Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kucinich, Racism and Revisionism

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Kucinich is making inroads, if his reception at a jam-packed Nov. 25 house party in rural Acworth was any indication. After hearing Kucinich hold forth for nearly an hour on topics like his opposition to unfair trade deals, his proposed Cabinet-level Department of Peace, and his interest in having Texas GOP Rep. Ron Paul as a running mate, Bob Sandoe of Etna was a believer.”

Racism and revisionism go hand in hand. Sam Webb refused to initiate struggle against the racist decision made by the United States Supreme Court against school integration while at the same time supporting Dennis Kucinich as he attacks Cynthia McKinney’s campaign for president.

Webb and the PWW remain silent about Kucinich’s suggestion he will ask the anti-Semitic, racist, free-enterpriser, John Bircher Ron Paul to be his running mate even as Webb talks about defeating the “ultra-right.”

Is there any wonder there is so much confusion and disorientation in the working class movement when the head of the CPUSA provides such pathetic “leadership.”

One of the primary responsibilities of a Communist Party leader is supposed to be to articulate the position of bringing people together towards the objective of creating the united all-peoples anti-monopoly front.

How can such perverted, racist, revisionist thinking as that being espoused by Webb and company possibly push the peoples movements towards this objective when racism and anti-communism are the main ingredients of division?

In embracing Kucinich wholeheartedly, as Sam Webb has done on numerous occasions including in his reports to the National Committee, Webb is sowing divisions and confusion among working people and in the progressive movement when the goals and objectives of our Party have always been to foster the greatest possible unity, which includes unity against anti-Semitism and racism as its core principle.

Webb must be removed as Chair of the Communist Party USA. Sam Webb is a revisionist, anti-Semite and a racist.

Webb’s silence on this issue of a Kucinich-Ron Paul ticket from the mouth of Kucinich says it all.

Webb’s support for Kucinich brings shame to our Party; a Party, which until now, has had a proud and unblemished record in the struggle against racism and anti-Semitism.

It is not coincidental that David Bednarczuk--- a big Webb booster on the Iron Range among his small following of drunks and pot-heads--- who is overseeing the destruction of Mesaba Co-op Park like Webb has overseen the attempts to liquidate the Communist Party USA, has also been promoting Kucinich.

Bednarczuk, and Kucinich are like peas in a pod... none of them have any principles.

I find it quite amazing that Sam Webb would consider Ford's intent to close the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant a "done deal" and actively work to destroy the developing peoples' movement to save 2,000 union jobs through public ownership while he supports and campaigns for a loser like Dennis Kucinich.

Talk about your "done deal." Webb is supporting a loser who can't even make it out of the starting gate.

Webb and his buddy Kucinich might have been better off supporting public ownership of the Ford Plant in Cleveland, Ohio slated to close as a way to get working class votes rather than making this pathetic appeal for votes by pandering to a bunch of bigots.

Webb must go.

Sam Webb can continue calling me "that bitch from Duluth,"


Link to story Kucinich hoping for upset in New Hampshire primary

Kucinich is making inroads, if his reception at a jam-packed Nov. 25 house party in rural Acworth was any indication. After hearing Kucinich hold forth for nearly an hour on topics like his opposition to unfair trade deals, his proposed Cabinet-level Department of Peace, and his interest in having Texas GOP Rep. Ron Paul as a running mate, Bob Sandoe of Etna was a believer.”

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sabrina Eaton

Plain Dealer Bureau

Keene, N.H. -- "Moose Crossing" warnings still outnumber political signs along the snow-dusted byways of New Hampshire, home of the nation's first presidential primary and the place where underdog Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich has pinned his presidential hopes.

Although Kucinich trails his party's front-runners in campaign money and polls, the Cleveland congressman says he hopes to pull off an upset in New Hampshire's Jan. 8 primary through the kind of hard work and grass-roots networking he has employed in Northeast Ohio for decades.

With that in mind, he recently wrapped up a 10-day campaign trip to rustic New Hampshire.

There, he spent 16-hour days shaking hands and delivering speeches in whitewashed town halls, cozy living rooms, local eateries and country club ballrooms.

"New Hampshire seems to be ready for a real change," Kucinich said between a book signing and town hall meeting last weekend in Keene, a picturesque college town that calls itself the "Currier and Ives" corner of New Hampshire.

"Every town hall meeting has been a solid turnout. What it tells me is that this election is not over. People are listening carefully to what I have to say, and when they hear what I have to say, they seem to like it."

The New Hampshire primary, coming right after the Iowa caucuses, makes and breaks presidential candidates. Long shots who triumph can become contenders for their party's nomination. A strong showing in New Hampshire helped propel former President Bill Clinton to the White House.

Coos County Democratic Party Chairman Paul Robitaille predicted Kucinich's long swing through New Hampshire could boost his fortunes. Although he personally backs John Edwards, Robitaille met Kucinich over breakfast last Saturday at Tea Birds Café in Berlin, a city in the White Mountains that has been devastated by closure of several local paper mills.

"Anything can happen in New Hampshire," Robitaille said.

"The state likes a maverick. They like someone who speaks the truth."

"Seventy-five percent of voters haven't made up their minds, and meeting candidates in the flesh like this helps them to focus," agreed North Grafton Democratic Committee Chairwoman Katherine Terrie, who attended a Kucinich town hall meeting at a senior citizens center in the mountain resort town of Littleton, where the candidate declared New Hampshire voters could "save this country" by picking him in their primary.

University of New Hampshire political scientist Dante Scala was more skeptical of Kucinich's chances. He described the congressman as "too far left" to be elected and said he doubts Kucinich will place in New Hampshire's top five.

Dennis Kucinich hoping for upset in New Hampshire primary

Kucinich and his backers, including his wife, Elizabeth, a striking redhead who accompanies him to many appearances and often answers questions from voters, disagree with that assessment. They describe his positions as "mainstream" and are eagerly pushing forward. Kucinich says his pleas to end the Iraq war, establish a nonprofit health care system and impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney play particularly well in the state.

"I'm the one person who cannot be bought, cannot be bossed, cannot be controlled," he often told voters in New Hampshire, leaning forward on the balls of his feet. "I'm ready to give you your country back."

Viability of bid drawn into question

With a volunteer driver ferrying him to each stop in a silver Dodge SUV, Kucinich certainly packed in the crowds. His town hall meeting last Sunday at Keene's Unitarian Universalist Church attracted about 200 people - as big a crowd as an event that GOP candidate Mitt Romney held earlier that evening. The area's politics junkies treated both events as a doubleheader that they topped off by watching the New England Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles on TV.

Crowds applauded and cheered Kucinich's words, partic ularly when he discussed the Iraq war, health care, impeachment and the need to reduce corporate sway over America. Yet at nearly every stop, voters said they liked Kucinich's message but might support someone else because they questioned his ability to win.

They cited Kucinich's low standing in current polls, his lack of campaign cash, and the superior resources of other Democrats as reasons. By the end of September, Hillary Clinton's campaign had collected $89 million and Barack Obama had collected $79.4 million, while Kucinich had $2.1 million.

"I am concerned that if I support your candidacy, that the nominee who is most close to the corporate interests on the Democratic side will win the Democratic nomination," David Jonas of Francestown told Kucinich at a Nov. 24 house party. "I am very concerned about that and am in clined to support my second choice [Barack Obama] because of the viability of your candidacy."

Kucinich and his wife, whom Kucinich said would act as an ambassador to world trouble- spots if he becomes president, made their case to Jonas by citing a USA Today/Gallup poll in mid-November that showed him in fourth place nationally among Democrats. They noted his campaign was outspent exponentially by the candidates who placed behind him.

Kucinich's support level in that poll was 4 percent, and the margin of error was 5 percent.

Clinton had 48 percent, followed by Obama with 21 percent and Edwards with 12 percent.

Dennis Kucinich hoping for upset in New Hampshire primary

The pair also cited Kucinich's strength in online "noncorporate" polls, like a "Presidential Pulse Poll" conducted by the liberal group Democracy for America.

Kucinich finished first in that tally, with 49,000 out of the 150,000 votes cast, after his campaign sent repeated e-mails that urged his supporters to vote. Kucinich did not secure the 66 percent majority needed to clinch the group's presidential endorsement.

"If people get behind their choices, and if people get behind their hearts and line up with their intentions and get their friends to do so, everything changes," the candidate told Jonas. "If you believe that what I've had to say tonight is what you really want, is the real direction you want America to take, if this is what you want, then go for it."

After hearing out Kucinich, the bearded Jonas said he was skeptical but might still back the congressman as a "moral statement" rather than a strategic one. He said he admired Kucinich for "speaking up against the criminal acts" of the Bush administration, but was worried by Kucinich's lack of campaign money and inability to place campaign ads.

"Obama has a very good organization, Hillary has a good organization, they have huge advertising dollars," Jonas fretted. "They are in your face every evening when you turn on the television. And I read a lot. I've known about Dennis for years. But he is an asterisk, in many respects, in the campaign. The last debate in Nevada is an example. He was fighting for airspace and not being called upon."

Some triumphs in little meetings

Kucinich won over others at the party. Ron Lucas of nearby Greenfield shouted "Amen" at several points in Kucinich's speech, and afterward signed up as a campaign volunteer.

He said the congressman "hit the nail on the head on every issue - impeachment, corporate cartels, everything."

"Democracy means you vote for what you stand for and you vote for someone who stands for your principles," he said.

The next afternoon, after signing several dozen copies of his new autobiography, "The Courage to Survive," at a bookstore in Keene, Kucinich pointed out that he has a long history of winning Cleveland-area elections on a shoestring. He observed in an interview that Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter was able to defeat GOP incumbent Jeb Bradley in the state last year through low-budget grass- roots campaigning.

"What we're hoping to do with this effort in New Hampshire is to demonstrate the capability and viability of a grass-roots effort," Kucinich said, looking very much the author in a black corduroy jacket and tie that featured Democratic Party donkeys. "If we can have a strong showing here, this will spread all over the country. Of course, that's what we're hoping for. What I see that is really encouraging is these turnouts at these town hall meetings. It is very encouraging. And if you look at our schedule, we are going morning and night, morning and night, every single day."

Kucinich is making inroads, if his reception at a jam-packed Nov. 25 house party in rural Acworth was any indication.

After hearing Kucinich hold forth for nearly an hour on topics like his opposition to unfair trade deals, his proposed Cabinet-level Department of Peace, and his interest in having Texas GOP Rep. Ron Paul as a running mate, Bob Sandoe of Etna was a believer.

"So many people that I've talked to have said they think you would make a terrific president, but you can't be elected," Sandoe told Kucinich as the gathering concluded. "And I want to say: Of course you can be elected. All it takes is a roomful of people like this, over and over again."

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Communist Party USA toils in Manhattan obscurity as Sam Webb destroys the class struggle scientific foundation we need to build on

This article really makes a person think about what Sam Webb is doing.

Webb has used this article to demonstrate what he is doing so we have a responsibility to discuss what he says in the article.

Perhaps the most noteworthy statement in this article is this:

Hardly a stereotypical Bolshevik, he (Webb) says he, "wants to bring the party into the American mainstream." But first, he'll have to, "shake the legacy of Gus Hall."

The fact is, Webb is destroying the very foundation--- a very firm and good foundation--- that we need to build on.

The article then goes on to clearly state where Webb wants to mislead us to:

Even as the left's agenda became increasingly defined by feminism, environmentalism and gay activism, Hall demanded an international factory-worker-led revolution.

If some on the "left" choose to ignore, along with Webb, industrial workers they do so at their own peril and as a disservice to not only the left, but the left's most important and vital constituency: the working class.

And the article continues:

Webb gets vague when asked how socialism will come to pass.

In fact, Webb has been very vague about just about everything; vague to the point of being dishonest.

But, what is new about revisionism. As we have been saying Webb's intent has been all along to liquidate our Party. In rejecting the working class as the main engine of social change, Webb has rejected the very basics of the basis of scientific socialism.

After reading this article from 2002, we now have a better understanding why Sam Webb liquidated and dumped Gus Hall's books.

Webb stated he is:

"not bothered by the party's obscurity."

This is quite apparent.

As Sam Webb goes trotting across the globe in quest of fellow revisionists, real Communist Parties are finding cooperation with the Communist Party USA to be elusive. International cooperation and solidarity are part of what Webb intends to jettison along with Marxism-Leninism, the real legacy of our Party which Gus Hall steadfastly and properly defended; it is this very legacy we need to retain.

We now have some insight as to why Sam Webb, Scott Marshall, Erwin Marquit, Mark Froemke and Dean Gunderson have tried to create obstacles to organizing a campaign for public ownership to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and Hydro Dam- they despise and fear the working class.

If in fact Webb was sincerely for "Bill of Rights socialism" he would be insisting working people have a say in the future of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant- but he isn't.

It is not Webb's media savvy which needs some work; it is his thinking which requires attention.

Keep smiling Sam, your corporate masters appreciate your work.

Revisionism is based on being vague and dishonest; Webb is definitely a revisionist and needs to be sent packing- Just don't send him to Minnesota, we already have enough problems.


Communist Party Chair, Sam Webb (on left)

Communist Party USA toils in Manhattan obscurity

By Kerry Burke


Hardly a stereotypical Bolshevik, Sam Webb, the Communist Party USA chairman, says he wants to bring the party into the American mainstream. But first, he'll have to shake the legacy of Gus Hall.

Most passers-by barely notice the Unity Book Center. The titles in the window, however -- "Capitalism in Crisis," "Another World Is Possible" and "Russian Peasants' Soviet Power" -- aren't on any best-seller list. The storefront, inside a former family court building in Manhattan, is the public face of the Communist Party USA. Upstairs is the party's national headquarters.

Sitting in the cafeteria hidden behind the bookstore, Sam Webb, national party chairman, says he is not bothered by the party's obscurity.

"A disinformation campaign by the ruling class tied America's communist party to the now dissolved Soviet Union," said Webb confidently. "But we've adapted and will continue to change with the times."

Webb, 56, presides over a party whose most newsworthy figure, Gus Hall, died two years ago. The married father of two grown daughters, Webb is easygoing, bespectacled and a dedicated reader of The New York Times. Hardly a stereotypical Bolshevik, he says he, "wants to bring the party into the American mainstream." But first, he'll have to, "shake the legacy of Gus Hall."

"Hall's party came out of the struggles of the Great Depression, Franco and Spain, Hitler and World War II, " said Webb wistfully. "But that generation was getting old. We needed to make a transition -- not only at the top, but every level. We're still in the middle of it."

Over the four decades he led America's communists, Gus Hall was the party. The son of an impoverished Minnesota miner, Hall outlasted steel mill insurrections, World War II, McCarthy era imprisonment, Cold War isolation and even the dissolution of his beloved Soviet Union. Admitting to absolutely none of socialism's shortcomings, Hall remained a stalwart Stalinist right into the post-Communist world.

Even as the left's agenda became increasingly defined by feminism, environmentalism and gay activism, Hall demanded an international factory-worker-led revolution. He waxed nostalgically for the old Soviet bloc and called famine-stricken North Korea an "economic miracle." In 1994, the New York party splintered, with much of the membership bolting after Hall refused to step down.

It's Webb's job to pick up the pieces. He has to offer a viable political party to a public that barely knows it exists and without disowning communism's core principles.

Webb preaches "Bill of Rights Socialism," a phrase Hall coined but that Webb is trying to make currency. "Socialism in this country has to reflect American history, habits and traditions," he said on a recent morning at 9 a.m., an hour before the party's student employees and senior citizen volunteers arrived for work. "The Bill of Rights was attached to the Constitution because people wanted certain rights protected that weren't covered by the constitution as written over 200 years ago.

"We think those protections should continue in a socialist society, although we think they should be extended to include decent jobs, affordable housing and health care," he explained.

Since Webb's election, the party has also gone high-tech. Well, sort of. "Workers of the World, Log In!" invites the home page -- but the site's only features are excerpts from party publications and past convention speeches. One thing you can do, however, is join online. Workers at party headquarter could not provide accurate numbers for either site "hits" or new e-members.

Webb says there are over 15,000 communists nationwide -- down from a peak of 66,000 in 1939 -- although no independent figures exist. The majority, he said, live in New York City. The party's roughly 15 full-time employees, including its chairman, make the same $350 weekly salary, a paltry sum in a city where studio rents can start at $1,700 monthly. Webb lives on Manhattan's gentrified Upper West Side where he has a cut-rate sublet from a comrade.

Webb gets vague when asked how socialism will come to pass.

"Eventually the American people are going to -- based on their own experience, not imposed by us or anyone else -- realize that socialist society will be a better alternative than capitalism," he said in his gruff but gentle native Maine accent.

But Webb's media strategy will need some work. Victor Navasky, publisher of The Nation, a prominent weekly left-wing journal, said he had never heard of chairman Webb.

"My sense is that a party still exists," said Navasky. "And that they're putting on a brave front."

Friday, December 7, 2007

Unearthing War’s Horrors Years Later in South Korea


I received this horrendous New York Times story from Michael Munk in Portland, Oregon. I would like to share it with you.

I hope you will view each photo and slide very closely; please note where it says there is a slide show. Click on each photo to enlarge it.

Please, please share this story with everyone you know. The crimes of U.S. imperialism committed against humanity must become known in every household in America.

I am sure there are such mass graves on every continent where U.$. "dollar diplomacy" has laid its dirty blood-drenched fingers to.

I am wondering why it has taken so long for this important story to break? These are among the most horrendous crimes against humanity; carried out at the instructions of our government, our military, and our secret international police agencies. Just look at the photographs; pictures of American soldiers actively participating in these gross atrocities against their fellow human beings. These victims of imperialism just several years before had been our best, most reliable, and bravest allies in defeating Japanese imperialism during World War II; all of which the New York Times remains disgustingly and shamefully silent in this story.

In this story from the New York Times is the implicit support for the barbaric foreign policy of U.S. imperialism in that the New York Times tries to distinguish between the victims as to who were communists and who were not. I find this to be morally repulsive to the point of vomiting.

Simply because people decide to study the scientific teachings of Marxism-Leninism in order to free themselves from capitalist rule and exploitation it seems the New York Times finds such monstrous, inhumane, barbaric human carnage carried out under a flying U.S. flag in another country to be acceptable.

A number of years ago the Wall Street Journal boasted that the police and armies under the leadership of the U.S. military in Central and South America had killed over fifteen million people who had been identified as "communists."

As a woman, as a mother, almost shameful of admitting I am an American except I know most people are as repulsed as I am in hearing of such "news." I have to add my voice in condemning these atrocities which are "made in the U.S.A." by those waving the American flag.

It is no wonder that the once famous American general, Smedley Butler, after announcing that he had been nothing more than a gangster for American companies was ostracized by the ruling class he had served so diligently.

No doubt Iraq's Communists are in for a similar treatment as these people in these photos and slides from South Korea show once the United States is done using them as a cover to create a picture of a developing democracy.

Again, in the New York Times story this mouthpiece for U.S. imperialism which had reporters all over Korea during the Korean War and knew that this was going on at the time never published one single word of these crimes against humanity as the NYT tried to whip our Nation into an anti-communist frenzy which served to silence the voices for peace and humanity in our own country, most notably the voices of members of the Communist Party USA.

Now the New York Times portrays events of the period as a "plague on both sides." When will these apologists for the barbaric atrocities committed by U.$ imperialism ever acknowledge their own responsibility in all of this. The New York Times, being the mouthpiece for U.S. imperialism in every war has always responded in the same way; first it supports the war, then as public sentiment grows in opposition it "questions" the war, and then it puts forward this crap about "we are against the war but we need to support our troops- we can't abandon them in the middle of their mission." Isn't this nice; we will have to wait another fifty years for the New York Times to publish the atrocities being committed by U.S. troops in Iraq today.

To me this is all very sad.

I find it very strange that Sam Webb and the Peoples Weekly World have remained silent concerning these atrocities uncovered in South Korea. It kind of makes me wonder where Webb's paycheck is coming from... perhaps FBI headquarters.

I also find it very strange that the atrocities being committed by the United States in Iraq are not front page news in every single edition of the PWW published. I am sure this has something to do with Sam Webb the perverted creep getting his paycheck from FBI headquarters, too; remember Jay Lovestone?

Rita Polewski


So far this letter has not published. Mike

December 3, 2007

To the Editor of the New York Times:

A photo attached to “Unearthing War’s Horrors Years Later in South Korea” (December 2) shows prisoners about to be shot and thrown into a pit in Taejon, in July 1950. The Times also ran an AP report about this massacre on January 7, 2000. In neither article did the Times report that American officers stood idly by taking photos of this atrocity, or that later the Joint Chiefs of Staff chose to suppress these photos, never to be revealed until an independent researcher, Do-Young Lee, got them declassified in 1999. Furthermore the Pentagon’s official history by Roy E. Appleman, South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, blamed this massacre (in which upwards of 4,000 people were slaughtered) entirely on the North Koreans, in spite of clear internal evidence to the contrary.

What happened in Taejon was not simply a merciless slaughter of political prisoners, but also the murder of people rounded up during the American Occupation (1945-48) for protesting against the conditions that Americans fostered or created. The police who carried out the Taejon massacre were part of a draconian agency built up under Japanese colonialism that the U.S. reemployed wholesale, leading to massive rebellions that got started in Taegu in 1946—where police also mowed down civilians. It would be good if our government developed the same concern for truth and its own responsibility that the Korean government has shown in unearthing these tragedies.

I am the author of The Origins of the Korean War (2 vols, Princeton, 1981 and 1990) .
Bruce Cumings
Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor
Chair, History Department
1126 E. 59th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637
(773) 834-1818

On Dec 5, 2007, at 12:29 AM, Michael Munk wrote:

These atrocities are finally being documented in South Korea. When I was there in 1959-61, people were afraid to speak about them for fear of being imprisoned or executed as "Communists."

Mike Munk

Unearthing War’s Horrors Years Later in South Korea


New York Times: December 3, 2007

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 2 — Shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, Kim Man-sik, a military police sergeant, received an urgent radio message from the South Korean Army’s Counterintelligence Corps: Go to local police stations, take custody of scores of Communist suspects held there and execute them.

Mr. Kim complied. What he did and saw in those days is etched permanently in his mind.

“They were all tied together with military communications wire,” said Mr. Kim, now 81. “So when we opened fire, they all pulled at each other to try to escape. The wire cut into their wrists. Blood was splattered all over their white clothes.”

The South Korea Truth and Reconciliation Commission
A government excavation team works in a cobalt mine near Daegu, southern South Korea.
The South Korea Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Prisoners before their execution by troops in Taejon in 1950. The state is aiming for compensation or services for the victims.

That Mr. Kim’s story has emerged after half a century is a testament to this nation’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, modeled after the South African group set up in the 1990s to expose crimes and injustices committed during the apartheid era.

Unlike the situation in South Africa, where the truth commission started work soon after the collapse of the apartheid government, South Korea’s commission was not created for decades. During most of that time, the country was ruled by anti-Communist authoritarian governments that wanted to keep buried the history of violence against people who had been accused of being Communists. It was not until after President Roh Moo-hyun was elected that the country created the commission in 2005, starting a nationwide investigation to uncover the history of atrocities by each Korea.

Handicapped by a budget considered too small for such a vast task, the commission’s work has been slow. Beyond that, it can neither force people to testify nor offer immunity for testimony, so few veterans have been willing to come forward. Some victims have stayed away as well, unwilling to open old wounds between neighbors caught up in the ideological struggle decades ago. Still, the commission has made progress in confirming long-suppressed stories of mass executions and in recovering the remains of victims.

South Korean troops executed tens of thousands of unarmed civilians and prisoners as they retreated in advance of the North Korean invaders during the war, according to historians. The victims were often accused of being Communist sympathizers or collaborators.

The commission’s investigators have discovered the remains of hundreds of people — including women and children — who were killed without trial. They have also identified 1,222 probable instances of mass killings during the war.

The cases include 215 episodes in which survivors say American warplanes and ground troops killed unarmed civilians.

On Saturday, Lt. Col. Almarah Belk, a Pentagon spokeswoman in Washington, said she did not “have any information on investigations into new findings as it relates to deaths of Koreans during the Korean war by U.S. military action.”

In 2001, the Pentagon acknowledged that American soldiers shot and killed unarmed civilians near the South Korean hamlet of No Gun Ri in 1950, but said the deaths were a result of confusion, and even fear.

South Korean investigators in July began digging at 4 of 160 sites believed to have been used for mass burials, places that were off limits under the country’s authoritarian rulers. They have unearthed the remains of 400 people. Skeletons were found stacked on one another, with bullet holes in the skulls and hands still tied by rusting steel wire.

The remains confirmed witness accounts that the police often made victims crouch at the edge of a trench, their hands tied behind their backs, before shooting them in the head and pushing them in, said Park Sun-joo, who leads the excavation team.

“The fact that these bones have remained abandoned so long and so close to where we live means that our society is still at its barbarian stage,” said Kim Dong-choon, a commission member.

At one burial site, in Cheongwon, in central South Korea, 110 bodies have been found.

“I think they killed up to 7,000 people there,” said Park Jong-gil, one of the commission’s witnesses who said he saw the killings at Cheongwon as a teenager. “Every day for seven or eight days, I saw four trucks in the morning and three trucks in the afternoon coming loaded with people.”

In one of its strongest rulings so far, the commission said in July that killings in the village of Hampyong, in the country’s southwest, were “a crime against humanity.”

Chung Nam-sook, 80, one of the witnesses who spoke to commission investigators, said in a later interview that in December 1950, soldiers of the South Korean 11th Army Division stormed the village to hunt Communist guerrillas but instead attacked innocent villagers gathered in a field.

“They told us to light our cigarettes,” said Mr. Chung, who lived there. “Then they began shooting their rifles and machine guns. After a while, an officer called out, ‘Any of you who are still alive can stand up and go home now.’ Those who did were shot again.” Mr. Chung, who was shot seven times, survived by pretending to be dead under the heap of bodies.

In one 1950 atrocity, according to evidence presented to the commission, South Korean police officers intent on ferreting out Communists disguised themselves as a North Korean unit before entering villages around Naju, near Hampyong. When people welcomed them with Communist flags, they killed 97, the commission said.

As their town changed hands between the rival armies, historians said, villagers who had lost family members were quick to settle scores. More than 50 years later, families still hold grudges.

Despite the successes in uncovering mass killings, some victims and their relatives say they feel cheated because the commission was not granted the right to prosecute those who committed atrocities. Its mandate is to uncover the truth for the record, recommend corrections to textbooks and other records and aid reconciliation through compensation or services for the victims.

Ja Yong-soo’s father was among 218 victims of what the commission finally ruled last month to have been “unlawful killings” by Korean marines on the southern island of Cheju in 1950.

After being repeatedly ignored by previous governments, Mr. Ja and other victims’ relatives were rewarded last month when the commission finally ruled the killings unlawful. But any move to enact a special law to prosecute these atrocities is likely to set off protests by Korean conservatives. (The law would be needed because the statute of limitations has run out.)

“Many of those human butchers and their children are now rich and powerful,” Mr. Ja, 65, said. “What am I going to say when I die and meet my father in the heaven and he asks, ‘My son, what have you done to restore my honor?’”
Mr. Kim, the former soldier, admitted that he was in charge of executing 170 people at Hoengsong and Wonju around June 28, 1950.

He said some of those killed, the “Class A” group of active Communists, were “enemies” who had attacked police stations. “But those categorized as Class B and C were innocent peasants who were lured by the Communists’ promise to give them free land,” he said.

“Till today, I feel guilty for killing them,” he said. “I bow my head in contrition.”

Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting from Washington.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Blackwater protesters sentenced

This is from the following blog:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Blackwater protesters sentenced after judge clears courtroom

Subject: Blackwater protesters sentenced after judge clears courtroom

This requires “letters to the editor” of the Virginian-Pilot from all over the country; these people who have stood up in an area where the military (Hampton Naval Yards) has a huge presence need our support. I would encourage everyone to distribute this article widely, post it on blogs and bulletin boards, make sure every peace organization is aware of this and takes appropriate solidarity actions.

Please forward this to everyone on your e-mail lists.

Please submit for publication in all newspapers and newsletters.

On-line comments can be posted here:

Letters to the Editor can be submitted via this link:

I sent the following Letter to the Editor to the Virginian-Pilot the main daily for the area:

I am outraged that a Judge in North Carolina would close a court-room to the public and the media concerning the Blackwater protest arrests. This continuing war in Iraq is not only squandering away the resources we require for things like a national single-payer universal health care system; it is destroying our democracy. Thomas Jefferson must be rolling in his grave.

A former Virginia Beach resident.

Alan L. Maki
Warroad, Minnesota

Note: original material obtained via a link from an excellent blog in the Hampton Roads area:

Blackwater protesters sentenced after judge clears courtroom

By BILL SIZEMORE, The Virginian-Pilot

© December 6, 2007 | Last updated 11:07 PM Dec. 5


In a courtroom closed to the press and public, protesters were sentenced to jail Wednesday for re-enacting a Baghdad shooting incident at the front entrance of Blackwater .

They said they will appeal the verdicts, partly on the grounds that they were denied their constitutional right to a public trial.

Currituck County District Judge Edgar Barnes took the rare step of clearing the courtroom after trying one of the protesters, Steve Baggarly of Norfolk, in public.

The remaining six were then tried, convicted and sentenced behind closed doors.
The judge gave no reason for his action.

The seven received jail terms ranging from 10 to 45 days and were fined $100 each. They said they will not pay the fines. One was ordered to pay $450 restitution to Blackwater for damage to its property.

All were released pending their appeals.

After the trials, Baggarly speculated that the judge closed the courtroom to silence the group’s anti-war rhetoric.

“He didn’t want people influenced by our message,” Baggarly said. “There have been hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Iraq. If we’re going to speak about that, nobody is allowed to hear it. Obviously the system feels threatened by that. It loves darkness.”

Katy Parker, legal director of the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said she had never before heard of a similar action being taken by a North Carolina judge.

“It’s a clear violation of constitutional rights, not only of the defendants but the press and public,” she said. “They have a right to a public trial, so any trial that goes on behind closed doors is a farce.”

In the Oct. 20 demonstration at Blackwater’s Moyock headquarters, the protesters drove a small station wagon, covered with simulated bullet holes and smeared with red paint, onto Blackwater’s property.

They also smeared red handprints on two Blackwater signs.

The scene was intended to mimic that in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square on Sept. 16, when an Iraqi doctor and her son died in a fusillade of gunfire as their car approached a Blackwater diplomatic convoy.

They were among 17 Iraqis killed in the incident, which prompted a federal grand jury investigation and a demand from the Iraqi government that Blackwater’s security contractors be banned from the country.

The seven protesters were convicted of second-degree trespassing. Six were also convicted of resisting arrest, and one of injury to real property. Several went limp when they were arrested and had to be dragged from the scene.

During Baggarly’s trial, he was repeatedly cut short by the judge when he tried to discuss the morality of the Iraq war and Blackwater’s role in it. The only issue up for discussion was trespassing and the related charges, the judge said.

“We feel like Blackwater is trespassing in Iraq,” Baggarly told the judge. “And as for injuring property, they injure men, women and children every day.”

The others convicted were Beth Brockman of Durham, N.C.; Mark Colville of New Haven, Conn.; Peter DeMott of Ithaca, N.Y.; Mary Grace of Madison County, Va.; Laura Marks of Ayden, N.C.; and Bill Streit of Louisa County, Va.

Bill Sizemore, (757) 446-2276,

The Judge can be contacted here:

The Honorable Edgar L. Barnes

159 Fearing Place North
Manteo, N. C. 27954

Phone and Fax:

(252)-331-4814 (FAX)

An additional news report from:

The DailyAdvance

Judge finds all 7 Blackwater protesters guilty

By From Staff Reports

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

CURRITUCK - A District Court judge on Wednesday found seven protesters guilty of trespassing on Blackwater USA's property in Moyock in October.

Judge Edgar Barnes, who held part of the proceedings behind closed doors, handed down jail sentences ranging from between 10 and 45 days to the seven defendants. None of the sentences were active, however. All were suspended on the condition the protesters not violate any laws for one year and pay fines ranging from $100 to $450.

None of the defendants said they planned to pay their fines. However, none were expected to go to jail - at least not immediately - because all said they planned to appeal Barnes' rulings.

Only one of the cases was heard in open court.

Barnes found Steven John Baggarly, of 1321 West 38th St., Norfolk, Va. guilty of trespassing and resisting arrest in connection with the Oct. 20 protest on Blackwater's property in Currituck County. The judge dismissed a charge of damaging property.

Barnes sentenced Baggarly to 20 days in jail, suspended on the conditions he not violate any laws for a year and pay a $100 fine. He also sentenced Baggarly to one year of supervised probation.

Following the verdict, one of Baggarly's fellow defendants, Elizabeth Velkey Brockman, 45, of 1407 Pennsylvania Ave., Durham, urged Barnes to allow the remaining defendants to be tried as a group.

The judge agreed, but after Brockman stood up and declared her opposition to the Iraq war, Barnes suddenly ordered sheriff's deputies to clear the courtroom. Everyone except the defendants, prosecutors, sheriff's witnesses and a Blackwater official were immediately barred from the courtroom.

Barnes did not give a reason for clearing the courtroom.

According to the defendants, Barnes then proceeded to try their cases. The other defendants included:

• William Mathias Streight, 53, of 16560 Louisa Road, Trevilians, Va.

• Laura Lee Marks, 40, of 4261 Norris Store Road, Ayden;

• Mark Peter Colville, 46, of 203 Rosette St., New Haven, Conn.;

• Peter Johns DeMott, 60, of 133 Sheffield Road, Ithaca, N.Y.; and

• Mary Terese Grace, 51, of P.O. Drawer 189 Wolftown, Va.

With the exception of Grace, who was charged with second-degree trespassing, all four of the other defendants were charged with second-degree trespassing, resisting arrest and destruction of property.

Prior to Wednesday's court proceedings, a group of approximately 40-50 protesters, including the defendants, stood outside the Currituck Courthouse. Many held signs protesting Blackwater USA, the Moyock-based security company.

The original demonstration outside the entrance to Blackwater's Moyock compound on Oct. 20 involved approximately 40 protesters. The demonstration, organized by the Norfolk, Va.-based Catholic Worker group and Blackwater Watch, was held to protest the shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater guards in Baghdad on Sept. 16.

Six of the seven demonstrators arrested were in fact re-enacting the events of the deadly shooting as a protest against Blackwater.

According to a press release from Currituck Sheriff Susan Johnson, the protesters drove a station wagon covered with simulated bullet holes and smeared with red paint onto Blackwater?s property. They then laid on the ground, as if they had been shot.

The scene was intended to mimic that in Baghdad's Nisour Square, where an Iraqi doctor and her son died in gunfire as their car approached a Blackwater diplomatic convoy.

The protesters also smeared red handprints on two Blackwater signs, illustrating blood.

"Upon arrival (of sheriff's deputies) about 40 protesters, some splashed in red paint, began painting the signs belonging to Blackwater and blocking the roadway," Johnson said.

Deputies ordered the protestors to disperse and get out of the roadway in front of Blackwater, Johnson said. When six refused, they were arrested, she said.

Defendants said following Barnes' verdicts that the judge used a YouTube video of the demonstration as evidence against the protesters.

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk

Monday, December 3, 2007


I received this e-mail from Alan Maki. As usual, Alan adds his own particular brand of humor in distributing three Letters to the Editor from the Star Tribune including his own, concerning a very important issue to Minnesotans: Saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

While Sam Webb has attacked me, calling me the "bitch from Duluth," he continues to attack Alan Maki and the "Gus Hall 8."

After reading these letters which were a response to an Editorial and article published the week before, I don't think there is any question remaining that Sam Webb has a room or two for rent upstairs with a lot of space between his ears.

I called the Star Tribune and asked how many Letters to the Editor they received on this issue in response to their editorial and the associated Opinion Piece. I was told, "So many we don't have the time to count them all for you." I then asked, "How many of the letters were for saving the plant?" I was told, "Every single one of them except for a handful."

Hey, hey folks--- something is out of whack here. Sam Webb sits in his New York office which used to be occupied by Gus Hall who would have been in and out of Minnesota a dozen times on this issue meeting with folks all over the state encouraging this unprecedented development surrounding saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and there sits Sam Webb on his butt in New York taking pot-shots at all of us for raising our voices and our concerns on this important issue as he contemplates his navel as if he is awaiting an award from Hillary.

Again I think Alan has it right.


From: Alan Maki []

Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 3:44 PM

To: Sam Webb

Subject: Letters to Editor from around the state on Ford Plant in Sunday Minneapolis Star Tribune

Perhaps Dean Gunderson, Sam Webb, Dan Margolis, Scott Marshall and Mark Froemke would like to submit their own letter to the editor of the Star Tribune on this issue.

Dean Gunderson already wrote the letter; he might as well send it in. All that needs to be done is take off “Alan” and replace it with ”Letter to the Editor:”


The closure of the Ford plant in St Paul is a done deal.

There was an agreement reached regarding the affected

employees signed by the UAW and Ford Motor.

The campaigns we (St. Paul Club of the CPUSA- alm) are involved with in St Paul do not

center around the closure issue. Both Mark Froemke and

Scott Marshall have advised our district that there is nothing

we can do regarding the closure.

Dean Gunderson, Chair, St. Paul Club, Communist Party of the United States of America

A suggestion: Dean Gunderson might want to conclude his Letter to the Editor by saying: “Don’t worry; be happy. Brother, can you spare a dime? Vote for Hillary.”

Such a Letter would allow Sam Webb to work in closer alliance with his coalition partners in the Democratic Party, the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and that ever faithful coalition partner--- the Ford Motor Company. I am sure UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and his top man in charge of Ford bargaining, the stalwart labor protagonist, Bob King, would be tickled pink--- a slight pun intended.

Anyways, here are three Letters to the Editor that were actually published in the Sunday, December 2, 2007 Star Tribune “Opinion” section page OP4:


Note: I give the PWW and PA the right to reprint my letter, “State Should Own It” in its entirety. Failing publication in the PWW and PA I might turn it into bookmarks for the Gus Hall Action Club to distribute as a promotion for Gus Hall’s book: Working Class USA. Of course it would carry the following warning: Dangerous factional material; do not allow to get into the hands of working people. Beware of the “Gus Hall Eight.”

State should own it

Your excellent editorial of Nov. 25 on saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant missed one important point.

For all practical purposes there is little chance of saving this plant unless it is brought under public ownership; free enterprise has failed to save the plant and the jobs.

Taxpayers already have a huge investment in this plant. More tax-dollars should be invested to save this plant and these important manufacturing jobs. What taxpayers finance they should own.

Minnesota legislators have a fiduciary responsibility to see to it that this plant survives through public ownership.


What's the real cost?

As a strong supporter of electric vehicles, I applaud David Morris' Nov. 25 column. However, I question his statement that an electric vehicle can be operated at a penny per mile as opposed to 13 cents per mile for gasoline.

Do the math: Assuming it takes 10 hp to maintain a vehicle at 30 miles per hour; in the two minutes it takes to go a mile, that's 7.5 kW times two minutes or about 0.25 kWhr. Xcel charges me about 10 cents per kWhr. Assuming 30 percent efficiency in conversion from power plug to battery to drive wheel, that puts the cost at closer to 8 cents.

Even if the power company gives a generous discount for nonpeak power, the penny per mile figure seems a little optimistic. And don't get me started on depreciation of a costly battery.


A diesel pickup

David Morris' commentary on the St Paul Ford plant was right on target, maybe more than he realizes.

Ford is known for its pickups, especially the diesel-powered F250. It's a nearly 6,000-pound behemoth, known for durability and for the powerful and efficient diesel engine. But for most of us who don't have a real need for a vehicle capable of hauling several tons, whether for work or for play, the F250 diesel is not a reasonable choice.

Almost completely unknown to North American automotive consumers is the fact that Ford manufactures and sells a powerful and highly efficient diesel-powered Ranger pickup. Unfortunately, this is sold only in South America.

Ford could, as it has done a number of times in its history, revolutionize the automotive industry, by manufacturing and selling this high-efficiency diesel-powered small pickup. My guess is that this diesel-powered Ranger would operate in the 40+ mpg range. Ford dealerships would be inundated with customers.

There are always concerns about meeting emissions standards with a diesel. But given our nation's environmental and energy challenges, I'm confident that this pickup would spawn innovation both in the automotive marketplace and in more home-grown approaches such as biodiesel.


Here are the links to the articles responded to; it seems Minnesotans by and large are a factional bunch:

An excellent editorial:

A suggestion on the use of the Plant:

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541


Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk

Hillary’s Defense Dough

Sam Webb's "coalition partner;" read on:

Hillary’s Defense Dough

By Ruth Conniff, December 2007 Issue "Progressive" Magazine

In the so-called money primary, Democrats are running a lap ahead of the Republicans, and Hillary Clinton is crushing the other Democrats.

The candidates’ third quarter reports, released in mid-October, showed that Hillary had raised $90.9 million. That exceeds her $75 million goal for 2007, the Center for Responsive Politics points out, noting that Hillary is asking her big donors, the “Hillraisers,” to come up with $1 million a piece—ten times what George W. Bush asked his elite donors, the Pioneers, to pony up. Barack Obama is running second to Hillary, at $80.2 million, while Mitt Romney has raised $62.8 million and Rudy Giuliani is at $47.3 million.

But the big news is the massive contributions by defense contractors to Hillary. Talk about “making history.”

The defense sector as a whole gave Hillary $122,988 this quarter, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, compared with Romney’s $82,975, Giuliani’s $58,400, and Obama’s $57,990. Only Chris Dodd, who has a major General Dynamics submarine project in Groton, Connecticut, fared better than Hillary, with $168,900.

Reversing their historical pattern of giving lopsidedly to Republicans, employees of the nation’s biggest weapons makers chose Hillary as their candidate, reports Thomas Edsall, Columbia journalism professor and Huffington Post political editor. Analyzing records of individual candidate contributions of $500 or more, Edsall found that employees of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and Raytheon gave Democratic Presidential candidates $103,900 and Republicans only $86,800 in the third quarter. That’s a big vote of confidence for the Democratic Party, and particularly the frontrunner.

“The contributions clearly suggest that the arms industry has reached the conclusion that Democratic prospects for 2008 are very good indeed,” Edsall writes.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Clinton has befriended the defense industry (the contractors tend to be big donors to members on Armed Services, who control their access to lucrative government contracts). She has also issued calls for beefing up the military, increasing troop strength in Iraq and, most recently, refusing to discount the possibility of war with Iran.

But taking money from big military contractors isn’t the most troublesome fundraising issue in the current election season. The more worrisome group of donors is the private contractors that have been quietly taking over the war business from the military. It’s one thing to endorse boondoggle weapons programs like Star Wars, as Hillary did, or bring home the bacon for the base in your state, like Dodd. But the rise of the mercenary industry is a new threat to our democracy.

Democrats have begun to question the lack of accountability and oversight of such Iraq War profiteers as Halliburton and Blackwater. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held hearings on the issue, explaining that Congress doesn’t even know how much money these private contractors receive or how they spend it. And despite being a favorite Senator of General Dynamics, well before the Democrats regained Congress, Dodd introduced an amendment after Abu Ghraib to prevent the use of private military contractors for interrogations.

But now the construction and mercenary firms in Iraq have been reaching out to Democrats. “As Democrats continue to spearhead oversight efforts, defense contractors are swiftly hiring lobbyists with Democratic ties,” writes Lindsay Renick Mayer of the Center for Responsive Politics.

To help answer questions about a rash of killings by his employees in Iraq, Erik Prince, the founder and CEO of Blackwater, hired the PR and lobbying firm run by Hillary Clinton’s top campaign strategist, Mark Penn. Penn is the CEO of Burson-Marsteller, whose lobbying arm, BKSH, prepped Prince for his testimony.

Among the other companies in the metastasizing war profiteering network is the Fluor Group, which testified before Waxman’s committee about its construction contracts in Iraq. Fluor gave Hillary Clinton $5,000 in the 2006 election cycle, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.

As much as the anti-war Left has tried to push Hillary Clinton on her vote to go to war in Iraq and her statements on Iran, maybe the most important questions the frontrunner should answer now are what role private contractors should play in these wars, how they should be monitored, and whether there is a conflict of interest for public officials who take their money.

Ruth Conniff is the political editor of The Progressive.