How to Be Homeless in Japan

How to Be Homeless in Japan

Our Human Planet (2018)

Film Review

This two-part documentary focuses on homelessness in the Japanese city of Osaka. When the Japanese economy collapsed in the 1990s, many older workers lost their jobs. Last year Osaka (pop 19 million)  had 18,000 homeless, mostly men. It’s easier for women who lose their jobs to return to live with family.

Part One (How to be Homeless in Japan) focuses on an 63-year-old man who makes a living collecting aluminum cans to sell at a recycling center. His work day starts before dawn, and he makes roughly $8 a day. In Osaka, one of the most expensive cities in the world, this earns him two meals of day old rice and fish, a cup of tea and a cup of sake. His spends his afternoons in the library reading.

Part Two (Japanese Homeless Fight Back) focuses on organizing efforts by Osaka’s homeless to protect themselves and better meet their needs. In addition to setting up an immaculate tent city on the grounds of a national monument, a number of them run a charity that uses expired supermarket food to provide two hot meals a week for all Osaka’s street people.

It also features a march Osaka’s homeless organized to protest the death of a homeless man kicked to death by unemployed youth.

 

Hidden History: The US Wars Against Japan, Korea and Vietnam

The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia

By James Bradley

Back Bay Books (2015)

Book Review

This book details numerous myths about the origin of the US wars against Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Bradley begins by revealing how the Roosevelt administration was hoodwinked by the overt fascist Chiang Kai-Shek and Christian missionaries into believing China was ripe for wholesale conversion to Christianity and US-style capitalism. Deceived by Chiang’s promises to wage war against Japan,  Roosevelt poured billions into the civil war Chiang was waging with Mao Se Tung. FDR also created an illegal covert mercenary Air Force for Chiang, a major motivator in the Japanese decision to attack Pearl Harbor.

Had FDR listened to advisors who understood the strong support Mao enjoyed from China’s rural peasants, he never would have supported Chiang – or been forced to open a second front (against Japan) the US was totally unprepared for.

In addition to his greater popularity and military strength, Mao was also genuinely interested in establishing a trade relationship with the US.

According to Bradley, the civil war Mao won in 1949 was actually a war of liberation from European colonial powers, just like Kim Sung Il’s war of liberation in Korea and Ho Chi Minh’s war of liberation in Vietnam. Owing to the total ignorance of Asian society and culture, advisors in the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy administration mistakenly viewed these wars of independence as part of a global communist conspiracy and military aggression the only possible response.

The China Mirage traces the  history of each of these conflicts (Japan, China, Korea and Vietnam) in a clear and compelling way, starting with the massive fortune Roosevelt’s grandfather amassed via the opium smuggling the US and UK forced on China via two opium wars.

For me the most interesting part of the book concerns the US oil/steel embargo that supposedly triggered the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. According to Bradley, Roosevelt opposed the embargo. It was surreptitiously enacted by members of his administration while he was at a secret meeting in Canada with Winston Churchill.

The 1968 Global Revolt and the Brutal 1969 Global Crackdown

1968 Global Revolt – Part 3 The Explosion

DW (2018)

Film Review

Part 3 focuses on 1969 and the extreme police and military violence directed at anti-government protests in the US, Japan, Italy and Germany.

In the US, 1969 saw the occupation of derelict University of California-Berkeley property for the formation of a People’s Park and the formation of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The latter would be destroyed by heavy CIA/FBI infiltration and assassination and false imprisonment of many of its leaders. 1969 also saw the sidetracking of many US antiwar protestors into environmental activism, women’s and gay liberation and alternative lifestyles (the hippy peace, love and truth movement, Woodstock and communal living).

In Germany, the students rejecting bourgeois capitalist lifestyles formed the Kommune movement. The filmmakers erroneously describe the Baader-Meinhoff Gang (aka the Red Army Faction), responsible for setting fire to department stores and warehouses, as a fringe offshoot of the the Kommune movement. The Baader-Meinhoff Gang was exposed in the early 90s as a CIA/NATO-driven product of Operation Gladio.*

The filmmakers also mischaracterize Italy’s Red Brigades as a violent offshoot of the Italian antifascist movement that mobilized tens of thousands of workers and students. The Red Brigades, responsible for tens of thousands of false flag bombings and assassinations, was also created and run by Operation Gladio. The Italian government used the Red Brigades “terrorist” activities events to justify the adoption of extreme repressive measures, including the imprisonment of 30,000 antifascist activists.

Also disappointing is the filmmakers’ failure to identify the root cause of Japan’s anti-American protests (ie the CIA funding of their single party government). In his book Blowback, Chalmers Johnson compares Japan’s US-controlled post-war government to East Germany’s dictatorship. Also see CIA supported Japan’s ruling party during Cold War era

*Operation Gladio is the code name for a CIA/NATO backed paramilitary network that carried out thousands of false flag terrorist operations to justify repressive government legislation to suppress grassroots anti-capitalist organizing. It was exposed in a 1992 BBC documentary.

 

 

1965-75: The Decade that Nearly Dismantled Capitalism?

Global Revolt – Part 1 The Wave

DW (2018)

Film Review

This is a four-part documentary series, based on archival video footage, of a global uprising that took place between 1965-75. Although the uprising began with student protests opposing the Vietnam war, disgruntled workers and farmers joined in with students in France, Italy, Chile and Brazil and Japan. The main weakness of this series is the absence of a unifying thread. Although the historical film footage is superb, the scattershot approach and the misidentification of various Operation Gladio programs (as genuine leftist movements) makes it impossible for the viewer to draw any real conclusions.

Part 1 mainly focuses on the US anti-Vietnam War movement. However it also briefly examines the youth uprisings that occurred in the UK, Italy, Germany and Japan, as well as the first international conference of the Non-Aligned Movement* in Havana in 1963.

For me, the most interesting part of the film was the International War Crimes Tribunal Jean Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russell organized in 1967 to investigate US war crimes in Vietnam.


*Operation Gladio is the code name for a CIA/NATO backed paramilitary network that carried out thousands of false flag terrorist operations in Cold War Europe. The goal of these operations was to justify repressive government legislation against grassroots anti-capitalist organizers. It was exposed in a 1992 BBC documentary:

**The Non-Aligned Movement is an organization of sovereign countries that refuse to ally themselves with or against any of the major power blocs (US, Russia, China).

The Rohyngya Crisis: Is Myanmar the New Syria?

For nearly a year now, the western media has been flooding us with images of Muslim Rohingya fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar. Since October 2017, an estimated 700,000 (roughly half the Rohingya population) have fled into Bangladesh where they live in primitive refugee camps or in the open air on the roadside. Most of are women fleeing the Myanmar army, which has been burning their villages, gang raping them, killing their husbands and, in some cases, their children. Since 2016, some of the 700,000 Rohingya who remain in Myanmar having been living in camps (some under military force – others voluntarily for protection from Buddhist vigilantes).

We read occasional vague references to the current “civil war” in Rakhine state. And listen to hysterical rants by Amnesty Internationali spokespeople condemning Myanmar president Aung San Suu Kyi for her failure to speak out against the army’s brutal treatment of Rohingya Muslims. AI is also calling for Burmese leaders in the International Criminal Court – which is impossible as Myanmar isn’t an ICC member.

Is a New Proxy War Brewing in Myanmar?

In most cases, the western media tells us virtually nothing about the civil war that is the root cause of the current Rohingya refugee crisis. Why not? In exploring non-western media accounts, I get the uncomfortable inkling I am witnessing a burgeoning proxy war in Myanmar, similar to the civil war in Syria, with Saudi Arabia and possibly other US client states supporting the Rohingya rebels. Obviously this background in no way justifies recent terrorism by the Myanmar army against Rohingya civilians. At the same time, the world is growing weary of the US and their allies using human rights violations as justification for military intervention. In Myanmar, as in Syria, the only sustainable solution is a political settlement, ie an international agreement that protects Rohyngya autonomy and human rights while ending interference by foreign players.

Myanmar’s 70-Year Civil War

The current Rohyngya crisis was triggered in August 2017 when the Arakanii Army (AA) and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a new extremist group, launched a concerted attack on Myanmar army and police. The government of Myanmar has been fighting armed Rohingya separatists since it first won independence in 1948. During World War II when Japan occupied Burma, local Buddhists supported the Axis forces and the Bengali Muslims remained loyal to the British crown. Tens of thousands died during mass mutual reprisals. As Burma negotiated independence from the UK, Muslims in northern Arakan appealed to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to annex this area. When the both Burmese independence hero Aung San and Pakistan’s founder Muhammed Ali Jinnaha rejected this appeal, Arakan Muslims launched a mujahideen insurgency

Simultaneously fighting communist and ethnic insurgencies among the Karensiii, the Kachensiv and other marginalized groups, the Burmese army could only control major cities and towns in Arakan. The mujahideen controlled large parts of rural Arakan, leading many Buddhist villagers to flee to the southern part of the state.

It wasn’t until late 1954 that the last mujahideen camps fell to the Burmese army, with most insurgents retreating into East Pakistan. The Burma/East Pakistan (Bangladesh) border has always been extremely porous (like the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan) with Rohingya militants moving in and out of northern Burma to launch attacks on police and army outposts.

Two years after Burma’s 1962 military coup, Muslim youth from rural Arakan formed an underground movement called the Rohingya Independence Force (RIF). In 1998 various RIF factions united to form the Arakan Roningya National Organization (ARNO). It was at this point they began receiving financial and material support from the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), which operates out of Saudi Arabia.

The Rise of the Arakan Army

The 2004 downfall of Prime Minister Kihn Nunt and the collapse of his military intelligence network would result, in 2012, in the emergence of the Arakan Army (AA). Recruiting Rakhine laborers working in Phakant jade plants in Kachine state, the AA agreed to open a new western front in Rakhine state when the ceasefire between the Myanmar military and the Kachine Independence Army (KIA) broke down in 2013, Between March 2015 and April 2016, the AA killed 13 Myanmar troops, which, in turn, captured 57 AA troops.

At present, the government estimates there are 300 AA and ARSA troops operating along the Myanmar-India-Bangladesh border and another 200 fighting with the KIA. They enjoy strong support from the civilian population. Rohingya refugees describe young villagers picking up clubs, knives and sticks to join attacks against Myanmar police and military.

Saudi Support and the Methamphetamine Trade

According to the Muslim World League website, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to support the Rohingya with financial and material support. According to International Crisis Group, Rohingya separatists also get major financial support from wealthy Rohingya refugees living in Saudi Arabia.

Rohingya militants also seem to be involved in methamphetamine smuggling, with the army seizing 26.7 million meth tabs from suspected militants in 2015 and 37.7 million tablets in 2017. There are also concerns they may have links with the Pakistani Taliban and possibly Islamic State militants.


i Amnesty International is increasingly playing a cheerleading role for US military intervention in Syria and non-aligned countries exhibiting “human rights” violations. See Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War . . . Again

ii Arakan (now known as Rakhine state) is a historic region bordering the Bay of Bengal to its west, Bangladesh to its north and Myanmar to its east.

iii The Karen, Kayin, Kariang or Yang people encompass a number of individual Sino-Tibetan language speaking ethnic groups, many of which do not share a common language or culture. These Karen groups reside primarily in Karen State, in southern and southeastern Myanmar.

iv The Kachins are a coalition of six tribes whose homeland encompasses territory in Yunnan, China, Northeast India and Kachin State in Myanmar.

I originally published this article in OpEd News

(Image by Tasnim News Agency [CC BY 4.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Colonizing the Third World via Appearance Marketing

The Illusionists

Directed by Elena Rossini

Film Review

The Illusionists is about cultural globalization and the colonization of the third world via appearance marketing. The westernized image of whiteness and thinness is aggressively marketing through out the world as synonymous with power.

The effect of this marketing is to continuously bombard women with messages that their appearance is unsatisfactory – to convince them the way they look is all that matters, that no one will love them if they aren’t sexy and that anyone can be beautiful and sexy if they work at it and purchase enough beauty and weight loss products.

I was amazed to learn of all the skin whitening products being sold in Japan, India and Africa. To my immense astonishment Lebanon, where 1/3 of all women undergo it, is the plastic surgery capital of the world.

The most concerning segment concerns the deliberate sexualization of preschool children in marketing campaigns that, in my view, amount to soft porn. In addition to marketing make-up and lingerie to preschoolers, the ultimate goal of such campaigns is to “eroticize” shopping for young girls.

Brave Girls Alliance is a grassroots group started by teenagers campaigning to end the role of Wall Street corporations in defining beauty standards. See Brave Girls Take Back the Media

This film can’t be embedded but can be viewed for free at Films for Action

What Causes Civilization to Collapse?

collapse

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive

Jared Diamond

Penguin Books (2005)

Book Review

This book was very different from what I expected. I anticipated an account of the environmental mismanagement that caused the collapse of prehistoric civilizations such as Easter Island. Collapse is actually a detailed historical analysis of a wide spectrum of both failed and successful societies. In addition to Easter Island, Diamond also covers the vanished Anazazi civilization in New Mexico, the Mayan civilization, the Viking settlements of Iceland (which persists to the present day), Greenland and Vineland (present day Newfoundland and New Brunswick), pre-1853 Japan, the New Guinea highlands and modern day Rwanda and Australia (the modern society he describes at highest risk for collapse).

Diamond’s thesis is that the ability of any society to meet the survival needs of its members depends on certain basic preconditions. He maintains historical forest management is the most critical – deforestation features in every historical collapse he mentions. Forests are not only essential to provide fuel for cooking, heating and refining metal, but loss of forest cover leads to soil erosion and destruction of topsoil, as well as decreased rainfall and fresh water shortages.

In some societies Diamond analyzes, collapse was the direct result of environmental mismanagement. In others, the odds of survival were extremely low to begin with, due to low rainfall, a cold or windy latitude or poor soils. In many cases, a political factor such as war, lack of external supports (eg trade), overpopulation and/or a greedy ruling elite diverting resources to luxuries were important contributing factors.

The section I found most interesting concerns the New Guinea highlanders, who (prior to the arrival of Europeans) maintained an environmentally sustainable civilization via bottom up direct democracy for over 46,000 years.

Lee Harvey Oswald: US Intelligence Operative

From Dallas to Raleigh: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Fingerprints of Intelligence

Allen City TV (2015)

Film Review

This presentation, featuring assassination researchers Grover Proctor and Jim Marrs, focuses on a fascinating chain of evidence shedding new light on “lone assassin” Lee Harvey Oswald’s role as a US intelligence operative. The new evidence revolves around the mysterious Raleigh North Caroline “cutout” named John Hurd, who Oswald attempted to call from the Dallas jail. Hurd first came to the attention of assassination researchers during the extensive 1978 investigation by the House Committee on Assassinations.

Proctor, who interviewed Hurd prior to his death, has assembled strong circumstantial evidence that Hurd was linked to the Naval Intelligence Unit in Nagshead North Carolina that trained recruits in the fifties and sixties to “defect” to the Soviet Union as double agents. Following his enlistment in the Marines at 17, Oswald underwent training at Nagshead and was initially deployed to Japan, where he had top secret clearance to monitor U2 spy plane flights over the Soviet Union. In 1959, he would “defect” to the Soviet Union in an attempt to fool the Russians into offering him a sensitive intelligence role. After the Russians failed to take the bait, the US repatriated him in 1961.

The second hour of the documentary, in which Jim Marrs comments on Proctor’s work, is the most illuminating. Marrs briefly sums up other compelling evidence linking Oswald to Naval Intelligence and the CIA, including his CIA 201 (employment) file and the Minox spy camera he had on his person at the time of his arrest. Marrs also refers to important evidence regarding Oswald’s intelligence activities in New Orleans – uncovered by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison ** and corroborated by Oswald’s former mistress Judyth Baker in  Lee and Me


*A “cutout” is an intermediary a undercover operative can safely contact in emergency situations without exposing the identity of their control (ie the official operative directing their intelligence activities).

**Jim Garrison was the only prosecutor to indict and try (in 1967) a prominent assassination co-conspirator named Clay Shaw. Shaw was ultimately acquitted owing to the CIA’s refusal to release records documenting his extensive history in intelligence (which would be released to the House Committee on Assassinations in 1978).

How the US Uses War to Protect the Dollar

The Gods of Money

William Engdahl (2015)

The first video is a 2015 presentation by William Engdahl about his 2010 book The Gods of Money. It focuses on the use of US economic and military warfare to maintain the supremacy of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.

As his point of departure, he begins with the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement, in which the Allied powers agreed to use the gold-backed US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. In 1971 when Nixon was forced to end the gold standard,* the gold-backed US dollar was replaced by the “petrodollar.” According to Engdahl, it was so named because of a secret agreement the US made with Saudi Arabia – in return for a guarantee that OPEC would only trade oil in US dollars, the US guaranteed the Saudis unlimited military hardware.

In this way, oil importing nations (most of the world) were forced to retain substantial US dollar reserves. This was the only way they could provide their economies with a continuous supply of oil.

The petrodollar remained supreme until the mid-1980s, when the collapse of the US Savings and Loan industry (a pre-cursor of the 2007 banking collapse) raised concerns in Europe that the US was failing as a super power. Fearing the US economy was collapsing, they created the euro and the Eurozone, to prevent the Soviet Union or China from filling the power vacuum.

The financial warfare unit of the US treasury responded by feeding hedge fund manager and currency speculator George Soros secret information that enabled him to lead an attack on the British pound. This, in turn, destabilized the British economy to the point the UK no longer qualified to join the euro.

In 1997 the US Treasury and Soros made a a similar attack on economies of Southeast Asia (Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines) that attempted to use currencies other than the dollar as their reserve currencies.

In 2010, after the US government had run three years of $1 trillion deficits, China, Russia and Japan announced their intention of selling US Treasury bonds (which the US government sells to finance its debt) to increase their euro reserves. Concerned this placed the US dollar on the brink of catastrophic collapse, the US Treasury and Soros attacked the Euro directly by collapsing the Greek economy. The mechanism Soros used was to direct his hedge funds to dump the sovereign treasury bonds that financed Greek debt.** When the European Central Bank announced its commitment to a Greek bail-out, the US Treasury and Soros followed up with an attack on Irish, Spanish and Portuguese sovereign bonds.


*A US economic crisis led to massive foreign demand for US dollar redemption that threatened to deplete US gold reserves.

** The immediate effect of bondholders dumping Greek bonds raised interest rates on Greek debt to a level that threatened to bankrupt their government.

 

 

The second clip is a Guns and Butter radio interview with Engdahl. It focuses on a second area the Gods of Money covers, namely the long US battle to abolish their private central bank (aka the Federal Reserve) and end the ability of private banks to create money out of thin air (see How Banks Create Money Out of Thin Air).

After a brief explanation of fractional reserve banking, whereby 97% of our money is created by private banks, Engdahl traces the history of the First Bank of the United States, created by Alexander Hamilton in 1791. The latter was the first US central bank, 80% owned by private (mostly Rothschild-controlled) banks in the City of London and 20% owned by the US government. President James Madison’s refusal to renew the bank’s charter in 1811 would result in Britain and the US going to war in 1812.

When the war ended in 1815, the American war debt was so substantial, the US had no choice but to charter the Second Bank of the United States, which once again was 80% controlled by London banks.

In 1832, Andrew Jackson refused to renew the bank’s charter, and the US had no central bank between 1832 and 1913. In 1913 when President Woodrow Wilson secretly colluded with the global banking establishment to create the Federal Reserve.

Both Lincoln and Kennedy challenged the exclusive role private banks play in creating the US money supply – Lincoln by issuing greenbacks (rather than borrowing money from private banks) to pay for the civil war and Kennedy by issuing silver certificates directly redeemable by the US Treasury. In both cases, Engdahl feels their defiance of the international banking establishment played a role in the decision to assassinate them.

Down the Old Memory Hole: How Bush Jr Quashed the Movement for Korean Reunification

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Kim Dae Jung

With the Trump administration and the mainstream media gleefully beating the war drums for a military attack on North Korea, there’s crucial historical context missing from the corporate media coverage of this issue. I suspect most Americans have never heard of of Korea’s “Sunshine Policy” (1998-2008), aimed at eventual reunification of North and South Korea. We certainly heard about it here in New Zealand, thanks to the mass revolt in Bush’s diplomatic corps when he deliberately sabotaged this policy to isolate and provoke North Korea into amping up their their nuclear weapons program.

On learning of the Sunshine Policy, my Americans friends are shocked to learn that North Korea moved from active engagement in 1998 in nuclear disarmament and negotiations towards Korean reunification to announcing the their first nuclear weapons test in 2006. They also have no idea of the deliberate steps the Bush/Cheney administration took to sink the Sunshine Policy, nor their devious motives for doing so.

Carter’s 1994 Agreed Framework and the Origins of South Korea’s Sunshine Policy

The Sunshine Policy grew out of a treaty (the Agreed Framework) former president Jimmy Carter negotiated with late North Korean President Kim Il Sung in 1994. In return for North Korea agreeing to cease its nuclear weapons program and permitting the return of International Atomic Energy (IAEA) inspectors, the US agreed to replace the power lost when North Korea closed its Yongbyon reactor with oil shipments and two modern nuclear plants.

The North Koreans kept this agreement, and in 1998 South Korean president Kim Dae Jung began his Sunshine Policy aimed at lessening tensions and building reconciliation between North and South Korea. In June 2000, leaders of the two countries held a historic three-day summit in Pyongyang (the first in 50 years) and signed a pact in which they agreed to work towards reunification. Among other provisions, the agreement included substantial South Korean humanitarian aid to address North Korea’s chronic food shortages, loosening of restrictions on South Korean investment in North Korea, the opening of North Korea’s Kumgang Tourist Region to South Korean visitors, the establishment of a family reunification program, the opening of rail links through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and a worker exchange program permitting South Korean workers to work at North Korea’s Kaesang Industrial Park.

In 2000, Kim Dae Jung won the Nobel Peace Prize for his successful implementation of the Sunshine Policy.

Why Bush Deliberately Sabotaged the Sunshine Policy

Unfortunately George W Bush, who took office in 2001, had very different plans for the Korean peninsula. In his view, a paranoid militarist North Korean threatening US allies South Korea and Japan was the most potent argument he had to justify his obsession with building a missile defense system. Once Japan joined the effort to normalize relations with North Korea, the neocons in his administration also had real concerns about the potential threat to US strategic dominance in the region.

In “Blame Bush for North Korea’s Nukes”, journalist Barbara O’Brien gives a blow by blow description of Bush’s calculated efforts to derail the Sunshine Policy, starting with his refusal to meet with Nobel Prize Winner Kim Dae Jung during his March 2001 visit to Washington. In January 2002, Bush would make his infamous Axis of Evil speech, including North Korea with Iraq and Iran as states deliberately sponsoring terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction. In October 2002, a month after Japan joined the diplomatic effort to normalize relations with North Korea, he accused the latter (with even flimsier evidence than his administration put forward for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction) of secretly developing a program to enrich uranium to weapons grade and unilaterally cut off oil shipments the US committed to under the 1994 Agreed Framework.

Bush would go on to pull US troops out of North Korea, where they had been working cooperatively with the North Korean Army searching for the remains of US army personnel killed in the Korean War.

As O’Brien asserts in her series, the immediate trigger for these moves was a visit by Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi to North Korea in a first effort to normalize relations between the two countries. In the view of the Bush administration, an independent economic-political block consisting of Japan and a unified Korea posed a serious strategic threat to US dominance in Asia and had to be stopped. Her arguments make sense in view of the fact that direct US military occupation of South Korea only ended in 1994, a year after the South Korean people overthrew the last US-installed puppet dictator.

Provoking North Korea into Resuming Their Nuclear Weapons Program

In the face of growing belligerence and military threats from the US, in 2003 North Korea announced they were withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and restarted the nuclear reactor frozen by the 1994 Agreed Framework. They also announced they were restarting their nuclear weapons program and long range missile testing. In 2004, they would announce they had successfully manufactured a nuclear weapon and in 2006 test their first nuclear weapon

Whereas there was no evidence they had nuclear weapons in 2002 when Bush first leveled accusations against them, by 2004 he managed to convince them their regime was under sufficient threat they needed nuclear weapons to defend themselves – he also managed to convince Congress that the North Korean threat justified massive expenditures on a wasteful and questionably effective missile defense system.

Meanwhile despite growing tensions from North Korea’s decision to resume their nuclear weapons program, the Sunshine Policy would limp along until 2008. A shooting incident at the Mount Kumgang tourist region (in which a South Korean tourist was shot by North Korean soldiers) effectively ended it.

Originally published in Dissident Voice