LIBERATION NEWS SERVICE—When two North Korean MIG fighters attacked a U.S. spy plane and shot it down on April 15, self-righteous protests immediately came puttering out of Washington.

The official response has been a “protest” and action by President Nixon ordering fighter plane protection for future reconnaissance flights over North Korea.

The Associated Press sent out a story about the worried, frightened families of the 31 crewmen. One crewman’s wife said, “We should let these people know they can’t shoot down our planes.”

Everyone correctly compared- the incident to the capture of the U.S. Pueblo on Jan. 23, 1968. But perhaps the most striking similarity was the way in which Washington officialdom and the press teamed up to obscure the real issues.

That issue is the aggressive policy of the United States Armed Forces and intelligence operations, which daily violate the sovereignty of small nations with the ultimate purpose of maintaining its power in the world.

The U.S. has 3,000 overseas bases; the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea has none. The Koreans have no spy ships, no spy planes. They do have half of their nation (South Korea) occupied by American troops under the aegis of a puppet regime.

People for peace in Vietnam should make no mistake: The U.S. Pueblo and the EC-21 plane—both involved in electronic reconnaissance missions—are part and parcel of the apparatus operating under U.S. Command in Saigon.

Capt. Lloyd M. Bucher, commander of the Pueblo, made this point during an interview which took place during his captivity in North Korea.

He said, “I know that the U.S. Defense Department regards Korea and Vietnam as two fronts. Especially as the situation in South Korea and Vietnam has become more unfavorable for the U.S. recently, our mission has assumed more urgency. Thus we carried out more positive espionage activities and submitted information to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.”

The debate over the precise location of the Pueblo (even here in the U.S., crew members admitted the possibility that the ship entered territorial waters) and the precise location of the spy plane is a phony subterfuge for avoiding the political and military issues surrounding the spying activities.

American officials carry out these acts with impunity because they can rely on the support of a fearful, deluded populace.

Blind appeals to maudlin patriotism have surrounded the Korean affairs, while the reopening of full-scale combat in Korea between imperialist and liberation forces is within possibility.

The people of the U.S. need to learn about the reality of Korean politics and the enormity of the U.S. intervention there.