In Background, Ukraine

By Pedro Marin, Editor-In-Chief of Revista Opera (Brazil), Jan 3, 2015

Last Friday, Jan. 2, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, approved new sanctions against Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Barack Obama at press conference discussing Ukraine on July 18, 2014, photo by Scott Applewhite, AP

Barack Obama at press conference discussing Ukraine on July 18, 2014, photo by Scott Applewhite, AP

The sanctions will affect three companies and ten individuals. Among the companies are Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation and Korea Tangun Trading Corporation.

According to the White House, Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation is “North Korea’s primary arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons.” Korea Tangun Trading Corporation is described by the U.S. Treasury Department as being “primarily responsible for the procurement of commodities and technologies to support North Korea’s defense research and development programs”.

According to the White House, the sanctions are the response North Korea’s alleged cyber attack on Sony Pictures. But it may be another step in the plan to isolate Russia. Both countries have been close since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine. Russia has supported North Korea’s economy. In April, 2014, Russia’s parliament wrote off a debt of almost US$10 billion which North Korea owed to Russia dating back to the era of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, North Korea has been supporting Russia’s policies in Eastern Ukraine.

Many cyber security experts have doubts about the FBI’s version of the cyber-attack on Sony, saying the evidence against North Korea is weak. On Jan. 5, for example, California cyber expert Philip Lieberman of Lieberman Software Corporation told CBC Radio’s As It Happens said he’s not convinced at all by the U.S. government argument. (Listen to the interview in part three of the program, 10′ mark.)

John Judge, a late U.S. political activist, used to say that if one wanted to call him a “conspiracy theorist”, one should begin calling others “coincidence theorists”.

Indeed, it seems destiny has prepared more terrible coincidences for us. In the middle of its conflict with Russia and after more than 50 years of economic embargo, the U.S. initiated a diplomatic thawing with Cuba, the island located 166 km from Florida which in 1961, when hosting soviet missiles, generated such fear on its American neighbours, prompting the so-called Missile Crisis.

During the same week, sanctions were applied against officials in Venezuela who were involved in the response to street protests in the summer of 2014. Personal bank accounts are frozen and visas are refused. Back in March, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said, “What has happened in Crimea is a response to the format that made Ukrainian democracy collapse. And there is only one reason for this: the anti-Russian policy of the U.S. and some European countries. They seek to encircle Russia in order to weaken and eventually destroy it.”

Now, a few weeks after the Venezuela sanctions, under the guise of a cyber attack against Sony, the U.S. government has imposed more sanctions against North Korea, a country that has been a good friend to Russia during the Ukraine crisis.

Conspirators be alert. Watch India. Destiny shall bring us more coincidences.

This article was originally published in Portuguese on Jan. 3, 2015 by Revista Opera, a left-wing web journal founded in 2012. The article was translated to English and slightly updated by Revista Opera and New Cold Watch for news on New Cold of Revista Opera’s project to send a reporting team to Donetsk, Ukraine.


EDITOR’S NOTE: We remind our readers that publication of articles on our site does not mean that we agree with what is written. Our policy is to publish anything which we consider of interest, so as to assist our readers in forming their opinions. Sometimes we even publish articles with which we totally disagree, since we believe it is important for our readers to be informed on as wide a spectrum of views as possible.

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