Did Obama Give Money To North Korea

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CommunityFDL Action Jane Hamsher 2011-06-29 One Korea: Kaesong poster photo by ninjawil Yesterday the White House took the last step to owning all three leftover Bush NAFTA-expansion deals with Korea, Colombia and Panama by announcing that they would send them to Congress imminently.  The Economic Policy Institute estimates that we’ll lose 159,000 jobs with the Korea deal alone. At a time of high unemployment, it’s difficult to fathom why the President would be fighting to increase our trade deficit and ship tens of thousands of jobs overseas.

Even more stunning, however, is the loophole in the Obama deal that will hand billions over to North Korea to spend on their  nuclear weapons program (PDF). Under the terms of NAFTA, goods have to have 50% domestic-made content in order to qualify for inclusion.  However under KORUS, goods with up to 65% non-South-Korean content qualify, as long as final assembly off goods happens in South Korea.

  That means 65% of all parts can be made  China, Vietnam, wherever — giving rise to fears that the South Korea deal will be a back-door extension of NAFTA for China. But surely, somebody thought to exclude North Korean content from the deal, right?  I mean, with all the huffing and puffing about the need for increased sanctions against North Korea to keep them from funding their nuclear program.

  At the very least, somebody must have included language in KORUS that makes an exception for US sanctions against North Korea, which would otherwise violate NAFTA’s ban on import licenses. Well if that’s what you thought, you would be wrong. Every day, 44,000 North Koreans are marched into a North Korea border sweat shop zone called Kaesong to work for 28 center per hour — of which the Kim regime keeps 55%.

  In 2007 Ambassador Jay Lefkowitz, the U.S. Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea, wrote that Kaesong was one of the only sources of cold hard currency North Korea had to fund its nuclear program: Because the North Korean government takes a major portion of workers’ salaries, these arrangements provide material support for a rogue government, its nuclear ambitions, and its human rights atrocities.

According to research done by Public Citizen, Obama’s NAFTA-Korea deal not only fails to exclude North Korean content, it allows for a massive expansion of the Kaesong district — and the profits that North Korea will reap (PDF): The U.S. government estimates that the North Korean government currently collects $3 million to $4 million a month from the Kaesong operations now, prior to a massive planned expansion of the border sweatshop zone.

South Korea cut off most trade with North Korea after attacks last year, but left Kaesong trade open.  There was $1.9 billion in total trade between the two Koreas in 2009, about half of which was through production by South Korean firms in Kaesong. While $1.9 billion is not a lot of money relative to the U.S. or South Korean economy, it constitutes more than a third of North Korea’s total external trade.

Given the Department of Defense estimates that North Korea’s nuclear program cost the regime as little as $200 million to develop, the hard currency generated by North Korean trade flows is sufficient to finance the North’s nuclear proliferation regime several times over. The North Korean government is projected to receive $9.55 billion in economic gains from Kaesong over nine years under a planned major expansion.

This is equivalent to 36 percent of North Korea’s estimated national income. Hyundai and the Korea Land Corporation, the principal developers of Kaesong, plan to enlarge the complex from its current 800 acres to a more than 6,000-acre complex (or nine square miles), where 1,500 South Korean and other foreign firms will employ 350,000 North Korean workers.  This would make the complex more than half the size of Alexandria, Virginia.

Is this an accident?  Hardly.  Members of Congress like Brad Sherman have been waving red flags about the dangers of the Kaesong provisions in KORUS.  The Chamber is pushing this deal hard, however, and there’s a lot of money to be made in Kaesong. And as we all know, what the Chamber wants, the Chamber gets. But let’s do the math here.  The US government estimates that the North Koreans are 5 years and $200 million away from having nuclear capacity.

  I understand why KORUS would benefit the mega corporations that use the Chamber of Commerce as their front, the ones that hope to profiteer off of “slave labor” in Kaesong.  But how exactly is it good for the American people to allow North Korea access to US markets?  I just don’t see the upside to offshoring jobs, increasing the trade deficit and writing a check to North Korea to spend on nukes.

But then, few people do.  Poll after poll shows that the vast majority of the American public – across stunningly diverse demographics – oppose these NAFTA-style trade deals.  It’s an issue that has oddly united union members and Tea Partiers, progressives and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans in opposition.   The AFL-CIO, Carpenters, Teamsters, CWA, Machinists, IBEW, Steelworkers, Painters, Boilermakers, the Sierra Club, Public Citizen and the National Farmers Union all oppose the deal.

, as do Republicans like Walter Jones, Ron Paul, and the Campaign for Liberty. Earlier this month, even White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley (whose job is to sell these trade deals and who helped former President Bill Clinton sell NAFTA to a skeptical Congress) said that workers “lose from these agreements” and implied that campaigning against these NAFTA-style trade agreements could even be an electoral advantage.

But if we’ve learned one thing over the past few years, it’s that broad popular opposition is meaningless when it comes to Chamber’s ability to bribe impose its will on our elected officials.   If KORUS passes, the hawks will soon be banging the war drums and warning us all that the smoking gun of North Korea has become a mushroom cloud, now is the time to act. Because three wars are just not enough, I guess.

Previous post Treasury Criticizes OCC Publicly on Pre-Emption in Dodd-Frank Next post What Obama Fights For: Giving $9.55 Billion to North Korea to Spend on Nukes Jane Hamsher Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight.

She lives in Washington DC.Subscribe in a reader You Might Also Like

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The U.S. government and the CIAPaul Joseph WatsonInfowars.com April 12, 2013 Amidst reports that North Korea now has nuclear-equipped ballistic missiles as experts warn a conflict on the Korean peninsular is more likely than not, it’s important to remember who armed North Korea with nuclear weapons in the first place – namely the U.S. government and the CIA. Image: YouTube A portion of a Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed yesterday by Rep.

Doug Lamborn of Colorado states the DIA is moderately confident that, “the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles.” Although subsequently denied by White House and Pentagon officials, the revelation arrives amidst continued threats and posturing by the Hermit kingdom to launch attacks against the United States and South Korea. However, while bellicose threats are being carelessly traded by both sides and eagerly regurgitated by the mainstream media, the question of how exactly North Korea acquired its nuclear capability in the first place has been completely ignored.

Both the Clinton and Bush administrations played a key role in helping the late Kim Jong-Il develop North Korea’s nuclear prowess from the mid 1990’s onwards. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld presided over a $200 million dollar contract to deliver equipment and services to build two light water reactor stations in North Korea in January 2000 when he was an executive director of ABB (Asea Brown Boveri).

Wolfram Eberhardt, a spokesman for ABB confirmed that Rumsfeld was at nearly all the board meetings during his involvement with the company. Rumsfeld was merely picking up the baton from the Clinton administration, who in 1994 agreed to replace North Korea’s domestically built nuclear reactors with light water nuclear reactors. Clinton policy wonks claimed that light water reactors couldn’t be used to make bombs.

Not so according to Henry Sokolski, head of the Non-proliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, who stated, “LWRs could be used to produce dozens of bombs’ worth of weapons-grade plutonium in both North Korea and Iran. This is true of all LWRs — a depressing fact U.S. policymakers have managed to block out.” “These reactors are like all reactors, they have the potential to make weapons.

So you might end up supplying the worst nuclear violator with the means to acquire the very weapons we’re trying to prevent it acquiring,” said Sokolski. The U.S. State Department claimed that the light water reactors could not be used to produce bomb grade material and yet in 2002 urged Russia to end its nuclear co-operation with Iran for the reason that it didn’t want Iran armed with weapons of mass destruction.

At the time, Russia was building light water reactors in Iran. According to the State Department, light water reactors in Iran can produce nuclear material but somehow the same rule doesn’t apply in North Korea. In April 2002, the Bush administration announced that it would release $95 million of American taxpayer’s dollars to begin construction of the ‘harmless’ light water reactors in North Korea.

Bush argued that arming the megalomaniac dictator Kim Jong-Il with the potential to produce a hundred nukes a year was, “vital to the national security interests of the United States.” Bush released even more money for the same purpose in January 2003. Bush released the funds despite the startling revelation, reported by South Korean newspapers, that a North Korean missile warhead had been found in Alaska.

Construction of the reactors was eventually suspended, but North Korea had an alternative source through which they could obtain the nuclear secrets vital to building an atom bomb arsenal – CIA asset and international arms smuggler AQ Khan. In 2004, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atom bomb program, admitted sharing nuclear technology via a worldwide smuggling network that included facilities in Malaysia which manufactured key parts for centrifuges.

Khan’s collaborator B.S.A. Tahir ran a front company out of Dubai that shipped centrifuge components to North Korea. Despite Dutch authorities being deeply suspicious of Khan’s activities as far back as 1975, the CIA prevented the Dutch from arresting him on two separate occasions. “The man was followed for almost ten years and obviously he was a serious problem. But again I was told that the secret services could handle it more effectively,” former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers said.

“The Hague did not have the final say in the matter. Washington did.” Lubbers stated that Khan was allowed to slip in and out of the Netherlands with the blessing of the CIA, eventually allowing him to become the “primary salesman of an extensive international network for the proliferation of nuclear technology and know-how,” according to George W. Bush himself, and sell nuclear secrets that allowed North Korea to build nuclear bombs.

“Lubbers suspects that Washington allowed Khan’s activities because Pakistan was a key ally in the fight against the Soviets,” reports CFP. “At the time, the US government funded and armed mujahideen such as Osama bin Laden. They were trained by Pakistani intelligence to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Anwar Iqbal, Washington correspondent for the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, told ISN Security Watch that Lubbers’ assertions may be correct.

“This was part of a long-term foolish strategy. The US knew Pakistan was developing nuclear weapons but couldn’t care less because it was not going to be used against them. It was a deterrent against India and possibly the Soviets.” In September 2005 it emerged that the Amsterdam court which sentenced Khan to four years imprisonment in 1983 had lost the legal files pertaining to the case. The court’s vice-president, Judge Anita Leeser, accused the CIA of stealing the files.

“Something is not right, we just don’t lose things like that,” she told Dutch news show NOVA. “I find it bewildering that people lose files with a political goal, especially if it is on request of the CIA. It is unheard of.” In 2005, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that Khan had provided centrifuges and their designs to North Korea. Through their policies in aiding North Korea to build light water reactors, and via the CIA asset AQ Khan who was protected at every step of the way while he helped provide North Korea with the means to build a nuclear arsenal, the U.

S. government itself was directly complicit in providing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il and now his successor Kim Jong-un with the nuclear weapons that have now caused an international crisis with the Korean peninsula on the brink of war. Given the documented history of the United States’ role in arming North Korea with the very weapons the reclusive state is now threatening to use against Americans, the constant drumbeat of fearmongering by the US media about North Korea’s intentions is missing a huge part of the story.

********************* Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

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