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The NLG: Shilling for Stalinists By: Michael P. Tremoglie
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, May 12, 2004


If you believe the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) – an organization that extols the virtues of communism and detests capitalism - North Korea is nearly a paradise. A nation where a peace-loving president governs a land of contented people, living a happy existence, with sustenance not even a tertiary concern.

On September 29th, 2003, a self-appointed group of representatives of the United States of America traveled to North Korea to build a bridge between the two nations. The group consisted of four NLG lawyers: Peter Erlinder, a Professor of Law at the William Mitchell School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota; Neil Berman, from Boston, Massachusetts; and Eric Sirotkin and Jennie Lusk, both from Albuquerque, New Mexico. They went to North Korea at the invitation of the Korean Democratic Lawyers Association. 

The stated purposes of the mission were: to understand the views of the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), to learn about the possibilities for peace and reunification, and to observe and report the actual situation of the North Koreans regarding their plight as citizens of a communist dictatorship who are starving because of the dictator Kim Jung IL. It is this last that provides an insight into the credibility of the NLG delegation.

The delegation published an account about their truth-seeking mission. The report proclaimed, "in the context of the information being propagated in the western press of an Orwellian, totalitarian, impoverished and starving society – allegations which have been used by the United States to justify all its recent wars of aggression. We felt it essential to let the North Koreans know that many Americans…have a deep desire for peace and oppose the rhetorical 'axis of evil' posture announced by the current U.S. administration. Most of us met in Beijing as virtual strangers…We had one essential thing in common; the real fear of a war between the United States and the DPRK and a deep desire to know the truth. All felt misled over the years by the U.S. government through its misinformation used to justify wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq."

The NLG claims that, "We no longer accept bald allegations of 'widespread violations of human rights,' the need for a 'war on terrorism,' war to destroy 'weapons of mass destruction'…As world citizens we felt obliged to reveal the truth...."

The NLG delegation’s truth seeking began by meeting North Korean officials – who are unimpeachable sources of credible information. They also claim to have met American soldiers and business consultants who were working in North Korea.

According to the report, while in the lobby of their hotel, the delegation spoke with an American businessperson, and some American soldiers working with the DPRK to recover the remains of Americans killed during the Korean War. The delegation said they spoke with one of the soldiers, a Major, who said that North Korea is not what he expected. "Crops were growing everywhere," he allegedly told them.

The NLG repeatedly claims there is no starvation in the DPRK. Section VI of the their report addressed the allegations of starvation and human rights violations in North Korea.

The NLG delegation explicitly states, “Much is written about the alleged starvation, even referred to as intentional, of the North Korean people by their government. On our trips in the countryside, both north and south of Pyongyang, we covered nearly 500 kilometers. During that time we had the opportunity to see agricultural communities and small towns. We noticed that the people on the whole looked well dressed and active. We saw no one who looked malnourished or emaciated and our observations were confirmed by many of the foreigners we met who had dealings around the country. The DPRK has very little areable [sic.] land and we saw crops being harvested everywhere it was possible to grow them. It appears every square inch of arable land is cultivated, and on the roofs of their country cottages people had planted vines of what looked like melons or squash…The people we passed on the road or in rural towns looked relaxed…We noted that this was not the Orwellian society George Bush and much of the media is trying to portray. The countryside appeared to us to be more typical of the poorer part of Europe, for example rural Greece, or Spain or Portugal. Three members of the delegation who had experience in Africa noted that the country appeared much more prosperous than most places they had been in Africa. This was confirmed by the Congolese visitors we met, who indicated that people in many parts of the Congo would love to have the standard of living apparent in North Korea.” (Italics added.)

If the NLG is correct, why did the Chinese foreign minister offer food for starving North Koreans during his January trip? Why is it that the United Nations Children’s Fund March 17 newsletter mention that thousands of North Korean children might starve?

Why is it that Amnesty International published a report claiming, "The struggle against hunger and starvation is a struggle for human rights. For more than a decade, North Korea has suffered from a "silent famine" in which hundreds of thousands are reported to have died of starvation and related illness. One of the main reasons is that the North Korean government has imposed severe restrictions on independent monitors, food donors, international governmental organisations and NGOs…Humanitarian organisations recently withdrew from North Korea after complaining of lack of adequate access, as they were unable to determine the eventual use of their aid supplies. Several sources claim that the North Korean authorities have distributed international aid to those who are economically active and loyal to the state, while some of the most vulnerable groups – the elderly, women and children and those in rural areas – have been neglected." (Italics added.) This is the same Amnesty International that scolded Uncle Same, "the 'war on terror' (must) not become an excuse to deny human rights" (by the freest nation in the world to to the repressive, terrorist enemy). Amnesty is certainly not a pro-American organization.

As far as human rights are concerned Amnesty International published reports claiming that civil rights were as sparse as food. A January Amnesty report mentioned the testimony of a witness who stated, “Public executions were highest between 1996 and 1998 when the famine was at its peak. People were stealing the infrastructure of society such as electric lines and copper wires and selling it."

Amnesty International is not the only organization to make this claim. North Korean defectors flooding into China have confirmed this. Yet, despite the evidence by nonpartisan groups or even groups that ordinarily would be sympathetic to North Korea, the National Lawyers Guild shills for Stalinists. 

In fact, the NLG is not only lauding North Korea, they are demonizing the United States.

The report claims that Wendy Sherman, Clinton’s advisor on North Korea, had indicated, "the (Clinton) Administration had no intention of complying with the famous Agreed Framework of 1994, wherein the North Koreans would be trading their nuclear capability for two light water reactors and fuel oil, and in exchange for working toward normalizing political and economic relations."

If true, this would be a remarkable comment by Sherman. It would certainly be in accordance with North Korea’s claim that the UN was being dishonest and North Korea needed nuclear weapons – especially after President Bush’ "axis of evil" declaration. The DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said in February that the United States did not want to negotiate with them. (An internet search for Sherman’s comment was of no avail, as were attempts to contact her.)

It is more likely, however, that this is part of the scheme by the DPRK to reunify the two Koreas. If the U.S. can be discredited then South Korea will be more inclined to join North Korea’s workers paradise. As part of this plan the NLG and the International Action Center (parent organization of International ANSWER) conduct “trials” about “war crimes” committed by the United States during the Korean War. NLG also enlisted (no pun intended) a group called Veterans for Peace in this cause.

International Action Center established a Korean Truth Commission. They established a people’s tribunal condemning the U.S. for alleged war crimes.

Veterans for Peace makes the fantastic claim that the U.S. initiated the Korean War. According to the Veterans for Peace website, "The official American history is that the Korean War started on June 25, 1950 when the North Korean forces suddenly attacked the South under Stalin’s order. This is a gross misrepresentation of the origin of the War…The truth is that the Korean War really started in 1945 when the U.S. suppressed the KPR government and imposed its military rule in the southern part of Korea."

No doubt both of these absurd allegations will be playing at a college campus near you soon.

The NLG was described during the Stalinist era as a bulwark of communism in the United States. The first sentence of NLG’s mission statement is, "The National Lawyers Guild is an association dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system."

Given their love of Kim Jong II, what system do you suppose they mean? Their report should remove all doubt.


A former police officer, Michael P. Tremoglie recently published his first novel, A Sense of Duty. His work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Human Events, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has a Master of Science degree from Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia.


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