Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Update from the black hole called the DPRK

There are some developments going on in the black hole just to the north of here....a combination of the sadistic, the crazy, the megalomaniacal, and just plain tragic. Think of North Korea as a train wreck in agonizingly slow motion:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is apparently alive, and apparently incapacitated. Various factions in the government are maneuvering to grab power. The Chinese are involved, backing at least one faction. Chinese and South Korean businessmen who still get into North Korea indicate that there are lot of nervous and scared people up north at the moment. The North Korean government has released photos of Kim Jong Il out and about. But some of these photos are obvious fakes, and none of them is conclusive "proof of life".

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Ils brother-in-law, Jang Song Taek, is apparently running the country, That makes sense, because Jang Song Taek runs the secret police, and in communist police states, the main job of the secret police is to make sure everyone, including the police and military, do as they are told. That said, Jang Song Taek does not appear to have enough clout to take over as the supreme leader, and is more likely to form a coalition with other factions (from the army, national police, Communist Party and any other politicians or officials who appear to have juice). All is has an air of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, as the North Korean economy continues to collapse, and the food situation is getting worse.

Up north (in the DPRK), it's time for the annual mass executions at the slave labor camps. These are believed to be about fifty of these prisons up north, holding nearly 300,000 prisoners in the "Reeducation" system. People caught trying to leave the country, or doing forbidden things like viewing foreign videos or TV, are sent to the camps, which are basically industrial enterprises. The camps are very profitable, as little is spent on caring for the prisoners. The camps also contain common criminals, some serving life sentences. But most are serving 1-5 years, as these will then go home and serve as a living example of why you should not mess with the state.

But each year, at about this time, the prisoners are forced to witness the mass execution of twenty or more of the "most troublesome" prisoners. It's believed the number killed will be larger this year, because of the larger prisoner population (50 percent greater than a few years ago), and food shortages. Surviving in these camps, for more than a decade, is becoming more and more difficult. Common criminals are being released earlier, as the camps fill up with more people accused of "disloyalty" (for trying to get out of North Korea, run a business, or complain about living conditions.)

More about these camps is known as more former prisoners, and guards, escape to South Korea, and tell their stories. South Koreans no longer dismiss these stories as delusions, no matter how bizarre they are. In any event, the North Korean Reeducation Camps are no different than those found in China, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The annual execution of prisoners, to ease overcrowding, was something Saddam Hussein used regularly in Iraq.

Tyrannies, once you take away the labels like 'Allah', the 'Proletariat', etc, all have the same malodorous qualities. That's something that laughable leftwing hack from The Star is not going to bother writing about or admitting anytime soon.


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