Press Release  ·  June 7, 2004

Making Enemies: Politics, Profit and Bush’s North Korea Policy

An In These Times Investigative Report

“This Administration has been fixated on Iraq while the nuclear dangers from North Korea have multiplied,” said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry at a recent D-Day memorial. An In These Times investigative report explores how the Bush administration has failed to contain the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.

In “Making Enemies,” Matthew Reiss details the history of U.S.-North Korea negotiations from 1994 to the present, detailing how the Bush administration reversed nuclear proliferation policy successes that had been years in the making. As a result of that failure North Korea has reprocessed its spent nuclear fuel rods, producing enough plutonium to make several nuclear weapons. In reporting this story, Reiss interviews:

  • Charles Pritchard, Bush’s special Envoy for Negotiation with North Korea, who resigned last August.
  • Kenneth Quinones, Pritchard’s predecessor, who headed the North Korea desk at the State Department, during the Clinton Administration.
  • Robert Alvarez, the highest level Clinton administration official in North Korea during 1994, when the U.S. signed the “Agreed Framework,” treaty with North Korea to avert a nuclear crisis.
  • Theodore Postal, former Pentagon weapons analyst.
  • Richard Perle, the former head of the Defense Policy Board.
  • Jack Bolton, Bush’s Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
  • Sig Heckler, former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Bush administration plans to deploy the first stage of its missile defense system by September 30. It justifies the haste by pointing to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea—a threat that was of the administration’s own making. “[Bush] points to North Korea as the reason why the United States has to have national missile defense,” Alvarez told Reiss. “You have got to have an enemy in order to justify large expenditures on weapons.”

In “Roundups Ratcheted”, R.M. Arrieta reports how undocumented immigrants are being targeted and arrested en masse under “Operation Endgame,” an aggressive new program of Homeland Security’s investigative branch, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “According to civil rights organizations, agents have been employing a new tactic that targets one person to gain access to an apartment building or home, and then ends with the detaining and deporting of other undocumented immigrants” writes Arrieta.

In “Detention Blues,” Dan Frosch reports that the ICE has contracted with Correctional Services Corporation (CSC) to run its detention centers, despite the company’s long history of abusing its detainees. For example, an April report by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division documents, in “stomach churning” detail, how youth at a CSC-managed juvenile hall in Maryland were abused.