Tag Archives: Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

War by other means: The violence of North Korean human rights

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.”[1] 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.[2] 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.”[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Media, Journalism & Disinformation, United States

Bridge of Spies: Will the real James B. Donovan stand up?

‘Bridge of Spies’ by DreamWorks Studios.

Tom Hanks is today’s Everyman good guy movie star – an honest, trustworthy and stand-up white man just like Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck and, yes, even John Wayne. In the recent film Bridge of Spies, one of those “inspired by true events” obfuscations, Hanks plays a certain James B. Donovan. In the movie, Donovan is an insurance lawyer lured into defending Soviet spy Rudolf Abel back in the good old days of the Cold War in order to prove that this is the land of justice and due process. Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg, appears to be headed into Oscar territory. Continue reading

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Filed under History, United States

This day. Remember the Rosenbergs, murdered by the US ruling circles 63 years ago

USRosenbergsWeAreInnocentcr

On June 19, 1953, U.S. citizens Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed at Sing Sing Prison in New York on the false charge of conspiring to pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The U.S. and Soviet Union were nominally allies against Nazi Germany at the time so the Rosenbergs were actually sentenced to death for passing secrets to a U.S. ally, which makes no sense. But the U.S. was a Soviet ally in name only. It is now well-known that the U.S. ruling circles, which had conspired with Nazi Germany during the war, had decided to openly betray the anti-fascist alliance before the war ended and to rebuild Germany as an anti-communist bulwark against the Soviet Union. Continue reading

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Fortress America: 60th anniversary of NORAD – The demand to dismantle NORAD is more urgent than ever

This year marked the 60th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defence Agreement (NORAD) signed on May 12, 1958. It is the arrangement through which, along with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) founded on April 4, 1949, the Canadian armed forces are integrated into those of the U.S. and put under U.S. command. Continue reading

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Filed under Canada, United States

Hurricane Juan and Depleted Uranium

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

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Filed under Canada, Media, Journalism & Disinformation, No Harbour for War (Halifax)

This day. Anniversary of US criminal use of Agent Orange in Vietnam with the collusion of Canada

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

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Filed under Asia, Canada, History, United States

Injured Workers Day: On the 4th Annual Justice Bike Ride in Northern Ontario

Yesterday I read a really interesting and inspiring article in the Ontario Political Forum on the theme of standing up for injured workers in Northern Ontario. Four days of action, centring around the fourth annual Justice Bike Ride, a quite wonderful initiative. Continue reading

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Filed under Canada, Working Class