South Korea news outlets were ablaze yesterday with a pair of stories, shocking many. First, several members of the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) were arrested for plotting to overthrow the South Korean government. According to The Korea Times (and other news sources), “Rep. Lee Seok-ki of the minor leftist Unified Progressive Party (UPP) and other party members are being investigated for allegedly conspiring to subvert the government.”
Specifically, they have been charged planning to stage an uprising and aid North Korea should there be an attack on South Korea. If the latter were to occur, members of an underground group would take up arms and attack key installations in support of North Korea.
Rep. Lee Seok-ki apparently got wind of the impending raids and arrests and fled before authorities arrived. Due to a strange South Korea law, Lee is currently immune from capture because it is illegal to arrest a member of parliament while the body is in session. Those arrested have been charged with violating South Korea’s National Security Law. Authorities found shredded documents at the UPP offices, which, when combined with Lee fleeing the scene, seems to give some level of credibility to the accusations made by the National Intelligence Service (NIS). The investigation has uncovered a link to possibly 200 conspirators in what is being called the Revolutionary Organization of People, so additional arrests may take place.
The UPP criticized the raid and arrests made by the NIS, claiming it was trying to divert attention from its involvement in the 2012 Presidential election. “The presidential office, which is in danger of being exposed over the fraudulent presidential election in 2012, intended to stop moves by the opposition including candlelit protests to clarify the truth,” said UPP leader Lee Jung-hee. “President Park Geun-hye attempted to annihilate progressive powers by using the NIS.” (The Korea Times)
Cheong Wa Dae (South Korea’s Presidential Office) denies any involvement with the raid or involvement with the NIS during the past election. However, The Hankyoreh is reporting some disturbing news about the National Intelligence Service’s alleged activities in the 2012 election:
Won Sei-hoon, 62, former director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), was speaking at a meeting of the spy agency’s psychological warfare division around Aug. 2012. He was giving a pep talk to the division, which had been making political posts and comments online.
If the information in the article is true (it has yet to be reported in other media outlets), agents in the Psychological Warfare division purposefully tried to conceal their identity when signing up for online sites to spread misleading and damning information during the 2012 election in an attempt to sway public opinion towards Saenuri candidate and current President Park Geun-hye.
Some have called into question the validity of the 2012 election in wake of the alleged activities of the NIS. This report seems to give credit to those concerns and more alarmingly alerts the public of an allegedly rogue agency manipulating the government for its own purposes.