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1
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home

Contrary to what the US government and corporate media have conditioned us to associate only with North Korea, a Korean in the South finds herself subject to prosecution for violating the South’s National Security Law because she seeks to move to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea [DPRK].
Kim Ryon-hui, 48, a North Korean, kept in the South against her will for the past six years, has been demanding repatriation, having been tricked by a “defection” broker to come to South Korea. South Korea’s ironically named Ministry of Unification maintains that Kim’s repatriation is not allowed by domestic law.
South Korea’s National Security Law, enacted in 1948, has prevented exchange and collaboration for peace between the South and North. The law criminalizes “anti-state” activities such as speaking favorably of North Korea or questioning South Korea’s stance towards the DPRK. In the past, thousands have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for  opposing South Korean policies or for making comments deemed sympathetic to the North.  Between 1961-2002, 182 were actually executed for violating the National Security Law.
The South Korean government even cracked down on expressions of condolences for the death of previous DPRK leader Kim Jong Il. In 2012, New York Times reported that South Korean police deleted 67,300 web posts they believed threatened national security by “praising North Korea and denouncing the US and the government.”
The National Security Law makes it illegal to have contact with the North – no phone calls, no emails, no letters. Recognizing the DPRK as a political entity, printing, distributing, or ownership of “anti-government” material, such as a North Korean movie or an even-handed documentary about North Korea, can make a person subject to arrest. It is also a crime to knowingly not report that someone possesses this information. Praising DPRK’s self-reliance Juche philosophy also violates the law.
In  2011, 178 South Korean websites were shut down for allegedly pro-North Korea content. Those criticizing official South Korean statements on the sinking of South Korean warship Cheonan in the international arena have had the law used against them.
The National Security Law violations directed at Kim Ryon-hui include praise of North Korea, and escape. Kim posted material supporting the DPRK government on her Facebook , including a video commemorating a holiday celebrating North Korean founding leader Kim Il-sung and a song to Kim Il-sung. Kim Ryon-hui is also charged with statements she made in an interview such as this.  And she is charged with visiting  the Vietnam embassy in South Korea for help in returning to North Korea.
In April 2015, Kim received a two-year jail sentence suspended for three years (equivalent of probation) for the “crime” of making a phone call to a North Korean consulate in China, asking for help to return home.
Kim Ryon-hui said June 14, “I’m not demanding to be sent back to the North because I lived in South Korea for a while and regretted it. I‘m a North Korean citizen detained in South Korea by the National Intelligence Service against my will. Instead of sending me to prison again, they should send me home through Panmunjom.”
While living in the DPRK, Kim received permission to go to China in June 2011 to visit relatives and seek medical care for liver disease. While hospitalized for six months in North Korea, she had heard China had more advanced treatment. She assumed it would be free of charge, as in North Korea, where the state covers most expenses including housing, healthcare, and higher education.
But once in China, Kim found she couldn’t afford the medical bills.  “A broker told me that Chinese people go to South Korea and earn a lot of money. The broker’s neighbor also did it for two months…. So I said I will go to South Korea for two months and earn the money and get myself treated.” On the way she learned she would not be able to return home, and on arriving in the South, she asked to be repatriated to the North. This is, in fact, a crime in the South. In order to be released from the South Korean processing center, Kim had to sign a document renouncing her citizenship and become a South Korean citizen.
In Pyongyang in 2015, a CNN correspondent interviewed Kim’s husband and then 21-year-old daughter, who hadn’t seen her mom since she was 17.
“Why? Why can’t she come back,” asks her daughter Ri Gyon Gum. “Why do we have to go through such suffering? Why do they drag her like this, despite how she says she wants to go back, [why] not let her go? She has her family, husband and daughter in her country, a daughter who misses her mother, a husband who misses his wife. Do they not have heart and blood?” There is an international campaign to give Kim Ryon-hui the freedom she wants, the right to return home to her family in North Korea.
She is not the only North Korean in the South seeking to return home. Under the present North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,  the law has changed so that North Koreans returning to the DPRK are not punished.
South Korea officially admits 13 North Korean emigres have returned home, but activists say many more have gone back unofficially.  Kim Gwan-ho, one “defector” to the South, wished to “defect” back to the North, and did so through China. He then “defected” again to the South, and there was sentenced to prison for three years. The group, Christian Ministers for Peace Action, has taken up the case of North Korean emigre Kwon Choi-nam, 44, who says he was also tricked by a broker, and now also accused of violating the National Security Law.
Not only North Koreans in the South seek to “defect” to the North. The most inhumane case occurred on September 16, 2013 when South Korean – not North Korean –  soldiers shot and killed a South Korean man, Nam Yong-ho, as he tried to swim to North Korea. Their superior officer said, “I believe the soldiers did what they were supposed to do according to rules. The London Times reported he was fired upon by 30 South Korean soldiers.
Amnesty International noted that in 2015 South Korea broadened the National Security Law to include members of Parliament and foreign nationals. “The latest clamp down on free speech involves two women who organized and spoke about North Korea during a speaking tour in South Korea. The tour took place in November 2014. One of them, Korean-American Shin Eun-mi, was deported in January 2015 and banned from returning for five years.
Even though here in the US, North Korea is considered the repressive regime responsible for blocking peace and reunification of the Korean nation, the South’s own National Security Law serves that very function. In a statement on the day she was deported to the US, Shin wrote, “What I said in my books and lectures is that we should move quickly to achieve peaceful reunification since there is nothing barring the people in North and South Korea from living together in a single community. How does this jeopardize public safety or harm the interests of the country?”
Unfortunately here in the US, the endless no-holds-barred disinformation campaign against the DPRK, including the claim North Korea killed Kim Jong Nam, Kim Jong Un’s half-brother in the Malaysian airport (a claim not made by Malaysian prosecutors), North Korea’s hacking of Sony, and one-sided reporting of DPRK missile tests, are widely believed, even by people who normally question the truthfulness of corporate media. The six year long fight of Kim Ryon-hui to be free to return to DPRK highlights once again the disinformation we have been fed about the Koreas.

Source: North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
2
'Double-edged weapon': Senior lawmaker blasts fresh round of anti-Russian sanctions

The latest anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU are hurting their sponsors more than the actual targets, a senior Russian politician has said, also warning that the new round of restrictions was leading the EU into a dead end.

In a statement circulated on Friday by the press service of Leonid Slutsky, head of the Lower House Committee for International Affairs, the lawmaker stated that when the European Union had extended the anti-Russian sanctions it was following the guidelines issued in the "far West"  -  a thinly-veiled hint at the US  -  and was putting itself in a situation with no clear way out.

"In three years of the sanctions standoff the European losses have exceeded those of the Russian Federation," Slutsky said in the address. The lawmaker also quoted President Vladimir Putin's appraisal of sanctions as a "double-edged weapon," as well as UN estimates claiming that Russia's losses from sanctions had amounted to between US$50 billion and $52 billion, while the countries that had imposed the restrictions had lost up to $100 billion.

Source: 'Double-edged weapon': Senior lawmaker blasts fresh round of anti-Russian sanctions
3
Senator Grassley attacks Comey on Russiagate while Trump admits there are "no tapes"

Senator Grassley chair of Senate Judiciary Committee accuses former FBI Director Comey of fanning Russiagate scandal.

Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee which has oversight over the FBI, and before which former FBI Director James Comey gave evidence a short while ago, has today torn into Comey.

Specifically Grassley has criticised Comey for fanning 'conspiracy theories' pertaining to the Russiagate probe, for colluding with the Obama administration in 'soft-pedalling' the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, and for refusing President Trump's reasonable request for a public statement that he was not himself under investigation.

Grassley is right on all these points, even if unfortunately he confuses the issue by continuing to accuse Russia of meddling in the US election. Indeed, rather bizarrely, he has today actually criticised Comey for 'helping' Russia by spreading false stories about the President.

Source: Senator Grassley attacks Comey on Russiagate while Trump admits there are "no tapes"
4
New Yorker arrested in sting operation after attempting to join ISIS

US Prosecutors on Thursday charged Bronx resident Saddam Mohamed Raishani with attempting to provide material support to ISIS (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

"As alleged, Saddam Mohamed Raishani, a Bronx man, plotted to travel to Syria to join and train with the terrorist organization ISIS. Having already helped another man make that trip to ISIS's heartland, Raishani allegedly acted on his own desire to wage violent jihad, planning to leave his family and life in New York City for the battlefields of the Middle East,"said Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim.

Raishani was arrested at JFK airport as he tried to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, via Lisbon, Portugal, on Wednesday.

Source: New Yorker arrested in sting operation after attempting to join ISIS
5
Today's News / D.R. Horton makes higher offer for Forestar
« Last post by News Bot on Today at 09:40:03 AM »
D.R. Horton makes higher offer for Forestar

D.R. Horton makes higher offer for Forestar
Source: D.R. Horton makes higher offer for Forestar
6
Today's News / Baboons can teach us a lot about being too stressed
« Last post by News Bot on Today at 09:40:03 AM »
Baboons can teach us a lot about being too stressed

Baboons are just as stressed as we are, but their politics are a little more violent.
Source: Baboons can teach us a lot about being too stressed
7
Merkel is hosting a meeting for the European G20 leaders in Berlin

The German government says Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a meeting next week of European participants in the Group of 20  summit.
Source: Merkel is hosting a meeting for the European G20 leaders in Berlin
8
US State Department warns Hungary: Anti-Soros law 'another step away' from NATO

George Soros university under threat in Hungary Reuters

An international controversy over nonprofits funded by progressive Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros has created a vulnerability in the NATO alliance, the State Department warned.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's spokesperson urged Hungarian leaders to scrap legislation mandating that Hungarian nonprofits supported by foreign contributors identify their donors. The bill is the latest development in nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ongoing campaign against Soros, but his domestic and international critics regard it also as a step toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"If signed into law, this would be another step away from Hungary's commitments to uphold the principles and values that are central to the [European Union] and NATO," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Monday.

Source: US State Department warns Hungary: Anti-Soros law 'another step away' from NATO
9
Report: Saudi Arabia and allies demand Qatar close Turkish base, shut Al Jazeera and more within 10 days

The Arab states which have imposed an economic blockade on Qatar over its alleged financing of terrorism have issued a severe list of demands, which includes giving Doha 10 days to cut ties with Iran, shutting down Al Jazeera, closing a Turkish military base and paying a fine.

The Kuwait emissary, which is serving as mediator in the diplomatic standoff, has reportedly presented the list of 13 demands from the Arab states to Qatar. Doha has 10 days to comply, according to Associated Press which has seen the list.

The ultimatum demands that Qatar abandon its cooperation with Iran, close down its military base where Turkish troops stationed and disbands its Al Jazeera news network.

Source: Report: Saudi Arabia and allies demand Qatar close Turkish base, shut Al Jazeera and more within 10 days
10
Russian battleships and submarine fire 6 cruise missiles on ISIS targets in Syria

Two Russian Navy frigates and a submarine have fired six Kalibr cruise missiles on Islamic State targets in Syria, the Defense Ministry said. Militants who survived the attack were later killed in airstrikes.

The missiles were launched from Russian Navy frigates, the Admiral Essen and the Admiral Grigorovich, as well as a submarine, the Krasnodar, from the eastern Mediterranean, the Defense Ministry said in a Friday statement. The submarine fired its missiles while submerged.

The strikes targeted Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) command and control centers, as well as ammunition depots in the Syrian province of Hama.

Source: Russian battleships and submarine fire 6 cruise missiles on ISIS targets in Syria
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