[KS] The U.S. Role in Korea in 1979 and 1980

Carl Webb carlwebb at asiafind.com
Wed Jun 30 05:16:19 EDT 1999


 The U.S. Role in Korea in 1979 and 1980
 A Special Report by Tim Shorrock


 On February 27, 1996, in a front-page article in The Journal of Commerce, I reported
  that newly declassified U.S. government documents showed that top officials in the
  Carter administration gave prior approval to South Korean contingency plans to use mili
  tary units against the huge student and labor protests that rocked South Korea in the
  late spring of 1980. The article also reported that U.S. officials knew those
  contingency plans included using Korean Special Forces, trained to fight behind the lines i n a
  war against North Korea, against the pro-democracy opposition movement.
 The articles were a sensation in South Korea when they were reported the next day,
  sparking a large demonstration at the U.S. Embassy and protests in Kwangju and Taegu. That
  day, February 28, Sisa Journal, one of Seoul's largest weekly magazines, publishe d the
  first part of a three-part series on the newly released documents, which include
  thousands of pages of highly classified State Department and Defense Intelligence cables
  from 1979 and 1980 obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

 In addition to documenting U.S. complicity in the 1980 military crackdown, the
  cables show that the Carter administration set up a secret policy-making group to follow
  Korean events after the 1979 assassination of Park Chung Hee that set one of top priori ties
  as preventing "another Iran" in South Korea. The cables document for the first time
  the extent of U.S. intervention in the political process in 1979 and 1980 and the
  intense discussions held between U.S. officials and Korean military leaders and civi lian politicians.

 What follows is the English version of my three-part series published in Sisa Journal.
  Part One lays out the most explosive information in the FOIA cables concerning Kwangju.
  Part Two documents the U.S. response to Park's assassination and the December 12 , 1979,
  incident when Chun Doo Hwan led an internal coup within the South Korean military. Part Three
  focuses on what U.S. military officials knew about the Special Forces (including their
  1982 redeployment back to Kwangju) and contrasts the State Departm ent reports on
  Kwangju with the DIA's analysis.

 Readers can contact Tim Shorrock by leaving a message at 202/383-6105 or by e-mail at
  TRox51 at aol.com. My address is 9520 Saybrook Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20901. I welcome comments and
  questions on my articles. F or interested readers, my February 27 article in the Journal of
  Commerce is available via fax.



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