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Korea: The Ulchi Freedom Guardian War-Games

(Contributed)

The stated and not-stated objectives of US-led Western defence and security systems.

There is little ambiguity with United States diplomacy toward the Asia-Pacific region and their global foreign policy. It is marked by an incessant military stance specifically planned to defend 'US interests' through the full implementation of the so-called Global Transformation of Defence and Security (GTDS).

The recent US-led Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercise was yet a further example of their aggressive diplomatic stance.
A closer look at the war-games, however, has revealed two important features of the 2017 annual exercise and the heightening of tensions on the Korean peninsula.
 
The 2017 UFG included contingency planning for nuclear war scenarios. Secondly, a major civil defence component has major implications for political systems not only within the Republic of Korea (ROK), but elsewhere.
We are living through another Cold War which will be intensified in future years.

*****

The 2017 US-led UFG military exercises in the ROK and elsewhere began on 21 August and were planned to run for the remainder of the month. They came at a particularly sensitive time for the ROK government of President Moon Jae-in which was elected to office with a mandate which included moves to introduce peaceful diplomacy with the northern Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and reopen the joint Kaesong Trade Park with support from China.
 
Carefully worded media releases from the US Defence Department stated 17,000 of their troops would accompany 40,000 ROK counterparts together with a further 10,000 'civilian South Korean government personnel who train their civil defence responses' and smaller delegations of personnel from Australia, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, New Zealand and the Netherlands. (1)
 
The global relevance of the 2017 UFG for the US can be seen by four of the countries actively involved being part of the Five Eyes Only defence and security provision, the US being the fifth. Colombia, likewise, has been a highly strategic military hub for US interests in Latin America for decades. Denmark, similarly, is a further hub in Scandinavia with special responsibility toward the Russian Federation.
 
The UFG military exercise also drew upon wider US facilities in the Asia-Pacific region attached to the Pacific Fleet composed of over two hundred ships which amount to about sixty per cent of total US global capability and 140,000 military personnel which are 'capable of responding to threats in the Pacific'. (2)
 
The 2017 UFG military exercise further drew upon US-led facilities from the previous Defence Secretary Rumsfeld period during the first Bush administration when plans were drawn for a Global Transformation of Defence and Security (GTDS). The plans have now been fully implemented and include Japan as a regional hub for US interests in the north of the region with Australia as a counterpart in the south, with both parts directly linked to the Pentagon through sensitive military facilities. The plans led to major protests in Japan which changed its pacifist constitution to enable the GTDS to become operational.
 
It is, therefore, highly significant to note initial US Defence Department statements gave no reference to Japanese involvement with the UFG. They did not want unfavourable publicity. Other sources covering the UFG, however, revealed 'a live-fire exercise – also scheduled – is already under way on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, involving US and Japanese troops'. (3) The exercise was subsequently followed by further three-day live-fire drills with 2,400 Japanese troops using tanks, field-guns and helicopters in the hilly areas near Mount Fuji, 80kms west of Tokyo. (4) 
 
The role of the GTDS with Australian involvement, likewise, was also publicised indirectly through official media releases from Canberra revealing 'Australia could not avoid engagement in any major conflict involving the US in the Asia-Pacific region' and statements from the office of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (5) Australian and US diplomacy, at the present time, however, could best be described as problematic. 
 
Official US Defence Department media releases, for example, stated the 2017 UFG would include 'amphibious landings, live-fire exercises, counter-terrorism drills and simulated battle-plans'. (6) In another official media release from Canberra, however, Australian Defence Department officials stated the 2017 UFG would not include 'field-training, such as live-fire exercises or tank manoeuvring'. (7)
Other media channels also divulged far more revealing information, lifting the lid upon spurious and duplicitous agendas. (6) A defence official reported in the ROK newspaper Chosun Ilbo, for example, acknowledged the 2017 UFG included an exercise to 'play out a nuclear war scenario, as opposed to a conventional conflict, for the first time'. (8)
 
Military planning for nuclear conflict invariably include preparation for well-placed people to disappear into underground bunkers with their valuable possessions. The mass of the population is left to left to die long and lingering deaths outside from radiation-related diseases. The preparation for such hostilities, however, provide governments with a pretext and convenient cover for secretive and repressive measures for use against opposition figures and those assessed as adversaries. Such measures invariably draw upon expertise of civil defence and counter-intelligence officers and their agents.
 
It is, therefore, of no surprise to discover the 2017 UFG included about 10,000 civilian ROK government personnel. (9) Those concerned were receiving training for further, extra-curricula activities, as deeper-placed agents within the corridors of power: faceless people acting as eyes and ears of state apparatus. The planned agenda is the natural develop of recent US military training provision.
 
The US Defence Department has, in recent times, begun counter-insurgency training after decades of lack of active interest. In fact, media releases have acknowledged military trainers have had to ‘re-learn everything', and 're-acquire long-lost skills' through the use of 'old army jungle manuals'. (10)
 
Most of the old military manuals were discarded by the US Defence Department in the early to mid-1990s period. A likely explanation being the beginning of the US-led so-called New World Order and globalisation. Decision-makers in Washington and their counterparts in the Pentagon regarded the US being able to achieve global hegemonic status through economic means and their control of international financial institutions. The planning, however, has failed in a spectacular manner: the US is in economic turmoil. Its anaemic growth is also set to fall still further. A recent report from Macquarie have predicted a slowing to below-trend 1.6 per cent for 2018, falling to 1.4 per cent in coming years. (11) 
 
Decision-makers in the US, therefore, have opted to return to previous methods of conducting foreign policy which included extensive use of Cold War positions. A closer study of the US military manuals from the period has revealed a chilling world vision of repression, isolation and use of agents of political expedience.
 
US Army Regulation 381-20 which developed from Project X in the 1960s, for example, was issued through intelligence officers on 27 September 1975 and became operational practice on 1 November as stated on the manual cover. (12) It was used to coordinate counter-intelligence activities worldwide and defined their target as 'those who oppose the US Defence Department during peacetime and all levels of conflict'. (13)  Once a target was identified an agent completed an extensive form at the back of the manual and passed it to their controller. (14) Surveillance procedures then began to build a personality profile and establish all contacts.
 
Agents, wanting to keep themselves gainfully employed, were therefore encouraged to complete as many of identification forms as possible. From previous studies it would appear those based in the ROK will be very busy indeed in the future. One Korean study conducted in 2004, for example, found '20% of South Koreans said that they would support North Korea if it came under attack by the US'. (15)   
 
The ROK also has a long history of being subject to draconian legislation and other unpopular Cold War regulations which restrict contact with the DPRK and ban public statements of support for Pyongyang together with membership of specified sympathetic organisations punishable by up to five years in prison'. (16)
 
The US Army Regulation AR 381-20 manual also included provision for agents to infiltrate organisations with the specific intention of compiling black, grey and white-lists of an entire population and to act as agent provocateurs in societies where the concept of democracy was regarded as terrorism. (17) The intention was to identify those regarded as subversive and to create a pretext for greater military involvement in civil society and draconian legislation which included provision for 'disappearances'.
 
In societies such as Argentina during the 1970's and early 1980s the manuals were used extensively; a Dirty War included the forced disappearances of tens of thousands of those regarded as enemies of the state. The Dirty War was not, however, a military operation conducted with precision. In fact, it included widespread error, and: “A distinctive quality of the Argentine terror was the strong element of the purely slapdash about it. You could be kidnapped and tortured, and most likely murdered, simply because you had the same surname as someone the military murder gangs were looking for, or you drove the same kind of car, or you simply lived nearby and might know something.” (18)
 
Other similar documents from the period provide evidence of the massive intelligence operation was also outsourced to an array of private providers. One, British-based Security Advisory Services, became the main international recruiting agency for the mercenaries for Angola in the mid-1970s. Manuals from their organisation, designed to attract muscular Walter Mitty-types, reveal training provision where small group penetration and psychological warfare techniques existed alongside the uplifting of individuals from hostile territory or captivity together and squadron operations. (19)
 
Other, slightly more respectable organisations, nevertheless, reveal a similar approach to maintenance of the existing order in western countries and elsewhere. In an official British military document from the period which was distributed throughout the Commonwealth, it was stated: “The first enemy is the articulate, revolutionary, militant left, working inside the democracies.” (20)
 
While the statement revealed the intelligence-based concept of 'the enemy within' it did not specify the supposed second enemy were all those who did not support such repression and traditional ruling-class positions. So much for the concept of level playing-fields, trade-unions and normal industrial relations procedures for ordinary working people.
 
After many of the military manuals were declassified in the early 1990s the US intelligence services eventually purged itself of about a third of their agents. It acknowledged they had employed people with 'sordid records' and the 'CIA seemed to specialise in hiring murderous thugs and military officers' which was the hallmark of 'the bad habits of the Cold War'. (21)
 
We are now seeing a return to the dark days of previous times.
 
Under such circumstances it is understandable why the northern Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) regard such military exercises as UFG 2017 which took place just outside their territorial waters and sovereign territory and elsewhere with concern.    
Any sensible and progressive-minded person elsewhere should, likewise, be critical of US-led buffoonery in the name of credible diplomacy toward an entire region of the world and global foreign policy.

*****
1.     Australian support for US war games, News/World, The New Daily, 22 August 2017.
2.     Admiral sacked over US collision, Australian, 24 August 2017.
3.     War Games In A Tense Zone, Australian, 21 August 2017.
4.     Xi takes a shine to Moon summit, Australian, 25 August 2017.
5.     Alliance locks us in if US goes to war, Australian, 15 August 2017; and,
        PM's war games support 'suicidal', Australian, 22 August 2017.
6.     Korean games no risk, Aussies to fight them on the desktops: Payne, Australian, 18 August 2017.
7.     US and South Korea kick off annual war games, Australian, 22 August 2017.
8.     Quoted: Ibid., Australian, 22 August 2017.
9.     The New Daily, op. cit., 22 August 2017.
10.   US Army gets grip again on jungle warfare, The Weekend Australian, 18-19 March 2017.
11.   Economists get a bit defensive about a slowdown in US growth, Australian, 25 August 2017.
12.   Website: Army Regulation AR 381-20 Military Intelligence US Army Counter Intelligence 75; see also, Website: Army Foreign Intelligence Assistance Program/Wikipedia.
13.   Ibid., AR 381-20, Section 1.5, Mission and Policy.
14.   Ibid., Army Regulation AR 381-20
15.   Uneasy Korea braced for America's big squeeze, The Guardian Weekly (U.K.), 10-16 December 2004.
16.   Ibid.
17.   Website: Army Regulation AR 381-20.; and, Website: NATO Secret Armies, Daniel Ganser; and, Dawn of the International Socialist Revolution, (English Edition), Stefan Engel, (India, 2011), pp. 219-225.
18.   The Disappeared, Voices from a Secret War, John Simpson and Jana Bennett, (London, 1985), page 15.
19.   The Whores of War, Mercenaries Today, Wilfred Burchett and Derek Roebuck, (London, 1977), pp. 30-31.
20.   Secret Services and Democracy, John Bruce Lockhart, Royal United Services Institute, Brassey's Defence Annual Yearbook, 1975-76, page 67.
21.   The CIA cleanses itself, The New York Times, 4 March 1997.

 

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