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.
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!
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.”
Seoul is a very large, modern, metropolitan city of about 20 million nestled in mountains. The citizenry live in high-rise apartment buildings and since real estate is at a premium, everything goes “up.”
New buildings and old coexist making for very interesting neighborhoods. Tiny side streets twist and turn through neighborhoods while the main arteries are wide and very busy with cars, trucks, motorcycles and scooters everywhere.
I put together this fun little video showing how busy and how commercialized it it. Without wanting to offend anyone, I have not seen this level of consumerism in America.
Never expected to discover what you will see in this short video.
First of all, Seoul is MORE commercialized that even NYC! Shops galore. Street vendors with food, drink, trinkets, souvenirs, clothes, phones….you name it!
Tall skyscrapers…all with corporate logos….the multinationals are alive, well, and dominating here.
The women are elegant, beautiful, and very poised. The younger ones look just like our kids…they wear Adidas, Abercrombie, Nike, etc. Tons of American baseball team hats. Way too many NY Yankee hats. Oh, and did I say, the women love to show as much leg as possible.
The streets are very clean, but very congested.
Lest I forget….the food is fabulous. Koreans, like Europeans, know how to eat AND drink. I love the food…and getting used to Kimchee! The rice wine is awesome…it looks like milk, but tastes nothing like milk or wine. Also drank local beer which is awesome, and the one traditional liquor is good and 19% alcohol. You don’t drink much of that.
By the way, whenever someone fills your glass or cup, you MUST hold it with TWO hands. And when pouring, one hand pours and the other holds onto the pouring bicep. And, the part I like the most….you NEVER, NEVER lift your glass unless everyone else hoists theirs and over a jovial toast!
Not sure if I’m supposed to be having such a good time. But, stay tuned….things are about to get interesting.
Every Wednesday outside of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, many women gather to protest and demand an apology from the Japanese for using Korean women and girls as sex slaves.
Today, a very large crowd of men, women, and children of all ages gathered along with lots of police and military to listen to speeches, chant, sing, and dance. The energy in the crowd was palpable.
Fortunately, there was not a confrontation with the police and they were not dressed in riot gear. No pepper spray either.
This is just a very short clip to give a feel of some of the action. I am amazed at the consistency and perseverance of the Korean people.
At the end of the video you will see one of the few surviving victims of those atrocities. Note also the children and young adults who are participating.
First impressions: these people know how to stage direct action! I’m told that various groups have been protesting many issues and they don’t back down from the police.
Departed from Boston’s Logan airport after spending the night in a motel. Flight left right on time at 9:10 am for a 2 hr flight to Detroit. Sitting next to me in the middle seat was Delta Airlines pilot Grant Proops, who immediately greeted me. It was somewhat of a serendipitous meeting since we shared a great deal in common on a variety of topics.
Grant lives near Boston and was on his way to join a Detroit-based flight crew that would make several flights this day. I had a Sam Adams while Grant had lunch. Before I new it, my plane was boarding for Seoul.
The Boeing 777 was completely full. Thank goodness I had secured aisle seats. The 3 meals were wonderful, with snacks and free wine and beer in between. I watched 3 moves during the 14 hr flight and could not sleep a wink! Took several walks up and down the aisles so got to stretch my legs and everything else that I could move.
Going through customs and immigration at Inchon was a breeze, and my bags were waiting on the carousel when I got there. Unfortunately, Fr. Pat Cunningham, a Columban missionary priest from Ireland, and I missed each other. That resulted in an hour-long cab ride that cost $90….Later found out the bus would have only cost about $6.
The Columban Missionary Center in Seoul is a very large complex. I’ll have some video in another blog. It has been pouring down rain since I arrived. Attached here is a short clip of my room…..very comfortable.
I think I’m going to spend a few days here to take in the sights and maybe even go up to the DMZ. Patrick will be going down to JeJu on Sunday and I think I’m going to fly down with him. The round-trip ticket is supposed to be about $140. That will save me another full day.
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, and it is on that principle that the media (print, TV, and radio) has been referred to as the “fourth branch of government.” Informing the public by a free, independent, and objective media was supposed to protect us from tyranny.
This is a far cry from what the media has become today. In 1983, 90% of the American media was owned by 50 companies. In 2012, six giant media corporations control 90% of what we read, watch, and listen to.
All of the networks are controlled by giant corporations whose agenda is not to educate and inform the public, but to influence and brainwash the public. Left-wing and right-wing media only present what advances their agenda, the agendas of their corporate owners. We’re told what to think, what to buy, and how to vote, all the while we are distracted from all seriousness by a constant diet of reality shows, movies, and sports. We are being entertained and drugged by the controlling elite.
At a time when the American middle class is dissolving because manufacturing jobs have been shipped to third-world countries, and those that remain offer low pay, fewer benefits, and no retirement. 40 million Americans are without healthcare and millions have lost their homes. And, yet, we continue to sleep through it all, finding refuge in a digital never-never land.
But, all is not without hope. All over the planet, thanks to an open and free internet, truth is being told by individuals who blog, broadcast and produce TV shows who document the real stories the people of the planet need to know.
John F. Kennedy, our last great president, in one of his historic speeches reminds the nation’s press of it’s obligations as the 4th branch of government. In it he warns against the threat of a closed society and “the very grave danger that the need for increased security will be seized upon those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.”
Since 2001, we have witnessed the erosion of nearly all of our constitutionally protected rights. Fear of terrorism, domestic and foreign, has led to increased surveillance and the formation of a police state whose agents instill fear and punish dissent.
For decades, our leaders have withheld the truth about assassinations, wars and corruption at the highest levels of government, commerce, and finance. Because of this, humanity is on the brink of destruction as resources are pillaged, populations are murdered, cities are bombed, and billions of people are forced into poverty and starvation.
JFK warned about a “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies on covert means to expand its sphere of influence and achieve its goals… It is a system that has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. It’s preparations are concealed and not published. It’s mistakes are buried, not headlined. It’s dissenters are silenced not praised. No expenditure is questioned. No rumor is printed. No secret is revealed.”
Fifty years ago, JFK foresaw the creation of the world we live in today that is controlled by an elite few with the American military enforcing their domination and extraction of resources in every corner of the globe.
Kennedy pleaded with the press to help in the tremendous task to inform the American people. Sadly, the media, being co-opted and controlled by that “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy,” has failed miserably and it has led to the erosion of our civil rights and the eradication of our Democracy. JFK died because he stood up to the military industrial complex – the Department of War – and those who would conspire to destroy our freedoms and outlaw dissent.
In listening to one of the greatest speeches by any president, I was on the one hand inspired, but on the other greatly disturbed to realize what JFK warned about over 50 years ago represents the reality of our current situation in America and the world.
In the spirit and hope of a free and open society based upon an informed public, I share this incredible and timely speech of one of America’s great leaders.
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin survived a recall election on June 5, 2012 thanks to $60 million in outside money and $10 million from the Koch brothers. In what was a contentious and divisive contest that has lasted for months, a record number of Wisconsinites turned out to vote.
It all began last year when the Tea Party governor and his Republican controlled legislature passed legislation taking collective bargaining rights away from public employee unions as a way to close the state’s budget gap. As a result of the attack on public unions, tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the capital building and grounds for days and began the recall drive that collected over 900,000 signatures.
There were no winners in this election except for corporations and the super-rich. This is so for the following reasons. First, the state remains bitterly divided. Walker succeeded, in his own words, by “dropping a bomb and dividing and conquering.” This is all part of an ALEC blueprint being played out in Republican controlled legislatures across the country and in Congress where right wing radicals, the ponds in this scheme, have succeeded in bringing our government and our democracy to the brink.
Furthermore, the Democrats won back control of one senate seat in the recall and now can completely block Walker’s agenda and create gridlock. Not much good will happen to improve the lives of the working people of Wisconsin, and NO jobs will be created. People have got to stop believing this bullshit. It doesn’t trickle down. Never has. Never will.
Second, because of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allowed unlimited and undisclosed amounts of obscene money in elections, corporations (naturally bent on busting unions to increase their bottom lines), Super PACs, special interests, and the obscenely rich contributed more than $60 million to put Walker over the top. His opponent, Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, trailed far behind with only $18 million raised. When factoring in the money each campaign raised, the disparity was 7-1.
This demonstrates just exactly why the super-rich and corporate dollars have trumped our voices in elections. Because “money is speech,” Scott Walker is not beholding to the people of Wisconsin but to the Koch brothers and super rich who contributed to his campaign.
Consider this: the number of registered, corporate lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 to more than 34,750 who lavished $3.5 Billion on the 535 members of Congress in 2010 alone! That’s millions of dollars for every U.S. Senator and member of Congress. Corporations and the rich own Congress and us!
This very same agenda is being played out in the presidential election and in state elections all across this land. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars to buy politicians and to win elections.
Third, there is no shortage of money – anywhere – except in the pockets of the poor and the middle class. Productivity has risen steadily over the past 30 years. Corporations have been earning record profits. The only problem is the 1% have increased their wealth by 361% over that period while the wealth of the 99% has remained flat or decreased. More and more of the middle class are falling into poverty while the richest 1% have tripled their share.
CEOs and financial industry employees made more than all 16 million unionized employees in the United States, and they made as much as all 17.5 million full-time government workers in the United States.
And, as if to pour salt in the wound, the richest 1% pay less in taxes than the average American. According to the IRS, the wealthiest 6 families in the United States reported an average income of $202.4 million, down for the second year as the Great Recession slashed their capital gains.
In addition to the six who paid no tax, another 110 families paid 15 percent or less in federal income taxes. That is less than half what the rest of us pay!
Overall, the top 400 paid an average income tax rate of 19.9 percent. The top 400 earned five times that much every day. Corporations like G.E. and Exxon Mobil not only do not pay taxes, but receive huge government subsidies! And yet, the Republicans and their Tea Party rogues would have us believe that cutbacks in social services, infrastructure, education, pensions, and more taxes on the working class are required to balance the budget!
Corporations, Congress, and state legislatures are victimizing the working class and blaming us for all of our problems. Americans has been duped into believing that unions, government workers, and the poor are the problem in this country. This is the biggest scam in the history of the United States. No wait, it is the biggest heist in our history.
Fourth, Americans still cannot see that the Republicans and Democrats we elect do NOT represent us. We are still locked into the belief that America is a democracy where everyone has a vote and that our elected politicians represent us. This is a myth that blinds us as to who is really in control of the economy, defense, agriculture, energy, and education.
At the top of the pyramid are a small group of wealthy families who control the Federal Reserve, Wall St, and the banks, that in turn lend money to corporations. Those corporations in turn contribute billions of dollars each year buying the members of Congress, who in turn do their bidding.
George Carlin was prophetic and way ahead of his time in this famous piece on “its a big club and you ain’t in it.” It is a must watch, even if you’ve seen it before.
We’re not talking just about corporations like Proctor & Gamble, Kraft, Coke, Pepsi, and Disney. We’re talking about the military industrial complex and the Department of Defense that soak up 60% of our tax dollars every year! They are the corporations that are building warships, advanced fighter jets, bombers, and drones. They are the corporations that have turned space into a giant spy network and into the battle ground of the future. They are the corporations that are manufacturing rockets and missiles and all of the weapons we sell all over the world. America’s largest export, by far, is weapons and military technology!
Here’s what the scheme looks like.
You can see this graphic and a stunning documentary @ thrivemovement.com
And for what? The answer to that question is frightening. 1) to control the world’s resources: oil, water, precious and rare metals, and food; 2) to dominate and control the planet and space; and 3) to control us by neutralizing our voices in elections and doing away with our constitutionally protected rights of free speech, peaceable assembly, and the redress of grievances to our government.
Don’t believe it. Watch this video of Paul Weyrich, the founder of ALEC, the shady, right wing organization behind the Republican assault on workers, the middle class and the poor.
The Walker recall and every other election are merely distractions that serve to continue the myth that the politicians we elect represent us and are capable of caring for the common good when, in reality, they are doing the bidding of the rich and powerful. The only thing that governments do in this scheme is to collect our hard-earned money, control our lives and keep us in check.
The recall in Wisconsin is nothing more than an expensive side-show designed to deceive and distract while the 1% continue to plunder the planet and make serfs of 99%.
On December 7, 2011, the Portland, Maine City Council will hold an open hearing on the future of the camp at Lincoln Park. The City deserves praise for not resorting to violence and threats in dealing with the people who have been camping in the park for two months. It seems that the city and the Portland police have respected the right of protestors to exercise free speech and have exercised understanding and patience while much of the rest of the country has resorted to violence and brutality on innocent citizens.
However, I believe the city has legitimate concerns about health and safety issues at the camp such as the danger of fire. Smoking and the use of propane heaters in proximity to bails of hay and straw surrounding tents is a tragedy waiting to happen. Concerns about cleanliness in the preparation of food is also another legitimate public health concern.
Serious discussion about the future of the encampment has been ongoing for two weeks and many of the occupiers are resigned to being evicted. Before it comes to that, it would be best if the occupiers would leave on their own and seek a compromise with the city to allow the dome, library, and an information tent in Lincoln Park as a focal point for the protest and a visible symbol of the movement.
Unfortunately, all of the attention by the media has been on the camps and violence while the core messages of corporate greed, political corruption, and the crimes committed by Wall St. and the banks have been ignored.
The fact that occupiers of the camp are mostly homeless people says more about the city’s homeless policy than it does about the Occupy movement. Most of the 99% live at home; we work, raise families and pay our bills. The park should be available as a focal point for the exercise of freedom of speech and public discourse on the state of the union.
Not everyone is talking about the camp. Here’s what some of Maine’s 99% had to say on Sunday in a strategy sessions looking to the future of the movement.