Monday, April 10, 2006

Charles Jenkins: Prisoner of Pyongyang, Part 3

The former sergeant served just 25 days in a US military brig in 2004 after being dishonorably discharged for desertion, and is thought to have bartered his freedom in exchange for information on North Korea.

Charles Jenkins says he was interviewed by the US military for almost two months, "every day from nine in the morning until five in the evening".

"They wanted to know where military installations were. I knew it all. I was told that they had an agent in North Korea for over 20 years who didn't give them one tenth of what I gave them."

In the 1990s, Chinese and Russian support fell, leading to famine in the North. Kim Jong Il called in the World Food Program, "which his father would never have done. That helped a lot of people." He claims Kim Junior also investigated the camps and freed many. "I say the son was better than the father."

It is hard to escape the impression of a man who is still not in control of his life, trapped this time not by the arbitrary demands of a nightmare Orwellian state but by the ties of the past, by mortality and of duty to the country that he believes saved him from dying in North Korea.

[Excerpt from an article by David McNeill, The Independent]

No comments: