Archive | September, 2012

Dying Breath: The inside story of Pol Pot’s last days and the disintegration of the movement he created

28 Sep

Dying Breath

The inside story of Pol Pot’s last days

and the disintegration of the movement he created

The Far Eastern Economic Review

                                                                                   April 30, 1998

By Nate Thayer in Preah Vihear province


As Pol Pot’s body lies bloating 100 metres away in a spartan shack, exhausted Khmer Rouge leaders gather in a jungle-shrouded ammunition depot filled with home-made mines and crude communications equipment. Explosions of heavy artillery and exchanges of automatic-weapons fire echo in the mountains as the Khmer Rouge’s remaining guerrillas hold off government troops.

Ta Mok, the movement’s strongman, vows to fight on, and blames his longtime comrade-in-arms for the Khmer Rouge’s desperate plight. “It is good that Pol Pot is dead. I feel no sorrow,” he says. Then he levels a bizarre accusation against the rabidly nationalistic mass murderer: “Pol Pot was a Vietnamese agent. I have the documents.”


A young Khmer Rouge fighter, his leaders only metres away, leans close to a visiting reporter and whispers in Khmer: “This movement is finished. Can you get me to America?”

Besieged in dense jungles along the Thai border, the remnants of the Khmer Rouge are battling for survival in the wake of three weeks of chaotic defections and the loss of their northern stronghold of Anlong Veng. Having lost faith in the harsh leadership of Ta Mok, several commanders are negotiating to defect to the guerrilla forces loyal to deposed Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh.

Khmer Rouge army commander Ta Mok: The last man standing

Ta Mok’s growing paranoia and isolation were only some of the revelations to come out of an exclusive tour of shrinking Khmer Rouge-held territory north of Anlong Veng the day after Pol Pot’s death. Khmer Rouge cadres and Pol Pot’s wife recounted the last, ignominious days of his life, as he was moved through the jungle to escape advancing troops.

Ta Mok, the one-legged Khmer Rouge army commander and Pol Pot nemesis in interview with author the day Pol Pot died. Artillery rained down on us as mutinying troops advanced and pol Pot’s body lay meters away bloating in the tropical heat

There was no visible evidence that the former Cambodian dictator was murdered. Cadres say he died of a heart attack on the night of April 15. In the days after his death, Khmer Rouge envoys held secret peace talks in Bangkok with Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh, and had their first direct contact with U.S. officials in more than two decades. Yet at the same time, Khmer Rouge holdouts were joining up with Ranariddh’s rebel forces, making it likely that the insurgency will continue as Cambodia prepares for crucial elections in July.

The Khmer Rouge weren’t trying to expose their shaky future when they allowed a REVIEW reporter to enter their territory, but to prove to the world that the architect of Cambodia’s killing fields was indeed dead. Leading the way to Pol Pot’s house to display the ultimate proof, a cadre warns against stepping off the path. “Be careful, there are mines everywhere.”

The sickly-sweet stench of death fills the wooden hut. Fourteen hours have passed since Pol Pot’s demise, and his body is decomposing in the tropical heat. His face and fingers are covered with purple blotches.

Khmer Rouge leaders insist that Pol Pot, aged 73, died of natural causes. Already visibly ill and professing to be near death when interviewed by the REVIEW in October, he had been weakened by a shortage of food and the strain of being moved around to escape the government offensive. “Pol Pot died of heart failure,” Ta Mok says. “I did not kill him.”

Nuon Chea, Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, and Defence Minister Son Sen while in power in Phnom Penh after 1975. Ieng Sary broke from the group in 1996 and the other three denounced him as a “Vietnamese agent.” Son Sen was ordered murdered by Pol pot and Nuon Chea in June 1997 and he, his wife and 16 relatives were killed, their bodies run over by trucks after they were shot. Pol Pot was later arrested and Nuon Chea was on the record of accusing him of being a “traitor.” Of the 22 members of the central committee of the Communist party when they took power in 1975 21 had been executed or arrested for being “enemies” by their own comrades by the end, imploding in an orgy of paranoia and vitriol

That night, Ta Mok had wanted to move Pol Pot to another house for security reasons. “He was sitting in his chair waiting for the car to come. But he felt tired. Pol Pot’s wife asked him to take a rest. He lay down in his bed. His wife heard a gasp of air. It was the sound of dying. When she touched him he had passed away already. It was at 10:15 last night.”

There are no signs of foul play, but Pol Pot has a pained expression on his face, as if he did not die peacefully. One eye is shut and the other half open. Cotton balls are stuffed up his nostrils to prevent leakage of body fluids. By his body lie his rattan fan, blue-and-red peasant scarf, bamboo cane and white plastic sandals. His books and other possessions have been confiscated since he was ousted by his comrades in an internal power struggle 10 months earlier. Two vases of purple bougainvillea stand at the head of the bed. Otherwise, the room is empty, save for a small short-wave radio.

Pol Pot listened religiously to Voice of America broadcasts on that radio, but the April 15 news on the Khmer-language service may have been too much to bear. The lead story was the REVIEW’s report that Khmer Rouge leaders–desperate for food, medicine and international support–had decided to turn him over to an international tribunal to face trial for crimes against humanity. “He listened to VOA every night, and VOA on Wednesday reported your story at 8 p.m. that he would be turned over to an international court,” says Gen. Khem Nuon, the Khmer Rouge army chief-of-staff. “We thought the shock of him hearing this on VOA might have killed him.”

Author with Pol Pot’s body less than 8 hours after his death. April 16, 1997, On the side of the mountain outside their besieged jungle headquarters of Anlong Veng, Northern Cambodia

A week earlier, Nuon had said that Pol Pot knew of the decision, but now he says the aging leader had not been fully informed. “We decided clearly to send him” to an international court, says Nuon, “but we only told him that we were in a very difficult situation and perhaps it was better that he go abroad. Tears came to his eyes when I told him that.”

Perched nervously by the deathbed is Pol Pot’s wife, a 40-year-old former ammunition porter for the Khmer Rouge named Muon. Clutching her hand is their 12-year-old daughter, Mul. A peasant woman, Muon says she has never laid eyes on a Westerner before. She corroborates Ta Mok’s account of Pol Pot’s death. “Last night, he said he felt dizzy. I asked him to lie down. I heard him make a noise. When I went to touch him, he had died.”

Pol Pot’s political opposition shown here with the severed head of captured Khmer Rouge soldier. The Cambodian political alternatives are so unimpressive that two decades after pol Pot was driven from power after his policies cause the death of 1.8 million people, his political movement not only remained a formidable force with popular support, but 80% of the armed forces had volunteered to join his ranks after he fled the capitol to wage war from the jungle

Pol Pot married her after his first wife went insane in the 1980s as the Khmer Rouge tried to survive in the jungle after their reign of terror was ended by invading Vietnamese troops. Muon seems oblivious to her husband’s bloodstained past, caught only in the anguish of the present.

“He told me a few weeks ago: ‘My father died at 73. I am 73 now. My time is not far away,'” she says. “It was a way of telling me that he was preparing to die.” Reaching down to caress his face, she bursts into tears. “He was always a good husband. He tried his best to educate the children not to be traitors. Since I married him in 1985, I never saw him do a bad thing.”

Asked about his reputation as a mass-murderer, her lips quiver and she casts a terrified glance at senior Khmer Rouge cadres hovering nearby. “I know nothing about politics,” she says. “It is up to history to judge. That is all I want to say.”

Pol Pot in 1973 in happier times

She has reason to be terrified. “As to what I will do with his family, I haven’t decided,” says Ta Mok. “If I let them go, will they say anything bad about me? Maybe they might be used by Hun Sen,” he says, referring to his nemesis, the Cambodian premier.

Outside the front door is a small vegetable garden tended by Pol Pot’s wife and daughter; next to it, a freshly dug trench where Pol Pot and his family were forced to cower as artillery bombarded the jungle redoubt in recent weeks.

Pol Pot’s last days were spent in flight and fear of capture–a humiliating end for the man who ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. According to his wife and Khmer Rouge leaders, he dyed his hair black on April 10 in a desperate attempt to avoid capture by mutinying Khmer Rouge troops as he fled to the Dongrek mountains north of Anlong Veng. “Pol Pot feared that he could be caught. By dying his hair he was trying to disguise himself. For such a person to do that, it showed real fear in his mind,” says Gen. Nuon.

The guerrillas had been unable to provide their ousted leader with sufficient food since being forced from their headquarters in late March. “For the last few weeks he had diarrhea and we haven’t had much food because of the fighting with the traitors,” recounts Ta Mok.

As Pol Pot fled, the remnants of the movement he created 38 years ago crumbled before his eyes. A few days before his death, he was being driven with his wife and daughter to a new hideout by Gen. Non Nou, his personal guard. From his blue Toyota Land Cruiser, Pol Pot saw Khmer Rouge civilians–cadres say around 30,000–who had been forced from their fields and villages by government troops and Khmer Rouge defectors.

Pol Pot: His last words in public

“When he saw the peasants and our cadres lying by the side of the road with no food or shelter, he broke down into tears,” says Non Nou. His wife echoes the account, and quotes Pol Pot as saying: “My only wish is that Cambodians stay united so that Vietnam will not swallow our country.” Pol Pot never expressed any regrets, she says. “What I would like the world to know was that he was a good man, a patriot, a good father.”

Pol Pot’s first wife, Khieu Ponnary who started showing symptoms of sever mental illness by 1976 and went insane shortly after the Khmer Rouge fled back to jungle in 1979

Pol Pot’s first wife in happier times before she went insane during her husbands reign in power

Asked how she wanted her father remembered, Pol Pot’s only child stands with her head bowed, eyes downcast and filled with tears. “Now my daughter is not able to say anything,” interjects Muon. “I think she will let history judge her father.”

History will have to, because death has deprived the world of the chance to judge the man responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million people.

Although Pol Pot has cheated justice, other leaders of that regime remain at large, including Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, who are sheltering with Ta Mok. Others, such as Keo Pok, Mam Nay and Pol Pot’s former brother-in-law, Ieng Sary, have defected with their troops to the government side since 1996.

Although Pol Pot’s life will stand as the darkest chapter in Cambodian history, his death is likely to be just a historical footnote. What’s more likely to affect Cambodia’s future is the continuing disintegration of the Khmer Rouge. This is prompting desperate attempts by what’s left of the movement to find security.

Counterclockwise from upper left: Nuon Chea, ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, and Ieng Thirith on trial in Phnom Penh for crimes against humanity 2012. Ieng Thirith, Ieng Sary’s wife and the sister of Pol Pot’s first wife (above) has since been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. She was the first Cambodian to receive a degree in English literature and her sister, Khieu Ponnary was the first Cambodian to receive a degree in French literature

The day after Pol Pot died, senior Khmer Rouge officials traveled to Bangkok, where they held secret negotiations with Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh. There, they offered for the first time to cooperate with elements of the Cambodian government. “Yes, we are prepared to negotiate. We are in the process,” says Ta Mok. “But I am not going to be a running dog of Vietnam like Ieng Sary. In a nutshell, we want to dissolve the Hun Sen government and establish a national government that includes all national forces.”

Interviewed on April 18, one of the chief Khmer Rouge negotiators, Cor Bun Heng, said of the unprecedented meeting: “It was a good beginning and cordial. But these things take time.” Added the other senior negotiator, Gen. Nuon: “We believe that the only way out is national reconciliation between all the parties. We know that the entire Cambodian population wants peace.”

What’s more, Nuon and Cor Bun Heng said they met secretly on April 17 with American officials in Bangkok, and laid out their demands for a political settlement. It was the first official, direct contact between the United States and the Khmer Rouge for at least two decades. U.S. officials wouldn’t comment

In the jungles, Ta Mok knows that his capture and trial is sought by the international community. He wants to use Pol Pot’s death to wipe the slate clean. “The world community should stop talking about this now that Pol Pot is dead. It was all Pol Pot. He annihilated many good cadres and destroyed our movement. I hope he suffers after death,” he says. He then asks a visiting reporter to get hold of a satellite telephone for him, sketching a collapsible phone he has seen. “I want a good telephone. One that I can call anywhere in the world.”

POL POT: THE END pol Pot at his jungle trial July 25, 1997 in the Khmer Rouge controlled jungles of Northern Cambodia in the days after Pol Pot lost a bloody power struggle among his last top loyalists. He was denounced and sentenced to life imprison not for the deaths of 1.8 million of his countrymen during 3 years, 8 months and 20 days in power, but for being a “traitor to the revolution.”

But working the phone will not prevent Ta Mok from rapidly losing the loyalty of his own commanders. Privately, many of his top officers and cadres hold him responsible for the collapse of the movement since he seized control from Pol Pot last July. “He is very tired,” says a senior Khmer Rouge official. “No man can shoulder all the political, diplomatic and military burdens by himself.” Others are less kind. “He has no more support from many of his own people,” whispers one cadre. “But we don’t know where to go. Cambodia has no good leaders.”

Fear was in the faces of many leaders and cadres still holed up near the Thai border–and for good reason. “There may be more traitors, it is normal. But in the end they will all die,” Ta Mok says. He’s a man of his word: Three top commanders arrested with Pol Pot last year were executed in late March because some of the fighters who mutinied were loyal to them. “It was a decision made by the people,” Ta Mok shrugs.

Ta Mok speaking with author as Pol Pot’s body lay dead 30 meters away and rockets and artillary from mutinying tropps rained down on us. “This is all Pol Pot’s fault! I hope he suffers after he is dead,” said Ta Mok. ” Pol Pot was a Vietnamese agent! I have the documents!” he said wagging his finger at me. His interpreter turned to me and said: ” Don’t believe anything he says. This movement is finished. Can you get me to America?”

He gives the impression of being increasingly out of touch with reality, seeing enemies everywhere and unwilling to compromise. His brutal tactics are also a source of unease among his remaining loyalists. “Our movement will only get stronger. We have sent our forces close to Phnom Penh and they have carried out their tasks successfully,” he says. The “task” he boasts of was the recent massacre of 22 ethnic Vietnamese, including women and children, in a fishing village in Kompong Chhnang province.

The REVIEW has learned that many of the estimated 1,600 guerrillas still nominally under Ta Mok’s command have pledged allegiance to the forces loyal to Ranariddh’s Funcinpec party, who occupy nearby jungles. Cadres say that in negotiations with Funcinpec’s Gen. Nyek Bun Chhay, they have pledged loyalty to Ranariddh’s party and agreed to force Ta Mok into “retirement.”

Scores of uniformed Funcinpec troops, including senior commanders, are fighting alongside Ta Mok loyalists north of Anlong Veng. Gen. Meas Sarin, a Funcinpec commander and governor of Preah Vihear province before Hun Sen’s coup in July, is present at Khmer Rouge headquarters. He says 600 Funcinpec troops are fighting government forces alongside Ta Mok’s commanders. The heavy fighting nearby is audible during the interview.

This presents a political dilemma for Ranariddh. He has pledged to abide by a Japanese peace plan that aims to create conditions for Funcinpec to campaign freely ahead of the July elections–something Hun Sen has resisted. The Japanese plan specifically calls for the severing of links between Funcinpec troops and Ta Mok’s guerrillas. For the moment, Ranariddh is choosing denial. “I do not have any cooperative relations with the Khmer Rouge,” he said on April 17. “Rumours currently circulating to the effect that forces loyal to me are supporting the Khmer Rouge forces in Anlong Veng are not true.”

Pol Pot during interview October 16, 1997 with author. it was his only public statements since he was driven from power two decades earlier and his last before his death 6 months to the day later. He refused to express any remorse. “Look at me. Am I a savage person?” he said

That’s not the only obstacle facing Japan and ASEAN as they try to find a formula that would allow Ranariddh to return home to campaign for the polls. The job was already hard enough for the Thai, Philippine and Indonesian foreign ministers who met King Norodom Sihanouk in Siem Riep in mid-April. But then Sihanouk made it harder by telling them Ranariddh should pull out of the elections–and Cambodian politics altogether–and instead prepare to be king, according to furious Funcinpec members.

Meanwhile, Cambodia’s neighbors are becoming increasingly exasperated by the seemingly endless war. Interviewed in Bangkok, Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan expresses optimism that elections could be held in Cambodia, but also voices a warning. “Without a resolution to the Cambodian conflict, the region is being perceived as insecure, unstable. That prevents further cooperation and development for Asia,” he says, pointing to plans to develop the Mekong basin that are now delicately poised.

China, previously hesitant about taking part in the Mekong’s development, is now willing to participate, Surin says. That means that Cambodia, at the heart of the Mekong Basin, is now the major remaining obstacle. “The region is being denied this development by the existing Cambodian conflict,” says Surin. “Certainly, there is a sense of Cambodia fatigue in the international community. Cambodians should realize that.”

Nate Thayer, winner of the 1998 International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting, is the Southeast Asia correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review. In July 1997, after years of cultivating sources, Thayer was allowed in to the remote northern Cambodia field headquarters of the Khmer Rouge for a “people’s tribunal” of their ousted former leader Pol Pot. Three months later, Thayer repeated his exclusive coverage, this time conducting the first interview with Pol Pot in 18 years. It was also the only interview before Pol Pot – blamed for the deaths of more than 1 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1978 – died.

Thayer, a native of Washington, D.C., had spent years cultivating sources in Thailand, Cambodia, and beyond, trying to track down the elusive Pol Pot. A contributor to Jane’s Defence Weekly, The Associated Press, and more than 40 publications, Thayer began writing for the Far Eastern Economic Review in 1989 and made dozens of reporting trips into resistance-controlled Cambodia. The physical toll of his work included hospitalization 16 times for cerebral malaria and broken bones and shrapnel wounds after his truck hit an anti-tank mine.

Thayer’s dogged reporting also earned him The World Press Award, the 1997 “Scoop of the Year” British press award, The Overseas Press Club of America Award, the Asian Publishers and Editors Award for Excellence in Reporting, and the 1998 Francis Fox Wood Award for Courage in Journalism. While a 1996-1997 visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Thayer received a grant to write a book on Cambodian politics.

While the focus of Thayer’s reporting has been Asia, he has also covered the former Yugoslavia, Albania, Cuba, and Mongolia. He continues to concentrate on international organized crime, narcotics trafficking, human rights, North Korea, and areas of military conflict.

North Korean Officials Implicated in Scores of Drug Trafficking Incidents

23 Sep

North Korean Officials Implicated in Scores of Drug Trafficking Incidents

By Nate Thayer

North Korea has categorically denied state sponsored criminal syndicates of drug trafficking, trafficking of counterfeit U.S. currency, and other smuggling-for- profit activities by North Korean military, intelligence, and diplomatic officials since 1976.

But the evidence solidly suggests otherwise. The Kim family dynastic government has been linked to hundreds of verifiable incidents involving drug seizures in at least 30 countries involving arrest or detention of North Korean diplomats or officials.

For example, in May 1976, 400 kg hashish were seized from a North Korean (DPRK) diplomat in Egypt.

In July94, Chinese officials arrested a Chinese national on charges of smuggling

6 kg. of North Korean produced heroin through the DPRK Embassy in China

In August 1994, a DPRK intelligence agent was arrested by Russian authorities for trying to sell heroin to Russian mafia group

In January 1995, Chinese officials in Shanghai seize 6 kg. of heroin and

arrested two DPRK nationals, one with a diplomatic passport

In July, 1998, a DPRK. Diplomat was arrested in Egypt with 500,000 tablets of rohypnol — the “date rape” drug.

In January 1998, Russian officials arrested two DPRK diplomats in Moscow with 35 kg. of cocaine smuggled through Mexico.

In October 1998, German officials arrested a DPRK diplomat in Berlin seizing heroin made in North Korea.

On February 12, 1999, an employee of the DPRK consulate in Shenyang, China, was caught attempting to illicitly sell 9 kilograms of opium.

On April 3, 1999, Japanese police caught Yakuza gang members attempting to smuggle 100 kilograms of methamphetamine into Japan on a Chinese ship.\

In April 1999, authorities at the Prague airport detained a DPRK diplomat stationed in Bulgaria attempting to smuggle 55 kilograms of the “date rape” drug rohypnol from Bulgaria.

On May 3, 1999, Taiwanese police apprehended four members of a Taiwanese drug organization attempting to smuggle 157 kilograms of DPRK produced methamphetamine.

On October 3, 1999, Japanese authorities seized 564 kilograms of DPRK methamphetamine from the Taiwanese ship “Xin Sheng Ho”; 250 kilograms of DPRK made methamphetamine were also seized by Japanese authorities on February 5, 2000 leading to arrests of members of a Japanese Crime group and members of a North Korean run trading company.

During October through November 2001, Filipino authorities detained a ship twice in their territorial waters which had received first 500 kilograms and then 300 kilograms of methamphetamine from a North Korean ship.

On December 22, 2001, Japanese patrol boats, in a skirmish, sank a North Korean vessel believed to be carrying drugs to Japan —the same vessel had been photographed in 1998 smuggling drugs into Japan.

On January 6, 2002, Japanese authorities seized 150 kilograms of DPRK methamphetamine from a Chinese ship in Japanese territorial waters that had earlier rendezvoused with a DPRK vessel for the drug transfer.

In July 2002, Taiwanese authorities confiscated 79 kilograms of heroin which a local crime group had received from a North Korean battleship.

In November and December 2002, packages containing 500 pounds of methamphetamine from the DPRK floated ashore in Japan.

On April 20, 2003, Australian police seized the DPRK ship, the “Pong Su”, which had attempted to smuggle 125 kilograms of heroin through Singapore into the territorial waters of Australia. Arrested North Koreans included a Korean Workers Party “political officer.” The ship had no other cargo.

In June 2004, two North Korean diplomats working at the North Korean Embassy in Egypt were detained for smuggling 150,000 tablets of Clonazipam, an anti-anxiety drug.

In December 2004, Turkish authorities arrested two North Korean diplomats suspected of smuggling the synthetic drug Captagon to Arab markets. The diplomats, assigned to North Korea’s Embassy in Bulgaria, were found to be carrying over half a million Captagon tablets, with an estimated street value of over $7 million.

And that is only a cursory sampling of the arrest, detention, or expulsion of North Korean officials for smuggling narcotics.

In April 1998 Russian police reported arresting Kil Chae Kyong, the personal secretary in charge of secret funds for Kim Jong Il on charges of trying to sell $30,000 in counterfeit U.S. currency, but that is another story.

A similar litany of official North Korean government officials detained or arrested for trying to smuggle and launder counterfeit U.S. dollars requires another article.


The Spy Sub, A Poisoned Diplomat in Russia, and a Naked, Drunk American Preacher in Pyongyang

19 Sep

The North Korean Spy Sub, a Poisoned Diplomat in Vladivostok, and the Naked, Drunk American Preacher  in Pyongyang

The 1996 secret mission that caused tremors from Washington to Seoul to Vladivostok

By Nate Thayer#north Kore

On a lonely stretch of coastal highway on September 18, 1996, South Korean cab driver Lee Jin Gyu noticed a strange gathering of men, all well-groomed and dressed alike, standing conspicuously out-of-place between the road and the ocean in the pre dawn hours .

After dropping off his fare he slowed at the spot on his return trip, but the men were gone. He stopped, got out of his cab and walked down to the beach. As he scanned the horizon, he noticed what looked like the outline of a submarine idly rocking in the waves 20 meters from shore. He called the police.

Authorities arrived to find inside the abandoned underwater spy ship a machine gun, an AK-47 assault rifle, and a hand scrawled message: “We must accomplish our mission.”

40,000 South Korean troops immediately mobilized and the hunt was on.

North Korean Spy submarine that ran aground as it infiltrated 26 commandos into the South in September 1996

Thus began a more than month saga of high tension on the Korean peninsula involving the mobilization of tens of thousands of soldier, armed spies on the run, man hunts, the assassination of a diplomat in Russia, the capture of a naked, drunk American preacher accused of being a spy by North Korea, several stabbing deaths of civilians caught in the dragnet, a lone soldier strangled to death in the night, numerous firefights, a group suicide, and a night playing video games at a ski resort.

The taxi driver did not know what he had stumbled into, nor that he was igniting a fire that would spread through the region and beyond, at times dangerously out of control. He had inadvertently encountered a North Korean Shark class submarine with a crew of 26 Special Operations soldiers of North Korea’s General Reconnaissance Bureau on a secret mission to infiltrate the South.

South Koreans were on edge looking over their shoulders for what seemed like forever as the drama unfolded.

Over the next months, a trail of mayhem and intrigue left 24 North Korean spies shot dead, one captured, 16 South Korean civilians murdered, 13 South Korean soldiers shot dead, including a Colonel, and five others wounded, an off-duty South Korean soldier strangled by the escaping infiltrators, a South Korean diplomat in Vladivostok, Russia assassinated, an intoxicated American Christian preacher held as a spy in a North Korean prison, and the two Korean governments teetering on an outbreak of war.

By the time the dust settled 49 days later, one North Korean spy remained unaccounted for, probably having slipped across the DMZ through the most heavily mined patch of land on earth back to the safety of DPRK territory.

A “Shark” class North Korean spy submarine

As the confrontation unfolded, North Korea responded with signature indignation to the public exposure of the plot, insisting the submarine was on a routine patrol, had experienced mechanical problems, and inadvertently drifted off course, and demanded the immediate return of the now missing crew, threatening the South as tensions spiked.

“It is self-evident that we the victims cannot show self-restraint any longer,” Pyongyang official Korean Central News Agency said as the incident splashed across headlines and the manhunt began. “We have the right to retaliate on the offenders.”

Within 2 days one of the North Korean infiltrators was seized after a farmer saw him in his fields.

At first the captured operative contended the vessel was forced by strong currents into South Korean waters, but after his South Korean interrogators brought out Korean rice vodka, he confessed that they had been on a spy mission to gather intelligence on military facilities.

Soon afterwards, South Korean military forces, who by now were scouring the country, discovered 11 dead bodies with single bullet holes in their heads lying symmetrically alongside one another only a few miles from the site of the grounded submarine.

They included the deputy director of the Maritime Bureau of the General Reconnaissance Bureau, North Korea’s top spy agency in charge of covert foreign operations, including assassination and infiltration squads targeting South Korea; the captain of the submarine; and eight members of the special operations infiltration team.

Kim Hyon-hui, the former North Korean spy convicted of bombing a Seoul-bound Korean Air flight in 1987 in which all 115 crew and civilian passengers were killed when the plane exploded in mid-air over the Bay of Bengal after she was captured in the UAE. She said she was commanded by Kim Jong Il personally and trained by kidnapped former Tokyo waitress Yaeko Taguchi to speak and act Japanese. Disguised as a Japanese tourist, she and a male companion planted a bomb, and departed the plane on a stopover. She and her companion both took poison as they were about to be arrested but she survived, later sentenced to death by a Seoul court, and received a presidential pardon in 1990. She said the North’s leaders had ordered the attack on the plane to discourage foreign countries from sending athletes to the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

The head of the General Reconnaissance Bureau Maritime Division lay a few meters askew, his weapon still by his side. The spy team chose a group suicide rather than to be captured by the enemy.

Over the next days’ numerous firefights broke out around South Korea as tens of thousands of mobilized troops began to close the circle on the remaining spies who had no intention of surrendering without a fight. Within two weeks, 11 more of the commandos were killed in separate clashes as the commandos broke into smaller units and went in different directions across the South, choosing to go down fighting rather than the indignity of capture.

By early October, only three of the original 26 member team remained at large.

All the while, North Korea ratcheted up hits threatening rhetoric, denied any hostile intent, and warned of “serious consequences” if their vessel or crew were harmed.

North Korean officers delivered a warning to American military officials at an October 1 meeting at at the truce village of Panmunjom, near the demarcation line that separates the two Korea’s, after the first commandos were killed. A senior North Korean official tried to pass a note to the Americans that read “serious consequences, which would be announced, would occur as a result of the deaths of their soldiers,” the U.S. said in a statement. U.S. officers read the note but refused to accept it.

American missionary Evan Hunziker swam across the Yalu River without a passport and was captured by North Korea security forces, detained for 90 days and charged with being a spy for South Korea. North Koreans, wanted $100,000 paid for his release.

Days later, a South Korean diplomat was assassinated in Vladivostok, Russia by a poisoned hypodermic needle. He was walking up the stairwell to his seventh floor flat when he was attacked.  His diplomatic passport and over $1000 in cash were left untouched in his pocket. There were two pencil-sized holes in his torso which suggested injection of a foreign substance into his body. Tests later confirmed that he had poison in his bloodstream of the same type as that carried by the special operation commandos on the North Korean submarine.

The South Korean government ordered stepped-up security for its diplomats around the world and sent a team of investigators to Russia.

Russian police investigators said it was the work of a team of two or more professional assassins. The diplomat was responsible for monitoring North Korean activities in the area. South Korean officials said the wounds in the stomach were caused by a hypodermic needle. Russian police began searching for two men with Asian complexions who were seen in the stairway shortly before the attack by a Russian woman who lived in the building.

On October 3, Rodong Sinmun, the official paper of the North Korean ruling Korean Worker’s Party and broadcast by Radio Pyongyang, said “South Korea is framing a despicable plot to link our country to the murder.”

In response to Pyongyang’s threats of retaliation for the deaths of by then 22 North Korean infiltrators from the submarine, South Korea ordered security tightened at airports, warned residents that North Korea may strike again, and said diplomatic missions faced possible terrorist attacks.

Prime Minister Lee met security officials and authorities decided to beef up protection of 395 key facilities, including airports, communication centers, ports, and power plants.

Meanwhile, American Evan Carl Hunziker, who had swum, drunk and naked, from China into North Korea “to preach the gospel” on August 24 was seized by North Korean border guards.  On October 6 North Korea announced they had captured an “American spy”, and began an effort to use the Christian missionary as leverage in exchange for the return of their remaining crew still being hunted down in the South.

Analysts noted that the North Koreans said they caught the 26-year-old American, who was working as a missionary in Beijing, on August 24 as he swam across the river marking the border between China and North Korea, but did not announce his arrest as a spy until more than six weeks later after the submarine incident unfolded and three days after South Korea announced their broad security crackdown.

U.S. officials said there would be no negotiations to exchange the imprisoned American preacher for the remaining spy team. ”It would be outrageous and indefensible, should the North Koreans try to link the submarine incident with this unfortunate young man who has been arrested, because the North Koreans were the aggressor and the clear violator of international agreements in sending that submarine down the South Korean coast,” Mr. Burns said. ”So we reject any linkage.”

It would be another month before Seoul authorities would track down the other members of the infiltration team still on the loose.

Mounting popular alarm over the spies on the loose led to South Korean President Kim Young Sam firing Defense Minister Lee Yang Ho on October 17th and the resignation of the Foreign Minister.

The submarine affair had even broader consequences.

Secretary of State Albright with kim Jong Il after signing one of many since abrogated agreements to try and stem WMD development programs

Security and spot checks were increased at important domestic facilities, including airports, subway stations, department stores, harbors, bus terminals and power plants. Security at South Korean embassies and trade missions abroad was stepped up and increased measures were taken to protect high-ranking officials.

South Korea halted all aid programs to the North, and banned South Koreans from engaging in commerce with Pyongyang.

A delicate process of wooing North Korea from its isolation, a newly inked landmark 1994 accord under which Pyongyang agreed to give up its nuclear weapons program, and international efforts to ease a famine underway that would claim more than a million lives were all threatened by the new tensions.

Seoul said they would delay signing a $4-billion energy agreement of an international consortium with the United States, Japan and North Korea that was part of the delicate negotiations to get Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear weapons program. The program was at the time hailed by U.S. president Clinton as a showcase of multinational problem-solving.

And with three remaining commandos still on the loose, the cost of the incident mounted.

Two months after the vessel went aground, the Korean peninsula saw a surge in tensions, growing fears of escalated military confrontation, a worsening famine that remained unaddressed, the scuttling of progress for improved inter-Korean relations, and, importantly even a new rift created between South Korea and its most important ally, the U.S.

South Korea was angered by the U.S. response to the submarine infiltration after Secretary of State Warren Christopher called for restraint from ”all parties.”

South Korean military commanders suggested the purpose of the spy mission was more than to collect data on military bases. ”We think that North Korea will make large or small-scale military provocations,” said Lieut. Gen. Park Yong Ok, the Assistant Defense Minister. ”We’re preparing.”  He said the mission of the commandos may have been to create armed rear bases in the mountains of South Korea in preparation for future large-scale actions. ”It was not purely an intelligence mission,” he said.

North Korea has approximately 100,000 Special Forces operatives trained to infiltrate rear areas of South Korea at the beginning of an invasion.

So with the failure to capture all of the commandos, there was a wave of popular South Korean discontent among civilians, undermining the stability of the South Korean government.

49 days after the vessel landed on the beach, two of the commandos, who now were disguised dressed in South Korean military uniforms and armed with South Korean M-16 assault rifles and grenades, were killed in a last stand firefight.

The violent confrontation, which was only a few miles from the DMZ as the spies attempted to exfiltrate back to the North, left a South Korean Colonel and two soldiers dead, and 14 more soldiers wounded.

Evidence found on the bodies of the two North Koreans told of the sometimes arduous and sometimes peculiar twists of their journey over the previous two months.

For the first days, the commandos had hidden in underground bunkers, and then broke into remote farmhouses to steal food. Despite the intense nationwide manhunt and the loss of the rest of their crew, the two spies continued to pursue their original mission. Film found on their bodies revealed pictures of South Korean military facilities.

And, in a still unexplained detour, the two commandos spent one evening playing video games at a holiday ski resort, where they spent the night.

During their 7 week journey, they killed three South Korean civilians with a knife and strangled a South Korean soldier who had the misfortune to cross the hunted spy operatives path.

The remaining single unaccounted for member of the original 26 man commando unit disappeared. It is believed he slipped across the DMZ back into North Korea.

Throughout the two month period, Pyongyang maintained a posture of high decibel threatening rhetoric, vowing retaliation, denying any nefarious intentions, and demanding the return of the crew and their submarine. South Korea demanded an apology before they would return the remains of the crew or resume negotiations or badly needed food assistance to the famine now fully underway in the North that would cause more than a million deaths in coming months.

Finally, at the end of December, North Korea did something it rarely does. It issued a statement saying they had “deep regret” over the incident which had spiraled by this time far beyond the mission purpose of a covert infiltration to gather military intelligence. But it was not an apology.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is authorized to express deep regret for the submarine incident in the coastal waters of Kangrung, South Korea, in September, 1996 that caused the tragic loss of human life.  The DPRK will make efforts to insure that such an incident will not recur

South Korea promptly returned the now 25 accumulated bodies of the spies that the two month confrontation had left in its wake.

After the bodies were returned, North Korea reverted to their usual hubris over state radio by saying “the South Korean authorities admitted and apologized for their inhuman crimes.”

North Korea Launched Missive Against Foreign media ‘Rat-Like Imbeciles’

18 Sep

North Korea Launched Missive Against  Foreign Media ‘Rat-Like Imbeciles’

September 19, 2012

By Nate Thayer

North Korea has gone ballistic again and launched a long range missive targeting the foreign media as “mental patients and rat-like imbeciles”, who they said were act as the         “first-line shock brigade” for foreign governments to “bring about a ‘regime change’”

They described the offending journalists as ‘mental patients’, ‘human scum’, ‘rat-like imbeciles’, ‘plot-breeding organizations’, and ‘parasites on the stinky living dead (South Korean president) Lee’, among other insults.

“He wanted the Story!” “She Wanted Love!”

On September 7, the Korean Central News Agency objected to reports that “let loose such rubbish as “sign of policy change” and “attempt at reform and opening” in the DPRK. “

KCNA mentioned  several specific newspapers and broadcast media who “reported about the ‘group fleeing’ of the DPRK workers and students from China and the Eastern Europe and peddled the story of ‘use of beautiful women’, false stories aimed to defame the DPRK.”

It said such stories were “a trite method employed by plot-breeding organizations to build up public opinion by releasing false stories by citing plausible sources. “

KCNA dismissed “the orchestrated campaign” as the “last ditch efforts of hack papers and human scum plot-breeding organizations” and “indicative of the fear of the mounting international prestige and might of Songun, and is just last-ditch efforts of human scum keen on prolonging their remaining days.”

They said the widely published reports were “snubbed and jeered by the world media for their sordid act.”

Wartime Japanese propaganda poster on the Foreign press

Songun is the official ‘military first’ ideology North Korea enshrined into the constitution in April that gives the state security apparatus the right to supersede all economic and political policy issues to defend the regime from threats.

The KCNA warned foreign news organizations will “never stem the great advance of the DPRK nor can it cover up the shining truth in it.”

The colorful official state media report used numerous derogatory qualifying adjectives, insulting modifying adverbs, and pejorative nouns to emphasize their objections, including ‘ rat-like’, ‘sordid’, ‘hackneyed ‘, ‘pitiful’, ‘rubbish’, and ‘wretched’.

The media organizations themselves were labeled ‘hack papers’, ‘plot-breeding organizations’,  ‘desperate groups of rats,’ and the ‘ first-line shock brigade of the puppet regime.’

This isn’t the first time Pyongyang has become vividly upset with foreign media. In June, North Korea’s military warned that troops had aimed artillery at the specific coordinates of South Korean media groups and threatened a “merciless sacred war” over perceived insults.

That was when North Korea was outraged over media criticism suggesting that thousands of children attending festivals in Pyongyang to demonstrate their loyalty to the Kim family dynastic regime were orchestrated events.

Duped capitalist consumer of foreign press reports on North Korea

They broadcast the specific longitude and latitude locations of seven media outlets in Seoul and said it had targeted those agencies and would attack if an apology for the “vicious smear campaign” against the festivals wasn’t issued. “Officers and men of the army corps, divisions and regiments on the front, and strategic rocket forces in the depth of the country, are loudly calling for the issue of order to mete out punishment,” the official Korean Central News Agency announced.

“If the Lee group recklessly challenges our army’s eruption of resentment, it will retaliate against it with a merciless sacred war of its own style as it has already declared,” the Army General Staff said in the ultimatum, warning Pyongyang was “fully ready for everything” and “time is running out.”

In April, Pyongyang again erupted issuing similar threats vowing to carry out special military attacks that would reduce Seoul to ashes “in three or four minutes . . . by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style” saying the “targets are the Lee Myung-bak group of traitors, the arch criminals, and the group of rat-like elements including conservative media destroying the mainstay of the fair public opinion.”

North Korea is the most censored press in the world. The government tightly controls all information coming in and out of the country, and try’s to mold information at its source. Article 53 of the North Korean constitution says the purpose of the press is to “…serve the aims of strengthening the dictatorship of the proletariat, bolstering the political unity and ideological conformity of the people and rallying them behind the Party and the Great Leader in the cause of revolution.”

Reporters Without Borders has ranked North Korea at or near the bottom of its yearly Press Freedom Index since 2002.  The current 2012 RWB report designates North Korea as ranked 178th out of 179 countries, only above that of Eritrea.

Kim Jong-il, in his book “The great teacher of journalists, says “newspapers carry articles in which they unfailingly hold the president in high esteem, adore him and praise him as the great revolutionary leader”.

Proper ground rules for foreign press reporters

All North Korean journalists are members of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party, and applicants for journalism school must demonstrate they are ideologically clean and come from families designated as “ politically reliable.”

Journalists have been known to receive harsh punishment of hard labor or imprisonment for typographical errors.

Only news favorable to the regime is allowed. Domestic media and the population are prohibited from writing or reading any stories by foreign media.

No private press exists. The media invariably paints the country in a positive light, describing its leaders, government, and ideological system as “superior to any the world has ever known.”

They regularly broadcast thematic media campaigns, with one 2005 series launched against men with long hair, claiming it reduces intelligence. The series, “entitled Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle”, carried out on television, press and radio, urged tidy hairstyles and proper attire.

It continued a year’s long lower key effort against the sloppy appearance of men, but at that time went considerably  further identifying specific individuals deemed shoddy and broadcasting their names and images on state television.

The five-part series on its TV “Common Sense” show emphasized hygiene and health, showed state-approved hairstyles such as the “flat-top crew cut,” “middle hairstyle,” “low hairstyle,” and “high hairstyle” which could vary from one to five centimeters in length. The broadcast said men aged over 50 were permitted an extra two centimeters of upper hair to cover balding.

State media said long hair had “negative effects” on “human intelligence development”, contending long hair “consumes a great deal of nutrition” and robs the brain of energy and recommended men get a haircut every 15 days.

“Hair is a very important issue that shows the people’s cultural standards and mental and moral state,” said the state Minju Choson newspaper.

Approved hair length per official North Korean media

North Korea media routinely broadcast groups based  in numerous other countries of supporters of their state “Juche” ideology they portray as having widespread global popularity which effectively misleads the news deprived North Korean public on how the world perceives the country. When Kim Jong-Il visited Russia in August 2001, state media reported Russians as “awestruck” by his ability to “stop the rain and make the sun come out”

News is routinely released internationally and withheld from domestic consumption, and vice versa.

North Korean media keenly monitors foreign media reports on its country, particularly South Korea,  Japan, China and the United States and those deemed unfavorable are vigorously condemned in the official media.

Radio and TV are pre-tuned locked to government stations and must be registered with the police.

Washington tells bar owner to rename cocktail or face justice

13 Sep

Washington demands local bar owner rename cocktail or he will face justice while religious violence provocateurs remain free to spark World War Three

Addendum update to this story: The plot thickens. It now appears the infamous “Jewish Israeli-American California real estate developer” who produced the movie that sparked this week’s mid east riots, does not exist and is a creation of an Egyptian-American Christian Coptic resident of California, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who is a convicted fraudster. The other Egyptian-American Coptic, Morris Sadek and the loopy Florida Quoran burning pastor, Terry Jones, were sucked into a trifecta of hate fueled religious intolerance in a perfect storm resulting from their own anti-Muslim zealotry. At the end of this story is the full text of an excellent and well worth the read very long AP story.

By Nate Thayer

Why is it a Washington D.C. bar owner can be dragged into court for violating the city’s Human Rights Act by serving a booze concoction with an off color name, but religious zealots are protected by law when to make incendiary movies and burn religious texts for the purposed of sparking World War Three?

The Washington Post reported today that Tony Tomelden, owner of the “Pug” bar in D.C. named a fruity vodka concoction the “Marion Barry’s Dirty Asian Summer Punch.” which he calls “The Ward 8 Special,” in a sarcastic tribute to the D.C. councilman and former four term Mayor.

The “Marion Berry’s Dirty Asian Summer Punch” is no longer available at the Pug.

Barry was captured on camera making racist remarks earlier this year criticizing Asian shop owners and Filipino nurses.

Drawn on the bar’s chalkboard is a caricature of a bald, slanted eyed, buck toothed Asian under which is written “No tickee, no punchee.”

The bar owner, whose father was half Filipino, received a legal demand from the city ordering him to stop selling the drink and summoned him to a hearing. Failure to comply can be a $10,000 a day fine. “I put it up there for a reason,” Tomelden said. “Barry gets away with this stuff continuously.”

The ‘Pug” bar owner Tony Tomelden

Former four-term mayor Barry, in remarks caught by local TV cameras after being reelected to the city council, said “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go. I’ll just say that right now, you know. A number of these restaurants serve high-caloric food, bad food, et cetera, but the more important thing, they don’t participate in the community,” Barry said.

Barry said he singled out Asians in his remarks“because that’s reality. Who owns these little restaurants? Who owns them? You know, Asians. . . . 90 percent of all the small restaurants in Ward 8, at least.”

Tomelden was given 72 hours to remove the “Dirty Asian Summer Punch” sign, or face a “formal charge” by the Commission on Human Rights which can result in fines of up to $10,000 for a first-time offender.

The Washington city Human Rights Act of 1977 bars discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion and various other categories, and says “To print, circulate, post, or mail, or otherwise cause, directly or indirectly, to be published a statement, advertisement, or sign which indicates that the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation will be unlawfully refused, withheld from or denied an individual; or that an individual’s patronage of, or presence at, a place of public accommodation is objectionable, speech concerns, but it is our unwelcome, unacceptable, or undesirable.”

D. C. Office of Human Rights official Jennifer Stoff told the Washington Post it “was the Office’s judgment that the sign at The Pug was not in keeping the intent of the Human Rights Act. We acknowledge any 1st amendment or political job to enforce the DC Human Rights Act.”

The bar owner was quoted as saying “Look, I’m a fucking bartender, not a constitutional scholar. It’s clearly frustrating, and it is what it is.”

His bar also hangs a vintage sign reading “Irish Need Not Apply.”

“I wonder if they are going to make the Irish bars take down the leprechauns,” he said.

Meanwhile, those who crafted a protracted intentional campaign to incite global religious violence remain legally protected to continue to do so after their efforts proved successful.

Morris Sadek’s Facebook page which he took down early Thursday afternoon after sparking middle east riots

On July 2, a video of “The Real Life of Muhammad” or “Innocence of Muslims” was uploaded to the You Tube account of Sam Bacile, an Israeli-American California real-estate developer who has called Islam “a cancer,”

But it failed to attract attention until another clip of the video — this time dubbed in Arabic was uploaded on September 4.

Days later, an Egyptian-American Christian Copt, Morris Sadek, who is an ally of Florida pastor Terry Jones, both of whom are known for incendiary taunts against Muslims, publicized the YouTube trailer in an Arabic-language blog post and in an e-mail newsletter in English.

Morris Sadek with ACT! For America president Brigitte Gabriel at a 2010 event.

Sadek, an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian living in metropolitan Washington, is apparently the catalyst behind whipping up the violence.

A portrait of the man has emerged of an anti-Muslim activist who hates Obama, and is a fan of  the U.S. republican party, according to his own biographical details widely available. Sadek took down his Facebook account at 1 pm on Thursday, but the organization “Right Wing Watch” was able to retrieve it.

It says he is a supporter of ACT! for America, which believes that Obama is a  supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and he lists membership in an array of frindge hate groups including such names as Islam is of the Devil, Warriors of Christ, and OBAMA IS THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER!

In addition, he has registered himself as a fan of the Republican Party, George Bush, Allen West for president, and other anti-Islamic, conservative, or Republican institutions and leaders.

In an odd irony, he labeled himself a fan of the American embassy in Cairo, overrun by the riots he incited.

Sadek was publicizing a Jones effort to draw attention to the film. Jones is widely reviled, renowned for a campaign threatening to burn the Koran at his church that resulted in widespread riots that left scores dead in injured in 2011.

Morris Sadek blog post publicizing the Arabic version of the anti Muslim film this week features a photograph of him and Florida pastor Terry Jones at an anti-Islamic protest outside the White House in June.

  Egyptian Coptic Morris Sadek and Florida Pastor Terry Jones

Egyptian Coptic Morris Sadek and Florida Pastor Terry Jones at a anti Islamic demonstration at the White House In June

The same day as Salek’s Arabic blog post, Egyptian TV channel Al-Nas broadcast a clip from the You Tube account of the film’s producer, the Israeli-American California resident Sam Bacile.

The Egyptian TV shows host Sheikh Khaled Abdalla, is described as “part of a school of particularly shrill religious demagogues who turn every possible event into an attack on Islam” that regularly attacks the Egyptian Coptic Christian community.

Soon after the television airing, riots began in Cairo, spreading to Libya where the U.S. ambassador was killed in mob violence.

Egyptians burn US flag rioting over bad, obscure anti-Muslim hate movie

How did the U.S. first respond to the violence before it escalated to the storming and burning of the embassy in Benghazi?

“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

Or,in other words, in comparison to the crackdown on the D.C. Pub owner, with considerably more sympathy for intolerance.

Later, on Twitter, the embassy condemned both the provocative film and the attack on the compound.

Salek was the source of reports in the Egyptian media that some Coptic Christians  in Washington had produced a film denigrating the Muslim prophet, which sparked protesters to storm the walls of the US Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and tear down the American flag.

Florida pastor Terry Jones whose PR stunts have resulted in scores dead in resulting violence

Pastor Jones responded to the violence by denouncing the Cairo embassy attack and announcing he planned to screen the film on Tuesday night at his church, adding it “reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad.”

The Cairo and Libyan attacks took place on the 11th anniversary of the bombing of the twin towers in New York, and the demonstrators chanted pro-Al Qaeda slogans such as “we are all Osama!”,  ripped an American flag apart and raised a black jihadist flag saying “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.” Photographs show the name Osama bin Laden scrawled on a sign outside the embassy.

While “Marion Berry’s Dirty Asian Summer Punch” is no longer available at the Pug under threat of harsh punishment, a B-grade movie produced to spark world war three is available globally in one mouse click of the computer, and those whose intent was to incite murder succeeded remain legally protected to continue to do after their success which left an American Ambassador dead.


Addendum update to the above story: The plot thickens. It now appears the infamous “Jewish Israeli-American California real estate developer” who produced the movie that sparked the mid east riots, does not exist and is a creation of an Egyptian-American Christian Coptic who lives in California and is a convicted fraudster, named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.. The other Egyptian-American Coptic, Morris Sadek and the loopy Florida Quoran burning pastor, Terry Jones, were sucked into a trifecta of hate fueled religious intolerance in a perfect storm resulting from their own anti-Muslim zealotry. Here is the excellent and worth the very long AP story:

The search for those behind the provocative, anti-Muslim film implicated in violent protests in Egypt and Libya led Wednesday to a California Coptic Christian convicted of financial crimes who acknowledged his role in managing and providing logistics for the production.Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, told The Associated Press in an interview outside Los Angeles that he was manager for the company that produced “Innocence of Muslims,” which mocked Muslims and the prophet Muhammad and may have caused inflamed mobs that attacked U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya. He provided the first details about a shadowy production group behind the film.Nakoula denied he directed the film and said he knew the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile. But the cell phone number that AP contacted Tuesday to reach the filmmaker who identified himself as Sam Bacile traced to the same address near Los Angeles where AP found Nakoula. Federal court papers said Nakoula’s aliases included Nicola Bacily, Erwin Salameh and others.

Nakoula told the AP that he was a Coptic Christian and said the film’s director supported the concerns of Christian Copts about their treatment by Muslims.

Nakoula denied he had posed as Bacile. During a conversation outside his home, he offered his driver’s license to show his identity but kept his thumb over his middle name, Basseley. Records checks by the AP subsequently found it and other connections to the Bacile persona.

The AP located Bacile after obtaining his cell phone number from Morris Sadek, a conservative Coptic Christian in the U.S. who had promoted the anti-Muslim film in recent days on his website. Egypt’s Christian Coptic population has long decried what they describe as a history of discrimination and occasional violence from the country’s Arab majority.

Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, who burned Qurans on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, said he spoke with the movie’s director on the phone Wednesday and prayed for him. He said he has not met the filmmaker in person, but the man contacted him a few weeks ago about promoting the movie.

“I have not met him. Sam Bacile, that is not his real name,” Jones said. “I just talked to him on the phone. He is definitely in hiding and does not reveal his identity. He was quite honestly fairly shook up concerning the events and what is happening. A lot of people are not supporting him.”

The film was implicated in protests that resulted in the burning of the U.S. consulate Tuesday in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

Libyan officials said Wednesday that Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other embassy employees were killed during the mob violence, but U.S. officials now say they are investigating whether the assault was a planned terrorist strike linked to Tuesday’s 11-year anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Nakoula, who talked guardedly about his role, pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California and was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was also sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.

The YouTube account, “Sam Bacile,” which was used to publish excerpts of the provocative movie in July, was used to post comments online as recently as Tuesday, including this defense of the film written in Arabic: “It is a 100 percent American movie, you cows.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Leigh Williams said Nakoula set up fraudulent bank accounts using stolen identities and Social Security numbers, then checks from those accounts would be deposited into other bogus accounts from which Nakoula would withdraw money at ATM machines.

It was “basically a check-kiting scheme,” the prosecutor told the AP. “You try to get the money out of the bank before the bank realizes they are drawn from a fraudulent account. There basically is no money.”

The actors in the film issued a joint statement Wednesday saying they were misled about the project and said some of their dialogue was crudely dubbed during post-production.

In the English language version of the trailer, direct references to Muhammad appear to be the result of post-production changes to the movie. Either actors aren’t seen when the name “Muhammad” is spoken in the overdubbed sound, or they appear to be mouthing something else as the name of the prophet is spoken.

“The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer,” said the statement, obtained by the Los Angeles Times. “We are 100 percent not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.”

The person who identified himself as Bacile and described himself as the film’s writer and director told the AP on Tuesday that he had gone into hiding. But doubts rose about the man’s identity amid a flurry of false claims about his background and role in the purported film.

Bacile told the AP he was an Israeli-born, 56-year-old, Jewish writer and director. But a Christian activist involved in the film project, Steve Klein, told AP on Wednesday that Bacile was a pseudonym and that he was Christian.

Klein had told the AP on Tuesday that the filmmaker was an Israeli Jew who was concerned for family members who live in Egypt.

Officials in Israel said there was no record of Bacile as an Israeli citizen.

When the AP initially left a message for Bacile, Klein contacted the AP from another number to confirm the interview request was legitimate then Bacile called back from his own cell phone.

Klein said he didn’t know the real name of the man he called “Sam,” who came to him for advice on First Amendment issues.

About 15 key players from the Middle East — from Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and a couple Coptic Christians from Egypt — worked on the film, Klein said.

“Most of them won’t tell me their real names because they’re terrified,” Klein said. “He was really scared and now he’s so nervous. He’s turned off his phone.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, said Klein is a former Marine and longtime religious-right activist who has helped train paramilitary militias at a California church. It described Klein as founder of Courageous Christians United, which conducts protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques.

It quoted Klein as saying he believes that California is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells “who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can.”

In his brief interview with the AP, Bacile defiantly called Islam a cancer and said he intended the film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.

But several key facts Bacile provided proved false or questionable. Bacile told AP he was 56 but identified himself on his YouTube profile as 74. Bacile said he is a real estate developer, but Bacile does not appear in searches of California state licenses, including the Department of Real Estate.

Hollywood and California film industry groups and permit agencies said they had no records of the project under the name “Innocence of Muslims,” but a Los Angeles film permit agency later found a record of a movie filmed in Los Angeles last year under the working title “Desert Warriors.”

A man who answered a phone listed for the Vine Theater, a faded Hollywood movie house, confirmed that the film had run for a least a day, and possibly longer, several months ago, arranged by a customer known as “Sam.”


Pot Pot Tells China in 1977 that Killings Underway, to Continue

13 Sep

Pol Pot  details Khmer Rouge killing enemies in the party to Chinese premier Hua Guofeng in 1977, warns him war with Vietnam is neccessary and looming

 Beijing, 29 September 1977

By Nate Thayer

The day before Pol Pot arrived for a state visit in Beijing in September 1977, he made a speech in Phnom Penh in which he publicly revealed for the first time the existence of the Cambodian Communist Party and that he himself was its General Secretary. Neither the Cambodian people nor the world was aware of this even after they had been in power for over two years.

Five days earlier, on September 24, Khmer Rouge forces launched attacks against a number of villages inside Vietnam.

He arrived in Beijing 28 September and departed for Pyongyang on October 4, returning China a week later and returning to Cambodia on 22 October 1977.

It was Pol Pot’s only official visit outside Cambodia while in power as the leader of the Khmer Rouge government, to China and North Korea.

This photo at the farewell ceremony for Pol Pot in Beijing on 22 October 1977 is the last photo of Pol Pot while he was in power before being driven to the jungle more than two years later on 7 January 1979. With a smiling Pol Pot waving in the foreground, Deng Xiaoping on the left and Hua Guofeng in the foreground. Between Hua and Pol Pot, is Ieng Sary, Minister foreign affairs and Pol Pot’s brother-in-law. While Vietnam captioned this as Pol Pot’s arrival in Beijing, Deng was absent the day of the welcoming ceremony for Pol Pot. This official Chinese photograph was used by Vietnamese propaganda to demonstrate collusion between the Khmers Rouge and Beijing.

In China, he met with the chairman of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese premier Hua Guofeng, who was Mao’s hand-picked successor, as well as soon to be top leader Deng Xiapeng.

Pol Pot departed China for a state visit to North Korea in early October where he was given a high profile state welcome by Kim Il Sung, before returning for more talks in China.

He signed agreements for increased military aid, training, and other assistance with both countries during this trip.

Reticent concerning the harsh Khmer Rouge rule and rapid march towards war with Vietnam, China nevertheless gave its full and complete support to Democratic Kampuchea when the then undeclared war with Vietnam erupted two years later.

Deng in discussions with Pol Pot tried to convince the Khmer Rouge to be cautious and delay war with Vietnam, but Pol Pot dismissed China’s advice, worsening already strained relations between Beijng and Hanoi.

China nevertheless gave its full and complete support to Democratic Kampuchea in its then undeclared war with Vietnam.

During his visit to China, Pol Pot (on the left) received the support of Deng Xiaoping for the “successes” of “Democratic Kampuchea” in the constitution of a “classless” society and in the battle against Vietnam. Official undated Chinese photograph.

In this working meeting with Hua Guafeng, according to these recently surfaced Chinese transcripts, Pol Pot spells out clearly the purges underway in Cambodia and that war with Vietnam was looming, two years before the rest of the world became aware of the massacres taking place in Cambodia. ” We think that they have prepared intelligence personnel inside our forces. At the central level, they have 5 agents; at the division level, they have between 4 and 10; and in addition, they have some in the provinces,” he said, detailing enemy agents within the core of thee inner party power circle and senior commanding military officers. Pol Pot starkly outlined, in no uncertain terms, his centrally directed sweep of killing enemies at the highest level of his regime on down, would continue, and proclaimed  the inevitability of war with Vietnam to the Chinese premier.

Hua Guofeng responds:”Your strategy regarding the neighboring countries is correct.”

The ambassador from the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia, Sun Hua, on the left, with Ieng Sary, toasting each other in Phnom Penh. Undated photo found by the Vietnamese Army in the archives in january 1979, abandoned by the Khmer Rouge as they fled Phnom Penh .

Pol Pot: The Soviet Union, Vietnam, and Cuba are cooperating in order to fight us in the border areas. We think that they have prepared intelligence personnel inside our forces. At the central level, they have 5 agents; at the division level, they have between 4 and 10; and in addition, they have some in the provinces. Since September 1975, they have been preparing to attack Phnom Penh, Prey Veng, and the border areas. They are also preparing to assassinate our leadership with high-accuracy guns and poison. They have several times poisoned food that we by chance did not eat. Thailand, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam are cooperating to do so. We also have documents to show that the US and Vietnam also cooperate on this issue. In 1976, we started to solve the problem of the Vietnamese agents and by June 1977, the job was basically completed. We have placed carefully selected cadres to be in charge of Phnom Penh and the border areas, especially on the Eastern border [with Vietnam] where there are many CIA agents. We understand that the nature of the Vietnamese armed forces has changed. They can no longer bear hardship. They now rely on heavy weaponry, tanks, and aircraft. At the same time, the nature of their infantry forces has also changed. Their troops do not want to fight. Many of their troops from the North have taken additional wives in the South and they cannot fight. We are not concerned about fighting, but about the constant threat from Vietnam. Not only does Vietnam want to annex Cambodia and Laos. It also wants to occupy the whole of Southeast Asia. We have conducted negotiations with them many times, but to no avail. To solve the problem by military means will lead to a decrease in our forces.

The official Chinese diplomat passport Beijing issued to Ieng Sary under the false Chinese name “Su Hao,” falsely stating he was born in Beijing on 1 January 1930. The passport was issued by the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, to allow Sary to travel outside of China after the fall of the Khmer Rouge to Vietnam in January 1979.

POL POT: The strategic orientation, therefore, should be to develop revolution in Southeast Asia. Otherwise, it will take centuries to solve the problem between Vietnam and Cambodia. Laos, to our knowledge, will play an important role in the strategy of Vietnam. The Vietnamese-Lao Treaty of 13 July 1977 is a treaty under which Vietnam annexes Lao territory. Laos’ population is three million. Yet, the number of Vietnamese in Laos alone—not to mention the Vietnamese Laotians—is three million. The Vietnamese population is increasing by between one and two million every year. After five years, the Laotians will be a minority. Vietnam, however, is not able to control Laos because it has insufficient human, financial, and food resources. If the revolution in Southeast Asia advances strongly, exploiting the opportunities, then the situation will be better and we shall solve our problem. We have conversed with our Burmese, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Thai friends and reached agreement with them. This is a big political victory even though it will be more complicated when we go into details. We rely on our Chinese friends in the North. Southeast Asia is united. This situation encourages us strategically. As far as our foreign policy is concerned, we try to unite the Southeast Asian forces. Our Central Committee considers this an important task. We spend time working with parties in Southeast Asia. That Cambodia can defend itself is contributing to the defense of Southeast Asia. As before, we feel safe having the Chinese as friends. The recent 11th CCP Congress encourages us and promises us and the Southeast Asian revolution a bright future.

Hua Guofeng: Your strategy regarding the neighboring countries is correct.

. Pol Pot ,front left, walks with the Chinese delegation led by Wang Dongxing, front, right, during the delegation’s visit to Democratic Kampuchea on November 5, 1978. Khieu Samphan and Noun Chea follow behind. During this visit, two months before they fled Vietnamese tanks to jungles, Pol Pot is said to have asked for urgent military aid from China, but the request was rejected.

On October 4, Pol Pot and his delegation, which included Nuon Chea, who was in charge of the security services and the political commander of the Khmer Rouge killing apparatus, brother-in-law foreign minister Ieng Sary, Defence Minister Son Sen, and sister-in-law Ieng Thirith–the top Politburo members of the Cambodian party– arrived in Pyongyang , where they were met with signature North Korean pomp and choreographed enthusiastic welcome.

Pol Pot was given full state honors in a high profile show of support by Kim Il Sung, The Pol Pot delegation merited no less than 26 separate stories in official North Korean media, non stop radio and TV coverage, innumerable photographs above the fold on the party organs, and at least 6 separate meeting with the Great leader Kim Il Sung, who met Pol Pot at the airport, bringing along a crowd of hundreds of thousands cheering and waving flowers. who lined the road to Pyongyang.

Ieng Sary, Pol Pot, and Son Sen (left to right) together in Pyongyang. This undated photograph was captured in an attack on Khmer Rouge bases and obtained by journalists.

Upon his arrival, “The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song firmly shook hands with Comrade Pol Pot at Pyongyang Airport” where “The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song posed for a commemorative photo with the party and government delegation of Democratic Cambodia headed by Comrade Pol Pot”

Then “Comrade Pol Pot inspected an honor guard of the three services of the Korean People’s Army” was feted by “College coeds (who) courteously presented fragrant bunches of flowers to the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song and Comrade Pol Pot.”

They continued to Pyongyang where the “chairman of the Pyongyang Administrative Committee, together with heroes of the republic and model workers, presented a statue of an anti-imperialist fighter to Comrade Pol Pot On 4 Oct 77″ after which “Singing and dancing, circular ranks of boy and girl students and artists enthusiastically welcomed the goodwill envoy of the Cambodian people with Kim Il-song in attendance at Kim Il-song square.”

The next two days, October 5 and October 6, were much more secretive as the Khmer Rouge delegation members held working meeting with their Korean counterparts.  “Talks were held between the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song and Comrade Pol Pot” said official Pyongyang media, followed by high profile festivities the evening of October 5th, where  “Comrade Pol Pot, together with the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song, mounted the stage at Mansudae Theater and presented the performers with a basket of flowers to congratulate them on their successful performance, posing for a commemorative photo with them.”

On October 6, 1977, “The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song paid a return courtesy call on Comrade Pol Pot” and later “Talks were held between the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song and Comrade Pol Pot.”

North Korea, along with China, were the only two countries in Phnom Penh during Khmer Rouge rule whose diplomats were permitted to leave their embassy compound without prior permission. Several thousand North Korean technicians and advisors were living in Cambodia. North Korea provided steel, damn materials and engineers to assist construction, and training to the military and security services.

In another telling public show of support by Pyongyang to Pol Pot in 1977, as Pol Pot’ escalated the mass internal purges of perceived enemies, North Korean media broadcast a message congratulating the Cambodian comrades on the 17th anniversary of the founding of the Communist party of Kampuchea.  The official media report said Kim Il Sung congratulated the Cambodian people for having “wiped out [the] counterrevolutionary group of spies who had committed subversive activities and sabotage”

After negotiating increased trade and assistance from Pyongyang, on October 7 Pol Pot was welcomed by hundreds of thousands at the national stadium where “The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song and Comrade Pol Pot raised high their tightly clasped hands in acknowledgement of the crowd’s enthusiastic welcome at Moranbong Stadium ” where the Khmer Rouge delegation were honored by seating on “The presidential platform of the Pyongyang mass rally welcoming, with the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song in attendance, the party and government delegation of Democratic Cambodia headed by Comrade Pol Pot.”

The gathering was trumpeted by North Korean media who displayed  photos of “Kim Il-song delivering a speech at the 7 October mass rally welcoming Pol Pot.”

In front of the high profile assembly of thousands prominently trumpeted by state media, “The Great Leader Comrade Kim Il-song conferred the title of Hero of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Comrade Pol Pot.”

The next day, October 8 morning, “The Great leader Comrade Kim Il-song and Comrade Pol Pot signed the joint communique between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Democratic Cambodia” and “In congratulation of the 32nd anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers Party, Comrade Pol Pot presented the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song with a basket of flowers and prayed for the long life of the great leader.”

“The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song cordially bade farewell to Comrade Pol Pot upon his departure from Pyongyang after successful completion of his visit to our nation” and, a separate story detailed “The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song firmly shook hands with Comrade Pol Pot on his departure from Pyongyang.”

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