Monday, May 31, 2010
[Cheonan Ship] A 8 Sec TOD Screen Made Public Brings Out the Suspicion on the Claim of Torpedo Attack
* 참조 자료: 참세상(클릭), 민중의 소리(클릭)
According to News Charm, a progressive site in Korea, Lee Jung-Hee, member of National Assembly, Democratic Labor Party announced that, “ There have been the TOD screens that were not made public.”
Lee Jung-Hee who is acting in the special committee on Cheonan ship, announced like that in the morning of May 28, receiving the report with the TOD (Thermal Observation Device) screening of the sinking process of the Cheonan ship from the concerned persons of the joint investigation committee members on the Cheonan ship. The TOD is the device that changes the peculiar thermal energy of an object into the electric signal/ screen signal, projects it into monitor and detects a moving object during day and night.
Lee Jung-Hee claimed that “Even though the concerned person of the NMD (National Ministry of Defense) said the Cheonan ship confirmed in the additional screen, is inferred that its stern and bow have already been separated each other, it was difficult to find the traces of shock by the torpedo attack or bubble jet [that have been claimed] to make half of the ship body, and the separation of stern and bow, in the screen.
Another progressive website, Voice of People, has the title that says: [Analysis of TOD] While the Stern and Bow Is Separated after One Second… Why After 32 Sec.?: 8 Seconds of the TOD Screen of Cheonan Ship, Which has Been Hidden by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) Is Compared to the ADD experiment [in 2004].
Here are the three photos in the site with captions (translated).
국방부는 28일 밤 천안함이 침몰한지 32초가 지난 3월 26일 밤 9시 22분 29초부터 37초까지 약 8초 동안 TOD에 찍힌 천안함의 모습을 공개했다. 사진은 침몰 후 36초가 지난 9시 22분 33초의 천안함. 함수와 함미가 완전히 분리돼 있지 않고 검은 색 점으로 연통이 보이고 있다.ⓒ 민중의소리
The Ministry of National Defense made public on May 28, of the appearance of Cheonan Ship that was captured in TOD for 8 seconds after the Cheonan ship was sunken in the night from 9:22:29 pm to 9:22:37pm on March 26, 2010. The photo is the Cheonan ship at 9:22:33 that was 36 seconds after its being sunken. The stern and bow is not totally separated but a chimney is shown as a black spot. ⓒ Voice of People
지난 4월 7일 국방부가 공개한 9시 24분 19초 당시 천안함의 모습. 함수와 함미가 완전히 분리돼 있다.ⓒ 민중의소리
The appearance of Cheonan ship at 9:24:19 pm, that was made public by the Ministry of National Defense on April 7. The bow and stern are totally separated. ⓒ Voice of People
2004년 국방과학연구소가 실시한 TNT 185kg 중어뢰 '백상어'의 실험 장면. 어뢰의 수중 비접촉 폭발 직후 약 1초가 지나자 함체가 반파됐으며, 수십미터 치솟은 물기둥이 사라진 뒤(폭발 후 15초 뒤)에는 함수와 함미가 수십미터 분리돼 있다.ⓒ 신학용 의원실
Scene of the experiment of a ‘white shark,’ a TNT 185kg torpedo, that was practiced by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), ROK in 2004. The ship body was destroyed in half, right after 1sec of the non-contact explosion of a torpedo in the water, and the stern and bow are being separated tens of meters between each other after the water column disappeared (15sec. after explosion) ⓒ National Assembly man, Shin Hak-Yong
* Related article
Businessweek: S. Korea Faces Prominent Domestic Skeptics; Government Censoring & Repressing political & media leaders
South Korea Faces Domestic Skeptics Over Evidence Against North
May 29, 2010,
By Ben Richardson and Saeromi Shin
(* Thankfully informed by J. D on May 31, 2010)
Sunday, May 30, 2010
DESTRUCTION OF IRAQ STILL ONGOING
'Just in case you have forgotten about Iraq the above video should cure your memory loss. It's a perfect example of how corporate globalization is working to destroy every country on the Earth by turning them into slaves of the international banking system.'
Sunday, May 30, 2010
The sinking of the Cheonan: Another Gulf of Tonkin incident
May 24, 2010
By Stephen Gowans
While the South Korean government announced on May 20 that it has overwhelming evidence that one of its warships was sunk by a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine, there is, in fact, no direct link between North Korea and the sunken ship. And it seems very unlikely that North Korea had anything to do with it.
That’s not my conclusion. It’s the conclusion of Won See-hoon, director of South Korea’s National Intelligence. Won told a South Korean parliamentary committee in early April, less than two weeks after the South Korean warship, the Cheonan, sank in waters off Baengnyeong Island, that there was no evidence linking North Korea to the Cheonan’s sinking. (1)
South Korea’s Defense Minister Kim Tae-young backed him up, pointing out that the Cheonan’s crew had not detected a torpedo (2), while Lee Ki-sik, head of the marine operations office at the South Korean joint chiefs of staff agreed that “No North Korean warships have been detected…(in) the waters where the accident took place.” (3)
Notice he said “accident.”
Soon after the sinking of the South Korean warship, the Cheonan, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young ruled out a North Korean torpedo attack, noting that a torpedo would have been spotted, and no torpedo had been spotted. Intelligence chief Won See-hoon, said there was no evidence linking North Korea to the Cheonan’s sinking.
Defense Ministry officials added that they had not detected any North Korean submarines in the area at the time of the incident. (4) According to Lee, “We didn’t detect any movement by North Korean submarines near” the area where the Cheonan went down. (5)
When speculation persisted that the Cheonan had been sunk by a North Korean torpedo, the Defense Ministry called another press conference to reiterate “there was no unusual North Korean activities detected at the time of the disaster.” (6)
A ministry spokesman, Won Tae-jae, told reporters that “With regard to this case, no particular activities by North Korean submarines or semi-submarines…have been verified. I am saying again that there were no activities that could be directly linked to” the Cheonan’s sinking. (7)
Rear Admiral Lee, the head of the marine operations office, added that, “We closely watched the movement of the North’s vessels, including submarines and semi-submersibles, at the time of the sinking. But military did not detect any North Korean submarines near the country’s western sea border.” (8)
North Korea has vehemently denied any involvement in the sinking.
So, a North Korean submarine is now said to have fired a torpedo which sank the Cheonan, but in the immediate aftermath of the sinking the South Korean navy detected no North Korean naval vessels, including submarines, in the area. Indeed, immediately following the incident defense minister Lee ruled out a North Korean torpedo attack, noting that a torpedo would have been spotted, and no torpedo had been spotted. (9)
The case gets weaker still.
It’s unlikely that a single torpedo could split a 1,200 ton warship in two. Baek Seung-joo, an analyst with the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis says that “If a single torpedo or floating mine causes a naval patrol vessel to split in half and sink, we will have to rewrite our military doctrine.” (10)
The Cheonan sank in shallow, rapidly running, waters, in which it’s virtually impossible for submarines to operate. “Some people are pointing the finger at North Korea,” notes Song Young-moo, a former South Korean navy chief of staff, “but anyone with knowledge about the waters where the shipwreck occurred would not draw that conclusion so easily.” (11)
Contrary to what looks like an improbable North-Korea-torpedo-
Some members of South Korea’s opposition parties – which have been highly critical of the government for blaming North Korea for the disaster– “contend that the boat was sunk either by a ‘friendly fire’ torpedo during a training exercise or that it broke part while trying to get off a reef.” (13) Whatever the cause, they don’t believe the findings of the official inquiry.
So how is it that what looked like no North Korean involvement in the Cheonan’s sinking, according to the South Korean military in the days immediately following the incident, has now become, one and half months later, an open and shut case of North Korean aggression, according to government-appointed investigators?
South Korean president Lee Myung-bak is a North Korea-phobe who prefers a confrontational stance toward his neighbor to the north to the policy of peaceful coexistence and growing cooperation favored by his recent predecessors. His foreign policy rests on the goal of forcing the collapse of North Korea.
The answer has much to do with the electoral fortunes of South Korea’s ruling Grand National Party, and the party’s need to marshal support for a tougher stance on the North. Lurking in the wings are US arms manufacturers who stand to profit if South Korean president Lee Myung-bak wins public backing for beefed up spending on sonar equipment and warships to deter a North Korean threat – all the more likely with the Cheonan incident chalked up to North Korean aggression.
Lee is a North Korea-phobe who prefers a confrontational stance toward his neighbor to the north to the policy of peaceful coexistence and growing cooperation favored by his recent predecessors (and by Pyongyang, as well. It’s worth mentioning that North Korea supports a policy of peace and cooperation. South Korea, under its hawkish president, does not.) Fabricating a case against the North serves Lee in a number of ways. If voters in the South can be persuaded that the North is indeed a menace – and it looks like this is exactly what is happening – Lee’s hawkish policies will be embraced as the right ones for present circumstances. This will prove immeasurably helpful in upcoming mayoral and gubernatorial elections in June.
What’s more, Lee’s foreign policy rests on the goal of forcing the collapse of North Korea. When he took office in February 2008, he set about reversing a 10-year-old policy of unconditional aid to the North. He has also refused to move ahead on cross-border economic projects. (14) Lee’s goal, as Selig Harrison, the US establishment’s foremost liberal expert on Korea describes it, is to “once again [seek] the collapse of the North and its absorption by the South.” (15) Forcing the collapse of North Korea was the main policy of past right-wing and military governments to which Lee’s government is historically linked. The claim that the sinking of the Cheonan is due to an unprovoked North Korean torpedo attack makes it easier for Lee to drum up support for his confrontational stance.
But it does more than that. It also helps Lee move ahead with his goal of re-unifying the Korean peninsula by engineering the collapse of the North. Lee has used the Cheonan incident to: cut off trade with the North; block the North’s use of the South’s shipping lanes; argue for stepped up international sanctions against Pyongyang; call for the beefing up of the South’s military; and issue a virtual declaration of war, branding North Korea the South’s principal foe and announcing that “It is now time for the North Korean regime to change.” (16) Seoul already spends $20 billion per year on its armed forces, almost three times more than the $7 billion Pyongyang allocates to military spending. South Korea has one of the most miserly social welfare systems in the industrialized world, in part because it spends so much on defense. (17) Only 28 percent of the South’s working population is covered by a government pension plan, a state of affairs that has given rise to “’silver’ job fairs, established to find jobs for people aged 60 and over.” (18) Even so, the South’s military spending as a percentage of its GDP is a drop in the bucket compared to the North’s. With a smaller economy, North Korea struggles (and fails) to keep up with its more formidably armed neighbor, channeling a crushingly large percentage of its GDP into defense. It is caught in a difficult bind in which it not only has to defend its borders against South Korea, but against the 30,000 US troops stationed on the Korean peninsula and twice as many more in nearby Japan. By expanding the South’s military budget, and using the Cheonan affair to put the country on a virtual war footing, Lee forces the North to either divert even more of its limited resources to its military – a reaction which will ratchet up the misery factor inside the North as guns take even more of a precedence over butter – or leave itself inadequately equipped to defend itself.
This meshes well with calls from the RAND Corporation for South Korea to buy sensors to detect North Korean submarines and more warships to intercept North Korean naval vessels. (19) An unequivocal US-lackey – protesters have called the security perimeter around Lee’s office “the U.S. state of South Korea” (20) – Lee would be pleased to hand US corporations fat contracts to furnish the South Korean military with more hardware. Lee’s right-wing party and US military contractors win, while North Koreans and the bulk of Koreans of the south are sacrificed on the altar of South Korean militarism.
The United States, too, has motivations to fabricate a case against North Korea. One is to justify the continued presence, 65 years after the end of WWII, of US troops on Japanese soil. Many Japanese bristle at what is effectively a permanent occupation of their country by more than a token contingent of US troops. There are 60,000 US soldiers, airmen and sailors in Japan. Washington, and the Japanese government – which, when it isn’t willingly collaborating with its own occupiers, is forced into submission by the considerable leverage Washington exercises — justifies the US troop presence through the sheer sophistry of presenting North Korea as an ongoing threat. The claim that North Korea sunk the Cheonan in an unprovoked attack strengthens Washington’s case for occupation. Not surprisingly, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has seized on the Cheonan incident to underline “the importance of the America-Japanese alliance, and the presence of American troops on Japanese soil.” (21)
Given these political realities, it comes as no surprise that from the start members of Lee’s party blamed the sinking of the Cheonan on a North Korean torpedo, (22) just as members of the Bush administration immediately blamed 9/11 on Saddam Hussein, and then proceeded to look for evidence to substantiate their case, in the hopes of justifying an already planned invasion. (Later, the Bush administration fabricated an intelligence dossier on Iraq’s banned weapons.) In fact, the reason the ministry of defense felt the need to reiterate there was no evidence of a North Korean link was the persistent speculation of GNP politicians that North Korea was the culprit. Lee himself, ever hostile to his northern neighbor, said his “intuition” told him that North Korea was to blame. (23) Today, opposition parties accuse Lee of using “red scare” tactics to garner support as the June 2 elections draw near. (24) And leaders of South Korea’s four main opposition parties, as well as a number of civil groups, have issued a joint statement denouncing the government’s findings as untrustworthy. Woo Sang-ho, a spokesman for South Korea’s Democratic Party has called the probe results “insufficient proof and questioned whether the North was involved at all.” (25)
Lee announced, even before the inquiry rendered its findings, that a task force will be launched to overhaul the national security system and bulk up the military to prepare itself for threats from North Korea. (26) He even prepared a package of sanctions against the North in the event the inquiry confirmed what his intuition told him. (27) No wonder civil society groups denounced the inquiry’s findings, arguing that “The probe started after the conclusions had already been drawn.” (28)
Jung Sung-ki, a staff reporter for The Korean Times, has raised a number of questions about the inquiry’s findings. The inquiry concluded that “two North Korean submarines, one 300-ton Sango class and the other 130-ton Yeono class, were involved in the attack. Under the cover of the Sango class, the midget Yeono class submarine approached the Cheonan and launched the CHT-02D torpedo manufactured by North Korea.” But “’Sango class submarines…do not have an advanced system to guide homing weapons,’ an expert at a missile manufacturer told The Korea Times on condition of anonymity. ‘If a smaller class submarine was involved, there is a bigger question mark.’” (29)
“Rear Adm. Moon Byung-ok, spokesman for [the official inquiry] told reporters, ‘We confirmed that two submarines left their base two or three days prior to the attack and returned to the port two or three days after the assault.’” But earlier “South Korean and U.S. military authorities confirmed several times that there had been no sign of North Korean infiltration in the” area in which the Cheonan went down. (30)
“In addition, Moon’s team reversed its position on whether or not there was a column of water following an air bubble effect” (caused by an underwater explosion.) “Earlier, the team said there were no sailors who had witnessed a column of water. But during [a] briefing session, the team said a soldier onshore at Baengnyeong Island witnessed ‘an approximately 100-meter-high pillar of white,’ adding that the phenomenon was consistent with a shockwave and bubble effect.” (31)
The inquiry produced a torpedo propeller recovered by fishing vessels that it said perfectly match the schematics of a North Korean torpedo. “But it seemed that the collected parts had been corroding at least for several months.” (32)
Finally, the investigators “claim the Korean word written on the driving shaft of the propeller parts was same as that seen on a North Korean torpedo discovered by the South …seven years ago.” But the “’word is not inscribed on the part but written on it,’ an analyst said, adding that “’the lettering issue is dubious.’” (33)
On August 2, 1964, the United States announced that three North Vietnamese torpedo boats had launched an unprovoked attacked on the USS Maddox, a US Navy destroyer, in the Gulf of Tonkin. The incident handed US president Lyndon Johnson the Congressional support he needed to step up military intervention in Vietnam. In 1971, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon Papers, a secret Pentagon report, revealed that the incident had been faked to provide a pretext for escalated military intervention. There had been no attack.
The Cheonan incident has all the markings of another Gulf of Tonkin incident. And as usual, the aggressor is accusing the intended victim of an unprovoked attack to justify a policy of aggression under the pretext of self-defense.
1. Kang Hyun-kyung, “Ruling camp differs over NK involvement in disaster”, The Korea Times, April 7, 2010.
2. Nicole Finnemann, “The sinking of the Cheonan”, Korea Economic Institute, April 1, 2010. http://newsmanager.
3. “Military leadership adding to Cheonan chaos with contradictory statements”, The Hankyoreh, March 31, 2010.
4. “Birds or North Korean midget submarine?” The Korea Times, April 16, 2010.
6. “Military plays down N.K. foul play”, The Korea Herald, April 2, 2010.
8. “No subs near Cheonan: Ministry”, JoongAng Daily, April 2, 2010.
9. Jean H. Lee, “South Korea says mine from the North may have sunk warship”, The Washington Post, March 30, 2010.
10. “What caused the Cheonan to sink?” The Chosun Ilbo, March 29, 2010.
12. “Military leadership adding to Cheonan chaos with contradictory statements”, The Hankyoreh, March 31, 2010.
13. Barbara Demick, “In South Korea, competing reactions to sinking of warship”, The Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2010.
14. Blaine Harden, “Brawl Near Koreas’ Border,” The Washington Post, December 3, 2008.
15. Selig S. Harrison, “What Seoul should do despite the Cheonan”, The Hankyoreh, May 14, 2010.
16. “Full text of President’s Lee’s national address”, The Korea Times, May 24, 2010.
17. Selig S. Harrison, “What Seoul should do despite the Cheonan”, The Hankyoreh, May 14, 2010.
18. Su-Hyun Lee, “Aging and seeking work in South Korea,” The New York Times, September 11, 2009.
19. “Kim So-hyun, “A touchstone of Lee’s leadership”, The Korea Herald, May 13, 2010.
20. The New York Times, June 12, 2008.
21. Mark Landler, “Clinton condemns attack on South Korean Ship”, The New York Times, May 21, 2010.
22. Kang Hyun-kyung, “Ruling camp differs over NK involvement in disaster”, The Korea Times, April 7, 2010.
23. “Kim So-hyun, “A touchstone of Lee’s leadership”, Korea Herald, May 13, 2010.
24. Kang Hyun-kyung, “Ruling camp differs over NK involvement in disaster”, The Korea Times, April 7, 2010; Choe Sang-Hun, “South Korean sailors say blast that sank their ship came from outside vessel”, The New York Times, April 8, 2010.
25. Cho Jae-eun, “Probe satisfies some, others have doubts”, JoongAng Daily, May 21, 2010.
26. “Kim So-hyun, “A touchstone of Lee’s leadership”, The Korea Herald, May 13, 2010.
27. “Seoul prepares sanctions over Cheonan sinking”, The Choson Ilbo, May 13, 2010.
28. Cho Jae-eun, “Probe satisfies some, others have doubts”, JoongAng Daily, May 21, 2010.
29. Jung Sung-ki, “Questions raised about ‘smoking gun’”, The Korea Times, May 20, 2010.
Most of the articles cited here are posted on Tim Beal’s DPRK- North Korea website, http://www.vuw.ac.nz/~
Below is the summary translation of the site: http://www.vop.co.kr/A00000298914.html
The Defense Committee lead by Chairman, Kim Jong-Il is the virtually the supreme power institute and in the DPRK constitution, the chairman of the Defense Committee is described as the supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
The North Korea unusually inviting the diplomats in various countries, announcing the position of NK regarding the accident of the sunken Cheonan ship through the press interview, repelled in every item against the ROK government’s announcement on the investigation result of the civilian-military investigation committee.
Related to it, it is noticeable that the Defense Committee is mentioning again the issue of the inspection committee in the press interview. The North Korea has continuously claimed the dispatch of [her] inspection committee from the early period of the announcement of the investigation result by the SK government.
The Defense Committee saying in the Press Interview that, “ We, have tried to inspect and confirm the material proofs the South part provides by dispatching the inspection committee of the Defense Committee in the actual place,” criticized the position of the denial by the inspection committee of the South, saying, “The South, unilaterally insisting by saying that [ours] is the manipulative investigation result, refused the investigation of [our] investigation committee in the actual place.”
The Defense Committee announced in the press interview that “We don’t have submarines called Yeoneo or Sangeo class and even the 130t submarines.”
An informant who requested an anonym saying, “It is unusual that the North Korea announces what weapons she has,” delivered “ The DPRK has the plan to inform what weapons they have, related to this incident”
* Thank you, Bruce Gagnon
May 30, 2010
JEJU VILLAGERS CONNECT THE DOTS TO MILITARISM (click)
감사합니다. 브루스 개그논, 여기를 클릭하세요.
강정마을회, 李 대통령에게 해군기지 전면 재검토 요청
Gangjeong Village People’s Council, Demands the whole reappraisal to the President Lee
2010년 05월 29일 (토) 우승호 기자(woodstar12 (at) sisajeju.com)
May 29, 2010 (Saturday) Woo Seung-Ho (woodstar12 (at) sisajeju.com)
29일부터 이틀간 열리는 제3차 한·일·중 정상회의에 참석하기 위해 이명박 대통령과 일본ㆍ중국의 정상이 제주를 방문한 가운데 강정마을회가 제주해군기지의 재검토를 대통령에게 요청하는 입장을 발표했다.
While President Lee Myung-Bak, and Summits of the Japan and China visited Jeju to be present in the 3rd ROK-Japan-China Summit meeting, the Gangjeong village people’s council announced its position on the whole reappraisal of the Jeju naval base.
강정마을회는 이날 발표한 ‘한일중 정상회의에 대한 강정마을의 입장’이라는 보도자료를 통해 “이번 정상회의는 3국의 관계가 상호 존중, 호혜의 원칙으로 외교를 할 수 있다는 기대감이 있다”며 “그러기에 더욱 제주해군기지가 한일중 삼국의 외교에 조금이라도 부정적인 영향을 끼칠 것을 우려하지 않을 수 없다”고 밝혔다.
The Gangjeong Village People’s Council saying in the pres release called “The Gangjeong Village People’s Council’s Position on the ROK-Japan-China,” that “ There is an expectation that the three countries could have a diplomacy with the principal of co-respect and reciprocity,” announced that “Therefore we could not but concern about that the Jeju naval base would influence into the diplomacy of three countries of Korea-Japan-China in some degree.”
강정마을회는 “당초 제주해군기지는 남방 무역 수송로 보호를 제1차적인 목표로 하여 추진되는 사업이며 우리의 수송로는 중국과 일본의 영해를 거치지 않으면 안되는 지리적 여건하에 있음을 명심해야 할 것”이라고 지적했다.
The Gangjeong village people’s council pointed out that “Originally the Jeju naval base is the business aimed at the protection of the southern trade sea-lane as the 1st purpose and it should be kept in mind that our sea-lane is under the geographical condition that our sea-lane cannot but pass by the territorial waters of China and Japan.”
또한 “자칫 제주에 해군기지를 건설하는 것이 동북아의 긴장완화에 도움을 주기는커녕 군비경쟁의 일환으로 받아들일 가능성이 충분히 높다”며 “제주가 평화의 섬으로 동북아 교섭의 중심으로 거듭나기 위해서라도 해군기지 건설은 분명 재고되어야 한다”고 주장했다.
It also saying, “Far from that constructing the naval base in the Jeju would help the easing of the tensions in the north east Asia, there are enough possibilities that it would be seen as part of arms race,” claimed that “ For the Jeju to be born again, the plan of the naval base construction should be re-considered.”
강정마을회는 “우리는 대통령님께 이번 지방선거를 통해 선출된 도지사와 독대를 하시고 제주해군기지 건설 문제를 원칙에서부터 검토하시어 슬기로운 결정을 내려주시길 요청한다”고 밝혔다.
The Gangjeong village people’s council’ announced that, “ We request the President to have the meeting with the newly-elected governor and review the issue of the Jeju naval base construction from the principal and make a wise decision.”
이어 “해군기지는 국가전략사업이기에 전략성와 효율성 및 경제성까지 고려한 충분한 연구와 검토 후에 후보지를 선택하고 여론조사와 사전환경성검토 등 주민동의절차가 투명하고 완벽하게 진행된 후 사업을 실행하여야 할 것”이라는 입장을 발표했다.
Following that, “ Since the naval base is the strategic business, the candidate area should be chosen after enough study and review considered with the strategic, effective and economic points and its business should be practiced after all the villagers’ agreement procedures such as the public poll and prior environmental review are processed transparently and perfectly.
Seogwipo Daily Newspaper
강정마을, 이 대통령에 해군기지 재검토 요구 29일 입장 발표, “한·일·중 평화 외교의 출발점” 강조
2010년 05월 30일 (일) 10:50:49
김경덕 기자 email@example.com
강정마을회 "대통령은 '해군기지' 재검토해야"
2010년 05월 29일 (토) 16:47:42
윤철수 기자 firstname.lastname@example.org
Text fwd: Priorities and Concerns of Civil Society Relating to the Decolonization of Guam as a UN Non Self-Governing Territory
“Priorities and Concerns of Civil Society Relating to the Decolonization of Guam as a UN Non Self-Governing Territory”
May 29, 2010 by kyle
By HOPE A. CRISTOBAL
THE UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONISATION
Pacific Regional Seminar
Noumea, New Caledonia
18 – 20 May 2010
“Priorities and Concerns of Civil Society Relating to the Decolonization of Guam as a UN Non Self-Governing Territory”
CHAMORU SELF-DETERMINATION PA’GO
Hafa Adai! (Greetings) Your Excellency Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Special Committee on Decolonization.
Dangkolu na si Yu’os ma’ase (sincere thank you) for your invitation to participate at this revolving seminar to assess the progress of decolonization and to discuss priorities regarding the Question of Guam on the final year of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism in the 21st century.
Also, I bring warm Hafa Adei greetings from our indigenous Chamorro people to our fellow Kanaky people of New Caledonia. We thank you for graciously hosting this United Nations Pacific Seminar. We extend a heartfelt “Dangkolu na si Yu’os ma’ase” (sincere thank you) for the opportunity to join Your Excellency, the Special Committee and my esteemed fellow delegates today.
As you may know, the Chamorro people of the Mariana Islands have cultural and linguistic ties to the Kanaky people of New Caledonia through our common Austronesian heritage that spans Oceania. As peace loving peoples of the great Pacific, we hope one day to be able to share in a history of freedom from colonial dominance espoused by this Special Committee and the rest of the UN body.
I am Hope Alvarez Cristobal, a Chamorro former Senator of Guam. I am here as a representative of Guåhan Coalition for Peace and Justice, a Guam based coalition made up of grassroots organizations advocating for the political, cultural, social, environmental and human rights of the people of Guam. We formed in September 2006 as a result of the announcement of the United States-Japan Realignment Initiatives signed in May 2006 in our awareness and desire (consistent with our traditionally matrilineal social order) to organize and give voice to concerns of women and female children in a highly militarized environment.
Our focus on peace and justice is central in light of the ongoing issue of the denial of our Chamorro people’s inalienable human right of self-determination and decolonization of Guam as a modern-day colony of the United States. Particular emphasis is made on keeping Guam, our island home, safe and sustainable for our children and generations to come. The Guåhan Coalition for Peace and Justice is comprised of the following member organizations: Chamorro Studies Association; National Association of Social Workers, Guam Chapter; Conscious Living; Guam’s Alternative Lifestyle Association; and Nasion Chamoru.
II. THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND
Guam’s unincorporated (permanent colony) status designation under the 1950 Organic Act of Guam legitimized US military land takings with rights of eminent domain of the only 147,000 acres of land—with only 116.5 miles of natural shoreline available to it for all purposes. Of this 147,000 acres, the military currently possesses 40,000 acres constituting 27.21% of the island’s landmass with the US National Park Service possessing 695 acres for 0.47% and the US Fish & Wildlife Service currently possessing 385 acres for 0.26% of the island. The local government possesses 37,673.36 acres for 25.6% of that total and with private lands consisting of only 68,246 acres for 46.43% of Guam’s land mass. [Ref. legislative Resolution 258-30 (COR)].
With a history of US land takings and the possibility of more land condemnation through the current US militarization plans, the 29th Guam Legislature passed public law 29-113 which clarifies that the disposition of public lands is exclusively the purview of the Guam Legislature and not the US military. This law stipulates that duly enacted legislation by the Guam Legislature is needed to authorize “the acquisition by condemnation or otherwise of private property” by means of Congressional appropriation to acquire property for public use.
The current 30th Guam Legislature also passed another law which tasks the local government’s Guam First Commission to determine which land the Federal Government may intend to lease or sublease, exchange for other land, or purchase, and to report their findings to the Guam Legislature and the Governor of Guam. This law also requires the Legislature’s approval of any federal acquisition of Government of Guam property, whether by lease, sub-lease, exchange or sale.
Guam’s colonial status continues to pave the way for US application of federal laws over our air space and sea lanes; our 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone; all our resources, control of exit and entry of our borders, control of our land, the environment and whatever can be defined as “a possession of but not a part of the United States.” It is clear that the Guam Legislature is now struggling as it finds itself with little power to protect local government assets under the laws of the administering power. For a small colonial people, the alienation of property by laws of the colonial power is one of the fundamental tenets of colonialism. In Guam, so much of the alienation has occurred through military seizure—but other forms of alienation have the same effect.
III. SECOND INTERNATIONAL DECADE FOR THE ERADICATION OF COLONIALISM
Mr. Chairman, people of the 16 remaining NSGTs still under the yoke of colonialism have been denied the benefits of decolonization as provided by the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples [UN Resolution 1514 (XV)] and that despite the Special Committee’s diligent work emphasized in the proclamation of the two International Decades for the Eradication of Colonialism the world’s political map have not had any major transformation. We can honestly say that in the case of Guam, rather than the eradication of colonialism, the US administering Power has deepened its colonial roots.
What we find unacceptable, Mr. Chairman, is that the administering power’s WWII adversary, Guam’s brutal occupier of WWII, Japan, is now complicit in Guam’s modern day colonization and militarization through its joint Bi-lateral Agreement with the U.S. With respect to Guam, the Special Committee’s work was not only stymied; rather, it has been made to fail in its mission to make colonialism a fact of the past—in not having developed a programme of work for the decolonization of the NSGT of Guam in view of the US’s active, massive militarization plans. Included is the failure in dispatching a UN visiting mission at the time Guam was actively negotiating its political status over two decades ago; and today, with US plans for our militarization.
For 21st century Guam, it is déjà vu old-style colonialism again. This time it is not 17th C. Spain but the US administering Power utilizing its military forces in a kind of “reduccion” process of “subduing, converting and gathering the natives through the establishment of missions and stationing of soldiers to protect those missions.” (Ref. Rob Wilson, 21st Annual Conference, “Crosscurrents: New Directions in Pacific and Asian Studies,” University of Hawaii, Manoa, March 10, 2010.) The exploitation of our colonial status as a people, U.S. militarization, assimilationist immigration policies, the rising tide of cultural genocide, environmental degradation and contamination, the dispossession of our lands, etc., are direct violations of our rights as NSG people under:
a. The UN Charter, in particular, Articles 1, 55 and 73e which addresses the rights of peoples in non self-governing territories who have not yet attained a full measure of self-government, and commands states administering them to “recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants are paramount.” Furthermore, that administering powers, accept as a “sacred trust” the obligation to develop self-government in the territories, taking due account of the political aspirations of the people.
b. UN Resolutions 1514 that states, the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination, and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the UN and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation.
c. UN Resolution 1541 affirming three ways NSGTs could attain a full measure of self-government that must be the result of the freely expressed wishes of the peoples of NSGTs.
d. UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—the latest UN international human rights instrument to explicitly expand the universe of the holders of the right of self-determination with its Article 3 that specifically recognizes, using the classic formulation of the right of self-determination enshrined in the 1966 Human Rights Covenants, that indigenous peoples hold the right.
e. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, (known collectively as the 1966 Human Rights Covenants) that enshrine self-determination as a right.
f. And, other relevant UN documents on decolonization.
Clearly, the US continues to behave contrary to its concrete UN obligations as the administering Power over Guam. There is no mistaking that US dominance and subordination of Guam is a consequence of US military power dynamics over the Asia-Pacific region. And, without the United Nations assertion of its moral authority and oversight of its non self-governing territory of Guam, our home island and our people will continue to be treated as inferior having no sovereignty or agency in relation to US foreign policy and security interests. Gone unchallenged, the possibility of a free, decolonized and self-governing Guam will be sealed and buried under by our own administering Power.
At his opening statement of the House Armed Services Committee hearing on March 25, 2010, Congressman Ike Skelton spoke about the rebasing of U.S. Marines from Japan to Guam as “one of the largest movements of military assets in decades”—estimated to cost over ten billion dollars. He further stated that the changes being planned as part of that move will not only affect U.S. bilateral relationship with Japan; they will shape U.S. strategic posture throughout the critical Asia-Pacific region for 50 years or more. Congressman Skelton stated that the US “must be proactively engaged in the Asia-Pacific region on multiple fronts,” and that U.S. actions may well influence the choices and actions of others.”
For Guam, our exclusion from the decision made about the massive militarization of our island home through US military expansion and restructuring of its bases and military operations is unconscionable. Moreover, we have had no choice and no options offered vis-à-vis our colonial status or US actions having political implications on our colonial status. Guam is a colony and remains a colony until the Chamorro people is allowed to exercise our human right of self-determination and is allowed to decolonize.
IV. OUR HUMAN ENVIRONMENT
Mr. Chairman, the U.S. military’s militarization plans bodes great harm for the people and our island home environment. These plans include the construction of facilities and structure to support the full spectrum of warfare training for some 8,600 marines (and their dependants) being relocated from Okinawa to Guam; the construction of a deep-draft wharf in Guam’s only harbor to provide for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, destroying over 287,000 sqm (71 acres) of healthy and endangered coral reef; the construction of an Army Missile Defense Task Force modeled on the Marshall Islands-based Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, for the practice by US military personnel of intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles; the forcible land-grabbing of an additional 2,200 acres of indigenous Chamorro land; the desecration of Pagat, one of Guam’s oldest ancient villages dating back to 2,000 B.C.; the dangerous over-tapping of Guam’s water system to include the drilling of 22 additional wells; and the denial of the most fundamental human right of the Chamorro people of Guam to self-determination.
The militarization plan calls for an alarming 80,000 new residents within the next five years. These new residents include the 8,600 Marines and 1,000 Army troops with 9,000 of their dependents and large numbers of construction workers that will add to our current 180,000 residents. This is obviously not about demographics alone as we see US hegemony flourish and cultural genocide work for the administering power. As non-US citizens after WWII, we were over 95% of the population. As United States citizens 50 years later, our population is reduced to 42% (2000 Census). Five years ago, we comprised some 35% of our home population. But with the new US plan, the Chamorro population can be expected to drop to around 24%! This is perhaps the most plausible reason why all information impacting our people’s lives were kept secret until the official release of the draft environmental impact study last November 20, 2009.
This Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (OEIS) was intended to, “assess the potential environmental effects associated with the proposed military activities” (DEIS, Executive Summary, Abstract) for the relocation of US marines to Guam, enhancement of infrastructure and logistic capabilities, improvement of pier/waterfront infrastructure for transient US Navy nuclear aircraft carrier (CVN) and placement of US Army ballistic missile defense (BMD) task force. It is supposed to report the overall impacts that the military’s plans will have on Guam’s environment. It was a document of 11,000 pages and we were given a 90-day window to comment (ending Feb. 17, 2010) with a Final EIS to be completed in July and a Record of Decision to be released in 30 days.
The selective and exclusive sharing of information on the military’s plans prevented our full participation and served to silence our voices in this critical process. The community scrambled to respond to the 11,000-page report within the rigid schedule. The “record speed” of a two-year environmental impact study for such unprecedented militarization of a non self-governing territory was obviously suspect. We were not told about the 80,000 people or that the US had planned to go outside their existing footprint. At the public outreach meetings, hundreds spoke resoundingly against the military’s plans. At the close of the public comment window, the military received over 10,000 comments from various indigenous Chamorro groups, community members and stakeholders and other external stakeholders.
The fear of being overwhelmed by the construction of a new US Marine base has permeated the community. In reference to the local government’s costs grossly underfunded in the plan, Lt. Governor Michael Cruz, M.D. who himself is a Colonel in the Army National Guard, stated “Our nation knows how to find us when it comes to war and fighting for war, but when it comes to war preparations—which is what the military buildup essentially is—nobody seems to know where Guam is.” Government officials put the total direct and indirect costs of coping with the military buildup at about $3 billion, including $1.7 billion to improve roads and $100 million to expand the already overburdened public hospital.
Last January 22, the 30th Guam Legislature adopted a resolution expressing the “strong and abiding opposition of the Guam Legislature and the People of Guam to any use of eminent domain [condemnation] for the purpose of obtaining Guam lands for either the currently planned military buildup or other U.S. Federal Government purposes, or both.” Copies were transmitted to the President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, the President Pro-Tem of the U.S. Senate, to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and other officials. Another resolution (No. 275-30 (LS)) was introduced and adopted relative to presenting to President Obama and the US Congress, the sentiments expressed by the people of Guam regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Guam military build-up; to enumerating the findings of the Legislature that have led to the conclusion that the DEIS is grossly flawed; to providing a list of essential elements which must be favorably resolved; to restate Guam’s agenda of priority concerns relative to federal-territorial issues that must be addressed concurrently with the buildup; and to asserting additional findings on actionable items relative to the DEIS.
Of grave concern is the fact that Chamorro self-determination and decolonization was not even addressed by the military in the DEIS and the fact that decisions have been made in the context of a huge power imbalance in which the US has the ultimate decision-making power with the social, cultural and political implications to the Chamorro community being grossly understated. It is no secret that the US and its military representatives are fully cognizant of the irreversible and significant consequences that their decision will have on its colonial people. Broad concerns relating to local infrastructure, environmental, labor and workforce, socio-economic and health and human services are being discussed among government and military officials. But the difference is: The US has completely ignored the negative implications to its colonial people’s human, political and legal right to self-determination. Just as select private businesses collectively predict positive gain by Guam’s militarization, the Chamorro people alone have historically and will predictably bear the unequal proportion of the burden.
On the last day of the public comment period, the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued the lowest possible rating of the DEIS of “environmentally unsatisfactory” and providing “inadequate information.” In its strongly worded six-page letter, the US EPA stated that “The impacts are of sufficient magnitude that..…action should not proceed as proposed and improved analyses are necessary to ensure the information in the EIS is adequate to fully inform decision makers.” Specifically, the EPA stated that the military’s plan would lead to:
a. A shortfall in Guam’s water supply, resulting in low water pressure that would expose people to water borne diseases from sewage.
b. Increased sewage flows to wastewater plants already failing to comply with the Clean Water Act regulations.
c. More raw sewage spills that would contaminate the water supply and the ocean.
d. “Unacceptable impacts” to the 287,000 sqm (71 acres) of a high quality coral reef.
But even with this indictment of its draft EIS, the military continues with its military expansion and restructuring plans today.
In Congress, Guam’s delegate introduced a bill that would provide for public education on Guam’s political status options. This bill was amended in the House of Representatives and now includes the other two NSGT’s: American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands and would “include but not (be) limited to the 3 internationally recognized options.
The implication is that the educational program could also include other options, albeit not defined in the bill. There is no reference to any referendums nor provision of a specific budget although Congressional estimate of the costs is some $2 million in the next 5 years for all the territories. It remains to be seen what will happen in the US Senate.
If the draft Guam Commonwealth bill or the Guam War Reparations bill or the bill to amend the US Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (to give compensation to the “down winders” (Guam included)) are any example, it will end up taking many forms over many years without resolution or action. Only time will tell. And, time, Mr. Chairman is not on our side.
The Question of Guam shall remain a question of Chamorro self-determination and decolonization for Guam. As a process of decolonization, the exercise of Chamorro self-determination must necessarily occur outside the influences of the administering Power and with the cooperation of the United Nations.
We make the following recommendations to this seminar:
1. That the inalienable right of the Chamorro people of Guam to self-determination in conformity with all relevant UN documents be given utmost priority by the Special Committee on Decolonization in view of the administering power’s massive militarization planned from 2010 to 2014.
2. That a customized process of decolonization for the Chamorro people of Guam be immediately adopted in view of the severe irreversible impacts on Guam by the US administering power.
3. That an investigation be conducted as to the compliance of the administering power with its treaty obligations under the Charter of the United Nations to promote the economic and social development and to preserve the cultural identity of the Territories as related earlier in this text.
4. That a study must be conducted on the implications of US militarization plans on Guam’s decolonization and that UN funding be allocated immediately.
5. That the UN denounce the militarization of the non-self-governing territory of Guam without the consent of the people of Guam due to irreparable harm to the inalienable human rights of the Chamorro people and interests of the people of Guam.
6. That a work programme be adopted by the Special Committee to carry out its objectives for the decolonization of Guam.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and delegations for the opportunity to make this presentation. My people’s journey towards decolonization is at a very critical juncture. We can only rely on the United Nations to assure that the US live up to its obligations under the United Nations Charter and to its promise of self-determination and decolonization for the people of Guam.
NK turns to emails, fax to claim innocence
North Korea emailed and faxed documents to various social and religious organizations in South Korea to claim its innocence on the Cheonan attack, in what authorities suspect to be a ploy to incite social instability in the nation ahead of the June 2 elections.
At least nine civic and religious organizations received a letter from the North, which claimed that the international inquiry that earlier held the North responsible for the fatal attack involving the Cheonan was fabrication by the South government, Yonhap news agency said on Saturday.
Authorities are investigation the case after these organizations reported the matter to the police.
In one instance, a Buddhist temple received a 15-page faxed document from a North Korean Buddhist organization, signed by a monk who identified himself as serving in the same denomination in North Korea, claiming that the South's evidence was fabricated. The North's documents also had a point-by-point rebuttal to the South's findings, it said.
The police suspect the North's latest PR offense is also aimed at defusing the mounting international criticism against the North.
South Korea is slated to hold elections on June 2 that will select new provincial governors and mayors.
Text Fwd: Observers say reconvening the dormant organization indicates a probable consensus between North Korea and China
China proposes UN Military Armistice Commission convene for reinvestigation into Cheonan
: Observers say reconvening the dormant organization indicates a probable consensus between North Korea and China
May 29, 2010
A diplomatic source who requested anonymity said Friday that China had proposed to the U.S. to conduct a joint investigation with the participation of the UN Command, China and North Korea. The source said China made the offer last week through its UN delegation in New York, and that the offer called for convening the UN Command’s Military Armistice Commission, which has lost its function over time.
The U.S. and China reportedly informed the South Korean government of the offer through the UN Command’s special investigation team for the Cheonan sinking following some final adjustments during China-U.S. strategic and economic talks in Beijing from May 24 to 25.
In response, the UN Command special investigation team told the South Korean government that they will ask China’s People’s Liberation Army to rejoin the Military Armistice Commission, and will request the North Korean People’s Army also send representatives to the Joint Observer Team. The UN Special Investigation Team also reportedly stressed the need to resolve the Cheonan incident through dialogue. The UN Command Military Armistice Commission composed a special investigation team on May 22 to look into the cause of the Cheonan sinking.
North Korea had claimed that the Military Armistice Commission was a mere scrap of paper, but observers say that as China has made this offer, there must have been a degree of consensus between North Korea and China. South Korea’s position regarding this has reportedly been that a cautious approach is needed, claiming that this would only give North Korea a chance to defend itself.
Meanwhile, President Lee Myung-bak asked that China cooperate with the international community’s response to the sinking of the Cheonan during bilateral talks with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at the Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office in South Korea or Blue House) on Friday. During the talks, Lee reportedly stressed in concentrated fashion the point that the final goal of sanctions on North Korea was not to isolate the country, but peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Please direct questions or comments to [email@example.com]
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Analysts question Korea torpedo incident
By Jeff Stein | May 27, 2010; 4:19 PM ET
How is it that a submarine of a fifth-rate power was able to penetrate a U.S.-South Korean naval exercise and sink a ship that was designed for anti-submarine warfare?
Such questions are being fueled by suggestions in the South Korean and Japanese media that the naval exercise was intended to provoke the North to attack. The resulting public outcry in the South, according to this analysis, would bolster support for a conservative government in Seoul that is opposed to reconciliation efforts.
As fanciful as it may sound to Western ears, the case that Operation Foal Eagle was designed to provoke the North has been underscored by constant references in regional media to charts showing the location where the ship was sunk -- in waters close to, and claimed by, North Korea.
"Baengnyeong Island is only 20 kilometers from North Korea in an area that the North claims as its maritime territory, except for the South Korean territorial sea around the island,” Japanese journalist Tanaka Sakai wrote in the left-leaning Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.
He called the sinking of the ship “an enigma.”
"The Cheonan was a patrol boat whose mission was to survey with radar and sonar the enemy’s submarines, torpedoes, and aircraft ... " Sakai wrote.
"If North Korean submarines and torpedoes were approaching, the Cheonan should have been able to sense it quickly and take measures to counterattack or evade. Moreover, on the day the Cheonan sank, US and ROK military exercises were under way, so it could be anticipated that North Korean submarines would move south to conduct surveillance. It is hard to imagine that the Cheonan sonar forces were not on alert."
The liberal Hankyoreh newspaper in Seoul echoed a similar theme.
“A joint South Korean-U.S. naval exercise involving several Aegis warships was underway at the time, and the Cheonan was a patrol combat corvette (PCC) that specialized in anti-submarine warfare. The question remains whether it would be possible for a North Korean submarine to infiltrate the maritime cordon at a time when security reached its tightest level and without detection by the Cheonan,” it reported.
American spy satellites were also monitoring the exercise, “so the U.S. would have known that North Korean submarines had left their ports on a mission,” adds Scott Snyder, director of Center for U.S.-Korea Policy at the Asia Foundation.
“The route the North Korean submarines apparently took was from the East Sea, not directly from the North across the NLL,” or Northern Limit Line, the sea boundary unilaterally imposed by Seoul. “Essentially, they went the roundabout way and came at the ROK vessel from behind,” he said.
But Bruce Klingner, chief of the CIA’s Korea Branch in the 1990s, said “anti-submarine operations are far more difficult than is often realized.
“Beyond the obvious difficulty in tracking something that is designed to operate quietly, navies are confronted with natural acoustical phenomena as shallow, noisy littoral waters and layers of water salinity which can provide cover for submarines.”
Moreover, says Terence Roehrig, a professor at the Naval War College, “the Cheonan was an older Pohang-class corvette and not one of these [newer] ships.”
“Satellite and communications coverage of sub bases can tell when subs have left base…” adds Bruce Bechtol, Jr., professor of international relations at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. “It cannot tell locations of submarines once they are at sea -- unless they surface or communicate.”
“A mini-submarine like the type that is assessed to have penetrated the NLL is designed specifically for covert maneuvering in shallow waters like those that exist off of the west coast of the Korean Peninsula,” he said.
“It appears from the reports that [the South Korean Ministry of Defense] has released that a submarine departed port off the west coast of North Korea, accompanied by a support vessel. The submarine perhaps could have come fairly close to the NLL using diesel power, then switched to battery power, which is much quieter,” Bechtol added. “The submarine could have then slipped past the NLL at an appropriate time and waited for a ROK ship to approach.”
Suspicions about what happened, Bechtol said, are unwarranted.
“The fact of the matter is, a submarine did infiltrate into South Korean waters -- and they have done so in the past fairly frequently," he said.
"It is their mission.”
Text Fwd: Besides military bases in Okinawa & Jeju--MORE back story -- con't push for KorUS FTA & Trans-Pacific Partnership
Besides military bases in Okinawa & Jeju--MORE back story -- con't push for KorUS FTA & Trans-Pacific Partnership
A back story in this picture is the US-Korea FTA, which Congressman Charles Djou who took Mr. Pork Neil Abercrombie's seat in Hawai'i recently--as well as the pres. of the Council on Foreign Relations, is pushing actively. Djou is also pushing the US-Columbia FTA.
Neo-liberals who want more US domination of Asia are simultaneously pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (http://www.voxeu.org/index.
A May 15 AP story (http://arabnews.com/economy/
Unemployment is high in this country and few politicians are willing to support trade pacts that many voters believe rob Americans of jobs. Lawmakers also have plenty of other issues, including an overhaul of financial regulations, to fill their agenda this year.
The ambitious deal to cut trade barriers was signed in 2007 but has since languished amid dissatisfaction over a yawning gap in auto trade between the countries. Still, advocates continue to push for the accord to be sent to Congress for a ratification vote, portraying it as potentially a huge export boon for both countries.
Two senior senators, Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts and Republican Richard Lugar of Indiana, urged President Barack Obama in a letter this month to press ahead with an accord they said would help the United States create jobs and strengthen the countries’ alliance. The New Beginnings policy study group (http://fsi.stanford.edu/news/
The trade deal also got a boost from Hwang Jang Yop, the highest-ranking North Korean official ever to defect to South Korea. Hwang used a rare trip to Washington in March to voice support for the accord as a way to thwart the North’s efforts to weaken the U.S.-South Korean alliance. The Democratic Party controls Congress, and Obama has pledged to strengthen trade ties with South Korea. But Obama has yet to push Congress and businesses for the support needed to pass a deal that is more favored by opposition Republicans than by Democrats. [Associated Press]
And HERE IT IS, AN ARTICLE TYING THE 2 TOGETHER:
The Korea-U.S. FTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (http://english.chosun.com/
While the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement continues to languish, U.S. President Barack Obama is energetically pursuing a new U.S. trade agreement with Asia -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Obama administration sees the TPP as part of a long-term plan to anchor the U.S. economy in a super-FTA spanning the Pacific Ocean. This vision has important implications for Korea and the bilateral FTA.
The TPP began in 2005 as an obscure agreement among four relatively small trading partners: Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. While these countries account for a very small percentage of total world trade, they hoped that TPP could serve as the starting point for a pan-Pacific trading bloc. After taking nearly a year to decide whether to join TPP talks, the U.S. administration announced in late 2009 that it would do so. Australia, Peru, and Vietnam have since joined the talks, and other Pacific Rim countries, including Canada, Japan, and Korea, are now also considering whether to participate.
Experts in Washington debate whether the TPP has any real chance, in the foreseeable future, of becoming a new trade deal joining it with major trading partners along the Pacific Rim. Skeptics point to a number of factors, including the fact that the Obama administration has not secured a “fast-track” authority from Congress, without which other countries will be reluctant to negotiate. With such an authority, Congress agrees in advance to an up-or-down vote on the ratification of any final trade deal. Skeptics also note that the Obama administration has been generally reluctant to show any real leadership on new trade initiatives. From this point of view, the TPP talks are best seen as a symbol without much substance of U.S. engagement in Asia.
On the other hand, there is growing evidence of momentum for the TPP. Obama’s trade policy has recently started to come into focus, and at its core is the new National Export Initiative, intended to double U.S. exports over the next five years. Recognizing that this goal cannot be reached without opening foreign markets to U.S. goods and services, the administration recently described the TPP as “the strongest vehicle for achieving economic integration across the Asia-Pacific region and advancing U.S. economic interests with the fastest-growing economies in the world." At least as a matter of formal trade policy, Obama has made the TPP a key component of his new paradigm for economic engagement with Asia.
While it is too soon to know which camp is right, Korea needs to evaluate the impact of the TPP talks on Korea-U.S. relations, including the impact on the bilateral FTA. First, Korea should consider what it may lose by declining to join TPP negotiations, as well as what it stands to gain if it does. As an early entrant, Korea may be able to shape the structure and direction of the talks, and secure advantages for its export-oriented industries -- including emerging green energy technologies, where Korean firms are at the cutting edge. However, Korea already enjoys preferential trading relations with many countries involved in the current TPP negotiations such as Chile and Singapore, and TPP membership may bring only minor, incremental benefits. There are no easy answers here, but Korea should undertake the analysis so that, in the event the TPP does advance quickly, it is not left excluded and at a disadvantage.
More immediately, Korea needs to evaluate the impact of TPP talks on prospects for the FTA. Unfortunately, the FTA has long been idle, with Obama promising only that he will present the FTA to Congress when the political context permits, but no sooner -- i.e., after the Congressional mid-term election in November. Further, while the FTA has been orphaned as an unfinished project inherited from the Bush administration, it represents for Obama a fresh start on trade and a potential feature of his own foreign relations legacy. In fact, the Obama administration has already suggested that the TPP can be used to “fix” problems in other bilateral trade deals, such as the U.S.-Australia FTA. Indeed, the TPP now enjoys considerable momentum and may come to be seen as overtaking FTAs including the one with Korea. Korea must ensure that the Obama Administration does not lose sight of the need to pass the FTA at the earliest date possible.
TPP membership may be of appreciable benefit to Korea, and no doubt Korea is assessing its options with respect to this emerging trade bloc. In the interim, it must ensure that the U.S. does not use the TPP as an excuse for continued inaction on the FTA. Seoul and Washington are cooperating closely on a range of global issues, including nuclear non-proliferation, recovery from the global financial crisis, climate change, and the security of South Asia -- all of which are very important to the U.S. Washington should recognize that quick passage of the FTA would only help to consolidate this important relationship.
By Kim Suk-han, senior partner at the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, D.C.
Text Fwd: COMMENTS ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE JOINT CIVILIAN-MILITARY INVESTIGATION GROUP'S CONCLUSION
"Nothing is covered up that will not become known" Luke 12:2
We, PROK, who have been praying for democracy, peace, and life of Korean society, raise some points responding to the JIG's announcement of the conclusion of its investigation that says South Korean Navy ship Cheonan sank by a North Korean submarine attack with a heavy torpedo.
First of all, we point out that JIG's investigation cannot be fair and objective from the beginning. The Ministry of National Defense and the military, which are the most responsible for the incident took control over the whole investigation. They also made a hasty announcement to meet the first day of the campaign for the coming election on June 2, which left suspicions about the background. If there is any intention to take advantage of 46 young sailors' deaths for any political purpose, it will kill them again.
JIG's announcement did not explain anything but left so many questions among Korean people. Now we are asking the following questions.
1. We cannot understand why the crucial moment of sinking is missing from the footage (TOD). The JIG must also release the records of radio messages exchanged and Cheonan's CCTV recordings.
2. If Cheonan had sunk due to a shockwave and bubble effect by an underwater torpedo explosion, there must be any eyewitness of the giant water pillar. Moreover, most survivors are not suffering from torn eardrums, intestinal damages, fractures, or lacerations which are the general symptoms of torpedo explosion.
3. There were 13 Korean and US up-to-date ships at the West Sea near the scene. They were conducting a joint military drill at that time. Among those 13 ships are Cheonan, a warship to detect and fight with the submarines, torpedoes, airplanes, and missiles, and another warship Aegis specialized in dealing with submarines. Why couldn't any of the super modern ships detect the attack of the North Korean submarines or torpedo?
4. Why was late petty officer Han Joo-ho searching the third location, not the bow or the stern where the sailors were? Why did the American ambassador and the commander of American Army in Korea attend the memorial service for him to express condolences and pay comport money to his family? The JIG must give a clear explanation to the wide spread suspicions of probable clash between the US and Korean ships or mistaken firing between the two.
5. Why have the survivors been strictly separated and controlled since the tragedy happened? Why are they not allowed to say anything about it, though they know the truth best?
According to JIG's announcement, a North Korean submarine attacked Cheonan with a heavy torpedo and escaped without being detected at all. It means President Lee who is in charge of national security should take full responsibility for what happened and apologize to Korean people. The minister of defense, the joint chief of staff, and the naval chief of staff should do the same thing.
JIG's announcement did not answer any of the questions but left more suspicions. Now is the time for the Korean leaders to stop shifting responsibilities but taking them. They have to organize a new investigation group including civilian experts and opposition parties to find the whole truth answering all the questions above.
Once again we express our deepest condolences to the families of the late sailors as we promise to do our best to reveal the truth and take the follow-up measures.
May 20, 2010
Rev. Kwon Young-Joung
Peace and Reunification Committee
Rev. Jeon Byung-Saeng
Church and Society Committee
The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea
From Jean Downey on May 29, 2010
I'm re-posting this excellent compilation next week after the holiday weekend, along with Satoko's outstanding latest on Okinawa showing that US troops are there for training, not deterrence.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Questions about Cheonan Sinking - What's Available in English 天安艦沈没事件への疑問
Very little has reported in English on the growing suspicion about the outcome of the investigation of the sinking of South Korean warship Cheonan during the joint military exercise of South Korea and the U.S., and more people demand for more thorough and scientific re-investigation. We will try to list what is available.
******Here is a letter to Hillary Clinton from S. C. Shin, a maritime expert recommended by Korean National Assembly for investigation of the sinking of Cheonan, who disagreed to the conclusion of the Korean military administration and now has been sued for libel by them. Shin argues on Cheonan he could not see any sign of explosion or a torpedo. It was a grounding accident accompanied by a second collision accident. Shin summarizes his report as:
(1) The most important thing is there were two series of accidents not one.
(2) The 1st accident was 'Grounding' with the evidences above.
(3) The 'Grounding on a sand' made some damages and led flooding but itself didn't make those serious situation torn down in two.
(4) The 2nd accident hit a count-blow to sink.
(5) I couldn't find even a slight sign of 'Explosion'.
(6) The 2nd accident was 'Collision' with my analysis above.
For more, see:
******Here is U.S. author and activist Bruce Gagnon's take on it.
Most activists in South Korea have been, and remain, suspicious about the official story surrounding the sinking of their Navy ship. At the time of the incident the U.S. and South Korea were having one of their annual provocative war games where they practice an invasion of North Korea. One has to remember that the U.S. has a modus operandi when it comes to using sunk boats to justify war - "Remember the Maine" that was the prelude to the Spanish-American War and the more contemporary Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that was the kick-off to the Vietnam War. Some are already speculating that the South Korean sinking was timed before their June 2 elections and/or timed to ensure that Japan's new government reneges on its promise to close a U.S. military base in Okinawa. I'm sure there are other good theories on this as well.
******This one by Stephen Gowan, a Canadian writer and activist is a must-read.
The Sinking of Cheonan: Another Gulf of Tonkin Incident
****** Japan's international affairs analyst Tanaka Sakai suspects a U.S. vessel involved. Tanaka's article has been translated and posted on Japan Focus:Asia-Pacific Journal.
Who Sank the South Korean Warship Cheonan? A New Stage in the US-Korean War and US-China Relations
****** Historian Bruce Cumings urges us to look at this incident in a larger context in Democracy Now!
Historian Bruce Cumings: US Stance on Korea Ignores Tensions Rooted in 65-Year-Old Conflict; North Korea Sinking Could Be Response to November ’09 South Korea Attack
****** In CNN, University of Georgia Professor Han Park argues hardliner reactions are counterproductive calls for re-investigation and talks.
Tensions Between Koreas
****** Selig Harrison in Hankyoreh, Korea's national daily newspaper.
What Seoul should do despite the Cheonan
* Text Fwd from Narae Lee, Kyle Kajihiro on May 28, 2010
Please, find a statement below, issued by South Korean civil society, regarding the sinking of the Cheon-ahn navy warship. While no sufficient evidence on the direct involvement of North Korea has been found, the event is threatening to escalate with the neighboring countries getting involved. The Japanese government also started using this case as an excuse for strengthening the US-Japan alliance.
It seems like the S.Korean government will bring this case to the UN Security Council next week.
International Coordinator of Peace Boat US
The Statement on the Current State of Affairs for Peace on the Korean Peninsula
We, Korean civil society, gather here today to overcome the crisis and conflicts caused by the Cheon-ahn incident and to take a major step forward toward our goal of democracy, co-existence and peace.
Since the South Korean Cheon-ahn navy warship mysteriously sank on March 26th, our society has grieved the tragic incident together, and tried to clarify the cause and to provide comprehensive countermeasures to prevent its recurrence.
However, a handful of governmental and military officials have tightly controlled the relevant information in the name of military secrets and national security, checking these voluntary acts of citizens to find out the truth of the incident. Despite the fact that the Lee Myung-bak administration kept warning of a premature conclusion, the administration released the resulting reports which contained a number of unexplained hypotheses and caused questions before necessary investigations were finished. The investigation was conducted by the military which should have been reprimanded. In addition, without allowing enough time for the public and the National Assembly to review the investigation, the Lee administration unilaterally announced dangerous diplomatic and military countermeasures against North Korea without a national agreement. These are the types of measures that make ineffective the ‘peaceful crisis-management system’, which has been gradually established since the “July7 Declaration” by the Roh Tae-woo administration. As a result, the Korean Peninsula is facing the most devastating tensions since the end of the military regime. As a result, the Korean Peninsula is facing the most devastating tensions since the end of the military regime.
Do you think that such impetuous and dogmatic measures by the Lee administration are helping to resolve the situation? Instead, those actions are shaking the very foundation of the systems of peace and prosperity, which would secure the future of the Korean Peninsula. Amid the international economic crisis, our economy was slowly recovering but now it is faltering again. The efforts of the Six-Party-Talks as well as the denuclearization of North Korea are missing in the Lee administration’s enforcements of military and economic countermeasures against North Korea.
Did you witness such military tension when peace and engagement policies were consistently pursued in the past? Now we are at crossroads and need to decide whether to go back to the adventurism of the Cold War era, which the issue of security was ill-used for politics and blinded people to the truth. Or to take future-oriented peaceful realism, which emphasizes the democratic process, checks on the abuse of the administrative and military power, and seeks ways for peace and co-existence rather than provocative slogans.
In this regard, we express our opinions.
First, both North and South Korea should immediately stop the military confrontation, which will bring the Korean Peninsula to war and economic crisis. The South should withdraw its series of dangerous military measures and economic sanctions against North Korea, which were enforced without debates with the public, the Nation Assembly, and concerned countries. In addition, the North also should refrain from provocative rhetoric and radical military actions but instead cooperate with a rational process of uncovering the truth of the case.
First, we call on the South Korean government to take an additional measure to clarify the facts of the case, which should be able to answer a number of remaining questions regarding the sinking of Cheon-ahn vessel. In that regard, the National Assembly should be given a free hand in clarifying the truth and reviewing the investigations. Furthermore, an international investigation committee - including concerned parties, the United States, and China - should be established so as to ensure the credibility of investigation findings.
First, both the South Korean government and the media should not abuse this case, for the upcoming election, which is directly connected to the safety of people. The government and the majority party should explain if it was necessary to release the premature results of the investigation and to announce military countermeasures. In addition, we urge the government to immediately stop abusing its political and legal power to pressure the voters who raise rational questions to the government’s report and reactions.
We appeal to you!
The crisis on the Korean Peninsula took place without our intention, but we should be responsible to clarify the real cause and seek ways to resolve this problem in an appropriate way. It is directly related to our future of democracy and peace. It is time to call upon your wisdom and courage to achieve peace.
At 3pm, on May 29, let us show our will to uncover the truth and accomplish real peace on the Korean Peninsula. From today, let’s begin to light up candles for peace of the Peninsula, each and every night.
On June 2, election day we will judge the situations of the country and the time with a sense of ownership and open our future toward democracy, co-existence, and peace for ourselves.
May 26, 2010
The Coalition for Peace on the Korean Peninsula
Creative Korea Party / Democratic Labor Party / Democratic Party /
New Progressive Party / The People’s Participation Party / 91 South Korean NGOs