In November of 2017, a young man was seen racing from the DPRK to South Korea while soldiers fired at his vehicle. He completed the final stage of the escape on foot while still being shot at. The man who was later named as 24 year old Oh Chung-sung, was quickly lionised as a hero across the United States. Now however, it transpires that he is something far less: he is in fact a criminal.
While speaking to South Korean authorities, Oh admitted to murdering someone in the DPRK. He was not therefore escaping ‘oppression’, but rather, he was a fugitive, escaping justice. This exposes one of many falsehoods that are told about North Korea by the US and its allies.
North Korea’s Moranbong Band is a popular girl group who perform a socially relevant style of pop music. Its main star, Hyon Song-wol was reportedly executed by a firing squad in 2013, according to western mainstream media. However, Hyon starred in a television special the following year and just weeks ago arrived in South Korea as part of the North’s cultural delegation to the forthcoming Olympic Games.
This is but one example of how western media portray North Korea as hell on earth, when in reality it is a very placid and generally safe country that happens to have a very different societal composition to western style states. If so-called journalists took the time to actually think, maybe they’d realise that the reason well-known North Korean figures are out of the public eye for months at a time is because North Korea doesn’t have a Hollywood style celebrity culture. There are no paparazzi or selfie brigades there to take a photo of a well known figure eating lunch, walking down the street or shopping for shoes. Well known figures in North Korea are only on camera when performing on stage, making a speech, competing in a sport..etc. If western celebrities were only photographed when on stage, they too would ‘disappear’ for months and sometimes years at a time.
But while western authored ‘horror stories’ about “oppression” in North Korea continue to be debunked, a western made horror story where an authentic opposition journalist and peace activist is being tortured, continues to be treated with disregard. The UN has ruled that Julian Assange is being arbitrarily detained in the Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador in London and that he must be guaranteed his freedom and also compensated for his oppressive ordeal.
Assange’s condition has been the result of an open conspiracy between Sweden, Britain and the United States, and Australia. For years, Sweden sought to extradite Assange based on accusations of rape which were subsequently dropped in their totality, thus vindicating Assange’s claims of full innocence. In spite of the fact that the kind of rape Assange was accused of in Sweden would neither constitute rape nor any other crime in English law, Britain refused to grant him safe passage to Ecuador, the country that offered him asylum.
After his birth nation of Australia failed to come to his defence, Ecuador gave Assange full citizenship and diplomatic status, but the UK refused to accept his diplomatic credentials. According to the Vienna Conventions, it is international rather than national law which decides whether a person is entitled to diplomatic immunity. Therefore, Assange could have attempted to walk out of the embassy with a diplomatic passport from Ecuador, but the UK could have still arrested him in violation of international protocols. It was not a risk he wanted to take. Currently, the UK attests that Assange will be arrested if he steps out of the Embassy (which is legal Ecuadorian soil) due to charges related to skipping bail in 2012.
While a UK court is currently deciding whether to drop the bail charges, Assange faces the prospect of the UK shipping him to the US where the authorities have frequently discussed trying him on espionage charges. Many prominent US politicians, including Hillary Clinton have spoken about a desire to assassinate Assange.
But what is Assange’s actual crime? He published documents which confirmed that the US was guilty of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. He published documents detailing the torture of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp that Barack Obama lied about closing. He published documents which demonstrated the close links between the Tel Aviv regime and the CIA linked US “think tank” Stratfor. He published documents showing how Hillary Clinton used her ties with Gulfi Arab regimes to fund terrorist groups including Daesh and later exposed the deep levels of corruption in Clinton’s Democratic Party. These are just some of the highlights.
Assange is a publisher and by means of his frequent expression of political views, he is also accurately described as an anti-establishment peace activist. His publications have done more to illuminate the levels of dishonesty, criminality, violence, illegal intentional collusion between governments, torture and oppression on the part of the US and its allies than any other publisher in history.
The above photo of Vietnamese children being burnt alive by Napalm munitions from the US military became an iconic photo of the American anti-war movement of the 1960s and 70s.
Today, Assange is a different kind of anti-war icon. It was Assange who showed naive individuals that those criticising the military-industrial complex were not ‘conspiracy theorists’ but speaking the truth. Assange demonstrated that the links between big government, the Israel lobby, big academia and big corporations are indelible and far deeper than what most imagined them to be. Assange demonstrated that torture is very real and it is happening under the noses of unsuspecting US and EU citizens. And yes, Assange’s publications have also seen the release of documents showing Syria and Russia in a critical light, although these are hardly ever discussed.
Assange is the ultimate dissident and the ultimate victim of genuine oppression. While the western media continues to tell fairy tales about North Korea, a report from two doctors indicated that Assange’s physical and mental health have deteriorated severely as a result of his forced captivity in a small room in the Ecuadorian embassy. He has not seen a single ray of sunlight or breathed any fresh air since 2012.
There is a small chance that in early February, a UK court might drop the bail skipping charges against Assange, but the chances of this happening are by no means guaranteed.
Whenever someone smugly quotes unevidenced stories about North Korea, simply remind them about Julian Assange, a man who is actually being tortured deep within the heart of the so-called “free world”.