and command posts, transport of war materiel and air battles would be staged day and night under the simulated conditions of an actual war, aimed at the DPRK, its fellow Koreans.
In addition, the second army corps of the south Korean ground force is planning to stage large mobile exercises involving huge armed forces such as troops, tanks, armored cars and trucks in the areas of Chunchon, Hwachon and Hongchon in Kangwon Province of south Korea from June 22 to 26.
U.S. "Alliance" for Aggression Opposed
The south Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU) issued a statement on June 18 denouncing the dangerous scheme of the U.S. and south Korean traitor Lee Myung Bak to strengthen their "alliance" for aggression. The statement said that Lee Myung Bak, conspiring with his master, the U.S., supported a "Joint Vision” statement for boosting the south Korea-U.S. "alliance." (see VOR update June 16)
The CTU emphasized that the “alliance” is a criminal act and challenge to the July 4 South-North Joint Statement, which calls for settling the problem of national reunification independently and peacefully and on the principle of great national unity, and against all the agreements reached between the south and the north, the CTU said.
It expressed its opposition to the anti-national and anti-DPRK policy of the forces who are calling for an intensified "alliance" for aggression aimed at threatening the peace on the Korean Peninsula, blocking reunification and imposing nuclear disasters on the nation.
The statement urged the Lee Myung Bak “government” not to resort to sycophantic diplomacy but to opt for thoroughly implementing the historic June 15 North-South Joint declaration on peaceful reunification and the October 4 declaration strengthening joint efforts to achieve reunification.
Reality requires more urgently than ever before actions to frustrate U.S. efforts to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, defend the sovereignty of the country and nation and guarantee the sound and smooth development of international relations, says Rodong Sinmun June 18 in a signed article. It goes on:
“The interference in the internal affairs of other countries and nations precisely means infringing on their sovereign rights. The political mode each country chooses and the method it develops its economy is an issue pertaining to its own sovereign rights. Therefore, no one is mandated to interfere in these rights and instruct those countries to do this or that. But such practices have become all the more pronounced in the international arena nowadays.”
Citing facts to prove that the U.S. interfered in the elections in other countries in an undisguised manner in recent years, the article goes on:
“These moves of the U.S. are not limited to elections only. They are being persistently perpetrated in various fabrics of social life including political, economic, cultural and military affairs. It is an important task directly related to the destiny of each country and nation to frustrate the U.S. efforts to interfere in internal affairs, ensure political stability and defend the sovereignty of the country and nation. The destiny of each country and nation depends upon the struggle for defending its sovereignty. Even a single concession to U.S. interference in the internal affairs of a given country and nation would force it to make tens and hundreds steps backward. Such concessions would eventually lead to the serious consequence of having its sovereignty infringed upon.
"The powerful means to smash U.S. moves to interfere in one’s internal affairs is to bolster the national defense. The U.S. is openly interfering in the internal affairs of those countries with weak military potentials, looking down on them. Its vicious interference in the internal affairs of the DPRK only brought failure and frustration for the U.S., as the DPRK has strong national capability for self-defense. The Songun politics and the military power of the DPRK serve as a reliable means for foiling U.S. interference in our internal affairs and defending the sovereignty and dignity of the country.
In a plan kept quiet by the government, the Navy is moving forward with turning the Pacific Northwest Coast into a target range, known as the Northwest Range Complex. The range will be used for bombing and gunnery practice, unmanned drone aircraft tests, experimental weapons testing, sonar experiments, undersea minefield exercises and other explosive activities. The bombing range will serve to extend Navy control of coastal waters from the Puget Sound area around Seattle, Washington, down the entire Oregon coast to northern California. Once in operation, the Navy can declare the entire area, including the shoreline, closed to the public. The justification for such a long range on the coast is “national security.”
In February, the Navy submitted the required Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Oregon portion of the range. Despite a long history of Navy bombing ranges destroying the environment, such as in Vieques, Puerto Rico, the Navy’s EIS concluded that the bombing range would have no significant impact on marine mammals, birds, or fish and no significant impact on humans along the Oregon coast. The Navy is required to have pubic meetings and permit written statements from the public concerning the EIS and the general impact the bombing range will have on the livelihoods of fishermen, the state’s coastal tourist industry, on other businesses and local residents, as well as that on the environment and on the ocean itself.
Instead of guaranteeing public input, the Navy very quietly conducted the required public meetings and question period. For the whole state of Oregon, the Navy provided public notice for the public question period, including information as to where to submit questions, in a single press release to a small-town weekly — not daily— paper on the north coast. It provided only a single hard copy of its EIS for the entire state to read, placing it in the library of the same coastal town, Lincoln City and misnamed the library. Adding insult to injury, the Navy website, which supposedly provides public access to its EIS on-line, was inoperable more than 50 percent of the comment period, and continues to frequently reject comments submitted by e-mail.
The notice of the one public hearing on the plan itself was published in a different weekly newspaper in Newport. Notice was not given in any major or even daily newspaper. The Portland Oregonian, the only statewide newspaper, did not even publish a story on the Navy's proposal until five days after the one public meeting held in the state was held. Its silence is testimony both to the Navy's successful suppression of public debate and the media's complicity in keeping the public uninformed and disinformed.
While the government continues its hysteria concerning a single potential missile test by Korea, it keeps secret its own crimes, such as these plans for a massive missile range on the west coast. The Navy is notorious not only for its destruction and poisoning of the environment and people of Vieques, Puerto Rico but also for Kaho’olawe Island in Hawaii, also used as bombing range and testing grounds. Vigorous protest in both by the peoples of Hawai’i and Puerto Rico forced the Navy to close both ranges and return them to Puerto Rico and Hawai’i, respectively. Struggles continue to force the Navy to clean up and restore both locations. The military also still utilizes two ranges in Hawai’i, the Pohakuloa Training Area and the Sandia Lab Kauai Test Facility, a nuclear weapons lab and missile testing facility. It is these missile ranges and the war preparations they serve that are threatening Hawai’i, the west coast and the world.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the U.S. government will change its misguided, hard-line policy on north Korea unless the American people demand that change first. Therefore, we have launched the Korea Peace Campaign, a grassroots American peoples’ campaign to bring the Korean War to a final end through promotion of genuine peace, reconciliation and friendship between the American and Korean peoples.
The Campaign will accomplish its mission through 1) educating American public about the true history of the U.S.-Korea relations; 2) mutual exchanges such as sending veterans’ peace delegations; 3) providing assistance to the Korean victims of the War; and 4) building a national coalition for the U.S.-Korea peace. We invite all concerned individuals and organizations to join in this important campaign for peace and reconciliation. Please join us and make a difference!
It is imperative for the American people to recognize new developments in Korea and adopt a new policy toward Korea that supports a comprehensive, permanent peace settlement in Korea. Such a new policy must move from containment and confrontation to dialogue and reconciliation. Thus, we call for the following new policy: 1) Stop U.S. military build-ups in Korea; 2) Sign a peace or non-aggression treaty with North Korea and normalize our relations with it; 3) Withdraw our troops from S. Korea; 4) Provide just reparations to the Korean victims of the U.S. war crimes; and 5) Support an independent and peaceful reunification of Korea.
VFP Resolution on Korea on Occasion of 50th Anniversary of Korean War
Whereas, we are now observing the 50th anniversary of the Korean War;
Whereas, the undeclared Korean War is still continuing to this day due to the lack of a peace treaty or a permanent peace settlement between the U.S. and north Korea;
Whereas, the U.S. owes a heavy responsibility for the artificial division of Korea in 1945, establishment of a separate government in South Korea in 1948, the horrendous bombing and killing of some three million Korean civilians during the Korean War, the fanning of an arms race and tensions on the Korean peninsula, and the continuous interference in the internal affairs of the Korean people;
Whereas, government leaders of south and north Korea have held a historic summit meeting and issued a Joint Declaration on June 15, 2000, promising to achieve a peaceful reunification of their country on their own initiative through mutual exchanges and cooperation; and
Whereas, the continued presence of U.S. military in South Korea has been a major source of tension, arms race and rising anti-American sentiment in Korea due to the commission of numerous crimes against south Korean civilians, including the tragic killing of two high school girls by a U.S. armored vehicle on June 13, 2002;
Now, Therefore, Veterans for Peace (VFP), meeting at its national convention in Duluth, Minnesota, August 17, 2002, Calls upon our government to
1) Stop all threats of pre-emptive military strikes against north Korea and enter into serious negotiations with north Korea to end the Korean War officially by signing a peace treaty and normalizing our relations with North Korea;
2) Extends our support and solidarity to the Korean people’s just struggle to achieve an independent, peaceful reunification of Korea through their own efforts without foreign interference;
3) Calls for the immediate re-start of the withdrawal of our 37,000 troops from South Korea;
4) Calls upon our government to honor the right of the South Korean government to prosecute U.S. military personnel stationed in Korea who are accused of crimes against Korean civilians.
5) Calls upon our government to establish an independent commission to investigate the U.S. war crimes committed in Korea and provide a formal apology and reparations to the Korean victims of U.S. war crimes, including the civilian victims of No Gun Ri massacre in south Korea; and
Urges all VFP members and other fellow Americans to wage an active campaign to realize a permanent peace and reconciliation in Korea.
(The VFP has sent several peace delegations to Korea. See veteransforpeace.org/korea for more)
Criminal U.S. Germ and Chemical Warfare
June 25, 1950 is the day when the U.S. imperialists launched their war of aggression against Korea. Though half a century has passed, the U.S. refuses to apologize and pay reparations for its brutal crimes of biochemical warfare against the peaceable inhabitants and cities of Korea, in gross violation of international law. The Korean War itself (June 25, 1950-July 27, 1953) was a crime of aggression, launched on the pretext of a “threat” from the Koreans, much like the current war against Iraq. Now, far from negotiating a peace treaty and taking responsibility for its crimes, the U.S. is on the verge of instigating another war against Korea. Instead of promoting war, a positive step toward peace would be actions by the U.S. to pay reparations.
Use of Chemical Weapons in Korea
In autumn of 1950, the U.S. Headquarters of the Joint Chiefs of Staff developed a plan to extensively use chemical and biological weapons. The U.S. imperialists used more than 20 kinds of germ weapons during the war. They especially targeted the northern half of Korea for germ and chemical warfare. According to the plan, the U.S. used germ weapons against civilians and cities. In the period from January to April 1952, they dropped various kinds of germ bombs in 169 areas in the northern half of Korea, 804 times. They also used various goods contaminated with poisonous insects and bacteria in more than 90 cities and counties, more than 900 times.
The U.S. also conducted human experiments using bacteria on people on their warships not far off Wonsan. In 1951 they did more than 3,000 experiments on Koreans using these germ weapons. Another U.S. crime was use of chemical weapons, a weapon of mass destruction. From February 1951 to July 1953 many chemical weapons were used in 24 -cities and counties of the northern half of Korea including Kangwon and Hwanghae provinces and on battlefields. In particular, the U.S. released more than 15 million napalm bombs on military positions on the front and peaceful cities and farming and fishing villages in the rear.
The U.S. perpetrated massive bio-chemical warfare unprecedented in the history of war at that time, and still they could not defeat the Korean people. In addition to their illegal and brutal chemical and biological warfare, the U.S. dropped more than 428,000 bombs to raze factories, enterprises, educational, cultural and health institutions and houses in Pyongyang. The city was virtually razed to the ground.
In the beginning of the war alone 22,600 civilians in 11 cities and counties including Suwon and Chungju, were slaughtered. When U.S. troops landed in Inchon on September 16, 1950, they massacred some 1,300 citizens. For three days from September 28, they arrested at least 75,000 patriots and civilians, then killed more than 38,800 of them. The U.S. imperialists slaughtered more than a million civilians from the summer of 1950 to the summer of 1951. For 50-odd days occupying Sinchon County in the northern half of Korea (October 1950), the U.S. mercilessly massacred some 35,000 people, one fourth of its population.
Despite its illegal and aggressive war, massive bombings, brutal massacres and chemical and biological warfare, it is the Korean people who prevailed at that time and now today. It is the U.S., then and now, that is again threatening war, including first-strike use of nuclear weapons. It is the U.S. government that must be called to account for all its war crimes in Korea present and past, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine and elsewhere. The U.S. is responsible for paying reparations and doing so now.