The ANSWER Coalition, a well known far-left organization, is inviting Americans to join a “unique opportunity to travel to North Korea.” The group claims that the government-guided trip will show participants that “corporate-owned mainstream media” has “demonized” the country’s dictatorship, and that the United States of America should normalize relations with North Korea as it has done with Cuba.
“The best way to learn about any country is to experience it firsthand. This is especially true for the DPRK (North Korea), Cuba, Vietnam and China. Relying on the demonized images presented by the corporate-owned mainstream media and government mouthpieces is only a recipe for ignorance and hostility,” reads an email from the ANSWER Coalition.
A 2013 report on human rights abuses from the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies cited a North Korean defector who relayed events that had occurred in one of the political prisoner detention camps reported the Telegraph. The defector recalled testing chemical weapons on prisoners while “scientists” observed from above: “I watched a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber: Parents, one son and a daughter,” he said. “The parents were vomiting and dying, but until the very last moment they tried to save the kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing.”
In June of this year, former North Korean political prisoner Jeong Kwang-il submitted a report to the United Nations identifying 180 “missing captives” and called for an investigation, according to UPI. The particular camp identified by Jeong reportedly disappeared just last year; however, reports from Jeong and the International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea report between 80,000 and 120,000 political prisoners still captive in DPRK detention centers.
Jeong detailed to the UN that he and other prisoners had to “pile the dead bodies in a shed, then use pitchforks to drag them out in the spring,” UPI recorded.
In April of this year, the Institute for Science and International Security reported satellite images that indicate DPRK may be re-launching one of its 5 megawatt (MWe) nuclear reactors at Yongbyon. The institute noted in a separate February 2015 report that it had compiled documentation of a “dramatic and overt build-up in North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities” over the past several years.
Promoting the 50-person trip, the ANSWER Coalition’s invitation details the itinerary in coordination with Korea Peace Tours and Global Encounters Tourism Company. Korea Peace Tours is noted as having been established by “U.S. peace activists,” though it fails to detail who these “activists” are.
The message does not hold back in telling potential travelers exactly what they are up to, “We have seen in one week’s time: a historic agreement with Iran and the opening of U.S. and Cuban Embassies. It’s also time time for a change in U.S. policy toward North Korea.”
The ANSWER Coalition explains futher: “People defied travel restrictions to visit Cuba and that process unquestionably impacted political policy over the long term, creating a people-to-people bridge toward peace. Travel to the DPRK is legal. Instead of pursuing a policy of endless hostility, including spending billions of dollars on war exercises each year that simulate the military destruction of the DPRK, the United States should change its policy and sign a Peace Treaty with the DPRK, finally ending the Korean War, and normalize relations between the two countries.”
The cost of propaganda tour cost as the country’s “celebrates” 70 years since the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea will be $2,480, before airfare. Accommodations and meals, transportation, visas and handling fees, DPRK “guides,” and event and concert admission fees are included.
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