North Korea's tubby tyrant Kim Jong-un reportedly had his ex-lover publicly executed by a machine-gun-toting firing squad after accusing her of making a group sex tape. His former girlfriend Hyon Song-wol - also the hermit state's Unhasu Orchestra lead singer - was arrested along with orchestra boss Mun Kyong-jin and a group of …
A place so thoroughly f__ked up that it will take the survivors a few generations after their hell ends to realize just how badly the Kim family f__ked them over.
Re: so sad
Trust me, asdf ... Most in the North know how fucked up it is.
I have many friends in the South with family just a couple miles North.
Lets be honest about this, an escapee tells all playing right into the hands of those that want to discredit a nutty regime, it's exactly what they want to hear..
While the North Korean regime is pretty bonkers and on the verge of insanity I struggle to 'believe' everything reported is the complete truth. After the way the US and the UK lied about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, and now the reports of alleged chemical weapons in Syria which appears the trigger for intervention by the West, unless I see it myself I am reluctant to believe it, especially after seeing that Tony Blair is rattling his sabre against Syria trying to start a Holy War.
The peace envoy for the Middle East advocating War?
I will take nothing at face value ever again.
285-272 is the Parliament vote against taking action in Syria.
272 MP's wanted to go to what would amount to war, we have go our fair share of idiots too.
Trust me, it's even more bizarre than reported. Like Jake, I have ties to DPRK, and the information that emerges quietly is stranger than what is published in the media. We all know that it's just a matter of time before it implodes dramatically; but everyone's question is how many innocent people that process will take with it.
"272 MP's wanted to go to what would amount to war, we have go our fair share of idiots too."
We have idiots here too. And I'm beginning to think that they're the ones who sent American troops to Europe in 1917.
Actually, 272 MPs voted for a motion that would have required a further vote prior to any military action. The opposition opposed (in part, no doubt, driven by guilt at having been taken in by Blair's 'dodgy dossier') and were joined by a sufficient number (many of whom wanted to give the PM a good kicking for personal reasons) to defeat the government motion.
The world is more complex than your simplistic black and white view.
And yet no-one has so far suggested launching cruise missiles at Pyongyang.
Of course, that might trigger a nasty reaction from others, while bombing Syria is just a nice safe bit of willy-waving PR. Principles? Not even sure the current crop of Westminister muppets know what the word means.
I so hope you are right. But look at the Nazi death camps.
Syria is an interesting comparison.
How can a distinction made between reports of chemical weapons being used against civilians and reports of a mother being made to drown their new born child (along with a myriad other atrocities against the civilian population)?
Each are as morally reprehensible as the other. Yet we will go to war in Syria and stand by idly in North Korea.
One has nukes, the other doesn't...
Ah yes, the nukes. Strapped onto missiles that can barely reach Japan. It's like me getting some AK-47 ammo to use with my slingshot.
"Each are as morally reprehensible as the other. Yet we will go to war in Syria and stand by idly in North Korea."
Correction: Yet we 'almost' go to war in Syria and stand by idly in North Korea.
"And yet no-one has so far suggested launching cruise missiles at Pyongyang.
Of course, that might trigger a nasty reaction from others, while bombing Syria is just a nice safe bit of willy-waving PR. Principles? Not even sure the current crop of Westminister muppets know what the word means."
So your solution to hypocrisy is to do nothing, ever? Big help.
"Ah yes, the nukes. Strapped onto missiles that can barely reach Japan."
I really don't see that "they can't hit us back" is a good enough justification for taking arms against NK.
Do you really not care if they turn those weapons on countries they can hit in mindless retaliation?
North Korea do however have an enormous army (even if it is mostly crap) and an unfeasibly large number of artillery pieces and rockets aimed at Seoul. And may well be willing to kick off the big one if poked. Hence deterring North Korea from doing bad things is an interesting balancing act. Given that they may be bonkers enough to go off the deep end after minor provocation, even if that dooms their own regime.
South Korea don't fancy their capital getting flattened. Which North Korea can do better with conventional weapons than their rubbishy nukes anyway.
Whereas Assad is assumed to be rather more rational, and so a quick attack on his command and control stuff may persuade him that chemical weapons aren't worth the risk.
It's a case of trying to apply the correct solutions, to difficult problems, in varying cases. So we didn't launch an attack on the Soviet Union, even though they were committing massive human rights abuses, because World War III didn't seem terribly appealing. Hence the Cold War, which was deemed to be the safest policy, stop Soviet military expansion and wait to see what happens.
Unfortunately we also did nothing about Rwanda. And it took quite a long time to decide to bother to do anything about the break up of Yugoslavia. I'm not sure what force, and what casualty levels would have been required to deal with Rwanda, but in the case of Yugoslavia it was simply a case of relatively low casualty air-strikes and a large follow-on commitment of peace-keeping troops. So there was no good excuse for failing to save tens of thousands of lives by going in years earlier.
in the case of Syria we seem to have made similar mistakes. Although I'm not sure the solution would have been so simple. Threatening to arm the rebels and targetted air-strikes to force Assad to negotiate might have worked in the early days, but there was no appetite to put peace-keeping troops on the ground, the rebels weren't organised like the Bosnians (who were able to form a working state), plus there were Al Qaeda leftovers in Syria that the government had allowed in to destabilise Iraq after the invasion (which Assad may feel was a mistake at this point), and Hizbollah right next door to cause more trouble. So with Russia taking the UN out of the picture I'd say there was little plausible solution available to the Syria crisis for the West - but a bit of applied military force might be quite persuasive to the regime to lock up the chemical weapons again.
If the government collapses someone's going to have to go in and seize/destroy those - which won't be fun.
Actually, one has the complete support of China (the Worlds second superpower), who has already demonstarted that they will step in on their side in order to avoid having a completely western inclined Korean pensinsula. And one has the tepid support from Russia (the World's third superpower) who is willling to throw hurdles in the way of any action but would not get involved to stop the action if it actually went ahead.
Thats's a pretty big difference when it comes to making the choice of whether you can intervene in one or the other...
On a side note, for those commentators talking about not trusting all of the reports coming out of North Korea, whilst its true we are only hearing from the defectors who have a natural bias against the North, you should not forget to look back at history. Whilst there was rumours of the atrocities of the Nazi Concentration Camps, the sheer horror of those camps only came to light after their liberation. Even the Germans living close by never realised how bad things were in the camps. So whilst believing everything you hear about the Nork labour camps may not be the right path, disregarding the stories completely is also not the right thing to do.
China is not considered a superpower. Some countries consider them a 'great power' but most countries nor the UN assign them even that status. They are still a developing nation with less global influence than either India or Brazil; global influence being what defines 'power level' of a country. Just sayin'...
North Korea is a fun loving state with a rich past and many interesting attractions that all the family can enjoy. Walk around the streets Pyongyang, or perhaps take a segway, you'll be amazed at the carnival atmosphere in the capital. Military parades are common and don't be at all surprised if everyone around you suddenly breaks out into dancing. Flash dances are a common occurrence, feel free to join in! Tourists interested in the sciences will also enjoy the regular rocket launches and the host of new inventions which are being made daily.
Re: LarsG Re: Propaganda
"Lets be honest about this, an escapee tells all playing right into the hands of those that want to discredit a nutty regime, it's exactly what they want to hear..." Lars, you sound exactly like the kinds of blinkered socialists that refused to believe the Soviet Union was anything but a workers' paradise between the World Wars. Don't worry, far cleverer people than you convinced themselves that they were right and it was all "exaggerated capitalist propaganda". George Bernard Shaw was one who fell for a carefully staged trip to Russia in 1931, writing to then Manchester Guardian to proclaim that Soviet Russia was replete with joy (http://colley.co.uk/garethjones/soviet_articles/bernard_shaw.htm) at exactly the same time as the Soviets were using starvation as a weapon to subjugate the Ukraine, killing over a million unarmed civilians. He carried on insisting it was all lies (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1433323/How-Shaw-defended-Stalins-mass-killings.html) long after other socilaists like Malcolm Muggeridge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Muggeridge) had actually exposed the horrors Stalin was ordering. Stalin sent an untold number of people to the Gulags which the Nork camps are closely modeled on, and forcing one prisoner to kill or maim another was a common occurrence in the Gulags, so I do not find it a stretch that they would resort to such an act.
Re: Propaganda @cthonus
That wouldn't be retaliation. It would be an unprovoked attack.
Re: AC Re: Propaganda
".....272 MP's wanted to go to what would amount to war....." Not true. They were voting on a limited action predicated on UN confirmation of the use of chemical weapons, not a full-on war. There is a massive difference between the most likely action - cruise missile strikes - and a full war with an invasion force as used in Iraq or Afghanistan.
BTW, before you accuse me of being a bloodthirsty warmonger, etc., only wanting war at any cost, I did not want the vote to succeed as I did not want to hand Dave or Obambi an open-ended remit. If we are to punish Assad then I want it to be (a) when we have comprehensive proof, and (b) clearly defined what we will do (such as target Assad's chem warfare units only and send the perpetrators to stand trial), and (c) not do anything that will allow the AQ-backed faction of the rebellion to gain an advantage. I see no gain for the Syrian people in striking down Assad simply to replace his administration with another failed Islamist state like Afghanistan became under the Taleban. Dave goofed on the wording of the motion, he pushed too hard.
I believe you. No doubt the usual shock, horror tabloids/pollies will burble on in denial when open access becomes possible. I remember the useful idiots who praised the hell on earth that was the USSR, not to mention those did not believe stories of atrocities in a closed SE Asian agrarian paradise where it was easy to die, because socialist states always get bad press. I worked with a guy who praised Pol Pots atrocities as cleaning up society. Never understood his attitude.
Must be something about the insecurity of some people. The propensity to admire uncontrolled authority invested in the most egocentric paranoid types seems to be recurring. And there are still plenty of people who deny the documented atrocities of the last major European tribal war. BTW, how did the deceased Norks have the imagination to come up with their own grumble flick ?
"North Korea is a fun loving state with a rich past and many interesting attractions"
It's very nice!
Not so much - in this country's politics you'll likely find that 50 wanted to go to war because they have shares in the arms companies, 50 wanted to go for the long-term investment opportunity of 'westernising' every shopping mall, etc, and the rest were probably told to vote that way by their political party and did as they were told, since they don't want to risk damaging their cushy, overpaid jobs.
"The world is more complex than your simplistic black and white view."
Shush, don't scare the American, you'll put him off his bowl of Fox.
@ Quxy: Why I'm Skeptical.
"Trust me, it's even more bizarre than reported."
I have a pretty good idea of how bizarre things can get, really. But to believe this particular report, I, personally, need more than the news report on offer.
The problems I have with the report are, firstly, that these people, who in the context of Nork society are in relatively privileged positions, would actually make a sex tape at all. It seems like kind of an overly-elaborate way of committing "group suicide by prison camp with the possibility of additional serious repercussions for families, friends, and colleagues". It just doesn't make sense.
The second problem is the "public machine-gunning". I simply can't recall a similar case. If (and that's the proverbial *big* "if") the sex tape was actually made, there can be no way that the fat kid or his advisors would want to corroborate the fact officially, thereby revealing some of the, you know, decadent Western influences corrupting the country's artistic elite.
Now if it were to turn out that they were shot for simply smuggling and dealing in pornography and Bibles, I would find that quite believable.
So while I don't discount the possibility of the news story as reported being true, I am skeptical until further corroboration arrives.
"We go to war in Syria, but stand idly by in North Korea".
That's because we can actually intervene usefully in Syria (well, we could have), while China will stop any intervention in NK.
Your argument is basically "we can't fix everything, so we should fix nothing".
Re: AC Propaganda@ Matt B
I wouldn't accuse you of being bloodthirsty or a warmonger. Simply of being wrong.
Even with the necessary evidence of the crime and who committed it, any attack will either be inconsequential in military terms (this being a dictator who holds other people's lives very cheaply), or it will alter the balance of the civil war, with unforseeable consequences. Nobody can claim that "unforseeable consequences" defend Western interests, and any attack will further encourage extremism on both sides, and victimhood amongst the wider Islamic communities.
Given that Assad is (by Western moral standards) deranged, how will the West judge an attack to be sufficient to change his mind, without actively promoting the sort of rabble that comprise the Syrian opposition?
So your solution to hypocrisy is to do nothing, ever? Big help.
I didn't propose any solution, merely observed the hypocrisy prevalent in government.
Because we can classify NK as 'harmless to outsiders.' They can oppress their own people all they want, but they aren't a threat to us.
Israel has no particular issue with North Korea.
On the flip-side, the Israel Lobby in the U.S do have issue with Syria, Iran & Palestine (and in the past Iraq) to name but a few. And the Israel Lobby controls the hearts & minds of millions of voting Jews in the U.S.
A long but interesting read. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Israel-Lobby-US-Foreign-Policy/dp/0141031239/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377862526&sr=1-2
"Of course, that might trigger a nasty reaction from others,"
The DPRK was a creation of the USSR. The Russians have lilttle interest in supporting therm anymore and the Chinese see them as an inherited embarassment (it'd be a loss of face to back off supporting them though, unless the Norks piss in their wheaties)
Bombing 'em without having the chinese on board might well be ugly, but I suspect they'd be just as likely to heave a sigh of releif and turn off the oil pipline over the border.
Re: Propaganda @Bumpy Cat
I'm not saying that at all. I don't think that military intervention will fix a thing. Just because another power won't try stop us from intervening in Syria (which isn't quite true anyway because Russia will do their damnedest) doesn't mean that any intervention will be useful.
I'm struggling to think of one useful intervention in a war since World War 2. Perhaps you can tell me otherwise?
"North Korea do however have an enormous army (even if it is mostly crap) and an unfeasibly large number of artillery pieces and rockets aimed at Seoul."
It's fairly well known that in the event of hostilities the first shot most Nork grunts would fire would be into the head of their commanding officers. Artillery can be pointed the other way too, so it's doubtful they have more than a couple of rounds apiece.
I'd be extremely surprised to find that any of the weaponry the grunts are waving around actually contain bullets - and also surprised if their immediate superiors had enough to do more than shoot themselves in the head. It's a bit like Iraq in that respect - almost all the footsoldiers were conscripted Kurds who immediately dropped weapons and surrendered en masse(*) to the americans because they figured it couldn't be any worse than fighting them.
(*) A lot more tried to than were able to. USAF planes strafed a lot of places full of soldiers attempting to surrender
Well it did take you 2 years to summon up the courage to join in after a German U-boat attacked your ship and killed 128 people...Not to mention after they then attacked you in Jersey City and Lyndhurst.
And then once you finally arrived, your largest effect was to cause the British troops to have to be more careful about keeping their heads down when your poorly trained and gung ho soldiers started taking random potshots.....
Not much has changed to this day in that regard - the USA maintains one of the world's poorest trained first world armies, and Britain one of the best trained...
Pictures or it didn't happen
Sorry, but a "public" execution that we only know about because a dissident flees to another country to tell the tale isn't public. It might not be shown on TV but it would be announced. So it wasn't a public execution.
You -can- make this stuff up, and it's safer and smarter than being there to see it happen.
"USAF planes strafed a lot of places full of soldiers attempting to surrender"
And killed more British solidiers with their incompetence than the Iraqis did....
"Well it did take you 2 years to summon up the courage to join in after a German U-boat attacked your ship and killed 128 people..."
Not entirely sure if this was aimed at me, but I am English. And regardless of the challenges the US troops bought with them, they certainly helped bring World War 2 to a speedier conclusion that would otherwise have been possible.
The disinterested declared goal for Syria of America, Britain, etc., is the removal of President Assad from his office, and maybe from life - I'm not sure how far our policy statements have gone. We do support a negotiated settlement, on the condition that he isn't in it. As a rational person, what should he do about that? What would you do in his place, if you aren't suicidal?
I actually feel that the best thing to do in Syria is....er....nothing. Hear me out.
On the one side we have Assad, a power hungry dictator who is hostile to the West and willing to resort to weapons of mass destruction and possibly even go as far as sponsoring terrorists. On the other side you have rebels with enough ties to Al Queida that US citizens have been tried for aiding the enemy for trying to help them overthrow Assad, and they may have used chemical weapons also.
Basically no matter who wins that civil war, which doesn't involve either the US or the UK, we lose. I'm all for saving lives, but I can't think of a scenario involving intervention in Syria that accomplishes that goal long term. I can, however, think of some nightmare scenarios that become possible should we intervene.
Re: @ Quxy: Why I'm Skeptical.
Yes, from my contact with Christians living in Dandong, I'm pretty sure that Hyon Song-wol and her colleagues were shot because of the Bibles. I seriously doubt if there's any pr0n involved at all.
Re: Propaganda @Robert Long 1
"bombing Syria is just a nice safe bit of willy-waving PR"
Both China and Russia have stated their vehement opposition to bombing Syria. Pissing them both off at the same time isn't what I'd call "safe".
And hasn't Tony Blair been charged with war crimes yet? Because he damned well should be. The only reason anyone should listen to that fuck is so that you can take the diametrically opposed position in the reasonable certainty that you'll be right.
One doesn't need a missile. Watercraft will do, or (depending on the size of said device), a disguised traveler with one or more large packages...and sometimes, just the threat is enough.
You don't understand, the nukes that Pyongyang has can easily reach Pyongyang. Do you really think he wouldn't if it came down to it? Given the amount of compassion he shows for the citizenry in general, I think the nukes are there for his own people as much as anyone else.
You don't need a missile to deliver nukes. For instance,NK could use a small fishing boat, or even a standard ISO container routed through China. There may be already a NK nuke in Japan or in the USA somewhere waiting to be detonated.
USAF => Usually Shooting At Friends
Re: Propaganda @Bumpy Cat
I'm struggling to think of one useful intervention in a war since World War 2. Perhaps you can tell me otherwise?
Well let's see, off the top of my head I can think of:
Korea, for starters. Didn't help the North, and was a bloody war, but the people of the South are probably extremely glad not to be starving at the moment. Given that the North lost an estimated 3-5 million in the 90s famine, that cancels out the war dead. Ignoring the ongoing deaths from famine and gulag.
In Africa recently we have Sierra Leone (started by our general on the ground without Blair's permission). He decided he could win the war on his own with not much more than 2 battalions, when he was only there to evacuate foreigners. And did. Shows how little force you sometimes need. Recently we also have Mali. It may not be all over, but the rebels are in disarray and no longer threatening to take over the country. Libya is a bit more contentious I know, but if Ghadaffi had stormed Bengazi it would have been a bloodbath. To be honest, I'm not sure if his army was up to it, as it was a piss poor show compared with say the Syrians. Egypt had a decently trained army, and they ended up kicking their dictator our and taking over from him, so Ghadaffi wasn't risking that. But Libya had decent equipment, and so probably could have managed it. Libya isn't now perfect, but it was much less perfect before, and was also destabilising the whole region.
On to the British empire. We have the Falklands. Killed just over 1,000 troops on both sides, from memory, about half the number of the population at the time. However it was undoubtedly moral to defend their freedom. And Argentina also benefited in the long run, in that the Junta collapsed. The Malaya emergency was a relatively low casualty campaign - although you might call it a colonial war rather than an intervention.
The military intervention in Yugoslavia worked pretty well. And would have saved more lives if done earlier. Serbia were acting relatively rationally, so force, or a convincing threat of it, got them to negotiate. While the peace is by no means perfect, it's far better than the alternative.
The no-fly zones in Iraq in the 90s saved (tens of?) thousands of lives, Kurds and Marsh Arabs. There's even a pretty good argument that the Iraq war cost fewer lives than Saddam would have if he was ruling. And when he died, or his sons took power and fucked everything up, there was going to be some kind of civil war anyway. Something that no Western intervention could stop. Rather like Syria. People talk about maintaining stability, as if these dictatorships are stable. Well in the short to medium term yes, but they do tend to build up massive tension in the system, which often leads to orgies of violence when the regimes inevitably collapse.
Is that enough of a list for you? Obviously we have many unsuccessful examples too. But then there are also many appalling examples of what doing nothing can result in. See Rwanda, maybe Syria, Yugoslavia, Congo. There's a good argument that the Rwanda situation started the Congolese civil war too, so that's nearly a million dead in Rwanda, plus 5 or 6 in Congo - and counting.
Re: Propaganda @Dr?
There was a coment further up the comments asking for someone to name one time when an intervention actually accomplished good things. So here"s a short few that spring immediately to my mind:
East Timor - Pro Indonesian Militias (reportedly backed by Indonesian military), killing and maiming East Timorese for voting for independence, ended very quickly by Australian led UN force.
Solomon Islands - Intevention of Aussie and NZ troops has quelled decades of intertribal violence, and the government is finally moving forward
Korean War - Prevented the South from ending up as part of the North (if that wasnt a success I dont know what was)
Thats a start. So just because not all interventions work out how we want, doesnt mean that they all fail.