NATO weapons to al Qaeda near Damascus, seized by government forces

Global Research, March 15, 2017
Syria News 13 March 2017
Flag_of_NATO.svg
NATO weapons (Made in the UK) in possession of terrorists from al-Qaeda group were found and seized by a Syrian Arab Army unit in Damascus Countryside.

The first truck loaded with weapons, described as the smaller one, had a full arsenal of missiles and munition made in UK and hidden under boxes of vegetables. It was coming from Daraa city in the south where the SAA is fighting a fierce battle against a new wave of terrorists attacks re-enforced from Jordan.

image-nato-weapons-heading-to-alqaeda-confiscated-by-saa-near-damascus

SAA Seizes 2 Shipments of NATO Weapons to Al Qaeda Near Damascus

The second truck heading to Kiswa city south of the Syrian capital Damascus loaded with automatic machine guns, firearms, and live munitions. The arsenal was boxed and wrapped with aluminum foils to avoid detection by the SAA checkpoints.

This shipment of weapons was shipped the same time the NATO sponsored terrorists of FSA blew up civilian buses in the heart of Damascus killing scores of mostly Iraqi pilgrims on a religious visit to shrines in Bab Sgheir cemetery in the old famous Shaghour neighborhood.

It’s of no surprise the NATO’s full engagement arming terrorists fighting to destroy Syria and turn it into a failed state, similar to their previous ‘achieved goals’ in Libya and Iraq and elsewhere. The timing however might be surprising to the Russian leadership which keeps falling in the same trap time and again trying to struck deals with their ‘Western partners’ and the Erdogan regime in NATO member state Erdoganstan (formerly Turkey).

U.S. sends drones, assassination squad to South Korea. Massive “war games” directed against DPRK underway

“[T]o practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities”… The joint Foal Eagle drills are the biggest ever, involving more than 320,000 troops backed by a US aircraft carrier strike group, stealth fighters and strategic bombers.

By Peter Symonds
Global Research, March 15, 2017
World Socialist Web Site 14 March 2017

The Trump administration has further exacerbated the extremely tense standoff on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching attack drones to South Korea and sending special forces units to participate in massive war games already underway. The military build-up takes place as the White House considers launching strikes on North Korean nuclear and military sites.

US Forces Korea announced on Monday that the company of Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) will be permanently stationed at Kunsan Air Base, south of Seoul. “The UAS adds significant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to US Forces Korea and our [South Korean] partners,” it stated.

While the US announcement emphasized reconnaissance, the Gray Eagle drones can also carry up to four Hellfire missiles that have been used to carry out assassinations and strike military targets. The lethal drones can stay aloft for up to 24 hours.

The South Korean military was in no doubt as to the purpose of the deployment. An unnamed official told the Yonhap news agency: “In case of a war on the Korean Peninsula, the unmanned aircraft could infiltrate into the skies of North Korea and make a precision strike on the war command and other major military facilities.”

The dispatch of attack drones to South Korea coincides with the involvement of US special forces in annual Foal Eagle war games, including SEAL Team 6, the highly-trained assassination squad that killed Osama bin Laden. The SEAL team will take part in the joint exercises in South Korea along with US Army Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets, according to Yonhap.

A military official told the news agency that bigger numbers and more diverse US special operations forces were taking part, in order “to practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities.” The joint Foal Eagle drills are the biggest ever, involving more than 320,000 troops backed by a US aircraft carrier strike group, stealth fighters and strategic bombers.

Commenting on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to Japan, South Korea and China later this week, State Department spokesman Mark Toner absurdly claimed that the US military was taking “defensive measures” against “an increasingly worrying, concerning threat from North Korea.”

Neither the drones nor the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system to which Toner was referring are “defensive” in character. The drones, along with the special forces units, are rehearsing for pre-emptive attacks on North Korean military sites and “decapitation raids” to kill North Korean leaders. This is in line with an aggressive new joint operational plan, OPLAN 5015, agreed to between the US and South Korea in late 2015.

The THAAD deployment is part of the Pentagon’s broader build-up of anti-ballistic missile systems and military forces in Asia, primarily for war against China. Beijing has repeatedly voiced strenuous objections to the THAAD installation in South Korea, which has a powerful radar system capable of peering deep into the Chinese mainland and giving the US military much greater advance warning of Chinese missile launches in the event of war.

The Trump administration, which is currently reviewing US strategy towards North Korea, is exploiting North Korea’s test launch of four ballistic missiles last week to advance longstanding military preparations on the Korean Peninsula. According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is actively considering “regime change” in Pyongyang and military strikes on North Korea.

“We have to look at new ideas, new ways of dealing with North Korea,” US State Department spokesman Toner blandly declared. “China understands that threat. They’re not oblivious to what’s happening in North Korea.”

The reference to China underscores the aims of Tillerson’s upcoming trip. Firstly, he intends to brief Washington’s Japanese and South Korean allies on US plans and to encourage closer military cooperation in the event of conflict. Then he will fly to Beijing, where he will attempt to bully the Chinese government into taking tougher punitive action against Pyongyang.

The mounting US threats towards North Korea are also directed against China, which the Trump administration is targeting as the chief obstacle to maintaining US dominance in Asia and internationally. Tillerson has provocatively declared that the US should block Chinese access to islets under Beijing’s administration in the South China Sea. The only way to carry out such a reckless plan would be through a US military blockade—an act of war that could provoke conflict between the two nuclear-armed powers.

Tensions in the South China Sea have been further strained by the decision of the Japanese military to dispatch its largest warship, the JS Izumo, for three months of operations, including in disputed waters. According to Reuters, the Izumo will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and US naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July. It will also train with the US navy in the South China Sea.

Over the eight years of the Obama administration and its “pivot to Asia,” the US has engaged in a systematic military expansion throughout the Asia Pacific, strengthened alliances and strategic partnerships and greatly aggravated dangerous regional flashpoints, including the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea. The Trump administration, which has been critical of the “pivot” for not being sufficiently aggressive, is now embarking on a course that greatly heightens the danger of war.

The response of the North Korean regime to Washington’s actions is reactionary through and through. Its nuclear and missile tests, along with its bloodcurdling threats and Korean chauvinism, in no way defend the Korean people, but do provide the US with a pretext for its military build-up in North East Asia. According to the 38north.org web site, affiliated with John Hopkins University, commercial satellite imagery indicates that Pyongyang could be preparing for another nuclear test.

Confronted with an intense political crisis in Washington, the Trump administration is not simply considering, but actively preparing for reckless provocations and military moves against North Korea that have the potential to trigger a cataclysmic war that draws in the entire world.

The diabolical business of global public relations firms — making and managing the news

PRP firms have emerged as orchestrators of global information and news. The world today faces a military-industrial-media empire, bolstered by PRP firms, that is so powerful and complex that truth is mostly absent or reported only in disconnected segments with little historical context.

From Project Censored

By Peter Phillips
March 15, 2017

The expansion of  public relations and propaganda (PRP) firms inside news systems in the world today has resulted in a deliberate form of news management. Maintenance of continuous news shows requires a constant and ever-entertaining supply of stimulating events and breaking news bites. Corporate media are increasingly dependent on various government agencies and PRP firms as sources of news.

The PRP industry has experienced phenomenal growth since 2001. In 2015, three publicly traded mega PR firms—Omnicom, WPP, and Interpublic Group—together employed 214,000 people across 170 countries, collecting $35 billion in combined revenue. Not only do these firms control massive wealth, they also possess a network of connections in powerful international institutions with direct links to national governments, multi-national corporations, global policy-making bodies, and the corporate media.

In The Practice of Public Relations, Fraser P. Seitel defined public relations as “helping an organization and its public adapt mutually to each other.” Propaganda can be defined as the dissemination of ideas and information for the purpose of inducing or intensifying specific attitudes and actions. Both PR and propaganda seek to change behaviors and ideas among the masses in support of the agendas of public and private institutions. (For an early history of state propaganda, see Jacuie L’Etang, “State Propaganda and Bureaucratic Intelligence: The Creation of the Public Relations in 20th Century Britain,” Public Relations Review 24, no. 4 (1998): 413-41.)  As Douglas Kellner and other researchers have documented, since 9/11 public relations firms have contributed to increased levels of media propaganda.

Consider the Rendon Group, one of the key PR firms supporting US propaganda efforts during recent wars. In the 1980s, it produced public relations propaganda for the ousting of Panama’s president, Manuel Noriega. The Rendon Group also shaped international support for the first Gulf War, and in the 1990s created the Iraqi National Congress. The Rendon Group provided the images that mobilized public support for a permanent war on terror, including the fake news stories of the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad, the heroic rescue of US Army private Jessica Lynch, and dramatic tales of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. As James Bamford reported in a 2005 article in Rolling Stone, Pentagon documents show thirty-five contracts with Rendon from 2000-2004, worth a total of  between $50-100 million dollars.

PRP firms have emerged as orchestrators of global informion and news. The world today faces a military-industrial-media empire, bolstered by PRP firms, that is so powerful and complex that truth is mostly absent or reported only in disconnected segments with little historical context. In late 1999, Ben Bagdikian, the author of Media Monopoly and former Washington Post editor, told me that he estimated that two-thirds of all news stories originated with PR firms; in 2003, an article from the Guardian conservatively estimated that 50-80% of news and business stories originated from public relations firms. The result is managed news by governments, corporations, and PRP firms—often interlocked—including both the release of specific stories intended to build public support as well as the deliberate non-coverage of news stories that may undermine capitalist elites’ goals and interests.

 

For the rest of the article:
http://projectcensored.org/propaganda-fake-news-media-lies/

Support Project Censored.

Obama’s Ukrainian coup triggered the influx of 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees into Russia

Global Research, March 14, 2017
Obama Ukraine
This man did it.
On Tuesday, March 7th, Russia’s top parliamentarian dealing with the Ukrainian refugee influx into Russia — dealing, that is, with the people who have fled Ukraine as a result of U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2014 coup overthrowing Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych — presented the first-ever comprehensive number of asylum-applicants from Ukraine who have received asylum there after that February 2014 coup. The Russian government had never before publicly provided a number, but does have an established system of processing refugees, including assignment of official refugee status, which «allows the recipient various social benefits, including unemployment compensation» and so each Ukrainian refugee has a file with the government.

As reported by Tass: 

Russia has received more than 2,500,000 refugees since the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukriane, Yuri Vorobyov, Deputy Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) and Chairman of the Committee for Public Support to Residents of Southeastern Ukraine, said on Tuesday.

«Europe has received 900,000 [refugees] and shuddered, while we have received over 2,500,000 refugees on our territory and continue to provide assistance», he said opening the round table discussion «Russia-Donbass: New Cooperation Mechanisms».

Obama’s Ukrainian Coup Caused 2.5 Million Ukrainian Refugees into Russia

That coup, which generated these millions of refugees, had been planned by the U.S. White House since 2011, and culminated on 20 February 2014. Also on that day, hundreds of Crimeans who had been standing in Kiev with signs opposing the overthrow of the President for whom 75% of Crimeans had voted, were attacked by supporters of the coup (which was fronted by, and was propagandized as being, the «Maidan revolution» demanding ‘democracy’ in Ukraine, though it actually ended democracy there).

These Crimeans immediately scrambled back into the eight buses that had taken them to Kiev and headed back homeward, but the U.S.-government-backed Right Sector paramilitaries went in hot pursuit of the buses, and burnt some of them and massacred many of the demonstrators, outside of Kiev, in the town of Korsun. This became called «the Korsun Massacre», and Crimeans in Crimea immediately started demonstrating in Crimea, for Crimea to become, once again, as it had been until 1954, part of Russia.

Crimeans overwhelmingly favored Russia over the United States, and were terrified by the racist anti-Russian government that now ruled in Kiev. This fear wasn’t only because of the massacre, nor only because 75% of Crimeans had voted for the man whom Obama had overthrown, but also because Crimeans generally (and most Ukrainians who had voted for Yanukovych) knew well the intense racist hatred against pro-Russian Ukrainians by the Right Sector people, who had actually carried out the coup.

A plebiscite was held in Crimea on 16 March 2014, and the vote to rejoin Russia was over 90%. U.S. President Obama then imposed economic sanctions against Russia for accepting Crimea back into Russia. These sanctions, and U.S. military aid to the new junta-government in Kiev, publicly renewed The West’s Cold War against Russia (which had actually continued secretly against Russia ever since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991; the Cold War had ended only on the Russian side).

U.S. President Obama recognized, of course, that the residents in the far-eastern region of Ukraine, Donbass, where the vote had been 90% for Yanukovych, could make impossible, in any subsequent nationwide Ukrainian Presidential election, a continuation of the U.S.-imposed Ukrainian government’s rule over Ukraine; and, so, his Ukrainian government instituted an ethnic-cleansing campaign in Donbass to kill as many of them as possible and force as many as possible of those Donbass residents to flee into Russia.

Getting rid of those voters was essential to the success of Obama’s Ukrainian operation. That ethnic cleansing is the reason why 2.5 million former Ukrainians are now living in Russia: their presence in the Ukrainian electorate would jeopardize continued U.S. control over the Ukrainian government and was thus impermissible. These 2.5 million have thus been entirely removed from Ukraine now, and perhaps enough of those voters are gone from Ukraine so that once again Donbass will be able to become part of Ukraine, even while the U.S. continues to control Ukraine.

In the U.S. and the other nations that are controlled by the U.S. aristocracy, newsmedia typically criticize Russia regarding the Ukrainian refugees, such as by saying that «the Russian government’s policies puts them in an even more disadvantaged position» than Russia’s native population endure, so that these refugees suffer not because of the U.S. government, but because of the Russian government.

America’s new President, Donald Trump, has made clear that the economic sanctions against Russia will not end until both Crimea and Donbass become again parts of Ukraine. So, he supports his predecessor’s Russia-policy. America’s wars to strangle Russia (such as by eliminating leaders friendly toward Russia, including Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Viktor Yanukovych — and attempting to do it also to Bashar al-Assad) will, in other words, continue.

Ukraine resumes water supplies to LPR

From DNI News

March 13, 2017

Ukraine has resumed water supplies to the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) from the Western water treatment plant located in the Kiev-controlled territory, reported a spokesman of the Luganskvoda company on Sunday.

“Ukraine resumed water supplies to the republic from the Western water treatment plant in the evening on March 11,” he said, reports TASS.

Water supplies to the LPR from the Western water treatment plant were stopped overnight to March 11 without any notification. Ukraine said water supplies had been stopped due to an accident at the water mains but did not provide any documents proving that.

DONi News Agency

https://savedonbasspeople.info/en/news/ukraine-resumes-water-supplies-to-lpr/

Turkish forces kill Syrian civilians inside Syria

March 13th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– SANA – – translated by Samer Hussein –

 

Three Syrian civilians were killed after Turkish regime forces  opened fire on a residential area near Um Sahrij village in Tal Abyad area in the northern countryside of Raqqa.

The incident happened after Turkish border guards started firing at an area next to the Turkish-Syrian border.

DPR on the Azov Sea incident, contact line violations, and shelling of water filtration plant — OSCE and media are silent

March 13, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

RussiePolitics, translated by Tom Winter –

On March 11 two Ukrainian fighting ships entered the territorial waters of the Republic of Donetsk, in flagrant violation of the Minsk accords and in the media silence that we have gotten used to.

The deputy commander of the Armed Forces of Donetsk, E. Bassurin, said that on Saturday, by order of the commander of the 73rd Maritime Special Operations Center, 1st captain E. Shevchenko, two warships were sent to the territorial waters of the Republic of Donetsk in the Sea of Azov, for reconnaissance and organizing provocations against the positions of the combatants.

The Donetsk fighters opened fire, a ship was damaged, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed, and three wounded.

One can wonder the interest of such a maneuver, both strategically and politically. By this kind of action, Ukraine totally discredits any intention of implementing the Minsk accords or even to find a peaceful exit from the crisis. But it is true that it enjoys a particularly favorable media coverage in the West, and political cover that allows it, for the moment, to act with impunity. Even its revisionist nationalists are invited to university conferences, as France has crossed the red line by dint of compromise.

Let us not forget that this action is part of the Ukrainian process of systematic violation not only of the Minsk accords, but also of international standards protecting civilians in times of war. Thus, they continue fire on the water filtration station every time it is repaired in order to deprive the civilian populations of drinking water. The Ukrainian army uses artillery about 1200 times in 24 hours; fighters find tanks and heavy Ukrainian artillery right on the line of separation, while they should be pulled back from it, and OSCE looks the other way.

How long will they continue keeping their eyes closed?

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/03/ukrainian-warships-in-donetsk.html

U.S. trains Ukrainian special forces for attacks inside Russia

March 13, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
PolitNavigator – Translated by James Harmon

Ukrainian covert operations teams are trained in terrorist attacks inside the republics in the donbass by American military instructors- this is a well known fact. Sergeri Ivanchuk, in a confession about detonation of an explosive that destroyed the car of the deputy chief of police in Donetsk, went on to explain far more disturbing details by the motivation of such attacks.

According to Ivanchuk, American special forces taught Ukrainian soldiers these tactics and mine subversive training.

“I am major Ivanchuk, Sergei Alexandrovicvh, a soldier of the armed forces of Ukraine, and i am in the service as head of the engineering service of the 8th regiment of special forces, which is stationed in the city of Khmelnitsky. After passing tests by American instructors on the basis of the 8th regiment of the land operation, they send us on courses which include tactical and mine subversive training.”, Invanchuk stated.

Ivanchuck continued with a disturbing revelation that Ukraine is preparing terrorist attacks to target Russian cities now – one attempt was abandoned in Belgorod so far, however.

“I perform tasks that were given by the commander of the 8th regiment Oleg Nechaev and Colonel Anatoly Anturksy, who served in the SBU(Ukrainian KGB), in the department of management of intelligence and subversive groups. These people supervise the preparation of sabotage and reconnaissance, which must carry out attacks in large cities of the Russian federation and in Crimea, in Belgorod, now such a group’s intent to destroy the Russian soldiers morality” said Ivanchuk

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/03/ukrainian-terrorists-are-planning.html

Zakharchenko declares Donbass frontline is state border

March 13, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
RIA Novosti – translated by J. Arnoldski –
According to a decree by Donetsk People’s Republic leader Alexander Zakharchenko, the contact line between the DPR and Kiev-controlled territory from now on has the status of a state border.
The text of the decree has been published on the website of the Ministry of State Security of the DPR.
 
 
According to the document, the contact line can only be crossed through border control points and with the necessary registration processes.
Authority over executing the decree has been assigned to the Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of Incomes and Fees, as well as the republic’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“The Ministry of State Security of the Donetsk People’s Republic hereby warns that, according to point four of the decree, activities associated with the illegal crossing of the contact line or organizing of illegal crossing in or out of the Donetsk People’s Republics will be qualified in accordance with the Criminal Code of the DPR, specifically Article 378 ‘Illegal Crossing of the State Border,'” the ministry’s statement reads. 

Washington considers military action against North Korea to force “regime change”

Global Research, March 12, 2017
What’s Left 7 March 2017

The White House is considering “possible military action to force regime change” in North Korea, another in a long succession of threats Washington has issued against Pyongyang, piled atop unremitting aggression the United States has directed at the country from the very moment of its birth in 1948.

In addition to direct military action from 1950 to 1953 against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the country’s official name), US aggression has included multiple threats of nuclear annihilation, and the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons into South Korea until 1991. Re-deployment is now under consideration in Washington.

Most US nuclear threats against Pyongyang were made before North Korea embarked upon its own nuclear weapons program, and constitute one of the principal reasons it did so. The country’s being declared an original member of the Bush administration’s Axis of Evil, along with Iraq and Iran, provided an additional impetus.

US aggression against Gaddafi’s Libya, after the Arab and African nationalist leader abandoned his country’s nuclear weapons program in a failed effort at an entente with the West, only affirmed Pyongyang’s view that its decision to acquire a nuclear deterrent was sound and imperative. To make Gaddafi’s blunder would be to commit suicide.

North Korea has additionally been menaced by annual US-directed war games involving hundreds of thousands of troops, carried out along North Korea’s borders. While US officials describe the twice yearly assembling of significant military forces within striking range of the DPRK as routine and defensive, it is never clear to the North Korean military whether the US–directed maneuvers are defensive exercises or preparations for an invasion. Accordingly, the exercises are objectively minatory.

US officials have described Russian war games along Russia’s western border as “provocations” and as a sign of Russian “aggression.” One US official said, “The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against the borders, with a lot of troops. From our perspective, we could argue this is extraordinarily provocative behavior.” And yet when US and South Korean troops do the same, right up against North Korea’s borders, their actions are deemed routine and defensive. (Threats made routinely, it should be noted, do not become non-threats simply because they are routine.)

On top of military aggression, the United States has added economic aggression to its decades-long quest to bring about regime change in North Korea. For almost seven decades Washington has led a campaign of economic warfare against the DPRK, designed to do what economic sieges are always intended to do: make the lives of ordinary people sufficiently straitened and miserable that they rise in revolt against their own government.

While the United States struts around the globe as the self-proclaimed champion of democracy, while counting kings, emirs, sultans and military dictators among its closest allies, it has imposed sanctions on North Korea for the most profoundly undemocratic reason. A US Congressional Research Service 2016 report, “North Korea: Economic Sanctions,” enumerates a detailed list of economic penalties imposed on North Korea for having the temerity to operate a “Marxist-Leninist” economy contrary to Washington’s Wall Street-approved economic prescriptions. Hence, the United States wages economic warfare on people in other lands because it doesn’t like the decisions they make about how to organize their own economic lives (and more to the point, because those decisions fail to comport with the profit-making interests of corporate America, the only sector of the United States whose voice matters in US policy.) What could be more hostile to democracy—and more imperialist—than that?

The US decision to consider military action against North Korea to force regime change may be considered a response to Pyongyang’s “threats,” but the DPRK, regardless of its bluster, has never posed a threat to the physical safety of the United States. It is far too small (its population is only 25 million) and too weak militarily (its annual defense spending is less than $10 billion, swamped by the Himalayan military outlays of its adversaries, from South Korea’s $36 billion to Japan’s $41 billion to the United States’ $603 billion), to pose a significant threat, or even a derisory one. Moreover, it is totally devoid of the means to convey a military force to US soil, lacking long range bombers and a capable navy.

To be sure, Pyongyang may have developed ICBMs capable of reaching the United States, and it may have acquired the know-how to miniaturize nuclear warheads that can be carried atop them, but the notion that Pyongyang would undertake an offensive strike against the United States is risible. Doing so would be tantamount to a porcupine tangling with a mountain lion. Since porcupines have no hope of defeating mountain lions, and would be mangled in the attempt, they avoid confrontations with them. They do, however, have self-defensive quills—the equivalent of North Korea’s nuclear arms and ballistic missile programs—to deter mountain lions, and other predators, from tangling with them.

North Korea is often criticized for being a garrison state, closed off to the outside world, yet its insularity can be understood as an imperative of surviving as an independent, sovereign state, in a world in which the United States insists on exercising global “leadership” (i.e., denying other countries their sovereignty) and using its military supremacy to coerce the world to fall into step behind its leadership of the global economy.

Washington has been waging a cyber-war against North Korea, which it is speculated may be responsible for a string of missile test launch failures which recently plagued the DPRK’s missile program, and additionally explains why the country’s leadership is chary about openness. You don’t facilitate sabotage of your own country by opening up to a hostile government that is committed to your demise. And should there be any illusions about what Washington’s intentions are, consider the words of John R. Bolton. In 2003, Bolton was the US under secretary of state for arms control. Asked by New York Times’ reporter Christopher Marquis what Washington’s policy on North Korea was, Bolton “strode over to a bookshelf, pulled off a volume and slapped it on the table. It was called ‘The End of North Korea.’” “‘That,’ he said, ‘is our policy.’” North Korea’s nuclear arms and missile programs have nothing whatever to do with Washington’s desire to bring about the end of North Korea, since this has been US policy since 1948, the year the DPRK was founded, long before Pyongyang embarked on developing nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. Instead, the reasons for Washington’s hostility lie in economics and Pyongyang’s refusal to submit to US leadership.

Next month, South Korea will significantly increase the rewards it pays to defectors from the north who treasonously disclose state secrets or surrender military equipment. High-ranking North Korean officials will receive $860,000 for defecting and selling out their compatriots, while pilots will be offered the same to fly their warplanes to South Korea. Sailors who surrender their warships to Seoul will also receive $860,000. At the same time, payouts from $43,000 to $260,000 will be handed to North Korean military personnel who defect, if they bring with them lesser weapons, such as tanks or machine guns.

South Korea, in contrast to the much-threatened North, is a US neo-colonial appendage which hosts tens of thousands of US troops on its soil, ostensibly for protection against the DPRK, even though North Korea is weaker militarily than its peninsular counterpart, has less advanced equipment and weapons systems, and its military outlays are only one-quarter of Seoul’s. South Korea denies itself sovereign control of its own military, yielding to de jure US command in times of emergency, and de facto US control otherwise. This reflects the history of the country. It began as a regime of collaborators with the Japanese, who shifted their collaboration to their new American overlords at the end of the Second World War. Meanwhile, to the north, it was guerrillas who fought Japanese colonization, and committed their lives to the manumission of Korea from foreign control, who founded the government in Pyongyang. Then as now, one half of the Korean peninsula exhibited a prickly independence, while the elite of the other half kow-towed to an imperialist behemoth (in contradistinction to a grassroots guerilla movement in the south that sought, unsuccessfully, to throw off the yoke of oppression by collaborationist governments and their US suzerain.)

South Korea’s hostility to its pro-independence northern neighbor, along with the United States’ nearly seven full decades of overt aggression against the DPRK, is directly responsible for the North Korean state’s closed, garrisoned, and authoritarian character. The country’s anti-liberal democratic orientation is not an expression of an ideological preference for police state rule, but an adaptation to a geopolitical reality. The nature of the North Korean state, its military strategy, and its nuclear weapons and missile programs, are consequences of its ideological commitment to independence intersecting with the difficulties of charting an independent course in the midst of hostile and much stronger neighbors whose US patron insists on North Korean submission.

When the infant Bolshevik state was surrounded by enemies who were stronger than the Bolsheviks by many orders of magnitude, Lenin argued that allowing the revolution’s enemies freedom of political organization would be self-defeating. “We do not wish to do away with ourselves by suicide and therefore will not do this,” the Bolshevik leader averred. North Korea’s voluntarily making over itself into an unrestricted liberal democracy—an open society—would likewise imperil the Korean nationalist project and amount to a self-engineered demise.

The DPRK is also criticized for being an economic basket-case, though its economic travails are almost invariably exaggerated. Nevertheless, nearly seven full decades of economic warfare and the imperatives of maintaining a military strong enough to deter the aggression of hostile neighbors and their imperialist patron must necessarily take a toll. Trying to bankrupt the DPRK by imposing on it trade sanctions, working to cut Pyongyang off from the world financial system, and maneuvering the country into a position where it has been forced to spend heavily on self-defense to survive (Pyongyang allocates an estimated 15%-24% of its GDP to defense compared to South Korea’s 2.6% and the United States’ 3.3%), and then attributing its economic difficulties to its “non-market” economy, as Washington has done, is dishonest in the extreme.

Perhaps it’s a measure of how bellicose the United States is that its threats of war are treated as sufficiently routine that they can be casually mentioned in the press without arousing much attention or protest. According to one calculation, the United States has been at war for 224 of its 241 years of existence. Against the background of its unceasing and devoted worship of Mars, Washington’s review of the merits of becoming embroiled in yet another war makes the latest eruption of belligerence an accustomed spectacle. This may explain the quietude with which the possibility of US military action against North Korea has been met. Contributing to the quiescence is the reality that war with the DPRK would require no direct participation from the vast majority of US citizens, short of their applauding from the sidelines. This, combined with North Korea’s total demonization, makes military action (should it be carried out) easy for the US public to accept, or at least to push it to the margins of its awareness.

The revelation that the White House is considering military action against its long-standing victim was casually tucked away in a Wall Street Journal article, and was thought so inconsequential as not to merit inclusion in the headline. Instead, the article’s headline mentioned that North Korea had fired “four ballistic missiles into waters off coast, South Korea says,” in keeping with the portrayal of the DPRK as a signal menace. Accordingly, the announcement of a considered US military strike on North Korea could be positioned as a legitimate response to an alleged North Korean provocation, rather than North Korea’s test firing of ballistic missiles being presented more reasonably as a legitimate reaction to nearly seven full decades of US belligerence.

Some liberals, worried by the increased tempo of US saber-rattling against Pyongyang, adjure Washington to negotiate a peace treaty with the DPRK, in exchange for North Korea undertaking Gaddafi’s folly and dismantling its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. The idea that the United States reciprocate is never considered and is seen as Quixotic. The preferred arrangement is one of a nuclear weapons apartheid where the United States and its subalterns keep their nuclear arms as a “self-evident” necessity of self-defense and a bulwark against “nuclear blackmail,” while the rest of the world is expected to voluntarily submit to the nuclear weapons blackmail of the United States and the established members of the nuclear weapons club.

However, almost equally Quixotic is the idea that the DPRK will relinquish its nuclear arms and the means of delivering them. The United States has unintentionally created conditions which make a North Korean nuclear weapons program almost inevitable, and perfectly sound from Pyongyang’s point of view. For a nuclear deterrent not only forces Washington to exercise extreme circumspection in the deployment of its military assets against the DPRK, it also allows Pyongyang to reduce its expenditures on conventional deterrence, freeing up resources for its civilian economy. Nuclear weapons are cost-effective. This thinking is implicit in North Korea’s “Byungjin policy, “the “two-track program’ of building the economy and nuclear weapons, defined in the resolution adopted by the 7th Congress of the Korean Workers’ Party in May as its ‘permanent strategic course.’”

James Clapper, the former head of US intelligence, told the Wall Street-directed foreign policy think tank, The Council on Foreign Relations, to forget about negotiating a nuclear deal with Pyongyang. “I think the notion of getting the North Koreans to denuclearize is probably a lost cause,” said Clapper last October. “They are not going to do that. That is their ticket to survival. And I got a good taste of that when I was there about how the world looks from their vantage. And they are under siege…So the notion of giving up their nuclear capability, whatever it is, is a nonstarter with them.

“So an Iranian kind of negotiation that would put a cap or suspend is not—your experience in diplomacy is that it’s not likely to happen,” he was asked.

Clapper replied; “I don’t think so.”