Seymour M. Hersh: Whose sarin? (London Review of Books)
Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.
US knew Syrian extremists could make sarin, but covered it up (RT)
Michael Collins: Seymour Hersh, Sarin, and the Obama Deception on Syria WMD (thepeoplesvoice)
Michel Kilo: A Shower of Spokesmen (aSharq al-Awsat)
The outside world is benefitting greatly from the complete paralysis in the internal situation in Syria and its failure to live up to the expectations of one of the greatest and most courageous revolutions in history. Thus a serious phenomenon with dangerous results has emerged. This phenomenon has seen a proliferation of people speaking on behalf of the increasingly divided Syrian revolution. This is a phenomenon that has a number of dangerous repercussions, including increasing the state of despair among the Syrian rebels and the opposition, while also causing large categories of Syrian men and women to disavow the revolution and view it as a futile attempt that will have a very high cost. As a result, revolutionary organizations that had previously enjoyed mass support, playing a vital role in the continuation of the revolution, are finding it increasingly difficult to survive.
Jamie Doucette, Se-Woong Koo: Distorting Democracy: Politics by Public Security in Contemporary South Korea (Japan Focus)
Although a full year has not elapsed since the election of South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye [Pak Kŭnhye 朴槿惠], there are already troubling signs that her term as President is going to be a difficult period for both the health of Korean democracy and for liberal and progressive political forces. In the months since she was elected, significant evidence of political and electoral interference by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and other state agencies has come to light, leading to an expanding series of political scandals, most notably the indictment of former NIS director Won Sei-hoon [Won Sehun 元世勳].
A sitting lawmaker, Lee Seok-ki [Ri Sŏkki 李石基], has been arrested on suspicion of sedition and plotting a rebellion, as well as charges of violating Korea’s National Security Law (NSL). Citing this arrest, the Ministry of Justice has recently moved to disband the United Progressive Party (UPP) [T’onghap jinbodang 統合進步黨], of which Lee is a member, charging that the party’s ‘progressive democracy’ platform is based on “the so-called founding ideology of North Korea”.
Tania Branigan: What does Jang Song-thaek’s ousting mean for North Korea? (Guardian)
“In my view, we cannot even say really if Kim Jong-un was behind this or what exactly this means about Kim. It is done in his name, but it is done by the elite as a group,” said John Delury of Yonsei University. …
“The situation is delicate, fragile and uncertain,” said Cheng Xiaohe of Renmin University in Beijing. …
Rüdiger Frank: The Mysterious Case of Merrill Newman: The Perils and Pitfalls of Traveling to the DPRK (38north)
Apology of U.S. Citizen for His Hostile Acts in DPRK (Korean Central News Agency)
The following is an apology U.S. citizen Merrill Newman presented to a relevant institution after his detention in the DPRK:
I am Merrill Newman living in California, USA. During the Korean War, I have been guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against DPRK government and Korean people as advisor of the Kuwol Unit of the UN Korea 6th Partisan Regiment part of the Intelligence Bureau of the Far East Command. …
Although 60 years have gone by, I came to DPRK on the excuse of the tour as a member of 33 Tour Group from U.S. on October 17, 2013. Shamelessly I had a plan to meet any surviving soldiers and pray for the souls of the dead soldiers in Kuwol Mt. during the Korean war. …
I also brought the e-book criticizing the Socialist DPRK on this trip and criticizing DPRK. …
U.S. Citizen Deported from DPRK (Korean Central News Agency)
Slavoj Žižek: Mandela’s Socialist Failure (New York Times)
In the last two decades of his life, Nelson Mandela was celebrated as a model of how to liberate a country from the colonial yoke without succumbing to the temptation of dictatorial power and anti-capitalist posturing. …
Is this, however, the whole story? Two key facts remain obliterated by this celebratory vision. In South Africa, the miserable life of the poor majority broadly remains the same as under apartheid, and the rise of political and civil rights is counterbalanced by the growing insecurity, violence, and crime. The main change is that the old white ruling class is joined by the new black elite. Secondly, people remember the old African National Congress which promised not only the end of apartheid, but also more social justice, even a kind of socialism. This much more radical ANC past is gradually obliterated from our memory. No wonder that anger is growing among poor, black South Africans.