Saturday, June 9, 2018

North Korea's View - And Something We Should Consider

The Korean War Is Remembered As Ugly And Harsh
Under the category of "sometimes you don't know what you don't know" may be the fact that North Korea claims a long list of grievances against America dating back to right after World War II. A blog site that I follow by the name of Viable Opposition which has a reputation for good research recently published an article titled; "War Crimes in Korea - Guilty as Charged" where it presented some rather damning evidence of U.S. crimes in Korea leading up to and during the Korean War. Many of these are contained and revealed in a 1952 report issued by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), A Non-Governmental Organization.

Most Americans take a dim view of North Korea and see its government as evil to the core. For years Americans have been told how the harsh oppressive regime has been responsible for the deaths of millions of its citizens from starvation.  Life for most of North Korea’s 25 million people is grim with frequent nationwide famines due to a combination of bad weather and regime mismanagement of the economy. Tough methods are often used to keep the North Korean people under control which means human rights monitors are generally banned from the country and very little radio communication between citizens and outsiders is allowed. This means many North Koreans do not even know just how poor and backward the country is.

Singapore Bask In The Hope The Summit Will Go Well
This all becomes rather important considering the Trump-Kim summit scheduled to be held at a luxury resort on the island of Sentosa in Singapore on June 12th. Singapore’s role as host of the summit comes with significant expenses, including extensive security measures. Former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman said. “For Singapore, the benefits of hosting the summit clearly outweigh the costs. Singapore understands the value of being a good global citizen." Hosting the summit further develops Singapore’s reputation as a place where East meets West.

While China is not a recognized player in the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un they will be busy protecting their interest. This means U.S. officials will be prepared to counter a wide variety of spying techniques Beijing might use to get all they can out of assisting America and North Korea in reaching an agreement. If China offers to guarantee to place North Korea under an umbrella of safety such a move would go a long way in allowing Kim to consider giving up his nuclear arsenal. Americans are naive if they think China won't exact a price for this cooperation whether it is stepping away from Taiwan, standing down in the South China Sea or allowing China to continue to abuse us in trade.

The report sighted at the beginning of this article is so damning it is very difficult and almost un-American to take it to heart, however, we should also remember that war has a way of turning the enemy into monsters. This allows inhuman acts not only to occur but to be justified. Viable Opposition should be applauded for finding what most of us would consider a rather obscure document that has been buried in time that might help us understand why the Korean peninsula has never been able to heal and families remain torn apart and separated after so many decades. The war, of course, followed World War II pitting  America against the spread of Russian and Chinese influence at a time of elevated fear. War is ugly and emotions run high which means soldiers retaliate when they see their brothers killed.

The IADL found many things that will bother Americans. The commission indicated that American forces in Korea used bacteriological warfare against both the DPRK armed forces and the nations civilian population even using insects to spread disease. In addition on various occasions, American planes spread asphyxiating and other gases which fall into the category of chemical weapons. Even more troubling and supported by witnesses are huge mass massacres and intentional attacks on civilians. The bottom-line is the unanimous conclusion was the United States was guilty of crimes against humanity during the Korean War and that there was a pattern of behavior which constitutes genocide.

Viable Opposition backs this up with the more recent conclusion of the 2001 Korea International War Crimes Tribunal which examined the testimony of civilians from both North and South Korea. It reports that each of the nineteen separate crimes alleged in the initial complaint they looked at has been established to have been committed beyond a reasonable doubt. This is no small thing, from the middle of 1950 to 1953 the conservative western estimate is that over 4.6 million Koreans perished. This includes 3 million civilians in the north and half a million in the south. Again, terms such as abundant evidence of genocidal U.S. conduct, systematic leveling of buildings, deliberate destruction, illegal use of biological and chemical weapons, mass rapes. widespread atrocities committed by U.S. and ROK forces against civilians and prisoners of war are used. This was backed up by documentary and eyewitness evidence.

Less known was that in the five years prior to this the Tribunal concluded the US government acted to divide Korea against the will of the people opposing and disrupting plans for any peaceful reunification. They reported during this time we trained, directed. and supported the ROK in the murder, imprisonment, torture, surveillance, and harassment of hundreds of thousands of individuals and groups that were sympathetic to the north or considered nationalist. This included even peasants seeking land reform and union organizers. To make matters worse it seems the U.S. government systematically manipulated, controlled, directed, misinformed and restricted press and media coverage in a way that allowed all this to unfold.

Sadly, what I have written is a very watered-down version of what was presented in the Viable Opposition piece linked at the beginning of this article which I strongly urge you to read. To be quite frank I was appalled at the allegations levied against America but knowing how facts are twisted and propaganda is used by governments I should not have been. In no way is it my intention for you to think I'm soft on North Korea, however, if any validity at all exists to the claims made in the 1952 IADL and the 2001 Tribunal reports some of North Korea's fear and distrust of America becomes more understandable.

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