J. D. Heyes
September 15, 2013
The development and implementation of foreign policy is an art that few American administrations have managed with an aplomb that commands respect. It has happened – FDR, JFK, Reagan, to name a few – but it’s rare.
In some cases, the handling of U.S. foreign policy is dangerously amateurish, as evidenced by the abysmal handling by the Obama regime of everything related to foreign policy issues from Mexican drug cartel gun-running to Benghazi to the situation in the Syrian civil war.
Add North Korea to that list.
Granted, it is unrealistic to expect the U.S. to invade North Korea over what amounts to nothing more than massive human rights abuses, but it would be nice to hear the president use his bully pulpit to at least condemn Pyongyang for them, rather than comparing himself to Travon Martin or insulting Cambridge, Mass., police officers who were acting in the line of duty [http://www.cnn.com].
To wit, from Breitbart News:
Covering an area as large as London and considered one of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s most brutal prison camps, a site designated as Camp No. 22 saw a drastic reduction in its population prior to its closing last year – investigators fear as many as 22,000 inmates may have been left to die from disease and/or starvation.
Death is a way of life at North Korean gulags
Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, citing a newly-released report by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, reports that the heinous “reduction” may have come as part of Kim’s effort to consolidate power after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011:
The Washington-based organization gleans information from defectors from the North, including former guards and the occasional survivor of a prison camp, as well as examining satellite imagery.
It focused much of its attention on Camp 22, a vast compound that sprawled across more than 770 square miles, making it larger than London.
The group’s report, titled “North Korea’s Hidden Gulag: Interpreting Reports of Changes in the Prison Camps,” also revealed that a pair of camps had been shuttered within the past year, but that some 130,000 North Koreans are currently held in penal “labor colonies” around the country.
“Through this vast system of unlawful imprisonment, the North Korean regime isolates, banishes, punishes and executes those suspected of being disloyal to the regime,” says the report.
“They are deemed ‘wrong-thinkers,’ ‘wrong-doers,’ or those who have acquired ‘wrong-knowledge’ or have engaged in ‘wrong-associations,’” it says.
In the camps, detainees are “relentlessly subjected to malnutrition, forced labor, and to other cruel and unusual punishment.” Thousands more people, the group notes, are forcibly held in other detention facilities as well.
“North Korea denies access to the camps to outsiders, whether human rights investigators, scholars, or international media and severely restricts the circulation of information across its borders,” the group’s report said.
In the months before its closure, the prison population of Camp No. 22, which was located in North Hamyong Province, in the far north-east of the nation, fell dramatically, most probably in December 2012.
Not holding our breath…
Reports of a major food shortage – which is common in North Korea for just about everyone not named Kim Jong-un or wearing a military uniform – “meant that little was passed on to inmates and that numbers dwindled rapidly from 30,000 to 3,000,” the Telegraph reported.
Not all of the reduction came as a result of mass murder. According to defectors, as many as 8,000 prisoners may actually have been transferred to other camps across North Korea, which maintains a network of gulags. But what is clear is that none of the inmates were released, “implying that they may have succumbed to a harsher than usual prison regime,” the paper said.
“North Korea’s 2009 currency devaluation (whereby camp authorities were reportedly unable to purchase food in markets to supplement the crops grown in the camps), combined with bad harvests, resulted in the death of large numbers of prisoners after 2010,” the report said.
“If even remotely accurate, this is an atrocity requiring much closer investigation.”
And much worthy of at least a condemnation by our president. But while he juggles one foreign policy disaster after another, we won’t hold our breath.
This article was posted: Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 5:53 am