Puncturing the lies and hypocrisy about north Korea

Right now, during the worst jobless crisis in decades, the “sequester” is being imposed on us.

Hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs. Some 70,000 children will be kicked out of the anti-poverty Head Start program.

People who have been jobless for more than six months will see their unemployment payments go down by an average of $450 a month.

Tens of thousands of government employees will be “furloughed,” meaning they’ll be forced to take a 20 percent pay cut.

But what is the capitalist media establishment getting all lathered up about?

They’ve been raking Dennis Rodman over the coals for going to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. How terrible — he had nice things to say about the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, who, it seems, likes basketball.

Why are the media so outraged? They say it’s because Kim is a dictator who mistreats his own people.

Hello? Who has really been mistreating the Korean people — and the people here, too?

Long U.S. war against DPRK

Washington and Wall Street have been at war with the DPRK since before the Korean War started. During World War II, the Korean people’s resistance to Japanese imperialist occupation was led by Kim Il Sung, whose guerrilla army ousted the Japanese army from the north of Korea, later to become the DPRK. But the U.S. 1% were afraid of this revolution by the Korean people. Before the end of the war Washington rushed in troops to occupy the southern half of the Korean peninsula.

Just five years later, in 1950, the U.S. invaded the north. The U.S.-Korean War lasted three terrible years. Millions of Koreans died. The war never officially ended but was halted on the basis of a ceasefire. Ever since, the U.S. has kept up to 40,000 troops just below the line that divides north from south.

Coming at a time when the capitalist system is imposing massive job losses and cutbacks on people in the U.S., Rodman’s visit turned a spotlight on the lies and hypocrisy that regularly get told about the DPRK.

Already, Rodman’s visit has prompted internet memes mocking the charge that 200,000 people are in “prison camps” in the DPRK. What a hypocritical accusation, coming from the U.S., the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world: 2 million people in prisons and another 5 million on probation or parole. Socialists call this “concentration camps for the poor.”

The other charge hurled at the DPRK is that it is threatening the U.S. with nuclear weapons. This is the song Washington always sings when it wants to demonize a country’s leadership. After Iraq, it was Iran. When Rodman was on ABC-TV, he was baited by George Stephanopoulos for having met with the DPRK leader. Stephanopoulos said Kim has “threatened to destroy the United States.”

What a hysterical nonsense charge. Kim never uttered anything close to that.

What got the world’s attention was the DPRK’s announcement on March 7 of its right to launch a preemptive strike against the United States — if Washington continues its war preparations against the DPRK.

If the corporate media were telling the whole story, they would have to mention that George W. Bush in his 2002 “axis of evil” speech announced the “right” of the United States to unilaterally and preemptively attack Iraq, Iran and the DPRK — at any time, for any reason.

Since Bush made good on his threat against Iraq, the DPRK is right to feel threatened. Obama the Democrat has now taken the baton from Bush. Beginning March 1, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Space Command began conducting two months of joint war exercises with south Korea, practicing scenarios including the removal of north Korea’s leadership, the occupation of its capital city, Pyongyang, and the “reunification” of the peninsula under U.S. and south Korean control.

The DPRK is making sure the whole world knows it has the right and the ability to defend itself from these open war preparations. By contrast, the steps taken by Iraq and Libya to convince the U.S. and other imperialist countries that they had no “weapons of mass destruction” led to their being invaded, viciously attacked with air strikes and their governments destroyed.

The Obama administration is also using the attack-Iraq playbook by getting the U.N. Security Council to enact further punishing sanctions against the DPRK. Which brings up another point of pure hypocrisy: If the north Korean people are suffering, why impose sanctions on the country?

Aside from the charge that the regime imprisons political opponents, the U.S. media say the DPRK “allows its people to starve.”

It’s true that devastating floods, made worse by fuel shortages brought on by U.S.-imposed sanctions, have led to crop failures and times of widespread hunger in this far-northern country. Having to constantly be on military alert because of U.S. war threats doesn’t help.

It’s also true that many parts of Africa experience widespread hunger and malnutrition — though the governments of these countries are not vilified because of it.

In Africa, the cause of hunger is the systematic plundering of resources by U.S. and European imperialism, which has arrested national development and kept most of the continent poor. The imperialists have intervened there many times to ensure that the economic system in Africa remains capitalist — meaning it is open to exploitation by U.S. and European corporations.

The U.S. media selectively blame the socialist government in north Korea, as though its ideology is responsible for any hardships faced by its people. They don’t deem it necessary to mention that the socialist DPRK guarantees all its people an education, health care and housing, as well as a job.

The gossip site TMZ claims that Rodman has apologized for his trip. Whatever the truth, and whatever comes next, right now the anti-imperialist movement owes him a huge thank you. His visit with Kim Jong Un is the first friendly trip to the DPRK by a U.S. citizen that everybody knows about. The war-weary public in the United States will be motivated to find out the truth about their sisters and brothers in north Korea.