27 March 2019 — Moon of Alabama
A Spanish judge released new information about a raid on the embassy of North Korea in Spain. The leader of the raid was a shady U.S. ‘activist’ who earlier reports from Spain associated with the CIA.
On March 13 the Spanish newspaper El Pais Spain reported that Spanish authorities identified two CIA related persons who took part in a raid of the North Korean embassy in Madrid. The raid happened on February 22, a few days before the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, and seemed designed to influence that event. We asked Who Ordered The CIA To Assault North Korea’s Embassy In Spain?
The embassy raid was no normal thievery. There were eight people in the embassy when it was raided at 3:00 PM local time. They were bound, bags were put over their heads and some were interrogated. The thieves left with computer hardware and the cellphones of the personnel.
The Spanish version of the El Pais piece included this detail (machine translated):
After analyzing the recordings of the security cameras in the area, questioning the hostages and analyzing the diplomatic vehicles used in the flight, it has been possible to identify some of the assailants. Although the majority were Koreans,
at least two of them have been recognized by the Spanish information services for their links with the American CIA.
The indications that point to the US espionage service, in probable cooperation with that of South Korea, are so strong that Spanish interlocutors have contacted the CIA to ask for explanations. The response was negative, but “unconvincing”, according to Government sources.
Two days after the El Pais report the Washington Post national security reporter claimed that the raid was done by a shady group of allegedly North Korean revolutionaries. The report was based on anonymous sources and a ‘former’ CIA analyst. The group was identified as Cheollima Civil Defense or Free Jaseon.
As the group and its website had all the signs of a CIA regime change front Moon of Alabama headlined:
We also noted that the British Sun related the group to the South Korean spy service which is essentially a subsidiary of the CIA.
Yesterday a Spanish judge lifted the seal of the case and issued arrest warrants against two of the people involved in the raid:
De la Mata identified citizens of Mexico, the United States and South Korea as the main suspects being investigated on charges that include of causing injuries, making threats and burglary.
He named Adrian Hong Chang, a Mexican citizen living in the United States, as the break-in’s leader.
Hong Chang flew to the U.S. on Feb. 23, got in touch with the FBI and offered to share material and videos with federal investigators, according to the court report.
While in Madrid, Hong Chang also applied for a new passport at the Mexican Embassy, the investigation found, and used the name “Oswaldo Trump” to register in the Uber ride-hailing app.
Others identified as part of the assailants’ group were Sam Ryu, from the U.S., and Woo Ran Lee, a South Korean citizen. Their whereabouts and their hometowns weren’t immediately known. None of the suspects were thought to be still in Spain, the judge wrote.
The New York Times adds:
Mr. Hong Chang left for Lisbon and then boarded a plane to Newark Liberty International Airport, where he landed on Feb. 23, according to Judge de la Mata. He said that Mr. Hong Chang got in touch with the F.B.I. and
offered to share “audiovisual material”
obtained during the embassy attack.
On March 20 the Cheollima Civil Defense group uploaded a new short video to its Youtube channel. It says “Recently, on our homeland’s soil ..” and then shows a man, face hidden, taking pictures of the deceased North Korean rulers Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il off a wall and smashing them on the floor. Embassy grounds are considered to be territory of the country they represent. It is likely that the video “on our homeland’s soil” was made during the raid on the North Korean embassy in Spain.
After the Spanish judge’s report appeared, the Cheollima entity published a Facts about Madrid pamphlet that confirmed its role and its contact with the FBI. It claims to feel betrayed:
No information about Madrid was shared with any parties with the expectation of any benefit or money in exchange. The organization shared certain information of enormous potential value with the FBI in the United States, under mutually agreed terms of confidentiality. This information was shared voluntarily and on their request, not our own. Those terms appear to have been broken.
Some time later, some journalists began writing speculative stories about the incident in Madrid, and the identities or affiliations of those involved, citing US government sources. That information was leaked to the media was a profound betrayal of trust. We ourselves never spoke to the media or shared any information with them.
We did not begin this work without full knowledge of the risks we bear. Freedom has already been paid with the blood of families and colleagues. Some of us will be imprisoned, tortured or killed in the course of this fight. But to share information that may help identify any of us who take risks to protect others is to aid and abet the regime in Pyongyang. The leaks and breaches of trust were abhorrent acts pursued in the name of political expediency, in service to a regime who has tortured and killed millions.
The person identified as leader of the raiding party, Adrian Hong Chang, is a know anti-North Korea activist. He usually goes under the name Adrian Hong, not Hong Chang as the AP and NYT reports claim:
Hong was the co-founder and Executive Director of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), an international NGO devoted to human rights in North Korea. In May 2006, LINK helped arrange the first asylum to be given to North Korean refugees by the US.
Hong was arrested and deported from China for his efforts to help North Korean refugees living in the country illegally.
In 2009, Hong was selected as a TED fellow and an Arnold Wolfers Fellow at Yale University.
Adrian Hong Chang via TED
The very progress of our global civilization is for naught if we continue to let the very idea of North Korea exist. North Korea is not a failed state, with warlords fighting for land and treasure. Its atrocities do not stem from factional fighting, crimes of passion, or mob violence. It is on another level entirely — a staggering system entirely built and mastered for the express purpose of propagating human suffering and ensuring the continued exploitation of the people so that the very few can benefit.
It is a moral obligation of the highest order that the international community intervene. What can be done, we must do — and now is the time.
Cheollima, as the Adrian Hong’s related regime change entity calls itself, is a mythical winged horse in Asian folklore. Pegasus is a winged horse in Greek mythology.
A 2016 San Diego Union Tribune piece introduces him as:
Hong, a San Diego native, is president of the Joseon Institute, an independent think tank undertaking policy-relevant research and planning in preparation for dramatic change on the Korean peninsula. He was imprisoned in China in 2006 for helping North Korean refugees escape.
At one point the Cheollima Civil Defense Group renamed itself to “Free Joseon”. The Joseon dynasty ruled Korea from 1392 to 1897. It went down when Japan tried to gain control of the country which it achieved a few years later.
The Joseon Institute in New York(?) is preparing for regime change in North Korea:
The Joseon Institute draws on on cutting-edge research from the Korean Peninsula and the region, as well as international best practices and learnings from other sudden transitions in the past century, successful and failed, to best prepare for a new North Korea. A core team of scholars and staff in New York City works with a wide-network of world-class scholars, resident and non-resident fellows, policymakers, practitioners, researchers and volunteer collaborators around the world.
While much of the effort remains highly sensitive, the resulting research, blueprints and action plans will be provided to key government stakeholders invested in the future of the Korean Peninsula. Full cooperation, information sharing and assistance will be offered by the Joseon Institute to whatever entity is presiding over change.
While the Union Tribune introduces Adrian Hong as “president of Joseon Institute”, the ‘Institute’s website says that the ‘Leadership’ of the group is “To be announced.” Its ‘Senior Fellows’ and ‘Fellows’ are“Undisclosed.” The site list twelve ‘Planning Commissions’ and four ‘Task Forces’ but zero content or persons related to them. It lists more than 23 ‘currently available positions’ but seems to have hired no one. The two ‘Events’ listed at the site are from 2015. It says that Facebook hosted an event on April 1 2015 in New York about Education In A New North Korea. The ‘Event Overview’ lists a “Introduction to the Joseon Institute – Adrian Hong”. There is no evidence that the event took place. The latest ‘News’ item on the site is an August 10, 2017 Update From The Joseon Institute with lots of claims of work done but zero content or links that provide evidence of such work.
The board of advisors of the Joseon Institute consists of a former prime minister of Libya who was “elected” after the murder of Muhammad Ghaddafi, a former prime minister of Mongolia, and the conservative Member of the British Parliament Fiona Bruce. A 2011 Financial Times piece – Christian Tories rewrite party doctrine – associates Fiona Bruce with evangelical Christians. Evangelicals are involved in “rescuing” North Korean defectors in China, something that Cheollima entity and Adrian Wong also claim to have done.
One wonders if any of these persons know of the high honor bestowed on them by being named as advisor to the empty hull of a regime change ‘Institute’.
The other persons involved in the raid, Woo Ram Lee and Sam Ryu, are unlike Adrian Hong not easily identifiable.
The case of Adrian Hong and the raid on the embassy in Madrid will likely escalate. The Washington Post notes that the Spanish judge seeks their extradition from the United States to Spain where they will face up to 28 years in prison.
The NYT adds that the group has evidently prepared for a legal fight:
Lee Wolosky, a former national security and State Department official in several American administrations, said he had been retained as legal counsel by the group, which he said was called the Provisional Government of Free Joseon, or Cheollima Civil Defense.
Wolosky is a high caliber lawyer who for many years served on the National Security Council. As private lawyer he was involved in several legal cases related to ‘national security’. He at least once used a variant of graymailing, ‘a defensive tactic in an espionage trial whereby theaccused threatens to reveal secret information unless the charges aredropped’:
Wolosky has led or co-led some of the firm’s high-profile matters in recent years, including […] Restis v United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a precedent-setting private defamation case in which the United States Government asserted the state secrets privilege, resulting in a victory for Wolosky’s client UANI.
Should Wolosky defend Adrian Hong in a legal fight against the Spanish extradition request he might threaten to reveal secrets the U.S. would not like to have published. The case would then be put down.
Hiring Wolosky must be expensive.
Adrian Hong and the Cheollima group, if it exists at all, have no apparent sources of income. One wonders through which routes the U.S. and/or South Korean secret services finance this game.