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Posts tagged ‘Kim Jong-Un’

North Korea’s Kim Warned he Might Face Charges over Atrocities.


North Korean security chiefs and possibly even Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself should face international justice for ordering systematic torture, starvation and mass killings bordering on genocide, U.N. investigators said on Monday.

The investigators told Kim in a letter they were advising the United Nations to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC), to ensure any culprits “including possibly yourself” were held accountable.

North Korea said it “categorically and totally” rejected the investigators’ report, which it called “a product of politicization of human rights on the part of EU and Japan in alliance with the U.S. hostile policy”.

The unprecedented public warning and rebuke to a ruling head of state by a U.N. Commission of Inquiry is likely to complicate efforts to persuade the isolated country to rein in its nuclear weapons program and belligerent confrontations with South Korea and the West.

The U.N. investigators said they had also told Kim’s main ally China that it might be “aiding and abetting crimes against humanity” by sending migrants and defectors back to North Korea, where they faced torture and execution – a charge that Chinese officials had rebutted.

As referral to the ICC is seen as a dim hope, given China’s likely veto of any such move by Western powers in the U.N. Security Council, thoughts are also turning to setting up some form of special tribunal on North Korea, diplomatic and U.N. sources told Reuters.

“We’ve collected all the testimony and can’t just stop and wait 10 years. The idea is to sustain work,” said one.

 

“REMINISCENT OF NAZI ATROCITIES”

Michael Kirby, chairman of the independent Commission of Inquiry, told Reuters the crimes the team had catalogued in a 372-page report were reminiscent of those committed by Nazis during World War Two.

“Some of them are strikingly similar,” he said.

“Testimony was given … in relation to the political prison camps of large numbers of people who were malnourished, who were effectively starved to death and then had to be disposed of in pots burned and then buried … It was the duty of other prisoners in the camps to dispose of them,” he said.

The independent investigators’ report, the size of a telephone directory, listing atrocities including murder, torture, rape, abductions, enslavement, starvation and executions.

“The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,” it said.

The findings came out of a year-long investigation involving public testimony by defectors, including former prison camp guards, at hearings in South Korea, Japan, Britain and the United States.

Defectors included Shin Dong-hyuk, who gave harrowing accounts of his life and escape from a prison camp. As a 13-year-old, he informed a prison guard of a plot by his mother and brother to escape and both were executed, according to a book on his life called “Escape from Camp 14”.

North Korea’s diplomatic mission in Geneva dismissed the findings shortly before they were made public. “We will continue to strongly respond to the end to any attempt of regime-change and pressure under the pretext of ‘human rights protection’,” it said a statement sent to Reuters.

 

“DELIBERATE STARVATION”

The abuses were mainly perpetrated by officials in structures that ultimately reported to Kim – state security, the Ministry of People’s Security, the army, the judiciary and Workers’ Party of Korea, according to the investigators, led by Kirby, a retired Australian chief justice.

“It is open to inference that the officials are, in some instances, acting under your personal control,” Kirby wrote in the three-page letter to Kim published as part of the report.

The team recommended targeted U.N. sanctions against civil officials and military commanders suspected of the worst crimes. It did not reveal any names, but said that it had compiled a database of suspects from evidence and testimony.

Pyongyang has used food as “a means of control over the population” and “deliberate starvation” to punish political and ordinary prisoners, according to the team of 12 investigators.

Pervasive state surveillance quashed all dissent. Christians were persecuted and women faced blatant discrimination. People were sent to prison camps without hope of release.

The investigators were not able to confirm allegations of “gruesome medical testing of biological and chemical weapons” on disabled people and political prisoners, but said they wanted to investigate further.

North Korea’s extermination of political prisoners over the past five decades might amount to genocide, the report said, although the legal definition of genocide normally refers to the killing of large parts of a national, ethnic or religious group.

North Korean migrants and defectors returned by China regularly faced torture, detention, summary execution and forced abortion, said the report.

Kirby warned China’s charge d’affaires in Geneva Wu Haitao in a Dec 16 letter that the forced repatriations might amount to “the aiding and abetting (of) crimes against humanity”, it said.

Wu, in a reply also published in the report, said that the fact that some of the illegal North Korean migrants regularly managed to get back into China after their return showed that the allegations of torture were not true.

“The DPRK (North Korea) has been looked at by the Security Council solely as a nuclear proliferation issue,” Julie de Rivero of campaign group Human Rights Watch told Reuters.

“This (report) is putting human rights in the DPRK on the map, which it wasn’t before, and hopefully will put the spotlight on the U.N. and international community to respond to not just the security threat,” she added.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

LIGNET: Kim Jong Un’s Charm Offensive Makes US, South Korea Nervous.


Image: LIGNET: Kim Jong Un's Charm Offensive Makes US, South Korea Nervous

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to the crowd during a military parade above Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang on July 27, 2013. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korean rhetoric in the run-up to this year’s joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States has been more restrained than usual. Last week the North Korean government, headed by leader Kim Jong Un,  issued an open letter to the South urging improved relations and complaining that the military exercises are an obstacle to better ties.

The North also agreed to a South Korean proposal to resume family reunions, which have been suspended since 2010. But South Korean and U.S. officials reacted skeptically to the North’s charm offensive, worrying that it is a deception and a prelude to a resumption of provocations.

Click HERE to read an exclusive analysis from LIGNET’s top intelligence experts. 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Report: Meth Is Part of Everyday Life in North Korea.


North Korea’s government has reportedly gone out of the drug business, but savvy — or desperate — entrepreneurs are finding a ready market for methamphetamine both inside the country and around the globe.

Homemade meth from North Korea, known as “orum” or “ice,” has been found in 16 drug arrests in China since 2008 in quantities of up to 22 pounds, Harvard University researcher Sheena Chestnut Greitens told the Los Angeles Times.

“Meth is a product you can make in bathtubs or trailers. You have a wide range of people involved in production and trafficking,” Greitens said.

Because there’s so little stigma attached to its use in North Korea — people take it to treat colds, boost energy, keep them awake for work, or curb appetites in a country where food is scarce — methamphetamine is offered up as casually as a cup of tea, the newspaper reported.

“If you go to somebody’s house, it is a polite way to greet somebody by offering them a sniff,” Lee Saera, 43, of Hoeryong and interviewed in China, told the Times. “It is like drinking coffee when you’re sleepy, but ice is so much better.”

Government drug manufacturing operations ceased after 1999, and with analgesics hard to come by, North Korea has been relatively easy about homemade drugs and their use, the newspaper reported.

Park Kyung Ok, 44, also interviewed in China by the Times, said she became a meth dealer after a North Korean coal mine where she worked stopped paying salaries.

Buying grams of meth in Chongjin and selling it in her nearby hometown of Hoeryong, she told the Times she earned “just enough money that I could buy rice to eat and coal for heating.”

It’s also tailor-made for dealers who cook the drug in kitchen labs, “Breaking Bad”-style, then sell it to be exported by smugglers, the Times reported.

Late last year, five alleged drug smugglers were extradited from Thailand to the United States to face charges of smuggling 220 pounds of crystal meth. They told a federal court in New York last month that the drug originated in North Korea, the Times said.

When the North Korean government controlled the business, the drugs were strictly for export, the Times reported. But since individuals took over the business, meth began showing up on the streets in North Korea around 2005. The drug came from Hamhung, the onetime center of the nation’s pharmaceutical and chemical industry, the Times reported.

“North Korean people learn fast to reuse their skills,” Kim Yong Chol, 58, a truck driver who fled North Korea in August, told the newspaper.

It is unclear how serious the North Korean government is about cracking down on the drug trade, the Times reported.

“If you are caught once or twice, with only a small amount like me, you can get away with it if you have connections. But a third time, you will be in real trouble,” Park told the Times. “I was doing bad things because everybody else was doing bad things.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Cathy Burke

Rodman: Sorry for Not Helping US Missionary Bae While in NKorea


Image: Rodman: Sorry for Not Helping US Missionary Bae While in NKorea

BEIJING — Former basketball star Dennis Rodman apologized on Monday for not being able to help an American missionary detained in North Korea during his trip there to play in a game to celebrate the birthday of his friend and leader Kim Jong Un.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything,” Rodman told media on his arrival at Beijing airport from a weeklong trip. “It’s not my fault. I’m sorry. I just want to do some good stuff, that’s all I want to do.”

Rodman and the squad of retired NBA players he took to North Korea for an exhibition game marking Kim’s birthday have met with criticism in the United States because of North Korea’s human rights record and its development of nuclear weapons.

Rodman was also slammed for not using his influence with Kim to help free Kenneth Bae, the missionary in poor health who has been detained for more than a year for “anti-state crimes.” Rodman apologized last week for comments he made in a CNN interview implying Bae was at fault, saying he had been drinking and was upsetor0 because some of his teammates were leaving under pressure.

On Monday, Rodman reiterated that his trip — in which he sang “Happy Birthday” to Kim before playing the exhibition game at a Pyongyang stadium — was one of goodwill.

“This is not a bad deal,” he said. “I want to show people that no matter what’s going on in the world, for one day, just one day, no politics, not all that stuff.

“I’m sorry for all the people and what’s going on, I’m sorry,” he continued. “I’m not the president, I’m not an ambassador, I’m just an individual that wants to show the world the fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day.”

Rodman and Kim struck up a friendship when the basketball-player-turned-celebrity first traveled to the secretive state last year.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Kim Uncle’s Execution by Dog Story Likely Came From Satire.


Image: Kim Uncle's Execution by Dog Story Likely Came From SatireJang Song Thaek

SEOUL, South Korea — An international media frenzy over reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle had been executed by throwing him to a pack of dogs appears to have originated as satire on a Chinese microblogging website.

The story, which spread like wildfire after it was picked up by a Hong Kong-based newspaper, has created an image that Pyongyang’s young ruler is even more brutal and unpredictable than previously believed.

While North Korea has said it purged and executed Kim’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, last month, it did not release details of how the man who was once the second most powerful figure in the isolated country was killed.

Initial speculation was that Jang had been killed by firing squad, a fate that media outlets said was the usual one reserved for “traitors.” But an alternative narrative of the 67-year old’s death emerged on what appears to have been a satirical post on the Chinese Tencent Weibo site that has been repeated by many media outlets worldwide.

The post records that it was viewed 290,000 times.The Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po newspaper released an article and a screenshot of the Weibo post which it used to justify its report that Jang had been torn apart.

Wen Wei Po, although independent, is viewed as being pro-Beijing. Its report was in turn picked up 12 days later by the Singapore-based Straits Times and then by a wide range of U.S. and European media from print to television.

Kim Jong Un, believed to be around 30 years old, has been in power for two years and presided over a nuclear test and two rocket test launches that are banned under United Nations sanctions.

In 2013, Pyongyang threatened to strike South Korea, the United States, and Japan in fiery rhetoric that triggered an arms buildup in East Asia.

One of the pitfalls of reporting on North Korea is that few independent media have offices there and visiting media are tightly controlled in a country which ranks among the lowest in global surveys of press freedom.

Because of the lack of first hand information, many lurid stories about the country gain credence.

Trevor Powell, a Chicago-based software engineer, who first spotted the link to the Weibo post and reported it on his own blog said that analysts and experts were “still all missing the obvious fact that the original source of the Wen Wei Po story was a tweet from a known satirist or someone posing as him/her.”

Powell blogged about the post at http://trevorpowell.com/2014/01/04/120-dogs-chinese-satirists-tweet-takes-all-english-news-media-for-a-ride/. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Officials at Wen Wei Po declined to comment on the article.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Rodman’s Former NBA Team Arrives in NKorea for Kim Birthday Game.


BEIJING — Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea Monday with a team of former NBA players for an exhibition game on Kim Jong Un’s birthday, after saying he wants to show that North Korea isn’t so bad.

The flamboyant Hall of Famer arrived in the North Korean capital from Beijing with a squad of a dozen former basketball stars including Vin Baker and Cliff Robinson in what Rodman calls “basketball diplomacy,” although U.S. officials have criticized his efforts.

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“It’s about trying to connect two countries together in the world, to let people know that: Do you know what? Not every country in the world is that bad, especially North Korea,” Rodman told The Associated Press in an interview outside his Beijing hotel before his flight to North Korea.

“People say so many negative things about North Korea. And I want people in the world to see it’s not that bad.”

The United States is at odds with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, and Rodman has been faulted for not talking about North Korea’s human rights record, described as one of the world’s worst by activists, the U.S. State Department and North Korean defectors.

The defectors have repeatedly testified about the government’s alleged use of indiscriminate killings, rapes, beatings and prison camps holding as many as 120,000 people deemed opponents of authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, the third generation of his family to rule.

The U.S. players are to compete in an exhibition game against a North Korean team on Wednesday, Kim’s birthday.

“Somehow we have to get along, and no matter what disagreements or what discrepancy we have in life,” Rodman said. “It’s like saying: Why do we have the Olympics? When everyone one comes together in the Olympics, there’s no problems. That’s what I’m doing. That’s all I’m doing.”

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© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Rodman Names Team for North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un’s Birthday Game.


Image: Rodman Names Team for North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un's Birthday Game(GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Dennis Rodman has named a team of former NBA players to play an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Rodman will lead the team that includes former NBA All-Stars Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, and Vin Baker.

Craig Hodges, Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith are on the team, as well. They will play against a top North Korean senior national team on Wednesday, marking Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

Rodman is the highest profile American to meet Kim since the leader inherited power from his father in late 2011.

Rodman calls the game his version of “basketball diplomacy.”

“My previous travels have allowed me to feel the enthusiasm and warmth of fans,” Rodman said.

“The positive memories and smiles on the faces of the children and families are a testament to the great efforts we have put into fulfilling our mission wherever we go voiding any politics. We are all looking forward to arriving in Pyongyang, meeting the citizens, visiting various charities and using the opportunity to develop new relationships that result in our annual return.”

Rodman made his latest visit to North Korea shortly before Christmas to train the North Korean basketball team, though he did not meet with Kim.

Rodman, known as much for his piercings, tattoos and bad behavior as he was for basketball, traveled to the secretive state for the first time last February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television. Rodman has called Kim a “friend for life.”

Rodman said his trips would not be affected by the recent execution of Kim’s uncle.

Smith, who played for the New York Knicks, said he was looking forward to the game with Rodman.

“Dennis and I are total opposites but we work very well together,” Smith said. “Dennis is one of the few people I know that doesn’t just talk but actually lives a culturally diverse life. We have traveled everywhere together so I was not surprised with his first visit to North Korea.

“Cultural exchange is about sharing. Sharing ideas and thoughts on education, culture and life.”

Irish betting company Paddy Power PLC — a driving force behind the exhibition — removed its name last month as the title sponsor. The company is still financing the trip and is honoring all contractual commitments.

Rodman has been criticized for not talking about North Korea’s human rights record, described as one of the world’s worst by activists, the U.S. State Department and North Korean defectors.

The defectors have repeatedly testified about the government’s alleged use of indiscriminate killings, rapes, beatings and prison camps holding as many as 120,000 people deemed opponents of authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, the third generation of his family to rule.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

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