Category Archives: Veterans For Peace

Oliver Stone Visits Jeju

I will let this article in the Hankyoreh English version newspaper speak about Oliver’s visit to Jeju this past weekend.

http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/598369.html

Oliver Stone joins Jeju residents’ battle against naval base

Posted on : Aug.5,2013 12:00 KST

 

Film director Oliver Stone shakes hands with priests and brothers Moon Jeong-hyun (right) and Moon Kyu-hyun at a concert supporting the opposition to the construction of a naval base in Gangjeong Village, Jeju Island, August 3. (by Ryu Woo-jong, staff photographer)

Acclaimed director is touring Asia in criticism of the US government’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy

By Huh Ho-joon, Jeju correspondent “Ever since the Second World War, the US has been building military alliances and setting up military bases overseas. A lot of those bases are in Japan and Korea. Jeju Island is less than 500 kilometers from Shanghai. It could end up on the front lines if a military conflict breaks out between the US and China.”

Internationally renowned filmmaker Oliver Stone said this about the naval base currently under construction on Jeju Island. The 67-year-old director, whose works on the Vietnam War include “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” met with the Hankyoreh on Aug. 3 at the Peace Center in Gangjeong Village in Jeju.

Noting the US’s overseas military strategy, Stone said the issue with the Jeju base was “global, not regional.”

“The Obama administration has adopted a ‘pivot to Asia’ strategy as a way of containing China,” he said. “It’s similar to the way the Soviet Union was contained during the Cold War. And in its push to do this, Washington has built or is building military alliances not just with South Korea and Japan, but with the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Cambodia, and Myanmar. It’s a foolish, paranoid strategy.”

In view of this strategy, the Jeju naval base may be a military extension of the US forces, who could eventually end up using it, Stone said.

The director said he came to Jeju after seeing documentaries by US directors on Gangjeong Village and the April 3 Uprising of 1948 and reading articles on the villagers battle against the construction.

“I wanted to see for myself,” he said. He arrived on the island on Aug. 2 for a three-day stay.

As soon as he arrived, he went to visit film critic Yang Yun-mo, who was arrested while campaigning against the base, as well as people involved in the Grand March for Life and Peace, an event organized to call for a halt to the construction. On Aug. 3, he went to see activists opposing the base in their battle against police at the construction site in Gangjeong – a visit that left him looking very troubled.

“They’re calling the people who oppose the base ‘pro-North Korea,’ but that’s a very simplistic expression and their methods are easy to attack,” Stone said. “But the residents and activists are very sincere about their home, their rights, and this beautiful island of Jeju.”

He also spoke on environmental concerns, noting the base was “destroying beautiful soft coral reefs and contaminating the water.”

“I’ve heard that Jeju water was some of the cleanest and best in the world,” he said. “What happens when it ends up getting polluted?”

“The Gangjeong residents and activists aren’t alone in their battle against the base. This is going beyond South Korea and turning into a worldwide issue,” he continued. “I don’t know how this battle is going to go, but the residents’ fight will not be forgotten.”

Following his trip to Jeju, Stone plans to head to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where atomic bombs were dropped during the Second World War. There, he plans to attend a conference opposing atomic and hydrogen bombs before traveling on to Okinawa, site of a large US military base.

My Reply To A Portland Press Herald Editorial

First of all, let me state right away, my son is in the Army and just re-enlisted. He’s deployed to Afghanistan. I love my son and have always supported him in all of his endeavors. Like so many, 9/11 was a challenge to fight the enemy “over there.” Like millions of others, he couldn’t find a job and saw in the Army a career with benefits, paid for education and healthcare.

Supporting the troops should not mean supporting the wars, always based on lies, they are sent to fight by wealthy people in Congress and the White House, whose kids rarely ever go to war. They send other kids to war to fight the wars of the multinational corporations in order to extract resources: oil, minerals, fruit, vegetables and water. And, in the process, millions upon millions of innocent, indigenous people are murdered. Their towns, infrastructure, and ecosystems are obliterated by the unrestrained use of force.

It is a very sad commentary on this nation, whose number one export is weapons of war. More than 60% of our tax dollars go to the war department. How do they pay for the ever increasing war machine and the endless wars? They take it out of social uplift programs, education, infrastructure repairs and improvements, investments in renewable energy, and they even take it out of veterans’ and active duty benefits.

Not only are we not permitted to see the caskets coming home from these wars, but we never see or hear about the millions of innocent Iraqi, Pakistani and Afghan men, women, and children who are shot in cold blood, or killed as collateral damage by hellfire missiles fired from unmanned drones piloted from bases back here in the U.S.

Americans aren’t paying much attention to these wars as we did during the Vietnam conflict because without the draft, the wars do not touch the vast majority of American families. However, through sequestration, everyone is beginning to feel it when states no longer receive federal funds, and cities and towns no longer receive state funding because our tax dollars are paying for these wars. Sequestration is also hitting the military which will cut back on troops, but not the billions spent on war ships and stealth fighter planes and bombers.

Supporting our troops can only mean one thing: bringing our war dollars home along with all of our kids. America now outspends the next 14 countries combined for war and that includes Russia and China, and the rest are allies.  The reason is not national security. The reason is because war is profitable and the military industrial complex owns Congress and the White House.

War is a lie. It is not about spreading democracy and freedom. It is not about uplifting the nations we invade. One just has to look honestly at every war America has fought since Korea. In spite of the overwhelming and unrestrained might of the United States, America has lost every conflict against poorly equipped insurgents.

After 60 years, the conflict in Korea is not over. Four million Koreans were killed in that conflict. One million were civilians. North Korea was bombed and napalmed until there were no more targets left. In Vietnam, millions were bombed and napalmed. Entire villages were strafed and napalmed. The countryside and forests were reduced to nothing by Agent Orange.

No one can possibly think that America did any good in Iraq. That country was totally devastated and millions of noncombatants were killed or left maimed for life.

America is now ready to leave Afghanistan, worse off than ten years ago. Victory was never in sight. But, will America ever leave? Not if one listens to the disgraced top general David Petraeus who said there are trillions and trillions of dollars of rare minerals in Afghanistan that American capitalist must have.

Americans must look in the mirror and ask themselves was any of it worth it?

Support the troops, our sons and daughters, by forcing Washington to bring the troops home and bring our war dollars home so we can re-build America.

Wonderful OP ED on The Ghosts of Jeju

Judith Hicks wrote this for the local newspaper in Colorado. I had to share it with you.
Dear Editor:  “The Ghosts of Jeju” by independent filmmaker Regis Tremblay of Maine, may be the most important documentary film available to Americans today.  Recently released, it’s already being shown around the world, and is sure to heavily impact the way people far and wide view not only American military activity, but all war.       Tremblay has said, “Hardly anyone in America is aware of the story I tell in The Ghosts of Jeju…”  I’ve followed Jeju’s plight for about two years via reports from Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, and just watched this compelling film for the fourth time this week- very unusual for me!  Its production is superb, its effect heart rending.   Jeju Island is a tiny Korean “crown jewel” only twenty miles by 45 miles, located sixty miles south of the mainland.  Gangjeong Village on Jeju’s southern shore, has been populated for five hundred years by peaceful indigenous farmers, fishermen, and their families.  Two rivers of unpolluted, pure drinkable water flow through Gangjeong.  At the seashore lies (or did) a large mass of black volcanic rock named Gureombi which villagers believe to be alive, part of their own hearts and souls, and deeply revered.  Surrounding waters are home to the largest coral reefs of their kind in the world,with gorgeous, bright, vari-colored corals; and several other rare forms of marine life, including bottlenose dolphin.  So rare an area on planet earth, it has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Please note:  UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, established in 1946 to “advance mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples”.          Sadly, against the villagers’ will, and contrary to UNESCO principles, all the biggest problematic planetary issues have converged upon this tiny, historically peaceful island, making it a symbol reflecting not its name of “Island of Peace”, but everything the world’s peace movement is challenging:  violation of human rights, ecological devastation, forceful domination- including impending forced relocation of indigenous people.  The plan is to relocate the villagers, and replace them with housing for 8,000 military personnel (and predictably, strip malls, brothels and bars).            Constant, prolonged protest (nearly six years) by villagers, mainland Koreans, and countless activists from around the world, these peaceful villagers now experience depression, often physical injuries from confrontations wih “authorities”, sometimes even lengthy jail time.  Still, every evening they persist in joyous dance to counteract depression and to keep their spirits high..             Salida Regional Library now owns a DVD copy of The Ghosts of Jeju.  I cannot recommend this film highly enough.  Check it out, view it with friends and neighbors, as it’s certain to evoke deep feelings and heartfelt conversation.  Also, see www.savejejunow.org    Order online-www.theghostsofjeju.com or send US $23 to Regis Tremblay 209 River Rd., Woolwich, ME 04579        If you think Jeju is too far away to matter to you personally, see for yourself what’s happening.  There’s much more to this story- don’t miss it!            Sincerely, Judith E. Hicks

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Manning & Snowden: What Would Nuremburg Have Done?

Bradley Manningshetterly_snowden-1152px

 

 

 

 

 

Nuremburg Principle VI –

“The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

(b) War crimes:

Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(c) Crimes against humanity:

Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

Principle VII

Principle VII states, “Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.”

The present administration and the United States Military consider Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden as traitors while most of the rest of the world consider their actions as heroic and patriotic.

Both acted out of conscience because they had information about war crimes and violations against international law committed by the United States. It was their duty, according the Nuremberg Principles, to expose those crimes. It was their duty to reveal to the American people what their government had been doing in our name.

Nuremburg Principle VI –

“The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

(b) War crimes:

Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(c) Crimes against humanity:

Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

Principle VII

Principle VII states, “Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.”

The United States has blatantly ignored international law and widespread international opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were based upon lies, and is guilty of the crimes against peace outlined above in part a), and very clearly guilty of murder, ill-treatment (torture – Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib), the wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan).

Principle VII is key in the prosecution and persecution of Manning and Snowden and all whistleblowers because it states very clearly, “complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.”

Unfortunately, only the defeated are tried and convicted under these principles. Ironically, the United States has lost every war since Korea, yet was never conquered or forced to surrender, yet because there are no challengers to its military dominance, America does not submit to trial or judgment by any international body or nation. Might does not make right!

Manning and Snowden did for America and the world what the corporate-owned media should have been doing all along. Only an informed population can take action to re-direct the course this country has been on. It is quite clear that we are all subjects of a tyrannical government that makes a mockery of the Constitution, tramples on individual freedoms, and wantonly kills millions and millions of innocent civilians, while it destroys the environment and sensitive ecosystems.

America’s war policy is quite clear in the words of General Curtis LeMay ,who commanded the carpet bombing and firebombing of Germany, the firebombing of Japan and subsequently dropping the Atomic bomb, and the carpet bombing and napalming of Korea and Vietnam, “if you kill enough of them, they quit fighting.” LeMay also said, “soldiers are always going to be confronted with the moral aspects of war, but if they let that bother them, they’re not good soldiers.”

In Iraq, the United States killed millions of innocent men, women, and children and completely devastated the entire country. “Shock and Awe.” In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the United States has indiscriminately killed civilians and committed massacres for ten years with unmanned drones and boots on the ground.

It is beyond belief that the president of the United States personally orders the elimination of perceived enemies with his own personal kill list.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice et al, as well as Obama, Clinton, Panetta and the rest are the real traitors and war criminals whom Manning and Snowden have revealed to America and the world.

 

Going to VFP National Convention in Madison, WI

convention_logo

From August 7-11, I’ll be attending the annual convention of the Veterans For Peace with my friend and fellow member Dan Ellis. I joined the VFP last year as an associate member since I am not a veteran, but because one of my sons is in the active military.

I am happy to report that my chapter of the VFP, Tom Sturtevant #001, was the first chapter in the entire country. After viewing the trailer of The Ghosts of Jeju, the members voted to send me to Madison where the film will be screened on Friday, August 9th.

There’s more good news to report. Bruce Gagnon, also a member of our Tom Sturtevant chapter, has been on a speaking tour that has taken him from Sweden near the North Pole to Hawaii, The Philippines, and all the way down to Australia. Along the way, Bruce has screened the film and given away many copies of the film.

This is what Bruce had to say after the screening in Sweden at the annual meeting of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space:

“It was a smashing hit….people were crying and they were clapping at the end…..I handed out the DVD’s strategically to key leaders in various Swedish cities, and from Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Japan and Mexico…..people passed the hat to send money to the village but I insisted they keep the money towards sending a representative from Sweden to the village ASAP……they loved the music, the story, and the resistance…..many people sent congrats to you….it’s was a European opening night showing……5 stars. Add Russia to list of places I sent DVD home with….a man who works directly for Putin.”

People from around the world and the U.S. have been ordering the film. Meanwhile I have entered it into 13 film festivals, including Sundance, Boston, New Hampshire, San Diego Asian, Portland and Camden, Maine. I’ve also entered the film in the two big festivals in S. Korea, the Seoul and Busan International Film Festivals. Paying the application fee doesn’t guarantee the film will be accepted, so I’m waiting with fingers crossed hoping that one or two will screen the film.

Here in Maine, the film will be screened on Sunday, August 18th at the Grace Episcopal Church in Bath. It is sponsored by Addams-Melman House, The Global Network, EPF-ME, PeaceWorks, the Women’s Int’l League for Peace and Freedom, Peace Action ME, and the Campaign to Bring Our War Dollars Home.

Other screenings are being organized in the Boston area, Washington, D.C., Portland, OR, and Charlottesville, VA.

Peace For Gangjeong March 2013

Jeju March 2013The indomitable spirit of the people of Gangjeong continues to inspire as they prepare for the 2013 Grand March for Life and Peace around Jeju Island. My film, The Ghosts of Jeju, declares, “the least we can do is to amplify their voices,” for with citizenship in America and the world, comes responsibility.

The people of Gangjeong are not alone in this struggle opposing the U.S. military expansion. All of the islands of the Pacific from Hawaii to Okinawa, to Guam, The Philippines and all the way down to Australia are rising up against American imperialism as the U.S. uses fear and power to coerce their leaders to either build or open up their ports and bases to the American military.

The myth of “national security,” is being foisted on the nations of the Pacific and Southeast Asia to instill fear that China and Russia have evil intentions to dominate the region. The U.S. military has made it perfectly clear their intentions are to encircle China and Russia, to impeded their growth by controlling access to the world’s resources, and to dominate the earth through a so-called Pax Americana. In other words, full-spectrum dominance through the use of unparalleled force on the earth, the seas, in the air and in space.

One must ask: is this really making the earth safer? Joint military exercises in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, encircling Russia and China with anti-ballistic missiles, the use of satellites to control the “battlefield” and for spying, remote controlled drones for indiscriminate killing, pivoting 60% of America’s naval might to Pacific and Southeast Asia can only be seen as provocative, threatening, and the raising of tensions in the region.

I recently did a search on the internet to find out how many times the U.S. had used military interventions in foreign lands. As an American with an undergraduate degree in U.S. History, I was shocked. Since 1798, barely 20 years after the founding of the country, the U.S. has intervened 188 times all over the globe, and that does not include World Wars I and II. The U.S. has even invaded China and Russia. And, in the process the U.S. has murdered millions and millions of innocent people to gain access and control over their resources.

America was not threatened by any of those sovereign nations nor by their indigenous peoples, nor was it America’s intention to spread freedom and democracy around the world. America sent troops to secure American “national interests,” which is manipulated language meaning the interests of the capitalist who needed fruit, rubber, rare earth minerals, and gas and oil to make money.

Since the very beginning of the U.S., white men imposed their beliefs upon a new nation under the myths of freedom and democracy, with liberty and justice for all…..meaning their own kind. The founders were mostly business men and slave owners. Women and slaves were considered property and could not vote. This group of elite, white capitalists believed not only in white supremacy and a patriarchal society,  but believed that “their” America was exceptional and blessed by god. They got most of us believing it.

Imperialism is as old as civilization. Among the empires were the Greeks and Romans, the Ottoman Empire, and the empires of Europe and Asia. It was the Europeans who discovered the Americas in search of gold and riches which they found in abundance to replenish the depletion of resources in their own territories. Blessed by the Catholic Church and their kings and queens, these white explorers murdered millions and millions of indigenous peoples throughout North and South America believing that these peoples were savages, and something less than human beings. Entire cultures were destroyed

These white, European nations even fought wars among themselves in the Americas to stake their claims to the “New World” and its riches. Because they were more powerful and “civilized” they had no regard for those who had inhabited the Americas for thousands of years. Just like women and slaves, these indigenous peoples had no rights and no claim to the land.

Genocide and the extraction of resources has defined the history of the European empires. Their belief that the earth’s resources belong to the stronger, almost always blessed by the Church, are at the core of the American empire and the belief in American exceptionalism.

Resource extraction and control over those resources to fuel the American Way of Life have been the reasons for each an every military intervention of the United States.  Like every previous empire, the American empire and the American Way of Life are in decline. The signs of this decline are everywhere. Governments are corrupt and beholding to the corporations. The labor movement, equal rights, and social uplift programs are being destroyed and weakened. Manufacturing jobs, except for military purposes, have gone where there is cheap labor and few restrictions on the corporations. Our roads, highways, and bridges, as well as the nation’s infrastructure are in disrepair. Education is no longer free, but being controlled by the wealthy and the military industrial complex. Income disparity has grown astronomically. The U.S. is #1 in the world in prison populations. Climate deniers and industry lobbyists have made the search for renewable energy and the creation of good, living-wage jobs impossible.

The elite, white capitalists have addicted the population to sports, entertainment, and the need for more stuff. People are more interested in sports, movie stars, celebrities, and reality TV shows than they are in what is happening to their freedoms. Inundated by advertising, deprived of an education that fosters critical thinking,  duped into believing they need the latest technological gadget, and thirsting for more violence on TV, the movies, and ultimate cage fighting, Americans have been conveniently sedated and distracted.

Long gone is the independent, free media that was our protection against government overstepping its boundaries. Today, all of the mainstream media are owned by a handful of large, multinational corporations. What is fed to the American public as news, is highly refined propaganda that reinforces the lie of the great American Way of Life.

Fear and lies have always worked to control the masses, and the elite, white capitalists are using fear and lies to limit our freedoms and Constitutional rights. During the Cold War it was fear of Commies, Reds, and Russia. Today, in addition to fear of Russian and Chinese Communism,  it is fear of terrorism. It works to perfection. Because of fear, most Americans have willingly given up their rights to privacy and their civil liberties.

Furthermore, the national security and surveillance state which includes the militarized local police, campus security guards, and even game wardens, have violently put down and suppressed peaceful protests. Anyone who opposes the state is a domestic terrorist and can be detained indefinitely without due process guaranteed by the Constitution.

So, why is it that so many Americans cannot penetrate the myths and the lies? It is precisely because the myths of freedom and democracy have been ingrained in the population, not by chance, but by design. American capitalism is the evil in the world today, subjugating the people of America and the world to their imperial designs. It is because the majority of Americans do not believe they have power to do anything about it. It is because the 1% has systematically divided the population over scores of issues. There are so many issues facing this country now, so many ominous warning signs that most cannot get their minds around them all. Most Americans are just trying to survive on a day to day basis and do not have the time or the energy to become informed, much less get involved in an active way.

U.S. History as it has been taught, patriotism, the flag, parades and patriotic march music, the stories of American heroes from George Washington, Davie Crocket, to Eisenhower and Patton have cemented the myth of American greatness while conveniently sanitizing the evil motives and the unrestrained and immoral violence and killing that have characterized U.S. intervention in the world.

This system, The American Way of Life is unsustainable because it recklessly depletes the planets resources. The system, based on consumption, itself is destroying the planet. In order to grow and maintain the economy and the American Way of Life, people need to consume more and more and that cannot happen without the suicidal dependance on oil, which in turn is threatening all life on the planet. Most Americans simply cannot conceive of any other way.

The people of Gangjeong know that LIFE and JUSTICE are at stake in the world.  They know the struggle isn’t just against American militarism, war, and capitalism, but the struggle for survival. And that is why this year they march again for Life and Justice. For without Justice, there is no freedom, there is no peace, and life as we know it is not sustainable on this planet.

With citizenship on the planet comes the responsibility to join in this struggle for Life and Justice. The people of Gangjeong and Jeju Island cannot be left to fight this battle alone.