New Reports: U.S.-South Korean Killing Fields, 100,000+ Executed

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Associated Press is reporting shocking news of mass graves being uncovered in South Korea. The expose is partly due to the work of a South Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The mass executions of many tens of thousands took place in 1950, only weeks after North Korean armies invaded the South. One mass grave was exposed by a typhoon a few years ago. Recently declassified U.S. documents showed the Americans had taken pictures of a mass killing outside Daejeon. As reported at ABC News:

With U.S. military officers sometimes present, and as North Korean invaders pushed down the peninsula, the southern army and police emptied South Korean prisons, lined up detainees and shot them in the head, dumping the bodies into hastily dug trenches. Others were thrown into abandoned mines or into the sea. Women and children were among those killed. Many victims never faced charges or trial….

Hundreds of sets of remains have been uncovered so far, but researchers say they are only a tiny fraction of the deaths. The commission estimates at least 100,000 people were executed, in a South Korean population of 20 million.

That estimate is based on projections from local surveys and is “very conservative,” said Kim. The true toll may be twice that or more, he told The Associated Press.

There are supposedly an estimated 150 mass graves around the country, yet to be unearthed. And while U.S. military and CIA documents discuss the killings, officially, the U.S. maintained executions were reportedly the work of the “murderous barbarism” of the North Koreans. But evidence now suggests the executions were ordered by U.S.-installed puppet President Syngman Rhee. (Rhee was the OSS’s man in Korea during World War II. The OSS was the precursor to the CIA.) General MacArthur, leading “allied” forces in Korea, called the mass executions an “‘internal matter’, even though he controlled South Korea’s military.

The Cover-Up, and What We Must Do Now

How could this have been covered up so long, you ask? A former Air Force intelligence officer tried to tell the story in a 1981 book. The late Donald Nichols told of witnessing “the unforgettable massacre of approximately 1,800 at Suwon,” 20  miles south of Seoul.” Another story on the subject by AP describes how reporters tried to tell the story back in 1950, only to have it denied and covered up.

British journalist James Cameron wrote about mass prisoner shootings in the South Korean port city of Busan – then spelled Pusan – for London’s Picture Post magazine in the fall of 1950, but publisher Edward Hulton ordered the story removed at the last minute.

Earlier, correspondent Alan Winnington reported on the shooting of thousands of prisoners at Daejeon in the British communist newspaper The Daily Worker, only to have his reporting denounced by the U.S. Embassy in London as an “atrocity fabrication”….

Associated Press correspondent O.H.P. King reported on the shooting of 60 political prisoners in Suwon, south of Seoul, and wrote in a later memoir he was “shocked that American officers were unconcerned” by questions he raised about due process for the detainees.

These mass killings were goddamned war crimes of an immense, killing fields nature. The South Korean government and army of that time were basically creations of the United States. U.S. officers were present at some of these killings (that we know about already), and covered up what they knew — covered up mass murder!

After “shock and awe” in Iraq, the carpetbombing of Vietnam, the mass executions of the Phoenix Project, and the thousands imprisoned and untold tortured at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and other “global war on terror” U.S. prisons (including the detention of thousands of minors), after these revelations and many, many more, it is time that Americans woke up and began to accept the reality of their history. That history is far bloodier than they care to imagine, and the fact that atrocities of this magnitude were done by or under the guidance of Americans is a hideous truth that we must not hide from.

More importantly, we should not let those implicated in crimes past and present escape without accountability. A civil commission of the most respected Americans — none of whom should be from government or the military, as they are too tainted — should be assembled to investigate the full extent of U.S. involved war crimes. This should include the evidence about use of biological weapons by the United States, as well, during the Korean War. The use of torture post-9/11 should also top the agenda.

We cannot have a clean start, a la Obama, without facing the truth, as ugly as it may be. I ask all of you: are we really a genocidal country? Do we let mass murder go unpunished? How has it come to this, that one has to even ask such questions in this day and age? Speak out now. U.S. militarism has led us to the gates of a moral holocaust. It is happening now.

Also posted at Daily Kos and Invictus

18 comments

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    • Valtin on May 19, 2008 at 10:36 am
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    will take awhile to aborb, like a body blow to the solar plexus. The entire history of the Korean War will have to be rewritten, as well as the history of mass murder and war crimes in the past 60 years. And the U.S. will come out once again as a major criminal state involved in hideous mass murder.

    How much longer will the U.S. population wallow in a numbed state of fantastic escape mingled with impotent, whimpering protests?

  1. We don’t need to go any further than “our” own country to find examples of war crimes, of genocide, and torture. Nor do we have to restrain ourselves to the historical age of America. We can go all the way back to the residents of Plymouth Rock to find the earliest examples of genocide, and probably torture. This country was founded on the principle of genocide as an acquisition tool, all the way through it’s history. Very sad, but true.

  2. were likely the main targets of these massacres.

    CIA and U.S. military intelligence documents circulating even before the Winnington report, classified “secret” and since declassified, told of the executions by the South Koreans. Lt. Col. Bob Edwards, U.S. Embassy military attache in South Korea, wrote in conveying the Daejeon photos to Army intelligence in Washington that he believed nationwide “thousands of political prisoners were executed within (a) few weeks” by the South Koreans.

    Rhee was a real piece of work:

    As president, Rhee assumed dictatorial powers even before the Korean War broke out in 1950. He allowed the internal security force (headed by his right-hand man, Kim Chang-ryong) to detain and torture suspected Communists and North Korean agents. His government also oversaw several massacres, the most notable one being on the island of Jeju island in response to an uprising by leftist factions.

    He basically rounded up anyone who complained about him, labeled them Communist sympathizers, threw them in jail, tortured them, and (now we know) shot them.

    The worst of all, Rhee was reinstated after the war, where he continued to brook no opposition, even from the Queen.

    Following the Korean War and for the remainder of his rule, he kept imprisoned the Dowager Queen Yun Empress Sunjeong of the Korean Empire in Suin Hall, a narrow and unsuitable cottage in Jeongneung, Seoul for fear of the respect the people held for her, and he attempted to claim he was related to the royal Yi family.

    Guatemala, Chile, Viet Nam, Iran, etc. etc.; Rhee was just another in a long line of Authoritarian thugs on the US Government payroll.

  3. our name, but I’m beginning to feel not surprising.  It is surprising to note that this has all been under cover for lo these many years.

    That we have purported ourselves to be do-gooders over time is the epitome of our hyprocrisy, when, in fact, we have been and are quite the opposite.

    Maybe, the only way for this country to definitively change course would be for it to become subject to a tribunal(s) for war crimes.

    I don’t know if you have seen this article:

    ‘Western Leaders Are War Criminals’

    Saturday, April 26th, 2008

    By Mick Meaney – RINF

    The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, has echoed calls for Western leaders to be charged with war crimes over the invasion of Iraq.

    Speaking at Imperial College in London Mahathir, who was in office from 1981 to 2003, singled out US President George Bush, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australia’s former prime minister John Howard as he wants to see them tried “in absence for war crimes committed in Iraq”. . . .

    Among the mountain of war crimes Western leaders are guilty of include:-

    The illegal use of napalm and other chemical weapons

    Intentionally torturing and abusing detainees

    Blocking aid convoys

    Killing unarmed civilians, including shooting into family homes

    Western leaders are also guilty of many other violations of the Geneva Convention, the Charter of the United Nations, the Nuremberg Charter, International Law and the Constitution of the United States, including crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.

    International law professors have called the attack against Iraq “a fundamental breach of international law (that) would seriously threaten the integrity of the international legal order that has been in place since the end of the Second World War.” . . .

    (short article — worth reading)

    Thank you, Valtin, for bringing this shattering news to us.  As you say, it takes a while to absorb.  

    Re your comment, “How much longer will the U.S. …?”  Educating the populace is, I think, the first and foremost problem.  The media has been and is the biggest culprit and enemy of the populace, by its absolute omissions and deliberate failure to bring truthful news to it!!!!

    • WSComn on May 19, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Skeletons and Cadavers.

    Skulls and Bones.

  4. …is a blessing, I continue to tell myself.  But I am so tired of feeling sick to my stomach from how little progress we have made from these atrocities, virtually none other than the sickening awareness.

    But I must keep going, keep facing reality, keep on trying to find a way to change, evolve the consciosness which has permitted and accepted such horrors.

    Thanks, Valtin, for your important reports.

    • DWG on May 20, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    I am reminded of the indignation Americans had after WWII at the revelations over German and Japanese atrocities during the war and our overblown sense of moral superiority. It looks like the only lesson we learned was ‘don’t get caught.’  

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