Politics of denial: South Korean war crimes in Vietnam

People’s Tribunal on War Crimes by South Korean Troops during the Vietnam War to hold by Minbyun and the Korea-Vietnam Peace Foundation. IMAGE BY JJW ON WIKIMEDIA COMMONS. (CC BY-SA 4.0)



In 2018, two survivors of massacre perpetrated by South Korean troops in Vietnam during the Vietnamese-American war, instigated the People’s Tribunal on War Crimes by South Korean Troops during the Vietnam War. This signalled a watershed moment in the history of civil activism and transitional justice in South Korea; yet, there is still much to be done.

Following the outbreak of conflict in Vietnam (1955-1975), U.S. President Lyndon Johnson initiated the Many Flags campaign to consolidate a united front against communism in Indochina. While several countries, including Thailand, Australia and New Zealand participated, South Korea contributed by far the largest number of troops after the U.S.: around 300,000 rotating troops by the end of the war.

Dictator Park Chung-hee sought to build a stable South Korean government, and so he agreed to take a leading role in the war in exchange for American military support in the Korean peninsula and economic support for Park’s ambitious development plans. The estimated $1 billion USD worth of American aid and other war-related income was a vital lifeline for the crumbling Korean economy.

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The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.


By Melissa Heikkilä

May 13, 2022

Europe's AI Act concept


It’s a Wild West out there for artificial intelligence. AI applications are increasingly used to make important decisions about humans’ lives with little to no oversight or accountability. This can have devastating consequences: wrongful arrests, incorrect grades for students, and even financial ruin. Women, marginalized groups, and people of color often bear the brunt of AI’s propensity for error and overreach. 

The European Union thinks it has a solution: the mother of all AI laws, called the AI Act. It is the first law that aims to curb these harms by regulating the whole sector. If the EU succeeds, it could set a new global standard for AI oversight around the world.

But the world of EU legislation can be complicated and opaque. Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know about the EU’s AI Act. The bill is currently being amended by members of the European Parliament and EU countries. 

What’s the big deal?

The AI Act is hugely ambitious. It would require extra checks for “high risk” uses of AI that have the most potential to harm people. This could include systems used for grading exams, recruiting employees, or helping judges make decisions about law and justice. The first draft of the bill also includes bans on uses of AI deemed “unacceptable,” such as scoring people on the basis of their perceived trustworthiness. 

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Understanding The China-Russia Trade, Investment & Economic Relationship In The Context Of The Ukraine Conflict


 May 10, 2022Posted bySilk Road Briefing

Surging Trade As Bilateral Relations Grow Closer

China and Russia have grown increasingly close in recent years, including as trading partners, in a relationship that brings both opportunities and risks as Russia reels from tough new sanctions led by the West in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Total trade between China and Russia jumped 35.9% in 2021 last year to a record US$147.9 billion, according to Chinese customs data, with Russia serving as a major source of oil, gas, coal and agriculture commodities, and running a trade surplus with China.

Since sanctions were imposed in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea, bilateral trade has expanded by more than 50% and China has become Russia’s biggest export destination The two were aiming to boost total trade to US$200 billion by 2024, but according to a new target unveiled last month during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing for the Winter Olympics, the two sides want bilateral trade to grow to US$250 billion.

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How the war in Ukraine appears to Russians

May 17th 2022

When vladimir putin was first elected president of Russia in 2000, he changed little in the office he inherited from Boris Yeltsin. Yet in place of a pen on the desk, Mr Putin put a television remote control, one visitor noted. The new president would obsess over the media, spending the end of his days watching coverage of himself. One of his first moves was to bring under Kremlin control the country’s television networks, including ntv, an independent oligarch-owned channel, which had needled the new president with unflattering depictions of him as a dwarf in a satirical show called Kukly, or Puppets.

After more than two decades in power, today Mr Putin is the puppet master. The state controls the country’s television channels, newspapers and radio stations. The Kremlin gives editors and producers metodichki, or guidance on what to cover and how. As young audiences shift online, the Kremlin seeks to control the conversation there, leaning on social networks and news aggregators, blocking or undermining unco-operative digital media and flooding popular platforms, such as the messaging app Telegram, with state-approved content. Propaganda has long propped up Mr Putin’s regime. Now it fuels his war machine.

Since the president announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24th, control over information has become even tighter. Censorship laws bar reporting that cites unofficial sources. Calling the war a “war” is a crime. Protesters are detained for holding signs that contain eight asterisks, the number of letters in the Russian for “no to war”. Many Western social networks and platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, have been banned or blocked. The last remaining influential independent media bastions have been pushed off air. Dozhd, an online tv station, has suspended its streams; Novaya Gazeta, a liberal newspaper whose editor recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, has halted publication; Echo Moskvy, a popular liberal radio station, no longer broadcasts from its longtime Moscow home on 91.2FM.

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