Press Release from Veterans For Peace
Tarak Kauff 845 706-0187
U.S VETS REFUSED ENTRY INTO SOUTH KOREA
Protest Friday at South Korean Consulate
WHERE: 335 East 45th Street, New York, New York
(between First and Second Avenues)
WHEN: Friday, March 16, 12:30 PM.
U.S. Army veterans Elliott Adams and Tarak Kauff, both members of Veterans For Peace, were not allowed leave the airport at Jeju Island, off the coast of South Korea, on Wednesday, March 14th.
On landing at Jeju, they were met by South Korean authorities who were holding photos of Adams and Kauff and who told them they would not be allowed to enter Jeju Island. They were instead put on a plane back to Shanghai. Another VFP member, Mike Hastie was pulled off a plane leaving Seoul heading for Jeju Island and not allowed to continue.
Adams, Hastie, and Kauff were traveling to Gangjeong village on Jeju to stand in solidarity with villagers who are resisting the construction of a deep-water naval base on their environmentally fragile island.
Located strategically in the Korea Strait, the island’s potential as a military target in the event of an armed conflict in this tense region would increase exponentially with the addition of a naval base, posing a deadly threat to the men, women, and children who live there.
Kauff notes, “The U.S. military machine is at it again. We are under no illusions as to why this base is being built, even against the massive opposition of the Jeju Islanders: The United States intends to place destroyers and submarines, all with missile-launching capacity, directly off the coast of mainland China, and the South Korean puppet government has capitulated to U.S. pressure against the wishes of its own people.”
Adams adds, “We are angry at being refused entry into Jeju Island. We had done nothing wrong. That our intention was to support the people is not a justifiable reason to deny us entry. But then, the South Korean government is not supporting the democratic will of 93% of the Jeju Islanders, so why should they allow us to go there in support?”
Veterans for Peace, including Elliott Adams and Tarak Kauff, will protest at the South Korean Consulate in New York City, at 12:30 PM on Friday, March 16. All who are concerned with human rights are urged to join them.
A related article from VoP website:
March 15, 2012
South Korean democracy crumbles to outside pressure and US Veterans are Denied Access to Return to Korea
Yesterday South Korea stopped US veterans, who had served to defend Korea, from entering the country. After 2 days of travel these US citizens and veterans of the US armed forces were left in no-man’s-land between Korea and China. These veterans came back to Korea at the request of the people, to support the people of a small island (Jeju) off the South end of Korea.
The people here have been struggling for months to protect their culture and their way of life. The people, men and woman, are using their bodies to block giant cranes bent on destruction.
At risk are the sacred rocks of Gangjeong, the fresh water springs in the rocks, the coral reefs that support the island’s marine fishery and endangered species.
The area is linked to three UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites, nine UNESCO Geo-Park and that it is designated a Global Biosphere Reserve. But all this and the life on Jeju island in to be destroyed or put at risk for one more naval base.
As the Mayor of Gangjeong, and the Governor of Jeju, representing their people, plead with the S. Korean government to respect the citizens and stop this disaster, the US pressures the government to build the base.
It should be noted that while there have been tensions with North Korea this naval base will be as far from North Korea as is possible in South Korea. It is not to defend South Korea. It is so the US, in subtle saber rattling, can threaten China’s coastal waters with a nearby deep water naval base.
Instead of respecting the democratic wishes of the people and their elected representatives, the S. Korean government has shipped 1,700 riot police from the mainland into this little island to suppress the peaceable demonstrations and calls for democracy of the people. What is happening on Jeju is the forsaking of democracy, and the US should sanction Korea for it. What is happening on Jeju is a travesty of justice.
Two US veterans, both members of Veterans For Peace, were asked to come by the people. Elliott Adams and Tarak Kauff responded to the request by traveling for 2 days from New York to Shanghai to Jeju, including 19 hours in the air. But when they got off the plane they were rudely told by the Korean government (not the Jeju government) that they must leave.
Tarak Kauff says, “ they were waiting for us, they had our photos as we arrived on the plane.” The veterans were left with little money, just tickets home that would not be good for a week. “This is gratitude. I served in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division defending the people from North Korea, I come back to again defend the people and I am pushed off into no-man’s-land,” said Elliott Adams
The Australian Veterans group Stand Fast says “We condemn the South Korean police treatment of protesters knowing that the real criminals are the war mongers and vandals that the police are protecting.”