Tag Archive: South Korea


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Students look at instructions in front of a makeshift clinic at Konkuk University in Seoul on Thursday. Students look at instructions in front of a makeshift clinic at Konkuk University in Seoul on Thursday.

english.chosun.com

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Biological Hazard South Korea Capital City, Seoul [Konkuk University,Neungdong-ro] Damage level Details

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Biological Hazard in South Korea on Thursday, 29 October, 2015 at 04:39 (04:39 AM) UTC.

Description
A mysterious virus has infected 21 graduate students at Konkuk University’s school of veterinary science in Seoul. Health authorities have placed all 21 in quarantine and closed off the school building. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said the victims started coming down with pneumonia last week, and a team of epidemiologists have been dispatched to the university. According to the KCDC, those infected are master’s and doctoral candidates who used the school’s lab from Oct. 19 to 28. They are being treated in isolation at state-run hospitals. The first four graduate students who showed symptoms were hospitalized at Konkuk University Medical Center and then transferred to the National Medical Center on Wednesday. All of them visited a cattle fair in Gyeonggi Province last week as well as an animal farm owned by the university in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province. A university official said they may have contracted Brucellosis, which infects cattle and can be transmitted to humans. But some experts suspect Q fever, caused by the Coxiella burnetii bacteria found in the droppings of cattle, swine and sheep. It causes airborne infections among humans. Symptoms such as fever, headache and muscle aches appear after a two-week gestation period. But Song Dae-sup at Korea University said, “Brucellosis and Q fever are not commonly found in Korea and are rarely passed on to humans. We need to look at the possibility of pneumonia caused by germs or other toxic agents.” Lee Jae-gap at Hallym University Medical Center said since only the four visited the animal farm, the infection could be mycoplasma pneumonia or whooping cough, which sometimes occur in schools or communities. Konkuk University sealed off the veterinary school building and told the school’s 850 staff and students to report any suspicious symptoms. The building was thoroughly disinfected on Wednesday morning as well, according to school officials.
Biohazard name: Q Fever
Biohazard level: 3/4 Hight
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
Symptoms:
Status: suspected

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 Mystery Virus Sweeps Konkuk University

A mysterious virus has infected 21 graduate students at Konkuk University’s school of veterinary science in Seoul.

Health authorities have placed all 21 in quarantine and closed off the school building. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said the victims started coming down with pneumonia last week, and a team of epidemiologists have been dispatched to the university.

According to the KCDC, those infected are master’s and doctoral candidates who used the school’s lab from Oct. 19 to 28. They are being treated in isolation at state-run hospitals.

The first four graduate students who showed symptoms were hospitalized at Konkuk University Medical Center and then transferred to the National Medical Center on Wednesday. All of them visited a cattle fair in Gyeonggi Province last week as well as an animal farm owned by the university in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province.

 

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english.chosun.com

10 More Catch Mystery Infection at Konkuk University

Ten more graduate students have come down with a mysterious pneumonia attack at Konkuk University’s Seoul campus on Thursday, bringing the total to 31.

Twenty-one people were diagnosed with the same symptoms earlier. But all have so far tested negative for a dozen well-known infectious diseases.

“We’re still trying to figure out the cause,” a spokesman for the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Students look at instructions in front of a makeshift clinic at Konkuk University in Seoul on Thursday. Students look at instructions in front of a makeshift clinic at Konkuk University in Seoul on Thursday.

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Anxious islanders on the front line are evacuated as both countries exchange fire across their disputed western maritime border.

A North Korean soldier looks on at the South side

Video: North And South Korea Exchange Live Fire

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South Korea says it has fired shells into North Korean waters in response to live fire drills carried out by Pyongyang.

Residents of a South Korean island on the front line were evacuated as both countries exchanged fire across their disputed western maritime border.

Anxious residents sought refuge in shelters on Yeonpyeong island, where in 2010, North Korean artillery killed four South Koreans.

One islander, Kang Myeong-sung, said he did not see any fighter jets but could hear the boom of the shells.

North Korea had announced it was going to conduct some military drills.

South Korea and the US conduct a joint military exercise in Pohang
South Korea and the US conduct a joint military exercise in Pohang

Sky’s Asia Correspondent Mark Stone said: “These are worrying developments … but no one has been injured, no one has been killed and indeed none of these rockets or missiles landed on any military installations or any land, so this is effectively both sides showing their strength.”

 

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Channel News Asia

 

N Korea announces live-fire drill, driving up tensions

 

North Korea announced a live-fire drill Monday near its disputed maritime border with South Korea, further ratcheting up tensions a day after threatening a “new form” of nuclear test.

 

 

SEOUL: North Korea announced a live-fire drill Monday near its disputed maritime border with South Korea, further ratcheting up tensions a day after threatening a “new form” of nuclear test.

The South’s Yonhap news agency, citing an unnamed government official, said the exercise began around 12:15pm (0315 GMT), with artillery shells landing in North Korean waters, north of the South-controlled Baengnyeong island.

There was no immediate official confirmation that the drill was under way, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) warned of immediate retaliation if any ordinance landed on the South side of the border.

The Yellow Sea border is an extremely sensitive region that has been the scene of brief but bloody clashes in the past.

In November 2010, North Korea shelled a South Korean island near the border, killing four people and triggering concerns of a full-scale conflict.

It is not unusual for North Korea to carry out a live-fire exercise, but it does not normally notify the South in advance.

“The fact that they have sent such a message to us indicates their hostile intention,” said South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Wi Yong-seop.

“The aim is to threaten us and rack up tension on the Yellow Sea border and the overall Korean peninsula,” Wi said, adding that Seoul was closely monitoring the situation.

The North’s notification designated seven areas close to the border and said all South Korean vessels should be kept away from them.

“We notified the North that we would strongly respond with fire if it fires across the border,” a JCS official told reporters.

Monday’s announcement came a day after North Korea threatened to carry out a “new form” of nuclear test — seen as a possible reference to efforts to build a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile.

 

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Channel News Asia

Two Koreas trade fire across maritime border: military

North and South Korea traded fire across their disputed maritime border on Monday, with the South’s military saying it had responded to shells landing in its waters from a North live-fire drill.

SEOUL: North and South Korea traded fire across their disputed maritime border on Monday, with the South’s military saying it had responded to shells landing in its waters from a North live-fire drill.

“Some of the shells fired by North Korea dropped in our area and our side responded with fire,” a spokesman for the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff told AFP.

There was no indication that either side was firing at any particular target.

On South-Korea-controlled Baengnyeong island, close to the maritime boundary, officials said residents had been taken to shelters as a precaution.

“We are urging all residents to evacuate to shelters right now, and some have already done so,” a town hall official on the island told AFP.

North Korea earlier announced a live-fire drill Monday near its disputed maritime border with South Korea, further ratcheting up tensions a day after threatening a “new form” of nuclear test.

 

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South Korea returns fire after North Korean shells land in disputed waters

 
North and South Korea exchange fire after military drill – video

South Korean islanders fled to shelters as their country’s forces returned the North’s fire near a disputed sea boundary on Monday, amid renewed tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The skirmish in the Yellow or Western Sea came a day after Pyongyang warned that it could carry out a “new kind” of nuclear test , and followed multiple missile tests by the North. Experts have also warned that it could be harder to predict the country’s actions given the recent political turbulence which saw its youthful leader Kim Jong-un purge his uncle Jang Song-taek.

No shells from either side were fired at any land or military installations, an official with South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff told Associated Press. Unusually, the North warned in advance that it planned to hold a live-fire drill; when a shell landed south of the disputed boundary, the South, which had warned it would respond, returned fire into North Korean waters.

Tensions are common at this time of year because of the North’s anger at annual joint military exercises by the South and the US, but the exchange of fire was the most dramatic incident near the northern limit line since 2010.

The South scrambled F-15 fighters to patrol its side of the border and authorities evacuated the residents of five frontline islands to shelters. Kang Myeong-sung, a resident speaking to AP from a shelter on Yeonpyeong, said he did not see any fighter jets, but he could hear the boom of artillery fire. In 2010, North Korean artillery killed four South Koreans on Yeonpyeong; Pyongyang said it was responding to the South’s exercises.

 

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Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

File:H1N1 navbox.jpg

Influenza A virus subtype H5N8

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from H5N8)

This family of influenza viruses belong to the Orthomyxoviruses. They all range in severity, but cause respiratory infection in the host animals.

Several subtypes of the influenza A virus exist. This virus is more commonly known as the “bird flu” in that it infects mostly avian species, although some have been found in mammals, as well. These viruses range in the level of pathogenicity. H5N8 is one of the many subtypes. One of the main reasons for concern is these viruses undergo constant change, which makes vaccine manufacturing almost impossible. By the time a vaccine is distributed, the virus may have already mutated. Although H5N8 is considered one of the lower pathenogenic subtypes, it is beginning to become more so. Many times, H5N8 is used as an incubator for the highly pathogenic H1N1. [1]

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Biological Hazard South Korea Province of Jeollabuk-do, Gochang Damage level Details

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RSOE EDIS

Biological Hazard in South Korea on Friday, 17 January, 2014 at 07:41 (07:41 AM) UTC.

Description
Korean officials have confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza in the southern part of the country, in the nation’s first case of the virus since 2011. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said Friday it had confirmed the presence of the H5N1 virus in poultry at a farm in Gochang, Jeollabuk-do. The AI case was first reported on Thursday, prompting provincial authorities to cull all 20-thousand ducks there, and access to the area has been restricted. Farms in other provinces that have recently bought ducks from the Gochang farm are also taking precautionary measures against the virus. Korea’s last avian influenza outbreak resulted in the culling of 3 million birds in 2011.
Biohazard name: H5N1 – Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus
Biohazard level: 4/4 Hazardous
Biohazard desc.: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

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Biological Hazard in South Korea on Friday, 17 January, 2014 at 07:41 (07:41 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Saturday, 18 January, 2014 at 12:53 UTC
Description
Authorities have confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza at a poultry farm in the southern part of the country, in the nation’s first case of the virus since 2011. The A-I case in Jeollabuk-do Province was first reported on Thursday, prompting authorities to cull all 20-thousand ducks there. Access to the area has been restricted, and farms in other provinces that recently purchased ducks from the Gochang farm are also taking precautionary measures against the virus. Korea’s last avian influenza outbreak in 2011 resulted in the culling of 3 million birds.

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Biological Hazard in South Korea on Friday, 17 January, 2014 at 07:41 (07:41 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Sunday, 19 January, 2014 at 04:44 UTC
Description
South Korea banned the movement of people who work with poultry and products from two provinces after confirming an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 at a farm in the country’s south. Authorities have restricted movement in North Jeolla province, South Jeolla province and Gwangju Metropolitan City, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Seoul, for 48 hours until midnight Jan. 20, Lee Dong Phil, minister of the agriculture, food and rural affairs, told reporters today. The ministry confirmed the first outbreak in Gochang, North Jeolla province on Jan. 17, and suspects two more cases at duck farms in nearby Buan County, according to separate statements on the ministry’s website. As many as 21,000 ducks have been culled at the farm in Gochang. “It was inevitable to announce a stand-still in order to prevent further damage,” Lee said. “We ask all to comply thoroughly with the stand-still instructions.” South Korea is the world’s third-biggest buyer of corn, used in food, livestock feed and biofuel. The country destroyed 6.5 million chickens and ducks in the previous outbreak spanning December 2010 through May 2011, according to government data.

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Biological Hazard in South Korea on Friday, 17 January, 2014 at 07:41 (07:41 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Saturday, 01 February, 2014 at 13:46 UTC
Description
Two new suspected bird flu cases were reported in South Korea Saturday, stoking concerns that the highly pathogenic poultry disease may be spreading in the country, the agriculture ministry said. According to the ministry, the additional suspected cases were reported at a chicken farm in the southern port city of Busan, and a duck farm in Jincheon, 90 kilometers south of Seoul.

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Biological Hazard in South Korea on Friday, 17 January, 2014 at 07:41 (07:41 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Monday, 03 February, 2014 at 03:55 UTC
Description
Two new suspected bird flu cases have been reported this week, the government said Monday, as quarantine authorities stay on watch for any new signs after heavy traffic of people during the Lunar New Year holiday. The additional cases were reported Sunday at a duck farm in Eumseong, North Chungcheong Province, and a chicken farm in Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. With the two newest additions, the total number of suspected cases of avian influenza (AI) reported so far is 77. An H5N8 strain of bird flu has been confirmed in 40 cases, up from 27 on Saturday. Ministry officials said the new suspected cases did not mean the animal disease was continuing to spread. The two new cases were from areas that are already under close government control, they said. “The government believes the disease is mostly being reported in areas controlled by the government. We are seeing sporadic outbreaks, but the disease is well under control,” Kwon Jae-han, the head of the ministry’s livestock policy bureau, told a press briefing. Over 2.6 million ducks and chickens have been slaughtered since the country reported its first suspected outbreak of AI on Jan. 16. Health officials here have said the H5N8 strain of bird flu poses no immediate threats to humans, with no human infection of the strain reported so far.

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Food Poisoning Bulletin

New Bird Flu Outbreak in Korea; 500,000 Chickens Culled

A new case of H5N8 bird flu in Korea has led to the culling of 50,000 chickens, according to The Chosun Ilbo. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the case on Sunday, March 9, 2014. Now only Gangwon and Jeju provinces do not have birds with the virus. No human infections have been reported to date.

Chickenpecking-ftA farm in Gyeongju bought 6,700 chickens from a farm in Pyeongtaek, in Gyeonggi Province. The new bird flu strain was detected there on March 4, 2014. The virus was found in bird droppings on the farm. Authorities are culling 500,000 chickens in the area. Lab tests are ongoing to determine if the virus is highly transmissible.

The new bird flu strain was detected in Korea on January 16, 2014. Since then, more than 2.8 million birds have been killed.

Read More Here

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New Avian Flu Virus Ravages Poultry in Korea

6 February 2014 12:00 pm

Baikal teal are among the birds hit by the virus.
Wikimedia Commons

Infected. Baikal teal are among the birds hit by the virus.

A dangerous new strain of bird flu that emerged in South Korea on 17 January has spread nationwide despite efforts to clamp down on the virus. Authorities have culled 2.8 million domestic chickens and ducks since the outbreak began, and the strain has also killed dozens of Baikal teal and other migratory birds. As yet, there are no reports of human infections. Scientists are puzzling over where the H5N8 strain, never before seen in a highly pathogenic form, originated. And researchers are scrambling to keep the virus out of the country’s premier poultry research center.

Intensive surveillance of commercial poultry and wild birds had never before detected the H5N8 strain in Korea, says Jae-Hong Kim, a veterinary microbiologist at Seoul National University. Last year, a Chinese group reported having isolated it from apparently healthy ducks at a live poultry market in China. Based on H5N8’s sudden appearance in Korea and the genetic similarity of isolates from poultry and migratory birds, a governmental investigative committee has “tentatively concluded that [the virus] was likely to have been introduced by migratory birds,” Kim says.

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Korea’s Premier Poultry Research Center Decimated

5 March 2014 11:30 am

A new, deadly H5N8 strain of avian influenza penetrated the biosecurity defenses of a National Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) campus, prompting authorities to cull all of the facility’s 11,000 hens and 5000 ducks.

The devastating loss could set back poultry experiments at the NIAS lab for 2 years. “It will likely to take up to 95 weeks to fully rebuild [the flocks] and resume normal research,” says Kim Sung-Il, head of the contingency team at the Rural Development Administration, which oversees NIAS. Kim adds that the institute, which studies breed improvement and animal husbandry techniques, will reconstitute its flocks from birds kept at other facilities.

A wild goose that died of the virus was found 10 kilometers from NIAS’s Suwon campus, near Seoul, on 1 February. The entire NIAS staff went to work disinfecting and shoeing away wild birds at the three centers that keep poultry. Despite those efforts, 30 ducks were found dead on 2 March at the Cheonan campus, 85 kilometers south of Seoul. The next day, authorities confirmed the cause of death as H5N8 avian influenza. NIAS immediately initiated culling, which was completed on 4 March.

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Earth Watch Report  –  Nuclear  Event

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05.07.2013 Nuclear Event South Korea Province of Gyeongsangbuk-do, [Hanul Nuclear Power Plant] Damage level Details

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Nuclear Event in South Korea on Friday, 05 July, 2013 at 14:32 (02:32 PM) UTC.

Description
A South Korean nuclear reactor shut down Friday after a technical malfunction, operators said, at a time when the government is already warning of serious power shortages because multiple reactors are offline. The state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) said an investigation was underway to confirm the precise cause but added there was no immediate safety threat. The incident occurred at the Hanwool Nuclear Power Plant in Uljin County on South Korea’s eastern coast. At proper capacity, South Korea’s nuclear reactors supply more than 35 percent of the country’s electricity needs. But nine of 23 reactors are currently offline for multiple reasons, including a scandal involving parts provided with fake safety certificates. State prosecutors have launched an extensive probe into the fraud which forced the shutdown of two reactors in May and delayed the scheduled start of operations at two more. Last year, officials said eight suppliers were found to have faked warranties covering thousands of items used in a number of reactors. South Korea’s nuclear sector has been dogged by a series of malfunctions, forced shutdowns and corruption scandals that have undermined public confidence already shaken by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Despite increasing public concern, the government has vowed to push ahead with its nuclear power program and plans to build an additional 16 reactors by 2030.

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CIVIL NUCLEAR

S. Korean nuclear reactor shuts down

by Staff Writers


Seoul (AFP) July 05, 2013

A South Korean nuclear reactor shut down Friday after a technical malfunction, operators said, at a time when the government is already warning of serious power shortages because multiple reactors are offline.

The state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) said an investigation was underway to confirm the precise cause but added there was no immediate safety threat.

The incident occurred at the Hanwool Nuclear Power Plant in Uljin County on South Korea’s eastern coast.

At proper capacity, South Korea’s nuclear reactors supply more than 35 percent of the country’s electricity needs.

But nine of 23 reactors are currently offline for multiple reasons, including a scandal involving parts provided with fake safety certificates.

State prosecutors have launched an extensive probe into the fraud which forced the shutdown of two reactors in May and delayed the scheduled start of operations at two more.

Last year, officials said eight suppliers were found to have faked warranties covering thousands of items used in a number of reactors.

South Korea’s nuclear sector has been dogged by a series of malfunctions, forced shutdowns and corruption scandals that have undermined public confidence already shaken by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Despite increasing public concern, the government has vowed to push ahead with its nuclear power programme and plans to build an additional 16 reactors by 2030.

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Obama’s Super Secret Treaty Which Will Push The Deindustrialization Of America Into Overdrive

Barack-Obama-With-His-Hand-On-The-Resolute-Desk-300x300

Did you know that Barack Obama has been secretly negotiating the most important trade agreement since the formation of the World Trade Organization?  Did you know that this agreement will impose very strict Internet copyright rules, ban all “Buy American” laws, give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and force even more domestic manufacturing offshore?  If you have not heard about this treaty, don’t feel bad.  Obama has refused to even give Congress a copy of the draft agreement and he has banned members of Congress from attending the negotiations.  The plan is to keep this treaty secret until the very last minute and then to railroad it through Congress and have it signed into law by October.  The treaty is known as “the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, and the nations that are reported to be involved in the development of this treaty include the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.  Opponents of this treaty refer to it as “the NAFTA of the Pacific”, and if it is enacted it will push the deindustrialization of America into overdrive.

The “one world” economic agenda that Barack Obama has been pushing is absolutely killing the U.S. economy.  As you will see later in this article, we are losing jobs and businesses at an astounding pace.  And each new “free trade” agreement makes things even worse.

For example, just check out the impact that the recent free trade agreement that Obama negotiated with South Korea is having on us

  • A 10 percent decline of U.S. exports to Korea
  • The U.S. trade deficit with Korea has climbed 37 percent
  • U.S. auto industry has been crippled
  • Loss of U.S. control where international trade, banking and finance is concerned
  • A projected 159,000 jobs will be lost

Wait a second – I though that “free trade” agreements were actually supposed to increase exports.

So why have they declined by 10 percent?

Did someone make a really bad deal?

And of course we have all seen the economic devastation that NAFTA has wrought.

When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States actually had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars.  By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.

And “free trade” with China has turned out to be a complete and total nightmare as well.

Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 million dollars (million with a little “m”) for the entire year.

In 2012, our trade deficit with China was 315 billion dollars.  That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.

But instead of learning from the mistakes of the past, Barack Obama is pressing for more “free trade” agreements.

The New York Times is calling the Trans-Pacific Partnership “the most significant international commercial agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995“.  It is reportedly going to include a whole host of provisions which would never be able to get through Congress on their own.  Even though this treaty will affect all of our daily lives, the Obama administration is keeping this treaty a total secret.  In fact, Obama won’t even show it to Congress even though members of Congress have asked repeatedly to see it…

The agreement, under negotiation since 2008, would set new rules for everything from food safety and financial markets to medicine prices and Internet freedom. It would include at least 12 of the countries bordering the Pacific and be open for more to join. President Obama has said he wants to sign it by October.

Although Congress has exclusive constitutional authority to set the terms of trade, so far the executive branch has managed to resist repeated requests by members of Congress to see the text of the draft agreement and has denied requests from members to attend negotiations as observers — reversing past practice.

While the agreement could rewrite broad sections of nontrade policies affecting Americans’ daily lives, the administration also has rejected demands by outside groups that the nearly complete text be publicly released.

So exactly who in the world does this guy think that he is?  Why won’t Obama let us know exactly what is in this treaty?

Fortunately, there have been a few leaks.  One thing that we have discovered is that this new treaty would reportedly ban all “Buy American laws“.

That certainly would not be popular if it got out.

And do you remember SOPA?

The American people wanted nothing to do with the very strict Internet copyright provisions of SOPA and loudly expressed their displeasure to members of Congress.

Unfortunately, now the provisions of SOPA are back.  It is being reported that most of the provisions of SOPA have been quietly inserted into this treaty.  If this treaty is enacted, those provisions will become law and the American people will not be able to do anything about it.

Read Full Article Here

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Breaking ’08 Pledge, Leaked Trade Doc Shows Obama Wants to Help Corporations Avoid Regulations


Democracy Now

A draft agreement leaked Wednesday shows the Obama administration is pushing a secretive trade agreement that could vastly expand corporate power and directly contradict a 2008 campaign promise by President Obama. A U.S. proposal for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact between the United States and eight Pacific nations would allow foreign corporations operating in the U.S. to appeal key regulations to an international tribunal. The body would have the power to override U.S. law and issue penalties for failure to comply with its ruling. We speak to Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, a fair trade group that posted the leaked documents on its website. “This isn’t just a bad trade agreement,” Wallach says. “This is a ‘one-percenter’ power tool that could rip up our basic needs and rights.” [includes rush transcript]

Guest:

Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Global Research

by Frank Morales

Supreme Court backs binding arbitration agreements

The Washington Post

By

Transcript

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to a controversial trade pact between the United States and eight Pacific nations that until now has remained largely secret. It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. A chapter from the draft agreement leaked Wednesday outlines how it would allow foreign corporations operating in the United States to appeal key regulations to an international tribunal. The body would have the power to override U.S. law and issue penalties for failure to comply with its rulings.

The agreement is being negotiated by the U.S. trade representative, Ron Kirk, appointed by President Obama. But the newly revealed terms contradict promises Obama made while running for president in 2008. One campaign document read in part, quote, “We will not negotiate bilateral trade agreements that stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; [or] give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors.”

AMY GOODMAN: Earlier leaks from the draft Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement exposed how it included rules that could increase the cost of medication and make participating countries adopt restrictive copyright measures.

No one from the U.S. trade representative’s office was able to join us, but in a statement to Democracy Now!, they said, quote, “Nothing in our TPP investment proposal could impair our government’s ability to pursue legitimate, non-discriminatory public interest regulation.”

For more, we’re joined by Lori Wallach, director of the fair trade group Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. The leaked documents were posted on her organization’s website early Wednesday morning.

Lori, welcome to Democracy Now! Explain what the documents show and what this agreement is about.

LORI WALLACH: Well, it’s been branded as a trade agreement, but really it is enforceable corporate global governance. The agreement requires that every signatory country conform all of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures to what are 26 chapters of very comprehensive rules, only two of which have anything to do with trade. The other 24 chapters set a whole array of corporate new privileges and rights and handcuff governments, limit regulation. So the chapter that leaked—and it’s actually on the website of Citizens Trade Campaign, it’s a national coalition for fair trade—that chapter is the chapter that sets up new rights and privileges for foreign investors, including their right to privately enforce this public treaty by suing our government, raiding our Treasury, over costs of complying with the same policies that all U.S. companies have to comply with. It’s really outrageous.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Lori, there’s been a quite a bit of complaint, even in Congress, about the secretive nature of these continuing negotiations. About 600 or so corporate advisers have access to information that even members of Congress don’t? Could you talk about how that has come about?

LORI WALLACH: Well, this is how you get a text and in a potential agreement that is this outrageous. I mean, this isn’t just a bad trade agreement, this is a one-percenter power tool that could rip up our basic needs and rights. How that happens is the negotiations have been done in total secrecy. So, for two-and-a-half years, until this leak emerged, people have suspected what’s going on, because, as you said, under U.S. law there are 600 official advisers, they have security clearance to see the text, they advise the U.S. position. Meanwhile, the senator, Ron Wyden, who is the chairman of the trade committee in the Senate, the committee with jurisdiction over the TPP, has been denied access to the text, as has his staff, who has security clearance, to a point where this man who has supported agreements like this in the past has filed legislation demanding he have the right to see the agreement that he’s supposed to be having oversight with. He’s on the Intelligence Committee, and he has security clearance, so he can see our nuclear secrets. He just can’t see this corporate bill of rights that is trying to be slipped into effect in the name of being a trade agreement. It’s a very elegant Trojan horse strategy. You brand it one thing, and then you put an agenda that could not survive sunshine into this agreement.

We have been able also to get some of the texts on patents, expanding patents for Big Pharma, jacking up medicine prices. And we have analysis on our website, tradewatch.org, as well as information about how to get involved, because these agreements are a little bit like Dracula. You drag them in the sunshine, and they do not fare well. But all of us, and also across all of the countries involved, there are citizen movements that are basically saying, “This is not in our name. We don’t need global enforceable corporate rights. We need more democracy. We need more accountability.”

AMY GOODMAN: Lori Wallach—

LORI WALLACH: And this agreement is the antithesis.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to read part of the comment we got from the U.S. trade representative’s office when we invited them on today’s show. They wrote, quote, “The Obama Administration has infused unprecedented transparency into the TPP negotiations. We have worked with Members of Congress … [and] invited stakeholders to every round of negotiations where they have given presentations and met with individual negotiating teams. … We are always looking for ways to enhance provisions on transparency and public participation.” Lori Wallach, your comment?

LORI WALLACH: Well, to start with, the idea of transparency of the current negotiators is a one-way mirror. We can basically talk to them and do presentations. But as this leak shows, nothing that the public interest organizations—and it’s a huge array of organizations, from faith groups to consumer groups, environmental, labor—nothing that we have said is now reflected in the U.S. position in this negotiation, which I’m sad to say is the most extreme. I mean, the U.S. is even opposing proposals in this agreement to try and make sure countries have the ability to use financial regulation to ensure financial stability. The U.S. positions don’t reflect what we’ve been saying, but we can talk at them.

But just to put this in perspective, in the last negotiation of a big regional agreement—that was the Free Trade Area of the Americas in the 1990s, 34 countries, very complicated agreement—two years into the negotiation, the entire draft text was published officially by the governments. Here we are, three years into this negotiation with eight countries, and they will not publish a sentence. In fact, it finally leaked that they had signed a special agreement not to release any draft text for four years after negotiations are done—a secrecy agreement on top of the normal secrecy. And when asked, Ron Kirk, the trade representative, why—in the past, the U.S. has sent out draft texts. The WTO, hardly a paradigm of transparency, publishes draft texts. “What the—what’s going on?” he was asked. He said, “Well, in the past, for instance, the Free Trade Area of the Americas, when the text was revealed, we couldn’t finish it.” Now, what sort of indictment is that of what they are doing behind closed doors, that merely allowing the public who will live with the results and Congress to know what’s up is going to somehow derail the plans to lock us in? Because what’s really important to understand about these agreements, it’s not about trade, and it’s like cement. Once the cement dries in these agreements, you can’t change the rules, unless all the agreement—all the other countries agree to amend the agreement.

So what we’re talking about with this leaked chapter is literally a parallel system of justice. People have domestic laws and courts, trying to defend our rights and get our needs met. Corporations would have a parallel system of private attorneys, three of them, no conflict-of-interest laws. The U.S. and the other countries would submit themselves to the jurisdiction of this corporate kangaroo court, and these three random attorneys would have the right to order the U.S. government to pay unlimited amounts of our tax dollars to corporations and investors who, A, claim regulatory costs need to be refunded, or, B, are saying they’re not being treated well enough, regardless if the policies they dislike are the exact same ones that apply to all of us. Even under NAFTA’s system, which has some of this, $350 million have already been paid out to corporations by governments, over toxics bans, zoning laws, timber rules. This is a sneaky outrage. And if people actually put a spotlight on it, we can stop it.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, Lori, I wanted to ask you—you mentioned the eight nations that are involved in the negotiations. Which nations are they? And also, the issue of the way this is being negotiated, the number could expand dramatically in the future. Can you talk about that?

LORI WALLACH: Well, the reason why it is so incredibly important that this agreement be exposed is this could well be the last agreement that’s negotiated. So, many of your listeners and viewers have been involved in the sneaky way trade agreements have been used by corporations to limit regulation and to foster a race to the bottom since NAFTA. And each of these agreements has gotten bolder, more expansive in its limits on government regulation and in its granting of corporate powers. This one could be the end, because what they intend to do is leave it open, once it’s done, for any other country to join. So, this is an agreement that ultimately could have the whole world in it as a set of binding corporate guarantees of new rights and privileges, enforced with cash sanctions and trade sanctions. It is not an exaggeration to say that the TPP threatens to become a regime of binding global governance, right at the time that the Occupy movement and movements around the world are demanding more power and control. This is the fightback. This is locking in the bad old way plus. And in addition, the way that the agreement is being negotiated, these rules would require that you not only change all of your existing laws—so good progressive laws would have to be gotten rid of—but that, in the future, you don’t create new laws.

Now, the agreement now includes Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Peru and Vietnam, as well as the U.S., plus Malaysia has now joined. And the agreement includes all of the NAFTA-style privileges that promote offshoring. But more drastically, it has all sorts of new corporate privileges, so the right to extend medicine and seed monopolies to jack up medicine prices, even the right to challenge formularies, medicine prescription group buying plans. For instance, what the Obama administration has put in their health reform bill, they are at the negotiating table behind closed doors trying to kill the right to use for other countries. Or the financial rules would have just a limit. Countries aren’t allowed to ban risky financial products or services, at the same time that we’re trying to issue regulations under financial reform. And the agreement even meddles with how we spend our local tax dollars. For folks around the country who are doing sweat-free campaigns, who are doing living wage campaigns, green buying campaigns, this agreement says, A, you can’t have local preferences, so no “buy New York” state preference to recycle money back in your state, your tax dollars, no “buy American,” but also conditions like a product has to have recycled content or that that uniform has to be sweat-free. Those kind of conditions can be challenged. It is an incredible corporate power tool. It’s only gotten this far because it’s been secret. And people in the other countries don’t want it either. But our country is the one that’s largely pushing the most radical provisions, which is why it was so important for this text, which everyone can see an analysis of at tradewatch.org, to be made public, to make people aware of what’s really going on.

AMY GOODMAN: Lori, the last round of negotiations on the trade agreement took place in Dallas. While there, Obama’s appointed trade representative, Ron Kirk, spoke at an event for the local business community. The Yes Men took the opportunity to present Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas, with a mock award. This is a clip.

GIT HAVERSALL: Hello. Thank you so much for being here. My name is Git Haversall. And on behalf of the Texas Corporate Power Partnership, we are very, very pleased to announce that the U.S. trade negotiators are the winners of our 2012 Corporate Power Tool Award. I would like to personally thank the negotiators for their relentless efforts. The TPP agreement is shaping up to be a great way for us to maximize our profits, regardless of what the public of this nation or any other nation thinks is right.

AMY GOODMAN: The next round of negotiations on TPP are scheduled over the July 4th holiday weekend. Lori Wallach, can you comment on this? And also, what I assume would be President Obama’s response, if talking behind the scenes, like perhaps tonight when he’s going to be at Sarah Jessica Parker house with—with raising a lot of money—the financial sector is donating $37 million to Mitt Romney so far, the Obama administration’s haul, $4.8 million—that even his own Wall Street supporters are going over to Romney right now, so he would say he is doing better than Romney would in trying to take on these guys.

LORI WALLACH: I think that, for President Obama, there are two scenarios. One is, he has not been on top of what these negotiators are doing. This really has been under the radar. It’s so important that the text finally came out, because it sends a warning to Congress, to the public, etc., and that basically he’s got negotiators on the loose. They are many of the same people who during the Clinton administration got us into NAFTA, that recycled back into the trade negotiating team. The other alternative explanation is just the money one, which is, it is the case that this is an agreement the 1 percent loves. This is sort of one-percenter fantasy. It’s not just that on the margins and in national governments you have to keep fighting with all your money and lobbying to try and get what you want; this would lock it in for the future, indefinitely.

AMY GOODMAN: Lori Wallach, we want to thank you very much for being with us, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. And we will continue to watch this.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, whistleblower Jesselyn Radack on what a number in Congress are calling national security leaks. Stay with us.

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breakingtheset

Published on Feb 26, 2013

Abby Martin speaks to the legislative representative for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Mike Dolan, about the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP), the Obama administration’s efforts for a new trade agreement with the EU, and the negative implications of said agreements.

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EFForg EFForg

Published on May 22, 2013

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is being negotiated in secret between more than 12 countries around the Pacific region. Find out why it’s the biggest threat to the Internet you’ve probably never heard of.

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US Black Hawk helicopter crashes near North Korean border during military exercises

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US Black Hawk

  Picture: Gary Ramage

A US military helicopter has crashed near the North Korean border, a South Korean defence official says, with no reported casualties.

The helicopter, identified by the Yonhap news agency as a UH-60 Black Hawk, came down in Cheolwon county, which touches on the border with North Korea, a defence ministry spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.

The precise cause of the crash was not immediately clear, but the incident occurred during ongoing South Korea-US joint military exercises.

Yonhap quoted emergency rescue workers as saying the 12 service personnel on board the helicopter had survived the crash, which comes at a time of heightened military tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea has condemned the joint exercises as a rehearsal for invasion, and made a series of dire threats of military retaliation.

Reblogged  from LeakSource

In News, North Korea on April 10, 2013 at 11:03 PM

Musudan-class missiles being displayed during a military parade in Pyongyang

04/10/2013

As South Korea and the United States brace for a possible missile launch by North Korea, the communist nation appears to be moving several missiles repeatedly on its east coast in an apparent attempt to interfere with intelligence monitoring, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday.

According to intelligence analysis, the North has moved two Musudan intermediate missiles, which had been concealed in a shed in the eastern port city of Wonsan, in and out of the facility. Four or five wheeled vehicles, suspected to be so-called transporter erector launchers (TEL), were also spotted being moved around in South Hamgyeong Province.

“There are signs the North could fire off Musudan missiles any time soon,” an intelligence source said, asking for anonymity. “But the North has been repeatedly moving its missiles in and out of a shed, which needs close monitoring.”

See More Here

 

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Reblogged  from  LeakSource

 

North Korea Missile Launcher In Raised Position – Japan Defense Official

In News, North Korea on April 10, 2013 at 10:54 PM

04/10/2013

A North Korea missile launcher has moved into the firing position with rockets facing skyward, Kyodo reports, citing a Japan defense official.

The Japanese government is on high alert, citing indications that Pyongyang might soon launch ballistic missiles at its island neighbor.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Thursday morning that so far Tokyo was responding by “gathering a variety of information … with a sense of tension,” according to Kyodo.

Several Patriot Advance Capability-3 missile interceptor units have been deployed in Japan over the last few days to defend key military units and the country’s capital city, Tokyo. One of the units was set up at the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Ichigaya, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward.

The Patriots’ deployment followed Japan’s deployment of Aegis destroyers equipped with SM-3 interceptor missiles.

Japan authorized its forces to shoot down anything fired at it from North Korea.

 

North Korea Maximum Rocket Range

The indication of the new North Korean readiness follows South Korean and US forces’ announcement of an upgrade of their surveillance alert status to the highest possible level before coming into a state of war.

It also comes amid revelations from South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, with a government source saying Pyongyang is preparing multiple launches of shorter-range Scud and Rodong missiles. “There are clear signs that the North could simultaneously fire off Musudan, Scud and Nodong missiles,” an anonymous military source was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

North Korea Declares State of War after US Simulated Nuclear Attack with B-2 Stealth Bomber

NSNBC International

B-2 Strategic Nuclear Long Distance Stealth BomberChristof Lehmann (nsnbc),- The Democratic Peoples´Republic Korea has declared a state of war with its southern neighbor. The North Korean leader Kim Yong-Un has signed a decree, putting the country´s strategic missile command on highest alert. The measures were taken after an unprecedented provocation by the USA, flying B-2 strategic, long-distance  stealth bombers over a distance of 10,000 Km, to practicing for a nuclear attack on the North. The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov addressed the USA, warning it to stop the provocations in a situation, which could easily get out of hand. Russia however, along with other Security Council members, fails to address the true reasons for the Korea Crisis.

Subsequent to the simulated nuclear attack by the US strategic bomber command, with a highly sophisticated B-2 strategic stealth bomber, the military high command of the Democratic Peoples´ Republic Korea, which has previously warned, that the ongoing, one months military exercises in the region may be a precursor and cover for mounting an actual attack on the country, has seen itself forced to put its strategic missile command on highest alert to counter the perceived and very real risk of a nuclear attack on North Korea.

However, the North Korean Statement, that North Korea has entered a “state of war” which almost all eastern and western mainstream media and top diplomats interpret as bellicose positioning by North Korea, is more an assessment of the actuality and the situation, as it is a bellicose threat.

With tensions between the USA, South Korea and the DPRK being high, and in a situation, in which the USA, South Korea and allied forces continue exercises, which the North Korean military leadership repeatedly has described as reckless and dangerous, it is principally just a recognition of the fact that the country is in a state of war. Rather than being a “declaration of war” it is a recognition of a fact.

According to the DPRK´s state news agency KCNA, a statement from the country´s military high command reads “From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering a state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly…. The situation in the Korean peninsula, which is neither peace nor war, has come to an end”.

The statement, as bellicose as it may sound when quoted out of context, is also a recognition of facts because the North and the South of Korea have technically been in a state of war since 1950. No peace treaty has been signed between the North and the South when armed hostilities ended in 1953. The only agreement signed was an armistice agreement, which both the Republic of South Korea and the USA have violated hundreds of times. The event that prompted the DPRK to declare the armistice agreement null and void earlier this year was the deployment of nuclear armed US aircraft carriers and nuclear armed submarines, with a strike capability of at least 100 nuclear weapons, into theater of the military exercises.

While reactions from the USA are ambiguous. A spokesperson of the US national security council, Caitlin Hayden stated on one hand that the DPRK has a long history of “bellicose rhetoric”, while she also stated, that the USA is taking the threats seriously.

Russia´s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned, that the situation, with the DPRK´s ballistic missile forces on high alert, targeting American bases, could easily spiral out of control. Lavrov emphasized that the Russian position on the situation is, that both the USA and the DPRK bear responsibility for the recent, substantial escalation of tensions, and called on both sides to “stop flexing their military muscle”.

The Russian Foreign Minister referred to the recent round of sanctions against the DPRK, saying, “We are concerned that alongside the adequate, collective reaction of the UN Security Council, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that is increasing military activity”. The unilateral action Sergei Lavrov has referred to, are US plans to upgrade its missile defense against the DPRK, the joint US-South Korean contingency plan in the event of an attack, as well as the recent and ongoing military exercises with unprecedented nuclear attack drills.

“The situation could simply get out of control” said Sergei Lavrov, when addressing journalists on Friday. Lavrov called for the resumption of the six-party discussion of North Korea´s nuclear arsenal within the framework of the country´s international obligations.

There are however, also problems with the Russian position. According international law, the DPRK is not prohibited from developing nuclear weapons capabilities. Likewise, it was perfectly legitimate for the DPRK to develop satellite technology and to launch a satellite. The problem with the Russian position is, that the rounds of sanctions against the DPRK, following the DPRK´s satellite launch and nuclear test are, although they have been approved of by the UN security Council, are illegal. The mere fact that the security council has adopted a resolution with the concurrent vote of all of its permanent members, does not imply, that the resolution has primacy over international law.

 

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Published on Apr 6, 2013

North Korea: Beyond the cold war theatrics, is there really a nuclear threat to US?

April 6, 2013 By 2 Comments

PHPatrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire

The recent show of force by the United States marks one of the lowest points in modern diplomacy, but beyond the geopolitical threatrics it turns out that very little is actually known about the North Korean threat.

North Korea’s recent series of weekly verbal provocations towards Seoul and their ally the US – should be taken seriously in diplomatic terms, but is Pyongyang’s bark worse than its bite?

Instead of taking the high road of international diplomacy, Obama’s war hawks chose a more neoconservative approach by baiting the North with a nuclear-capable B-2 Stealth flyover of the country by the US, by F22 aerial exercises and a US Navy Destroyer parked off the South Korean peninsula this week. Further fanning the flames, China also mobilised some of its own troops and military assets along the North Korean border.

Dear Leader: N.Korean propaganda is bolstered by Washington DC’s own validation of it.

The regime in Pyongyang is clearly one on the brink of collapse. The reality is that the crypto-Marxist North Korean nation is one of the planet’s most marginalized states, not only on a diplomatic level, but also on an economically too – as evidenced by the state’s extreme internal propaganda designed to reinforce the state’s unworldly narrative for its own population.

Knowing full well that North Korea is already being strangled economically – effectively being starved by blanket UN and other sanctions, is it such a wise move for the US to poke them further?

As the young Kim Jung-un carries on his late father’s tradition of surreal state-run propaganda campaigns, so does the United States carry on with its own, slightly more sophisticated brand of propaganda as well. For the average American, their general grasp of geopolitical risk and strategy is still on the level of the film Team America, and Washington knows this, and has regularly attempts to pass off shallow intelligence as definitive, and building its foreign policy on top of this.

Still, amongst all the public war chatter back and forth between the US, South Korea and North Korea, one serious question is being mostly ignored – with regards to Pyongyang, what is exactly real, and what is fiction? If we ask this question, then the next most logical question naturally follows: to what degree is Washington DC inflating the threat from North Korea, and why?

The US ‘War Economy’

One can also be argued that there a very powerful vested interests in the US corporate structure who have and will continue to benefit from a heated arms build-up, and will certainly use the North Korea threat as a justification to push forward in spending, especially in light Washington’s new-found austerity culture ushered in through recent budget sequestrations. America’s new pivot towards Asia provides the catch-all policy net, while the two-way propaganda duel between the two countries provides the fear needed to justify a new military build up in the region.

In recent weeks and months, experts in Washington and the UN have been at pains to clarify and actually prove the full scope and ability of the North Korean nuclear threat, which so far are mostly theatre and little substance.

Pyongyang’s nuclear tests

Beyond all the flamboyant rhetoric from the succession of Dear Leaders, and beyond all of their spectacular military parades, there is very little proof that North Korea is advanced in its military prowess and nuclear abilities than many are led to fear in the United States and Western Europe. Their recent nuclear test on February 19th of this year was a perfect example of this.

US officials have speculated that North Korea has upgraded its nuclear capabilities from plutonium, to much more effective enriched uranium ‘HEU’ type warhead.

When no such evidence, or tell-tale physical data, was picked up from North Korea’s recent test – including readings taken from Japanese aircraft and multiple monitoring stations in South Korea, it prompted US officials to claim that the North Koreans merely “went to some length to try to contain releases. One possible reason to try to contain releases is secrecy, so we don’t know very much about their nuclear testing.”

In a recent report published in the Washington Post this week, a former senior Obama administration official admitted there is no evidence of any such advancement, saying, “We’re worried about it, but we haven’t seen it”.

These type of statements leaked into the media are seemingly always done under anonymity, perhaps because those people issuing them are in fear in of losing their jobs because their intelligence assessment does not jibe with US foreign policy rhetoric, nor does it promote the need for an expensive arms race.

Likewise, following North Korea’s previous test in 2009, US officials were on record as saying that unfortunately, the blast ‘left no detectable traces’.

Not convinced that North Korea’s capabilities are anything less than the most advanced, one U.S. official with access to the classified data on the tests derides the lack of evidence, claiming that: “Still, it would not be surprising for North Korea to take extra steps to prevent outsiders from gaining insights into its nuclear capability”.

As is the case with Iran, politicians in Washington and their corporate media partners have sought to validate the nuclear threat in such a way that suggests a pre-emptive strike may be necessary in order to save lives. Although we are used to hearing this every day in the US and Europe, that concept of a preemptive strike has been used as far back as Japan, and most recently in the context of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in Iraq and now again in Syria.

Constantly, we see US officials sculpting the narrative in order to fit into a preconceived conclusion. Very sophisticated propaganda indeed.

Attaching North Korea to Iran

The big danger with Washington and its allies’ polarising approach to foreign policy today is that it is eerily remnant of the type of power-politics that led the world into two previous world wars.

In order to joint North Korea and Iran at the hip, links are needed, and speculation is then used in order to build the type of theoretical case that one often sees emanating from the mouths of both hosts and guests on networks such as FOX News, CNN and the BBC, which is then taken on by the general populace as a genuine threat, skillfully articulated by an official source. Although less blunt than Kim Jung-un’s style of state-run propaganda, it’s just as effective in the end.

Iran has been attached to North Korea through Washington DC’s ‘Axis of Evil’ concept, after pursuing its own nuclear power program.

Still, there is no actual hard evidence to show that North Korea and Iran are sharing uranium enrichment technology, which is of course countered by US officials by claiming that, ‘the sharing of enrichment know-how would be harder to spot than missile know-how’, and also admitting, “ and adding, “They cooperate in many areas, especially missiles. Why it hasn’t yet extended to the nuclear program is frankly a mystery.”

Again with Syria, the North Koreans are thought to have signed a technology exchange agreement with Damascus over a decade ago, which U.S. officials ‘think’ led to the construction of a secret reactor near Deir al-Zour which the Israelis bombed in 2007. Did this facility have anything to do with nuclear weapons? We’ll never know for sure, and neither will the intelligence community based on the ambiguous comments by US officials.

 

Read Full Article Here

U.S. F-22 stealth jets join South Korea drills amid saber-rattling

 

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters fly near Andersen Air Force Base in this handout photo dated August 4, 2010. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald/Handout

WASHINGTON | Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:01pm EDT

(Reuters) – The United States sent F-22 stealth fighter jets to South Korea on Sunday to join military drills aimed at underscoring the U.S. commitment to defend Seoul in the face of an intensifying campaign of threats from North Korea.

The advanced, radar-evading F-22 Raptors were deployed to Osan Air Base, the main U.S. Air Force base in South Korea, from Japan to support ongoing bilateral exercises, the U.S. military command in South Korea said in a statement that urged North Korea to restrain itself.

“(North Korea) will achieve nothing by threats or provocations, which will only further isolate North Korea and undermine international efforts to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” the statement said.

Saber-rattling on the Korean peninsula drew a plea for peace from Pope Francis, who in his first Easter Sunday address called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

“Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow,” he said, speaking in Italian.

Tensions have been high since the North’s young new leader, Kim Jong-un, ordered a nuclear weapons test in February, breaching U.N. sanctions and ignoring warnings from North Korea’s closest ally, China, not to do so.

 

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South Korea pledges strong response against North

Timeline: Korean tensions

  • 12 Dec: North Korea fires three-stage rocket, in move condemned by UN as banned test of long-range missile technology
  • 12 Feb: North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test, its third after tests in 2006 and 2009
  • 7 Mar: UN approves fresh sanctions on Pyongyang; North Korea says it has the right to a “pre-emptive nuclear strike” on the US
  • 11 Mar: US-South Korea annual joint military drills begin; North Korea says it has scrapped the Korean War armistice (the UN says the pact cannot be unilaterally scrapped)
  • 19 Mar: US flies B-2 nuclear-capable bombers over Korean peninsula, following several North Korean threats to attack US and South Korean targets
  • 20 Mar: Broadcasters and banks in South Korea hit by cyber attack, the origin of which remains unknown, days after North Korea says some of its sites were hacked
  • 27 Mar: North Korea cuts military hotline with South, the last official direct link between the two
  • 28 Mar: US flies stealth bombers over Korean peninsula; showcasing ability for precision strike “at will”
  • 30 Mar: North Korea says it is entering a “state of war” with South Korea

How potent are North Korea’s threats?

Lucy Williamson reports from the heavily-guarded inter-Korean border

 

South Korea has promised a “strong response” to North Korean aggression, amid high tensions on the peninsula.

Speaking to defence officials on Monday, President Park Geun-hye said that she took the series of threats from Pyongyang “very seriously”.

North Korea said on Saturday that it was entering a “state of war” with South Korea.

On Sunday, the US sent stealth fighters to South Korea, as North Korea pledged to build up its nuclear arsenal.

“If there is any provocation against South Korea and its people, there should be a strong response in initial combat without any political considerations,” Ms Park said.

In recent days North Korea has issued multiple warnings of attacks on US and South Korean targets – to which the US has responded with an apparent show of military hardware.

The communist state has been angered both by UN sanctions imposed after its nuclear test in February and the joint US-South Korea annual military drills.

‘Nation’s life’

The US flew F-22 planes from Japan to South Korea’s Osan Air base on Sunday, as part of ongoing joint military exercises with South Korea, officials said.

“[North Korea] will achieve nothing by threats or provocations, which will only further isolate North Korea and undermine international efforts to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” the US military command in South Korea said in a statement reported by Reuters news agency.

 

Read Full Article and Watch Video  Here

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