Monday, April 13, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Raise the Sewol!

Maybe Parks approval ratings will come with it:

"S. Korea moves to tighten safety rules after ferry disaster" by CHOE SANG-HUN, New York Times  April 12, 2015

JEJU, South Korea — One year later, many safety experts and those working in the shipping industry say important changes have been made, including the passage of a law to ban government officials from taking expensive gifts and another to crack down on business owners whose companies are involved in major disasters.

The second law was passed after prosecutors alleged that members of the flamboyant family they say owned the Sewol had enriched themselves by illegally overloading ferries and scrimping on safety measures.

But government critics remain bitter, convinced Park’s administration is more interested in moving past the tragedy that has threatened to become her biggest legacy than in undertaking a serious investigation of the disaster and bungled rescue.

They cite recent safety lapses on ships as evidence of continued wrongdoing.

Last weekend, thousands of people, including 70 of the Sewol victims’ parents who shaved their heads in protest, marched in downtown Seoul to demand that a new investigation be opened.

In what some saw as an effort to halt the criticism, Park — whose approval ratings have never recovered after the sinking — announced Monday that her government would consider the costly task of raising the Sewol. The bodies of nine passengers — four of them high school students — have never been found....

Many of the grieving parents believe the government has tried to refocus anger on the family who prosecutors say owned the Sewol. (The patriarch died while on the run under circumstances that have yet to be fully explained.)

Collusive ties between South Korean regulators and businesses have been blamed for several building collapses, as well as rising fears about the country’s nuclear power industry.

To address corruption in the shipping industry, the government revised laws to stipulate harsher financial penalties.


I think North Korea sunk it, at least, that's what the distress calls seemed to suggest.

Other things the Globe raised:

"A flight attendant who says she was living her dream by working for Korean Air is suing the airline and its infamous “nut rage” executive, claiming the bizarre tantrum ruined her career. Kim Do Hee is seeking compensation through a trial in New York city. She was verbally and physically attacked by Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-ah (right), according to a statement from two American law firms, Weinstein Law Firm and Kobre & Kim. Cho, a vice president at the time of the Dec. 5 incident, was enraged that Kim, 27, served her macadamia nuts in a bag, not on a dish. She ordered head flight attendant Park Chang-jin off the plane, forcing it to return to Kennedy International Airport. Last month, a South Korean court sentenced Cho, 40, to one year in prison for violating aviation security laws, using violence against a flight attendant, and other offenses. She has appealed. Kim is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be determined."

I suppose you are taking your chances traveling in Korea.

"In a separate development Monday, the head of a travel agency that specializes in North Korea said authorities there are barring foreigners from this year’s Pyongyang marathon, a popular tourist event, amid ongoing Ebola travel restrictions. Though no cases of Ebola have been reported anywhere near North Korea, the country shut its borders to foreign tourists in October with strict regulations to keep the virus out. North Korean media have suggested Ebola was created by the US military as a biological weapon." 

The fact that such a thing is in AmeriKan print indicates a limited hangout for that complete fraud.

"North Korea sanctions bill passes hurdle in US House" by Matthew Pennington, Associated Press  February 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — A bill aimed at limiting North Korea’s access to hard currency passed a legislative hurdle Friday as pressure grows in Congress for tougher action over Pyongyang’s nuclear program and alleged involvement in a hacking attack on Sony Pictures.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs backed the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act, which has bipartisan support and seeks the kind of limits that have been imposed on banks in dealing with Iran.

The Republican who heads the committee, Representative Ed Royce of California, said the legislation is intended to press the US administration to use all the tools it has to impose sanctions against North Korea and on countries and companies that assist the North in bolstering its nuclear program.

The bill also has provisions to sanction North Korea officials over dire human rights abuses and individuals who facilitate cyberattacks on the United States. 

As if the U.S. has any room to criticize, what with the torture and all. As for the cyber attacks, they all seem to trace back to Silicon Valley and the CIA startups.

The legislation now goes to the full House. A sanctions bill is also planned in the Senate but has yet to be introduced.

North Korea denied involvement in the hacking although it was enraged by a Sony movie, ‘‘The Interview,’’ a comedy that depicted the assassination of its leader, Kim Jong Un.

That fake psyop has faded, huh? Shelf life was as long as that dud of a film.


And what does North Korea do when enraged?

"North Korea test fires 2 short-range missiles" Associated Press  March 03, 2015

SEOUL — North Korea on Monday fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and warned of ‘‘merciless strikes’’ against its enemies as allies Seoul and Washington launched annual military drills that Pyongyang contends are preparation for a northward invasion. 

I don't know where they could have gotten that idea.

North Korea regularly conducts such test firings of missiles, rockets, and artillery, and they are often timed to express the country’s dissatisfaction with actions by Washington and Seoul. Monday was the start of military drills that will run until the end of April.

Beware the false flag!

Early Monday morning, two missiles launched from North Korea’s west coast flew about 310 miles before landing in waters off the east coast, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.

Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok called the launches an ‘‘armed protest’’ against the South Korea-US drills and a challenge to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The annual US-South Korean military drills inevitably lead to angry North Korean rhetoric, although the allies say they are purely defensive.

The North seeks to show its people that a tough leadership is confronting what its propaganda portrays as outside hostility, but analysts also believe the drills infuriate some North Koreans because they cost Pyongyang precious resources by forcing the country to respond with its own drills and launches. 

I feel like I'm looking in a mirror when the war paper describes the "enemy."

‘‘The only means to cope with the aggression and war by the US imperialists and their followers is neither dialogue nor peace. They should be dealt with only by merciless strikes,’’ an unidentified spokesman for the North Korean military’s general staff said in a statement carried by state media. 

I hope he wasn't mistranslated, and how sad is it when our "enemies" are the ones telling the truth in the papers?


Ash Carter decried it all -- as if he had standing to do so.

And these quick cuts look like another staged and scripted psyop to me -- if it happened at all.

"US ambassador to S. Korea slashed in Seoul" Associated Press  March 05, 2015

SEOUL, South Korea — US Ambassador Mark Lippert was in stable condition after a man screaming demands for a unified North and South Korea slashed him on the face and wrist with a knife, South Korean police and US officials said Thursday.

Media images showed a stunned-looking Lippert examining his blood-covered left hand and holding his right hand over a cut on the right side of his face, his pink tie splattered with blood. 

I'm thinking crisis actor.

The US State Department condemned the attack, which happened at a performing arts center in downtown Seoul as the ambassador was preparing for a lecture about prospects for peace on the divided Korean Peninsula.

The US Embassy later said Lippert was in stable condition after surgery at a Seoul hospital.

In a televised briefing, Chung Nam-sik of the Severance Hospital said 80 stiches were needed to close the facial wound, which was 11 centimeters (just more than 4 inches) long and 3 centimeters (just more than 1 inch) deep. He added the cut did not affect his nerves or salivary gland.

Chung said the knife penetrated through Lippert’s left arm and damaged the nerves connected to his pinkie and tendons connected to his thumb. Lippert will need to be treated at the hospital for the next three or four days and may experience sensory problems in his left hand for several months, Chung said.

The attack will shock many outsiders because the United States is South Korea’s closest ally, its military protector and a big trading partner and cultural influence.

Yeah, how could anyone hate the AmeriKan military machine and its footprint? 

And let's face it, a reunited Korea means we gotta go!

But the reported comments of the suspect, 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong, during the attack — ‘‘South and North Korea should be reunified’’ — touch on a deep political divide in South Korea over the still-fresh legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which is still technically ongoing because it ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. Some South Koreans blame the presence of 28,500 US troops stationed in the South as a deterrent to the North for the continuing split of the Korean Peninsula along the world’s most heavily armed border — a view North Korea’s propaganda machine regularly pushes in state media.

Pot. Kettle. You know the rest.

The attack came suddenly, witnesses said. A knife-wielding man ran screaming up to Lippert as soup was being served for the breakfast meeting and began slashing, said Kim Young-man, spokesman for the group hosting the breakfast, the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation. A separate, unidentified witness told local media that as Lippert stood up for a handshake, the suspect wrestled the ambassador to the ground and slashed him with a knife.

Korean really are nuts!

Yonhap TV showed men in suits and ties piled on top of the attacker, who was dressed in a modern version of the traditional Korean hanbok, and Lippert later being rushed to a police car with a blood-soaked handkerchief pressed to his cheek. The suspect also shouted anti-war slogans after he was detained, police said. They said the knife was about 25 centimeters long (10 inches).

Thanks for discrediting the position.

A direct attack on a senior US official is unusual, but it represents a thread in South Korean society of sometimes extreme protests on both sides of the political divide. Regular small to medium-sized demonstrations, often by activists seen as professional protesters, occur across Seoul, often either by anti-US liberals who support closer reconciliation with the North, or pro-government conservative groups who support the US and loathe Pyongyang.

Violence sometimes breaks out at the protests. Scuffles with police and the burning of effigies of North Korean and Japanese leaders are common. Demonstrators sometimes severe their own fingers, throw bodily fluids at embassies and try to self-immolate. In 2008, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to protest US beef imports after a mad cow scare in America. Both sides of the divide also protest regularly against archrival Japan, which colonized Korea in the early 20th century, over territorial and history disputes.

True to form, conservative civic groups planned to hold rallies later Thursday to condemn the attack on the ambassador.

The suspect in the attack appeared to be well-known in Seoul for his willingness to use violence to highlight his grievances.

And this is where the staged and scripted crap starts falling apart!

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still happening, said the suspect in 2010 threw a piece of concrete at the Japanese ambassador in Seoul. South Korean media reported that Kim Ki-jong was later sentenced to a three-year suspended prison term over the attack. Kim, who was protesting Japan’s claim to small disputed islands that are occupied by South Korea, missed the ambassador with the concrete and hit his secretary instead, the reports said.

Kim also reportedly tried to set himself on fire with gasoline while protesting in front of the presidential Blue House in October 2007. He was demanding a government investigation into an alleged 1988 rape in Kim’s office, according to news reports.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning the attack and vowing a thorough investigation and strengthened protection of embassies. South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who is on a Middle East tour, said in a statement that what happened was ‘‘not only a physical attack on the US ambassador in South Korea but also an attack on the Korea-US alliance and we will not tolerate it.’’

She was away when this happened, visiting the Middle East? What was she doing there?

The suspect on Thursday also reportedly made mention of something that anti-US protesters in Seoul have recently demonstrated against: annual US-South Korean military exercises that North Korea says are preparation for an invasion. Seoul and Washington say the drills, which will run until the end of April, are defensive and routine.

Yeah, how about that, huh? What timing!

North Korea each year reacts with fury to the drills, which the impoverished country is forced to respond to with drills and weapons tests of its own. In 2013 it threatened nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul, and on the first day of this year’s drills, Monday, it test-fired short range missiles in a demonstration of anger.

Man, this script is old.

Lippert, 42, became ambassador in October of last year and has been a regular presence on social media and in speeches and presentations during his time in Seoul. His wife gave birth here and the couple gave their son a Korean middle name. Lippert was formerly the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian Affairs and a foreign policy aide to President Barack Obama when Obama was a US senator.

Obama called Lippert after the attack to express his prayers for a speedy recovery, the White House said.

‘‘We strongly condemn this act of violence,’’ State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. She had no other details.

They have some nerve when the government they represent is committing so many all across the planet!


"Attacker of US envoy to S. Korea acted alone, police say" New York Times  March 06, 2015

SEOUL — The man who attacked the US ambassador to South Korea on Thursday is a fringe political activist with a history of violence, and he acted alone when he rushed the diplomat and slashed his face with a knife, South Korean police said.

Oh, look, a LONE STABBER!

The man, Kim Ki-jong, who police said used a 10-inch knife to attack Ambassador Mark W. Lippert at a breakfast meeting, had received a suspended two-year prison term for attacking the Japanese ambassador to South Korea in 2010. Kim said he assaulted Lippert to protest military exercises of the United States and South Korea.

Thanks for the help.

Lippert suffered a 4-inch-long cut to his face, which required 80 stitches, and stab wounds on his left arm.


I'm sorry, readers, but I simply DO NOT BELIEVE THAT WAS A REAL EVENT! 


"South Korea split over how to react to attack on US ambassador" New York Times  March 10, 2015

SEOUL — The knife attack last week on the US ambassador to South Korea, Mark W. Lippert, set off an outpouring of good wishes here for both the envoy and Seoul’s alliance with Washington.

But the response, led largely by conservative South Koreans, has now provoked a backlash, with accusations that the government of President Park Geun-hye and its supporters are “worshiping” America and politicizing the case to discredit domestic enemies.

Kim Ki-jong, a professed nationalist with a history of erratic outbursts of violence, slashed Lippert with a kitchen knife during a breakfast meeting Thursday. He left a 4-inch gash on Lippert’s left cheek that required 80 stitches and damaged tendons and nerves in his left hand.

The public initially reacted with shock. Well-wishers flooded Lippert’s blog and Twitter account, and they posted messages on signs that conservative activists put up near the US Embassy in Seoul.

The tone of the messages, however, quickly turned into one of defiance and doubt.

It looks like everyone is catching on to the shenanigans.


"Despite attack, US ambassador to South Korea vows to carry on" Washington Post  March 11, 2015

TOKYO — The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, vowed to continue his ‘‘open and friendly’’ style of diplomacy as he left a hospital Tuesday, five days after being slashed by a knife-wielding assailant.

The attack horrified South Koreans, who have rushed to reassure Lippert and the United States that they appreciate the strong alliance between the two countries.

At a news conference in the Seoul hospital where he was being treated, Lippert had a big bandage on his cheek over the four-inch-long knife wound that required 80 stitches. He also wore a brace on his left arm, which was cut during the attack.

‘‘This incident has only strengthened our love and affection for this country and our belief in the unbreakable bond that exists between the United States and the Republic of Korea,’’ he said, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

Yeah, right, as if they were Israel! 

The U.S. must be very unpopular in South Korea to have gone ahead with this garbage!

Lippert said that since he arrived in Seoul in the fall, he and his staff ‘‘have felt embraced and welcomed by the Korean people.’’

‘‘In return, we have made it our mission to be open and friendly. And that will not change,’’ he said.

Lippert said he felt ‘‘pretty darn good, all things considered.’’

‘‘I mean, it was obviously a scary incident,’’ he said at Yonsei University’s Severance Hospital amid heavy security. ‘‘But I’m walking, talking, holding my baby, hugging my wife, so I just feel really good.’’

Lippert was at a Seoul breakfast forum, where he was due to give a speech, when a man approached him and slashed him with a 10-inch kitchen knife on Thursday. The man, 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong, had a history of violence — he threw a piece of concrete at the Japanese ambassador to Seoul in 2010 — and is reportedly sympathetic to North Korea.

Where was security?

Witnesses said he yelled ‘‘No war! The two Koreas should be united!’’ as he attacked Lippert. Police are seeking to charge him with attempted murder.


Maybe they can find this Canadian spy while raising the ship:

"Church: Canadian pastor missing in North Korea" Associated Press  March 04, 2015

TORONTO — A senior pastor at a Canadian church has been missing in North Korea since late January, officials said Tuesday.

The Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim traveled to North Korea on Jan. 31 as part of a regular humanitarian mission where he supports a nursing home, a nursery, and an orphanage, said Lisa Pak, a spokeswoman for the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto. Pak said his family and church have not heard from him since.

The trip was about helping people and not political, she said. Lim, 60, has made more than 100 trips to North Korea and has always previously been in regular contact his family and church, Pak said. He was scheduled to leave Feb. 4.

Pak said they are not sure why they have not heard from him, but noted North Korea just lifted severe restrictions on foreign travel imposed last year to keep the Ebola virus from crossing its borders. The already isolated country virtually closed its borders to foreigners last October, halting all nonessential visas and requiring those few foreigners allowed in to undergo three weeks of quarantine.

‘‘Even with the Ebola quarantine timing the delay is a little bit longer than expected,’’ Pak said. ‘‘Hopefully, best-case scenario we hear from him in a couple days.’’

Pak said Lim expanded the church from five families to 3,000 parishioners.

Nicolas Doire, a spokesman for Canada’s foreign affairs department, said consular officials are in contact with family members and providing assistance.


Never heard back from the Globe, and we just don't talk anymore:

"S. Korean court overturns adultery law" by Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times  February 27, 2015

NEW YORK — South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a 62-year-old law that made adultery an offense punishable by up to two years in prison, citing the country’s changing sexual mores and a growing emphasis on individual rights.

“It has become difficult to say that there is a consensus on whether adultery should be punished as a criminal offense,” five of the court’s nine justices said in a joint opinion. “It should be left to the free will and love of people to decide whether to maintain marriage, and the matter should not be externally forced through a criminal code.”

With two other justices voting to declare the law unconstitutional for other reasons, the required two-thirds majority to overturn the law was reached.

An estimated 53,000 South Koreans have been indicted under the law since the authorities began keeping count in 1985. But in recent years, it has been increasingly rare for defendants to go to prison, in part because courts have demanded stronger proof sexual intercourse had taken place. Additionally, more plaintiffs have dropped charges after financial settlements.

Challenges to the law had reached the Constitutional Court four other times since 1990. In the last attempt, in 2008 — in a case brought by a popular actress, Ok So-Ri, whose husband had pressed a criminal complaint against her — the justices came within one vote of striking it down. More than 5,000 people who have been indicted on adultery charges since that 2008 ruling can now seek a new trial, or demand the charges be dropped.

The adultery law was adopted in 1953, with the stated purpose of protecting women who had little recourse against cheating husbands in a male-dominated society. But divorce rates and women’s economic and legal standing have soared in the decades since, leaving many contending that the law had outlived its usefulness.

With courts demanding a higher standard of evidence, it has been difficult to prove adultery. In many cases, police, tipped off by a spouse, have raided motel rooms.



"Raytheon Co. has signed a $769 million missile contract with South Korea. The Waltham defense contractor said Monday that it would modernize an undisclosed number of Patriot missile systems it sold to South Korea. The contract follows one worth $160 million that Raytheon signed with the Asian nation in 2014. The deal is “an economic growth engine which will bring good jobs to Korea and preserve jobs in the US which would have gone overseas if a foreign system was selected,” Dan Crowley, a Raytheon executive, said in a statement."

Are the Koreans sure they want to buy the overpriced, poor quality crap? Did Ash Carter raise a fuss? Didn't he used to work at Raytheon?

Also see: Raytheon Purchase Made Web$en$e 

At least some sectors of the economy are growing. The war economy preserves jobs, but most of at ill pre$erves the phat profits for war profiteers.


"South Korean president snubbed at ferry memorial; Victims’ relatives say government tries to halt probe" by Choe Sang-Hun New York Times  April 17, 2015

SEOUL — President Park Geun-hye on Thursday visited a memorial for more than 300 people, most of them teenagers, who were killed when an overloaded ferry capsized a year ago, but the victims’ family members refused to see her.

The relatives left the memorial center on Jindo, a southern island near the site of the sinking, hours before the arrival of Park, whose visit was an attempt to heal a nation still saddened and politically divided over the tragedy.

Before departing, the family members put up large banners at the memorial accusing Park’s government of blocking an independent investigation into its failures during rescue efforts and into the causes of the sinking.

Governments always seem to do that.

The banners also called for the raising of the Sewol the 6,825-ton ferry from the sea bottom — a costly project that Park said her government would undertake “as soon as possible.”

Park’s response to the disaster has thus far been her biggest legacy as president.

“I earnestly appeal to the people: It’s time to overcome the pains and hardship from the Sewol incident and move on to build a new South Korea,” Park said from Jindo, where she viewed photographs of victims, including nine still missing.

“We cannot stay trapped in the sadness and frustrations that have gripped us for the past year.”

I dunno; I'm getting a lot of persecuted Jew and reminders of 70 years ago in my papers lately.

An association of student victims’ families issued a statement saying that Park had “no qualifications” as president.

The group accused Park of trying to blame the disaster not on her government’s regulatory failures but on what she has called the people’s “indifference toward safety.”

Over the decades, South Koreans have suffered a war, a military dictatorship, and a string of disasters often attributed to disregard for safety standards in the country’s mad rush for economic growth. But few disasters have shocked South Koreans more than the Sewol sinking.

The victims included 250 high school students, many of whom sent text messages and smartphone video clips from inside the slowly sinking ship, asking for help that never came and bidding farewell to their parents.

Crew members fled the ship after telling passengers to stay put. Coast Guard officials did little more than pick up passengers who escaped on their own.

On Thursday, the country marked the first anniversary of the tragedy with disbelief. In Ansan, an industrial city south of Seoul where the students’ Danwon High School was located, a memorial siren wailed for one minute as many pedestrians stopped in silence. Taxis and buses in the city bore yellow ribbons in memory of the students.

Across the country, Buddhist temples tolled their bells. Churches held prayers and Masses for the students. Pop singers released memorial podcasts.

Hundreds of Danwon High students piled into a white-tent memorial hall the government erected near their school and placed white chrysanthemums and letters before photographs of their dead schoolmates. Many sobbed; some collapsed.

In past weeks, victims’ family members have held rallies charging Park’s administration with trying to “sabotage” an independent investigative panel by curtailing its budget and installing government officials in central posts.

The panel was opened under a special law passed in November but has barely begun work.

“The government and politicians had said they would change after the Sewol, but nothing has changed,” Chun Myong-son, a representative of the victims’ relatives, told reporters in Ansan on Thursday....

I know that sinking feeling well.


She's been getting bad pre$$ over here since the peace feelers were sent out to the North.