Terror Alert Follows S. Korea
`Regime Change' EIR Warned Of
by Kathy Wolfe
South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun was suspended from office March 12 in an unprecedented impeachment vote ahead of sharply-contested April 15 elections. Prime Minister Goh Kun became interim president, calling an emergency cabinet meeting. The Constitutional Court must next rule on the legality of the National Assembly vote, but said it will await the people's will on April 15, before acting.
EIR warned of this scenario precisely last year ("South Korea: Target for Cheney 'Regime Change'?" EIR, Oct. 24, 2003). The illegal removal of the head of state comes just after Vice President Dick Cheney forced the failure of the Six-Power Talks on North Korea on Feb. 28, by demanding the overthrow of the North Korean government. The overthrow of the South Korean government immediately afterward, is no coincidence.
"This is a foreign-inspired destabilization of the Korean peninsula," EIR warned in a March 12 interview in Seoul's Mahl magazine. "After the (North Korea) talks collapsed, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov warned, that the U.S. might go to war."
Neo-Con Stunt Backfires
The Korean public reacted with 50,000-person candlelight rallies for President Roh, charging the Opposition in the Assembly with trying to steal the election. Mr. Roh and his Uri Party were riding high in the polls a week after the vote, expecting a landslide April 15. Yet this can not be viewed as just another domestic Korean election circus. The global political reality is explosive, with Cheney's worldwide wave of terrorism, and the imminent crash of the U.S. dollar. The Court's suspension of rule until April 15, combined with rallies to continue nightly until then, creates weeks of "planned uncertainty." Given the terror bombings in Madrid March 11, the Seoul crisis is a prime field for neo-con agents provocateurs to take deadly action.
Acting President Goh has already put Korea on "high alert" March 18, warning of attacks on public facilities. "Countries which have troops in Iraq have become main targets for terrorist attacks" he said. Korea is to deploy 3,000 troops to Iraq in April, versus Spain's 1,300. From March 24, the new Korean bullet train—to be inaugurated April 1—and all rail, airport, and public locations will undergo armed anti-terror drills nationwide.
The impeachment vote was forced by the opposition Grand National Party (GNP), which controls the National Assembly—and which, in turn, is controlled by corrupt Korean politicians and oligarchs tied to the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington; the latter has been exposed by EIR for years as a Dick Cheney front. The ostensible grounds for the vote—that President Roh violated election law by publicly supporting his own party in the April 15 polls—are so absurd, that the National Election Commission dismissed the charges days earlier with a reprimand.
The large candlelight marches, held in a dozen cities nationwide, called the vote a blatant attempt by the GNP—which was set to lose its Assembly majority in the April 15 poll—to smear the President and his new Uri Party. Polls taken by media from right to left, show that 70-75% percent of citizens thought the impeachment was phony. "The Opposition has suffered falling popularity with general elections one month away, and used the impeachment as a selfish election strategy," one office worker is being widely quoted saying. It was charged that the Cheney-connected GNP is trying to "steal the Presidency" to dump Mr. Roh's policy of cooperation with North Korea.
The GNP now appears ripe to be smashed by an April 15 backfire; polls also indicate that Roh's Uri Party is now holding 42% of the vote, with the ostensibly majority GNP down to 16%. Many Roh and Uri Party officials are now smiling with the thought that they'll come out on top April 15, the Court will re-instate Mr. Roh, and the people will prevail. But unless Koreans keep their eyes firmly on the world situation and the real threat of neo-con war and terrorism which confronts Korea, the festive rallies could end in a nightmare.
Polarization and Terror Threat
Just who is now in control of South Korea's government is entirely unclear. Whether or not the rallies will be suppressed has become a daily tug-of-war battle within government agencies. Neither the elected Roh's progressive cabinet, nor the domestic Korean neo-cons who run large chunks of the career bureaucracies, have control. This heightens the danger of terrorism.
Neo-con sympathizers in the Seoul Police on March 15 threatened to arrest all rally leaders, as the crowds grew, saying political demonstrations after dark are illegal. Police blocked off half of downtown Seoul with buses parked end to end. But Roh's Home Affairs Minister, Huh Sung-kwan, announced March 16 that the vigils would be classed as "cultural events" to bypass the law, since use of force would injure the thousands of women and children in the crowds. On March 18, the conservative Supreme Public Prosecutors' Office overruled the government, proclaiming the rallies formally illegal. President Goh's office then said that while it must accept the judicial ruling, the Executive Branch would nonetheless focus on peacefully managing the rallies as "it is not wise to put them down by force," and "deal with participants later through the court system."
This "polarized paralysis" only heightens the danger that provocateurs may take terrorist action such as staging an incident which kills numbers of citizens, and attempt to blame it on Roh's supporters. This could produce a "back-backlash" against Roh, and let the neo-cons seize the election. At the worst, it could provoke a military coup.
The need to expose Cheney's use of terrorism around the world was shown by the fairytales now being released in Seoul that Osama bin Laden already has his men plotting violence inside South Korea. "The government will beef up its intelligence-sharing system with foreign countries to detect terrorist threats and seek cooperation of foreign governments to protect Korean businesses and citizens overseas, who are warned to take extra care," the neo-con Chosun Ilbo reported March 18. "In December, the National Intelligence Service, in a closed door briefing to the National Assembly, said that agents from Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network, suspected of the Madrid attack, had made several visits to South Korea, according to a lawmaker who attended. NIS officials confirmed that the briefing had taken place but declined to reveal details."
The Korean police and military can boast of many true patriots, but they also have their share of corrupt sympathizers of the old synarchist Reverend Moon Sun-Myung networks which ran domestic terror during the military dictatorships of the 1960s. These networks of Moon and Park Bo-Hi are still closely tied to the Japanese fascist Sasagawa shipping dynasty, which worked for the Nazis as their eyes and ears in ports across Asia, and was then bought out by the Cold War apparat run by John Foster and Allen Dulles. These neo-con networks are "user-friendly" to Mr. Cheney and his ilk to this day.
Real Economic Policy Needed
Many of his warmest supporters say that President Roh unfortunately had this whole affair coming for his lack of leadership. Instead of pursuing the Eurasian Landbridge-New Silk Road economic policy which could guarantee peace with the North and an economic boom, Roh and the Uri Party this year plunged South Korea into a "clean hands"-type corruption scandal. They prosecuted and arrested not only their GNP rivals, but also many of their own colleagues in former President Kim Dae-jung's party. They did this while ignoring an enormous economic crisis in the country, tied to the global economic crisis. Unemployment is rising, with South Korean youth unemployment up to 9.1% in February, according to the National Statistical Office on March 18. Corporations are reducing job openings just as colleges are graduating new batches of anxious job applicants. The total number of jobless aged 15-29 came in at 460,000, a one-month increase of 11,000.
This writer's interview with Mahl magazine, only hours after the impeachment, should be widely read; Mahl ran EIR's "Regime Change" story in its November issue. "EIR warned in its October 24, 2003 issue that Vice President Dick Cheney and the neo-cons want to destabilize Korea and destroy President Roh," the new EIR interview said. "EIR in particular urged President Roh to please get a concrete economic policy, and discuss seriously how to build the Eurasian Landbridge—Iron Silk Road with a coalition of neighboring nations, to raise living standards and improve peoples lives 'from Pusan to Paris.' EIR also warned that by focusing only on corruption, President Roh was creating a boomerang to return back at him.
"This is a foreign-inspired destabilization of the Korean peninsula, in a situation which could lead to war," the statement said. "Can't people see that it's directly connected to the complete failure of the Six-Power Talks, thanks to Mr. Cheney? Didn't Korean people notice that after the talks collapsed, the Russian delegate Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov warned Feb. 29, that the U.S. might go to war? There is only one real way to challenge the neo-cons and Wall Street: economic power. If Korean leaders now stand up and say: 'We can't allow a war. We must immediately run the trains from Busan to Pyongyang to Paris, and build up our regional alliance with China, Russia, Japan, North Korea, and Europe, to create a gigantic economic boom across this region,' the Korean people will support it, and that party will win on April 15."