Friday, July 7, 2017

OMNI: North Korea Newsletter #5, March 12, 2016


NORTH KOREA/DPRK NEWSLETTER #5, REPORTING NK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) IN US MAINSTREAM MEDIA FROM JANUARY 7 TO MARCH 7,  2016.   March 12, 2016


Seeing the World As the Enemy Sees It
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice.
(#1 July 19, 2012; #2 April 13, 2012; #3, Jan. 19, 2016; #4, Feb. 10, 2016).

What’s at stake:   This Month in Nuclear Threat History
From The Sunflower, NAPF (March 2016).   History chronicles many instances when humans have been threatened by nuclear weapons. In this article, Jeffrey Mason outlines some of the most serious threats that have taken place in the month of March, including the March 14, 1961 incident in which a U.S. B-52F-70 BW Stratofortress carrying two Mark-39 hydrogen bombs crashed near Yuba City, California, tearing the nuclear weapons from the plane on impact.    To read Mason's full article, click here.   For more information on the history of the Nuclear Age, visit NAPF's Nuclear Files website.  

“The most revolutionary act is a clear view of the world as it really is.” Early 20th century German activist Rosa Luxemburg.

Contents: DPRK Newsletter #5

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the
     United States

Dick:  To Make Peace with DPRK Study Bill Clinton and
     Ronald Reagan




OMNI Nuclear Abolition Newsletters

Sleight, Global Zero:  Abolish All Weapons



Democratic People’s Re      public of Korea and the United States


MAKING PEACE WITH NK, ENDING THAT NUCLEAR DANGER by Dick Bennett, 9-9-16   665 words

      For those of us who seek the end of wars, the history of US invasions of other sovereign nations seems daunting.  The two major Parties, the US War Party, have bombed numerous nations without having been attacked by any nation since 1941 (Blum, Killing Hope; Kinzer, Overthrow; Tirman, The Deaths of Others).

     A third Party, the Greens, has opposed these wars, and it deserves our thanks, but it has not become a national peace movement.  Those of us who seek the end of wars and who remain a Democrat or a Republican feel hard pressed to find an opening within our Party toward peace without armed violence.  In the present century President Bush’s endless wars have been continued by President Obama.   We have written, and talked, and walked, and sung.  And President Obama has bombed seven nations without a declaration of war and has expanded Bush’s drone strikes.  If then the People must end these wars and threats of wars, we must find new directions.

      Or remember old from the two major Parties.  Sounds strange, here’s an odd question:   What would Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan do?  Both were warriors and invaders.  But always?  And were they successful when they pursued a peaceful path of empathy, conciliation, mediation, negotiation, reconciliation?

      Let’s take the example of North Korea.    South Korea and the United States annually practice joint combat maneuvers; in 2016 it was called “Ulchi Freedom Guardian” and lasted twelve days.   Simultaneously the US and allies discussed ratcheting up economic sanctions against the NK.   SK and the US say all are defensive, with no intention of invading Pyongyang.  NK fears otherwise, given the 50,000 SK and 25,000 US soldiers and the US/SK plan to build a high-tech missile defense system in SK, which the NK considers a first-strike preparation.  In response the NK declared it would reduce Seoul and Washington to a “heap of ashes” if the US/SK enemy “show any signs of aggression toward the North’s territory.”  Or turn that narrative around as does SK/US, starting with NK threatening followed by SK/US responding by maneuvering near NK’s border.  (“N. Korea Nuke-threat Doesn’t Deter Drills,” NADG, 8-23-16).     It’s an endless, seemingly hopeless repetition, by either narrative, without any opening, any niche where an alternative might be inserted and the madness stopped.

      But an alternative does exist, and Republican President Reagan and Democratic President Clinton, both hawks, showed the world how.

     The end of the Cold War has often been attributed to Ronald Reagan’s tough rhetoric and arms expansion during the early years of his presidency 1981-84.   But during those years, the Soviet Union had matched toughness with toughness.  And then in 1985, Reagan changed his Secretary of State from Alexander Haig to George Schultz, he read intensively Soviet history and Russian culture, and from 1985 to 1989 he met with Soviet Premier Gorbachev five times, including a visit to Moscow--and Reagan changed.  The “evil empire” became another era.   He became willing “to negotiate with Gorbachev and establish a relationship of mutual trust” (Smith, 188-9).     

     In 1994 tentative negotiations with North Korea,  ruler Kim Jong Il had promised to freeze and ultimately dismantle its nuclear weapons program in return for Clinton’s pledge of significant economic assistance and eventual diplomatic recognition.  In October 2000, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Pyongyang, and NK offered to terminate missiles in return for Clinton’s visit and help in launching communication satellites.  Meanwhile SK’s president Kim Dae-jung had initiated a “sunshine” policy of economic and social incentives toward reconciliation with NK.  Clinton’s term in office, however, ended before he could make that visit, and G. W. Bush with his national security advisor Condoleeza Rice rejected negotiations and building trust (Smith, Bush, 186).

       Today, except for the successful negotiations with Iran, the US trusts our foreign policy to bombs and lesser bullying.   We should remember Reagan 1985-89, Clinton in 1994-2000, and Obama and his Secretary of State Kerry in 2015.

Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology.
 (See #1, June 14, 2007; #2, January 8, 2008; #3 May 16, 2008; #4 June 10; 2009,  #5 July 23, 2009, ; #6 Sept. 21, 2009; #7 August 29, 2010; #8 April 11, 2011; #9 August 4, 2011; #10 Feb. 27, 2012; #11 April 4, 2012; #12 June 27, 2012; #13 July 27, 2012; #14 August 11, 2012; #15, Dec. 4, 2012; #16 July 20, 2013; #17 Dec. 17, 2014; #18 Feb. 8, 2014; #19, May 25, 2014; #20, July 20, 2014)

Global Zero

North Korea's latest nuclear test

Jessica Sleight via 

5:30 PM (17 hours ago)
to me

Dear Dick,

As you’ve probably heard, North Korea just conducted its second nuclear weapons test of the year and its fifth overall. It was the country’s most powerful to date.

This latest test is deeply troubling, for a number of reasons. Nuclear weapons anywhere are a threat to people everywhere, and the emergence of another nuclear power can only make the world more dangerous. 

But this nuclear test also proves our whack-a-mole approach to nonproliferation isn't working. So long as the international community tolerates the existence of these horrific weapons, we will keep bouncing from nuclear crisis to nuclear crisis. It’s time to change our approach.

We’ve got to stop focusing on the symptoms and treat the disease -- by reducing and ultimately eliminating all nuclear weapons globally. That is the only lasting way to rid the world of the nuclear threat. That won’t happen overnight, but if the success of the Iran deal taught us anything, it’s the true power of international leadership, diplomacy and pressure.

Today, our leaders took an important first step. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stood side-by-side to denounce North Korea’s nuclear test. But this must be backed up by concrete steps to address the catastrophic threat posed not by some weapons, but all of them.
With hope,
Jessica Sleight
Research and Policy Associate
Global Zero

Global Zero is the international movement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Support the movement with a contribution here.
Sent by GLOBAL ZERO | 1436 U Street NW, Suite 401 | Washington, DC 20009 USA


Keeping Nuclear Forces at Bay

Jessie Calkins, WAND via 
9:26 AM (3 hours ago)
to James

Saturday, September 10, 2016
Dear Dick,    It’s amazing what we can do togetheOver the past month you proved once again that women are agents of peace by standing up and taking action against our dangerous nuclear weapons policy. Thousands of you contacted President Obama and signed a petition to the Presidential candidates to advance a no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons.
By speaking out, you’ve brought this vital issue to the front pages of national newspapers and gotten the attention of President Obama.
Now that North Korea has tested another nuclear weapon, we’ll stand up for change once again to keep nuclear forces at bay. Erica Fein, WAND Nuclear Weapons Policy Director, released a statement in response to this reckless, provocative, and dangerous nuclear testShare this on social media: Twitter and Facebook!
Next week we’ll ask you to continue to support this vital work to help ensure that there is common sense restraint when it comes to nuclear weapons testing.
Many thanks,
Jessie Calkins
Communications Director

691 Massachusetts Avenue | Arlington MA 02476
322 4th Street NE | Washington, DC 20002
250 Georgia Avenue S.E. Suite 202 | Atlanta, GA 30312



Francis Boyle.  The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence: Could the US War on Terrorism Go Nuclear?

“[An} enormously valuable book. Any supporter of nuclear weapons would find it very difficult to refute its arguments.”                        
Frank Jackson,        
    Vice-Chair, World Disarmament Campaign UK and Editor, World Disarm!
“Boyle’s damning post-9 / 11 legal analysis of U.S. nuclear war policy and the so-called  “war on terrorism” is the best single book for nuclear resisters to study if they intend to defend their own direct action under international law.”
                                       The Nuclear Resister Sept. 2002
“Boyle’s stirring little book traces the fault lines that may divide our society as U.S. troops and weapons are deployed illegally: those who support the legal system versus those who blindly issue and obey orders at their own peril.”
              —The Federal Lawyer, March/April 2003
        a publication of the Federal Bar Association, Washington, DC


The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence provides the intellectual tools needed to understand and respond to the growing dangers posed by the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons. It demonstrates how both the use and threatened use of nuclear weapons is illegal under international law and accordingly,

This book offers a succinct and detailed guide to understanding US policy from first
use in Hiroshima/Nagasaki through the SALT I, SALT II, ABM and START efforts at
arms control, to Star Wars, National Missile Defense and beyond. Boyle clarifies the
relevant international law, from the Hague Conventions through the Nuremberg
Principles to the 1996 World Court Advisory Opinion. He also draws attention to U.S.
contraventions of its own domestic guidelines for the pursuit of war established in the
1956 U.S. Army Field Manual on The Law of Land Warfare.

As its War on Terrorism hurtles into uncharted watersin North Korea and elsewhere,
challenging accepted norms of international law and setting a pattern                        for peremptory
state behavior, could the US or some other nuclear state cross the nuclear threshold?


Issue #224 - March 2016
Nuclear Testing
North Korea Launches Long-Range Rocket
On February 7, North Korea (DPRK) launched a satellite into space, claiming that the launch was for scientific and peaceful purposes. Other nations, including South Korea and the United States, believe that the launch was actually a front for a ballistic missile test.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, "This is the second time in just over a month that the DPRK has chosen to conduct a major provocation, threatening not only the security of the Korean peninsula, but that of the region and the United States as well."
During the 1950s, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles were used by the United States and the Soviet Union both as delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads and for the development of space programs.
Ralph Ellis, K.J. Kwon and Tiffany Ap, "U.S., Other Nations Condemn North Korean Launch of Long-Range Rocket,"CNN, February 7, 2016.
U.S. Launches Two Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles
The U.S. launched Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base on February 20 and 25. The missiles flew over 4,200 miles to a target in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Col. Craig Ramsey, commander of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, said, "Perhaps most importantly, this visible message of national security serves to assure our partners and dissuade potential aggressors." Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said, "We and the Russians and the Chinese routinely do test shots to prove that the operational missiles that we have are reliable. And that is a signal...that we are prepared to use nuclear weapons in defense of our country if necessary."
NAPF President David Krieger responded, "These comments have the quality of those of a character in Alice in Wonderland; that is, our nuclear-capable missiles have only the best of purposes, despite the fact that they are part of an illegal, immoral and insane weapon system that could result in the total destruction of the U.S. and civilization."
"Minot Tests Minuteman III with Launch from Vandenberg AFB," Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs,


Obama Administration Blames Russia for $1 Trillion U.S. Nuclear Modernization Plan

There has recently been a noticeable change in the public justifications presented by the Obama administration for its plan to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal at a cost of $1 trillion over the next 30 years. Previously, the administration insisted that the plan did not represent a return to an arms race or rivalry with Russia. In fact, in 2015, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that "the Cold War not suitable for the 21st century."
However, in recent months, Russia has become the after-the-fact public justification for the massive nuclear modernization plan. In the Obama administration's Fiscal Year 2017 budget, the administration states, "We are countering Russia's aggressive policies through investments in a broad range of capabilities...[including] our nuclear arsenal." In testimony before Congress, Obama administration official Brian McKeon said, "We are investing in the technologies that are most relevant to Russia's both deter nuclear attacks and reassure our allies."
Alex Emmons, "Obama's Russian Rationale for $1 Trillion Nuke Plan Signals New Arms Race," The Intercept, February 23, 2016.

Rep. Blumenauer Speaks Out Against Nuclear Modernization

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) delivered a floor speech in the House of Representatives on February 25 criticizing the Obama administration's plans to spend billions of dollars on modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal in fiscal year 2017.
Blumenauer said, "There are billions of dollars for the controversial modernization of each leg of the nuclear triad—the land-based missiles, submarine-based missiles and bombers—which have not been used in 65 years, have been unable to help us with the military challenges that we face now in the Middle East, and are going to consume huge sums of money in this hopelessly redundant program."

April 25, 2016

News covering the UN and the world

The United Nations Security Council "strongly condemned" North Korea's submarine ballistic missile launch. North Korea's continued ballistic missile efforts are in violation of UN resolutions and only serve to escalate tensions in the region, the Security Council says.

Veterans for Peace E-Newsletter March 11, 2016 sent this message on US threatening NK.

Stop the Provocative U.S./S. Korean War Drills in Korea!

VFP-Korea Peace Campaign is deeply concerned with the current situation in Korea, and calls on our members and supporters to take the following actions to stop the provocative US-S. Korean war drills in Korea:
1) Contact the White House by phone, fax, email--urging the President to cancel or reduce the size and scope of the dangerous, provocative large-scale joint U.S./S. Korean war drill against N. Korea, started on March 7 — continuing to April 30Tel: 1-202-456-1111 (White House)
Fax: 1-202-456-2461

2) Also, please contact members of Congress to ask the President to do the same.  Tel: 1-202-225-3121 (Congress)
Let the VFP-Korea Peace Campaign know you called by dropping the coordinator an email to

BOOK ON THE ARKANSAS GAZETTE and ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT :     Donna Lampkin Stephens.  If It Ain’t Broke, Break It: How Corporate Journalism Killed the Arkansas Gazette.  U of Arkansas P, 2015.   The privately-owned Gazette was the chief newspaper in Arkansas, until it was overtaken and eventually purchased by the Arkansas Democrat, which claimed its name and authority but did not gain its substantial “progressive thinking.”




READING US MAINSTREAM MEDIA REPORTING NORTH KOREA,  January 7 to March 7, 2016 (AD-G refers to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette).

Dick Bennett, Reading NK in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Mainstream Media Official Megaphone reports only the Debate Over How to  Promote Fear, Pentagon, Budget, War, Empire, Fossil Fuels.  Chomsky’s not
here; no representative of the peace and justice movement speaks here.   Only one point of view:  armed force will solve the NK problem.  No other perspective is allowed to complicate the simple solution.  One-sided reporting of US foreign policy pervades US mainstream media—and war has become permanent. 


Media Reports Leading up to January 7, 2016:  2013-2014.


2013 a One-Sided Report of NK Anti-American Education

*Jean H. Lee (AP).  “N. Korean Kids Learn Early to Hate U.S.”  ADG (June 24, 2013).  [Despite using Google, l could not find this article anywhere but in the ADG. –Dick] 

     This article, filling up half a page, hammers away at NK brainwashing their children to despise the “Yankee imperialists” or “American bastards” (“miguk nom”).  “The children run around beating up mock American soldiers and planes,” a teacher, Jon, said.   And reporter Lee writes: “For North Koreans, the systematic indoctrination of anti-Americanism starts as early as kindergarten and is as much a part of the curriculum as learning to count.”    

          State instilling hate in children or anybody is repulsive.   But reporter Lee fails to ask why the NK government would go to such extremes.   Nor does she observe the less but still powerful hate-mongering against NK by US mainstream media, including Lee’s article.   Doesn’t journalistic training in the US teach reporters to seek at least two sides of an issue, where they exist?  

        This major absence in Lee’s article reminded me of one half of John Gower’s book, War Without Mercy, which reports how the imperial Japanese war-mongers in power during WWII taught their population dehumanizing images and views of the US people.   But the other half of Gower’s book shows the US propagandizing similar denigrations of the Japanese.  WWII was a war without compassion on both sides.  And the conflict between NK and the US exhibits a similar absence of sympathetic imagination.  NK’s hostility is expressed more intensely.   But let’s inquire why that is.

     Again comparison with Japan/US history illuminates NK/US.  A complex history preceded both the war against Japan and the present conflict with NK, ignorance of which skews perception and judgment.   In No Choice But War Roland Worth, Jr., explains how US colonial competition with Japan over control of natural resources in the Pacific and East Asia led to the US/UK embargo of imports into Japan that led directly to Pearl Harbor.  And racism was deeply involved (part of the later merciless war), for the US cooperated with the French, British, and Dutch empires in East Asia, but opposed the Japanese.  At least, knowledge of events leading up to WWII in the Pacific qualifies such lethal slogans as “stab in the back” in describing the attack on Pearl in 1941.  --Dick

2014 Two Sides of NK
“North Korea to Send Pep Squad to Games.”  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (July 7, 2014).  NK will send athletes and a cheering squad to the Asian Games in September, with the aim “to promote reconciliation” and “to end hostility and mutual slandering.”  The NK statement also asked SK to scrap their military drills with “foreign forces” (US), which NK perceives to be “invasion rehearsal.”   This important report should be kept in mind for those two stories: NK attempts at reconciliation and its fear and hostility toward SK/US joint exercises--Dick 


2014 NK High-Level Amity Visits and Talks

Anna Fifield (Reporting from Kyoto, Japan, Washington Post).  “Koreas Agree to More Talks After North Team Drops In.”  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Oct. 6, 2014).  North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un’s public disappearance for a month (he has not been seen since Sept. 3) makes this surprise visit of possibly the 2nd and 3rd in command in NK highly significant.  ”This is the highest level North Korean delegation to visit the South since 2009….”   NK has reached out recently around the worldIts foreign minister spoke at the UN General Assembly last month and is now in Russia, and it is holding talks with Japan over abductions of several decades ago.  –Dick      

Reading North Korea in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette by Dick Bennett.  Reports by newspapers like the AD-G reflect a national mainstream perspective because this newspaper employs both signed articles and articles drawn from other mainstream media compiled by AD-G staff. I have not analyzed (given an alternative account for) all of the reports, but I wanted to show the uniformity of the larger sample.  Analyzed reports are indicated by an asterisk.

Ten Reports of NK’s Nuclear Test of January 6, 2016.

*AD-G Staff.   “Nuke Test Sets off Boos, Doubts.  North Korea Blast Said Not Up
     To the Level of an H-bomb.”  UN and West Condemn and Threaten NK’s
     Hydrogen Bomb Test.  January 7,  2016 

*Staff.  “S. Korea Cautions N. Korea,”  SK Resumes Cross-Border Propaganda
      Broadcasts and Warns It Will Respond Sternly To Provocations.   January 8,

Staff.  “China: Not Responsible for N. Korea.  It Blames U.S. for Destabilizing
     Region, Lays Burden for Change on All Nations.  January 9, 2016. 

Staff.  “U.N. Bans on N. Korea Unenforced.”  Of the 193 U.N. member states “fewer than 40” have turned in its reports on the 2013 sanctions.  Jan. 11, 2016.

*AD-G Editorial.  “No Surprises: Climax, Anti-Climax, Ka-boom.”  Jan. 12, 2016.

Staff.   “Kim Tells North Koreans to Develop Weapons,” Kim Jong Un Urges
     Scientists to Boost Nuclear Research To Prevent US Invasion, Jan. 12, 2016

Hyung-Jin Kim (AP).  “N. Korean Drone Prompts Warning.  “20 Machine-Gun Rounds Reportedly Fired as Flight Veers South of Border.”  Jan. 14, 2016.

Sam Kim (Bloomberg News).  “N. Korea States Terms to Halt Nuke Tests,”
    NK’s Deal for Stopping Nuclear Testing, Jan. 16, 2016   

*Isabel Reynolds (Bloomberg News).  “China Urged to Support Sanctions on
      North Korea.”   US Dep. Sec’t. of State Blinken Urges Stronger Sanctions,
     Jan. 17, 2016

*David E. Sanger (New York Times).  “Containing Pyongyang: The Problem is
      North Korea.”  Jan. 17, 2016.

Hostile Reporting by Associated Press and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  See earlier newsletters; here’s #4:  


*NK’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF HYDROGEN BOMB TESTING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PEACE  by Dick Bennett.    A Discussion of “Nuke Test Sets Off Boos, Doubts: North Korea Blast Said Not Up to the Level of an H-Bomb.” Compiled by wire reports by Staff of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (January 7, 2016), 1A, 6A.

I.              Reaction of World Powers to North Korea’s Hydrogen Bomb Test

The “world powers” reacted to NK’s declared hydrogen bomb test in two ways: skepticism, condemnation, and threatened violence.   None is helpful in quelling NK’s military preparations.  A dismissed hydrogen bomb test claim will only inflame President Kim Jong--un.    But for its own danger the hydrogen claim ought to be treated not with scoffing but with the utmost concern.   Every attempt possible to send a UN inspection team should be utilized.

      And condemnation has been tried and tried year after year, decade after decade, by those same “world powers” without success.  

      And sanctions aplenty.   Now the U.N. Security Council in an emergency session declared it would “take ‘further significant measures” with “new sanctions. . .in light of ‘the gravity of the violation.’”  This fourth nuclear test since 2006, in the words of UK Ambassador Rycroft was “’a reckless challenge to international norms of behavior and the authority of the U.N. Security Council.”  US Ambassador Samantha Power said “the international community must respond with ‘steadily increasing pressure.’”  

But this will avail nothing.  Following NK’s third test on Feb. 12, 2013, the UN applied four rounds of sanctions “aimed at reigning in the North’s nuclear and missile development, but Pyongyang has ignored them and moved ahead with programs to modernize its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.”  [See report above on US trillion dollars modernization of its nuclear weapons.]   Japan’s U.N. Ambassador “said the Security Council will hurt its credibility if it fails to swiftly adopt a new resolution imposing ‘significant’ new measures against Pyongyang.”    And “leaders from across the region and around the world denounced the test.”  “South Korean President Park Geun-hye ordered the military  to bolster its combined defense posture with U.S. forces.”  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, ‘We absolutely cannot allow this.’”  China’s Ministry of foreign Affairs “denounced the tests” and pushed for “’denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’”  But neither China nor Russia have supported more sanctions now, so far, such as restricting a “key procurement company” and limiting “the travel of senior North Korean officials.”  

     Even if all the nations denounced and demanded and threatened, the results will be, as in the past, unavailing.                        

     Nor has armed force helped. In fact, it has had the opposite effect of increasing NK fears and defense preparation.  Like the US but with infinitely more justification, NK is a National Fear and Security State (NFSS).     After WWII the US established an arc of nuclear armed bases southeast to northeast, turning Japan into an enormous US base.  The US and South Korea perform joint “defensive” maneuvers near NK’s borders.  During the Korean War the US killed some 20 to 30% of NK’s population, an unprecedented percentage, by decimating 78 cities and thousands of her villages.   (

       Now US Pentagon Secretary Ashton Carter and his SK counterpart, Han Min-Koo, were reported to have “agreed a North Korean nuclear test would be an ‘unacceptable and irresponsible provocation.”  Carter “reaffirmed “ US “commitment to defend South Korea, which he said includes ‘all aspects of the United States’ extended deterrence—referring to a long-standing U.S. promise to defend South Korea with nuclear weapons if necessary.”   

     The US has used many kinds and intensities of denunciations, sanctions, and armed threats to compel NK to do its bidding.  (See extensive documentation in preceding newsletters.).  Despite all this, NK continued to build rockets and now claims to have the tech for a hydrogen bomb.  In response the “world powers” have denounced, sanctioned, and threatened.  Insanity is repeating the same behavior expecting a different result?

     The people of this world need new ways of dealing with NK nuclear weapons.  If the threat of the world’s armed force has failed to persuade the leaders of NK, surely finally it’s time to try another method.   It’s time to try peace force.   This is our opportunity.

II.             What’s It Look Like from Pyongyang?

     In its final section, “North Cites Defense,” the newspaper attempted, in journalistic give-both-sides professionalism, to explain NK’s reasons for building a hydrogen bomb.   But it lasted for only three sentences, trying to see the world as an enemy sees it an unfamiliar task for US leaders and the mainstream media.  “North Korea’s state media called the test a self-defense measure against a potential U.S. attack.  ‘The [country’s] access to H-bomb of justice, standing against the U.S., the chieftain of aggression. . .is the legitimate right of a sovereign state for self-defense and a very just step no one can slander.’”  A citizen is quoted as saying, “’Since we have it, the U.S. will not attack us.”  A large crowd is mentioned celebrating the achievement.

     The rest of the concluding section, however, returns to the beginning two options of skepticism or sanctions: How credible is the test claim? What is the magnitude of NK’s new threat? What increase in punishment should the West apply?   The article ends with the efforts to determine the true nature of the test.

     So the moment offers a momentous opportunity to the peace movement to help turn such a dangerous situation into peace.   We could follow many paths—that of Gandhi or King, for example, all of which would be better than that of armed threatening, which has failed utterly and could explode WWIII.  .  The path I will track here is that of J. William Fulbright.   The final chapter of The Price of Empire (1989) is entitled “Seeing the World as Others See It.”  Here he summarizes his philosophy of peace through education for empathy.  The people of the world, and especially the leaders of the great powers, must learn to feel and understand other people’s cultures—why they think, react, and operate as they do.    Earlier in the book Fulbright explains the radical meaning of the empathic ABM treaty for peace: “Insofar as each side abandons the effort to make itself invulnerable to attack or retaliation, it also commits itself to peace and to the survival of the other’s power and ideology” (30).  In regard to nuclear weapons, nations—again, particularly the leaders—must understand the necessity of cooperation to survival.   What Dr. Jerome Frank recommended in regard to the Soviets, if we wished to survive, is to “do the opposite of what we were then doing as a country; that instead of challenging them on every occasion, we should seek out ways to do things together” (194).


*Staff.  “S. Korea Cautions N. Korea,” SK Resumes Cross-Border Propaganda
      Broadcasts and Warns It Will Respond Sternly To Provocations
.   January
2016.   [See the reports above on US threatening and Provocations.]

Staff.  “China: Not Responsible for N. Korea.  It Blames U.S. for Destabilizing
     Region, Lays Burden for Change on All Nations. 
January 9, 2016. 

Staff.  “U.N. Bans on N. Korea Unenforced.”  Of the 193 U.N. member states
     “fewer than 40” have turned in its reports on the 2013 sanctions. 
Jan. 11,


AD-G Editorial.  “No Surprises: Climax, Anti-Climax, Ka-boom.”  Jan. 12, 2016.

     Opening with a reminder of the NK invasion of SK in 1950 and the present “bluff after counter-bluff,” in a fit of spleen the editor attacks “irresolute” President Obama , who “continues to babble pointlessly even while assembling a great show of force,”  criticizes our useless allies, and faintly praises China for “abandoning” Pyongyang, proving “there is no honor among aggressors.”  [Aggressors always the other side.]    What would the editor have Obama do?  Have a policy.  He implies a resolute policy, yet he disdains the President’s childish show of force, which Kim Jong-Un particularly fears and dislikes.  In fact President Obama is following the old playbook of US strong-arm policy, threatening military shock and awe while blocking more avenues of economic access and development, as the US did with Cuba and other nations.  Diplomacy?  

     The US does not have formal diplomatic relations with NK, the nation above all other nations with which it should be talking.   The U.S. should be using every means to understand  North Korea's fearful, mercurial leader, Kim Jong-Un, who interprets B-52s at his border as belligerent provocations, planes that laid waste to NK cities during the Korean War and to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia during the Vietnam War..  (Is Kim paranoid?)

      If threatening and sanctioning have failed to curb NK’s leader then listen to the peace movement.    A peace policy could resemble the one suggested by Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labor Party, for the creation of a communications channel with the Islamic State in hopes of ending the war in Syria, imitating the one created with the Irish Republican Army that helped end the conflict in Northern Ireland.

     A peace policy could be teaching both IS and US Muhammad’s policy of  hilm—forbearance, patience, mercy.  Before we bomb, have the combatants read the life of Muhammad?   Have our bombers from Obama to stealth and drone pilots read a line of the Qur’an?  Has our State Department organized meetings of Muslims, Christians, Jews and others to try to understand IS?  Karen Armstrong writes at the end of her biography, Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time:  “The Prophet, whose aim was peace and practical compassion…”   The US should slaughter before trying to communicate with surely the majority of Muslims who agree with their Prophet?   --Dick


*Isabel Reynolds (Bloomberg News).  “China Urged to Support Sanctions on North Korea.”   US Dep. Sec’t. of State Blinken Urges Stronger Sanctions, Jan. 17, 2016.

Antony Blinken is the US voice for “tougher sanctions against North Korea at the U.N. Security Council,” and he urges China to support them.  NK must suffer “significant consequences”  “the early adoption of the strongest resolution possible.”   But surely most people of the world know the nuclear bomb danger could be ended by the US agreeing to abolish its own.  Unquestionably we all know we are in mortal danger so long as the bombs exist.  In the meantime, the US huffs and puffs against an “enemy’s” nuclear arms, as though the US presidents did not remember they had helped several nuclear powers acquire them.   The North Koreans know it, fear it, and fear too the so far impregnable hypocrisy of US double standards.

      We also learn that SK had resumed propaganda broadcasts across the border, and the US flew “a B-52 bomber south of the border in a show of force.”   And NK?  It offered to negotiate.  It offered “to stop nuclear testing if the U.S. suspends joint military drills with South Korea.”  Score: US threatening and organizing for punishment; NK open to discussion and not asking for much:  just stop threatening us with your joint maneuvers.  Blinken pluckily declared “the U.S. remained open to dialogue, but would judge North Korea by its actions, not its words,” just as Kim Jong Un was doing.  --Dick


*David E. Sanger (New York Times).  “Containing Pyongyang: The Problem is North Korea.”  Jan. 17, 2016.

     Eleven days after Kim Jong-Un claimed the successful testing of a hydrogen bomb, the AD-G published this tenth article on the apparent feat.   It was embellished by a painting of Kim Jong-Un as a nuclear missile, for the subject of the article is North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.  As the title declares, someone must contain the Problem—Kim Jong-Un.  It’s a familiar scenario: remember Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese threat to San Francisco?   Alluding to NK: The “world’s most unpredictable regime could credibly threaten South Korea, Japan, American forces in the Pacific [Hawaii!] and, eventually, the West Coast of the United States”!!    So: “What do you do with a problem like North Korea?”   He rejects “strategic patience,” leading to “acquiescence.”  The State Department’s Sidney Seiler did prepare proposals for resuming negotiations much like the process with Iran’s nuclear program.  Stephen Bosworth, Obama’s special envoy for North Korea, argued that if we could negotiate with Iran and Cuba we could meet with Kim Jong-Un.  But the initiative “went nowhere.”  Why?  You know the answer.   The administration “would not talk to North Korea unless the North agreed” to “complete nuclear disarmament.”

     So NK’s (and USA’s) arms continue to increase and to be improved, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction continues to expand, and the threat to the US and its allies multiplies.   Says NK: “. . .nuclear weapons are the country’s insurance policy.” Until, that is, it has assurances of safety from nuclear attack from the country that has used a nuclear bomb twice, has threatened to use them a dozen times, and is flying its B-52 toward its borders.  The country that is producing improved weapons just for NK.  According to William Broad and David Sanger (The New York Times, AD-G 1-17-16, 2A), the first precision-guided atom bomb built by the US “was designed with problems like North Korea in mind” (tunnels).  And to Kim Jong-Un, President Obama is untrustworthy.  (Let’s suppose Kim Jong-Un knows what “cant” means.)  President Barack Obama advocates nuclear-zero, a ‘nuclear –free world,” but the US has more bombs perhaps than the rest of the world combined.    The improvements do not nullify his “pledge to make no new nuclear arms,” yet the new designs are new weapons.  Obama demands NK not acquire hydrogen bombs but does not offer to eliminate US nuclear bombs.   Obama’s officials argue that modernized—more accurate and reliable--weapons will make “their use less likely because of the threat they can pose,” but that old argument from the sixties covers up first strike capability.  The double-standard, arising from the arrogance of US “Exceptionalism,” aggravates the entire world, but US power generally restrains overt opposition, but not NK.  

      So what to do with the Problem?   The peace movement has long offered solutions never seriously tried by our NFSS.   Former Senator J. William Fulbright set forth the basic way.   US leaders and the populace must learn to see the world as others see it.   The US must “change our manner of thinking.”  What he said about the Soviet Union (SU) and the US applies equally well to NK and US:  “Soviet and American leaders are beginning to recognize the destructive futility of the arms race and are beginning to see some advantages in cooperation. . .in more peaceful, productive forms of competition” (The Price of Empire, “Afterword: On Changing Our Manner of Thinking,” 225).  --Dick


*AD-G Staff (from NYT and AP reports).  “U.S. to China: Curb N. Korea or Face Steps: Kerry Points to Advanced Missile Shield.”   January 28, 2016.

     ‘’This is a threat the United States must take extremely seriously,’ Kerry said of North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal.”   Now where have we heard this before, and with infinitely more credibility?   Yes, Pres. Kim Jong-Un.  He and his country are truly threatened, ringed as they are with US nuclear-armed missiles.   What astonished me is that Kerry is the same man who just completed negotiating with another country to disarm.    What’s the difference?  Kerry’s the same man.   And our ally Israel which encouraged war is not involved.   Why this pugnacity and against China?!   Jon Stewart writing this  might have NK say to US: we take your B-52 and joint maneuvers with SK (backed up by bases on Okinawa, Guam, Hawaii and all the way to the Bangor Trident submarine base in Washington State) extremely seriously, and threaten (well, appeal to) China to intervene, “NK to China: Curb USA or Face Steps.”  Obviously such a power difference would inspire Stewart.

     But that’s only the beginning.  I now suspect it was some warmonger Republican member of the House impersonating Kerry:  “The United States will take all necessary steps to protect our people and allies?   ALL steps?   All   This by our Iran deal negotiator?   And then he descends into the crap trap of cant: “ We don’t want to heighten security tensions.”  OH?  “But we won’t walk away from any options.”  ANY?  ANY? 

     So far I have been drawing from the first three short paragraphs of the AD-G’s first page.   A question occurs to me:  Who chose to place such extreme bellicosity—headline and text--at the top of page one?   Did Kerry if he thusly began his remarks following talks with the Chinese Foreign Minister?  Did the writers from AP and NYT?  Or did the compilers from the AD-G? 

     The article continues for half of page 8.  There we learn SK’s president would consider accepting the offered US missile system called THAAD, or Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, “to better cope with the North’s growing nuclear missile threats.”  So the US had offered missile protection prior to NK’s test.  And we know missile shields enable a first strike.   So who is threatening whom?  We also learn that China agreed to new U.N. sanctions against the North.  And the US “made clear” it expected China “to pressure” NK “to give up its nuclear arsenal.”   To “curb exports of oil ad oil products, including aviation fuel” and to “crack down” on NK’s “banks and businesses.”    And the other side, what would they give?   Iran was offered a deal.  Diplomacy was applied.     What was NK offered?   No mention of what the US and China were  to give up in a negotiation, but only power pressure was considered. -- Dick


*Hoyt Purvis, “Foreign Policy by Swagger.”  AD-G (Jan. 28, 2016.  Prof. Purvis herein reasonably appraises examples of Republican tough talk regarding Iran: bombast produces worse consequences than noise.  In his conclusion regarding President Obama, however, he seems to have been thinking of some other dimension of reality than NK:  “Obama’s administration favors carefully gauged use of power and patient and effective use of diplomacy.”  For Iran yes, for Iraq and Libya and NK no.    If only the President would listen to Prof. Purvis.

A note about the motives underlying the US/NK puffing up:
Plenty of evidence has shown the fear of humiliation among the promulgators of superpowers, especially one whose leaders and followers have swallowed the myth of US  Exceptionalism.  I suppose a similar fear has propelled and deranged, more and less,  the Kims as much as it has the US presidents.   See Blema Steinberg’s Shame and Humiliation: Presidential Decision Making on Vietnam (1996), an extended study of humiliation as motivating factor in both the Johnson and Nixon administrations, and Myra Mendible’s paper “Post-Vietnam Syndrome: National Identity, War, and the Politics of Humiliation.”  ---Dick

*“Panel Oks Tighter Clamp on N. Korea” (Jan. 29, 2016).

     Yes the familiar tighter clamp which has proven utterly futile in stopping NK’s—Kim Jong-Un’s—nuclear development, just as his pitiful bitty counter-clamping has not slowed that of the US, which could annihilate NK in a moment (not an exaggeration: the US has enough nuclear bombs to obliterate not only NK’s cities but its villages too).  

     During the Cold War the Senate Foreign Relations Committee went along with the rampant Sovietphobia, except while Senator J. William Fulbright was Chairman of the Committee.  Now the bipartisan SFRC clamps, “expands on the legislation passed in the House two weeks ago. . . .aimed at denying Pyongyang hard currency for its weapons programs.”   (No way Kim Jong-Un can match that.)  This report ends with an appropriate reminder to its readers:  “North Korea already faces wide-ranging sanctions from the United States.”

      So we should ask, given the diplomatic calming recently achieved between the US and Iran, why all this sanctioning against NK?  Can anyone say it has worked?  Let us ask for diplomacy with NK.


Hyung-Jin Kim (AP).  “N. Korea Neighbors:  Will Target Rocket Debris.”  AD-G (Feb. 5, 2016)
     NK informed the world it would launch an observation satellite aboard a rocket.  SK said it would direct all of its surveillance to monitor the preparations.  SK and US said “a launch would threaten regional security and violate U.N. Security Council resolutions.”  Diplomats at the Security Council, we are told, have pledged additional sanctions.  So far a helpful summary of recent events.      
     But then SK President Park Geun-hye is reported to have  “called for strong U.N. sanctions that will make North Korea realize it cannot survive if it does not abandon its weapons programs” (my italics).   I trust such Armageddon rhetoric is only figurative or refers only to sanctions.   Thankfully, China “urged restraint,” and U.N. S-G Ban Ki-moon referred temperately to concerns in the international community.   Remember when Premier Kruschev told the US:  “We will bury you,” and our nation’s warriors called for preemptive war, when Kruschev had merely referred to basic Marxist analysis of the inevitable self-destruction of capitalism?
     One possibly very important item of information is provided by reporter Kim:  the existence of “38 North,” a NK-focused web-site “run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.”  I have been watching NK reporting for several years, and this is the first citation of 38 North I have noticed.   Looks like Kim is trying to bring readers reliable scholarly information.  Thank you reporter Kim of the Associated Press.


(AP).  “Japanese Emperor Prays at Philippines War Memorial.”

      Japan’s former prime minister traveled the world to apologize for injuries done to invaded countries during WWII.  This report focuses upon Emperor Akihito’s visit to the war memorial for the Japanese soldiers killed in the Philippines and his expression of “deep remorse” for the damage caused by the war, though he did not, according to the writer, “offer a straightforward apology.”   The day before, we learn, “Akihito and his wife led a wreath-laying ceremony at Manila‘s Heroes Cemetery, where more than 44,000 Filipino soldiers from WWII are buried.” 

     Now let us consider not the probability of an apology but the possible effects of a US president apologizing to N. Korea.  (US exceptionalist arrogance gives no chance of an apology, but let’s imagine its effects on President Kim Jong-Un and the people of NK.)  But first let’s clarify by remembering two aspects of the Korean War.

     All we ever hear from the Pentagon-White House-Congressional Complex regarding the origin of the Korean War is that NK invaded SK.  But it was immensely more complicated than that, as we saw above in the review of I. F. Stone’s book on the Korean War.  

     Secondly, the US decimated NK during the War (google US bombing North Korea during Korean War).   According to one scholar, extensive war crimes were committed against the Korean people, with 20 to 30% of the population killed in some three years of bombings, in which “78 cities and thousands of her villages” were destroyed.
     Now, these contexts should surely create at least a bit of humility, or if not ethical regret (never mind remorse) a touch of rational reconsideration regarding that war’s and the present threatening’s justice.  Years of tit for tat pushing and shoving from NK and SK until NK attacked full-scale, and we showed them a shock and awe lesson, including strong threats of nuclear bombings, except that it wasn’t the people of NK who chose to attack.  (US nuclear madness:  Stone and Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States, 239-245). 

Foster Klug (AP).  “North Korea Launches Rocket, International Uproar.”  AD-G (Feb. 7, 2016). 

     In his opening paragraph, the AP reporter chooses the inflammatory, threat-laden framing (but not the worst: see my last sentence below):  NK’s launch of “a long-range rocket that the United Nations and others call a cover for a banned test of technology for a missile that could strike the U.S. mainland.”  The claim gets to the heart of the matter.   The U.S. has long possessed and tested long-range missiles.  The US initiated its first land-based ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistics Missile) in 1946 (intended for nuclear warheads, used for satellites), and development has continued to this day.  Testing occurs at Vandenberg AFB on the West Coast (!) to ensure its operational capacity.  The US also has operational submarine-launched missiles. That is, the NK has for decades been threatened by US missiles.  None of this, the motive for NK’s fear-drenched build-up, is mentioned in the article.

     Yet NK’s rocket launch is labeled a “further provocation” by the US and its allies (several of which have operational ICBMs), demanding further sanctions. And we are reminded that the “U.N. Security Council prohibits North Korea from nuclear and ballistic missile activity.”  

    The whole account reeks with cant.   The deepest culprit here perhaps is the arrogant, self-serving US doctrine of US “exceptionalism” and its special double-standard, keenly analyzed in American Exceptionalism and Human Rights by Michael Ignatieff.    US leaders sign treaties and then exempt the US.    They judge “enemies” by higher standards than for the US and its friends.  And our president judges deny the jurisdiction of treaties (laws of our land).
      The reporter did give NK’s point of view once in a masterful, softening imprecision:  ”North Korea says its nuclear and missile programs are necessary to defend itself against what it calls decades of U.S. hostility.”   Just add:  nuclear tipped and, in an incalculably immense intensification of the bombings of the Korean War, now targeting NK cities with nuclear bombs.   But reporter Klug was better than the reporting in “Opponents Target Rising Pair,” compiled by the AD-G Staff from Wire Reports the same day.   Perhaps to fit the mood of the GOP presidential candidates seeking to be “tougher” against NK than their rivals, the Staff makes a fact out of what Klug reports accurately as an enemy’s opinion:  the rocket was “a covert test of technology for a missile that could strike the U.S. mainland” (see opening paragraph).


Sam Kim and Ranjeetha Pakiam (Bloomberg News).  “S. Korea’s Case for U.S. Missiles Grows.”  ADE-G (February 9, 2016).  (Reminder:  NK is more precisely the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK.)

      After NK’s nuclear test on Jan. 6, SK‘s President, Park Geunhye said she would consider the US ballistic missile defense system known as THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense).   Following NK’s launch of a long-range rocket, SK again indicated its willingness to deploy the system.  China however opposes it.  Meanwhile President Obama is discussing the matter with several parties—with Chinese President Xi Jinping about “’the need to really tighten the noose’” on NK by “a verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” and with SK about missile defense “to prevent any possibility that North Korea could reach U.S. facilities or U.S. populations.”

       This information inspires several observations.  President Obama seems to have expressed his Darth Vader side, though I suppose “tighten the noose” is a less violent metaphor than “cut their throat” or “bury them.”   But his stated motive for placing THAAD near NK seems radically nationalistic.  The jihadists have radicalized Barack Obama?   Why does China oppose?  Kim and Pakiam interviewed a scholar who said the system was “directed against the Chinese,” and the Chinese feared it as “a potential weapon that could be used against them.”  They do not explain that missile defense shields are indeed weapons because they could serve a first strike, a deep anxiety during the Cold War.  We learn that Japan was also considering deployment of THAAD.   And that both Japan and SK already have US Patriot missiles (two tiers of missiles.  And that those countries, with China and India, “are among the biggest spenders on defense in Asia.”  These Asian countries, that is, are thinking about and preparing for war.

    The thinking is circumstantial and with some assumptions prejudicial to NK.  The authors, for example, quote a “defense industry consultant” who analyzes NKs fear of THAAD because it will require “’a lot of missiles,” and NK doesn’t have them.  The system would be deployed on US bases in SK, where the US has 29,000 soldiers.  It would “send a message to Beijing” to “do more to rein in” NK.  And Secretary Kerry recently visited China to urge stronger sanctions.

     No wonder “defense” industry consultants are present: These preparations are enormously expensive.   For comparison, here is an example of US nuclear spending from Sustainable Energy—Without the Hot Air by David MacKay (from OMNI’s Library).  “The financial expenditure by the USA on manufacturing and deploying nuclear weapons from 1945 to 1996 was $5.5 trillion (in 1996 dollars,” 100).  I chose US expenditures for a double purpose:  think what Kim Jong-Un and NKs must think faced by such an unimaginably armed antagonist.   And think how thoughtful people all over E. Asia  must sorrow at spending for weapons instead of for life’s potentialities.

      But such thoughts do not appear in the AD-G series.  No alternative voice for peace is interviewed.  Only fear and armed force, which are made to seem the only possible way of thinking and behaving.

     MacKay began this section of his book with words from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 1953:  “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies…a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”   The AD-G series is devoid of empathy.

Tony Capaccio (Bloomington News).  “Senators Say Ships Unproven, Urge Navy to Slow Deployment.”    AD-G (Feb. 9, 2016).   Senators John McCain and Jack Reed ask Navy to tone down its cheerleading and slow its deployment of the six new Littoral Combat Ship until the ships are fully tested. (One is named the USS Little Rock, now undergoing trials, so Arkies have a special interest.)  

     What do these ships have to do with NK?   They are part of “President Obama’s administration’s promised ‘pivot to the Pacific.”  The USS Fort Worth is already based in Singapore, “with plans to have two there by December and four by 2018.”  .  And the Navy plans “to use littoral ships in Pacific exercises.   The ships are intended for operations in the littoral zone, for surface warfare, mine clearance, and submarine-hunting.  It’s not a large strong arm, not anything like the US/SK annual joint maneuvers with nuclear capable B-52s flying near NK’s borders, but it adds up.  And there’s more.  Mine-clearing is “its top mission.”  Anti-submarine, apparently, next.  These are close-in, war-fighting ships. Look at them from NK’s perspective.  Should we call him paranoid in his ravings and rantings?


Reporting NK’s Feb. 6 Long-Range Rocket Launch

AD-G Staff from Wire Reports, “Japan Legislators Decry N. Korea Launch” (February 10, 2016).  An itty-bitty report that repeats the familiar formula twice each:  “serious provocation” demands “sanctions,” once adding “[provocation] that poses tremendous threat to the peace and safety of Japan and the region, as well as the international society.”   Since the “allies” repeat and are reported as repeating the same things, I am compelled to ask the question Kim Jong-Un surely asks but is never reported by MM: If the US, UK, Russia, Israel, France, India, and Pakistan are allowed nucs ready to launch, why not NK?  What is needed is the abolition of nuclear weapons from all nuclear nations and henceforth.  Until then we will experience nuclear proliferation and extreme danger.


Staff.  “ISIS Determined to Strike U.S. This Year, Senate Told.”  AD-G (Feb. 10, 2016). 

     Two frequently aggravating sources of confusion are the AD-G’s use  of anonymous staff gatherings from multiple sources, denying readers knowledge of the specific origin of the report (unknown reporters reporting unknown reporters), and as in this case misleading headlines identifying only one of several subjects in an article.  This title on “ISIS” identifies less than half of the article, which is mainly about North Korea (and Russia), and a third section on Afghanistan and Syria.

      The report on NK focuses on Director of National Intelligence James Clapper giving testimony to congressional committees on “the top dangers facing the country.”  Much is fear-mongering

     He reports on US vulnerability to cyberattacks from Russia, China, and NK, countries “willing” to make such disruptions.    But this is selective danger and fear:  why only from these three countries?   But we are also told China in 2015 had committed to refrain from such attacks, which US intelligence is monitoring.  

     He tells us that NK “has expanded uranium enrichment facility and restarted a plutonium reactor that could begin recovering material for nuclear weapons.”  But look again at my italics.  NK is starting.  In continuing to threaten NK do US leaders think they are all insane?  Remember that making a nuclear bomb is immensely complicated and expensive.  David MacKay in Sustainable Energy—without the hot air (2009, 100) states that the $5.5 trillion US nuclear weapons spending from 1945 to 1996 ”exceeded the combined total federal spending for education; agriculture; training, employment, and social services; natural resources and the environment; general science, space, and technology; community and regional development (including disaster relief); law enforcement; and energy production and regulation.”    Given the thousands of US nuclear bombs, NK memory of conventional weapons decimating their country during the Korean War, and the reduction of impoverishment without weapons development, are the leaders of NK so paranoid they would attack the any country allied to the US?    It’s inconceivable.  But it is immediately believable that they might feel cornered sufficiently to lash out with nothing to lose.  They keenly remember US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq illegally, today both countries desolated.   And they equally keenly feel the injustice of US double standards—for itself thousands of nuclear weapons, for NK zero.

     Russia receives familiar Cold War condemnation, that is his vague allegations apparently unquestioned by the committee members.   Director of National Intelligence Clapper is unsure of Russia’s “endgame” in the Ukraine, but “’we could be into another Cold War-like spiral.’”   Who is generating that spiral?   Russia has bases in Mexico and Canada like our bases and allies all around Russia’s borders?    Russia is “’assuming a more assertive cyber posture’. . .based on its willingness to target critical infrastructure and carry out espionage. . . .”   What and were the targets?  Espionage?  What examples against the US and its allies?  “Moscow’s incursion in Ukraine and other ‘aggressive’ moves around the globe are bring done in part to demonstrate that it is a superpower equal to the United States.”  How big a part, or is Director of National Intelligence Clapper projecting his own and his colleagues minds?

     So, the title of the article should be:  “Clapper Briefs Senate on World Threats to US” (or “Clapper Briefs Senate on US Mirror Imaging of World Threats”).  

      On one matter, Clapper seems to eschew fear-mongering:  he testified that NK’s hydrogen bomb test failed; there was no hydrogen bomb. So the enormously expensive  bomb test failed, and they are already dependent upon foreign food charity.

      And one glaring omission from the article:  Clapper is guilty of earlier lying to Congress—perjury, misleading a congressional committee a felony--with impunity. 


Staff.  “Senators Approve N. Korea Sanctions: Arms Fear Makes Vote Unanimous.”  AD-G (Feb. 11, 2016).

     In old bipartisan Cold War spirit, the US Senate voted 96-0 for sanctions to deprive NK “of the money it needs to build an atomic arsenal.”   The legislation also “authorizes $50 million over the next five years to transmit radio broadcasts” into NK, and “support humanitarian assistance programs.”    Senator Gardner, R. Colo., co-author of the bill, “said the US policy of ‘strategic patience’ has failed.”

     “The House overwhelmingly approved North Korean sanctions legislation last month.”

     Presidential candidates Cruz and Rubio returned to praise and vote.  Senator Sanders missed the vote but “issued a statement” of support.

   Senator Boozman praised the legislation “after the White House’s ‘failure of leadership’ in dealing with North Korea’s aggression.”  Senator Tom Cotton also of Arkansas lauded it as “only the ‘first step’ toward stabilizing the region.   Cotton would “speed…missile defenses in Asia,” reprove China for not pressuring Kim,  “deal with” NK “now.” 

     The article reminds us of the “wide-ranging sanctions” from the US and UN already prohibiting NK “from trading in weapons.”  The new sanctions include all who sell “technology related to weapons of mass destruction…engage in human rights abuses, money laundering…supports the Kim regime…engage in ‘cyber-terrorism.”   And more in a third section: the US and SK are discussing a “new missile defense system.”  Extensive comment is given to ways NK is evading the “four U.N. sanctions resolutions adopted since the country’s first nuclear test in 2006,” and the reasons why the evasions are occurring.

     The article has a third section on Japanese sanctions, old and new, including “a ban on all North Koreans ships from entering the country,” and “expanded restrictions on travel between the two countries.”  Shutting windows and doors, walling themselves in, banning, proscribing, NK and themselves.  See the following similar article on SK/NK.     An important sign of the hulking preeminent presence of the US in these reports and of the propaganda role played by the mainstream media is the assessment by Washington and its allies that NK seeks to target the US with “nuclear-tipped missiles capable of striking the U.S. mainland.”  The exact same phrase occurs again and again.    Just as the Soviets were preparing to invade Western Europe through the Fulda Gap, Sandinistas were approaching Brownsville, TX, or the next North Vietnamese target was San Francisco, NK was preparing to nuke the USA.

     This article lays bare the danger of US militarism and empire inflamed by delusory fears that could become another war in the name of defense.  The most striking illustration of this power is the support given the NK sanctions by democratic socialist, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.  In all of his positions on health care, social and economic justice, human rights, democracy, he advocates empathy, equality, cooperation, sharing.   He wants to open doors and windows and tear down walls; to create a nation that creates possibilities for all citizens.  But on national “security” he doesn’t challenge the national will to dominate the world for our safety in this case through punitive sanctions backed by threat of annihilation.


Staff.  “S. Korea Shutting Industrial Park shared with North.”  AD-G (Feb. 11, 2016).

     Why close the Park?  “To punish the North” for the Jan. 6 nuclear test and the Feb.  rocket launch.  Significance?   Immediately: more than 120 SK companies employed “about 54,000” NK workers; the companies protested the closing..  SK’s “government and private citizens have invested more than $852 million” in the project, and NK “has received $560 million in cash” since early 2000s   Long range:  The Park was “the Koreas’ last major cooperation project.”   The countries are closing down communication precisely when communication is most needed if nuclear war is to be avoided.  An important reminder is the reference to SK’s Unification Ministry:  SK seeks reunification, NK does not. 

      As so often in these articles in the AD-G, US leaders empathize with only one side: SK good, NK bad.   J. William Fulbright in The Price of Empire urges the US to see others as they see the world.  In his writings he qualifies and transforms the abstractions and ideologies, slogans and headlines that lead to mass killing.  Identifying with the eyes, ears, nose, mouth of others gives us passage to minds and hearts, and the discovery of similarities.  And looking out from the other opens the world to the cooperation needed to achieve zero nuclear arms, and make climate change less destructive.

       Feb. 11, 2016, is a fateful day, when the US, Japan, and SK have closed their minds and hearts to NK in a posture of “defense,” that is war, and NK, small itself in empathy, can only respond in mirror-image.


“Possible N. Korea Rocket Parts.”  AD-G (Feb. 12, 2016). 

Photo Page One of objects displayed by S. Korea believed to be part of a NK rocket.  In the caption we are told of NK’s order “to immediately deport all South Korean nationals and freeze of South Korean assets at a jointly run factory,” in response to SK’s decision to suspend operations there.   An article about the latter (nothing more said about the possible rocket parts) follows. 

AD-G Staff.   “N. Korea Takes Control of Industrial Park.  AD-G (Feb. 12, 2016).

Richard Lardner (AP).  “Obama Gets Bill: Action Targets North Korea.”  AD-G (Feb. 13, 2016).

       Be careful what you wish for.   I have heard people complain about gridlock and wish the Parties would cooperate.  Well, they get their wish in the ceaseless bipartisan war-making of Congress. (See Imperialism newsletters: .)      “Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation Friday [2-12] that hits North Korea with more stringent sanctions for refusing to stop its nuclear program.”   And how was the vote?     “House Republicans and Democrats joined together to overwhelmingly approve the bill by a vote of 408-2”; the Senate earlier had “unanimously passed the legislation” 96-0.  Obama’s spokesman Eric Schultz said the administration is “’philosophically and intellectually in the same place as Congress on this, so that will not be a bill that we’ll oppose.’” 

      I won’t repeat my condemnations of US double standards in foreign policy, except to refer you again to the US doctrine of “exceptionalism” dismantled by so many historians.   See my newsletters on US exceptionalism. #1, April 26, 2011 and #2, Sept. 26, 2013 ( (#3 in preparation).
     The article continues by describing the legislation and recounting Japan’s and SK’s responses to NK’s “aggression.”  The sanctions will “deny” NK “the money it needs for the development of miniaturized nuclear warheads and the long-range missiles required to deliver them.”   And, perhaps imitating SK’s loudspeakers along the border, “50 million over the next five years to transmit radio broadcasts into North Korea, purchase communications equipment and support humanitarian assistance programs.”  Except for the latter it sounds like a child’s game of irritating the wild animal.  And we need to inspect what the “humanitarian assistance” is in content and cost.
      “Japan announced new sanctions. . .that include expanded restrictions on travel between the two countries and a complete ban on visits by North Korean ships to Japan.”  Such isolating moves will further ensure misunderstanding and miscalculation, as former Senator J. William Fulbright often argued.   If the way to peace is through empathy, erecting further walls will make conflict and wars more likely.
     SK “cut off power and water supplies to a factory park in North Korea a day after the North deported all South Korean workers there and ordered a military takeover of the complex.”  Now this surely is hopelessly childish and maybe eventually lethal as tit for tat escalates.
      Lardner’s report repeating information related in earlier articles is not negative, because the bits-and-pieces of daily reporting needs context.  But what is possibly objectionable is the fear-mongering in similar language; for example, NK’s “banned test of missile technology” and “efforts to manufacture nuclear-tipped missiles” directly threaten “striking the U.S. mainland.”  
       The solution to this dangerous jousting?    US stop the threatening.  End double standards.  Close down Vandenberg at once, then all missile development and testing, as President Obama has recommended but never acted upon.  Go to Nuclear Zero (google Obama nuclear zero).  Until then we live with all the risks of masculine threats and counter-threats.
      (Read books about US global war-making aggression by Andrew Bacevich,  William Blum, Chalmers Johnson, David Swanson.  Mansour Farhang, U.S. Imperialism.  Girson and Birchard, The Sun Never Sets.   John Tirman, The Deaths of Others.  David Vine, Base Nation.   Anthology We Own the World: Z Reader on Empire ed. Lydia Sargent.)



Youkyung Lee (AP).  “S. Korean Closure to Sting Firms.  Effect on North’s Struggling Economy Expected to Be Slight.”  AD-G (Feb. 14, 2016).

     The situation: SK suddenly withdrew from the only NK/SK joint industrial venture, and NK closed everything and quickly deported all the SK operators, seizing the equipment and assets.   Lee offers an explanation of the complex economics of the joint NK/SK “factory park” at Kaesong just inside NK.  It is “a blow” for the 124 SK “businesses” there, but not for NK apparently, although it “earned $560 million from the park” since 2004.  And as for the 54,000 NK workers employed there, they were paid “$74 a month” by the SK firms.  A SK researcher is quoted: “It will take a toll on North Korean workers who lost their jobs. . . .But it will take a bigger toll on the small and medium” SK businesses “that operated the park.”  I am not sure about Lee’s accuracy.  He uses the figure $582 million in two separate situations.   So many unanswered questions:   Did SK and their companies build the buildings of the factory and were they confiscated?  To ask, is this fiasco SK’s fault, is to plunge into the morass of causation often muddling such situations—as with the question, who started the Korean War?   Lee’s article is a subject for extended professional treatment in a journal. 

       Standing back to assess what has happened, it appears that both countries have shot themselves in the foot.  Has SK turned on their loudspeakers, and turned them up?  How restore diplomacy, cooperation, amity in such mutual hostility?   The Pentagon has reported to Congress the worst NK might do.  Congress voted overwhelmingly to cut off the regime’s access to money.  James Clapper, head of the NSA (who should be prosecuted for lying to Congress earlier), has told Congress: NK “has expanded a uranium enrichment facility and restarted a plutonium reactor.”  SK has cut off power and water supplied to the factory; NK’s army has taken over the factory.   Japan……  China……

       And now I am thinking, what is happening in the minds of the officers and men along the most heavily armed border in the world?  And like the beginning of WWI, when a Serb assassinated an Austro-Hungarian imperial archduke, bound by treaties each country declared war.



AD-G Staff“N. Korea Reacts to Japan Sanctions.”  AD-G (Feb. 14, 2016).

     The article is about two separate subjects: SK citizens kidnapped by NK, and NK’s military capabilities, especially the KN-08 missile.   Consumed by anger over the new sanctions, NK said “it will halt an investigation into the fate of Japanese citizens it kidnapped decades ago.”   In 2002 it had admitted to kidnapping 13 Japanese and 5 were returned that year; the others had died or had never been brought to NK.  A sensitive subject in Japan, PM Abe demands to know the fate of the abductees and suspects “hundreds more may have been abducted.”  [A new book investigates Kim Jong-Il‘s cruel abduction of Japanese citizens during the 1970s and 1980s:  The Invitation-Only Zone by Robert Boynton.  The animosity between NK and Japan runs wide and deep.]    Measures and counter-measures, one by one the connections between the antagonists are severed. 

     In the second part, NK’s rocket test and a new Pentagon report on NK’s military capabilities are summarized, and the KN-08 is described ambiguously as in preparation:  it “would have an estimated range…,” but that “depends whether it’s ‘successfully designed and developed,’” the Pentagon “cautioned.”   Similarly, NK does not have submarine ballistic missiles but is “pursuing the capability,” and it “may consider the use of chemical and biological weapons.”   What does the NK have that inspires such fearsome counter-threatening?   [I refer always to the Pentagon and not to the “Defense” Department because since WWII we have not been attacked by another nation and none of our forty or so invasions and interventions has been necessary or legal.   Blum, Rogue State, Killing Hope, Freeing the World to Death, America’s Deadliest Export to name only one author’s four books of the numerous books on US imperial history.]  See newsletters  US Westward Imperialism (#18



Staff.  “EU Lifts Sanctions on Belarus Leaders.”  AD-G (Feb. 16, 2016).   I have questioned the efficacy of sanctions, especially of economic blockades because the blockade of Japan by the US and UK in 1941 led immediately to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  But perhaps blockades work sometimes.  According to this article, EU sanctions successfully compelled Belarus’ to take “a more constructive role in its region.”  Whether Belarus and NK are analogous will require considerable research; I would like to see it.

Sack Cartoon (Star Tribune).  AD-G (Feb. 20, 2016). 

Depicts “Li’l Kim” holding a nuclear weapon in each hand wearing a cap saying “Make North Korea Great Again!”  In the background two apparent citizens of NK, one saying “He’s upping the ante on ‘Crazy’. . . .”  For those of you who have followed these AD-G reports on NK, you’ll know how misleading the cartoon is. (though an amusing poke at candidate Trump).  A truthful cartoon would show Kim Jong-Un desperately trying to ward off a US invasion like those of Afghanistan and Iraq, neither of which had nuclear weapons, by desperately trying to build a plutonium bomb for which he lacks the money, while the US continued to, as Secretary Kerry said, “tighten the noose” (build more bases like Jeju Island and on Okinawa, bring stealth bombers also to SK, spend a trillion dollars honing nuclear weapons, and much more).   And do most of the people of NK think Kim Jong-Un is crazy, or just a tyrant?  


Eric Talmadge (AP).  “Korean Tension Said to Be on Rise.”  AD-G (Feb. 23, 2016). 

     This rare report gives the North Korean elite point of view—Lt. Col. Nam Dong Ho of the North Korean People’s Army.  Col.  Nam gives a wide variety of comments, while AP reporter Talmadge offers historical background; though sometimes the point of view is unclear. 

     The comments by Nam include:   The border is “a disaster waiting to happen.”  The armistice agreement that ended the Korean War, keeping SK and NK “in a technical state of war,” increases the tensions.   He blames SK for shutting the Kaesong industrial zone, and “’our people and army are getting more enraged.’” 

     Talmadge helpfully mentions major events since NK’s Jan. 6 claimed hydrogen bomb test: NK “cutting off emergency hotlines with Seoul” and accusing SK’s’ President Park Geun-hye of being a traitor and a ‘senile granny.’”  NK “has said it is developing nuclear weapons for self-defense and that it has a right to launch satellites as part of a peaceful space program.”  But these actions, writes Talmadge, “are generally seen as violating long-standing United Nations Resolutions.”  And the US, Japan, and SK “have announced new sanctions.”  

     All of this is familiar, but he adds something I haven’t seen before all in one place by a reporter—the major threats by the US against NK:  1. “an ‘ironclad commitment’ to the defense of its ally South Korea”; 2. “flying four stealth F-22 fighter jets over the country last week”; 3. “last month” sending “a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber over South Korea”;  4. SK and US planning “large-scale military exercises next month”; 5. US providing “about 15,000” troops for the “annual exercises, double the number Washington normally sends”; and 6. SK and US “preparatory talks to deploy a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system” in SK.  My appraisals have noted these and a half dozen more threats (in the past: the decimation of NK cities and villages during the Korean War, in the present: the new SK/US naval base at Jeju Island, and more).  

     Nam perhaps projects Kim Jong-Un’s point of view in saying that “now that NK has a hydrogen bomb” (a claim disputed by “some experts” Talmadge adds), “the U.S. might be better advised to focus on negotiating a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War,” implying the permanent division of Korea.  This surely major sticking point is seldom even mentioned in the reports since Jan. 6.  And he concludes in direct quotation: “’On the international stage, the U.S. talks about peace. . . .But it should not interfere in the affairs of other countries.”

     From Kim Jong-Un’s perspective, he belongs to a long tradition of recusants: he refuses to comply with US demands for conformity.  Certainly he is a brutal dictator, but the US nuclear-armed superpower has spread its Army and Air Force bases and carrier battle groups across the Pacific and along E. Asia.  Malali Joya in her autobiography Raising My Voice was ejected from the Afghan parliament for demanding the exclusion of the war criminals and war lords present.  She also described the US as the Big War Lord.  Maybe her perception there applies to NK here and now.



     Except for Lt. Col. Nam’s report, so far (since Jan. 6, 2016) we have learned little from NK’s perspective.   Reporting of China has been better, though far from equal.  On 2-20-16 Staff reported “China: It’s U.S. That’s Militarizing Sea” blaming “patrols by U.S. military aircraft and Navy vessels, along with joint exercises involving regional partners” as the “true reason why concerns were growing over peace and stability.”  It’s not much—three inches of print on an inside page, accompanied by twice-stated news of Chinese deployment of “surface-to-air missiles” on “Woody Island in the disputed Paracel chain”—but it is something.

   Where is Woody Island in the Paracel chain?  South of China, east of Vietnam, southwest of Taiwan, west of Philippines (Luzon, Manila), north of Borneo, northeast of Singapore.  It appears closest to China’s Hainan Island.  Why is it disputed territory?   Instead of all this dangerous arming and threatening, what international court might settle the matter?  The World Court?   Has any country asked a court for judgment?  Vietnam and Taiwan, according to the article, have claimed the island chain.    Has any resisted? 



Staff.  “American to N. Korea: Sorry for Theft Try.”  AD-G (March 1, 2016).  US student at U of Virginia, Otto Warmbier, visiting NK on a tourist visa, was detained for “trying to steal a political banner” at his hotel.  He appeared at a news conference and apologized.   The charges against him also said he was “encouraged…by a member of an Ohio church, a secretive university organization, and the CIA.”   [Appears to be some undergrad foolishness and a hypersensitive prosecutorial over-reaction.  --Dick]


AP.  “U.N. Delays Vote on N. Korea Sanctions.”  AD-G (March 2, 2016). 

     The article is divided into two separate subjects, only one of which is announced by the title:  UN Security Council sanctions and NK’s attitude toward human rights.  In the first part, Russia again delayed a U.N. Security Council vote “for more time to study the text and reportedly suggested changes.”  Five sanctions are discussed, “the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades.”  The sanctions would:  1) “for the first time… subject cargo ships leaving and entering North Korea to mandatory inspections”; 2)  “prohibit the sale of small arms and other conventional weapons”;  3) “limit and in some cases ban exports of  coal, iron, gold, titanium and rare minerals” from NK; 4) “prohibit countries from supplying aviation fuel…to the country”; 5) “freeze the assets of companies and other entities linked” to NK’s “nuclear and missile programs.”   Import of a long list of luxury goods were also prohibited.  The sanctions resolution claims not to have “’adverse humanitarian consequences’ for civilians.”   [Coal export ban surely devastating.  –D]   The White House said it “knows the North Korean people ‘have suffered for far too long’ because of decisions from their government.  ‘And that’s why this sanctions regime is targeted more specifically at the North Korean elite.’”  (This seems rank cant to me, for the economic restrictions as always will affect the poor the most.)

     The second section presented NK’s point of view regarding criticism by the US and other countries of NK’s human rights record.  NK pointed out US hypocrisy of “double standards” in its “deadly gun violence” and “racial discrimination” and European “rights violations against refugees entering Europe.” 

      The AP seems to be trying to be objective by presenting details of the sanctions and presenting NK’s position regarding human rights.


Edith M. Lederer (AP).  “U.N. Adopts North Korea Penalties.”  AD-G (March 3, 2016).

     The article repeats much of the March 2 AP report on the “toughest sanctions” against NK’s “defiance of a ban on all nuclear-related activity,” with these additions: the “expulsion of diplomats from the North who engage in ‘illicit activities’”; “blacklist 16 individuals” and “12 ‘entities’” and more.    We are told that during negotiations China had kept the focus on NK’s nuclear program and had prevented new sanctions that could “cause its economy to collapse.”  In a few sentences the article recaps the main events of the crisis—the Jan. 6 claimed hydrogen bomb test and the Feb. 7 satellite launch on a rocket, world condemnation, NK’s failure to address the Security Council.  Then the official NK news agency is quoted ridiculing the US for expecting “’the DPRK to collapse due to sanctions.’”  “China, Russia and others” hoped “six-party talks” would resume for “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”  And we are reminded that “North Korea withdrew from the talks in 2008.”   [This article is almost bewilderingly packed with diverse information and issues.]  The explanation of the ban on exports announced in yesterday’s report is particularly abstruse—that export profits for nuclear use can be separated from profits for “general economic use.”  Again readers are assured “that the new measures are not intended to have ‘adverse humanitarian consequences’ for civilians’” [which seems insincere].  UN Ambassador Power and SK’s UN Ambassador Oh Joon criticized NK for spending so much money on nuclear weapons.   development when “its people” are so poor, requiring “more than $100 million annually on humanitarian aid” from the UN.   Power expressed confidence that the new sanctions closed all former loopholes.

     [This fifth round of attempts to shut down airtight the financing of NK’s nuclear ballistic programs is intended to bring NK to the negotiating table.  Since Jan. 6 multifarious economic and social punishments and dire military threats have failed to force NK to negotiate.  Surely it is time to try some other method, at least in addition.]


[Obvious comment regarding coal exports—how confusing are daily fragments of ongoing complex events.   Grasping the whole is difficult without reader note-taking and review.  –D]



President Eisenhower in his Farewell Address cautioned the nation against the “military-industrial complex” (in an earlier draft he had included Congress in the complex).  Today he would be compelled to say:  Corporate-Pentagon-Congress-White House-Education-Mainstream Media-Secrecy-Surveillance-Empire-Racism-National Security State Complex.


Contents North Korea Newsletter #3

Contents North Korea Newsletter #4



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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)