The Korean Genocide Part 2: The US Occupation and its Imperial Context



(In the first part of this four part post, I detailed something of the history of Korea
before US partition. I showed that a strong sense of national unity among Koreans
had, if anything, only been strengthened by Japanese imperial rule. I ended by
mentioning the strategic situation which faced the Soviet Union when the US
decided to partition Korea. As I continue, readers may be surprised by much of
what I detail herein, but these are not previously unknown facts, they are simply
things that are studiously neglected by teachers and textbook writers.)
The US strategic approach to the world mutated during World War II. At first the strategic plan
for the post-War world had called for the retention of a “Grand Area” under German
hegemony. That planning changed as it became clear that the Soviets were winning against Germany, eventually transforming into an uneven global bipolar paradigm which was the basis for the “Cold War”.1 Germany was no longer to be at the centreof a Grand Area, while Russia was. Moreover, of the four Grand Areas, the three notunder Soviet control were to be a Western condominium under US hegemony. Indeed, one of the many things that the Korean War allowed the US to achieve was the stimulation of the Japanese economy desired because it was to be the centre of one of the Grand Areas.2
The strategic logic of the Grand Area strategy was that of securing strategic
resources, the same type of logic which had led the Japanese into potentially openended
imperial aggression. The “Grand Area Strategy” was not about opposing
communism, it was about US domination. It was intended to secure the “limitation of
any exercise of sovereignty” in “an integrated policy to achieve military and
economic supremacy for the United States.”3 This strategy came from planning
conducted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) prior to the US entry into the
war. Seeing the potential disruption to trade of the nascent World War, the council
concluded that “as a minimum, the American ‘national interests’ involved the free
access to markets and raw materials in the British Empire, the Far East, and the
entire Western hemisphere.”4 Their recommendation, therefore, was for “complete
re-armament”, but as Hossein-zadeh points out they were soon thinking beyond the
defeat of the Axis powers:

Although the Grand Area was designed as a war-time economic and military
framework in reaction to Germany’s expansionist policies, the United States
also simultaneously made tentative plans for beyond the war: to expand the
Grand Area to include continental Europe once the Axis Alliance was
defeated, thereby making the Grand Area global: The Grand Area, as the
United States-led non-German bloc was called during 1941, was only an
interim measure to deal with the emergency situation of 1940 and early 1941.
The preferred ideal was even more grandiose – one world economy
dominated by the United States. The Economic and Financial Group [of the
Council] said in June 1941, “the Grand Area is not regarded by the Group as
more desirable than a world economy, nor as an entirely satisfactory


The creation of a bipolar system favoured both sides, facilitating the construction of
a Soviet empire as well as that of US empire. This would certainly explain the
contradiction between Stalin’s rhetoric and behaviour. Many see Stalin as having
been obeisant to superior Western strength: “To accommodate the United States
and other Western powers in the hope of peaceful coexistence, Stalin often
advised, and sometimes ordered, the pro-Moscow communist/leftist parties in
Europe and elsewhere in the world to refrain from revolutionary policies that might
jeopardize the hoped-for chances of coexistence. The Soviet leader ‘scoffed at
communism in Germany,’ writes historian [D.F.] Fleming, ‘urged the Italian Reds to
make peace with the monarchy, did his best to induce Mao Tsetung to come to
terms with the Kuomintang and angrily demanded of Tito that he back the
monarchy, thus fulfilling his (Stalin’s) bargain with Churchill.’”6 But Stalin also threw
the first punch in the war of words which was a key element of the Cold War – if
only as a disingenuous theatrical display. Indeed, both Stalin and Churchill
preceded US officials in both declaring implacable enmity for implicit or explicit
ideological reasons in February and March of 1946.7
But Churchill spoke at the behest of US officials. Moreover, out of the public arena,
also in February, George Kennan’s “Long Telegram” was written. In this Kennan
concurred that the Soviet Union was by its very nature an enemy. Of course, the
Soviet Union had been severely battered by World War II and was not naturally as
wealthy and powerful as the US so Kennan could not actually make any claims that
such enmity constituted a military threat. He concluded, “it is not entirely a military
threat, I doubt that it can be effectively met entirely by military means.”8
Nevertheless he made the danger posed seem high and Dean Acheson
commented that ‘his predictions and warning could not have been better.’9
Acheson’s emphasis should be seen in context of his later comment that he felt it
necessary “to bludgeon the mass mind of ‘top government’ with the Communist
threat.”10 He described this process in the following terms, recalling an address in
1947: “In the past eighteen months, I said, Soviet pressure on the Straits, on Iran,
and on northern Greece had brought the Balkans to the point where a highly
possible Soviet breakthrough there might open three continents to Soviet
penetration. Like apples in a barrel… the corruption of Greece would infect Iran and
all to the east. It would also carry infection to Africa through Asia Minor and Egypt,
and to Europe through Italy and France….” Such hyperbole, as Chomsky points out,
was patently disingenuous as Acheson was in a position to know that his threats
were completely implausible.11 Fear of the Soviet threat began to make an impact in
the US news media in 1948, at a time when Soviet society, and in particular the Red
Army, was on the verge of total collapse.


The other key part of the containment paradigm under which the US was to operate
was established by the passage of NSC-68 through Congress. In Mark Moyar’s
words President Harry Truman “was reluctant to embrace NSC-68, but events –
especially the Korean War – led him to accept its main tenets by the middle of
1950.”12 Brian Bogart has this to say: “Along with then Secretary of State Dean
Acheson, and without any expertise in Russian history or Soviet affairs, Nitze
convinced – some say coerced – Truman into recognizing the Soviet Union as an
evil and imminent threat, and into signing NSC-68 and launching the Cold War. After
NSC-68 was signed, it needed the approval of Congress. Post-Cold War documents
suggest that the Korean War was triggered by Americans and South Koreans for
this purpose.”13 The Soviet Union was officially designated as an inextricably
essential enemy, eternally hostile and aggressive, who could never be negotiated
with unless they completely renounced their ideology and embraced Western norms
and systems of governance.14 This established the preeminence of the military as
the key economic consideration for US governments. It also enshrined a policy of
the perpetual maintenance of US military supremacy.15 In other words the US was
to be put in a endless state of wartime economic functioning. The espoused
ideological opposition to communism was merely a tool to facilitate a highly
militarised interventionist global hegemony. Ironically, or perhaps revealingly,
Kennan’s famous ‘X’ article (an article published in Foreign Affairs under the
pseudonym ‘X’ which many consider the ideological basis of containment) about
Soviet power made much the same observation of the instrumental motives behind
the Soviet Union’s show of adherence to Marxist-Leninist ideology.16
The fact is that the US aimed to create, almost at a stroke, the largest empire in
human history, trading on unprecedented economic and military predominance to
create permanent dominion. Where all other major industrial areas of the world had
been destroyed or crippled by the war, US industry had grown rapidly, accounting
for fully half of the entire world’s manufacturing capacity by the war’s end, and
growing to 60% by 1950.17 They had retained all of their gold reserves which had
reached 75% of the world’s total reserves in the 1930s thanks to the dogged
pursuance of debts incurred in the previous World War.18 On the same subject, they
had broken their previous record as the largest creditor state in history.19 The US
had an unparalleled degree of political capital, the cruelties of Axis occupation
making it widely seen as a liberator. Less tainted than other allies by imperialist
practices, colonial people’s viewed it as genuinely adherent to the Atlantic Charter’s
prromise to “respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under
which they will live….”20 The US was able to use such advantages to further its
dominance by creating supranational economic institutions – the Bretton Woods
institutions of the “World Bank” and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – which it
could effectively control. The US directly appoints the president of the World Bank,
while both it and the IMF were created with voting powers assigned almost
exclusively on the basis of who put the most money in. The US thus bought over
one third of the votes of the World Bank at the outset, and had a similar percentage
of IMF votes.21 (Since that time voting rights have become even more skewed in
favour of powerful states and the Bretton Woods institutions have been transformed
into a tool for allowing those powerful states to exercise effective economic
sovereignty becoming, in Naomi Klein’s words, “the primary vehicles for the
advancement of the corporatist crusade.”)22
The US also played a large role in deciding the constitution of the United Nations. In
effect the United Nations became a tool of US foreign policy. As Noam Chomsky

The dominant élite [US] view with regard to the UN was well expressed in
1992 by Francis Fukuyama, who had served in the Reagan-Bush State
Department: the UN is “perfectly serviceable as an instrument of American
unilateralism and indeed may be the primary mechanism through which that
unilateralism will be exercised in the future.” His prediction proved accurate,
presumably because it was based on consistent practice going back to the
early days of the UN. At that time, the state of the world guaranteed that the
UN would be virtually an instrument of US power. The institution was greatly
admired, though élite distaste for it increased notably in subsequent years.
The shift of attitude roughly traced the course of decolonization, which
opened a small window for “the tyranny of the majority”: that is, for concerns
emanating from outside the centers of concentrated power that the business
press calls the “de facto world government” of “the masters of the universe.”
When the UN fails to serve as “an instrument of American unilateralism” on
issues of élite concern, it is dismissed. One of many illustrations is the record
of vetoes. Since the 1960s the US has been far in the lead in vetoing Security
Council resolutions on a wide range of issues, even those calling on states to
observe international law. Britain is second, France and Russia far behind.
Even that record is skewed by the fact that Washington’s enormous power
often compels the weakening of resolutions to which it objects, or keeps
crucial matters off the agenda entirely Washington’s wars in Indochina, to cite
one example that was of more than a little concern to the world.23

united nations building in nyc

Thus the Korean War served as a crucial catalyst to achieving the crucial militarised
component of US dominance, and Cumings joins those who focus more broadly on
US imperialism (Chomsky, Kolko, Hossein-Zadeh, Bacevich, Johnson and many
more) in iterating the centrality of the Korean War in transforming US society,
creating the “military-industrial complex” and facilitating global domination, because
it allowed NSC-68 to be enacted and validated, however deceptively. Cumings also
emphasises the late-1949 NSC-48 which established a “Monroe Doctrine”-like right
of intervention to prevent sovereign entities from, among other things, “general
industrialisation” which might come at the cost of “comparative advantage”.24 Thus
the Korean War was not merely a catalyst for the establishment of domestic and
international institutions of empire, it was a prime exemplar of the manner in which
military force was to be used to enforce imperial hegemony. To understand why
genocide was employed, it is necessary to examine precedents adopted by the US
from the British empire.
The use of the term “comparative advantage” is telling. Taken from the classical
economist David Ricardo, it is, consciously or unconsciously, a dishonest way of
referring to Kennan’s “pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain a
position of disparity.”25 Thus the continuity of imperial practices with those of the
British, who also utilised Ricardo as an excuse for preventing development among
dependencies. Ricardian liberalism played the role that the Friedmanite
neoliberalism and monetarism of the Washington Consensus plays today – that of
“useful foolishness” to use Hudson’s words.26 In arrogating to itself such a wide
imperium, the US had a problem. Billions of people were in the process of achieving
independence from formal colonial control, how then would the US ensure that their
resources remained at its disposal as was called for in Grand Area planning? In
order to do that one must maintain the dependency that attends colonial economic
relations. In the early 19th century Britain had already started extending such
relations without formal control as has already been described. To do so, they
employed Ricardo and Adam Smith. Korean economist Ha Joon Chang quotes
Friedrich List in 1840 who wrote:

It is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit
of greatness he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up in order
to deprive others of the means of climbing up after him. In this lies the secret
of the cosmopolitical doctrine of Adam Smith, and of the cosmopolitical
tendencies of his great contemporary William Pitt and of all his successors in
the British Government administrations.
Any nation which by means of protective duties and restrictions on navigation
has raised her manufacturing power and her navigation to such a degree of
development that no other nation can sustain free competition with her. can
do nothing wiser than to throw away these ladders of her greatness. To
preach to other nations the benefits of free trade, and to declare in penitent
tones that she has hitherto wandered in the paths of error. and has now for
the first time succeeded in discovering the truth.27

Kicking away 9781843310273_1_1

There was a further problem for the US explained by Michael Hudson:

…[T]he U.S. balance of payments had reached a surplus level unattained by
any other nation in history. It had an embarrassment of riches, and now
required a payments deficit to promote foreign export markets and world
currency stability. Foreigners could not buy American exports without a means
of payment, and private creditors were not eager to extend further loans to
countries that were not creditworthy.
The Korean War seemed to resolve this set of problems by shifting the U.S.
balance of payments into deficit. Confrontation with Communism became a
catalyst for U.S. military and aid programs abroad. Congress was much more
willing to provide countries with dollars via anti-Communist or national
defense programs than by outright gifts or loans, and after the Korean War
America’s military spending in the NATO and SEATO countries seemed to be
a relatively bloodless form of international monetary support. In country after
country, military spending and aid programs provided a reflux of some of the
foreign gold that the United States had absorbed during the late 1940s.28

Obviously, this was not a sustainable solution – in fact it was the 2nd Indochina War
which half-forced and half-facilitated a more long-term solution. Unsustainable it
may have been, but there is a certain elegance to combining in one single
programme a massive change (the creation of the Cold War) which militarised
society and provided both the weaponry and ideological pretext for intervention in
maintaining a newly minted empire while yet addressing the unwelcome effects of
the desired economic predominance by providing currency but in such a way that,
since it came in the form of military aid, could be used to deepen dependency whilst
not providing any means for unwelcome economic development.
To understand how such a system might work it is necessary to examine some
exemplars of US “neocolonial” practices. For clients the US may often choose the
established latifundistas29 of the traditional imperialist. Galeano describes the role
of the latifundia: “Subordinated to foreign needs and often financed from abroad…
the present-day latifundio [is] one of the bottlenecks that choke economic
development and condemn the masses to poverty and a marginal existence in Latin
America today. … [I]t merely needs to pay ridiculously low or in-kind wages, or to
obtain labor for nothing in return for the laborer’s use of a minute piece of land.”30
Simultaneously, however, the US has shown a preference for two other forms of
client oligarchy – kleptocracy and militarised authoritarianism. These are not
exclusive categories, with many regimes embodying all three.
The US love of kleptocrats can be seen in their choice of whom to elevate when
overthrowing or attempting to overthrow various governments. US invasions of
Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti led to the instalation of Batista, the Duvaliers, and the
Somozas – all notorious for corruption and brutality.31 Mobutu Sese Seko, who
came to power “in a military coup designed by the United States,”32 would steal an
estimated $5 billion in his US supported time as dictator.33 The Contras were mainly,
according to one NSC staffer, “liars motivated by greed and the desire for power,
and charged that the war had become a business for them. They attacked bridges,
electric generators, but also state-owned agricultural co-operatives, rural health
clinics, villages and non-combatants.”34 Manuel Noriega was known for certain to be
dealing drugs from 1971, but remained on the US payroll and continued to get
diplomatic support until 1986. By this stage he was no longer involved in the drug
This is very far from a complete list of corrupt US clients, and is not because, as is
often construed, the US was completely amoral with regard to its choice of clients,
not caring if they were brutal and venal. The orthodox criticism is that the US only
cared for leaders that were friendly to US commercial interests and (during the Cold
War) were steadfastly anticommunist, without any reference to their venality or
brutal treatment of their own people. This attitude is supposedly exemplified by
Franklin Roosevelt’s comment about Somoza: “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s
our son of a bitch.” 36 Far from being neutral on the question of venality, there is an
obvious strategic imperative which explains why, despite some political cost, the US
has preferred to extend patronage to those it knows to be corrupt, namely that the
corrupt and the greedy will put the interests of their paymasters ahead of those of
their own people.
A similar logic to the preference for venality also applied to a preference for brutal
authoritarianism. The US developed a particular facility for creating military
dependence by fostering a military élite reliant on US military aid and faced with a
hostile populace, often accompanied by varying degrees of insurgent activity or civil
war which bore the hallmarks of war systems.37 In Iran, for example, the CIA’s first
coup, considered at the time “its greatest single triumph,”38 installed the Shah
Mohammed Reza Pahlevi in a position of supreme power. The CIA “wove itself into
Iran’s political culture.”39 They created SAVAK, a notorious “intelligence” agency,
trained in torture by the CIA40 and supported by the CIA and DIA in a domestic and
international dissident assassination programme.41 Repression was at its peak
between 1970 and 1976 resulting in 10,000 deaths.42 By 1976 Amnesty
International’s secretary general commented that Iran had ‘the highest rate of death
penalties in the world, no valid system of civilian courts and a history of torture that
is beyond belief. No country in the world has a worse record of human rights than
Iran.’43 Nafeez Ahmed cites the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) who detail
an extensive police state of intense surveillance and informant networks and torture
“passed on to it” by US, UK and Israeli intelligence. Ahmed quotes the FAS on
methods including “electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and
pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the
extraction of teeth and nails.”44 The US attitude to such repression can be seen in
the official reaction to the unrest developing in the late 1970s. Aside from US
officials consistently urging and praising military responses to protest action,
including inevitable massacres,45 the US ambassador objected strongly to a
reduction in repression. In June 1978 he reported his finding that, “the Shah’s new
directives to his security forces, such as instructions to desist from torture… are

Hard on the heels of Operation Ajax, which overthrew Iran’s government, was
Operation Success in Guatemala. According to Carlos Figueroa Ibarra, the US
operation was the “principle cause” of the overthrow of the Arbenz government47 –
not a communist government but in the words of Ambassador “Pistol-packing” Jack
Puerifoy, who had worked closely with the CIA, “if the president is not a communist,
he will certainly do until one comes along.”48 What followed was a 35 year “dirty
war”. As I have already pointed out the “dirty war” designation is a myth, often used
as a cover for genocide. Although there were guerillas in Guatemala the findings of
two truth commissions make it clear that this was a case of “government repression
and terror rather than guerilla warfare.”49 The UN estimates that over 200,000 were
killed. 93% of tortures, disappearances and executions were committed by
government forces; 3% by guerilla’s and 4% described as “private”. “In a majority of
the massacres committed by the state, especially by the army, the
counterinsurgency strategy led to multiple acts of savagery such as the killing of
defenceless children, often by beating them against walls…; impaling the victims;
amputating their limbs; burning them alive; extracting their viscera while still alive
and in the presence of others… and opening the wombs of pregnant women.” A
favoured way of torturing to death was to stab someone then throw them into a pit
where they would be burnt to death.50 As Adam Jones notes: “Finally, the
Commission’s report took the important step of labeling the Guatemalan
government’s campaign as genocidal. All Maya had been designated as supporters
of communism and terrorism, the report noted, leading to ‘aggressive, racist and
extremely cruel . . . violations that resulted in the massive extermination of
defenseless Mayan communities.’”51
In 1963 when the President, General Manuel Ydigoras Fuentes who was nearing
the end of a 6 year term, allowed the return of a popular reformist exile, who the US
felt likely to become the next president, the US instigated a coup to bring Colonel
Enrique Peralta Azurdia to power. Peralta inaugurated his presidency by having
eight political and union leaders murdered by means of driving over them in rockladen
trucks.52 By this time Guatemala was experiencing protest action in cities and
a small guerilla movement in the country, incorporating remnants of a nationalist
military uprising crushed in 1960, largely by the CIA’s aerial bombardment.53 The
US pushed for a military response.54 From 1960 military assistance began a steady
climb, peaking in 1963 at the time of the coup but continued at a high level
thereafter.55 In 1966 the US began taking more of an active role.56 From this point,
and through the seventies, death squads increased in number, coinciding with an
increase in US personnel – reaching 1000 Green Berets in addition to advisors,57 in
a country with an army of only 5000.58 The Green Berets gave instruction on
“interrogation”, while US pilots dropped napalm on those unfortunate enough to be
in a ‘zona libre’ – a free-fire zone.59
The “war” was conducted primarily against noncombatants, involving mainly
massacres of Mayans and “forced disappearances” or tortures and executions of
those considered politically suspect. This is true to such an extent that none of the
accounts I have read of the “war” actually mentions combat or the deaths of
guerillas.60 The initial guerilla movement was “all but wiped-out” by 1968,61 but a
stronger movement arose in 1970s.62 As with Argentina’s “dirty war” the guerillas
became the rationale for a war against the civilian population.63 The atrocities, in
turn, must surely have fuelled the insurgency. As Greg Grandin remarks,
“Guatemala was one of the first Latin American countries to develop both a socialist
insurgency and an anticommunist counterinsurgency. Practices the United States
rehearsed in Guatemala would be applied throughout Latin America in the coming
Guatemala went through the transition to “façade democracy” of the kind that was
to become notorious under the regime of José Napoléon Duarte in El Salvador, and
might equally be equated to Nuri al-Maliki’s sectarian terror state in Iraq. As Julio
Godoy wrote in The Nation in 1990: “In Guatemala and El Salvador the electoral
alternative that emerged during the 1980s as a response to the 1979 Sandinista
triumph in Nicaragua, and to the guerilla warfare at home, is hypocritical and empty
of democratic content. Under the electoral façade – the civilian regimes in
Guatemala and El Salvador are just a public relations game, aimed at the
international community – almighty armies rule these countries, with a discretionary
degree of public presence.”65 In Guatemala this transition saw “a passing from the
open terror that distinguished old dictatorships to the clandestine terror that was the
most popular resource amongst the military dictatorship.”66 “Clandestine terror” and
military dictatorship disguised in “façade democracy” was far bloodier than “open
terror” with the greatest single period of genocidal mass murder occurring in the
early 1980s. As Jones relates: “In just six years, some 440 Indian villages were
obliterated and some 200,000 Indians massacred, often after torture, in scenes fully
comparable to the early phase of Spanish colonization half a millennium earlier. The
genocide proceeded with the enthusiastic support of the Reagan administration in
the US, which reinstated aid to the Guatemalan military and security forces when it
took power in 1981.”67

On the surface events in Iran and Guatemala suggest that US neocolonialism
follows a materialist pattern, with events being driven by the profit motive. In Iran
events were triggered by a threat to the extremely lucrative agreement between Iran
and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Corporation. In 1950 “the AIOC earned some £200 million
profit from its Iranian operations, but only paid the Iranian government £16 million in
royalties, profit share and taxes. … In fact, the British government, a Labour
government, was receiving substantially more in taxes from the AIOC’s Iranian
operations than the Iranian government itself. And this was a company in which the
British government held a 51 percent interest. The injustice was compounded by
the fact that Iranian oil cost more in Iran than it did in Britain with the Royal Navy in
particular, receiving substantial discounts. The Iranians could buy oil from the Soviet
Union at a cheaper price than they could buy it from the AIOC.”68 Popular opposition
to the renewal of the agreements set in train events which ended with the
nationalisation of Iran’s oil industry.69 In response the UK enlisted US co-operation
in a very comprehensive and meticulous plan for destabilisation and overthrow of
the Iranian government, beginning with two years of very severe economic warfare
which dragged Iran to the edge of a precipice.70 Planning began in Nicosia,
involving both the CIA and the Security Intelligence Service (SIS, also known as
MI6)71 but was finalised by the SIS.72 The CIA’s involvement was in direct
contravention of US policy, which supported Mossadeq, and Frank Wisner, head of
covert operations, commented that at times the “CIA makes policy by default.”73
The “London Draft” of “Operation Ajax” clearly drew on more than a century of
British experience in informal imperialist manipulation. It must have been quite an
education for the CIA as it became the standard model for many future overthrow
operations. The irony is that almost none of it went according to plan. The
propaganda and economic warfare programmes were very successful but all of the
clever manoeuvres planned for the actual coup fell flat.74 The US succeeded in the
end by throwing money at the problem, hiring goons to riot,75 attack Tudeh
(communist) gatherings,76 and even to conduct false-flag riots disguised as Tudeh.77
The US bribed Mullahs78 and used a combination of threats and bribery on
officials.79 The US had learnt from the British, but had invented their own style of
using massive injections of cash and profligate violence which was not clandestine,
but was loosely deniable.
Though not intended for public consumption,80 the draft Ajax plan typified the
duplicity and Orwellianism of Cold War documents. It opened: “The policy of both
the U.S. and UK governments requires replacement of Mossadeq as the alternative
to certain economic collapse in Iran and the eventual loss of the area to the Soviet
orbit. Only through a planned and controlled replacement can the integrity and
independence of the country be ensured.”81 Of course, the circumstances which
were cited as justification were entirely and deliberately the result of the British led
economic warfare programme, but, in case the point had been missed, it continued
later: “Both governments consider the oil issue of secondary importance at this
time, since the major is the resolve for both governments to maintain the
independence of Iran.”82
In Guatemala the profit motive is even further to the fore. As mentioned, Walter
Bedell Smith and Allen Dulles, planners of both Iran and Guatemala coups, had
links to the United Fruit Company (UFC). The reformist Arbenz government
expropriated uncultivated UFC land for the purposes of land reform and paid only
the $525,000 at which the UFC had valued the land for tax purposes. The UFC
wanted $16 million.83 In the final analysis, however, maintaining a situation of
economic dependence is not only a means by which surpluses can be extracted to
the benefit of commercial interests, the neglected fact is that it is also a mode of
domination, and the ongoing decades of US intervention in Guatemala cannot be
explained by an immediate concern for the profits of the UFC, no matter how well
connected. The overthrow of the Arbenz government ended reformist, redistributive
and developmentalist programmes.84 The cost of the ensuing “war”, in both the
destruction of property and the diversion of economic resources, was estimated to
have reached 121 percent of gross domestic product by 1990.85 The burden of this
fell on the poor, and more particularly on the Mayan majority, ensuring the
continuance of the crushing genocidal poverty alluded to by Eduardo Galeano:

The slaughter that is greater but more hidden – the daily genocide of poverty
– also continues. In 1968 another expelled priest, Father Blase Bonpane,
reported on this sick society in the Washington Post: “Of the 70,000 people
who die each year in Guatemala, 30,000 are children. The infant mortality rate
in Guatemala is forty times higher than in the United States”.86

The inevitable stratification leads to a situation where the interests of landowning
oligarchs, like those of the military, are tied firmly to those of the imperial power, not
those of Guatemala. Likewise, a corrupt comprador class, not necessarily separate
from the military and landowners, receives the benefit of US “aid” by acting as local
Thus one can see that there truly was an elegance to the militarised imperial
system invented by the US. Client leaders needed the military aid furnished to them
in order to suppress populations made restive by the very economic policies forced
on them by the US. They were not only economic dependencies, but military
dependencies, not dependent to guard against foreign aggression but to guard
against their own people. At the same time, in Hobsonian fashion, the military aid
involved funnelled public monies from the US (taken as tax from the citizenry) into
the hands of military industrialists who constituted a strategic asset. When things
weren’t going the right way, as with Guatemala, the produce of the military-industrial
complex would be brought to bear in order to inflict genocide and thus weaken the
nation-state sufficiently to impose or re-impose dependence. In less drastic cases,
the US might use other strategic capabilities, particularly covert and financial, which
while not perhaps constituting genocide per se are certainly undertaken in the spirit
of genocide.
Moreover, the Korean War was not merely crucial in creating the military and
ideological institutions of imperial dominance, it was more specifically crucial in
constituting one of the Grand Areas centred on a reconstructed industrially powerful
Japan.88 Essentially they recreated exactly Japan’s imperial East Asian Co-
Prosperity Sphere after having sacrificed so much to destroy it, but this time it was a
securely subordinated dependency of the US.
As I have already detailed, however, perpetual weakness can only be imposed on
those who were already weak, and those who have access to independent power,
such as the Shah, cannot be relied on to remain faithful. Korea already had
sophisticated industry and infrastructure and an educated population. Since the
former were owned by Japan, nationalisation would be cost-free and was nigh
inevitable. As Harry Truman’s friend Edwin Pauley, would report to him in 1946:
“Communism in Korea could get off to a better start than practically anywhere else
in the world. The Japanese owned the railroads, all of the public utilities including
power and light, as well as all of the major industries and natural resources.
Therefore, if these are suddenly found to be owned by The People s Committee
(The Communist Party). They will have acquired them without any struggle of any
kind or any work in developing them. This is one of the reasons why the U.S should
not waive its title or claim to Japanese external assets located in Korea until a
democratic (capitalistic) form of Government is assured.”89
Being dominated by nationalist sentiment Korea made a poor candidate as a
dependency of the West or even, as has been discussed, of the USSR. Further,
with the political landscape being dominated by those on the left who had most
effectively resisted the Japanese, the chances of a unified Korean regime arising
which would go along with privatisation, foreign ownership of industry, and
liberalisation were about nil. Added to this was the situation in China, where the
sustainability of the feckless, corrupt, fascistic Guomindang (GMD) must surely
have been doubted by some in US policy circles.
The US occupation of South Korea began ominously. Famously the soon to be
commander of the US occupation, General Hodge, was widely, if inaccurately,
reported as referring to the Koreans as “the same breed of cat as the Japanese.”90
Ironically Hodge actually opined that Koreans viewed collaborator police as the
“same breed of cat” as Japanese police,91 but the apocryphal version would, as it
turned out, be far more truly reflective of Hodge’s future actions than his actual
words. Despite a State Department determination that Korea was a “pacific” victim
of Japan’s imperialism,92 Hodge, reflecting other opinions in Washington, declared
prior to the arrival of US occupation forces that Korea was “an enemy of the United
States . . . subject to the provisions and the terms of the surrender”.93 The US acted
to maintain the Japanese occupation of Korea, not disarming the Japanese and
thrice advancing the arrival of US forces at the behest of the Japanese in Korea.94
When Hodge announced the retention of the Japanese regime soon after arriving
on September 8, the uproar was so great that General MacArthur in Tokyo
intervened to replace the Japanese Governor-General95 and Chief of Police with US
personnel after Japanese MPs shot dead two Korean protesters on September
In August, before US forces arrived, many People’s Committees sprang up in the
south.97 This led to the declaration in Seoul of a Korean People’s Republic on
September 6 distinct from that declared in the north.98 This KPR was left-wing in
orientation but did include centrist and right-wing leaders and had a broad popular
base,99 though many conservatives refused invitations to join.100 The key figure of
this movement was Yo Un-hyong whose “political views were a mixture of
Christianity, Wilsonian democracy, and socialism.” He was popular with Koreans
and many from the US.101 Other founder members of People’s Committees included
Kim Dae Jung, the distinctly non-Communist Catholic who would later become ROK
president (his participation in a People’s Committee being one of the grounds under
which he was condemned to death by the military government in 1980).102 Hodge,
however, refused to recognise or deal with the southern KPR.103 In December of
1945 he declared war of the People’s Committees and on communism, in which
category he included “leftists, anticolonial resistors, populists and advocates of land
It should be remembered that years of Japanese rule had exacerbated the already
stark inequality of Korean society, the rural masses of the south, their plight greatly
worsened by war, were in 1945 in not merely a miserable state, but a desperate
one.105 The only people who opposed land reform and the redistribution of
Japanese property were a very narrow group mainly consisting of wealthy
collaborators who feared that the taking of Japanese property would lead to further
redistribution, and poorer collaborators such as those who had served in the police
forces.106 A report to Washington from September 15, 1945 reads:

The most encouraging single factor in the political situation is the presence in
Seoul of several hundred conservatives among the older and better educated
Koreans. Although many of them have served the Japanese, that stigma
ought eventually to disappear. Such persons favor the return of the
Provisional Government and although they may not constitute a majority they
are probably the largest single group.

But, as Cumings points out, they were very clearly intervening on behalf of the
smallest group, not the largest.107
Syngman Rhee was picked as presumptive leader of South Korea by some in the
US, and flown in on MacArthur’s personal aeroplane on October 16. This was done
against US State Department objections.108 Rhee in many respects can be seen as
a model of the sort of “nationalist” leader that the US would later install in Viet Nam
and Afghanistan and would attempt to install in Iraq. One can compile a list of
remarkably similar characteristics that could, with little alteration, be applied to
Ahmed Chalabi, Ngo Dinh Diem or Hamid Karzai:


1) US residency – Rhee had lived most of his long life in exile, primarily (nearly
40 years) in the US. He was educated in the US. In fact, October 1945 was
the first time he had set foot in Korea for 26 years.109
2) Intelligence ties – Rhee was transported to Korea by the Office of Strategic
Services (OSS) who wished to pre-empt the return of other exile leaders and
to circumvent the State Department.110 He was accompanied by an “advisor”
named M. Preston Goodfellow, a former newspaper owner and editor who
had been deputy director of the OSS.111 Goodfellow was retained on active
service as an adviser to Rhee.112
3) Limited political base – Rhee had headed the exile Korean Provisional
Government from 1919 until 1925 when he was impeached and expelled
from the KPG for embezzling funds.113 From then on he “haunted and
irritated Foggy Bottom”,114 alienating the State Department by falsely claiming
leadership of the ineffectual KPG.115 Some (for example Carter Malkasian)116
claim that somehow Rhee’s WWII era anti-Japanese rhetoric made him
popular in Korea. Somewhat more realistically Stueck writes: “Despite his
absence in the United States, he was widely known in Korea and highly
respected, in part because of his advanced age… which in Korea’s
patriarchal society was considered a source of wisdom.”117 What this meant,
though, was that he was suitable as a figurehead not as a leader, so much
so that even the left-wing dominated KPR named him as Chairman without
his knowledge.118 He was also that thing most beloved of all empires for
thousands of years – part of a distinct minority. He was a Christian, a
Protestant even, and, as in Viet Nam, Christians were more inclined than
others to adopt the anti-Communist cause as evidenced by the flight south of
Christians in both countries.
4) Nationalist veneer – I use the word veneer in part because there are some
who see Rhee’s entire career as a power and money grab.119 Indeed, there is
not one thing that I know of that Rhee did which could not be interpreted as
being about the advancement and enrichment of Syngman Rhee. Remember
that his vocal anti-Japanese stance first gained him power (and access to
funds) in the KPG and then was part of his incessant attempts to establish
his non-existent leadership in US eyes. His subsequent anti-Communist
stance was equally the only way of maintaining the US support which was
his only real source of power. It is true that as a young man he was a political
prisoner, but unfortunately for those who would use this to establish his antiimperialist
credentials, it was the Korean Yi dynasty which locked him up. As
mentioned, corrupt individuals are also beloved of US imperialists and
corruption militates against nationalism. Rhee had a style of corporatist
clientalist corruption akin to the “crony capitalism” of Ferdinand Marcos. By
1960 his government’s corruption (coinciding with election rigging) had
“reached unbearable levels” and protest was so widespread that he was
forced to resign.120
5) Brutal authoritarianism – This has already been discussed as a propensity,
like corruption, in the US empire’s choice of clients. Rhee’s regime and
successor dictatorships were highly repressive. Rhee himself presided over
the killing of far more of his own people than the brutal regime of the DPRK,
did (as will be discussed in Part 4 of this post). Cumings avers that:
“American policy, of course, never set out to create one of the worst police
states in Asia.”121 This is a bold but completely baseless assertion. Naturally
there are unlikely to be any documents in which officials put forward the
suggestion or imperative to create a brutal police state, but if this was a
matter of policy then one would hardly expect to find such a document
anyway. The available evidence is that the US cleaved to him when his
record of political violence was amply clear and that there is an established
pattern of preference for repressive rulers. This applies to the military
dictators who would later rule Korea, under whom the CIA created Korean
CIA (KCIA) became a watchword for torture and murder by the early
6) Disapprobation of US analysts – As mentioned the US State Department had
little love for Rhee. This puzzling commonality is part of a broader trend –
that of actual policy being in direct opposition to the recommendations of top
analysts. I have discussed this trend or tendency in considerable detail with
relation to Indochina. Rhee was also an early example of a client opposed by
CIA analysts. As early as March 1948 a CIA report read: “The Korean
leadership is provided by that numerically small class which virtually
monopolizes the native wealth and education of the country… Since this
class could not have acquired and maintained its favored position under
Japanese rule without a certain minimum of collaboration, it has experienced
difficulty in finding acceptable candidates for political office and has been
forced to support imported expatiate politicians such as Syngman Rhee and
Kim Ku. These, while they have no pro-Japanese taint, are essentially
demagogues bent on autocratic rule.” It was noted that the unpopular regime
was “ruthlessly brutal”, made up of “extreme rightists” who retained
“substantially the old Japanese machinery” which effected “a high degree of
control over virtually all phases of the life of the people.”123 This seeming
incoherence of contradictory views can actually be interpreted as evidence of
the strength of coherence in imperial policies which continue in a systematic
fashion with very little reference to the stated policies of those who
theoretically should be shaping actual policy, as will hopefully become ever
more obvious in the reading of this work.

Thus, early in the occupation the US had thrown it’s weight behind a small grouping
of collaborator oligarchs to which they had added Syngman Rhee and the KPG.
What this grouping had going for it was control of the police forces and of gangs of
murderous fascist-style street gangs – the most notorious of whom were made up
of exiles from the north. Opposing them were the southern Communist Pak Honyong
and the aforementioned Yo Un-hyong.124 The latter had plenty of charisma and
political appeal, but neither youth gangs or police support “both essentials for
leadership in the increasingly violent climate of South Korean politics.”125 Those who
weren’t of the right-wing also had to contend with repression by the US occupation
forces who soon became so unpopular that after a mere three months of occupation
even Hodge reported that “[t]he word pro-American is being added to pro-Jap,
national traitor and collaborator.”126 Cumings explains that “[t]he American
occupation chose to bolster the status quo and resist a thorough reform of colonial
legacies, it immediately ran into monumental opposition from the mass Of South
Koreans. Most of the first year of the occupation, 1945-46, was given over to
suppression of many people’s committees that had emerged in the provinces. This
provoked a massive rebellion that spread over four provinces in the fall of
1946….”127 The US response was brutal, and involved the first of a 7 year long
“series of massacres” that would take hundreds of thousands of lives.128
The right-wing, however, was seriously split, particularly between Rhee and KPG
leader Kim Ku.129 After a 1946 election which extended only a very limited franchise
to male property owners and in which “[p]artisan police activity ensured that Rhee’s
forces would win a sizable majority…”,130 Rhee’s faction took control of an “Interim
Legislative Assembly”. Rhee and Kim Ku, however, were still at each other’s throats.
Each aimed to establish themselves as autocrat and in 1947 the CIA warned that
the authoritarianism of the right-wing would drive moderates into the left-wing camp,
which it duly did.131
A further election in May 1948 was opposed by leftists, centrists and many on the
right because it was a clear step towards the permanent division of Korea.
According to Stueck: “Ultimately, their failure to participate, together with the highly
partisan activities of police and youth groups, enabled Rhee and his allies to win
handily.”132 600 people were killed in the months leading up to the election and once
more major and bloody guerilla revolts broke out.
On the island of Cheju (Jeju), completely cut off from any DPRK involvement,
rebellion occurred in response to the violent repression of a political demonstration
in March of 1948.133 The response which involved US personnel, ROKA, and rightwing
paramilitaries brought over from the mainland, was one of incredible brutality.
Cheju had a population of 300,000134 and at the peak of the rebellion had only
30,000 “guerillas”.135 In fact the armed core of real “guerillas” who had firearms
numbered only 500136 the rest were peasants armed with farm implements and
sharpened bamboo resisting the widespread destruction of villages (20,000 homes
were destroyed)137 and the murders and massacres of those individuals or
communities deemed to be supporters of the rebellion.138 The normal enumeration
of civilian deaths on Cheju is given as “more than 30,000”. 33,000 was the amount
admitted to by the ROK news agency itself.139 Estimates of 100,000 deaths are not
unknown, however, and a recent study suggests 80,000 deaths, more than one
quarter of the population.140

In Yosu ROKA troops who refused to deploy to Cheju formed the basis of another
rebellion, again brutally suppressed with US involvement and supervision:141 “This
unorganized rebellion of the ROK army’s Fourteenth Regiment in Yosu was soon
suppressed under the direction of the KMAG, but the operation was also
accompanied by widespread violence by rightists against innocent civilians, as was
the case in Cheju.”142 The rebels executed hundreds of police, officials and
landlords, but even after the rebellion was quelled rightist revenge was brutal. A US
source reported that “loyal troops were shooting people who they had the slightest
suspicion… of giving cooperation to the communist uprising.”143
About 1000 Yosu rebels fled to the mountains and formed the nucleus of a more
organised guerilla movement. A CIA estimate put guerilla numbers at 3500-6000 in
early 1949, but many were armed only with clubs and bamboo spears.144 Those
small arms that were used seemed entirely of Japanese or US origin with no Soviet
weapons ever being captured.145 The methods of repression remained similar under
the continued leadership of James Hausman, who styled himself “father of the
Korean Army”.146 The US had made it clear to Rhee through Goodfellow that
continued US support was contingent on brutal repression of guerilla activity.147
Ostensibly US occupation forces left in June 1949, but there was a continuity of
“advisers” who were “constantly shadowing their Korean counterparts and urging
them to greater efforts.”148 The guerilla movement was effectively crushed by early
1950, but with links now established to the DPRK, US analysts believed there was a
likelihood of further “subversion”.149 Moreover even without communist activity there
was no long-term consolidation of even the ROK as a state and of the division of
Korea, let alone of the Rhee regime which remained as unpopular as ever. Rhee
ran the country with a fairly isolated clique, his “kitchen cabinet” being made up
primarily of people from the US and Koreans who had, like him, spent lengthy times
as residents of the US.150 On 30 May 1950, less than a month before what is
conventionally termed the outbreak of the Korean War, a comparatively “free”
election proved utterly disastrous for Rhee. By this stage his regime was already in
what Cumings describes as “total disarray”151 and the election resulted in only 49
seats out of 210 for the coalition which supported Rhee.152 Indeed, despite
restricted suffrage favouring the more wealthy only 31 of 210 incumbents were
returned. 126 independents were elected and Rhee’s own KNP only had 24
candidates of 154 elected.153 The National Assembly was now dominated by
moderates, many associated with Yo Un-hyong.154 (Yo had been assassinated in
1947 having become known as “the most shot at man in South Korea”155 and having
been refused, despite multiple requests, any protection by the US authorities.156)
During the period from World War II to 1950 major US actions had consistently
worked to create a lasting division of Korea. For example, when in 1947 a “Joint
Commission” was reconvened to consult with Korean groups over “unification” (a
word whose very usage implies that there were two distinct Koreas), the US
submitted a list of groups which must be consulted which included at least one
entirely fictional union of 1 million members and whose total membership was
calculated at about 70 million, 8 times the population of South Korea.157 The USSR,
whose strategic interests coincided to a degree, certainly seemed more supportive
of moves towards unification. This may, however, have been mostly a matter of
empty gestures required in order assuage their somewhat independent clients. It
was the continued Soviet insistence that no party who did not agree to a period of
trusteeship could be consulted by the aforementioned Joint Commission which
combined with the actions of the US and its clients to create an unbreakable
impasse.158 It was also the Soviet Union which took one of the most fateful steps of
all. When cholera broke out in the US zone in 1946 the Soviets blocked the
shipment of desperately needed chlorine south.159 This was the groundwork for the
economic separation of two fundamentally interdependent parts of a single country.
This was more profound, certainly, than the political division which would hardly
have been sustainable if economic intercourse remained. It left a North
Korea/DPRK with only 14% arable land and a relatively dense population which has
not been able to reliably supply its own people with food.160 It left the agricultural
South Korea/ROK stuck in a state of “underdevelopment”, medieval land tenure
conditions, and considerable grave poverty which a contemporary journalist
described as “primitive misery… squalor and poverty and degradation.”161

1 Ismael Hossein-zadeh, The Political Economy of US Militarism, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2006, pp 45-6.
2 Reinhard Drifte, “Japan’s Involvement in the Korean War”, in James Cotton and Ian Neary (eds), The Korean War in History, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989, pp 120-134.
3 The Council on Foreign Relations, quoted in Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival, p 15.
4 Hossein-zadeh, The Political Economy of US Militarism, pp 44-5.
5 Ibid, pp 45-6.
6 Ibid, pp 77-8, quote from D. F. Fleming, The Cold War and Its Origins ,New York: Double Day, 1961, p 1060.
7 Steven L. Spiegel and Fred L. Wehling, World Politics in a New Era (2nd ed.), Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1999, pp
136, 143.
8 Efstathios T. Fakiolas, ‘Kennan’s long telegram and NSC-68: a comparative theoretical analysis.’ East European Quarterly, Vol. 31, No.4 (Jan 1998), p 420.
9 Ibid.
10 Quoted in Noam Chomsky, World Orders Old and New. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994, p 27.
11 Noam Chomsky, ‘The Old and the New Cold War’ (1980) in Noam Chomsky, The Chomsky Reader. New York:
Pantheon, 1987, p 211.
12 Moyar, Triumph Forsaken, p 426 n 53.
13 Brian Bogart, ‘America Programmed for War’, Zmag, 25 September 2005. Retrieved 29 December 2005 from Note that Bogart cites as his source Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao and the Korean War, by Sergei N. Goncharov, Lewis, and Xue Litai which is generally taken as indicating the opposite conclusion. This issue will be examined further.
14 Nitze, “NSC 68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security”.
15 Fakiolas, “Kennan’s long telegram and NSC-68”, pp 421-3.
16 Robert L. Hutchings, ‘X + 9/11: everything I needed to know about fighting terrorism I learned from George F. Kennan’, Foreign Policy, 143 (July-August 2004), p 70.
17 Stuart Bruchey, “Some Deeper Currents in the Recent Past”, in John F. Walker and Harold G. Vatter (eds), The History of the U.S. economy since World War II, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1996, p 33.
18 Michael Hudson, Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (2nd ed.), London: Pluto Press,
2003, p 23.
19 Ibid., p 16.
20 Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston S. Churchill, The Atlantic Charter, 14 August 1941. Retrieved 8 January 2010
21 The Bretton Woods Agreements, 31 July 1945, Article V, Section 3; Article XI, Section 3; Article XX, Section 4. Retrieved 10 January 2010 from
22 Klein, The Shock Doctrine, p 163.
23 Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival, pp 29-30.
24 Cumings, The Korean War, pp 211-4 et passim.
25 ‘Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain a position
of disparity… We should cease to talk about vague and… unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of
living standards, and democratization.’ ‘Policy Planning Study 23’, 1948. Quoted in Noam Chomsky, What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Berkeley: Odonian Press, 1992, pp 9-10.
26 Hudson, Super Imperialism, p 32.
27 Ha Joon Chang, “Kicking away the ladder: globalisation and economic development in historical perspective”, in Jonathan Michie (ed.) The Handbook of Globalisation, Cheltenham and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2003, p 388.
28 Hudson, Super Imperialism, pp 24-5.
29 A Spanish term for large landowners.
30 Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America, p 60.
31 James W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, New York: The New Press, 1994, p 14;
32 Blum, Killing Hope, p 158.
33 Gareau, State Terrorism and the United States, p 169.
34 Ibid, p 166.
35 Blum, Killing Hope, pp 306-8.
36 Saul Landau, “Bolivia’s Election Deserves a History Lesson,” Progreso Weekly, 15-21 December 2005. Retrieved 8 January 2006 from
37 The essence of a war system is that no decision should be reached.
38 Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, London: Penguin, 2007, p 105.
39 Ibid.
40 Blum, Killing Hope, p 72.
41 Roger Morris, “The Undertaker’s Tally (Part 1): Sharp Elbows,” TomDispatch, 1 February 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2007 from
42 Gareau, State Terrorism and the United States, p 173.
43 Blum, Killing Hope, p 72.
44 Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Behind the War on Terror: Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq, Gabriola Island, BC: New Society, 2003, pp 38-9.
45 Ahmed, Behind the War on Terror, pp 43-5.
46 Ibid, p 45.
47 Carlos Figueroa Ibarra, “The culture of terror and Cold War in Guatemala,” Journal of Genocide Research (2006), 8(2), June, p 192.
48 Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes, p 107.
49 Frederick H. Gareau, State Terrorism and the United States: From Counterinsurgency to the War on Terror, Atlanta and London: Clarity Press and Zed Books, 2004, p 45.
50 Ibid, pp 45-7.
51 Jones, Genocide, p 77.
52 Blum, Killing Hope, p 231.
53 Ibid, p 148.
54 Ibid, p 230.
55 Ibarra, “The culture of terror and Cold War in Guatemala”, p 199.
56 Blum, Killing Hope, p 232.
57 Ibarra, “The culture of terror and Cold War in Guatemala”, p 201.
58 Blum, Killing Hope, p 232.
59 Ibid, p 233.
60 Admittedly this is due to their focus on genocide or human rights abuses, but it is indicative of how, as with the Argentine “dirty war” actual combat was a secondary consideration.
61 Blum, Killing Hope, p 235. According to Blum this was the indirect result of the terrorism directed against the rural
62 Jones, Genocide, p 77.
63 See
64 Greg Grandin, “History, Motive, Law, Intent: Combining Historical and Legal Methods in Understanding Guatemala’s 1981–1983 Genocide,” in Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan (eds), The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p 339.
65 Julio Godoy, “Return to Guatemala: Unlike East Europe Fear Without Hope,” The Nation, 5 March 1990, p 310.
66 Ibarra, “The culture of terror and Cold War in Guatemala,”, p 201.
67 Jones, Genocide, p 77.
68 Newsinger, The Blood Never Dried, p 165.
69 Roger Owen, State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Middle East (3rd ed.), London: Routledge, 2004, p 80.
70 Engdahl, A Century of War, p 111.
71 Donald Wilber, CIA Clandestine Service History, “Overthrow of Premier Mossadeq of Iran, November 1952-August
1953,”, 1954, p 5. Retrieved 16 April 2010 from
72 Ibid, p 9.
73 Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes, p 95.
74 Ibid, p 99.
75 Ibid, p 103.
76 Ibid, p 95.
77 Ibid, p 102.
78 Ibid, p 95.
79 Ibid, passim.
80 It was not available to the public until 2000.
81 London Draft of the TPAJAX Operational Plan, 1953, p 1. Retrieved 16 April 2010 from
82 Ibid, p 5.
83 Blum, Killing Hope, p 75.
84 Gareau, State Terrorism and the United States, p 43.
85 Ibid, p 47.
86 Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America, p 113.
87 Godoy, “Return to Guatemala”, p 309.
88 Doug Stokes, “Why the end of the Cold War doesn’t matter: the US war of terror in Colombia” Review of International Studies (2003), 29, p 585.
89 FRUS (1946). Vol. 8, pp. 706-9, quoted in Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun, p 199.
90 William Stueck and Boram Yi, “’An Alliance Forged in Blood’: The American Occupation of Korea, the Korean War, and the US-South Korean Alliance”, Journal of Strategic Studies, 33:2 (2010), p 184.
91 FRUS, 1945, Volume 6, p 1135.
92 Cumings, The Korean War, p 104.
93 Stueck and Yi, “’An Alliance Forged in Blood’”, p 183.
94 Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun, p 189.
95 Stueck and Yi, “’An Alliance Forged in Blood’”, p 186.
96 William Stueck, The Korean War:An International History, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995, p 20.
97 Cumings, The Korean War, p 106.
98 Ibid, p 108.
99 Stueck, The Korean War, p 20.
100Stueck and Yi, “’An Alliance Forged in Blood’”, p 181.
101Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun, p 191.
102Cumings, The Korean War, p 114.
103Stueck, The Korean War, p 20.
104Cumings, The Korean War, p 110.
105Jeon and Kim, “Land Reform, Income Redistribution and Agricultural Production in Korea”, pp 255-7.
106Stueck and Yi, “’An Alliance Forged in Blood’”, p 181.
107Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun, pp 193-4.
108Ibid, p 195.
110Cumings, The Korean War, p 58.
111Ibid, p 135.
112Allan R. Millett, The War for Korea, 1945-1950: A House Burning, Lawrence: Kansas University Press, 2005, p 64.
113Stueck, The Korean War, p 15.
114Cumings, The Korean War, p 106.
115Ibid, p 58.
116Carter Malkasian, The Korean War: 1950-1953, Oxford: Osprey, 2001, p 11.
117Stueck, The Korean War, pp 20-1.
118Ibid, p 20.
119Lee Wha Rang, “Who Was Rhee Syngman?”, Kimsoft, 22 February 2000. Retrieved 5 October 2011 from
120Stephen Kotkin and András Sajó, Political Corruption in Transition: A Skeptic’s Handbook, Budapest: Central European University Press, 2002, p 171.
121Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun, p 209.
122Press reports began to surface in the early 1970s. The ‘revelations’ were not news to people in the ROK, but culminated in an Amnesty International report in 1975 with testimony such as: ‘I was taken to KCIA headquarters, my hands tied together and I was tied to a chair. I was not allowed to have any sleep. At night they would drag me to the basement where they would beat me with a long heavy stick, and jump on me. By morning I would not be able to walk, I would be forced to crawl back upstairs. They were trying to make me confess that I was a spy. This kind of treatment went on for several days, and for a time I was unable to use my legs. Even so, they continued to tie me onto a chair every day for five days. Of course my legs were terribly swollen. Finally I put my thumbprint on the confession they had prepared. At my trial I denied what I had confessed under torture. On cloudy days now I have a lot of pain in my body.’ (Amnesty International, Report of an Amnesty International Mission to the Republic of Korea: 27 March – 9 April 1975 (2nd Printing), London: Amnesty International Publications, 1977, p 37.) It should be understood that the exposure of these practices of torture did not bring them to an end.
123Cumings, The Korean War, pp 106-8.
124Stueck, The Korean War, p 23.
125Stueck, Rethinking the Korean War, p 45.
126Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun, p 198.
127Ibid, p 192.
128Dong Choon Kim, “Forgotten war, forgotten massacres: the Korean War (1950-1953) as licensed mass killings,” Journal of Genocide Research (2004), 6(4), December, p 528.
129Stueck, The Korean War, p 23.
131Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun, p 211, n. 36.
132Stueck, The Korean War, p 27.
133Halliday and Cumings, Korea, p 36.
134Cumings, The Korean War, p 121.
135Ibid, p 123.
136Kim, “Forgotten War…”, p 528.
137Halliday and Cumings, Korea, p 36.
138Kim, “Forgotten War…”, p 528.
139Halliday and Cumings, Korea, p 38.
140Cumings, The Korean War, p 121.
141Halliday and Cumings, Korea, p 41.
142Kim, “Forgotten War…”, p 528.
143Halliday and Cumings, Korea, p 40.
144Ibid, p 43.
145Ibid, p 47.
146Cumings, The Korean War, p 134.
147Ibid, pp 135-6.
148Halliday and Cumings, Korea, p 48.
149Stueck, The Korean War, p 30.
150Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun, p 214.
151Cumings, The Korean War, p 145.
152Gye-Dong Kim, “Who Initiated the Korean War”, in James Cotton and Ian Neary (eds), The Korean War in History, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989, p 40.
153Stueck, Rethinking the Korean War, p 196.
154Halliday and Cumings, Korea, p 64.
155Ibid, p 24.
156Marilyn B. Young, “Sights of an Unseen War”, review of Bruce Cumings The Origins of the Korean War. Vol. 2: The Roaring of the Cataract, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990, in Diplomatic History, 1 June 1993, pp
157Lowe, The Origins of the Korean War, p 39.
158Stueck, The Korean War, p 24.
159Millett, The War for Korea, p 50.
160John Feffer, “Mother Earth’s Triple Whammy: Are We All North Koreans Now?”, Foreign Policy in Focus, 17 June
2008. Retrieved 20 June 2008 from
161Harold R. Isaacs, No Peace in Asia, pp 7–8. Quoted in Stueck and Yi, “’An Alliance Forged in Blood’”, p 192.

One thought on “The Korean Genocide Part 2: The US Occupation and its Imperial Context

  1. Pingback: The United States of Genocide | On Genocide

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