This book is a MUST READ. Of course it is old now and the 911 inside job has uncovered a much deeper level of a criminal empire. BUT IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT for us to have an understanding of the ways that our democracy is undermined by the ILLEGITEMATE OWNERS of this world. The book is freely availabe from zmag.org website. Blogspot adaptation by u2rh2.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Occupy Wall Street Day 13
Occupy Wall Street Day 13:
Transit workers' union joins strike, Moore reports live, Chomsky gets interviewed, and what are protesters doing right?
by Miranda Nelson on September 29, 2011 at 11:26 AM
Today is Day 13 of Occupy Wall Street.
Lawrence O'Donnell interviewed Michael Moore live from Liberty Plaza on his program on September 28. They spoke about the greed of the rich, the poverty crisis in the U.S.—including foreclosures, under- and unemployment, and the lack of health care—and the rise of non-violent protest. Watch the video below. Bonus: you get a little propaganda from ExxonMobil (Pro-fracking! Oil sands are great!) before the video starts. Anyone else see the disconnect?
Russia Today's Marina Portnava interviewed Noam Chomsky about the Occupy Wall Street action, the overlap between politics and business, and if there's any hope for democracy in the U.S.
The Daily Kos is reporting that the New York Transit Workers Union voted to join the Occupy Wall Street protesters at a meeting on September 28. A tweet from today from @TWULocal100 to @Newyorkist stating "As I understand it, our executive board endorsed a march from City Hall to Zuccotti Park on Oct. 5. #occupywallst". Now there's a force that could bring New York City to its knees.
In the video below, Christine Williams, also a member of TWU 100, said that some members would be attending the marches on Friday (September 30).
Another union in solidarity? Airline pilots.The Daily Mail has some great photos from Day 11, when hundreds of Continental and United Airlines pilots as well as employees of other carriers belonging to the Air Line Pilots Association took to the street advocating for better wages. While these protesters are not specifically affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street group, this sort of union protest action is indicative of greater unrest in many employment sectors in the U.S. and around the globe. Teamsters Local 814 declared their support for the action on Day 6.
Dissent Magazine has put out an article by Mark Engler called Five Things That #OccupyWallStreet Has Done Right, including choosing an appropriate target, allowing the momentum of the movement to build, and capitalizing on said momentum.
The Guardian published a piece about the successes achieved by the Occupy Boston movement. Watch a video of Occupy Boston member Marissa Egerstrom addressing the group below.
Noam Chomsky's statement on the Wall Street protests
To anyone who knows of Noam Chomsky's background, it should come to no surprise that he has sent a "strong message of support to the activists at the Occupy Wall Street movement."
By the age of 13, Chomsky had identified with anarchist politics, forming the intellectual he is today. Because of who he is, his opinion on the current Occupy Wall Street protests is considered extremely relevant to the Wall Street movement and to many of its supporters.
"Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called "a precariat" — seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity — not only too big to fail, but also "too big to jail.' "The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course." (personal email from Noam Chomsky to Terri Lee)
Police carry away a participant in a march organized by Occupy Wall Street in New York on Saturday Sept. 24, 2011. Tensions are rising at the Occupy Wall Street protest, currently in its eighth day, as organizers for the protest claim that 80 have been arrested. Eyewitness accounts report that "dozens" have been arrested. Police would not confirm the exact number. Videos and eyewitness accounts show violent clashing between protesters and the police.
WNYC reports that "of the dozens arrested, most were for disorderly conduct, obstructing vehicular and pedestrian traffic, resisting arrest and, in one case, assaulting a police officer, the police said."
The skirmish escalated in Union Square Saturday afternoon, as Twitter users report a huge influx of police officers. This video, below, appears to show female protesters being penned and maced pepper-sprayed by police officers: .
A political analyst, in wikiquote.com Chomsky is quoted as saying, "the best way to restrict democracy is to move the decision-making from the public to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations." He continues to describe the U.S. political system as a very marginal affair made of two political parties, so called…but considered them factions of the same party, the Business Party, a group of intellectuals who consisted of a herd of independent thinkers. He humorously went on to say, "Unfortunately, you can't vote the rascals out, because you never voted them in, in the first place." (Government in the Future, Poetry Center of New York, February 16, 1970) Born in 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Noam Chomsky's mother had belonged to radical activism of the 1930s, while his uncle owned a newsstand that was an intellectual center for professors who would discuss world philosophies. Professor Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is now recognized as one of the strongest anti-capitalist activists and intellectuals in the United States, in addition to being one of the nation's leading public academics and the most cited living author in the United States. A man whose commentaries are insightful, free of demagoguery, plainly spoken, and courageously honest, Chomsky has received multiple death threats because of his personal criticisms of the United States foreign policy. When teaching at MIT, he often receives undercover police protection.
In June of 2011, Chomsky was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in honor of promoting human rights, unfailing courage, and critical analysis of power as an American linguist. This is the only International Peace Prize awarded in Australia, promoting peace with justice. Chomsky was also awarded the IEEE Intelligent System's Al's Hall of Fame for his significant contributions to the field of Al and intelligent systems.
The Occupy Wall Street protest that began on September 17th in New York's financial district has entered its second week. Yesterday, scores of demonstrators were arrested during a march from the group's encampment at Liberty Plaza to Union Square, and more arrived from around the city and across the country. Similar protests and assemblies are apparently now being planned in over thirty cities.
Thousands of protesters descended on lower Manhattan last Saturday in response to a call for occupation-style protests against the influence of money in politics on the model of Egypt and Spain. Hundreds have camped in a nearby park every night since. Their numbers swell into the thousands during the day. More appear to be arriving from across the country on a regular basis.
numerous incidents of excessive force by police in the face of civil disobedience during the march to Union Square Similar protests are now being planned in over thirty cities across the country, according to an informal umbrella site, called Occupy Together, which has become a hub for the spontaneous network nationwide.
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, the two Americans released by Iran after more than two years in detention, returned to the United States today after a three-day layover in Muscat, Oman with their families. They made the following statements in New York.
Good afternoon and thank you for coming here today. My name is Josh Fattal.
After 781 days of prison, Shane and I are now free men.
Last Wednesday, we had just finished our brief daily exercise in the open air room of Evin Prison when something totally unexpected happened. On any other day, we would have been blindfolded and led down the hallway to our eight foot by 13 foot cell. But on that day, the guards took us downstairs. They finger printed us and gave us street clothes. They did not tell us where we were going. Instead, they took us to another part of the prison where we saw Dr. Salem Al Ismaily, the envoy of His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos of Oman. The first thing Salem said to us was, "Let's go home."
What followed was the most incredible experience of our lives. We were held in captivity in almost complete isolation for more than two years. But for the past few, precious days we have been experiencing free life anew with our families in Muscat.
In all the time we spent in detention, we had a total of 15 minutes of telephone calls with our families and one, short visit from our mothers. We had to go on hunger strike repeatedly just to receive letters from our loved ones. Many times, too many times, we heard the screams of other prisoners being beaten and there was nothing we could do to help them. Solitary confinement was the worst experience of our lives and it was a nightmare that Sarah had to endure for 14 months. Sarah's strength during the one-hour meetings we were allowed with her lifted our spirits daily. One year ago, when Sarah was released, our world shrank.
We lived in a world of lies and false hope. The investigators lied that Ambassador Leu from the Swiss Embassy in Tehran did not want to see us. They told us, again falsely, that we would be given due process and access to our lawyer, the courageous and persistent Mr. Masoud Shafii. Most infuriatingly, they even told us that our families had stopped writing us letters.
Releasing us is a good gesture, and no positive step should go unnoticed. We applaud the Iranian authorities for finally making the right decision regarding our case. But we want to be clear that they do not deserve undue credit for ending what they had no right and no justification to start in the first place. From the very start, the only reason we have been held hostage is because we are American. Sarah was held for 410 days. The two of us were held for 781 days. That is far longer than the American hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.
It was clear to us from the very beginning that we were hostages. This is the most accurate term because, despite certain knowledge of our innocence, Iran has always tied our case to its political disputes with the US. Thank you. I would like to hand over now to Shane. He helped me through the worst days of my life. I cannot imagine how I would have made it through these two years without you, Shane.
Thank you, Josh, and thank you everyone for being here.
We will always regret the grief and anxiety that our fateful hiking trip led to, above all for our families. But we would like to be very clear. This was never about crossing the unmarked border between Iran and Iraq. We were held because of our nationality. Indeed, there are many other cases of unauthorized entry to Iran in which people were simply fined or deported after a short time. We do not know if we crossed the border. We will probably never know. But even if we did enter Iran, that has never been the reason why the Iranian authorities kept us in prison for so long.
The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran. The irony is that Sarah, Josh and I oppose U.S. policies towards Iran which perpetuate this hostility. We were convicted of espionage because we are American. It's that simple. No evidence was ever presented against us. That is because there is no evidence and because we are completely innocent. The two court sessions we attended were a total sham. They were made up of ridiculous lies that depicted us as being involved in an elaborate American-Israeli conspiracy to undermine Iran.
Sarah, Josh and I have experienced a taste of the Iranian regime's brutality. We have been held in almost total isolation from the world and everything we love, stripped of our rights and freedom. You may ask us, "Now that you are free can you forgive the Iranian government for what it has done to you?"
Our answer is this. How can we forgive the Iranian government when it continues to imprison so many other innocent people and prisoners of conscience? It is the Iranian people who bear the brunt of this government's cruelty and disregard for human rights. There are people in Iran who are imprisoned for years for simply attending a protest, for writing a pro-democracy blog or for worshipping an unpopular faith.
Journalists remain behind bars and innocent people have been executed. If the Iranian government wants to change its image in the world, and ease international pressure, it should release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience immediately. They deserve their freedom just as much as we do.
In prison, every time we complained about our conditions, the guards would immediately remind us of comparable conditions at Guantanamo Bay. They would remind of us CIA prisons in other parts of the world, and the conditions that Iranians and others experience in prisons in the U.S. We do not believe that such human rights violations on the part of our government justify what has been done to us. Not for a moment. However, we do believe that these actions on the part of the U.S. provide an excuse for other governments, including the government of Iran, to act in kind.
Thank you. Josh and I now want to express our thanks to everyone who helped make today happen.
When our mothers were allowed to visit us in May of 2010, they told us about the campaign to win our freedom. We owe a lifelong debt of gratitude to so many people. Their efforts mean we are free and we will never be able to thank them enough.
Our thanks go first and foremost to our wonderful families, who have done more for us than we can ever repay. This has been their ordeal as much as our ordeal and they have sacrificed so much for us to be here today. That includes Sarah, who joined them as soon as she was free in their tireless work to help achieve our freedom. We owe all of you a great debt and our love for you is unqualified and eternal.
They include all of our friends, here at home and overseas. Like our families, many of our friends put their own lives on hold to fight for our freedom. Like our families, they did so while coping with their own pain over our detention. You are true friends and always will be.
And they include tens of thousands of people in America and all over the world, including in Iran. They have expressed their support for us, donated to the Free the Hikers campaign, and prayed for us, each in his or her own way. We will never know most of those people but we want them to know that we love them and always will. Thank you all for the energy and comfort that you sent to us in our hours of darkness.
Our lawyer Mr.Masoud Shafii took on our case at the end of 2009 and has been a determined and brave advocate ever since. He was never allowed to represent us properly, but he never gave up. We will always stand by him, as he stood by us for so long.
His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos of Oman and his envoy Dr. Salem Al Ismaily worked ceaselessly to bring us home. We are humbled by their humanity and their unswerving commitment to justice. We are eternally grateful for the kindness and hospitality they and the people of Oman have shown to us and our families.
The Swiss Ambassador to Iran, Livia Leu Agosti, and her colleagues never stopped trying to gain consular access to us and to resolve our case. We were denied our rights to their visits but we know that Livia and her colleagues would show up time and again at Evin Prison to try to see us. Thank you for your unstinting dedication to us.
We also want to express our great thanks to the many world leaders and individuals who championed our cause. They include the U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, President Jalal Talabani of Iraq and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the governments of Turkey and Brazil. They were certain of our innocence and their certainty made a difference.
They include the actor Sean Penn, the great Muhammad Ali, Noam Chomsky, the singer Yusuf Islam, Cindy Sheehan and the Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire. We will always remember that you stood by us.
There were also U.S. government officials who worked for our release, and some of them found creative ways to try and lessen the tension between the US and Iran. Consular officials at the State Department supported our families throughout. Our Members of Congress spoke up for us, publicly and privately. Ambassador Richard Schmierer, his wife Sandy and the staff of the U.S. embassy in Oman were most gracious with their time and hospitality twice now. They have our gratitude for their support and kindness.
The sympathy and support of many Muslim and other religious leaders in America, the Iranian people and the elements within the Iranian government that worked for our freedom were also all invaluable. Thank you.
Finally, we want to thank the media, in the United States and around the world, for keeping our case in the public eye. It means a lot to us. And now that we are home, we know you will give us the time we need to reconnect with our families and rebuild our lives.
When Sarah was about to walk out of Evin Prison last year, we vowed to each other than none of us would be entirely free until all of us were free. That moment has now thankfully come. Sarah, Josh and I can now finally leave prison behind us. We want more than anything to begin our lives anew and with a new appreciation for the sweet taste of freedom.
Thank you everyone.
Published on September 25, 2011, 07:14PM
Freed American hikers thank Hugo Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Cindy Sheehan
comment to the article further below
If there was any more unsupported, unsubstantiated, and unjustified innuendo and supposition in this article, my head may have exploded. Must be a slow news day. This is a pathetic excuse for analysis and opinion on an important news story. Seems you just can't handle the facts that they stated, so you feel compelled to subject them to some kind of discredit. Too bad that there is ZERO evidence of their left-wing copnnections before their arrest. You can't blame them for the fact that they became international news and famous leftists sought to intervene for (gasp) humanitarian reasons. But then again, you folks don't understand humanitarian motivations - only profit motivations. So you wouldn't understand.
here now the washingtontimes (right wing yellow press) propaganda piece:
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, the now freed American hikers who were held in an Iranian prison after being convicted for espionage, appeared before cameras and reporters in New York on Sunday and gave prepared statements about their detentions in Iran. According to reports, the Gulf sultanate of Oman paid for both of the men's bail ($500,000 each), the same fee that was paid for Shourd's bail by Oman last year.
Bauer, a freelance journalist, along with Sarah Shourd, a teacher and women's rights activist, and Fattal, an environmentalist, were arrested July 31, 2009 while hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan. Shourd was released last year. Bauer's and Fattal's remarks were critical of American foreign policy towards Iran as well as the Iranian government's treatment of it's own people.
"The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between American and Iran. The irony is Sarah Josh and I oppose U.S. policies towards Iran which perpetuate this hostility. We were convicted of espionage, because we are American," said Bauer. He continued, "It's that simple. No evidence was ever presented against us. That is because there is no evidence and because we are completely innocent."
Towards the end of the men's remarks, they began naming specific world leaders, public officials, and celebrities who the two believed helped with gaining their freedom. In fact, two hikers also specifically named among others: Venezeulan dictator Hugo Chavez, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, Code Pink's Cindy Sheehan, liberal writer Noam Chomsky, and actor Sean Penn.
"From the very start, the only reason we have been held hostage is because we are American. Sarah was held for 410 days. The two of us were held for 781 days. That is far longer than the American hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979," said Fattal.
Fattal and Bauer gave no clue as to why they were hiking on the border of Iraq and Iran, but their views of U.S. foreign policy and those who they thanked in their remarks may actually begin to paint a picture as to why they were hanging out in such a dangerous region in the world.
All three appear to be heavily involved in left-wing foreign policy activism overseas. In 2009, according to Reuters, 80 left-wing policy activists signed a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asking for the release of all three hikers: (bolding is mine)
The prominent collection of academics, intellectuals, artists, adventurers, writers, journalists and activists, urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to make good on his pledge to pursue maximum leniency for the three.
"To continue to detain them without due process raises grave concerns that Iran is holding these three young Americans for political purposes and calls into question Iran's stated commitment to the rule of law," the group said in a letter.
The signatories included, Ms. Magazine co-founder Gloria Steinem, Mother Jones magazine editor Monika Bauerlein, civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope, peace activist Noam Chomsky and antiwar activist Medea Benjamin, who founded the group Code Pink.
Also signing were Palestinian activist Hanan Ashrawi, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire.
Code Pink activists have gone to Iran in the past on left-wing political missions. This begs the question if the three American hikers were in the region as a result of a left-wing political activism mission that went awry at the last minute. The hikers' statements on Sunday seems to give more evidence to this. Here's a blog post from a 2008 Code Pink trip to Iran:
Our first meeting was with our dear friend Rostam Pourzal, who works with the anti-sanctions group CASMI. Rostam used to live in Washington DC, but moved back to Iran recently. Thank goodness he came to greet us, because it turned out that the government person who was supposed to set up our schedule today didn't show up. So Rostam filled in the day for us with an amazing variety of activities and meetings.
First, he brought over a filmmaker, Habib Ahmadzadeh, who works on films that deal with the Iran-Iraq war. Habib took us out to a delicious lunch in a typical, old Persian restaurant where we ate scrumptious lamb, eggplant and kabobs. Then we went to his office, but along the way he stopped to show us the old, abandoned U.S. Embassy. It is now surrounded by murals with anti-American slogans—a stark reminder of the harsh rhetoric emanating from both governments.
Shane Bauer excoriated the both the U.S. and Iran. He asked, "Sarah, Josh, and I have experienced a taste of the Iranian regime's brutality. We've been held in total isolation of everything we love...stripped of our rights and freedom. You may ask us, 'Now that you are free, can you forgive the Iranian government for what it has done to you?"
"Our answer is this: How can we forgive the Iranian government when it continues to imprison so many other innocent people and prisoners of conscience. It is the Iranian people who bear the brunt of this government's cruelty and disregard for human rights."
Bauer also said, "In prison, every time we complained about our conditions, the guards would immediately remind us of comparable conditions at Guantanamo bay. They would remind us in other parts of the world and the conditions that Iranians and others experience in prisons in the U.S."
"We do not believe such human rights violations on the part of our government justify what has been done to us. Not for a moment. However, we do believe these actions on the part of the U.S. provide an excuse for other governments, including the government of Iran to act in kind," Bauer explained.
The hikers' defenders will say Shourd, Fattal, and Bauer were on a innocent excursion and nothing else, but the hikers' explicit political statements on Sunday as well as high profile left-wing political connections may make many wonder if their trip had less to do with sight-seeing and more to do with political activism overseas.
Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Korean artist Koh Gill-chun, activist advocating for Gangjeong Village residents in Jeju's Seogwipo against the government's plans to build a naval base, hold signboards reading "Repeal the Naval Base Plans!" and "Protect Gangjeong!" at Chomsky's office at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sept. 16.
They discussed the naval base resistance and strategies for the road ahead for the Save Jeju Island campaign. Chomsky reaffirmed his complete support for the villagers, watched videos of their efforts and read a letter from the imprisoned Gangjeong Village Mayor Kang Dong-kyun. Chomsky says he has been deeply saddened by the news of Kang's arrest and greatly admires his courage.
Jeju-do Population 531,887 (transliterated Korean for Jeju Province, short form of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province or Cheju Island) is the only special autonomous province of South Korea, situated on and coterminous with the country's largest island. Jeju-do lies in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946. Its capital is the city of Jeju.
The island contains the Natural World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.
According to legend, three demi-gods emerged from Samsung-hyeol which is said to have been on the northern slopes of Mt. Halla and became the progenitors of the Jeju people who founded the Kingdom of Tamna.
It has also been claimed that three brothers including Ko-hu who were the 15th descendants of Koulla, one of the Progenitors of the Jeju people, were received by the court of Silla at which time the name Tamna was officially recognized, while the official government posts of Commander, Prince and Governor were conferred by the court upon the three.
However, there is no concrete evidence of when the "Three Names" (Samseong-Ko, Yang and Pu) appeared nor for the exact date of when Ko-hu and his brothers were received by Silla. It may be supposed that the founding Period by the "Three Names" occurred during the Three Kingdoms (Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla) period on the mainland of Korea.
Taejo, founder of Goryeo, attempted to establish the same relationship between Goryeo and Tamna as Tamna had had with Silla. Tamna refused to accept this position and the Goryeo court dispatched troops to force Tamna to submit. Ko ja-gyeon, chief of Tamna, submitted to Goryeo in 938 and sent his son, Prince Mallo, to Goryeo's court as a de-facto hostage. In 1105 (King Sukjong's 10th year), the Goryeo court abolished the name Takna which had to this time been used and from that year on, the island was known as "Tamna-gun" (district) and Goryeo officials were sent to handle the affairs of the island.
Tamna-country was changed to Tamna-county in 1153 during the reign of King Uijong and Choi Cheok-kyeong was posted as Tamna-Myeong or Chief of Tamna. In 1121 during Huijong's reign, Tamna was renamed "Jeju" and the posts of Judiciary were established on the island.
In 1271, General Kim Tong-jeong escaped with what remained of his Sambyeolcho force from Jindo and built the Hangpadu Fortress at Kwiil-chon from where they continued their fight against the combined Korean government-Mongolian army but within 2 years, faced by an enemy army of over 10,000 troops, the Sambyeolcho was annihilated.
The Jeju Uprising, which began on April 3, 1948, was part of a larger problem across Korea at this time. The rebellions on Jeju-do, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of officials, armed organizations, and villagers alike culminated in widespread violence on the island and the center of the island (Halla Mountain) being listed as an "enemy zone" by the government of the Republic of Korea. Over 30,000 people were killed as some villagers and communist radicals alike were imprisoned in internment camps under the policies of mainland government.
While claims have been made that the US government oversaw and supported "anti-communist" activities administratively if not openly in the field, validation remains to be made. It is a fact the US was heavily involved in counter insurgence operations across Korea at this time leading up to the Korean War and UN involvement. Similarly, the Northwest Youth League, a Korean government sponsored watch-dog group made up of refugees who had fled northern Korea, actively repressed any and all "communist sympathizers" with an ardent campaign of shooting anyone on sight entering or leaving the president's "enemy zone", raping/violation, torturing, and killing hundreds of islanders using open armed violence and what would be labeled today as terrorist activities. Intolerance by mainland Korean officials of islanders in general at the time, government and organization sponsored isolation of the island, and rumored cover up of evidence linking the rebellion's suppressors with foreign powers and people who have today gone un-prosecuted is believed to be the primary cause of public ignorance, hedging on denial, over the April 3, 1948 genocide on Cheju-do. A documentary by the BBC and PBS, Korea: The Unknown War and many activities and publications by organizations and persons from within Cheju-do and around the world continue to attempt shedding the light on this event.
The provincial administrative building was burned to the ground in September 1948 and a new building was completed in 1-do, 2-dong in December, 1952.
Construction of a naval base
In June 2007, the Korean government selected Gangjeong, a village on the southern coast of the island, as the site of a $970 million naval base. The base is to house twenty warships, including submarines.
In January 2010, the South Korean Navy signed two contracts with two construction firms to build pier facilities.; construction began in January 2011. By August, about 14 percent of the contract had been spent on initial construction work, but significant progress had not been made due to local resistance to the base.
Trying to prevent dredging and bulldozing, residents of Gangjeong have been living in tents in and near areas where construction is planned or ongoing. In addition to protests, the villagers have filed lawsuits to try to block construction, and have widely publicized their opposition. The government has responded by stationing hundreds of police officers at the construction site, charging and fining protestors for obstruction, and jailing peace activist Choi Sung-hee  for three months.
The South Korean Navy has erected a billboard in the village displaying an artist's conception of a state-of-the-art, "eco-friendly" port, covering about 125 acres and receiving luxury cruise ships as well as military vessels. In August 2011, a spokesperson for the Korean Government said that the construction site was selected after accommodating opinions of local residents, that environmental assessments had shown the project would have no effect on the environment, and that measures were being taken to protect vulnerable species native to the island.
Historically, the island has been called by many different names including:
Before the Japanese annexation in 1910, the island was usually known as Quelpart to Europeans. The name "Quelpart" apparently came from the first European ship to spot the island, the Dutch "Quelpaert", which sighted it after being blown off course on its way to the Dutch trading base in Nagasaki, Japan, from Taiwan (then the Dutch colony of Formosa).
When Korea was annexed by Japan in 1910, Jeju then became known as Saishu-, which is the Japanese reading of the hanja for Jeju.
Before 2000, when the Seoul government changed the official Romanization of Hangul, Jeju-do was spelled Cheju-do. Almost all written references to the island before that use that spelling.
Jeju Island is a volcanic island, dominated by Halla-san (Halla Mountain): a volcano 1,950 metres (6,400 ft) high and the highest mountain in South Korea. The island measures approximately 175 miles (282 km) across, end to end, at the widest points.
The island was created entirely from volcanic eruptions approximately 2 million years ago, during the time period from the Tertiary to the beginning of the Quaternary period, and consists chiefly of basalt and lava. The eruptions took place in the Cenozoic era. It has a humid subtropical climate, warmer than that of the rest of Korea, with four distinct seasons. Winters are cool and dry while summers are hot, humid, and sometimes rainy.
There is a crater lake which is the only crater lake in South Korea.
An area covering about 12% (224 square kilometres or 86 square miles) of Jeju is known as Gotjawal Forest. This area had remained untouched until the 21st century, as its base of ?A?a- lava made it difficult to develop for agriculture. Because this forest remained untouched for a long time, it has a unique ecology. The forest is the main source of groundwater, the main water source for the half millon people of the island, because rainwater penetrates directly into the groundwater aquifer through the cracks of the ?A?a- lava under the forest. Gotjawal forest is considered an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention by some researchers because it is the habitat of unique species of plants and is the main source of water for the residents, although to date it has not been declared a Ramsar site
Because of the relative isolation of the island, the people of Jeju have developed a culture and language that are distinct from those of mainland Korea. Jeju is home to thousands of local legends. Perhaps the most distinct cultural artifact is the ubiquitous dol hareubang ("stone grandfather") carved from a block of basalt.
Another distinct aspect of Jeju is the matriarchal family structure, found especially in Udo and Mara, but also present in the rest of the province. The best-known example of this is found among the haenyeo ("sea women"), who were often the heads of families, because they controlled the income. They earned their living from free diving, often all year round in quite cold water, without scuba gear, in order to harvest abalones, conchs, and a myriad of other marine products. It is thought that women are better at spending all day deep-water diving because they resist cold better. However, because of rapid economic development and modernization, few haenyeo are still actively working today.
Bangsatap are small, round towers made of many stones. There are many Bangsataps and you can see them near the countryside in Jeju. People usually pile up many stones, making a shape like a tower in order to protect themselves from the bad luck in their village. They have built Bangsatap according to the theory of divination because they believe that geography is very important in choosing the right place for them. It is also a good example to demonstrate religious belief in Jeju island because it is an object that people can rely on putting rice paddle inside the Bangsatap to gather as much money as possible and also putting an iron pot to overcome a disaster and fight fire in their village. Nobody knows that when the Bangsatap was built in the past year.
Noam Chomsky Questions Humanitarian Intervention At Williams
By Andy McKeever iBerkshires Staff 10:33PM / Saturday, September 17, 2011
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Controversial linguist and political pundit Noam Chomsky told Williams College students to question if humanitarian intervention even exists.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor weaved through the history, as he is known to do in his books criticizing U.S. Foreign Policy, of humanitarian intervention to make the point that those actions are not simple and come with a huge amount of politics while simple things that could truly save lives are overlooked.
Chomsky started with the 1850s with John Stuart Mill posing the idea that England should intervene not only when its safety and interest are in danger but because it is dedicated to peace. Philosophers added to the growing thought - painting a "saintly glow" of modernized countries - by saying "barbarians" needed protection from the civilized power.
While the ideas may have begun then, it wasn't until after the Cold War when the idea began to pick up momentum. When the Soviet Union fell, NATO - against handshake agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev - expanded to the entire world.
"The condition was that NATO does not expand one inch to the east. That meant east of Germany. NATO immediately moved east of Germany and then further east," Chomsky said. "These were only gentleman's agreement.. He was stupid enough to believe western diplomats."
NATO continued to expand and became a "global, U.S. run intervention" organization and with that the U.S. also shifted their foreign policy, Chomsky said. Former President George H. Bush continued to keep a large military presence to ensure global safety by keeping an eye on the Middle East.
"It wasn't because of the Russians, it was because of the technological sophistication of third world powers," Chomsky said. "There was an ideological change too, a large, sudden interest in the concept of humanitarian intervention."
In 1999 the "crown" of humanitarian intervention came with the bombing of Serbia. In what sometimes considered NATO's first humanitarian intervention, the goal was the end ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Albanians. When most of the world condemned the move humanitarian intervention took another turn, he said.
"At that point a new concept was invented. That was called the responsibility to protect," Chomsky said but added there were two versions.
The version that was adopted by the rest of the world, including the countries that condemned the Kosovo action, did not include a stipulation that the western world took. When western cultures point to the responsibility to protect and say it was supported by the rest of the world, that is not entirely correct, Chomsky contends.
"It provides for NATO and NATO alone to intervene freely anywhere without authorization from the Security Council," Chomsky said. "There is only one region that can do this... The one regional group that can do that is NATO and the region of their authority is the world."
While Kosovo is often considered the first humanitarian intervention, Chomsky contends that there are many other world actions that should also be considered but had fallen of the radar.
Chomsky cited a scholarly study on humanitarian intervention written by Sean Murphy, who found three examples between the two world wars. Those examples are Italy's invasion of Ethiopia led by Benito Mussolini, Japan's invasion of Manchuria and Adolf Hitler's invasion of parts of Czechoslovakia. All three invading countries had "convinced" themselves that they were sacrificing themselves for the betterment of the other country and the rhetoric followed.
"They all had the properties of humanitarian intervention," Chomsky said. "They meant it."
Also left out of consideration, Chomsky contends, is India's intervention of East Pakistan to end Pakistani atrocities and Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia that ended Pol Pot's reign.
"Neither of these figures in the literature of humanitarian intervention because of two reasons. One reason is, wrong agency. They did it. We didn't do it. The second and more powerful reason is the U.S. was bitterly opposed to both of these interventions," Chomsky said. "There are cases where intervention has had benevolent effects."
But with all the political jargon and political forces that have changed humanitarian intervention throughout history, six million infants die every year in countries that lack the ability to perform simple medical procedures that would cost very little to the wealthiest nations, Chomsky said. With on a "tiny percentage of the GDP" from the largest nations the most elementary form of humanitarian intervention could save six million, he said.
Chomsky appeared at Williams as the first part of a two-part dialogue about the dilemmas in humanitarian intervention. Fiona Terry will be the next speaker on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m., also at the '62 Center.
Noam Chomsky has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international affairs and U.S. foreign policy. He is currently Institute Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at M.I.T. This talk is sponsored by the Class of '71 Public Affairs Forum and is the first of a two-part dialogue on Humanitarian Intervention (see also Fiona Terry, Oct. 18). The event is free, but tickets are required. Book signing to follow.
Note: This event is currently sold out. We are no longer taking names for the wait list. A wait line will open at 6 pm on Sept 15 in the CTD lobby. Any tickets not picked up by 6:50 pm will be released at that time. This event will also be taped for airing on Williams YouTube the following week.
Noam Chomsky in Iceland: Compares Nixon and Kissinger to bin Laden
chomskyThe renowned American linguist Noam Chomsky gave a lecture in Iceland on Friday September 9. Professor Chomsky began his lecture by saying that in two days we would remember September 11, a terrible crime that had been committed with cruelty.
"But it could have been worse", he said according to mbl.is. He added that terrorists could have succeeded in blowing up the White House, kill the president and put in place a terrible military junta, which would have killed thousands of people and get a group of economists, the boys from Kandahar, to ruin peoples lives.
Chomsky continued that this sequence of events was not imagination. In reality, he said, this was an account of Latin America and an event that was often called the first 9/11, when Americans deposed Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 and replaced him with General Augustos Pinochet. The 'boys from Kandahar' is a reference to the Chicago economists, including Milton Friedman, who gave advice to the military government of Pinochet.
Chomsky said that the US had unilaterally taken the right of a superpower to influence world events as the pleased. Their own behavior was subject to a different criterion than that of others.
"Let's imagine, that on the tenth anniversary of the first 9/11, a group of people would have been sent out to murder Nixon and Kissinger and throw them into the ocean. Would that have been applauded? That's what they did to bin Laden after he was taken, unarmed and defenseless", Chomsky said.
The lecture was held in a packed Háskólabíó, a movie house that holds one thousand people. Professor Chomsky was in Iceland on the invitation of the University of Iceland, which is celebrating its centennial. Chomsky is a professor emeritus at MIT in Boston and is known both for his theories in linguistics and for his outspoken criticism of US politics. He is 82 years old.
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the horrendous atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001, which, it is commonly held, changed the world.
The impact of the attacks is not in doubt. Just keeping to western and central Asia: Afghanistan is barely surviving, Iraq has been devastated and Pakistan is edging closer to a disaster that could be catastrophic.
On May 1, 2011, the presumed mastermind of the crime, Osama bin Laden, was assassinated in Pakistan. The most immediate significant consequences have also occurred in Pakistan. There has been much discussion of Washington's anger that Pakistan didn't turn over bin Laden. Less has been said about the fury among Pakistanis that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor had already intensified in Pakistan, and these events have stoked it further.
One of the leading specialists on Pakistan, British military historian Anatol Lieven, wrote in The National Interest in February that the war in Afghanistan is "destabilizing and radicalizing Pakistan, risking a geopolitical catastrophe for the United States — and the world — which would dwarf anything that could possibly occur in Afghanistan."
At every level of society, Lieven writes, Pakistanis overwhelmingly sympathize with the Afghan Taliban, not because they like them but because "the Taliban are seen as a legitimate force of resistance against an alien occupation of the country," much as the Afghan mujahedeen were perceived when they resisted the Russian occupation in the 1980s.
These feelings are shared by Pakistan's military leaders, who bitterly resent U.S. pressures to sacrifice themselves in Washington's war against the Taliban. Further bitterness comes from the terror attacks (drone warfare) by the U.S. within Pakistan, the frequency of which was sharply accelerated by President Obama; and from U.S. demands that the Pakistani army carry Washington's war into tribal areas of Pakistan that had been pretty much left on their own, even under British rule.
The military is the stable institution in Pakistan, holding the country together. U.S. actions might "provoke a mutiny of parts of the military," Lieven writes, in which case "the Pakistani state would collapse very quickly indeed, with all the disasters that this would entail."
The potential disasters are drastically heightened by Pakistan's huge, rapidly growing nuclear weapons arsenal, and by the country's substantial jihadi movement.
Both of these are legacies of the Reagan administration. Reagan officials pretended they did not know that Zia ul-Haq, the most vicious of Pakistan's military dictators and a Washington favorite, was developing nuclear weapons and carrying out a program of radical Islamization of Pakistan with Saudi funding.
The catastrophe lurking in the background is that these two legacies might combine, with fissile materials leaking into the hands of jihadis. Thus we might see nuclear weapons, most likely "dirty bombs," exploding in London and New York.
Lieven summarizes: "U.S. and British soldiers are in effect dying in Afghanistan in order to make the world more dangerous for American and British peoples."
Surely Washington understands that U.S. operations in what has been christened "Afpak" — Afghanistan-Pakistan — might destabilize and radicalize Pakistan.
The most significant WikiLeaks documents to have been released so far are the cables from U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson in Islamabad, who supports U.S. actions in Afpak but warns that they "risk destabilizing the Pakistani state, alienating both the civilian government and military leadership, and provoking a broader governance crisis in Pakistan â(euro) .125"
Patterson writes of the possibility that "someone working in (Pakistani government) facilities could gradually smuggle enough fissile material out to eventually make a weapon," a danger enhanced by "the vulnerability of weapons in transit."
A number of analysts have observed that bin Laden won some major successes in his war against the United States.
As Eric S. Margolis writes in The American Conservative in May, "(bin Laden) repeatedly asserted that the only way to drive the U.S. from the Muslim world and defeat its satraps was by drawing Americans into a series of small but expensive wars that would ultimately bankrupt them."
That Washington seemed bent on fulfilling bin Laden's wishes was evident immediately after the 9/11 attacks.
In his 2004 book "Imperial Hubris," Michael Scheuer, a senior CIA analyst who had tracked Osama bin Laden since 1996, explains: "Bin Laden has been precise in telling America the reasons he is waging war on us. (He) is out to drastically alter U.S. and Western policies toward the Islamic world," and largely achieved his goal.
He continues: "U.S. forces and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world, something Osama bin Laden has been trying to do with substantial but incomplete success since the early 1990s. As a result, I think it is fair to conclude that the United States of America remains bin Laden's only indispensable ally." And arguably remains so, even after his death.
The succession of horrors across the past decade leads to the question: Was there an alternative to the West's response to the 9/11 attacks?
The jihadi movement, much of it highly critical of bin Laden, could have been split and undermined after 9/11, if the "crime against humanity," as the attacks were rightly called, had been approached as a crime, with an international operation to apprehend the suspects. That was recognized at the time, but no such idea was even considered in the rush to war. It is worth adding that bin Laden was condemned in much of the Arab world for his part in the attacks.
By the time of his death, bin Laden had long been a fading presence, and in the previous months was eclipsed by the Arab Spring. His significance in the Arab world is captured by the headline in a New York Times article by Middle East specialist Gilles Kepel: "Bin Laden Was Dead Already."
That headline might have been dated far earlier, had the U.S. not mobilized the jihadi movement with retaliatory attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq.
Within the jihadi movement, bin Laden was doubtless a venerated symbol but apparently didn't play much more of a role for al-Qaida, this "network of networks," as analysts call it, which undertake mostly independent operations.
Even the most obvious and elementary facts about the decade lead to bleak reflections when we consider 9/11 and its consequences, and what they portend for the future.
This article is adapted from 9-11: Was There an Alternative?, the 10th-anniversary edition of 9-11, by Noam Chomsky, just published by Seven Stories Press.