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article imageWas the CIA involved in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid?

By Ken Hanly     Mar 14, 2019 in Politics
Back on February 22, 10 assailants with fake weapons, are reported to have broken into the North Korean embassy in Madrid. They tied up diplomatic workers and placed plastic bags over their head before beating and questioning them.
Spanish police link attack to the US CIA
A North Korean embassy worker was able to get through a window on the second story of the embassy and call for help. The assailants fled at high speeds in two stolen vehicles. Spanish newspaper El Pais reports at least two of the attackers have been identified as having links to the CIA. However, the CIA denies any involvement. With the US trying to improve relations with North Korea after 70 years of hostility allegations of CIA involvement could be explosive and damage relations s further.
The attack came just days before US president Trump and Kim Jong-un the North Korean leader met in Hanoi for a second summit on denuclearization and peace in the two Koreas. Kim Hyok-choi a former ambassador to Spain now serves as a key North Korean envoy in talks with the United States.
BBC coverage
There has been relatively little coverage of the event in the mainstream press, but the BBC and Yahoo are among the exceptions. The BBC version of events is as follows: Local media reports that on the afternoon of 22 February, a group of 10 people broke into North Korea's embassy, north-west of the Spanish capital's centre. According to El Confidencial (in Spanish), the assailants gagged and tied up staff members, and took a number of computers. One woman managed to get free, escaping through a second floor window and screaming for help. Concerned neighbours quickly called the police. But when officers arrived they were greeted by an Asian man at the door who reassured them that all was well and nothing had happened. Minutes later, the man and the other attackers sped away from the embassy at full speed in two North Korean diplomatic vehicles.
However, the police went inside and found eight people with bags tied over their heads. They had been bound for four hours, and two needed medical help as a result of the assault. The two stolen cars were found abandoned nearby shortly afterwards.
Who was behind the attack?
Spanish authorities reject the idea that it was common criminals who launched the raid. Sources that claimed to be close to the investigation told the newspaper El Pais that the operation was well planned as if it had been done by a military cell. The attackers knew what they were looking for as they grabbed mobile phones and computers. Both El Pais and another Spanish newspaper reported that Spanish authorities believe US intelligence agencies were behind the attack.
The North Korean victims said the attackers spoke in Korean and could have been from South Korea. El Pais even reported that two of the ten have been identified and are linked with the CIA. The CIA gave no statement to the BBC although other sources say they have denied involvement.
Why would the embassy be attacked?
The former ambassador to Spain Kim Hyok-choi is now a key envoy to the Trump Kim nuclear talks. The attackers may have been seeking information on him. He was expelled form Spain in September of 2017 after North Korea carried out nuclear testing
Kim helped organize the recent summit. In January he traveled to Washington with Kim Yong-choi, Kim Jongun's key aide. However, it is not completely clear why the raid was made. Spanish investigators are saying little and the embassy has not filed any complaint as yet. The Spanish High Court, the Audiencia Hacional will hear the investigation and could order the arrest of any of the identified attackers. It seems the story is just beginning. It remains to be seen if there will be more extensive coverage.
More about North Korea US relations, North Korean embassy in Madrid, Cia
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