- South Dakota’s foremost authority on North Korea. Used to live here, went to law school, joined the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, served in South Korea from 1998 to 2002. Went native, came back to America. Lawyer in Washington, D.C. by day, gadfly and contrarian by night.
- Helped the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs, draft H.R. 1771, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act, its later version, H.R. 757, and various other stuff for various people since then. Equally willing to help Republicans and Democrats I happen to agree with, though on this particular issue, I tend to agree with Republicans more often.
- Since its humble beginnings in January 2004, this site has been cited by news reports and editorials in The Wall Street Journal (here, here, here, here, and here), Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post (this interactive and this story, and here, here, here, here, here, and here), The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, CNN, The Daily Beast, and in a New York Times op-ed by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Adam Johnson, and in this report by the Congressional Research Service.
- Published op-eds in The New York Times (here and here), The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN.com, and Foreign Policy (with co-author, Professor Sung-Yoon Lee). And a bunch of others, which I’ve listed here.
- Published this legal analysis of North Korea sanctions in The Fletcher Security Review and this analysis of North Korea’s state sponsorship of terrorism, which North Korea’s state media denounced on May Day 2015.
- Testified in 2006 before the House International Relations Committee (as it was then known) regarding the state of the U.S.-South Korean alliance, rising anti-Americanism, and the inadequacy of legal protections for U.S. soldiers in South Korean courts.
- Member, North Korean Freedom Coalition since 2003, friend and supporter of Liberty in North Korea since 2004. Advocated the human rights of the North Korean people to influential politicians and diplomats, including Ambassador John Bolton, then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Senator Richard Lugar, then-Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Provided research assistance and satellite imagery of North Korean prison camps to U.S. Senator Sam Brownback for this speech, and this one.
- Dan Bielefeld, a former D.C. resident who moved to Seoul and works with North Korea human rights groups there, also posts here occasionally.
- The views expressed here are not those of any other person, organization, or entity; they are the author’s alone. Specifically, they don’t represent the views of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, or its Chairman, members, or staff. The commenters’ views are also their own.
- Discussion of legal subject matter is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The material I post on this blog is either from open sources or unclassified information provided by readers.
- When I link to published articles, papers, posts, or other sources, I presume them to be reliable unless I say otherwise. Newspapers don’t e-mail bloggers if they correct their stories; too often, they don’t correct their stories at all. If you believe anything I write or link here is inaccurate, kindly drop a comment or e-mail me and I’ll cheerfully correct the post. Your comments contribute to the quality of this blog. I appreciate corrections, and I’ve actually formed friendships with readers specifically because of corrections.
- I occasionally frequently criticize and occasionally approve of things politicians or candidates say, but I don’t endorse parties or candidates or tell you how to vote. You don’t care, and I don’t pretend otherwise. (OK, I did make one very special exception.)
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- Be polite: Don’t attack other people because of their race, gender, nationality, or religion. No doxing; leave private or personal details about other people out of the discussion. Profanity is tolerated as long as it helps illustrate your point or appeals to my subjective sense of humor, but don’t direct it at other participants in the discussion.
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- No sock puppetry. If you’ve posted here under one online identity, use that identity or comment anonymously.
- I reserve the right to delete comments that are just plain stupid, or to put the authors of consistently stupid comments into moderation. It’s an unfortunate fact that stupid comments drive away intelligent ones, and if you doubt me, just have a look at that principle in action. Different bloggers take different views of how to approach this — to each his own. I’m just trying to create a small, safe space for intelligent discussion on one narrow range of subjects, on one small site I built with my own time and money. There’s plenty of room elsewhere on the Internet for caps-locked rants about why fire doesn’t melt steel, why Bush is Hitler, why Gitmo is exactly the same as Auschwitz, or how Barack Obama covered up his Moldovan birth certificate.
That said, I especially welcome dissenting views. All I ask — and this applies equally to everyone — is that you keep it reasonably civil and intelligent, and support your views with supporting links where necessary. Comments should contribute to our knowledge and the quality of our thinking.
About The Banner Image: It’s is a NASA low light level image of the Korean peninsula taken on the night of April 15, 2001. I first saw this image when I was serving with the U.S. Army in Korea when it became popular to put this image, and perhaps other similar images you can find on the Web, on soldiers’ farewell plaques.
I found this particular image here, at the Web site of the left-of-center Federation of American Scientists, after Christopher Hitchens linked it in his excellent article, “Worse than 1984: North Korea, Slave State. Click to see it full size.
To make the banner image, I cut the Korean peninsula out of the original image, put it on a transparent background, changed the eerie green boundary lines to gray, and restored the extreme northeastern parts of North Hamgyeong Province, which had been cut out of the original image. On occasion, I get e-mails accusing me of altering this image, suggesting that I dimmed or grayed out the lights of Pyongyang or other cities in the North (I didn’t). Examine the original image. A small amount of light is visible in Pyongyang if you look closely at my banner. Can’t see it? Well, here it is full size.