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OH HELL YEAH: U.S. Urges All Nationals In North Korea To ‘Depart Immediately’, Bans Tourists From Visiting

YA THINK? The U.S. is to ban its citizens from travelling to North Korea.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that the ban would be published next week in the Federal Register, to come into effect 30 days later.

US officials linked the move to the death of jailed American student Otto Warmbier.

Once the ban is in effect, US citizens will need special validation to travel to or within North Korea.

Mr Warmbier travelled to North Korea with Young Pioneer Tours. He was arrested in 2016 for trying to steal a propaganda sign and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was returned to the US in a coma in June and died a week later.

How did the news come to light?

Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours, who both operate in North Korea, revealed on Friday that they had been told of the upcoming ban by the Swedish embassy, which acts for the US as Washington has no diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

Rowan Beard, of Young Pioneer Tours, told the BBC the embassy was urging all US nationals to depart immediately.

He said the embassy was trying to check on the number of US tourists left in the country.

What form will the ban take?

Ms Nauert’s statement said: “Due to mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, the Secretary has authorised a Geographical Travel Restriction on all US nationals’ use of a passport to travelling through, or to North Korea.

“Once in effect, US passports will be invalid for travel to, through, and in North Korea, and individuals will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea.

“We intend to publish a notice in the Federal Register next week.

“The restriction will be implemented 30 days after publication.”

Rowan Beard said that the 30-day grace period would “give leeway for any [Americans] currently in the country as tourists or on humanitarian work”.

How have the travel agencies reacted?

Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours told the BBC the agency would still conduct tours and take Americans until the ban came into effect.

“If their country allows them to go, we will take them,” he said.

Mr Cockerell added: “It’s unfortunate for the industry but also for North Koreans who want to know what Americans are really like.”

After the death of Mr Warmbier, the China-based Young Pioneer Tours announced it would no longer take visitors from the US to the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] North Korea: Pyongyang’s Putdowns Target Obama, Clinton, Kerry 

In another life, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s propaganda chief could have had a heck of a career as an insult comic.

The latest screed from Pyongyang’s unnamed prince of prose (or princes — it’s unclear how many write these gems) was delivered Monday in response to Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., asserting Kim Jong Un was a “whack job.”

Like previous statements, it bucked all norms for engaging in international repartee:

“It is a serious provocation that Gardner, like a psychopath, dare to bear the evil that dares our highest dignity,” the statement said, according to a translation. “It is America’s misfortune that a man mixed in with human dirt like Gardner, who has lost basic judgment and body hair, could only spell misfortune for the United States.”

Kim Jong-un has conducted a series of purges of officials since coming to power

The real-world reference point behind some of the putdowns, most of which are disseminated by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, is unclear. Gardner, for instance, has a full head of hair.

But KCNA has been dealing out hits against U.S. and international politicians for years, perfecting a style that’s veered from jaw-dropping to shockingly racist.

Among the worst insults directed at former President Barack Obama, North Korea in 2014 branded him a “juvenile delinquent,” “clown” and a “dirty fellow.” Obama, the KCNA statement said, was somebody who “does not even have the basic appearances of a human being.” Read the rest of this entry »


NBC’s Report Of Preemptive Strikes On North Korea Contested, Declared ‘Wildly Wrong’

Ryan Pickrell reports: Senior defense officials and administration officials are refuting NBC’s story that the U.S. will launch a preemptive strike on North Korea if it anticipates a sixth nuclear test.

“The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test,” NBC reported Thursday evening. The news outlet, citing multiple intelligence sources, claimed that the U.S. would use destroyers stationed nearby to launch the attack.

Citing multiple high-level sources, several journalists are saying that the report is “wildly wrong,” “crazy,” and “extremely dangerous.” VOA claims that the a “preemptive strike is NOT planned.” … (read more)

Source: The Daily Caller


[VIDEO] HISTORY: Feb. 6, 1959: Titan Launches; Cold War Heats Up 

(1) Titan launch test from Cape Canaveral, only first stage engine tested, 2nd stage only a dummy, engine with 300,000 lbs thrust successful (2) News In Brief – Berlin mayor Willy Brandt arrives in U.S., speaks in English (3) “Virginia” – Fort Meyer VA funeral of 6 bodies returned by Russia, crew of plane shot done by Russia, no word of other 11 crew missing (partial newsreel).

1959: The United States successfully test-fires its first Titan I intercontinental ballistic missile. The threat of global nuclear holocaust moves from the plausible to the likely.

Tony Long The Titan I was not the first ICBM: Both the United States and Soviet Union had already deployed ICBMs earlier in the 1950s (the Atlas A by the Americans, the R-7 by the Russians). But the Titan represented a new generation, a liquid-fueled rocket with greater range and a more powerful payload that upped the ante in the Cold War.

The Titan that the U.S. Air Force successfully launched from Cape Canaveral featured a two-stage titan_1_icbmliquid rocket capable of delivering a 4-megaton warhead to targets 8,000 miles away. A 4-megaton detonation, puny by today’s standards, nevertheless dwarfed the destructive power of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan.

Read the full story here, at WIRED]

The Titan’s range meant that, firing from its home turf, the United States was now capable of hitting targets in Eastern Europe, the western Soviet Union and the Soviet Far East.

The first squadron of Titan I’s was declared operational in April 1962. By the mid-’60s, five squadrons were deployed in the western United States.

The missiles were stored in protective underground silos, but had to be brought to the surface for firing. The Titan II, which began appearing in large numbers during the mid-’60s and eventually supplanted the Titan I, would be the first ICBM that could be launched directly from its silo.

Today, ICBMs can be launched from silos, from mobile launchers and, most effectively, from submarines. Read the rest of this entry »


China Tests Missile With 10 Warheads

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Multi-warhead weapon tested amid growing tensions with the United States.

The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out earlier this month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs. The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by U.S. intelligence agencies, said two officials familiar with reports of the missile test.df-5launch-1

The missile was fired from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in central China and flew to an impact range in the western Chinese desert.

[DF-5 launch]

No other details about the test could be learned. Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross suggested in a statement the test was monitored.

“The [Defense Department] routinely monitors Chinese military developments and accounts for PLA capabilities in our defense plans,” Ross told the Washington Free Beacon.

The test of a missile with 10 warheads is significant because it indicates the secretive Chinese military is increasing the number of warheads in its arsenal.

Estimates of China’s nuclear arsenal for decades put the number of strategic warheads at the relatively low level of around 250 warheads.

U.S. intelligence agencies in February reportedthat China had begun adding warheads to older DF-5 missiles, in a move that has raised concerns for strategic war planners.

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Uploading Chinese missiles from single or triple warhead configurations to up to 10 warheads means the number of warheads stockpiled is orders of magnitude larger than the 250 estimate.

Currently, U.S. nuclear forces—land-based and sea-based nuclear missiles and bombers—have been configured to deter Russia’s growing nuclear forces and the smaller Chinese nuclear force.

Under the 2010 U.S.-Russian arms treaty, the United States is slated to reduce its nuclear arsenal to 1,550 deployed warheads.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

A boost in the Chinese nuclear arsenal to 800 or 1,000 warheads likely would prompt the Pentagon to increase the U.S. nuclear warhead arsenal by taking weapons out of storage.

The new commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, stated during a Senate confirmation hearing in September that he is concerned about China’s growing nuclear arsenal.

“I am fully aware that China continues to modernize its nuclear missile force and is striving for a secure second-strike capability,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Although it continues to profess a ‘no first use’ doctrine, China is re-engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear warheads and continues to develop and test hyper-glide vehicle technologies,” Hyten added. Read the rest of this entry »


Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un Impersonators Give Hongkongers a Fright


[VIDEO] Dr. K: North Korea Would Be the First ‘Insane Regime’ with Long-Range Nukes

“If this occurs, if the North Koreans test an intercontinental ballistic missile, that means they could wipe out Los Angeles tomorrow, if they can mount a warhead on it. That would be the single most important and threatening action that one can imagine for 2017. When Trump says “It’s not going to happen,” I don’t know what he quite means. But if he means a preemptive attack by the United States or something of that sort, we are looking at a crisis of the ultimate proportions.”

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“…he’s aware of the fact that we are looking at what could be a strategic hinge point in history. That would be really serious. This is an insane regime with the ability to push a button and wipe out a U.S. city. That has never happened. We have had the Chinese, the Russians, but they are not insane. That’s quite different. I think he is recognizing we have an issue. I think he ought to be asked in the next press conference, ‘What exactly do you mean by ‘It ain’t gonna happen’?”

(read more)

Source: National Review


[VIDEO] Kim Jong Un Hints of Intercontinental Missile Test Launch

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North Korea Able to Launch Nuclear Warhead on Missile, US Military Official Warns, But Controlling it? Not So Much

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WASHINGTON — North Korea now has the capability to launch a nuclear weapon, a senior U.S. military official said Thursday, adding that while the U.S. believes Pyongyang can mount a warhead on a missile, it’s not clear that it can hit a target.

“It is the threat that keeps me awake at night, primarily because we don’t know what the dear leader in North Korea really is after. Truthfully, they have the capability, right now, to be able to deliver a nuclear weapon. They’re just not sure about re-entry and that’s why they continue to test their systems.”

The official said it appears that North Korea can mount a nuclear warhead on a missile, but may not have the re-entry capabilities for a strategic strike. That would include the ability of the weapon to get back through the atmosphere without burning up and the ability to hit the intended target. The official said North Korea continues to try and overcome those limitations.

The Pentagon continues to revise itscontingency plans regarding a North Korean strike, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity. The military routinely develops plans for all threat possibilities.

“It is the threat that keeps me awake at night,” the official said, “primarily because we don’t know what the dear leader in North Korea really is after. Truthfully, they have the capability, right now, to be able to deliver a nuclear weapon. They’re just not sure about re-entry and that’s why they continue to test their systems.”

U.S. officials have steadily expanded their assessments of Pyongyang’s nuclear abilities. Adm. William Gortney, then-head of U.S. Northern Command, said in March that Pyongyang may have figured out how to make a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a long-range missile. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan and South Korean Governments Expand Unilateral Sanctions Against North Korea

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The government decided Friday to strengthen unilateral sanctions against North Korea using measures such as expanding the range of entities and individuals subject to asset freezes.

The decision follows North Korea’s repeated nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.

The new measures, which are in line with the unilateral sanctions introduced in February, include expanding a reentry ban to include people who have traveled to North Korea.

The government intends to urge Pyongyang to change its position by stringently blocking the departure and entry of people linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments and flow of funds, according to sources.

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“I intend to take further unilateral measures in cooperation with the United States and South Korea,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a meeting of Cabinet ministers concerned with the issue of Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea, held at the Prime Minister’s Office the same day.

[Read the full text here, at The Japan News]

Under the new measures, the range of asset freezes will be expanded to 54 entities and 58 individuals, the sources said.

The list includes a trading company in Liaoning Province, China, that was sanctioned by the United States in September for its alleged involvement in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan Prepares for Nuclear War with North Korea by Warning Citizens to Shelter in Event of Kim Jong-Un Bomb Attack

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Japanese people are bracing themselves for nuclear attack with chilling advise on what to do if Kim Jong-un presses the red button

For the first time since North Korea began a series of nuke tests, people in Japan are being issued with terrifying instruction on how to deal with nuclear war.

A downloadable pamphlet is now available on the island nation’s civil defence website.

Called “Protecting Ourselves against Armed Attacks and Terrorism,” it outlines emergency measures in the event North Korean missiles are fired at the country.

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It bears similarities to the creepy Protect and Survive documents issued in Britain and Northern Ireland during the early 1980s following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Like the UK’s booklet it give top-tips on how to avoid being fried and radiated. Read the rest of this entry »


China’s Internet Boom

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Online experimentation doesn’t have to be limited to tech companies.

Edward Jung It’s tempting to portray the rapid growth of the Chinese Internet as just one more example of China’s efforts to catch up with the West: Alibaba is the eBay of China, Baidu is the Google of China, Didi is the Uber of China, and so on. But China is actually conducting some fascinating experiments with the Internet (see “The Best and Worst Internet Experience in the World“). You just need to look outside the tech sector to notice them.

The most significant innovation is happening not among Chinese Internet companies but in the country’s so-called “real” economy. Corporations in old-school sectors like construction, agriculture, transportation, and banking are pursuing new business models based on big data, social media, and the Internet of things.

These are some of the largest firms of their kind in the world, yet many are young enough to be helmed by their original owner/founders. They’re like ­Rockefeller, Ford, or Carnegie with access to smartphones.

So it’s China’s largest residential-­property developer—not a tech company—that is pioneering the integration of Internet-based technology and services into fully wired communities. Vanke wants to create urban hubs that supply residents with gardens, safe food, travel, entertainment, and medical and educational services, all enabled by the Internet. Read the rest of this entry »


Naval Drill: US and Korean Navies Simulate Strikes Against North Korean Nuke Facilities 

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U.S. and South Korean naval forces are holding a large-scale military exercise this week.

Franz-Stefan Gady reports: In a show of resolve to underline the United States’ defense commitment to the Republic of Korea (ROK) amidst North Korean saber rattling, the United States Navy (USN) and Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) are conducting a series of naval exercises off the Korean peninsula from October 10 to 15, according to a USN press release.

“This exercise is yet another example of the strength and resolve of the combined U.S. and the ROK naval force. The U.S. and the Republic of Korea share one of the strongest alliances in the world, and we grow stronger as an alliance because of our routine exercises here in South Korea and the close relationship and ties that we forge from operating at sea together.”

— Rear Admiral Charles Williams

The six-day joint exercise, dubbed Invincible Spirit, “will consist of a routine bilateral training, subject matter expert exchanges, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare drills, communication drills, air defense exercises, counter-mine planning and distinguished visitor embarkations,” the USN notes.

[Read the full story here, at The Diplomat]

According to South Korean media reports, the exercise also involved long-range strike exercises against North Korea’s nuclear facilities, testing the concept of “Korea Massive Punishment & Retaliation” (KMPR) and improving the strike capabilities of USN and ROKN ship-to-ground missiles. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] North Korea TV Show Mocks Obama

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“Are you all right Mr. President?” the North Korean playing a White House aide said to the other actor whose head is wrapped with a bloody bandage, NK News reported.

“I smacked my head on the bathroom floor and broke four tiles on it,” the president answered, “as I was so shocked from the North’s hydrogen bomb detonation!”

“So Mr. President, you were testing the hardness of your skull while the North was testing its hydrogen bomb? ” the aide joked, according to NK News.

“I smacked my head on the bathroom floor and broke four tiles on it, as I was so shocked from the North’s hydrogen bomb detonation!”

The 80-minute comedy show’s title roughly translates as “The stage of optimism that Songun (military-first policy) presented — Volume 11.” The skit was televised Sept. 1, according to a South Korean government database. Read the rest of this entry »


North Korea Conducts Fifth Nuclear Test as Regime Celebrates National Holiday 

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The governments in both South Korea and Japan convened emergency meetings to discuss the test.

TOKYO — Anna Fifield reports: North Korea conducted its fifth atomic test Friday morning, South Korean officials said, as Kim Jong Un’s regime continues to defy international condemnation of its nuclear and missile programs and waves of sanctions.

The test, which analysts said appeared to be of a large nuclear device, came at exactly 9 a.m. local time on Friday, the 68th anniversary of the formation of the communist regime by Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather, and a national holiday.

Nork-Rally

“We believe this is a nuclear test,” South Korea’s defense ministry said Friday morning after the United States Geological Survey reported a 5.3-magnitude earthquake near Punggye-ri. “Possible explosion, located near the location where North Korea has detonated nuclear explosions in the past,” the USGS said on its website.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

Analysts said that the earthquake was artificial. “USGS is calling it an explosion because it has all the hallmarks: The waveform is sudden, unlike an earthquake, the depth is shallow, the location is the North Korean test site, and it happened on the half-hour,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif.

“This is clearly a nuclear test,” Lewis said, estimating the size at between 10 and 20 kilotons — a size that, if confirmed, would make this the biggest of North Korea’s five tests.

The governments in both South Korea and Japan convened emergency meetings to discuss the test. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: North Korea Unveils Mission to ‘Plant Flag on the Moon’

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PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korean space officials are hard at work on a five-year plan to put more advanced satellites into orbit by 2020, and don’t intend to stop there: They’re also aiming for the moon, and beyond.

“Even though the U.S. and its allies try to block our space development, our aerospace scientists will conquer space and definitely plant the flag of the DPRK on the moon.”

— Hyon Kwang Il, director of the scientific research department of North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration

In an interview with The Associated Press, a senior official at North Korea’s version of NASA said international sanctions won’t stop the country from launching more satellites by 2020, and that he hopes to see the North Korean flag on the moon within the next 10 years.

life-moon

“Even though the U.S. and its allies try to block our space development, our aerospace scientists will conquer space and definitely plant the flag of the DPRK on the moon,” said Hyon Kwang Il, director of the scientific research department of North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration.

North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

An unmanned, no-frills North Korean moon mission in the not-too-distant future isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. Outside experts say it’s ambitious, but conceivable. While the U.S. is the only country to have conducted manned lunar missions, other nations have sent unmanned spacecraft there and have in that sense planted their flags.

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“It would be a significant increase in technology, not one that is beyond them, but you have to debug each bit,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who maintains an exhaustive blog on international satellites and satellite launches, said in an email to the AP. Read the rest of this entry »


Faith in Government Collapsing Everywhere: Kim Jong-Un Photographed Smoking a Cigarette While Visiting a Middle School 

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The heavy smoker had reportedly stopped smoking in public for 80 days after the government intensified its anti-smoking campaign.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has smoked a cigarette while visiting a school, a photo released by the North’s mouthpiece media shows, Sunday.

“It’s difficult to understand why the North Korean media stressed the detrimental effects of smoking and then showed Kim doing exactly that.”

In images provided by Korean Central Television (KCT), Kim is seen smoking in a gym and in a classroom while touring a middle school in Pyongyang.

The heavy smoker had reportedly stopped smoking in public for 80 days after the government intensified its anti-smoking campaign.

But he resumed smoking earlier last month at the Mangyongdae Children’s Camp in Pyongyang.

A North Korea expert said Kim may have resumed smoking in public to inspire nostalgia toward North Korean founder Kim Il-sung, who also smoked. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Japanese Professor Collects North Korean Everyday Objects

Professor Toshio Miyatsuka is one of Japan’s leading experts on North Korea. He has filled his office with mundane objects such as toys and packs of cigarettes, all from the Hermit Kingdom. Photo: Miho Inada/The Wall Street Journal

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[VIDEO] North Korea’s Satellite-Launch Plan Condemned

The U.S., South Korea and Japan condemned North Korea’s plan to launch a long-range rocket that Pyongyang says is carrying an earth-observation satellite. Photo: Airbus Defense & Space and 38 North satellite imagery.


[PHOTOS] Military Parade, North Korea


[PHOTOS] North Korea Celebrates 70th Anniversary with Massive Military Parade

North Korea Anniversary

North Korea Celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Ruling Worker’s Party with a Massive Military Parade in the Streets of Pyongyang

Participants wave flowers towards North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (not pictured) as they pass through Kim Il-Sung square during a mass military parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

Participants wave flowers towards North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (not pictured) as they pass through Kim Il-Sung square during a mass military parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party. ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

North Korean soldiers ride atop armoured vehicles during a mass military parade at Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korean soldiers ride atop armoured vehicles during a mass military parade at Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party. ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

Participants wave flowers towards North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (not pictured) as they pass through Kim Il-Sung square during a mass military parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

Participants wave flowers towards North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (not pictured) as they pass through Kim Il-Sung square during a mass military parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party. ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

See more here

Source: TIME


The New Steve Jobs?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attends a military dril


[VIDEO] Most Corrupt Nation on Earth: 26 Surprising Facts About North Korea

North Korea is officially the most corrupt country in the World. The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks every country in the world from 0 to 100, based on how corrupt it is, with a score of 0 being very corrupt and 100 meaning very clean. Every year North Korea ties with Somalia for last place. Let’s uncover the most disturbing facts about the World’s favourite hermit kingdom.

 


[VIDEO] Kim Jong Un’s High-Caliber Purge

South Korean intelligence reports executions of a number of high North Korean officials by supreme leader Kim Jong Un, using methods including antiaircraft fire. The WSJ’s Deborah Kan talks about what the recent purge could mean for the Hermit Kingdom.

 


[VIDEO] North Korea: Satellite Imagery Captures What Analysts Say is Public Execution 북한 공개처형 장면 위성사진에 포착

A U.S. civic group has released satellite images of North Korea that appear to show a public execution

Radio Free Asia reported Thursday that the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea made public its analysis report on the photos that were taken last October from above a military training area located near Pyongyang.

Analysts indentified six anti-aircraft machine guns lined up across from some blurry objects with distinct shadows that appear to be people also lined up side-by-side on a firing range.

Whatever… or whoever… was in the images was no longer there in another picture taken nine days later.

The committee says the most plausible explanation is that a public execution had taken place there.

 

 


Kim Jong Un’s Defense Chief Hyon Yong-chol Publicly Executed with Anti-Aircraft Fire

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North Korea’s Defense Minister Hyon Yong-chol executed for showing disloyalty to leader Kim Jong-un

MPs were told Mr Hyon was killed on 30 April by anti-aircraft fire in front of an audience of hundreds, the Yonhap news agency reports.

“It said the ‘most plausible explanation’ for the image was a ‘gruesome public execution’ by anti-aircraft fire.”

It said Mr Hyon had fallen asleep during an event attended by Kim Jong-un and had not carried out instructions.

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“Mr. Hyon had fallen asleep during an event attended by Kim Jong-un and had ‘not carried out instructions’.”

South Korea said a senior military officer was also killed. The news comes weeks after the reported panic-bettyexecution of 15 senior officials.

Among them were two vice-ministers who had challenged Mr Kim over his policies and members of an orchestra, the South’s National Intelligence Agency (NIS) said at the time.

Analysts told the BBC that while reshuffles of officials were commonplace in North Korea, the execution of a figure as close to Mr Kim as Mr Hyon was surprising and could give cause for concern about the country’s stability.

Of the seven pallbearers at former leader Kim Jong-il's 2011 funeral, apart from Kim Jong-un, all have either been executed, have lost their jobs or have not been seen in some time

Of the seven pallbearers at former leader Kim Jong-il‘s 2011 funeral, apart from Kim Jong-un, all have either been executed, have lost their jobs or have not been seen in some time

Hyon Yong-chol, as defence minister, was as close to Kim Jong-un as it is possible to get.

“Such a public and brutal method of execution as obliteration by anti-aircraft gun would emphasize the cost of disloyalty.”

Intelligence reports always have to be treated with skepticism but, in this case, the claims of the South Korean spy agency will be easy to verify. If they are not true, the defense minister would appear again in public.

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Earlier, the South Korean agency said that senior officials were being executed at the rate of one a week. It all adds up to a picture of a leader in Pyongyang who feels very insecure and who is dangerous in his insecurity.

“‘This is indicative of Kim Jong-un’s impulsive decision-making’ and a sign of a leader who is ‘not feeling secure’…’entirely a demonstration of power and authority.'”

— Mike Madden of North Korea Leadership Watch

Mr Hyon is believed to have been a general since 2010, though little is known about him. He served on the committee for late leader Kim Jong-il’s funeral in December 2011, an indication of his growing influence.

Kim Jong-un has conducted a series of purges of officials since coming to power

Kim Jong-un has conducted a series of purges of officials since coming to power

He was appointed defence minister last year. NK News said he last appeared in state media a day before the alleged execution date. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Dwarf Village’: A Shining Example of North Korea’s Spectacular Human Rights Record

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Little people sterilized, forced to live in remote area

TOKYO –   reports: The abuse of North Koreans who have dwarfism, a genetic condition that produces short bodies and disproportionate limbs, is the latest disclosure of widespread human rights abuses within the country. A U.N. commission report a year ago charged the regime with “crimes against humanity.”

Several North Korean defectors disclosed the existence of the village, called Yeonha-Ri, and said it is located in Kimhyongjik County, a border region in northeastern Ryanggang Province. The province is named after North Korea’s founding dictator Kim Il-Sung’s father, Kim Hyong-Jik.

“It is tempting to see the treatment of little people as evidence of the revolutionary state’s obsession with the purity of the race…”

Dwarfs are persecuted by the regime under a policy that combines Korean superstitions about physical deformities manifesting from personal or ancestral sin, and the hardline communist regime’s demand that all citizens must work, according to North Korean defectors.

“…But when you consider that Kim Il-Sung himself had a goiter the size of a fist on his neck that didn’t appear to disqualify him from leadership, I fear we have to look for other explanations.”

— Michael Breen, a Seoul-based specialist on North Korea

As part of the anti-dwarf measures, all people under 120 centimeters in height, or just under four feet, have been forced to relocate to the farming village at Yeonha-Ri.

One defector, who disclosed details of the village on condition of anonymity, said the North Korean government originally planned to exterminate the dwarfs as part of a policy of eliminating those within the population with undesirable physical traits. But concerns about international reaction to the population “cleansing” instead resulted in allowing the dwarfs to set up the farming village.

“I think that in this case…the nanny state in its zeal for social engineering is simply expressing the harsh and superstitious culture that it derives from.”

The goal of the separation is to prevent the dwarfs from marrying and reproducing. To that end, they are forced to undergo sterilization.

Also, North Korean dwarfs face a greater risk of starvation because they are not given the same food rations as other North Koreas.

Travel is also restricted under the dubious claim that as little people the dwarfs could be crushed while riding on crowded train cars.

The defector said stories related to the village include reports that during some of North Korea’s frequent famines, women would move in with Yeonha-Ri’s men who had reputations for being resourceful and good providers.

Michael Breen, a Seoul-based specialist on North Korea, said the treatment of the dwarfs is typical of the systematic abuse of human rights in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Christopher Hitchens on North Korea

The late Author-journalist Christopher Hitchens describes the state of fear he witnessed during a visit to North Korea.

LibertyPen.com – h/t 

 


‘You Need to Pay Al’: How Sharpton Gets Paid to Not Cry ‘Racism’ at Corporations

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Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein report: Want to influence a casino bid? Polish your corporate image? Not be labeled a racist?

Then you need to pay Al Sharpton.

For more than a decade, corporations have shelled out thousands of dollars in donations and consulting fees to Sharpton’s National Action Network. What they get in return is the reverend’s supposed sway in the black community or, more often, his silence.

“Al Sharpton has enriched himself and NAN for years by threatening companies with bad publicity if they didn’t come to terms with him.”

 – Ken Boehm, National Legal & Policy Center chairman

Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal met with the activist preacher after leaked emails showed her making racially charged comments about President Obama. Pascal was under siege after a suspected North Korean cyberattack pressured the studio to cancel its release of “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of dictator Kim Jong-un.

Pascal and her team were said to be “shaking in their boots” and “afraid of the Rev,” The Post reported.

No payments to NAN have been announced, but Sharpton and Pascal agreed to form a “working group” to focus on racial bias in Hollywood.

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Sony exec Amy Pascal leaves her hotel after a meeting with Sharpton. Photo: ZUMAPRESS

Sharpton notably did not publicly assert his support for Pascal after the meeting — what observers say seems like a typical Sharpton “shakedown” in the making. Pay him in cash or power, critics say, and you buy his support or silence.

“We cannot be silent while African-Americans spend hard-earned dollars with a company that does not hire, promote or do business with us in a statistically significant manner.”

 – Sharpton in a 2003 email to Honda

“Al Sharpton has enriched himself and NAN for years by threatening companies with bad publicity if they didn’t come to terms with him. Put simply, Sharpton specializes in shakedowns,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal & Policy Center, a Virginia-based watchdog group that has produced a book on Sharpton.081602Levy03tah

And Sharpton, who now boasts a close relationship with Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio, is in a stronger negotiating position than ever.

“Once Sharpton’s on board, he plays the race card all the way through,” said a source who has worked with the Harlem preacher. “He just keeps asking for more and more money.”

Horse in the race

One example of Sharpton’s playbook has emerged in tax filings and a state inspector general’s report.

In 2008, Plainfield Asset Management, a Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund, made a $500,000 contribution to New York nonprofit Education Reform Now. That money was immediately funneled to the National Action Network.

The donation raised eyebrows. Although the money was ostensibly to support NAN’s efforts to bring “educational equality,” it also came at a time that Plainfield was trying to get a lucrative gambling deal in New York.

Plainfield had a $250 million stake in Capital Play, a group trying to secure a license to run the coming racino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Capital Play employed a lobbyist named Charlie King, who also was the acting executive director of NAN.

Sharpton has said that most of the Plainfield contribution went to pay King’s salary.

King’s company, the Movement Group, was paid $243,586 by NAN in 2008, tax records show. Read the rest of this entry »


North Korea’s Honey Trap Scheme Revealed

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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.

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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.

North Korea Anniversary

“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.

Read the rest of this entry »


Smuggle This List into North Korea: Where to Find ‘The Interview’ on Christmas Day

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Sarene Leeds reports: Below (after the jump) is Sony’s completed Christmas Day release list as of this morning, but click here throughout the day for updates and for the theaters that plan to show “The Interview” starting Jan. 1.

And if you need a quick refresher on what this film is all about (North Korea, killing Kim Jong-un, bumbling journalists, Lizzy Caplan as a CIA agent – you know, harmless stuff), here are three teasers.

[Update: You can also watch “The Interview” online, starting today at 1 p.m. via YouTube Movies, Google Play, Microsoft Xbox, and at Sony’s site, seetheinterview.com. It will cost $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to purchase an HD version.]

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dr. Evil on Saturday Night Live: Mike Myers Mocks North Korea and Sony

SNL” veteran Mike Myers returned to the show on Saturday as Dr. Evil to mock North Korea’s cyber war with Sony Pictures.

The Austin Powers nemesis, appearing in the show’s opening sketch, ripped everyone from the hackers (“There’s already a GOP and they’re already an evil organization”) to Sony, who, according to Dr. Evil “hasn’t had a hit since the Walkman.”

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He also poked fun of “The Interview.” Read the rest of this entry »


‘Hacker in Chief’ Sony Flick Nix Wrong: Bam New York Post Cover, December 20, 2014

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Here’s One Way to Turn the Cyberattack on Sony Back on North Korea

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Drop ‘The Interview’ on Pyongyang

Sony might fear retribution if it did this, but an alternative would be for the U.S. government to buy the movie rights from Sony and release it into the public domain. 

U.S. officials are saying they think North Korea is responsible for the hacking of Sony Pictures, and perhaps also the threats that led the studio to cancel release of “The Interview.” Outsiders aren’t so sure, but the U.S. presumably has evidence others don’t. If the Obama Administration believes the evidence, the question is what it will do about it.

“Chinese netizens love to mock Kim, and North Koreans like to watch movies smuggled across the border from China. Perhaps the CIA could dub the movie into Korean to make sure it gets to its target audience.”

Park Sang Hak, a North Korean defector now living in the South, has an idea. Mr. Park, whom we profiled last year, puts information about the outside world along with movies and television programs on USB drives, which he floats into the North on balloons. The Kim Jong Un regime has labeled him “enemy zero” and sent an assassin to kill him with a poison-tipped pen. For real.

Mr. Park wants to include “The Interview” on future balloon launches. But there is another way to make sure that the movie gets the giant audience that Kim fears, even in North Korea: Make it free. Read the rest of this entry »


Hollywood: Break the Movie Industry

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[VIDEO] Yeonmi Park: Escaping North Korea

Yeonmi Park tells her story of life in North Korea and calls for action against such human rights violators. Yeonmi was speaking at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin. Click here to see the full transcript in Korean.

I have to do this because this is not just I am speaking… This is for the people who want to tell the world what they want to say.

North Korea is an unnatural country. There is only one channel on TV and there is no internet. We aren’t free to sing, say, wear or think what we want.

North Korea is the only country in the world that executes people for making unauthorized international phone calls.

North Koreans are being terrorized today.

When I was growing up in North Korea, I never saw anything about love stories between man and woman, no books, no songs, no press, no movies about love stories. There is no Romeo and Juliet, every stories were propagandized to brainwash about the Kim dictators.

Yeonmi-Park

I was born in 1993 and I was abducted at birth even before I knew the words ‘freedom’ or ‘human rights’. North Koreans are desperately seeking and dying for freedom at this moment…

When I was 9 years old, I saw my friend’s mother publicly executedHer crime? Watching a Hollywood movie.

North Korea Anniversary

Expressing doubt about the regime can get 3 generations of whole family imprisoned or executed.

When I was 4 years old, I was warned by my mother, not to even whisper, the birds and mice could hear me. I admitted it. I thought the North Korean dictator could read my mind. My father died in China after we escaped North Korea. And I have to bury him at 3 am in secret. I was only 14 years old. I couldn’t even cry, I was afraid to be sent back to North Korea.

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The day I escaped North Korea, I saw my mother raped. The rapist was a Chinese broker. He had targeted me. I was only 13 years old. There is a saying in North Korea, “Women are weak, but mothers are strong”. My mother allowed herself to be raped in order to protect me.

North Korean refugees, about 300,000 are roaming over in China. 70 percent of North Korean women and teenage girls are being victimized and sometimes sold for as a little as 200 dollars. We walked across the Gobi desert following a compass and when it stopped working, we followed the stars to freedom. I felt only the stars are with us. Mongolia was our freedom moment.

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Death or dignity; I was with the knife, we were prepared to kill ourselves if we are going to be send back to North Korea. We wanted to live as humans…

People often ask me, “How can we help North Koreans?”. There are many ways but I would like to mention 3 for now.

One, as you care yourself, you can raise awareness about human crisis in North Korea.

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Two, help and support North Korean refugees who are trying to escape for freedom.

Three, petition China to stop repatriation. Read the rest of this entry »


New Kim on the Block: The Rise of Kim Jong Un’s Little Sister

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TIME

At last, a North Korea rumor proves true: all year, Korea watchers have been buzzing about the rise of Kim Jong Un’s little sister, Kim Yo Jong. She popped up at her father Kim Jong Il’s December 2011 funeral, then reappeared next to her brother on election day in March of this year. (Yes, North Korea has elections, of sorts.) Experts speculated that her presence at a high-profile political event signaled that she was on the rise within the regime but, as with many things in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as it is officially called, the theory was just that — until now.

On Thursday, Nov. 26, in an otherwise humdrum account of Kim Jong Un’s visit to a cartoon studio, state media listed Kim Yo Jong as “vice department director” in the powerful Central Committee of the ruling Worker’s Party. In March, when she was…

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North Korea Holds Massive Rally Against UN Human Rights Resolution

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PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea held a mass rally Tuesday in its capital to protest a United Nations resolution condemning its human rights record.

Thousands of protesters in Kim Il Sung Square carried banners praising their leaders and condemning the United States. Such mass rallies are organized by the government and are used to express its official line.

North Korea has denounced the U.N. resolution, which is the first to urge the Security Council to refer the issue to the International Criminal Court. That would open the possibility of its autocratic leader, Kim Jong Un, being targeted by prosecutors. The non-binding resolution is to come before the U.N. General Assembly in the coming weeks. Read the rest of this entry »


‘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’

A file picture taken on March 3, 2001 sh

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.

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“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.”

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People's Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People’s Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

Bodyguards ‘brainwashed’

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 »


ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING: Former Top Official Says Kim Jong-un Is No Longer in Control of North Korea: Coup Brewing?

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North Korea capital ‘under lockdown’

VICE News reports:

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.

The Telegraph reports:

Kim Jong-un's failure to attend a session in parliament have prompted rumours about his health and suggestions that there had been a coup Photo: REUTERS/KCNA

Kim Jong-un’s failure to attend a session in parliament have prompted rumors that there had been a coup REUTERS/KCNA

“This sort of action suggests there has either been an attempted coup or that the authorities there have uncovered some sort of plot against the leadership,” Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo’s Waseda University and an authority on North Korean affairs, told The Telegraph. 

“If it is a military-backed coup, then the situation in Pyongyang will be very dangerous and I have heard reports that Kim has been moved out of the capital,” he said.

Hot Air’s ALLAPUNDIT comments:

Another possibility, via the same professor, is that the city’s been locked down not to keep people out but to keep them in — specifically, to block the escape routes of any senior officials who might be trying to defect, whether because they’re complicit in the coup attempt or simply terrified of the chaos of the power struggle. Any reason to treat this as credible, given that the “lockdown” report originated on a website run by North Korean exiles opposed to the regime? Well, there’s the little matter of Kim Jong-un’s mysterious and coincidental disappearance from public view this month. Supposedly he’s ill but maybe his condition is, shall we say, a bit graver than that. Or maybe he’s just a puppet whose puppeteer doesn’t want him putting on shows right now for whatever reason. The founder of the website that broke the “lockdown” news told Vice in an interview that, in reality, Kim hasn’t governed the country for more than a year. He’s a figurehead. And figureheads can be replaced.

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.

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A wall painting of a picture Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. (Photo via Flickr)

“Jang, however, believes the coup actually happened in 2013, and says Kim Jong-un is only serving as a puppet leader with officials from the OGD pulling the strings.”

“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.”

“When Jang Sung-taek was executed that was, basically, that totally broke everything,” Jang said. “You just can’t touch a Kim family member publicly… It’s the OGD’s claim to legitimacy. It’s them saying no one is more legitimate than them. By Jang dying, Kim Jong-un is now surrounded by the OGD.”

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.

Rumors abound about the cause of his absence, including a report from South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo that he recently underwent surgery after fracturing both of his ankles “during a grueling tour of military bases and factories in Cuban heels.” The South Korean news agency Yonhap cited anonymous sources saying that Kim, a heavy smoker who has become markedly plump since assuming the role of dictator, is “suffering from gout, along with hyperuricemia, hyperlipidemia, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.” Read the rest of this entry »