Open Sources, Dec. 28, 2012: Special Schadenfreude Edition

PSY BOMBS:  Good.  South Korea’s America-hating, North Korea-sympathizing fad really needed a poster child to tell the world just how repellent it really was.

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KORYO TOURS’ MOST RECENT venture into tasteless exploitation bombs.  Also good.  One day, Treasury really needs to get around to freezing their assets.

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THE MOONIES’ NORTH KOREAN INVESTMENT BOMBS:  Also good.  Hat tip and nice Hemingway reference there, Marcus.

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KIM JONG IL IS STILL DEAD, also good.  Evan Ramstad posts on the newest theory about what killed him (his own temper, which would be better).

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FOR MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION, I promise myself to link to more LiNK updates like this one.

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CAMP 22 UPDATE:  Kim Kwang Jin of the Daily NK posts a very specific update about Camp 22, which he seems very certain is no longer Camp 22.  He reveals the tantalizing detail — tantalizing because it would show in imagery — that the fence lines have been taken down.  I think it will soon be time to get some more imagery to follow up.

In my previous post, I alluded to “one subtle-but-potentially significant difference” in the imagery that I considered significant.  I’m not sure I even posted on what that sign was, but it was the existence of what looked like walled-off vegetable gardens in some of the housing areas.  It’s hard to imagine the regime allowing prisoners to have “their own” vegetable gardens.  On the other hand, I can’t figure out why people would have been in the fields in October, harvesting crops that would have been planted at a time when the camp was supposedly empty.  All I can say is that we should keep an eye on the imagery and follow the evidence wherever it leads.

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PERSONALLY, I LIKE JOE DITRANI, but this op-ed looks unrealistically optimistic in the extreme. Assuming that the people DiTrani believes to be reformers really are more moderate than the people they replaced, really have been elevated, and really stay in their new positions, the most plausible interpretation is that they’re more pragmatic about how to conserve a system that must remain menacing and oppressive to survive.  I’ve been hearing variations of this theory for a very long time — most recently, last fall’s short-lived and AP-ballyhooed excitement about agricultural reforms that were quickly shelved in North Korea and forgotten in America — but I’ve seen zero evidence of significant change for the better.

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MOST ILLOGICAL THING I’VE HEARD ALL YEAR:  If North Korea’s rocket launch was “a cry for aid,” why the fuck did they spend enough money testing it to buy a year’s supply of food?  That’s the kind of stoopid that can only be spelled with two O’s.

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I FOUND THIS WIRED PIECE ON NORTH KOREA’S MISSILE TEST interesting, although I examine the missile-versus-satellite question from a legal perspective, not a technical one.  The North has no legitimate need for satellite imagery that it could purchase commercially for an infinitely lower cost.  It’s clearly brandishing this thing to defy and menace us, mostly for domestic reasons, and probably also to influence South Korean voters and Washington-area editorial writers.

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GREG SCARLATOIU, THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, writes about how the world should respond to North Korea’s domestic atrocities.

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SCOTT SNYDER WRITES ABOUT social and political changes in the North.  Not to take anything away from Scarlatiou; I think it’s important to pressure the regime on human rights, but what Snyder sketches out seems like the more plausible route to change in the North.  Pressure will play a role in realizing that outcome, because it deprives the regime of the financial means to suppress and oppress.

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TWO GRIM TRENDS IN SYRIA:  One, the government that emerges will be about as democratic and friendly as Hamas.  Two, this is looking more and more likely to involve us in ways that could have been avoided if we’d been decisive sooner.  Ironically, our isolationist fear of early, indirect intervention eventually leads to a compelling need for direct intervention, usually in a clumsy, multinational form, a-la Somalia.  This is the very thing that just about everyone agrees we should seek to avoid.  This Syrian regime now appears to be in the state that South Vietnam was in in 1973, yet we’re probably just beyond the point of empowering relatively friendly forces who would have the capacity to take power.  The best possible outcome now is probably to empower relatively friendly forces to form a strong minority opposition movement, or hold key positions in the post-war military.

3 comments

  1. Glans says:

    I think Gangnam Style is great. I was sad when I found out that Psy is an arsol. But it adds support for the Glans Plan. The Korean people need to chart their own course.

  2. Glans says:

    The Wired report by Brian Weeden was very informative. The Norks definitely launched a satellite, and their description of it seems truthful. It doesn’t seem to be working yet, and it may never work.

    In Syria, look at the bright side: the Russians are going to lose their Mediterranean base, and Vladimir Putin will be exposed as weak and foolish.

  3. kushibo says:

    I wouldn’t take the 25% year-on-year drop in the TNT “Christmas in Washington” viewership as a clear sign of anything particularly negative about Psy. It aired a mere one week after the Sandy Hook massacre, which continues to dominate the news today. A lot of things were adversely affected by this, outside of Psy, including Christmas sales (except for gun sales).

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