March 13, 2019– Mary Greeley News – A group of men entered North Korea’s embassy in Madrid, bound and gagged staff, before driving off with stolen mobile phones and computers, Spanish media has reported.
Did John Bolton, President Trump’s national security advisor, order an assault on the North Korean embassy in Spain to get an advantage in the nuclear talks?
The Interior Ministry said no one had filed a complaint, despite the fact a North Korean citizen was injured in the incident last week.
Nevertheless, Spanish police are investigating after El Confidencial reported a woman escaped the embassy last Friday screaming in Korean, prompting residents nearby to call police.
After she reportedly revealed staff were tied up and gagged, officers knocked on the door to investigate, but were met by a man who told them everything was fine.
Soon after, two cars left the compound at high speed, one of them carrying the man who had answered the door. Police did not enter the building, but staff walked out soon after the incident.
El Confidencial said the assailants removed computers belonging to various staff members, and that police were trying to find out what information they might have contained, and what else might be missing.
A National Police spokesman confirmed that its officers assisted a North Korean woman with unspecified injuries. The spokesman, who wasn’t authorized to be named in media reports, declined to comment further.
An Interior Ministry official who was also bound by customary rules of anonymity said the incident was “under investigation” and noted North Korean authorities had not filed any official complaint.
Alejandro Cao de Benos, an aide to the North Korean government who takes media, business and other visitors to the secluded country, said he had spoken to embassy staff who had told him the assailants had taken computers and cellphones before escaping.
“What I can say, the part of it that I’m sure about, is that this was a robbery,” said Mr Cao de Benos, who also heads the Korean Friendship Association based out of Spain. “I don’t have any other detailed information at the moment on what could have been the motive.”
An official with Spain’s foreign ministry said the government had no comment, and that the issue was a police matter. The official, speaking anonymously in line with internal rules, said authorities had been in touch over the incident with the only diplomat of North Korea’s embassy, Charge d’Affaires So Yun Sok.
The name Kim Hyok Chol sounds familiar. He recently was in the news when he led the North Korean delegation in the nuclear talks:
Kim Hyok Chol, a career diplomat from an elite North Korean family, made his international debut just a few weeks ago as Pyongyang’s new point man for nuclear negotiations. In the run-up to the Feb. 27-28 summit, he has been in talks with U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun to lay the groundwork for the meeting, taking diplomats by surprise.
Kim Hyok Chol was ambassador to Spain until September 2017, when the Spanish government expelled him and another diplomat following Pyongyang’s round of nuclear tests and missile launches over neighbouring Japan.
Mr Kim has since become a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The embassy raid was no normal thievery. There were eight people in the embassy when it was raided at 3:00 PM local time. They were bound, bags were put over their heads and some were interrogated. The thieves left with computer hardware and the cellphones of the personal.
It now appears that the CIA was involved in the embassy raid. El Pais reports:
Investigators from the Spanish police and National Intelligence Center (CNI) have linked an attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid on February 22 to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US secret service. The CIA has denied any involvement, but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”
Investigators from the General Information Office (CGI) and CNI ruled out the idea that the attack was the work of common criminals. The operation was perfectly planned as if it were carried out by a “military cell,” said sources close to the investigation. The assailants knew what they were looking for, taking only computers and mobile phones.
Sources believe that the goal of the attack on the North Korean embassy was to get information on Kim Hyok Chol, the former North Korean ambassador to Spain.
If it is proven that the CIA was behind the attack, it could lead to a diplomatic spat between Madrid and Washington. Government sources say that it would be “unacceptable” for an ally to take such action. Not only would it mean that the US agency had operated on Spanish soil without asking for authorization or informing the authorities, it would also be a violation of the international conventions that protect diplomatic delegations.
What’s more, unlike other intelligence activities – such as cyberattacks, which are characterized by their discretion, the attack on the North Korean embassy was especially violent. On February 22 at 3pm, 10 masked men carrying alleged imitation weapons broke into the embassy, located north of the capital in the residential area of Aravaca. They tied up the eight people inside and put bags on their heads. The victims were beaten and interrogated. A woman managed to escape from a window on the second floor and her screams for help were heard by a neighbor, who contacted the police.
credit: in part with https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/north-korea-madrid-embassy-spain-hostage-police-investigation-a8801501.html