WHAT’S THAT, YOU SAY? Someone actually has a copy of the Ri Sol Ju porn video? And they’re floating it into North Korea? That’s really too good to be true, and I’m checking with a contact to see if it is. One thing’s for sure–if it is true, I’ll report it before the AP does.
Update, 10/14: According to a knowledgeable reader, the “conservative groups” in question are still attempting to acquire the alleged video, but do have an (again, alleged) photo of Ri naked with another man, which they’re floating into the North. Bear in mind that this is all hearsay, and that photographs are obviously subject to alteration. If I get more information, I’ll pass it along.
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NORTH KOREA IS THE PRIME SUSPECT in a threat against South Korean lawmaker, North Korea human rights activist, and my friend, Ha Tae Keung. From Ha’s press release, emailed to me:
Around 16:00, on the 2nd of October, a package from Shenyang, China was delivered to the local office of Assemblyman Ha Tae Keung in Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan, which is his local constituency, through an international express mail service.
In the package, which was 25cm wide, 20cm long and 15cm high, there were a purple skull-shaped mask and a white t-shirt that had been slashed by a knife. On the front of the t-shirt, “There will be the devil to pay (?? ?? ??)” and “You will be purged of sin (?? ???)” was written in red ink. In addition, “X” marks were written on the words, “family” and “life” on the left sleeve and “reputation” and “right” on the right sleeve. On the back of the shirt, “I will end you (?? ??)” was written.
The package was mailed in Shenyang, China. Ha does not claim to have definitive evidence that North Korea is behind the threat, but he does note that the language in the threat letter contains phrases that are commonly used in North Korea, and not in the South. South Korean police are investigating. Ha, a pro-democracy activist in the 1980s, was imprisoned by previous right-wing governments under the National Security Law.
North Korea was removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism on October 11, 2008. Discuss among yourselves.
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NORTH KOREA PERESTROIKA WATCH: Last year, North Korea announced the much-ballyhooed “6-28” plan, under which collectives would be allowed to keep a greater share of the crops they produced. That plan never materialized as promised; instead, the regime seized most of the crop for the military. That demoralized and deprived a lot of farm families. This year, the regime is promising to let farm keep half of what they produce. North Korean farmers are skeptical, and so am I:
The North Korean government has failed to clearly articulate an allocation plan for this year’s harvest, leaving farmers angry and afraid they may not receive their promised share of food, North Korean sources say. [….]
“Farming was great this year,” a source in Jagang province situated in the northern mountain areas of the country told RFA’s Korean Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“But the farmers are completely demoralized. They can’t conceal their doubts that they may be fooled again like last year.” [RFA]
Farming was great, yet the World Food Program is still asking other nations to donate food.
An experimental system was then proposed in which farmers would receive a promised 30 percent of grain yield regardless of the requirements of other plans, he said.“But actually the government took more than 90 percent for military use, making the farmers feel betrayed.”
If they didn’t let farmers keep 30% last year, it’s hard to see how they can let them keep 50% this year and still feed the army.
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BRUCE KLINGNER AND JARED GENSER write about the belated U.N. Commission of Inquiry. I incline toward the view that the COI got started not because of Ban Ki Moon’s leadership, but in spite of it. But if you want a weak U.N., Ban is your guy. Separately, the Sydney Morning Herald writes about how the testimony impacted Michael Kirby, who has performed his role commendably.
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KIM JONG UN COMPLETES DEIFICATION PROCESS by acquiring ability to hover. That’s a lot of gravity to reverse, too.
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DID BURMA LIE about ending its military ties with North Korea? A lot of human rights NGOs and House staffers were already grumbling that we lifted the sanctions on Burma too soon. This report will add to that grumbling.
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OF ALL THE WACKY LEFTIST CONSPIRACY THEORIES about the ROKS Cheonan–and there are many of them–my new favorite has to be the one that the Israelis did it. I point this out not because of the significance of the theory or its public support, but to point out that OhMyNews (if you still remember them) has no editorial standards at all, is content to print baseless and hateful shite, and doesn’t deserve the David-versus-Goliath upstart treatment some journalists used to give it. The fact that they allowed this to be posted on a blog (but still under their masthead) doesn’t absolve them.