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Monday, November 21, 2005

North Korea zone: David L. Asher on DPRK Narco-Criminal Networks

Another eye-opener from the North Korea Zone blog: North Korea zone: David L. Asher on DPRK Narco-Criminal Networks:
The rise of the criminal state in North Korea is no secret. It has occurred in full view of foreign governments and with increasing visibility to the world media. Over the last three decades agents, officers, and business affiliates of the DPRK have been implicated in hundreds of public incidents of crime around the globe. Incidences of illicit activity have occurred in every continent and almost every DPRK Embassy in the world has been involved at one time or another. This should be no surprise. North Korea is perhaps the only country in the world whose embassies and overseas personnel are expected to contribute income to the "Party Center," not rely on central government funds for their operations. Such repeated illicit actions from diplomatic premises amount to a serial violation of both articles 31 and 41 of the Vienna conventions on Diplomatic Relations, which respectively convey that A. commercial, and most certainly, criminal activities for profit shall not be conducted by accredited diplomats or via accredited facilities and B. mandate that officials posted abroad must obey the laws of the nation to which they are posted. The DPRK routinely pays no attention to either critical provision of the Vienna conventions...
...And if I am right, then the criminal sector may account for as much as 35-40% of DPRK exports and a much larger percentage of its total cash earnings (conventional trade profit margins are low but the margin on illegal businesses is extremely high, frequently over 500%)...
...Under International Law, counterfeiting another nation's currency is an act of causus belli, an act of economic war. No other government has engaged in this act against another government since the Nazis under Hitler. North Korea has been counterfeiting the dollar and other currencies of importance the entire time it has been on the international engagement bandwagon. What does this say about the regime's intentions?

As the recent DOJ indictment of Sean Garland and other members of the Official IRA for their partnership in the criminal distribution of counterfeit US currency reads: "Beginning in or about 1989, and continuing throughout the period of this Indictment, a type of high-quality counterfeit $100 FRNs began to be detected in circulation around the world. Their high quality made it particularly difficult for them to be detected as counterfeit by untrained persons. The United States Secret Service initially designated these counterfeit notes as "C-14342" and they came to be known as "Supernote" or "Superdollar." Quantities of the Supernote were manufactured in, and under auspices of the government of, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ("North Korea"). Individuals, including North Korean nationals acting as ostensible government officials, engaged in the worldwide transportation, delivery, and sale of quantities of Supernotes."
...As we learned from the investigations concluded this summer, containers of counterfeit cigarettes, counterfeit currency, weapons, and other illicit items apparently produced in the DPRK or linked to a distribution chain it has ready access to have managed to make their way into the US. So could North Korean WMD if we don't create a system to better scrutinize cargoes and enhance Maritime Domain Awareness to protect our SLOCs....
I'm not sure that "outlaw state" quite covers the DPRK.

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