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North Korea and the "Axis of Evil"

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  • Romi Elnagar
    North Korea and the “Axis of Evil” By Brian Willson Global Research, April 04, 2013 Global Research 22 April 2004
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 4, 2013
      North Korea and the “Axis of Evil”
      By Brian Willson
      Global Research, April 04, 2013
      Global Research 22 April 2004

      This article by award winning author, peace activist  and Vietnam war veteran Brian Willson brings to light the process of demonization directed against the people of North Korea.
      In the words of General Curtis Lemay who led the bombing raids
      during the Korean war:  “Over a period of three years or so we killed
      off – what – twenty percent of the population.” 
      According to Brian Willson:
      “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 the belligerance of another.”
      Let us carefully analyze the current context of confrontation between Washington and Pyongyang. Since the end of the Korean War, the DPRK has repeatedly put forward a
      proposal involving  a peace treaty, the reunificaiton of North and South Korea,  the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea, the end of the conduct, on a yearly basis of  a month-long U.S-South Korean war games.
      This year’s US-South Korea war games involving a “hypothical” US
      nuclear attack against the DPRK initiated in mid-March constitute an act of provocation.
      The media consensus which nobody dare to challenge is that North Korea is a “rogue state”  and a threat to global security. 
      Where is the threat, North  Korea or the US?
      A pre-emptive nuclear war against North Korea has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for over half a century.
      Lets ask ourselves the question: Who is the Killer State? Who
      Possesses the WMDs? Who has the money and military hardware to pursue a
      global military agenda, in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East?

      How could a small country of 25 million which lost 30 percent of
      its population as a result of US bombings in the 1950s constitute a
      threat to global security.
      Why is this impoverished country –which has been the object of economic sanctions for the past sixty years– being threatened? 
      Since the end of the Korean war the threat of a US led nuclear has been relentless, over more than half a century.  Is Washington committed to world peace or do want to literally “wipe off the map”
      countries whichare openly opposed to US expansionism?
      Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, April 5, 2013

      [This article was first published by Global Research in April 2004]
      North Korea and the “Axis of Evil”
      by S. Brian Willson
      The demonization of North Korea by the United States government
      continues unrelentlessly. The wealthy oil and baseball man who claims to be president of the United States, used his first State of the Union
      address on January 29, 2002 to brand perennial enemy North Korea, along
      with former allies Iran and Iraq, as “the world’s most dangerous
      regimes” who now now form a threatening “axis of evil.” Unbeknown to the public, because it was intended to have remained a secret (whoops!),
      was the fact that this claimed president presented a “Nuclear Posture
      Review” report to Congress only three weeks earlier, on January 8, which ordered the Pentagon to prepare contingency plans for use of nuclear
      weapons. The first designated targets for nuclear attack were his newly
      identified members of the “axis of evil,” along with four other lucky
      nations as well – Syria, Libya, Russia, and China. That this is nothing
      short of a policy of ultimate terror remains unaddressed in the U.S.
      That Koreans are deeply concerned is an understatement. However, they understand the context in which their “evil” is being portrayed, not an altogether new threat levelled at them. However, the dangerous
      escalation of policy rhetoric following the 9-11 tragedy now boldly
      warns the world of virtual total war. Vice-president Richard Cheney,
      another oil man from Texas, declares that the U.S. is now considering
      military actions against forty to fifty nations, and that the war “may
      never end” and “become a permanent part of the way we live.”1 The
      Pentagon has declared that the widening gap between the “Haves” and
      “Have-nots” poses a serious challenge to the U.S., requiring a doctrine
      of “full spectrum dominance.” Thus, the U.S. demands total capacity to
      conquer every place and its inhabitants in and around the Earth, from
      deep underground bunkers, including those in North Korea and Iraq,
      through land, sea, and air, to outer space. All options for achieving
      global and spatial hegemony are now on the table. Already, the U.S.
      military is deployed in 100 different countries.2 Total war, permanent
      war. Terror!
      Addiction to use of terror by the United States is nothing new. The
      civilization was founded and has been sustained by use of terror as a
      primary policy. For example, in 1779, General George Washington ordered
      destruction of the “merciless Indian savages” of upstate New York,
      instructing his generals to “chastize” them with “terror.” The generals
      dutifully carried out these orders. In 1866, General William Tecumseh
      Sherman ordered “extermination” with vindictive earnestness of the
      Sioux. They were virtually exterminated. Secretary of War Elihu Root
      (1899-1904) under President’s McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, justified the ruthless U.S. military conduct in the Philippines that savagely
      killed a half-million citizens by citing “precedents of the highest
      authority:” Washington’s and Sherman’s earlier orders.3
      War against nations around the world is not new either. The U.S.,
      over its history, has militarily intervened over 400 times, covertly
      thousands of times, in over one hundred nations.4 Virtually all these
      interventions have been lawless. It has bombed at least eighteen nations since it dropped Atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. It has used chemical
      warfare against Southeast Asia, and has provided chemical warfare agents for use by other nations such as Iraq. It has used biological warfare
      against China, North Korea, and Cuba. The Koreans are quite aware of
      most of this history. Most U.S. Americans are not. But now the U.S. has
      declared a unilateral terrorist war on the whole world.5
      Two of the interventions in the Nineteenth Century were inflicted
      against Korea, the first in 1866. The second, larger one, in 1871,
      witnessed the landing of over 700 marines and sailors on Kanghwa beach
      on the west side of Korea seeking to establish the first phases of
      colonization. Destroying several forts while inflicting over 600
      casualties on the defending Korean natives, the U.S. withdrew realizing
      that in order to assure hegemonic success, a much larger, permanent
      military presence would be necessary. The North Korean people regularly
      remark about this U.S. invasion, even though most in South Korea do not
      know of it due to historic censorship. Most in the U.S. don’t know about it either, for similar reasons, even though in all of the Nineteenth
      Century, this was the largest U.S. military force to land on foreign
      soil outside of Mexico and Canada until the “Spanish American War” in
      Pyongyang. Capital of the DPRK
      I believe it important for U.S. Americans to place themselves in the
      position of people living in targeted countries. That North Korea, a
      nation of 24 million people, i.e., one-twentieth the population of the
      U.S., many of them poor, a land slightly larger in area than the U.S.
      state of Pennsylvania, continues to be one of the most demonized nations and least understood, totally perplexes the Korean people. It is
      worthwhile to seek an understanding of their perspective.
      I recently visited that nation and talked with a number of her
      citizens. I travelled 900 ground miles through six of North Korea’s nine provinces, as well as spending time in Pyongyang, the capital, and
      several other cities. I talked with dozens of people from all walks of
      life. Though times have been hard for North Koreans, especially in the
      1990s, they long ago proudly rebuilt all of their dozens of cities,
      thousands of villages, and hundreds of dykes and dams destroyed during
      the war.
      U.S. interference into the sovereign life of Korea immediately upon the 1945 surrender of the hated Japanese, who had occupied the
      Korean Peninsula for forty years, is one of the major crimes of the
      Twentieth Century, from which the Korean people have never recovered.
      (SEE “United States Government War Crimes,” Spring 2002 – issue # 1 of Global Outlook). From a North Korean’s perspective they (1) have vigorously opposed the
      unlawful and egregious division of their country from day one to the
      present, (2) were blamed for starting the “Korean War” which in fact had been a struggle between a minority of wealthy Koreans supporting
      continued colonization in collaboration with the U.S. and those majority Koreans who opposed it, (3) proudly and courageously held the U.S. and
      its “crony U.N. allies” to a stalemate during the “War,” and (4) have
      been tragically and unfairly considered a hostile nation ever since.
      They have not forgotten the forty years of Japanese occupation that
      preceded the U.S. imposed division and subsequent occupation that
      continues in the South. They deeply yearn for reunification of their
      historically unified culture.
      Everyone I talked with, dozens and dozens of folks, lost one if not many more family members during the war, especially from the
      continuous bombing, much of it incendiary and napalm, deliberately
      dropped on virtually every space in the country. “Every means of
      communication, every installation, factory, city, and village” was
      ordered bombed by General MacArthur in the fall of 1950. It never
      stopped until the day of the armistice on July 27, 1953. The pained
      memories of people are still obvious, and their anger at “America” is
      often expressed, though they were very welcoming and gracious to me. Ten million Korean families remain permanently separated from each other
      due to the military patrolled and fenced dividing line spanning 150
      miles across the entire Peninsula.
      Let us make it very clear here for western readers. North Korea was
      virtually totally destroyed during the “Korean War.” U.S. General
      Douglas MacArthur’s architect for the criminal air campaign was
      Strategic Air Command head General Curtis LeMay who had proudly
      conducted the earlier March 10 – August 15, 1945 continuous incendiary
      bombings of Japan that had destroyed 63 major cities and murdered a
      million citizens. (The deadly Atomic bombings actually killed far fewer
      people.) Eight years later, after destroying North Korea’s 78 cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her
      civilians, LeMay remarked, “Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.”6 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 the belligerance of another.
      Virtually every person wanted to know what I thought of Bush’s recent accusation of North Korea as part of an “axis of evil.” Each of the
      three governments comprising Bush’s “axis of evil” of course immediately condemned the remarks, North Korea being no exception. I shared with
      them my own outrage and fears, and they seemed relieved to know that not all “Americans” are so cruel and bellicose. As with people in so many
      other nations with whom the U.S. has treated with hostility, they simply cannot understand why the U.S. is so obsessed with them.
      Koreans were relieved to learn that a recent poll had indicated
      eighty percent of South Koreans were against the U.S. belligerant stance against their northern neighbors. The North Korean government described Bush as a “typical rogue and a kingpin of terrorism” as he was visiting the South in February, only three weeks after presenting his
      threatening State of the Union address.7 It was also encouraging that
      the two Koreas resumed quiet diplomatic talks in March just as the U.S.
      and South Korea were once again conducting their regular, large-scale,
      joint military exercises so enraging to the North, and to an increasing
      number of people in the South among the growing reunification movement
      In the English-language newspaper, The Pyongyang Times, (February 23, 2002) there were articles entitled “US Is Empire of the
      Devil,” Korea Will Never Be a Threat to the US,” and “Bush’s Remarks
      Stand Condemned.” Quite frankly, all three of these articles relate a
      truth about the U.S. that would draw a consensus from many quarters
      around the world.
      While in country, together we listened to Bush’s March 14 Voice of
      America (VOA) radio chastizement of North Korea. First, he stated that
      the North’s 200,000 prisoner population was proof of terrible
      repression. Though I had no way of knowing the number of prisoners in
      the North, any more than Bush did, I do know that the United States has 2 million prisoners which is similar in per-capita detention rate to that of North Korea if the 200,000 figure is accurate. Furthermore, the U.S. has a minimum of 3 million persons, mostly minority and poor, under
      state supervision of parole and probation. The U.S. sweeps its class and race problems into prison.
      Second, Bush declared that half the population was considered
      unreliable and, as a result, received less monthly food rations. The
      Koreans are a proud people living in a Confucian tradition, having
      rebuilt their nation from virtual total destruction during the Korean
      war. I did not notice any obvious display of dissent. That some Koreans
      are desperate due to lack of food, water, and heat, especially in some
      rural areas, does not necessarily translate into dissent, though some
      are seeking relief by travel to neighboring countries.9
      Third, Bush claimed that Koreans who listen to foreign radio are
      targeted for execution. Together we regularly listened to U.S.VOA radio
      broadcasts and they freely discussed the content of the broadcasts
      without fear of reprisals.
      Fourth, Bush condemned the DPRK for spending too much on its
      military, causing food shortages for the people. Note: Again it must be
      remembered that it was the U.S. that unilaterally divided Korea
      following the Japanese surrender in August 1945, and subsequently ruled
      with a military occupation government in the south, overseeing the
      elimination of virtually the entire popular movement of (majority)
      opposition to U.S. occupation, murdering hundreds of thousands of
      people. The consequent Korean civil war that openly raged in 1948-1950
      was completely ignored when the U.S. defined the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. The U.S. remains at war with the DPRK, never having signed a peace treaty with her. The war has left a deep scar in the Korean
      character with a memory that is regularly provoked by continued
      belligerance directed at the DPRK. The U.S. regularly holds joint
      military exercises with South Korean military forces aimed at the DPRK.
      The U.S. retains 37,000 military troops at 100 installations south of
      the 38th parallel. The U.S. has its largest Asian bombing range where it practices bombs five days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, despite
      opposition from many South Koreans. And now Bush has identified North
      Korea as part of an “axis of evil” targeted for nuclear attack. This is
      no remote idea to North Koreans. The U.S. possesses nuclear weapons on
      ships and planes in the Pacific region surrounding North Korea.
      Virtually every nation in this perilous position would be concerned
      about their defense.
      It is worth noting that the United States is the leading military
      spender in the world resulting in substantial underfunding of its own
      indispensable social programs.
      Fifth, Bush accused the DPRK of selling weapons to other nations.
      That is like the pot calling the kettle black. The U.S. is by far the
      largest manufacturer of conventional, nuclear, chemical, and biological
      weapons in the world. It is also the largest seller of these weapons,
      and has used conventional (against dozens of nations), biological (Cuba, China, Korea, perhaps others), chemical (Southeast Asia), and nuclear
      (Japan, and threatened to use them on at least 20 other occasions)
      weapons. In addition it has armed other nations with these weapons of
      mass destruction, including Iraq, one of those countries now identified
      as part of the “axis of evil.” In the year 2000, international arms
      sales were nearly $37 billion, with the U.S. being directly responsible
      for just over half of those sales. South Korea was the third largest
      buyer of weapons from the United States with $3.2 worth of military
      hardware.10  And in January 2002, South Korea was seriously
      contemplating purchasing an additional $3.2 billion worth of 40 F-X
      fighter jets from U.S. arms giant Boeing.
      At the conclusion of this VOA radio broadcast, Koreans and I looked
      at each other in disbelief. But we also knew that we were in solidarity
      with each other as part of the human family. When I said goodbye to my
      new friends we embraced knowing that we live in a single world made up
      of a rich diversity of ideas and species. We know that we are going to
      live or die together, and hope that the arrogant and dangerous
      rhetoric and militarism of the United States will soon end so we can all live in peace. However, for that to happen, there will need to be a
      dramatic awakening among the people and a corresponding expression of
      massive nonviolent opposition that will make such threatening behavior
      impossible to carry out.
      1. Bob Woodward, “CIA Told To Do ‘Whatever Necessary’ to Kill Bin Laden,” The Washington Post, October 21, 2001.
      2. Bradley Graham, “Pentagon Plans New Command For U.S. Four Star Officer, Would Over See Homeland Defense,” The Washington Post, January 26, 2002.
      3. Richard Drinnon, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating and Empire Building. New York: Schocken Books, 1990, p. 329.
      4. B.M. Blechman and S.S. Kaplan, Force Without War: U.S. Armed Forces As A Political Instrument. Wash., D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1978, Appendix B; Congressional Research Service (Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division), Instances of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-1993. Wash., D.C.: Congressional Research Service, 1993; William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Intervention Since World War II. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995; John Stockwell, The Praetorian Guard. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1991.
      5. William Blum, Rogue State. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2000; Stephan Endicott and Edward Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets From the Early Cold War and Korea. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1998.
      6. Richard Rhodes, “The General and World War III,” The New Yorker, June 19, 1995, p. 53.
      7.”North Korea Calls Bush ‘Kingpin of Terrorism,” Reuters wire story, February 23, 2002.
      8.”South Korea Envoy to Travel
      North,” BBC News Online: World: Asia-Pacific, March 25, 2002. Retrieved
      March 26, 2002, from
      9. Ji-Yeon Yuh, “North Korean Enemy Should Be Made Friend,” The Baltimore Sun, February 27, 2002.
      10. Thom Shanker, “Global Arms Sales Rise Again, and the U.S. Leads the Pack, ” The New York Times, August 20, 2001.
      S. Brian Willlson is a Vietnam veteran,
      long-time peace activist, and writer. He has visited a number of
      countries studying the impacts of U.S. policy. His essays are posted on
      his website, brianwillson.com. He published a small autobiography, On
      Third World Legs (Charles Kerr, 1992), which describes his ordeal of
      having been intentionally run over by a U.S. Government munitions train
      accelerating to over three times the 5 mph legal speed limit during a
      peaceful protest in California in 1987. He now walks on two prostheses
      after losing each leg below the knee. Brian Willson possesses two
      honorary Ph.D.s and a Juris Doctor degree.

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