Tag Archives | North Korea

Kim Jong-Un Has Executed 15 Underlings Who Displeased Him – This Year!

It’s not known if the insolence that lead to their deaths had anything to do with a liking for Seth Rogen films, but Kim Jong-Un has stamped his own brand of extreme authoritarian rule on North Korean politics by executing anyone who falls out of favor. Reuters has the count at 15 already this year:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of 15 senior officials this year as punishment for challenging his authority, South Korea’s spy agency told a closed-door parliament meeting on Wednesday.

金正恩

 

A vice minister for forestry was one of the officials executed for complaining about a state policy, a member of parliament’s intelligence committee, Shin Kyung-min, quoted an unnamed National Intelligence Service official as saying.

“Excuses or reasoning doesn’t work for Kim Jong Un, and his style of rule is to push through everything, and if there’s any objection, he takes that as a challenge to authority and comes back with execution as a showcase,” Shin said.

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John McAfee: ‘I know who hacked Sony Pictures – and it wasn’t North Korea’

Remember John McAfee, the onetime cybersecurity king who lost the plot and went on the lam? Ironically he’s now a sort of hacker hero and he tells IB Times that through his knowledge of the hacking community he knows who hacked Sony Pictures’ computer systems and it definitely wasn’t North Korea:

Anti-virus pioneer John McAfee claims to have been in contact with the group of hackers behind the devastating cyber-attack against Sony Pictures and guarantees they are not from North Korea.

Johnmcafeesignature

Speaking to IBTimes UK about his current roster of security startups under his Future Tense brand – including secure messaging app Chadder – McAfee spoke about working with the FBI previously but said that, in this case, the agency was “wrong”.

“I can guarantee they are wrong. It has to do with a group of hackers – I will not name them – who are civil libertarians and who hate the confinement the restrictions the music industry and the movie industry has placed on art and so they are behind it.”

In December Sony Pictures was the victim of a devastating cyber-attack by a group calling themselves Guardians of Peace.

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North Korea Threatens ‘The Whole U.S. Mainland, That Cesspool of Terrorism’

Quake in boots time for Americans as North Korea threatens to strike “the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism.” From AP:

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama is “recklessly” spreading rumors of a Pyongyang-orchestrated cyberattack of Sony Pictures, North Korea says, as it warns of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and “the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism.”…

Kim Jong Un

The National Defense Commission, led by Kim, warned that its 1.2 million-member army is ready to use all types of warfare against the U.S.

“Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the `symmetric counteraction’ declared by Obama,” said the commission’s Policy Department in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency…

[Full story at AP]

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North Korea, Sony, and America’s First Losing Cyberwar

The Interview 2014 poster.jpg

I’ve been hooked on the various salacious disclosures from the hack attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. Reading what studio executives really think of their star actors and producers is better than TMZ can make up, and the true financial performance of various movies would never, ever be disclosed outside the C-suite if not for the Pastebin uploads. The real-life plot starring North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, his supposed superhackers, Seth Rogen and the heads of Sony also reads like a sequel to The Orphan Master’s Son. But is it too good to be true? Wired pours some cold water on the fire:

Today Sony canceled the premiere of “The Interview” and its entire Christmas-Day release of the movie because of fears that terrorists might attack theaters showing the film.

The actions show just how much power the attackers behind the Sony hack have amassed in a short time. But who exactly are they?

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Teaching Essay Writing in Pyongyang

141201_FOR_NKorea-COVER.jpg.CROP.original-originalvia Slate:

Adapted from Without You, There Is No Us: My Time With the Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Suki Kim. Out now from Crown Publishers.

Essay was a much-dreaded word among my students. It was the fall of 2011, and I was teaching English at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in North Korea. Two hundred and seventy young men, and about 30 teachers, all Christian evangelicals besides me, were isolated together in a guarded compound, where our classes and movements were watched round the clock. Each lesson had to be approved by a group of North Korean staff known to us as the “counterparts.” Hoping to slip in information about the outside world, which we were not allowed to discuss, I had devised a lesson on essay writing, and it had been approved.

I had told my students that the essay would be as important as the final exam in calculating their grades for the semester, and they were very stressed.

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Summer Camp in North Korea

You can now send your kid to summer camp in North Korea.

via Mashable:

Songdowon International Children’s Camp, which has been operational for nearly 30 years, was originally intended mainly to deepen relations with friendly countries in the Communist or non-aligned world. But officials say they are willing to accept youth from anywhere — even the United States.

The statues of Kim Il Sung (left) and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang (April 2012). By J.A. de Roo

The statues of Kim Il Sung (left) and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang (April 2012). By J.A. de Roo

The camp is located in Wonsan, east from Pyongyang on the coast of the Sea of Japan. It’s a popular beach destination among North Koreans, with clear water and sandy beaches.

After some guidance from North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong Un, and a major face lift, the camp reopened Tuesday for this year’s flock of foreign campers — more than 300 young children and teenagers from Russia, China, Vietnam, Ireland and Tanzania.

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Photo Tells All You Need To Know About North Korea

North Korea is the darkness. Having just read Adam Johnson’s incredible novel The Orphan Master’s Son with its horrific tales of life in North Korea, this photograph from NASA really illustrated for me just how dark things truly are:

north korea

The one point of light in the dark gap between South Korea and China is the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, where the electricity isn’t too reliable either, according to Johnson’s book.

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Embark On A Themed North Korea Christmas Tour

christmas tourPresenting the most dangerous and surreal holiday-themed overseas travel itinerary ever? Gawker reports:

A tipster forwarded us a promotional email from the Chinese travel agency Taedong Travel hawking “the first Christmas tour of North Korea,” costing approximately $1,000 (€740) for five days in Pyongyang.

“You can now join local North Koreans for a Christmas and New Year to remember!” the pitch promises. “Will you be visited by Santa Claus, enjoy Ginseng flavoured Turkey or listen to familiar Christmas carols?”

Taedong Travel’s founder Stuart Leighton, writing from Taiwan, assured Gawker that the trip was real. “The Christmas tour is particularly special as it has not been done before, and we were the first to arrange it with KITC about a month or so ago,” Leighton told us.

He added: “There is no problem for those practicing religion to enter the DPRK, but we stress to all our tourists that they should in no way try and force their views and ‘convert’ the guides or any North Koreans that they meet during a tour.”In North Korea, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ—indeed, practicing Christianity in any way—places you at risk of imprisonment, torture, and death.

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Dennis Rodman to Barack Obama: “I’m in charge now.”

Declaring that President Obama “can’t do shit,” flamboyant former professional basketball player Dennis Rodman has told TMZ he will personally be taking over negotiations to free Kenneth Bae, the American imprisoned in North Korea.

“Obama? F**k him!” Rodman told a TMZ stringer before announcing he would be returning to the reclusive nation soon for another meeting with National Defense Commission chairman Kim Jong-un. (Rodman had earlier met with Chairman Kim during a February visit to Pyongyang with the Harlem Globetrotters. Kim is reportedly a fan of the Rodman-era Chicago Bulls.)

Rodman decided to take over negotiations for Bae’s release early last week following an open request to him from the Seattle Times. (For his part, Barack Obama has repeatedly told Rodman to back off.)

After Dennis Rodman as President, what would be your dream team administration of washed-up 1990s celebrities? Maybe Dustin Diamond as Secretary of Defense? Jason Priestly as Attorney-General?… Read the rest

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The Dark Side of the Digital Revolution

Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, fresh from a visit to North Korea in January, on why the Internet is far from an unalloyed good to the citizens of dictatorships around the world, in the Wall Street Journal:

How do you explain to people that they are a YouTube sensation, when they have never heard of YouTube or the Internet? That’s a question we faced during our January visit to North Korea, when we attempted to engage with the Pyongyang traffic police. You may have seen videos on the Web of the capital city’s “traffic cops,” whose ballerina-like street rituals, featured in government propaganda videos, have made them famous online. The men and women themselves, however—like most North Koreans—have never seen a Web page, used a desktop computer, or held a tablet or smartphone. They have never even heard of Google (or Bing, for that matter).

Even the idea of the Internet has not yet permeated the public’s consciousness in North Korea.

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