North Korean Lawyers Guild
By: Shawn Macomber
Thursday, April 22, 2004

The National Lawyers Guild visits Kim Jong Il's Asian gulag -- and says it offers a good model for America.
The National Lawyers Guild has found a way to return to its overtly Communist roots: it sent a delegation to North Korea and authored a report comparing the U.S. unfavorably to the repressive “worker’s paradise.” The report is the fruit of the most recent pilgrimage of NLG leftists to Kim Jong Il’s personal prison. The National Lawyers Guild recently sent a delegation to develop “personal and professional relationships” in North Korea, an odyssey recounted in “North Korea: The Grand Deception Revealed,” a piece of Marxist propaganda sure to have Stalin smiling in Hell.

The NLG decided to visit North Korea to determine the “real situation for the people of the DPRK (North Korea),” which according to the NLG, is actually pretty rosy. In fact, after reading their 24-page report, I wondered how this group of American and Canadian lawyers brought themselves to leave this worker’s paradise. No matter where the delegation went, they recounted the incident in superlatives.


“We noted that this was not the Orwellian society George Bush and much of the media is [sic.] trying to portray,” the report states. It begins with North Korean airport security guards, who are a cheerful bunch, quick with a smile. “It was not a highly charged and intimidating scene, and was more relaxed than most U.S. airport security.” The cities are filled with happy people, with nary a gulag in sight. “Hermit Kingdom”? No way.


“The contrast between North Korea and its lack of policeman and North America in which armed police in bulletproof vests are commonplace was more than striking – it was startling,” the delegation reports from a police state sans irony. “If the presence or absence of armed policemen is a criterion for a free society then it speaks volumes about the nature of the two societies.”


This is no joke: At one point the NLG delegation stops for a picnic, and joyfully breaks out into a rendition of “We Shall Overcome” and other “old anti-war and protest songs” for a group of undoubtedly confused North Koreans. “We know that if the contest between the lawyers of each nation were singing that this would have ended with our defeat quite swiftly,” they write. The reader need not worry for the NLG delegation’s self-esteem, though. Every step of the way, the North Koreans willingly stroke the egos of these useful idiots. At one point, a North Korean military official tells the nearly giddy NLG lawyers he is excited to meet them, “because lawyers bare truth and justice in their hearts.”


The lawyers naturally praise the country’s free health care and education systems, its lack of a death penalty, that women are not “objectified in the same ways they sometimes are in the West,” and even its single party system. “The absence of other parties is not considered a failing, as the entire society is socialist,” they astonishingly write. But what of the right to dissent they spend so much time carping about in the United States?   


While the NLG finds virtually every complaint against the North Korean dictatorship to be unfounded, they have no problem whatsoever taking all of the complaints of Kim Jong Il’s regime at face value. The delegation accepts without question evidence of “egregious war crimes” of U.S. soldiers, and urges the “ill-informed people of the West” to learn “another truth about the North Korean war.” This “truth” is that the North Korean invasion of South Korea was an invention of the “U.S. Imperialist Aggressors” (caps in original), designed to take down what they feared would be a successful Communist country.


The NLG delegation decries the Bush administration’s “insulting and discriminatory” comments about Kim Jong Il being “little,” but ignores the official statements of the DPRK. This Communist thugocracy has referred to George W. Bush as “a man bereft of an elementary reason or a politically backward child.” Their favorite regime called John Bolton, George W. Bush's undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, as “human scum” and a “bloodsucker.” And it naturally derided Dick Cheney as “mentally deranged.” Further, the government of the DPRK contends that the United States is the “the root cause of all sorts of our nation's disasters and misfortunes; an empire of evil that even ruthlessly tramples on the people's religions; and the stronghold that spreads a degenerate age's corrupt culture of perversion, corruption, violence, and lust.”


Yet despite it all, the NLG delegation scolds Americans that, “We cannot be respected unless we respect others,” and is convinced that it is our rhetoric, and not the DPRK’s, that is truly dangerous. “We realize that the U.S. must be held accountable for its failure to deal fairly and in good faith with the DPRK,” the delegation reports. “The delegation feels that the U.S. government cannot advocate the rule of law and democracy, when it fails to model it itself.”


Over at the DMZ, it’s the same old scene according to the NLG. They describe the area as “more suited for an eco-park than a war staging ground.” This is where U.S. and South Korean soldiers menace and blare rock music, while the North Koreans wait innocently for peace. “The monolithic, robotic, repressive army described in the western press became as it appears, a mere figment of the imagination, as we shared joy and laughter rather than threats and rhetoric,” the delegation reports. The group faithfully records a DPRK general’s “astute” comment that North Korea does not “oppose the American people,” but rather just, “U.S. hostile policy and its efforts to exercise control over the whole world and inflict calamity on its people.” The general expects Americans to believe the North Korean threat to turn American cities into a “sea of fire” had nothing to do with the American people.


And what is the NLG delegation’s answer to those who might claim they only saw what they wanted to see in North Korea, or worse yet were duped by a totalitarian regime? Well, it’s simple. They’re smarter than you. “As trial lawyers we have substantial experience and training in telling when someone is being evasive or untruthful,” they write. “As a group we concluded that we were not being mislead, nor were answers intended to divert us from deeper inquiry.”


One wonders how the delegation would answer the countless North Korean refugees’ tales of torture and death – of degradation in vast prison camps, of whole families being executed, of the merciless depravity of the North Korean regime. Would they have the guts to look into those pained eyes, to see those scarred bodies and determine it was all a lie? I wonder if they would be able to tell those victims that the NLG finds the principles of the DPRK justice system “quite progressive” and more focused on “restorative justice than retributive justice.”


No, no. It’s a much more pleasant to be shielded from the horrors of reality. The NLG has chosen to act as a PR agent for one of the world’s most psychotic dictators. This is hardly a new role. The NLG was founded to be “the legal bulwark of the Communist Party.” During the Sino-Soviet split, the NLG also Balkanized into competing factions. But all former rifts are healed now. The NLG has placed all its bets popularizing Asia’s most brutal, Stalinist dictatorship. After all, the NLG and Kim Jong Il want the same thing: the demonization and destruction of capitalist America. 

Shawn Macomber is a staff writer at The American Spectator and a contributor to FrontPage Magazine. He also runs the website Return of the Primitive.