day 2: north korea and Guantánamo Bay
New York Times: With North Korea reeling from economic and succession crises, American and South Korean officials early this year secretly began gaming out what would happen if the North, led by one of the world’s most brutal family dynasties, collapsed.
The cables about North Korea — some emanating from Seoul, some from Beijing, many based on interviews with government officials, and others with scholars, defectors and other experts — are long on educated guesses and short on facts, illustrating why their subject is known as the Black Hole of Asia. Because they are State Department documents, not intelligence reports, they do not include the most secret American assessments, or the American military’s plans in case North Korea disintegrates or lashes out.
The cables reveal that in private, the Chinese, long seen as North Korea’s last protectors against the West, occasionally provide the Obama administration with colorful assessments of the state of play in North Korea. Chinese officials themselves sometimes even laugh about the frustrations of dealing with North Korean paranoia. In April 2009, just before a North Korean nuclear test, He Yafei, the Chinese vice foreign minister, told American officials at a lunch that the country wanted direct talks with the United States and to get them was acting like a “spoiled child” to get the attention of the “adult.”
In June 2009, at a lunch in Beijing shortly after the North Korean nuclear test, two senior Chinese Foreign Ministry officials reported that China’s experts believed “the enrichment was only in its initial phases.” In fact, based on what the North Koreans revealed this month, an industrial-scale enrichment plant was already under construction. It was apparently missed by both American and Chinese intelligence services.
The cables make it clear that the South Koreans believe that internal tensions in the North have reached a boiling point. In January of this year, South Korea’s foreign minister, who later resigned, reported to a visiting American official that the South Koreans saw an “increasingly chaotic” situation in the North. New York Times:
American diplomats went looking for countries that were not only willing to take in former prisoners but also could be trusted to keep them under close watch. In a global bazaar of sorts, the American officials sweet-talked and haggled with their foreign counterparts in an effort to resettle the detainees who had been cleared for release but could not be repatriated for fear of mistreatment, the cables show.
Slovenia, seeking a meeting with President Obama, was encouraged to “do more” on detainee resettlement if it wanted to “attract higher-level attention from Washington”; its prime minister later “linked acceptance of detainees to ‘a 20-minute meeting’ ” with the president, but the session — and the prisoner transfer — never happened. The Maldives tied acceptance of prisoners to American help in obtaining International Monetary Fund assistance, while the Bush administration offered the Pacific nation of Kiribati “an incentive package” of $3 million to take 17 Chinese Muslim detainees, the cables show. In discussions about creating a rehabilitation program for its own citizens, the president of Yemen repeatedly asked Mr. Brennan, “How many dollars will the U.S. bring?”
In the fall of 2009, Lithuania’s newly elected president backed out of her country’s previous agreement to resettle a prisoner amid an uproar over reports that the Central Intelligence Agency had run a secret jail in Lithuania. The chairman of the Lithuanian Parliament’s national security committee privately apologized and suggested using mutual allies to pressure her to reconsider, the cables show.
Other dispatches illuminated the difficulties of resettling Uighurs, Chinese Muslim prisoners who had been ordered freed by a federal judge. China was deemed likely to abuse them, but Beijing demanded their return.
Still, a few allies were eager to help. After accepting five Chinese Muslims in 2006, Albania’s prime minister in 2009 offered to resettle three to six detainees not from China. Months later, in February 2009, Kuwait’s interior minister proposed a solution for other detainees who seemed too extremist for reintegration into society: let them die in combat.
“You know better than I that we cannot deal with these people,” the minister, Sheik Jaber al-Khaled al-Sabah, told the ambassador, a cable reported. “If they are rotten, they are rotten and the best thing to do is get rid of them. You picked them up in Afghanistan; you should drop them off in Afghanistan, in the middle of the war zone.” Mr. Sabah’s private comments contrasted with the public stance of his government. Under domestic pressure to urge the United States to send home all Kuwaitis from Guantánamo, Kuwait has strongly suggested that it is doing so.
The United States often has required countries to impose travel bans — among other restrictions, including continuing surveillance — on freed prisoners, sometimes with mixed success.
so what does this mean:
basically, north korea economy is on the brink of collapse and their leader is close to death. they also have nuclear weapons. china is annoyed with north korea but not annoyed enough to flex their muscle, for now
G-tmo began closing in the Bush era and most of the prisoners just transferred to different countries.