Monday April 17, 2017
Many people within the United States and internationally were being primed for a unilateral strike by the Pentagon against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) during the weekend of April 14-16.
April 15 was the 105th anniversary of the founder, Kim Il Sung, of the DPRK and its ruling Korean Worker’s Party (KWP). Events in celebration known as the Day of the Sun had been planned inside the country for months amid mounting pressure from Washington and its allies aimed at coercing the socialist state to loosen its national defense capabilities.
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence traveled to South Korea, a major outpost for Pentagon military forces and hardware on April 17. Pence met with South Korean acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn pledging that the administration of President Donald Trump would proceed rapidly with the deployment on South Korean soil of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles system.
The deployment of these weapons has been strongly condemned by both the People’s Republic of China and the DPRK. THAAD represents a clear escalation of the arsenal build-up by the Pentagon in the Korean Peninsula.
Leading up to the Pence visit two major events were carried out by the administration of Trump. The dropping of the GBU-43/B, also known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), or the Mother of All Bombs, on a village in Afghanistan said by the military and the corporate media to be inhabited by the Islamic State fighters, drew sharp reaction both inside Afghanistan and abroad.
News reports from the business and western government-funded media largely failed to question the narrative of this story. Pentagon officials claimed that absolutely no civilians were killed an assertion which the so-called mainstream press accepted uncritically.
On the following day April 15, General John Nicholson, who is the commander of American troops in Afghanistan, stressed: “We have U.S. forces at the site and we see no evidence of civilian casualties nor have there been reports.”
Nicholson was later quoted as saying that for whatever reason this was the most appropriate window to launch such an attack. The commander never mentioned any specific threat to U.S. military or economic interests in framing the imperatives which guided the bombing.
The General emphasized that this was “the right time to use the GBU-43 tactically. Let me be clear – we will not relent in our mission to destroy [IS in Afghanistan]… There will be no sanctuary for terrorists in Afghanistan.”
Consequently, such a postulation indicates that the White House will continue its policy of being the “policemen of the world.” Yet there was no mention of the fact that Pentagon, NATO and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) personnel have been in Afghanistan openly since 2001.
Moreover, the reality is the phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalism as a social and political entity in Afghanistan was initiated, nurtured and sustained by successive U.S. administrations since President Jimmy Carter beginning in 1979. These same Afghan rebels and “foreign insurgents” were designated as “freedom fighters” by the administration of President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s since the western-backed guerrillas were attempting to overthrow the Soviet-backed socialist-oriented government in Kabul.
Nuclear Arms Race Enters New Phase
A second major development which was announced on April 15 and received far less praise and fanfare, although resounding just as ominous a political tone internationally, was the testing of a nuclear weapon by the Pentagon right inside the U.S. in the state of Nevada. Despite the threats levelled against the DPRK for its work in the nuclear weapons field, Washington once again demonstrated that it is not pleased with anyone else having such capability other than those within its orbit of imperialist domination.
Governments from India, Pakistan, Israel, Britain and France have nuclear weapons. However, they are not castigated as others such as the Russia Federation, the People’s Republic of China and the DPRK. The U.S. is the only government which has utilized atomic weapons against civilian populations as was done in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 of 1945. The conventional political rationale for the acceptance of this gross war crime perpetuated at the conclusion of World War II was that it served to end the military conflict earlier.
Nonetheless, the Japanese imperialists were preparing to surrender through negotiations with the U.S. The Soviet Red Army had already planned an intervention in Japanese-held territory in Manchuria during August 1945 placing further pressure on Tokyo.
With specific reference to the latest Pentagon operation, a publication wrote: “the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced on Friday (April 14) the successful field test of a modernized ‘steerable’ version of the B61 gravity nuclear bomb in Nevada. The NNSA, the section of the Department of Energy (DoE) responsible for nuclear weapons, said in a statement that it completed in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force ‘the first qualification flight test of the B61-12 gravity bomb on March 14 at the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada.’” (Inquisitr.com, April 15)
The B61-12 is an upgraded version of an earlier weapon which dates back to the 1960s. It is a primary thermonuclear weapon in the U.S. Enduring Stockpile. This weapon is described as having an intermediate-yield strategic and tactical nuclear weapon capability encompassing a two-stage radiation implosion design. B61s are variable yield bombs (.3 to 340 kiloton yield).
This weapon is built for transport by high-speed fighter aircraft. The casings are streamlined in order to be compatible with supersonic travel. The weapons are 11 feet by 8 inches (3.56 m) long. The diameter is approximately 13 inches (33 cm). This ordnance typically weighs 700 pounds (320 kg) although they could have different sizes depending upon the fuze/retardation design.
This same article noted that the above-mentioned: “statement went on to say that the ‘non-nuclear test assembly’ was dropped from an F-16 fighter that took off from Nellis Air Force Base. The test was designed to evaluate ‘both the weapon’s non-nuclear functions as well as the aircraft’s (USAF F-16 fighter) capability to deliver the weapon. The statement added that the test was only the first of a series to be conducted in the next three years before the B61-12 gravity bomb goes into service in 2020. A final design review is scheduled for September of 2018 before deployment for service in 2020. The NNSA conducted three successful development flight tests of the weapon in 2015.”
Despite the utterances of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on April 17 saying that no red lines have been drawn involving the standoff with the DPRK while Pence indicated dialogue with Pyongyang could be remotely possible, objectively the U.S. actions are creating a highly volatile situation.
In recent weeks, the Trump administration has intensified already existing sanctions on Pyongyang. Tactical nuclear weapons stationed in South Korea remain aimed at key installations inside the DPRK. U.S. military officials have openly announced that they are considering a preemptive strike against the DPRK through targeted assassinations of its leaders and the attempted neutralization of its military defenses.
The DPRK is maintaining its vigilance towards the U.S. forces stationed in South Korea and throughout the Pacific. Citing the cruise missile attacks on Syria carried out April 6, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) emphasized on April 15 that the Korean People’s Army (KPA) is prepared for any eventuality emanating from Washington.
A series of measures have been ordered by Marshal Kim Jong Un. KCNA reports noted that: “All the brigandish provocative moves of the U.S. in the political, economic and military fields pursuant to its hostile policy toward the DPRK will thoroughly be foiled through the toughest counteraction of the army and people of the DPRK. Our toughest counteraction against the U.S. and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive. Under the prevailing grave situation, the U.S. has to come to its senses and make a proper option for the solution of the problem. The army and people of the DPRK will as ever courageously counter those who encroach upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK and will always mercilessly foil all the provocative options of the U.S. with Korean-style toughest counteraction.”
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire