Friday, October 31, 2014

NORTH KOREAN LABOR CAMPS - PART 1

NORTH KOREAN LABOR CAMPS - PART 1


Siberian Slaves
Sneaking into North Korea's Secret Russian Labor Camp
By Shane Smith, Photos by Jason Mojica
This guy menacingly brandished a railroad spike at Shane until his Russian mobster driver “Billy the Fish” grabbed it out of his hands and asked, “This your lights-out switch?”  

Shortly after I arrived in Siberia, our British editor, Andy Capper, texted me: “You’ll love Siberia. Everything is so close and the people are so nice.” He was of course being facetious (or British: same thing) because everything is 18 hours by train and the people are very mean indeed. Some might start out nice, but after the vodka starts flowing—which is always—so does the malevolence. There are exceptions to the cranky-Russian rule, but they’re very few and very far between. One such exception was a lovely, lovely man called Billy the Fish—not his real name, of course. His nickname was the Fish, and I added the “Billy” in because I was drunk.

Billy was a local mafia type from a remote Siberian town that had no police and little regulation, save him and his boys. This would prove to be literally lifesaving, because we were after a very dangerous quarry in the middle of nowhere—North Korean slaves—who don’t want anyone to know they are actually there. Billy, clearly game for some hijinks, agreed to take us into the forest to find them.

At the first camp we found, the North Korean guards threatened us and tried to throw us out. Billy the Fish laughed—a great gold-toothed guffaw—and then smiled. “This is Russia,” he growled, eyes glinting. Motioning to the vast expanses around him, he declared, “This is mine.” Then to our camera crew, “Keep shooting. They can do nothing.” So we did.

Later, when we were deep in the forest, we came upon cadres of North Korean workers. A group of them approached and quickly surrounded our truck. One of them was swinging an iron bar, looking like he was going to bash our imperialist brains in. Billy took it from him, looked at it, and remarked calmly, “This your lights-out switch?” Sniff. “You’re going to need more than that.” He smiled and chucked it into the forest.

Later, we had lunch by an old woodpile—Spam, hard bread, paprika chips, vodka, beer, and, for dessert, vodka with juice. Billy pulled out some old shotguns, and we released some built-up tension by shooting at our empty beer bottles. It was like being 15 again, naughty boys in the forest. When we came around the corner there were the North Koreans, waiting for us, but cowed and much less aggressive. “Did you know they were there?” I asked Billy. “Of course.” Sniff. “Where else would they be?” Classic Billy.

After an afternoon of playing cat and mouse with North Korean slaves, Billy took us to a freezing cold Siberian river for a swim to “clean it up,” then more vodka to “warm it up,” and then home to his family for the only good meal we ate in Russia. After eating, the Fish family took us to the bar (read: room with lights) for a night of boozing and drunken hugging with hard men whose nicknames included Stalin, Bear Killer, and, my favorite, plain old Killer. Tears, more vodka, giving of cheap presents, and finally the two-day train ride back to “civilization.”

But the North Koreans were waiting for us on the train… And so began the worst 48 hours of my life, which ended with the FSB (the modern version of the KGB), the local militia, plainclothes police, and assorted thugs removing us from the train and placing us into custody. Finding myself wishing for Billy and his ability to effortlessly sort things out, I texted him that the FSB had detained us. He replied, “Of course they have. Just leave.” So we took off, racing across Siberia to the Chinese border (Billy told us about the smugglers’ route) and finally… to freedom.
Shane Smith


A North Korean performs a little routine maintenance on a Russian truck in the heart of the labor camp. 


Shane with the Russian transit cop who saved him from a bunch of drunken hooligans on the Trans-Siberian Express.


The sawmill in Dipkun.


Billy the Fish shows off his shotgun. 


Everyone said that the bridge leading into the logging camp had burned down, and we’d have to ford the river, but apparently a local cop built this replacement bridge so he could loot scrap metal from the North Koreans. 


All of this lumber piled in the mud is known as Siberian Larch, which is primarily used to make that shitty particleboard furniture you’ve got all over your house.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Girls are being rescued by the Underground Railroad again!

The Walking Dead‘s Laurie Holden Describes Her Role in Anti-Sex Trafficking Sting


walkingdead_022213_1600-1

Laurie Holden was inspired to lend her efforts to anti-sex trafficking forces after working with AIDS-infect survivors of sexual abuse.
The Walking Dead actress recently came to the force to talk about her efforts as part of Operation Underground Railroad, a non-governmental organization that works with governments world wide to help organize the rescue of children from sex slavery rings. Her most recent, and largest, operation was accomplished in tandem with the state of Columbia, rescuing twenty-two children, some as young as twelve, from from their captors.
Colombian law prevents arrest for sex trafficking until money has changed hands, and so Operation Underground Railroad set up a fake bachelor party in Cartagena, Colombia. Holden’s role, alongside another of OUR’s volunteers, was to play “the girlfriend of one of the rich Americans, so I kind of had to sell them and the traffickers on the idea that I was a party girl, that I was there to have a good time with the guys,” she told the CBC. Once the actual sting was on, however, her job changed dramatically.
“When you’ve been sexually abused, no matter how wonderful they are, there is a fear of a man… I think having myself and this other lovely woman, Krista, who is a cross-fit trainer, we were like the motherly figures who were able to comfort them.” Holden was on hand to keep the soon-to-be rescued children out of harms way as much as possible, as armed Colombian authorities captured the traffickers who had arrived to hand them over for the “bachelor party.” It is the first of such operations she’s participated in which involved working alongside armed combatants.
Holden told the CBC she’ll continue to participate in further missions. “I’ve seen [child sex trafficking] firsthand and I can’t get it out of my head, I’m just going to keep going until the day I die.”
(via the CBC)
Are you following The Mary Sue on TwitterFacebookTumblrPinterest, & Google +?

HERE'S SOMETHING YOU CAN DO - MORE TO COME!!!!!!!!

Crack Down on the Growing Problem of Slavery


18,262
19,000
we've got 18,262 signatures, help us get to 19,000 by November 26, 2014
Recently three women who were held as slaves for over 30 years were freed in the UK. The case highlights the problem of slavery in a shocking manner as they were held in a well to do neighborhood in London. One campaigner says the women were enslaved through "psychological shackles" and was indicative of a growing global industry.
One of the women is said to have been born into slavery and said of her 30 year experience that she felt "like a fly trapped in a spider's web". The captives were so terrified for their safety it took the charity that freed them weeks to gain their trust. Once they had built a strong relationship the women walked out and were swiftly moved to a safe location by police.
The case has led to a growth in awareness of the issue of slavery. British MP Frank Field says the case is the tip of the iceberg and made the connections of domestic worker abuse and slavery, often a factor in more commonly heard cases.
Right now there is a bill before the parliament the will require a maximum life sentence for those found guilty of slavery. We are demanding that the Cameron government make this a priority and put in place protections for those suffering at the hands of modern day slavers.

You have the power to create change.


START SHARING AND WATCH YOUR IMPACT GROW!!!!!!!


World Politics 116

Contemporary Slavery


 
"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms."
Article 4, Universal
Declaration of Human Rights

Contemporary Slavery
A History of Slavery
Modern Slavery
Countries Most Affected
Causes and Effects
Bibliography & Sources


Contemporary slavery violates a variety of human rights and includes the child labor, bonded labor, serfdom, servile marriage, human trafficking (particularly of women and children for the sex trade), and the exploitation of domestic and migrant labor. These practices continue relatively unnoticed by the developed world, and, in certain cases, accepted as part of society in some third world countries, making contemporary slavery difficult to abolish internationally. A general ignorance on the part of the public contributes to and enforces governmental and international inaction.
Created by Rachel Gorman for World Politics 116, Mount Holyoke College. December 2005.
Contact: Rachel Gorman gorma20r@mtholyoke.edu

And now time for the Palestinians to suffer some more:

Israeli official calls for concentration camps in Gaza

Israeli official calls for concentration camps in Gaza and 'the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters.'



  • Moshe Feiglin is Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset
  • He posted the message on his Facebook page at the weekend
  • Plan includes shipping the people living in Gaza across the world
  • IDF would 'exterminate nests of resistance' as part of his plan
  • The Gaza war has left more than 1,800 Palestinians dead...

An Israeli official has called for concentration camps in Gaza and ‘the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters’.

Moshe Feiglin, Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, posted the inflammatory message on his Facebook page at the weekend.  

He lays out a detailed plan for the destruction of Gaza -  which includes shipping its residents across the world - in a letter he addressed to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The message, which received more than 2,000 likes on his page, lists four action points which he wants to be enforced as soon as possible.

Feiglin details the first one as 'defining the enemy' and states: 'The strategic enemy is extremist Arab Islam in all its varieties, from Iran to Gaza, which seeks to annihilate Israel in its entirety. The immediate enemy is Hamas. (Not the tunnels, not the rockets, but Hamas.)'
He says another important part of his plan is the 'conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters.'


Moshe Feiglin is Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, and posted the message on his Facebook page at the weekend.

He lays out a detailed plan for the destruction of Gaza - which includes shipping its residents across the world - in a letter he addressed to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

He lays out a detailed plan for the destruction of Gaza - which includes shipping its residents across the world - in a letter he addressed to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The Gaza war, now in its fourth week, has left more than 1,800 Palestinians dead. 
Feiglin details how he wants the Israeli PM 'to turn Gaza into Jaffa, a flourishing Israeli city with a minimum number of hostile civilians.'


He says that the supply of electricity and water to the Gaza would be disconnected before being 'shelled with maximum fire power.'





Gazan Refugee Camp hit by Israeli Airstrike, dozens injured
In his plan the supply of electricity and water to the Gaza would be disconnected before being 'shelled with maximum fire power'
In his plan the supply of electricity and water to the Gaza would be disconnected before being 'shelled with maximum fire power'
Feiglin  states: 'The strategic enemy is extremist Arab Islam in all its varieties, from Iran to Gaza, which seeks to annihilate Israel in its entirety. The immediate enemy is Hamas. (Not the tunnels, not the rockets, but Hamas.)'

Feiglin states: 'The strategic enemy is extremist Arab Islam in all its varieties, from Iran to Gaza, which seeks to annihilate Israel in its entirety. The immediate enemy is Hamas. (Not the tunnels, not the rockets, but Hamas.)'


Feiglin explains how the IDF would then 'exterminate nests of resistance, in the event that any should remain.'
 Establish 'tent encampments...until relevant emigration destinations are determined.'
Part of his plan includes shipping the people living in Gaza across the world. 

He says to encourage the movement those who willingly agree to emigrate will be given 'a generous economic support package.'

But those who resist leaving their home will be required to publicly sign a declaration of loyalty to Israel, and receive a blue ID card similar to that of the Arabs of East Jerusalem.

Then Israeli law will be extended to cover the entire Gaza Strip and 'the city of Gaza and its suburbs will be rebuilt as true Israeli touristic and commercial cities.' 

A second Gaza ceasefire collapsed in just six minutes this morning after an Israeli F16 jet destroyed a house in a beach-side refugee camp, killing an eight-year-old girl and wounding dozens.

Israel announced the temporary ceasefire to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid and allow some of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by an almost four-week-old war to go home.

Hamas said it would not be observing the truce, and warned people to exercise extreme caution when venturing out onto the streets after earlier temporary ceasefire arrangements collapsed into a frenzy of bloodshed.

Feiglin’s Facebook page is verifiable as it is linked from his official page on the Knesset website. 

Palestinians remove the body of an eight-year-old from the rubble from a house hit by an Israeli airstrike in the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City today

Palestinians remove the body of an eight-year-old from the rubble from a house hit by an Israeli airstrike in the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City today



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715466/Israeli-official-calls-concentration-camps-Gaza-conquest-entire-Gaza-Strip-annihilation-fighting-forces-supporters.html#ixzz3HN2J0PQN

How about a place called Love and Forgiveness?

These French villagers want to keep living in a place called ‘Death to Jews’


 August 13  


There is only one road, a few houses and a farm. But the French hamlet La Mort aux Juifs, about 70 miles south of Paris, has attracted international attention. Translated, the hamlet's name reads, "Death to Jews." For centuries, nobody really seemed to care about it. This changed Monday, however, when the Jewish Simon Wiesenthal Center sent a letter to France's interior minister.
The fact that "it was unnoticed during seventy years since the liberation of France from the Nazis ... is most shocking," reads the letter signed by the center's director for international relations, Shimon Samuels. According to the Wiesenthal Center, the name could date to the 11th century, when pogroms led to the expulsion of 110,000 Jews from France in 1306.
Marie-Elizabeth Secretand, the deputy mayor of Courtemaux, which has jurisdiction over the hamlet, does not understand why the name "Death to Jews" has caused a sudden uproar. "It's ridiculous. This name has always existed," she told the news agency Agence France-Presse. "Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even further? We should respect these old names.... No one has anything against the Jews, of course."
According to Secretand, it is unlikely that the municipal council will approve a name change — it already turned down a similar request in 1992 by another anti-racism organization.
The outrage of the Wiesenthal Center comes at a sensitive time for French Jews. European Jews in general and French Jews in particular are increasingly worried about strong anti-Semitic tendencies that are related not just to the ongoing Gaza conflict. According to a 2013 survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, about 30 percent of European Jews have thought about emigrating because of a general feeling of insecurity. In June, The Post reported that no nation in Western Europe has seen the climate for Jews deteriorate more than France. While anti-Jewish protests had previously often been linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jewish leaders now fear a more fundamental shift tied to homegrown anti-Semitism.
According to a survey from the U.S. Anti-Defamation League published in February, 37 percent of French respondents have anti-Jewish attitudes — far more than the European average of 24 percent — and a number of Jewish organizations have independently recorded a strong rise in anti-Semitic attacks and incidents. The anti-Semitic jokes of Afro-French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala have found a large audience and are often seen as evidence of a growing public acceptance of hatred against Jews.
Tensions in the Middle East have probably contributed to the change in public opinion, though France's anti-Semitism has domestic roots. A large number of the country's Arab immigrants feel discriminated against and not part of the French society. France is constructed on the principle of republicanism, which espouses equal treatment for every citizen. However, this model is often incompatible with affirmative action programs aimed at facilitating integration of disadvantaged groups into the broader society, as is common in other European nations.
The cleavage between immigrants and those perceiving themselves as French is widened by the country's political landscape. The two main parties feel increasingly threatened by the right-wing National Front, which has been described as xenophobic and anti-Semitic in the past. Even leading French Jewish voices have expressed a relaxed attitude toward the National Front, which is trying to overcome its anti-Semitic image to attract more centrist voters while pushing to curb immigration, especially targeting Arabs, to gain conservative votes. Although it seems contradictory that 7 to 8 percent of France’s Jews voted for a party previously associated with anti-Semitism in the first round of the 2012 presidential election, its tough stance on radical Islam and crime are appreciated by some in the Jewish community.
Domestic politics in conjunction with France's weak economy offer partial explanations for the surge of anti-Semitism, but the overall trend is not unique to France. Nor is "Death to Jews" the only European village with such an offensive name. In May, a small Spanish village called "Castrillo Matajudios" voted to change its name, which translated as "Camp Kill Jews" in English.
"There are always the stories of people from here traveling to Israel with a passport that says Matajudios and wishing they didn't have to show it," Mayor Lorenzo Rodríguez Pérez told the Associated Press in April. By changing the name, Castrillo Matajudios's residents hoped to not only disassociate themselves from Spain's history of anti-Semitism, but also reconnect with the town's Jewish past. "The reality is this is a village descended from a Jewish community," the mayor told Reuters. Some residents, however, voted against the name change, voicing concerns similar to those of  Secretand in Courtemaux, France.
The fact that the origins of most European villages and towns can be traced back centuries explains the derivation of anti-Semitic names — but offensive place names exist elsewhere, too. Many towns in the United States used to contain words such as "Negro," but the names were changed after the 1960s civil rights movement. Some of them, however, have kept their names till today.


Rick Noack writes about foreign affairs. He is an Arthur F. Burns Fellow at The Washington Post.