North Korea: the nightmare of living under a god

April 11, 2014

North Korea Yeonmi Park

There’s an interesting and frightening interview posted to Business Insider today with Yeonmi Park, a woman who escaped from North Korea with her family as a teenager, but needed years to get over the brainwashing she endured there. An indoctrination so intense, she believed the late Kim Jong Il could read her mind:

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, under the watchful eye of then-leader Kim Jong-il.

Though she escaped with her family when she was 15, it took her years to get over the intense brainwashing she experienced. In a recent interview with Australian public broadcasting channel SBS, Park went into unbelievable detail about growing up in the totalitarian state.

Growing up in North Korea, according to Park, was like “living in hell.” She describes constant power outages, no transportation, and watching classmates and friends disappear without a trace. While that may be unsurprising, the most interesting part of Park’s experience is her admission that she believed Kim Jong-il to be “a god” who could literally read her mind.

“I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear,” Park said.

Ms. Park’s story is part of a larger program on mind-control shown by SBS, the Australian public broadcaster.  The whole show is worth watching.

In an article at SBS, she tells more of her own story:

I lived in North Korea for the first 15 years of my life, believing Kim Jong-il was a God. I never doubted it because I didn’t know anything else. I could not even imagine life outside of the regime.

It was like living in hell. There were constant power outages, so everything was dark. There was no transportation – everyone had to walk everywhere. It was very dirty and no one could eat anything.

It was not the right conditions for human life, but you couldn’t think about it, let alone complain about it. Even though you were suffering, you had to worship the regime every day.

I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear. A classmate’s mother was punished in a public execution that I was made to attend. I had no choice – there were spies in the neighbourhood.

George Orwell’s 1984 depicts the UK after an atomic war and a Socialist revolution. Big Brother is a de facto god to the people: his every word the undeniable truth, no matter how it contradicted what he might have said just the day before. Your innermost thoughts known to him, and he held the power to make you willing to accept your own death and the deaths of those close to you as just. His Animal Farm is a parable of a just revolution hijacked by an anti-democratic cadre, who maintain power by turning the other animals against each other and all into slaves. Both are taught as works of fiction, but Yeonmi Park’s story reminds us that they were more like docu-dramas and that the story hasn’t come to an end.

It reminds me of a saying of John Adams:

“It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power”

Our second president was right, but left something out: it’s not just that Mankind is too morally weak for any one person to hold absolute power, but there is also the weakness that makes us willing to surrender our responsibilities as citizens and entrust a small group of people or a single person with unlimited power. It is dangerous because, eventually and inevitably, that power will fall into the hands of evil men.

And then what is to stop them from proclaiming themselves gods?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: Kim III orders execution by flamethrower

April 10, 2014
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“Really? Let’s hold a BBQ…”

Sometimes I wonder if Kim Jong Un, a reputed heavy drinker, doesn’t sit around late at night nursing a bottle of scotch and fantasizing about the various outré ways he can whack people who have ticked him off:

A senior North Korean official has been executed with a flamethrower after Kim Jong-un branded him an ‘enemy of the state’, it has been claimed.

O Sang-hon is said to have been brutally killed for his close ties to the communist leader’s uncle Jang Song-taek, who was himself publicly tried and executed in December after being found guilty of corruption and ‘counter revolutionary’ activities.

Mr O is thought to be the latest of 11 senior Workers Party figures to have been executed this year over their links to Mr Jang, with South Korean media reporting that Kim Jong-un has plans to execute or imprison hundreds more of his supporters and extended family members.

Mr O had been Mr Jang’s deputy at North Korea’s ministry of public security, and his execution by flamethrower took place after being found guilty of helping his boss turn the state department into a personal security division and hide corruption, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.

The ministry of public security has since been closed, with all 11 of the most senior officials said to have been either executed or sent to one of Kim Jong-un’s concentration camps in a second wave of vengeance following conviction of Mr Jang.

I’m not so sure a life sentence in in the North Korean gulag is much better than death, in fact I’m certain it’s in many ways worse, but execution by flamethrower? Mind you, that’s after we’ve had reports of execution by mortar and by being thrown to the dogs.

Use of a flamethrower brings a whole new meaning to “firing squad.”

Take this news with the usual caveats about “if it’s true,” but, regardless of its verity and in spite of its egregiousness, Kim’s savage, quixotic tyranny is a “teachable moment” for advocates for advocates of limited government, because it shows quite clearly the dangers posed when government is not restrained and its powers are not carefully limited. And when the Rule of Man replaces the Rule of Law, no one’s life, rights, or property is safe.

No need for flamethrowers to prove it: just ask the Sacketts of Idaho.

PS: I fully expect Kim to up his game — the next execution just has to be by tac-nuke.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: all men must now wear Kim Jong Un’s hairstyle?

March 26, 2014
x

Bah! You call that a “haircut?”

When you’re the boy god-king of the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation, you can get away with weird, petty stuff like this:

If you are a man in North Korea, we sincerely hope you have a round face. It’s the shape that will work with your new haircut.

That new haircut is reportedly called the “Dear Leader Kim Jong Un,” modeled after—you guessed it—North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s impenetrable block of black hair atop his chubby cheeks. The style reportedly became a state-mandated guideline about two weeks ago, though experts familiar with the country have said there’s no evidence a new hairstyle rule has gone into effect.

According to the article, this isn’t something new for North Korea: Kim’s father, the late, demented Kim Jong Il, launched a state campaign against long hair on the grounds that it sucked the nutrients from one’s brain.

Really.

Anyway, a TV campaign was launched and “journalists” would go to people’s homes to confront them about their overly lengthy locks. This being North Korea, I suppose they were lucky not to be shot or fed to the dogs.

Back to Kim III, and regardless of whether this is true, it’s another illustration of why limited, constitutional government is best; when there are no limits to the powers of the rulers, there are also no limits to what they will do the the ruled. North Korea is just the extreme example that clarifies the point.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Four must-reads on North Korea

December 20, 2011

Busy day today, but I wanted to share with you four articles on the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation, aka “North Korea,” and its uncertain future. Each has something worth your attention:

Writing from Tokyo, the New York Times’ Martin Fackler interview Korea “experts” (as if anyone can be a true expert on what goes on in a closed, paranoid land) whose general consensus is that the new dictator, twenty-something Kim Jong-Un, and the factions surrounding him will likely see a period of consolidation and reduced tension with the US, as the country sorts out its leadership and deals with crushing internal problems:

Masao Okonogi, a specialist on North Korea at Keio University in Tokyo, said that during the new leader’s first few years, North Korea would most likely avoid confrontation with the United States and its allies, like South Korea.

That was the route taken by Kim Jong-il after his father’s death, said Mr. Okonogi, and he seemed to hold out an olive branch by observing a 1994 deal negotiated by his father to freeze construction of two reactors suspected of use in North Korea’s covert atomic weapons program. North Korea eventually suspended the deal in 2003, three years before testing its first nuclear weapon.

“Look for Kim Jong-un to make some offer, like to restart the six-party talks,” Mr. Okonogi said, referring to stalled multilateral negotiations on dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons. “He’ll need to reduce tensions with the United States in order to buy time.”

Some analysts said the new leader would probably use this time to try to fulfill his father’s promise to turn North Korea into a “strong and prosperous” country by 2012. To do that, he must revive a moribund economy that ranks near the bottom of the world in many measures, including per capita gross domestic product of $1,800 per year, versus $30,000 in technologically advanced South Korea. The North’s unwillingness to forsake the centrally planned economic system, its severe isolation and its utter reliance on food and fuel handouts from China and international aid groups have perpetuated or deepened the crisis.

That would be wonderful, presuming the North Korean leadership was rational and motivated by national self-interest. But, if US intelligence is right, the new Kim on the block may be even more deranged than his father:

“It’s been only about a year and three months since Kim Jong Eun was officially tapped, so it would be very difficult for him to effectively seize power within the old guard in the party as well as the military,” said Yoo Dong-ryul, a researcher at the Police Science Institute in South Korea. “I think whether Kim Jong Eun succeeds will ultimately depend on the role by Jang Song Thaek.”

The portrait of Kim Jong Eun that emerges in his U.S. profile is that of a young man who, despite years of education in the West, is steeped in his father’s cult of personality and may be even more mercurial and merciless, officials said.

A senior U.S. official said intelligence analysts believe, for instance, that Kim Jung Eun “tortured small animals” when he was a youth. “He has a violent streak and that’s worrisome,” a senior U.S. official said, summing up the U.S. assessments.

Great. Just what we need: a potential serial killer in charge of nuclear weapons.

One of the great questions is what China will do. As revealed in the Wikileaks cables, China regards North Korea as a pain in the rice bowl and rather an embarrassment, particularly for a nation trying to establish itself as as global superpower. (Kind of like a gangster trying to be “respectable” and not wanting to be seen with his crazy friend from the old neighborhood.) There have even been preliminary feelers about the conditions under which China would accept Korean reunification. My own opinion is that China would like to see a stable, less embarrassing North Korea survive, if for nothing else than the prestige hit it would take from an ally falling apart. Failing that, reunification with the South would be acceptable — provided it did not mean American troops on or near the Yalu river border. In that case, China would want to see some sort of disengagement of the currently tight relationship between Washington and Seoul.

But there’s another possibility: a North Korean descent into chaos that leaves outside powers no choice but to intervene. Back at the NYT, Victor Cha wonders if North Korea won’t wind up as China’s newest province:

The allies’ best move, then, is to wait and see what China does. Among China’s core foreign-policy principles is the maintenance of a divided Korean Peninsula, and so Beijing’s statements about preserving continuity of North Korea’s leadership should come as no surprise. Since 2008 it has drawn closer to the regime, publicly defending its leaders and investing heavily in the mineral mines on the Chinese-North Korean border.

But even as Beijing sticks close to its little Communist brother, there are intense debates within its leadership about whether the North is a strategic liability. It was one thing to back a hermetic but stable regime under Kim Jong-il; it will be harder to underwrite an untested leadership. For Xi Jinping, expected to become China’s president over the next year, the first major foreign policy decision will be whether to shed North Korea or effectively adopt it as a province.

In other words, China may feel it has no choice other than to quietly take North Korea over.

Like Mr. Cha, former American Ambassador to the UN John Bolton sees great danger in a North Korea that slips into instability or outright chaos, to the point that US and South Korean forces might themselves have to intervene on a moment’s notice to secure the nukes:

While an authoritarian DPRK state, armed with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, is a threat regionally and globally, a fractured DPRK, leaderless and perhaps descending into civil war, is an even greater threat. The prospect of conflict among various military and other security forces, which like the Kim family also have everything on the line, is real. Control over the weapons of mass destruction and other key assets (missile launch sites and storage facilities, communications facilities, the loyalty of major military formations such as the artillery, and armor massed near the borders) will be essential.

Moreover, North Korea’s civilians are not, despite decades of effort by Pyongyang, totally ignorant about conditions outside the hermetic state. Already desperately impoverished and hungry, they may well decide at the first signs of regime collapse, or even before, that their moment is at hand. Aided by South Korean activists, they could begin moving north toward the Yalu River border with China or south to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which has divided North from South since the 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement.

South Korean authorities, together with the nearly 30,000 U.S. forces there, have long prepared for the contingency of massive refugee flows toward the DMZ. They also have plans for entering North Korea in force on extremely short notice, to prevent massive instability, to secure the nuclear weapons, and to control the DMZ.

The last thing we need is for the North’s destructive weapons (or other elements of its nuclear program) to be used during internal conflict, or auctioned off to foreign states or terrorists by military factions desperate for hard currency to continue their struggle or flee the country. But while we believe that large stocks of chemical and biological weapons are located near the DMZ, we have very little knowledge of where the nuclear weapons actually are. If South Korean and U.S. forces have to enter the North, time will be short, the dangers high, and the odds long.

Bolton is highly critical of what he sees as almost nonexistent efforts by the Obama administration to get clear information from Beijing and coordinate with them over a possible Korean crisis. If Cha is right and China decides it needs to “put North Korea under new management,” and if those efforts fail and the US and South Korea decide they have to intervene, the potential for an accidental clash that reignites the Korean War gets white-hot.

Which makes me feel so good about having Team Smart Power in charge.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Canada stands on principle; Obama goes “meh.”

July 13, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I could barely contain my disgust over the appointment of North Korea as head of the UN Conference on Disarmament. It seems I wasn’t the only one, and it’s great to see a liberal democracy refuse to participate in this disgraceful sham.

Good for you, Canada:

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is set to announce Monday that Canada is boycotting the United Nations Conference on Disarmament over North Korea’s involvement, a senior government source told Postmedia News.

So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador, was last week named chair of the Geneva-based group dedicated to promoting global nuclear disarmament.

“North Korea is simply not a credible chair of this UN body as its leaders are working in the exact opposite direction,” the source told Postmedia News on Sunday evening.

“Our government feels this undermines not only the Conference on Disarmament, but the UN itself. And Canada will not be party to that . . . Our government received a strong mandate to advance Canada’s values — freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law — on the world stage.”

During North Korea’s term as chair, Canada will not “engage” in the conference, the source said Baird will announce Monday.

Meanwhile for the Obama administration, it’s no “big deal:

The Obama administration will not follow Canada’s lead and boycott a session of the U.N.-linked Conference on Disarmament to protest North Korea’s appointment to the body’s rotating presidency.

“We have chosen not to make a big deal out of this because it’s a relatively low-level, inconsequential event,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday.

In one sense, Nuland is right; UN conferences often aren’t “big deals,” serving as little more than occasions to pad a resume, collect a per diem, and shop for things not available in your own country.

On the other hand, if the United States won’t defend the principles on which the commission and the larger UN were founded in the little, easy instances such as this, who should believe we would care in the big instances? By assenting to North Korea’s chairmanship of the conference and lending that act our prestige by our participation, we also say that North Korea’s serial illegal arms-trafficking is “no big deal” and encourage them (and others) to do even more. It’s an example of the broken-windows theory to international relations.

Canada and the Harper cabinet are right in this case, while the Obama administration again shows its casual, amateurish approach to foreign affairs.

via The Jawa Report and Weasel Zippers

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The UN takes “farce” to a whole new level

June 30, 2011

Really, I thought they couldn’t get any more ridiculous than naming Iran, a Sharia-enforcing fascist state, to the Commission on the Status of Women, but they did it. Meet the new President of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament:

North Korea

Despite numerous breaches of arms embargoes and continued threats to expand its nuclear weapons program, North Korea has assumed the presidency of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament. In a speech to the 65-nation arms control forum in Geneva, the newly-appointed president, North Korean Ambassador So Se Pyong, said he was “very much committed to the Conference.”

Appointing a North Korean to chair the UN’s only multilateral disarmament forum is like “asking the fox to guard the chickens,” says Hillel Neuer, of the UN watchdog organization UN Watch. Neuer is calling on the U.S. and European governments to protest the appointment, which he says, “damages the UN’s credibility.”

When asked about the controversy over North Korea’s new leadership role, UN spokesman Farhan Haq pointed out that the head of the Conference on Disarmament is selected by the member states that sit on the conference, not the UN secretary general.

Haq added that when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke at the Conference on Disarmament this January, he urged the states who sit on the conference to do more to advance its work, so that it “does not become irrelevant.”Aware that many nations see the Conference on Disarmament as a place of talk rather than a forum that does substantive work, Secretary General Ban warned: “The very credibility of this body is at risk.”

“At risk?” I’d say whatever credibility the conference still had has been taken out back and shot.

Claudia Rosett is appalled. After rattling off the serial illicit arms-dealing (including passing nuclear tech) that makes this appointment a joke, she explains the real harm this does:

Except, it isn’t harmless. It gives the lie to everything the UN pretends to stand for, and emboldens North Korea’s regime to believe that monstrous misconduct, at home and abroad, is actually no bar to a seat at the table with civilized governments. The UN promotes itself as a defender of world peace and security, a champion of human dignity. Under the banner of such promises, the UN enjoys billions in funding from the world’s leading democracies — especially the United States, which for the entire UN system foots roughly one-quarter of the bill for all 192 member states. And with the facilities thus lavished upon it, the UN then hands North Korea the presidency of its Conference on Disarmament.

Worse, scroll down past the UN press release, to the statements of member states upon the handover of this presidency to North Korea. There you can peruse the praise and good wishes for North Korea of China, Nigeria, and — yes — Portugal, whose envoy is “looking forward” to working with North Korea in coming weeks. Worse still, is what the world’s governments, including the US. administration, are not saying. Apparently, diplomatic politesse is more important than speaking out to protest the monstrosities that should be obvious here to anyone with an ounce of integrity or sense. Where’s the outrage?

Dead, I imagine, along with the pretense that the United Nations does anything worthwhile.

By the way, a couple of weeks ago the US intercepted a ship suspected of carrying contraband missile technology to the tyrants who rule Burma.

A ship from North Korea, the new President of the UN Disarmament Conference.

Memo to Congress: If you’re looking for ways to cut the budget, let me make a suggestion

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I guess the soccer team was lucky

July 21, 2010

Don't let me down!

All that happened to them for a humiliating loss in the World Cup was a trip to the mines. Now, with Pyongyang’s attempts to extort bribes at rapprochement with South Korea in tatters over the sinking of the Cheonan (Come on, what’s an act of war among friends?), the official in charge of negotiations with the South has been shot:

North Korea executed a former Cabinet official who was in charge of talks with South Korea, a news report said Tuesday, the latest reported death sentence for a North Korean official over policy failures.

Kwon Ho Ung — Pyongyang’s chief delegate from 2004 to 2007 for ministerial talks with the South’s then liberal government — was executed by firing squad, Seoul’s mass-circulation Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said, citing an unidentified source in Beijing knowledgeable about the North.

Calls to South Korea’s intelligence agency and the Unification Ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, seeking comment went unanswered.

The reported execution comes as tensions between the two Koreas simmer over the March sinking of a South Korean warship that has been blamed on North Korea. North Korea has denied involvement in the sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

Relations between the Koreas have been particularly rocky since a pro-U.S., conservative government took office in Seoul in early 2008 with a tough policy on Pyongyang.

The newspaper report said it had not confirmed when and where Kwon was executed. The allegation follows other reported executions of North Korean officials for policy blunders.

Since all policy originates with the Kim Jong-Il, shouldn’t he have himself shot for these failures?

The world should be so lucky.

(via The Jawa Report)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Medical care in the Worker’s Paradise

July 16, 2010

If there is a Hell, I think it must resemble North Korea:

North Korea’s healthcare is a horror, report says

North Korea’s healthcare system is unable to provide sterilized needles, clean water, food and medicine, and patients are forced to undergo agonizing surgery without anesthesia, Amnesty International reported Thursday.

The human rights group, citing World Health Organization statistics, found that North Korea spent under $1 per capita on healthcare, the lowest in the world. The global average was $716 per capita.

The collapse of the healthcare system compounds the misery of a population that is chronically malnourished and suffering from digestive problems caused by eating weeds, tree bark, roots, corn husks, cobs and other “substitute” foods.

(…)

Amnesty International interviewed 40 people who had escaped North Korea, most of them from 2004 to 2009. They told harrowing stories about their experiences in the medical system.

“I was screaming so much from the pain, I thought I was going to die. They had tied my hands and legs to prevent me from moving,” said a 56-year-old woman from Musan who had an appendectomy performed without anesthesia.

Emphasis added.

Many argue that we should provide humanitarian aid to relieve situations such as those described above. Laudable as those motives are, the logic is false. All aid does is preserve the criminal regime, as the rulers divert food and money to themselves and their favored lackeys, the common folk be damned. And by propping up the regime, we’re prolonging the suffering of the Korean people trapped in the North – the world’s largest prison camp.

And yet what is more moral: providing aid that preserves a nightmarish regime, or denying it in order to cause the regime’s downfall, which would have its own incalculable consequences? Is the risk of war on the Korean peninsula worth bringing about Pyongyang’s downfall (for I have no doubt that a determined Western effort could cause a collapse), or is the prospect of a war, which is likely to be short but very bloody and very destructive, so frightening that we’d rather leave the North Korean people in Hell?

I have no answer.


North Korea: Dear Leader’s army crumbling?

July 15, 2010

North Korean defectors aren’t exactly unusual: many people try to escape their nightmare lives in the world’s largest prison camp. Most go through China; the lucky ones get to stay there, and the luckiest make it to South Korea. The unlucky, on the other hand, are caught before they can escape or are sent home by the Chinese, which usually means execution at the hands of the North Korean security forces.

So it can’t be a good sign for the regime of psychotic dictator Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il when those defectors include more and more of his own security forces:

North Korean soldiers defect to China fuelling fears of imminent military clash

An upsurge in the number of North Korean soldiers defecting into China fuelled fears of food shortages and an imminent military clash.

Previously considered to be among the regime’s most important assets, the North Korean People’s Army has always been well provisioned in order to ensure the troops remain loyal.

But a poor harvest and the disastrous revaluation of the North Korean currency in November of last year has worsened the nation’s already dire economic straits.

Defectors have claimed that they were required to survive on noodles made of ground corn and that meat or fish were a luxury, a journalist for Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported from the Chinese  city of Shenyang.

On one stretch of the border, Chinese troops apprehended five North Korean soldiers in May alone. Prior to the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March, allegedly by a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine, it was rare for troops to be taken into custody on the Chinese side of the Yalu River.

The defectors have claimed that senior members of the party and the armed forces were stockpiling provisions, another indication that the regime is steeling itself for a military confrontation.

Of course, a few grunts crossing the line does not mean the regime is about to fall at any moment, but the increasing tempo of defections and the tales the defectors tell of the woes suffered by civilians now spreading to the military do indicate a trend that should have that insane dwarf Kim and his henchmen worried. Indeed, if the reports of stockpiling are true, they see the signs, too.

On his deathbed, Roman Emperor Septimius Severus reportedly told his children:

Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers, and scorn all other men.

The Emperor’s advice was sound for, at that point in Roman history, a ruler’s survival depended on the loyalty of the army. It appears Kim and his flunkies in the North Korean leadership have forgotten that middle part and are now scorning even the soldiers, not just the common folks.

That could well be their last, fatal mistake.

(via The Jawa Report)

RELATED: Or maybe the defections are inspired by fear of South Korea’s killer robots? (via McKittrick)


Tell me again why we give the UN any money?

July 12, 2010

Just when you think that body couldn’t be any more useless and corrupt, they do something like this:

UN Fails to Condemn North Korea for Killing Over 40 South Korean Sailors

When the results of the international investigation into the sinking of the South Korean ship the Cheonan were released in May, the U.S. State Department was adamant that it believed North Korea was responsible — and that the country would have to face some actual punishment for killing 46 innocent South Korea sailors.

“I think it is important to send a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said May 21 while visiting her Japanese counterpart in Tokyo.

Fast forward to today, when the United Nations released a presidential statement which not only does not specify any consequences for the Kim Jong Il regime, but doesn’t even conclude that North Korea was responsible for the attack in the first place.

The statement acknowledges that the South Korean investigation, which included broad international participation, blamed North Korea, and then “takes note of the responses from other relevant parties, including from the DPRK, which has stated that it had nothing to do with the incident.”

“Therefore, the Security Council condemns the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan,” the statement reads.

Isn’t diplomacy-speak wonderful? Not only does the UN issue the weakest form of statement, the “presidential statement,” but it can’t even name the party behind the attack. I bet the families of those 40 dead sailors feel oh-so-comforted, knowing Turtle Bay has their backs.

As Daniel Halper asks,

“…how long did it take for the UN to issue a condemnation of Israel’s action against pro-terrorist flotilla members?”

A perfectly legal action, bear in mind, as opposed to North Korea’s act of war.

Tell me again, does the United Nations do any good, and is there any reason for us to remain a part of it?

Really, just try to convince me. I love fantasy stories.

(via Jeff Emanuel)


At least they weren’t shot?

July 5, 2010

One does not disappoint Dear Leader:

North Korean team will be sent to coal mines as punishment, reports say

MORE than one disgraced national team has been heckled by angry fans on returning home – but North Korea’s misfiring stars reportedly face a much harsher punishment.

Unfortunately, crazed dictator Kim Jong-il chose the 7-0 mauling at the hands of Portugal to be the first football game ever broadcast in the impoverished communist nation.

“The Portuguese won the game and now have four points,” the Korean Central Broadcasting commentator said at the conclusion of the match. “We are ending our live broadcast now.” It then cut to factory workers and engineers praising the Dear Leader.

Seems the result may not have tallied too well with Kim Jong-il’s narrative that North Korea is a socialist paradise populated by athletic supermen.

Given the realities of life in North Korea, aka “The world’s biggest prison camp,” I’m not so sure being spared the firing squad was a boon.

The Queen of Hearts has nothing on the King of Heartless.


Your Wednesday midday North Korean weirdness

June 8, 2010

Steve at Pax Parabellum says this is a North Korean tourism video (as does the original poster at YouTube). I’m not so sure (Would Kim Jong-Il be my host? Eww…), but it does have a catchy beat:

It’s a 24-by-7 party in old NoKo, y’know?

Meanwhile, Pyongyang adds another item to the “Are they trying to commit national suicide?” list, this time by ticking off their sole protectors:

North Korean border guard ‘shoots three Chinese dead’

China says a North Korean border guard shot and killed three people near the countries’ border last week.

A fourth person was reportedly injured in the incident near the north-eastern border town of Dandong.

China has made a formal complaint to North Korea, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said.

The two countries are considered to be close allies and Beijing rarely makes any public criticism of its isolated neighbour.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular news conference in Beijing that the four residents of Dandong, in Liaoning province, had been shot “on suspicion of crossing the border for trade activities”.

“China attaches great importance to that and has immediately raised a solemn representation with the DPRK,” he said, using North Korea’s full name (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).

Right. So, you’re North Korea and you know that a) China supplies 90% of your energy needs and b) is the only thing keeping your loony bin of a nation afloat. You’ve already caused them a major headache by sinking a naval vessel belonging to South Korea, so, what do you do?

Easy! You just gun down some of their citizens, too!*

It’s Bedlam, and the worst psychos are in charge.

*(Wouldn’t it have been easier to arrest and deport them? I’m just sayin’…)

(via The Jawa Report)


What’s “gird your loins” in Korean?

April 22, 2010

I haven’t written about the sinking last month of the South Korean naval corvette Cheonan, because, while it looked and smelled like something North Korea would do to provoke an incident and grab the world’s attention, the South Korean and US militaries were being very cautious. Besides, I just couldn’t imagine that even Kim Jong-Il, dictator of the world’s largest prison camp, could be this crazy.

I may have been wrong:

South Korean ship sunk by crack squad of ‘human torpedoes’

A South Korean warship was destroyed by an elite North Korean suicide squad of ‘human torpedoes’ on the express orders of the regime’s leader, Kim Jong-il, according to military intelligence reports.

The attack on the 1,220-ton Cheonan, which sank on March 26 with the loss of 46 of its 104 crew, was carried out in retaliation for a skirmish between warships of the two nations’ navies in November of last year, South Korea claims.

The South Korean government has refused to comment officially on the reports but Defence Minister Kim Tae Young told a parliamentary session that the military believed that the sinking was a deliberate act by North Korea.

Officials in military intelligence say they warned the government earlier this year that North Korea was preparing a suicide-squad submarine attack on a South Korean ship.

“Military intelligence made the report to the Blue House [the presidential office] and to the Defence Ministry immediately after the sinking of the Cheonan that it was clearly the work of North Korea’s military,” a military source said.

According to the article, this may have been a suicide mission launched by commandos in specially modified midget submarines, rather than from a leftover naval mine from the Korean War. The explosion clearly took place outside the vessel’s hull.

Whether it was an attack by a normal torpedo or the human kind, this puts both Seoul and Washington in a very difficult situation. Lee Myung Bak, the South Korean president, was elected on a platform that included getting tough with North Korea and ending the accomodationist policies of his predecessor. Now that it’s clear that one of his country’s naval ships was sunk and sailors killed in an act of war, he can’t do nothing for fear of appearing craven and pusillanimous, something sure to weaken him at home and encourage a psychotic predator like L’il Kim. Yet, striking back too hard risks full-scale war; South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is near the border and very exposed to the thousands of artillery pieces the North has placed there.

For President Obama, this could turn into a nightmare. Already under heavy (and deserved) criticism for a weak foreign policy of appeasement, pressuring our allies in Seoul to overlook this, or worse, equivocate in our support of Seoul, would invite a furious political assault. Yet a reopening of the Korean War would be a huge expense on top of all the debt he’s accumulated already, not to mention the strain it would put on the military both from likely heavy casualties and from being stretched thin already.

(And, don’t forget: much of the Obama debt is funded by China, North Korea’s patron. This is a good example of how massive foreign debt limits our actions and makes us vulnerable.)

So, what to do? Contra the analysts quoted in the article, President Bak almost has to retaliate, but he cannot go overboard. My guess would be some sort of forward mobilization near the DMZ as a sign of resolve toward the North and the eventual sinking of a North Korean vessel in a tit-for-tat response. Economic punishment is possible, too, but the loss of life aboard the ship makes it difficult to present that to the South Korean public as sufficient.

The other question is why would Kim do something so mad, so rife with potentially disastrous consequences? The Telegraph article speculates that this was payback for an earlier skirmish in which a North Korean boat was sunk, but there’s another possibility: there are signs of growing unrest in North Korean, and Pyongyang’s grip may be slipping. Could it be that Kim ordered this to scare his population into obedience by the threat of war with the “hated imperialist aggressors?” Or maybe he’s just ronery?

Who knows what goes on in that warped little man’s mind?

LINKS: More from Hot Air and the Times.

POSTSCRIPT: To answer the question in the subject line, Joe Biden’s warning to “gird your loins” renders in Korean as, according to Google Translate, Jolong saengsig!


I’ll have the specialty of the gulag, please

December 21, 2009

We in Los Angeles are lucky to have restaurants serving fine cuisines from around the world, from as familiar as Mexican and Middle-Eastern to as exotic as Tibetan. But if you hanker for real North Korean home-cooking, you’ll have to go to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. You’ll be treated to the Dear Leader Dinner Show, but don’t try to take any pictures:

Thank you, thank you! We'll be here all weekend!

“A flat-screen TV on the stage showed a contiuous video of The Wonderful World of North Korea. The film consisted mainly of nature shots. But my favorite scenes showed traffic in North Korea: in one scene, you saw a train travelling the countryside, in another you saw city streets that were absolutely deserted – except for a lone bus. Both the train and the bus looked like ca 1950. Almost like the kind of miniature trains and vehicles you sometimes find on nostalgic kiddie karoussels. Unfortunately, we can safely assume that that train and that bus in the video must be cutting-edge technology and design in North Korea.”

Do read the rest. It sounds positively surreal.

I wonder what happens if you complain about the service? Nailbiting

(via Exurban League)


Monstrous

July 24, 2009

That’s the only word for it. According to defector reports, North Korea is testing biological and chemical weapons on children:

When Im Chun-yong made his daring escape from North Korea, with a handful of his special forces men, there were many reasons why the North Korean government was intent on stopping them.

They were, after all, part of Kim Jong-il’s elite commandos – privy to a wealth of military secrets and insights into the workings of the reclusive regime.

But among the accounts they carried with them is one of the most shocking yet to emerge – namely the use of humans, specifically mentally or physically handicapped children, to test North Korea’s biological and chemical weapons.

“If you are born mentally or physically deficient, says Im, the government says your best contribution to society… is as a guinea pig for biological and chemical weapons testing.”

Read the whole nauseating thing. This is what comes of an all-powerful state. There is no death too cruel, no hell too deep for these rats.

LINKS: Ed Morrissey talks about the link to missile defense while shaking his head at the barbarity of it all.


Because nothing says "tastes great" like ISO 9001!

July 5, 2009

After a tough day having your soul raped building the future in a hell-hole and gulag worker’s paradise like North Korea, it’s comforting to know you can end it with a frosty People’s Brewski that meets ISO standards. Down with these capitalist-running dog beers that merely taste great!

In other words, behold a North Korean beer commercial:

Via Fausta, who adds:

Because nothing in a beer ad says “refreshing” like chemists in labs, assembly lines, antiquated buildings, and North Korean Communist party officials

Indeed. Drink up, lads! Beer mug Party

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