By CHRISTINE HONG
1. Victors’ Justice?
In February 2014, upon completing a several-month investigation into “human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [DPRK, or North Korea]” – an investigation initiated in the sixtieth anniversary year of the 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement that halted combat but did not end the war – the three-member Commission of Inquiry (COI) established by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) concluded that North Korea had committed crimes against humanity. Such “unspeakable atrocities,” in the framing account of Commission chair Michael Kirby, “reveal a totalitarian State [without] parallel in the contemporary world.” Analogies to the “dark abyss” of North Korea, the Australian jurist maintained, could be found only in the brutality of the Third Reich, South African apartheid, and the Khmer Rouge regime. Reproduced in news reports around the world, Kirby’s markedly ahistorical examples may have succeeded in inflaming global public opinion yet they failed to contextualize the issue of North Korean human rights in a way that might generate peaceful structural resolution. Indeed, insofar as the 372-page COI report singularly identified the North Korea government as the problem – both as “a remaining and shameful scourge that afflicts the world today,” in Kirby’s jingoistic phrase, and as the primary obstacle to peace in Korea – the Commission gave new life to the vision of regime change that has animated post-9/11 North Korean human rights campaigns. By recommending that North Korea and its high officials be brought up before the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), it continued the hostilities of the unresolved Korean War “by means purporting to be judicial.” The urgent question of a long-deferred peace relative to the Korean peninsula, which the Commission incoherently addressed, bedeviled its conclusions, rendering its findings partial, its recommendations in some instances uneasily one-sided, and its premise of impartiality suspect. Moreover, that the COI proceedings and report aligned the United Nations with the United States, South Korea, Japan, and Great Britain while singling out North Korea and, to a far lesser degree, China, for blame performed an unsettling restaging of the Korean War on the agonistic terrain of human rights, suggesting an encrypted “victor’s justice” with regard to an unending war that up to now has had no clear winners. Continue reading
Canadian navy and weapons of mass destruction
This Saturday, September 29, marks 15 years since Hurricane Juan ripped through Halifax in the middle of the night toppling trees, smashing boats and knocking out power for many days and even weeks in some neighbourhoods. Wind speeds of up to 178km an hour were recorded at McNabs Island in Halifax Harbour. Amunition shells from the 1940s and “other debris” were being washed ashore. | The late MITZI BOWMAN* with TONY SEED
BLUE ROCKS, NS (October 24, 2003) – THE Halifax Chronicle Herald reproduced on October 4, 2003 a capsule commentary from the Canadian Press that the Canadian Forces were cleaning up unexploded shells from the 1940s (WW2) “and other debris”.
Why isn’t the Chronicle Herald telling us what this “other debris” is or could be? Continue reading
August 10 marks the 57th anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam in 1961 without sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the Vietnam War, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring. Continue reading
The use of chemical weapons is a crime against humanity. The purpose of herbicides is to enable farmers to grow produce, but Israel is quietly using them to do just the opposite in the Gaza Strip — in the name of security | AMIRA HASS, Haaretz
Palestinian farmers harvest their wheat in a farmland in central Gaza | Reuters
(July 6) – Photographs of military armored vehicles uprooting and crushing trees and vegetation within the Gaza Strip are not foreign to Israelis, but what is less widely known is that since 2014 Palestinian fields are also being razed through the use of herbicides sprayed from the air — as first publicized by the website 972.
Damascus, SANA (May 10) – President Bashar al-Assad said that France, Britain, and the US, along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey are responsible for the war in Syria due to their support of the terrorism, describing the Western allegations about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Army as a farce and a very primitive play whose only goal is to attack the Syrian Army after the defeat of terrorists.
In an interview given to the Greek Kathimerini newspaper, President al-Assad said that Syria is fighting terrorists, who are the army of the Turkish, US, and Saudi regimes, stressing that any aggressor and any army, whether Turkish, French, or whoever, they are all enemies as long as they came to Syria illegally.
Following is the full text of the interview: Continue reading
By DOUGAL MACDONALD
Victory monument in Xuan Loc, Vietnam
Forty-three ago, the U.S. imperialists were resoundingly defeated by the heroic Vietnamese people, who had suffered greatly at the hands of the French colonialists and then the U.S. imperialists. Historic photos show the last of the U.S. invaders scrambling frantically to escape Viet Nam by helicopter, trying to save their worthless skins from the wrath of people’s war. Continue reading
Drum beats of war against Russia
Many commentators have torn to shreds the assertions of the British government that Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by a nerve agent called Novichok, and that the Russian government was directly involved | WORKERS’ WEEKLY* Continue reading