Jeremy’s Spoken

February 17, 2012


The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigour and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed on you.

—Mao Zedong, 1957

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Nearly a month after their release from North Korean custody, Current TV reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling issued their first public account of events that led to their 140-day custody in North Korea. A sometimes rambling 1900-word, co-bylined story appeared first on the Los Angeles Times and Current TV websites Tuesday evening and later in the Opinion section of the Wednesday edition of the Times and other publications.

The biggest revelation in the piece is that Lee and Ling say that after briefly entering North Korea, they had run back across the Chinese border and were “violently dragged” back to North Korea by border guards. The article also responds to criticism of their journalistic professionalism and ethics.

In their Op-Ed piece, Lee and Ling wrote:

  • They willingly followed a Korean-Chinese guide across the frozen Tumen River into North Korea.
  • They spent less than a minute in North Korea and were headed back to China when they encountered armed North Korean border guards.
  • “We were firmly back inside China when the soldiers apprehended us. Producer Mitch Koss and our guide were both able to outrun the border guards.”
  • Their guide seemed “cautious and responsible.”
  • Lee and Ling say they were surprised that their main contact Rev. Chun Ki-won spoke with reporters after their arrest.
  • “Chun claimed that he had warned us not to go to the river,” but Lee and Ling say “he never suggested we shouldn’t go.”
  • “We carefully followed Chun’s directions so as to not endanger anyone in this underground world.”
  • Lee and Ling tried to swallow their notes and destroy their videotapes.
  • They underwent rigorous, daily interrogations.
  • Lee and Ling say the Op-Ed piece is “all we are prepared to talk about — the psychological wounds of imprisonment are slow to heal.”
  • Lee is now listed as a producer for Current TV’s elite Vanguard Journalism unit. Ling is vice president of Vanguard.

Read Hostages of the Hermit Kingdom by Euna Lee and Laura Ling.

BEIJING—The North Korean government has confirmed that it is holding two American journalists, and CNN, quoting South Korean sources, is reporting that Asian Americans Laura Ling and Euna Lee may have in fact been in North Korea when arrested March 17.

CNN correspondent John Vause said Ling and Lee, on assignment for cable channel Current TV, were seen running back toward the Chinese border when arrested by North Korean border guards.

Meanwhile, former U.S. vice president and Current TV founder Al Gore has reportedly reached out to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to secure the release of the two Northern California-based journalists.


Yoko Ono marked John Lennon’s 67th birthday Tuesday by dedicating the Lennon Imagine Peace Tower in Reykjavik, Iceland ♥ Falun Gong activists crash Tournament of Roses garden party ♥ NYPD’s Gregory Chin hailed as hero ♥ The joke’s on Masi Oka.

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Shane Kim, head man at Microsoft’s Game Studio, struck back at critics Tuesday. Redmond is banking that Kim’s much-ballyhooed release this week of the final iteration of its hit FPS, Halo 3, will drive four of its shaky business units into profitability.

A massive invasion of Asian-made androids overran WIRED’s L.A. NextFest Sept. 13-16. Chinese, Japanese and Korean robotics manufacturers left the crowds and media buzzing. The Zou Ren Ti android clone was disturbingly well done as was Kiyomori, Waseda University’s smooth-striding samurai bot.

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