On Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, host Brian Becker takes an in-depth look at the fundamentals of the virtual ‘state of war’ between the United State and North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea He is joined for the full hour by two members of the Korea Policy Institute and the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace In Korea, Hyun Lee and Gregory Elich.
By Hyun Lee and Gregory Elich
Massive protests have rocked South Korea’s capital city of Seoul over the past month, as workers demand the ouster of President Park Geun-hye and an end to her plans for drastic, anti-worker changes to the country’s labor laws.
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On KPFA Flashpoints, starting at the 21 minute mark – Gregory Elich, KCTU International Director Mikyung Ryu, and Doraji Baek, the daughter of Baek Nam-ki.
In a climate of increasing repression, the Park Geun-hye government in South Korea is launching the latest in its series of attacks on working people. A retrograde labor reform plan is being set in motion that promises to drive down wages and undermine job security. There is broad and determined resistance to the plan, and workers and farmers are taking the battle to the streets.
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In Bombs for Peace, George Szamuely, a senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute at London Metropolitan University, has produced a revealing and sharply argued analysis of Western intervention in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
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Serbian refugees from Kosovo. Photo: Gregory Elich
In the period before the 1999 NATO attack on Yugoslavia, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) waged a campaign to secede and establish an independent Kosovo dominated by Albanians and purged of every other ethnic group. In October 1998, KLA spokesman Bardhyl Mahmuti spelled the KLA’s vision: “We will never change our position. The independence of Kosovo is the only solution…We cannot live together [with Serbs]. That is excluded.”
Once NATO’s war came to an end, the KLA set about driving out of Kosovo every non-Albanian and every pro-Yugoslav Albanian it could lay its hands on. The KLA left in its wake thousands of looted and burning homes, and the dead and dying.
Two months after the end of the war, I visited Hotel Belgrade, located on Mt. Avala, a short distance outside of Belgrade. Those who had been driven from their homes in Kosovo were housed in hotels throughout Yugoslavia, and in this one lived Serbian refugees.
The moment I entered the hotel, the sense of misery overwhelmed me. Children were crying, and the rooms were packed with people. The two delegation members who accompanied me and I were shown all three floors, and the anger among the refugees was so palpable I felt I could reach out in the air and touch it. Nearly everyone here had a loved one who had been killed by the Kosovo Liberation Army. All had lost their homes and everything they owned. Read More »
An Interview with Christine Ahn
On July 27, 1953, after two years of negotiations, hostilities on the Korean Peninsula were brought to a halt with an armistice agreement. The signatories, the United States on behalf of the UN Command, China, and North Korea, committed to sign a peace treaty. Sixty-two years later, the Korean people are still waiting for that peace treaty, reconciliation, and the bringing together of divided families.
Since taking office, the Obama Administration has engaged in no meaningful dialogue or diplomatic contact with North Korea, and relations between the two Koreas have become more deeply strained.
Christine Ahn, a long-time activist on issues concerning Korea, had a vision. Since current relations are at an impasse, perhaps women could take the initiative and act as a spark to progress. She went on to organize Women Cross DMZ, comprised of thirty accomplished women of varied backgrounds, including women’s advocate Gloria Steinem and Nobel Peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee.
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Elas Raqmani (seated). Photo: Gregory Elich
Once NATO’s 1999 war on Yugoslavia came to an end, units of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) poured across the border. The KLA wasted little time in implementing its dream of an independent Kosovo purged of all other nationalities. Among those bearing the brunt of ethnic hatred were the Roma, commonly known in the West as Gypsies. Under the protective umbrella of NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR), the KLA was free to launch a pogrom in which it beat, tortured, murdered and drove out every non-Albanian and every non-secessionist Albanian it could lay its hands on. Read More »
Bridge over the Nishava River. Photo: Gregory Elich.
As a member of a delegation documenting NATO war crimes in 1999, I visited Nish, the third largest city in Yugoslavia. NATO attacked this appealing old city on forty occasions, destroying approximately 120 buildings and damaging more than 3,400.
On the night of our second stop in Nish, we attended a meeting with university professor Jovan Zlatich. During the NATO war, Dr. Zlatich served as commander of the city’s Civil Defense Headquarters. In his discussion of the bombardment of Nish, he focused particular attention on the use of cluster bombs. Nish had the misfortune of being the target of several CBU-87/B cluster bombs, a weapon designed to open at a predetermined height and release 202 bomblets. These smaller bombs burst in a furious repeating series of explosions, spraying thousands of pieces of shrapnel over a wide area. Cluster bombs are anti-personnel weapons. While causing relatively minor damage to structures, they inflict frightful damage on human beings. Read More »
Offices at Zastava forging plant. Photo: Gregory Elich
One of the main features of NATO’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999 was the deliberate targeting of factories and manufacturing plants. As a member of a delegation travelling throughout Yugoslavia shortly after the end of the war, I could readily see that such targeting had been methodical and thorough. Wherever we went, there was no military value in the facilities that NATO chose to destroy. Indeed, the common criterion was that state-owned and worker cooperative factories and plants that supported many people were singled out. The apparent intent was to drive much of the population into destitution and make people more amenable to demands to install government eager to do the West’s bidding.
The largest and most significant factory complex in the Balkans was Zastava, producing over 95 percent of the automobiles operating in Yugoslavia. Centrally located in the city of Kragujevac, this diverse factory complex also manufactured tools and machinery.
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