Photo/Yonhap, Kim Ju-sung.
Political Firestorm in South Korea
The Return of Repression
Gregory Elich | September 14, 2013
[Originally published on CounterPunch.org, September 12, 2013]
Actions by South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) have generated a political furor that is growing by the day, pitting the ruling New Frontier Party against the main opposition Democratic Party and threatening the existence of the Unified Progressive Party.
The NIS intervened in the election of December 2012 in an endeavor to bring victory to conservative candidates. NIS director Won Sei-hoon ordered the agency's psychological warfare division to launch a campaign to discredit liberal and left political candidates. Agents were instructed to each create three or four posts on the internet per day, praising the ruling party and attacking the opposition. Three teams were tasked to carry out this mission, and one team alone generated an average of 1,200 to 1,600 posts per month. Won was motivated by a paranoid McCarthyist frame of mind, and he was heard to say, "If there is a person or a force which condemns the government and the ruling party, they are no different from North Korea even if they are our citizens." more >
The Struggle for a Korean Peace Treaty
Gregory Elich | August 22, 2013
[Originally published on Counterpunch.org, August 19, 2013]
Sixty years have passed since the end of the Korean War, and in all that time a peace treaty has yet to be signed. The armistice agreement that brought an end to hostilities recommended that a political conference be held within three months "to settle through negotiation the question of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea, the peaceful settlement of the Korean question, etc." That conference never took place.
Decades later, the sides still remain technically at war. Activists in South Korea have made the signing of a peace treaty one of their primary goals, seeing it as the surest means of reducing the risk of armed conflict. A peace treaty would also substantially reduce tensions in Northeast Asia and create an environment conducive to improving inter-Korean relations. By any human evaluation, the time for a peace treaty is long overdue. more >
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