General Vandal Apologizes for Photo Incident During THAAD Deployment to Seongju

My guess would be this apology must be something the ROK government recommended to USFK to do in order to get the protesters to stop blockading the road considering it is happening four months after the fact.  I guess we will see if this will help lead to the end of the blockade:

Lieutenant General Thomas Vandal

Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal, commander of the 8th U.S. Army, apologized Sunday to the people of Seongju over one of his soldiers using a smartphone to film a protest involving physical clashes, smiling as he did so.

The Seongju residents rejected Vandal’s apology, saying it was four months too late.

First, Vandal and his superior officer, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) commander Gen. Vincent Brooks, should find a better way of dealing with this incident. The protesters should stop using the apology issue for political purposes.

The incident happened in the early hours of April 26 when a convoy of U.S. military vehicles pushed their way through to deliver equipment for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, a U.S. missile interceptor, to the site in the vicinity. Twelve people were injured. A GI in one vehicle was caught filming the scene with a snigger on his face.

For that, Vandal went down to Seongju and bowed at a press conference after the residents refused to meet him. He said the soldier’s behavior was inappropriate and that he was fresh on his Korean tour and had not finished his orientation program.

The residents questioned Vandal’s sincerity because his apology came four months after the incident, despite repeated demands. The residents claimed they felt ignored by Vandal.

Vandal should have apologized earlier. The USFK is often belated in dealing with accidents in relation to Koreans. One example is the 2002 Yangju Highway Incident where a U.S. military vehicle crushed two Korean girls to death. Then, the USFK dragged its feet, letting the incident grow out of proportion in a major PR fiasco.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but the Korea Times in regards to the 2002 Yangju Highway Incident do not know what they are talking about.  Both the 8th Army commander and the 2nd Infantry Division commander apologized after the accident happened.  2ID even paid an initial $1,000 payment to the families to assist with funeral expenses.  Then 2ID soldiers held a candlelight vigil and fundraising drive in honor of the two girls that were tragically killed.  The fundraiser raised $22,000 for the families.

2ID soldiers attend candle light vigil in memory of Shim Mi-son and Shin Hyo-sun.

Finally the USFK commander put the soldiers on court martial strictly for PR purposes despite this being a clear accident.  Anyway much more about the 2002 accident can be read at the below link:

GI Flashbacks: The 2002 Armored Vehicle Accident

82nd Airborne Responds to Neo-Nazi Wearing Their Hat

Leave it to an idiot neo-Nazi to wear an 82nd Airborne hat to the recent protest in Charlottesville:

The 82nd Airborne Division fought several campaigns against Nazi Germany during World War II. So after a man in a hat bearing the elite Army paratrooper unit’s insignia was pictured throwing a Ku Klux Klan salute (which resembles and is sometimes mistaken for a Nazi salute) during the weekend’s Charlottesville protests, the division delivered a pointed message.   [Yahoo News]

You can read more at the link, but some people actually thought this idiot was in the 82nd Airborne.  Here is the 82nd’s Twitter response to this guy wearing an 82nd Airborne hat:

Note to all racists out there, if you are going to spew your hatred don’t drag the US military into it by wearing its gear. If anything these racists should dislike the US military considering how it is in my opinion the most merit based organization in the US where someone of any race through performance can rise to the top.

THAAD Protesters Claim They Will Not Believe Results from ROK Government’s Environmental Assessment

I think no matter what the government does these protesters will never be happy because this is not about environmental concerns, but instead a not in my backyard mentality:

Officials from the defense and environment ministries measure electromagnetic radiation and noise from the site of the THAAD deployment in Seongju, some 300 kilometers south of Seoul, on Aug. 12, 2017, as part of the environmental survey on the controversial U.S. missile defense system. (Yonhap)

Local residents and activists campaigning against the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system said Sunday they will not accept the outcome of a government survey that ruled out the possibility of its serious environmental damage.

On Saturday, the government announced the result of a survey of electromagnetic radiation and noise from the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Seongju, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The defense ministry said the radiation level was far below the regulatory protection standard and the noise level in the residential areas is also on par with the maximum regulatory threshold.

Seongju residents and civic groups denounced those findings, saying it is not credible since the test was only done by the government and without any experts from the private sector.

“There was no one in the assessment team that we recommended, and it is not acceptable since it’s not a full test but a very partial one done to wrap up the whole process, which is illegal,” said Lee Seok-ju, a representative of the Seongju residents.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: British Activist Protests ROK Navy Base in Jeju

British activist opposes Jeju naval base

British peace activist Lindis Percy (L) speaks during a protest rally in front of a naval base on the southernmost resort island of Jeju on July 7, 2017. Defying strong opposition from villagers and conservationists, South Korea completed the base in February 2016. (Yonhap)

Picture of the Day: KCTU Protests for Higher Minimum Wage

minimum wage rally

Thousands of members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) stage a rally at Gwanghwamun Plaza in downtown Seoul on June 30, 2017, demanding the government raise the minimum wage and employ all nonregular workers as regular employees. (Yonhap)

ROK Vice Defense Minister Meets with Local THAAD Protesters In Seongju

It looks like the ROK government is trying to build trust with the local protesters in Seongju in an attempt to hopefully open the road to the THAAD site:

Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk, second from right, speaks with a group of some 30 residents about their concerns regarding the Thaad deployment at the Soseong-ri town hall in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang, near the golf course where the antimissile system is partially installed. [YONHAP]

Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk told a group of residents of Seongju County, North Gyeongsang, that the government will “guarantee” their participation in the environmental impact appraisal of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) battery.

Suh sought out Seongju residents on Tuesday at the Soseong-ri town hall, near the former golf course where the U.S. Forces Korea’s Thaad battery is partially deployed. Some have interpreted his remarks as suggesting that the government plans to conduct a full environmental impact appraisal, which would take at least one year, as opposed to a smaller study.

Under the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, a small-scale appraisal does not require gathering input from residents and can take under six months to complete.

Seongju residents and Won Buddhists have been protesting the deployment, especially the stealthy, expedited manner in which it was moved to the golf course in late April under the previous government without a proper environmental appraisal.  (……….)

“The residents are most concerned about including a delegation while measuring electromagnetic waves,” he said.

The vice minister elaborated that he thus emphasized to them the principle of guaranteeing their participation, and that the Ministry of National Defense is reviewing how to do so. But he said it not official that the assessment will be undertaken.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

If the residents want to go measure electromagnetic waves they can do it right now.  They can purchase their own detection device and stand at their homes or farms and see what electromagnetic waves they detect.  They are not going to detect anything though because a group of Korean reporters were invited to the THAAD site on Guam and have already measured electromagnetic waves and found nothing.

This photo, taken on July 18, 2016, and provided by the U.S. Air Force, shows officials measuring the level of electromagnetic waves from the radar of a THAAD battery in Guam, with South Korean reporters watching and taking notes. (Yonhap)

What is so stupid about this claim is do these activists really think the US military would just let their personnel on the site get exposed to dangerous electromagnetic waves much less local residents?  Do they think soldiers on Guam just keep dropping dead and the US military just keeps replacing them with no one noticing?

Pro-THAAD Activists March Against Protesters In Seongju

Fortunately this protest did not turn violent:

Local residents and policemen clash near the deployment site of a U.S. anti-missile defense system in Seongju, South Korea on June 15. Conservative activists began confronting the protesters on Tuesday. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA

Conservative South Koreans who favor THAAD deployment confronted anti-THAAD activists near the site in Seongju when they attempted to enter the local town hall.

More than 200 members of a coalition of conservative organizations, including irate Korean homemakers, began a rally outside the building around noon on Tuesday, South Korean news service News 1 reported.

As tensions mounted between the two factions, about 1,500 police were deployed to block potential conflict, which was avoided until about 5 p.m. when activists calling for the “prompt deployment of THAAD” began marching on town hall.

 A Buddhist sect was holding an event on the road outside the building when the march began.

Won Buddhists protesting THAAD have called for its cancellation.

Facing police obstruction, the conservative activists demanded the “right of way quickly,” citing the law.

Shouts were exchanged across the sides, and anti-THAAD activists blocked the road to prevent an escalation.

No injuries were reported.

South Korean activists who oppose THAAD have not stopped occupying the town hall and outlying areas since the missile defense system was deployed in April.  [UPI]

You can read more at the link.

4,000 Thousand South Koreans Hold Anti-US Protest Day Before Anniversary of the Start of the Korean War

These protesters may have wanted to rethink their protest date considering the 67th anniversary for the start of the Korean War is this weekend:

Thousands of protesters marched near the U.S. embassy in Seoul on Saturday, accusing U.S. President Donald Trump of “forcing” South Korea to deploy the controversial American missile defense system China opposes.

The protest came as South Korea’s new president Moon Jae-In heads to Washington next week for his first summit with Trump amid soaring tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

Around 4,000 people participated in the first anti-U.S. rally under Moon’s presidency. It was also the largest protest since South Korea and the United States agreed to deploy the system, known as the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

Protesters marched with placards that read: “Trump, stop forcing (South Korea) to deploy THAAD” and “No THAAD, No Trump.”

The crowd included residents from the southeastern county of Seongju where the system is being deployed.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but Yonhap had the protest number at 3,000.

What I am wondering is how many of these protesters are actually from the village bordered by the THAAD site outside of Seongju?  How many were from the anti-US leftist groups that typically turn out to protests like this?  You would think that would be basic information a reporter would try and find out.

Secondly their turn out for being a weekend in Seoul is actually quite weak which is an indication of the public support the South Korean leftists have on the THAAD issue.  Recent polling data shows that 53% of Koreans support the deployment and 32% are against it.  The only thing that I see that could change those numbers in favor of the leftists is if President Trump makes unreasonable compensation demands for the deployment on President Moon.  Hitting the pocket books of South Koreans is something that could quickly get the South Korean public to side with the leftist protesters.

Demonstrators Hold Pro-USFK Rally In front of Camp Red Cloud

It looks like some of the silent majority in South Korea have decided to stand up to the currently empowered leftists trying to create a wedge in the US-ROK alliance:

Dozens of South Koreans rally outside Camp Red Cloud to show support for U.S. forces, Monday, June 19, 2017. The rally happened more than a week after several singers boycotted a concert organized by the city of Uijeongbu to celebrate the 2nd Infantry Division’s centennial.

Dozens of South Koreans waved American flags and signs with slogans like “Deploy THAAD immediately” and “Strong ROK-US alliance” during a rally Monday to support the 2nd Infantry Division after several musicians boycotted a recent concert celebrating its centennial.

The municipal government in Uijeongbu organized the June 10 concert at a sports complex in the city, which has long been home to 2ID headquarters at Camp Red Cloud. But several South Korean K-pop bands and other musicians who had been expected to perform either did not show up or declined to play their songs.

The group organizing Monday’s rally, which was held on the sidewalk in front of the U.S. Army garrison, produced a letter addressed to the division’s commander, Maj. Gen. Theodore Martin.

“We, Patriotic Koreans want to deliver our deepest apology about the disruption of the Centennial concert,” the letter read. “We also want to express our sincere appreciation for you and your soldiers’ dedication for the security of the Republic of Korea.”  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link, but the boycott had to be highly embarrassing to the Uijongbu mayor Ahn Byung-yong who was sitting next to USFK Commander General Vincent Brooks when the cancellations happened.  According to the article the mayor is blaming pro-North Korean leftists and media for causing the cancellation.