Archive for the USSR Category

91st Death Anni. of Lenin Commemorated on Red Square [CRIEnglish]

Posted in Lenin, Russia, USSR on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2015-01-22
Web Editor: Wang Wei

Communist supporters hold portraits of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin during a wreath laying ceremony to Lenin’s mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square, January 21, 2015. Communists gathered on Wednesday to commemorate the 91st death anniversary of Lenin. [Photo: CFP/Sergei Karpukhin]

Link to photo article: http://english.cri.cn/12394/2015/01/22/2361s862860.htm

“Distorting history is unacceptable” – Urging Japan to reflect on past crimes of aggression [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Japan, Russia, U.K., USA, USSR, War crimes, World War II on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Yan Yuewen (People’s Daily Online)
March 25, 2015

The entire world remembers the history of the world’s anti-Fascist war and the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

But some important questions about the war must be clearly answered. Who launched the aggression at the beginning? What dark motivations led them to start the war? How did allied nations unite in the strength of justice and how much did they sacrifice to fight for freedom of humanity? The history of World War II (WWII), including its achievements and lessons, should be remembered by all nations. Legally binding international documents signed during and after the war, postwar trials of war criminals as well as historical research conducted over the past 70 years compose an undisputable foundation of the world’s shared memory.

At present, some Japanese politicians have brazenly attempted to distort WWII history, intending to relieve Japan of responsibility. The world should be alert to these provocative remarks and acts.

History cannot be reversed. Justice will speak itself. However, we must maintain vigilant against any actions that would seek to distort historical verdicts and deny the fruits of victory.

According to a recent survey conducted by Japan’s leading newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun, only 5 percent of the surveyed Japanese citizens said that they are “fully aware of” the Japan-provoked aggression and the Pacific War. Around 44 percent of the respondents said that they “know a little” about the war. And another 49 percent of the respondents answered that they are uninformed about the history. The survey also showed that education and school textbooks are the main ways for students to learn the truth of past warfare.

History should not be recklessly tampered with. Such acts are anathema to international law and justice. The postwar arrangement clearly confirmed Japan’s responsibility for aggression in WWII, and Japan admitted it unconditionally.

The Cairo Declaration, jointly released by the United States, China and Britain on December 1, 1943, stated, “The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan.”

The Potsdam Declaration (or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender), jointly released on July 26, 1945 by the United States, China and Britain with the Soviet Union joining later, stated that Japan shall enforce the Cairo Declaration, and also declared the elimination “for all time of the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest.” The declaration went on, saying, “We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners.”

Japan accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration in the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War issued by Japanese Emperor Hirohito on August 15, 1945 and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender signed by Japanese delegates aboard the United States Navy battleship USS Missouri on September 2 of the same year.

Admitting its historical aggression and reflecting on the responsibility for war is a precondition for Japan to reconcile with its Asian neighboring countries that suffered under its military campaigns in WWII.

The China-Japan Joint Statement issued on September 29, 1972 stated, “The Japanese side is keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused in the past to the Chinese people through war, and deeply reproaches itself…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://en.people.cn/n/2015/0325/c98649-8868727.html

Croatia Elects Former NATO Official President [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Albania, Anti-communism, CIA, Croatia, EU, European Union, Georgia, Germany, NATO, Nazism, Poland, Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Yugoslavia - former FRY on February 11, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2015/1/15

by Wayne Madsen

Croatia has become the latest European nation to propel a confirmed Atlanticist and former resident of the United States into high political office. Conservative politician and former NATO assistant secretary general for public diplomacy Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic defeated incumbent center-left president Ivo Josipovic by a…razor-thin vote. In the case of Croatia’s second-round, the vote was 50.54 percent for Grabar-Kitarovic to 49.46 percent for Josipovic…

Grabar-Kitarovic’s majority was enabled by receiving the required 21,000-vote majority from Croatians living abroad. Grabar-Kitarovic lived as a graduate student in Washington, DC and Boston and soon became Croatian ambassador in Washington and the chief propaganda assistant to NATO’s neoconservative Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Danish prime minister.

As an international exchange student, Grabar-Kitarovic graduated in 1986 from Los Alamos High School in New Mexico, the home to the Los Alamos National Laboratories, where U.S. intelligence and military agencies develop the latest nuclear weaponry and other warfare technology…

…Grabar-Kitarovic’s political science master’s thesis at the University of Zagreb in Croatia was titled «American-Soviet Relations during the Reagan Administration and the End of the Cold War», which is very reminiscent of the Cold War academic pursuits of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice’s PhD dissertation dealt with the Czechoslovak Army and the Communist Party. Her book, which was based on her dissertation, was titled, «The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army, 1948-1983: Uncertain Allegiance». During her PhD studies at the University of Denver, Rice was taken under the wing of Dr. Josef Korbel, the father of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, whose god-daughter, Susan Rice is Barack Obama’s national security adviser. Korbel, Albright, the two Rices, and Grabar-Kitarovic represent a post-World War II U.S. intelligence operation to groom the next generation of Cold Warriors and seed U.S. citizens and residents of Eastern and Central European descent into the top echelons of government from Estonia to the Republic of Georgia.

Croatia, along with Albania, were the last two countries to join NATO. Croatia joined the Western military bloc in 2009.

Grabar-Kitarovic is a member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the neo-fascist oriented party of the late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman. She served as foreign minister of Croatia from 2005 to 2008 and was instrumental in pushing for Croatia’s joining the European Union in both that position as European Integration Minister from 2003 to 2005. Croatia joined the EU in 2013. EU membership brought Croatia the fourth-highest unemployment rate in Europe and a 50 percent jobless rate of Croatians under the age of 25. These statistics, which should have hurt the pro-EU Grabar-Kitarovic’s razor-thin victory in the presidential election even more suspicious and dubious.

Grabar-Kitarovic was a resident Fulbright scholar at George Washington University in Washington, DC where she specialized in international relations. Fulbright scholarship programs are used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to recruit foreign students with future political potential into the ranks of the intelligence agency’s vast network of assets and agents.

Eastern and Central European governments teem with such American agents of influence and intelligence assets…[examples follow, see original article]

…Grabar-Kitarovic is just the latest American agent-of-influence to lead a NATO country in Eastern/Central Europe. Placing American puppets in governance of supposedly-independent nations is reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s and Fascist Italy’s appointment of puppet leaders and administrators in some of the same nations where U.S. lackeys now rule. Today, hardly a soul recalls the names of these puppet entities: the Lokot Autonomy, the Principality of the Pindus, and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Grabar-Kitarovic is the ideological heir of the puppet Nazi State of Croatia, which was led by the fascist Ustashe movement, from which Grabar-Kitarovic’s HDZ party receives so much of its inspiration.

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/01/15/croatia-elects-former-nato-official-president.html

Charlie Hebdo, the free press and racism [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Black propaganda, Canada, Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, Fascism, France, Gaza, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Nazism, Palestine, Police, Police brutality, Police State, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Syria, Turkey, U.K., USA, USSR, Yugoslavia - former FRY on January 14, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Sara Flounders

January 13, 2015

How do we put in perspective the international media focus on the massacre of 12 journalists in Paris on Jan. 7 at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, notorious for its racist anti-Muslim caricatures and lack of response to the routine, daily, racist police murders of Black youth in the U.S.? Why were any protests banned in France of 15 journalists who were killed among the 2,000 deaths in the Israeli assault of Gaza this past summer? Don’t those lives matter?

The Charlie Hebdo assassinations strengthen the hand of the state, which is using them in an ideological offensive, even if the state had a role in arming and training the killers.

Why are other murders not mourned, not respected, not even reported — even the murders of other journalists? A crucial role of the corporate media is to try to shape the perception of which lives matter.

Consider the mass outpourings following several different, very public killings in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of youths have been in the streets again and again in the U.S. confronting the refusal of the state to prosecute killer cops, even when their murderous crimes have been seen on video by millions.

Hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets of Paris on Jan. 11. French, other European, U.S. and Israeli politicians led the march honoring the slain journalists.

Twice, on Dec. 27 and Jan. 4, thousands of police in uniform from all over the U.S. converged on New York City for separate funerals of two police officers shot in their patrol car in Dec. 20. Jet Blue offered free flights to all police traveling nationally to the funeral. The U.S. vice president, New York state’s governor and the city’s mayor attended the funerals. Roads in the areas were closed; giant outdoor TV screens were erected.

Not a free speech issue

The French government’s protection of the racist journal Charlie Hebdo had nothing to do with protecting freedom of speech. This is a deception that must be confronted. In 2012 the same government that protected this vile publication banned any demonstrations or protests or even public prayers opposing the racist publication.

French law allows for the prosecution of “public insults” based on religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. But the racist, sexist, bigoted, grossly insulting cartoons in Charlie Hebdo magazine were never once a source of any successful legal action.

However, France did ban anyone from even protesting the cartoons that insulted Muslims or the prophet Muhammed.

In 2012, as protests swept the Muslim world in response to an anti-Muslim film made in the U.S., French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects had orders to prohibit any protest and to crack down if the ban was challenged. “There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up.” (Daily Mail, Sept. 21, 2012) Even prayer meetings and street prayers were banned. (CNN, Sept. 19, 2012)

In the same week Charlie Hebdo put out an extra run of cartoons featuring a grossly obscene caricature of a naked prophet Mohammed. The magazine was given extra police protection.

Freedom of speech and of the press is hardly sacred in France. It was punishable by a year in prison to even post on the Internet a notice of a demonstration opposing the Israeli onslaught on Palestine during the Israeli 2014 summer offensive on Gaza. France was the only country in the world to bar all demonstrations and protests in any form supporting Palestine during that time. The penalty was one year in jail and 15,000 euro fine.

It is worth noting the double standard: There is no similar crackdown against the current right-wing, fascist demonstrations against immigrants.

Role of Nazi caricature

Charlie Hebdo serves a very important purpose for French imperialism, and that is why its virulent racism has been protected at the very time that protests against it are prohibited.

Charlie Hebdo may have run cartoons to ridicule the powerful 40 years ago when it claimed to be left wing, irreverent and nonconformist. But there is a big difference between satire ridiculing the powerful — a French tradition going back to Voltaire — and the current imagery promoting fear and loathing of the oppressed and powerless. The latter is right wing and fascist in character.

In this period when Muslims are facing increasing, extreme right-wing attacks, and fascist mobilizations are growing in Europe, Charlie Hebdo functions as did the Nazi publication Der Sturmer with its vehemently anti-Semitic caricatures. Jewish people in Der Sturmer, as Muslims in Charlie Hebdo, were depicted with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. Both publications use obscene, sexually explicit caricatures.

The Nazi newspaper’s caricatures were part of a policy to make Jews an object of hatred, fear, ridicule and disdain. At the end of World War II, Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer — though he didn’t run death camps but used the press to incite hatred — was put on trial, convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.

Charlie Hebdo is protected because it hardens the population against Muslim people in order to divide the population. The French government has announced a grant to Charlie Hebdo of 1 million euros, and Google donated 250,000 euros.

Charlie Hebdo is not freedom of expression and freedom of press. It is an instrument of war mobilization. It ran cartoons demonizing Serbs during the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia, and it supported NATO’s attack on Libya.

No free press

Although “free speech” and “free press” are being lauded and glorified in the murder of the French journalists, no such thing exists in any capitalist state. The press in France or in the U.S. is not free, open or accessible. The media are owned by and serve the interests of the ruling class. What can be said and who can say it is tightly controlled. The corporate media in capitalist society are owned to serve class rule. What is covered depends entirely on who can pay for publication or airtime. A handful of multibillion-dollar media conglomerates control almost all information, culture and entertainment in the Western capitalist countries — though in the past decade social media and the Internet have opened a few cracks in this overwhelming corporate control.

The media industry has an enormous impact in shaping what lives have value and what deaths go unreported, unmarked or consciously covered up.

The hundreds of thousands of deaths in wars initiated by U.S. imperialism, and with full support of French and British imperialism, are unmarked, unmourned and callously labeled “collateral damage.” The media ignore or barely mention the enormous toll in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. No mass sympathy is created when a U.S. drone wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan or a whole village with a hellfire missile.

The assassinations of journalists in these wars are hardly noted. There were no state funerals for the 166 journalists killed in Iraq under U.S. occupation. Chelsea Manning is in prison for releasing videos of U.S. helicopters gunning down two Reuter’s camera operators in Iraq and then circling to kill the family that stopped their van to try to help them.

According to The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, 15 journalists were killed in the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza. They “were killed in civilian sites which are supposed to be safe for civilians.” Eight media centers were targeted and bombed.

U.S. bombers targeted and destroyed the RTS, Radio TV Serbia, in the 1999 U.S./NATO war on Yugoslavia, killing 17 journalists.

The most dangerous country in the world for journalists is Honduras. Since the U.S.-backed coup, 46 media and information workers have been assassinated.

The International Federation of Journalists sharply criticized NATO 2011 air strikes against Libyan television, which killed three people and injured 15. The IFJ stated that the strikes violated international law and U.N. resolutions.

If a free press existed, then Chelsea Manning would not be in prison or Edward Snowden and Julian Assange on the run, living in exile.

What media are even allowed coverage in imperialist countries demonstrates how little freedom of the press is respected. For example, PRESS TV, an Iranian news channel broadcasting in English, is banned from broadcasting via satellite throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. Al-Manar, a Lebanese satellite station affiliated with Hezbollah, has also been banned by France, Germany and the U.S. Both Press TV and Al Manar have protested, to no avail, that this is a grave breach of freedom of speech. While both news channels are available via the Internet in limited form, Apple and Google have removed Al-Manar mobile apps.

National oppression

National oppression and racism in France cannot be ignored. There are 5.5 million residents of African origin, many of them born in France and most of them citizens. A large number are from Muslim background, although not all are practicing. They are isolated by poverty in suburbs that have high unemployment, inferior schools and substandard housing.

Just as prisons in the U.S. overwhelmingly imprison Black and Brown youth, so too do French prisons. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population. (Washington Post Foreign Service, April 29, 2008)

Imperialism needs hatred of targeted peoples. Western politicians have cynically used Islamophobia to advance right-wing political agendas and curtail freedoms.

Who benefits?

Regardless of whether a police conspiracy is ever exposed, we do know that the French ruling class and the corporate media are always primed to take full advantage of such acts to reinforce the repressive state apparatus and sow division among the working class.

There should not be an iota of confidence in the news stories of this massacre at Charlie Hebdo. We know only what we are being told in the corporate media by French military police and state intelligence agencies. We do know that three men, who are now dead, were tools of imperialism in their wars of conquest in Syria and Libya. More than 1,000 French citizens of Arab and North African descent have been recruited, trained, armed and used as weapons conduits, saboteurs and terrorists in the efforts of U.S. France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to overthrow the government of Syria.

This leads to the fundamental question of whose policies are responsible for the massacre and who gains from the massacre?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. imperialism, aided by the old colonial powers of Europe, has been engaged in a whole series of wars to reconquer countries that had achieved a high level of development based on sovereignty and control of their resources.

In their frantic efforts to recolonize Iraq, Syria and Libya, they have cynically whipped up sectarian divisions, organized deadly militias and promoted fanaticism and anarchy. That has aroused deep-seated rage against the U.S., France and Britain.

It is also highly unpopular that French imperialism is widely involved in Africa, primarily in the majority-Muslim countries of Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast and Djibouti, and in Abu Dhabi on the Arabian peninsula.

The French ruling class wants to divert mass attention from their expanding wars and increasingly militarized society. The mobilizations claiming to defend a free press by defending racism must be opposed and countered.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/01/13/charlie-hebdo-free-press-racism/

Copyright © 2015 Workers.org

China challenges US economic war against Russia [World Socialist Website]

Posted in BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, NATO, Neo-colonialism, Obama, Pentagon, Russia, SCO Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Sino-Russian, Syria, Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Wall Street on January 7, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Alex Lantier
23 December 2014
Directly challenging the NATO powers’ policy of cutting off credit to Russia to undermine the ruble and bankrupt the Russian economy, China is pledging to extend financial aid to Moscow.

On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed the need for mutual aid between China and Russia in remarks on the ruble crisis, which has seen a drastic 45 percent fall in its value against the dollar this year. “Russia has the capability and the wisdom to overcome the existing hardship in the economic situation,” Wang said. “If the Russian side needs it, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity.”

On Sunday, Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng told Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV that Beijing would strengthen ties with Moscow in energy and manufacturing, predicting that Chinese-Russian trade would hit its target of $100 billion this year despite the ruble crisis. As the ruble’s value in dollars or euros swings wildly, Gao proposed moving away from the dollar in financing Chinese-Russian trade and instead using the Chinese currency, the yuan or renminbi.

Gao said China would focus on “fundamental factors such as how the two economies complement each other,” Reuters reported. “Capital investors may be more interested in a volatile stock or foreign exchange market. But in terms of concrete cooperation between the two nations, we shall have a balanced mentality and push forward those cooperations,” Gao said.

Yesterday, China Daily cited Li Jianmin of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences saying that aid to Russia could pass through channels like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) or the BRICS forum. Significantly, both the SCO (an alliance of China, Russia, and Central Asian states) and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) exclude the United States and Europe.

Li noted that already last month, when Chinese and Russian premiers Li Keqiang and Dmitry Medvedev met in Kazakhstan, they signed extensive deals on railways, infrastructure and development in Russia’s Far East region, north of China. “Loans, cooperation in major projects, and participation in domestic infrastructure investment in Russia are options on the table,” he added. In one such deal last month, China signed a $400-billion, 30-year deal to buy Russian gas.

These offers of assistance cut across the economic war on Russia launched by US and European imperialism to punish Moscow for opposing their neo-colonial restructuring of Eurasia.
In retaliation for Russian support for President Bashar al-Assad against NATO’s proxy war in Syria and Russian opposition to the NATO-backed Ukrainian regime in Kiev, the NATO powers sought to financially strangle Russia. As Russian oil revenues fell in line with the fall in world oil prices and the ruble collapsed, they worked to cut off credit to Russia and demanded that Russia acquiesce to the Kiev regime.

The basic financial mechanism of this strategy was laid out in London’s Financial Times by Anders Aslund of the Petersen Institute for International Economics. “Russia has received no significant international financing—not even from Chinese state banks—because everybody is afraid of US financial regulators,” he wrote. With a yearly capital outflow of $125 billion, liquid foreign currency reserves of only $200 billion, and total foreign debts of $600 billion, Russia would run out of dollars and be bankrupted in as little as two years, Aslund calculated.

Now, however, Beijing appears to be accepting the risk of a showdown with the United States and publicly preparing to throw a financial lifeline to Russia. Chinese currency reserves of $3.89 trillion are the world’s largest and, on paper at least, allow Beijing to easily repay Russia’s debts.

Significantly, the calls of Wang and Gao to aid Russia came a day after a divided European Union (EU) summit on Russia last week. Though the EU supported US sanctions against Russia, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French President François Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi all publicly opposed calls for more sanctions. Leading European newspapers also warned of the risk of a collapse of the Russian state…

…The economic conflicts erupting between the major powers over the oil crisis and the imperialist war drive in Eurasia testifies to the advanced state of the crisis of world capitalism, and the rising risk of world war.

Chinese aid to Russia, should it materialize, will exacerbate US conflict with China. Washington has tried to militarily encircle it through the “pivot to Asia,” allying with Japan, Australia, and India. Plans for war with China, both economic and military, are doubtless being pored over on Wall Street and in the Pentagon.

A year ago, in an article titled “China must not copy the Kaiser’s errors,” Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf warned China against any action that could be construed as a challenge to US global hegemony. He indicated that a Chinese policy replicating the German Kaiser’s challenge to British hegemony before the outbreak of World War I in 1914 would lead to a similar outcome: all-out conflict.

“If open conflict arrived, the US could cut off the world’s trade with China. It could also sequester a good part of China’s liquid foreign assets,” Wolf wrote, recalling that China’s “foreign currency reserves, equal to 40 percent of GDP are, by definition, held abroad.” Such naked theft of trillions of dollars that China has earned from trade with the United States and Europe would directly raise the prospect of a collapse of global trade and preparation for war between nuclear-armed powers.

With its ever more reckless and violent policies, US imperialism is vastly overplaying its hand, discrediting itself at home and fueling opposition from rival states. By driving Russia and China together, in particular, Washington is undoing what was long seen as a major achievement of US imperialist statecraft: the 1972 rapprochement between US President Richard Nixon and Chinese leader Mao Zedong, which turned China into a US ally against the former Soviet Union.

“Many Chinese people still view Russia as the big brother, and the two countries are strategically important to each other,” Renmin University Associate Dean Jin Canrong said, referring to Soviet backing for China as it fought the United States in the Korean War, shortly after the…Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power in 1949. “For the sake of national interests, China should deepen cooperation with Russia when such cooperation is in need.”

“Russia is an irreplaceable partner on the international stage,” the CCP-linked Global Times wrote in an editorial yesterday. “China must take a proactive attitude in helping Russia walk out of the current crisis.”

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/23/chin-d23.html

“An Antidote to Disinformation about North Korea” – Book Review; ‘North Korea: Another Country’, By Bruce Cumings, The New Press, 2004 [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Anti-communism, Bill Clinton, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, DPR Korea, George W. Bush, India, INS, Japan, Kim Jong Il, Korean War, Nukes, Saudi Arabia, south Korea, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, World War II on January 1, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Al Olsen

28 December 2005

This Review was published nine years ago on GR.

Bruce Cumings, a history professor at the University of Chicago and a former Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea, has given us a badly needed antidote to the lies and disinformation about the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea) being spread by the media and the Bush administration. The author has observed “the deafening absence of any contrary argument” and cuts through this smokescreen of ignorance in his well-researched historical study of North Korea.

Cumings directs his book to “the reader who wishes to learn about our eternal Korean enemy.” He believes that North Korea is a nation that cannot be understood apart from its historical past, including the “terrible fratricidal war (Korean War) that has never ended”; the 1930s guerrilla struggle against the Japanese and North [sic] Korea’s eventual emergence as a state in 1945; its relations with the South; its reaction to the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union; and “its interminable daily struggle” with the United States.

The author…admits to empathy for the underdog, “which is something I can’t help.” Cumings charges the U.S. with a significant responsibility “for the garrison [sic] state that emerged on the ashes of our truly terrible destruction of the North a half a century ago.”

Yes, the “history” spoon fed to Americans completely omits the holocaust from the air carried out by U.S. bombers and fighter planes against North Korean cities during the Korean War.

American planes dropped tens of thousands of bombs and many hundreds of tons of napalm on cities in North Korea. Even Winston Churchill criticized the savagery of the American attack when he commented, “When napalm was invented in the latter stages of World War II, no one contemplated that it would be ‘splashed’ over a civilian population.” Three million North Koreans died during this conflict, and 18 out of its 22 largest cities were 50 percent to 100 percent obliterated.

Cumings notes that by 1952, most of the survivors living in central and North Korea lived in caves. North Korea continued to burrow underground, and today it has over 15,000 underground facilities, many made of hardened concrete to survive nuclear attacks and American bombs. These include factories, plane hangars, and many other kinds of installations. The author again emphasizes that North Korea is a garrison state “because of the holocaust the North experienced during the Korean War.”

The 50th anniversary of the armistice ending the Korean War came and went on July 27, 2003, and 40,000 American troops remain in South Korea, where they have been since occupying the country in September 1945.

Cumings bitterly criticizes U.S. policy towards North Korea. On human rights issues, he points out how the U.S. has been fast to criticize the Communists “while ignoring the reprehensible behavior of our allies, that is, U. S. support for dictators who make Kim Jung Il look enlightened (the Saudis, for example).”

In addition, Cumings blames American confusion on an “irresponsible media” which lacks good investigative reporters, and is often “egged on by government officials.” He also blames South Korean security forces who “have succeeded for decades in getting Americans to stare blankly at one side of the Korean civil conflict, like a pigeon with nystagmus such that its head turns only to the left.”

The author stridently criticizes and blames the Bush administration for the ongoing crisis with North Korea. He accuses Bush of walking away from groundwork laid by Clinton [sic] for the resolution of the crisis. Cumings compares the foreign policy of the Bush administration to “amateur night at a halfway house,” and fears a real danger from “a mix of situations in which Bush’s preemptive strike doctrine could trigger war.”

He also castigates the radical right for their predictions of North Korea’s imminent collapse; they are “wrong-wrong-wrong,” he says, and cites a 1999 speech by CNN International President Joe Eason, a frequent visitor to the North, who stated “these guys (North Koreans) will tough it out for centuries, just the way they are.”

Part of the book is devoted to North Korean society and its development under socialism. Modern Korea had emerged from a class-divided, highly stratified society in which a long-standing system of chattel slavery had only been abolished in 1894.

North Korea experienced what Cumings terms a “smooth” transition to socialism following World War II. He partially attributes the transitional change to a long-time Korean tradition of “sharing and mutual aid of all kinds.”

Agricultural land was collectivized while farmers were able to keep their own homes and small garden plots. He credits the gardens as greatly helping farmers during the famine of the 1990s. North Korean farmland was worked communally, and farmers received a share of the harvest based on the number of hours of work they had done.

Formally low- and middle-class families now occupied favored social positions, and formally wealthy families who remained in the North could work and earn their way back up the social ladder. Only the very bottom rung was permanently reserved for Japanese collaborators.

Cumings pays careful attention to the weather and crop disasters of the 1990s. North Korea experienced record-breaking floods (1995 and 1996) followed by an equally severe drought and famine (1997). The author believes that the food shortage problem “has provided little evidence of a collapse of state power, except for breakdowns at the local level.” And Cumings adds, even at its worst, “the famine only began to approach India’s year-in, year-out toll (in proportionate terms) of infant mortality and deaths from malnutrition or starvation which I only mention because the media’s recent habit of depicting Kim Jung Il’s frolicking among a heap of starved cadavers.”

Finally, Cumings describes a declassified CIA report on North Korea, and a part of that report which describes the achievements of that society. The report says “North Korea provides compassionate care for war orphans in particular and children in general; ‘radical change’ in the position of women (there are more college-educated women than college-educated men); genuinely free-housing; preventive medicine on a national scale accomplished to a comparatively high standard; infant mortality and life expectancy rates comparable to the most advanced countries until the recent famine; ‘no organized prostitution’ and ‘the police are difficult if not impossible to bribe.’”

Cumings book provides a valuable service with its informative and truthful portrayal of North Korea. This book is valuable for combating the inevitable lies of the Bush administration in its imperial quest for global domination. North Korea faces the very real danger of war and more suffering at the hands of a bellicose Bush administration — a very good reason for this work to be widely read and passed on to other interested persons.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/an-antidote-to-disinformation-about-north-korea/1663

‘Cold War Two’ – excerpt from “The Anti-Empire Report” # 131 [Williamblum.org]

Posted in 9/11, Anti-communism, Assassination, Black propaganda, Corporate Media Critique, EU, European Union, Fascism, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Iraq, Malaysia, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, Nazism, Psychological warfare, Russia, State Department, Syria, Ukraine, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Vietnam on November 4, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By William Blum – Published August 11th, 2014

= Cold War Two =

During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.

E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:

Dear Editor,

Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”

Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:

Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.

– William Blum

I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. I’ve been reading the paper for 25 years – six years during Vietnam (1964-1970) and the last 19 years (1995-2014) – usually spending about three hours each day reading it very carefully. And I can say that when it comes to US foreign policy the newspaper is worse now than I can remember it ever was during those 25 years. It’s reached the point where, as one example, I don’t take at face value a word the Post has to say about Ukraine. Same with the State Department, which makes one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s wholly inconclusive and/or unsourced or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. 1 Do they have something to hide?

The State Department’s Public Affairs spokespersons making these presentations exhibit little regard or respect for the reporters asking challenging questions. It takes my thoughts back to the Vietnam era and Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the reporters exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied: “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid.” 2

Such frankness might be welcomed today as a breath of fresh air compared to the painful-to-observe double-talk of a State Department spokesperson.

My personal breath of fresh air in recent years has been the television station RT (formerly Russia Today). On a daily basis many progressives from around the world (myself included occasionally) are interviewed and out of their mouths come facts and analyses that are rarely heard on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox News, BBC, etc. The words of these progressives heard on RT are typically labeled by the mainstream media as “Russian propaganda”, whereas I, after a long lifetime of American propaganda, can only think: “Of course. What else are they going to call it?”

As for Russia being responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Flight 17, we should keep in mind that the current series of events in Ukraine was sparked in February when a US-supported coup overthrew the democratically-elected government and replaced it with one that was more receptive to the market-fundamentalism dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. Were it not for the coup there would have been no eastern rebellion to put down and no dangerous war zone for Flight 17 to be flying over in the first place.

The new regime has had another charming feature: a number of outspoken neo-Nazis in high and low positions, a circumstance embarrassing enough for the US government and mainstream media to turn it into a virtual non-event. US Senator John McCain met and posed for photos with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok (photos easily found on the Internet). Ukraine – whose ties to Naziism go back to World War Two when their homegrown fascists supported Germany and opposed the Soviet Union – is on track to becoming the newest part of the US-NATO military encirclement of Russia and possibly the home of the region’s newest missile base, target Moscow.

It is indeed possible that Flight 17 was shot down by the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine in the mistaken belief that it was the Ukrainian air force returning to carry out another attack. But other explanations are suggested in a series of questions posed by Russia to the the Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by radar information, satellite images, and other technical displays:

“Why was a military aircraft flying in a civil aviation airway at almost the same time and the same altitude as a civilian passenger aircraft? We would like to have this question answered.”

“Earlier, Ukrainian officials stated that on the day of the accident no Ukrainian military aircraft were flying in that area. As you can see, that is not true.”

“We also have a question for our American colleagues. According to a statement by American officials, the United States has satellite images which show that the missile aimed at the Malaysian aircraft was launched by the militants. But no one has seen these images.” 3

There is also this intriguing speculation, which ties in to the first Russian question above. A published analysis by a retired Lufthansa pilot points out that Flight 17 looked similar in its tricolor design to that of Russian President Putin’s plane, whose plane with him on board was at the same time “near” Flight 17. In aviation circles “near” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. 4 Could Putin’s plane have been the real target?

There is as well other serious and plausible questioning of the official story of Russia and/or Ukrainian anti-Kiev militias being responsible for the shootdown. Is Flight 17 going to become the next JFK Assassination, PanAm 103, or 9-11 conspiracy theory that lingers forever? Will the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Syrian chemical weapons be joined by the Russian anti-aircraft missile? Stay tuned…

Excerpted; full article link (with footnotes): http://williamblum.org/aer/read/131