Allow Me To Explain

Children among 100,000 executed in south Korea

Posted in Imperialism, Korea, United States, War by amte on August 9, 2009

A horror long known by Koreans was confirmed earlier this year: large numbers of children were among the 100,000+ Koreans murdered by the U.S.-backed south Korean government in the 1950’s.

Korea, a country with a history that goes back thousands of years, was taken over by the Japanese in the early twentieth century. After years of brutal occupation, and a sustained struggle against the occupation, the Japanese were defeated in World War 2 and forced to relinquish their hold of Korea in 1945.

The USSR and the U.S., temporary allies in the war against the Axis, each agreed to station troops in one half of the peninsula until the Koreans could organize their own government.

All across the country workers and farmers, inspired by the resistance movement against the Japanese occupation, began to set up the frame work of a grass roots democracy.

At the same time, the U.S. government installed Syngman Rhee, a right-wing exile who had been living in the United States, as president of the south in a phony election, ignoring the national government being set up by the Koreans themselves.

Syngman Rhee embraces Douglas MacArthur, General of the U.S. Army, upon being made leader of south Korea.

Syngman Rhee embraces Douglas MacArthur, General of the U.S. Army, upon being made leader of south Korea.

A government was unilaterally proclaimed in the south prompting the forces in control of the north, made up largely of leaders of the Workers’ Party of Korea (who played a large part in the fight against the Japanese occupiers) proclaimed a government as well.

The government of the south, largely unpopular and propped up by the U.S. military, began a vicious campaign against all suspected “leftists” (at a time when a majority of the people in both the north and south looked held “leftist” ideas or at least looked at them favorably).

From that point until the end of the Korean War, in which the north tried to unify the country under its leadership, at least 100000 Korean men, women and children were executed in cold blood by the Rhee government and U.S. military.

Decades later, after a series of U.S.-backed dictatorships in the south, a liberal President, Roh Moo-hyun, created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in December, 2005, to investigate crimes carried out before and during the war.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission later released findings supporting the testimony of Koreans who witnessed the mass killings. So far, more than 24 mass killings have been verified.

The Commission found that the murderous campaign was carried out in an attempt to prevent an imminent popular uprising against the Rhee dictatorship. To eliminate any potential enemies–both then and in the future–whole families of suspected leftists were murdered.

In Namyangju, government forces murdered more than 460 people, including at least 23 children under the age of 10.

One survivor, Kim Jong-Chol, 71, recalls that “when the people from the other side (north Korea) came here, they didn’t kill many people,” in contrast to his own government in the south which carried out “indiscriminate killings.”

The remains of hundreds of bodies have been found in ten mass graves. In one cobalt mine in the south, 107 bodies have been found. An estimated 3500 more still remain.

Recently declassified documents from the U.S. military show that U.S. officials witnessed or participated in many of the killings and sanctioned others.

The Associated Press has reported on military documents that show U.S. military officers took pictures of “assembly line-style executions” outside of Deajeon, where upwards of 7000 people were shot and dumped into mass graves.

Another file shows that a U.S. officer gave the go ahead for a south Korean military unit under his command to murder 3500 political prisoners.

Surviving relatives of those killed have demanded an apology from the U.S. government. Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in south Korea refuses to even comment on the situation.

The United States maintains a force of tens of thousands of soldiers and loads of heavy weaponry in south Korea to this day. A “National Security Act” created in 1948, which makes it illegal to promote “anti-government ideas” (among other things) and carries a maximum sentence of death, also remains in effect.

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19 Responses

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  1. tony said, on August 9, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I Have Put A Link To You On Mine.Regards

  2. Clare Solomon said, on August 10, 2009 at 3:48 am

    interesting blog. Do we know each other? It would be useful to know your name! Where are u based?

    I am going to link u to my blog either way but I am interested to know more your politics.

    Keep up the fight comrade.

    Clare Solomon.

  3. Dan Cohen said, on August 10, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I will add you to my links, interesting stuff. You should know about my friend Martin Hart-Landsberg, who has written alot about Korea. He is a Professor of Economics & Director of the Political Economy Program at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon.

  4. Colin Bruce Milne said, on August 10, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Very interesting stuff regards the Korean situation.I have linked to you from my WordPress site I may get to my Blogger site later on regards mutual links stuff.

  5. DavidG. said, on August 11, 2009 at 3:57 am

    When America gets its army boots onto foreign soil, it never leaves. They say they are there to help but it’s just a way of expanding their empire and their network of military bases.

    Next to Israel, America is the country I most fear!

  6. Hakeem said, on August 11, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Thanks for your comment. Just read through your posts. Will definitely link! 🙂

  7. Markin said, on August 11, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Very interesting blog- I will be “stealing” a lot of material from this site when I need material on the histroy of imperialism on the international scene. Am linking to your site. Markin

  8. FJ said, on August 11, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    You’re linked. Buena suerte!

  9. Harry Barnes said, on August 12, 2009 at 5:08 am

    There are two sides to each coin. The Kim Jung-il regime still has to be judged by the condition of its people.

  10. amte said, on August 12, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    The “Kim Jung-iL [sic] regime” is as much a product of the imperialist invasions (Japan then U.S.) of Korea as anything else.

    I wonder if you would have credited the “Kim Jung-il regime” with the “condition of its people” before the late 1980’s, when south Korea first surpassed north Korea economically.

  11. FJ said, on August 12, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I feel bad for all those poor innocent children murdered by the Americans and South Koreans. My only question is, why did all those poor North Korean boys and their Chinese cousins come down into the south of the country in the 1950s to be murdered, anyway? Were they mentally “slow” or something? They should have stayed up North in Kim’s Worker’s Paradise where they were safe.

    btw – Who killed 54,000 and wounded 103,000 Americans during the conflict? UN mandated forces?

  12. amte said, on August 12, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    There are no “North Korean” boys. There are only Koreans. The people on both sides of the DMZ have a common history, language, culture, etc.

    No one “came down” into the south. The “south” is an artificial construct created by the United States after World War II, against the wishes of the majority of Koreans. Koreans (from the geographical north and south of the peninsula) fought against an invading force that was occupying the country and maintaining a system they no longer wanted.

    Chinese fighters volunteered to help their neighbors fight off the imperialist invaders. This was done out of solidarity and self interest. If the U.S.-backed Rhee dictatorship was able to take control of the entire country, revolutionary China would have been virtually surrounded by hostile states and imperialist proxies.

    If the 100,000+ U.S. soldiers wouldn’t have been in Korea they wouldn’t have gotten killed or injured. Who was responsible for their deaths and injuries? The same people who were responsible for the utter destruction of Korea that occurred and the mass executions mentioned in the original article: the imperialist rulers of the United States.

  13. FJ said, on August 13, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    No one “came down” into the south.

    That’s not how UNSC Res 82 reads nor does it jibe with the historical “Inchon” landings. The Koreans wanted a free nation, not a Soviet puppet state.

    If the U.S.-backed Rhee dictatorship was able to take control of the entire country, revolutionary China would have been virtually surrounded by hostile states and imperialist proxies.

    Like the USSR? So much for the brotherly communist “internationale”.

    ps – the imperialist rulers of the United State… You mean the imperialist rulers of the United Nations, don’t you? We’re merely their designated police force.

  14. FJ said, on August 13, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    btw – Many of the 54,000 murdered and 103,000 maimed Americans were just children, too, not even old enough to vote or drink. Where’s your outrage?

  15. amte said, on August 13, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    The United Nations is a den of wolves. Its flag, which has continually been used as a fig lead for imperialism, is completely discredited. Immense horrors have been committed in its name.

    The UN stamp of approval was given to the invasion of Korea while the USSR was boycotting the organization over the exclusion of the legitimate government of China in favor of the nationalist gang in Taiwan.

    Koreans were working to create their own government after the Japanese defeat. When the direction of that process went in a direction it didn’t like (read: ), the U.S. created the “Republic of Korea” in the area under its control and installed Syngman Rhee as president.

    The Rhee dictatorship had no popular support (the reason he had to kill 100,000 people to stay in power). His army was weak and uncommitted (the reason the U.S. had to intervene militarily). When the forces of the DPRK moved south, the ROC’s army basically disintegrated. Many of its soldiers went over to the DPRK and fought in its army for the remainder of the war.

    The south Korean army actually had to kidnap men from their homes in order to bring them into their ranks (to this day it maintains forced conscription). Large numbers of soldiers deserted. Many joined the forces of the DPRK.

    Large numbers of workers and farmers in the ROC fought against the Rhee dictatorship and the invading forces of the U.S. imperialists and their allies. This fight began when the ROC was proclaimed, long before the forces of the DPRK moved south in an effort to reunify the country.

    The U.S.-led invasion of Korea had nothing to do with the aspirations of the Koreans. The imperialists care only of their own interests. They are not influenced by popular sentiment. The U.S.-backed coup that overthrew popularly elected Chilean president Salvadore Allende is basic proof of that.

    I am outraged over every life that was lost in Korea during the war. The difference between you and I is that I understand that it was the U.S. imperialists and their junior partners that caused the war and rounded up thousands of “their own” workers to go fight and die on the front lines.

  16. FJ said, on August 14, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    What about the Soviets? They installed the Kim regime in the North. What about the Japanese? All the Americans and Russians did was fill the vacuum caused by their defeat in WWII.

    from Wiki:

    In December 1945, Korea was administered by the US–USSR Joint Commission, agreed at the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers (October 1945). Again excluding the Koreans, the commission decided the country would become independent after a five-year trusteeship—action facilitated by each régime sharing its sponsor’s ideology.

    In the event, the right-wing Representative Democratic Council, led by nationalist Syngman Rhee, opposed the Soviet–American trusteeship of Korea, arguing that after thirty-five years (1910–45) of Japanese colonial rule—foreign rule—most Koreans opposed another foreign rule, i.e. US and Soviet.

    Gaining advantage from the native political temper, the US quit the Soviet-supported Moscow Accords—and, using the 31 March 1948 UN election-deadline to achieve a non-communist civil government in the US Korean Zone of Occupation—convoked national general elections that the Soviets opposed, then boycotted, insisting that the US honor the Moscow Accords. The resultant anti-Communist South Korean Government promulgated a national political constitution (17 July 1948) elected a president, the American-educated strongman Syngman Rhee (20 July 1948), and established the Republic of South Korea on 15 August 1948.

    Likewise, in the Russian Korean Zone of Occupation, the USSR established a Communist North Korean Government led by the astute politician–soldier, Kim Il-sung. Moreover, President Rhee’s régime expelled communists and leftists from southern national politics. Disenfranchised, they headed for the hills, to prepare guerrilla war against the US-sponsored ROK Government.

  17. amte said, on August 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Wikipedia is not a valid source. Anyone can edit it.

    Upon the defeat of Japan, the USSR and the U.S. agreed that each would occupy half of Korea until the Koreans formed their own government. But while the USSR withdrew from Korea soon after the US had no such plans.

    Koreans began setting up a provisional national government of their own, but the U.S. refused to acknowledge it, fearing “communist influences.”

    Ignoring the will of the people living in Korea, the U.S. unilaterally created the “Republic of Korea” with a government made up largely of Japanese collaborators and lead by U.S.-educated dictator Syngman Rhee (who was installed in a bogus “election”).

    The DPRK was formed in reaction to the formation of the ROC.

    The U.S. occupiers both installed the Rhee dictatorship and thus shored up support and justification for the regime in the north.

  18. FJ said, on August 15, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    I’m afraid it’s a bit more complicated than that. The USSR didn’t walk away from the North, as you described. In fact, they gave Kim the green light to start the war.

  19. amte said, on August 16, 2009 at 1:16 am

    The USSR supported the DPRK’s efforts to reunite Korea. That’s a fact. But it has nothing to do with your original argument or mine.

    The USSR withdrew from Korea in 1948.

    The DPRK was formed only after the creation of the ROC.

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