Open Sources, Jan. 24, 2013

I MAY HAVE A MORE COMPLETE REACTION TO UNSCR 2087 after I’ve had more time to read it and work through its provisions, but I’m not yet ready to accept the spin that this tightened sanctions on North Korea.  Frankly, I’m worried that it actually gives China a basis to argue that it narrowed the sweep of 1718’s financial provisions — the ones with the most potential to be effective, if enforced.  Not that any U.N. resolution matters if China only becomes more brazen about violating them.  Show me where state-owned “China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation” is sanctioned in any meaningful way and I’ll believe this is anything other than the latest cynical farce on China’s part.

As for North Korea’s reaction, I’m sure it’s terribly disturbing to the last six people on earth who still believed that North Korea was ever willing to negotiate away its nuclear capability, but then, these people tend to be logically inert anyway.  Within a week, Joel Wit will post something at 38 North telling us all exactly what we should give North Korea in exchange for an unverifiable, unenforceable promise to merely freeze its uranium enrichment program.

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MUST READ:  Wall Street Journal, Review and Outlook, “A New Focus on North Korean Human Rights.” Money quote:

This is important because the U.N., the U.S. and other nations have treated the ongoing atrocities in the North as mere distractions from stopping its nuclear weapons and missile programs. But those threats can’t be resolved until the regime either changes fundamentally or falls. That’s why the bribes paid by the international community to get the North to suspend its weapons programs have been ineffective, while propping up the Kim family and prolonging the agony of the North Korean people.

Hear, hear.

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MUST READ:  Jared Genser, “Ignoring North Korea’s Gulag,” in The Washington Post.  Also related and well worth reading is this post by Stephan Haggard about an interview of Roberta Cohen by Chris Nelson on the ascendancy of human rights issues in North Korea.

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NORTH KOREA’S POSTAGE STAMPS suggest that it’s strongly invested in its missile program for domestic propaganda purposes.

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IT’S ALWAYS CUTE WHEN NORTH KOREA (RSF press freedom rank, 178 out of 179), criticizes South Korea (44 out of 179) for censorship, but it’s especially cute when North Korea does that right after it’s implicated in hacking a South Korean news site, one of those whose offices it had previously threatened to shell.

As I mentioned earlier, North Korea is also my prime suspect in a hack against this site in December.  I don’t have any proof that the North Koreans did it — and admittedly, I take pleasure in writing things that piss off Chinese and South Korean netizens, too — but the North Koreans have the greatest motive, and certainly the means, to do that sort of thing.  They’re well aware of this site, judging by the occasional visits I get from Ryugyong-Dong, Pyongyang.

Still, after doing this for nine years and two months, since the Internet’s paleozoic era, the absence of any attacks was starting to make me feel slighted.  Is nothing I do here worthy of hacking by Godless idol-worshipping Communists who respect neither laws nor borders nor humanity itself?  Is it all so futile?  Will I never achieve my modest life’s ambition of being called “human scum” in KCNA?




  1. Jared Genser’s “Ignoring North Korea’s Gulags” says:

    “Almost 70 years ago, toward the end of World War II, the United States opted not to bomb the train tracks to Auschwitz. This decision came despite pleas to stop the largest concentration camp complex of the Nazi regime, which killed more than 1 million Jews and others.”

    Wikipedia has a good article on the Auschwitz bombing debate. In short, bombing the rail lines wouldn’t have done much good. The prisoners would have got even less food than usual. The Nazis would have repaired the lines quickly, and resumed the transportation of innocent people to their deaths. Bombing the actual camp would have killed prisoners without damaging the Nazis’ power to make war. Speaking for the Jewish Agency, David ben Gurion said, “we should not ask the Allies to bomb places where there are Jews.”

  2. the wonders of web logs… you have the actual pages they are more interested in on your site? or are they just spending time on the front index page?

  3. They should know when they are conquered — but I don’t think they would hack into this site versus others. Their resources are limited.

  4. I wonder who or what in North Korea is viewing your site. I’m not sure if you’re unaware or were just saying it for effect – maybe the latter – but “Ryugyong-dong, Pyongyang” is the ISP location so that could mean anywhere in the country. It’s interesting, though, because if some sort of government agency were viewing your site you think they’d be doing so clandestinely, from “China” or some unidentifiable satellite connection.

  5. Well, interesting thing about that — sometimes, it comes up as “Ryugyong-dong” North Korea, and sometimes, it comes up as “Ryugyong-dong” China. And of course, I get a lot of visits from Beijing, Shanghai, etc. Could be any of them, or none of them. I have screenshots from my vislog, but on the off-hand chance it’s some North Korean Winston Smith, I don’t want to publish the IP, dates, etc. here, or anything that might give the Thought Police a hint.

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