North Korea: OMG & WTF? Part II

Which is the sole nation to ever have used a nuclear bomb, again?

Part I is here.  Given that today is a Very Serious Day in this iteration of nuclear brinksmanship, it seemed to require a new diary.  And yes, I’m trying not to obsess over it, but it’s all so nucking futz, almost unimaginable, unthinkable, that we need to coin a new term far past…surreal. The military madness not only continues, but escalates.  Our Loose Cannon-in-Chief’s approval ratings have gone up since he bombed Yemen, dropped the MOAB on the caves in Afghanistan, and became a real President!  When he Tomahawked Syria:  oh, the applause, from both Ds and Rs, of course.

Of course all this provocative militarism could just be an object lesson a la the UK Defense Minister:

“In the most extreme circumstances we have made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike,” Fallon told the BBC’s Today program.

When asked in what circumstances, he replied: “They are better not specified or described, which would only give comfort to our enemies and make the deterrent less credible.
“The whole point about the deterrent is that you have got to leave uncertainty in the mind of anyone who might be thinking of using weapons against this country.”

But as the Carl Vinson Strike Group and Japanese destroyers are chugging toward North Korean waters, and

…we have these non-provocations as well:

Sure, Herr T may have called the 100 Senators to the White House to be briefed by Tillerson,  his generals, the DNI to make a case for further crippling sanctions on the DPRK, but here’s TarheelDem’s thoughts on the ‘worst case scenario’:

“My worse-case is that the set-up of the auditorium is of a full-Senate situation room for them to watch exactly what he does in real-time and what the US military does in real-time and allows the Senators advising and implies their unanimous consent. At least Xi Jinping got to eat dinner in peace before he found out what Trump had done in Syria.”

Yes, the precedent had been set earlier.  Great photo opportunities for re-election campaigns, especially if they come in fancy dress, eh?

But the entire exercise may be a gigantic feint, and the theme of the meeting will be about bombing Iran…  Oh, US War, Inc.™!  You seldom leave us hanging, waiting and clapping for moar war!

Andre Damon writes in: ‘Trump summons the Senate to the White House’ wsws.org, April 26

“It is not unusual for members of the executive branch, including military and intelligence officials, to brief members of Congress in closed-door sessions. But the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers between three coequal branches of government—executive, legislative and judicial—dictates that the executive present itself before the elected representatives of the people, not the other way around.

The session will take place Wednesday afternoon in the auditorium of the Eisenhower Office Building, adjacent to the White House, which will be temporarily transformed into a “sensitive compartmented information facility.” The senators will not be allowed to bring phones or have their staffs with them.

What Wednesday’s White House meeting symbolizes above all is the power of the military over the entire state apparatus. This is the outcome of more than a quarter century of unending war, accompanied by an immense growth in the power and political influence of the military. Today, decisions of the gravest consequence—including military action that could start a world war—are made by a cabal of conspirators in the ruling class and the military high command.

There is no longer even a pretense of public debate or congressional oversight and control.

There is no “peace faction” within the ruling establishment. The aggressive and belligerent foreign policy moves by the Trump administration have been welcomed by both Democrats and Republicans. The first two months of the Trump presidency were dominated by a hysterical campaign, led by the Democrats, to portray Trump as a Russian “poodle.” When Trump carried out a cruise missile attack against Syria, Russia’s ally, it was universally acclaimed, with Democrats demanding even more aggressive regime-change operations.

Not a single senator has as yet indicated opposition to the closed-door meeting at the White House, let alone announced that he or she will refuse to attend.”

From globaltimes.cn 4/24/17:  ‘Xi urges calm on N.Korea during phone call with Trump’

“Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump on Monday discussed bilateral ties and the situation on the Korean Peninsula over the phone, promising close contact to allow for the prompt exchange of views on major issues of mutual concern.
China strongly opposes actions that violate United Nations Security Council resolutions, Xi said, adding that China hopes the parties concerned will exercise restraint and avoid actions that aggravate tensions on the peninsula, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Xi noted that if the parties shoulder their responsibilities and meet each other halfway, they can solve North Korea’s nuclear issue and achieve denuclearization, according to Xinhua.”

Now there’s a thought; once again, from b at Moon of Alabama:

“‘BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) — China proposed “double suspension” to defuse the looming crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday.

“As a first step, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises,” Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress.’

FM Wang, ‘the lips’, undoubtedly transmitted an authorized message from North Korea: “The offer is (still) on the table and China supports it.”

North Korea has made the very same offer in January 2015. The Obama administration rejected it. North Korea repeated the offer in April 2016 and the Obama administration rejected it again. This March the Chinese government conveyed and supported the long-standing North Korean offer. The U.S. government, now under the Trump administration, immediately rejected it again. The offer, made and rejected three years in a row, is sensible. Its rejection only led to a bigger nuclear arsenal and to more missiles with longer reach that will eventually be able to reach the United States.”

Unsurprisingly, that reported conversation from Xinhua News is a bit different from: ‘Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with President Xi Jinping of China’, whitehouse.gov

“President Donald J. Trump spoke yesterday with President Xi Jinping of China to address issues regarding North Korea.  President Trump criticized North Korea’s continued belligerence and emphasized that Pyongyang’s actions are destabilizing the Korean Peninsula.  The two leaders reaffirmed the urgency of the threat posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and committed to strengthen coordination in achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Via zoominkorea.org: ‘The USFK Take Control of THAAD Site through Brute Force’, Apr 24, 2017 (with heartening photos)

“On April 22, 80 people, including residents of Seongju and Gimcheon, and Won Buddhists blocked two military vehicles carrying hazardous material from entering the former Lotte golf course, which is now the deployment site for the U.S. THAAD missile defense system. The protesters stood their ground for six hours to stop the vehicles from crossing Jinbat Bridge to the deployment site. Military authorities had no choice but to withdraw the vehicles and turn away from the deployment site.

Won Buddhist ministers leading a prayer: “We pray with all our hearts for the THAAD war weapon to go away and for abundant peace to come to this whole world…”

The South Korean police disrupted the peaceful protest of the residents and created a path for the vehicles to enter the deployment site. The confrontation between the residents and the riot police lasted two hours. The police used excessive force against protesters and arrested two residents.”

From Australia-based James O’neill’s ‘Just Who Does Pose the Greater Threat in Korea?’, neo.org:

“It is the US that has refused to sit down with North Korea and negotiate such a settlement. Instead, the US has installed the THAAD missile system in South Korea, which the Chinese, as well as the North Koreans, correctly claim is a direct threat to their security.

The US continues to conduct joint military exercises off the Korean coast, the maritime boundaries of which are themselves in violation of international maritime law. Further, as noted above, the making of threats of unilateral (and illegal) military action are hardly conducive to the resolution of any dispute. Neither is unhelpfully labeling the other party a member of an “axis of evil” likely to do anything to improve relations.

Latterly, the western media have been full of alarmist threats about North Korea’s alleged capacity to fire a nuclear missile able to reach the west coast of the United States (and Australia). The lack of evidence of any technical ability to actually do so is not welcomed as part of the debate.

More significantly, given that any such attack would lead to an immediate and massive retaliation reducing North Korea to a radioactive wasteland, it is difficult to discern any rational basis for such an alleged threat. Rationality however, is not part of the equation.

It suits US foreign policy very well indeed to be able to paint Kim Yong-Un as a dangerous and unpredictable madman. It helps justify the massive continued US military (and nuclear armed) presence in the region, including in South Korea, and maintaining 400 military bases to “contain China” and any other enemy du jour in the region. In that sense, Kim is very much Washington’s ‘useful idiot.’

The greater danger to peace and stability in the region comes from an even more dangerous and unpredictable egoist in the White House. That really is a worry.”

Bonus: from Gareth Porter

27 responses to “North Korea: OMG & WTF? Part II

  1. after a night of divertissement in the RL, I woke up this a.m. thinking it was Thursday already & that this war conference had already passed. it is amazing how undemocratic this meeting is & how gelatinous the senatorial spine is. no cell phones? no aides? the wsws makes a big deal out of breaches of decorum & custom & these performances & displays do mean something, but congress refuses to invoke the war powers act, so the outcome of this meeting w/the right honorable jellyfish from the senate is already determined: they’ll fold faster than superman on laundry day.

    nice on them Buddhists. we get fightin’ Baptist Franklin Graham types here in god’s country.

    • yep. but as to the wars powers act, damon does say:

      “When President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought a declaration of War against Japan on December 8, 1941, he delivered a speech to Congress, leading to a congressional declaration of war the same day. Today, 76 years later, it is the Senate that is coming to the White House, to be briefed by the military brass about plans to launch a war that will proceed with or without its authorization.” oddly, i’d always assumed the prez would be there in a speaking capacity, but damon also said this:

      ““While Trump’s presence has not been announced, the Washington Post wrote: “Congressional staffers suggested that the briefing’s proximity to Trump would make it easy for him to ‘drop by’ and perhaps take over the briefing.” oh, such a strategic little leak by anonymous staffers. is this ass-covering in case of objections of his calling the mountain to ‘mohamed’?

      the bits about turning the room into a virtual sit room was kinda interesting, though. i’d never read that. got any predictions, j? after a night of entertainment, especially? and weren’t ya glad you weren’t available for the entertainment spectacle in deecee this a.m.?

  2. aw, shucks, see? it was all for da Big Show of it.

    ‘US commander not confident North Korea will refrain from nuclear assault’;
    Adm Harry Harris testifies before House, indicating a preference for a US show of military force in order to deter North Korea from launching a devastating assault, guardian today
    “The US admiral in charge of a potential conflict with North Korea has said his goal is to bring Kim Jong-un “to his senses, not to his knees”.

    Tensions between the US and North Korea are white-hot ahead of an anticipated sixth nuclear test from Pyongyang and its accelerating long-range missile development. Donald Trump has invited the entire US Senate to the White House on Wednesday afternoon for a classified briefing on the situation.

    While Harris did not provide any timetable for reaching an “inflection point” in North Korean nuclear capabilities, he suggested that the North’s accelerating missile tests indicated that Pyongyang will at some point be able to launch a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile at the United States unless stopped by an external force, diplomatically or militarily.”, ha ho hee; more scribes to the Imperium, the guardian.

  3. So far…a nothingburger distraction from the First 100 Days.

    • whaaaat? you call this ‘a nothingburger distraction’???

      “”The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal,” a joint statement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said.

      The classified meeting lasted around 14 minutes, according to reports.”

      you must have missed this key inflammatory nat sec news, then:

      “Commenting on the recent North Korean military parade, a White House official said at the briefing, “Even the tires are not made in North Korea,” according to Bloomberg.”

      lol. at least i can go work on my cbd balm instead… see what happens in the mornin’.

      • Denuclearization of the Korean peninsula has to do with the US adopting China’s long-term statement of their intention. The best case interpretation is that there is a US-Chinese plan to bring North Korea under China’s nuclear umbrella. The worst-case is that China has green-lighted the US taking out North Korea’s nuclear weapons production facilities (and possibly even provided additional intelligence about those facilities).

        The news coverage so far is a couple of Democratic gripes about why the drama, and bringing the fact base a little closer to factual. The Carl Vinson is now in the Philippine Sea in case you were wondering. And the US admiral responsible for defending South Korea is aware of the dense artillery in the North aimed at the dense population in the South.

        At best, there was mid-process update after beating the drums of war. At worst, a nothingburger intended solely for media distraction and yanking around Congress.

        • whaaaat? i come back from slaving in my pain-relief laboratory expecting a couple laffs, and this is what i get? okay, more srsly, i’ll read it tomorrow.
          2 bushed 2 participate 4 2nite.

  4. …hi wd

    …Evidently WarMonger / WarCriminal Barack ” Slick Sellout ” Obama is now cashing out on having been Chief Liar and Killer of the USian Empire while holed up in the WH in WashDC from 2009 to 2016. Barack ” The Big Liar ” Obama reportedly now collecting a $400,000 ” speaking fee ” for giving a speech to some gathered USian Empire paying $$$ types. The stench emanating from this being so being exceptionally putrid given how WarCriminal and Killer of Innocents Barack ” Drone’em and Kill’em ” Obama by rights should have been brought up on warcrimes and murder of innocent humans charges a long time ago. One can only hope those who were so willing to be and stay ObamaApologists may one day begin to see and finally understand the the evil and wickedness they so willingly enabled.

    …So…having missed the Hillary Clinton USian Empire /NeoCon WarMongering bullet(s) we USians have jumped right in front of the War and Death and Destruction multiple bullets that Donald Trump is now going willy nilly with since bedoming POTUSE Jan.20, 2017.

    …The NeoCon / Militarist / ZioNazi / Wall St. / Corporatist / MIC infested Trump WH that D.Trump is either presiding over or merely serving as The Jester+Fool Mascot to is galloping towards the risk of atomic war being unleashed. Heartwarming ( sarc ) to have read today the likes of ZioNazi / NeoCon Paul Wolfowitz is ” happy with what Trump WH is now seeking to do and be “. At times I do wish we USians dispatched with extreme prejudice USian Empire war orcs and death dealing demonic hearted humankind destroyers with anti-aircraft guns like the current dictator of North Korea evidently on occasion has done to those who ran afoul of him. The rot and rats in WashDC plainly need to be severely chastized and a anti-aircraft gun being fired up would be perfectly suited for doing so. ( sarc )

    …USian Empire has been meddling across East Asia since 19th century Yankee whaling ships were plying the vast Pacific Ocean and prompting WashDC imperial avarices and ambitions. Japan came in for a big taste of USian militarism driven imperialism early on with Commodore Perry’s forced visit. The Emperor Of Korea Gojong in early 1880’s opened Korea to the outside western world and chose to make first treaty with USian Empire as Emperor Gojong believed USA would protect Korea best. Big Mistake on Gojong’s part. Teddy Roosevelt sold out Gojong and Korea to Japanese Empire in 1905. 117 years later Korea and all Koreans still being sold out by evil and wicked USian Empire. Imagine that.

    …Atomic weapons being what they are once unleashed will alter Planet Earth in all ways and likely bring about the end of humankind as now known in ways last seen on Earth when the dinosaurs were wiped out. It is now knowable that when the atomic weapons start going off only a fraction of the current global inventory of atomic weapons need be exploded which will set off cataclysmic second, third, fourth and fifth rings of disasters, destruction and deep systemic failures. Out of control nuclear power plants, run amok broken electric power grids and ongoing / deep multiple food and shelter disruptions will soon have humankind reduced to either dying or already dead. Wonder if any of this ever crosses Barack Obama’s, Paul Wolfowitz’s or Donald Trumps minds? The Fools.

    …Who is going to stop these evil war criminals and wanton killers? Those who can and will. One can only hope it is not too late already.

    …take care wd…best wishes always…sta🏹

    • hi, arrow; good 2 see you. teasin’ thd was easy, but i’ll have to read this in the mornin’, 4 certain. knackered for 2nite. sleep well, and yes: the US war criminals and terrorists: who will stop them?

    • ah, getting wealthy’s become one of the big perks to the presidency, including speaking to groups they really were in aid of, sinecures on corporate boards, esp. military, book deals, ‘contributions’ to presidential libraries, and tra la. he and michelle have already begun their own ‘foundation’, but i can’t remember what i’d seen when i’d clicked in some time ago. but there are so many ways of profiteering from what the (ahem) incurious see as ‘philanthropic endeavors’, no?

      interesting history in that paragraph, new to me. as is the T cannon praise from wolfowitz but not surprising. funny, the only glimmer of gladness i’d had from his election was a) no more clintonian neoliberalism, and b) his claimed rapprochement with russia. a c) wasn’t clear earlier, but was his claimed aversion to regime change. so what we got instead? a neo-con neoliberal war monger nationalist/jingoist who means to take down state leaders who are non-capitalist, secularist, and don’t ‘obey’ the hegemon.

      i’m not even sure what the models show about nukes setting off nukes, etc., although i’ve seen some titles of essays claiming to know, kinda in the vein of “what nuclear war would really look like”. sigh.

      • …hi wd

        …Seems quaint and oh so naive as to how Truman and Eisenhower stepped away from the WH …Harry Truman could have run for a third WH term prior to 22nd Amendment taking effect but did not. I doubt Obama would have declined doing so.

        …Truman returned to Independence where the Truman’s lived in Bess Wallace Truman’s family house. Harry Truman became a private American citizen and was not shaking down the big $$$ by giving ” speeches ” within a few weeks / months of leaving the WH…Barack Obama plainly is no Harry Truman.

        …When Ike retired to his farm at Gettysburg and was restored to rank of general of the army by the U.S. Congress post his 1961 departure from the WH Ike could not / did not collect a general’s salary as per USG rules and laws. One can easily imagine both Bill and Hill Clinton and Barack Obama post WH cash in / cash out concepts and $$$ pocket stuffing would seem unbecoming ex- POTUS / WH conduct to Harry Truman and Ike. USian Empire is so badly led now by the rats and the rot that infest WashDC.

        …What befell and continues to vex Japan post the Fukushima Atomic Disaster or what is readily knowable about the Chernobyl Atomic Power Plant Disaster aftermath easily informs as to how these events when multiplied by 25 or 50 or more times become genuine humankind termination events. Japan has plainly shown it lost ( has lost ) control of Fukushima and is now unable to solve the myriad acute problems lurking all around Fukushima. Imagine post global atomic war that even Japan’s feeble / inadequate atomic disaster tactics and responses become nonexistent due to ongoing aftermath of unleashed atomic war humankind radiation ravages and wipe outs.

        …Looks like USian Empire is plainly seeking another ” Remember The Maine!! ” or 12/07/41 or 9/11/01 ” false flag event ” to ” justify ” what the ptb’s who run the USian Empire now seeking to do come Hell or High Water. Preventing Killer Hillary Clinton from being in the WH only ricocheted to D.Trump being made into / becoming the same in less than 4 months. Imagine that.

        …The Big Lies and Deceptions in all this being so after Killer Bush Junior’s 8 years and Killer Barack Obama’s 8 years of Big Lies and Deceptions now become numbing as to the relentless evil and wickedness of it all. It deserves a very bad ending in final chapter.

        …sta🏹

        • lol, no; the recent presididn’ts have no shame at all. post-modern? i never really know era that term signifies, but i have to look up a lot of modern-speak. i’d have to check, but at least even one-term senators keep earning a shit-ton of lucre after leaving office. ex-prezes get permanent security details from the atf, i forget which agency.

          yeah, when even the robots are sent in to investigate some of the cores at fukushima, their ‘melting’ does not bode well. and how many earthquakes in the area since the initial one? same for the waste dripping into the watershed/s from the uncontained messes at hanford power (insert euphemism here) campus? we had our own radioactive waste mountain in a county next door, and i won’t even bother telling you what the ‘fix’ was.

          and sure, we can barely keep up w/ what’s happening to the oceans, the creatures, the water now. we’re killing the planet, and perhaps we should leave it to the dolphins and cockroaches to have another go at general habitation evolution.

          i’d seen a ‘humpback whales are dying off’ title today or yesterday. i had no heart to click in.

  5. I wish it were a good time to invest in pitchforks. But I doubt it. The actual left has been so thoroughly demolished, at least in the US, they seem to have no idea who or what they are.
    Let’s not forget that we are the rubes, and the show is being put on for our benefit. By no means does that mean things won’t get out of hand. But I’m sure our owners feel confident. I’m thinking about what I could do to make them feel less so…

    • ‘allo, doug c. guess i’d amend your premise to read closer to “the actual left demolished themselves”, largely by being schmoozed into believing that ‘the D party would take care of it all’, by failing to be ‘internationalist leftists’ (as in the cruise-missile leftists galore), down to so many still touting the bern as ‘a leftist socialist anti-militarist’, yada, yada. cripes, i read the transcript of brother cornell west and nick brana on DN! the other day…i needed a barf bag. “we’re calling on sanders to create a new (whatever) party today…!”

      at least juan brought up the fact that he’d been touting or touring with a dem who’s anti-choice… answer? “ah, too many identity politics get in the way of actual progressive change…: but sorry, cornell: the bern is not anti-militaristic, although compared to herr T, lesser, but that’s a pretty low bar, lol.

      yeah, this presidency, this issue, may have been a show, but stay tuned, no? as to this: ” I’m thinking about what I could do to make them feel less so…”; yes, me, too. so i sit at my keyboard…arrrggh.

      • re; the left did themselves in. Maybe they did but can we agree they had some substantial and sophisticated help? I suspect it was hoodwinked during the Roosevelt administration.

        • oh me, oh my, doug c. thank you for shaking my tree on my casual assertion. my understanding was that FDR ‘gifted’ the social safety nets and labor wage rises partially as a gift to the wobblies and other commies who’d agree to end their strikes during the war. other have slightly different takes on that history, for sure.

          but cripes, yes. the US went to great pains to criminalize dissent, from mccarthyite programs, murdering and imprisoning panthers and other undesirables, propagandizing thru media and hollywood films, spying, wire-tapping, nixon’s war on drugs and growing the incarceration state, any an all authoritarian measures that have brought us where we are today: full spectrum dominance at home and around the world.

          thank you, again; my head’s just been overly full of watching so many radical movemental and social politics get channeled so flawlessly into the D party, where they are neutered, commodified, and subordinated. i’ve been taking notes for a new post along those lines.

  6. Morning news ratchets back even more. The major story from the briefing apparently was the PACOM commander took responsibility for the confusion that was actually caused by US media’s jumping on one of Trump’s tweets.

    Russia was instrumental in the agreement with Iran. I think that, if this plays out the way it seems to be going at the moment, China will be helpful at disarming North Korea of its nuclear weapons and returning them to IAEA inspections — if the US Congress can say yes to what is essentially a win for peace. Will the Congress trot out the Taiwanese president (or whoever) like they trotted out Netanyahu to try to scuttle a Trump-China deal that puts North Korea back in the IAEA inspection regime? Will China be an acceptable auditor of North Korea’s dismantling of nuclear weapons? That would be a new relationship.

    Pat Lang is holding on more battle groups showing up and also predicting Russian/Iranian acceleration of the destruction of Daesh/ISIS/ISIL to prevent US/Turkey/Saudi messing around trying for regime change in Syria. We will see.

    Of course, teasin’ me is easy. I understand the value of my opinions. :) We are all pretty much peanuts in this here peanut gallery watching the testosterone-obsessed play with our futures.

    • only have a minute for now, but i absolutely want to address your final paragraph, amigo. what i was teasin’ you about what your failure to think my “you call this a nothin’burger” with snoooze reportage, but then the nationalistic jingoism of herr T’s ‘buy only amerikan’: “you must have missed this key inflammatory nat sec news, then:

      “Commenting on the recent North Korean military parade, a White House official said at the briefing, “Even the tires are not made in North Korea,” according to Bloomberg.”

      ah, well, i thought it was funny, but mr. wd says that like red skelton of old, i laugh harder at my wit than the room does. later; i have a few bits and bobs to add.

      • The geezer fog lifted a bit. The White House official’s comment “Even the tires are not made in North Korea,” finally clicked with your comment. My staid reading was the White House commenter was pointing out that the so-called sanctions weren’t exactly working and hinting that [who? China?] someone was shipping stuff to North Korea in violation of sanctions. But that is not the only way to read it, is it?
        1. The US wants North Korea’s military parts business.
        2. The US thinks Kim Jung Un needs a Buy North Korean policy to build his own manufacturing base.
        3. There are countries exporting to North Korea that the US could put pressure on.
        Probably some more fun and games with this sly casus belli.

        • glad to see the penny finally dropped, lol. my guess was what i’d supposed already, essentially your #2. as i said, i found hilarity in the comment, esp. as herr T hasn’t a real clue about what his stated policy will mean in the long run.

    • i’m not understanding your news about harry harris admitting he’d been reacting to a T tweet. and it would indeed be something of a miracle if congress and the T admin would sign off on a deal in which china would be allowed to arrange such a deal w/ north korea.

      interesting on the pat lang speculation, even if it’s by way of ‘informed speculation’. i did read that the carl vinson strike group is (or was) about 2 hours away from the korean peninsula, and i’d thought that the two japanese destroyers were with them, but i may have misread, dunno. but the uss michigan is in port in ROK, it seems.

      the msn homepage this a.m. was referencing an AP ‘rumor’ that china is punishing NK by limiting gasoline making prices spike, and all that doo-rah. “Is if affecting the military?” was the key question. who knows?

      but this, as well, w/ appropriate caveats: mike head of wsws had apparently spoken to journalists who’d spoken to senators after the 14-minute meeting. here are some clips, plus additional reporting from other sources. but some of them were boring down on china, not just dprk:

      “Speaking to journalists after the meeting, participants denied that any specific military line of attack was discussed. By every indication, however, the executive and its military-intelligence officials informed the senators they would be told after the event, if and when the administration launched a military assault.
      There were no reports of any protest against being summoned by the White House in this manner, let alone any boycott of the gathering. Rather, the response was one of bipartisan backing for the escalating war planning, laced with calls for tougher action against China, supposedly to pressure Beijing to compel Pyongyang to abandon its missile and nuclear programs.”

      (brilliant, jeebus; sticks, not carrots)

      “Various comments by senators after the briefing ranged from support for US military action against North Korea to pushing for a harder stance against China. There was no dissent from the incessant propaganda aimed at whipping up fears of a future North Korean nuclear attack.”

      yeah, but this pissed me purple, so madeleine albright of him, if he’s reporting correctly, esp. as per your earlier comment:

      “And the US admiral responsible for defending South Korea is aware of the dense artillery in the North aimed at the dense population in the South.”:

      “Earlier in the day, US Pacific Command chief Admiral Harry Harris, who would lead any attack on the Korean Peninsula, gave an indication of the Pentagon’s message. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, he asserted that denuclearisation by North Korea—the goal outlined publicly by the White House—is no longer a realistic option.

      Harris acknowledged that possible reprisals stemming from a strike against North Korea would place at risk the lives of millions of Koreans and Japanese, as well as the 28,500 US troops in South Korea. But he argued this danger was outweighed by the prospect of “a lot more Koreans and Japanese and Americans dying if North Korea achieves its nuclear aims.

      yeah, he may not be the boss, but that cavalier abjectness does not bode well.

      • You saying it seems strangely quiet?

        • does your question imply that nothing’s come yet, save reports that are akin to “trump leaves it to his generals to decide how many more troops to afghanistan , libya (surely against his protests, libya will be next, IS bugging the US-approved provisional govt., yanno, plus: oil)? or do you think that ‘mum’s the word: when the generals decide to hit, we’ll do it on friday night out w/ the trash night’? or would he rather advise them to trumpet the fact that ‘he’s reached the consensus with his (whomever) that north korea is now fully able to hit the US with a nuke; time to pony up and riiiiide the bombs all the way down fat guy’s throat?

          • Interesting question. I think he acts and forces the concensus after the consequences of the act (unless the kids at the White House can persuade grandpa that it would politically help him to get Aunt Nikki to do another show at the UN Security Council and British Aunt Terry to decide to stand with him before he does the deed.) Whether feigned or not, the media is reporting Trump as having self-doubts about what he’s gotten himself into.

            There is more going on internally amongst the White House, the national security establishment, and the intelligence community than is leaking out. And the “we’re going to protect whether you want to be a target or no” routine with South Koreans likely has a short shelf-life once South Korea has a chief executive in place again.

            To think that the whole reason that North Korea was included in the “axis of evil” speech in 2003 was to shut down South Korea’s “Sunshine” program of rapprochement. And likely to shove North Korea out of IAEA inspections so that the US could more easily make unsupported claims of what North Korea was doing.

            • hmmm. first, i hadn’t known or guessed the gist of your final paragraph; thank you. yes, there’ve been clues that dissent is rampant among the key players. RT had a piece saying that T wanted to bill seoul for the thaads, seoul said no. the front-runner to replace park seemed to be not in favor of the thaads as too provocative; is that your read?

              but sheesh. out w/ the friday trash is this dumbassery, whether the shot heard or not heard around the world:

              ‘North Korea fires ballistic missile – Seoul’, RT
              “An unnamed US official confirmed to NBC News that there was indeed a missile test, but there was no indication that it was nuclear. Meanwhile, Reuters reports, citing sources, that initial analysis shows that the latest test might have failed.
              The South Korean military are now analyzing the type of missile fired and flight distance of the projectile traveled.”

              https://www.rt.com/news/386523-pyongyang-korea-ballistic-missile/

              and the guardian version reminds us that tillerson had said ‘that’s a big no-no, kim’. he and T really are kindergarten kage-matchers, aren’t they? do they think it’s a game w/o deadly consequences?

              i just checked; nikki is busy blaming russia for all the deaths in syria; here’s rex:

              catch 22: “We will not negotiate our way back to the negotiating table with North Korea. We will not reward their violations of past resolutions. We will not reward their bad behavior with talks. We will only engage in talks with North Korea when they exhibit a good-faith commitment to abiding by the Security Council resolutions and their past promises to end their nuclear programs.”

              Major Major: “let me be clear. the only times you can say i’m in the office…are when i’m out of the office. you may let people in at those times.”

  7. this rancid nugget from MoA today:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

    noah cross in Chinatown: “few people have to face that fact that they are capable of just about anything” (or something to that effect.) there’s not much concrete predictive value in reminding oneself that there is not a limit to what Uncle Sam might get up to in its deviousness & violence, but there it is. the top shelf in the bureaucracy of the US et al took one look at the rubble of ww2 and said, “hey, let’s learn from this so we can do it mo’ betta next time.”

    sorry, can’t find an article I tho’t was up recently at CP asserting that this whole “N Korea nuke/missile test” thing has about as much validity to it as Assad sarin-gassing his own people. trump’s apparent interest in how hot his own daughter is may be coincidental, maybe not, but noah cross & his water wars are good to keep in mind.

    • i was glad that i’d finished just the top section above the table of contents.; i’d almost backed out due to a roiling stomach. but i at least got to see this section concerning: “Instead of being tried for war crimes, the researchers involved in Unit 731 were secretly given immunity by the U.S. in exchange for the data they gathered through human experimentation.” now i get your noah cross reference. w/ the barbaric levels of U depravity unearthed from the past and the present, i can almost understand juliania’s plea of not being able to stare into the abyss for too long.

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