From August 24-31, I visited the DPRK (North Korea) as part of a very small delegation interested in hearing from North Koreans themselves about their lives, the US sanctions and incessant war manouevres, their history and more. A sample of photos and videos, with more to follow soon.
Please bear in mind that this country is among the most vilified on earth–along with Syria and formerly (now-destroyed) Libya, to name a few. Western media does not speak of North Korea’s people, nor of the amazing infrastructure, free housing and medical care, impressive agriculture and green energy, and the many things the people of the DPRK have done so well which I’ll elaborate on over the coming days.
Pyongyang, and much of North Korea, was leveled in the 50s by US bombings, with reportedly just one or two low-level buildings standing. After destroying and murdering in DPRK, America slapped sanctions on the country. How the people have continued, and made huge advances, is worthy of respect. The absurdly cartoonish “news” one hears in western media about North Korea is meant to detract from America’s crimes against the Korean people, and to garner support for yet another American-led slaughter of innocent people.
One high school student commented something to the effect: “Why doesn’t anyone put sanctions on America?” Too true.
I’ll be adding more photos to this album as internet and time allow, with hopes of offering a starkly different view than the corporate media rendition of North Korea.
**A few good resources on North Korea and the US aggressions:
1. Michel Chossudovsky’s overview, including citing western media sources acknowledging the US destruction of North Korea:
“After destroying North Korea’s 78 cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians, [General] LeMay remarked,“Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.” (See War Veteran Brian Willson. Korea and the Axis of Evil, Global Research, April, 2002)
According to Dean Rusk, who later became secretary of state, the US bombed “everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.”
It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37-month long “hot” war, 1950 – 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerence of another.” (See Brian Willson. Korea and the Axis of Evil, Global Research, April, 2002)
Even Newsweek tacitly acknowledges that the US committed extensive war crimes against the Korean people:
Screenshot Newsweek 4 May 2017
While Newsweek in this article is telling the truth, more generally the US media has failed to inform Americans regarding the extensive war crimes committed against the Korean people by successive US administrations.
Collective Memory of the People of North Korea
It is not in America’s collective memory as pointed out by Newsweek, but it is certainly in the collective memory of the people of the DPRK.
There is not a single family in North Korea which has not lost a loved one during 37 months of extensive US carpet bombing (1950-53). Put yourself in their shoes.
Pyongyang capital of North Korea, in 1953, almost entirely destroyed by U.S. bombing during the Korean War.
2. Stephen Gowans’ “Washington Considers Military Action Against North Korea to Force Regime Change”
“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.
…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. ”
3. The International Action Center: “U.S. troops have occupied south Korea since 1945; 28,500 are still there. There are 38 U.S. military installations in south Korea, plus one militarized golf course. (lifeinkorea.com) The golf course is the station for the first Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in south Korea, a U.S. radar system opposed by the Korean people, in the north and south, as well as China.
Every year, the U.S. carries out massive war exercises in and around the Korean peninsula. This year’s Operation Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, which began in March and continued until April 24, has involved hundreds of thousands of troops from the U.S. and south Korea.
The south Korean news agency Yonhap reported on March 13: “The U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six will join the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises between the two allies for the first time, along with the Army’s Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets.” Yonhap quoted an unnamed military official as saying, “A bigger number of and more diverse U.S. special operation forces will take part in this year’s Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises to practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities.”
4. Christopher Black’s “North Korea: The Grand Deception Revealed”
“In 2003 I had, along with some American lawyers, members of the National Lawyers Guild, the good fortune to be able to travel to North Korea, that is the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, in order to experience first hand that nation, its socialist system and its people. The joint report issued on our return was titled “The Grand Deception Revealed.” That title was chosen because we discovered that the negative western propaganda myth about North Korea is a grand deception designed to blind the peoples of the world to the accomplishments of the Korean people in the north who have successfully created their own circumstances, their own independent socio-economic system, based on socialist principles, free of the domination of the western powers.
At one of our first dinners in Pyongyang our host, Ri Myong Kuk, a lawyer, stated, on behalf of the government, and in passionate terms, that the DPRK’s Nuclear Deterrent Force was necessary in light of US world actions and threats against the DPRK. He stated, and this was repeated to me in a high level meeting with DPRK government officials later on in the trip, that if the Americans would sign a peace treaty and non-aggression agreement with the DPRK, it would de-legitimize the American occupation and lead to reunification. Consequently there would be no need for nuclear weapons. He stated sincerely that, “It’s important that lawyers are gathering to talk about this as lawyers regulate the social interactions within society and within the world,” and added just as sincerely that, “the path to peace requires an open heart.”
It appeared to us then and it is apparent now, in absolute contradiction to the claims of the western media, that the people of the DPRK want peace more than anything else so they can get on with their lives and endeavours without the constant threat of nuclear annihilation by the United States. But annihilation is what they in fact face and whose fault is that? Not theirs.
We were shown American documents captured in the Korean War that are compelling evidence that the US planned an attack on North Korea in 1950. The attack was carried out using American and south Korean forces with the assistance of Japanese Army officers who had invaded and occupied Korea decades before. The North Korean defence and counter-attack was then claimed by the US to be “aggression” which the United States manipulated in the media to get the UN to support a “police operation,” the euphemism they chose to use to carry on what was in fact their war of aggression against North Korea. Three years of war and 3.5 million Korean deaths followed and the US has threatened them with imminent war and annihilation ever since….”
I had an interesting encounter with a Korean man I had met when exiting the flight from DPRK on August 31st. Then we had just exchanged some brief words. Later in Beijing, we met by chance and spoke about North Korea.
As it happens, he had visited 28 years prior, and as it further happens he was born in the south and lived 20 years of his life there before America. He speaks the language and on this recent trip interacted with North Koreans one-on-one.
In sum, he was very impressed with the changes since he’d been there nearly 3 decades ago. And while he was born in the south, and lives in America, he does not support the US rhetoric around the north.
Hopefully we’ll have a proper interview/talk when both back at respective homes.