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US-Japan Dishonesty Shines In Korean Crisis
|It is advisable for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to recall the words
of his Cold War predecessor Dean Acheson who said: “If the best minds in
the world had set out to find us the worst possible location in the world
to fight this damnable war, the unanimous choice would have been Korea.”
Today, a few remaining veterans - Koreans on both sides, Chinese, Americans and a few western allies - of that brutal and indecisive three-year conflict (June 1950-July 1953 and yet to be settled with a peace treaty) remember most of all two things: a sea of mud and shivering cold.
On top of constant misery, add shell shock and prisoner abuse for the 100,000 wounded GIs and countless captured Korean soldiers. If nothing else, the 40,000 Americans who were killed, along with up to 5 million Korean dead, were spared a lifetime of post-traumatic mental disorders.
It is therefore astounding that the Pentagon, with a blind eye to the truth of history, are ready for another round in the Korean theater, this time with the possibility of far more nuclear weapons than the atomic bombs that General Douglas MacArthur was prepared to drop along the Korea-China border.
Sabotage of Trump’s anti-interventionism
Equally disturbing is the mystery of how and why the confidential New York talks planned by the Trump administration to grant the DPRK “track two” informal diplomatic status were sabotaged by the shocking murder at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. “Who” is also a question, since the assassination had all the hallmarks of a false flag attack to scuttle a rapprochement between Pyongyang and Washington aimed at nuclear disarmament. The loud disinformation operation in Malaysia forced the president to abandon his anti-intervention pledges to his electoral base.
Soon thereafter U.S. cruise missiles hit Syria exactly when China’s President Xi Jinping sat down for dinner at the Mar-e-Lago summit, an unannounced move that suggested the same could soon be done to the DPRK. The missile strikes, precisely timed for the state dinner indicates a trap was set by American intelligence agencies to provoke an altercation between Trump and his foreign guest. Wisely, Xi made a “non-response” and remained cool-headed and focused on trade issues. Calmness instead of an outraged denunciation may very well have saved Trump from his frenemies among the corporate media and Washington insiders.
With Caesar salad at the top of the Mar-e-Lago dinner, Xi did not react angrily to the nasty and downright dirty provocation from the Pentagon and the intel agencies. Consequently, Trump did not moan: “Et tu, Jinping?”
Croaking from the Swamp
Today, just as back in the 1950s, the U.S. government is telling the American public less than half the back-story. The official claim back then went: The Korean War was started by a cross-border attack launched from the Democratic People’s Republi. The background facts known to only a few history professors were never presented to the public by the news media: That the South Korean side, prodded by Washington, refused to hold the national elections mandated by the UN.
That’s because North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung was widely seen as the wartime hero of national resistance to the Japanese colonial occupation and he would have won in a fair and free vote, just like Ho Chi Minh in postwar Vietnam. Therefore, both Korea and Vietnam were divided by the U.S. in support of unpopular pro-American regimes comprised of many former agents of the Japanese occupation. The result were the two bloodiest wars for the U.S. in the postwar era, resulting in the senseless deaths of 100,000 American servicemen.
The seemingly endless Korean crisis is never presented by the international press, or even most schools and universities, as the outcome of centuries of Japan’s cold cruelty toward the Korean people, including repeated brutal interventions, assassination of indigenous leaders, outright military invasion, annexation, coercive linguistic assimilation, industrial slavery and a discriminatory second-class status under colonization. Militarist Japan proved that empire is a criminal enterprise.
From One War to the Next
As one who received a primary education in the posh Suma ward of Kobe, I became aware of the deprivation suffered by Koreans while playing soccer for a elite French-run Christian school in matches against the squad from an ethnic Korean school, whose families lived in the dirt-poor ghetto of Nagata-ku. Every game on field was following by a bloody street fight, when the violent rage of the Korean boys was unfathomable to my team members other than as nationalistic pride bordering on insanity. It turned out that many of their parents had toiled as slave laborers during the Pacific War, whereas our side was comprised of the children of genteel parents - White Russians, Indians, Indonesians, Italians, Germans and, of course, Japanese who had been allies or collaborators with the militarist regime. With my broken wrist in a cast, it’s no wonder we couldn’t tell the difference between war and sport.
An Irish-American priest, who ran a shelter for orphans of the Korean conflict occasionally took his retreat at my parent’s house on a forested hill overlooking the tide-swirled Naruto Strait of the Inland Sea. The Catholic father would pace the long wooden corridor like a caged tiger, panting a litany of prayers, his forehead creased by strain, staring down at the azalea-circled lawn, eyes adrift in memories. War pierces our brows with thorny fragments of guilt from loss, while the unthinkable indignities disintegrate and blur in the whirlpool of purgatory.
On one of the visits to my grandmother in Yokohama, I walked past the military port when unheralded Americans, bodies broken and pierced, were unloaded and taken on stretchers to the harbor gates where a line of Japanese nurses in white uniforms waited in silence for the incoming shipment.
The Black Arts of War
The 6-party talks to de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula failed because of the duplicity of the U.S. and Japan in concealing the extent of their own nuclear forces in the region. Under the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Tokyo made a rare admission that the “sacred” Three Non-nuclear Principles (not to build, store or deploy atomic weapons) were routinely violated from their very inception in 1967. There was a secret order to turn a blind eye to U.S. Navy vessels hauling warheads in and out of Japanese ports and air force bases.
The demand by Washington and Tokyo for the DPRK to halt its nuclear program reflects a duplicitous intent. What if the governor of, say, California, passed an anti-gun law while encouraging his supporters to carry concealed weapons into churches and restaurants to gun down his defenseless political rivals? Likewise, hiding the presence of a massive nuclear arsenal in Japan and South Korea implies nothing less than an actual strategy to launch a nuclear first-strike. Nuclear weapons are an absolute evil, but can anyone blame Pyongyang for trying to build a deterrence system?
Even with its best effort to produce missiles and warheads, the North Koreans have come up with only a handful of small-scale devices against the thousands of city-busters in the U.S. arsenal and undisclosed hundreds of warheads produced by the Japanese nuclear authority with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The high ratio of cesium-137 left by the Fukushima meltdowns indicates production of a massive amount of weapons-grade plutonium. On a dozen visits into the larger Fukushima energy complex, I have detected two major sites for plutonium extraction in sufficient quantity to make an arsenal greater that those of Israel, India and Pakistan combined, yet not a single major news organization or non-proliferation agency has dared conduct field research or even suggest the possibility.
If the odds of a nuclear exchange are so unfavorable for the DPRK, why does Pyongyang persist? For one thing, to surrender one’s nuclear capability is certain suicide. Look what happened to Muammar Gaddafi after he terminated Libya’s nuclear and chemical weapons program. Adding insult to injury, some of the Libyan nerve gas was secretly removed from the Egyptian border to Benghazi and then shipped to Turkey and on to the Free Syrian Army. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was then silenced by CIA-armed jihadists in Benghazi while the Marines were ordered to stand down. The refusal to protect the U.S. envoy could have happened only on orders from State Secretary Hillary Clinton and National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
So for the rationale behind a tiny nuclear program: the DPRK can easily target a “force multiplier” just across the Sea of Japan, a distance of only 1,000 km or 660 miles. Just one nuclear-tipped missile coming down in the general vicinity of a Japanese nuclear plant would knock out the region’s power and water systems, causing a series of reactor meltdowns along the “Nuclear Ginza”.
Since the early 1990s, as editor and journalist, I have urged the closure and removal of the dozens of reactors containing tens of thousands of tons of uranium and plutonium from the Japan Sea region. These also make easy targets for torpedoes, sub-based missiles, sapper attacks and suicide aircraft strikes. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI, which supports nuclear development) has laid the eggs of Armageddon on our shores, with approval from Washington. There is no effective defense except total decommissioning.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to send Japanese warships to join the present offensive naval exercises off the Korean coast has made the reactors in Toyama and Fukui prefectures fair game as targets in a shooting war.
The supercarrier group led by the USS Carl Vinson is now intruding into one of the world’s busiest sea lanes near the mouth of the Yellow Sea and the airspace shared by China, the Koreas, Japan, Taiwan and Russia. What would Americans think if the People’s Liberation Army sent a nuclear-armed carrier strike force to Martha’s Vineyard or into Chesapeake Bay?
As things now stand, it seems that Trump’s emerging neoconservative leadership group is merely trying to squeeze more money out of allies like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and even China in a mafia-like “protection racket” while using Pyongyang and Damascus as the bad guys. This extortion scam follows in the footsteps of George Herbert Walker Bush and his Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady, who took advantage of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait to demand $40 billion from the Saudis and Kuwaitis, an undisclosed amount from Germany, and $16 billion from Japan.
The $60 billion-plus “contribution” from vassal states aka “allies” was the most profitable war in American history. For his role in this protection racket, “evil villain” Saddam Hussein was rewarded by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with the latest in nerve-gas technology, 20-foot-long airborne canisters of VX and sarin gas produced by Conoco (Continental Oil Corporation) and shipped from Houston.
The lesson for us today is that a Congress, federal bureaucracy and their Wall Street masters, who are hooked on sleazy war profiteering, need to be flushed away in the mid-term elections 18 months from now. The American electorate, especially the populist nationalists who supported Trump and the left activists backing Bernie Sanders, must now set aside the traditional left-right divide that renders both ineffective and gear up for the 2018 midterm elections to oust warmongering incumbents who supported the interventions against the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
A looming East Asian conflict may well lead to the destruction of the remaining nuclear reactors in Japan and thereby be the final blow, post-Fukushima, dooming human civilization.
Donald Trump, you’re starting to look as ghastly as that whacked-out king of Rohan. If you really want to make America great again, push back the cobwebs and shadows, arouse your true self from the Wormtongue spell, be again the candidate who deserved our support, and reclaim your realm from the evil sorcerers of the two towers!
Science journalist Yoichi Shimatsu is former editor of the Japan Times Weekly and researcher who has uncovered the nuclear secrets at Fukushima.