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Issue #1540      21 March 2012

Veterans for peace leaders going to Jeju Island

Three leaders of the US national group called Veterans for Peace arrived on Jeju Island, South Korea on March 13 to stand in solidarity with villagers who are fighting against a Navy base. It has been reported in South Korean media that the proposed Navy base will be a port-of-call for US warships including Aegis destroyers (outfitted with “missile defence” systems), aircraft carriers, and nuclear submarines. The Navy base would be 600 kilometres from the Chinese mainland.

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has raised funds to send the Veterans Peace Team to Jeju Island. Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon said, “We held our annual conference on Jeju Island on February 24-26 after being invited by Gangjeong villagers. Seven of our members from around the world were arrested for crawling under the razor wire on Gureombi rock. We left Jeju Island determined to go home to our respective countries and expand our solidarity efforts with Gangjeong village. This Veterans Peace Team is the first delegation – we plan to send more activists in the weeks ahead.

On the Veterans Peace Team will be:

Elliott Adams (New York), past president of Veterans For Peace and a member of Veterans Peace Team. He served in the infantry as a paratrooper in Vietnam, Japan, Korea, and Alaska. He has spent 15 years in local elected public office. Now he is dedicating his life to stopping war.

Mike Hastie (Oregon), army medic during the Vietnam War and respected poet and photographer, also a member of the Veterans Peace Team.

Tarak Kauff (New York), former paratrooper, lifetime member and organiser with Veterans For Peace, whe initiated with others, the Veterans Peace Team, designed to stand in opposition to state violence alongside non-violent people exercising their right to address grievances.

A Navy base on Jeju Island will become a key military target as the Obama administration “pivots” its foreign and military policy toward the Asia-Pacific. The Pentagon is now essentially doubling its military presence in the region as a way to “contain and control” China. China imports 60 percent of its oil on ships. The Navy base on Jeju would give the US, Japan, and South Korean military forces a strategic post from which to choke off China’s ability to import oil thus giving the US the keys to China’s economic engine.

“Jeju Island is an early spark in the coming dangerous and expensive super-power confrontation between the ever-expanding US-NATO military alliance and China. The intent is to fully submerge China under corporate globalisation. Sending international peace workers to Jeju Island at this time signals to everyone involved that the global peace movement clearly understands the strategic nature of this local struggle,” Gagnon said.  

Next article – Future Fund furore – Vested interests, not personalities

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