Being a despot sucks. International sanctions keep you from being able to import Game of Thrones DVDs or yellow cake uranium. No one ever tells you that there's food on your face and the anguished cries from your nation's gulags keep you and the rest of your family from getting a good night's rest. When you're not busy threatening the world with nuclear annihilation and when even having your enemies torn apart by dogs doesn't make you smile, it's time to melt away and take a vacation – get outta yer secretive nation!
Oh, if you happen to be from North Korea, you'll likely want to do it with a Brazilian passport.
According to Reuters, the despotic family of North Korean strongman Kim Jong Il attempted to leave their humanitarian crisis of a nation to visit western countries using illegally obtained Brazilian passports. It was long rumored that the Kims had been using forged travel documents for years to venture into the west in search of rest, relaxation and all of the shit that we don't want them to have because they're a terrible family doing horrendous things to millions of people. But up until now, no one, at least outside of the intelligence community, had ever seen any proof of it. That all changed this week when security sources provided Reuters with a photocopy of passports with Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il's photos in them. Unsurprisingly, the Brazilian government doesn't have much to say on the matter. Read the rest
The government of South Korea is playing loudly amplified anti-North Korea propaganda along the North Korean border today. The sonic assault combines K-Pop music with throwing shade at the North’s nuclear program and its leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea considers the broadcasts to be an act of war. Read the rest
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un aims a rifle at the Sporting Bullet Factory, built in 1996 at the order of the North's late leader Kim Jong-il. The factory produces "sporting bullets" for developing military sports. Its exact location is undisclosed. Undated picture released by the North's KCNA news agency in Pyongyang, on February 23, 2012. Wonder what sort of computers those are, and what they're running? (REUTERS/KCNA) Read the rest
Ain't no party like a Pyongyang party, 'cause a Pyongyang party is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY. Perhaps all those synchronized marching demonstrations for Kim Jong-Il were because he just wanted to get down.
[Video Link] via Submitterator. Thanks letterj and Dannel! Read the rest
As Dean told you this morning, Kim Jong-Il is dead. (Side note: This has been one of those great moments for me, where I learned about a news story from Facebook first, at least a good 10-15 minutes before stories started popping up on Google News last night. Shout-out for that goes to Kyle Whitmire, the new media editor and main political writer at WELD, a Birmingham, Alabama, based weekly.)
With that news in mind, I'd like to take a moment to remember one the weirder aspects of North Korean politics under Kim Jong-Il's reign. During the Clinton administration, and to a lesser extent, under Bush as well, one of the primary ways the United States conducted diplomacy with North Korea was through Bobby Egan, owner of a barbecue joint in Hackensack, New Jersey. No, really. Here's an excerpt from a 2006 NPR story on Bobby Egan:
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... a few customers know that Bobby Egan is North Korea's man in the U.S. Not that Egan hides it - he'll tell anyone how he tries to help North Korea. He's become a sort of unofficial ambassador. He says he's in contact with government officials, though he declines to be specific. Egan says that twice the North Korean regime authorized him to offer a full end to their nuclear programs in exchange for money and diplomatic relations with the United States.
He says that back in the Clinton years, he used to have phone conversations with presidential advisers while he was at Cubby's register, taking orders.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has died, CNN reports. And with him dies a great novelty Tumblog.
I think I just heard every venture capital firm fire up their private jets.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dead, state TV reports - CNN Read the rest