Yankees In Kim Jong-Il's Court

This is a story that has not been getting a lot of attention. You would think that two American journalists being kidnapped by North Korea would be causing a bit more of a furor. Report: NKorea suspects US journalists were spying

North Korean military intelligence officers in Pyongyang are questioning two American journalists for alleged espionage after they illegally crossed into the country from China, a South Korean newspaper reported Tuesday.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, journalists working for the San Francisco-based media outlet Current TV, were undergoing "intense interrogation," with investigators poring through their notebooks, videotapes and camera for signs they were spying on the North's military facilities, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said, citing an unnamed South Korean intelligence official.
The two journalists - both young women - work for Al Gore's Current TV, which I did not know was still extant. They also appear to be based out of San Francisco. If the circumstances of their capture are true, they have a typical San Franciscan's blend of bravery and foolhardiness. 

State-run North Korean media have said border guards arrested two Americans on March 17 for "illegally intruding" from China.

An activist who claims he helped the two plan their reporting trip has said they were reporting on North Korean refugees in China. The Rev. Chun Ki-won told The Associated Press that he warned them against getting too close to the border with North Korea.

JoongAng said they crossed into far northeastern North Korea by walking over the Tumen River dividing the country from China early in the morning of March 17. The narrow river, frozen this time of year, is a frequent escape route for refugees fleeing North Korea.

Regardless of their motivation, these women are now pawns in a diplomatic game that is playing out behind closed doors. No one in DC wants a confrontation with North Korea while we are simultaneously trying "rescue" our financial system. It's very easy to imagine that their capture could linger for months, if not longer, as North Korea uses them as a sort of currency to extract more perquisites for itself. And, North Korea also has its distinctive habit of kidnapping young women to serve as "wives," and who are never seen again. 

I suspect the women's families will need to make some noise to get anyone to pay attention to this strange and tragic situation. 

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