As I have noted before, I recently began working closely with the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) on the identification of North Korea’s concentration and labor camps through satellite imagery. That work has now expanded beyond its beginnings on Google Earth to other sources of imagery, including Digital Globe. This has become a close collaboration and friendship with Chuck Downs, HRNK’s Executive Director, and researcher David Hawk, the author of The Hidden Gulag and a former Executive Director of Amnesty International.
Recently, I felt certain enough that I had located the site of Camp 12 at Chongo-ri to publish images of it, including high-resolution Digital Globe images. Those were the first published images of a camp where defectors repatriated from China have been sent to die in growing numbers in recent years. Today, I am both gratified and saddened as David reports from Seoul that a survivor, to whom I will only refer as “Mr. Kim,” has confirmed the location to be just where I said it was.
I still await witness confirmation of two other prison sites that have not been published elsewhere, one near Chongjin and one near Sinuiju.
I’m not going to tell the whole story that David is going to tell in the near future, when he publishes The Hidden Gulag II. As you can imagine, this is a depressing and draining subject, and that’s about all that I have to say about this today. I would only pause to thank David, his Korean-American research assistant (one who might not want her name published here), Chuck Downs, my good friend Curtis Melvin who provided essential clues, and my wonderful wife, who not only provided other key clues, but who also tolerates me spending far too much time writing this blog and scouring Google Earth. HRNK, by the way, is a wonderful, rigorous, non-partisan group that will make great use of every dollar you can spare. I only hope that this discovery leads to some diminution of evil in this killing field.