Monday, February 13, 2006

Goodbye OFK. Hello, Korea Liberator.

Imagine my horror when I found out that one of my favorite blogs, One Free Korea, was shutting its doors

With this entry, posting at OneFreeKorea comes to an end.


But hopefully the future will be bright. Joshua, a fellow South Dakotan and an amazing guy has joined with the brains behind DPRK Studies and The Asianist to create a new grou blog, The Korea Liberator.

korea_liberator_md


The Korea Liberator's mission statement reads:

Our Agenda Is a Free and United Korea

...

North Korea will only change when it reflects the will of its people. North Korea’s people want most of the same things people everywhere want: self-determination; freedom of expression, religion and association; food and clean water; good education for their kids; marriage and families; some frivolous entertainment; and the satiation of their intellectual curiosities. They want all of these things without fear of Thought Police, firing squads, or labor camps.

The North Korean regime has intentionally deprived the North Korean people of the fundamental necessities of life so that it could build a gargantuan army and nuclear weapons. Somewhere between 50,000 and 300,000 North Koreans want those the necessities of life so badly that they risked their lives, crossed over to China, and live like fugitives. We believe that many others, who cannot leave, also wish not to live under Kim Jong Il’s reign. We want what they want.


While not as muscular as Barnett or Curzon, Joshua is a resolutely pro-North-Korean (people and anti-DPRK (government) blogger. He has met with Secretary , and is a daily read for tdaxp. My blogroll and rss reader have been updated.

Read The Korea Liberator now.

Curious about North Korean news? Also read NKZone, or the US Army's North Korea geography textbook (hat-tip Catholicgauze).

18:25 Posted in Blogosphere, Korea | Permalink | Comments (4) | Tags: ofk, north korea, joshua

Monday, November 28, 2005

One Free Korea Breaks State Department Scandal? Nicholas Burns' Illegal Diplomacy?

"NKHRA Progress Report: Who Is Keyzer Soze?," by Joshua, One Free Korea, 23 November 2005, http://freekorea.blogspot.com/2005/11/nkhra-progress-report-who-is-keyzer.html (from Live from the FDNF).

"At the State Department...," by Mi-Hwa, One Free Korea, 26 November 2005, http://www.haloscan.com/comments/stantonjb/113278554598136125/#133605.

"Mi Hwa...," by Joshua, One Free Korea, 27 November 2005, http://www.haloscan.com/comments/stantonjb/113278554598136125/#133611.

Props to Eddie of Live from the FDNF for alerting me to an OFK post that I missed.

Why, some of us want to know, has the North Korean Human Rights Act lodged in the State Department's windpipe? Why, over a year after the bill was signed into law, does an executive agency that's nominally answerable to the President of the United States fail to accept North Korean refugees who knock at the embassy gates? I specifically cite Section 303 of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, which is now binding law:

The Secretary of State shall undertake to facilitate the submission of applications under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act [meaning, asylum applications] (8 U.S.C. 1157) by citizens of North Korea seeking protection as refugees (as defined in section 101(a)(42) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(42)).


In plain English, that means that our embassies violate federal law if they fail to "facilitate" asylum applications at our embassies abroad. Yet Tim Peters not only informs me that our embassies are refusing to take these refugees, he's said the same to Congress under oath, and he has it on film, thanks to CNN. One overseas ambassador, so another source tells me, went so far as to seek legal advice from Foggy Bottom as to how to interpret the law. He was told in no uncertain terms not to ask again.


One Free Korea's Joshua Stantaon is a well respected blogger. He recently met with Ambassador John Bolton, and a plaque he designed now hangs prominantly in Bolton's office. Maybe that's why a government leaker has chosen OFK to release the news

My source says that Burns doesn't want our State Department taking any actions that would unduly offend Kim Jong Il, such as taking in refugees, or letting any pesky part-time Special Envoy muck it all up with unpleasant remarks about investigating infanticides, concentration camps, or gas chambers. Hence, we hear relatively little from Lefkowitz, and shouldn't expect to hear much more of consequence. Just to be sure--according to a different source--State has placed individuals sympathetic to the Burns world view in Lefkowitz's office . . . to better keep him inside the range of his electronic ankle bracelet.



Nicholas Burns: Rogue Diplomat?


Of course, this is only a leak -- it may not be true. Conceivable it could be part of a power play by a secret cabal - a conspiracy - to embarrass a pesky enemy. But given the State Department's history of rogue policy, the news is all too believable.

On the story's discussion thread," Mi-Hwa wonders if Dr. Barnett's old enemy, the Department of , is behind the trouble:

At the State Department, the buck stops at Condi Rice. She obviously does not welcome North Korean refugees. Homeland security is probably the reason -- they don't want North Korean spies or terrorists.


The news even has Joshua, a firm Republican, questioning Secretary Rice's leadership

Mi-Hwa, Other than your speculation about Homeland Security being the culprit (one doesn't need one if my source is right about State), I'm actually forced to admit that I agree with you.

Condi Rice is responsible for what her subordinates and our ambassadors are doing, or failing to do. She has sworn to uphold our nation's laws. She must be accountable if she fails to do this.


Unless we kill Kim, we break North Korea through connectivity -- not guarding the gates of Pyongyang's prisons for them.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blogger Redecorates John Bolton's Office

I previously blogged Josh of One Free Korea meeting with Ambassador :

josh_bolton_md
Josh on far-left


During his trip, he presented him with a plaque

Several days before the trip, I suggested that we should present Ambassador Bolton with a plaque to thank him for his blunt words about North Korea, as well as his efforts to make human rights an element of U.S. policy toward the North. I designed the plaque with one photograph, which you see here . . .




Half-Slave, Half-Free


. . . and Lincoln's "half slave, half free" quote. When I presented it to him, I stated that we shared his appreciation that some issues really are black and white. I told Amb. Bolton, not quite half-jokingly, that I hoped he would put it where the Chinese Ambassador would see it. I won’t print his response, however; I’m not sure he’d want me to.


Over at Josh's discussion thread, one of Bolton's staffer's announced that the plaque is now prominently displayed in Ambassador Bolton's office!

Josh,

I am the staffer who had the pleasure of meeting with you and your colleagues in New York a few days ago. While I will steer clear of the debates in this thread, I would like to confirm that the plaque you presented him with is now on display directly outside of his door.

Regards,

Mark


Congratulations Joshua!

07:40 Posted in Korea, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: ofk, john bolton, maps

Friday, November 18, 2005

John Bolton meets with One Free Korea

" OFK, N. Korean Freedom Coalition Meet with Ambassador John Bolton," by Joshua, One Free Korea, 17 November 2005, http://freekorea.blogspot.com/2005/11/ofk-n-korean-freedom-coalition-meet_17.html.

Fellow South Dakotan Josh of One Free Korea recently nabbed an interview with Permanent United States Representative to the United Nations Ambassador John Bolton.

Our agenda was the horrific state of human rights in North Korea, a situation that I believe to be the worst on earth today, and perhaps as bad as any we have seen since the demise of the Khmer Rouge. Such comparisons inevitably invite questions about the metrics of human misery, but I’m prepared to defend my position. I begin with the butcher’s bill: during the 1990’s, approximately two million North Koreans starved to death in a famine that was easily preventable at best, and intentionally inflicted at worst. One could point to a wealth of circumstantial evidence from international aid groups and refugees proving that the regime uses food as a weapon of class warfare, but conclusive evidence may have to wait for the fall of the regime. And then, of course, one can discuss the concentration camps, public executions, infanticides, and the constant, stultifying repression anchored in a complete isolation from the outside world.



Two Koreas, Half-Free


Of those facts, Ambassador Bolton is well aware. Our agenda was to discuss ways to translate those facts into concrete, effective, and nonviolent action. Clearly, our movement is growing and gaining traction, even in some unlikely places, but the progress is never fast enough for the lives we could be too late to save. Every last member of our delegation is opposed to invading or attacking North Korea. I suspect the same also goes for Ambassador Bolton. We were seeking what Rabbi of the calls “behavior modification.”


Read the whole thing

My view? Kill Kim.

13:55 Posted in Korea, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: ofk, john bolton

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Hopeful on Iran

" Why the Iranian Election Results Are Good News," by Joshua, One Free Korea, 25 June 2005, http://freekorea.blogspot.com/2005/06/why-iranian-election-results-are-good.html.

"A great quote from a friend of mine...," by Curzon, Coming Anarchy, 26 June 2005, http://www.cominganarchy.com/archives/2005/06/25/a-personal-note-from-younghusband/.

Joshua from OFK hopes that the election of a backsliding theocrat for Iran's Presidency is good news for Persia

Having abandoned hope of peaceful reform--as has the majority of the Iranian people, if recent reports are to be believed--the real hope for Iran lies in a Tehran Spring, a Peacock Revolution. The basis for that hope is contingent on reports, mostly from bloggers via contacts with the Iranian opposition, that the turnout and ballot results were nothing like the official announcements.

...

Accepting for the sake of discussion that the great majority of Iranians--and demographically, Iranians are very young--want a reformed, free society, then the rise of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be just the catayst that's needed to transform their alienation into desperation and action. Rafsanjani, as insincere and corrupt as he may be, had been promising better relations with the West, and might have cultivated some hope that patience would be rewarded with a relaxation of the state's grip. Not so with Ahmadinejad, who seems poised to pull a black chador over the sky itself.


Curzon from CA seems to agree:

A great quote from a friend of mine (who knows his sh** when it comes to this stuff) on the Iran elections:

I think in the end this will backfire on the Mullahs there. I mean, even with a reformer as President they could control everything he did. By making even the figurehead President a nutcase, I bet that in the end they will be weakened by it in the longrun. Either way, Israel better get its fighter planes fueled up!


The election is bad news if the new President slows down or reverses Iran's trade ties with the rest of the world. Creating modern consumers and investors is the world's best rode to a friendly Iran... and a friendly Shia Gulf. Not destroying the economy and encouraging zealots.

22:20 Posted in Iran | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: ofk, Ahmadinejad

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

One Free Korea Worth Creating, Whether Pyongyang and Seoul Like It Or Not

Activists Release Names of S Korea Abductees," by Joshua, One Free Korea, 2 June 2005, http://freekorea.blogspot.com/2005/06/activists-release-names-of-s-korea.html.

"Would anyone really miss North Korea?," by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 4 June 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/001896.html.

Is liberal hawk Thomas Barnett just a pseudonym for Josh from OFK?

They seem to agree that North Korea needs to go, even if South Korea doesn't deserve friendship

from TPM Barnett:

Meanwhile, South Korea races ahead in—I guess—another form of counterfeiting—albeit a far more technologically advanced one. If a South Korea can reach for such heights while a North Korea descends to such depths, I ask you: who would miss North Korea the state?

And if nobody would, why not just get rid of it any way we can? Put the people out of their misery, their stunted growth, their perpetual low nutrition and caloric intake, their lowering IQ, passed on from generation to generation.

North Korea is the international equivalent of the child whose horrific parents locked her in the closet for the last 15 years. I say it's time to do the humane thing. South Korea's too busy cloning themselves to give a rat's ass. If they have that many extra bodies around, I don't think we should sweat their possible losses in the take-down of Kim's regime, because at some point, the horror has to stop. At some point, you have to strike right into the heart of darkness, killing that mad little nutcase.


from One Free Korea

Still, it's interesting to contrast Japan's efforts to get back its abductees, and even the North's hard work to get back its own spies and saboteurs, to Seoul's failure to even ask for the return of its civilians and prisoners of war.