2000.09.01 16:40 2000.09.01 16:40 | Green Society

We want Peace Now!

(The aim of this program is to learn about the history, social and environmental conditions, and status of the island of Puerto Rico. There are U.S military bombing range in Vie Ques. Korea has similar environmental problems caused by U.S military base. So Puerto Rican could understand what is real situation in Korea and they recognized the importance of cooperation between Korea and Puerto Rico)


We are here for peace and abolition of US military environmental and human abuses. This delegation can help strengthen the links between struggles against US military in Puerto Rico and Korea, as well as other countries which have same problems.

Due to the US military in Korea we face the real threat of environmental disaster and human abuses. We cannot tolerate existing in such a state.

There are currently 37,000 US troops based at 95 bases in South Korea, which cover a total area of 60,700 acres. The effects of those troops are not limited to the facilities and bases alone: they extend into the communities surrounding the bases. During the time from the posting of US troops in 1945 to the present, environmental pollution has been constant, and the military has neglected to be concerned about the impact. Not only the water, soil and noise pollution produced on and near bases is of concern, but also the physical and mental health impairments of Korean citizens and the destruction of pre-existing community lifestyles brought about by the US military actions that must be considered.

Nowadays the U.S army's toxic fluid dumping to Han-river is main issue in Korea. On February 9th, in the US Eighth Army Mortuary Building, 480 bottles of formaldehyde, used for embalming were dumped in a drain without any detoxification.  It has been confirmed that the US Army has been releasing Formaldehyde for long periods of time into the Han-River.

Mr. Albert L. McFarland after issuing an order to pour these fluids down the drain, was refused by his subordinate on the basis that the drain led to the Han River, and that the chemicals are known to cause cancer and birth defects. Mr. McFarland swore at the soldier, and ordered him to execute the order. Do you know why Mr. McFarland ordered like that? The only reason is that the boxes were convered with dust.

This case was reported to the Headquarters of the Eighth Division in a statement made by the soldier who executed the order.  On July 10th, the Headquarters concluded that, 'there was no problem if the chemicals were diluted with water'. Formaldehyde is a very toxic chemical. This is the label of the bottle. It was written like this Poison, Can not be made none poisonous.

This case serves as an exemplar for how the US and US military is deceiving, purposefully or not, Korea and its people. They asserted that the American bases in Korea caused no harm or damage to the environment, and that the US military is abiding by US EPA regulations, and that it is environmentally much safer than Korean bases or companies.  However, the fact that the US military is disposing of toxic fluids such as formaldehyde in the Han River, where 10 million people use it for household use, is in itself an outrage and mockery to the Korean people.

Green Korea United and other civil groups strongly protested against the US, its military and the Korean government. Thus on 25th, July Gen. Daniel Petrosky, commander of the 8th U.S. Army apologized to the Korean people for the illegal dumping of toxic chemicals into the Han River. But they still said, there's no environmental problem.

We still demand the punishment of those involved in the dumping incident and the resignation of Thomas Schwartz, commander-in-chief of USFK, who they hold responsible for the incident.

Here is another story. Korean war is over. But there is a place still at war everyday. The U.S Air Force's Koonni Range is located in Maehyang-ri, kyonggi Province, two hours trip from Seoul. For half a century, continuous bombing training has been occuring there. More than 80% of the sea near the village is included in the training site.  USAF F-16, A-10 and OV-10 bombing planes from near east asian countries, such as Japan, Thailand, Guam, and the Phillipines conduct bombing training at Maehyang-ri about 250 days a year, everyday except weekends and holidays.

At 8:30 AM on May 8, 2000, a U.S. Air Force A-10 fighter, which was experiencing engine trouble, dropped six 500 pound bombs to reduce the aircraft's weight on the Koon-ri training range, damaging some 170 houses nearby and injuring seven residents fleeing their homes.  But the residents say that this is only a small accident compared to all the mis-bombings of the past 50 years.

Until now 11 people have been died from mis-bombing. Maehyang-ri villagers are being killed, being made sick, and their source of livlihood being destroyed. There is much damage in this village due to noise, (the extent of which is 90 - 100 dB).  It is the main source of villagers poverty: mentally, physically and financially.  7.1% of Maehyang-ri residents suffer from hearing impairment severe enough to be classified as an "occupational disease".  The noise affects the character formation and emotional development of youth, and even affects the animals. The residents have great difficulties breeding animals, chickens perish and cows produce little milk.

Green Korea United discovered that 5.37 mg/kg of aresenic, 13 times the Korean soil average was found in the bombing range.  Other harmful metals which can cause future physical or mental problems were also found.  Cadmium was found to be 37 times higher than average, copper (62.1mg/kg) was 13 times higher, and lead (845mg/kg) was 145 times higher than average.

Villagers are not allowed in the tidal flat bombing area five days out of the week, therefore making it hard for them to catch crabs, octopus and oysters from the sea.  As a result, they can hardly make a living by the indirect damages of the bombing.

Although residents have constantly demanded compensation for suffering and a relocation of the trairing range, it's not easy to solve this problem.  The United States Forces Korea (USFK) considers the issue as a problem between the villagers and the Korean government.  The USFK  refuses to take any responsibility for compensation by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

Though a number of citizens have fallen victim to the various pollution actions of the U.S military forces, these problems are not being very well solved. Signed in 1967, the Status of Forces Agreement(SOFA), does not stipulates environmental related requirements. According to SOFA, any U.S. actions polluting the environment are legitimized. No responsibility can be enforced upon U.S. We have to make it possible that U.S. military authorities can be held responsible when they are unable to return the environment to the original non-polluted condition. In order to actualize this, the Korean government must make greater demands of U.S. military authorities, provide greater stipulations regarding the environment and finally, revise the SOFA.

On August 3rd, Korea and the United States made progress in negotiations to reform the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The United States agreed to allow Korea to take custody of military servicemen accused of crimes upon indictment. Korea's proposal to establish environmental regulations in the next round of talks. But they are expected to find it difficult to strike a deal because of Washington's apparent reluctance. The United States is said to be taking a cautious approach on the matter for fear that the agreement on an environmental clause may affect similar accords it has signed with other countries.But at the very minimum, the SOFA should include an environmental statute that will protect Maehyang-ri, and the land and resources used for other US bases in the world.

It will take a long time to achieve a fight proportionate to the consistent damage and great extent of environmental pollution perpetrated by U.S. military forces in Korea. In order to solve this problem a number of involved organizations must unite, both at the domestic and overseas level to stop the destructive U.S. presence in the world.

Let us strengthen the solidarity of the people.

To abolish US militarism.  In order to get rid of countries' militarism, the people must have faith and trust amongst each other and strengthen the solidarity of the people.
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  1. 2012.01.19 20:29 신고
    댓글 주소 수정/삭제 댓글
    웹사이트 .처럼 우리는 이것이 정말 내 중 하나입니다 이다 중독성 에 읽기 !
  2. 2012.07.06 12:55 신고
    댓글 주소 수정/삭제 댓글
    빌어먹을 웹사이트 매우 으로 발견 . 공개

               

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