FACEBOOK CENSORS USERS DURING MEDIA BLACKOUT ON PRIVATISATION OF THE NHS


APR 25 2013



They say that you haven’t made it as a blogger until you get censored by Facebook. In which case, I’ve made it. It failed to provoke a sense of validation in me though, just nausea and quiet fury. This is yet another case where bloggers filling the gaps left by the main stream media are finding themselves censored on social media – the printing press of the masses.

Censorship



Yesterday I wrote and published the article The Man Who Pushed a Toy Pig to Downing Street to Save our NHS. It was intended to raise awareness and support for The Artist Taxi Driver’s art based protest of the privatisation on the NHS.

On publishing the article on my Facebook page I was asked (unusually) to fill in a captcha (the little box that asks you to type the letters you see so they know you aren’t a computer). Shortly after, people were reporting that they were being asked to complete captchas to share it. People who tried to open the article were warned by Facebook it was spam and the content unsafe, to dissuade people from reading and sharing the piece. Despite all this, the article spread and had totalled over a thousand shares direct from the blog. Then something weird happened. It disappeared.

The article was removed Facebook, from everywhere it had been shared. It was removed from every personal wall, groups and page where it has appeared. It disappeared from the wall of any user that had posted it. The comments and conversations underway on people’s pages were erased. It was like it had never happened.

I received confused and angry messages from Facebook users who had noticed it vanish from their pages and pages they manage. Now, anyone trying to share it receives the message in the above picture.

This is not an isolated case; Facebook has form on this. Fellow blogger Tom Pride faced the same treatment yesterday when he satirised the Jobcentre and a disgruntled official had his article removed from Facebook as spam. Another Angry Voice has also covered the issue after being branded spam.

More broadly, Facebook has been found censoring users, employing temporary and permanent suspensions of their accounts, after unjustly labelling them as spammers.

Noone Mention the NHS!



The House of Lords debated and approved new S75 regulations which force the NHS to put all but a tiny minority of its services out for competitive tender. The MPs and Lords voting through this legislation were effectively voting to increase their own fortunes. The excellent work of Social Investigations demonstrates this legislation has been prepared and voted through by MPs, Lords and Ladies with a personal financial interest in the outcome.

This should be a scandal. It should be on the front page of every newspaper and the leading item on every news channel in the UK: CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN NHS SELL OFF!

Instead, silence.

This story did not appear on the BBC, ITV or Channel 4 flagship news programmes last night.

In aims to prompt mainstream coverage of the Lords debate, The Artist Taxi Driver (Mark McGowan) crawled four miles across London, pushing a toy pig. He pushed the pig all the way to No. 10 Downing Street, where he handed in a letter signed by his children. He did all this while suffering from bowel cancer. He was followed by hundreds of people with banners and placards while Twitter and Facebook raged with coverage and the #wheresdaddyspig hash tag trended at various points in the day within the UK, and spread around the world. Thousands tuned in to watch live coverage broadcast by individuals via bambuser online.

There was not a single UK based mainstream media article on this extraordinary event. You couldread about it in New York, but not in London.

Yet, for some individual or group, the mainstream media blackout was not enough; they wiped Facebook clean of our dissent too.

Facebook is not your Friend



We must take this as a note of caution and a reminder that Facebook and other social media sites are not free spaces, they are owned by corporations. If someone came and clasped their hand over your mouth in the street, there would be avenues for redress. If Facebook does the same, options are limited. Perhaps the most sinister element of this is not that we cannot now share this article on Facebook, but the disappearance where it had been shared. This could happen to anyone, and it is happening to more of us all the time. Could there come a day when our entire blogs disappear from the web as ‘spam’? Possibly. This is why we cannot overlook these incidences of censorship. All those with an interest in free speech and dissent ignore it at their peril.



Take Action

You can follow me on Facebook and let them know I am not spam

You can contact Facebook and complain about this censorship

Share this article and let people know what’s happening.

The Protest

You can see pictures of the #wheresdaddyspig protest here

You can see videos of the protest here

SOURCE | http://scriptonitedaily.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/facebook-censors-users-during-media-blackout-on-privatisation-of-the-nhs/

Assad; Syria Crisis marks the End of the Uni-polar World and the Rise of the BRICS as Global Power


Christof Lehmann (nsnbc),- In an recent interview, Syria´s President al-Assad stated that the Syria crisis indicates an end to a uni-polar, US-dominated world. On Friday, insurgents shelled the predominantly Christian Damascus suburb Jaramana, killing one, injuring seven, and causing structural damage to several buildings. Meanwhile, the Syrian military continues operations throughout Syria, including the north-eastern areas of Damascus. Assad blamed Turkey for sponsoring terrorism.
In a televised interview with the Turkish channel Ulsal Kanal, the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad accused Turkey of supporting terrorists in Syria. In the interview, al-Assad stressed, that western countries have no right to establish democracy in Syria as they bear responsibility for homicide in the country and the region.
The Syrian President continued the interview, stating, that the crisis in Syria is not a local but an international crisis, and that he believes, that the crisis is an artifact of a struggle between large countries of the world, for changing the existing state borders in the region. The crisis in Syria is as much an international crisis, Assad said, as it is a war that is being waged against his country by the international community.
Al-Assad emphasized, that the establishment of the BRICS has sent the signal to the whole world, that the USA no longer can remain the sole pole of global power, and that others will now have to bear in mind the opinion and interests of the BRICS countries. He continued stating, that the BRICS countries were not assisting his government or the Syrian state per se, but that they instead made an effort for stability in the region.
Al-Assad stressed, that there was a need to fully understand, that if the crisis leads to the breakup of Syria, or if it fills the country with terrorists, then the crisis will inevitably spill over into neighboring countries. He continued stating, that he believes, that “that is why the BRICS is facing up to the West and is foursquare behind the principle of a political settlement in Syria.”
Tayyip ErdoganOn Wednesday al-Assad blamed the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stating, that he has not uttered a single word of truth since the beginning of the crisis, and blamed the Turkish government for being a key backer of the Syrian opposition and state sponsored terrorism.
In a statement released on Thursday, al-Assad criticized the Arab League for handing a seat to the Syrian opposition´s National Coalition, and stated that the Arab League lacks legitimacy. It is a league that represents the Arab states, not a league that represents Arab people. It cannot grant or retract legitimacy, he said.
Al-Assad´s statement, that the rise of the BRICS implies an end to a uni-polar world, dominated by the United States came shortly after the 2013 BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa, and the BRICS member states decision to, among other initiatives, create a BRICS Development Bank as an alternative to the World Bank and the IMF.
The red line, which the BRICS has drawn with regard to Syria, and with the establishment of a BRICS Development Bank are two among a series of red lines and signals which the BRICS has issued over the past month. Some of the western nations however, have responded with covert acts of aggression, which could not only aggravate and widen the conflict in Syria into a wider war, but result in a global currency war as well.
Subsequent to the failure to reach an agreement between the EU and Russia over the European Union´s Third Energy Package, Russian top diplomats have become increasingly assertive and open in their warnings against a widening of the conflict over energy security, which includes Syria.
Emerging Economies at a Crossroads: Yi GangIn early March the Deputy Governor of China´s National Bank, Yi Gang, called on international players to avoid a currency war, stating, “China is fully prepared in terms of monetary policies and other mechanisms, to deal with a possible currency war, and China will take full account of the quantitative easing policy conducted by the central banks of some countries“.
The western response however, seems to be a continuation of aggressive military and economic politics, including among other, the continued aggravation of the crisis in Korea and Syria, the continuation of economic protectionism, enforced by military proxies or direct military intervention in central Africa.
Shortly after the BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa, western media initiated a campaign, positioning the South African President Jacob Zuma as a potential war criminal over the involvement of South African troops in the Central African Republic (CAR), where 13 South African soldiers were killed during attempts to help the government and military of the CAR to prevent a western backed coup d´etat with the help of a “rebel alliance” as proxy.
The concerted campaign against the 2013 BRICS Summit host, South African President Jacob Zuma, led the Russian expert on international law and governance, Alexander Mezyaev, to voice his concerns, that the western backed coup in the Central African Republic may have been a precursor for a coup d´etat in the Republic of South Africa.
There is a general consensus among analysts, that the statement of the Syrian President al-Assad, that the BRICS increased assertiveness spells an end to a US-dominated, uni-polar world. Whether the world will be heading to a global currency war and a widening of the worlds simmering conflicts into an open and direct military confrontation between the two blocks however, is far more uncertain and for the time being difficult to assess.
Related articles:
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 - Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and independent political consultant on conflict and conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues.

BDS , EI AND OTHERS / ELIMINATING THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE VICTORY OF THE RESISTANCE IN LEBANON



All what these BDS movement and Electronic Intifada and all the NGOs working in West Bank and foreign countries care about is preventing the World Solidarity Movement from connecting with the armed Resistance against Israel as personified by Hizbullah of Lebanon and- behind it- the Islamic Republic of Iran . Because now- with the latest development of the last years – the Resistance to Israel or the effective armed Resistance against Israel, has shifted from Palestinian hands to Lebanese hands, in the hands of the heroic freedom fighters of the Lebanese Resistance who evicted the Israeli s from South Lebanon after 18 years of Israeli occupation after which the country became free and the villagers returned to their villages and resumed their lives and activities .

The Lebanese Resistance worked in coordination with Syria and Iran who provided it with weapons , equipment and unconditional support . The Lebanese Resistance of Hizbullah achieved thus the first military victory ever achieved over Israel and- for the first time in Arab history – the Israelis were forced to evacuate occupied Arab land and leave the Lebanese soil without condition and without shameful peace agreements or recognition or normalization with the usurping Israeli state .

This was the greatest Arab victory in year 2000 followed by another victory in year 2006 when the victorious Lebanese Resistance succeeded in defeating Israel and its allies in the war that lasted 33 days after which the Israelis where chased again out of Lebanon without any condition shamefully defeated , fleeing the battlefield and leaving their tanks burning behind them and their equipment all over the place . This Resistance of few determined men led by the most committed leadership succeeded not only in defeating Israel , but succeeded in defeating the allies of Israel and the world order itself on behalf of which Israel was acting .

The sole worry of the World Order- after this shameful defeat that witnessed the fall of the so- called mightiest army in the region and exposed the state of Israel Itself – became first : to isolate this victorious Resistance from its natural Arab and Muslim environment – and to isolate it- next- from the World and International Solidarity Movements against Israel .

As far as Arabs and Muslims are concerned, the World Order -using the fact that this honorable Lebanese Resistance belonged to one sect of Islam – worked on setting one Muslim sect against the other introducing thus the scheme of division and conflict between brothers and launching the war on Syria from the same sectarian stand .This sectarian alignment was supposed to take care of the unity desired to achieve the rallying of Arab and Muslim masses around the victorious armed Resistance to Israel .

Regarding the Solidarity movement against Israel , the World Order created multiple pro Palestinian so called NGOs – among them BDS and EI and so many others that are linked internationally and linked also- in some cases – directly – to the state of Israel. The International Solidarity Movement will be thus prevented from connecting to the actual effective Resistance on the ground- that has achieved real success – and provide it with due help and support, and will be connected – instead- to fictitious groups on the ground financed by and working for the World Order and who promote fictitious goals and fictitious theories about Israel being an Apartheid that needed anti Apartheid policies .

Most of this international activity around Palestine has for goal to isolate and shun the victorious armed Resistance against Israel and not to promote the Palestinian cause as it pretends . It works rather on giving the usurping state the legal status of Apartheid State consecrating thus its legal existence on Palestinian land while pretending to work on its so called segregationist policies.

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NOAM CHOMSKY / US VERSION OF BERNARD HL



Long time no see , no hear , this does not mean that eminent professor Chomsky was idle, there he goes lecturing people and students about the situation. This time, the dull professor -whose dullness is meant to mislead and misinform - reveals again his true affiliations and devotion, except that now he sounds more like a revolutionary rather than a US patriot or a Zionist Jew .

Certainly his beard has grown and Mr. Chomsky of the multi folded agenda and multiple tendencies- ranging from moderate left to Zionism- is now expounding his views about Syria., We had to wait long before our erudite expert grant us the pleasure of hearing his last statements, but it was worth while waiting because what we heard taught us more about the eminent professor than about Syria. 

You have to admit that the eminent professor has been a riddle for a long time. A Zionist unusual figure armed with knowledge, objectivity and notoriety rather than nuclear weapons and bully. A mild Jew who would go to the length of denying the holocaust if this had for effect to increase his fans among Arabs and Muslims and cause him to win the hearts of some lost Palestinians.

The Zionist professor who- according to his soul mate- Finkelstein -of the staged lectures with cries and tears- became a Zionist as early as he learned how to put on his trousers, is now standing with the Syrian revolution against the so called dictatorship of president Assad.

Mind you, the smart sneaky professor - as appears in his statement - does not want- in any way- to be associated with the NATO group who is triggering the Syrian events and backing the so called opposition on the ground, because such an association, would not look good on the record of the free thinker and mild leftist he pretends to be. 

For this reason, we see the eminent professor casting himself aside and presenting himself as a supporter of the so called Syrian revolution declaring that this is in antagonism with the US administration who is backing –according to him – the Syrian dictatorship.

Really! We are here in the presence of real erudition in the form of political Zionist manipulations that we are supposed to believe, and political maneuvers in which we are to partake. Of course the US administration could not be revolutionary; therefore-if revolution there is- then US administration is on the side of dictator, and if revolution is true and it is so - according to Chomsky - then Chomsky is on the revolutionary side against the US.
 
This is neither erudition nor free thought, nor moderate left, this is utter Zionism dressed in something else; this is the kind of reasoning Chomsky must have learned and taught at the linguistic department of the MIT. 

There is logic in the reasoning except that the first premise is false, if there were revolution then all the reasoning would have been correct, and Chomsky could have kept his good place and the US administration would have to back the dictator. But there is no revolution in Syria, and the US is interfering by way of armed hired thugs paid by gulf countries and trained by the CIA in Turkey in order to operate a regime change. This makes this reasoning a well formulated trick and turns Chomsky into a US version of Bernard Henry levy.

by Daniel Mabsout

TWO PLUS TWO EQUALS FOUR



Four Zionists, two good Zionists and two bad ones . That the Jews or anybody else , for that matter , dream of having their own nation ,or anything else , that is fine , especially if they are lying in their bed in their homes while doing so ; they have the right to dream . But if they start dreaming of taking someone else’s land and killing them off and living in their homes and farms and making it their own , this is when things start turning evil for dream is one thing and physical reality is another ; certain religions and cultures require that a man who wrongs someone in a dream apologizes from him upon waking up .. If this dream of a nation is carried out to become an actual reality involving chasing out people from their houses and villages then this is really bad and requires a measure of some sort to stop this violation. We import good things from dream state to waking state and suppress evil things in the waking state.

The Chomsky and Finkelstein syndrome , never go that far in applying ethics to the matter , they never question the right of Israel to exist and, as Zionists, they seem to start all their reasoning from the evident fact of Israel’s right to exist ; this is their starting point and their final point as well , and , between the starting point and the final one they are ready to raise many issues in favor of Palestine and Palestinian rights and give many concessions , but they will not back up on the fundamental point which is Israel’s right to exist , in fact they are so keen on letting it exist that they want to protect Israel from any misadventure or excess of retaliation and reaction that will expose Israel and spoils its image and threatens therefore its existence , . For this reason when the Chomsky /Finkelstein syndrome exposes Israel’s excesses and violations they do so because both of them are intelligent enough to guess the repercussions of such violations on Israel itself , on its existence , survival and reputation and on the other hand to promote an imaginary co existence with Israel (such as a horse with wings) by infiltrating the intelligentsia and creating confusion.

The ethical issue of the original theft , ‘that of the land, is not raised , not even tackled , there is desire to limit the expansion of Israel and call for the formation of a Palestinian state out of sympathy and identification with Israel and not out of recognition of Palestinians’ right for their land which covers the whole of Palestine . There is no doubt that our two dedicated academicians add a scholastic flavor to Zionism, a flavor especially used to fool people like us who go on applauding them and praising them for serving Israel and helping Israel acquire an irreversible legitimacy and recognition while Arabs and Palestinians should be satisfied with the horse with wings.

Chomsky and Finkelstein both secure for Israel the academic laisser passer that makes Israel turn from a racist country to a some sort of “legitimate”country that hosts a certain culture and a religion namely : the Jewish one.The other two bad Zionists are non other than ‘Azmi Beshara and Bernard Henry Levy and each one of them is a school by himself . Azmi Beshara acquired the status of Arab thinker until he ended up in the arms of prince Khalifa of Qatar heading in Dawha a research center and working for the pro Zionist project of the prince . This is when we discovered that the Arab thinker stinks more than he thinks ,and serves an agenda that benefits Israel in the first place, and this after playing the victim and fooling Arabs claiming that he was the victim of Israel’s ban and eviction and acquiring thus their sympathy , support and respect . Evidently he was endowed with the mission to acquire this sympathy and support and direct them to Israel , mission in which he succeeded for some time , until many Arabs discovered the truth of his fake endeavor and fake personality.

As for the other Jew : Bernard Henry Levy , he stinks too much to have anything to add to the matter.



North Korea and the United States: Will the Real Aggressor Please Stand Down?



Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, March 05, 2013

President Obama views the DMZ from S. Korea, March 2012.
President Obama views the DMZ from S. Korea, March 2012.
US political leaders and media pundits trumpet North Korea’s recent testing of missiles and nuclear weapons as a great threat. But the US mass media do not tell the whole story. Without the context of history and current events, the actions of North Korea look insane, but when put in context we find that the United States is pushing North Korea on this path. North Korea is really not a significant threat compared to what the United States is doing with nuclear weapons, the Asia Pivot and war games off the Korean coast. In this article, we seek greater understanding by putting ourselves in the place of North Korea.
Historical Context: Korea, a Pawn for Big Power, Brutalized by the United States
The history between Korea and the United States goes back to the late 1800s when the US had completed its manifest destiny across North America and was beginning to build a global empire.  In 1871, more than 700 US marines and sailors landed on Kanghwa beach in west Korea, seeking to begin US colonization (a smaller US invasion occurred in 1866).  They destroyed five forts, inflicting as many as 650 Korean casualties. The US withdrew, realizing it would need a much larger force to succeed, but this was the largest military force to land outside the Americas until the 1898 war in the Philippines. S. Brian Willson reports that this invasion is still discussed in North Korea, but it has been erased from the history in South Korea as well as in the United States.
Korea succumbed to Japanese rule beginning in 1905, often serving as a pawn between Japanese conflicts with China and Russia. This was a brutal occupation. A major revolt for Korean democracy occurred on March 1, 1919, when a declaration of independence was read in Seoul. Two million Koreans participated in 1,500 protests. The Koreans also appealed to major powers meeting in Versailles after World War I, but were ignored as Japan was given control over the East. The Japanese viciously put down the democracy movement. Iggy Kim, in Green Left, reports they “beheaded children, crucified Christians and carried out scores of other atrocities. More than 7,500 people were killed and 16,000 were injured.”
Near the end of World War II, as Japan was weakened, Korean “People’s Committees” formed all over the country and Korean exiles returned from China, the US and Russia to prepare for independence and democratic rule. On September 6, 1945, these disparate forces and representatives of the people’s committees proclaimed a Korean People’s Republic (the KPR) with a progressive agenda of land reform, rent control, an eight-hour work day and minimum wage among its 27-point program.
But the KPR was prevented from becoming a reality. Instead, after World War II and without Korean representation, the US quite arbitrarily decided with Russia, China and England, to divide Korea into two nations “temporarily” as part of its decolonization. The powers agreed that Japan should lose all of its colonies and that in “due course” Korea would be free. Korea was divided on the 38th parallel.  The US made sure to keep the capital, Seoul, and key ports.  Essentially, the US took as much of Korea as it thought the Russians would allow. This division planted the seeds of the Korean War, causing a five-year revolution and counter-revolution that escalated into the Korean War.
Initially, the South Koreans welcomed the United States, but US Gen. John Hodge, the military governor of South Korea working under Gen. Douglas MacArthur, quickly brought Koreans who had cooperated with the Japanese during occupation into the government and shut out Koreans seeking democracy. He refused to meet with representatives of the KPR and banned the party, working instead with the right wing Korean Democratic Party – made up of landlords, land owners, business interests and pro-Japanese collaborators.
Shut out of politics, Koreans who sought an independent democratic state took to other methods and a mass uprising occurred.  A strike against the railroads in September 1946 by 8,000 railway workers in Pusan quickly grew into a general strike of workers and students in all of the South’s major cities. The US military arrested strike leaders en masse. In Taegu, on Oct. 1, huge riots occurred after police smashed picket lines and fired into a crowd of student demonstrators, killing three and wounding scores. In Yongchon, on Oct. 3, 10,000 people attacked the police station and killed more than 40 police, including the county chief. Some 20 landlords and pro-Japanese officials were also killed.  A few days later, the US military declared martial law to crush the uprising. They fired into large crowds of demonstrators in numerous cities and towns, killing and wounding an unknown number of people.
Syngman Rhee, an exile who had lived in the US for 40 years, was returned to Korea on MacArthur’s personal plane. He initially allied with left leaders to form a government approved of by the US. Then in 1947, he dispensed with his “left” allies by assassinating their leaders, Kim Ku and Kim Kyu-Shik. Rhee consolidated power andthe US pushed for United Nations-sponsored elections in May 1948 to put a legal imprimatur on the divided Koreas.  Rhee was elected at 71 years old in an election boycotted by most parties who saw it as sham. He came to power in the midst of an insurgency.
On Jeju Island, the largest Korean island lying in a strategic location in the Korea Strait, there continued to be protests against the US military government. It was one of the last areas where people’s committees continued to exist. Gen. Hodge told Congress Jeju was “a truly communal area that is peacefully controlled by the People’s Committee,” but he organized its extermination in a scorched-earth attack. In September, Rhee’s new government launched a massive counterinsurgency operation under US command.  S. Brian Willson reports it resulted in the killing of “60,000 Islanders, with another 40,000 desperately fleeing in boats to Japan. Thus, one-third of its residents were either murdered or fled during the ‘extermination’ campaign. Nearly 40,000 homes were destroyed and 270 of 400 villages were leveled.” It was an ugly attack, Iggy Kim notes: “Torture, mutilation, gang rape and arbitrary execution were rife. . . a quarter of the Jeju population had been massacred. The US embassy happily reported: ‘The all-out guerilla extermination campaign came to a virtual end in April with order restored and most rebels and sympathizers killed, captured, or converted.’” This was the single greatest massacre in modern Korean history and a warning of what was to come in the Korean War. As we will see, Jeju is part of the story in today’s US Asian escalation.
More brutality occurred on mainland Korea. On October 19, dissident soldiers in the port city of Yosu rose up in opposition to the war in Jeju. About 2,000 insurgent soldiers took control of the city. By Oct. 20, a number of nearby towns had also been liberated and the People’s Committee was reinstated as the governing body. People’s courts were established to try police officers, landlords, regime officials and other supporters of the Rhee dictatorship. This rebellion was suppressed by a bloodletting, planned and directed by the US military.
The Korean War followed. S. Brian Willson summarizes the war:
“The Korean War that lasted from June 1950 to July 1953 was an enlargement of the 1948-50 struggle of Jeju Islanders to preserve their self-determination from the tyrannical rule of US-supported Rhee and his tiny cadre of wealthy constituents. Little known is that the US-imposed division of Korea in 1945 against the wishes of the vast majority of Koreans was the primary cause of the Korean War that broke out five years later. The War destroyed by bombing most cities and villages in Korea north of the 38th Parallel, and many south of it, while killing four million Koreans – three million (one-third) of the north’s residents and one million of those living in the south, in addition to killing one million Chinese. This was a staggering international crime still unrecognized that killed five million people and permanently separated 10 million Korean families.”
Bragging about the massacre, USAF Strategic Air Command head General Curtis LeMay, who blanket-bombed Japan in World War II and later ran for vice president with segregationist George Wallace, summed it up well, “Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.”  Willson corrects LeMay, writing “it is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8-9 million people during the 37-month long ‘hot’ war, 1950-1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to belligerence of another.”
Context Today: Korea Targeted, Mock Attacks, Learning from Iraq and Libya and the Asia Pivot
This historical context results in North Korea taking the threats of the United States very seriously. It knows the US has been willing to kill large portions of its population throughout history and has seen what the US has done to other countries.
In 2002, President George W. Bush labeled North Korea part of the “axis of evil” along with Iraq and Iran.  S. Brian Willson traveled 900 ground miles through six of North Korea’s nine provinces, as well as Pyongyang, the capital, and several other cities, talking with dozens of people from all walks of life; all wanted to know about the “axis of evil” speech.  He found that North Koreans “simply cannot understand why the US is so obsessed with them.”
Of course, the North Korean government witnessed the “shock and awe” campaign of bombardments against Iraq and the killing of at least hundreds of thousands (credible research shows more than 1 million Iraqis killed, 4.5 million displaced, 1-2 million widows and 5 million orphans). They saw the brutal killing by hanging of the former US ally, now turned into an enemy, Saddam Hussein.
And, they can look to the experience of Libya. Libya was an enemy but then began to develop positive relations with the US. In 2003, Libya halted its program to build a nuclear bomb in an effort to mend its relations with the US.  Then last year Libya was overthrown in a US-supported war and its leader Moammar Gadhafi was brutally killed. As Reuters reports, “‘The tragic consequences in those countries which abandoned halfway their nuclear programs… clearly prove that the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) was very far-sighted and just when it made the (nuclear) option,’ North Korea’s KCNA news agency said.”
The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea. In November 2012 the US upgraded its weapons systems and announced an agreement with Japan that would allow South Korea to bomb anywhere in North Korea.  In June 2012 the Pentagon announced that Gen.l Neil H. Tolley would be removed as commander of US Special Operations in South Korea after he revealed to a Japanese foreign affairs publication that American and South Korean troops had been parachuting into North Korea on spy missions.
US troops and bases are not popular. Protests erupted in 2002 after two Korean woman were killed and a court martial found the US soldiers not guilty of negligent manslaughter.  Several pubs and restaurants put up signs saying “Americans Not Welcome Here.” In an August 2005 protest against US troops by 1,100 people, 10 were injured by police. One month before that, 100 were injured in a protest.  In 2006 protesters occupied land on which the US planned to expand a base, resulting in a conflict and their eviction followed by installing barbed wire around the area to protect it from South Koreans.  The South Korean government banned a rally that was expected to draw more than 10,000 protesters.
South Korea and the US regularly hold military exercises off the Korean coast, which North Korea describes as planning for an invasion. The United States claims these exercises are defensive in nature to assure preparedness.  Prior to the recent nuclear test, Seoul and Washington conducted a joint naval exercise with a US nuclear submarine off South Korea’s east coast, followed by a joint air force drill as well as live weapon exercises near a disputed sea boundary between North and South Korea.
These drills have gotten more aggressive during the Obama administration and since the death of Kim Jong-il, as outlined by geopolitical analyst Jen Alic here:
•”The first joint military exercises between the US and South Korea since Kim Jong-il’s death suddenly changed their nature, with new war games including pre-emptive artillery attacks on North Korea.
• Another amphibious landing operation simulation took on vastly larger proportions following Kim Jong-il’s death (the sheer amount of equipment deployed was amazing: 13 naval vessels, 52 armored vessels, 40 fighter jets and 9,000 US troops).
• South Korean officials began talking of Kim Jong-il’s death as a prime opportunity to pursue a regime-change strategy.
• South Korea unveiled a new cruise missile that could launch a strike inside North Korea and is working fast to increase its full-battery range to strike anywhere inside North Korea.
• South Korea openly began discussing asymmetric warfare against North Korea.
• The US military’s Key Resolve Foal Eagle computerized war simulation games suddenly changed, too, simulating the deployment of 100,000 South Korean troops on North Korean territory following a regime change.
• Japan was brought on board, allowing the US to deploy a second advanced missile defense radar system on its territory and the two carried out unprecedented war games.
• It is also not lost on anyone that despite what on the surface appears to be the US’ complete lack of interest in a new South Korean naval base that is in the works, this base will essentially serve as an integrated missile defense system run by the US military and housing Aegis destroyers.”
North Korea has shown anger at these drills.  In response to the announcement of the  largest annual joint exercises for US and South Korean troops scheduled for March and April of this year, in a rare direct message to US Gen. James Thurman, North Korea warned the top American commander in South Korea on Feb. 23 of “miserable destruction” if the US military presses ahead with the joint drills with South Korea set to begin next month.
Add to these drills the “Asia Pivot” President Obama is implementing, which will result in 60 percent of the US Navy being moved to Asia, and one can understand why North Korea believes that it is necessary to have nuclear weapons.  Part of this Asia Pivot includes Jeju Island, where the US military is trying to install a massive Navy base.  The village of Gangjeong, where the base is to be built, and the elected assembly of Jeju Island have voted to stop the naval base construction. The people of Jeju have mounted protests and resistance efforts against the base. But the base is a key location for the Asia Pivot.  Jeju faces Shanghai across the East China Sea, the South China Sea lies south of the island, and the mainland of South Korea lies to the north.
Jeju – designated as the “Peace Island” as part of an apology for the 1948 massacre – is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a destination for honeymooners. BruceGagnon visited Jeju Island twice and reported on the protests there, which include the mayor of Gangjeong being arrested in protest and Professor Yang Yoon-Mo, who is now in jail on a hunger strike.  This is his third hunger strike. The previous one lasted 74 days and he almost died. Gagnon works with the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
Beyond that, as S. Brian Willson points out, the US is remaking its nuclear arsenal so that nuclear weapons can be used in a war. Three weeks before his “Axis of Evil” speech, President Bush presented a “Nuclear Posture Review” report to Congress that ordered the Pentagon to prepare contingency plans for use of nuclear weapons. The first designated targets for nuclear attack were the “axis of evil” members – along with Syria, Libya, Russia, and China.  The US remains the only country to have used nuclear weapons against another nation. The US has approximately 5,113 nuclear warheads, including tactical, strategic, and non-deployed weapons. According to the latest official New START Treaty declaration, the United States actively positions 1,722 strategic nuclear warheads on 806 deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers.  
While calling for a world without nuclear weapons, President Obama has instead continued Bush’s plan and  has increased the budget for nuclear weapons. He has been giving the nuclear arsenal a massive and costly overhaul, modernizing the land-sea-air combination of planes, submarines and missiles that deliver nuclear bombs and warheads. Obama made a commitment in a letter to the Senate in February 2011 to accelerate, “to the extent possible,” the design and engineering of a new plutonium facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico while sustaining a facility in Tennessee.  What would a North Korean leader think of all this?
And when it comes to talks with North Korea, there is no progress. As our guests on “Clearing the FOG” – Bruce Gagnon and Elliot Adams, both active with Veterans for Peace – pointed out: China encourages talks, but the US refuses.  Gagnon and Adams suggest a first step would be a peace treaty with North Korea – an end to the Korean War, something that was never agreed because the fighting ended in a truce. The US needs to stop boxing North Korea into a corner with escalating rhetoric, military actions off its coast and crippling sanctions, and allow North Korea into the community of nations.
Once again, Korea is a pawn in a bigger battle between the US and China and Russia. Countries like Australia and Japan have joined the US and NATO, which has also been brought into the Asian Pivot. As Gagnon points out, North Korea is very independent and does not want to be anyone’s puppet and feels it must always show it is ready to defend itself. Adams adds, the US military does not fear “pipsqueak” North Korea with their low tech missiles and bombs, but in the media they use every test by North Korea as an excuse to escalate. Adams clarifies, “the US military needs a bogeyman to justify spending 60 percent of US discretionary spending on an insane, incompetent and bloated military.”
The solution begins with the American people understanding what is really going on in Asia and the Koreas. When the context is examined, and Americans try to stand in the shoes of North Korea, a different picture emerges. This is not easy with the misinformation and inadequate reporting by the mass media, which is complicit with the escalation, but this contextual understanding is essential as the US increases military action in Asia, threatens China and uses North Korea as an excuse.
You can hear our interview with Bruce Gagnon and Elliott Adams on North Korea, Nuclear Weapons and US Expansion into Asia and Space on Clearing the FOG Radio(podcast).
This article war originally published at Truth-out.

The war danger in Korea - Pentagon’s false propaganda conceals truth about crisis



MARCH 29, 2013
A B-2 can drop up to eighty 500 lb (230 kg) GPS-guided bombs, or sixteen 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs.
This statement was originally published on the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) website.
The American war propaganda machine does a thorough job in misleading the public about the high-stakes struggle the Pentagon is waging against North Korea.
On March 28, the Obama administration ordered and the Pentagon executed a mock bombing attack on North Korea by U.S. B-2 stealth bombers equipped to drop nuclear bombs—the most advanced nuclear-capable plane in the U.S. Air Force. In recent months, the U.S. has also used nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to simulate the bombing of North Korea.
The B-2s, each of which costs taxpayers more than $3 billion, dropped inert bombs near North Korea.
It is not necessary to speculate how the United States would react if North Korea sent nuclear-capable bombers close to U.S. territory and dropped inert bombs as part of a “war game.” 
By itself, this B-2 mock bombing of North Korea cost approximately $5.5 million, according to Foreign Policy magazine. The B-2 flights by some estimates cost $135,000 per hour—almost double that of any other military airplane, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity.
The U.S. carpet-bombed North Korea for three years
It is not possible to overstate the impact on North Korea of this week’s simulated destruction of their country and people by U.S. war planes.
Between 1950 and 1953, U.S. bombers carpet-bombed North Korea so relentlessly that a main complaint of U.S. pilots became the absence of anything left to bomb.
Between 1950 and 1953, U.S. bombers carpet-bombed North Korea so relentlessly that a main complaint of U.S. pilots became the absence of anything left to bomb. By July 1953, when an armistice was signed ending open military hostilities, there was not one structure standing higher than one story left in North Korea.
More than 5 million Koreans died during the war, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1967. They died from bombs and bullets. They died from disease and exposure to the cold. They died in horrific massacres committed by retreating U.S. troops, who burned “pro-communist villages” as they were fleeing in retreat from North Korea in the face of a surprise counteroffensive launched by Chinese and North Korean units in late October 1950.
It was the United States that remained after the armistice to occupy South Korea with tens of thousands of troops. The Pentagon required that its occupying troops be exempted from ever having to stand before Korean courts if they were charged with the murder or rape of Korean citizens. South Korea’s military dictators, who had earlier served as proxies of the Japanese occupation forces prior to 1945, were more than happy to oblige their new bosses.
Pentagon backed the military dictatorship in South Korea
Under the tight control and supervision of the Pentagon, a brutal military dictatorship ruled South Korea for decades.
In 1961, General Park Chung-hee, formerly an officer in the Japanese Manchuko Imperial Army during the time of Japan’s brutal colonial occupation of Korea, seized power and held it until his assassination by other military officers in 1979. Any South Korean person who said anything sympathetic about communism, socialism or North Korea was sentenced to decades-long prison terms where torture was a given.
South Korea’s current president, Park Geun-hye, is the daughter of General Park Chung-hee. 
The role of the Pentagon and its continuing occupation has been decisive in Korean politics. After the assassination of Park Chung-hee, massive protests were staged in May 1980 against the military dictatorship in the South Korean city of Kwangju.
The pro-democracy movement in Kwangju was labeled “communist-inspired” and the rebellion was crushed in blood. More than 2,000 people were killed May 18 to 27, 1980. Later released secret documents revealed that it was the top brass of the U.S. occupation force that authorized soldiers of the Korean Army's 20th Division to be sent to Kwangju to suppress the protesting students. 
The Pentagon and the South Korean military today—and throughout the past year—have been staging massive war games that simulate the invasion and bombing of North Korea. 
Few people in the United States know the real situation. The work of the war propaganda machine is designed to make sure that the American people do not join together to demand an end to the dangerous and threatening actions of the Pentagon on the Korean Peninsula.
The propaganda campaign is in full swing now as the Pentagon climbs the escalation ladder in the most militarized part of the planet. North Korea is depicted as the provocateur and aggressor whenever they assert that they have the right and capability to defend their country. Even as the Pentagon simulates the nuclear destruction of a country that it had already tried to bomb into the stone-age, the corporate-owned media characterizes this extremely provocative act as a sign of “resolve” and a measure of “self-defense.”
As the Pentagon climbs the escalation ladder, North Korea will climb too. That is often how wars start.
The North Korea media yesterday reported Kim Jong-un "convened an urgent operation meeting" of senior generals just after midnight, signed a rocket preparation plan and ordered his forces on standby to strike the U.S. mainland, South Korea, Guam and Hawaii, state media reported. (AP, March 29)
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The Lies of Hiroshima Live on


The lies of Hiroshima live on, props in the war crimes of the 20th century

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The 1945 attack was murder on an epic scale. In its victims' names, we must not allow a nuclear repeat in the Middle East


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When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then walked down to the river and met a man called Yukio, whose chest was still etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

He and his family still lived in a shack thrown up in the dust of an atomic desert. He described a huge flash over the city, "a bluish light, something like an electrical short", after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. "I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead." Nine years later, when I returned to look for him, he was dead from leukaemia.

In the immediate aftermath of the bomb, the allied occupation authorities banned all mention of radiation poisoning and insisted that people had been killed or injured only by the bomb's blast. It was the first big lie. "No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin" said the front page of the New York Times, a classic of disinformation and journalistic abdication, which the Australian reporter Wilfred Burchett put right with his scoop of the century. "I write this as a warning to the world," reported Burchett in the Daily Express, having reached Hiroshima after a perilous journey, the first correspondent to dare. He described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries but who were dying from what he called "an atomic plague". For telling this truth, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared - and vindicated.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a criminal act on an epic scale. It was premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. For this reason its apologists have sought refuge in the mythology of the ultimate "good war", whose "ethical bath", as Richard Drayton called it, has allowed the west not only to expiate its bloody imperial past but to promote 60 years of rapacious war, always beneath the shadow of The Bomb.

The most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and save lives. "Even without the atomic bombing attacks," concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, "air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that ... Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."

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The National Archives in Washington contain US government documents that chart Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the US dispels any doubt that the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including "capitulation even if the terms were hard". Instead, the US secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was "fearful" that the US air force would have Japan so "bombed out" that the new weapon would not be able "to show its strength". He later admitted that "no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb". His foreign policy colleagues were eager "to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip". General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the bomb, testified: "There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis." The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the "overwhelming success" of "the experiment".

Since 1945, the United States is believed to have been on the brink of using nuclear weapons at least three times. In waging their bogus "war on terror", the present governments in Washington and London have declared they are prepared to make "pre-emptive" nuclear strikes against non-nuclear states. With each stroke toward the midnight of a nuclear Armageddon, the lies of justification grow more outrageous. Iran is the current "threat". But Iran has no nuclear weapons and the disinformation that it is planning a nuclear arsenal comes largely from a discredited CIA-sponsored Iranian opposition group, the MEK - just as the lies about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction originated with the Iraqi National Congress, set up by Washington.

The role of western journalism in erecting this straw man is critical. That America's Defence Intelligence Estimate says "with high confidence" that Iran gave up its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 has been consigned to the memory hole. That Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never threatened to "wipe Israel off the map" is of no interest. But such has been the mantra of this media "fact" that in his recent, obsequious performance before the Israeli parliament, Gordon Brown alluded to it as he threatened Iran, yet again.

This progression of lies has brought us to one of the most dangerous nuclear crises since 1945, because the real threat remains almost unmentionable in western establishment circles and therefore in the media. There is only one rampant nuclear power in the Middle East and that is Israel. The heroic Mordechai Vanunu tried to warn the world in 1986 when he smuggled out evidence that Israel was building as many as 200 nuclear warheads. In defiance of UN resolutions, Israel is today clearly itching to attack Iran, fearful that a new American administration might, just might, conduct genuine negotiations with a nation the west has defiled since Britain and America overthrew Iranian democracy in 1953.

In the New York Times on July 18, the Israeli historian Benny Morris, once considered a liberal and now a consultant to his country's political and military establishment, threatened "an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland". This would be mass murder. For a Jew, the irony cries out.

The question begs: are the rest of us to be mere bystanders, claiming, as good Germans did, that "we did not know"? Do we hide ever more behind what Richard Falk has called "a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted violence"? Catching war criminals is fashionable again. Radovan Karadzic stands in the dock, but Sharon and Olmert, Bush and Blair do not. Why not? The memory of Hiroshima requires an answer.