Beyond the News
Last week was announced that the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed his own uncle for considering him an traitor. Jang Song Thaek was reported to be a top member in the government (second most powerful person in the country), but was killed due to his mist-behavior in power. According to an article on CNN.com, he was accused of creating “intrigues”, so local judges decided to give him a death penalty.
The White House responded to this news by saying that “If confirmed, this is another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime. We are following developments in North Korea closely and consulting with our allies and partners in the region”.
And there are a lot of questions to ask allies and partners. The first one that emerges is whether Mr. Thaek had a fair and legitimate trial. Did he really commit the crimes that he was accused of? Did he have the right for a defense? Was his trial shown on TV? Who were the lawyers (if any) that represented him in the court? Who were the judges that condemned him? Did the media have the opportunity to interview him before the trial?
Meanwhile…back in the United States, Chelsea Manning (former Bradley Manning) was sentenced to 35 years in prison last August for leaking government files related to the assassination of civilians by the US Army Forces troops during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The hearing was held in a military court which was closed to the media. The question is: did he have the right for a fair and legitimate trial? Did he really commit all the crimes that he was accused of and sentenced for?
As Manning’s trial started in the beginning of last summer, another American citizen came forward to say that US government spies on millions of people inside and outside the country. Edward Snowden is now considered a fugitive, lives in Russia and is on the FBI’s list of most wanted people. As the allegations hit the news, Obama administration did not waste any time to say that Snowden was putting in danger national security and announced that if he steps back in the US, he will be arrested immediately.
The question is: What would Obama administration do if a North Korean dissident decide (and manage) to come forward to inform in details what really happened with Mr. Thaek? How about if this person proves that North Korean government is really brutal with its own people? So, let me think some possible outcomes…
The “North Korean Snowden” would probably be indicated for the Nobel Prize and would not have any problems to fly between countries to attend a ceremony at UN Headquarters in Geneva or New York. There, he would be happily welcomed by President Barack Obama to take some selfies with other world leaders. But, if this meeting goes on beyond 4 hours, he may kill some time by learning online poker with Senator John McCain.
If Snowden was North Korean, he would be a hero! Not a whistleblower! Actually, he would be a real hero! On the same level of those that US tried to silence in the past, like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King! If Snowden was a North Korean dissident his interview to Glenn Greenwald would be considered a “shout for freedom” rather than an embarrassment to his country. If Snowden was North Korean, he would be an example to be followed!
However, Snowden is not from North Korea. He is an American! And as it is well known, America is very different to North Korea!