Category Archives: Pax Americana

Gangjeong Village Video Documentarian Jailed

Dungree-1Park Sung-Soo has been documenting the daily struggle in Gangjeong Village since the summer of 2011. He was accused of trespassing when he entered the navy base complex to protest the harassment of two young women reporters with sexual remarks by the base security personnel.

The two young women reporters appealed the incident to the Korean Human Rights Committee, but their case was dismissed.

Dungree

Park Sung-Soo, AKA Dungree, was not able to pay his fine amounting to $1500 U.S. dollars, so he decided to serve out his fine in jail for 28 days. Dungree is resolute in not wanting anyone to pay his fine. He is willing to bear the sufferings he will encounter for the month in prison.

Dungree is a victim of the new government’s strategy to oppress people with  fines and to put down the protest against the illegal construction of the base.

Since the beginning of the struggle in Gangjeong Village in 2007 to February 2013, there have been upwards of 700 arrests with 500 indictments. 22 activists have been imprisoned. All have been released with the exception of Prof. Yang Yoon-mo who has been sentenced to 18 months, this being the fourth time he has been jailed. Prof. Yang agreed to end his 52 day old hunger strike on March 24, the third since his protest began.

The average fine against the activists has been approximately $3,000 U.S. dollars, and some have had fines as high as $9,000 U.S. dollars bringing the total amount of fines to $450,000 U.S. dollars. But, that’s not all. The total compensation fee for “damages” is approximately $290,000 U.S. dollars.

All of the activists are willing to go to jail because they cannot afford the fines.

There is no way to sugar coat these gross violations of human rights and the total disregard and disdain for the civil rights of these people who are fighting for self-determination, a transparent and open democratic process, justice, peace, and the survival of their culture, not to mention their livelihoods.

To blame for this most recent displacement of indigenous people, the violation of human rights, the destruction of the environment, the beating of war drums, and the escalation of tensions around the world is the government of the U.S., the U.S. war department, and the military industrial complex.

Meanwhile, the Village is protesting the navy’s military residential housing project which will effectively obliterate this 400 year old village with accommodations for 8,000 military personnel.  This base will require maintenance facilities, an airport, radar, fuel tanks, bars, restaurants, shops, and brothels, and probably missile silos.

What is happening on Jeju Island, and in so many other places around the world, are crimes against humanity.

America! Now they are coming for us! Not only is the #1 U.S. export weapons and “security,” but now the corporations are fast at work to get us to pay for their lust for power and profits. They want (Congress will do their bidding) to pay for all of it on the backs of the middle class and the poor.

Every state in this country owes thousands of jobs to the corporations who produce the weapons and supplies of war. Because of this, there is hardly a person in Congress who will oppose their lust for more and more and more. They threaten to close down their factories and move if Congress doesn’t keep increasing the war budget that feeds the military industrial complex.

Just a cursory glance across this land reveals their ugly job-creating lies from coast to coast, and from border to border: tar-sands, Keystone pipeline, the East-West Highway in Maine, the proposed LNG tank in Searsport, Maine, hyrdo-fracking wherever they can find gas. They are stealing our own precious resources like water and selling them for profit.

Meanwhile our states are broke and can no longer maintain critical infrastructure; provide quality education; and protect the social safety net, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

There is only one answer to this suicidal march: more than 60% of the discretionary spending of the U.S. (our taxes) go to the military aka the war department. If one includes veteran’s benefits and NASA, the percentage is much higher. Bush’s wars will cost us more than $4 TRILLION. There are more than 800 U.S. military “bases” in every corner of the globe……supposedly for national security. Read: the interest of the corporations who extract resources and exploit other nations.

The Villagers of Gangjeong along with the Catholic Bishop of Jeju, Bishop Kang, have the answer: “Peace is the way. No Naval Base on the Island of Peace.” It is the moral obligation of every human being to oppose war and work for peace and justice in the world.

For those who are not able to travel to Jeju to support this struggle, you can send donations to www.savejejunow.org to help pay the fines and to support the activists who represent us in this global struggle against the U.S. imperial march towards domination of the world by force.

Oliver Stone’s “South of the Border”

Pretty much overlooked in the U.S. and labeled as “controversial” and “anti-American,” Oliver Stone’s documentary is refreshing. At a time when the U.S. considers any country that goes against its will an “enemy,” Stone reveals a totally different picture. I would strongly and enthusiastically encourage everyone to watch the entire documentary.

His journey began with his desire to discover the social, political and economic movements in South America. His interviews with the following democratically elected leaders is eye-opening and inspiring: Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez.  Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Kristina Kirchner in Argentina, Lula De Silva in Brazil, and Raul Castro in Cuba. All of these leaders have implemented reforms that have angered the United States, which for over one hundred years has destabilized, dominated and extracted the resources of their countries.

Following his own political ideology focusing on socialist reform, Chavez implemented a new constitution, participatory democracy, increased government funding of health care, education, and agriculture, land reform, as well as the nationalization of several key industries, especially oil. Any surprise all of this made him a target of the American media and an enemy of the U.S.?
Chavez was elected Venezuela’s president four times with overwhelming majorities. He has alined himself with all of the above governments and leaders who are considered “enemies” of the United States. All of these democratically elected leaders describe their policies as anti-imperialist, and critical of the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. version of predatory capitalism.

Chavez has been a leader in the region supporting Latin American and Caribbean cooperation, the pan-regional Union of South American Nations, the Bolivian Alliance for the Americas, the Bank of the South, and a regional television network.

If you go to the link below, you can see excerpts from South of the Border. Given America’s track record for intervening in sovereign countries all over the planet, the movements in South America are encouraging, enlightening, and give hope there is a way to end the U.S. imperial march to dominate the world.

http://www.youtube.com/southoftheborderdoc

Up Close and Personal with Sr. Stella in Gangjeong Village

One evening at dinner, I sat next to Sr. Stella, a Korean missionary sister with a great sense of humor and a good command of the English language. After dinner and a delightful conversation, Sr. Stella asked, “so why not interview me. I want to tell Obama and the American people something.”

How could I refuse? Sitting next to the 20 ft barbed wire topped fence of the base, with the light fading fast and a fire burning to keep warm on that cool evening, Sr. Stella with all the confidence in the world and the passion of her convictions, let it rip.

She is one of hundreds of Catholic nuns from Korea and Jeju Island who visit Gangjeong Village frequently to stand in solidarity with the villagers and activists in their struggle against the construction of the naval base that is destroying the environment and their village, not to mention the denial of their human right to live peacefully there as they have done for over one thousand years.

Even today, some six months removed from my stay in Gangjeong Village, I am overcome with emotion as I pour through hours of interviews and video for my film, Jeju: In the Crosshairs of War.

I am sure you will enjoy meeting Sr. Stella and be moved by her message.

New Series – Gangjeong Village: Up Close and Personal

While in Gangjeong Village last September, I had the opportunity to interview over 20 villagers and activists who have been protesting the construction of that massive naval base in their tiny village to serve the needs of the U.S. “pivot to Asia” in order to check China.

As I am working hard to finish the feature-length documentary, Jeju: In the crosshairs of war, I’ve been reviewing hours of video, most of which will not be used. But, because all of it is of great value, I decided to create this series entitled, Gangjeong Village: Up Close and Personal to allow people to get to know these wonderful people on a personal level.

I hope that you are moved, as I was, by their perseverance against overwhelming force, their endurance, their peacefulness, and their joyful spirits.

First in the series is Fr. Mun Jeong Hyeon, the iconic 74 yr old priest who has been beaten, hospitalized and jailed for protesting the construction of the base. Fr. Mun is known as a “street father” because of his support for victims of human rights violations inflicted by state power. Ordained in 1966, he organized the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice in 1974 and opposed the dictatorship when the military carried out extrajudicial killings.

Fr. Mun is a true man of peace and has been at the forefront of protecting human rights in Korea. I hope you enjoy the series and this visit with my friend, Fr. Mun.

Jeju Protester Given 18 Month Jail Sentence

002 Prof. YangProf. Yang Yoon-Mo was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for protesting against the construction of the naval base in Gangjeong Village! The crime?  Obstruction of business and jeopardizing the construction of the so called ‘joint civilian-military use base’!

Not only do the ROK government and the ROK Navy continue the lies and deception, but the courts do their part to beat back those who protest the military expansion of the U.S. in Asia and the Pacific.

Professor Yang has risked everything to stop the construction. This is Prof. Yang’s fourth prison sentence. He previously went on a hunger strike for 70 days. Professor Yang left a 30 year career as a prominent South Korean film critic to protest against the base on a full-time basis. During my stay, I had the privilege of meeting him and filming his daily protests at the gates. Professor Yang will be given a prominent role in my documentary.

www.indiegogo.com/savejeju

The video clip of Prof. Yang resisting the police is by Korean filmmaker Cho, Sung-bong.

Here’s a brief video of Professor Yang.

Interview with Pulitzer Prize Winner Charles Hanley

Charles Hanley, Sang-Hun Choe, and Martha Mendoza won the Pulitzer Prize for The Bridge at No Gun Ri, a book detailing the horrific massacre of as many as 400 innocent men, women, and children by the U.S. Army in S. Korea in 1950.

Paul Michaud, founder of Patracompany, a full-service multi-media production company in Brunswick, Maine accompanied me to New York City on February 17, 2013 to film an extensive interview with Charles.

The massacre at No Gun Ri was not an isolated event, but typical of many such mass killings by the U.S. military before and during the “Forgotten War” when perhaps 100,000 civilians were summarily murdered on direct orders from the U.S. military command.

Charles will be featured prominently in my documentary, Jeju: In the crosshairs of war…again.  A short draft is available at www.indiegogo.com/savejeju My film places the peaceful protest against the construction of a massive naval base on Jeju Island to accommodate America’s “Pivot to Asia” in the context of the massacre of as many as 80,000 Jeju civilians alleged to be Communists beginning on April 3rd, 1948 and the imperial military expansion of the United States.

This is a 3:30 clip to introduce Charles and to recommend The Bridge at No Gun Ri.

America’s Real Intent: Global Domination Through the Use of Military Might

It is truly ironic and coincidental that one day after I posted part of an interview with Jeju Bishop Peter Kang saying the only way to ensure peace is to “diminish arms,” the NY Times reports that the U.S. is allowing S. Korea to use drones and to expand the range of their ballistic missiles.

At issue here are two fundamental premises: 1) that the Korean government is clearly not a sovereign nation, but a puppet of the U.S., and 2) that peace and national security can be maintained by another escalation of the arms race and the provocation of  China, N. Korea, and Russia.

It is further proof of the real intent of the U.S. government, the U.S. military, and the military industrial complex to dominate and control the planet based on the doctrine of a Pax Americana whereby the sole superpower on the planet can ensure peace and prosperity through the military might.

First, here is a portion of my interview with Bishop Peter Kang of Jeju Island calling for an end to the arms race.

Now, the NY Times article which clearly proves the control of the Korean government by the U.S. and the intent to expand the arms race by “allowing” the Korean military the use of drones and to increase the range of its ballistic missiles to reach any point in N. Korea, but not China. That must be reassuring to both!

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/world/asia/us-agrees-to-let-south-korea-extend-missile-range.html?hp

After spending nearly a month in S. Korea and three weeks in Gangjeong Village, the site of a massive naval base being constructed to accommodate Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” I can tell you this: Koreans, and I’m sure the rest of the world, categorically HATE America for engaging in a century of warfare, the killing of millions and millions of innocent people, and the arrogance of U.S. imperialism.

It was impossible to disagree with them and to find a plausible defense for my homeland. It is ironic – but maybe not – that the Korean and European people I met believe there has been a military coup in the U.S. since the assassination of JFK. They all believe that everything from Kennedy’s assassination right on up through 9/11 has been the work of the U.S. military and the military industrial complex. No one I met believes that 9/11 was the work of Muslim terrorists! They all believe it was a false flag event justifying the invasion of Iraq in order to gain control over the Middle East.

After the hope President Obama offered in his campaign four years ago, Koreans and the rest of the world know without a shade of doubt that it matters little who the president and Congress are. America’s actions to dominate land, sea, air and space through the use of military superiority are clear to everyone except most Americans.

I encourage you to watch Pax America, a film by Denis Delestrac, in which America’s generals and senior officers unabashedly state the intent to ensure peace through the use of overwhelming military power. This film, packed with startling facts, has been shown in theaters throughout the world, yet not here in the U.S. If you haven’t seen this film, please take the time to view it.

Many people here in America and around the world feel helpless and unable to “get their minds around it all,” but I believe there is still hope. Millions and millions of people on every continent understand what is going on and are rising up against the violation of human rights, the violation of civil rights, the destruction of the environment, and the killing of innocent people.

If, as some economists predict, the world is on the verge of economic collapse, I believe it will bring about the end to the evils of unrestrained capitalism and an end to the ever-expanding military budgets of nations around the world. They just will not be able to afford spending the majority of their resources on a never-ending arms race and war.

Just as Rome, the Soviet Union, and every other imperial nation collapsed because they could not afford enormous standing armies, so will America.

Therefore, it is imperative that Americans become informed and join with people around the world in demanding an end to war and an end to the evils of capitalism. To continue as we have been focusing on a myriad of single issues is to remain divided and therefore conquered. What is needed is a massive, people-powered, grassroots coalition of peace groups, environmental groups, Bradley Manning support groups, food activists, groups demanding an end to Citizens United, and, yes Occupy.

The root cause underlying all of these issues is the doctrine of Pax Americana and unrestrained capitalism, both of which are inherently evil and will not go without a massive, universal uprising and the collapse of the global economy.

To quote Leonard Cohen, “I love the country but I can’t stand the scene,” and Michael Moore, “I refuse to live in a country like this, and I’m not leaving.”