UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Former North Korean intelligence officer unveils Kim Jong-il assassination attempts

3 April 2014, 11:06 -- A former North Korean intelligence officer who defected to the West has given an extraordinary account of the paranoia and turmoil within the secretive regime. The official described how assassination attempts on Kim Jong-il, the country's leader until three years ago, drove the country's feared internal security apparatus to take elaborate measures against suspected plots, real or imagined - including an attempt by a rogue army unit to launch missiles against Pyongyang, Telegraph reports.

First attempt, a lone gunman with an automatic weapon attempted to shoot Kim Jong-il, but was captured before firing. In another, a would-be assassin driving a 20-ton lorry rammed his motorcade but failed to kill Kim Jong-il, whose car was in a convoy of identical limousines and was not among those damaged.

In an extraordinarily rare behind-closed-doors breifing, the official also detailed two attempted coups against the regime, following uprisings in the Korean People's Army.

In one plot, a group of officers hoping to provoke a Russian intervention against the regime planned to stage a bomb attack on the Russian consulate in the North Korean city of Chongjin. In another, a north eastern army unit planned a missile strike on key targets in Pyongyang. Both plots, said the official, who asked to be named only as 'Mr K', were discovered before they took place.

Mr K's claims cannot be directly verified, but much of what he said is supported by other sources. He requested that the directorate that he worked for and his current activities in South Korea remain secret.

Describing the country's internal security system, Mr K - who fled the country in 2005 - said that even the most senior cadres and army generals were routinely monitored, often by agents posing as their chauffeurs, and their activities reported to the Supreme Leader in weekly bulletins.

He also said the regime's crackdown on private markets had led to a flurry of dissident graffiti and pamphlets, with messages such as 'How are we supposed to survive?' scrawled on walls.

The two assassination attempts on Kim Jong-il, shortly before he took over as leader from his father, Kim Il-sung, help to explain his subsequent paranoia, and his preference for travelling by private, armoured, train, the intelligence official said.

Whether the plots were real, or imagined by a paranoid regime, is unclear. 'I would be sceptical unless you have a chain of collaborative evidence, and in a state which applies torture, you can create collaborative evidence by skilful application of the hot iron,' said Andrei Lankov, a North Korean expert at Seoul's Kookmin University. 'But this does not mean conspiracies did not exist.'

Source: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_04_03/ Former-North-Korean-intelligence-officer- unveils-Kim-Jong-il-assassination-attempts-9320/

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list