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Behind The Clinton 'Rescue'
In North Korea

By Joel Skousen
Editor - World Affairs Brief
The capture of two US reporters of Chinese descent, who worked for Al Gore, and their subsequent rescue from North Korea's clutches by former President Bill Clinton was a setup from the beginning. Nothing reported about this story comes close to the real truth. As I covered the story in a prior brief, the initial capture of the reporters on the frozen Yalu River (where no one could prove which side of the China-NK border they were really on) was a predictable tactic used by North Korea to obtain secret concessions from the US. The two women were railroaded into a North Korean court and sentenced to hard labor in one of NK's notorious prison camps. This was done for the shock effect to illicit horror around the world. In reality, they never suffered a day of hard labor. The harsh sentence's only purpose was to stimulate world pressure on the US to do something to gain their release. The secret concessions NK would demand for their release had to be kept secret by the US, and trotting out Bill Clinton was the perfect cover.
While this started out as a ploy by NK, the story that this release mission was a totally private effort by Bill Clinton, not sanctioned by the US government, is an outright lie. USA Today had this to say after Obama's public praise for both Clinton and Gore's role in the mission, "As Obama spoke, aides went out of their way to say that Clinton's mission was a private one, and in no way represented a new U.S. diplomatic initiative toward North Korean over its nuclear program."
That's absolutely bogus, and that is precisely why the aides went "out of their way" to make the point. They even emphasized the fact that "Obama talked with Clinton this morning -- but not before his trip to North Korea," as if this trip could have been arranged through government channels without Obama's personal OK. "'This was a private, humanitarian mission,' said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs," echoing the disinformation line.
So paranoid was the White House about giving the impression of some quid pro quo in this release that "Gibbs disputed a North Korean state media report that the former president apologized on behalf of the two reporters. 'There wasn't a message that was passed,' Gibbs said. 'If there wasn't a message, there certainly wasn't an apology.'" Clinton spoke for over three hours with Kim, and there was no message? This is simply not credible.
The White House is trying to give the impression that ailing NK dictator Kim Jong-il, who suffers from terminal pancreatic cancer, was willing to release the reporters merely for the privilege of having a photo opt with former president Bill Clinton--no messages, no deals, no promises--just a sudden thaw in an otherwise frosty relationship.
Anyone familiar with the past and current history of North Korean tactics knows this release-without-conditions was a total charade with a pre-agreed upon script. It was at once a propaganda coup for Kim Jong-il, coming across as the benevolent grantor of clemency, and a publicity stunt for media hungry Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
But the reality is that no such private mission to NK is even possible. You can't even file a flight plan into NK without a special government waver granted by the White House. Slowly additional truths have leaked out about the role of the National Security Advisor in coordinating this mission. Hillary Clinton, who as head of the State Department, would have been the normal one to vet this trip, but she was shunted aside so as to avoid the charge of making this a family affair.
To further the private mission claim, Dow Chemical and wealthy Hollywood movie producer Steve Bing were tapped to provide the transportation. Naturally, a deep insider newspaper like the Washington Post had the lion's share of the partial truths while still maintaining the myth that this was totally private:
"Foulkrod [Marc J. Foulkrod, chairman of Avjet in Burbank, which manages the plane for Steve Bing] said the trip was especially difficult to arrange because Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit U.S.-registered aircraft from landing in North Korea... and that it took 'an unprecedented level of cooperation' from the FAA and the State Department to secure the necessary legal and diplomatic approvals in time for Monday's departure [not to mention the coordination with NK itself, which no private individual could have done].
"The administration had wanted to send former vice president Al Gore to North Korea instead of Clinton [a tacit admission that this wasn't Clinton's idea at all]; Gore is a co-founder of Current TV, which employs the journalists who were detained. But North Korean officials hinted that they wanted an envoy of Clinton's stature, sources said [even the juvenile mind of Kim Jong-il knows Gore has no real celebrity clout].
"The breakthrough in the standoff over the journalists -- who were sentenced in June to 12 months of hard labor after being seized near the Chinese border in March -- came on July 18, when the reporters told their families in a phone call that North Korean officials had clearly stated that they would be released if Clinton came to Pyongyang." Think about that statement. The two reporters are sentenced to a labor camp and suddenly they have permission to telephone their families and give a "hint" that they would be released if Bill Clinton simply shows up in Pyongyang! This has "high political maneuvering" written all over it.
"US officials immediately began to verify that statement with North Korean counterparts, and on July 24 national security adviser James L. Jones asked Clinton to consider making the trip [another admission that this was instigated from the White House, not by Clinton]. One senior administration official said full assurances from Pyongyang were not secured until Sunday, the day the former president left Burbank on Bing's jet. At the time of departure, U.S. officials knew that Clinton was scheduled to have a rare meeting with Kim [Lies, and more lies. This is disinformation to maintain the fiction that the White House wasn't totally in the loop. They knew exactly how this was going to come off. When dealing with an unstable leader like Kim, every detail of every meeting has to be scripted weeks in advance so he is guaranteed not to lose face].
Frankly, this whole story would have been more credible if the administration had not bent over backwards trying to convince us that only Clinton's charismatic presence was necessary to secure the journalists' release. At a minimum a major public apology by Clinton would have been necessary to help Kim save face (probably shown only on NK television), but also deep secret concessions on the issue of sanctions. As I pointed out in prior briefs, the weapons inspection sanctions on North Korean shipping already lacked teeth, after the UN agreed, at China's insistence, that NK ships could not be boarded without NK's permission. However, the financial and banking sanctions were tight.
One thing is for sure: The US gave NK some significant concession in return for the release of the reporters. My best guess would be that it involved loosening the financial and banking sanctions imposed on NK because these could be undone without the rest of the world knowing.
The reason for all the denials and secrecy is that Obama has made a big issue of the fact that the former US secret policy of rewarding NK for its continual violation of agreements would stop with his administration--though it clearly hasn't. So the administration has to go to extensive lengths to avoid the appearance of being permissive with NK.
Obama often uses the tactic of acknowledging past US policy mistakes and falsely pledging change. His bold acknowledgment of past US mistakes and hypocrisy is enough to convince the average person that surely Obama would never engage in this same conduct after criticizing it so forthrightly. That, then, becomes the perfect cover, as people are reluctant to believe that someone would blatantly deceive them in public statements. In fact, the Obama regime is continuing all the bad policies of the Bush administration even while decrying them--an essential dimension in the art of the "big lie."
End Excerpt
World Affairs Brief - Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted.
Cite source as Joel Skousen's World Affairs Brief http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com
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