[Update: Coordinates corrected.]
[Update 2:Digg the story here.]
Reader “kdehead” dropped a comment on another post below, with a link to a Google Earth image of a field near of the “ghost cities” I’d described in this post. Here is part of the image he links (click for full size):
Here is his comment:
::Here is :
slightly OT”¦ but what is this?
[link to image]
are they trenches/pits with prisoners?
note the bottom one – half full.
the one above – two bunches separated
next one up – full
and the one at the top – full
note the treadmarks/paths in the snow.
are we seeing mass execution pits , or mass burial pits because of famine?? anyone care to throw their two cents of speculation into what we are seeing here.
The resolution makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions, beyond these: there are several long pits in a field, and some of them are filled or half-filled with elongated white objects approximately as long as a set of tire tracks is wide. I emphasize: I don’t claim to know just what we’re looking at here with any degree of certainty, so I’m asking readers for their best guesses. Maybe a smarter reader can give another plausible explanation.
On the other hand, the suggestion that this is a burial site doesn’t seem implausible on its face. We do know that the North Korean famine killed between 600,000 and 3.5 million people. We know that many of the dead were buried in mass graves (keep reading for an eyewitness account). In Korean tradition, white is the color of mourning. Note also that Andrew Natsios, for Administrator of USAID, now Special Envoy on Darfur, and previously World Vision’s North Korea Director, has previously described witnessing a mass burial of famine victims from across the Chinese border. His description is chillingly consistent with this image.
I’ve been to famines before. I’ve watched mass burial in North Korea on Tumen River”¦ went up undercover in October, November of 1998″³ when he was across the river with his South Korean friend, Ven. Beopryun, he said.
“We were in China, and we had telescopes, and they dumped 29 bodies in a big pit, and they covered over the bodies. It was a famine, and a lot of people refused to recognize it at the time,” said Natsios.
“They are terrible events, only comparable in my view to genocide.
His South Korean friend (more common spelling, Pomnyun) is a highly respected Buddhist monk who leads the Korean Buddhist Sharing Movement. Natsios describes this in more detail in his book, “The Great North Korean Famine.” He notes that the bodies were wrapped in white cloth. For new readers — and there are plenty of you lately — remember that regardless of what this image depicts, a new report documents in exhaustive detail that the famine was a completely preventable crime against humanity. Kim Jong Il had enough cash laying around to feed these people, but chose to buy weapons and luxuries for himself instead. Even when the UN World Food Program tried to feed the hungry, the regime prevented aid workers from getting to some of the areas and recipients in greatest need.
OK, readers. What say you?