Category Archives: Regis Tremblay

Korean Sister Stella Soh Indicted

For the first time in the 200 year Korean Catholic history, a Korean nun has been indicted for her role in the peaceful, non-violent protest against the construction of the naval base on Jeju Island that will accommodate the U.S. “pivot to Asia.”

Korean sistersToday, many sisters from Jeju and the mainland came to witness the trial of Sister Stella Soh who has been going to Gangjeong Village to protest whenever she has time and money.

Catholic priests and nuns from Jeju and the mainland have been protesting daily for seven years along with the people of Gangjeong Village and activists from around the world.

I had the privilege and honor to meet Sister Stella while I was there in September of 2012. We had been seated together for dinner on the evening before Sister Stella would return home to Seoul when she asked if I would interview her. With darkness approaching, she positioned herself in front of a fire pit and let it rip without me even asking her a question.

This interview appears in my documentary The Ghosts of Jeju and has been seen now by hundreds of people in the U.S. and in more than a dozen countries around the world. Sister Stella’s sincerity, honesty, and blunt remarks about U.S. imperialism have moved all who have seen the film.

She will undoubtedly be fined a large amount of money as have the more than 600 peace activists who have already been arrested, and quite possibly she will serve time in jail.

Here is that interview again.

West Coast Tour

Greetings from rainy Seattle, the next to last stop on this fantastic West Coast Tour with
The Ghosts of Jeju!

Tonight it will be screened at the University of Seattle, a Jesuit University, sponsored by the Asian Studies Department and the Korean Student Union. Tomorrow it will be screened at “Meaningful Movies” in Seattle sponsored by the local chapter of Veterans for Peace.

On Saturday, Paula returns home and I fly to Minneapolis where I will screen it at the University of Minnesota, and on Sunday at a local theater. These final two screenings are being sponsored by the University, the Korean Quarterly Newspaper, The Korean Forum, Mothers Against Military Madness, and the Veterans for Peace.

My hosts in Minneapolis will be two of my best friends from our Carmelite Seminary high school and college years. So, the trip will end on a wonderful note.

I fly back home to Maine on Monday.

This trip which began in San Francisco, continued to Santa Rosa, then Portland and Chehalis Washington has been exceptional in many respects. First and foremost, the film has been widely acclaimed by all. Many have purchased a copy to continue amplifying the “voices of Gangjeong” in churches, libraries, and activist groups.

The response is the same everywhere: anger, shame at what their country has done and is doing around the world, and disillusionment. But always, they are inspired by the indomitable spirit of the people of Gangjeong Village in the face of overwhelming odds. They stand, clap and cheer before engaging in a spirited Q&A and discussion session. Always, people ask what they can do. Some are even planning to go to Gangjeong. But, most purchase a copy of the film and promise to spread the world.

Along the way, Paula and I have met many wonderful activists who have hosted us, shared their lives with us, and inspired us with their commitment to end wars and work for peace.

Finally, it has been a fantastic vacation for Paula and me. This is Paula’s first trip to the West Coast so we have been seeing the sights. Paula has taken hundreds and hundreds of pictures of all the new plants, trees and vegetation. Being a professional gardener, this was a very exciting part of the trip. We had to visit the various botanical gardens, conservatories and the magnificent public parks such as Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

I have learned that there are scores of people everywhere who are working to end war and work for peace and justice in the world and this is reassuring. People “get it,” and are working to abolish the dark forces that are threatening our lives and the planet.

It is also gratifying to know that The Ghosts of Jeju is playing a significant role in the peace movement….and the environmental and human rights movements as well. As a result, I will be planning more tours to other parts of the country in 2014 and am now preparing a study/discussion guide to accompany the film.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support. Without you The Ghosts of Jeju would not have happened.

With deep respect, profound gratitude, and in solidarity,

Regis

 

Regis Tremblay

Independent Filmmaker

209 River Rd.
Woolwich, Maine 04579
207-400-4362

Ghosts of Jeju: The History Behind The Resistance

https://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2013/10/27/ghosts-jeju-history-behind-resistance-naval-base-koreas-island-peace

Ghosts of Jeju: The history behind the resistance to a naval base on Korea’s island of peace

By Martha Vickery, Korean Quarterly

October 27, 2013

When Maine-based filmmaker Regis Tremblay started digging into the history of the protest against the South Korean government’s construction of a naval base in the tiny village of Gangjeong on scenic Jeju Island, he interviewed Charles Hanley, former Associated Press reporter and co-author of the war crime expose Bridge at No Gun Ri, who told him “you have no idea the magnitude of the issues you are getting into here.”

And actually, Tremblay admitted, “I didn’t. I thought I was going to go to Korea and do a film on just another anti-base protest.”

Tremblay has filmed and produced his own TV film documentaries on a variety of environmental and social issues, including coverage of Maine’s Occupy Movement, and actions against the Tar Sands Pipeline. Covering the human interest side of a demonstration was not new to him.

He heard about the ongoing activities of villagers on Jeju Island from his friend Bruce Gagnon, who heads up the organization Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, and thought the issue was worthwhile.

The situation on Jeju Island, however, is far from just another demonstration against a military base, Tremblay soon found out. He did, as Hanley predicted, get much more than he bargained for. The film, The Ghosts of Jeju, is the product of a mind-bending, life-changing year of travel and research, and he is now promoting and touring with it.

The film is making the rounds of peace and justice organizations, particularly through the Veterans for Peace, whose experts are quoted in the film. There will be a screening in St. Paul, sponsored by the local chapter of Veterans for Peace, on November 9, and the filmmaker will go on to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington in the same trip.

The Jeju story takes in the historical oppression of the Jeju people, going back to before the Korean War, and details the military manipulations of the Korean and the U.S. government to position a base between China and Japan. It is also about an ancient and sustainable way of life and irreplaceable natural resources that are being literally dynamited out of existence to make way for U.S. military expansion, aided by Korea.

It has all the elements of a great epic drama —- the threat of environmental devastation, the loss of a traditional way of life, a fight by a small and determined group of ordinary people against huge geopolitical forces, the specter of peaceful non-violent resistance against the military machine —- except that it is all true.

In order to understand the tragedy of Jeju, Tremblay decided that the film must describe the history as well as the current situation of the people there. Like most Americans, he said, he knew little about the U.S.’s long military history in Korea, and the many detrimental effects of that influence on Koreans’ lives.

Fortunately, the Jeju Islanders have documented their modern history well; there is even a museum to help visitors interpret it. The film draws from its archives and other documentation.

With careful attention to detail and chronology, Tremblay lays out the case justifying the Gangjeong villagers’ fervent protest against yet another military oppression of their island, highlighting the role of the anti-base activists, including many Korean Catholic priests and nuns, ordinary Korean people, and activists from many other countries. He also explains the endangered marine life on rare coral reefs now being dredged out of existence, and the villagers’ simple and sustainable lifestyle that will be lost once the base is built.

The result is a persuasive film that is shocking and educating audiences in locations world wide. “American audiences are reacting with disillusionment, anger, and disbelief,” he said. “They cry. It has really been amazing.”

In August, the film was screened in Madison, Wisconsin for the Veterans for Peace conference. “About 60 people crammed into a small room, standing room only, and when it was over, we had to go right into the banquet.” There was so much buzz about it after the screening, and demand by others to see it, that they scheduled a second screening the next day.

Grassroots activists in this country and more than a dozen foreign countries have been spreading the film from one city to the next, Tremblay said. Gagnon took the film to the annual meeting of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space in Sweden this summer. From there, the international members brought the film back to their countries, which began an informal international distribution that is widening the film’s reach. Gagnon also went to Hawaii, the Philippines, and Australia with the film. In addition to the Vets for Peace chapters, the film has been distributed by some Christian activist groups, Quaker organizations, the womens’ activist group Code Pink, and others.

Some volunteers have committed to hosting multiple screenings. Tremblay said one activist in Ireland “has five different screenings scheduled, and one will be held when the Gangjeong mayor Dong Kyun Kang will be visiting there.”

Other more traditional routes of distribution have not been as fruitful. Tremblay said he has entered the film into 17 film festivals, but and it was accepted by only two. So far, he has found no commercial distributor for the film. For the time being, he said, he is powering down these more expensive methods, and concentrating on a person-to-person and group-to-group method. He will also appear this fall at several New England colleges, including Boston University and at an event held by the Korean student organization of Boston College, to which writer/activist Noam Chomsky has been invited.

Tremblay was still in the early stages of learning about Jeju history when he was on the island to film the protests in 2012. He described how he was told by several people how he would not really understand the history until he visited the “April 3 Museum,” which documents a massacre that took the lives of thousands of Jeju Islanders. The massacre occurred starting on that date in 1948, in response to an uprising of the people there, and the oppression and genocide continued in several incidents until 1950. The uprising was then characterized by the government as a Communist plot; it is now seen as simply a peasant rebellion.

The cruelty of that massacre, during which over 30,000 women, children, and elderly people were shot down and villages were burned, is seared into the cultural memory of that place. The leadership of the Korean military by the U.S. military at that time is documented in detail in the museum exhibits.

During his trip to Gangjeong village, he said, the atmosphere was informal and welcoming. He hung out with the activists and the people of the village who are farmers and fishermen. As a former Catholic priest, Tremblay was welcomed by the protesting priests there as one of their own. He was up close and personal with demonstrators, who are students, executives taking a leave of absence from their jobs, foreign activists of every stripe, journalists, elderly people, and many Christian and some Buddhist peace activists.

Certain American celebrity activists and writers have taken up the cause, including Gloria Steinem, writer Noam Chomsky, and film director Oliver Stone. Tremblay was able to interview Stone for the film. He took a lot of video documenting the struggles and brave persistence of the demonstrators, some of whom have been on the site for years. The story was compelling on its own, but he still did not have a clear idea of the agenda behind the present predicament.

“The elders of the village would have me to their homes, or would come out at night and they’d bring makkoli and beer, at 10 or 11 o’clock at night. And I didn’t realize it then —- because I only went to the museum on my way off the island —- that these people were survivors of that massacre. They are in their 70s and 80s now.”

His trip to the artistically-striking April 3rd (Sa-sam or 4-3) Museum, in the company of artist Gil-chun Koh, who created sculptural installations there depicting the dead and dying Jeju people, was illuminating for the filmmaker. “I went in there and started reading the stuff on the walls and watching a couple of the videos they had, and it was a chronological story of what the Americans had done, even what their names were.” The Jeju Islanders’ reality became clearer to him, he said. “I started getting angry, and then started getting very emotional.”

During the flight on the way home, he said “I felt very conflicted,” he said. He suddenly did not know how to tell the story of the protest apart from its historical context, and he knew that integrating the complex history of the place would be difficult to do in the film. He talked to author and journalist Charles Hanley at that time, as well as to Korean history scholar and author Bruce Cumings. “I went down to the National Archives, and found a lot of information, and some horrible pictures of what happened there. They are not even classified any more. And I then

started to realize I had an idea how I was going to tell it.”

The filmmaker also requested information from the museum’s curator through Gil-chun Koh. “The curator ended up sending me eight DVDs of footage and photographs and interviews with survivors of the massacre,” he said. Some of that footage is included in the film.

In addition to the modern history of Jeju Island, the film also delves into the geopolitical importance of that area between China and Japan, where the U.S. could potentially cut off China’s oil shipments in a war. It discusses evidence that the U.S. has decided to dominate space in violation of international law; using the type of missiles carried by the submarines to be docked at the Jeju base.

It also talks about the irony of Jeju Island’s recent designation as an “Island of Peace” by the Korean government, in light of the government’s complete reversal of its pledge to keep Jeju peaceful, negated by the building of a naval installation there.

Bruce Gagnon, who lives nearby in Maine, came in towards the end of the editing. “At that point, it was going to end on a very depressing note, and he said ‘you cannot do that. You have got to leave the audience with some sense of hope and inspiration.’ I knew he was right.”

He ultimately used some photos of a colorful “Grand March for Peace” in Jeju during which supporters walked around the whole island. For music, he ended with an inspiring alleluia chorus from a piece he heard at a concert at the nearby Bowdoin College. “It was amazing how it all came together.”

Tremblay is always asked if the Jeju site can be saved from development as a naval base. The harbor has now been dredged, and the famous landmark Gangjeong Rock has been dynamited to make way for submarine bays. “At this point, my answer is no,” the filmmaker said. “The base is going to be constructed, and the villagers are going to have to move, and they are going to build housing for 8,000 marines, which will envelop the village.”

In discussions after a screening, the filmmaker said, people often ask what they can do. “My response is that with knowledge comes responsibility. And that the least we can do is to amplify the voices of the people of Gangjeong village, and that people can share the film with as many people as they can reach out to. And that is exactly what I see happening now with the film,” he said.

Additionally, the villagers still need support for their efforts to defend their civil rights, Tremblay reflected, and it helps them to know there is support coming from the outside. “They are so beaten down and depressed now, that any support from outside gives them a real boost of energy,” he said.

Looking at the issue more broadly, Tremblay said “If you or I or maybe this film can do anything, it may be to slow down or stop this militarism and the advance of the empire. People get that. That is my real hope. And this film is not going to be one of these one-and-done type feature films, where people see it and forget about it. This thing has taken on a life of its own. It is somehow connecting.”

© 2013 Korean Quarterly

Ghosts of Jeju documentary film

11/09/2013 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm

 

The Invisible Cartel Is Coming After the Real Prize

jfk-6JFK was perhaps the last authentic U.S. President. He was murdered because he went against the ruling elite, the military industrial complex, the FBI, and the CIA. He was a threat to their power so they killed him. (JFK the Unspeakable by James Douglass)

Ever since 1963, every U.S. president has been a puppet in the hands of this oligarchy. Eisenhower’s warning to the American people about the danger of the military industrial complex and their partners in the world banks taking over the country has come to pass.

After 9/11, lets check back on what has happened to the American people, our Constitution, and our civil liberties. “W” signed the Patriot Act and the NDAA effectively stripping Americans of our freedoms and protections under the Constitution. Obama has further trampled on the Constitution by embracing the Patriot Act and the NDAA, by extending and expanding them.

Then came Citizens United, making corporations “people” and allowing the wealthy to buy elections at all levels of government effectively crushing democracy and nullifying our votes.

What is going on in Washington is merely theater to frighten and distract us from what is really going on. The recession and the subsequent bailout of those banks too big to fail was orchestrated by the sinister cartel of oligarchs to steal our money, force millions out of their homes, and drive millions more into poverty.

Every financial crisis over the budget and the debt ceiling is a fraud designed to distract attention from what is really the big prize: entitlement programs. The mainstream papers are already beginning to report “conversations” on capital hill about cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and social uplift programs. These sources report that both Democrats and Republicans are finding “common ground” and agreement.

No mention of the bloated “Defense” budget, or insanely expensive wars that were funded off the books, or the obscene tax breaks for wealthy people and corporations, or the Wall Street criminals who stole our future. The cartel is blaming it on poor Americans and those of us who EARNED Social Security and Medicare throughout our working lives.

Lest anyone forget, most on Congress is on the payroll of the ruling elite. It should be obvious they don’t represent the American people. The latest polls, one after another, indicate that Americans have no faith in the Congress….Democrats and Republicans alike. Really, they are expressing their dissatisfaction with government and that includes the presidency and the Supreme Court as well.

So, what we have now is a Congress full of puppets controlled by the cartel, the shadow government that nobody sees.

Back to the presidents. The cartel builds them up and sells them to the American public as the saviors, only to abandon them when it suits their agenda. “W,” Cheney, Rice and that gang of criminals took it all to another level.

obama_mad_coverAlong came Obama streaking across the skies, out of nowhere. He was sold to America and the world as the savior with Madison Avenue slogans like Change you can believe in, Hope, and Yes We Can. During his first campaign, he made promises to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to bring all of the troops home. He promised to shut down Guantanamo and put an end to “rendition” and torture. Obama promised to prosecute the evil bankers who had defrauded the country. And, Obama promised the most transparent government in history.

The fact is, he lied about all of it, and he continues to lie about the budget, the deficit, that he won’t let them touch Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, and Head Start. Nearly all of his appointments have come from Wall Street. He has prosecuted and hunted down “whistle blowers.” He has his own “kill list” and uses drones everywhere to do it. As for transparency, this administration is the most secretive of all time.

What we have is a government run by Wall Street bankers, the very people behind the recession, the debt crisis, the military industrial complex, and the dismantling of the social safety net.

Obama, in fact, was hand-picked and groomed since his college days by the cartel. The Crown family of Chicago, owners of General Dynamics, a major profiteer from war, along with their partners in the cartel, funded Obama, schooled him in the ways of power, and created the persona who effectively deceived the American public.

The cartel owned the financial pillars, the media and the marketing behind this deception. I went to the polls believing that a vote for Obama was a vote for peace, but Obama and both major parties were committed to endless war, targeted killings, record war budgets, and the systematic destruction of the United States Constitution, as well as U.S. and international law.

And the cartel has used the basic psychological tools of fear mongering, false flag events, and lies to make the American public fall in line. They have also corrupted our educational system with the ridiculous emphasis on testing that every teacher knows if heresy, effectively dumbing down and creating a culture of obedient and subservient slaves. They are attempting to privatize education and our prisons…already well underway.

Look around! Just as in ancient Rome, they entertain us with outrageous and insulting to our intelligence reality TV shows; Ultimate Cage fighting; insidious and endless commercials creating an insatiable appetite to consume; 24/7 sporting events; and an endless cycle of movies that for the most part are destructive to our culture.

None of this has happened by chance. It has all been very carefully orchestrated for many, many years by the cartel of wealthy, elitist oligarchs. Their goal is to consolidate all of the wealth creating the greatest disparity of wealth ever, and power into their own hands and to force the populations of the entire world into subservience. This isn’t new. Every empire, every autocrat, every brutal dictator from time immemorial has done this. And when the pain was so severe, when the oppression became so unbearable and felt by the masses, there were revolutions that overthrew the powerful.

Throughout America’s own history there have been countless revolutions against those who have attempted to control and subjugate the people. There were those who rose up and died opposing slavery. There were those who died and were persecuted for demanding a woman’s right to vote. There were those who died fighting the corporate barons of industry for just wages, safety, the 40 hour workweek, paid vacations, health benefits and the abolition of child labor. More died fighting for civil rights and protesting the Vietnam War.

In the next few weeks, let’s see if Obama apologizes for cutting Social Security and Medicare. He’ll say “we all have to make sacrifices.” Let’s see if Obama approves the XL Pipeline. Let’s see if he puts and end to the NSA spying, to his personal kill list. Let’s see if he continues to try to take away American’s right to own guns. Let’s see if Obama continues to trample on the Constitution, taking away what’s left of our civil liberties.

Let’s see if Obama cuts the war budget, brings all of our troops home, and pours the $1 Trillion annually spent on wars into making America and Americans healthy and hopeful again.

And the really big one…let’s see if he sneaks through the TPP which will effectively be the end-game and the end of democracy, the rule of law, and the sovereign rights of nation states.

Obama and Congress are just pimps, prostitutes, and puppets of the evil, hidden cartel of the oligarchy. Obama and Congress are not in charge. They don’t make policy. They just do what they are told.

So, my guess is we will see all of this begin to unfold in the next few months, and then, let the revolution begin!

 

Who is the Evil One on the Korean Peninsula?

dprk-for-minDeputy Foreign Minister of North Korea, Park Gilyeon gave a speech at the United Nations this week that Neo-Cons, warmongers, and the United States government will ridicule just as they did when the new president of Iran held out an olive branch last week. They will say that it is just a propaganda stunt and disingenuous. The U.S. has used that tagline against everyone that opposes it…forever!

Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, in his speech at the United Nations, focused on respecting the rights of Mother Earth and said that the rights of Mother Earth in the 21st Century will be more important that human rights.

Pres. Morales, said “the origin of this crisis (Climate) is the exaggerated accumulation of capital in far too few hands. It is the permanent removal of natural resources and the commercialization of Mother Earth. The origins come from the system and an economic model of Capitalism. If we don’t share the truth of this crisis with one another nor the international community, we will disseminate a lie to our people whom expect more from their presidents, governments and these kinds of forums.”

Not a word from Obama about protecting Mother Earth, global warming, or climate change.

And prior to speaking at the United Nations, President Morales said in a press conference in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, “I would like to announce that we are preparing a lawsuit against Barack Obama to condemn him for crimes against humanity.”

Morales has filed a lawsuit against the US government for crimes against humanity wherein he decries the US for its ‘intimidation tactics’ and ‘fear-mongering’ after the Venezuelan presidential jet was blocked from entering US airspace.

As if this US bashing wasn’t enough, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil castigated the U.S. for violating Brazil’s sovereignty with what she called a “grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties.” She was referring the the NSA spying on governments and people in her country and the world.

In contrast, President Barack Obama gave an embarrassing, hostile speech filled with lies and innuendo. (David Swanson http://warisacrime.org/content/top-45-lies-obamas-speech-un). Nothing new for the United States to lie and continuously abuse the United Nations. It has been going on for more than 60 years!

But, back to what North Korea’s, Park Gilyeon had to say. First, he said the UN is being abused by high-handedness and arbitrariness where infringement of sovereignty, interference into internal affairs and regime change continue to go unabated under the pretexts of “non-proliferation and human rights protection. Wonder who he’s referring to? Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, Columbia, etc etc etc

Second, he stated that it is the unanimous demand of the international society to completely eliminate all nuclear weapons and to build a nuclear weapon free world through disarmament. Again, no surprise here who wants it both ways. Holding that “BOMB” over everyone’s head is the most egregious act of terrorism ever.

Third, he said despite international efforts for human rights protection and promotion, high-handedness and double standards are becoming ever more undisguised in the UN human rights fora, targeting developing countries selectively as before. I wonder, who could he be referring to with this swipe?

Fourth, he suggested that the UN General Assembly (not the Security Council) should be empowered to have the final say as it represents the general will of the entire membership and UN Security Council resolutions affecting peace and security such as sanctions and use of force should be made effective only under the authority and approval of the UN General Assembly. “The instances of the UN Security Council being abused by a certain state as a tool of its strategic interests should never go unchallenged.” Hmmmmmmm Can’t imagine which state that might be.

Continuing in the same vein, he said “The UN Security Council reform which is the key component of UN reform should be undertaken on the basis of principles of ensuring accountability, transparency and impartiality in its activities and ensuring full representation of developing countries in its composition.” And, why not?

Fifth, he states emphatically, “nothing is more precious than a stable and peaceful environment for the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and the Korean people….as the general objective of the government.” What? They want peace and stability and not war?

Sixth, “60 years have passed since the end of the ….3-year-long war and the singing of the Armistice Agreement….Yet, a mechanism that guarantees peace fails to be in place, as a result of which the unstable situation neither of war nor peace continues on the Korean peninsula.” This is because the U.S., not Russia and China wanted it so. Only the USA did not remove its forces after the Armistice as did both Russia and China.

Then he blasts the U.S. directly and unequivocably…”With an aim of militarily dominating the northeast Asia with the Korean peninsula as a stepping stone, the United States, having designated the DPRK as its first attack target, beefs up its military presence in South Korea and its vicinity and on the other hand, stages a series of war exercises against the DPRK every year with massive builds up of hundreds of thousands of troops and modern military equipment, thus aggravating confrontation and tension without letup.” He must be talking about Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” committing 60% of America’s naval might to the region….not a secret operation, but a bold pronouncement. (The Ghosts of Jeju)

Mr. Park, reminds us that “The United Nations Command,”  is the illegal manipulation and bullying of the U.S. and has nothing to do with the United Nations, and that “UN Command” claimed by the U.S. is the outdated legacy of the Korean War and continues to serve the U.S. military strategy by abusing the name of the United Nations even today.

He then moves in with the knockout punch when he states, “the repeated vicious cycle of mounting tension on the Korean peninsula has its roots in the hostile policy of the U.S. on the DPRK. He goes on to say, “the United States designated the DPRK…as its enemy from the very first day of its foundation and has been refusing to recognize its sovereignty and imposing all sorts of sanctions, pressures and military threats on the DPRK for more than a half a century. The only way to ensure lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula is to bring the U.S. hostile policy to and end.” AMEN to that!

We don’t see Russia or China, Iran or N. Korea staging war games off Manhattan, L.A. and in the Gulf of Mexico. We don’t see anyone placing missiles and radar installations on our borders. Why is it that America’s strategic military efforts always seem to be on other sovereign nations’ borders?

But Park concludes with a plea for a peace mechanism dismantling the “UN Command” and the lifting of all sanctions and military threats without delay, and for the reunification of the country.” That’s precisely what the Korean people….I say, people want! Unlike the puppet S. Korean government which is controlled and held hostage by the USA. But, the people want unification and peace.

Was any of this reported in the American media? Think again! These are hardly threatening words coming from a rogue state threatening the security of the United States. In contrast, Obama continues to threaten anyone who doesn’t go along. He threatens with drones and his own personal “kill list.” He threatens with over 1,000 bases in more than 130 countries.  He threatens with sanctions and military threats everywhere on the planet.

Here at home, in “the land of the free” he imprisons whistle blowers like Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, and hunts down others like Julian Assange and Eward Snowden, even trying to intimidate China and Russia in the process. Furthermore, he extends the Patriot Act and the NDAA whereby he can detain anyone indefinitely without charges for protesting the illegal and immoral behavior of his administration, and he funds and empowers the militarization of local law enforcement to beat down popular uprisings like Occupy.

As if this isn’t enough to prove who is the “evil” in the world, he refuses to shut down Guantanamo and approves of torture and rendition for suspected “terrorists.”

President Morales put his finger on the root cause of all the problems facing human existence: “the exaggerated accumulation of capital in far too few hands. It is the permanent removal of natural resources and the commercialization of Mother Earth. The origins come from the system and an economic model of Capitalism.”

Capitalism, the military industrial complex, and a government of puppets bought and paid for by big money and large corporate interests. Far from being “exceptional,” the defender of freedom and human rights, America today looks more like fascism than a force for good in the world.

And as all of this plays out in the United Nations, this corrupt government is shut down and threatening to default on its debt payments which will throw the entire global economy into chaos. But fear not! Essential services like the War Department are exempt.

What an example of democracy, freedom, and exceptionalism!

 

 

 

 

Proof Washington Doesn’t Work For US

Shutdown capitolI’m not outraged at the government shutdown. Actually, I think it might be one more important step in the meltdown of the entire system which does not represent the people. In my opinion, it can’t come soon enough!

For as long as anyone can remember, Congress and the White House have been co-opted by Wall St, corporations, and the military industrial complex. Since the Wall St. bailout, income disparity between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of us is the largest since the 1920’s. The middle class is disappearing, and the ranks of the poor are expanding. The unemployed and under-employed are struggling and will never catch up in this environment.

The people in Washington, and that includes all the lobbyists and special interests groups, have kept the focus on greed and deception. They’ve succeeded in dividing Americans on everything from guns and immigration, and from healthcare to voting rights, all the while ignoring the most serious problems facing the U.S. and the planet.

So, while the planet continues to warm at a pace that will make life as we know it unsustainable in the next fifty years; while we do nothing to rid the planet of fossil fuels much less invest in renewable energy; while our educational system lags far behind the rest of the world; while college education is unaffordable; while our infrastructure is in disrepair; while states and municipalities are strapped and unable to provide basic services; and while those people in Washington continue to spend $1 Trillion a year on the business and export of war, they shut down the entire system that should be focusing on everything but Obamacare.

In two weeks, Washington will again play this ugly game of brinkmanship over raising the debt ceiling which will throw the entire U.S. and world economies into chaos, and will really put the hurt on everyone, including the 1% who risk losing their fortunes. Not even the greedy plutocrats want to see that happen. Maybe that would be a good thing. Maybe the order of the world would be transformed.

The answer to all of this is quite simple in my mind. A fundamental change is taking place, a natural, evolutionary demise of “the great American Way of Life” is underway. Claims of “exceptionalism” ring hollow. The belief that unlimited power and full-spectrum dominance can create a Pax Americana is falling apart. Perpetual war and an ever-increasing War Department budget not only has bankrupt the country economically, but morally.

The country that invented the atomic bomb, used it twice and continues to use it as a weapon of domination is on a march to destroy the planet either by its use, or by its inability to convert those war dollars into saving the planet.

With just $1 Trillion spent on the war machine every year, just about every problem in the world could be solved: poverty, hunger, clean water, clean renewable energy for everyone, education for everyone….Naive? I think it is naive to believe that Washington can solve any of these or do anything that is good for America and mankind. So, maybe, just maybe this meltdown is a good thing. From my point of view, that’s optimistic. Thinking that the present cast of thieves in Washington can do any good provides little hope for anything but more of the same.

The Ghosts of Jeju – Update

Disc_TemplatesPeople the world over like The Ghosts of Jeju, yet 10 of 13 film festivals have rejected it. Currently, only the Berkeley Film Festival and the Portland, Maine Film Festival have accepted it.

To date, the film has been screened in several states, and over a dozen countries, all with wonderful reviews. Screenings are now being organized in Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Portland, OR, and Seattle where I will present the film. Other screenings are in the planning stages for Charlottesville, VA, Chicago, and Daytona Beach, Fl.

So, while mainstream outlets have shown no interest in the documentary, peace and justice organizations and veterans groups are spreading it far and wide.

006 Fr. Mun et al main gateThe latest news from Jeju indicates that construction of the base continues at a frantic pace, and construction of a new U.S. Naval Operations Headquarters in Busan is underway. Without fail, the activists and Catholic priests and nuns block the gates seven days a week and where Catholic mass is celebrated daily at 11 am.

Three activists are still serving lengthy jail sentences among them Professor Yang, the noted Korean film critic who was visited by Oliver Stone when he visited Jeju in August.

My plea in The Ghosts of Jeju was that with knowledge comes responsibility, and the least all of us can do is to amplify their voices. In addition to letter-writing, sending donations to Gangjeong Village, and going there in person, one of the best ways is to use The Ghosts of Jeju to tell their story.

003 Tetrapods crane wallThe Ghosts of jeju will not stop the construction of this base which will destroy Gangjeong, a 400 yr old farming and fishing village, but perhaps it is playing a small role in opposing the military advance of the United States and the march towards full-spectrum dominance of the planet.

My Reply to Washington Post Column by Gene Robinson

Robinson argues that America IS exceptional. I begged to differ.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/yes-vladimir-america-is-exceptional/2013/09/12/4b234320-1be2-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html?hpid=z3

America is no more exceptional than any other nation, village or tribe. Exceptionalism and The American Way of Life are the two biggest lies that have corrupted what could have been a grand experiment in democracy and the land of the free.

It is rather obvious that this exceptional nation has killed more people in wars of aggression to control and extract the earth’s resources than any other nation. This exceptional nation has used the most horrific weapons to commit genocide beginning with the Native Americans, the Philippines, dozens of countries in South and Central America, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. America has used napalm, white phosphorous, Agent Orange, depleted Uranium, and the most devastating and indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction of all, the Atomic Bomb. Not once, but twice. And, America has been threatening the world with the use of it again should any nation dare to challenge the imperial advance.

I guess in a way, that makes America exceptional. But look what exceptionalism has done to the American people: the greatest income disparity since 1927; foreclosures; good manufacturing jobs shipped overseas; a neglected infrastructure; a under-funded and lousy school system; college debt crippling graduates; the elimination of social uplift programs; the attacks on Social Security and Medicare; no universal health care; tens of thousands of injured vets without proper care; and trillions of dollars of debt. And oh, the nation with the most incarcerated people on the planet, and Guantanamo.

But there’s more. The Patriot Act, the NDAA, and the spying of the CIA, FBI, and NSA have all but deprived us of our freedoms and classified any who speak out against these evils as terrorists.

Vlaidimir Putin is not without fault. Russia itself has a terrible record of repression. He accomplished two things: he forced America to look in the mirror, and he slam-dunked Obama. Neither what we see in the mirror nor Obama are particularly pretty.

Vladimir Putin Was Right

putinI posted this in the comment section of the NY Times re the OP ED Valdimir Putin penned today. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html

Putin was dead on! America is no more “exceptional” than any other nation, tribe, or people. That is one of the biggest myths-lies ever perpetrated on the American people.

It is shameful and ironic that the Peace Prize president couldn’t and didn’t pen this op ed!

Kudos to Vladimir Putin for this Op Ed….America has demonized EVERYONE who has disagreed with her….and America has used that demonization to justify murdering millions of people of color all over the world. Russia certainly has not done that.

America is the only country to have used chemical weapons, napalm, white phosphorous, depleted Uranium, nerve gas, and the Atomic Bomb, not once, but twice.

Putin doesn’t have his own personal “kill list” that he reviews each week in his situation room. Putin isn’t ordering drone strikes that kill innocent men, women, and children. Putin isn’t attacking and destabilizing countries. Putin isn’t ratcheting up an arms race in space. Putin hasn’t shifted 60% of his military might to the Atlantic and Pacific. Putin is not placing a missile defense system on America’s borders. Putin doesn’t have a Guantanamo. Putin isn’t guilty of a rogue NSA and CIA.

Russia is no longer and really never was the enemy. Washington, the military industrial complex, the big banks and the oligarchs who profit from war are the enemy.

Americans need to look in the mirror and turn in disgust from what we see.