By David William Pear, a progressive columnist writing on economic, political and social issues. His articles have been published by OpEdNews, The Greanville Post, The Real News Network, Truth Out, Consortium News, Global Research, and many other publications. David is active in social issues relating to peace, race relations and religious freedom, homelessness and equal justice. David is a member of Veterans for Peace, Saint Pete for Peace, CodePink, and International Solidarity Movement. Originally published in the Greenville Post
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (i.e. North Korea) cannot trust the United States of America. The US does not keep its promises, honor its treaties and obey international laws. This is not opinion; it is the history of the US, beginning with the many broken promises and treaties with the Native Americans.
The US has broken promises and treaties in every corner of the globe. The US ignores the UN Charter, which is a treaty. It flouts international law, which is based on treaties. The US habitually starts asymmetrical wars, which is aggression and the worst of all war crimes. It destroys nations, leaving millions of people dead, dying, and in misery.
Libya was once a prosperous nation. Muammar Gaddafi was an eccentric dictator, but he had a love for Libya and its people. Under Gaddafi the people enjoyed a high standard of living, economic freedom, and gender equality. Education and medical care were free. Having a home and food was considered a human right. Libya’s oil wealth benefited the people.
Gaddafi was attacked and vilified by the US for decades. After the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001 Gaddafi cooperated with the US in the War on Terror. That is not to say that the War on Terror was a good thing, but Gaddafi was being US friendly. In further efforts to establish friendly relations with the US, Gaddafi denuclearized in 2003. President George W. Bush praised Libya for denuclearizing and suggested Libya as a model for North Korea. In 2011 President Obama wantonly destroyed Libya and conspired in Gaddafi’s assassination. Obama’s Secretary of State gloated afterwards “we came, we saw, he died…ha,ha,ha”.
Even if North Korea completely and forever denuclearizes Kim Jong-un can never be assured that one day the US won’t try to do the same thing to North Korea that it did to Libya. North Korea can never put its trust in the US, because the US has proved itself untrustworthy over and over again.
Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program since the early 1990’s. After the First Gulf War in 1991, Saddam Hussein cooperated with the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors right up until the US invasion in 2003. The weapons inspectors advised against the invasion and recommended that the inspections be continued. President George W. Bush invaded anyway based on known lies t hat Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapons program. After the invasion and destruction of Iraq, 1625 weapons inspectors spent the next 2 years searching Iraq and found no weapons of mass destruction.
The US continues to accuse Iran of having a nuclear weapons program even though the IAEA certifies that it doesn’t, and all 16 US intelligence agencies have said that Iran has not had an active nuclear weapons program since 2003. Facts do not matter to the US. It creates its own reality. Based on its own unreality, the US can invent any reason it wants to impose sanctions and invade asymmetrical countries.
Iraq denuclearized, Libya denuclearized and Iran denuclearized. The US invaded Iraq based on the unreality of the existence of nuclear weapons. Libya was invaded based on the invented unreality that the invasion was for human rights. The US has imposed sanctions on Venezuela because it does not consider it “democratic enough”. The US has imposed sanction against Russia because of its alleged invasion of Ukraine, after a US instigated putsch.
If North Korea completely denuclearizes and the US removes all economic sanctions, there is no way to guarantee that some future US president won’t accuse North Korea of secretly harboring a nuclear program. Or the US can invent a false flag event or use a “red-herring” to impose economic sanctions. A red-herring is an issue that distracts from the real issue.
Economic sanctions are financial weapons of mass destruction that kill hundreds of thousands of people. The US can always find a red-herring excuse for imposing sanctions, as it has with Venezuela. With Venezuela the real issue is not democracy. Venezuela has regular elections, while the USA backs many dictators and absolute monarchs all over the world. The real issue is that Venezuela nationalized its oil wealth to benefit its own people, costing Exxon and other US oil corporations billions of dollars in profits.
Human rights in North Korea is a red-herring, which the US propaganda mills keep grinding out. North Korean defectors are paid a reward up to $860,000 depending on their intelligence and propaganda value. Tales of North Korean human rights abuses are not based on facts, but are rumors based on rumors and propaganda. The US does not care about human rights. The only thing the US foreign policy cares about is its empire and taking care of US corporate interests around the world. Otherwise the US would do something about Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy and the most brutal regime in the world. The US is an accomplice to Saudi Arabia’s genocidal bombing and blockade of Yemen, which is starving millions of civilians. Saudi Arabia beheads or crucifies over 100 prisoners every year. One never hears a peep out of the US State Department about human rights in Saudi Arabia.
The US never squawks about human rights in Columbia, Egypt, Honduras, Israel, Rwanda, Turkey, Ukraine, or its own atrocious human rights record. The US has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners; yet it constantly harps about North Korea allegedly having a “gulag of 200,000 political prisoners”.
The US has made a political issue of the tragic death of Otto Warmbier, yet the Hamilton County, Ohio coroner report says it found no evidence that he was tortured while a prisoner in North Korea. The US is using his death for propaganda, and not because it cares about an individual life.
The US has killed millions of civilians in its illegal wars of aggression, bombed thousands of hospitals, schools and civilian infrastructures over the past 70 years. The US has black sites where it tortures victims that it has abducted and imprisoned secretly and illegally. The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Torture Report is evidence that the US has tortured to death prisoners in black sites and at Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
Between 1948 and 1987 South Korea was ruled by US puppet dictators, such as Syngman Rhee and Park Chung-Hee. They killed, tortured, and imprisoned without trial hundreds of thousands of South Koreans they considered dissidents. South Korea still enforces it repressive National Security Act, which is a violation of human rights. The law criminalizes political views it considers unpatriotic. Peace activists risk being thrown in prison. It is a crime in South Korea to associate with anyone even suspected of being a communist or sympathetic to North Korea. South Korea has thousands of political prisoners under the National Security Act.
North Korea’s missiles are another red herring issue. It is not against international law for a country to have missiles, even intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). Every country has the right to have missiles for self-defense, launch satellites and explore outer space. Actually it is not against any international law for a country who is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to have nuclear weapons. North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003, which it had every legal right to do.
North Korea has missiles and nuclear weapons because the US has been threatening it with invasion and nuclear weapons since 1953. North Korea is a poor country, and it is economically less costly for self-defense to have nuclear weapons and missiles than to maintaining a modern air force and keep up the conventional arms race with South Korea.
The threat of war in Korea has its roots in Washington and not in Pyongyang. It is the USA that is the aggressor. The US is a savagely violent and aggressive nation with the ambition of an empire that rules the world. It demands that other nations submit to its will. The US does not hesitate to use overwhelming violence against small nations to enforce its hegemony. It will punish them until they submit or until they are so utterly destroyed that they are an example to other countries that even think about disobeying US dictates. During the Korean War the US killed 3 million Koreans. The US killed another 5 millionSouth East Asians during the Vietnam War. Millions have been killed in the War on Terror. Civilians are the main victims.
The power of the US is so enormous that if it were not so tragic it would be laughable when the US claims that it is being threatened by North Korea. North Korea is a nation of 25 million peasants, with a Gross Domestic Product of approximately $20 billion, and a military budget of $6 billion. It is not a threat to the national security of the US, with its high-tech military and a budget that exceeds $1 trillion dollars per year.
A war with the U.S. would be madness. Kim Jong-un and his government are not insane, but the many US war mongers and war criminals such as John Bolton are. The US has a long history of war madness, most recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.
It is nuclear madness for the US to move NATO to Russia’s border. In the US instigated putsch in Ukraine, the Obama administration admittedthat it was willing to risk a nuclear war with Russia. The Pentagon insanely plans for limited nuclear wars and winnable nuclear wars. The US has an insane first strike policy, which means that other nuclear powered adversaries have to keep their nuclear arsenal on a hair-trigger alert. The risks of a nuclear accident are enormous. The US has pushed the doomsday clock to 2 minutes until Armageddon.
North Korea is not paranoid to fear the US and prepare its defenses accordingly. North Korea is well aware of the US’s use of total warfare against its adversaries. Total warfare means that nobody including the enemy’s civilian population is off limits, and that nothing, including civilian infrastructure is exempt from destruction. Total warfare also means that international laws, treaties and the norms of civilized warfare do not restrain the US. North Korea was a victim of US total warfare in the 1950’s. It wants to avoid a repeat of that war by having a credible deterrent for self-defense.
Most Americans are unaware of the war crimes that the US committed during the Korean War, but almost every Korean knows, in both the North and the South. On rare occasions a mainstream media outlet such as The Washington Post will have an article such as “The U.S. War Crime North Korea won’t Forget”. More often the alternative media is the best source of historical truth. Jay Jason has written an excellent article on US war crimes: “Negotiations? Third World Nations be Aware! Americans Napalmed and Bombed Out All 38 North Korean Cities!”.
The US bombed Korea with 635,000 tons of high explosive. The US perfected napalm during the Korean War and dropped 32,500 tons of it on Korea. When the US eventually ran out of targets it bombed North Korea’s irrigation dams, which flooded croplands causing mass starvation of civilians.
The US used germ warfare against North Korea and China. The U.S. dropped insect and animal vectors with black plague, smallpox, cholera, encephalitis, anthrax and other deadly diseases. Dave Chaddock wrote an excellently researched book on the subject: “This Must Be the Place: How the U.S. Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since”. David Swanson interviewed Dave Chaddock on Talk Nation Radio. Jeff Brown, author of “China Rising, Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destination” has created an online library for researchers of US biological warfare: Bioweapon Truth Commission Global Online Library.
The definitive work proving that the US used germ warfare in Korea is the 1999 book by Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman: “The United States and Biological Warfare, Secrets of the Early Cold War and Korea”. It was the captured pilots’ confessions of participating in germ warfare that led the CIA to come up with the ludicrous fiction of U.S. prisoners being brainwashed. Brainwashing is a myth, but it was popularized by US propaganda and the Hollywood film “The Manchurian Candidate” in order to cover up US germ warfare.
Some in the CIA must not have gotten the memorandum that brainwashing was a fiction. From 1953 to 1973 the CIA launched a secret human experiment program on mind control, named MK-Ultra. Some of the experimental participants volunteered, and others where experimented on without their permission. The CIA used everything from torture, electric shock treatment and drugs to try and reproduce the alleged brainwashing of Korean War prisoners. It never succeeded, and often the results were tragic. CIA scientist Frank Olson fell or was pushed from a New York hotel window after he unknowingly took LSD in a CIA experiment.
The mainstream propaganda media keeps screaming that North Korea cannot be trusted to keep its word. Yet it was the US that violated the 1953 Korean War armistice agreement by nuclearizing the Korean peninsula. In 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower equipped US forces in Korea with“dual capability (nuclear) weapons, such as the Honest John and the 280 mm. cannon“, in violation of section 13 (d). The US had at least 950 nuclear weapons in South Korea until President George H. W. Bush said that he withdrew them in 1991. The US still has plenty of nuclear weapons in the air and on the sea that it constantly uses to threaten North Korea.
Photo: Honest John Tactical Nuclear Missile, Wikipedia
During the Korean War General Douglas MacArthur wanted to use 30 nukes on North Korea and China. President Truman fired him, but not because MacArthur wanted to use nukes. Truman wanted a “responsible” general in charge of nuking North Korea and China. Truman preauthorized MacArthur’s replacement, General Matthew Ridgeway, to use nuclear bombs at his discretion. Ridgeway avoided World War Three by not using them, although Truman had sent him nuclear bombs to Okinawa for that purpose.
It was Truman that used atomic bombs on Japan for the sole reason of demonstrating US power to Joseph Stalin. Truman divided Korea in 1945 so that the US could establish a colony in the South. Truman intervened in the Korean Civil War beforethe United Nations authorized it, and he publicly threatened to use the atomic bomb in the Korean War. Truman startedthe Cold War with his 1947 Truman Doctrine, which would later nearly result in the destruction of the planet in a nuclear holocaust.
Fast forward to the 1990’s. The Soviet Union collapses and there is a pause in the Cold War. North Korea has lost Russia as its most important sources of foreign aid and one of its major markets for exports. Between 1994 and 1998 North Korea is hit with a series of draughts and floods. The combinations of crop failures and the loss of Russian aid created famines and starvation in North Korea. The US propaganda accuses North Korea of starving its people “in order to stay in power”, while the US is imposing economic sanctions that causes more starvation. US intelligence agencies predicted that North Korea would soon collapse because of the sanctions. But the US had an immediate concern with North Korea’s nuclear program.
The Clinton administration had a very tense confrontation with North Korea in 1994 over North Korea’s nuclear program, much like the “fire and fury” of 2017. The US accused North Korea of working on nuclear weapons. North Korea has to import almost all of its oil and claimed that it was developing nuclear power for electricity. North Korea has a legal right to nuclear reactors just as Japan, South Korea and every other country have. War was averted when North Korea and the Clinton administration negotiated an agreement called the Agreed Framework.
Under the Agreed Framework North Korea agreed not to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, open itself to extensive IAEA inspection and to freeze its nuclear program. In return the Clinton administration promised to compensate North Korea with the delivery of oil for electric generation and the construction of two light water nuclear reactors, which produce electricity but not weapons grade plutonium. The US also agreed to the suspension of military exercises, and the normalization of diplomatic relations. If the Agreed Framework sounds familiar, it should. It is now where we are heading after the Kim Jong-un and Trump summit in Singapore.
What went wrong with the Agreed Framework? First, Clinton came under heavy criticism by Republicans and hardliners. They accused him of appeasement and caving in to blackmail. Clinton responded that the US would never have to deliver on its promises, because North Korea was on the verge of an economic disintegration of its regime. The US dragged its feet on the delivery of oil to North Korea and delayed the construction of the promised light water reactors.
Second, the US Congress refused to fund the US obligations under the Agreed Framework. Congress also refused to lift the economic sanctions against North Korea. North Korea responded that it would withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and resume its nuclear program if the US did not fulfill its obligation. Clinton could not keep his promise even if he wanted to, just as Trump may not be able to keep any of his promises to North Korea.
The final breakdown of the Agreed Framework came in 2002 when President George W. Bush declared that North Korea was an Axis of Evil. He accused North Korea of secretly working on a nuclear bomb in violation of the Agreed Framework and stopped the delivery of oil and the construction of the two light water nuclear reactors. In response North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and began working on its nuclear program, which it had every right to do under international law.
The US has been threatening the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with nuclear weapons, conventional weapons and financial weapons of mass destruction since 1953. It is a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty for a nuclear power country to threaten a non-nuclear power country. North Korea had a legal right to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty because of US threats. North Korea developed nuclear weapons and ICBM’s for self-defense against the US and its colony South Korea. North Korea is not in violation of international law by having nuclear weapons and missiles.
The US has threatened North Korea with “fire and furry” if it does not denuclearize. To avoid an attack by the US, North Korea offered to negotiate its denuclearization in return for promises by the US of non-aggression.
North Korea can never trust promises of the US. What one president agrees to another can take away, just as Trump violated Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal and Bush reneged on the Agreed Framework of 1994. Trump also reversed Obama’s opening with Cuba.
The US has a long history of breaking treaties and violating international law. The US invaded Afghanistan with flimsy evidence that Afghanistan was harboring terrorists that were responsible for the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001.
Afghanistan had agreed to cooperate with the US if the US would provide it with evidence that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9-11. The US refused and invaded Afghanistan anyway.
The US invaded Iraq based on known lies that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, when he did not. The U.S. has committed military aggression against at least 23 countries in the past 30 years.
The US abused the UN authorized mission of the “right to protect” civilians in Libya. Libya had a high standard of development until the US and its coalition destroyed the country and caused the assassination of its leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The US then purloined Libya’s arsenal of weapons and shipped them by a CIA rat line to Syria to overthrow the legal government of Bashar al-Assad. The US covertly backed terrorists in Syria in 2011 and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians. The US now is openly invading Syria and flouts the UN Charter and international law.
The US has declared that Venezuela is a threat to the national security of the US. It is such a ridiculous charge that Obama could not keep a straight face when he made the declaration in 2015. Obama mumbled that his true motivation was that Venezuela was not “democratic enough”.
The real reason for US sanctions against Venezuela is that it is a socialist country that nationalized its oil for the benefit of the Venezuelan people. The US was caught red handed in a 2002 failed coup d’etat against the democratically elected Hugo Chavez. The coup failed because the people of Venezuela rose up against the coup plotters. The US is nowopenly calling for another military coup in Venezuela and is funding anti-democratic opposition groups.
General Wesley Clark has publicly stated that a high ranking officer in the Pentagon told him shortly after 9-11 that the US planned to “take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran”.
After 17 years the US has not changed its plans. Once a country gets on the US list to “take-out” it can never get off; the US is relentless even if it takes years or decades.
Countries that nationalize their natural resources or keep out US capital are on the list for regime change. Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Iran and North Korea are at the top of the list.
In his 2002 “Axis of Evil” speech George W. Bush put North Korea 8thon the list that General Wesley Clark spoke about. The US is just biding its time. First it plans to take-out Iran. Then it will try to “finish off” with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.