159개의 게시물을 찾았습니다.
MUST READ!! Yesterday's Guardian (UK) had following really interesting report about the current REALITY in Afghanistan, occupied by US/NATO forces since almost seven years:
Face to face with the Taliban
Exclusive report from a Taliban veteran's compound in Afghanistan and on the battlefield
Qomendan Hemmet, the Taliban commander in Salar district, between his two
lieutenants in Wardak, Afghanistan.
Qomendan Hemmet sat cross-legged under a window of the mud-walled room. His shoulder, sunk in an old military jacket, rested against the wall and a radio antenna stuck out of his pocket. Next to him sat his deputy, wrapped in a big blanket, silent and sleepy. Around the room sat his men, their faces contorted by years of fighting and poverty, dressed in shalwar kameez and magazine pouches, eyes dark as the kohl lining them. Radios crackled, phones rang non-stop, and more fighters came, drank tea and left with orders.
"Salar is the new Falluja," declared Qomendan Hemmet emphatically. "The Americans and the Afghan army control the highway, and five metres on each side. The rest is our territory."
Salar district in Wardak province is 80km (50 miles) south of Kabul. The Kandahar-Kabul road that passes through this district is a major supply line for US and Nato troops. The road is reminiscent of the road from Baghdad to Falluja: littered with IED [improvised explosive devices) holes and the carcasses of burnt-out Nato supply trucks and containers.
The frequency of Taliban attacks is higher this year than at any time since 2001. Four British marines were killed last week, three of them when a 13-year-old boy blew himself up in Helmand province. Meanwhile, the area controlled by the Afghan government is shrinking to the fortified islands of the cities.
A day earlier, I stood with a dozen Afghans, watching the Qomendan and his men in action. A man straining his eyes to watch had declared in an authoritative voice "janghi" ("war") and the sky had echoed with thuds and explosions.
A couple of pick-up trucks packed with rocket launchers and Afghan militiamen, hired to provide security to the supply convoys, sped away from the battle leaving a cloud of dust. Down the road three American armoured trucks filled the air with the crackle of heavy machine guns.
It was the end of an hour-long battle and as the sun sank deep into the horizon, the shooting became more intermittent. A low-flying, dark grey F-16 shot past, leaving behind two columns of smoke in the horizon. The Americans moved towards a village on the side of the road, the Afghan men jumped into their buses and taxis, and the traffic moved on over a carpet of bullet casings.
The road to Hemmet's compound is a single dirt track passing between high mud walls and orchards. A young Taliban scout led us to the compound, his Kalashnikov hidden under a blanket. In the distance the fortification of an Afghan army and police post was visible.
"Yesterday I had only 18 fighters," the Qomendan said, his unwavering gaze fixed on a point somewhere in the middle of the low-ceilinged room. "You saw how many mercenaries and Americans were there. With the blessing of Allah, the fighting is changing. When I started in this area, three years ago, I had six fighters, one RPG and two machine guns like these." He pointed at the BKC machine guns that lay idly on the door. "Now I have more than 500 fighters, 30 machine guns and hundreds of RPGs.
"The Americans have installed hundreds of Afghan policemen, they patrol the street all the time, but they can't control it. Last week they came by helicopters, searching the area because they can't drive their vehicles here. They never come with tanks, the whole area is mined."
Sporting a long thick moustache and a neat, well groomed beard, Qomendan Hemmet is a Taliban veteran. He started fighting when he was 17 in the Shomali plains north of Kabul against the Northern Alliance forces in the mid-90s. He went into hiding after the capital fell, and became the commander of the Salar district after the death of the previous commander three years ago.
"When we fought the Northern Alliance we fought face to face. This war is more difficult, the enemy controls the skies and they have lots of weapons. Sometimes I am scared, every human being gets scared. But we yearn for fighting the kafirs [unbelievers]. It's a joyful thing."
Hemmet's lieutenants sat around the room. One of them spoke perfect Arabic with a thick Saudi accent that he had acquired from "fighting alongside the Arab brothers". His Kalashnikov, decorated with green and red tape, was laid on the floor between us. "My brother," he said, "those police and army, they are like the blind, they don't see anything."
Hemmet and other Taliban commanders I met explained the Taliban's sophisticated network of military and civilian leadership. Each province has its own Taliban governor, military leader and shura [consultation] council. Below them are district commanders like Hemmet, who in turn divides his force into smaller units. Many say the civilian apparatus of the Taliban-run districts operates a more effective justice system than the government's, which is corrupt and inefficient. Nominally, all the councils look to Mullah Omar for guidance. In reality each province and district has its own dynamics.
Mullah Muhamadi, one of Hemmet's men, arrived later wearing a long leather jacket and a turban bigger than all the others. "This is not just a guerrilla war, and it's not an organised war with fronts," he said. "It's both." He went on to explain the importance the Taliban attached to creating a strong administration in the areas it held: "When we control a province we need to provide service to the people. We want to show the people that we can rule, and that we are ready for the day when we take over Kabul, that we have learned from our mistakes."
Muhamadi said his group aimed to carry out around three attacks a week, but they did not always have enough ammunition. "We get intelligence that Americans or government people are coming and we hit them. Each area has a different strategy, here it's attacking the main road, but everywhere in this province the countryside is in our control."
He opened his dusty black bag and pulled out a laptop. The other fighters gathered around the screen, and watched a short film shot by Muhamadi of one of the attacks. It showed a few fighters, their faces concealed. The mullah pointed at one of them and announced that this was Qomendan. They stood under foliage on the side of the road. As a green police pick-up truck passed, the men opened fire.
Also on the computer they showed pictures of an American soldier. In one he was sitting in a makeshift wooden office in front of a computer screen, two other soldiers behind him all smiling into the camera. In another he was outside with an Afghan interpreter. "We killed him and captured his computer," the mullah told me. "He had served in Iraq."
The new Taliban
The city of Ghazni lies 145km (90 miles) south of Kabul down the same highway. Its only connection to the modern world is a few electricity poles, the police pick-up trucks, and the wreckage of an old Russian tank perched on the edge of the ruins of the 13th-century citadel.
In a hotel overlooking the bazaar square I met a young Taliban fighter. In his early 20s and with three years of fighting experience, he is part of the new generation of the Taliban who joined the movement years after they were toppled by the Americans, a symbol of its resurgence.
Qari Amanullah stretched his legs on one of the beds in the shabby room and rested his torso on his elbow. The smell of grilled meat and the sound of music wafted from the window. Amanullah explained that he came from a family who ran a small farm. When the Taliban were still in power he joined a local madrasa where he spent 12 years studying the Qur'an and religion. After he had memorised the Qur'an and acquired the title qari ("reader'), he abandoned his studies and joined the fighting.
"I joined the fight because I am resisting the kafir occupation," he said. "There are old Taliban, but most of the fighters in my unit are new. We joined after the fall of the Taliban, but the leadership is the same."
Amanullah explained how his village shared the burden of fighting the Americans and the government seen as its proxies. Each family devotes one of its sons to the jihad, while the rest of the men work in the field, "like in the madrasa, one son goes to study religion and the others work, it's the same with jihad: one son fights and the others work".
He dismissed the claim made by the government and US that the Taliban fights for money. "These are all lies. In the last few weeks we captured lots of trucks and government cars – if we were fighting for money why do we burn them?"
A few hours later there was a knock on the door and two men came in. One was wearing a red motorcycle helmet and wrapped in a blue sheet. He removed his helmet and revealed long hair, and a smooth beard that went down to his chest. Apart from his shalwar kameez, or gown, he could have been a 1960s hippie. He explained that he was the commander of a small unit, with around 100 men.
Mawlawi Abdul Halim, a mosque leader, who divides his time between fighting and his job as a preacher, said the insurgency was chaotic at first, with each group fighting on its own. It wasn't until 2005 that the fighters became well organised. "I was in a madrasa when the Taliban were in government and I only joined them after the American occupation. Lots of Talibs in madrasa have joined the fight but that doesn't mean we stopped learning."
Like Qomendan, Mawlawi Abdul Halim talked about the Taliban strategy of controlling the countryside, establishing an alternative administration and squeezing the cities by eroding the government control. "In the areas where there are government or international forces, they only control their posts and 1km around, and we control the rest. If we cut off the countryside then the cities will come under our control — we know that from our experience with the Soviets."
Lunch was spread out on a long plastic sheet. The waiter threw a few flat loaves of bread at us, and brought dishes of qabuli, rice and mutton, and few plates of stew. "The main two problems we deal with in the Taliban courts are bandits and land disputes," Abdul Halim went on. "When we solve these problems we win the hearts of the people. We went from the jihad to the government and now we are in the jihad again. We have learned from the mistakes we committed. Lots of our leaders have experience in the jihad and in the government. The leaders are the same leaders but the fighters are new and they don't want to be like those who ruled and committed mistakes."
He said the failure of a recent voter registration drive in Ghazni showed how effectively the Taliban was cutting off the countryside. "We stood at road intersections and prevented people from registering for the coming elections — even if the planes were flying above our heads that didn't prevent us from manning checkpoints. And some of our men followed the people to the market to make sure they wouldn't register. Now registration has almost stopped in our province." But why were they determined to prevent people from voting? "It's better for them. Most of the people know that this new government won't help them but those who don't know we prevent them."
As the mawlawi talked, Amanullah sat by the window pushing the curtain aside a little and peering out into the square. At the far side of the square sat two police cars.
The urban Taliban
Not all of the Taliban have beards. Inside Kabul University Taliban support is mushrooming. In a small filthy hotel in Kabul, I met a group of Taliban-supporting students. The room had two mattresses on the floor, a TV set on a cardboard box and a strong stench from the lavatories next door. From the window came the din of traffic police sirens and the hum of a generator. Around a breakfast spread of cheese, green tea and bread, the young men told their stories.
Luqman's hair is parted in the middle pulled down on his forehead. He is clean shaven, with a pencil-thin moustache. His beige sharwal qameez is pressed and his chocolate jacket is immaculately clean, almost impossible in the dust and fumes of Kabul. He carried a black computer bag and when started to speak it felt he was delivering a speech on the radio. I had to remind him to lower his voice – after all, he was supposed to be an undercover insurgent. Luqman is a self-declared propagandist for the Taliban in charge of updating the movement's website. He spoke good Arabic and better English. He is member of the cultural shura of the movement.
"We monitor the situation and when we see any issue that can provide propaganda to the Taliban, we raise it and create awareness amongst the people: issues like the occupation and how they terrorise the people, the corruption of the government, anything that can help the cause of the Taliban." He said the website was updated hourly. "We have all the tools we need. Most of us speak English, Arabic, Pashtu and Dari."
He had not been a Taliban supporter when they were in power "but when the occupation came and we saw the atrocities we joined the Taliban. Lots of my university friends are with the Taliban not because they are Taliban but because they are against this government and the occupation. No one expected the Taliban to be back, but when the normal people saw the corruption of the government, when they saw that the warlords are back, people started supporting the resistance."
The Threki Taliban [the current Taliban movement] was not the same as the Taliban which had ruled, he said. And its grip on the country is tightening, he insisted: "The Taliban are squeezing the circle on Kabul, and the signs of the collapse of the government are similar to signs of the collapse of all governments that face an insurrection: they only control the cities, the streets are fed up with them and we have our intelligence even in the streets."
Another of the young men, Abdul Rhaman, explained that he studied in the morning at Kabul University and attended a private school, at night. In basic English he described how he worked as a recruiter for the Taliban among fellow students.
"I convince friends inside and outside the university that the Taliban are coming. We use all the facilities we have, our words and our pens to recruit for the movement, in the university, the bazaar and everywhere in the city."
The irony is that in working the cities to recruit for the Taliban, Abdul Rhaman is using the freedom of speech that is provided by the Afghan government. "There is freedom of speech now in Afghanistan and we are not scared of the government. We work cautiously, we talk to the people as if we are talking about political and daily issues. The government is too weak to follow us or monitor us."
A couple of weeks ago I called Mullah Muhamadi again. I wanted to go down and meet Qomendan Hemmet again. "No," he replied in Arabic over the phone. "The weather is too cold now. We are leaving to a neighbouring country. See you next year."
More from Guardian (12.16/15):
☞ 'I was still holding my grandson's hand - the rest was gone'
☞ Photo Gallery
Last week (10.14) Asia Times (HK) published following remarkable article about the recently reached "agreement/compromise" between the U.S. and N.K. and some important questions related to the issue of a "Nuclear-free Korean Peninsula":
Pyongyang's call for 'fair's fair' ignored
North Korea officially no longer sponsors terrorism, according to the United States government. Pyongyang is elated, and the US is in self-help psychology sessions, trying to believe it was the best possible deal to get the North to fully disarm its nuclear weapons program.
There is in this development an important detail that deserves attention. During the three days of negotiations in North Korea's capital between the chief US nuclear envoy, Christopher Hill, and Pyongyang's masters of high-stakes brinkmanship, Washington tried to include a couple of additional sites for nuclear inspection besides Yongbyon, where the North on Tuesday insisted it would allow UN monitors to assure that the plant that produced plutonium for its test bomb remained disabled.
The US demand over inspection of additional sites was not part of the previous agreement and Pyongyang made a counter-proposal. It wanted to have a full-scale nuclear inspection for the entire Korean Peninsula, which, of course, includes South Korea. That was a hard-hitting, in-your-face punch line by North Korea.
South Korea officially says it is a "nuclear-free" state. On September 18, 2004, then South Korean unification minister Chung Dong-young said, "The [South Korean] government so far has not had any nuclear programs for military purposes. It has not pursued one either. This policy won't change." Recently, Hill also said South Korea regularly received all the required inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency and abided by verification agreements and safety measures.
But North Korea has long accused that the US military bases in the South possessed nuclear weapons and has called for nuclear verification on the US military facilities in South Korea. The official US policy stance in the region is also to create a "nuclear-free Korean Peninsula" that covers both Koreas. Then, why not take Pyongyang's proposal and come closer to realizing a "nuclear-free Korea"?
The problem is that it is widely believed in South Korea that the US military bases have nuclear weapons. South Korea's left-leaning media outlets and civic groups have openly challenged the government on this matter in their periodical demand for the withdrawal of US troops from the country.
Pyongyang going nuclear in 2006 poses a threat to neighboring countries and the international community, but the discourse surrounding its program neglects to include some key details because they are inconvenient.
North Korea embarked on the path of developing nuclear weapons in the face of a perceived threat from the United States. That is, Pyongyang's nuclear ambition is defensive in nature. This may be a hard sell to many, but this is the message delivered by Selig Harrison, a former Washington Post reporter and expert on the Korean Peninsula's security affairs.
Harrison in his book Korean Endgame wrote, "North Korea's perception of its security environment is not irrational in the context of its embattled national history since 1945." He added that Pyongyang's desire to develop nuclear weapons was "a direct response to nuclear saber-rattling [by the US] during the Korean War [in the early 1950s] and the subsequent deployment of US tactical nuclear weapons in the South for more than three decades."
Harrison, quoting declassified documents from the Korean War, said in "Operation Hudson Harbor", B-29 bombers dropped dummy atomic bombs on Pyongyang during "simulated practice runs" in late 1951. In the subsequent several pages, Harrison elaborates on this observation.
Professor Bruce Cumings, an authority on Korean affairs, nods to this view and said in his book, North Korea: Another Country, that the North's drive for nuclear capability is "understandable".
After the Korean War, the US deployed nuclear weapons to South Korea and, strangely, did not shy away from acknowledging it. That departed from the usual practice of the Pentagon that maintained a "neither confirm nor deny" policy, refusing to say where US nuclear weapons were deployed. South Korea was an exception. In 1975, US secretary of defense James Schlesinger openly confirmed their presence in South Korea, in an apparently calculated move to intimidate North Korea and dissuade it from attacking the South.
The period when nuclear weapons were present in South Korea was from 1958 to 1991. President George H W Bush removed tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea during his term in office between 1989-1993.
However, "Despite the removal of tactical nuclear weapons from the South, the United States has not ruled out their reintroduction," Harrison said, quoting the document at that time. That raises the possibility that nuclear weapons might have been redeployed to South Korea after 1991.
As mentioned earlier, South Korea and the US say no. Pyongyang doesn't trust them and its demand for simultaneous nuclear inspection for both Koreas has been a consistent one since 1994, when the first nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula erupted.
In June 2005, North Korea's Workers' Party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, for example, said, "If denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula to be realized, America must withdraw the nuclear weapons it deployed in South Korea. The withdrawal of the nuclear weapons must be verified."
The article also said, "In the past, the US had deployed a number of nuclear weapons and didn't report it to anyone," adding a shocking claim that "even the South Korean government was kept in the dark".
"Even after the US announced during the father Bush administration that it no longer had nuclear weapons in South Korea, there were still nuclear weapons in South Korea. As long as South Korea has nuclear weapons, no matter how many times the US said it would not attack us with nuclear bombs, it ultimately comes as a lip service," the newspaper's commentary said, emphasizing, "Without verification of nuclear weapons [in South Korea], the withdrawal of American nuclear weapons argument is meaningless."
Later, North Korea's deputy United Nations ambassador, Han Seung-ryul, in a July 4 speech delivered at the British think-tank Chatham House in 2007, said, "The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is only possible through simultaneous denuclearization steps in North Korea and the US military bases in South Korea." Han's statement was seen as an expression of intent that North Korea will definitely take issue with the American forces stationed in South Korea in its ultimate denuclearization steps.
Against such a background, Choi Han-wook, a researcher with the left-leaning Korea Civil Rights Institute, argued, "Essentially, the problem is not North Korean nuclear weapons, but American nuclear weapons ... North Korea embarked on the path of nuclear development because of its perceived threat from the US."
Choi continued, "Many people think the nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsula is attributable to North Korea. Namely, the crisis happened because North Korea developed nuclear weapons. These people, therefore, see North Korea's nuclear development as equal to the nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsula. Even some experts think the history of the North Korean nuclear crisis as something that happened since the 1990s. That's putting the horse before the cart."
Both Seoul and Washington have brushed aside North Korea's proposal for simultaneous inspection in both the Koreas as a tactic to raise its stake in the nuclear negotiations. This analysis is rudimentary. What they fail to see or acknowledge is that it's not just a negotiation tactic, but a fundamental stance by North Korea.
Therefore, in the ultimate deal-making in which North Korea is poised to make the final and complete renouncement of its nuclear programs (when the world pays the right price and the US offers a legally binding security guarantee), it is very likely that it will demand denuclearization in South Korea as well. And that points to the need for South Korea and the US to make a clear statement that can be presented to North Korea in trustworthy fashion.
John Tillery, the American commander of all forces in South Korea for three years from 1996, said US forces in South Korea didn't have nuclear arms and he didn't understand why North Korea kept making that claim. "It is the consistent policy of the United States and the government of the Republic of Korea to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. I don't understand why North Korea raises the [issue of] nuclear inspection on the American military bases in South Korea."
A well-placed source told this writer that South Korea indeed has nuclear weapons in the US military base nearby Seoul. "They bring the nuclear arsenals in and out of the country on a regular basis," he said, adding, "By doing so, South Korea technically doesn't have nuclear weapons."
True or not, his statement confirms what many people have long privately believed. But it importantly points out that sooner or later, this issue, if left unattended, will be a drag on the Korean nuclear talks.
But while the S.K. peace/anti-war movement is likely already enjoying its "winter-sleep", a lonely protester disrupted the "party" for a (unfortunatelly) very, very short time:
Activist Detained for Streaking at Military Parade (K. Times, 10.01)
Social activist Kang We-suck (??..강의석) was detained by police Wednesday for running naked into the 60th Armed Forces Day anniversary parade. Kang ran into the middle of the procession in Samseong-dong, one of the richest areas in Korea, holding a gun-shaped cookie, which he blew on before eating it.
His demonstration halted the parade for about a minute before he was taken away to Suseo Police Station.
In an interview with The Korea Times a day earlier, Kang said his acts were designed to promote pacifism and highlight the necessity of abolishing the military draft.
"Being nude is a symbol of peace and disarmament. It represents being actively involved in a nonviolent movement for peace. The distribution of gun-shaped cookies implies that a world without arms is sweet and peace is delicious,'' he said.
"It would only cost $1.5 trillion to solve worldwide poverty and cure all diseases. We are spending over $1.7 trillion in Korea for our military budget. It caused the killing of innocent citizens in Geochang, Gwangju, and Jeju, and the overthrow of the democratic government of Korea at the same time. Recent military actions include depriving citizens of their homes and taking violent action against candlelit rallies,'' he said.
Kang said his nude performance was a way of showing that there was no compromise in his beliefs. "First I thought recruiting soldiers could be okay. But later I thought we do not need a military system at all,'' he said...
(source of the pics: Yonhap)
Hankyoreh's report about the "event":
As tanks roll down Tehran Street in the Gangnam district during a parade commemorating Army Day on October 1, Kang Ui-seok, 22, a law student at Seoul National University, goes nude to urge the government to dissolve the army.
Kang appeared suddenly at 4:20 p.m and commenced with a short role play in which he brandished a fake gun he had made out of snack food, putting a stop to the parade for about 30 seconds. Kang was arrested immediately.
Police said that prior to the parade, Kang hid for 12 hours in a trench he had dug himself.
According to police, Kang said that If Korea were to dissolve its army, it could help underdeveloped countries by saving the lives of starving children. In explaining his demonstration, Kang said that he had appeared in the nude to symbolize the condition of being unarmed and was meant to evoke peace and nonviolence.
The police booked him on charges of obscenity later that day.
The Time magazine (last Sunday, 7.06) reported that the...
US Allowed Korean Mass Executions
The American colonel, troubled by what he was hearing, tried to stall at first. But the declassified record shows he finally told his South Korean counterpart it "would be permitted" to machine-gun 3,500 political prisoners, to keep them from joining approaching enemy forces.
In the early days of the Korean War, other American officers observed, photographed and confidentially reported on such wholesale executions by their South Korean ally, a secretive slaughter believed to have killed 100,000 or more leftists and supposed sympathizers, usually without charge or trial, in a few weeks in mid-1950.
Extensive archival research by The Associated Press has found no indication Far East commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur took action to stem the summary mass killing, knowledge of which reached top levels of the Pentagon and State Department in Washington, where it was classified "secret" and filed away.
Now, a half-century later, the South Korean government's Truth and Reconciliation Commission is investigating what happened in that summer of terror, a political bloodbath largely hidden from history, unlike the communist invaders' executions of southern rightists, which were widely publicized and denounced at the time.
In the now-declassified record at the U.S. National Archives and other repositories, the Korean investigators will find an ambivalent U.S. attitude in 1950 — at times hands-off, at times disapproving.
"The most important thing is that they did not stop the executions," historian Jung Byung-joon, a member of the 2-year-old commission, said of the Americans. "They were at the crime scene, and took pictures and wrote reports."
They took pictures in July 1950 at the slaughter of dozens of men at one huge killing field outside the central city of Daejeon. Between 3,000 and 7,000 South Koreans are believed to have been shot there by their own military and police, and dumped into mass graves, said Kim Dong-choon, the commission member overseeing the investigation of these government killings.
The bones of Koh Chung-ryol's father are there somewhere, and the 57-year-old woman believes South Koreans alone are not to blame.
"Although we can't present concrete evidence, we bereaved families believe the United States has some responsibility for this," she told the AP, as she visited one of the burial sites in the quiet Sannae valley.
Frank Winslow, a military adviser at Daejeon in those desperate days long ago, is one American who feels otherwise.
The Koreans were responsible for their own actions, said the retired Army lieutenant colonel, 81. "The Koreans were sovereign. To me, there was never any question that the Koreans were in charge," he said in a telephone interview from his home in Bellingham, Wash.
The brutal, hurried elimination of tens of thousands of their countrymen, subject of a May 19 AP report, was the climax to a years-long campaign by South Korea's right-wing leaders.
In 1947, two years after Washington and Moscow divided Korea into southern and northern halves, a U.S. military government declared the Korean Labor Party, the southern communists, to be illegal. President Syngman Rhee's southern regime, gaining sovereignty in 1948, suppressed all leftist political activity, put down a guerrilla uprising and held up to 30,000 political prisoners by the time communist North Korea invaded on June 25, 1950.
As war broke out, southern authorities also rounded up members of the 300,000-strong National Guidance Alliance, a "re-education" body to which they had assigned leftist sympathizers, and whose membership quotas also were filled by illiterate peasants lured by promises of jobs and other benefits.
Commission investigators, extrapolating from initial evidence and surveys of family survivors, believe most alliance members were killed in the wave of executions.
On June 29, 1950, as the southern army and its U.S. advisers retreated southward, reports from Seoul said the conquering northerners had emptied the southern capital's prisons, and ex-inmates were reinforcing the new occupation regime.
In a confidential narrative he later wrote for Army historians, Lt. Col. Rollins S. Emmerich, a senior U.S. adviser, described what then happened in the southern port city of Busan, formerly known as Pusan.
Emmerich was told by a subordinate that a South Korean regimental commander, determined to keep Busan's political prisoners from joining the enemy, planned "to execute some 3500 suspected peace time Communists, locked up in the local prison," according to the declassified 78-page narrative, first uncovered by the newspaper Busan Ilbo at the U.S. National Archives.
Emmerich wrote that he summoned the Korean, Col. Kim Chong-won, and told him the enemy would not reach Busan in a few days as Kim feared, and that "atrocities could not be condoned."
But the American then indicated conditional acceptance of the plan.
"Colonel Kim promised not to execute the prisoners until the situation became more critical," wrote Emmerich, who died in 1986. "Colonel Kim was told that if the enemy did arrive to the outskirts of (Busan) he would be permitted to open the gates of the prison and shoot the prisoners with machine guns."
This passage, omitted from the published Army history, is the first documentation unearthed showing advance sanction by the U.S. military for such killings.
"I think his (Emmerich's) word is so significant," said Park Myung-lim, a South Korean historian of the war and adviser to the investigative commission.
As that summer wore on, and the invaders pressed their attack on the southern zone, Busan-area prisoners were shot by the hundreds, Korean and foreign witnesses later said.
Emmerich wrote that soon after his session with Kim, he met with South Korean officials in Daegu, 55 miles north of Busan, and persuaded them "at that time" not to execute 4,500 prisoners immediately, as planned. Within weeks, hundreds were being executed in the Daegu area.
The bloody anticommunist purge, begun immediately after the invasion, is believed by the fall of 1950 to have filled some 150 mass graves in secluded spots stretching to the peninsula's southernmost counties. Commissioner Kim said the commission's estimate of 100,000 dead is "very conservative." The commission later this month will resume excavating massacre sites, after having recovered remains of more than 400 people at four sites last year.
The AP has extensively researched U.S. military and diplomatic archives from the Korean War in recent years, at times relying on once-secret documents it obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and declassification reviews. The declassified U.S. record and other sources offer further glimpses of the mass killings.
A North Korean newspaper said 1,000 prisoners were slain in Incheon, just west of Seoul, in late June 1950 — a report partly corroborated by a declassified U.S. Eighth Army document of July 1950 saying "400 Communists" had been killed in Incheon. The North Korean report claimed a U.S. military adviser had given the order.
As the front moved south, in July's first days, Air Force intelligence officer Donald Nichols witnessed and photographed the shooting of an estimated 1,800 prisoners in Suwon, 20 miles south of Seoul, Nichols reported in a little-noted memoir in 1981, a decade before his death.
Around the same time, farther south, the Daejeon killings began.
Winslow recalled he declined an invitation to what a senior officer called the "turkey shoot" outside the city, but other U.S. officers did attend, taking grisly photos of the human slaughter that would be kept classified for a half-century.
Journalist Alan Winnington, of the British communist Daily Worker newspaper, entered Daejeon with North Korean troops after July 20 and reported that the killings were carried out for three days in early July and two or three days in mid-July.
He wrote that his witnesses claimed jeeploads of American officers "supervised the butchery." Secret CIA and Army intelligence communications reported on the Daejeon and Suwon killings as early as July 3, but said nothing about the U.S. presence or about any U.S. oversight.
In mid-August, MacArthur, in Tokyo, learned of the mass shooting of 200 to 300 people near Daegu, including women and a 12- or 13-year-old girl. A top-secret Army report from Korea, uncovered by AP research, told of the "extreme cruelty" of the South Korean military policemen. The bodies fell into a ravine, where hours later some "were still alive and moaning," wrote a U.S. military policeman who happened on the scene.
Although MacArthur had command of South Korean forces from early in the war, he took no action on this report, other than to refer it to John J. Muccio, U.S. ambassador in South Korea. Muccio later wrote that he urged South Korean officials to stage executions humanely and only after due process of law.
The AP found that during this same period, on Aug. 15, Brig. Gen. Francis W. Farrell, chief U.S. military adviser to the South Koreans, recommended the U.S. command investigate the executions. There was no sign such an inquiry was conducted. A month later, the Daejeon execution photos were sent to the Pentagon in Washington, with a U.S. colonel's report that the South Koreans had killed "thousands" of political prisoners.
The declassified record shows an equivocal U.S. attitude continuing into the fall, when Seoul was retaken and South Korean forces began shooting residents who collaborated with the northern occupiers.
When Washington's British allies protested, Dean Rusk, assistant secretary of state, told them U.S. commanders were doing "everything they can to curb such atrocities," according to a Rusk memo of Oct. 28, 1950.
But on Dec. 19, W.J. Sebald, State Department liaison to MacArthur, cabled Secretary of State Dean Acheson to say MacArthur's command viewed the killings as a South Korean "internal matter" and had "refrained from taking any action."
It was the British who took action, according to news reports at the time. On Dec. 7, in occupied North Korea, British officers saved 21 civilians lined up to be shot, by threatening to shoot the South Korean officer responsible. Later that month, British troops seized "Execution Hill," outside Seoul, to block further mass killings there.
To quiet the protests, the South Koreans barred journalists from execution sites and the State Department told diplomats to avoid commenting on atrocity reports. Earlier, the U.S. Embassy in London had denounced as "fabrication" Winnington's Daily Worker reporting on the Daejeon slaughter. The Army eventually blamed all the thousands of Daejeon deaths on the North Koreans, who in fact had carried out executions of rightists there and elsewhere.
An American historian of the Korean War, the University of Chicago's Bruce Cumings, sees a share of U.S. guilt in what happened in 1950.
"After the fact — with thousands murdered — the U.S. not only did nothing, but covered up the Daejeon massacres," he said...
☞ US wavered over S. Korean executions (Washington Post)
Here's just a short summary about the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula (to keep "peace and mutual understanding":
Two Koreas argue over warships (al-Jazeera, 4.04)
North Korea has accused South Korean warships of infiltrating its territorial waters, warning of "unpredictable countermeasures" amid increasing hostility on the peninsula.
The North's navy command late on Thursday said three warships had entered its waters in a "serious military provocation", claims dismissed by South Korea's defence ministry.
Pyongyang has made a string of hostile gestures since Lee Myung-bak, the South Korean president, took office in February pledging to take a harder line with the North.
The charges came as a US general nominated to head the allied forces in South Korea said Seoul was lacking in missile defences.
North Korea has announced the suspension of all dialogue and the closing of its border to South Korean officials as both sides continued to trade barbs.
Earlier this week, the South Korean president was labelled a "conservative political charlatan", "traitor" and US "sycophant" for his tougher policies on the North, which includes linking aid to nuclear disarmament.
Aside from the rhetoric, Pyongyang has test-fired missiles in the past few days and, last week, accused South Korean ships of breaching a disputed sea border.
Analysts say the North may stage more missile tests, or naval manoeuvres near the disputed Yellow Sea border – the scene of bloody clashes in 1999 and 2002.
The North's hostile reaction came after Seoul refused to apologise for recent remarks by its military commander which the North interpreted as authorising a pre-emptive military strike.
Lee's predecessors had practiced a "sunshine" policy of engagement, under which aid and investment worth billions of dollars flowed into the North.
On Thursday, Lieutenant-General Walter Sharp told senators in Washington that South Korea lacked adequate anti-missile defences to counter a missile threat from the North.
Sharp, in a written response to the Senate Armed Services committee, said Pyongyang had 13,000 artillery systems and 800 missiles.
North Korea had 250 long-range artillery systems capable of reaching Seoul, he said.
"North Korea still has the capacity to inflict major destruction and significant military and civilian casualties in South Korea with little to no warning," he wrote.
South Korea's defence ministry had said the North was deliberately misinterpreting Seoul's objectives and remarks by its officials and told Pyongyang to stop its verbal attacks on Lee.
But Pyongyang continued with its rhetoric, accusing Seoul of driving inter-Korean relations to "catastrophe".
Lee has said that South Korean aid to the impoverished North will no longer be given unconditionally.
In a marked change from previous administrations he has also said that his government will not shy away from criticising Pyongyang's human-rights abuses.
"North Korea said yesterday it would take 'military countermeasures' against what it called belligerent remarks by South Korea." (Korea Herald, 4.04)
☞ Criticizing President Lee, What is Its Tactic? (DailyNK, 4.04)
☞ Renewed urgency to rein in North Korea (Asia Times, 4.04)
☞ 《남조선당국이 반북대결로 얻을것은 파멸뿐이다》-리명박《정권》 (로동신문, 4.01)
Last week the conservative daily newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported that..
Seoul Has Plans to Attack N. Korean Nuclear Sites (*)
"The South Korean military is prepared to launch a pre-emptive attack on North Korea’s nuclear installations if they become a military threat, Gen. Kim Tae-young, the newly designated chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a hearing yesterday.
It was the first time the military has confirmed contingency plans for a pre-emptive attack on Pyongyang’s nuclear facilities and comes as Seoul’s new conservative government is being closely watched for signs of how it will approach North Korea."
Now Yonhap yesterday reported that..
North Korea's military said Saturday that South Korea should retract its top military official's remark about an attack on the communist nation and apologize for it, threatening to suspend all inter-Korean dialogues and contacts.
On Wednesday, Gen. Kim Tae-young, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the South would strike the North's nuclear sites if the communist country attacks the South with nuclear weapons.
"These outbursts are the gravest challenge ever in the history of the inter-Korean relations and a reckless provocation little short of a war declaration against us," the North's military said in a notice sent to the South's chief delegate to inter-Korean general-level military talks, according to the (North) Korean Central News Agency.
"We will counter any slightest move of the South side for 'preemptive attack' with more rapid and more powerful preemptive attack of its own mode," it said.
The communist state's military went on to say that if the South does not retract the call for a "preemptive attack" and apologize, it will lead to the suspension of all inter-Korean dialogues and contacts...
And Korea Herald wrote yesterday that..
..The ministry plans to decide by Tuesday whether to make an official reply to the North's demand.
"We don't know how to react to the North's claim now because we haven't decided yet whether to send a reply to the North. If we reply, it would contain our position that the North's claim is not true. We may express regret over the North's falsified argument," a ministry official said...
And the same newpaper reported today: Despite burgeoning tension on the Korean peninsula from North Korea's escalating threats, South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak and his ministers appear calm, if not nonchalant.
On Sunday when North Korea's military warned of a preemptive strike in retaliation of South Korea's alleged provocations, Lee stopped over at Cheong Wa Dae's press room after playing a few games of tennis, and mainly discussed his plans for overseas visits.
Unification Minister Kim Ha-joong reportedly went to church (well, that's really important!!!) before coming into office later in the afternoon to have consultations over the latest development. Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, in the meantime, was busy tending to his foreign guests, playing a round of golf with visiting former Florida governor Jeb Bush, brother of U.S. President George W. Bush... (oops~ I think there in no further comment neccessary!!^^)
The low-key moves by Lee and his team appeared to be clearly in line with the South Korean government's new policy goal to drastically change the dialogue pattern with North Korea...
At the same time, yesterday (Sunday), the rulers in NK were not playing a round of golf, were not praying in the church! Instead they published a new (not really^^) "promise", according to KCNA: "They (likely they mean the LeeMB gang) should bear in mind that once the more powerful preemptive strike of our own mode be launched, it will not merely plunge everything into flames but reduce it to ashes" (harrharr~ like usual: empty blabla.. - hopefully!!)
☞ North Steps Up Criticism of South (K. Times, 3.30)
☞ N. Korea 'will turn South to ash' (al-Jazeera, 3.31)
☞ Continuing Threat from NK... What Is Next? (DailyNK, 3.31)
* But, as it is well known, NK's nuklear sites (except Yongbyeon) are located deep in the (north-eastern) mountains.. And to strike against this sites/targets in NK the S. Korean military must have very "advanced", "sophisticated" weapons - powerful bombs very near to small nuclear bombs..
"People have reached a point that they will sell their refrigerator to buy a rocket launcher to kill Americans."
Under siege in Baghdad's Mahdi army stronghold
(The Observer/UK, 3.30)
The violence that began in Basra and spread to the capital continues as fears of a new civil war grow
The gunfire built to a steady rhythm. American soldiers in a Stryker armoured vehicle fired from one end of the block. At the other end, two groups of Shia militiamen pounded back with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. US helicopters circled above in the blue afternoon sky.
As a barrage erupted outside his parents' house, Abu Mustafa al-Thahabi, adviser to the Mahdi army of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, rushed through the gate to take shelter. He had just spoken with a fighter by mobile phone. 'I told him not to use that weapon. It's not effective,' he said, talking of the rocket-propelled grenade. 'I told him to use the IED, the Iranian one,' he added, referring to an improvised explosive device. 'This is more effective.'
After nearly a year of relative calm, US troops and Shia militia engaged in pitched battles last week, underscoring how quickly order can give way to chaos in Iraq. On this block in Sadr City, the cleric's sprawling stronghold, armed men and boys came out from nearly every house to fight. From Thursday afternoon to Friday morning, this correspondent spent 19 hours here, at times trapped by intense crossfire inside the house of Thahabi's parents. Fighters engaged US forces for seven hours. They lost a comrade. They launched rockets into the Green Zone. Around the same time, rockets killed a US government employee, the second American killed there last week.
Between battles, fighters spoke about politics and war. There was no sign of grief or fear. Death was a short cut to some divine place. As the two sides exchanged fire, Thahabi's mother, Um Falah, clutched a Koran and began to pray to Imam Ali, Shia Islam's most revered saint. Her eldest son, Abu Hassan, is a Mahdi army commander.
Earlier that morning, Sadr City had been eerily quiet. Cars moved slowly. Residents ferried food and water, preparing for the worst. Rubbish littered the charred streets. On one road, two green Stryker vehicles were parked.
Outside Um Falah's house, Mahdi fighters gathered, standing against the walls, peering down the street. Clashes were unfolding on an adjacent road. One group joined the fighting, but the others remained in place. Their job was to protect their end of the block. Um Falah continued her chores: 'I have got used to war, to all the battles in our lives.' It was not the first time her son had gone to fight US troops and in her heart, she said, she knew it would not be the last. 'I have sent my son on the right path,' she said.
In their living room, her husband and Abu Mustafa sat on red carpets set with colourful pillows. The room was prepared for battle, with plastic windowpanes and drawn curtains. On the wall hung tapestries depicting Imam Ali and other saints.
Thahabi, slim and gaunt-faced, said the Mahdi were not fighting only the Americans but also their Shia rivals - the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the ruling Dawa party. Thahabi believes the government launched an offensive in Basra last Monday to weaken the Sadrist forces ahead of provincial elections scheduled for this year. He thought Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who leads the Dawa party, was taking advantage of a ceasefire imposed by Sadr last August.
Iraq's government said it began the offensive to wipe out Basra's Shia militias and criminal gangs. 'They know the Sadrists will win the elections,' Thahabi said. 'So they are using the Americans against the Mahdi army. People have reached a point that they will sell their refrigerator to buy a rocket launcher to kill Americans.'
At around 2pm, three solemn-faced fighters entered the room, fresh from battle. 'Akeel, son of Riad, just got killed,' said Abu Zainab al-Kabi. The room fell silent. Kabi, 34, said Akeel had been planting a roadside bomb when he was shot several times by a US soldier. Akeel was 22 and had followed his father and uncle into the Mahdi army when he was 17. The fighters took his body to the hospital mortuary. If they could break away from the battle, they planned to carry it on Friday to the southern holy city of Najaf, where the Mahdi has built a cemetery for their dead, their martyrs.
'We are proud that he died,' said Abu Moussa al-Sadr, 31. 'Whenever one of us dies, it raises our morale.'
'It intensifies our fighting. If we defeat them, we win,' Kabi said. 'If we die, we win.'
Signs of sorrow for Akeel soon vanished; they wanted to eat lunch. Over a spartan meal of bread, tomato paste and vegetables, they said they had woken before dawn to make sure all their fighters were in position. They ordered their men to check all the IEDs they had set and shared intelligence with commanders in other sections of Sadr City. Suddenly, they heard mortar rounds being launched outside with a boom like the sound of a wrecking ball.
'This is to the Green Zone,' said Kabi. 'These are gifts to Maliki's government.' He and Abu Moussa al-Sadr both work for Iraq's Ministry of Interior, which runs the police and is viewed as infiltrated by the Mahdi army. They said many police officers had defected and were now fighting with the Mahdi army.
The fighters also said they received neither support nor training from Iran, as American military commanders allege. Their Iranian weapons, they said, were bought from smugglers. They said they had been fighting only Americans and had not engaged with any Iraqi forces and insisted they were still obeying Sadr's cease-fire and would stop fighting if he gave the order. 'We are allowed to defend ourselves,' said fighter Abu Nargis.
Around 3pm, it was time to leave. 'We're going to the hospital to see Akeel's body,' Abu Moussa al-Sadr said. 'Then we are going back to fight.' An hour later, another group were fighting US troops. Militiamen jumped into the street, then quickly vanished. The quick movements were a tactic. Outside his parents' house, Thahabi explained that fighters would direct a barrage of bullets at the Stryker to distract the soldiers while another group tried to slip a bomb under the vehicle.
A father of four who studied psychology in college, Thahabi looked more like a professor than a militia adviser. He clutched three mobile phones, each using a different network. When the Americans drive by, they jam the signals of the main network provider to neutralise the use of phones as detonators.
The fighters' larger strategy, Thahabi said, was to draw pressure away from the Mahdi army in Basra. Many Iraqi soldiers fighting in Basra had families in Sadr City. 'They will be worried for their families. They will fear what will happen to them. It's about reducing morale.'
Thahabi received a phone call. 'The whole block has been surrounded by the Americans,' he said.
Targeting the Green Zone, at 5.25pm, the Mahdi army fired at least 10 rockets from near the house. Within 20 minutes, four more were launched. The rocket launches were followed by heavy gunfire at the Stryker.
'We have to keep the Americans nervous, on their edge,' Thahabi said. 'We can't make it easy for them.'
Someone told him that there was a sniper on a nearby roof. After a silent pause, fighters sprayed a burst of gunfire at a roof; bullets tore into the wall. Then silence again. A few minutes later, gunfire was returned in the direction of the fighters. The Americans were still around.
'They are facing heavy resistance," said Abu Nargis. He carried his baby daughter. 'They will raid the area tonight.' By 7pm, the Stryker had left.
At 9.05pm, Abu Nargis received a phone call. He said he had been told that a police commander with 500 men would stop working with the government and join the Mahdi.
At 9.09pm, screams tore through the street. A woman in a black abaya was walking toward the hospital wailing: 'My mother! My mother!' Her house had been hit, it was not clear by whom. Ambulances and police vehicles drove past the house as an unmanned US drone flew by. The vehicles drove back, carrying dead and injured.
At 10:35pm, Abu Nargis received another phone call. 'The Americans are gone. Even the snipers,' he said. 'I have to go and check on my daughter. She's afraid of the gunfire.'
Next morning, Kabi was standing on a nearby street with a group of fighters, including two boys who looked no older than 13. They were getting instructions from an older fighter, who clutched an AK-47 assault rifle. They looked weary.
At the edge of Sadr City, four Strykers rolled by. A white car waited patiently for the convoy to pass, then drove out, a wooden coffin strapped to the top.
☞ Basra Assualt Threatens Trade Unionists (Naftana, 3.29)
Latest news (8:00 pm/KST):
Today, 40 years ago the U.S. Army - on its way to bring "demorcacy and freedom" to Vietnam (respectively to "secure the free world against the communism") comitted the Massacre in My Lai, where roughly 500 unarmed civilians - old people, young women and children - were murdered!!! And "America's Struggle For Freedom" (Der Spiegel, 1967) was supported by all the NATO states (from Canada to Germany) but also by all the other "freedom-loving" countries like Turkey, S. Africa, Indonesia, Taiwan, S. Korea...
The result of the struggle for "Democracy and Freedom" in My Lai:
For more please read Seymour M. Hersh's articles about..
☞ INTO THE DARK: The My Lai Massacre (by M. Gado)
☞ My Lai Massacre ("education" video)
BIN LADEN jr. - A "PEACENIK"
Just few days ago I had to learn by reading the Israeli daily newpaper Yedioth Ahronoth that Omar bin Laden - one of Osama bin Laden's 19(!!) sons - wants to be a "peace activist"(^^)..
Now, today CNN broadcasted an interview with Omar. BTW Omar seems to be complete stoned, or/and drunken (*)..
Anyway, you can watch the interview here:
☞ Bin Laden's Son Speaks
☞ Bin Laden Son Wants to Be Peace Activist (Examiner/USA, 1.17)
For yesterday several S.K. anti-war groups, KCTU, DLP, 'All Together' etc. called for a "massive protest" against the ongoing presence of S.K. troops in Iraq. But - despite the govt's latest decision to extend the troops' presence there and Roh Moo-hyun's stupid remark that his "decision to send Korean troops to Iraq was a historical error" - only a very small bunch of activists followed the call and gathered y'day afternoon in Myeong-dong to join the rally/demonstration.
A short time before, 11.03, Kim Gwang-il ('All Together'/anti-war activist) said in an interview with VoP that "Roh has confirmed several times that there would be no change of the administration's policy about the withdrawal of troops. However he breaks the promise with Korean people."
Surprise, surprise: Roh has been breaking his promise!! That must be a realy new realization for the S.K. "progressive" movement - after they defended with all their forces Roh's presidency against the attempted impeachment in spring 2004 (just one year after Roh has been breaking his promise not to support an "unjust war against Iraq")..
Finally - in my opinion - this kind of, simply said, political "confusion" in the S.K. "progressive" movement brings the "ordinary" people, even they're against the ruling gov't/class, to stay away from public political expressions.. (??!!)
Anyway.. here you can read "more"(^^) about y'day's event:
☞ 자이툰 파병 연장 저지를 위한 반전행동 (다함께)
☞ "돌아오라, 자이툰!".. (SPARK)