September 16, 2017 - No. 28
U.S. Authority Over Canada
With profound sadness we inform you that our
and friend Stuart Monro from the Revolutionary Communist Party of
Britain (Marxist-Leninist) passed away on September 7 at the age
of 79. His death is a sad loss to his family, comrades,
colleagues and friends, including to the Communist Party of Canada
(Marxist-Leninist), who had profound
working relations with Stuart through RCPB(M-L).
Stuart was one of the main film and
video-makers who recorded
the activities of founder and leader of CPC(M-L) Hardial
Bains in Britain, when Comrade Bains was organizing against
state-organized racist attacks in the 1970s and '80s and when, as
Chairman of the World Kabbadi Federation, he presided over Sports
and Cultural Festivals attended by thousands of people
in the 1980s. Besides all of Stuart's other achievements during the
last thirty years, he became CPC(M-L)'s principal videographer in
the 1990s during extensive conversations with Comrade Bains, also in
on the Retreat of Revolution and in defence of the Party principle of
democratic centralism as well as against state-organized anarchy and
violence in Punjab and India and in defence of rights by virtue of
being human. Stuart also worked as part
of a team to record the
proceedings of the 7th and 8th Congresses of CPC(M-L) and
important events in the life of the Party, teaching the younger
generations about film and video-making.
Part of his legacy is a series of videos he
produced based on poems by Hardial Bains, including one based on the
poem Something is
Calling Now, Move On. We are providing this video titled Dawn in honour of
Stuart and his ever timely and invaluable contribution to our work.
We convey our deep condolences to Stuart's
his daughter Anna, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain
(Marxist-Leninist) and his family and friends.
For the In Memoriam of the RCPB(M-L), click here
Opposition to Treasonous
- Charlie Vita -
• Status of
National Security Legislation
Make Canada a Zone for
• Negotiations to "Modernize" NORAD
-- Dismantle NORAD!
- Margaret Villamizar -
• Nefarious Parliamentary Defence
Committee Meeting to Study
Perceived "Threat" from DPRK
- Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) -
• Hearing Reveals Irrational Determination to
Escalate War Preparations
- Hilary LeBlanc -
Demand the U.S. Sign a
Peace Treaty with Korea
• Oppose the Ninth Unjust and
Illegal UN Security Council
Resolution Imposed on the
- Philip Fernandez -
• Hands Off the DPRK! No to U.S. War
on the Korean Peninsula!
- CPC(M-L) and Korean Federation in Canada -
• Actions Against U.S. War Preparations
on the Korean Peninsula
• War with North Korea Cannot Be Contained
but Must Be Prevented
- K.J. Noh -
Aftermath of Hurricane
• Hurricane Irma Relief &
Reconstruction for Cuba Campaign
- Isaac Saney, Canadian Network on Cuba
• Appeal to Our Fighting
- Raúl Castro, President of the Republic of Cuba
• Irma, a Hurricane to
- Orfilio Peláez, Granma International -
• Six Questions About Hurricane
Irma, Climate Change and Harvey
- Sabrina Shankman -
• 150th Anniversary of the
Publication of the First Volume of Das
Parliament Opens September 18
Trudeau Government Continues to Expand
U.S. Authority Over
Parliament will resume for the fall sitting on Monday,
September 18 and sit until Friday, December 15. Media commentary is
filled with talk that because October 15 will mark the mid-way point in
the election mandate for the Trudeau government, everything is now
geared to complete its agenda so as to start its bid for re-election in
2019. With the media putting the focus on the cynicism of this move,
attention is drawn away from the most aggressive anti-national measures
being taken by the Trudeau government to show the U.S. government and
private interests involved in the defence industry that Canada is a
"willing partner" that can be counted on to do their bidding.
According to the
monopoly-owned media, the "main thing"
Canadians should consider going into the new sitting of Parliament is
that the economy is "roaring nationally," with "much higher than
expected growth" and "eight straight months of job gains." This is
meant to distract the working people from having their own point of
view and independent thinking and voice. The major focus of the
government in the coming months is to further deprive the people of
what belongs to them by right in terms of all those aspects of life
that contribute to the security of them and their families and to
integrate Canada into the United States of North American Monopolies so
as to create a Fortress North America behind Canadians'
backs. Anti-pension legislation
renegotiations of NAFTA
and NORAD, as well as all kinds of measures to deprive the Indigenous
nations of their right to be are part of
The major focus of the government in the coming sitting
will be on the secret negotiations with the U.S. and Mexico over NAFTA.
In this context, the Liberals are attempting to put in place various
legislative measures that will expand U.S. authority and jurisdiction
over Canada and hand over decision-making to the monopolies in the
resource and defence industries as well as those delivering all social
services and carrying out infrastructure projects. In this regard,
Canadians can expect their pension funds to finance P3s.
The Liberals have a number of pieces of legislation
dealing with Canada-U.S. relations that they need passed so as to
ensure they are in sync with what the U.S. wants in terms of
controlling Canada's borders, its spy and police agencies and
environmental regulations that affect the exploitation of Canada's
natural resources. In addition, the Trudeau government is engaged in
preparing conditions to increase U.S. control over Canada in the name
of modernizing NORAD, including embroiling Canada further in the U.S.
missile defence system.
The government has also now
extended Canada's military mission in Iraq under U.S. command and
provided the Canadian general overseeing the mission, General Jonathan
Vance, with greater "flexibility," in line with U.S. President Trump's
executive order that gives field generals "greater flexibility" to
operate as they see fit. This "flexibility" makes them unaccountable
for whatever crimes they decide are necessary.
The more the Liberals condemn "Trump's hate" and
themselves as the biggest champions of women, Indigenous peoples,
peace and even the working class of Mexico and the United States,
the more treasonous their actions. Attempts to provide a cover of
legitimacy for the expansion of U.S. imperialism's control over
Canada's territory, resources and people during this sitting of
Parliament only underscore the need for Canadians to take up the
agenda of political renewal so that the working class constitutes
the nation and vests sovereignty in the people.
1. For coverage related
to this anti-pension legislation, see Workers
2. See Workers'
2017 and TML Weekly,
3. The next issue of
(September 23) will address
Growing Opposition to Treasonous Measures
Although the Liberals present themselves as the
consultation and listening to the public, they are currently pushing to
have Bill C-23, An Act
respecting the preclearance of
persons and goods in Canada and the United States passed as
soon as possible by the Senate despite Canadians' opposition. The bill
U.S. security agents greater authority in Canada through the expansion
of preclearance at Canadian customs and immigration facilities. Prior
to rising for the summer, the Liberals used their
majority to pass Bill C-23 in the House of Commons. It is now in the
Senate at second reading.
But the CBC reports that
the Liberals are facing opposition to their attempts to pass Bill C-23.
week after its coverage on the legislation, CBC reported
that the government received "an avalanche of criticism" in the form of
letters and calls to Members of Parliament. Between February 10 and
February 20 alone letters from the public ran to 777 pages, according
to the CBC.
In an effort to ensure that the Senate does
not think twice about passing the treasonous law, Canadian Ambassador
to the U.S. David McNaughton pressured the Senate's Foreign
Affairs Committee to pass the legislation quickly. "Please hurry it up,
because I'm a bit embarrassed. I leaned on the Americans so heavily and
now they're coming back and saying, 'Where's yours?'" MacNaughton told
Senators in June.
MacNaughton was referring to the fact that the U.S.
passed legislation required to give U.S. officers greater powers
in Canada and that Canada has yet to hup-to and permit these
powers to be enforced.
The Liberals are in contempt of Canadians' views on
such an important matter. When Canadians were "consulted" by the Harper
government on how they wanted Canada to be integrated into the United
States following the Obama and Harper government's signing of Beyond
A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic
Competitiveness, a majority of those who responded to the various
aspects of this program stated that they did not want any expansion of
U.S. security agents operating on Canadian soil. This included
important stands by organizations representing First Nations who
affirmed that their sovereign rights over their territories have not
been ceded to the Canadian government and it has no right to hand this
over to another foreign power.
The Trudeau government and the Canadian
ruling elite's push to
expand the operation of U.S. agents in Canada in the form of
reveals that they are unfit to govern the land called Canada. That they
are going all out to pass these arrangements while telling Canadians
that preclearance has always existed and so they need not worry about
its expansion, is tantamount to treason. The more the Liberals
about being progressive and about Canadian values while they pass such
measures reveals the urgent necessity for the working class to take up
its own nation-building project and declare itself the nation and vest
sovereignty in the people.
1. CBC provides the following examples of letters it
received expressing opposition to the bill:
"I have been a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal, but you lose
support if you pass this bill," wrote one person from Burlington,
Ont., on Feb. 12.
The same morning, a Coquitlam, B.C., resident warned
after reading about the bill, they now "regretted any financial
or political support I've ever given the federal Liberal Party in
the past, and have resolved, until I see this one modified to
prevent detentions of Canadians or permanent residents, never to
support your party again."
"I have voted Liberal all my life but will do
to bring this government down if this bill is passed or any
version of it," wrote another.
"It infringes on our rights as Canadian citizens by
a U.S. authority to detain Canadians while on Canadian soil,"
wrote a British Columbian. "While I am sympathetic to the needs
of national security, I find that this is another frightening
step to one more impingement of our sovereignty."
"If I try to cross [the border]," wrote another, "and
questioning is heavily weighted on my background, my religion, my
personal beliefs about anything, is uncomfortable, or causes me
to fear for my own safety, I should be able to unequivocally say,
'You know what? I've changed my mind, I don't think I want to fly
to Atlanta today,' pick up my bags, and leave."
"Given how U.S. citizens and green card holders were
out based on their religion last month, I don't believe my fears
of being detained and questioned are unfounded," wrote a resident
of Hamilton, who described themselves as a dual citizen of Canada
and the U.S.
A Calgary letter writer was concerned about
interviewing for a
in order to take a job offer from a company in Florida. "I am
terribly afraid that this bill will hurt my chances of potential
employment. The fact that an American border agent can arrest me
on Canadian soil for walking away from an interview, which is
what this bill would enable, deeply disturbs me!"
Another wrote "[...] the Americans have the right to
their country they don't have the authority nor should they to
detain Canadians on Canadian soil. This authority should not even
Status of National Security Legislation
Picket in Montreal, July 5, 2017, against Bills C-51 and C-59.
In the most recent sitting of Parliament, which ended
June 21, the Liberals passed legislation to establish their National
Security "oversight" committee of parliamentarians that will be
appointed by the Prime Minister's Office to oversee all government
ministries and agencies dealing with national security. The creation of
a new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA), with
Bill C-22 An Act to
establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of
Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts, was
Conservatives' Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism
Act, 2015 while in
opposition. They claimed that the only problem with strengthening the
police powers of Canada's spy agencies was "oversight."
This law now brings Canada into line with the other
"Five Eyes" countries -- Australia, New Zealand, the UK and U.S. -- in
establishing a mechanism to provide elected officials with access to
secret information so as to try and give the violation of rights by spy
agencies a veneer of legitimacy.
With the passage of this legislation the committee will
be established; the chair, Liberal MP David McGuinty, has already been
appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau. The committee will be made up of
nine members -- two from the Senate and seven from the House of Commons
(with a maximum of four members from the governing party in the House
of Commons) -- that would be appointed by the Governor in Council on
the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The committee, whose members
will all be sworn to secrecy, will be used to claim that Canadians need
not worry what the spy agencies of Canada and the other Five Eyes are
doing as this committee is overseeing them.
Who is overseeing the committee as well as the
government as a whole, however, is left hidden. As in all matters of
importance, the Liberal government is making decisions based on what it
is told or permitted to do by the government of the United States
and the private interests engaged in building Fortress North America to
as to secure the U.S. striving for world hegemony.
With this legislation passed, the government is moving
to ensure that new arbitrary powers for the police and spy agencies --
both those contained in Harper's Bill C-51 as well as new ones put in
place by the Liberals -- are codified through the passage of Bill C-59,
an Act respecting
national security matters
which sits at second reading.
An important stand was taken by the the Communist Party
of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) on June 22, which analyzes Bill C-59's
aims. The legislation "broadly expands secret police
powers and proposes to enshrine these and the powers of previous
security bills as part of the rule of law and make them
constitutional," CPC(M-L) pointed out. The Party decried the claim of
the Liberals that changes to existing laws proposed in Bill C-59
"support the consistency of these powers with the [Charter of Rights and Freedoms],"
saying that this merely shows that the Charter itself is subordinate to
the police powers and their 'reasonable limits' as decided by the
state, not the people."
The article called on Canadians to say "No to Bill
the same spirit that they did to Bill C-51.
One of the ongoing pickets in Vancouver to demand repeal of Bill C-51,
January 31, 2017.
1. See the full
statement from CPC(M-L) here.
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
Negotiations to "Modernize" NORAD --
At the same time as official secret negotiations are
being held to "modernize" or "update" the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA), negotiations are also taking place to "modernize"
the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), starting with
consultations on a new defence policy with representatives of the U.S.
A crucial matter under consideration is for Canada to
invest billions in upgrading the radar systems used by NORAD and
officially permit U.S. missiles to be based in Canada as part of Canada
joining the U.S. missile defence program. Instead of being
straightforward with Canadians and letting them decide this matter, the
Trudeau government on June 7 spoke vaguely about "modernizing" and
"renewing" NORAD. This "buys time" so that the government can sort out
behind the backs of Canadians how to submit to the demands of the U.S.
and the monopolies engaged in war production.
There is nothing modern or
new about giving a foreign power military control over your own
national territory or being beholden to a protection racket. Claiming
that any of this is about "defending North America" hides what it is
that is being defended. NORAD is an instrument for the U.S. to occupy
and control Canadian territory, similar to the way it uses NAFTA to
dominate Canada's economy. NORAD's aim has not changed since it was
established during the Cold War. The Liberal plan to "modernize" NORAD
is a plan to invest billions of Canadians' funds into new radar and
sensing equipment that will be used by the U.S. military to build
fortress North America and use it to threaten the rest of the world.
The "negotiations" are about what technology and how much will be
required to "protect North America."
This was clear is the August 30 report carried by
Press: "The Liberals promised in their recent defence policy that
the North Warning System, as it is called, would be upgraded
following talks with the U.S. about ways to improve continental
"But while the policy promised an extra $62 billion for
military over the next 20 years and was touted as being fully
costed and funded, no money has been earmarked yet for replacing
the radar system.
"National Defence's top financial officer, Claude
says the department could not account for the cost because Canada
and the U.S. have not decided what they actually need.
"'It's still a discussion that needs to be done before
we get guidance [from government],' Rochette told the Canadian Press in
"'When we have guidance, then we will start looking at
options ... then we will start looking at costing. But that is
not covered in the funding.'"
The term "modernize" is used to present this as a
progression, as opposed to what it is: the deliberate and
calculated destruction of any limitations on the operation of the
monopolies and on placing the people, resources and territory of
Mexico and Canada under the control of U.S. Northern Command and
U.S. Homeland Security. The Trudeau government presents itself as
the antithesis of the Trump administration and talks about a
"give and take," to get Canadians to accept what they otherwise
would not. When it comes to the country's sovereignty one does
not talk about "give and take." You either defend it or you
Canada must not be a base for U.S. missiles and sensors.
NORAD must be dismantled, U.S. troops and equipment
removed from Canadian soil, and all institutions which place the
U.S. in command of Canadian forces and Canadian territory and
infrastructure must be dismantled.
Propaganda to Join the U.S. Missile Defence System
Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands),
who is a member of the
Standing Committee on National Defence, is being widely quoted in the
media as egging on the government to join the U.S. missile defence
program. For Gerretsen to advocate this so openly suggests he has the
backing of powerful forces in either the Trudeau government and/or the
Canadian military or U.S. private interests involved in war production,
or all of the above. Other current and former high-ranking Liberals and
government officials who are linked with the U.S. in various ways are
also taking part in this orchestrated disinformation campaign to
integrate Canada into a Fortress North America which pushes the U.S.
striving for world hegemony as a means of escaping its all-sided crisis
with economic crisis at the base.
Former Canadian diplomat to the United States Colin
said, "I think [the committee meeting to assess the threat from
North Korea] is significant, but my gut would be it's probably a
steam-venting exercise in the parliamentary committee. But
perhaps something may come of it because they will hear from
witnesses who will -- my bet is most of them will say, we should
look at this [joining the U.S. missile defence system]."
Liberal MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood), former
parliamentary secretary to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said,
"There's clearly a change in circumstances since 2005, changes in
capabilities, in threat assessment and I think the committee is
potentially an excellent venue to air out those
Long-time Liberal MP Wayne Easter (Malpeque) is
quoted as saying,
time for a discussion, [on joining the U.S. missile defence
system]," adding, "It is not [just] a question of a defence
shield over North America; it's the ability to further enhance
your aerospace industry." Easter is Co-Chair of the Canada-United
States Inter-Parliamentary Group and also a member of the Queen's
Privy Council as a former Minister of Agriculture.
Liberal Senator and retired general Roméo
Dallaire has given
open support for joining the program. The Canadian Press
quotes him on August 24 stating, "Canada should join the
ballistic missile defence program. We currently cannot put a hand
on our heart and say that it will be used to help us should
something happen. Feeling that [the U.S.] would respond is quite
different than having it somewhere on paper and being able to
hold them accountable to respond should Canada be targeted.
"Budgets cannot be ignored and the Americans realize
budgetary limitations that we have and the scale of our financial
investment in national defence. But we're talking security, we're
talking new capabilities, we're talking about potential
technological spinoffs and advances."
Dallaire indicates that through discussions on
NORAD that he believes ballistic missile defence will come back.
He is often held up as the "humanitarian general" and champion of
peacekeeping and the imperialist "responsibility to protect"
doctrine. His public support is clearly meant to show that
Liberals who oppose war and U.S. missiles in Canada should view missile
defence as a matter of protecting Canada and supporting
Canadian industry, rather than as submitting to the United States
and its war agenda.
Former Liberal Defence Minister David Pratt who is also
saying Canada should join the program, said, "The discussions
have to be restarted to find out what the U.S. would be looking
for and whether or not it would be in Canada's interests to
1. John McKay remains Chair of
the Canadian Section of
Canada-United States Permanent Joint Board on Defence. The Board
is one of the many arrangements through which the U.S. military
operates to decide what takes place in Canada. It is made up of
both political appointees such as McKay as well as military
officials from both countries. According to the Department of
National Defence, "In recent years, the Board has proven
effective as an alternate channel of communication, one through
which the resolution of difficult issues has been expedited. In
particular, it has helped devise imaginative solutions to the
types of problems encountered by both countries, such as
cost-sharing in an era of declining budgets."
No doubt having Canada officially join the missile
defence program and allocate billions towards its upgrade in the form
of new sensors and installations in response to "new threats" would be
considered an "imaginative solution."
2. David Pratt is a promoter of
increased "interoperability" with the U.S. military. As Minister of
Defence from December 12, 2003 to July 19, 2004 under Prime Minister
Paul Martin, Pratt advocated for Canada's participation in the U.S.
anti-missile system despite broad opposition. In January 2000, he
wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell expressing "Canada's deep
commitment" to "increased government-to-government and
industry-to-industry cooperation on missile defence." He said NORAD
should be "a key focus of our co-operation in missile defence" and that
Canada wanted to "move on a expedited basis to amend the NORAD
agreement to take into account NORAD's contribution to the missile
defence mission." NORAD, Pratt explained, would provide a "mutually
beneficial framework to ensure the closest possible involvement and
insight for Canada, both government and industry, in the U.S. missile
defence program." Following an unsuccessful attempt to regain his seat
from Conservative MP John Baird in the 2008 federal election, in 2009
and 2010 Pratt spent over five months in U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Iraq
working for the Iraq Legislative Strengthening Program, a U.S.
International Development (USAID)-sponsored program.
Nefarious Parliamentary Defence Committee
Meeting to Study
Perceived "Threat" from DPRK
Toronto picket, one in a weekly series of pickets, demands "Hands Off
DPRK!" August 16, 2017.
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
the decision of the Standing Committee on National Defence to
meet September 14 to "undertake a study of Canada's abilities to
defend itself and our allies in the event of an attack by North
Korea on the North American continent."
The House of Commons Standing Committee on National
met on August 22, in an emergency meeting to consider the request
for this meeting submitted by Conservative MP James Bezan,
supported by the NDP. The original motion was changed based on an
amendment from Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen to have the hearing in
public rather than in camera.
The final motion passed by the Committee with the
all three so-called major political parties with seats in the
"That, given the recent
developments in North Korea's
intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, the committee
conduct a public hearing before Parliament resumes with
government officials and subject matter experts to further
understand Canada's current threat assessment of North Korea and
Canada's abilities to defend itself and our allies in the event
of an attack by North Korea on the North American continent using
intercontinental ballistic missiles, conventional weapons and/or
non-conventional weapons of mass destruction."
The three parties should explain to the people why they
think that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), a small
country thousands of kilometres away, would want to attack Canada or
the United States "using intercontinental ballistic missiles,
conventional weapons and/or non-conventional weapons of mass
destruction." Many countries possess similar weapons as those mentioned
in the motion. Why do these politicians consider the DPRK's possession
of these weapons a threat to Canada? The DPRK has attacked no one and
has not threatened anyone. It has consistently said it will defend
itself from attacks, including the brutal naval and air blockades
imposed by the United States.
The U.S. and its military allies have deployed massive
military forces of mass destruction in and around the Korean Peninsula
and in Japan, and regularly carry out war games on the
Korean Peninsula simulating an invasion of the DPRK. The DPRK has
quite legitimately armed itself in defence of its sovereignty, as
the U.S. could carry out a sudden attack at any time, something
it has already done with devastating consequences against Korea
in 1950 and has shown itself willing to do against any country
that does not submit to its demands.
Why would the DPRK want war with the U.S. or be
war" as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN so crudely put it? Such an
assertion is based on anti-communism and blatant racism against
an ancient people who have consistently suffered Japanese and
U.S. colonial invasion of their territory since 1911.
The DPRK has consistently said it wants a peace treaty
replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War.
The U.S. refuses to sign a peace treaty. It even refuses
suggestions from China and Russia to abandon its war games on the
Korean Peninsula to ease tensions, and instead is threatening
those two countries by installing in South Korea its most
sophisticated anti-ballistic missile system, the Terminal High
Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
Every time the DPRK makes a step towards peaceful
reunification with the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the south, the
U.S. intervenes to wreck the arrangements. The entire scenario of
a perceived threat from the DPRK is a diversion to take the
people away from seeing that the U.S. is the aggressor in East
Asia as part of its campaign for global hegemony. The U.S. has a
thousand foreign military bases around the world threatening
everyone, while the DPRK has none.
Canada's parties with seats in the House of Commons
least acknowledge that Canada is a member of the U.S.-led forces
still at war with the DPRK since 1950. As part of making Canada a
zone for peace, the government should be pressuring the U.S. to
sign a peace treaty with the DPRK to replace the armistice.
Instead, the motion and study by the Defence Committee throws
fuel on President Trump's threat of "fire and fury" directed not
just against the DPRK but all Koreans and the entire world.
As a participant in the
Korean War, Canada must abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement
and pressure the U.S. to do the same. The armistice banned the
introduction of reinforcing weapons into Korea. In direct violation,
the U.S. stationed nuclear weapons in south Korea starting in the
1950s and continues to surround the Korean peninsula with its
nuclear-armed warships, submarines and aircraft. After 64 years, the
U.S. still refuses to sign a peace agreement and pledge not to invade
Liberal MP Gerretsen's comments show the intent of
hearings as a diversion from striving for peace to striving for
war. He says, regarding the study by the Standing Committee on National
Defence, "I think there is a lot of
public interest in this and the public will want to be made aware
of the exact questions that we have. I think these are questions
that are top of mind for a lot of Canadians. That's why I think
it's very important that it be conducted in such a way that it
gives the greatest access to the public receiving the
Whatever questions Gerretsen says are top of mind for
Canadians are not the questions that are top of mind for
Canadians. They are a diversion from the real problems the people
face both at home and abroad, including the problem of how to
achieve peace without resorting to the use of force. The motion
itself shows that the three parties with seats on the National
Defence Committee are not interested in informing their members
and Canadians about who is the aggressor and who is the victim on
the Korean Peninsula. They do not start from a position of how we
can contribute to the peaceful resolution of conflicts
internationally. On the contrary, the Committee seeks to use its
standing to stir up anti-communist and racist divisions amongst
Canadians by presenting the DPRK as a maniacal threat to Canada
while in fact the U.S. military threatens the entire Korean
Peninsula and the world with nuclear annihilation.
From the members' comments, the Committee hopes to use
hearings to incite hatred against Korea and Koreans and present
arguments that Canada should join the U.S. missile defence
program further embroiling Canada in U.S. war preparations.
Canadians should resolutely reject these preparations for war.
Canadians must not allow these politicians to spout their
warmongering unopposed. Join together to oppose the warmongering
of the Government of Canada and the Standing Committee on
National Defence of the House of Commons and to make Canada a
zone for peace!
Hearing Reveals Irrational Determination to
Escalate War Preparations
The House of Commons Committee on National Defence
on September 14 concerning "Canada's capabilities to defend
itself and its allies in the event of an attack by North Korea on
the North American Continent" reveals the extent to which the
anti-communist and colonial outlook of the ruling circles in
Canada towards the Korean and other peoples of Asia blinds them
and makes Canada a factor for the outbreak of war on the Korean
Peninsula and a possible third world war. The ruling circles are
so blinded by their hatred for the Democratic People's Republic
of Korea (DPRK) and its ability to stand up to the U.S.
imperialists that they have defined this as a threat to world
peace and security to be eliminated.
The topic of the House of Commons Committee hearing
presupposes that the DPRK poses a threat to Canada so as to
justify joining the U.S. missile defence. In fact, the hearings
revealed that Canada is playing a stepped-up role in threatening
the DPRK, leading a charge to enforce new UN sanctions -- acts of
war under international law -- as well as participating in U.S.
war exercises to threaten all of Korea.
The main focus of official government presenters was 1)
slander the DPRK's political and economic system without any
evidence or discussion; 2) to obsess over the DPRK's missile,
rocket and nuclear capabilities; and 3) to question whether
sanctions against the DPRK -- defined as a tool of diplomacy
despite being acts of war -- are "working" or it is time to
"increase pressure." What was meant by "working" was not defined.
Such questions seemed to be raised for the purpose of sowing
doubt about the use of sanctions in the face of the DPRK's refusal to
submit to U.S. demands, with the implication that it is time to
consider more aggressive actions. Another focus of the presenters
was Canada's relations with the United States through NORAD and
whether the U.S. would defend Canada from a hypothetical missile
During the first panel of government officials from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National
Defence, it was revealed that when Canada's National Security
Advisor to Prime Minister Trudeau, Daniel Jean, travelled to the
DPRK in August, representatives of the DPRK's foreign ministry
made it clear that it perceived Canada as a peaceful and
friendly country. Stephen Burt, Assistant Chief of Defence
Intelligence, Canadian Forces Intelligence Command reported
that his command does not sense a direct threat to Canada from
the DPRK and repeated that the DPRK says it does not see Canada
as an enemy but as a peaceful and friendly country. In outlining
the nuclear and military capacity of the DPRK, he noted that the
DPRK is seeking peace on the Korean Peninsula and it believes
that having a nuclear deterrent is the most "stable and reliable"
way to achieve this.
Certain Conservative Party MPs and government officials
insinuated that these must be just "words" from the DPRK. In one
case, Conservative MP Erin O'Toole seemed not to comprehend what he
had heard, and raised doubts about the DPRK's intentions, noting
that Canada was part of the Korean War which has not yet ended
and how does this "play into the threat [from the DPRK]."
Burt responded by reiterating that there is no
that the DPRK perceives Canada as an enemy and no evidence it is
taking measures to target Canada. He also sought to assure
O'Toole that, despite this, Canada is still a significant
participant in the "UN Command" with six personnel deployed on
the Korean Peninsula, the third largest country to participate
in the exercises annually with the U.S., South Korea and others,
"to ensure we have a vigilant posture." In other words, Canada
has not abandoned its aggressive posture. "So it's a part of the
world we take seriously and we committed our people and resources
to," he added.
Another Conservative MP asked how could it be that the
Koreans don't see us as a threat when Canada's Foreign Minister
Chrystia Freeland has said "When our allies are threatened we are
there." The clear reference is to the United States. "Support" likely
means that Canada would join the U.S. if it launches an
attack against the DPRK.
All peace and justice-minded people in Canada must make
clear that the Government of Canada must end its aggressive
stance towards the DPRK by ending its participation in U.S.-led
war exercises and the enforcement of sanctions, and demand an
official end to the Korean War, in which Canada is a
1. Presenters to the hearings
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade:
Gwozdecky, Assistant Deputy Minister, International Security and
Political Affairs; Sarah Taylor, Director General, North Asia and
Department of National Defence: Stephen Burt, Assistant
of Defence Intelligence, Canadian Forces Intelligence Command.
Department of National Defence: LGen Pierre St-Amand,
Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD); MGen
Al Meinzinger, Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff; MGen
William F. Seymour, Chief of Staff Operations, Canadian Joint
As individuals: Michael Byers, Professor, Department of
Political Science, University of British Columbia; Danny Lam;
Colin Robertson, Vice-President and Fellow, Canadian Global
Affairs Institute; Robert Huebert, Associate Professor,
Department of Political Science, University of Calgary (by
As individuals: James Fergusson, Professor, Department
Political Studies, University of Manitoba; Andrea Charron,
Assistant Professor, Political Studies, Director of the Centre
for Security Intelligence, University of Manitoba (by
videoconference); Andrea Berger, Senior Research Associate,
Middlebury Institute of International Studies (by
videoconference); Peggy Mason, President, Rideau Institute on
Demand the U.S. Sign a Peace Treaty with
Oppose the Ninth Unjust and Illegal UN Security Council
Resolution Imposed on the DPRK!
Toronto, August 26, 2017
On September 11, the 15-member United Nations Security
Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 2375 against the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (DPRK) for testing a hydrogen bomb on September 3
that could be delivered by an intercontinental ballistic missile. The
hysteria at the UNSC and in the monopoly media covers up that these
measures are part of the DPRK's program to arm itself against ongoing
U.S. military threats and war exercises openly aimed at regime change.
This is the ninth such resolution since 2006 engineered by the U.S.
imperialists in a desperate attempt to hide the fact that they
themselves are the cause of all the political problems on the Korean
peninsula including the nuclear crisis.
Detroit, August 16, 2017
All peace and justice-loving people in Canada and around
the world must resolutely denounce this latest sanction against the
DPRK with a clear conscience because it is based on disinformation
about and against the DPRK and turns truth on its head. The sanctions
resolution is itself an egregious violation of the UN Charter and the
rights of the DPRK as a member state of the UN to protect itself when
threatened, and to affirm its sovereignty and independence.
The resolution does not address the simple fact that
has repeatedly called -- twice this year alone -- on the UN
Security Council, which is mandated to uphold peace in the world,
to intervene to stop the massive, annual and ongoing U.S.-south
Korea war exercises, Key-Resolve/Foal Eagle in April and
Ulchi-Freedom Guardian in August to no avail.
The resolution notes piously that the UNSC is
reiterating "its desire for a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the
situation, and reiterating its welcoming of efforts by Council members
as well as other Member States [of the UN] to facilitate a peaceful and
comprehensive solution through dialogue." The resolution conveniently
hides that the main instigator of the resolution, the U.S., has
rejected the DPRK's peaceful and diplomatic solution to the crisis on
the Korean Peninsula by committing to end the build-up of its nuclear
self-defence arsenal if the U.S. simultaneously stops the annual joint
military exercises aimed against it. Additionally, the DPRK has on
numerous occasions called on the U.S. to sign a peace treaty to replace
the Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953 and begin to normalize
relations. Are these not diplomatic and peaceful solutions that the
UNSC should endorse?
The resolution expresses "deep concern at the grave
that the people in the DPRK are subject to, condemns the DPRK
for pursuing nuclear weapons
and ballistic missiles instead of the welfare of its people, while
people in the DPRK have great unmet needs, and emphasizes the
necessity of the DPRK respecting and ensuring the welfare and
inherent dignity of people in the DPRK" (emphasis in the original).
This outrageous accusation against the DPRK is beyond
the pale. The plain truth is that from the beginning of the Korean War
in 1950 to the present, the U.S. has imposed economic and political
sanctions against the DPRK to punish it for defeating the U.S forces in
the Korean War and forcing the U.S. to sign the Armistice Agreement. It
has also pressured Canada, Australia and other countries under its
influence to follow suit -- a blatant violation of the DPRK's sovereign
right to establish fraternal bilateral relations with other member
states of the UN for mutual benefit and causing the DPRK to suffer
trillions of dollars in lost revenue and challenges in building a
self-reliant economy. This longstanding economic and political
embargo against the DPRK -- the longest against one country in the
world to date -- in addition to the previous eight rounds of UNSC
sanctions, constitute together the biggest and longest violations of
the collective right to be of the people of the DPRK.
San Francisco, August 15, 2017
Resolution 2375 also hides the fact that the DPRK has
stated to the monopoly media, at the UN and to anyone who will
listen that it would prefer to use its financial resources to
raise the standard of living of its own people, but in the face
of U.S. military threats and nuclear blackmail, it has been
forced to build its self-defence nuclear arsenal to ensure its
own survival, independence and sovereignty, as well as to
maintain an equilibrium on the Korean Peninsula.
Despite all this, the DPRK government works very hard
to ensure that the rights to housing, health care, a livelihood,
education, security in old age and other rights are guaranteed to its
citizens. This is more than can be said of other countries that
currently comprise the UNSC, beginning with the U.S. where "grave
hardships that the people are subjected to" are widespread. This
includes economic uncertainty, violations of people's basic rights to
food and shelter, widespread unemployment and underemployment that
violate "the inherent dignity of people."
The latest sanctions against the DPRK will not solve
political problems on the Korean Peninsula but will only create
more tensions and force the DPRK to take counter-measures in
order to affirm its right to be. It is unconscionable that the
UNSC, which has been turned into a weapon of big power politics
and imperialist war, is doing this to a small independent country
which is exercising every inch of its capacity to seek a
political solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula and is
pushed further into a corner by the big powers. It does not bode
well for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
It is the duty of all peace and justice-loving people
in Canada and around the world to stand with the Korean people and the
DPRK in thwarting all efforts by the U.S. imperialists and their allies
in Canada and elsewhere to justify these illegal sanctions and war
preparations. They must demand that the U.S. immediately sign a peace
treaty with the DPRK, remove all economic and political sanctions
against that country and that the UNSC repeal all nine illegal, unjust
and immoral sets of sanctions against the DPRK!
For Your Information
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The UN Security Council passed its ninth sanction
resolution against the DPRK on September 11 aimed at punishing
the DPRK for carrying out its sixth nuclear weapons test on September
3. Besides the five permanent members -- Russia, China, Britain, France
and the U.S. -- the current non-permanent members each serving a
term are Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal,
Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.
It was the U.S. that engineered this resolution as it
did the previous eight resolutions passed by the UNSC against the DPRK.
The media reported that U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley had been
working feverishly behind the scenes to bring forward the harshest
sanctions possible, including a total crude oil embargo, sanctions
against the DPRK airline Air Koryo and so on. There was pushback from
China and Russia. The U.S. also wanted a ban on coal from the DPRK
exported to Russia via the DPRK's Rajin port but Russia objected. Thus
the resolution had to be "watered down." One can only imagine the kind
of pressure the U.S. put on the other members such as Ethiopia,
Bolivia, Egypt, Senegal and Uruguay.
The U.S. imperialists are crowing that their resolution
was passed unanimously to suggest that UNSC members all gave their full
support to the U.S. Nikki Haley tweeted on September 11, "The UN
Security Council unanimously adopted the strongest sanctions ever
against North Korea: #15-0." However, paragraph 21 of the resolution
itself tells a different story and calls on " all Member states to
redouble efforts to implement in full the measures in resolution 1718
(2006), 1874(2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016)
2356 (2017) 2371 (2017) and this resolution and to co-operate with each
other in doing so..." This indicates that there is definite resistance
to these unjust sanctions amongst the UN member countries, a large
number of whom do not like the high-handed, arbitrary, and selective
behaviour of the U.S. or the UN Security Council.
Picket, August 11, 2017, outside the White House in Washington, DC.
Hands Off the DPRK! No to U.S.-War Preparations
on the Korean
Public meeting in Toronto demands peace, justice and the independent
of Korea, June 17, 2017.
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and the
Korean Federation in Canada join in resolutely opposing the United
Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2375, the ninth unjust and
illegal resolution that has been imposed on the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (DPRK) since the first one in 2006 -- all targeting
the DPRK's "nuclear weapons program." We call on all peace and
justice-loving people in Canada and around the world to take a stand
for peace and resolutely oppose these sanctions and demand that all
nine sets of them be withdrawn, and that the U.S. immediately cease its
extremely provocative joint military exercises on the Korean Peninsula,
its nuclear blackmail of the DPRK, and take up the offer by the DPRK to
sign a peace treaty.
The DPRK is not the aggressor on the Korean peninsula.
The U.S. is the aggressor. The UN resolution slanders the DPRK, a
member state of the UN, for "nuclear weapons proliferation" and
violating previous UN sanctions against it. It accuses the DPRK of
callous disregard for the well-being of its people while building up a
nuclear arms arsenal which threatens peace and security on the Korean
Peninsula and region. The resolution itself is a piece of
disinformation aimed at preventing the people of Canada and the world
from drawing warranted conclusions from the facts and their own
experience of U.S. imperialism. Namely, the U.S. is the most dangerous
imperialist force in the history of the world, armed to the teeth with
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, which holds the whole world
hostage to its dictate and commits illegal coups, invasions and
occupations, including the brutal crimes of the Korean War. The
resolution also ignores that the DPRK has on a number of occasions told
the UNSC to intervene to stop the illegal U.S.-south Korea joint
military exercises, and points out that it has been forced to build its
nuclear missile deterrence capacity because of the ongoing nuclear
blackmail and military threats from the U.S. Furthermore, these UNSC
sanctions are the longest and deepest violation of the human rights of
the people of the DPRK as they are aimed at crippling its economy and
creating material hardships for the people.
The resolution does not mention the fact that the DPRK
has sought a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the political crisis
on the Korean Peninsula by offering to stop its nuclear weapons
development program if the U.S. simultaneously agrees to end its
ongoing joint military exercises with south Korea and Japan -- Key
Resolve/Foal Eagle in April-May, and Ulchi-Freedom Guardian in August.
The DPRK has also proposed a peace treaty with the U.S. to replace the
Korean Armistice Agreement that ended the fighting in the Korean War as
a means to normalize relations. The U.S. has rebuffed such proposals
which clearly shows who is the aggressor on the Korean Peninsula.
The DPRK has participated in six rounds of Six Party
from 2003 to 2009 to de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula but each
time an agreement is reached, no sooner the ink is dry on the
joint statement, than the U.S. sabotages the agreement with some
high-handed action or demands that the DPRK must act first before
the U.S. does.
The U.S. has clearly shown no interest in a peaceful
resolution to the Korean crisis or peace on the Korean Peninsula
itself which is the demand of the Korean people and all
Demonstration in Seongju, Korea against the deployment of THAAD missile
September 6, 2017.
The recent, underhanded deployment of four Terminal High
Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile defence batteries in south Korea
by the U.S., despite the massive opposition of the Korean people, as
well as China and Russia, demonstrates clearly that the U.S. has no
intention of leaving the Korean Peninsula.
UNSC Resolution 2375,
engineered by the U.S. through its domination of the UN Security
Council, like the other eight such resolutions against the DPRK, will
not bring peace or stability to the Korean Peninsula. It will only
heighten the already tense atmosphere and bring the possibility of a
nuclear Third World War even closer.
The Canadian people and the world's peoples are greatly
concerned about the situation on the Korean Peninsula but in order for
peace to prevail there, it is the hand of the U.S.
imperialist warmongers that has to be stayed. The U.S. must be stopped
in its drive for another Korean War. Only the organized opposition to
U.S. military exercises, the repeal of the illegal, high-handed, and
unjust UNSC sanctions against the DPRK, the removal of 30,000 U.S.
and the closure of its 90 military bases in south Korea can bring
peace. As well, the U.S. must conclude a peace treaty with the DPRK
Canadians must also oppose the warmongers in the Trudeau
Liberal government. On September 3, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
condemns North Korea's nuclear
September 3 which, combined with its aggressive program of
ballistic missile testing, represents a clear and present threat
to the safety and security of its neighbours and the
international community....We urge the UN Security Council to
take further decisive action to effectively constrain North
Korea's proliferation efforts, and call on all states to fully
implement relevant UN sanctions...We will continue to work with
key regional partners -- including the United States, South Korea
and Japan -- as well as the broader international community, to
counter the North Korean threat."
This statement is a provocation and an act of
against the DPRK, and the opposite of what the Canadian people want --
peace on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere. The Canadian people must
resolutely stand with the people of Korea, defend peace on the Korean
Peninsula and organize for an anti-war government in Canada. We call on
everyone to organize actions and pickets to oppose U.S. war
preparations on the Korean peninsula and Canada's participation in it.
Withdraw UNSC Resolution 2375 Against
Korea! U.S. Troops Out of Korea!
U.S. Must Sign a Peace Treaty
with the DPRK!
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
Organize for an
Actions Against U.S. War Preparations
on the Korean Peninsula
Toronto, May 31, 2017
CPC(M-L) and the Korean Federation in Canada are calling
on all peace and justice-loving people to join weekly pickets in
Toronto and organize other actions to oppose U.S. war preparations on
the Korean peninsula and the unjust and illegal U.S.-engineered UN
Security Council sanctions imposed on the DPRK on September 11. They
are calling on everyone to resolutely condemn the Canadian government's
warmongering and provocations against the DPRK, an affront to both the
Korean people and the Canadian people who desire peace on the Korean
peninsula. The Trudeau Liberals must not be permitted to embroil Canada
in the internal affairs of the Korean people and provoke another
U.S.-led Korean War!! It must not pass! Step up the work for an
anti-war government in Canada which will stand for peaceful and
fraternal relations with all nations and peoples of the world. For
information: (647) 907-7915 or email the Korean Federation in Canada:
Wednesday, September 20 -- 5:00-6:00 pm
Court (across from U.S. Consulate)
361 University Ave.
Wednesday, September 27 --
University of Toronto
North West Corner of Harbord and St. George St.
Wednesday, October 4 -- 5:00-6:00 pm
South East Corner of Yonge and Gould St.
Wednesday, October 11 --
George Brown College
200 King Street East
Wednesday, October 18 --
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland's Constitutency Office
344 Bloor Street West
Wednesday, October 25 --
University of Toronto
North West Corner of Harbord and St. George St.
Wednesday, November 1 --
South East Corner of Yonge and Gould St.
Wednesday, November 8 --
George Brown College
200 King Street East
Court (across from U.S. Consulate)
361 University Ave.
Information Picket Held in Burnaby, BC
On July 29, supporters of the Communist Party of Canada
(Marxist-Leninist) held an information picket outside Lougheed SkyTrain
Station in Burnaby to demand that the United States and its allies,
including Canada, keep their hands off the DPRK, and to support the
reunification of Korea which is one country. The area around the
transit station has a large population of Korean origin as well as
numerous shops frequented by the Korean community.
For one-and-a-half hours
the picketers distributed the statement of the Communist Party of
Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and the Korean Federation in Canada of July
5, 2017 entitled "No to Canada's Participation in U.S. War Preparations
Against the DPRK! Make Canada a Zone for Peace!" They held discussions
with passersby and held aloft placards reading "Hands Off the DPRK,"
"U.S. Troops Out of Korea," "No to Canada's Participation in U.S. War
Preparations Against the DPRK," "Make Canada a Zone for Peace," "Korea
Is One" and "Canada Must Sign a peace treaty with the DPRK."
Future pickets will be held in various parts of the
Metro Vancouver area with the aim of smashing the silence about the
aggressive intentions of the U.S. imperialists and their allies --
including the Canadian government -- towards the Korean people. The
pickets will also help lift the pressure off the Korean community which
is deeply concerned about the fate of their homeland, and end their
feelings of isolation from the rest of the Canadian people.
War with North Korea Cannot Be Contained
but Must Be
Demonstration at U.S. Embassy in Seoul, September 8, 2017. Banner
reads: "Remove THAAD! End Hostile Policy Against DPRK! U.S.
Out! Sign Peace Treaty Now!"
After Donald Trump threatened the Democratic
Republic of Korea with "fire and fury like the world has
never seen," independent journalist Ann Garrison conducted the
following interview with
K.J. Noh, a peace activist and scholar on the geopolitics of the
Asian continent who writes for Counterpunch and Dissident Voice.
This interview was originally published on August 16, 2017 in
Black Agenda Report.
Ann Garrison: North Korea is
standing up to
the U.S.'s 4800 "locked and loaded" nuclear weapons with an
estimated 30 to 60 of its own. Do you think it would still be
standing without them?
K.J. Noh: It's hard to imagine so.
Korea has been in a defensive crouch since the inception of its
state. It has been under risk of nuclear attack almost
continuously since 1950. Starting during the Korean War
(1950-1953), the use of nuclear bombs against North Korea was
considered; after the cessation of hostilities in 1953, the U.S.
refused to enter into further negotiations, letting the 90-day
requirement to negotiate a peace treaty expire. It subsequently
refused to remove troops and weapons, and not introduce new
weapons systems into the peninsula, as required by the Armistice
Agreement (Paragraph 13d).
Starting in 1958, the U.S. placed "Honest John"
surface-to-surface nuclear missiles, 280mm atomic cannons, and
nuclear cruise missiles on the peninsula, and kept them there
until 1991. Then, after the fall of the Soviet Union, ICBM's
pointed at the former Soviet Union were redirected at North
War Games conducted every
year (Key Resolve-Foal Eagle
Ulchi Freedom Guardian) rehearse the attack and occupation of
North Korea and decapitation of its leadership. The recent spring
war games (Key Resolve-Foal Eagle) have been twice the size of
the Normandy Invasion, involving carrier battle group and
submarine maneuvers, amphibious landings of mechanized brigades,
naval blockade, live fire drills, special forces infiltration, as
well as B-1B, B-2 and B-52 nuclear bombing runs. North Korea's
leadership is also well aware of the fact that Clinton's 1997
Presidential Decision Directive 60 authorizes pre-emptive nuclear
Let's also not forget the fact that North Korea was
bombed back into the Stone Age during the Korean War, when
between 20-30% of its population was exterminated. The country
was turned into a moonscape, scorched with napalm, and flooded.
Independent reports allege the use of bioweapons. You have to go
back to the Punic Wars and the sack of Carthage to imagine
destruction of such scale and violence. Even General Douglas
MacArthur, no stranger to bloodshed, said in his congressional
testimony: "I have never seen such devastation...you are
perpetuating a slaughter such as I have never heard of in the
history of mankind."
The current threats by the current president, although
little more off-the-cuff and colorful than usual, are nothing new
for the North Koreans. For example, on two occasions, Colin
Powell blithely threatened to turn North Korea into charcoal
briquette -- a chilling statement to a country that for three
years had 50,000 gallons of Napalm dropped on it daily.
The North Koreans, having lived through, not merely the
threat of Armageddon, but the experience of it, are highly
unlikely to let go of nuclear weapons as a deterrent.
Framework of Distrust
There was once a possibility of denuclearizing North
back in the '90s. The North Koreans had agreed to monitoring and
dismantling of their nuclear reactor, in exchange for
normalization of diplomatic relations, removal of sanctions, fuel
oil, and a light breeder reactor, whose byproducts would be more
difficult to build a nuclear weapon with. The North Koreans
fulfilled the bargain for four years, but the treaty (the 1994
Agreed Framework) was dead on arrival in Washington two weeks
after signing, and none of the conditions were upheld by the U.S.
side. After eight years of Waiting for Godot, the North Koreans
found themselves branded as part of the "Axis of Evil." The North
Koreans read the writing on the wall, withdrew from the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, and restarted their nuclear program in
In 2005, the Chinese
negotiated a deal -- through the
party talks from 2003-2005 -- between the U.S. and North Korea,
whereby the North Koreans would again dismantle their program,
and the U.S. would normalize relations. The very day after the
signing, the U.S. charged North Korea with counterfeiting currency
and increased sanctions. North Korea withdrew from the deal, and
in 2006, tested a nuclear device.
The pattern of distrust is repetitious, going all the
back to the armistice of 1953, which the U.S. announced its
intention to abrogate on the day after signing, as it has to the
current moment. The current situation, a nuclear armed North
Korea, is the result, and it's unlikely that it can be reversed.
Given their own history, not to mention the examples of Libya and
Iraq, the North Koreans are unlikely to give up their deterrent,
and have said so explicitly. That horse has long left the
The Political Economy of Fear
AG: Does the U.S. have an issue with
Korea aside from the fact that it exists and has a few nuclear
KJN: The current system is a
economy of fear. From a viewpoint of propaganda, it's the
recycling of the Aristotelian devices of Fear and Pity for the
political theater of this current historical moment.
But it's also the psychology of the political economy:
culture built on individualism lives always in an existential
terror of isolation, and has to dominate its way out of its fear.
On a national level, this becomes the bad conscience and
projected, karmic terror of a system built on genocide.
In reality, most commentators have assessed North
actual threat as the threat to defend itself in the case of
attack by the U.S. If there is no attack on North Korea, there is
little chance of an actual threat to the U.S. North Korea's
nuclear program is, as Tim Beal put it, a suicidal "Sampson
Option," and a deterrent unlikely to be exercised except under
the threat -- or perceived threat -- of its own annihilation.
Like revolutionary Cuba, the example of North Korea
extinguished because it poses the threat of a counterexample of
resistance to global geopolitical design.
Imagined Resistance, Lethal Force
By way of analogy, we can think, for example, of the
of African American communities. The history of slavery renders
the policing of African American bodies subject to a threshold of
compliance and submission so immediate, so absolute, so total,
that lethal force is routinely exercised at the first sign of
imagined resistance, threat, or non-compliance.
U.S. engagement in Asia, Africa, and America involve a
paranoid "threat" inflation and a similar exercise of lethal
"compliance." The Korean War itself was referred to as a "police
It's useful to re-examine the history in this light.
Plaque in Pyongyang marks the sinking of the USS General Sherman.
U.S.-Korea relations go back to 1866, when the USS General
Sherman forced its way up the Taedong River in Korea, attempting
to force open the closed, isolationist state through gunboat
diplomacy. The last dynasty of Korea, the 500-year-old Chosun
dynasty, was steadfastly Confucian and isolationist, and refused
to trade and interact with U.S., European, or Japanese colonial
powers, believing that these colonial powers were "totally
ignorant of any human morality" and utterly alien to them, and
"craved only material goods." They sent envoys entreating the Sherman to leave,
and to leave Korea alone. The Sherman
to take "No" for an answer, defied entreaties to leave, took the
envoys as hostages, and opened fire. It in turn was attacked and
burned to the ground, and its troops killed.
Five years later, the U.S. returned to settle scores in
with a full scale marine invasion -- 5 warships and 24 supporting
vessels, and obliterated the Korean defenders. After this, Korea
(Chosun) surrendered and opened wide its borders and ports to
Western trade, and a "friendship" treaty was eventually signed in
1882. Similar to the treaties that the Native American nations
signed with the U.S., the treaty guaranteed "perpetual peace and
friendship," "a perfect, permanent and universal peace, and a
sincere and cordial amity," and promised to "render assistance
and protection" if other powers "deal unjustly or oppressively"
with it. Twenty-three years after the signing of this mutual
"friendship treaty," the U.S. went into secret talks with a rising,
imperialist Japan, and pawned Korea over to Japan -- green lighting
the colonial occupation of Japan -- in return for Japan's
non-interference in U.S. colonization of the Philippines. This is
the infamous "Taft-Katsura memorandum" of 1905, which is widely
viewed in South Korea as an abrogation and betrayal of the 1882
The Japanese colonial occupation of Korea from
brutal. Koreans were conscripted by the millions into slave
labor, where they died in untold numbers. One out of five people
killed in atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were
conscripted Korean slave laborers. The Japanese also kidnapped
and enslaved hundreds of thousands of Korean women as military
sexual slaves, euphemistically called "comfort women," in the
world's largest and most violent system of sexual slavery and
trafficking. This became the prototype for modern transnational
sexual trafficking. Between 75-90% of these women would die
during their sexual enslavement.
To understand this current moment, you have to go to
Manchuria of the 1930s. Japanese-colonized Manchuria, the puppet
state they called Manchukuo, is where these excesses were the
worst. Historian Mark Driscoll compares Manchukuo to the Belgian
Congo in terms of its wanton brutality and disregard for human
life, and coins the term, "Manchurian Passage," an Asian "Middle
Passage," to characterize the mass enslavement of Chinese and
Koreans to fuel forced industrialization of Manchuria. This
became the industrial engine that powered the Japanese imperial
war machine that went on to conquer and colonize all of
Mass grave of victims of the Japanese Imperial Army in the infamous
Rape of Nanking.
Three key figures are associated with Manchuria; all
are key influences on the current situation: Park Chung Hee, a
Korean collaborator who served in the Japanese imperial forces
smashing anti-Japanese resistance; Kishi Nobusuke, the minister
of munitions and development, and Kim Il Sung, a guerrilla leader
fighting the Japanese colonization. Kishi, rehabilitated by the
U.S., later becomes Prime Minister of Japan. His grandson, the far
right militarist, Shinzo Abe, is the current president of Japan.
Park Chung Hee later becomes the president/dictator of South
Korea. His daughter is the recently impeached quisling president
of Korea. Kim Il Sung, the guerrilla leader fighting Japanese
colonization, later becomes the Leader of North Korea. His
grandson, Kim Jung Un, is the current Leader of North Korea.
Fast forward to 1945, the end of the war. Japan
Korea is liberated. The liberated Koreans create their own state,
the Korean People's Republic, a democratic, populist state
comprised of thousands of people's committees who had fought the
Japanese colonization. Its political economy is an indigenous
socialism consisting of thousands of labor and farming
Kim Il Sung addresses the first session of the DPRK's Supreme People's
Assembly, September 10, 1948.
U.S. cold war policy cannot countenance an indigenous,
grassroots socialism, especially within the possible orbit of a
newly arisen China. It divides Korea in two, much like Vietnam,
thwarts national elections, creates a capitalist state in the
south by force, and installs an American puppet, Syngman Rhee, as
dictator. It also puts Japanese collaborators back into power,
and the entire structure of Japanese colonial domination back
into place: police, courts, prisons, military, even comfort
women. The almost complete reinstallation by the U.S. of this
military colonial capitalist system, with the same despotic
bloody Japanese collaborators back in power, is the worst
nightmare the Koreans can imagine. They fight back, first in mass
civil resistance, which is suppressed by mass killings, then
guerrilla resistance, which results in scorched earth tactics.
The suppression reaches genocidal, atrocity-level proportions in
the South: hundreds of thousands are mowed down and murdered by
the U.S.-installed Southern dictatorship. Eventually, this crests
into a full scale war in 1950.
"Closer than Lips to Teeth"
The Chinese, who fought together with the Koreans
Japanese in Manchuria, consider the creation of the People's
Republic of China indelibly linked to the efforts of Korean
fighters, a blood debt. When the U.S. sends troops into the Korean
War, the Chinese, despite being impoverished and weary from their
own liberation struggles, send over a million volunteer troops to
fight with the North Koreans -- just as they had in 1592, when they
sent 300,000 troops to repel an earlier Japanese invasion.
"Closer than lips to teeth" is how Chairman Mao
characterizes the Korea-China relationship. He sends his own sons
to fight in the Korean war; one of them is buried in Korean
The Chinese repel the U.S.
and South Korean Army in the
stages of the war. The U.S. reacts with a carpet bombing that takes
on the character of a full-blown genocide, a military violence
unseen in the annals of warfare. North Korea is razed to the
ground, "bombed into the Stone Age" and beyond, napalmed into one
long fiery barbecue pit, then flooded as dams are destroyed. Mass
slaughter of civilians is routine, and blamed on the North,
although later studies indicate that 95% of civilian casualties
were caused by the U.S. or the South Korean Army under U.S.
In 1953, an armistice is signed, but the key provisions
the armistice are not upheld: to withdraw foreign troops, not to
introduce new weapons, and to initiate proceedings to procure a
lasting peace within 90 days. No peace treaty is ever signed or
pursued; in fact the U.S. announces its intention to let the clock
run down on the 90 day provision, covertly introduces new arms
the following year, including 166 fighter planes, then dismantles
the UN Neutral Nations Inspection Team when they report on these
violations. By 1968, there are 950 nuclear weapons on the
peninsula threatening North Korea, and the [Demilitarized Zone] is
punctuated with sporadic raids, border incidents, and
U.S. troops still occupy
Korea to this day; all of
Korea's military and facilities still fall under U.S. Operational
Control the moment the U.S. president decides -- by declaring Defcon
3. Nuclear weapons have been on the ground or in play since the
beginning. Every entreaty on the part of North Korea for
negotiations for a peace treaty or a non-aggression pact has been
rebuffed or conditioned on non-starter demands such as unilateral
disarmament. Instead, the U.S. conducts, twice yearly, the largest
military exercises on the planet and recurrently threatens North
Korea with annihilation. Donald Trump's "fire and fury like the
world has never seen" is just the most recent threat.
A clear-eyed assessment of the history and the
would conclude that it would be irrational for North Korean
survival if it gave up nuclear weapons. They also seem to have
been using a calibrated tit-for-tat approach for escalation and
de-escalation of threat -- the only strategy to prevent war under a
situation of deep distrust. However, this capacity for deterrence
itself is seen as a threat from the standpoint of the U.S.
The Chinese Connection
AG: Syria has no nuclear weapons,
probably wouldn't be standing without Russia, which got some
backup from China. China sent its destroyers and aircraft
carriers into the Mediterranean, though I didn't hear of them
actually engaging. Do you think China and Russia can somehow
KJN: China is enmeshed with North
through culture, history, geography, proximity, propinquity, and
consanguinity. It's also bound to North (and South) Korea through
tradition and treaty. There is the 1961 Mutual Defense Treaty
between China and North Korea that is still binding, and has
never been disavowed: China will come to North Korea's aid if
North Korea is attacked. Recent top level statements have
reaffirmed and emphasized this; Chinese party officials who have
suggested otherwise have been shown the door. In other words, a
war with North Korea, will be a war with China.
It's also important to remember that Russia also shares
border with North Korea, and has interests in maintaining the
current status quo.
China is currently leveraging all its diplomatic forces
de-escalate the possibility of war. It would rather have a
nuclear North Korea than war or chaos on its border, but the U.S.
seems to be suggesting that the first will inevitably lead to the
others. In 2003, China spearheaded the six-party talks which also
attempted to stop a similar escalation. China has also backed the
North's "double freeze" -- freeze nuclear programs in exchange
for freezing military exercises -- although both the Obama and
Trump administrations have ignored these proposals. It has also
warned the U.S. that if there is any attempt "to overthrow the
North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the
Korean peninsula," it will prevent them from doing so. Moreover,
it will not do what the U.S. expects it to do: force North Korea to
disarm by strong arming it economically or politically. China
voted for the recent UN sanctions only in the interest of
China has neither the power nor the inclination to be a
subcontractor to U.S. foreign policy; any policy that takes that as
a starting point is doomed to fail. However, that may be the
point for certain involved parties.
China's goals in the region are significantly, if not
diametrically, opposed to those of the U.S. China is acutely aware
that the U.S. has been pursuing a policy of military and economic
encirclement/containment, from the '90s onward, but most overtly
since 2011, when Hillary Clinton announced the "Pivot to Asia."
An explicit war doctrine has been mapped out and elements have
been progressively implemented vis-a-vis China. Those factions
analyzing or proposing war with China have pointed out that it
will be less costly to the U.S. if this happens sooner rather than
At the Catastrophic Edge of the Eternal Present
AG: Is conventional warfare even
in this situation?
KJN: War is always a failure of the
imagination. In the case of Korea, it's also a limited situation of
imagination itself. It's hard to conceive of a "limited" attack
that would not spiral into something much more catastrophic. The
cascading contingencies are just too complex and unpredictable;
the historical trauma vortex is simply too overdetermined.
French mathematician René Thom developed a model
"catastrophic" change where, for example, the axes of fear and
rage, of threat of war and its cost, slide the situation
incrementally and discretely into an unstable, unpredictable,
catastrophic attack. Threat signaling of the type we have seen is
not cost-free. It will not bring about de-escalation through
tit-for-tat actions, or submission, or escape, but rather push
parties deeper into the cusp of the catastrophe, fixing an
enraged "war trance," setting the stage for unpredictable,
The last Korean War was beyond imagination, which is
has been completely forgotten and repressed in the West. For the
North Koreans, it is eternally present. They live in the eternal
present of that experience, which they cannot, will not,
metabolize or release into memory, until a lasting peace and
security is created on the peninsula. That's why all concerned
parties have to put their shoulders into negotiations for peace.
Otherwise the consequences will be unimaginable. Inside this
current crisis, there is a seed of opportunity; the current South
Korean president, who is in favor of de-escalation with North
Korea, has put forth concrete measures to initiate the
Peace is possible on the Korean Peninsula. If the
to survive, there is no other choice.
Los Angeles, August 14, 2017
K.J. Noh is a peace activist and scholar on the
geopolitics of the Asian continent who writes for Counterpunch
and Dissident Voice. He is special correspondent for KPFA
Flashpoints on the "Pivot to Asia," the Koreas, and the
Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in
Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire
Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict
in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at
Aftermath of Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma Relief & Reconstruction
for Cuba Campaign
Massive flooding in Cuba's capital Havana in wake of the powerful
Across Cuba, people are working hard to enact a speedy recovery.
Hurricane Irma menaced and devastated the eastern and
northern Caribbean, striking Cuba from September 8-10, resulting
in significant and widespread damage. Accompanied by massive
flooding, its sweeping destruction encompassed housing,
communications, infrastructure, agricultural equipment, crops,
and community buildings.
While we are confident that the Cuban people will
overcome any challenges posed by Hurricane Irma, Cuba will nevertheless
have to expend considerable resources, both immediate and long term, in
order to overcome the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Irma.
To assist Cuba in its immense efforts of recovery and
reconstruction, the Canadian Network On Cuba (CNC) is launching
the Hurricane Irma Relief & Reconstruction for Cuba Campaign.
In recent years, the CNC has had a series of successful
Hurricane Relief Campaigns. The most recent was in 2016 when
Hurricane Matthew struck eastern Cuba, devastating Baracoa,
Cuba's oldest city. In 2008, the CNC's most extensive campaign
was launched when a series of hurricanes caused damage in excess
of $10 billion. The CNC not only raised hundreds of thousands of
dollars, but also directly participated in the construction of a
new social and cultural centre on La Isla de La Juventud (Isle of
In 2017, as Cuba faces this latest challenge, we are
confident that Canadians -- as they have repeatedly done -- will
once again demonstrate their friendship and solidarity with Cuba
by supporting the island as it recovers from the ravages of
First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel
Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (centre) inspects recovery operations
at the severely
damaged Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant in Matanzas, September
Our experience with regard to Cuba's response to
disasters is that it knows how to multiply the value of any
donations it receives. We feel confident, based on the island's
unsurpassed humanitarian work -- both within Cuba and in other
countries -- that it has the skills, the organization and the
ethical and moral values to put whatever assistance it receives
to the best possible use.
Even at this difficult time, in the midst of Hurricane
havoc, Cuba's deep internationalist spirit has once again been
profoundly demonstrated by the sending of more than 750 Cuban
health workers to Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Haiti, Saint Kitts
& Nevis, Saint Lucia, and the Bahamas.
As in past campaigns, we hope that solidarity
and individuals will generously support Cuba in its efforts to
rebuild after this devastating hurricane.
Send donations to:
CNC Hurricane Relief
Bolton, ON L7E 1S4
Please make cheques out to the Canadian
Network On Cuba and write "CNC Hurricane Irma Relief Fund" on
your cheque's memo line.
All donations will be forwarded 100 per cent directly to
Appeal to Our Fighting People
Raúl Castro (right), in his capacity as President of the
Defense Council, leads a meeting with Communist Party of Cuba, state
and government leaders on September 13, 2017, to evaluate the damage
from Irma and the actions to be undertaken during the recovery phase.
Hurricane Irma, with its destructive force, lashed out
Island for more than 72 hours, from the morning of Friday, September 8
Sunday, September 10. With winds that at times surpassed 250
kilometres per hour, it crossed the north of the country from
Baracoa -- also punished by another phenomenon of this type almost
a year ago -- to the vicinity of Cardenas. However, by the
immensity of its size practically no territory was freed of its
Called by experts the largest hurricane formed in the
Atlantic, this meteorological phenomenon caused severe damage to
the country, which, precisely because of its size, has not yet
been quantified. A preliminary look evidences damage to housing,
the national power grid and agriculture.
In addition, it hit some of our main tourist
however, we will restore the damages before the start of the peak
season. We have the necessary human and material resources, as this is
one of the main sources of income for the national economy.
These have been hard days for our people, who in only a
have seen how everything we have built with great effort has been
struck down by a devastating hurricane. The pictures of the last
hours are eloquent, as is the spirit of resistance and victory of
our people who are reborn with every adversity.
In these difficult circumstances, paramount have been
unity of the Cubans, the solidarity among the neighbours, the
discipline to follow the instructions issued by the National
Civil Defense General Staff and the Defense Councils at all
levels, the professionalism of the specialists at the Institute
of Meteorology, the immediacy of our media and journalists, the
support of mass organizations, as well as the cohesion of the
governing bodies of the National Defense Council. Special mention
to all our women, including the leaders of the Party and the
Government, who with steadiness and maturity directed and faced
the difficult situation.
In the days to come, there will be a lot of work, where
the strength of
the Cubans and the indestructible confidence in their Revolution
will once again be demonstrated. It is not time to mourn, but to
rebuild what the winds of Hurricane Irma tried to disappear.
With organization, discipline and the integration of
structures, we will go ahead as we have done on previous
occasions. Let us not fool ourselves, the task before us is
immense. But with a people like ours we will win the most
important battle: recovery.
At this crucial moment, the Central Trade Union
of Cuba (CTC) and the National Association of Small Farmers,
together with other mass organizations, will have to redouble
their efforts to erase as soon as possible the aftermath of this
A principle remains unchanged: the Revolution will not
anyone homeless and measures are already taken so that no Cuban
family is left to their fate.
As has been customary every time a weather phenomenon
us, there are many signs of solidarity received from all over the
world. Heads of State and Government, political organizations and
friends of solidarity movements have expressed their willingness
to help us, which we thank on behalf of the more than eleven
Let us face the recovery with the example of
Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who
with his permanent faith in victory and strong will has taught us
that there are no impossible tasks. In these difficult hours, his
legacy makes us strong and unites us.
Raul Castro Ruz
Spontaneous display of unity and support for the recovery efforts in
Downed trees are cleared in Mayabeque province. Plans are underway to
see that all suitable organic debris is composted for use in the
Repair of power lines in Camagüey province.
Getting the electrical
system up and running is a high priority. Despite the severe
damage, 87 per cent of
have had their electricity restored as of September 15, 2017.
Classes resume in Granma province, September 12, 2017.
Irma, a Hurricane to Remember
After wreaking havoc along almost the entire northern
coastline of the island as it traveled from east to west,
Hurricane Irma began to move away from Cuba leaving a trail of
material damage, the full extent of which is still unknown.
According to preliminary reports, flooding caused by
Hurricane Irma is perhaps the most severe to have affected
Havana's coastline to date, with over 1.5 meters of water in some
areas, in particular low-lying zones closest to the Malecon.
Irma, which started off as a tropical storm on August
of the Cape Verde islands, began to intensify at an unusually
rapid pace for the region, and by the following day had become a
Irma reached a Category 5 rating on the Saffir-Simpson
on September 5, as it moved west-northwestward toward the group
of islands which make up the Lesser Antilles, leaving a trail of
death and destruction in its wake.
Meanwhile, meteorologist Dr. José Rubiera,
Irma set a new record; remaining a Category 5 hurricane for
almost 72 straight hours.
After making landfall on the evening of September 8 to
east of Cayo Romano, north of Camagüey, Irma became one of the
few Category 5 hurricanes to directly affect the island, after
those of October 1846, October 1924, November 1932, and Hurricane
Fox in October 1952.
Although the timing, region and trajectory of Hurricane
were typical, the hurricane's rains, winds and cloud extended
across an unusually large area, something that hasn't been seen
in Cuba for a very long time.
For example, in the early hours of September 10, Irma's
extended from Artemisa to Sancti Spíritus, affecting Havana for
over 16 hours, something which hasn't been seen since the
Hurricane of October 18, 1944.
Chronological list of the most severe coastal flooding
Havana over the last 50 years:
- October 1985: Hurricane Juan
- February 6, 1992:
storm in the Gulf of Mexico
- March 13, 1993: Storm of the Century
- October 2005: Hurricane Wilma
- September 2017: Hurricane Irma
Photos of Damage from Hurricane Irma Across Cuba
Flooding in Vado del Yeso, Granma.
Playa Jigüey, Camagüey
The Jardines del Rey International Airport on Cayo Coco in Ciego de
Ávila province has been completely destroyed.
Yaguajay, Sancti Spíritus
Severe damage at a warehouse housing goods for the tourism industry in
Villa Clara province.
Province of Matanzas
Damaged power lines and trees, and a flooded tunnel in the capital
Six Questions About Hurricane Irma,
Climate Change and
As global temperatures rise, warmer
to fuel stronger hurricanes, with disastrous consequences.
For the first time since 2010
three hurricanes were active in the Atlantic at the same time,
and a rare case of multiple Atlantic hurricanes threatening land
at the same time.
(Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES
A third of the way into the 2017 Atlantic hurricane
season, NOAA [the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
of the U.S. Commerce Department] looked at the ocean and air
temperatures and issued an ominous new forecast: the region would
likely experience "an above normal hurricane season" that "could be
extremely active," with more named storms than previously expected --
14 to 19 this season -- and two to five major hurricanes.
Now, halfway through the season, Hurricane Harvey's
destruction stretches along the Texas coast, and Hurricane Irma's storm
surge has turned Florida's streets into rivers after causing massive
destruction in the Caribbean. On Irma's heels, Hurricane Jose is
swirling in the Atlantic, while a third Atlantic hurricane, Katia,
struck Mexico's eastern coast late Friday [September 10] night.
As global temperatures continue to rise, climate
have said this is what we should expect -- more huge storms, with
Though scientists are still wrestling with some of the
specifics of how climate change is impacting hurricanes, a lot is
known, including the fact that hurricane seasons like this one
could be the new norm.
What's So Extraordinary about These Storms?
Records are tumbling in quick succession this year.
among the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record, barreled over
the islands of the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm this week en
route to Florida, while Houston, Texas, was still draining from
Harvey's five-day deluge that broke the continental U.S. rainfall
total for a single event.
Major storms are falling outside their normal range
the easternmost on record), and at strange times of the year
(Tropical Storm Arlene hit in April of this year -- one of only two
named tropical storms in April, and the northernmost on record
for that time of year).
As climate change progresses, scientists aren't
increase in total storms, but they are expecting a jump in the
number of major storms -- just like we're seeing now.
What Does Climate Change Have to Do with It?
If Hurricane Harvey had happened at the end of the 20th
century, that amount of rain falling in Houston in a single storm
would have been rare -- a 1-in-2,000-year event, said Kerry Emanuel,
an MIT professor of atmospheric sciences. But as temperatures
continue to rise, those rare events are becoming increasingly
less rare, he said.
There are myriad reasons why individual storms develop
they do, including a combination of natural and manmade causes.
That can make it hard to assess what role climate may have played
in an individual storm (though the science behind attribution
studies is getting better all the time). What scientists who
study hurricanes are confident in, though, is the underlying
physics that show that warmer temperatures are among the factors
changing the way that storms form.
According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, the
intensity, frequency and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes
have increased since the early 1980s. The frequency of the
strongest storms -- category 4 and 5 hurricanes -- has increased
How Do Warmer Oceans Feed Hurricanes?
NOAA releases its annual Atlantic hurricane outlook
spring, in advance of the hurricane season that starts on June 1.
This year, the agency had to update that outlook in August with
an expectation of even more storms, due in part to warmer surface
Surface temperatures in the eastern half of the
Atlantic Ocean were between 0.5°C and 1°C above average this
summer, as the NOAA maps below of the sea surface temperature
(SST) anomalies from mid-July to early September show.
Those higher temperatures (as well as higher
the atmosphere) feed the storms, helping them strengthen. One
study based on two decades of data found that hurricanes
intensify significantly faster now than they used to. The
researchers found that storms reach Category 3 wind speeds nine
hours faster than they did in the 1980s.
Why So Much Rainfall in Houston?
Those higher temperatures don't just result in more
wind speeds. Warmer air also retains more water vapor, which can
result in dramatic rainfall like what happened during Hurricane
In the case of Harvey, the rain volume was
fact that the storm stalled over the Houston area, bringing days
of relentless downpours. The storm was surrounded by two high
pressure systems, which essentially locked the storm in place.
"Meteorologically, Southeast Texas, at the time, was pretty much
a giant stop sign," Weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Belles
told the Houston Chronicle.
By the time the storm moved out, the
National Weather Service had recorded 51.88 inches of rain near
Mont Belvieu, Texas -- a record for rainfall from a single storm in
the continental U.S.
This stalling is a frequent feature of extreme events,
this point, scientists have not found a conclusive link to
climate change. There may be a connection, though, according to
climate scientist Michael Mann. "More tenuous, but possibly
relevant still, is the fact that very persistent, nearly
'stationary' summer weather patterns of this sort, where weather
anomalies (both high pressure dry hot regions and low-pressure
stormy/rainy regions) stay locked in place for many days at a
time, appears to be favored by human-caused climate change," he
wrote in a Facebook post late last month.
In a study published online in the journal Nature in
Mann and coauthors wrote that amplified warming in the Arctic
driven by anthropogenic climate change may be leading to an
increase in extreme weather events that linger in one place for
extended periods of time.
What Are the Biggest Threats from Irma?
The big fear with Irma is the wind. The National
Center was reporting sustained winds of 185 mph on Wednesday [September
gusts even higher. Those wind speeds are similar to Hurricane
Wilma, the 2005 storm that resulted in at least 62 deaths and an
estimated $29.4 billion in damage, of which $21 billion occurred
in the United States.
Another concern is the storm surge that can accompany
hurricanes. Riding on top of sea levels that have risen due to
climate change, Irma's surge could be particularly dangerous. The
National Hurricane Center warned Wednesday of storm surges as
high as 20 feet above normal tide levels in the Turks and Caicos
Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas.
What About that 'Hurricane Drought' Claim?
On Aug. 25, as Hurricane Harvey gained strength and
for the Texas coast, the conservative Heartland Institute put out
a press release decrying any efforts that scientists and the
media might make to explain the climate influences on the storm.
Bette Grande, a research fellow with Heartland, said: "Though it
has been nearly 12 years since a major hurricane has hit the
United States -- Harvey will be creatively spun to 'prove' there are
dire effects linked to man-created climate change."
She was referring to the concept of a so-called
drought" that climate deniers have been circulating -- which they
say debunks the work of climate scientists.
While no "major hurricanes" made landfall in the United
States between 2005 and this year, those weren't weak tropical
storm years -- the biggest storms just didn't hit the U.S. In 2013,
Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines with the highest wind
speeds ever seen -- until Hurricane Patricia broke that record two
years later off Mexico's Pacific Coast, and several other
cyclones wreaked havoc elsewhere around the world in the
In a 2015 study published in the journal Geophysical
Letters, two NASA scientists concluded that the
lack of major storms in the United States during that period was
merely "a matter of luck."
People in some parts of the United States might also
with the concept of a "hurricane drought" during that period.
"Tell the people of coastal Texas that Ike was not a
hurricane," said Emanuel, the MIT scientist. "Well, Ike was
technically just under the ranking of major hurricane, and it
completely destroyed a huge part of coastal Texas. Now, tell the
people of New York that Sandy wasn't a major hurricane."
"There were plenty of hurricanes in that stretch of 12
years," he said. "They just didn't happen to make landfall as
strong storms in the United States."
Sabrina Shankman is a producer and reporter for
InsideClimate News. She joined ICN in the fall of 2013, after
helping produce documentaries and interactives for the PBS show
"Frontline" since 2010 with 2over10 Media. She is the author of
the ICN book "Meltdown: Terror at the Top of the World," and was
named a finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists
for that work. Shankman has a Masters in Journalism from UC
Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.
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