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Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the July 6, 2000
issue of Workers World newspaper
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NEW YORK FORUM

Koreans expose U.S. war crimes

By Scott Scheffer

New York

Gae Il Hwang and Sun-joon Kim, two south Korean men, were attacked by the U.S. military when they were children during the Korean War.

They stayed silent for 50 years for fear of reprisals. In June they traveled to the United States to tell their stories.

Joined by several other south Koreans--all leading activists in the growing movement to oust the 37,000 U.S. troops in south Korea--they spoke at a special June 24 forum on U.S. war crimes against the Korean people. The forum took place at the United Nations Church Center in New York.

The day before, the men spoke at a news conference in Washington and a rally near the White House. All these events were timed to coincide with the anniversary of the June 1950 outbreak of the Korean War.

The largely Korean American audience at the New York forum was silent as the men told how the Pentagon attacks had affected their lives. Both had been among big groups of civilians the U.S. military targeted in the early days of the 1950-1953 war.

Gae Il Hwang lost an eye to shrapnel at age 7. Sun-joon Kim lost his left arm to a bomb dropped by a U.S. plane.

Since late last year, when the story of the U.S. attack at the village of No Gun-ri appeared in the big-business media, evidence of some 60 such attacks has surfaced.

Deirdre Griswold, editor of Workers World newspaper, also spoke at the June 24 forum. She was part of the International Delegation to Investigate U.S. War Crimes in Korea that traveled to south Korea in May.

Griswold told of meeting survivors of U.S. attacks throughout south Korea. She described sites of mass killings and executions of political prisoners.

Griswold said the purpose of U.S. military dominance in Asia and elsewhere is to "protect a world order in which there is a greater polarization than ever before in human history between billionaires and those who don't have a handful of rice."

Berta Joubert-Ceci, a Puerto Rican activist and a member of the International Action Center, spoke about the struggle to get the U.S. Navy out of Vieques, the Puerto Rican island used as a U.S. military practice range. The world recently learned that Korea has its own Vieques, when damage from an errant U.S. bomb at the tiny island of Maehyang spurred protests.

Over the years nine people have been killed at Maehyang. The latest incident has renewed the Korean people's determination to drive the U.S. troops out.

The forum was organized by the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee to End the Korean War, which includes the Congress for Korean Reunification, International Action Center, Korean American National Coordinating Council, Veterans for Peace/NYC, and Nodutdol for Korean Community Development.

The forum was co-sponsored by the Korea Truth Commission to Investigate U.S. Military Attacks on Civilians, which was founded in Beijing in May. The KTC includes representatives from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (socialist north Korea), the south Korean progressive movement and overseas Koreans.

The south Korean delegation was invited by the Rev. Kiyul Chung, secretary general of the KTC. Chung was the primary organizer of the news conference and rally in Washington and of the international delegation that toured south Korea in May.

At the forum he asked that "we come together again in June of 2001, for a tribunal of U.S. war crimes against the Korean people."

Brian Becker of the IAC called for a rally on July 27, Korea's Armistice Day. "Let's not end this meeting today by simply remembering all this important testimony, but instead let's take what we've learned into the streets," he said.

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