What’s the real definition of socialism? How is it distinct from regulation and a social welfare state? Why are intellectuals still enamored of a system that brought us Stalin, Hitler, and more recently Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il? And what can the United States learn from Sweden about free enterprise and capitalism?
Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Kevin Williamson, who is deputy managing editor of National Review and author of a new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, to discuss the meaning of socialism in history and the current moment.
North Korean defector reveals how rogue state sends female agents to have children with foreign politicians, businessmen and journalists.
Julian Ryall reports: North Korea has blackmailed dozens, if not hundreds, of politicians, journalists and businessmen after seducing them with female agents, a former elite North Korean official has revealed.
“These men are specifically targeted because of their value to the North. Politicians are good because they have a lot of influence, wealthy businessmen can provide economic benefits and religious figures can give them money through their charities.”
In a scheme called “the seed-bearing programme”, high-level visitors to Pyongyang would be sent an attractive consort, only to find out several months later that they have a child in North Korea.
Politicians would then be blackmailed to pass legislation favouring North Korea or to increase aid. Journalists would be asked to write positive stories and businessmen urged to set up joint ventures with local companies.
The scheme was dreamed up and put into action by Kim Jong-il, the father of present-day North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to Jang Jin-sung, the official poet to the North Korean regime and one of the elite few known as “The Admitted” before he defected in January 2004.
“They will do anything they need to in order to keep the regime going,” Mr Jang, the founder and editor of New Focus web site, said.
“It doesn’t matter to them if something is criminal and, to be honest, the seed-bearing programme is nothing compared to what they are willing to do,” he said.
“The regime mainly targets foreigners who go to Pyongyang and, over time, build up a friendship with the woman who has been assigned to them as a translator or assistant,” Mr Jang said. “But these women are in reality agents of the regime.
“The men don’t want to believe they have been fooled, they want to think that it is a genuine relationship.
“Some months later, when the man has left Pyongyang, he is told that the woman has had a baby.
“These men are specifically targeted because of their value to the North,” Mr Jang said. “Politicians are good because they have a lot of influence, wealthy businessmen can provide economic benefits and religious figures can give them money through their charities.”
A secondary benefit to North Korea is that the children are brought up fiercely loyal to the regime and, with looks that are a combination of cultures, can be infiltrated into other countries as agents, Mr Jang said.
‘When Kim Jong Il would arrive in his vehicle, 60- to 70-year old advisors would run away and throw themselves onto the grass…they wanted to hide from him’Posted: November 7, 2014
North Korean Defector: ‘I was Kim Jong Il’s Bodyguard’
SEOUL — Head butting stacked tiles, smashing a slab of granite on your chest with a mallet, breaking light bulbs with one finger. All vital qualifications if you want a job protecting the elite of North Korea.
Propaganda footage from North Korean TV shows a staggering array of physical feats, using taekwondo and other martial arts. Visually impressive — although it’s not certain how the skills would keep an armed assassin at bay.
“As power was handed down to the third generation, it became crueler. Kim Jong Un has created loyalty, but it is fake and based on fear.”
Lee Young-guk was bodyguard to the late Kim Jong Il for 10 years until just before he took control of North Korea. He says he went through very similar training before he was considered fit to protect a leader.
“Lee knew the North Korean leader was cruel when he was serving him. But, he says, it was only after he escaped to South Korea, his new home, that he realized Kim was a true dictator — as his father Kim Il Sung had been before him, and his son and current leader Kim Jong Un is now.”
“It’s tough training,” says Lee. “But why do it? It’s to build up loyalty. A handgun won’t win a war and taekwondo serves nothing but the spirit, but it creates loyalty.”
In an interview at CNN’s Seoul bureau, Lee says his training also involved more traditional methods. Target practice, physical, tactical and weight training, swimming and using a boat. But that’s only part of the preparation. Read the rest of this entry »