Friday, August 11, 2017

North Korea is threatening to nuke Guam — here’s what the US military has there

President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" unlike the world had ever seen, and shortly thereafter, Pyongyang responded by saying it might strike Guam.
More specifically, Pyongyang said that it was considering hitting Andersen Air Force Base with medium or long-range ICBMs to "to send a serious warning signal to the US," according to CNN. 
Guam, which is a US territory in the Pacific Ocean, is home to Joint Region Marianas, a US military command that includes Andersen Air Force Base

Residents of Remote Guam Fear Attack After Threat From North Korea

(HAGATNA, Guam) — Residents of the tiny Pacific island of Guam say they're afraid of being caught in the middle of escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea after Pyongyang announced it was examining plans for attacking the strategically important U.S. territory.
Though local officials downplayed any threat, people who live and work on the island, which serves as a launching pad for the U.S. military, said Wednesday they could no longer shrug off the idea of being a potential target.
"I'm a little worried, a little panicked. Is this really going to happen?" said Cecil Chugrad, a 37-year-old bus driver for a tour bus company in Guam. "If it's just me, I don't mind, but I have to worry about my son. I feel like moving (out of Guam) now."

Tiny island of Guam is key U.S. military outpost now in North Korea's cross hairs

A major U.S. military presence on the tiny western Pacific island of Guam has long existed in obscurity, but now it is suddenly in the cross hairs of a bellicose North Korean regime.
The U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean is home to 7,000 American military personnel, strategic bombers and Navy ships within striking range of Pacific hot spots, including the Korean Peninsula. 
That prompted North Korea to warn Wednesday it was reviewing plans to strike Guam with a ballistic missile in the wake of President Trump's threat to respond to provocative actions by the North with "fire and fury."
Why Guam?

Thursday, August 10, 2017


The island of Guam is suddenly in the news because it is said to be within range of ballistic missiles from North Korea. A U.S. territory located in the western Pacific, Guam is the largest of the Marianas Islands, roughly halfway between Japan and New Guinea. It is also approximately the same distance from Sydney, Australia, as it is from Hawaii: 3,300 miles. The island is 32 miles long and 4 to 9 miles wide and has a population of 162,000. Nearly 30% of the island’s territory is controlled by the U.S. military, which has some 6,000 military personal stationed there. The military and tourism are the prime economic drivers on the island.
The U.S. took bloodless possession of Guam during the Spanish American War in 1898. Unlike in the Philippines, there was no rebellion against U.S. control. The U.S. Navy administered the island until the Japanese invaded on December 7, 1941. After two and a half years of brutal occupation, the Japanese were repulsed by U.S. forces.

Guamanians, Voiceless and Exploited US Citizens, Now In Bomb-Sights Of North Korea

GUAM — Tensions rose yet again earlier this week between North Korea and the United States as President Donald Trump issued his strongest threat yet to the rogue nation on Tuesday, stating at a press conference that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the U.S. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” However, North Korea’s “threats”, which Trump referenced, have consistently been responses to overt provocations by the Trump administration.  Twitter Ads info and priv
In addition, Trump’s statements came just days after National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster hinted that the Trump administration was considering a “preventative war” targeting North Korea.
North Korea, ever defiant, responded with a new threat of its own. Just hours after Trump’s promise of “fire and fury,” North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency reported that the country’s military could carry out “pre-emptive operations once the U.S. shows signs of provocation,” and that it is “seriously considering a strategy to strike Guam with mid-to-long range missiles.”

Why North Korea Is Threatening Guam

North Korea said Wednesday it was considering using intermediate-range ballistic missiles near Guam, the U.S. territory that is home to strategic military installations, dramatically raising tensions with the United States.

The country’s military said it was “carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12,” according to a statement carried by the the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The news agency reported that Kim Jong Un was reviewing the plan. Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, reported that a separate North Korean statement vowed an all-out war if the U.S. launched a “preventive war” against the North.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

North Korea, Trump trade threats as tensions rise over nuclear program

By KIM GAMEL | STARS AND STRIPESPublished: August 8, 2017
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea and President Donald Trump issued dueling threats, with the communist state saying Wednesday that it’s “examining” a plan to strike Guam and Trump warning such threats “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
The heated rhetoric underscored a dangerous turn in the long-running standoff with Pyongyang after it test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.

Del. Madeleine Bordallo says Jim Mattis assured her military would keep Guam safe

The U.S. representative from Guam, Madeleine Bordallo said Tuesday evening that top figures in the Pentagon have "recently" assured her that the U.S. military will keep Guam safe, even as North Korea escalates its aggressive military provocations.
During an appearance on CNN, Bordallo, a Democrat and nonvoting delegate in Congress, said that both Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, "always" tell her not to worry about the security of the small U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean.
"We're going to take good care of Guam," she said they told her.
Still, Bordallo told host Anderson Cooper that both she and the people of Guam are "concerned" about the North Korean threat.

Flights from Guam base 'provoked' North Korean threats

Known as the 'Tip of the Spear', Guam, just a speck in the Pacific Ocean, is vital to the US military's presence in the region and is home to thousands of American service members and key bases.
It’s little wonder that the airbase, which allows the US to project its vast military presence across the Asia-Pacific, “gets on the nerves” of Kim Jong-un, whose regime today threatened to attack the atoll.

North Korea's statement came shortly after Donald Trump threatened to visit upon the rogue state "fire and fury like the world has never seen" early this morning. 

North Korean Army Threatens To Hit U.S. Island Of Guam

The North Korean army said in a statement that its Strategic Force -- a nuclear and missile warfare unit -- was "carefully examining" a plan to fire a ballistic rocket at Guam, a Pacific territory administered by the United States. The statement was read out by an unidentified anchorwoman on North Korean state television on August 9. Later, an unidentified anchorman on the same channel warned the United States that "an all-out war" might strike "the U.S. mainland." (KRT via Reuters)

Why North Korea threatened Guam, the tiny U.S. territory with big military power

North Korea is reviewing plans to strike U.S. military targets in Guam with its medium-range ballistic missiles to create “enveloping fire,” according to the state media Korean Central News Agency.
The message came hours after President Trump warned North Korea on Tuesday that it will be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before,” if it does not stop threatening the United States. The threats also follow a unanimous vote by the U.N. Security Council to impose strict new sanctions on North Korea.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Guam high school students to learn more about decolonization

HAGATNA, Guam — Education leaders in Guam have their sights set doing a better job teaching high school juniors and seniors about the concept of decolonization and what it would mean for the U.S. territory.
Officials met on Thursday to determine what decolonization topics should be integrated into the Department of Education’s curriculum, the Guam Pacific Daily News reported ( ). The program will be geared toward older high school students so they can be better informed to decide on a plebiscite vote for Guam’s political status.
Guam currently is under the control of the U.S. Congress. The plebiscite could help Guam residents decide how they want to govern themselves.

Reinventing Eqbal Ahmad’s Thoughts on Middle East

Mainstream, VOL LV No 33 New Delhi August 5, 2017

Reinventing Eqbal Ahmad’s Thoughts on Middle East

Saturday 5 August 2017
by Ahmad Zaboor
Following the death of Eqbal Ahmad in 1999, Palestine lost a sincere friend. His insightful analysis, revolutionary writings, ideas “woke up the Americans’ conscience” as the New York Times put it. But his ideas still remain unexplored. He was neither a Palestinian nor an Arab, but his humanism propelled him to be the champion of the rights of the Palestinian people which at times earned him academic isolation. His biographer, Stewart Schaar, captures Ahmad as the ‘quint-essential oppositional intellectual, one who crosses boundaries, speaks truth to power, remained loyal to his cultural roots and Islamic traditions’. Eqbal along with Edward Said represented an alliance for the promotion of peace, social justice and liberation of Palestine. Below are some of his insightful thoughts on different aspects of the Palestine-Israel dispute that assumes significances in the present context.

UN imposes tough new sanctions on North Korea

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions Saturday to punish North Korea for its escalating nuclear and missile programs including a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion — a huge bite in its total exports, valued at $3 billion last year.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called the resolution "the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime" and "the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation."
But she warned that it is not enough and "we should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem — not even close."
"The threat of an outlaw nuclearized North Korean dictatorship remains ... (and) is rapidly growing more dangerous," Haley told council members after the vote.

Search called off for 3 US Marines who crashed off Australia

SYDNEY -- U.S. military officials called off a search and rescue operation on Sunday for three U.S. Marines who were missing after their Osprey aircraft crashed into the sea off the east coast of Australia while trying to land.
The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps suspended the rescue operation and launched a recovery effort instead, the Marine base Camp Butler in Japan said in a statement, essentially confirming the military does not expect to find the missing Marines alive.
The Marines' next of kin had been notified, and Australia's defense force was assisting the Americans with the recovery effort, the statement said.

Consultant: Guam can be ‘launching point’ to fight ISIS

The world’s attention on North Korea ratcheting up threats against the United States, and ISIS gaining entry in the Philippines present Guam with an opportunity, said Ginger Cruz, who co-owns a consulting firm that focuses on the Middle East and a former official in the Bush II and Obama administrations.
“Guam can absolutely leverage its ability as a U.S. territory to become a stronger launching point for the efforts against ISIS in the Philippines and in North Korea,” Cruz said. Ginger Cruz is from Guam, a 1982 graduate of the Academy of Our Lady of Guam and once a familiar face on Guam’s KUAM news in the 1990s before she left for Washington, D.C. She worked her way up to some of the highest circles in the federal government, including the U.S. Defense Department, before starting her consulting firm and being based in Lebanon for the past five years.

Prutehi Litekyan rally set for today

The group Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian calls on the community to join them in Tamuning across from the ITC building at 4:30 p.m today.
The group will hold a wave in order to call attention to the impending construction of the live-fire training range at Northwest Field. According to the group, the wave is “an urgent call to our community to save our endangered species from extinction, our water resource from contamination, and our ancient burials from desecration.”
Litekyan, an area of Yigo also known as Ritidian, is the sight of an ancient CHamoru latte village complex. The area also holds Guam’s only adult Hayun Lagu tree, a plant species found only on Guam and Rota.

Commission stumped on decolonization curriculum

The Commission on Decolonization still is unsure how to proceed with the implementation of decolonization education in Guam’s schools.
Commissioners produced a lengthy debate Tuesday on whether or not the commission should be in charge of managing the curriculum, which would mandate teaching students topics ranging from colonial history to Guam’s political status.
The debate started when a request for a curriculum writer was brought up. Commission members Lisa Natividad and Michael Bevacqua, who are in the subcommittee addressing decolonization education, said the commission should set the scope and framework for a curriculum writer to integrate the information.

Feds Offer An Additional $3 Million To Help Ease Impact Of Micronesian Migration

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Tuesday that it will provide more money to places like Hawaii that have growing Micronesian populations, on top of the $30 million already allotted annually.
But the additional $3 million in what’s known as “compact impact” aid is a fraction of the funding the state and other islands say they need to provide educational, health care and social service support to the recent arrivals.
Acting Interior Assistant Secretary Nikolao Pula made available $3 million in discretionary impact funding for the current federal fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
Hawaii received $1.27 million, Guam $1.49 million, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands $231,000 and American Samoa $2,000.
“The governors of the affected jurisdictions have reported that the federal government is not providing sufficient funds to cover the costs they bear for the impact of migrants from the freely associated states on social services,” Pula said in a press release. “Both Guam and Hawaii have each reported costs exceeding $100 million a year.”

The erasure of Indigenous thought in foreign policy

I spent some of the best days of my childhood on the West Beach of the Anishinaabe community Gchi’mnissing, an Island First Nation in southern Georgian Bay, Ontario.

The thrill of jumping into the back of a pick-up truck and bouncing over bumpy dirt roads, dodging the outstretched birch and maple branches to get to what I remember as a magical spot is something that I roll over in my mind on days I think about the Island. There was another beach, arguably more beautiful, but it was primarily for the cottagers who spent their summers on our reserve.
Then when I was a teenager my Dad bought a little boat, white with a red stripe and a tiny cabin for sleeping. He named it “Bad Apples” and my family would load it up with groceries, sometimes a pig to roast, and we'd spend our summer weekends camped on the shores of one of the reserve’s uninhabited outer Islands, a place called Beckwith.

US Returns Tiny Portion of Controversial Okinawa Base

Japan said Monday the United States had returned a sliver of land at a controversial US air base on the southern island of Okinawa which has sparked a lengthy and fierce dispute.
Tokyo said the return of the land, which accounts for less than one percent of the 481-hectare (1,188-acre) Futenma base, would improve conditions for locals.
But many Okinawa residents want the Marine air base moved off their island altogether.

Augmented decolonization education could be implemented this school year

Juniors and seniors in Guam’s public high schools may start learning more about decolonization as soon as next spring.
A subcommittee of the Commission on Decolonization might recommend an education campaign geared toward older high school students so they can be better informed to decide on a plebiscite vote for Guam’s political status.
Amanda Blas, executive director of the commission, held a work session Thursday with commissioners and Guam Department of Education officials to determine what decolonization topics should be integrated into DOE’s curriculum.

US military wrangles over release of American casualty info

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon's announcement of two U.S. service members killed in an attack in southern Afghanistan is highlighting a disagreement over how the military should handle information about American casualties.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed the deaths after U.S. military officials in Afghanistan acknowledged coalition "casualties" without clarifying if that meant U.S. or NATO coalition forces had died or were wounded.

Distancing himself from other U.S. military commanders in all of the other combat regions of the world — including Iraq and Syria — the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has ordered that no information about U.S. deaths be released until days after the incident so that families can be notified first. Army Gen. John Nicholson's decision has met opposition within the Pentagon, where senior officials for weeks have said they were working to resolve the issue.

Proposed Navy training includes use of active sonar earlier thumbed down by court

The Department of Navy has announced plans to update its training and testing programs at the Mariana Islands Range Complex to include the use of explosives and active sonar — a practice rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court in a ruling last year.

   “The type and level of activities included in the proposed action account for fluctuations in training and testing to be able to meet evolving or emergent requirements,” the Navy said in its Aug. 1 announcement of its plan to prepare a supplement to the 2015 final environmental impact statement for the Mariana Islands Training and Testing.

   The supplemental EIS, according to the Navy, “will propose changes to the tempo and types of training and testing activities, accounting for the introduction of new technologies, the evolving nature of international events, advances in war fighting doctrine and procedures, and changes in the organization of vessels, aircraft, weapon systems, and military personnel.”

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Feds Offer An Additional $3 Million To Help Ease Impact Of Micronesian Migration

Hawaii will receive an additional $1.27 million on top of an annual payment of $12.6 million, but the costs of serving the immigrants is far higher.

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Tuesday that it will provide more money to places like Hawaii that have growing Micronesian populations, on top of the $30 million already allotted annually.
But the additional $3 million in what’s known as “compact impact” aid is a fraction of the funding the state and other islands say they need to provide educational, health care and social service support to the recent arrivals.

Solidarity will help with self-determination quest

The U.S. flag can be found all over Guam. It can be easy to forget that just because this well-known configuration of red, white and blue colors flies over Guam, it doesn’t mean Guam is a part of the United States.
We know this because there is over a century of court cases that reinforce this. We know this because even in the recent ruling of the Davis case, Justice Francis Tydingco-Gatewood argued while some of the Constitution should apply to Guam, other parts shouldn’t. 
We also know this because as more than one non-voting delegate has reminded me, their role in Congress is often to remind Congress about the territories and its control over them.

From Sea to Summit: the Māori and the Crown

Typically, the stones that have made their way through faraway moraines down to the mouths of glacier-fed rivers never return to their high-altitude origins. But on the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitingi between the British Crown and the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand, Māori and Crown representatives came together to usher two stones from the mouth of the Waitiki river to the base of the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest glacier. A recent article in Te Kaharoa documents the lifework of an indigenous Māori activist, Anne Sissie Pate Titaha Te Maihāroa Dodds, and her efforts to build peaceful relations between Māori and non-indigenous communities.

Calvo asks United Nations to visit Guam, press U.S. on decolonization

Gov. Eddie Calvo made a formal request to the United Nations to come to Guam in light of recent events surrounding Guam's political status.
Calvo's letter to Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreño, chairman of the U.N.'s Special Committee on Decolonization, was discussed and signed off Tuesday at the Guam Commission on Decolonization's meeting, which Calvo chairs.
"Despite Guam being one of the 17 non-self-governing territories recognized by the United Nations, our administering power, the United States, has yet to facilitate a visiting mission to our island," Calvo wrote.

Guam’s Calvo approves letter requesting UN visiting mission

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Gov. Eddie Calvo approved a letter addressed to the United Nations requesting a visiting mission by the United Nations, ahead of a U.N. Fourth Committee meeting in October.
“Despite Guam’s being one of the 17 non-self-governing territories recognized by the United Nations, our administering power, the United States, has yet to facilitate a visiting mission to our island,” the letter reads.
Calvo agreed to sign the document at a Commission on Decolonization meeting on Tuesday.
Commission members also requested the inclusion of an appendix detailing recent developments in the struggle for decolonization, such as a ruling by Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood of the District Court of Guam, in favor of Arnold “Dave” Davis, which deemed the island’s prospective plebiscite unconstitutional; and the subsequent appeal by Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson.

This Congressional Bill Could Corrode America's Relationship with China

Fresh off aggressive action against Russia, the U.S. Congress is turning to Asia and America’s increasingly precarious strategic position. After the Obama administration’s underwhelming follow-up to its Asia pivot, and President Trump’s decision in January to withdraw the United States from the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner’s Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) aims to reinvigorate U.S. leadership in the Asia-Pacific among increasingly wary allies and partners. ARIA centers on three components: security, economics and values. Given the objectives of the legislation, there is little doubt ARIA is at least in part meant in response to China’s growing power. Should the legislation pass and the Trump administration adopt its main initiatives, the United States will need to demonstrate careful dexterity in execution, lest it generate unwanted outcomes, and consider how China might respond, to reduce the risk of major-power conflict.

US test-launches ICBM as tensions rise with North Korea

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military successfully test-launched an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from California early Wednesday, according to an Air Force spokesman — just days after North Korea's second test of an ICBM.
The unarmed Minuteman III missile was launched at 2:10 a.m. PT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
An Air Force statement said that the test was not a response to recent North Korean actions, but shows that America's nuclear enterprise is "safe, secure, effective and ready to be able to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the United States and its allies."

Tensions in the Asia-Pacific

North Korea’s second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on July 28, three weeks after its first test on July 4, raised tensions in the Asia-Pacific and strained relations between China and the United States.

 The U.S. President Donald Trump, while tweeting from his account that the U.S. “will no longer allow this to continue,” has publicly accused China for doing nothing to help the U.S. thwart North Korea’s missile development program. The U.S. also flew B-1B bombers along with South Korean and Japanese fighter jets over the Korean Peninsula on July 30, in response to North Korean tests.

President Trump’s latest vexation with the Chinese government’s silence on North Korean ambition to develop ICBMs capable of reaching the U.S. has not been the only problem between the two countries. The U.S. and China have been at loggerheads particularly over the control of the South China Sea, where China has been trying for some time to expand its maritime presence and sovereignty through construction of various artificial islands and military facilities over them. There are other problems as well, ranging from the constant U.S. criticism of China’s human rights record to Trump’s arms sale plans to Taiwan and to China’s alleged cyber-attacks against the U.S.

U.S. may deploy two carriers to Korean Peninsula

The United States is considering deployment of two aircraft carriers in waters around the Korean Peninsula by mid-August in response to North Korea’s latest provocations, South Korean media reported Wednesday.
Yonhap News Agency quoted an unidentified South Korean government official as saying the nuclear-powered carriers considered for deployment are the Ronald Reagan and Carl Vinson.
They were similarly deployed in the Sea of Japan between May and June amid heightened tensions following North Korean ballistic missile tests.

Japan National Governors’ Association study on U.S. military crime shows nearly half occurs in Okinawa

July 28, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On July 27 it came to light that spanning the eight years between 2008 and 2015, out of the number of reported crimes committed by U.S. Forces, Japan (USFJ) military personnel, civilians in military employ, and their families living in Japan, those crimes committed in Okinawa accounted for 47.4 percent of all such crimes domestically. A study group on the U.S. base burden that has been established within the National Governors’ Association aggregated this information.
Out of military facilities for exclusive use by the USFJ, the high proportion of 70.4 percent is in Okinawa. On top of aircraft noise damage and risk of aircraft crashes, harm caused by crime is another of the many burdens putting pressure on Okinawa, once again thrown into relief by this study.

Japan, U.S. consider Osprey night-flight training in Hokkaido

Japan and the United States are considering operating the U.S. military's Osprey aircraft at night as part of an upcoming joint exercise planned in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, an official of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force said Wednesday.
The exercise involving GSDF members and U.S. Marines is planned between Aug. 10 and 28 in areas across Hokkaido. If realized, it will be the first time that Ospreys, which have stirred concerns due to their accident record, will operate at night during a Japan-U.S. drill.
Six MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, which belong to U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Japan's southern island prefecture of Okinawa, will be mobilized for the joint exercise.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

In Guam, the Gravest Threat Isn’t North Korea—It’s the United States

This article was produced in partnership with Foreign Policy in Focus.
The United States is using this Pacific colony as its own private firing range.
This past Fourth of July, while I listened to the fireworks outside the Capitol building, my phone started buzzing with news alerts. North Korea, they said, had tested an intercontinental ballistic missile. Headlines emphasized that it could supposedly reach Alaska.
But much closer than Alaska is the tiny island of Guam—a U.S. colonial possession in the Pacific long exploited as a military base. My grandmother was born there, and much of my family remains. At just 30 miles long and 8 miles wide, Guam is often called “the unsinkable aircraft carrier,” as a third of the island is covered in military bases.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Families living in old military housing need to be aware of risks

Longtime Guam residents remember many parts of Tiyan as a military installation that was inaccessible to the larger civilian community.
The former Naval Air Station was subsequently turned over to the government of Guam, which then turned over certain land parcels and former military housing units to local families that made claim to those properties as part of their ancestors' real estate possessions.
What followed after the closure of the former military air station was a mix of good and bad.

Pentagon Flies B-1B Bombers Over South Korea

Pentagon Flies B-1B Bombers Over South Korea

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii, July 8, 2017 — As part of the continuing demonstration of the U.S. commitment to its allies against the growing threat from North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs, two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, conducted a 10-hour sequenced bilateral mission yesterday with South Korean and Japanese fighter jets.