Weekly Appeal for June 19, 2012
No War Base! Yes Life and Peace Island!
Stop the conspiracy of the Military restriction zone!
The "civilian-military dual-use" base is a lie!
Stop the destruction, human rights violations and pro-nuclear MD policy!
Source: Jeju Sori, June 15. During the navy's attempted presentation
regarding their military housing project, villagers and activists
occupied the stage in absolute opposition to the navy's conspiracy
to swallow their hometown.
On June 13th, an activist from Hawaii told Radio 21, "Look at the photos showing the Hawaiian sea, isn't it extremely clear? Wherever you take pictures, it will be the same, clean and clear. You know why? That's because everything is dead! [...] Sometimes the dead bodies of whales washed up on the shore. Some sonar experiments were carried out between Hawaii and California, driving whales, which couldn't stand the noise, to wash up on the coast and die."
That day was the 10th anniversary of the death of two girls killed by a U.S. Armored vehicle near the Mugeonri military training field near the DMZ in 2002. And yet the next day, the ministers and secretaries of defense and foreign affairs in the U.S. and Korea confirmed their strong alliance, raising suspicions that the agreed Korean Air Missile Defense System (KAMD) will eventually lead to a U.S.-led MD system. The Korea Times even reported that the United States, Japan, and Korea will hold a joint naval war exercise off the southern sea of the Jeju Island on June 21 and 22.
Daily SummariesJune 13:
The press reported that Benjamin Monnet, who had struggled actively against the Jeju naval base construction (destruction) and was forcefully deported from Korea on March 15, has filed suit against the Jeju Immigration Office.
Meanwhile the Jeju district court dismissed the arrest warrant for Jesuit priest Fr. Lee Young-Chan. He has been accused of stopping trucks in front of the construction (destruction) site more than eight times. The Jeju district court sentenced catholic priest Fr. Lee Kang-Seo to four months in prison with a suspended sentence and one year probation. He was charged for stopping trucks heading toward the naval base construction (destruction) site on Jan. 17 and entering Gureombi Rock on Feb. 28.
The Gangjeong Village Association and The Pan-Island Committee to Stop the Jeju Naval Base held a press conference at the Jeju Provincial Council building in Jeju City denouncing the total disregard for environmental regulations by the navy-contracted construction companies. Showing detailed underwater photos and videos, they claimed that most of the silt protection layers (which surround the site in the water and are necessary for containing water pollution) are far short of the required standards and/or severely damaged. According to the Environmental Impact Statements, the silt protection layers should be two meters deep at on section and five meters deep at another section to make sure that the UNESCO-designated soft coral community near the construction site is protected from pollutants. However, the layers were not only severely damaged but at their deepest only one meter, and some points only reaching 27 cm. There also often large holes between them and other parts also do not meet regulation standards. Despite this the construction has never been halted. The Village Association strongly demanded a halt to the construction and cancelation of the navy's license to work in the area near Cultural Heritage sites. They also warned that if immediate halting measures are not taken, then they will seek criminal charges against the officials responsible for the lax standards.
Following the press conference, Dr. Song Kang-Ho and several others had trial. The lawyers also used the materials gathered for the environmental press conference as evidence in the case. The next trial will be in early July. After the trial, supporters gathered outside as usual to wave goodbye at Dr. Song before he was sent back to prison. In an act of unreasonable meanness, the police suddenly and hurriedly changed the door through which he would exit and the supporters had to run around the building just to say goodbye as Dr. Song was rushed out the door to the police van. Dr. Song has been in prison since April 1st.
In front of the construction gates, one activist was arrested while another activists was arrested and badly injured by police brutality. Despite the fact that he had handcuffed himself to the underside a truck, police continued to violently pull him out from underneath injuring him badly in the process. However despite his injuries, the police planned to take him to the police office instead of the hospital. After a lawyer protested strongly to the police, they carried him to the hospital first.
In the evening, a prayer service was held in front of the National Police Agency in Seoul to denounce violence committed by the police in Gangjeong.
Ahn Sangsu, former mayor of Incheon and a presidential candidate from the ruling conservative Saenuri Party visited the village and had a conversation with Mayor Kang and the villagers.
Jejudomin Daily News reported on the contradiction of the upcoming World Conservation Congress (WCC) and the ongoing severe environmental destruction in Gangjeong. Otherwise, Donald Kirk, a correspondent of CBS radio and specialist in the defense affairs of the Korean peninsula, expressed concerns about the Jeju naval base in an article posted for The Korea Times. He said that any form of military base could be turned into a magnet for attack, and then Jeju could become another battleground similar to Okinawa.
The Navy attempted to hold another presentation about the military family housing they want to build in Gangjeong. The first attempted presentation was on May 29th but failed when stormed by furious villagers. Once again the villagers stormed the presentation hall and occupied the state even before the presentation began. About two hundred villagers and activists protested against navy officials and employees of the construction company, who were distributing materials for the presentation at the entrance. People argued that the presentation venue was not appropriate and in any case they will never allow military housing to be built at all costs. After a long delay the navy suddenly began broadcasting an explanation of the housing over the loudspeakers anyway, which aroused the villagers anger and they demanded it stop and raised their voices so it couldn't be heard. In the end, the navy gave up and left the hall. Mayor Kang strongly denounced the navy for trying to cheat and present through a pre-recorded broadcast that no one could hear. Later the Navy made a press release that it would continue with the project anyway.
The Jeju district court sentenced Fr. Mun Kyu-Hyeon to six months with a suspended sentence and one year probation charged with obstruction of the construction/destruction. He was arrested when protesting
the illegal construction on April 16. Otherwise, a warrant was granted for further imprisonment for activist and railroad union worker, Kim Bok-Chul, arrested on June 14.
Ecolo Jung, a Korean living in Paris appeared on the radio program, "Si vis pacem" at Radio Libertaire. She introduced the situation in Gangjeong, worldwide demonstrations in solidarity with the village, and the problems of the naval base construction/destruction project. She also appealed for a boycott of Samsung products as Samsung is one of the main construction companies building the base.
The 5th regular protest in front of South Korean consulate in Osaka, Japan was held. Slogans were, "No to the naval base on Jeju, the 'peaceful Island'!" and "Stop South Korean government's repression against villagers!"
On a sunny Saturday, activists and villagers marched through Jeju city appealing for citizen to take part in opposition to the naval base. After marching, they held a cultural festival for peace in front of the Jeju city hall.
In Seoul, Gangjeong activists and villagers joined the event "Day of Hope and Solidarity" co-sponsered by The National Committee for the Victims of Ssangyong Motor Company and The Kyunghyang Shinmun (a daily newspaper). About 3,000 people gathered in Seoul in solidarity with laid off workers from Ssangyoung Motor Company. In 2009, workers occupied a Ssangyong factory on a 77-day strike against unjust mass layoffs which ended with a brutal and violent police invasion, injury to many workers, and 22 workers later committing suicide. Shinjjakkot, a band made of Gangjeong activists played music, and Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon spoke saying, "State power speaks for corporations like Samsung C&T. To make their oppression powerless, we must gather together." The villagers and activists appealed for solidarity with Gangjeong. The event ended with a 8-km march from Yoido Park to Duksou Palace in the center of Seoul but the march was stopped by the police, who arrested four people. The Gangjeong camp in Jogye Buddhist temple also had a one-night, two-day solidarity even on the streets of Seoul.
During the annual 'Okinawa Campaign Day,' held in Ueno Park, Tokyo, a Gangjeong advertising booth was set up to inform Tokyo citizens about the struggle in Gangjeong village.
Members of the Save our Sea team visited Gureombi to investigate, take pictures and video. The site was very ugly with blasting, drilling and cement work but there are still beautiful parts of Gureombi that remain.
The construction companies began moving more tetrapods to the edge of the Gureombi. Some people suspect it is to prepare for typhoons that hit Gureombi quite hard. Seeing this, the Save our Sea team swam to Gureombi to inspect and take pictures.
Lee Joong-Koo, newly appointed Jeju Chief of Police said that he will take strong measures against protests. Naval related people measured the width of Gangjeong Bridge and the three-way intersection. The purpose for this is still unclear, but an overnight vigil was held at the three-way intersection in case anything happens there.
1. Please take some time to write protest letters to the government and the naval base planners and contractors. Demand that they revoke the Jeju naval base project in the Peace Island; that they should stop lying that the port will be a civilian-military port; and that they should not enforce Restricted Military Installation Area, which is illegal and a violation of government's promises to the people. Please tell them that the base construction (destruction) continues at the cost of destruction of a community, democracy, human rights, the environment, and the peace of the Gangjeong villagers. Tell them that the base being built in the Jeju will make Jeju a target of war, contribute to political instability in Asia, and only profit the arms industries such as Samsung and Daelim who employs thugs to oppress protesters. Please remind that the current government oppression to people is reminiscent of a 2nd 4.3.
Appropriate addresses can be found here:
http://www.secc.co.kr/eng/html/customer/contactus.asp (Samsung C & T)
2. Please write a letter to Woo Keun-Min, Island governor, to immediately order the halt of the construction (destruction); to stop the deceptive propaganda regarding the so-called "Beautiful tourism port for mixed civilian-military dual-use" which in reality is only 100% a military base; to revoke the navy license for reclamation of the coast and sea in the base project area; and to restore the absolute preservation area that was annulled for the naval base project through undemocratic procedures in 2009. Also please demand that he give a sincere apology to the villagers and activists whom he ordered to be attacked on March 26 and May 18.
Mr. Woo Keun-Min, Jeju Island Governor: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
3. Please write to the Democratic United party members to work harder to revoke the Jeju naval base project. Please tell them that the so-called "Beautiful Tourism Port for Mixed Civilian-Military Use", has been confirmed as a fraud and that the party should resolutely reject the Lee Myung-Bak government's enforcement of Jeju naval base project under such deceptive propaganda. Please remind them that the party's election pledge was to "re-examine the project from the beginning point" and that they should also consider a special inspection system for the Jeju naval base issue, regarding crimes committed by the government. Pressuring them is very important, as their party is the main opposition party:
Moon Jae-In, Permanent Advisor, Democratic United party, possible presidential candidate: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Appeal and/or pressure the IUCN and its many members to take a major stand against the destruction of the environment being done through the forced construction of the illegal naval base:
5. Please also consider signing the petitions on Avaaz (http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_jeju/?vl) and distributing this letter among your networks.
6. For more immediate situation updates, join the facebook group, 'No Naval Base on Jeju'.
7. Please write encouraging letters to Dr. (or Brother) Song who has been in Jail since April 1.
Dr. Song Kang-Ho (No. 611)
Jeju Prison, 161 Ora-2dong, Jeju City, Jeju, the Peace Island, Korea
8. There will be a large peace pilgrimage throughout Jeju Island from July 30 to Aug. 4. Internationals are encouraged to visit the Jeju during the period or send solidarity video messages that can be screened publicly. The pilgrimage participation fee is 20,000 Won. It is a good chance for internationals to visit Jeju. Another good change to visit will be during the 2012 WCC event from Sept. 6 to 15. For more inquires, contact email@example.com
The Extended International Team of Gangjeong Village
June 19, 2012