In which we learn the true meaning of “open internet”: This is a fascinating email culled from the Wikileaks archive regarding Eric Schmidt’s trip to North Korea that evidently was initiated by former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson.
UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05793707Date: 01/07/2016RELEASE IN PART B6FYI(SBU)I spoke by phone with Bill Richardson for nearly 25 minutes. Bottom line is that he insisted he has made up his mind and will travel to NK.,leaving he thought Jan 7, going through China and staying in NK 2 days.He said he would reflect on the conversation but he was going to go. I used the points as well as our history on NK; the likelihood that he will be badly used; that this will be perceived as giving them credibility with folks believing they come as reps of administration no matter what they say; that this will complicate UNSC action, etc. to no avail.He said he didn’t work for the administration though I reminded him as an American citizen and former official he had to be cognizant of US national security and this was not in the national security interest of the US. He also repeated that there would never be a good time.He said that Eric Schmidt was going with him and taking his daughter(teenager) as well as Jared (neither of us could remember last name), who use to work for the administration and is now at Google. [“Jared” is the highly self-important Jared Cohen, who Google would like everyone to believe was the only intern with the ear of the Secretary of State. Hysterically, no one knew his name. Stay thirsty, my friend.]Bill doesn’t think Eric has thought through the trip but will be making a donation to an international food entity and announce such while they are in NK. Eric, of course, hopes someday to have the NK market but not point of this visit.Bill has been told highest level they will see will be Kim Gae Gwan. He said he needs to do this because basis of funding [from who?] for his foundation that ‘supports my work with bad guys.’ At any rate, I think we should consider a call to Eric Schmidt and to Jared.I also think if we can’t turn this off (not even sure a WH call would do it), we should consider preemptive press statement. Bill had already gotten a call from ROK (don’t know who) and that had not persuaded him either. At end of call he also mentioned he would be tough with them,and he would do what he could for the American detained. No surprise but sorry not more persuasive (in spite of his saying compelling call,etc )
What gets passed of as Google humanitarian trip is this kind of spin:
A private delegation including Google’s Eric Schmidt is urging North Korea to allow more open Internet access and cellphones to benefit its citizens, the mission’s leader said Wednesday in the country with some of the world’s tightest controls on information.Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Wednesday that his nine-member group also called on North Korea to put a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests that have prompted U.N. sanctions and asked for fair and humane treatment for an American citizen detained there.
“A private delegation including Google’s Eric Schmidt” would sound to the casual reader like this is some kind of trade delegation or “trade mission”. The group was actually Bill Richardson (who apparently got money from someone to do the trip, probably from Google or Schmidt personally), Eric Schmidt’s daughter and Schmidt.
You can call that a “private delegation” if you want, or you can call it Eric Schmidt pitching business and Bill Richardson raising money. How they got to nine member is a bit of a mystery, but that probably includes secretaries, chefs, baggage handlers and translators–and of course, pilots for the Big Google 767.
Open internet? More like open pockets.