Nuclear Hypocrisy

Exposing Shoddy Monopoly Media Analysis and Disinformation

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted another nuclear test on Friday, 9 September.

President Barack Obama stated:

To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state… Today’s nuclear test, a flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, makes clear North Korea’s disregard for international norms and standards for behavior and demonstrates it has no interest in being a responsible member of the international community.

With Obama’s statement in mind, consider the answer to these relevant questions:

  1. Has the DPRK attacked another country? Can the same be said about the Republic of Korea (ROK)?
  2. Does every member of the United Nations not have the right to self defense under article 51 of the United Nations Charter?
  3. Does the US refrain from attacking other countries?
  4. Did the aggressions launched against Iraq, Libya, and Syria show a regard for international norms and standards?
  5. Has the US genuinely demonstrated an interested in being a responsible member of the international community?
  6. Has the US adhered to article VI of the NPT – a binding commitment for disarmament by the nuclear-weapon states?
  7. Would Iraq, Libya, and Syria have been attacked if they had been nuclear-weapon states?

Monopoly Media “Analysis” as Disinformation

Do state/corporate media in the West give a balanced reporting on the DPRK? Or independent media?

Consider the level of “analysis” by Saša Petricic of Canadian state media, the CBC.

From Petricic’s “analysis”: “Appeals, inducements or threats [against the DPRK] … nothing seems to have worked.”

Whose fault is that?

Petricic is ignorant of, or even worse, fails to mention that in 1994 the US and DPRK signed the Agreed Framework, whereby the DPRK would freeze operation and construction of nuclear reactors allegedly part of a covert nuclear weapons program in exchange for two proliferation-resistant nuclear power reactors. The US was to supply the DPRK with fuel oil pending construction of the reactors.

The George Bush II regime undermined this agreement brokered by the Bill Clinton regime. So much for that inducement.

Writes Petricic: “Not even some of the toughest sanctions the UN Security Council has applied against any country, implemented in March. Those were meant to severely limit trade with North Korea, and choke off the money and supplies Pyongyang needs to continue its nuclear program.”

In an Atlantic article titled “Why Is the U.S. Withholding Food Aid From Starving North Korea?,” Morton Abramowitz questioned the morality behind US sanctions against the DPRK: “The American policy, meant to punish the regime, is worsening a humanitarian crisis.” If there is any verisimilitude to the idiom – you catch more flies with honey than vinegar – then the US strategy is highly dubious, immoral, and at cross purposes.

Sanctions are commonly considered an act of war. The DPRK views the sanctions to be an act of war. Noam Chomsky criticized sanctions against Iraq as “murderous” and “devastating” – akin to a WMD. Hence, by placing the DPRK under sanctions, the US had orchestrated a state of war. But that is hardly surprising since the US has refused to entertain a peace or non-hostility pact with the DPRK.

Consider one contradiction within Petricic’s article. He writes:

North Korea says its aim is to become a nuclear power, one with the means to threaten the United States with weapons powerful enough to wreak havoc, small enough to shoot overseas on the tip of a missile.

Compare with what follows later in article:

The North Korean people are “always ready to retaliate against the enemies,” it said on state TV after Friday’s blast. “It is part of practical countermeasures to the racket of threat and sanctions against [North Korea] kicked up by the U.S.-led hostile forces who have gone desperate.”

Let’s analyze! In quotation one, “North Korea says…,” but there is no spokesperson cited, no source, no link, no footnote. How is one to verify or refute such a statement? It is shoddy journalism. Petricic shreds his own analysis by the quotation in case two. Here North Korean state TV is provided as a source. Now compare what Petricic states in quotation one – “its aim is … the means to threaten the United States with weapons powerful enough to wreak havoc” – to quotation two – “ready to retaliate against the enemies.” [italics added] In the unsourced quotation the DPRK is presented as threatening; in the sourced quotation the DPRK is presented as defensive, i.e., “ready to retaliate.” There is a world of difference between the two quotations, but that has seemed to elude Petricic’s “analysis.”

Petricic asserts, “And, it [the DPRK] continues to threaten the United States and South Korea.”

How is it that Petricic determines and defines a threat? One might imagine that the DPRK has client states bordering the US where DPRK forces and missiles are stationed. No? Presumably, according to Petricic’s logic, the mere possession of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capability is considered a threat by the world military superpower and its militarily occupied subaltern. How then should the DPRK feel considering a peace pact has been rebuffed, that the use of US nukes were sought during the US war on Korea and that the nukes remained stationed in the Republic of Korea until 1991, that 28,500 US troops are still stationed in the south, and that the US-ROK engage in annual war games (ramped up in 2016)? Why is all this pertinent history and information undiscussed in the CBC “analysis”?

Petricic even found a Chinese source to cite: Xiaohe Cheng, the deputy director of Renmin University’s Centre for China’s International Strategic studies in Beijing who is quoted:

“I think the decision makers in Pyongyang have to think hard before they make further nuclear and missile provocations. China’s tolerance of DPRK’s bad behaviours is limited,” he says.

“Don’t push China too hard.”

Indeed! That same advice ought to be viewed from all angles. It is not forgotten in China, and should not be forgotten in the US, what happened when the US pushed toward the Yalu River in its war crimes galore, scorched earth campaign in Korea from 1950-1953. ((See Korean Truth Commission, Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea: 1945-2001 (New York: 2001).))

The obvious solution is perforating the bubble of media disinformation and pursuing peace, all parties entering into a binding peace treaty, withdrawal of US forces from the south of Korea, and an end to sanctions against the north of Korea.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.