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Pól Ó Lorcáin
Paul Larkin

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place.
Charles Dickens - Barnaby Rudge, Chapter The Ninth

Our Government leaders and North Korean Tyrants

Some of our country's political leaders once supported the personality cult state of North Korea and its tyrant Kim Il Sung.

(Page references to Brian Hanley's and Scott Millar's The Lost Revolution, refer to the large format Penguin Ireland edition of 2009)

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Kim Jong Il before his untimely death

Irish newspapers and online news outlets are all full of reports about the death yesterday of the North Korean potentate Kim Jong Il. What they are not saying however is that many of our present day political leaders and journalists here in Ireland saw ultra Stalinist North Korea as a society that should be supported. I am not making this up.

In the 1980s, leading members of the Irish Workers Party and its youth movement used to regularly visit Kim Il Sung and his country. At that time, North Korea officially described Kim Il Sung (the father of the now deceased Kim Jong Il) as the “Eternal President of the Republic” even though North Korea is nominally an atheist state.

Before certain readers mail me privately and tell me that I should allow for people to make political mistakes in their young lives before they mature and see sense, a significant element of the present leadership of the Labour Party were members of the Stalinist modelled Workers Party from the 1970s and 1980s right up to the 1990s. The Workers Party was a firm, long standing supporter of the dictatorships in Eastern Europe and North Korea. In other words, for people like Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, our minister for communications Pat Rabitte and prominent MEP Proinsias De Rossa, this was no flash in the dictatorial pan.

In fact, during the mid 1980s, a time when there is said to have been mass purges and the related establishment of concentration camps for "enemies” of the North Korean state leading to possibly thousands of deaths, prominent Workers Party members were in North Korea as Kim's guests on a regular basis.

For example, on the 29th of September 1984, the North Korean English language newspaper Pyongang Times carried a statement from the great Kim Il Sung praising the Workers Party for having struck "deep roots within the masses", as well as its work in ridding Ireland of British occupation forces – again I am not making this up. There is a good account of this period in the “Fight Back!” chapter of the The Lost Revolution by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar - see pages 462/463. The same book reports that the now Labour MEP Proinsias De Rossa visited North Korea two years later in 1987 along with Official IRA leader Seán Garland. The Workers Party then invited a delegation from Kim Il Sung land to Dublin in 1988 and, that same year, expressions of solidarity between the two parties were further strengthened when a high powered WP delegation went to Pyongyang to celebrate the country's revolution. On the 1988 visit to North Korea, senior Workers Party members met the now freshly deceased Kim Jong Il. This was common knowledge within the Workers Party.

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North Korea has a formidable army

Whilst all this fraternal Korean/Workers Party backslapping was going on in the 1980s, the North Koreans, who have very motivated, well trained and equipped armed forces, were also training the Workers Party's armed wing (the Official IRA or “Group B”) in the use of an assortment of lethal weaponry.

All Workers Party TDs (members of parliament) have consistently claimed that they knew nothing about links between the Workers Party and the Official IRA or Group B. Indeed in 1997, Proinsias De Rossa won a libel case against broadcaster and journalist Eamon Dunphy, which was partly about that very issue. However on page 564 of The Lost Revolution (a book De Rossa supported by way of giving an interview) its authors claim that De Rossa and Seán Garland came to an agreement about stopping Group B’s “special activities” in 1989:

"Two leading activists recall that in the period following the 1989 election De Rossa received from Garland a clear commitment to halt all Group B 'special activities', and some Group B activists were informed that a decision had been made to disband the organisation."

To my knowledge, De Rossa has never challenged the above account of this period in the Workers Party’s history.

It was almost certainly Official IRA veteran Seán Garland who arranged for young Workers Party militants to train with specialist units of Kim Il Sung's army in 1987 and 1988. He it was who had the most long term and regular contact with North Korean officials, both in Korea and at their embassies in other countries.

There is an absolutely riveting account of the above specialist weapons training on pages 540/541 of The Lost Revolution and it is surprising that not one journalist has reacted to this Korean bombshell by asking the people who at that time were leaders of the Workers Party (and are now in government as Labour party TDs) whether they were aware of these activities. Nor did the North Korean WP/OIRA paramilitary connection just involve weapons training. According to The Lost Revolution, arms were also imported to Ireland via the same connection:

“Group B also utilized their connections with North Korea to import around two dozen .32 automatic pistols during the late 1980s, collecting the weapons from North Korean diplomats in Paris."
Page 541 The Lost Revolution.

The North Korean connection with Ireland did not stop with the disintegration of The Workers Party in 1992 – when De Rossa, Eamon Gilmore et al jumped ship and eventually joined the Labour Party. My former colleagues in BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme have demonstrated fairly convincingly how the Soviet Union and North Korea arranged to flood the western financial market with fake dollars (or “Superdollars”) via their contacts with Seán Garland and the rump of Group B activists.

So there we have it. A major element of our present government were once members of a party that had close and fraternal links to the North Korean dictatorship. Kim Jong Il dies and not a word is said about this connection. Not a word from the huge list of media and journalist commentators who were once members or supporters of the Workers Party and would be well aware of their link to North Korea and other Stalinist states. Not one journalist or commentator who will put his or her hand up and say they got it wrong.

It’s as if it never happened at all. It is the Emperor’s new clothes.

My God, I think I liked them all better when they were unapologetic, dyed in the wool Stalinists. At least they had the courage of their political convictions.

Postscript

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Seán Garland - Efforts are being made to have him extradited to the US

I am completely opposed to attempts to extradite Seán Garland to the USA on foot of the counterfeiting allegations referred to above. Quite apart from the fact that he is old and infirm, he is an Irish citizen and if he is to be accused of something he should be tried in his own country amongst his own peers.







@Paul Larkin
Baile Átha Cliath
An Nollaig 2011
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Title: Our Government leaders and North Korean Tyrants
Date posted: 20 Dec '11 - 11:48
Filed under: General
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