Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bae from North Korean prison: Please help me

Despite statements to the contrary Bae is very much a bargaining chip and the north likely allowed this interview as part of its ongoing blackmail diplomacy campaign.

I think this paragraph is also an illustration of the warning the north intended to send with this case against those who would advocate supporting the growing resistance within the north through the conduct of an unconventional warfare campaign.  Whether Bae was actually conducting these activities, I think the north is very fearful of an UW campaign conducted against it.  This paragraph actually provides some insight into some of the things the north fears most (unconventional warfare, psychological operations, political warfare, even "religious" warfare as it knows the potential power of real religion over Juche):

North Korean media has detailed the reasons why Bae was sentenced. Among the list of alleged crimes was 1) setting up bases in China for the "purpose of toppling the DPRK government," 2) encouraging DPRK citizens to bring down its government and 3) conducting a "malignant smear campaign." KCNA added that Bae had planned what it called a "Jericho operation" to bring down North Korea through religious activities. It suggested that Bae could have been sentenced to death, but avoided it through "candid confession of his crimes."
Bae from North Korean prison: Please help me
By Madison Park, CNN
updated 7:09 AM EDT, Wed July 3, 2013

Video shows American jailed in N. Korea
  • U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae spoke to pro-North Korea, Japan media Choson Sinbo
  • In interview, he asks for U.S. and North Korea's help to release him
  • Bae appears thinner and breaks down when speaking of his father
  • Bae was sentenced 15 years of hard labor in North Korea
(CNN) -- The American citizen sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp, has appealed to the Korean authorities for forgiveness and asked the United States for help in securing his release in an exclusive interview from prison obtained Wednesday by CNN.

Pae Jun Ho, known as Kenneth Bae by U.S. authorities, was found guilty in an April 30 trial of "hostile acts to bring down its government" and planning anti-North Korea religious activities, according to the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"Although my health is not good, I am being patient and coping well," Bae said. "And I hope that with the help of the North Korean government and the United States, I will be released soon."
In the interview footage, his head was shaved and his face noticeably thinner than the previous photos of the Korean-American. Wearing a blue prison garment streaked with sweat and dirt, Bae's uniform bore the number 103.

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"I know what I did is not easily forgivable, but I hope that things will work out so that I can be with my family again soon," Bae continued.

The video was obtained by Tokyo-based pro-North Korean newspaper, Choson Sinbo, which interviewed Bae in prison recently. The interview is believed to be the first since Bae's sentencing about two months ago.

Choson Sinbo was permitted to conduct the interview by North Korea. The edited footage, which runs less than eight minutes, was made available to CNN.

The timing of the Bae interview comes after North Korea proposed high-level talks with the United States last month. Washington does not appear to be rushing towards talks, as it has previously stated that Pyongyang must take concrete steps to denuclearize as a pre-condition.

However, North Korea has stated before that Bae is not a "political bargaining chip" through KCNA.
The United States has called on the North to grant Bae amnesty, citing concerns about the lack of transparency in the North Korean legal system

"There is no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad and we urge the DPRK authorities to grant Mr. Bae amnesty and immediate release," said Brent Byers, spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in South Korea. He added that the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang, which represents U.S. interests there, has met with Bae six times since his arrest.

In the interview, Bae sat in a room next to a door and a radiator. He calmly described his current prison life as eight hours of farm labor -- which he had never done before -- with a break in the middle of the day and lunch. He was also filmed clearing the fields, wearing black gloves and a hat as a guard stood watch nearby.

When asked if prison life was bearable, Bae replied, "Yes, people here are very considerate. But my health is not in the best condition, so there are some difficulties. But, everyone here is considerate and generous, and we have doctors here, so I'm getting regular check-ups."

He spoke of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver and a back problem.
Bae spoke stoically throughout the interview conducted in Korean. But his eyes welled with tears when he spoke about his father's upcoming 70th birthday on July 4 — American Independence Day holiday.
"I was hoping that my problem would be worked out by end of June. So my hope is that North Korea will forgive, and the U.S. will try harder to get me out speedily. I'm asking for their help."

He paused and bowed his head, blinking back tears. As he tried to compose himself, he spoke between deep breaths.
(Continued at the link below)

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