Tuesday, December 23, 2014

North Korea: Longstanding US Punching Bag

North Korea: Longstanding US Punching Bag

by Stephen Lendman

America needs enemies. For geopolitical reasons. To justify its war machine. Spend more on militarism called defense than the rest of the world combined. 

Let war profiteers gorge at the public trough. Pretend its military might protects against world threats. Divert attention from Main Street Depression conditions.

North Korea is Washington's longstanding punching bag. Straight from central casting. Truman's war never ended. An uneasy armistice persists.

Pyongyang wanted normalized relations for decades. US administrations refuse. Tensions remain. Occasionally heightened like now.

Baseless accusations accuse North Korea of hacking Sony Pictures' "The Interview." Destabilizing US propaganda. Negatively portraying leader Kim Jong-un. Including a plot to assassinate him.

FBI assistant cyber division director, Joe Demarest, initially said: "There is no attribution to North Korea at this point."

Sony at first called the incident a likely inside job. Involving a disgruntled employee. Abandoning the notion after the FBI changed tactics.

Blaming North Korea. Citing no verifiable evidence. None exists. Weeks earlier, a group called Guardians of Peace (GOP) claimed responsibility.

Releasing nearly 140 GBs of internal Sony data and communications. Perhaps the largest ever breach of corporate records. 

GOP claimed it harvested Sony records for over a year. Before going public. Warning it compromised terabytes of Sony network data.

Containing thousands of internal and personal communications Including film scripts. Proposals. Pending projects.

Emails to and from Sony Pictures Television president Steve Mosko and Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Any Pascal. Containing potentially embarrassing corporate information.

Wired.com addressed the hacking incident. Saying "attribution in breaches is difficult" at best.

"Assertions about who is behind any attack should be treated with a hefty dose of skepticism." 

"Skilled hackers use proxy machines and false IP addresses to cover their tracks or plant false clues inside their malware to throw investigators off their trail." 

"When hackers are identified and apprehended, it's generally because they've made mistakes or because a cohort got arrested and turned informant."

Nation-state attacks are sophisticated, said Wired.com. "(A)ttribution is no less difficult."

Hackers can easily plant false flags. Pointing away from themselves. Sorting things out is difficult to impossible.

US intelligence agencies often point fingers the wrong way. So do government officials. Misleading the public. For geopolitical reasons.

North Korea's UN envoy Ja Song Nam wrote UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon the following:

"To allow the production and distribution of such a film on the assassination of an incumbent head of a sovereign state should be regarded as the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war."

"The United States authorities should take immediate and appropriate actions to ban the production and distribution of the aforementioned film; otherwise, it will be fully responsible for encouraging and sponsoring terrorism."

A November 21 email hackers sent to Sony executives three days before the attack said nothing about North Korea or the film.

It warned of "great damage." Sought "monetary compensation…Pay the damage or Sony Pictures will be bombarded as a whole," it said.

Signed "God'sApstls." The same phrase found in malware used in the November 24 attack. Wiping out many Sony computer systems.

A message headlined "Hacked by #GOP" referenced a previous unheeded warning.

Saying "(w)e've already warned you, and this is just the beginning." Hackers likely had a financial motive.

It's unclear what dollar amount they sought. What's known points fingers away from North Korea.

What could it hope to gain from hacking a grade B film? Risking possible retaliation. From Washington. Other nations. World public opinion expressing anger. Media scoundrels piling on.

On December 18, the right-wing Washington Free Beacon headlined  "DIA: North Korea Planned Attacks on US Nuclear Plants."

According to a so-called declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report. Dated September 13, 2004.

Allegedly involving five covert commando units. Training internally in America to attack. Sounding more like another grade B film plot.

Claiming the North Korean Ministry of People's Armed Force "established five liaison offices in the early 1990s, to train and infiltrate operatives into the United States to attack nuclear power plants and major cities in case of hostilities."

In response to a FOIA request, FBI officials claimed no knowledge of North Korean commando teams. No records of a Pyongyang Reconnaissance Bureau.

No likely DPRK plot to attack US sites. What possibly could North Korea gain from doing so. Massive US retaliation would follow. 

Perhaps turning the entire country to rubble. Killing millions. Replicating Truman's war. Korean expert Bruce Cumings explaining its "extraordinary destructiveness."

Including "widespread and continuous use of firebombing…(T)hreats to use nuclear and chemical weapons. (D)estr(oying) North Korean dams in the final stages of war."

An estimated three to four million killed. Unimaginable overall casualties inflicted. Innocent civilians suffered most. Terror weapons were used.

America wages wars mercilessly. Cumings said non-nuclear war "leveled North Korea and killed millions of civilians." 

"North Koreans tell you that for three years they faced a daily threat of being burned (alive) with napalm." 

By "1952 just about everything in northern and central Korea had been completely leveled. What was left of the population survived in caves."

"Bomb damage assessment showed 18 of 22 major cities were half or more obliterated. Big industrial ones were from 75 - 100% destroyed." 

Villages resembled "low, wide mounds of violent ashes." Pyongyang fears America for good reason. It wants no repeat of its war.

On Monday, Security Council members addressed accusations of North Korean human rights abuses. 

AP calling the session an apparent "first time that any country's human rights situation has been scheduled for" Security Council debate. Despite objections from China and Russia.

US neocon ambassador Samantha Power said "(t)oday, we have broken the council's silence. We have begun to shine a light, and what it has revealed is terrifying."

America exceeds all other nations in human rights abuses.  None match its barbarity. Ruthlessness. Contempt for fundamental rights. 

Committing genocidal high crimes against peace. 
Waging war on its own people. Using its homeland police state apparatus. 

Its gulag prison system the world's largest. Power left what's most important unmentioned.

North Korea refused to participate in Monday's session. Reproaching the UN for double standards.

Accusing Washington and rogue allies of irresponsibly using human rights as a weapon against its government.

Its UN envoy Ja Song-nam saying:

"The so-called 'human rights issue' in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is politically fabricated and, therefore, it is not at all relevant to regional or international peace and security."

"(T)he recently revealed CIA torture crimes committed by the United States, which have been conducted worldwide in the most brutal medieval forms, are the gravest human rights violations in the world." 

Requiring "a thorough probe into the CIA torture crimes," he stressed.

Itar Tass said Russia and China voted against discussing North Korean human rights abuses. 

Eleven out of 15 Security Council members decided otherwise. Including America, Australia, Britain, France, Jordan, Lithuania, and South Korea. Chad and Nigeria abstained.

Decisions on Security Council procedural issues require majority approval. Veto rights apply only to resolutions submitted.

On Monday, North Korean Internet connections failed for hours. Perhaps part of what Obama called an unspecified "proportionate response at a time and place of our choosing."

Obama irresponsibly blaming North Korea rof "cybervandalism." In response to baseless FBI hacking accusations.

Cyber experts called Monday's attack one of the worst North Korean network failures in years.

Dyn Research Internet analysis director Doug Madory said North Korea's system became unstable late Friday.

Worsening over the weekend. Failing entirely on Monday. "Their networks are under duress," said Madory.

"This is consistent with a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on their routers." Overloading them until they collapse. 

At the same time, calling it "notoriously difficult" to attribute blame. DDoS attacks are easy to replicate, he said.

The New York Times calls "disruption of computers and networks…part of the American offensive playbook."

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan ducked suggestions of US responsibility.

"Saying "(w)e have no new information regarding North Korea today…(W)e'd refer you to that government for comment."

Pyongyang is connected online through China United Network Communications Group Co. (China Unicom).

On Monday, it went dark until hours later. Whether from Washington attacking its network isn't clear.

According to Arbor Networks, at least six previous denial-of-service attacks originated from America.

North Korea has limited Internet usage. Its networks are vulnerable to attacks.

It may never be known if Washington bears responsibility for what happened. Most important is what's next.

A previous article called North Korea America's punching bag. China its target. 

Wanting it marginalized. Weakened. Isolated. Contained. The aim of Obama's Asia/Pacific pivot. 

Advancing America's military footprint. In a part of the world hostile to invaders. Vietnam echoes remain audible. 

Permanent war is official US policy. Waging it on humanity reflects it. 

Whether Washington intends challenging China military remains to be seen. Lunatics influencing policy make anything possible.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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