North Korea: The Grand Deception Revealed — Report of the October 2003 National Lawyers Guild/American Association of Jurists Delegation to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea

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DPRK (aka, “NORTH KOREA”): THE GRAND DECEPTION REVEALED

The Preliminary Report of the October 2003 National Lawyers Guild/American Association of Jurists Delegation to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea
I. The Delegation and its Purpose
II. First Impressions
III. The Role of Lawyers
IV. War Crimes
V. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
VI. The Countryside and Hours of Talk
VII. The Circus
VIII. Human Exchanges
IX. Particular Observations
A. The Juche idea of Socialism
B. The Role of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il
C. The Legal System
D. Education
E. Health Care
F. Housing
G. Work Conditions
H. Political System
I. Military Service
J. Reunification
K. The Role of Women
X. War and Peace
XI. Final Observations and Future Activities

I. The Delegation and its Purpose

On September 29th, 2003 four lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild of the United States, Peter Erlinder, Professor of Law at the William Mitchell School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, Neil Berman, Attorney in Boston, Massachusetts and Eric Sirotkin and Jennie Lusk, Attorneys in Albuquerque, New Mexico as well as a member of the American Association of Jurists, Christopher Black, Barrister in Toronto, Canada, traveled to North Korea, formally the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the invitation of the Korean Democratic Lawyers Association (KDLA).

We came to North Korea in order to increase bonds between lawyers in North Korea and the west, as well as to increase understanding between the peoples of North America and North Korea in order to reduce the risk of war between the DPRK and the United States of America.

The visit had several specific purposes: (1) to develop personal and professional relationships with lawyers in North Korea with a view toward understanding their legal system and its role in society, (2) to determine and understand the views of the people of the DPRK with respect to war and peace and its link to the problem of reunification of the “two” Koreas, and (3) to observe as best we could the real situation for the people of the DKRP in the context of the information being propagated in the western press of an Orwellian, totalitarian, impoverished and starving society – allegations which have been used by the United States to justify all its recent wars of aggression. We felt it essential to let the North Koreans know that many Americans and Canadians have a deep desire for peace and oppose the rhetorical “axis of evil” posture announced by the current U.S. administration.

Most of us met in Beijing as virtual strangers, but we parted company days later as friends, transformed by our experience. We came from different backgrounds, different areas of law and represented several political and philosophical points of view. We had one essential thing in common; the real fear of a war between the United States and the DPRK and a deep desire to know the truth.

All felt misled over the years by the U.S. government through its misinformation used to justify wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. We no longer accept bald allegations of “widespread violations of human rights”, the need for a “war on terrorism”, war to destroy “weapons of mass destruction,” or the need to fight wars to preserve and expand our Western way of life. As world citizens we felt obliged to reveal the truth and to take steps to build, rather than destroy, relationships, even with those whom we may disagree.

The delegation met with KDLA members, government officials and military officers, and discussed comparative judicial systems and strategies for building bridges for peace between DPRK and the United States. We toured Pyongyang, traveled hundreds of kilometers into the countryside, visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the Northern side at the infamous joint use area of Panmunjom, and interviewed U.S. soldiers and business consultants from around the world who, much to our surprise, were discovered working in North Korea,

II. First Impressions

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