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One might think that a bitter Central Asian war in Afghanistan, spilling into Pakistan, with no sign of ending, and an as yet ambiguous military commitment to a defeated and incompletely reconstituted Iraq, now overshadowed by Iran and the Arab Awakening across the Middle East, would be enough for President Barack Obama to cope with.
He was, after all, elected to reduce American military commitments. He was going to end things in Iraq, fight the “right war” in Afghanistan, which Gen. David Petraeus told him could be wound up in a year. Unaccustomed to generals as he might have been, he surely did not expect “Af-Pak” to turn into a permanent activity and a source of income for the Pentagon and the American arms industry.
Why then does he now want a war with China? No one seems to have made much of this in American press reports and comment, but others have noticed, most of all in China. His journey to Asia this month proclaimed a Pax Americana for Asia—which as such is absurd. The effort is likely to become just the opposite: a steadily deepening and costly engagement in suppressing China’s attempt to reclaim the Asian preeminence it held for more than a thousand years.
This is the sort of thing that starts world wars.
Dear friends of Jeju Island,
Thank you so much for your efforts of solidarity with the villagers of Gangjeong! We did it! We stopped the blast of Gureombi—at least for the time being.
We’ve been informed that the Jeju police have turned down the companies’ request for blasting Gureombi for three reasons: insufficient documents, safety concerns, and the go-ahead from Jeju Governor Woo.
A convoy of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Manila, the Philippines, was pelted with eggs and red paint Wednesday. The incident happened after Clinton's meeting with President Benigno Aquino III.
Several dozen demonstrators, who are members of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), were protesting an agreement which exempted U.S. troops from criminal prosecution in the Philippines.
By Ann Wright
On November 18, 2011, the South Korean Navy will blast Gureombi, the smooth volcanic rock along the coastline of Gangjeong village of Jeju Island where the local people have been fighting day and night almost for 5 years to stop the naval base that will homeport naval vessels equipped with the American Aegis missile and will be a key link in the United States’ Missile Defense System.
Jeju Island was recently selected among the New Seven Wonders of Nature, which with its UNESCO triple-crowned status makes the island among the world’s most precious cultural and national treasures. In addition, the marine ecosystem that lines Gureombi is an absolute preservation area designated by the South Korean government because of the many endangered species that inhabit Gureombi, including the red-clawed crab and soft coral.
By MARK LANDLER
IT may seem strange in an era of cyberwarfare and drone attacks, but the newest front in the rivalry between the United States and China is a tropical sea, where the drive to tap rich offshore oil and gas reserves has set off a conflict akin to the gunboat diplomacy of the 19th century.
The Obama administration first waded into the treacherous waters of the South China Sea last year when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared, at a tense meeting of Asian countries in Hanoi, that the United States would join Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries in resisting Beijing’s efforts to dominate the sea. China, predictably, was enraged by what it viewed as American meddling.
For all its echoes of the 1800s, not to mention the cold war, the showdown in the South China Sea augurs a new type of maritime conflict — one that is playing out from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arctic Ocean, where fuel-hungry economic powers, newly accessible undersea energy riches and even changes in the earth’s climate are conspiring to create a 21st-century contest for the seas.
Exclusive: In just-released Watergate grand jury testimony from 1975, ex-President Richard Nixon complained that his 1968 campaign was bugged by the Johnson administration. But there was little curiosity then – or now – as to why that surveillance was justified, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Thirty-six years ago, as former President Richard M. Nixon dodged grand jury questions about his illegal wiretapping of political enemies, he briefly referenced a dark secret about his 1968 campaign’s sabotaging of Vietnam War peace talks, actions which President Lyndon Johnson at the time privately labeled “treason.”
Without providing that historical context, Nixon complained that he and his 1968 campaign had been victims of surveillance and wiretapping, too, as he tried to persuade Watergate prosecutors and the grand jury that bugging opponents was just part of hardball politics.
“In 1968, for example, we learned that not only was … Vice President [-ial nominee Spiro] Agnew’s plane under surveillance, and he himself was under surveillance by the FBI, but that the FBI was at one point directed to bug my plane,” Nixon said, according to secret grand jury transcripts released by the National Archives on Thursday.
During that testimony on June 23, 1975, the prosecutors failed to follow up on his reference to the 1968 bugging, such as why it would be ordered. And after the transcripts were released this week, the major U.S. news media also missed the comment’s significance.
The evidence of Nixon’s sabotage of the 1968 Vietnam peace talks is now overwhelming – including diplomatic cable traffic and contemporaneous audiotapes of Johnson discussing the Republican promises to South Vietnamese President Nguyen van Thieu of a better deal if he boycotted negotiations in Paris.
There were four arrests in Gangjeong village within the past day. The arrested are:
Youngsil Kang (International Team Leader)
Brother Song (Resistance Leader)
Sung-hee Choi (International Team Leader)
Three were arrested at the UN-ROK Disarmament Conference during peaceful protest and one was arrested at the naval base gate. This conference is happening just minutes away from Gangjeong village and little connection is being made to the construction of the Navy base that will only escalate tensions in the region.
There are undercover police and military everywhere in the village.
These are four of the most effective activists. Some are facing very significant jail time and already on probation.
Please help spread the word to media and other organizations, particularly human rights groups.
Ms. Setsuko Thurlow at the United Nations General Assembly First Committee, October 26, 2011:
Dear Members of the First Committee and guests,
I am privileged to have this opportunity to share with you a small part of my experience of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
BEIJING (AP) -- China's fast growing demand for aircraft has become a strong influence on how Boeing Co. designs and markets its newest planes, one of the company's executives said Wednesday.
Ihssane Mounir also said Boeing welcomes future competition from China's state-owned COMAC, which is developing a pair of passenger jets, but warned the commercial aircraft business could be punishing.
"It needs a lot of money, it needs a lot of patience, and the learning curve is tough," Mounir, senior vice president of sales and marketing for greater China and Korea, told The Associated Press.
U.S. Launch of ICBM Missile across the Pacific on World Peace Day exposes escalation of U.S. offensive missile strategy
By Ann Wright
You certainly would not know it was World Peace Day on September 21 by actions of the United States.
In addition to the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, on World Peace Day, in violation of its commitment to disarmament under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States will fire an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California over Hawaii and the Pacific Missile Range tracking facility (PMRF) to crash into the Pacific Ocean near Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.
Route of the ICBM to be fired on World Peace Day
The Marshall Islands are the same islands that the United States blew up in the 1950s and 1960s in the nuclear and hydrogen bomb tests from which Marshall Islanders are still suffering from radiation sickness and unable to return to the radioactive islands.
The expansion of the US missile “defense” system is causing dangerous repercussions around the world, making hotspots even hotter-from China and North Korea to Turkey, Israel and Iran.
Pacific Missile Range in Hawaii Expanded for the Aegis Missile Test Complex—Testing to Kill or to Defend?
On Kauai, Hawaii, the Hawaii congressional delegation continues to bring home the bacon, the pork barrel projects that include expansion of the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The latest project is the construction of theAegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex that will provide testing and evaluation of the systems.
South Koreans Oppose US Military Bases, Tea Party Expected to Object to Billions Wasted on Generating Hostility Any Day Now Maybe
By Bruce Gagnon
The latest news is that this morning at 4:00 am the South Korean police and military staged a massive raid of the Gangjeong village on Jeju Island. Sirens blared and villagers ran to the two construction gates to set up non-violent blockades. Many college students have come to join the villagers. By 9:00 am some number of Catholic Priests and 33 villagers and supporters have been arrested in Gangjeong village. More are likely to be taken to jail before this is all over.
By Iara Lee
I was in Seoul, South Korea this month at the invitation of the wonderful EBS TV Documentary Festival, and was truly, happily surprised to see a resurgence of activism among ordinary Koreans. Don't get me wrong. Since its founding, Korea has had a tradition of fierce, die-hard activism (which Koreans themselves may attribute to a diet high in garlic and red pepper, as well as their commitment to social justice), but this ferocity seemed to have gone dormant in the mid-nineties. I was overjoyed to find that this was no longer the case.
By Ann Wright
Yesterday, August 24, 2011, sirens wailed for citizens to come to the main gate of the Naval Base in Kang Jeong Village on Jeju Island, South Korea where the Korean Navy wants to continue construction of a naval base for 18 ships and a 2 submarines in an area that will destroy a pristine shoreline and endanger marine life. Local villagers and activists from the mainland of South Korea have struggled for five years to prevent the construction of the base.
Sirens signal an emergency-the mayor and four activists are arrested
By Marjorie Cohn Today marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam without sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the Vietnam War, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring. H.R. 2634, the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2011, which California Congressman Bob Filner just introduced in the House, would provide crucial assistance for social and health services to Vietnamese, Vietnamese-American, and U.S. victims of Agent Orange. From 1961 to 1971, approximately 19 million gallons of herbicides, primarily Agent Orange, were sprayed over the southern region of Vietnam. Much of it was contaminated with dioxin, a deadly chemical.
By CHRISTINE AHN, New York Times
SEOUL — Gangjeong, a small fishing and farming village on Jeju Island 50 miles south of the Korean peninsula, is a pristine Unesco-designated ecological reserve where elderly Korean women sea divers, haenyo, still forage for seafood. It is also the site of a fierce resistance movement by villagers who oppose the construction of a South Korean naval base on the island that will become part of the U.S. missile defense system to contain China.
South Korea’s president, Lee Myungbak, says the base is needed to protect Seoul from an attack from Pyongyang. The problem with that assertion is that the Aegis destroyers that Lee pledged to deploy at the base aren’t designed to protect South Korea from North Korean Taepodong ballistic missiles (TBM).
I have very tragic news to report from Jeju Island South Korea.At the crack of dawn on Thursday, undercover police officers came to Gangjeong village and arrested three major leaders of the peaceful resistance: Village Chief Kang Dong-Kyun, renowned peace activist Brother Song Kang-Ho, and base opposition leader Ko Kwon-Il.The South Korean Navy (ROKN) and Minister of Justice Lee Gui Nam also issued a notice to Gangjeong village leader Kang Dong-Kyun and 76 other villagers and peace activists. This notice is a threat to these 77 individuals and civil society organizations for disturbing the construction of the naval base.
From Organizing Notes
New barges are being brought into the ocean area just off the coast of the Gangjeong village on Jeju Island. They are preparing to put a huge cement structure called a Caisson into the water which will be part of the piers being built.
When village protester Brother Song tried to get on the barge 20 Samsung Construction and Navy employees attacked and beat him with bamboo clubs. He was injured and passed out. The emergency medical service came and took him to the hospital. The village people are angry about Brother Song's beating and went to the Naval base office where they held a mass protest.
The village people told the Navy to remove the barge. Even though Brother Song was injured, the Samsung Construction guys answered, "What's the big deal?"
One supporter reported on the Save Gangjeong Facebook page, "I just got off the phone with Brother Song and he is okay. He woke up and although he says he is bruised up and hurt his hip, he doesn't have any broken bones even though he was kicked and beaten and pushed off the barge and fell onto another boat below. The villagers have asked him to rest in the hospital now so he is doing that. He thanks everyone for their support and urges us to keep on resisting."
MacGregor Eddy returns home today after ten days in the Gangjeong village doing support work. We thank her for making the trip and carrying the Global Network's messages of solidarity to Jeju Island.
At our annual Global Network membership meeting yesterday we made the decision to send another of our board members to Jeju Island at the end of July. We have asked Matt Hoey to go to Jeju and to continue the work that MacGregor started for us. He has agreed to go. We are strongly urging other organizations around the world to send representatives to Gangjeong village during the last week of July. So far we have heard from German church groups and from Korean-American organizations that they will also be sending representatives during late July. Please let us know if you are interested and we can help make arrangements.
Things are really starting to heat up in the village so we all need to step up our support work. The first thing we need to do is get more people to know about this situation so please share this information and send people to the Facebook page. We also need to get some international media coverage of this crisis so any assistance you can give would be helpful.
Brother Song has also requested international assistance in raising $3,500 for another boat that they can use to protest the barges that are increasingly working offshore. If you are inclined to help with that fundraising please let us know.
By the way, be sure to boycott Samsung products!
By Bruce Gagnon
A weak and thin Yang Yoon-Mo (right) released from jail after 60 day hunger strike
Gloria Steinem bows along the Gangjeong coastProfessor Yang was released from jail today. He was sentenced to one and one-half years in jail with a suspended sentence but with two years probation. There can be no doubt that the international outcry on his behalf has helped spring him from the jailhouse.
Regina Pyon, staff person at SPARK in South Korea, reports, "Yang didn't mention yet about his hunger strike. The first word he spoke was 'Is Gangjeong peaceful?' and 'My struggle will be continued to the end. Gangjeong villagers are the teacher who led me to the road of justice.'
Sung-Hee Choi will go on trial June 10. She has ended her hunger strike and urges others to end their hunger strikes at this time.
We are thrilled at the release of Professor Yang Yoon-Mo but deplore the strict conditions of a two year probation which is obviously intended to silence him politically.
Our plan to send MacGregor Eddy to Jeju Island on behalf of the Global Network remains in place. She will be there for the June 10 trial of fellow Global Network board member Sung-Hee. People are already responding to our fund appeal to pay for her travel. We must not let our voices die down now. People must continue to spread news about Jeju Island and keep the heat on to halt the Navy base construction.
American feminist activist Gloria Steinem visited the Gangjeong village in recent days along with a delegation of Korean women. I am certain that her visit was a huge lift to the villagers who have been working so hard for the past four years to bring this issue to the world's attention.
We are so proud of our friends in Gangjeong village and all the South Korean activists who have worked so hard to support them. It is an honor for us to work together in this good struggle for peace.
Many NGOs in South Korea launched the "Korean National Committee against Jeju Naval Base Construction" on June 1. They plan to hold a press conference on June 8 and are requesting that international activists send a joint statement for the news conference. We will begin now to put that statement together. Let me know if your organization would like to be listed as a signatory on this basic statement of our support for the Gangjeong village struggle against the Navy base.
We will keep you posted as we get more news about Yang and Sung-Hee. Thanks for keeping up with all this.
The Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) sent a protest note to the US President Barack Obama on May 23, regarding a news report that it had conducted a new form of nuclear tests in November 2010 and in March 2011. Following is the note.
May 23, 2011
Mr. Barack OBAMA
United States of America
We protest against your conducting a new form of nuclear tests and urge you to make efforts in good faith to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.
The U.S. Department of Energy (the National Nuclear Security Administration) made public by May 21 that it had conducted the new form of nuclear tests twice in November 2010 and in March 2011.
US flexes muscle in the Black Sea
By M K Bhadrakumar, Asia Times
The Black Sea is about to lose its historical exclusivity as a Russian-Turkish preserve. A visit by the USA-TRANSCOM commander General Duncan McNabb to Bucharest has sealed the fate of the Black Sea as the latest entry into the chronicles of the "new great game".
The US had requested to use Romania's two military infrastructures as transit place for the carriage of troops and military hardware to and from Iraq and Afghanistan to Europe. On May 2, Romania's Supreme Council for National Defense (CSAT) approved the use of the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport and the Port of Constanta for transit. McNabb swiftly descended on Bucharest on Thursday to seal the deal.
By Catherine Hornby
ROME | Wed May 18, 2011
(Reuters) - Up to 27 million people are modern-day slaves, and migrants fleeing violence in North Africa are among those most at risk of being exploited, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday.
Countries where migrants arrive should try to identify potential victims and protect them, rather than opting for immediate repatriation which often sends them back into the hands of human traffickers, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca said.
Tens of thousands of migrants are fleeing turmoil in North Africa, with many trying to reach Europe by boat, but the problem of slavery exists all over the world and India, Thailand and Malaysia are among the worst-affected countries.
Back in mid-April, the phone rang one evening. You have a call from Ed, the woman’s voice said. I was in end-of-day mode, not the best time for a tele-scammer to invade my home life. I hung up, and the phone rang again almost immediately. That dance took two more turns, before I switched to sardonic. Ed’s not here, I answered in my most blandly convivial voice, but she insisted. It’s a call from Ed.
By Bruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
This morning I received an urgent message (see below) from Jeju Island, South Korea saying that yesterday eight leaders of the protest effort against construction of a Navy base had been arrested. Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi was one of those arrested - her second time in recent months.
Gangjeong village resident Professor Yang Yoon-Mo is now in his 45th day of his hunger strike while in jail for trying to block a construction truck. He has vowed to die in jail unless base construction is halted.
By Russia Today
Further deployment of the US missile defense system in Europe gives Russia the right to withdraw from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said.
"START may become a hostage of the so-called US European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA)," Ryabkov said at Monday’s meeting of the Expert Council on cooperation between Russia and NATO at the State Duma.
The official noted that Moscow has repeatedly warned its partners that if the scale of the US missile defense system creates a threat to Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, Russia has the right to withdraw from the agreement. That would be considered “an exceptional circumstance” mentioned in Article 14 of the New START.
He added that Russia will have to take responsive measures if the US and NATO develop their missile defense shield without taking Moscow’s opinion into account.