Daily Archives: December 20, 2011

Mario Piperni on Kim Jong

Kim Jong-Il’s Korea – A Human Rights Hell On Earth

December 19, 2011 By

Human Rights Watch on the death of North Korea’s tyrannical sociopath, Kim Jong-Il.

Kim Jong-Il exercised total control for 17 years over one of the world’s most closed and repressive governments. He was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of North Koreans through widespread preventable starvation, horrendous prisons and forced labor camps, and public executions. Kim family rule, starting with his father, Kim Il-Sung in 1948, is projected to continue with Kim Jong-Il’s son, Kim Jong-Un.

“Kim Jong-Il will be remembered as the brutal overseer of massive and systematic oppression that included a willingness to let his people starve,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “When he assumes leadership, Kim Jong-Un should break with the past and put the human rights of North Koreans first, not last.”

Kim Jong-Il’s legacy includes the fate of the tens of thousands who have died in the kwanliso camps for alleged enemies of the state, where today an estimated 200,000 North Koreans continue to work and die in conditions of near starvation and brutal abuse. In this system, the sins of one member of the family condemn an entire generation to imprisonment. A steady stream of former prisoners who escaped North Korea have testified to Human Rights Watch and other organizations how even children born inside such camps grow up to inherit their parents’ prisoner status.

Leaving the country without official permission is considered an act of treason, punishable by torture and imprisonment, yet tens of thousands have fled in the last two decades, and thousands more continue to risk their lives every year to escape.

“North Korea under Kim Jong-Il has been a human rights hell on earth,” said Roth.

Any hope that an Arab Spring-like uprising might take root in North Korea is dimmed by the fact that North Koreans are not connected to the world to the same degree as people in the Middle East.  There is no broadband network available in North Korea and access to satellite Internet is limited thereby making social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter unavailable to North Koreans. Furthermore, the government will certainly make more restrictive whatever limited channels of communication do presently exist in the country.

Sadly, the baton of oppressiveness will likely pass from monster to son without a whimper from the citizenry of North Korea

LUV News on Endless War


NPR’s Talk of the Nation propagandist Neal Conan had Andrew Exum from the Center for a New American Security, an extended arm of the National Security State, on yesterday’s program to hype:

“I think the important thing is because the United States military is held to, frankly, a higher standard than any other military, we have to be seen as being accountable. And that when atrocities take place, you have to see some sort of accountability take place in a transparent way that make sense for not just U.S. voters but, quite frankly, for the world at large.”

The program was titled “What lessons should Americans draw from the Iraq War?”  Peace movement people, who aren’t allowed into the American mass media system, were not invited to comment as guests.

“Held to a higher standard than any other military?”  Even the Commanders in Chief, Bush and Obama, have not been so much as investigated for all the lies, illegal wars (Iraq, Libya), countless massacres of innocents, torture and other horrors in violation of international law and the Constitution.

Conan found nothing wrong with what the guest he’d invited had to say, letting the comment stand, although he often interrupts callers and guests who stray from the National Security State line to “correct” them for comments that don’t strictly follow fealty toward the National Security State and corporate greed at any cost to the public interest.  All of the worst problems we have could be improved easily if we were allowed a single mass media public interest option, preferably a TV network required to be on cable systems, from which most Americans get their TV.  Democracy is impossible in the darkness, as ignorant people are controlled people.

When one reads American foreign policy in the mass media, it is always the same opinion, in the New York Times, Fox News, NPR — wherever one looks.  The American people are told who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.  They shift from time to time, Saddam Hussein was a “good guy” when he was murdering leftists in Iraq, and on the payroll.  He was even eventually promoted to president, after which he was given components for chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons systems (all of the forms of weapons of mass destruction) together with missile technology, with the approval of the Reagan Administration.

For reasons we’ve not been told, Saddam was moved to the “bad guy” list and the American people were bade by their mass media to hate him, after he met with US Ambassador April Glaspie, who signaled US non-interest in an attack by Saddam on Kuwait to set him up for a US invasion by Daddy Bush.  All US mass media participated in spreading lies about Saddam’s soldiers murdering babies in hospital nurseries to get public support behind the invasion, just as they spread the weapons of mass destruction lies when Bush’s idiot son invaded more than a decade later.

Saddam was executed before he could testify in court, many think because he would have revealed his complicity in working for the Empire all those years, as the American people were being told by their mass media that he was the devil.  This changing image of Saddam has been duplicated many times in modern history with other dictators — all mass media agreeing in unison to cover up for them when they are on the payroll, and paint them as evil when they either disobey or after they get ousted by their own populations, as happened with Marcos in the Philippines, Samoza in Nicaragua, and more recently Mubarak in Egypt (after it became obvious he was a goner).

On the current bad guys list is Pakistan, again for reasons unexplained.  They have certainly helped both the Bush and Obama regimes with the Empire’s phony “war on terrorism,” allowing supply lines to run through their nation, allowing drone bombing of their Western Frontier population (mostly women and children have died in this) and set up checkpoints to watch for Taliban crossing the border to or from Afghanistan.  Yet corporate media, as always in unison, often stick their microphones in front of people who make it sound as though Pakistan is our enemy.

For some reason late in November the USA decided to attack two Pakistani outposts dedicated to watching Taliban movements in coordination with NATO.  NATO had been advised of their positions and knew their coordinates.  It seems unlikely it could have accidentally attacked these Pakistani soldiers.  Shaukat Qadir, previously a Pakistani brigadier, whose reporting has been outstanding enough that we keep going to him for information beyond the crap we get from our mass media, asks the questions about this important event that the cowardly sycophants of the US mass media will not, in the following piece.

But there is another twist in this from an al Jazeera column today.  Congress is pushing the president to send more weapons to Georgia, knowing this will infuriate Russia, which a short few years ago went in to South Ossetia to defend those people against what appeared to be an act of genocide by the Georgian army (although US corporate media spun it as an attack by evil Russia, in pushing as they are for a renewed Cold War on behalf of the weapons sales of their owners, advertisers and board members).

Russia is currently allowing NATO forces to move supplies to Afghanistan over Russian territory as the only major land route left with Pakistan having cut off supply lines because of the US belligerent acts previously mentioned.  It is believed the Russians will shut down the Northern supply line if the US sends weapons to Georgia.  All of this is unsettling,  Another war could break out from all this saber rattling, and the US mass media is either asleep or in bed with the National Security State in hushing all of this.

What if the Empire’s desperate ruling Forces of Greed believe that capitalism is crashing and burning, and a more massive war could distract the masses while giving a boost to the most pathetic economy we’ve had since the Great Depression (for all but the rich, who are no longer connected to the working class because of globalization).  If our forces in Afghanistan have their supplies cut off, there may be cries for war with either Pakistan or Russia, as corporate media talking heads shout “Our troops are helpless, running out of ammunition,” and as brutal as the psychopaths who run the Empire are, they might be willing to allow American troops to die to have an excuse to go to a bigger war to save corporate capitalism from the trash heap it appears to be headed for.  —Jack

LUV News: A Call to Arms


French news reports this morning that 1.6 American children were homeless last year, 42% under the age of six, because of the priorities of a corrupt government in the richest nation on earth. A third of these children live with single moms who have a chronic illness, in the land of the free, where people go without health care and die in order to keep medical needs hostage to the profits of the 1%.

A recent study shows that income inequality in the US is now greater than in Ancient Rome’s economy based on slavery, and growing as the rich vastly increase their incomes, because of a corrupt government that works for transnational corporations rather than the American people. This corruption, including the privatization of government combined with globalization, leaves homelessness and hunger growing.

Corporate media distract the masses by saying they may vote for change, and then do not allow media coverage to public interest candidates, leaving only the corporate Democrat and corporate Republican, both funded by the same banksters, polluters, and defense cheats with no other purpose than to sell out the public interest.

The Occupy Movement is besieged with homeless people, hungry and desperate for help. This is a problem all over the country, we gather from correspondence with protesters in many cities, draining their resources. Local governments claim they have no money to help the homeless, even as they spend millions of dollars attacking the Occupy protesters. This is a serious problem for the movement, and we encourage you to support your local Occupy group.

In addition, we urge you to help Freedom Plaza, the Occupy group we pledged to support last May before we broke the story of the Occupy Movement on 5 June, as they are taking on homeless and other problems beyond their purpose, which is to bring down corrupt government. They put out a request for financial assistance to us this morning, and you may donate to them here.

Freedom Plaza will be the center of the Democracy Movement this spring, and is already planning to greatly expand the Democracy Movement then, after enduring the winter, which they will, thanks to you. They continue actions daily to disrupt business as usual in our nation’s capitol in line with Jefferson’s call for rebellion “every now and then.”

The Plum Line

Greg Sargent: Why Republicans are better at negotiating than Dems

via The Plum Line by Greg Sargent on 12/15/11

The papers are full of speculation to the effect that Dems are prepared to drop their push for the millionaire surtax if Republicans drop their insistence on the Keystone XL pipeline. Dems have been leaking their willingness to drop the surtax for days now.

But check out how John Boehner responded today when asked whether the Dem willingness to drop the surtax would improve the prospects of a deal:

“They never had the votes for their so-called millionaires’ surtax,” Boehner said at his weekly briefing with reporters. “They didn’t even have the votes in 2009 and 2010, when they controlled everything. So, I appreciate the fact that they gave up on their millionaires’ surtax, but they didn’t give anything up because they never had it.”

This is an important quote, and we should store it for future reference. Republicans are saying that if Dems drop their demand for the millionaire surtax, it won’t even count as giving something up. Dems never had a chance at getting their surtax, because Republicans have refused to support it. And so, even though Dems have been demanding it in the current discussions, dropping that demand won’t count as a concession on Dems’ part.

Dems view these talks as follows: We give something up, and you give something up in return. Reupblicans view them as: Your concessions don’t even count as concessions, because we were never going to agree to your demands in the first place, so you’ll have to come up with some real concessions, i.e., you’ll have to give up more. This pretty clearly illustrates the folly of signaling a willingness to compromise in advance, doesn’t it?