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Tag Archives: Kim Jong Un

The Media’s Brazen Dishonesty About North Korean Nuclear Violations, by Gareth Porter

It’s annoying now, this establishment onslaught against negotiations with anybody or peace anywhere, but it’s hard to see how in the long run that’s anything more than a strategy that will backfire. You can’t come out and actually say you’re against negotiations and peace, so have to resort to lies and subterfuge, which the establishment and its media arm are employing with reckless abandon. From Gareth Porter at theamericanconservative.com:

Press irresponsibly relies on single-source report to accuse Kim of breaking an agreement he never made

President Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un shake hands in summit room, June 12, 2018. (Office of the President of the United States/Public Domain)

In late June and early July, NBC News, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal published stories that appeared at first glance to shed a lurid light on Donald Trump’s flirtation with Kim Jong-un. They contained satellite imagery showing that North Korea was making rapid upgrades to its nuclear weapons complex at Yongbyon and expanding its missile production program just as Trump and Kim were getting chummy at their Singapore summit.

In fact, those media outlets were selling journalistic snake oil. By misrepresenting the diplomatic context of the images they were hyping, the press launched a false narrative around the Trump-Kim summit and the negotiations therein.

The headline of the June 27 NBC News story revealed the network’s political agenda on the Trump-Kim negotiations. “If North Korea is denuclearizing,” it asked, “why is it expanding a nuclear research center?” The piece warned that North Korea “continues to make improvements to a major nuclear facility, raising questions about President Donald Trump’s claim that Kim Jong Un has agreed to disarm, independent experts tell NBC News.”

CNN’s coverage of the same story was even more sensationalist, declaring that there were “troubling signs” that North Korea was making “improvements” to its nuclear facilities, some of which it said had been carried out after the Trump-Kim summit. It pointed to a facility that had produced plutonium in the past and recently undergone an upgrade, despite Kim’s alleged promise to Trump to draw down his nuclear arsenal. CNN commentator Max Boot cleverly spelled out the supposed implication: “If you were about to demolish your house, would you be remodeling the kitchen?”

To continue reading: The Media’s Brazen Dishonesty About North Korean Nuclear Violations

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From Singapore to Helsinki: The Case for Peace, by Justin Raimondo

The same usual suspects have lined up against Trump and Kim Jong Un’s negotiations and the Helsinki summit. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

North Korea’s opacity is a boon to the War Party: they can seize on any glitch in the ongoing negotiations with the Trump administration as “proof” that Kim Jong-un “will never give up his nuclear weapons,” as former anti-interventionist Daniel Larison tweets 24 hours a day. The contention is that Pyongyang has a different definition of “denuclearization” than the rest of the world: it means US withdrawal from South Korea, we are told. Yet Kim has reportedly agreed to not dispute the presence of US troops in the south, and this is clearly a distortion of what’s really going on.

So what’s the real story?

We don’t know: all the “news” stories about this matter pretend to be omniscient, as if reporters were flies on the wall listening in to the negotiators. This is obviously not the case, and it is especially true in this case: North Korea is a closed society, and access is granted only rarely. This has led to the improbable impression that it is a monolith, that there are no factions or political struggles. This is a) impossible, and b) disproved by history. Indeed, the history of the ruling Korean Workers Party is one of continuous power struggles followed by ruthless purges: there are even reports of actual fighting between rival units of the military.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s most recent trip to Pyongyang is being depicted in the media as a rebuke and a major setback for the peace talks, the major point being that he did not meet with Kim and was treated rather shabbily. Yet we don’t know the reason for this, although the “experts” and the media pretend to know. Of course, I don’t know, either, and yet my own theory is a lot more credible, given the historical context, than the “we got suckered” dogma that the phony “experts” – Trump-haters all – are circulating.

Kim is not just looking for a peace treaty and the elimination of hostilities: as I’ve written previously, he has launched a radical new turn toward the West. Today he rules over a ramshackle country that cannot feed its own people: the “Juche” system of absolute autarchy isn’t working because it cannot work. This failure undermines Kim’s legitimacy, and he is determined to correct it not with piddling little reforms but by transforming his country in much the same way as Mikhail Gorbachev transformed the Soviet Union and put the country on a path to complete de-Sovietization. In short, Kim wants Pyongyang to resemble Singapore rather than Senegal.

To continue reading: From Singapore to Helsinki: The Case for Peace

President Trump: End The Korean War! by Eric Margolis

Did North Korea call Trump’s bluff. If so, what’s next? From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

“I have some pretty severe things we’re thinking about,” Trump said of North Korea at a news conference in Warsaw. “Doesn’t mean we’re going to do them.”

What President Trump really meant is that he has painted the US into a corner with all his threats of war and really does not know what to do next.   North Korea called his ‘or else’ bluff.  Good.  No action on North Korea is better than any conceivable military operation.

Last week the North Korea test fired a new, longer-ranged strategic missile, Hwasong-14, that US experts claimed was capable of hitting Alaska and perhaps even San Francisco.   North Korea is now believed to have mastered a lightweight nuclear warhead that can be carried by the Hwasong and shorter-ranged Taepodong and Nodong missiles.

North Korea can’t today seriously threaten North America with missile strikes, but it probably will by 2019.   Meanwhile, North Korean nuclear and conventionally-armed missiles (and this could include poison gas and biological warheads) today threaten the 80,000 plus US military personnel based in Japan, South Korea and Guam.  They would be immediate targets should the US and South Korea attack the north.

Add tens of millions of South Korean and Japanese civilians who are at risk of North Korean retaliation.   Half of South Korea’s capitol, Seoul, is within range of North Korean heavy artillery and rocket batteries dug into the so-called Demilitarized Zone.

It would take only three nuclear weapons to shatter Japan and just two to cripple South Korea, not to mention polluting the globe with radioactive dust and contaminating North Asia’s water sources.  Nuclear explosions would spread radioactive contamination over northern China and Pacific Russia.

Why are we even talking about nuclear war in North Asia?

Because North Korea has scraped and skimped for decades to build nuclear weapons for the sole reason of deterring a major US attack, including the use by the US of tactical nuclear weapons.  Pakistan ‘ate grass’ for decades to afford nuclear weapons to offset the threat from far more powerful India.  Israel uses the same argument to justify its large nuclear arsenal.

To continue reading: President Trump: End The Korean War!

“Officials” Attempt To Sabotage Further North Korea Talks, by Moon of Alabama

Certainly the last thing official Washington wants is anything constructive to come out of the Trump/Putin summit. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:

Several Congress people and some officials in the CIA and Trump administration try to throw a spanner into the negotiations with North Korea. They “leak” to NBC News about an intelligence assessment on North Korea’s nuclear facilities. The result is a sensationalized piece that includes no surprising facts.

North Korea has increased nuclear production at secret sites, say U.S. officials
“Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of missiles,” said one U.S. official.

One of the NBC authors is Ken Dilanian who is well known for his tight cooperation with the CIA.

Its opening:

U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months — and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration, U.S. officials told NBC News.

The intelligence assessment, which has not previously been reported, seems to counter the sentiments expressed by President Donald Trump, who tweeted after his historic June 12 summit with Kim that “there was no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”

Analysts at the CIA and other intelligence agencies don’t see it that way, according to more than a dozen American officials who are familiar with their assessments and spoke on the condition of anonymity. They see a regime positioning itself to extract every concession it can from the Trump administration — while clinging to nuclear weapons it believes are essential to survival.

The result of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore was a “freeze for freeze” deal. North Korea stopped its nuclear and missile testing while the U.S. stopped the large maneuvers it regularity held with South Korea’s army. Both sides agreed to further talks. North Korea made some aspirational statements about denuclearization which have the same time frame as similar aspirational statements made by the U.S. in Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). There is no time frame to reach a certain state. There is no commitment towards declaring nuclear sites nor is there a commitment to stop the production of nuclear stuff.

To continue reading: “Officials” Attempt To Sabotage Further North Korea Talks

Who ‘Won’ The Trump-Kim Summit? By Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis doesn’t think Kim Jong Un will give up his nuclear program or the massive artillery and rocket batteries just north of the DMZ that can reach Seoul. From Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

Last week’s Economist Magazine won the day with the best-ever headline about the Trump-Kim Jong-un summit: `Kim Jong Won!’

That said it all.   Just out of hospital, I was in no shape to compete with the great Economist or its very witty headline writers. But after watching a week of post Singapore summit between Great White Father Trump and delinquent Kim Jong-un I must totally agree with the Economist.

What was billed as a second-coming extravaganza between the two leaders – who have been trading insults of ‘little rocket man’ and ‘dotard’ (someone who is senile) turned out to be a very expensive photo op for both publicity seekers that made much noise but produced very little – at least so far.  It seemed as if two schoolyard bullies had been forced by the principal to shake hands.

Beyond gestures, North Korea’s leader certainly came out ahead.  His objective – and those of his family predecessors for the past 60 years – was to normalize relations with the US, start trade, and end US efforts to overthrow the Marxist government in Pyongyang.

Trump’s objectives, at least initially, were to crush North Korea and the threats it could pose to the United States and its regional allies Japan and South Korea. Trump sought to set up Kim as a bogeyman, and himself as America’s savior.  Trump knew perfectly well that he could not destroy all of North Korea’s deeply buried nuclear-armed missiles, and, in spite of his huffing and puffing, had no stomach for an invasion of North Korea that could cost the US an estimated 250,000 casualties.

So Trump’s solution was more show-biz.  A much ballyhooed flight to Singapore, backslapping a delighted Kim, and a love-fest between the two chunky leaders was sold to Americans as the dawn of peace.  America’s media was quick to retail the story and burnish Trump’s credentials among the seriously credulous.  No more hiding under your school desks or in dank basements.  As Trump grandly proclaimed, Americans no longer have to fear North Korea and can sleep peacefully at night!

To continue reading: Who ‘Won’ The Trump-Kim Summit?

The Unfreezing of Korea Begins, by Tom Luongo

Tom Luongo finds the positives in the Singapore summit. From Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Now that we’ve had a few days to let the war-mongers and Democrats (or do I repeat myself) fulminate over the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un it’s important to look at what actually happened and where we’re going next.

For a good analysis of what was actually accomplished, read this excellent post over at Moon of Alabama.

… the ‘freeze for freeze’ North Korea had offered [Obama previously in 2015 and 2016] and China promoted. The U.S. stops the large “strategic” maneuvers involving nuclear capable bombers flying from Guam, aircraft carriers and the like, while North Korea stops testing nukes and missiles. North Korea achieved its first aim. It can now lower its miliary posture and develop its economy.

The situation is still somewhat unstable as both freeze steps are reversible.

The ‘freeze for freeze’ is, as the Chinese Foreign Minister envisioned, a starting point for a long series of talks which may finally lead to a peace agreement and some nuclear disarmament. Now comes the “dual-track approach” of a peace agreement in exchange for some disarmament “in a synchronized and reciprocal manner”. This will be a “step-by-step” process which will take years or even decades.

Russia was promoting this same strategy publicly during the worst of the tensions between Trump and Kim last year. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke of the ‘double freeze’ repeatedly.

And it was always going to end this way because, as I’ve been saying all along, North Korea has a nuclear weapon and the U.S. will only come to the bargaining table when it has lost significant leverage.

And a nuclear deterrent is a major bit of leverage.

So, the “Freeze for Freeze” is now in effect.   The war games are a direct economic benefit to North Korea as MoA points out at length.  And Trump gets the win by spinning it as a cost-cutting measure.

The imperial sycophants and quislings are crying in their lattes over this and defense stocks have taken it on the chin.  All of this is to the good of mankind.

To continue reading: The Unfreezing of Korea Begins

Optimism, by Caitlin Johnstone

Pessimists are not the ones who move the world. From Caitlin Johnstone at steemit.com:

Off the top of my head I have a hard time thinking of anything sleazier than smearing peace talks in order to gain partisan political points, but that has indeed been the theme of the last few days when it comes to the Singapore summit. Liberal pundits everywhere have been busily circulating the narrative that Kim Jong-Un “played” Trump by getting him to temporarily halt military drills in exchange for suspended nuclear testing. It was the most fundamental beginning of peace negotiations and a slight deescalation in tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but the way they talk about it you’d think Kim had taken off from Singapore in Air Force One with the keys to Fort Knox and Melania on his lap.

I’m not sure how far up the military-industrial complex’s ass one’s head needs to be to think that one single step toward peace is a gigantic take-all-the-chips win for the impoverished North Korea, but many of Trump’s political enemies are taking it even further.

Senate Democrats have introduced a bill to make it more difficult for Trump to withdraw US troops from South Korea, because while you can always count on Capitol Hill to make it incredibly easy for a president to deploy military personnel around the globe, giving that same office the power to bring troops home is a completely different matter.

Surprising no one, MSNBC’s cartoon children’s program The Rachel Maddow Show took home the trophy for jaw-dropping, shark-jumping ridiculousness with an eighteen-minute Alex Jones impression claiming that the chief architect of the Korean negotiations was none other than (and if you can’t guess whose name I’m going to write once we get out of these parentheses I deeply envy your ignorance on this matter) Vladimir Putin.

To continue reading: Optimism

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