Wednesday, June 30, 2010


An article in a Chinese state publication defined the Korean War as an invasion by North Korea. It is an incredible statement for a state news publication to have made.

In its feature on the 60th anniversary of the start of the 1950-53 Korean War, the International Herald Leader, a newsweekly of the Xinhua News Agency, said the North Korean army launched the war by crossing the 38th parallel and seizing South Korean capital Seoul in three days.

The article immediately drew attention, with some placing significance on China’s first admission of military aggression by North Korea at the start of the war.

However, the article was soon removed from the weekly’s Web site as well as the sites of Xinhua and other portals. It is suspected that the Beijing government had a hand in removing the pieces, fearing the repercussions from North Korea.

JoongAng Daily

H/T One Free Korea

Sunday, June 27, 2010

DPRK Propaganda

Kim Jong-il in his role as comforting parent of the entire Korean people mourning the loss of Kim Il-sung
(more pictures here)

B. R Myers, whose book The Cleanest Race sits unread on my bookshelf, believes that the key to understanding North Korea is in its propaganda and that while it is sometimes almost impossible not to laugh at its po-faced naiivete, the themes that emerge are genuinely believed in. He also thinks that some of the assumptions made about North Korea are shown to be incorrect when the propaganda is carefully studied. In particular Myers points out that Communism, or even the official Juche philosophy, is only given lip-service by the Kim regime and that the real driving ideology is an extreme nationalism that has elements of racial superiority. According to him the DPRK sees Koreans as a unique race that can only be protected from a hostile outside world by the Kim family, whereas the decadent lackeys of Western imperialism in the south are allowing this unique blood to be sullied by outsiders. In an FP article in which he sketches out his theory he writes:

"Our nation has always considered its pure lineage to be of great importance," a North Korean general told his South Korean counterpart during a 2006 meeting to discuss realignment of the maritime border between the two states. "Since ancient times our lands have been one of abundant natural beauty," he said. "Not even one drop of ink must be allowed."

Kim Canute

The belief in a specifically Korean natural beauty that must be defended against a hostile outside world is sometimes depicted as in the pitcure above of Kim Jong-il on a wave-swept beach staring defiantly at the storm. Myers sharply observes in his book that Kim Jong-il took advantage of such imagery when Bill Clinton went to the DPRK to negotiate the release of the reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling as the group photograph of Kim sitting (again with a somewhat defiant or stroke-addled expression) in front of more paintings of waves behind them shows.

This propaganda can only work, however, if foreigners - particularly the Americans and the Japanese (from whom Myers says a lot of North Korean propaganda slogans were adopted) along with support from their south Korean lackeys  are depicted as incorrigibly dangerous and anti-Korean. Along the streets billboards showing the Yankee soldiers succumbing to massive Korean fists are common while children are given any and every opportunity to learn about their hated enemy.

Here's a picture I took of a children's game at the funfair in Pyongyang. I think it may be called, "Kill the Yankee Imperialist Aggressors", although Myers gives some rather more alarming examples of indocrination in his article.

Even the English-language propaganda isn't shy about using racial epithets that are completely unacceptable in the West these days. So, for example, the programme I bought for a revolutionary opera called Sea of Blood has a couple of eyecatching captions:

Myers sees something distinctly ominous about this racially-driven propaganda in the likely impossibility of an agreement being reached on the Korean peninsula.

What is especially significant and perhaps unique about North Korean nationalism is its emphasis on the vulnerability of the race. Whereas World War II-era Japan's racialized worldview equated virtue with strength, the North Koreans are taught that their virtue has rendered them as vulnerable as children in an evil world -- unless they are protected by a great leader who keeps a watchful eye on military readiness.

Unfortunately for the United States, there is no place in this for any improvement in relations between the two countries. Were Kim Jong Il to abandon his ideology of paranoid, race-based nationalism and normalize relations with Washington, his personality cult would lose all justification, while his impoverished country would lose all reason to exist as a separate Korean state.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

"angrysoba was never banned, but he is a pain in the ass. I really wouldn't mind if he dropped dead. Feel free to go over to his blog and denounce North Korea with him."

Kim Hyun Hee on the Cheonan

Kim Hyun Hee, believes that Kim Jong-il ordered the Cheonan sinking.

Story here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

North Korea in the World Cup

Uh-oh! North Korea caught illegally broadcasting World Cup Games!

But North Korea's first game was a pretty impressive performance against Brazil in which they lost 2-1.

c/o One Free Korea

Update: Portugal 7 - North Korea 0 LOL!

Update 2: In light of the DPRK's highly embarrassing defeat at the hands of Portugal, some people are worried about the fate of the players.

A good article here:

When the US soccer team is getting slaughtered, Americans tend to turn their TVs off before the game's over. When Portugal slaughtered North Korea's soccer team Monday night, it was the government who turned the TVs off.

After Portugal delivered a humiliating 7-0 defeat to North Korea, the game's broadcast there immediately shut off. The team hasn't played at the World Cup in 44 years, and the authoritarian state's Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station aired Monday's game live, purportedly North Korea's first-ever live Cup broadcast. With the communist country's history of human rights violations that include public executions, many are worrying for the safety of the North Korean soccer team. Are those fears well-founded?

Please read on to find out.

Update 3: Well, that wraps that up: North Korea 0 - Ivory Coast 3

Monday, June 14, 2010

North Korean Art

Excellent collection of North Korean art here.

And here's one I took in Pyongyang:

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

North Korea Kills Chinese Citizens

In further attempts to shrug off its image as a country run by deranged and psychopathic leaders and to appear normal, North Korea has shot dead three Chinese citizens across the DPRK-China border at Dandong.

This has even tested the patience of the Beijing government which tries hard not to get excitable about such things.


The ever-excellent Barbara Demick has a report on this story in the LA Times:

The irony of China's protest over last week's shooting was not lost on South Korea.

"This time it is their citizens who are killed, and they show they are not so naive after all about North Korea," said Kim Tae Jin, a North Korean defector and human rights activist in Seoul. However, he applauded China's protest of the shooting. China needs to show North Korean leader Kim Jong Il "that he can't get away with whatever he wants," Kim said.

Resistance is Useless!

Ahmadinejad Stresses Need for New World Order

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday called for cooperation among world states to forge a new world order.


HT: Screw Loose Change

I wonder if he'll be at Bilderberg this year.

"no, AS"


On page 65 of Christopher Hitchens' memoir "Hitch 22", during a chapter in which he recounts his experiences at a school for posh nobs in Cambridge, he writes:

More intriguing to me and my young contemporaries, restlessly modern as we aspired to be in the early 1960s, was the chance to walk past the Cavendish Laboratories and see where the atom had been first split, or to pass by the Rose and Crown pub, into which Crick and Watson had strolled with exaggerated nonchalance one lunchtime to announce that with the double helix they had uncovered "the secret of existence."

In the same way Hitchens crossed out the quote from conspiraloon Gore Vidal on the back of his book and scrawled, "no, CH" I had to do something similar over the twee-sounding "Rose and Crown" in the above quote as it was The Eagle in which the eminent scientists Crick and Watson toasted their discovery.

This picture is of the plaque on the wall of The Eagle and was, apparently, taken by someone going by the name of Richard Carter. So, thanks for the picture.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Andrei Lankov Predicts Russia's Verdict on the Cheonan Sinking...

Speculation is high as a team of Russian experts, sent to South Korea to review the findings of the multinational investigation into the [sinking of the Cheonan] incident, returned home Monday to report to Moscow, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

But regardless of what its experts determine, a prominent North Korea expert here expects Russia to avoid taking a firm stance on the findings, as it has too much to lose by supporting either side...

..."It might have indeed been North Korea," [Lankov] said, taking the voice of the Russian government. "But the evidence is not sufficient and so it is better not to jump to conclusions and drive tensions higher. Let's forget about this unfortunate incident as soon as possible."

Korea Times

Essentially, Andrei Lankov believes Russia has nothing to gain by concluding too firmly whether or not they agree with the international investigation's conclusion into the sinking of the Cheonan.

B R Myers on the sinking of the Cheonan


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Crazy, Irresponsible Yankees Rule Out Nukes!

In not-particularly surprising news the Yankee Imperialist Aggressors "United States" has ruled out blasting the ocean floor with a nuclear bomb to cap an oil-well which it abetted its neo-imperialist greed monkeys, BP, Transocean and Halliburton into bursting. As mentioned before there had been some speculation that a nuclear bomb would be the only thing to stop the oil leak not just from spewing more of its poison into the ocean but from killing off all worthwhile life on Earth!!!1! (i.e not including cockroaches and other stuff like that).

The New York Times has a story about how such "crazy" talk is just crazy talk and that there is no way the US is going to resort to nukes to stop the relentlessly oozing spill:

The chatter began weeks ago as armchair engineers brainstormed for ways to stop the torrent of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico: What about nuking the well?

Decades ago, the Soviet Union reportedly used nuclear blasts to successfully seal off runaway gas wells, inserting a bomb deep underground and letting its fiery heat melt the surrounding rock to shut off the flow. Why not try it here?


Stephanie Mueller, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department, said that neither Energy Secretary Steven Chu nor anyone else was thinking about a nuclear blast under the gulf. The nuclear option was not — and never had been — on the table, federal officials said.

“It’s crazy,” one senior official said.

Government and private nuclear experts agreed that using a nuclear bomb would be not only risky technically, with unknown and possibly disastrous consequences from radiation, but also unwise geopolitically — it would violate arms treaties that the United States has signed and championed over the decades and do so at a time when President Obama is pushing for global nuclear disarmament.

So, it's all just crazy talk, eh? And yet, even the article itself points out that this is just the kind of crazy talk that the New York Times engaged in too...

But if it really is crazy talk this does, of course, raise the uncomfortable question: "Got any better ideas?"

The atomic option is perhaps the wildest among a flood of ideas proposed by bloggers, scientists and other creative types who have deluged government agencies and BP, the company that drilled the well, with phone calls and e-mail messages. The Unified Command overseeing the Deepwater Horizon disaster features a “suggestions” button on its official Web site and more than 7,800 people have already responded, according to the site.
Among the suggestions: lowering giant plastic pillows to the seafloor and filling them with oil, dropping a huge block of concrete to squeeze off the flow and using magnetic clamps to attach pipes that would siphon off the leaking oil.

Well, that's reassuring! This, on the other hand, is not:

Not everyone on the Internet is calling for nuking the well. Some are making jokes.