Skip to comments.N. Korea Missile Techie Defector Reveals His Clandestine Biz Trips to a "Mideast Country"
Posted on 05/21/2003 7:38:22 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo
N Korea Defectors Detail Drug Rings (& Missile Export)
21May03 The Herald Sun, Australia
In a dramatic confession to the US Congress, two men identified as high-ranking North Korean defectors today said they had been intimately involved in test-firing Pyongyang's missiles in Iran and a state-sponsored drugs ring.
The men, led into a congressional hearing wearing black hoods, gave evidence behind a screen to conceal their identities. They currently live in South Korea, but were brought to the United States by two refugee advocacy groups. Their appearance came as the Bush administration tries to turn the spotlight on North Korea's alleged criminal behaviour after making little obvious progress to end a simmering crisis over the communist state's nuclear weapons programs.
Journalists and members of the public were asked to leave after three hours as the subcommittee of the Republican controlled Senate governmental affairs committee opened a final classified session in which the men promised to divulge highly sensitive data.
But one witness, using the alias Bok Koo Lee, told the open portion of the hearing that he worked as a missile scientist for nearly nine years at Plant 39 in Huichon, Jagang Province, North Korea before defecting in July 1997.
He said in summer 1989 he became an unwitting pawn in Pyongyang's nascent missile technology export plans. Bok said he was ordered to go to Nampo seaport, dressed in military fatigues and locked inside a freighter for a sea voyage of about 15 days.
When the ship docked, he was taken aboard a missile guidance control vehicle with curtained windows on a two-day journey to a secret location.
"Although it was night-time, we could see and immediately we realised that we were in a Middle Eastern country, judging by a foreign soldier and his physical make-up," Bok said.
The small team of scientists activated and fired the missile from a remote site, before immediately being returned to the ship for a 15-day journey back to North Korea locked in the hold. During a visit to Pyongyang on his return, Bok said he was told by senior North Korean officials that his mission had been to Iran, and testified that his plant subsequently churned out more of the missile control vehicles he had worked on during the project.
Bok alleged 90 per cent of components used in his work inside the North Korean missile project were smuggled in on scheduled ferry services from Japan, every two or three weeks. (AIT note: This would be aboard the N.K. ship "Mangyonbok-92" out of Niigata Port, Japan)
His compatriot, identified only as defector number one, said he was a former high-level government official in the Stalinist state.
"North Korea must be the only country on earth to run a drug production-trafficking business, on a state level," he said.
He alleged Kim Jong-Il's regime, desperate for hard currency, produced large quantities of heroin and methamphetamines. Opium was sent to a pharmaceutical plant in Chungjin city, and "processed and refined into heroin under the supervision of seven to eight drug experts from Thailand", he said.
"This is all done under the direct control and supervision of the central government."
Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois, who called the hearing, charged that North Korea was "essentially a crime syndicate with nuclear bombs". "The role of a government is to protect its citizens from criminals. But, in the case of North Korea, it appears the government is the criminal."
Academic experts at the hearing showed data suggesting a huge shortfall between Pyongyang's expenditure, especially on its military, and its trade balance, suggesting Kim Jong-Il was using ill-gotten gains to prop up his regime.
"Like the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Kim Jong-Il regime resembles a cult-based, family-run criminal enterprise rather than a government," Larry Wortzel, a policy specialist at the conservative Heritage Foundation told the hearing.
First video stream is "TBS TV" and second stream is "Yomiuri TV". Although in Japanese, the visuals briefly will show what is going on. One videoclip ends with footage of Bush on the USS Lincoln, saying the USA is apparantly putting up with no further nonsense from Kim Jong-il and North Korea.
Cut and paste and watch (less than 1 minute per video).
(These streams may only last a day or too.)
Cuba runs a drug trafficking business at the government level. Nicaragua under the Sandanistas did as well. It would probably be worth looking at some parts of the Mexican goverment, too. Just a thought...
By the summer, if not earlier, IMHO.
Maybe - we'll just have to see
I believe that Japan will shut down all money conduits and trade to N. Korea, except foods. That is what Bush and Koizumi could talk about. That would be a big blow, if not decisive, to N. Korea.
All source of earning or getting hard currencies will be shut down eventually, one way or another. Now that could be a decisive blow.
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