Benjamin, an anti-war and anti-torture activist and co-founder of Code Pink: Women for Peace, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear that the recent reports by liberal news outlets are attempts to sabotage the possibility of peace breaking out in the Korean peninsula.
"What's so interesting about these reports is that they are anonymous," Benjamin told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker Tuesday.
For example, a CNBC report Sunday said that "US intelligence officials told NBC News that Pyongyang may have recently increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites. It's possible that Kim's government may be attempting to hide those pursuits as it seeks more concessions from the Trump administration, the officials continued."
Bloomberg provided another prime specimen Monday: "Several reports released in recent days suggest that Kim continued to ramp up his weapons production — rather than prepare to disarm — in the weeks leading up to his June 12 summit with Trump in Singapore," the article reads. "The reports published by independent researchers and media organizations detail efforts to increase fuel production, build more missile launchers and expand a key rocket-engine manufacturing facility."
Benjamin explained how these kinds of media reports work.
"So, you have anonymous intelligence officers talking to anonymous US officials who are giving us this ‘new information.' It is certainly a coordinated effort to sabotage the talks. NBC News reported that there was absolute, unequivocal evidence that North Korea is trying to deceive the US, but this was quoted by, again, an anonymous US official briefed by anonymous intelligence officers."
A recent NBC report cited a "US official." "There's no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles or that they have stopped their production… There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the US," the source reportedly said.
"There is obviously dissent within the [Trump] administration," Benjamin noted. "People who don't like the fact that these talks are going ahead and are trying to sabotage the State Department meeting that happened, [US Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo's visit that is going to be happening this week and the proposed visit of Kim Jong Un in the US for the September UN talks. So, I think we are experiencing fight back from among those who don't want the talks to be successful."
After the June 12 summit in Singapore, both sides committed "to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula," among other items.
Kim offered what was termed a "firm and unwavering commitment" to completely eliminating nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, but no timetable was offered and details surrounding how the disarmament would be verified were not made available.
Tellingly, a precise definition for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula — ostensibly including both the DPRK and South Korea — was not provided. All that has left the door open for opponents of the peace process to rewrite the narrative.
In the past, Pyongyang's offers to disarm included not only the demand that Seoul do the same, but also required the complete withdrawal of all US military assets from the peninsula. Presently, nearly 30,000 US troops are stationed in South Korea. There is no straightforward indication that this policy has changed, according to reports.
White House national security adviser John Bolton recently told reporters that the Trump administration is "very well aware of North Korea's patterns of behavior over decades of negotiating with the United States," CBS News reported.
"We know exactly what the risks are, of them using negotiations to drag out the length of time they have to continue their nuclear, chemical, biological weapons programs, ballistic missiles," Bolton continued. "The president would like to see these discussions move promptly to get a resolution."
On July 5, Pompeo will visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), North Korea's official name, the White House reported Monday, adding that it is continuing to make progress on North Korean denuclearization. Pompeo is also expected to possibly retrieve the remains of US soldiers killed during the Korean War, another item Trump and Kim agreed to in Singapore.
"The number one [priority of these meetings] is to improve relations between the [US and North Korea] and that is what people on the Korean peninsula want with Pompeo going there next week. There is hope that there will be a win on returning the remains of US soldiers who were killed during the Korean War. That would be a very positive thing. There are steps that are part of a very important de-escalation and improvement of relations. The denuclearization is part of a long-term process and I think people should be delighted that the US is taking steps in the direction of de-escalation," Benjamin told Radio Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.