Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

Concern (Irish NGO) suspends DPRK operations

Monday, April 8th, 2013

According to the Irish Times:

Irish NGO Concern has temporarily suspended its aid work in North Korea due to the increasing threat of war. The suspension takes place with immediate effect due to fears over staff safety.

The non-governmental organisation has 14 workers in the area. Eleven of them are from North Korea, while there are also three international workers from Nepal, India and Sweden. The only Irish Concern employee in the area left a number of months ago.

Concern’s overseas director of aid Paul O’Brien said the organisation had a meeting with the Department of Foreign Affairs last week, where the decision was made.“Two of our international staff are outside the area now and we can’t really function without them. We will return to work once it settles down there,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said he hopes things will settle in the country by the time former leader Kim Il-Sung’s birthday takes place on April 15th. The birthday is celebrated as a public holiday where North Koreans celebrate the life of their “Eternal President”, who died in 1994.

Read the full story here:
Concern suspends North Korea operations
Jason Kennedy


DPRK emigration data

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Josh points out this table from the UNHCR (originally published by RFA):


Click image for larger version.


US might not have a DPRK envoy, but…

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

US slaps sanctions on DPRK companies
According to the Associated Press (Via CBS):

The United States is imposing sanctions on several Chinese, Iranian and North Korean companies for violating arms export regulations governing missile technology and other proliferation activities.

The sanctions are largely symbolic as they bar the companies from trade with the U.S. that they were not likely involved in. Although they were in the works for some time, the Obama team signed off on the sanctions on Jan. 21, a day after it took office, signaling a continuing tough stance from Washington on weapons technology transfers.

U.S. Slaps Sanctions On Overseas Companies
Associated Press (via CBS)

Here is a link to the text from the US Federal Register
Below is a summary:

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to Section 73(a)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2797b(a)(1)); Section 11B(b)(1) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C. app. 2410b(b)(1)), as carried out under Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001 (hereinafter cited as the “Export Administration Act of 1979”); and Executive Order 12851 of June 11, 1993; the U.S. Government determined on January 15, 2009 that the following foreign entities had engaged in missile technology proliferation activities that require the imposition of missile sanctions described in Section 73 of the AECA (22 U.S.C. 2797b)  and Section 11B of the EAA (50 U.S.C. Appx 24710b) on these entities:

Korea Mining and Development Corporation (KOMID) (North Korea) and  its sub-units and successors
–Mokong Trading Corporation (North Korea) and its sub-units and successors
–Sino-Ki (North Korea) and its sub-units and successors

And from the Donga Ilbo:

This is the eighth time for the mining company, which has been closely watched by Washington as an exporter of Pyongyang’s ballistic missiles and conventional weapons, to get U.S. sanctions.

The company was slapped with sanctions in 1992, 1998, 2000, 2003, January and August in 2007, and August last year.

Ex-IRA figure faces US counterfeiting charge
According to the Associated Press:

Irish police arrested former Workers Party leader Sean Garland, 74, outside the entrance of the fringe party’s Dublin headquarters — more than three years after he jumped bail in the neighboring British territory of Northern Ireland while facing a similar U.S. extradition warrant there.

Garland had been living openly in the Republic of Ireland — which typically refuses to extradite citizens to face criminal charges outside the European Union — since he left Belfast and abandoned a bail of 30,000 British pounds (about $53,000 at the time) following his October 2005 arrest.

U.S. authorities that year indicted Garland with receiving, smuggling and laundering millions in “superdollars” — so called because of their expert design — that the government of North Korea allegedly began distributing in the late 1980s to weaken the American currency. If extradited and convicted, Garland could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Only one of the past two-dozen extradition requests from the U.S. Justice Department has been approved by Irish judges, who generally oppose extradition, citing America’s harsher sentences and penal system.

Under [Garland’s] leadership, the Workers Party appealed in 1986 to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union for funds. According to the 2005 U.S. indictment, Russian officials encouraged Garland and other Official IRA activists to take counterfeit U.S. $100 bills produced by North Korea.

Read the full story here:
Ex-IRA figure faces US counterfeiting charge
Associated Press
Shawn Pogatchnik

NK Defectors’ Groups to Get US Gov’t Aid
According to the Korea Times:

The U.S. Department of State will directly provide groups organized by North Korean defectors here with financial support for the first time, according to reports Sunday.

Thus far, Washington has funded local groups working for improvement of North Korean human rights via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a private organization supporting freedom around the world.

The move was construed as part of increased U.S. efforts to shed light on humanitarian issues in the Stalinist state.

The State Department posted a notice on the Human Rights Democracy Fund (HRDF) last September and about 50 organizations reportedly applied for the program.

Among the beneficiaries, Free North Korea Radio and the Coalition for North Korean Women’s Rights were granted $500,000 and $300,000, respectively.

The groups will receive a certain amount of money every month for two to three years in accordance with their performance.

Kang Su-jin, founder and representative of the coalition, said she thinks that the U.S. department aims at nurturing North Korean defectors as future leaders through the direct funding.

An official of the department was quoted as saying on condition of anonymity by Radio Free Asia (RFA) that a total of $3 million has been set aside for the program.

But the official refused to elaborate on grantees, saying the issue was “very sensitive.”

Read the full story here:
NK Defectors’ Groups to Get US Gov’t Aid
Korea Times
Kim Sue-young


IRA ballad hero accused by US of superdollar plot

Monday, October 10th, 2005

London Times
David Sharrock

Sean Garland, president of the Workers’ Party and alleged leader of the Official IRA, was arrested on Friday evening as he was preparing to deliver the keynote speech at his party’s annual conference in Belfast. The US Government is seeking his extradition, arguing that he and others have “engaged in buying, transporting and either passing as genuine or reselling large quantities of high-quality counterfeit $100 notes”.

It further alleges that Mr Garland “arranged with North Korean agencies for the purchase of quantities of notes and enlisted other people to disseminate” the money in the UK.

The 71-year-old IRA veteran was arrested by Police Service of Northern Ireland officers and appeared in Belfast Magistrate’s Court the next morning.

The so-called “superdollars” have been tracked for decades by FBI officers. Defectors from North Korea involved in their production have revealed that the secretive communist state intended to flood the world with the near-perfect notes in an attempt to destroy the US economy, a project which shared equal importance with the nuclear missiles programme.

Mr Garland, who lives in Navan, Co Meath, in the Irish Republic, was the subject of a briefing to the US’s top intelligence chiefs in the late 1990s, according to a BBC Panorama documentary of last year.

One US investigator conservatively estimates the number of “superdollars in circulation in the US alone at $30 million”.

Mr Garland was released on bail of three sureties of £10,000 each and on condition that he remained at an address in Co Down, Northern Ireland.

A solicitor for Garland told Judge Tom Burgess that his client “strenuously protests his innocence”, but the Crown lawyer argued that if released there was a “substantial risk” that Garland would not come back to face his extradition.

He told the court: “We say in simple terms that the defendant would have a strong incentive to flee back to the Republic of Ireland.”

The warrant for his arrest was issued on May 19, posing questions as to why the US authorities did not simply seek him through the Republic’s courts. It is estimated that around 20 extradition warrants for Irish citizens have been turned down by Irish courts in the past five years.

The US authorities now have more than 60 days in which to seek his extradition.

Mr Garland has previously described the accusations as “gross slanders and lies”, but the allegations first surfaced in a book by Bill Gertz, national security correspondent for the the Washington Times.

In 2002 a former KGB agent and two British criminals were jailed by a Birmingham court for their part in distributing the superdollars. Mr Garland was described in court as “the top jolly” of the Official IRA, the group from which the Provisional IRA split in 1969, and accused of acting as the middleman for the notes.

Mr Garland is a major IRA figure of the past century. He joined the British Army in the 1950s in order to steal weapons and later took part on a botched attack on Brookeborough barracks in Co Fermanagh, in which Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon were shot dead.

Under fire Mr Garland carried the dying South on his shoulder back across the border, earning a place in a famous Republican ballad commemorating the deed.