'저는 그들의 땅을 지키기 위하여 싸웠던 인디안들의 이야기를 기억합니다. 백인들이 그들의 신성한 숲에 도로를 만들기 위하여 나무들을 잘랐습니다. 매일밤 인디안들이 나가서 백인들이 만든 그 길을 해체하면 그 다음 날 백인들이 와서 도로를 다시 짓곤 했습니다. 한동안 그 것이 반복되었습니다. 그러던 어느날, 숲에서 가장 큰 나무가 백인들이 일할 동안 그들 머리 위로 떨어져 말과 마차들을 파괴하고 그들 중 몇몇을 죽였습니다. 그러자 백인들은 떠났고 결코 다시 오지 않았습니다….' (브루스 개그논)





EMERGENCY IN GANGJEONG ON SEPT. 2! (See the below blog)

URGENT PLEA: DEAR FRIENDS of JEJU ISLAND, ISLAND OF WORLD PEACE (Click!)

Please check HERE(Click) for continuous updates of emergency in
Gangjeong, Jeju Island since Aug. 24, 2011 and site links on the struggle against Jeju naval base construction !

8월 24일 및 이후 제주도 강정 마을 긴급 관련, 계속되는 영문 업데이트 및 국문 사이트, 링크들은 여기(클릭)를 보세요!

RELEASE Kang Dong-Kyun(Gangjeong village mayor, 54), Kim Jong-Hwan(villager, 54), and Kim Dong-Won(photographer, 25)! (Facebook: Click HERE)

강정 마을회 까페 사이트(클릭) 강정 마을회 웹사이트(클릭)


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

[JeJu Update] 30 May 2011


1. Village people blocked the surveying land.


One worker was surveying the land which is near 'GuRumBi'.
Village people resisted him not to survey the land but he asked navy to help him.
20 navies appeared together.

2. Village people set up tent for protecting 'MetBuRi' hill.


3. Prof. Seo gave a lecture 'East Asia's Peace and GangJeong' to people.


4. Association of Korean traditional arts issued a statement in front of 'GuRumBi'






































































































































Saturday, May 28, 2011

[JeJu Update] 20 May 2011


1. There was 3rd trial of Prof. Yang.




Public lowyer called a witness and Sung-Hee Choi joined in this court as a codefendent.




2. Many peace activists and NGOs are gathering on Jeju Island.



They lighted candles sitting around.

[JeJu Update] 19 May 2011 The original blogger Sung-Hee Choi was illegally arrested.

When she was arrested, she was just holding a banner written 'Don't touch even though one stone and one flower'. We resisted nonviolently against workers who got rid of our banners and tents. Some of our members sat in front of tents silently. Policemen isolated us from village people and arrested 8 persons including Sung-Hee. On 9:00 pm, 7 persons were released but she moved to another detention center. She began a hunger strike.








From morning to afternoon on GuRumBi Rock

Monday, May 23, 2011

최성희님, 0519불법연행, 0521구속영장청구

이 블로거의 운영자인 최성희님이 지난 5월 19일 제주 강정마을 해군기지 건설예정지에서 평화적인 비폭력 시위 도중 경찰에 의해 체포되었습니다.

당시 최성희님은 '돌멩이 하나, 꽃 한송이도 건드리지 마라!'의 메시지가 적힌 현수막을 들고 있었습니다.

5월 21일 구속영장이 청구되었고 현재(23일) 제주 동부 경찰서에 수감 중이십니다.






Thursday, May 19, 2011

[Jeju Update] [May 17 to 18] Battles in the Gangjeong village/ Court's wrong decision again/ MND says the construction would be continued/

_______________________
See also
Organizing Note 브루스 개그논 블로그 클릭
TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011
PREPARING TO DIE FOR THE ROCKS, THE FISH, THE CORAL, THE WATER

_______________________
Hard to have time to narrate the situation in detail. Here is a short summary

Fierce protests against the construction in the Gangjeong village on May 17 and 18… villagers and activists ready to fight to the end.. as the Jeju high court made a court decision of dismissing the villagers’ appealed lawsuit on the issue of the absolute preservation area.. The MND says it would continue construction.. only people’s will could stop construction.. villagers and activists ready to fight to the end.. The Gangjeong village is in war.

Click the links for lots of photos
_________________________

Photos

http://www.seogwipo.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=69388
Seogwipo Daily Newspaper

http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/49kU/332
[긴급소식] 공사 중지를 위한 투쟁 현장 / 5월18일 오전 7시 20분~10시 45분
[ Emergency] Protest site, Morning, May 18, 2011

http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/49kU/331
콘크리트 펌프 위에서 공사를 막고 있습니다.

http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/49kU/333
지금은 울지 못해 웃는 그들의 평화 / 5월 18일 그 뒷 이야기
After stories


Videos

http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/GeUn/87
D 기업의 해군기지 공사 강행에 인권은 없다!
Companies trample down human rights: vilagers and activists preventing construction with their bodies







http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/GeUn/88
해군기지 공사 중단되면 '행복의 나라로' 갑시다!

Protestors sing amidst protest






http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/GeUn/86
2011년 5월 18일. 강정의 뜨거운 함성

Let's live like a rock: Hot protest in Gangjeong, May 18





http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/GeUz/62
오키나와 헤노코에서 강정마을 주민들에게 보내는 연대메세지..
Solidarity message to the Gangjeong villagers: from Henoko, Okinawa



Photo Fwd: May 18 memories  




Hankyoreh
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_entertainment/478530.html
May 18 memories
May.18,2011  

From the top: An international resident looks at pictures taken during the May 18 Gwangju Uprising in 1980 on display in a photo exhibition opened at the Seoul Plaza one day before its 31st anniversary.

(Photo by Kim Myoung-jin)

 
In the event “May 18 Blood Donation Relay” held at the Geumnamno, Gwangju, in order to fulfill sharing spirits in the May 18 Gwangju Uprising, citizens participate in the blood donation, May 17. People in Gwangju shared all the things including bread, milk, rice, ice and blood during the uprising.

(Photo by Kim Jung-hyo)

Pungmul band, Korean traditional percussion band, representing Citizen Army at the uprising, and people carrying eleven portraits of those who died during democracy movement in 1991 arrive at the festival held on the eve of the holiday at the square in front of the former South Jeolla Province Government, May 17.

(Photo by Kim Jung-hyo)

Fwd: Poster for GN Space Organizing Conference - June 17-19

* Fwd from Bruce Gagnon on May 18, 2011

Poster for GN Space Organizing Conference - June 17-19

Click the image for larger view

Text Fwd: Russia: US Missile Offense System Could Reach the Urals

* Text fwd from Bruce Gaganon on May 18, 2011

http://rt.com/politics/nato-missile-defense-medvedev/
Moscow may quit START over US deploying missile shield in Europe
May 16, 2011
Russia Today

Further deployment of the US missile defense system in Europe gives Russia the right to withdraw from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said.

"START may become a hostage of the so-called US European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA)," Ryabkov said at Monday’s meeting of the Expert Council on cooperation between Russia and NATO at the State Duma.

The official noted that Moscow has repeatedly warned its partners that if the scale of the US missile defense system creates a threat to Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, Russia has the right to withdraw from the agreement. That would be considered “an exceptional circumstance” mentioned in Article 14 of the New START.

He added that Russia will have to take responsive measures if the US and NATO develop their missile defense shield without taking Moscow’s opinion into account.

"In this situation, we will have to take the necessary measures to restore the disrupted balance of power," Ryabkov said, cites Interfax.

The official also observed that Moscow is disappointed over Washington’s denial to give legal guarantees that the US missile defense system will not be targeted against Russia.

"We are disappointed with the reaction of Washington; this is a negative reaction," he said.
The historic agreement – the New START – was signed by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev on April 8, 2010, in Prague.

On Saturday, President Dmitry Medvedev sent letters to Russia-NATO Council members in which he reaffirmed Moscow’s readiness to contribute to maintaining strategic stability and security by creating a joint missile defense system in Europe.

“The Lisbon summit of the Russia-NATO Council on November 20, 2010, opened up opportunities for building strategic partnership based on the principles of equality, indivisible security, mutual trust, transparency, and predictability," the president’s letter reads, the Kremlin press service reported on Saturday.

Medvedev confirmed Russia’s readiness – voiced at the summit – to take a share of responsibility for maintaining strategic stability and security, including through the creation of a joint missile defense system in Europe. He underlined that the system could only be truly efficient and viable if Russia participates in the project as an equal member. The Russian President stressed the need for guarantees that the shield being deployed in Europe will not undermine strategic stability and will not be aimed against one of the sides.

Almost half-a-year on after Moscow was officially invited to participate in the missile defense program, the sides have not managed to iron out differences in their views on the planned system.

Moscow said it was ready to assume protection of its sector in Europe from a missile threat in the framework of the so-called “sectoral” approach put forward by Medvedev. The general idea is that Europe would be divided into sectors and each side – Russia and the Western partners – would defend their sector of responsibility. Moscow has also warned that if no compromise is found on missile defense and the West ends up building its own shield, Russia would have no choice but to respond with military measures.

On May 4, at the meeting of commanders of the general staffs of the Russia-NATO Council 29 member states in Brussels, Russia’s General Nikolay Makarov said that Moscow would insist that the alliance would guarantee that its European missile defense would not pose a threat to Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.

"We intend to seek firm guarantees on de-targeting missile defense against Russia's nuclear potential. We will wait for proposals from NATO. We hope that our European colleagues will understand us", Makarov said. "We cannot create the security situation in Europe depending on the Russian-US agreements as it was during the Cold War times," he added, cited Itar-Tass.
The gathering took place shortly after the US announced its plans to deploy interceptor missiles in Romania, which raised serious concerns in Moscow.

Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Friday that the Brussels talks brought no breakthrough.

“We cannot watch indifferently as the US is deploying near our borders elements of its missile defense system, which can reach as far as the Urals,” he told journalists in Moscow. Russia is being told that its security would only benefit from it as Americans would be able to intercept missiles over the Russian territory. However, Moscow is not happy with such an approach as it can provide its national security itself, he added.


Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
globalnet@mindspring.com
www.space4peace.org
http://space4peace.blogspot.com/ (blog)


Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. ~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

[Jeju Update] [May 16] Yang’s testament despite people’s tears/ Island governor requested the navy for temporal construction stop among criticism

* Image source: Boreum Doragi
Yang Yoon-Mo, movie critic, on Oct. 14, 2010
__________________________________________
More photos come later
__________________________________________

[Jeju Update] [May 16]: Yang Yoon-Mo’s testament despite people’s tears/ Island governor requested the navy for temporal construction stop among criticism

Despite many people’s tearing appeal, including that of Shin Ku Bum, the former Island governor, to stop his fast, Yang Yoon-Mo, movie critic, who has been on his 42nd prison fast day as of May 17, 2011, since his arrest on April 6, told his testament to the visitors on May 16.


Yang Yoon-Mo, on his 29th day prison fast on May 4, 2011

He thanked all the people including the movie people and lawyer Shin Yong-In, who have wholeheartedly supported him. According to an activist who left a record on his testament and remarks, he who appeared in wheelchair said his blood sugar has been down to even 41 and has been fluctuating 41, 51 to 80. His pulse is gradually coming down, as well

But he said he would not get even linger that he has been getting since his hospital cure at the end of March, from the day when his fast hits over 50th day. He said the prison officers are trying to put the nutrition pills in linger but he has been preventing it.

He said even though the prison officers have been trying to persuade him to stop fast, he would not submit to it until, Woo Keun-Min,. the Island governor, withdraws the Jeju naval base plan and protect peace in the Gangjeong village. It is to emphasize that his heart has never been changed, he said. He finally said he would not regret his decision and his death would be the fertilizer for the struggle.


* Photo by Cho Sung-Bong
http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/GdUL/17

Yang Yoon-Mo was violently and brutaly arrested by the Seogwipo police station policemen on April 6 when he prevented a construction truck laying his body underneath it.

The below is a short summary translation of his remarks on May 16, from an activist’s record:

Since I am a son of society, son of history and son of national history, I have seldom attached myself to my own family.

I have struggled for social justice, film society’s democracy and against the Free Trade Agreement, and that is why I could carry out the absolute opposition movement against the naval base for the Gangjeong village, Jeju Island.

I will protect the Gangjeong Sea until I die and protect it even after it.
Please do my funeral in the simplest way.


And please shed my bone powders after cremation everywhere of the Joongduk coast, carried by Mr. Kim Jong-Hwan and Go Young-Jin, the two Gangjeong villagers.

The Creative Korea Party of which Shin Ku Bum, the former Island governor and who has done solidarity fast along with Yang Yoon-Mo from April 18 to 26, has also made a statement that criticized the Grand National party, the ruling party to ignore Yang’s critical life and to be silent in the navy’s enforcement of construction. It said it is contradictory for the Grand National party to ignore Yang’s fast and navy’s forceful construction while promoting the special law on the Jeju 4.3 of which the content is about the designation of 4.3 as a national memorial day.

The 4.3 means the incident of the indiscriminate massacre of the Jeju island people who have uprisen against the establishment of the separate South Korean government backed by the United States military regime in 1948, three years after Korea’s liberation from the Japanese imperialism in 1945 and two years before of the Korean War in 1950.

The Jeju Island people have said that the current situation of the struggle against the naval base is becoming the 2nd 4.3. Yang Yoon-Mo has once told that his own mother’s side uncle was one of the first victims of that massacre. He might have kept that historical fact in his deep heart. A photographer who has observed Yang for more than three years have said Yang might have done today’s decision two years ago.

Yang’s third trial would be on May 20, his 45th prison day.

While the construction is being continued everyday with monstrous concrete structures that would be dropped into the sea to kill the UNESCO-protection-designated soft corals, Woo Keun-Min, the Jeju island governor is reported to have sent the request letter to the navy to temporarily stop construction by the end of June, accepting the request by the members of the National Assembly truth Investigation committee on the Jeju naval base who visited the village on May 12, 2011 and planned to make investigation result by the end of June, this year.




The navy has not responded to it yet but the Gangjeong villagers are not so happy. The villagers say the construction should be stopped at least until December this year for the Island government to make its own sense of it. December is when the Jeju Island government plans to announce its concrete plan on the special law to support the development of the vicinity areas near the naval base. The villagers say the law itself is betrayal since it is premised on the realization of the naval base they have fiercely opposed and they will not join in the discussion on it. The villagers have asked the Island government and navy to have sincere public discussion with them but the two have declined it.

May 18 is the day when the result of the villagers’ appealed lawsuit on the issue of absolute preservation area comes out with the court decision. For 4years’ hard struggle, the villagers who have realized how the government, national assembly and even court have abandoned them are ready to fight to the end to save their village and sea, along with Yang Yoon-Mo.

The coast in the Gangjeong village is one of 3% coastal absolute preservation areas and its sea is the only area in South Korea where the UNESCO-protected soft corals inhibit. It would be really disaster to have the naval base at that coast and sea near it filled up with concrete.

Otherwise, Kang Dong-Kyun, the mayor of the Gangjeong village and Go Won-Il sent the solidarity message to Okinawa. Another activist has recorded their message in the videos. Mayor Kang spoke in Japanese as he had lived in Japan for some years in the past.

Kanbare Okinawa!(by Kang Dong-Kyun, mayor of the Gangjeong village)



Kanbare Okinawa!(by Koh Kwon-il, chairman of the Gangjeong villagers’ committee against the Jeju naval base)




* Video link: http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/GeUn/85

And as the news on Yang Yoon-Mo’s fast has been being spread and the navy’s plan to remove all the people’s sit-in tents on May 27(planned) has been known, support of the struggle by people including students, artists and others nationwide is growing daily. The visual artists in the Jeju Island would have their press interview on May 28(planned) and would enter on their visual works supporting the struggle from June until the end of this year. See the leaflet HERE.

The Truth Investigation committee of the National Assembly, composed of five opposition parties have also made a public material to inform about the issues in the naval base. Click the link to down load it (Sorry, currently only Korean language version is available)

____________________________________

Below is a copy of a poem that has been put in Yang's vigil tent in the Joongduk coast, Gangjeong village. The title is "Sisterhood." It is a poem of love between the Joongduk Sea, the reclamation-planned naval base area, and a man who wants to save the Sea. The writer is a woman who calls the man as her brother-in-law and the sea, as her sister.

Sisterhood

She cries whenever it is deep night: The Joongduk Sea
Laying down Gangjeong in her belly who has been scratched and wounded
The Joongduk sea cries lulling and calming down it
Have you ever heard her crying sound
My sister, Joongduk Sea
With tears let inside her
Uh-Ho-Ii Oh-Ho-Ii
A man who has been captured by that tears
Has successfully recognized her being in a serious illness
Crouching his body in a small common bed
Being happy since he is with her
Hei Hei, my innocent brother-in-law
I
Offering a bowl of warm rice to them
Wanted to honor their love


Photo Fwd: Peacemakers


Hankyoreh
Peacemakers
Posted on : May.16,2011 13:41 KST

Members of anti-war organizations carry out a protest in front of the Ministry of National Defense in Yongsan, Seoul, on Sunday, marking International Conscientious Objectors’ Day.
The conscientious objectors lay on the ground to write out the word “peace.”

The South Korean chapter of Amnesty International asked for adoption of alternative service for conscientious objectors in a statement that day, saying that some 950 conscientious objectors to military service are in prison in South Korea.

Baek Jong-keon, a Jehovah Witness and lawyer indicted for refusing to serve in the military filed a petition with a court against the Military Service Law that puts conscientious objectors behind bars on May 9. Under the law, those who refuse military service without legitimate causes are sentenced to imprisonment of up to three years.

International Conscientious Objectors’ Day, organized by War Resisters’ International (WRI) and its affiliated organizations, is observed around the world on May 15. (Photo by Shin So-young) 

Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]

Text Fwd: MINBYUN calls for disclosure about KORUS FTA visas

Hankyoreh
MINBYUN calls for disclosure about KORUS FTA visas
:The organization says MOFAT backtracked on previously announced visas as part of KORUS FTA negotiations
Posted on : May.16,2011 14:10 KST
By Jung Eun-joo

South Korean civic organization MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society filed an administrative lawsuit against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) on May 15, demanding that the ministry make public a letter on professional worker visa quotas that former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Hyun-chong is said to have received from the U.S. administration. This will lead to legal clarification of the truth regarding the controversy over the South Korean government’s changed words about U.S. professional working visas.

The U.S. completely abolished limits on the number of visas issued to professional workers when concluding its FTA with Canada, and promised more than 5,000 such visas each to Mexico and Singapore, but showed reluctance to do the same during negotiations with South Korea for the South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), saying that this was a matter to be decided by Congress.

Kim stated that he obtained a letter on professional visa quotas after threatening to not attend the official FTA signing ceremony. Former KORUS FTA chief negotiator Kim Jong-hoon (now trade minister) also declared openly to Korean correspondents in Washington that although Australia had received 15,000 professional worker visas 10 months after concluding an FTA with the U.S., Korea would receive a higher number.

Since then, however, MOFAT has completely changed its story. In materials sent to Democratic Party Lawmaker Park Joo-sun last November, MOFAT stated that there was no such thing as a separate professional working visa quota for South Korea alone. The materials also deflected responsibility onto the US Congress, saying that as immigration came under the jurisdiction of Congress, no FTA concluded by US administrations since 2003 had involved visa quotas.

When MINBYUN demanded in March this year that Kim make public the letter on professional visa quotas that he had mentioned in a book, MOFAT refused, saying, “That is not information that was acquired as part of [Kim’s] official duty and it is not kept by us.” Ultimately, the full story of the broken promises made by the two states on professional working visas, and its breaking, will have to be revealed by way of a legal battle.
Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]
__________________________
See also
Hankyoreh
S.Korea becomes no. 1 importer of U.S. beef
:The U.S. will seek to further expand exports following implementation of the KORUS FTA
May 16, 2011

Photo Fwd: Price of gentrification


Hankyoreh
Price of gentrification
May 16, 2011

Sex workers who work in brothels around Yeongdeungpo Station in Seoul wear masks and caps and carry out a protest in front of a luxury shop of Shinsegae Department Store on the first floor of shopping complex Yeongdeungpo Times Square.
They spread out tens of thousands of 100 won and 50 won coins insisting on paying for a 1.6 million won luxury bag.

The sex workers say the construction of the Times Square shopping complex has led to an intense crackdown in the area by police officers for over a month. The sex workers say the crackdown has threatened their livelihood and have called for the abolition of the Special Law on Prostitution. (Photo by Kim Bong-gyu)

[ROK MND News Catch up] [May 9-13] Korea and U.S. marines discuss joint operations /

____________________________
Recent News (May 9 to 13) of the Ministry of National Defense, ROK
http://www.mnd.go.kr/mndEng_2009/WhatsNew/RecentNews/index.jsp
________________________________
NO. 766
Korea and U.S. marines discuss joint operations
May 13, 2011


South Korean and the United States marines showed strong will to counteract against North Korean provocations during tactics discussion held in Baengnyeong Island near the inter-Korean maritime border on Yellow Sea.

Marine officers from South Korea and the U.S. discuss on May 12 military matters regarding joint drills aimed at defending western islands on Yellow Sea during tactics discussion session held on Baengnyeong Island.

Marine officers from South Korea and U.S. held tactics discussion for two days since May 11 and exchanged views toward major matters related to joint military drills and the wartime operational control transfer.

On the Korean side, senior officers, including operations planning officer under the Marine Corps, and on the U.S. side Col. Thomas Ward and Lt. Col. Turner Larry under the U.S. Pacific Marine Corps Command joined the discussion.

Two countries discussed about schedule plan for joint drill on western islands and reviewed overall conditions of soldiers' lodging facilities and terrain at training field that U.S. marines are going to use.

Two agreed to regularly hold tour sessions for U.S. marines coming to South Korea for drills.

In addition, two sides discussed preparations and measures for strengthening joint exercises in the Ulchi Freedom Guardian, a joint command and control simulation exercise between South Korea and U.S.

"Western islands are strategic locations where North Korea and provoke any time," said a South Korean marine officer who took part in the discussion. "South Korean and U.S. marines will become a role model of defending any military attacks immediately on site with strong joint operations."

Col Ward said that, "It is the first time South Korean and U.S. marines jointly hold tactics discussion on western islands since the end of the [1950-53] Korean War. South Korea and U.S. will cooperate closely so that the North would never make provocations like the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island."
_________________________________
No. 765
Mungyeong will host Military World Games in 2015
2011-05-16 17:24

May 13, 2011

The location for the 6th Military World Games, a multi-sport event for military athletes that is held every four years, has been decided to be held in Mungyeong, North Gyeongsang, in 2015.

The International Military Sports Council (CISM), the event's organizer, held its 66th general meeting at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel on May 12 and made decision to open the event at Mungyeong in 2015. After the decision is made, Col. Kalkaba, the head of CISM, and Kim Il-saeng, the head of the Office of Personnel and Welfare at the South Korea's Defense Ministry, signed a written agreement.

South Korea had submitted it bid to hold the event exclusively at CISM's board meeting in Algeria on March this year. The organizer of the event gave the final approval in Seoul for Mungyeong to be the next venue for the event.

The Defense Ministry received its approval for a bid effort to hold the event from the Finance Ministry on August last year. The Defense Ministry had planned to select six cities, including Mungyeong, in North Gyeongsang, for the event.

The Military World Games, in which only active-duty military personnel can participate, is designed to boost friendship through sports and contribute in building world peace.
___________________________________
No. 764
KATUSA's medical record to be transferred to Korean Army
2011-05-16 17:17

May 12, 2011

The Korean Army is going to take over medical records of Korean soldiers under the United States Army, a.k.a Korean Augmentation Troops to the U.S. Army (KATUSA), in Korea from the U.S. Army. From next month, KATUSA reserves will be able to check their medical records easily.

Korean Army's Records Center said that the center and U.S. 65th Medical Brigade signed a written agreement on May 6 agreeing to transfer KATUSA's medical records saved in U.S. Army to Korean Army.

The agreement was made as two sides shared common grounds to exchange medical information quickly in case people need those records as references in civil complaints.

Even though KATUSA is clearly a Korean troops, medical records of KATUSAs have been managed by U.S. Army hospital so far and they are kept in the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) after KATUSAs are discharged from the service.

KATUSA reserves have to go through complex process before being authorized to see their own medical records, such as apply for the records online on NARA web site and receive records via mail after long days. Korean and U.S. Army agreed to ease such inconvenience.

Under the agreement, Korean Army's Records Center is scheduled to take over medical records of KATUSA reserves who were discharged after January 2008 beginning next month. Also active-duty KATUSA troops can receive their own records within a month from Republic of Korean Army Support Group after being discharged. Reserves can only call Korean Army's Records Center to see their records and receive them right away.

"Through this agreement, we were able to settle civil complaints related to medical records of KATUSA reserves," said Col. Yun Yong-ki, head of Korean Records Center of the Army. "We will keep on discovering civil matters that should be improved."
_________________________________
No. 763
Overseas dispatch train center being built

May 11, 2011

International Peace Support Force under the Korea's Army Special Warfare Command has completed on May 4 building a center to train troops ahead of being dispatched overseas.

The commander of the Speical Warfare Command, officers from the Capital Defense Command and officials from the Defense Ministry took part in the completion ceremony. The third contingent of Ashena Unit, organized to safeguard about 300 Provincial Reconstruction Team helping Afghanistan civilians, will first take advantage of the center next month before being deployed to the war-torn country.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the three-floor center took place in September 2009. The cost of construction was about 10.5 billion won.

The first floor will play a role of commanding post with a command control room and a seminar room. The second and the third floor has a rest room and other amenities from trainees.
______________________________
No. 762
Destroyer Yi Sun-shin takes over anti-piracy mission
2011-05-16 17:16
May 9, 2011

The Navy destroyer Yi Sun-shin, the 7th contingent of anti-piracy Cheonghae Unit in Somali waters, began its mission on May 6 after destroyer Choi Young handed over the baton, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Korea said.

Destroyer Chungmugong Yi Sun-shin, right, and destroyer Choi Young anchors at Salalah port in Oman to shift mission.


Destroyer Yi Sun-shin left Busan naval base on April 5. It had stopped by ports in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates to hold anti-piracy operations intelligence exchange meetings. The destroyer also implemented supplies transportation mission for Akh Unit, Korean special forces unit deployed to UAE to train local forces. Yi Sun-shin arrived at Salalah port in Oman on May 4 to prepare for mission shift from Choi Young.

Some 300 crew members, including UDT/SEAL troops and marines, are on aboard of Yi Sun-shin. Also one anti-submarine Lynx helicopter aimed at searching pirates boats from long distance is on board.

With a support from the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime affairs, in particular, Yi Sun-shin has installed a monitoring system to trace the location of Korean commercial ships around the clock and set up bullet-proof glass around Rigid Inflatable Boats.

In order to strengthen medical service capabilities, medical staffs specializing in surgeries and anesthesia are also added on board.

The 4,400-ton destroyer Yi Sun-shin, which is being deployed for anti-piracy mission in Somali waters for the second time since 2009, has brother sailors Senior Chief Petty Officer Park Chang-uk and Chief Petty Officer Sung-hun on board and 72 sailors are on their second mission in Somali waters, JCS said.

"The 7th contingent of Cheonghae Unit has been trained for all possible emergency situation in order to fulfill the mission successfully," said Capt. Han Dong-jin of Yi Sun-shin. "We will protect Korean ships and the people to take a leading role in revealing greatness of Korea and the Navy throughout the world."

In the meantime, the 6th contingent Choi Young is expected to return Korea at the end of this month.

Video Fwd: NATO - WAR ARM OF CORPORATE GLOBALIZATION

Organizing Notes
SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2011
NATO - WAR ARM OF CORPORATE GLOBALIZATION






http://rt.com/usa/news/nato-libya-us-war/

Monday, May 16, 2011

[Jeju Update] [May 15] Yang Yoon-Mo hits his 40th day prison fast

As Yang Yoon-Mo, movie critic hit his 40th prison fast as of May 15, 2011, villagers and his colleagues gathered in the Joongduk coast to commemorate it. The Christians in the village had a prayer meeting for him before that event as well.



* Video source: http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/GeUn/84




* image source: http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/49kU/320
'Christians' meeting'


The people here criticizing the Woo Keun-Min Jeju Island government and navy that they don’t hear his cry and people’s voice against naval base construction, prayed for his health. People here have appealed to him with tears to stop his fast but Yang’s determination to fight at the risk of his life have been very strong.

On May 14, Jeong Woon-Hyun, a former editor of Omynews reported in his blog about his thought to visit the village and to meet Yang Yoon-Mo in jail. You can see it here.

Otherwise, Kang Dong Kyun, the mayor of the village having interview with the Headline Jeju, expressed his position regarding Woo’s remark that he may consider the Truth Investigation committee’s proposal for temporary naval base construction by the end of June when the Truth investigation Committee of the National Assembly reports its investigation result.

Kang said that it was unreasonable and claimed that the Woo government should stop the construction at least by the end of December when the Island government would announce its plan for local development.

Kang said that the plan itself is premised on the realization of naval base and he and the villagers would not respond to it. In other words, he and the villagers would not join that discussion on the plan even though construction is temporarily stopped.

On the question of the measures, he replied that there should be certain construction stop and public discussion.

Quoting that the Ministry of Defense has been in consideration to abandon its policy on the ‘Oceanic power,’ he claimed that the government should cut the budget on naval base and rather convert it into other various business other than naval base construction.

Otherwise, the Jejudomin Ilbo reported that the ecology system of the Gangjeong village have begun to be destroyed with the navy’s execution to relocate the red feet crabs to another place. With the plan to cement all over the construction site by the end of May, not only the red-feet crabs, the government-designated 2nd endangered species, but the other creatures living there would be in critical danger, it reported.


* Image source: http://www.jejudomin.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=15637



People's volunteering efforts to support the struggle is increasing. On May 15, the Tweeters living in the Jeju had the first meeting.

* Image source: http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/GgJA/12


* Image source: http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/GgJR/4

Sunday, May 15, 2011

[Jeju Update][May 12 to14]Construction is going on despite Yang’s 40th day prison fast/In the May 13 trial, Miranda principle issue was raised

* For two days, the blog system itself has had problem. I hope some of my former blogs on May 11 and 12 are recovered soon. Below is a short summary. Photos and more compensation will come in the blogs later on.

Today, May 15, Yang Yoon-Mo meets his 40th day prison fast. He has demanded the stop of the Jeju naval base construction and punishment of all the Seogwipo station police men who have violently arrested him on April 6. (Video 1: HERE, Video 2: HERE, photos : HERE)


* Image source: Headline Jeju, May 13, 2011

Construction was all day on Saturday, May 14 in the sea and land by 7pm. It is told that the construction will be continued on Sunday, May 15 as well.

Despite the growing national concern including 65 civic organizations’ statement and movie people’s support statement for Yang Yoon-Mo on May 11; visit and inquiry by the members of the Truth Investigation Committee, National Assembly to the Gangjeong village on May 12; and the pan-religion people’s prayer meeting on May 13, the navy and Jeju Island government have not stopped the illegal, law-evasive and expedient Jeju naval base construction.

* Image source: Jeju Domin Ilbo, May 12, 2011

* Image source: Sisa Jeju, May 12, 2011
'Meeting with villagers'

* Image source: Headline Jeju
'Committee meeting with bishop Kang Woo-Il'

It was infuriating to see about 10 navy-subcontracted Eco-Ocean company workers to put tens of traps to capture the red-feet crabs (Sesarma intermedium) along the water-way area from the naval field office to the coast in the construction site on the very next day when the Truth Investigation Committee of the National Assembly visited the village including the construction site. It is told that more than 42 crabs were seen to be captured in those traps to be relocated into a stream of the Yackcheon buddishist temple, which is about 20 minute car distance from the village. The red-feet crabs are government-designated 2nd class endangered species and are told to live only in the clean environment. The red feet crabs in the village are told to be unique, which can survive well only in the very environment of the village so it is nothing but a murder of endangered animals.


* Image source: Gangjeong village people's council, May 14, 2011
Click the link to see more photos of poor crabs captured in the navy's trap nets

On May 13, there was the 2nd trial on Yang Yoon-Mo and his co-accused, Sung-Hee Choi who had been arrested on April 6 when they blocked a construction truck by laying down their bodies underneath the truck. The common charge applied to both was ‘interruption of business affairs.’ Choi was released on the night but Yang has been under restraint and imprisonment since then with the added and accumulated charges of violent deeds and interruption of execution on government affairs, by a sub-contract company, Woochang and Seogwipo police.

In the trial that proceeded about an hour, the main issue raised was whether there had been the policemen’s notice of the Miranda principal before they were arrested on April 6.

Two Seogwipo Station policemen, including a senior policeman, Kim Geun-Man and a policeman, Kim Seung-Chul were present as the prosecutor part’s witness. They said that the former had ordered one of his staffs to notice the Miranda principal before they arrested the two of Yang and Choi but it became clearer that the notice had not been properly done, if there was any, during the attorney’s inquiry to them on May 13.

Yang and Choi have claimed that they could not hear the Miranda notice before their arrest. The same claim has been raised by many of their colleagues who have kept the site on the day and recorded the day’s arrest scene. One villager has even recalled that he was very infuriated when he heard the policemen shout during the arrest of the two: “Load them, load them!’ He repelled the policemen by saying, “How do you dare to say to load them, Are they mere packages? Yang has also raised a question of why the policemen were so obsessive as to force him to sign on the paper seven times that he heard the Miranda principle notice on April 6, which he has declined to do it every time.

If it became clear that the Seogwipo police station had not stepped the proper procedure of the notice on the Miranda principal, it could not but influence final court decision.

More and more people’s visit to the Gangjeong village is growing. It would be shame and crime for the government and navy if they are continuing construction ignoring a critical health condition of a person of consciousness, who is dying in the prison and people’s will to stop the construction and abolish military base in the Jeju Island. The Jeju Island government, along with the Jeju naval base business committee has declined the people's public discussion on the naval base issue as well on May 12.

* Image source: Seogwipo Daily Newspaper, May 13, 2011
'Pan-religion prayer meeting'

The people want the very site to be the very memorial site for life and peace, which would be the beacon for the true Peace Island.

Yang is supposed to do remark on his thought upon his 41st prison fast on May 16, Monday as the 40th day is Sunday when the prison is closed for the visitors.


* Image source: Cho Sung-Bong, Gangjeong village people's council

Text Fwd: USFK Tyranny in Pyeongtaek; Entertainment businesses subject to armed crackdowns by US military police

http://english.khan.co.kr/khan_art_view.html?artid=201105111228037&code=710100
USFK Tyranny in Pyeongtaek; Entertainment businesses subject to armed crackdowns by US military police
Posted on : 2011-05-11

Burwell Bell, Commander of US Forces Korea, delivers a speech marking the launching of construction for Pyongtaek military base for US Forces Korea at Daichuri, Pangsungup, Pyongtaek, Gyeonggi Province on Nov 13, 2007. US Forces Korea stationed in Pyongtaek is effectively exercising "the right to crack down on and punish" foreigner-only entertainment businesses, thus igniting Koreans' criticisms of their "tyranny." (File photo by Yonhap News, Caption by Seol Wontai )

It has emerged that United States Forces Korea (USFK) in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, is effectively exercising “the right to crack down on and punish” foreigner-only entertainment businesses.

USFK is exercising thorough control in the fields of health, hygiene and public order. This includes entry by armed US military police into entertainment establishments and demands that employees present proof of identity.

Based on crackdowns, USFK is indiscriminately declaring “off limits” measures that effectively amount to suspension of business. According to entertainment businesses, 33 out of 40 establishments have been declared off limits or received warnings in the last five years.

Crackdowns by armed US military police

News of crackdowns was first revealed by the Kyunghyang Shinmun on May 10, after the newspaper acquired “an official document sent by the commander of ‘Base X’ of the Unites States Air Force in Pyeongtaek to the owner of a nearby entertainment business, by the name of Choe.”

The document states that USFK declared Choe’s business “off limits” to USFK personnel twice: once in June 2009 and once on January 21 this year. The reason stated for this was that the establishment allowed “bar fines” (female employees who receive alcohol from USFK personnel) and employed foreign workers in possession of “E-6” (entertainment) visas.

USFK stated in the documents that [a foreign female employee at the establishment] had refused to present her ID when requested to do so by patrolling USFK military police personnel, and that, having considered the circumstances, USFK had concluded that the establishment was in violation of the agreement not to employ Filipino women. This, the document said, was USFK’s reason for declaring the bar “indefinitely” off-limits.

This is not an isolated case. According to Pyeongtaek people’s Solidarity for participation and Autonomy (PPSPA) and the Songtan branch of the Korea Foreigner Tourist Association, the US military has declared 33 out of 40 US military-only establishments off limits since 2005.

From 1992, USFK controlled such businesses arbitrarily, according to a type of agreement reached with Pyeongtaek city authorities. When official documents upon which “off limits” measures were based were made public and caused a scandal in 2005 (as reported on the front page of the Kyunghyang Shinmun on March 31, 2005), this agreement was abolished.


Regulations not contained within SOFA

Even since then, however, USFK has been running a system of parallel crackdowns and punishment of businesses close to bases, by communicating regulations and guidelines orally and sending armed military police on patrol.

Under the pretext of protecting its own citizens, USFK has been creating irrational regulations that are not found within the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Korea and the US, and arbitrarily exercising what amounts to a right to carry out crackdowns.

Entertainment establishments have protested, saying, “For businesses that operate exclusively for foreigners, being declared ‘off-limits’ is a punishment equivalent to suspension of business. There are 500 more establishments that would effectively go out of business if US military personnel did not visit them.”

Despite the circumstances, however, Pyeongtaek city authorities are refusing to consider remedial measures or even look into what disadvantages are being incurred by the businesses in question. An association for Korea-US cooperation, created to aid conflict resolution between the two countries and headed jointly by the mayor of Pyeongtaek and the local USFK base commander, is also proving ineffective.

Civic groups including the PPSPA plan to hold a press conference on May 12 in front of the main gate of Base X and call for the off limits measures to be lifted. (News, The Kyunghyang Daily News. May 11, 2011. Reported by Choi In-jin; Translated by Ben Jackson. )

Text Fwd: [ROK MND News Catch Up-May 2 to 4] Korea and U.S. jointly focus more on western islands

Recent News, Ministry of National Defense, ROK
http://www.mnd.go.kr/mndEng_2009/WhatsNew/RecentNews/index.jsp
Uploaded on 2011-05-09
______________________________________

No. 761
Korea and U.S. jointly focus more on western islands
May 4, 2011

Seoul and Washington once again showed off strong alliance as the United States forces in South Korea supported regular live-firing exercise conducted by South Korean marines on May 3 in waters off Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong islands near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), de facto maritime border between South and North Korea in the Yellow Sea.

"The United States Forces Korea has improved combat capabilities by assisting South Korea's live-fire drill and revealed firmness of alliance between two countries," said USFK. "Like other regular exercises, U.S. and South Korean forces are able to reinforce joint combat capabilities and communication skills in strategic as well as operational system through this drill."

Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command, said that not only at western islands near the NLL but also at other strategic places in South Korea, Seoul and Washington are planning to engage in more joint drill in order to reinforce South Korea-U.S. alliance.

"These joint drills are defensive in nature and focused on deterring North Korea's military provocations and preparing for strong readiness in case deterrence effort fails," Sharp said.

In the meantime, USFK said that 16 U.S. marines and army soldiers joined and observed South Korean marine's live-fire drill. U.S. troops were experts in intelligence, artillery and public affairs, USFK said.

"Military Armistice Commission under the United Nations Command has sent multinational observers to the drill site to check if armistice is being properly followed," USFK said. "The group of multinational observers has confirmed that the drill was conducted under armistice and standard authorized by international community."

_______________________________________

No. 760
Ministry invites former ministers to explain policies
May 2, 2011

Former South Korean defense ministers urged the Defense Ministry on April 29 not to proceed with the 307 National Defense Reform Plan with haste but with prudence.

The Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-jin, second from left, explains detailed plans and its direction of the Defense Reformation Plan 307 to former defense ministers on April 29 at the ministry in Seoul.

The Ministry of National Defense invited 15 former defense ministers to the ministry in Seoul and explained details of the Defense Reform Plan 307, the ministry said. Among a total of 42 former defense ministers since the foundation of the country in 1948, 23 are alive.

"In the late 1980s when a Defense Reform Plan 8·18 was introduced, we told then opposition party leaders Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung that the plan won't be easy but it went right at the end," said a former minister Lee Sang-hoon. "The basic direction of the 307 plan is good. Just take time to fulfill the plan."

Another former minister Cho Young-gil urged the ministry to listen senior ministers' opinions carefully and reflect them in the new reform plan. Former minister Yoon Kwang-ung supported the new plan by saying it is right to hand over some military administration power to the joint chiefs of staff.

"I hope [current Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff] Gen. Han Min-koo could arrange the plan properly to realize the reform," said a former minister Ro Jae-hyun.

At the end of the meeting, one former minister said their words are given with a spirit of loving the military, according to a defense official at the ministry. The official also said that former ministers urged the ministry to fulfill the plan by keeping in mind opposing voices toward the plan from some military leaders came out not in purpose of opposition itself but to deliver different views.

The official added the former ministers told the ministry to not only link the new plan with the scheduled transfer of wartime operational control from the United States to South Korea but also collect public opinions and create common grounds to push ahead with the plan.

_____________________________________________

No. 759
Marine 1st Division reinforce rapid response skill
May 2, 2011


South Korean Marine 1st Division strengthened its rapid response capabilities by conducting a regimental landing operation called 'Modeling' drill in a bid to maintain firm readiness.



Advance military unit approaches toward a seashore by removing obstacles with 5,000-ton Dokdo seeing behind during a special landing drill conducted by South Korean Marine 1st Division on April 29 in waters off Pohang, North Gyeongsang.

The drill, which took place on April 29 in waters near Pohang, North Gyeongsang, with a 5,000-ton ship Dokdo, Landing Platform Helicopter, surface battleships and some 30 Korean Assault Amphibious vehicles, was implemented aimed at improving advanced combat capabilities and readiness posture.

The goal of maritime drill was to secure a bridgehead after making breakthrough of the sea and penetrating potential enemy's bulwark.

The drill began with advance forces exploding maritime obstacles. Then with a help of fire from warships and fighters, ground forces made landing from the sea and the air. Troops secured coast bridgehead and took over a target area on the land.

The division, in particular, actively applied a new method so-called 'role-based command method' in this landing exercise. Usually, it takes about more than a week to plan for landing drill but this time military engaged in unexpected landing operation.

Commanding officers has to practice quicker control and decision-making efforts in accordance with scale and capabilities of each unit in order to complete the mission in a short period of time.

"The landing operation is focused on making breakthrough of battles when it comes to a standstill in emergencies and eventually deal a de facto power of a potential enemy a severe blow," said Col. Jeong Cha-seong, a commander of the drill. "We will keep on practicing exercise more realistically and stronger so that we can become a unit that can fight and win."

In the meantime, some 800 chief executive officers of small and medium companies observed the drill and engraved themselves the importance of national security.

______________________________

No. 758
South Korean Navy gets new frigate
May 2, 2011



The South Korean Navy has launched its new 2,300-ton frigate, the Incheon, in a bid to reinforce its deterrence security threats including those from North Korea.

The new 2,300-ton frigate Incheon is launched on April 29 at a shipyard of its builder, the Hyundai Heavy Industries, in Ulsan.

The launching ceremony of the Incheon was attended by nearly 300 people including Adm. Kim Sung-chan, chief of naval operations, and Lee Jai-seong, Hyundai Heavy Industries president, on April 29 at the industries' shipyard in Ulsan.

The Navy gave the name of the new frigate 'Incheon' and the number '811' at the ceremony. The historical whistle was sounded to celebrate the launch when Kim's wife cut a ceremonial tape.

The Navy is expected to receive the Incheon at the end of next year after going through an evaluation process of the new ship. Its operational deployment is scheduled to begin in the middle of 2013 after several months of testing following the delivery.

The Incheon is known to have higher efficiency than existing 1,200-ton Patrol Combat Corvettes and 1,800-ton frigates. The Navy has built the new battleship much stronger in order to prepare for various future maritime warfares.

In particular, the Incheon is equipped with three-dimensional tracking radar developed with domestic technology, Sound Navigation And Ranging and weapon system capable of hitting mid- and long-range targets. The Navy said about 92 percent of domestic technology is applied to build the Incheon.

The Incheon, measuring 113 meters (370 feet) in length, 14 meters in width and 25 meters in height, has a maximum speed of 30 knots. It can carry a 140 members and one helicopter.

It is equipped with state-of-the art weapons systems and military equipment such as anti-ship and anti-aircraft Rolling Airframe Missiles, as well as a Torpedo Acoustic Counter Measure designed to fight off enemy torpedo attacks.

The Navy is expected that maritime defense capabilities will be more strengthened than before when Incheon is mobilized in full operation and it is going to show the best operational tactics to defend the sea in terms of strategic aspects.

“The enhanced anti-ship, anti-airplane and electronic warfare capabilities of the frigate will effectively annihilate enemy submarines seeking to stealthily invade our waters and anyone attempting to threaten the security of our waters,” said Kim during his speech at the ceremony. “On the occasion of the launch ceremony, we promise that we will stand firm as a strong Navy that is respected by the people and as the most formidable force to our enemies.”

Text Fwd: Pressure Builds for US Shift on Okinawa

* Text fwd from Martha Duenas on May 14, 2011

http://www.dispatchjapan.com/blog/
Pressure Builds for US Shift on Okinawa

Pressure is growing on the Obama Administration to significantly alter plans for US Marine basing arrangements on Okinawa, but chances seem slim for a policy shift at least until Defense Secretary Robert Gates departs office late next month.


Several factors have converged to give the issue new urgency. Opposition remains strong on Okinawa to construction of a new facility in the Henoko Bay area, to replace the US Marine Air Station Futenma, which has been slated for closure since 1995. There is simply no momentum in Japan to move forward with the project, a situation made more stark by the Great Eastern Earthquake of March 11. Tokyo is intensely focused on reconstruction efforts; neither the financial nor political capital is available to push the Henoko project through.

Meanwhile, construction delays and cost overruns continue to bedevil a critical, related portion of the plan: the relocation of over 8,000 Marines and 9,000 family members from Okinawa to Guam.

And in Washington, an increasingly debt-weary Congress is asking whether it is worth the cost of building the new Henoko facility and the new Marine housing and related facilities on Guam, when cheaper force configurations more conducive to strategic needs in Asia might be found.

Diplomats are under stress to find some answers because of plans for a “2+2” meeting of defense and foreign ministers from the two countries, to be followed by a summit meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Naoto Kan. With leaders in Japan tied down with reconstruction efforts, no schedule has yet been set for either meeting, though staging both by the end of June has been discussed.


When those meetings do occur, it won’t be possible to simply ignore Futenma and related Okinawa issues. It is very possible Washington and Tokyo will agree to state the obvious: the 2014 deadline to complete the Okinawa and Guam force structure realignment will have to be pushed back. It is also possible the administration will accept a very low-key statement of continued support for the Henoko plan, rather than a high-profile emphasis, so as to avoid the issue returning as a major irritant at the top of the bilateral agenda.


There remain pockets of hope within the Obama administration that White House will force the Pentagon to accept a review of the whole base realignment plan for Okinawa prior to the Obama-Kan summit, but that seems very unlikely.


PENTAGON BOTTLENECK: Secretary Gates remains adamantly opposed, and there does not yet exist within the administration the necessary correlation of political forces willing to force Gates to accept a new approach. The Pentagon’s rigid stance is worsened by the lack of a replacement yet for General Chip Gregson, who retired recently as assistant secretary of defense for Asian affairs.


Senior Pentagon officials continue to say the administration is committed to the Henoko plan. But with the Pentagon leadership in transition, with CIA director Leon Panetta set to take over once Gates departs, the senior officials are exceedingly reluctant to veer from established policy, even if they want to. Officials at this level are in a bind: aware of the opposition in Japan, aware of the enormous investment the US Marines, and US diplomacy, have in the existing policy, but not politically strong enough to even push for, much less win, a policy change.


AWAITING LIPPERT: The White House has tapped Obama confidante Mark Lippert to replace Gregson, but Lippert has been bruised a bit as he works his way through the administration’s internal political gauntlet. Some Pentagon officials have quietly raised concerns that Lippert might have the kind of strained relations with senior military officers that could hinder his effectiveness.


Lippert, who has served in Iraq as a Navy intelligence officer, is “pro-military,” and is known to have functioned as a bit of a window into the US armed forces for then-Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama. But Lippert is not “pro-Pentagon.” Lippert is an international relations major from Stanford University who has served in the military with pride, but is committed to the military as a tool of policy, not out of institutional loyalty. His loyalty is to Obama.


For much of Obama’s first year in office, Lippert served as chief of staff for the National Security Council (NSC). He clashed with General Douglas Lute, a holdover from the Bush administration as “war czar” for Iraq and Afghanistan. He also had tense relations with his nominal boss, then-National Security Advisor General Jim Jones. Critics say Lippert flaunted his close relationship with Obama. But the close tie with Obama is real, and strong, and Obama personally would like to see Lippert overseeing Asia policy for the Pentagon. That is still likely to happen, though those harboring reservations could trip him up.

ASIA POLICY SHIFT: Evidence continues to grow that President Obama and his top aides would like to see a major US strategic shift toward greater emphasis on Asia, which should be particularly evident when the President hosts the APEC summit in Hawaii next November.

It’s notable that in a recent New Yorker analysis of Obama’s foreign policy, NSC director Tom Donilon, deputy director Ben Rhodes (Obama’s long-time chief foreign policy speechwriter), and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell were all quoted outlining just such a strategic “rebalancing” of American foreign policy. The Pentagon’s top policy chief, Michelle Flournoy, outlined a similar policy in a recent talk at Johns Hopkins.

The administration is looking to energize America’s role in East Asia by fomenting a system of open and transparent economic and security cooperation in the region, defining the terms of engagement to which China has to respond. The economic component, for now, is the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional trade initiative. And the security component involves building on America’s traditional bilateral security alliances in the region to include a network of overlapping bilateral, trilateral, and multilateral security relationships from India, through Vietnam and Indonesia, to Australia, and up to Korea and Japan.

Japan is already cultivating security ties with India and Vietnam, and deepening ties with South Korea, including discussion of formal military agreements involving information sharing and the exchange of military goods and services. China and South Korea both provided relief assistance to Japan after March 11, opening the door to expansion of the existing “Plus Three” dialogue between Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing.

Washington is supportive of these steps by Japan, as they indirectly extend the influence of the US-Japan alliance, while providing Tokyo a far greater degree of self-determination than possible through the exclusively bilateral US-Japan security alliance.

THE FUTENMA DILEMMA: The problem Washington faces is that continued focus on the Futenma dispute threatens to distract the US and Japan from this broader strategic goal, allowing a relatively minor base dispute to disrupt the whole alliance. Excess focus on Futenma also detracts from the absolutely critical role played by the naval facility at Yokosuka, where the US home ports the USS George Washington carrier group, and the role of the huge Kadena Air Force base on Okinawa. Together, Kadena and Yokosuka allow the US to project enormous power throughout East Asia, and are the principle means to deter North Korean aggression, and to balance China’s rising military role in the region.

Tokyo continues to insist Japan fully backs the plan for a new facility at Henoko, fearful that admitting the plan is dead will cause tension with Washington. And Washington continues to back the Henoko plan, because no political decision has been made to abandon the bureaucratic status quo.

With no decision yet made to abandon the Henoko project, none of the necessary talks about a new plan can proceed. That leaves the US-Japan alliance dangerously vulnerable to a crisis in the event of a helicopter crash at the Futenma facility, which is surrounded by civilian communities.

CONGRESSIONAL INTRIGUE: Into this bureaucratic quagmire have stepped three senior and very influential US senators: Carl Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee; John McCain, the Ranking Republican on Armed Services; and, Jim Webb, chairman of the Asia subcommittee of Senate Foreign Relations. On May 13, the three senators issued a joint statement calling for the Defense Department to “re-examine plans to restructure U.S. military forces in East Asia.” The senators said the US “strongly supports a continuous and vigorous US presence in the region,” but emphasized that they “believe the current DoD realignment plans are unrealistic, unworkable, and unaffordable.”

While the statement was “joint,” Senator Levin seemed to emphasize the need for restraint, and cost-effectiveness, in defense spending, especially in the construction of new overseas facilities. Senator McCain tended to emphasize strategy, saying: “The Asia-Pacific region’s growing role in the global distribution of power requires us to consistently view and update plans for the U.S. military’s role in the region.” And Webb forcefully challenged the Marine Corps claims that construction of a new facility in Henoko Bay to replace the Futenma air station is indispensable to the Marine presence in, and thus the stability of, East Asia.

Webb brings to the issue years of experience as a Naval Academy graduate, a highly-decorated Marine officer, a military planner, a former Secretary of the Navy, and now almost a full term as a US senator.

With Webb taking the lead, the three senators proposed a dramatic overhaul of the US Marine presence in East Asia. The key elements would include: a) “abandonment” of the Henoko project at Camp Schwab as a replacement for the Futenma facility; b) integration of the Marine Corps assets at Futenma into Kadena Air Force base, while dispersing some Air Force assets now at Kadena to other areas of the Pacific; c) home-basing in Hawaii or at Camp Pendleton the 8,000 Marines now scheduled to redeploy to Guam, and deploy those Marines on a rotating basis throughout the Pacific.

THE JONES ROLE: Most intriguing is that retired Marine Corps General Jim Jones, who was President Obama’s national security advisor until last October, played an important role in helping Webb craft these proposals. It will be difficult for the current Marine Corps leadership to argue to legendary Marine veterans Jones and Webb that their proposals would be harmful to the Marine Corps, and are otherwise operationally unrealistic.

Jones first publicly revealed his apparently evolving views on Okinawa in a meeting last week with a group of Japanese parliamentarians, including former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki (LDP) and Mikio Shimoji, policy research chief for the People’s New Party (PNP). According to Shiozaki and Shimoji, who met with reporters after their meeting with Jones and displayed their written notes, Jones said that he had always thought the best approach on Okinawa was to merge into the Kadena air base the Marine aircraft operations now based at Futenma. The Henoko project was not needed.

It remains unclear what, if anything, Jones did to try to change American policy toward Futenma while he was national security advisor.

THE SKEPTICAL VIEW: Some sources very close to the situation are skeptical that the Obama administration will shift Okinawa policy any time soon. According to this view, it makes sense that the administration would seek to kick the Futenma-Henoko issue down the road a while longer.

Pushing back the 2014 deadline would amount to acknowledging the obvious, and acknowledging the difficulties to proceed so soon after the March 11 natural disasters would also buy more time to find a permanent solution.

But Senator Webb is proposing a wholesale rethinking of American strategy and force structure in the Western Pacific, and only the Secretary of Defense and/or the President himself can make those kinds of decisions. Without that heavy push from the White House, according to this view, it would not be possible to shake the bureaucracy out of its policy rut.

From a strategy standpoint, opponents of a shift in Okinawa policy will argue that it would signal a US retreat from Asia, and reduce the American deterrence of China.

WORKING WITH CONGRESS: But the White House continues to send signals that it is serious about a shiftin strategy toward Asia. A restructured US force posture would not be seen as retreat, but rather an effective region-wide “hedge” in the event China tries to throw its growing weight around in the region. And sources close to Kurt Campbell say that he is convinced that continued US and Japanese wrangling over Futenma will threaten the whole “shift” strategy, because it can’t work without a vibrant US-Japan alliance.

Campbell is prepared to work with Webb and others in Congress on a new basing arrangement for the Marines in the Pacific. Once Panetta takes over as defense secretary, and assuming Lippert becomes his top deputy for Asia, the White House would have in place an administration-wide team to pursue an expanded role in the region.

Text Fwd: WikiLeaks: US Offered SDF Permanent Presence on Guam

* Text fwd from Martha Duenas on May 12, 2011

Japan Times
US Offered SDF Permanent Presence on Guam
Kyodo
May 12, 2011

Guam - Washington has proposed that the Self-Defense Forces maintain a permanent presence on Guam to reinforce Japan-U.S. disaster response training, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

According to the cable, then U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Wallace Gregson said at a bilateral meeting in Tokyo on Feb. 2 last year that the U.S. "seeks the expanded use of Guam" for joint training between the U.S. military and the SDF.

If the plan were to be realized, it would be the first instance of the SDF having a permanent presence overseas.

The cable released by the whistle-blowing website indicated that Japanese officials at the meeting, including Nobushige Takamizawa, director general of the Defense Ministry's Defense Policy Bureau, did not give a clear response to the proposal.

"This joint training, combined with Japan's increased experience with humanitarian assistance and disaster response, such as with the SDF deployment to (quake-hit) Haiti, will demonstrate to the region Japan's ability to react to humanitarian aid situations and improve its national image," the cable said.

"A permanent SDF presence on Guam to support the training would be appropriate," Gregson was quoted as saying.

Japan has sent SDF units abroad for long-term missions to support U.N. peacekeeping and reconstruction in Iraq.