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3 NATO Ships Sunk, 15 Senior NATO Personnel Held Captive In Benghazi

Leonor conveys the degree of censorship we are under, how little we are actually being told, from NATO atrocities to NATO losses.

The 15 NATO personnel abducted are talked about at 8 min 35.

 

 

Source: Pakalert Press

Israel Created Hamas to Avoid Peace

Israel created Hamas as an excuse to wage war on the Palestinians. For example, on May 18, a Hamas MP said all Israelis must be annihilated. This is a perfect excuse for Zionists and their supporters to forestall the peace process.This report suggests the Hamas MP could easily work for Israel.

by David Livingstone

(abridged by henrymakow.com)

The Israelis created Hamas.  But before we explore why, let’s be clear  that Israel does not want peace.  They want all of Palestine, and their belligerent settlement practices confirm that.

But the Israelis are taking advantage of the world’s ignorance of the realities in Palestine, and posturing as being willing to talk “peace”, only to actually stall that very peace process, so as not to interrupt the further colonization of Palestine.

So anything that can be offered as an excuse, will be.  The most convenient ploy, presented with the sycophantic assistance of the media, is that of “terrorism”.

But the masses are naive, and fail to suspect the Machiavellian extremes that certain leaders will resort to.  This includes creating a false enemy, in this case, Hamas, whereby the right-wing leadership of the Israelis can point the finger to some “enemy” to blame for supposedly stalling the process.

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

 

The West’s sponsorship of Islamic terrorism is nothing new.  After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1924, the British and Americans filled the vacuum by providing their own versions of “Islamic” leaders.  This started with the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood through a grant from the British.  Under British sponsorship, the Brotherhood today represents a powerful force in the Islamic world, and is behind almost every act of terror in the name of Islam.

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Under British sponsorship, Muslim Brotherhood is behind almost every act of terror in the name of Islam

More correctly, the Brotherhood has been a tool shared by numerous Western intelligence agencies, starting with the Nazis, followed by the CIA, but also the Russians, French, Germans and Israelis.

Since the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, the Muslim Brotherhood has been used to rally naive Muslims under the banner of Islam.  Ever since, the Americans and others have been able to manage the Brotherhood like a rabid dog on a leash to keep the atheist Communist threat at bay.

With the collapse of the Cold War however, the Brotherhood has been used as the bogey man which the Americans can chase into the Middle East and Central Asia, starting with Iraq and Afghanistan.

Israel’s long-standing relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood was instrumental in the founding of an offshoot organization, Hamas.

According to Robert Dreyfuss, author of “Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam”:

“And beginning in 1967 through the late 1980s, Israel helped the Muslim Brotherhood establish itself in the occupied territories.  It assisted Ahmed Yassin, the leader of the Brotherhood, in creating Hamas, betting that its Islamist character would weaken the PLO.”

According to Charles Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia,

“Israel started Hamas. It was a project of Shin Bet [Isreali domestic intelligence agency], which had a feeling that they could use it to hem in the PLO.”

One aspect of that strategy was the creation of the Village Leagues, over which Yassin and the Brotherhood exercised much influence.  Israel trained about 200 members of the Leagues and recruited many paid informers.

New York Times Reporter David Shipler cites the Israeli military governor of Gaza as boasting that Israel expressly financed the fundamentalists against the PLO:

“Politically speaking, Islamic fundamentalists were sometimes regarded as useful to Israel, because they had conflicts with the secular supporters of the PLO.  Violence between the two groups erupted occasionally on West Bank university campuses. Israeli military governor of the Gaza Strip, Brigadier General Yitzhak Segev, once told me how he had financed the Islamic movement as a counterweight to the PLO and the Communists.  ‘The Israeli Government gave me a budget and the military government gives to the mosques,’ he said.”

As Dreyfuss notes, “during the 1980s, the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza and the West Bank did not support resistance to the Israeli occupation.  Most of its energy went to fighting the PLO, especially its more left-wing factions, on university campuses.”

After the Palestinian uprising of 1987, the PLO accused Hamas and Yassin of acting “with the direct support of reactionary Arab regimes… in collusion with the Israeli occupation.”

Yasser Arafat complained to an Italian newspaper:

“Hamas is a creation of Israel, which at the time of Prime Minister Shamir, gave them money and more than 700 institutions, among them schools, universities and mosques.”

Arafat also maintained that Israeli prime minister Rabin admitted to him in the presence of Hosni Mubarak that Israel had supported Hamas.

Essentially, as analyst Ray Hannania pointed out, in “Sharon’s Terror Child”, published in Counterpunch,

“undermining the peace process has always been the real target of Hamas and has played into the political ambitions of Likud.  Every time Israeli and Palestinian negotiators appeared ready to take a major step forward achieving peace, an act of Hamas terrorism has scuttled the peace process and pushed the two sides apart.”

In “Hamas and the Transformation of Political Islam in Palestine”, for Current History, Sara Roy wrote:

“Some analysts maintain that while Hamas leaders are being targeted, Israel is simultaneously pursuing its old strategy of promoting Hamas over the secular nationalist factions as a way of ensuring the ultimate demise of the [Palestinian Authority], and as an effort to extinguish Palestinian nationalism once and for all.”

 

CONCLUSION

The Muslim Brotherhood, and its many manifestations like Al Qaeda and bin Laden, serve as an ever-present and manufactured “terrorist” threat, used constantly as a pretext to justify repressive measures at home and expanded imperialistic objectives abroad.

Because, despite all the rhetoric about the threat of “political Islam”, unbeknownst to the general public, the manipulation of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the world is still a mainstay of American foreign policy.

Russia Says IMF Chief Jailed For Discovering All US Gold Is Gone

A new report prepared for Prime Minister Putin by the Federal Security Service (FSB) says that former International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged and jailed in the US for sex crimes on May 14th after his discovery that all of the gold held in the United States Bullion Depository located at Fort Knox was ‘missing and/or unaccounted’ for.

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Federal Security Service (FSB)

According to this FSB secret report, Strauss-Kahn had become “increasingly concerned” earlier this month after the United States began “stalling” its pledged delivery to the IMF of 191.3 tons of gold agreed to under the Second Amendment of the Articles of Agreement signed by the Executive Board in April 1978 that were to be sold to fund what are called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) as an alternative to what are called reserve currencies.

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Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn

This FSB report further states that upon Strauss-Kahn raising his concerns with American government officials close to President Obama he was ‘contacted’ by ‘rogue elements’ within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who provided him ‘firm evidence that all of the gold reported to be held by the US ‘was gone’.

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‘Rogue elements’ within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who provided former International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn ‘firm evidence’ that all of the gold reported to be held by the US ‘was gone’

Upon Strauss-Kahn receiving the CIA evidence, this report continues, he made immediate arrangements to leave the US for Paris, but when contacted by agents working for France’s General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) that American authorities were seeking his capture he fled to New York City’s JFK airport following these agents directive not to take his cell-phone because US police could track his exact location.

Once Strauss-Kahn was safely boarded on an Air France flight to Paris, however, this FSB report says he made a ‘fatal mistake’ by calling the hotel from a phone on the plane and asking them to forwarded the cell-phone he had been told to leave behind to his French residence, after which US agents were able to track and apprehend him.

Within the past fortnight, this report continues, Strauss-Kahn reached out to his close friend and top Egyptian banker Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar to retrieve from the US the evidence given to him by the CIA. Omar, however, and exactly like Strauss-Kahn before him, was charged yesterday by the US with a sex crime against a luxury hotel maid, a charge the FSB labels as ‘beyond belief’ due to Omar being 74-years-old and a devout Muslim.

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In an astounding move puzzling many in Moscow, Putin after reading this secret FSB report today ordered posted to the Kremlin’s official website a defense of Strauss-Khan becoming the first world leader to state that the former IMF chief was a victim of a US conspiracy. Putin further stated,

“It’s hard for me to evaluate the hidden political motives but I cannot believe that it looks the way it was initially introduced. It doesn’t sit right in my head.”

Interesting to note about all of these events is that one of the United States top Congressman, and 2012 Presidential candidate, Ron Paul has long stated his belief that the US government has lied about its gold reserves held at Fort Knox.  So concerned had Congressman Paul become about the US government and the Federal Reserve hiding the truth about American gold reserves he put forward a bill in late 2010 to force an audit of them, but which was subsequently defeated by Obama regime forces.

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Is There Gold in Fort Knox?

When directly asked by reporters if he believed there was no gold in Fort Knox or the Federal Reserve, Congressman Paul gave the incredible reply,

“I think it is a possibility.”

Also interesting to note is that barely 3 days after the arrest of Strauss-Kahn, Congressman Paul made a new call for the US to sell its gold reserves by stating, “Given the high price it is now, and the tremendous debt problem we now have, by all means, sell at the peak.”

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Congressman Ron Paul has long stated his belief that the US government has lied about its gold reserves held at Fort Knox

Bizarre reports emanating from the US for years, however, suggest there is no gold to sell, and as we can read as posted in 2009 on the ViewZone.Com news site:

“In October of 2009 the Chinese received a shipment of gold bars. Gold is regularly exchanges between countries to pay debts and to settle the so-called balance of trade. Most gold is exchanged and stored in vaults under the supervision of a special organization based in London, the London Bullion Market Association (or LBMA). When the shipment was received, the Chinese government asked that special tests be performed to guarantee the purity and weight of the gold bars. In this test, four small holed are drilled into the gold bars and the metal is then analyzed.

Officials were shocked to learn that the bars were fake. They contained cores of tungsten with only a outer coating of real gold. What’s more, these gold bars, containing serial numbers for tracking, originated in the US and had been stored in Fort Knox for years. There were reportedly between 5,600 to 5,700 bars, weighing 400 oz. each, in the shipment!”

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Chinese officials were shocked to learn that the bars were fake. The gold shipment contained a tungsten core with a thin coating of real gold. These tested gold bars originated in the US and had been stored in Fort Knox for years.

To the final fate of Strauss-Kahn it is not in our knowing, but new reports coming from the United States show his determination not to go down without a fight as he has hired what is described as a ‘crack team’ of former CIA spies, private investigators and media advisers to defend him.

To the practical effects on the global economy should it be proved that the US, indeed, has been lying about its gold reserves, Russia’s Central Bank yesterday ordered the interest rate raised from 0.25 to 3.5 percent and Putin ordered the export ban on wheat and grain crops lifted by July 1st in a move designed to fill the Motherlands coffers with money that normally would have flowed to the US.

The American peoples ability to know the truth of these things, and as always, has been shouted out by their propaganda media organs leaving them in danger of not being prepared for the horrific economic collapse of their nation now believed will much sooner than later.

More convincing video of Jerusalem UFO comes to light

Source : Pakalert Press

Wake Up BD & Pakalert Press reported on an incredible UFO sighting along with accompanying video clip. The event occurred in Jerusalem at 1am on the Saturday morning. A UFO descended to the level of the Dome of the Rock/Temple Mount before zooming off skywards. Since we broke the story the Internet has buzzed with talk abut this sighting. Unconfirmed reports of other witnesses have surfaced, along with a third clip of the event that many believe is a hoax and a parody.
Now a fourth video of the event has surfaced. This video was supposedly taken by a group of Israelis visiting the Old City of Jerusalem.
The shown footage in this latest clip appears more substantially more convincing than the other clips.

Unknown Light Object Landed and Tookoff in Jerusalem, Israel

Source : Pakalert Press

Recent UFO video of strange unknown light in the sky over Jerusalem in Israel. This video was recorded on Friday, 28th January 2011 around 1 am.

Witness report: This morning around 01:00 AM at the promenade of Armon Hantziv in Jerusalm, i was witness(with another guy), an amazing ufo aircraft over Jerusalem old city (mount Moriah) Dome of the Rock,Temple Mount, (قبة الصخرة, הר הבית).
What is the meaning of this sighting ???

Chinese Troops Deploying In North Korea

Source : Pakalert Press

Terrence Aym Salem-News.com

Hwanggumpyong
Hwanggumpyong, North Korea photo courtesy: wikimapia.org

(CHICAGO) – South Korea’s daily newspaper is reporting that what Western analysts have feared has happened: Chinese troops have been deployed into North Korea. The Chinese now have a presence in the rogue state for the first time in more than 15 years.

China has had no military presence in the rogue country since 1994 after it quit the Military Armistice Commission that supervises the Armistice that suspended the Korean war.

Since that time, Pyonyang has stridently announced that it will no longer abide by the agreement. During 2010 the North Korean government officially declared that it is once again in a state of war with South Korea and the U.S.

The South Korean government confirmed reports on January 18, 2011 that China has stationed military forces in the special economic zone of Rajin-Sonbong.

It’s a move on China’s part that has seen U.S. and South Korean military experts rushing back to reprogram their war games scenario computers.

A week earlier, the South Korean daily newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, carried quotes from a government official wishing to remain anonymous. The official who works for the South Korean president stated that Party leaders in Beijing and Pyongyang’s leaders recently held “substantive” talks about the need to station Chinese troops in the troubled region.

“North Korea and China have discussed the issue of stationing a small number of Chinese troops to protect China-invested port facilities,” said the official. “The presence of Chinese troops is apparently to guard facilities and protect Chinese nationals.”

The unnamed official further revealed that the Chinese planned to deploy their troops in the city of Rason, within Rajin-Sonbong, a special economic zone located in North Korea’s northeastern quadrant.

The reasoning behind the Chinese troop deployment is presumably to afford protection for Chinese ports that might be at risk if a war breaks out on the Peninsula, but South Korean analysts consulted by the paper point out that the targeted location positions the troops in a militarily strategic location.

The city gives the Chinese direct access to the Sea of Japan.

One senior South Korean official downplayed the report saying that it only permits China to come to North Korea’s aid in the event of greater North Korean instability.

Pyongyang and Beijing have reportedly discussed the matter of stationing a small number of Chinese troops in the Rajin-Sonbong region to guard port facilities China has invested in,” a Cheong Wa Dae official said. “If it’s true, they’re apparently there to protect either facilities or Chinese residents rather than for political or military reasons.”

The government of North Korea has grown increasingly dependent upon their giant communist neighbor. As the North’s economy continues to deteriorate their saber-rattling has become increasingly bellicose. During December of 2010 they warned that they were ready to annihilate any aggressor and would be more than willing to defend themselves with their nuclear stockpile.

Military nuclear experts estimate the North now has between six to twelve nuclear weapons. None have been successfully modified to arm missiles yet.

The South Korean paper also reported that Seoul’s International Security Ambassador Nam Joo-Hong believed that China had the capability to rush large numbers of troops into the North if extreme stability became evident.

“The worst scenario China wants to avoid is a possibly chaotic situation in its northeastern provinces which might be created by massive inflows of North Korean refugees,” Chosun Ilbo quoted Nam as saying.

Catch the rest of this article on Helium.com.

5 Simple Ways To Prepare For The Coming Food Crisis

Source : Pakalert Press

Activist Post

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Recently there has been an incredible flurry of news reporting about food shortages and the pending global food crisis. Everyone who looks at the indicators would agree that this crisis is only likely to worsen.  It is estimated that the Australia floods alone could cause a 30% jump in food prices. Although the average shopper already can feel the food inflation, it is difficult to recognize the severity of the looming food shortages.  After all, there are still 15 types of colorfully-boxed Cheerios packing the isles, which gives us the illusion of abundance.

The truth is that we are headed for large food production shortfalls, manipulated or not, while middle-class food demand grows massively in the developing world.  For decades the world’s agriculture community produced more than enough food to feed the planet, yet some now believe we are reaching “Peak Food” production levels.  In turn, other experts believe the “food bubble” is about to burst, and not even the biotech companies can save us.

However, there are still vast unused stretches of fertile land that can be used around the globe, and the U.S. ethanol mandates that reportedly consume at least 25% of the corn harvest could be reduced to ease the burden. Therefore, it seems that despite the extreme weather and dwindling harvests, food production still has room to increase, but not without foresight and planning.

Additionally, the current systems for growing food are fully dependent on oil to achieve high levels of production, while livestock production is running at full concentration-camp capacity; the end product must then travel thousands of miles to get to store shelves.  Clearly we can see the fragile nature of this system, especially on human health and the environment.  Consequently, solving the so-called “food crisis” is far more complex than simply fixing statistical supply and demand issues.

Indeed, these are turbulent times where humanity appears to be nearing Peak Everything. Ultimately, solutions to the food crisis will begin at the local level. There are cutting-edge farming techniques gaining popularity that produce a large variety of crops by mimicking nature, as well as innovative techniques for small-scale food production at home or in urban buildings. These hold promise for easing local hunger.

Personal ways to protect yourself from food shortages may seem obvious to some, but many feel the task can be insurmountable. To the contrary, here are 5 simple ways to protect yourself from the coming food crisis:

1. Create a Food Bank: Everyone should have a back-up to the everyday food pantry.  In this environment, you should consider your personal food bank far more valuable than a dollar savings account.  Start by picking up extra canned goods, dried foods, and other essentials for storage each time you go to the store.  Also, hunt for coupons and shop for deals when they come up.  Devise a plan for FIFO (first in, first out) rotation for your food bank. It is advisable to acquire food-grade bins to store your bulk dried foods, and be sure to label and date everything. Besides the obvious store-able foods like rice and beans, or canned goods, some other important items to hoard are salt, peanut butter, cooking oils, sugar, coffee, and powdered milk.  If you don’t believe the food crisis will be too severe, then buy items that you would eat on a normal daily basis.  But if you believe the crisis will be sustained for some time, purchasing a grain mill to refine bulk wheat or corn may prove to be the most economical way to stretch your food bank.  Some emergency MREs are also something to consider because they have a long shelf life.

2. Produce Your Own Food: Having some capacity to produce your own food will simply become a necessity as the food system crumbles.  If you don’t know much about gardening, then start small with a few garden boxes for tomatoes, herbs, or sprouting and keep expanding to the limits of your garden. And for goodness sakes, get some chickens.  They are a supremely easy animal to maintain and come with endless benefits from providing eggs and meat, to eating bugs and producing rich manure.  Five laying hens will ensure good cheap protein for the whole family.  If you have limited growing space, there are brilliant aquaculture systems that can produce an abundance of fish and vegetables in a small area.  Aquaculture is a contained organic hydroponic system where the fertilized waste water from the fish tank is pumped through the vegetable growing trays which absorb the nutrients before returning clean water to the fish tank.  Set high goals for independent food production, but start with what’s manageable.

3. Learn Food Preservation: Food preservation comes in many forms such as canning, pickling, and dehydrating.  In every case some tools and materials are required along with a good deal of knowledge.  If you can afford a dehydrator, they all usually come with a preparation guide for most foods.  You can also purchase a vacuum sealer if you have the means.  A good vacuum sealer should come with thorough instructions and storage tips, and will add months if not years to many food items.  If you’re a beginner at canning, start with tomatoes first.  It’s easy and very valuable when all your tomatoes ripen at the same time and you want fresh pasta sauce in the winter.  A bigger ticket item that is nice to have for food preservation is a DC solar powered chest freezer.  It is the ultimate treasure chest.

4. Store Seeds: The government and the elite have seed banks and so should you.  Seeds have been a viable currency in many civilizations past and present.  They represent food when scarcity hits.  Before the rise of commercial seed giants like Monsanto, local gardeners were adept at selecting seeds from the healthiest plants, saving them, and introducing them to the harvest for the following year, thus strengthening the species. Through local adaptation to pests, genetic diversity was further ensured; it was long-term thinking at its finest. That is why it is important to find heirloom seed banks and learn to save seeds from each harvest.

5. Join or Start a Local Co-Op: Joining local cooperatives is very important, especially when food shortages occur. You may not be able to provide for yourself completely, especially in terms of variety, so having a community mechanism to spread the burden and share the spoils will be critical.  If you don’t know if you have a local food cooperative in your area you can search the directory at LocalHarvest.org.  You may also be able to get information from your local farmers market.  If your area doesn’t have a co-op, then start one.  These co-ops don’t have to be big or elaborate.  In fact, it may be more optimal to organize it with friends, neighbors, or co-workers.  Whether you join or start a cooperative, work to expand the participants and products.

Please tell us how you’re preparing by sharing your story in the comment section.

War for the People; Profit for the Bankers

Source : Pakalert Press

The Federal Reserve was set up in 1913 to finance both sides of two subsequent world wars. In other words, these wars were funded by the credit of the US taxpayer.  Apart from profiting from  it , the Illuminati bankers use war to enslave us with debt, enact social change and consolidate their power .

by Hamad Subani

(Excerpt from “The Federal Reserve as an Instrument of War” )

The Federal Reserve has helped underwrite continued American military expenditures, even after the World Wars. As of 2009, “Defense” accounts for 23% of all American Federal spending. And therefore, the gargantuan size of the American Federal debt is related to the continuation of American military interventions abroad.

If we assume that such systems are primarily instruments of war, can we also infer that the World Wars could have been prevented in their absence.

Most of us naively assume that the Federal Reserve only underwrote the American war effort. This is not the case. In World War II, the Lend-Lease program was used to ship supplies worth $759 billion to other countries involved in the war.

Some of these countries, such as Soviet Union and China, cannot be considered belligerents. Even more bewildering is the fact that the inflated dollars churned out by the Federal Reserve managed to find their way into Nazi Germany, through American private “investments.”

Once we discard the myth that Germany recovered after World War I like a punching doll, it appears that the rearmament of Germany was largely the effort of Americans “investing” the new American dollars produced by the Federal Reserve.

One such  case is that of the German chemical conglomerate, I.G. Farben, which was central to the rearmament of Germany. It had on its board of directors Paul Warburg, who also sat on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Warburg is considered to be the mastermind behind the creation of the Federal Reserve System. Other board members of I.G. Farben also sat on the boards of Ford Motor Company and the Rockefeller-owned Standard Oil. Suspiciously, the main I.G. Farben complex in Germany managed to avoid Allied bombing during the war.

War is a profitable enterprise. But the destruction of economies also hampers profits for banks and major commercial entities. An investigation into the motives of The Powers That Be with respect to the World Wars is beyond the scope of this paper. And this aspect cannot be fairly understood while fixating on monetary profit.

But if we give credence to fringe historians, we can arrive at some basic conclusions. It could be that monopoly capitalists in the United States, such as J. P. Morgan realized the limitations they faced in the Western world.

And so, they decided to expand outside the Western world, creating societies free of the limitations they faced in the West. In both the World Wars, only the Soviet Union made notable territorial acquisitions.

While offering a panacea to capitalism, the Soviet system created an unprecedented concentration of power, creating a form of monopoly state capitalism, which was highly favored by The Powers That Be.

The Soviet Union may have thus been a modern day colony of “capitalists” based in places like New York and London. Notable capitalists took trips to the Soviet Union as if it were a country club.

Since the Soviet Union did not allow private investment, these visitors may have had a direct stake in the Soviet Empire. While the United States spared no effort in creating a military industrial complex to counter the Soviet Union, actual operations against the Soviet Union were half-hearted.

For example, the Vietnam War forced many Vietnamese people to ally with the Soviets.

Out Of Control – The Risk Of A New Korean War

by Gregory Elich

An artillery duel between North and South Korean forces on November 23 has set in motion a series of events which threaten to spiral out of control.

On November 22, South Korea began its annual military exercise, involving including 70,000 troops, dozens of South Korean and U.S. warships and some 500 aircraft. The following day, South Korean  artillery stationed on Yeonpyeong Island began a live ammunition drill, firing shells into the surrounding sea.

The island is situated quite near to the North Korean mainland, and lies in disputed waters. At the end of the Korean War in 1953, U.S. General Mark Clark unilaterally established the western sea border to North Korea’s disadvantage. Rather than in a perpendicular line, the Northern Limit Line was drawn to curve sharply upwards, handing over islands and a prime fishing area to the South that would otherwise have gone to North Korea. The North, having had no say in the delineation of its sea border, has never recognized the Northern Limit Line.

(1)  South Korean troops have been based on the island since the end of the Korean War. There is also a small fishing village in close proximity to the military base; unavoidably so, given that the island is less than three square miles in size.

In response to the South Korean announcement of an impending artillery drill, North Korea telephoned the South Korean military on the morning of November 23, urging them to cancel plans to fire shells into what the North regarded as its territorial waters. The North warned that if the drill proceeded, they would respond with a “resolute physical counter-strike.”

(2)  Nevertheless, the artillery drill proceeded and four hours later, North Korean artillery fired on the island. In the first round, 150 shells were shot, of which 60 hit the island. Then 20 more shells were fired in a second round. In all, four people on the island were killed and 18 wounded.

(3)  The South Korean military telegraphed the North, asking them to cease, but to no avail. Then their artillery returned fire at the North, firing 80 shells. One shell directly hit a North Korean military barracks. Although many of the shells appeared to have inflicted little damage, an official at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff noted, “Satellite images show our shells landed on a cluster of barracks in North Korea, so we presume there have been many casualties and considerable property damage.”

(4)  Facing a barrage of criticism from domestic hawks for having responded in too tepid a manner, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young resigned from his position. Yet the South Korean response probably could not have been increased significantly without risking a wider conflict.

During the drill, South Korean artillery on Yeonpyeong Island fired in a southward direction, away from the North Korean mainland, and this was not the first time that such drills had been conducted. North Korean forces could have made their point sufficiently by splashing some shells into the sea. Instead, they overreacted in a manner that manifested an inexcusable disregard for human life by targeting the island.

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Why the North did so can best be explained by recent developments in relations between the two Koreas. This was, after all, the first artillery duel between the two nations in forty years, so something led to it.

President Lee Myung-bak of the conservative Grand National Party took office in February 2008, vowing to reverse the Sunshine Policy of warming relations with North Korea. The government of Lee’s predecessor, Roh Moo-hyun, had signed several agreements on economic cooperation with North Korea, including joint mining operations in the North. Lee killed every one these agreements, ensuring that they would never be implemented. The railroad leading from the South to the North, which had just been reconnected under former President Roh, is now closed for good. That project had promised to benefit both Koreas, providing the South with a cheaper and more convenient route for shipping goods to China and Russia, and giving the North added income through user fees. South Korean tourist operations at Mt. Kumgang in the North are closed. Reunions of family members separated by the border have stopped. The only remaining remnant of the Sunshine Policy is the presence of South Korean firms operating at an industrial park in Kaesong, North Korea, and its days are probably numbered.

Then there was the incident in which the South Korean corvette Cheonan was sunk, in May of this year. In a stacked investigation, South Korea concluded that a North Korean submarine had targeted the vessel with a torpedo. The evidence, however, does not fully back that assertion and a Russian team’s investigation determined that an accidental encounter with a sea mine was a more likely cause.

(5) North Korea’s repeated requests to participate in an investigation, or to at least view the evidence, were consistently rebuffed. Instead the Lee Administration utilized the incident to further sour relations between the two Koreas.

Perhaps most significantly, when Roh Moo-hyun was president of South Korea, emergency communication channels were established between the two Koreas, specifically for the purpose of opening dialogue and limiting or preventing armed conflicts whenever they arose or threatened to do so. On a number of occasions, those communication channels stopped potential conflicts before they either occurred or escalated. Those channels no longer exist, thanks to Lee’s dismantling of agreements with North Korea, and as a result four South Koreans and an unknown number of North Koreans are now dead.

(6) That North Korea would feel threatened is not surprising. Its economy is crippled by the imposition of draconian Western sanctions, and the annual South Korean-U.S. military exercises are intended to intimidate. Furthermore, the rhetoric from Washington has been unremittingly hostile, and now with a more conservative government, so is South Korea’s.

Nor is North Korea unaware of the fact that in February 2003, President Bush told Chinese President Jiang Zemin that if the nuclear issue could not be solved diplomatically, he would “have to consider a military strike against North Korea.”

(7)  One month later, Bush ordered a fleet into the region, including the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Six F-117 Stealth bombers were sent to South Korea, and nearly 50 fighters and bombers to Guam. The possibility of military action was on the table, Bush told a South Korean official.

(8) Due to the efforts of China and South Korea’s progressive president at the time, Bush chose dialogue, albeit offset to a large degree by his imposition of further sanctions against North Korea. It has also certainly not gone unnoticed by North Korea that any halting diplomatic efforts have ceased altogether once President Obama took office. And with the pronounced deterioration in relations set in motion by President Lee Myung-bak, his administration has made it clear that he has no interest in diplomacy either.

Following the clash over Yeonpyeong, China called for dialogue and a reduction of tensions, sending envoys to both South and North Korea. It proposed that the six nations that had at one time participated in denuclearization talks, South and North Korea, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia, meet for emergency discussions “to exchange views on major issues of concern to the parties at present.” The meetings would not be a resumption of talks on denuclearization, although China hoped that “they will create conditions for their resumption.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei stated, “The starting point for China proposing emergency consultations is to ease the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and provide a platform of engagement and dialogue.”

(9) The Chinese proposal should have been welcomed as the only sensible approach to the problem. But officials of the Obama Administration condemned China for being “irresponsible” by putting forth such a proposal. Instead, they urged China to get on board with the program of pressuring North Korea and further escalating tensions and the risk of war. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs snottily dismissed the proposal by saying that the U.S. and other nations “are not interested in stabilizing the region through a series of P.R. activities.”

(10) South Korea, too, rejected China’s proposal. The U.S., South Korea, and Japan willfully misrepresented China’s proposal as merely being a call for a resumption of the six-party talks on denuclearization. Domestic audiences were not hearing that the proposal’s purpose was to prevent further conflict. Instead, Japan said that talks would be “impossible” under the circumstances, while a South Korean official said that President Lee “made it clear that now is not the time for discussing” six-party talks.

(11) Indeed. Not when one’s goal is to further inflame the situation. To further that objective, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is meeting with the foreign secretaries of South Korea and Japan to map out a common program in dealing with North Korea.

(12) It goes without saying that dialogue with North Korea will not be part of that program.

President Lee has promised to take a much harder line on North Korea, and already the South has sent 400,000 propaganda leaflets across the border on balloons.

(13) There has also been talk of resuming loudspeaker broadcasts across the border. The sending of leaflets was in violation of a 2004 agreement between the two sides to halt propaganda campaigns aimed at each other.

By the end of December, South Korea plans to hold another round of artillery drills on islands lying in disputed waters, including, dismayingly enough, Yeonpyeong Island. Nothing could be calculated to be more provoking under the circumstances. In preparation for the response to the drills that are expected from North Korea, island defenses are being beefed up. South Korea has added multiple rocket launchers, howitzers, missile systems and advanced precision-guided artillery to the Yeonpyeong arsenal.

(14)  According to a South Korean official, “We decided to stage the same kind of fire drill as the one we carried out on the island on November 23 to display our determination.”

(15) The new drills appear calculated to provoke a conflict, and this time South Korea is intent on an asymmetrical response. The military is revising its rules of engagement so as to jettison concerns about starting a wider conflict. If former Defense Minister Kim Tae-young is to believed, if there is another North Korean strike, then warships and fighter jets of both South Korea and the U.S. will launch attacks on the North.

(16) Incoming Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin is if anything even more determined to fan the flames of conflict into a wider conflagration. The South Korean military will immediately launch “psychological warfare,” including, presumably, loudspeaker broadcasts across the border. The North has promised to target loudspeakers if they are put in operation,  and that would in turn provide the pretext for the South Korean military to launch combat operations. If there is another exchange of fire with the North, Kim announced, “We will definitely air raid North Korea.” All combat forces available would be mobilized, he promised.  The newly minted rules of engagement are also going to permit “preemptive” strikes on North Korea based on the presumption of a possible attack. In other words, if North Korea fails to provide a pretext for military action, the Lee Administration can attack the North without provocation, if it chooses to do so.

(17)  Lee Myung-bak has already achieved his dream of demolishing the Sunshine Policy. Relations between the two Koreas are at their lowest point since the end of military dictatorship in South Korea. Now he aims to deliberately trigger armed conflict in order to demonstrate “toughness,” and not incidentally, drive the final nail into the coffin of the Sunshine Policy. Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin feels that the risk of war is low. “It will be difficult for North Korea to conduct a full-scale war because there are some elements of insecurity in the country, such as the national economy and power transfer.”

(18) Those may be arguments against North Korea’s ability to successfully sustain a long-term war over the course of a year or two, but it seriously misreads the ability and will of the North Korean military to put up a determined fight. The extent of possible South Korean air strikes on the North is not clear, but anything other than an extremely limited and localized action is likely to trigger total war. And that is a war that the U.S. will inevitably be drawn into. Even presuming a quick defeat of the North (which would be unlikely), eighty percent of North Korea is mountainous, providing ideal terrain for North Korean forces to conduct guerrilla warfare. The U.S. could find itself involved in another failing military occupation. With both sides heavily armed, the consequences could be much worse for Koreans, and casualties could reach alarming totals. Four million Koreans died in the Korean War. Even one percent of that total in a new war would be unconscionable, and Lee Myung-bak is deluded if he believes he can ride the tiger of armed conflict and remain in control of the path it takes.

Notes

(1)  For a map of the Northern Limit Line and Yeonpyeong’s placement, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_the_shelling_of_Yeonpyeong.svg The blue line identifies the Northern Limit Line recognized by South Korea and the U.S., and the red line, the border as recognized by North Korea. Yeonpyeong Island is marked #1 on the map.

(2) “Panmunjom Mission of KPA Sends Notice to U.S. Forces Side,” KCNA (Pyongyang), November 25, 2010.

(3) “Military Under Fire for Response to N. Korean Attack,” Chosun Ilbo (Seoul), November 25, 2010.

(4) “Military Suggests Counterfire Caused ‘Many Casualties’ in N. Korea,” Yonhap (Seoul), December 2, 2010. Jung Sung-ki, “Satellite Image Shows Damages in NK Artillery Site,” Korea Times (Seoul), December 2, 2010.

(5)  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20367

(6)  “Containment After N.Korea’s Unacceptable Provocation,” Hankyoreh (Seoul), November 24, 2010.

(7)  Hwang Doo-hyong, “Bush Expresses Frustration at China’s Reluctance to Dissuade N. Korea from Going Nuclear: Memoir,” Yonhap (Seoul), November 10, 2010.

(8 ) “Bush Admits He Considered a Military Strike Against North Korea,” Korean Broadcasting System (Seoul), March 18, 2004. ”Carl Vinson Strike Group CVN-70 ‘Gold Eagle’,” www.globalsecurity.org Will Dunham, “U.S. Military Operations for N.Korea Fraught with Peril,” Reuters, April 25, 2003.

(9) Kim Young-gyo, “China Calls for Emergency Talks on N. Korean Nukes,” Yonhap (Seoul), November 28, 2010. ”China Calls for Resumption of Dialogue, Negotiations for Korean Peninsula Situation,” Xinhua (Beijing), November 30, 2010. ”Chinese FM Talks with DPRK, ROK, U.S. Diplomats on Korean Peninsular Situation,” Xinhua (Beijing), November 26, 2010.

(10) Helene Cooper and Sharon LaFraniere, “U.S. and South Korea Balk at Talks with North,” New York Times, November 30, 2010.

(11)  Hwang Joon bum and Park Min-hee, “Lee Administration Rejects Six-Party Talks Proposal,” Hankyoreh (Seoul), November 29, 2010. Tania Branigan, “US Rejects Talks with North Korea,” The Guardian (London), November 30, 2010.

(12) “Kim, Clinton Agree to Reject China’s Proposal for Talks on N. Korea,” Yonahp (Seoul), December 1, 2010.

(13) “S. Korea Sent Propaganda Leaflets to N. Korea After Artillery Attack,” Yonhap (Seoul), November 26, 2010.

(14) Jung Sung-ki, “Seoul Plans Live-Fire Drill Next Week,” Korea Times (Seoul), December 1, 2010. ”New Defence Minister to Decide When to Stage Firing Drills in Yellow Sea,” Yonhap (Seoul), December 3, 2010. ”Tension Mounts as Firing Drill Planned,” JoongAng Ilbo (Seoul), December 2, 2010.

(15) “S. Korea to Stage Fresh Firing Drill on Yeonpyeong Island,” Chosun Ilbo (Seoul), November 30, 2010.

(16) Jung Sung-ki, “Seoul Vows Naval, Air Strikes on NK,” Korea Times (Seoul), November 29, 2010.

(17)  “Defense Minister Nominee Vows Air Strikes if Attacked by N. Korea,” Yonhap (Seoul), December 3, 2010. Kim Kwang-tae, “SKorea Defense Nominee Vows Airstrikes on North,” Associated Press, December 2, 2010. Song Sang-ho, “Kim Warns Air Strike on North Korea,” Korea Herald (Seoul), December 3, 2010. Na Jeong-ju, “Defense Chief-Nominee Vows Air Strikes if Attacked,” Korea Times (Seoul), December 3, 2010. Mark McDonald, “South Korean Outlines Muscular Military Postures,” New York Times, December 3, 2010.

(18)  “Defense Minister Nominee Vows Air Strikes if Attacked by N. Korea,” Yonhap (Seoul), December 3, 2010.

Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and on the Advisory Board of the Korea Truth Commission. He is the author of the book Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit.

http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Liberators-Militarism-Mayhem-Pursuit/dp/1595265708

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