Tag Archives: South Korea

Republic of Torture, Republic of Terror

A Confederation of Falsehoods

by K.J. Noh
January 18, 2015
Counter Punch

 

Yun Isang.jpg

Isang Yun

In the beautiful, gilded, Staatstheater in Nuremberg, not far from the Palace of Justice where the historic Nuremberg trials were held, the last searing, soaring notes of the opera “Die Witwe des Schmetterlings (The Butterfly Widow)” ring out, seemingly suspended for an eternity.  The audience rises to its feet and explodes in applause, giving a seemingly unending number of curtain calls.   There are 31 curtain calls this opening night of Feb 23rd, 1968. The conductor comes out and bows repeatedly, but the composer does not join him.

He is shivering alone in a frigid cell in a prison in South Korea, where he has been imprisoned for over a year.  He has been tortured—hung from a pole, beaten with sticks, electrocuted, waterboarded—within desperate inches of his life.

In 1967, a Korean student in Berlin “confesses” to having had contact with the North Korean government to the South Korean authorities.  South Korea, was, at that time, one of the poorest countries in the world—its economy cobbled together from military prostitution, remittances from soldiers fighting for the US in Vietnam, and the export of human hair for wigs.  The few South Koreans lucky enough to be studying abroad, for the most part, were heartbreakingly impoverished.  North Korea, before the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and crippling sanctions, was richer, more prosperous, more robust than its counterpart, and its economic production and consumption was multiples that of the south.  As an act of political largesse–a mix of propaganda, insular camaraderie, avuncular goodwill—the North Korean embassy, had treated these students well. They were allowed to crash parties at the embassy, as starving students will, for the food; they sometimes received color brochures (an inconceivable luxury in South Korea) touting the development of North Korea.  Some were given small stipends or bursaries to help them study, and a few eventually travelled to the North to meet family or long lost friends. 
This contact with North Koreans and the embassy—an act of political infidelity with a wealthier, sexier, more attractive partner– were considered seditious by the South Korean government, and action was rapidly taken.  A hit list was made of suspects, and in the tightly knit community, these quickly denounced and implicated others under torture, and soon a full-blown web of two hundred brainwashed “spies” was “uncovered” both in Europe and in Korea.

Never mind that the suspects were an unlikely mix of students, scholars, scientists, poets, artists, and musicians.  Never mind that the composer, Isang Yun, was a musical prodigy who had invented a brilliant technique of musical composition, the “hauptton”, that organically combined East Asian idioms with twelve tone serialism, and Taoist and Buddhist spirituality.  Never mind that Yun’s visit to study frescoes in North Korea was legitimate research for one of his musical compositions.  Never mind that the allegations of brainwashing were absurd on their face.  None of this seemed to matter to the Korean government, that these were unlikely backgrounds and qualifications for a brood of active spies in the pay of the North Korean government.

Isang Yun was kidnapped in Berlin, along with three dozen others, from under the nose of the German government, rendered back to Seoul, and tortured until he admitted to being a spy and subversive for North Korea.  He was found guilty of planning to undermine and violently overthrow the government.  He was sentenced to death.

This sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment; his wife was sentenced to two years as an accomplice.  He recanted first before the judge, claiming he had been tortured into confessing, to no avail; then in his own cell, proclaming his innocence in blood onto the prison walls. At the end of his rope by then, he would attempt to take his own life.

Four decades later, in 2006, the entire East Berlin Spy incident was finally declared by the Korean Government a fabrication of the intelligence services.

Here is the dirty secret of torture, ticking time bomb fantasies notwithstanding: the only truth that it is capable of revealing is that human beings are fragile and frail creatures, that they suffer on the rack, and under that pain, they will bend truth to say whatever is demanded, will confess to absurdities, will denounce kith and kin, to arrest the horror, stop the torment, end the nightmare.

Here is the other secret of torture: it does not simply damn the tortured, but it damns the torturer and the system that produces it.   A country that tortures loses not only its soul, but loses touch with reality, for the simple reason that torture bears the same relationship to truth that rape bears to intimacy.  It assumes what it demands, and cynically, violently, as the Neocons so triumphally proclaimed, it creates its own reality—a tautological, hermetically sealed reality of stupidity, brutality, and paranoid terror.

Republic of Terror

That paranoid reality echoed and presaged other “seditious” events, each conforming to its own brutal internal logic.

The “discovery” of the East Berlin Incident in June 1967 by the South Korean Intelligence Services (the KCIA), coincided with the massive eruption of demonstrations against the Park Chung Hee government regarding allegations of vote-rigging in the national assembly elections on June 8th.  The Park government, threadbare in accomplishment and naked in legitimacy, had been fighting for its political survival and for the continuation of its regime.  The recent presidential and general elections had largely been considered fraudulent. The sudden eruption of the East Berlin incident, in which subversives were seen everywhere, shifted the political landscape, put progressives on the back foot, shut down dissent, and solidified the tenuous Park presidency.

In 1964, massive opposition erupted to the Japan-Korea Normalization Treaty, whereby President Park, a former Japanese military officer and colonial collaborator, sold out the country’s reparation rights–35 years of colonization, 1 Million conscripted into slave labor, hundreds of thousands of sex slaves– for a pottage: a few grants and loan guarantees.  Individual reparations for those exploited, maimed, killed, during this period would be appropriated by the regime for “development”, scraps would be tossed to the legitimate claimants.  Later that year, as protest reached critical mass, 41 students and reporters would be arrested, tortured, and admit to being members of the “People’s Revolutionary Party”, “an organization attempting to overthrow the Republic of Korea according to North Korean Programs”. Criticism of the treaty vanished.

In 1972, the Yushin Constitutional Reforms were enacted that transformed an authoritarian South Korea into a totalitarian dictatorship, and which rendered Park Chung Hee effectively dictator for life.   Massive opposition started to mobilize, and as protest started to crescendo, on April 3rd, 1974,  another  “People’s Revolutionary Party”: “an anti-government communist group….steeped in communist ideology”  was uncovered. Over a thousand students were arrested and tortured, and their “leaders” were sentenced to death, after confessing to being members of a second People’s Revolutionary Party, under the direct control of North Korea, and plotting to overthrow the government.  Their executions took place 18 hrs after their conviction.

In 1980, as General Chun, Park’s designated successor, took power in a coup, massive protest erupted across the country. In 1980, in the City of Kwangju, hundreds, if not thousands of citizens were raped, bludgeoned, bayoneted, burned, and shot to death for protesting the Chun Regime and demanding democratic reforms.  They were tarred as a “colossal rebellion instigated by the North Korean Government”.  The presidential candidate, Kim Dae Jung, later to win the Nobel Peace Prize, would be charged as the mastermind of “impure elements and fixed spies” that had instigated the uprising.  Concurrently, some 37,000 citizens would also be rounded up and kidnapped off the streets all over the country, placed in “re-education” camps, where they were routinely starved, tortured, beaten, and worked to death. At least 5000 were known to have died in these camps.

Even such small fry as book clubs were targeted: a year later, a group of 22 students and workers in a social science reading club were arrested for reading,  among other books, E.H. Carr’s “What is History?”,  a collection of lectures on historiography by a middle-of-the-road Cambridge Don.   All of them were tortured for months—beaten, waterboarded, hung from poles, electrocuted; they confessed to being members of an anti-state organization. Drunken meetings in bars, New Year’s Eve parties, a business launching, all of these were classified as subversive gatherings plotting to overthrow the government.

Decades later, lives and livelihoods destroyed, various official investigatory committees and courts determined that the defendants were innocent of all charges in the above incidents.  Evidentiary review shows that these cases were fabricated out of whole cloth by the South Korean intelligence agencies.   In particular, in 2007 a court found the 1974 People’s Revolutionary Party defendants innocent, and ordered $63M of reparations to the aggrieved parties.

Here is the pattern, as predictable as it is brutal: when dissent rises, “discover” an anti-state North Korean conspiracy.  Apply torture, character assassination, and trial by state media until punishment ensues. Rinse off blood, and Repeat. These and countless other incidents, contrived by the Intelligence Services, using the draconian National Security Laws, were a dramatic, politically expedient theater of terror that was effective in tamping down rising tides of dissent.  The proverb, “Kill a few chickens to scare the monkeys”, is applicable here; to this end, the country was turned into a noisy, busy, steaming slaughterhouse.

This is the ultimate utility of torture: it is the imprinting, broadcasting and branding of state terror into the sinew and marrow of human bodies and human relationships.  In the nightfall of torture, as whispers seep out of the closed chambers, the miasma of fear suffuses the streets: voices grow hushed, eyes avert or grow dull, dissent vanishes.  Fascists prowl, parade, preen, bombast, consume with aplomb.  Only the ghosts of the dead keep speaking.

Confederation of Falsehoods

This pattern of history is important to keep in mind as we view the recent disbanding of the United Progressive Party (UPP) and the arrest of its lawmakers.  It’s been established that the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS), interfered in the 2012 Presidential elections, using its psychological/cyber warfare division to propagandize for the current incumbent, and to denounce the opposition.  Documentation shows that thousands of carefully crafted messages were spread over key electronic message boards by teams of agents, then reproduced millions of times using automated software.  When all was said and done, the electronic landscape had shifted to the right, and the daughter of the dictator Park Chung Hee was firmly ensconced in power, in what critics charged amounted to South Korea’s first electronic coup.

When the UPP, a progressive coalition of opposition parties, took up the mantle of challenging the legitimacy of the election and the cyber interference, organizing mass demonstrations and calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor, retribution was not long in coming.

The UPP law maker, Lee Seok-Ki, a former student radical and vocal critic, was suddenly arrested on charges of sedition.  A transcript appeared suddenly from a paid informant who had been illegally surveilling the party for the NIS, alleging that Lee and others had plotted a rebellion to violently overthrow the government, through a clandestine group manipulated by North Korea, called the “Revolutionary Organization (RO)”.

Never mind that the UPP were for the most part ex-student radicals and democracy activists, with strong views beholden to no one, least of all North Korea.

Never mind that the rebellion was seemingly concocted single handedly from the testimony of the bribed informant–mostly unsupported supposition and confabulations; and that the evidentiary transcript was significantly doctored—words never spoken or heard were attributed and leaked to the media.

Never mind that the RO, allegedly a quisling organization of North Korea, seems to have been a figment of the imagination of the NIS, a lazy, hazy rebranding of the fabricated “People’s Revolutionary party” from 1964 & 1974.

Lee Seok Ki was tried and found guilty of sedition—first for “organizing” to overthrow the government; then later for “incitement” to revolution.  The others were also found guilty.

With fresh blood in the water, the authorities then went after the party, arguing that the UPP presented a threat to society, was attempting to impose a North Korean socialist regime on South Korea, through stealth and organized violence.

The UPP’s platform for “peace and reunification”,  “a people-centered world…for the working class”,  where people can  “live together with human dignity”, its resistance against austerity, neoliberal policies, and for labor rights were twisted into the charge that the UPP was “against the basic order of democracy”,  “secretly trying to achieve North Korean style socialism”, and that the “progressive democracy they pursue is the same or very similar to the North’s revolutionary strategy”.

Following rapidly on the heels of Lee Seok-Ki’s arrest, the South Korean constitutional court ordered the disbanding of the UPP.  Its assets have been seized, its members have been stripped of seats in the National assembly and local councils.  Its 100,000 members are also at risk of prosecution for association with the UPP for violating national security laws. The ministry of justice has also stated its intention of also going after other “anti-state groups”: labor movements, anti-base movements, peace movements, environmental activists, and to prevent the creation of any political party with a progressive platform similar to the UPP.

The UPP defense lawyer stated, “Today is the day democracy is murdered.  History will rule on this verdict”.  UPP chairwoman, Lee Jung-Hee stated, “The door to totalitarianism has been opened.  Independence, democracy, unification and peace, representation for the people has been banned.  Dark times…lie ahead.”

* * *

The composer Isang Yun finally returned to Berlin, after 2 years of global mobilization.  World-wide denunciation, boycotts, mass demonstrations, diplomatic expulsions and embargoes, and a celebrity letter-writing campaign, finally secured his release. He dove back into his work, but remained at heart, wounded, broken, shattered. Despite subsequent artistic success— awards, medals, professorships, acclaimed compositions, including the majestic “Exemplum in Memoriam Gwangju”–the libel of traitor stuck, and he lived out the rest of his life in pain, exile, and isolation:  unable to travel to South Korea for fear of further arrest and torture; unable to connect with fellow Koreans for risk of “contaminating” them.  

“Success..is.. a shadow, which passes by”, he said, towards the end of his life, “One day I’d like to go back to my Korea ….[and] listen to the music in my mind, without writing it down, and find myself in the great silence. And there I would also want to be buried, in the warmth of my native earth.” In1994, a quarter century after his exile, he petitioned the South Korean government for a short visit to his hometown, but was told he would have to submit a written confession of “repentance”.  He refused and was buried in Berlin, a year later, with a handful of earth from his hometown his only consolation.

In the great forgetting that is known as corporate media, Isang Yun’s story has vanished to the margins of history, his kidnapping and torture footnotes for musicologists and historians.  What endures of Yun Isang is a technical method of composition known as hauptton (“maintone”).  It is a singular style of composition.  It bases itself, not on a musical cell, motif, or theme, with melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic elaboration, but on a single note—a single assertion, if you will—that is ornamented until it returns and recovers the original tone and timbre.  Scholars have compared it to calligraphy or brush painting, where the integrity of the single line and the energies of its motion—the dance of ink molecules on paper–give the image its visual appeal.  It has also been compared—from Taoist and Buddhist influences– to the myriad worldly energies obscuring, then revealing, an original cosmic vibration; the dialectic of freedom and constancy in creation; or the unperturbed Buddha-nature that remains unsullied as it returns, ostinado, into its original clear being.  And of course, in certain compositions, it’s clear that it bears a striking analogy to Yun’s own story—strings stressed, pulled, interrogated, tortured, like sinews of a human body, almost to the breaking point, before re-intoning a full-throated assertion of innocence. 

But we could also argue that it represents, as Yun’s life itself attests to, to the deepest, profoundest yearnings of the soul—the desire for solace, justice, peace; compassion and love for the downtrodden; the heart’s deepest desire for reconnection, reconciliation, reunification.  Tormented, stressed, vexed, challenged through friction, slippage, distortion, distraction, the hauptton always returns to its original keening, its original, single-minded  desire,  its original yearning undefiled, unblemished, undiminished by suffering, pain, time, or distance.  

Even as the curtain falls for South Korean democracy, as it returns seemingly to the dark ages of paranoia, conspiracy, terror; it is this single, trembling, whimpering, searingly, pure note that will not be silenced or denied.

K.J. Noh is a long time activist, writer and teacher.  He can be reached at k.j.noh48@gmail.com

 

Mandatory Chickenpox Vaccination Increases Disease Rates, Study Shows

By Jennifer Lilley
January 13, 2015
Natural News, January 12, 2015

 

vaccinationOnce again, the completely illogical debacle concerning the world of vaccinations has surfaced.

By now, you know they’ve come under fire by those who are adamant that they do more harm than good. Countless people have developed irreversible health problems and even died shortly after receiving a vaccination, which the medical community chalks up to “coincidence” or cleverly crafted wording that a patient should have known about.

Take, for example, the young Florida girl who made headlines last year when she received the flu vaccine. Marysue Grivna, now 10 years old, experienced paralysis and vision loss within a few short days of receiving the shot. She was ultimately diagnosed with a debilitating brain disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). Today, she’s confined to a wheelchair or bed and is almost entirely nonverbal.(1)

There’s also the disturbing discovery of elderly people who lived at a senior care facility in Georgia. After all received the flu shot in 2014, five of them died the next week.(2)

Time and again, stories like this abound. Most recently, however, additional news comes from South Korea, where researchers have demonstrated what people have known in their heart to be true all along: that vaccinations not only are unhealthy but also aren’t effective.(3)

Surprise, surprise.

Reported cases of chickenpox have more than tripled since vaccinations became mandatory in South Korea

What spurred the researchers to engage in their studies in the first place was the fact that, despite the amount of people receiving chickenpox vaccinations, the rate of the illness in the nation hasn’t diminished. Instead, it’s increased. The question then becomes a matter of why something designed to keep an illness at bay is actually boosting its activity, creating the opposite of the desired (and often applauded) effect.

For example, the researchers note that, in 2005, varicella (chickenpox) vaccination was mandated in South Korea for infants between the ages of 12 and 15 months. Although there was 97 percent uptake by 2011, no decreases in the illness were found nationwide. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has reported an increase of varicella patients; in 2006, there were 22.6 cases per 100,000, while in 2011, that number more than tripled to 71.6 cases per 100,000.(3)

To better understand why the vaccine was failing, the research team conducted a case-based study, a case-control study and an immunogenicity and safety study. The latter study involved a total of 126 healthy children who were vaccinated with a single dose of Suduvax, which researchers discovered “may not be immunogenic enough to be effective in preventing varicella in South Korea.”(4)

Chickenpox vaccination “has not been effective,” say researchers

The study, titled “Varicella and Varicella Vaccination in South Korea,” was published in the journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology. The study acknowledges that the increase in varicella vaccinations is likely due to the fact that getting them is mandatory; however, the article addresses serious flaws in that cases have surged, not declined in spite of that. The study notes:

Although the increase in reported cases of varicella to KCDC may be due to the fact that mandatory varicella notification began in 2005, no decrease in the number of varicella patients does not harmonize with the fact that the varicella vaccine coverage increased to above 97% in 2011. Although it can be asserted that the annual number of cases of varicella might have been higher with greater morbidity in the prevaccine era, the high vaccine uptake, the lack of upward age shift in the peak incidence, and the high proportion of breakthrough disease, with almost no amelioration in disease presentation among vaccinated patients, strongly suggest that varicella vaccination has not been effective in preventing varicella in South Korea and is in great need of improvement.(4)

Once again, their findings reinforce that vaccinations have done more in the way of sparking great debate, illness and death than they are actually controlling, or altogether ridding, certain diseases from the population.

Sources:

(1) http://www.dailymail.co.uk

(2) http://beforeitsnews.com

(3) http://www.thedailysheeple.com

(4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

The Ban on the United Progressive Party in the Republic of Korea

By Konstantin Asmolov
January 7, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

453454345The opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) quits the political arena. On December 19, 2014, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea delivered the decision to dissolve the party and deprive its five members, who are members of the National Assembly, of their deputy status.

Let us recall the background of this notorious case. The United Progressive Party was formed in December 2011. It put together the progressive forces, actively protected workers’ rights, spoke in favour of cooperation with Pyongyang and also often criticized, in a sharp manner, the government in place in the Republic of Korea. The UPP rapidly achieved visible success, having turned into the third-ranking influential party in South Korea. However, afterwards the party started being rocked by scandals. At first, it was related to the process of distribution of places on the party lists, and later the party was accused of activities for the benefit of the North Koreа, though, judging by their programme, the UPP are not followers of “chuch’e” but “Euro-Communists”.

On August 28, 2013, officers of the National Intelligence Service searched the dwellings and offices of the UPP members and “discovered” audio recordings of the party activist meetings, at which they had been discussing seizures of arms and ammunition warehouses and police stations “in order to help the North Korea”, also mentioning a terrorist act at some oil processing facility. As established later, the case had been initiated based on a denouncement for which the author of the denouncement had received a substantial monetary compensation.

After some time, the audio recordings of the treacherous plans were made public and the alleged head of the conspiracy, deputy Li Sok Ki, was placed in custody. The persons involved in the case did not contest the true nature of the statements but they said that in some instances the words were just jokes and in some places the facts were taken separate from the context and mounted in the appropriate manner.

On November 12, 2013 Li Sok Ki and other seven members of the party were put to trial. During 46 court hearings it was established that Li Sok Ki was the head of a revolutionary organisation which had developed “the plan for destruction of various strategic objects in the Republic of Korea”, attacks on key infrastructure objects in the country and seizure of power in case of a new war beginning on the Korean Peninsula. In addition, Li “stored materials in support of North Korea” and even sung the songs “The Red Flag” and “The Revolutionary Comrade” prohibited in the Republic of Korea. The fact that, long before his election to the Parliament in 2012, Li Sok Ki had already been convicted for violation of the Law on National Security, also played its role.

However no proof of North Korean funding of the underground organisation’s activity have been found, nor has there been found proof for a number of charges brought in at the first stages of the investigation (planning of acts of sabotage or preparation of terrorist acts).

Though “singing revolutionary songs in secrecy” does not much differ from the North Korean “insufficiently sincere applause during the Leader’s speech”, in February 2014 Li Sok Ki was found guilty of violating the Law on National Security, preparation and instigation of conspiracy with the aim of changing the existing state order, and sentenced to 12 years of deprivation of liberty and deprivation of rights for the period of 10 years. “Though the plans have not been implemented, the organisation posed a threat to the norms of liberal democracy and existence of the state in itself”.

On August 11, 2014 the higher instance court mitigated the penalty as it “has not found sufficient proof of existence of an anti-state conspiracy and anti-state organisation”. Li Sok Ki was found guilty of violation of the Law on National Security and sentenced to nine years of deprivation of liberty and deprivation of rights for the period of seven years.

So, as it was found out, there was no revolutionary organisation as a secret society inside of the party, nor was there any conspiracy against the state implying seizure of buildings and acts of sabotage. Notwithstanding this fact, on November 5, 2013 the Ministry of Justice of South Korea applied to the Constitutional Court requesting to deliver a decision to dissolve and ban the activities of the UPP, believing that its work presented a threat to the constitutional order and the state’s basic democratic values. In the government’s opinion, the party put as its target undermining the foundations of democracy and constitutional order, while the UPP argued that the scandal was a separate incident not connected to the general goals of this political force.

Till November 25 the parties held 18 open discussions submitting their arguments. The decision of the Constitutional Court has been awaited for more than a year. The judges in their private conversations admitted that they would be facing a difficult decision. On the day of announcement of the verdict the police mobilized about one thousand officers, fearing conflicts of followers of different political forces; it prohibited any meetings and pickets in front of the main entrance to the court, though mass demonstrations – both for and against the dissolution of the party – were held at some distance from it. The left-wing forces mobilized youth and the right-wing forces relied on army veterans and conservative church parishioners.

As expected, the judges’ opinions divided but to a lesser extent than predicted. By eight votes against one the Constitutional Court ruled that the activities and targets of the UPP harmed and threatened the basic democratic values of South Korea’s society and its political system. From that moment on, the UPP’s activity in South Korea was banned; its property and other assets were subject to confiscation, the members of the Parliament and regional legislative assemblies from the party were deprived of their mandates. Moreover, the Electoral Committee of South Korea announced sequestration of all bank accounts of the UPP.

Dissolution of a political party happened for the first time in the country’s modern history, after adoption of its Constitution in 1948, and produced an ambiguous reaction. The Prime Minister Chon Khon Won noted that the government respected and welcomed the taken decision. “It was proved that the UPP put as its goal the building of North Korea type socialism in our country”, emphasized the Head of the South Korean government, supporting the court verdict which was supposed to serve as the reason for strengthening of the people’s unity and principles of free democracy. He stressed that organisations and individuals who disagreed with the Constitutional Court must in any case respect its decision and stated that the government would not allow any attempts to harm democracy and put under doubt the legitimacy of the South Korean authorities.

OPP leader Li Chzon Khi stated that the decision was worthy of a dictatorship and noted that dark times were again coming in the country; she also announced the beginning of a protest campaign. The management and ordinary members of the party participated in a meeting in defence of democracy organised in Seoul in Chkhonghe Square. The party members intended to further take part in similar events held by various oppositional organisations, as they were not able to hold such events independently due to the Constitutional Court’s decision. On December 22, 2014 five former deputies from that party applied to the Seoul Administrative Court with a request to stay the validity of the decision depriving them of their deputy status. They argue that the Constitutional Court has taken the relevant decision in the absence of any existing legislative provisions to this extent, the more so as the country’s Constitution is the guarantee of their deputy mandates.

The governing Saenuri Party highly appreciated the court’s decision, emphasizing that it was strict but fair tribunal for unfriendly forces in the country and that the subsequent protests were open refusal to obey to the Constitutional Court’s decision.

The representative of the oppositional Democratic Coalition for New Policy Pak Su Khyun stated that the opposition accepted the court’ decision at the same time expressing its concern by violation of one of the main democratic principles – the guarantee of freedom for political parties. In addition, the Coalition’s concern was caused by the possibility of intensification of pressure on the opposition as a whole and by the fact that the Constitutional Court’s decision might have a negative impact on the country’s political situation.

Conservative public organisations met the court decision with exultance. Nevertheless, there are enough persons who believe that South Korea has made a step backward on the way of democratic development. The people sticking to this point of view believe that the scandal was used to liquidate a political force unwanted by the existing government. The international human rights organisation Amnesty International also immediately circulated a statement criticizing the verdict. “The ban on the activities of the UPP raises serious doubts as to the country authorities’ commitment to the principles of the freedom of speech and association”, said Roseann Rife, representative of Amnesty International in the Asia-Pacific Region.

The reaction from Pyongyang was also evident and expected. As noted in the Statement of the DPRK Committee for Peaceful Unification of Korea, published on December 21, 2014 such decision “is the evidence of violation of elementary political freedoms and democratic rights and is a crime against humanity”. The statement of the authority which supervises inter-Korean relations in the DPRK says that such actions prove that South Korea “still remains a “cold desert” from the point of view of human rights protection”.

Summary: They were going to ban the party based on the fact that it had been preparing a conspiracy against the constitutional power. Later on it was found out that there had been o conspiracy, but the party was banned. Just because it was a wrong one.

This is how democracy looks.

Konstantin Asmolov, Cand. Sc. (History), a senior research fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Far Eastern Studies, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/01/07/the-ban-on-the-united-progressive-party-in-the-republic-of-korea/

The End of Democracy in the Republic of Korea: Imminent Threat To Political Expression and Civil Rights

By Global Research News
December 19, 2014
Global Research, December 18, 2014

 

koreamap1Global Research, Montreal,  December 18, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

[update below]

A path breaking decision which will have far reaching impacts on civil and political rights in the Republic of Korea (ROK) is forthcoming.

A decision from the Constitutional Court in South Korea regarding the dissolution of the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) is imminent.

On November 5, 2013, the South Korean government requested that the Korean Constitutional Court initiate dissolution proceedings against the Unified Progressive Party (UPP), the third largest political party in Korea, following the arrest of one if its members, the parliamentarian Lee Seok-Ki.

Representative Lee (image right) was accused (allegedly on trumped up charges) and later convicted of violating South Korea’s national security law and for planning a future incitement of violence. The incitement of violence charge was reversed by the ROK Court of Appeals. His case is now pending on appeal before South Korea’s Supreme Court.

A vote in favor of dissolution of the UPP by the Constitutional Court would carry significant implications for political expression and civil rights in South Korea. As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, South Korea is obligated under international law to protect freedom of assembly and expression. After a year of hearings into the matter, there is little or no evidence that the UPP is a “threat” to the South Korean constitutional or legal order, and there is a risk that dissolution would be little more than an attempt by the government to chill political speech with which it disagrees.

As part of its efforts to avoid dissolution, the UPP consulted with American lawyers and secured a legal opinion from the law office of Comar Law in San Francisco, which submitted legal opinions both to the Korean Constitutional Court as well as to the United Nations, asking that the judges side in favor of the rule of law and freedom of political expression.

UPDATE

We have just been informed that the UPP has been dissolved by an 8-1 vote of the Constitutional Court.  It is a sad day for The Republic Korea which has been precipitated back to the era of martial law.

This decision is a de facto repeal of parliamentary democracy, whereby an opposition party can be silenced for opposing the policies of the ROK government of  Mrs. Park Geun-hye.

UPP leader Lee Jung-hee said the ROK has been “degraded into a dictatorship,”

Political debate regarding the reunification of the two Koreas is considered to constitute treason.

President Park Geun-hye is the daughter of  military dictator Park Chung-hee of the period of martial law, which is now being glorified as an era of successful economic growth.

For Media inquiries

Inder Comar, Esq., Comar Law, San Francisco, California, inder@comarlaw.com

Michel Chossudovsky, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, crgeditor@yahoo.com