Kim il Sung

Photo of the Day

North Korean Propaganda Photograph of prisoners of USS Pueblo. Photo and explanation from the Time article that blew the Hawaiian Good Luck Sign secret. The sailors were flipping the middle finger, as a way to covertly protest their captivity in North Korea, and the propaganda on their treatment and guilt. The North Koreans for months photographed them without knowing the real meaning of flipping the middle finger, while the sailors explained that the sign meant good luck in Hawaii.

Flipping the North

North Korean Officials Had No Idea What Their Hostages Were Signaling in This Photo

The men in the photos look a little bored and awkward, maybe uncomfortable or even tense. The more you know about the photos, the more you read into them. But without context, what you see is young men assembled in rows for a formal group photo, staring into the camera or glumly off to the side. It could be a group photo of colleagues or a social club—a hum-drum setup. But stare longer and it’s obvious: In each photo, one or more of them is giving the finger.

All of these men are prisoners, pawns during a politically tense time, and they’re defying their captors in one of the only ways available to them: By flipping the bird.

It was 1968 and the United States was solidly mired in the Cold War, spying on the Soviet Union and its allies and being spied upon in return. The U.S.S. Pueblo was a Navy intelligence ship whose cover was collecting oceanographic data (of the 83 crewmen there were two civilian oceanographers aboard), but its actual duty was collecting intelligence on Russia and North Korea.

On January 23, 1968—just 18 days into its first mission—the Pueblo was approached by a North Korean vessel near the port of Wonsan. The vessel asked them their nationality, and the Pueblo hoisted the American flag. They were told to slow and prepare to be boarded; the Pueblo crew responded that they were 15.8 miles from land, and thus in international waters. But the situation quickly grew dire—three more North Korean boats appeared, and fighter jets flew overhead.

The North Korean ship opened fire on the Pueblo, killing one of the crew and wounding others. The Pueblo was barely armed; rather than fight back they began to frantically burn and dump documents, smashing equipment with axes and hammers. The ship was boarded and the crew taken captive. Bed sheets were cut up into blindfolds; they were tied up, punched, kicked, and prodded with bayonets.

“My mother’s prediction that I would die in dirty sheets was about to come true,”wrote one crew member, Stu Russell. “And to make it worse, I had my boots on.”

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Photo Of The Day

Jeffrey Fowle, an American detained in North Korea speaks to the Associated Press, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea has given foreign media access to three detained Americans who said they have been able to contact their families and watched by officials as they spoke, called for Washington to send a representative to negotiate for their freedom. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Jeffrey Fowle, an American detained in North Korea speaks to the Associated Press, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea has given foreign media access to three detained Americans who said they have been able to contact their families and watched by officials as they spoke, called for Washington to send a representative to negotiate for their freedom. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Holiday at the Dictator’s Guesthouse

Jeffrey Edward Fowle is an American citizen arrested in North Korea in May 2014 for leaving a Bible in a nightclub in the northern port city of Chongjin. 

On the morning of August 1, 2014, Jeffrey Fowle woke before seven in his room at a guesthouse in Pyongyang, North Korea. Soon a young woman arrived with his breakfast of rice, broth, and kimchi. She smiled as she set the tray down on the large desk at the foot of the bed, then walked out of the room and locked the door behind her. It was Fowle’s 87th day in custody.

He sat at the desk, watching a shadow play across his window. An opaque vinyl film had been applied to the glass, so Fowle could see only silhouettes walking past. That April, when Fowle had travelled to Pyongyang, he’d felt that God wanted him to help North Korea’s oppressed Christian underground. His attempt took the form of a Korean-English Bible, left behind in a bar bathroom; he was taken into custody as he tried to leave the country. Fowle poured the broth over his rice and began to eat.

An hour later, Mr. Jo, Fowle’s interpreter and minder, appeared at the door: His slacks were ironed, and he’d traded his usual polo shirt for a crisp dress shirt. “Today is the day,” Mr. Jo said. “Be ready.”

A few weeks earlier, Mr. Jo had told Fowle that he might be allowed to speak with international media. It would be his first chance to tell the world about his situation, and to remind the U.S. government that he needed help. At noon, Mr. Jo led Fowle to a conference room on the other side of the guesthouse, reminding him of his talking points along the way.

“Emphasize your desperation for wanting to get home and that your family needs you back,” Mr. Jo said. “Put some emotion into it.” He suggested that it might be good if Fowle cried. In the conference room, Fowle was seated at a long table with a couple of North Korean journalists from the Associated Press Television News. Instead of press badges, each reporter wore a pin with the smiling face of Kim Il-sung.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Gabriel Bumbea. The ageing picture is a heartrending trace of Doina Bumbea, a 28-year-old Romanian who was ensnared by North Korea's regime in 1978 and who never saw her family again.

Photo: Gabriel Bumbea.
The ageing picture is a heartrending trace of Doina Bumbea, a 28-year-old Romanian who was ensnared by North Korea’s regime in 1978 and who never saw her family again.

As unlikely as it may seem, there are those who have fled to North Korea, and even more shocking is that some of them were actually American. Since the Korean War, there have been 6 American soldiers who willingly crossed the DMZ and pledged their allegiance to North Korea. There are even others who chose to remain in North Korea after internments in POW camps. However, one of the most famous of these defectors is James Joseph Dresnok. A private in the Army, Dresnok ran across the minefield between North and South Korea in broad daylight in 1962, where North Korean soldiers quickly grabbed him. He has been a regular in propaganda films, almost always portraying villainous American characters. He still lives there with his third wife and his four children, and claims he doesn’t regret his decision at all. How much of that is true or false is impossible to say.

In 1978, promising young Romanian artist Doina Bumbea agreed to take a job in the Far East. It was the start of a nightmare. On arriving in Asia, Bumbea was kidnapped and smuggled into North Korea. There she was introduced to her real mission: to become the loving wife of American defector James Dresnok, now a PR tool for the regime. Together, they started a Western family in the heart of the most dangerous state on Earth. Her children remain trapped there to this day.

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Will Fenton Wilson be bringing this to the Hawkes Bay?

Fenton Wilson acts like a North Korean dictator, especially over his dodgy socialist dam project.

The real North Korean dictator has recently re-instituted “pleasure troupes” for himself...I wonder if Fenton ‘Jong-un’ Wilson will try this at the Hawkes Bay Regional Council.

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, has ordered the creation of a new “pleasure troupe” of young women to entertain him.

Mr Kim ordered the group of women that was hand-picked by authorities loyal to his father and predecessor, Kim Jong-il, to be disbanded shortly after his death in December 2011, according to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper. He has now decided, however, to resurrect a source of entertainment that has become a tradition for North Korean leaders.

“After he came to power, Mr Kim trusted no-one and ordered thorough investigations into every official in the regime, from the highest to the lowest”, Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo’s Waseda University and an authority on North Korean affairs, told The Telegraph.

With that process now completed, as well as the conclusion of the three-year official mourning period after the death of Kim Jong-il, the new North Korean dictator is free to select a new generation of female companions, Prof. Shigemura said.   Read more »

Boris Johnson on Matt Taylor’s “offensive” shirt

Boris Johnson was also upset at Dr Matt Taylor’s shirt, it brought tears of rage…that people could abuse him for wearing such a thing.

The other day the brilliant space scientist Dr Matt Taylor was asked to give a report on the progress of Philae, the astonishing little landing craft that has travelled, in all, four billion miles to become the first representative of humanity to visit the surface of a comet. Dr Taylor leant forwards. He started to speak. Then his voice went husky, and it became painfully obvious to viewers that he was actually crying. And of course he has many very good reasons to feel emotional. The London-born astrophysicist has been part of a mind-blowing success.

[…]

Except, of course, that he wasn’t crying with relief. He wasn’t weeping with sheer excitement at this interstellar rendezvous. I am afraid he was crying because he felt he had sinned. He was overcome with guilt and shame for wearing what some people decided was an “inappropriate” shirt on television. “I have made a big mistake,” he said brokenly. “I have offended people and I am sorry about this.”

I watched that clip of Dr Taylor’s apology – at the moment of his supreme professional triumph – and I felt the red mist come down. It was like something from the show trials of Stalin, or from the sobbing testimony of the enemies of Kim Il-sung, before they were taken away and shot. It was like a scene from Mao’s cultural revolution when weeping intellectuals were forced to confess their crimes against the people.

Why was he forced into this humiliation? Because he was subjected to an unrelenting tweetstorm of abuse. He was bombarded across the internet with a hurtling dustcloud of hate, orchestrated by lobby groups and politically correct media organisations.

And so I want, naturally, to defend this blameless man. And as for all those who have monstered him and convicted him in the kangaroo court of the web – they should all be ashamed of themselves.

Yes, I suppose some might say that his Hawaii shirt was a bit garish, a bit of an eyeful. But the man is not a priest, for heaven’s sake. He is a space scientist with a fine collection of tattoos, and if you are an extrovert space scientist, that is the kind of shirt that you are allowed to wear.   Read more »

Where is Kim Jong-un?

Has there been a coup in North Korea?

Where is Kim Jong-un?

He has not been seen in public for nearly 40 days. There is increasing speculation that there has been a coup in North Korea.

Foreign Policy analyses the situation:

It’s now been 36 days since Kim Jong Un was last seen in public. Is his absence good for North Korea and the threat it poses to the rest of the world? Or should we hope that he returns?

Most North Korea experts seem to believe that he soon will indeed end his absence — or that he will at least give a signal of his continued grip on power. Oct. 10, which marks the country’s Party Founding Day, has been cited as a possible time for his return. By contrast, many Western news sources — or at least their headlines — are speculating that Kim has met with a serious illness, or been ousted in a coup. Headlines like theGuardian‘s “Kim Jong Un: Has the North Korean Dynasty Fallen?” abound.

Setting aside for now the impossible question of where Kim has gone — Pyongyang’s state-run media say he is sick, though he could also be under house arrest, dead, on vacation, or simply bored of appearing in public — North Korea is arguably much more stable with Kim at the helm. (First, the eternal caveat when writing about North Korea: The country is more opaque than an eye afflicted with cataracts, so much of what I’m writing is speculation.)

The most dangerous thing about North Korea is its unpredictability. Because we know so little about what Pyongyang wants, or why it does what it does, it’s difficult to prepare for contingencies. North Korea has recently taken several steps to improve its ability to fire missiles at the United States: It has upgraded its main rocket-launch site, increased production of fissile material, and tested engines for a missile that could reach U.S. territory. Military planners and decision-makers in the U.S. government — and in other countries — need to be able to predict the likelihood that Kim will launch an attack on their country.

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Is Kim Jong-un really in charge?

There is a school of thought to suggest that Kim John-un isn’t really in charge in North Korea anymore.

Apparently his dad’s goons are.

An elite group of exiles from North Korea gathered in September in the Netherlands to discuss the state of the regime they used to serve. The conference included top diplomats, an ex-senior official of the Ministry of Security, and a high-ranking military officer, but the keynote address was given by Jang Jin-sung, formerly a key member of Kim Jong-il’s propaganda machine. Included in Jang’s speech was a surprising assertion: North Korea is in the midst of a civil war.

According to Jang — a former counterintelligence official and poet laureate under Kim Jong-il — members of the government’s Organization and Guidance Department (OGD), a powerful group of officials that once reported only to Kim Jong-il, have stopped taking orders from his son, Kim Jong-un. The OGD, Jang says, has effectively taken control of the country, and a conflict is simmering between factions that want to maintain absolute control over the economy and others seeking to gain wealth through foreign trade and a slightly more open market.

“On one hand, it’s people who want to maintain a regime monopoly,” Jang told VICE News through a translator in an interview Thursday. “On the other hand, it’s not like people are fighting against the regime, but in a policy sense they want to take advantage to get influence. It’s not actually consciously civil war, but there are these two incompatible forces at play.”

Jang’s statements come during a moment of peak curiosity about the hermit kingdom. Kim Jong-un — the portly 31-year-old who assumed the title of Supreme Leader after his father’s death in 2011 — has been absent from public view for nearly a month. He was last seen walking with a pronounced limp during a July ceremony commemorating the death of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung. He typically presides over the Supreme People’s Assembly, a rubber-stamp parliament, but missed the meeting in early September, and was replaced by a propaganda video that again showed him limping. “Despite some discomfort, our Marshal continues to come out and lead the people,” the film’s narrator said.

That video is hilarious…pure propaganda but from the outside utterly hilarious. Watching the fat little leader waddling along in front of his fat little generals is too funny.

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Look who Gareth Morgan pays homage to

VICE produced the above documentary Gareth Morgan…it shows him crawling to Kim Il Sung.

We all know that Gareth Morgan went on a tour through Potemkin villages of North Korea and pronounced to the world that Gareth had now seen North Korea and it wasn’t evil like the West makes out…and we can all rest easy that these lovely agrarian peasants look happy and well fed…with abundant crops.

What we were never shown, certainly not in NZ media was this…

paying-homage

The Morgans pay homage to Kim Il Sung, the “liberator” of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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Gareth Morgan v Liberty Scott

Gareth Morgan is incensed that his view of North Korea has been challenged. He specifically singles out Liberty Scott for some treatment, calling him ignorant.

As you will see it is Morgan who comes off looking ignorant.

Liberty you are ignorant.

My concern is the 25 million Koreans suffering because of this 68 year impasse. The relevant question is whether it is the only way or can we be smarter. I am not supporting the authoritarian regime of North Korea’s or that in Russia (Pussy Riot) or that in China or for that matter, that in Singapore. What I’m saying is that the US as leader of liberal democracies has normal relations with totalitarian regimes when it suits them but push for “regime change” through crazy talk like the vacuous “Axis of Evil” accusation, and demonising the DPRK regime when they sniff the possibility of engineering a Saddam-like collapse. I think it’s called double standards.
I do not see it as defensible to punish 25 million people for a totalitarian regime they are powerless to change. The only way to effect sustainable change is contact, demonstration and persuasion. Not isolation, escalation and humiliation. The DPRK’s reinstigation of its nuclear programme is a direct result of provocation – it’s terrified the US is going to invade it.You need to think more.

Get it?  Read more »

North Korean missiles under watch

Foreign Policy reports:

U.S. and South Korean authorities continue to monitor the medium-range missiles that North Korea has moved to its east coast for signs of a possible launch. The five Musudan missiles could theoretically reach U.S. bases in Guam, though it’s not known if they have been tested at that distance.

Despite the missile threat, the North appears to be toning down its rhetoric after a month of near daily threats against the South and its allies. The country has begun inviting visitors in anticipation of celebrations on Monday for the birthday of the country’s founding father, Kim Il-sung.

I think maybe Kim Jong-un might have had a report that the Chinese are extremely unlikely to jump in and help them if they provoke a shooting war. my China sources report that though the lower levels of Chinese society have some sympathy with North Korea it is the generals and politicians who are wise to the trade implications on entering a shooting war with their biggest trade partner the USA.  Read more »