Empire of the Uninformed: Market Totalitarianism’s Real Basis

Under the dual assault of big business marketing and the pro-business psy-ops that have long passed for “politics” here, ordinary Americans are the most deeply, intensively propagandized people in human history.

The extremely long list of basic things we don’t know is mostly inscribed by the ever-expanding dominance of marketing-friendly televisual media and televisual mental habits over print media and print literacy skills.

But we also have our own very extensive “Black Book of Corporate Capitalism.” Unless we somehow overthrow our corporate overclass — which, despite the times, remains the richest and most powerful in human history — we will never get to see the full version of that book.

Nonetheless, if you keep your eyes peeled, every so often a page slips out.

One just has. For those disgusted by the huge gulf between reality and the continuing ability of the system’s overseers and mouthpieces to paint the United States as some exceptional angel of goodness, here’s the story:

AP IMPACT: At least 100,000 said executed by US’s Korean ally in 1950 summer of terror

CHARLES J. HANLEY and JAE-SOON CHANG

AP News May 18, 2008 12:17 EST

Grave by mass grave, South Korea is unearthing the skeletons and buried truths of a cold-blooded slaughter from early in the Korean War, when this nation’s U.S.-backed regime killed untold thousands of leftists and hapless peasants in a summer of terror in 1950.

With U.S. military officers sometimes present, and as North Korean invaders pushed down the peninsula, the southern army and police emptied South Korean prisons, lined up detainees and shot them in the head, dumping the bodies into hastily dug trenches. Others were thrown into abandoned mines or into the sea. Women and children were among those killed. Many victims never faced charges or trial.

The mass executions — intended to keep possible southern leftists from reinforcing the northerners — were carried out over mere weeks and were largely hidden from history for a half-century. They were “the most tragic and brutal chapter of the Korean War,” said historian Kim Dong-choon, a member of a 2-year-old government commission investigating the killings.

Hundreds of sets of remains have been uncovered so far, but researchers say they are only a tiny fraction of the deaths. The commission estimates at least 100,000 people were executed, in a South Korean population of 20 million.

That estimate is based on projections from local surveys and is “very conservative,” said Kim. The true toll may be twice that or more, he told The Associated Press.

Through the postwar decades of South Korean right-wing dictatorships, victims’ fearful families kept silent about that blood-soaked summer. American military reports of the South Korean slaughter were stamped “secret” and filed away in Washington. Communist accounts were dismissed as lies.

Only since the 1990s, and South Korea’s democratization, has the truth begun to seep out.

In 2002, a typhoon’s fury uncovered one mass grave. Another was found by a television news team that broke into a sealed mine. Further corroboration comes from a trickle of declassified U.S. military documents, including U.S. Army photographs of a mass killing outside this central South Korean city.

Now Kim’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has added government authority to the work of scattered researchers, family members and journalists trying to peel away the long-running cover-up. The commissioners have the help of a handful of remorseful old men.

“Even now, I feel guilty that I pulled the trigger,” said Lee Joon-young, 83, one of the executioners in a secluded valley near Daejeon in early July 1950.