Friday, December 17, 2010

Breaking the Silence - John Pilger

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Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror is a BAFTA nominated 2003 Carlton Letevision documentary film  written and directed by John Pilger, produced by Christopher Martin and co-directed by Steve Connelly. In the film, John Pilger dissects the truth and lies in the 'war on terror'

The documentary gives an overview of the contrast between the proclaimed aims of the War on Terror, and the humanitarian failures in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Notably, it states the Afghan Mujahideen and Afghan Arans including Osama bin Laden, from which later both the Taliban and Al Qaeda were created, received support from the United States and by Britain`s M16. More specifically, Pilger asserts that President Jimmy Carter authorized a five-hundred million dollar programme to help set up the native Afghan mujahideen, starting as early as six months prior to the Soviet invasion into Afghanistan.

Consquently, U.S. supported warlords in Afghanistan and giving chemical weapons during the years of the Cold War to other nations which today the U.S. deems as "Rogue States," have proceeded to the worst humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and Iraq. From the closing days of the Cold War to the current "War on Terror" little is mentioned of the use of state terrorism by the U.S., presented to the general public in the form of "Democracy," "Liberation" and "Freedom" as pretexts for invasions and what most in the world see as unprovoked militarism by a country who sets double standards and speaks hypocriscy when dealing with terrorists all the while ignoring its own use of terrorism on the world stage.

Breaking the silence - Gaza

A group of soldiers who took part in Israel's assault in Gaza in December and January say widespread abuses were committed against civilians under "permissive" rules of engagement. Inside Story discusses whether Israel did commit war crimes and if it did, can those responsible be held accountable.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Collateral Murder (from Wikileaks)

 5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

Wikileaks leaked video of Civilians killed in Baghdad - Full video

WikiLeaks' Collateral Murder: U.S. Soldier Ethan McCord

The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured. After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own "Rules of Engagement".

Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings. WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.

WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.

WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Korean War Documentary

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On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began with the invasion of the Republic of South Korea by communist North Korea. Almost immediately, the world responded to this first great threat of the Cold War, with the United Nations,  particularly the United States, sending troops, to push North Korea which supported by China and Soviet Union. The war would quickly turn into a stalemate, resulting in an armistice agreement in 1953.

The conflict begin after CIA China station officer Douglas Mackiernan, who volunteered to remain and conduct spy operations was killed near Lhasa when he try to escaped from China. Thirteen days later, the North Korean which allience of China (KPA) crossed the 38th parallel border and invaded South Korea. More than 2 million soldiers and civilians died in this 3 years war, including more than 54,000 US soldiers.

In December 1945, Korea was administered by a US–USSR Joint Commission, as agreed at the Moscow Conference. The Koreans were excluded from the talks. The commission decided the country would become independent after a five-year trusteeship action facilitated by each régime sharing its sponsor's ideology. The Korean populace revolted; in the south, some protested, and some rose in arms; to contain them, the USAMGIK banned strikes on 8 December 1945 and outlawed the PRK Revolutionary Government and the PRK People's Committees on 12 December 1945.

On 23 September 1946 an 8,000-strong railroad worker strike began in Pusan. Civil disorder spread throughout the country in what became known as the Autumn. On 1 October 1946, Korean police killed three students in the Daegu Uprising; protesters counter-attacked, killing 38 policemen. On 3 October, some 10,000 people attacked the Yeongcheon police station, killing three policemen and injuring some 40 more; elsewhere, some 20 landlords and pro-Japanese South Korean officials were killed. The USAMGIK declared martial law.

The right-wing Representative Democratic Council, led by nationalist Syngman Rhee, opposed the Soviet–American trusteeship of Korea, arguing that after 35 years (1910–45) of Japanese colonial rule most Koreans opposed another foreign occupation. The USAMGIK decided to forego the five year trusteeship agreed upon in Moscow, given the 31 March 1948 United Nations election deadline to achieve an anti-communist civil government in the US Korean Zone of Occupation.

On 3 April what began as a demonstration commemorating Korean resistance to Japanese rule ended with the Jeju massacre of as many as 60,000 citizens by South Korean soldiers.

On 10 May, South Korea convoked their first national general elections that the Soviets first opposed, then boycotted, insisting that the US honor the trusteeship agreed to at the Moscow Conference.

The resultant anti-communist South Korean government promulgated a national political constitution on 17 July 1948, elected a president, the American-educated strongman Syngman Rhee on 20 July 1948. The elections were marred by terrorism and sabotage resulting in 600 deaths. The Republic of Korea (South Korea) was established on 15 August 1948. In the Russian Korean Zone of Occupation, the USSR established a Communist North Korean government led by Kim I1-sung. President Rhee's régime expelled communists and leftists from southern national politics. Disenfranchised, they headed for the hills, to prepare for guerrilla war against the US-sponsored ROK Government.

As nationalists, both Syngman Rhee and Kim Il-Sung were intent upon reunifying Korea under their own political system.With Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong fighting over the control of the Korean Peninsula, the North Koreans gained support from both the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. They escalated the continual border skirmishes and raids and then prepared to invade. South Korea, with limited material, could not match them. During this era, at the beginning of the Cold War, the US government assumed that all communists, regardless of nationality, were controlled or directly influenced by Moscow; thus the US portrayed the civil war in Korea as a Soviet hegemonic maneuver.

In October 1948, South Korean left-wing soldiers rebelled against the government's harsh clampdown in April on Jeju Island in the Yaosu-Suncheon Rebellion. 

U.S. troops withdrew from Korea in 1949, leaving the South Korean army relatively ill-equipped. The Soviet Union left Korea in 1948. On 24 December 1949, South Korean forces killed 86 to 88 people in the Mungyeong massacre and blamed the crime on communist marauding bands.