Why the desire to pull the troops out of Iraq in the first place?

*posted first on Friday Feb. 10, here*

In the Australian today:

NO sooner did President Barack Obama welcome home American troops from Iraq and laud that country’s stability and democracy than an unprecedented wave of violence across Baghdad and elsewhere revealed the severity of Iraq’s political crisis.

Unfortunate, yet hardly surprising, even to the most casual of observers.

And whilst I can understand (yet not agree with) the Left’s position not to send troops into Iraq in the first place – an argument, largely moot, for another day – what I don’t understand is their fervish desire to pull the troops out.

It always smacked of idealism, ideology, rather than hard-nosed practicality.

After all, what was so bad with having a US troop presence there to help maintain Iraq’s fragile democratic stability?

One could argue that I am biased because a) I am centre-right politically and b) because I live in South Korea, a nation that has had a US troop presence – some 37,000  28,000 or so currently – since the armistice between North and South Korea and have seen what a permanent US troop presence looks like.

I am happy to accept those labels and can gladly tell you that such a presence ain’t that bad.

By and large,  US bases in Korea – and Japan for that matter – haven’t been a problem.

Sure, issues pop up from time to time, but if one looks at the big picture, then a strong US presence here can only be seen as a good thing, a safe option, a pretty darn good insurance policy against North Korea trying anything major on.

Almost 60 years we’ve had US troops over here without any major problems. In fact, many major problems (a full-scale Nork attack comes to mind) have arguably been averted thanks to this presence.

So, why the rush to leave Iraq essentially free of any US military  before even a decade is up and before, as is clear now, the job is done?

OK, so perhaps it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges. US troops in Korea, aside from those stationed at the DMZ, aren’t on active duty as they were in Iraq.

However, it’s not a completely dissimilar situation. Perhaps a good analogy would be to compare mandarins and oranges.

US troops not only provided safety and stability in the fledgling democracy that is Iraq – a country still steeped with sectarian and tribal rivalries – but surely they also provided a deterrence to anybody or any groups who want to destabilise the nation.

What takes years to build can take mere seconds to destroy, and I fear a lot of hard work is being undone on the whim of a flawed, feel-good, ideology.

So why?

The only practical reason that I can see for Obama pulling his troops out of Iraq is that with an Iranian confrontation looming which includes action needed in Syria, Iraq frankly isn’t important enough any more or at best, an impractical option for a potentially over-stretched military.

Of course, Obama – a man of the progressive Left – can’t actually come out and say that but it is reasonably well-known to those who don’t just get their news from the MSM that Obama is actually more of a war-time president than Bush was, having committed more troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and for a longer period of time.

So whilst the MSM might play along with the “bringing the troops home” narrative, the evidence indicates this simply isn’t the case.

Some 20,000 marines, seamen and air crews from half a dozen countries, a US nuclear aircraft carrier strike group and three US Marine gunship carriers are practicing an attack on a fictitious mechanized enemy division which has invaded its neighbor. It is the largest amphibian exercise seen in the West for a decade, staged to simulate a potential Iranian invasion of an allied Persian Gulf country and a marine landing on the Iranian coast. Based largely on US personnel and hardware, French, British, Italian, Dutch, Australian* and New Zealand military elements are integrated in the drill.
Bold Alligator went into its operational phase Monday, Feb. 6, the same day as a large-scale exercise began in southern Iran opposite the Strait of Hormuz. This simultaneity attests to the preparations for a US-Iranian showdown involving Israel behind the words on Feb. 5 of US President Barack Obama (“I don’t think Israel has decided whether to attack Iran”) and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Feb. 3 (“The war itself will be ten times as detrimental to the US.”).

(*BTW, I don’t recall Aussie PM Gillard highlighting that one.)

And this:

As the US and Israel carried on bickering over the right time to strike Iran’s nuclear sites, their war preparations continued apace. debkafile’s military sources report that flight after flight of US warplanes and transports were to be seen this week cutting eastward through the skies of Sinai on their way to Gulf destinations, presumably Saudi Arabia, at a frequency not seen in the Middle East for many years.

Add into this mix reports that China will reportedly help Saudi Arabia build a nuclear bomb, and that both China and India have started paying Iran for its oil in gold thus helping thwart current US/UN sanctions (more of which were recently thwarted by Russia and China), then we see a stage set for a showdown and we see the reality that rhetoric aside, Obama won’t be bringing many troops home at all.

To someone who doesn’t know any better, it’s as if Russia, India, and China – all wannabe first chickens to the trough – are ganging up on America.**

PS Who wouldn’t love to be a fly on the wall listening in to what the US is really saying about China? Their ever-expanding use of soft power is in many ways, stuffing it all up for America. China must surely be becoming an ever-increasing pain in the neck.

This leaves Australia in an interesting position. Our main export partner is China. Our main ally is the US. We send China our goodies to help them get rich and rival America. We practice shooting our guns with America to help keep America on top.

And yet China and America are also so deep in each other’s pockets. America buys China’s goods. China buys America’s debt.

Fun times.

** I highly recommend reading The Lucifer Principle by Howard Bloom. Part of the book talks about the pecking order of nations.

Kim Jong Il’s greatest musical hits

Kim Jong Il wishes he had air conditioning

Kim Jong Il : musical genius.

We all know and love North Korea’s Kim Jong Il’s classic :

Now, through the power of scientific socialism and the DPRK’s Juche we have :

Paging BingBing

Dude, what’s the mood in Korea? Freaking out? Taking it in stride?

UPDATE [bing]

Taking in our stride. The local media and pollies on both sides are calling for the president to have done more and to do more.

As for the rest of us, it was a little tense/exciting yesterday and Tuesday but today was pretty much business as usual.

Folks were a bit tired on Wednesday.

But yeah, nothing else has happened so everyone’s just gone back to their daily lives.

I can’t read people’s minds, but I think people were geared up for more, and almost disappointed in an odd way that it’s just all fizzed.

Not that we really want to deal with a war (the economy!), but Tuesday was a big reminder of how much of a conundrum the Nork issue is and that it’ll all have to end one day… somehow.

You might be able to ascertain my mood at least here and here.

I don’t think I’m the only one who’s gone through a range of emotions and still haven’t really settled on the right one.

North Korea set to make succession official

Going, going…

It really looks like North Korean “Dear Leader”, Kim Jong-il, is on the way out.

North Korea has summoned a Chosun Workers’ Party delegates conference in early September, the first such event in 44 years.

This is most likely to make it official that his third son, Kim Jong-eun will take the reigns.

Complying with precedent, the apparatus of the Workers’ Party and its leading officials are likely to be reshuffled in September, most likely in order to set in place the Kim Jong Eun ruling core. There is also the possibility that Jang Sung Taek, who just became a vice chairman of the National Defense Commission during the last Supreme People’s Assembly session, will be elected to the Standing Committee of the Politburo.

Cheong Seong Chang, a North-South relations researcher at the Sejong Institute explained, “It may be that through this conference Kim Jong Eun’s succession is publicized across the country. This may be done by selecting Kim Jong Eun as a core official on the Central Committee or the Military Committee of the Party.”

The kid is only in his late 20s, so it’s unlikely this succession is being announced just for the heck of it. Most of the Nork leadership is a very old bunch of men and that would indicate that any announcement of Kim Jong-eun’s succession would occur when he’s older… unless, of course, time is not on his father, Kim Jong-il’s, side.


Socialism’s “logical” conclusion

It’s perfectly demonstrated in the latest actions of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il (who must surely be on death’s door by now).

Considering what the North needs most urgently at the moment is fertilizer, it would have been natural for Kim to visit the nearby Hungnam fertilizer plant. But instead he went to the vinalon plant, a symbol of the failed socialist planned economy. Vinalon, a synthetic fiber North Korea has developed using carbide extracted from anthracite, is a poor-quality and no longer economically viable. At the same cost, more, better-quality fabric can be imported from China, so no other country in the world produces vinalon for clothing. North Korean founder Kim Il-sung spent no less than US$10 billion on a vinalon plant in Pyongyan Province, which turned in the end into scrap metal. That was a decisive incident that led to the economy’s collapse. The February 8 Vinalon Complex was shut down a long time ago.

With the mass rally for its reopening, Kim evidently intended to demonstrate his pathetic determination that nothing will change in North Korea, ever. There will be no reform nor market opening, even if its economy collapses or it is driven into chaos, and although the prime minister apologized for the failed currency reform. It is a clear signal that Kim will go his own way against the current of history and regardless of what outsiders think. Under these circumstances, how likely is it that Kim will make a forward-looking choice in the nuclear issue?

*cross-posted at James Board

Sound extreme yet, eerily, a tad familiar? Socialism is dehumanising, heartbreaking stuff.

Man bites dog

A SOUTH Korean worker defected to North Korea this week after crossing the heavily fortified land border, Pyongyang’s state media said on Tuesday.

As a mate who alerted me to this said, “What an idiot.”

Americans re-united

The two American journalists detained in North Korea since March, stepped foot on U.S. soil Wednesday, the day after they were released from custody.

Dignitaries and journalists flocked to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif., for the arrival of the plane carrying Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, accompanied by former President Bill Clinton, CNN reported.

And, their boss, Al Gore, was there to greet them, too… with green ‘welcome home’ signs. Thanks, Al.

CNN reckons it’s a new channel of diplomacy… even though they stress Obama was not directly involved.

You can check that stuff out on the news yourselves.

The point is this. North Korea will not change. OK, this is only my opinion… someone who has lived in South Korea for five years in total. Koreans are so difficult to deal with, let alone North Koreans.

Whilst this may be a victory for the Left (Clinton, Gore, Obama, journos for Gore’s TV channel), and Obama is right to be cautious and distance himself from this (very short press conference), it really doesn’t help relations with North Korea.

Now sure. I cried watching the reunion.

No. What this has done is strengthen Kim Jong-il’s hardline position as his health declines, as he positions his son, Kim Jong-un to take the reigns of power.

Kim Jong-il is of course prepping his best son. But he had to do the nuke tests, the missile tests, and now the long awaited Clinton visit… 9 years belated.

If he didn’t, the hawkish generals would have taken control of a weakening NK presidency. KJI needed stature, and Clinton returning two pawns was a good move… from a Kim Jing Il perspective… the personality cult must continue. KJI’s stature among ‘his’ people will be ratified. America’s position has been weakened… from a North Korean perspective.

Triple bonus. The political Left can claim success (CNN mentioned it was almost as if eight years had been erased), and Al Gore can get on TV and plug his channel, all whilst, within minutes, the new eco-religion can kick in with green banners and Laura stating she felt the love from all her supporters being channelled to her in NK. Now, mind you, she was granted access to her family during the ordeal. But just how could she have felt the love from everyone else? A Vibe?

In other words, this has weakened the West.

Anyway, NK were never gonna keep them. It has been one big stunt to raise KJI’s stature both internally and abroad and to give the Left a boost… who’da thunk? FFS sake, they kept them fed (not always an easy task in NK) and had them in a guest house.

Obama can call two-track diplomacy as much as he likes but it plainly isn’t. Not with one ex Democrat president (husband of the SOS), one ex Democrat vice president and the current president involved. I don’t care how white you paint the jet. And the West’s position has been yet again weakened.

In one sense, thanks. You freed those journos. But at what cost?

At least someone's happy. Someone else looks like he got PWND.

At least someone's happy. Someone else looks like he got PWND.

So whilst the mum meeting her daughter for the first time in ages brought tears to my eyes, no other part of this stunt did.

I’m angrier at the North Koreans, though. Pardon my French, but they’re cunts.

Still, at least a relative status quo has been maintained. There really is no other ‘solution’ at the moment.

However, this has been an absolute success for North Korea. There’s little doubt they won’t do it again… all the while whilst expanding their nuke program, whilst stalling any six-party talks.

This latest stunt will affect any sanctions, too.

Cue the stories of OMG, this is so wonderful from the MSM.


John Bolton agrees. He’s been to Korea a bit. He’d know. And as for anyone who hasn’t dealt extensively with Korea?

Hmm… well.

North Korea opens luxury resort

Apparently, it’s for the average folks up there.

In a congratulatory speech, Kim Ki-nam said the hotel was “another proud creation built thanks to leader Kim Jong-il’s love of the people in the military-first era.”


The completion ceremony was attended by key leaders of the party, the government and the military…

But not by strokeboy. Why?

Where is North Korean leader Kim Jung-il recuperating? Pictures published by the official media seem to confirm that Kim is suffering the effects of a stroke, since he seems to have lost the use of his left arm. Chances are he is in hospital or recuperating at one of his villas, an intelligence official speculated Monday.

Kim Jong-il is known to have 24 villas across the country, most of which are equipped with medical facilities comparable to those of hospitals.


Meanwhile, why not give them even more money by visiting their new ski resort? It’ll, er, help their people.

Warning: graphic image below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Hilarious Hillary

She’s declaring the US is back in Asia. Er, Hills, the US never left Asia. The six-party talks come to mind.

But speaking of such, the great DemFem announces that she’ll be discussing North Korea… whilst at a Phuket resort.

Yep. Lot’s will come from that I’m sure. Thailand is certainly the goto place when one wants to solve the North Korean problem.

Here’s some news for you Hillary. North Korea won’t ever be ‘solved’ until its regime collapses or is destroyed.

The South Koreans are hard enough to deal with, let alone those extortionist bastards up North.

BingBing, Please Answer the White Courtesy Phone: NorK Attack “Imminent”

Things may have reached a tipping point with North Korea.

“U.N. Security Council resolutions are almost always a waste of time, but not always, and yesterday’s resolution presents North Korea with a major problem, and represents an escalation point in the continuing crisis. Just a few days ago, when the resolution was presented before the Council in draft form, North Korea issued a new threat, using the words “offensive” and “nuclear” in the same sentence maybe for the first time:

“Our nuclear deterrent will be a strong defensive means . . . as well as a merciless offensive means to deal a just retaliatory strike to those who touch the country’s dignity and sovereignty even a bit,” the state-run Minju Joson newspaper said in commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency…

* For these reasons, it is possible that North Korea’s economic situation is now so desperate, that North Korea is willing to go further than ever before in forcing the U.S., China, and others to pay up. Another nuclear test — or perhaps a military strike or other kind of attack against some nation — could be imminent.”

You really need to read the whole enchilada.


It is high time this dastardly regime was toppled, IMO. What’s the mood in the south, Bing?

North Korea should be a museum

Na, that’s it.

Video. Buggers me how to embed dailymotion, even with WordPress’ shitty tutorial.


What’s the word for amazing/pitiful/tragic/fascinating?

Part 2

It literally is like 1984 in real life. In the full sense of the word: fuck.


Before part 3 comes up. You’ll note Kim Jong-Il’s ‘classic’ story of his boots. He, as a kid, was wearing gumboots (rainboots or whatever you Yanks call ’em) and went out to play with his comrades. Er, friends? Anyway, his friends were wearing sneakers (did Korea [both sides] even have them when Kim Jong-il was kid?), and it was snowy, and his frien-er, comrades’ shoes were wet, so lil Kim ran back home in his gumboots and switched to sneakers. Er, so he could be one with his friends.

And such is the common misery of socialism and communism. The Left.

Part 3

But why not end this on a happy note? Take it away Lily.

Seriously, watch those vids. Astonishing stuff. Only one disclaimer. All Koreans talk in quite a direct manner. Whereas we would say, “Could I have a Coke, please?”, Koreans would say, “Here! Married woman. Coke, one bottle, please!”

The “funniest” thing is in part 3, the teachers talk about Kim Jong-il sharing his food. Ha! North Koreans starve whilst pot-bellied Kim himself recruits young middle school girls for his “Joy Brigades”.

CNN’s NK wrap

It’s actually pretty decent. With more resources and collective time than this blogger has, it’s worth a look.

Still, grain of salt. Air raid sirens still go off here every month or two (usually on the 15th or so) to remind people. Yawn. And we all know how the 24/7 media cycle works. They’ll flog it til something else comes up.

This shit always comes up. Real question is; how will Obama deal with it? This has all been to get Obama’s attention.

Obama’s actually done well getting SK to sign on to the Proliferation Security Initiative… and this has pissed the shit outta NK, hence the latest missile tests and a declaration of war. But as much as I disagree on Obama on most things, he cannot be blamed for this.

Anyway, how serious is this? Some schools and academies have been closed for swine flu (ha!) but all this is not enough to get me outta going to work tomorrow but, d’oh.

Remember, Kim Jong-il is about to cark it and NK still needs to be noticed by Obama and CNN.

Good night, folks.

That parallel

Yep, the 38th one again.

NORTH Korea staged a ‘successful’ underground nuclear test today which was more powerful than its previous test.

If only Truman hadn’t ordered McCarther to pull back.


It’s the top story on CNN. They ran it for 12 minutes on the 10pm bulletin.

More here.

Oh great: North Korean nuclear news

Old news but being reiterated today; North Korea has between five and eight nuclear warheads. This is according to Daniel Pinkston, of the International Crisis Group, who quotes un-named agencies (but probably the US). The missiles can be loaded onto Rodong missiles capable of reaching Japan. If true, Japan may go nuclear, too.

(H/T). US Congressional report here (16-page PDF).

Is this one of the international crises Biden was referring to?

One query: the first link in this post is from 2006, and quotes US sources. The second link quotes un-named sources. Anything to declare, President Obama?

Bing visits the DMZ

Yep. Finally, after more than four years (on and off) working in South Korea, a mate and I got around to visiting the most heavily fortified place on the planet, one of the final ‘living’ remnants of the Cold War, where democracy and capitalism literally meets old school communism – the Demilitarized Zone aka DMZ aka Panmunjom.

Part of the tour included visiting the most exciting place of all, the Joint Security Area aka JSA. As you probably know, that’s the bit where you could literally walk into North Korea if you were so inclined (and didn’t mind being shot at).

And we also saw the third incursion tunnel, one of four that have been discovered, that the North Koreans built after the armistice (remember, the Korean War isn’t technically over – the military guys did their part but we’re all still waiting on the politicians to sort the rest out).

Anyway, I took pics of course (where they let me) so without further ado…

Read the rest of this entry »

McCain’s Perfect Choice for a Running Mate: Governor Sarah Palin

While most of the pedantic, two-dimensional, inside-the-box-thinking, conservative political hacks are touting Tom Ridge for the slot (Not a bad guy, but…), David Freddoso notes a far superior choice has been proposed: The Republican Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

I believe this is a truly inspired idea. Gov. Palin ran as an anti-corruption outsider, and handily defeated a corrupt and entrenched Republican political machine. Plus, at 44, she would almost totally wipe the “age issue” McCain has off the slate, and since Obama is only two years her senior, there is no way they could attack her for her youth and inexperience: She has much more executive experience than Senator Obama has.

Not to mention the fact that, she’s a gorgeous woman who exudes mass quantities of charisma…


and has a super-solid family life.


Dibs on the eldest daughter! LOL!

This inspired choice would allow McCain to actually capitalize on his “maverick” persona, as Gov. Palin shook Alaska politics to the core: She’s a charming, charismatic woman, but she can also play with the big boys and kick ass.

What say ye?

UPDATE: Things are looking optimistic!

UPDATE II: Welcome to all 4500 8000 40,000 in the past few hours (so far!) people visiting us from Google. We’re a fairly opinionated right-wing blog, and you might like to take a look at our “About” page. You might also be interested in our other coverage of Sarah Palin and whether she becomes a prospective Vice President of the United States. You can find this coverage here and here. Personally, I hope she does, but you can feel free to debate the idea in comments below. All first comments are moderated, but unless you either insult or use severe profanity (and I mean severe by my standards, which generally only means the C U Next Tuesday word or the implication that someone has had a rather enjoyable erotic experience with someone who has borne a child), however if you come up with a new one, I may simply delete your comment. I, and all other contributors to this blog are more than fair in what we permit.

UPDATE III: Nayr Drahcir, don’t bother even trying. You will not be published.

UPDATE IV: A lot of people must like Palin.

UPDATE V: More coverage of Governor Sarah Palin and a theme song here.

UPDATE VI: Funniest observation on the announcement yet: “Put Obama and Palin on a basketball court one on one. Winner takes all!”

UPDATE VII: [spot_the_dog] No, we do not have any pictures of “Sarah Palin + Naked,” nor do we have any of “Sarah Palin + Swimsuit.” In the past 24 hours, there have been 157 separate searches on this site for “Sarah Palin Swimsuit,” and 161 separate searches for “Sarah Palin Naked.” I repeat, we have no bathing suit, swim suit, bikini, or naked pictures of Sarah Palin. What kind of people do you think we are, anyway? 😉

UPDATE VIIa: [spot_the_dog] Ace has noticed a similar search phenomenon on his blog and has a theory…

UPDATE VIII: A well-rounded view of the selection of Sarah Palin for the Vice President Nomination can be found here.

UPDATE IX:  We got it!  YES!  Nude photo of Sarah Palin right here!  (C’mon.  You know you want to click.)

UPDATE X: Feel free to visit our main page and read the latest posts we’ve written.


There is perhaps no better example out there of such. Bush is making one last ditch effort to make some kind of progress on the North Korea conundrum before leaving office – mainly what to do about the North’s nuclear program. But let’s face it, not much will come of it. Here you have a country, total population perhaps hovering around the 23 million mark with a combined active and reserve military force of about nine million. And it would take their missiles just 12 minutes to reach downtown Seoul. The Seoul National Capital Area is the second largest metropolitan area in the world with a population of almost 25 million.

Best of luck with that chit chat, Obama.

(PS … and you wonder why I live in the deep south of the country next to an airport…)

PPS Here’s a documentary on North Korea. It’s a few years old but I highly recommend you watch it.

PPPS But are we, in a necessary yet still tragic cross-cultural irony, witnessing death by a 1000 cuts?

But what other ’solution’ is there?

What would China do?

North Korean idjets

You’d think they’d know better. The North Koreans are getting all sooky about the South’s new hardline policy on them and have decided to expel hundreds of South Korean workers from a South-funded industrial park just north of the DMZ.

Idjets. The one main hope that country has of being able to one day properly look after it’s citizens and the stupid Commies send the money-makers home.

Still, no worries. The North usually pulls stunts like this before multilateral talks get under way (again) in Beijing next week to try and sort out their nuke problem.

Let’s hope this situation changes

Perhaps some of you have heard that North Korea recently (re)iterated that it will (re)turn the South into debris.


They’re pissed off about political activists in the South distributing ‘propaganda’ leaflets, via balloons, into the North. El Baradi hopes they’ll return to the six-party talks. OooooK. The South Korean government says it won’t stop people from expressing their freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, after 10 years of the Left-wing Sunshine Policy (under which the North developed a nuke), initiated by Leftist president, Kim Dae-jung, and ramped up by fellow Leftist president, Roh Myoo-hyun, this disastrous scheme (of propping up the North Korean regime under the guise of ‘aid’) has come to an end with Conservative President, Lee Myung-bak finally putting the squeeze on the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

And about time, too. Take this account, from a defector, for example. Here’s a few excerpts.

“People eat rats and snakes. They were the best food to recover our health,”

One inmate, Choe Kwang Ho, sneaked away from his work for 15 minutes to pick fruit. He was executed, his mouth stuffed with gravel to prevent him from protesting…

If a female inmate got pregnant, he said, she and her lover would be shot to death publicly. Then, An said, prison guards would cut open her womb, remove the fetus and bury it or feed it to guard dogs.

(And from the same link)

Meanwhile, President Bush has made the push to crack down on rights abuses in North Korea one of his last missions before leaving office in January. He signed a law promoting the U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights to ambassador and making it easier for refugees from the North to settle in the U.S.

Lee Myung-bak and George W Bush are right. More pressure must be applied.

Bing thinks this regime must be crushed. And what better timing whilst Kim Jong-il is ill.

Please read this (large PDF) comprehensive report from David Hawk of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights (or severe lack thereof) in North Korea.

And a bit of extra background…

Link to above video.

Tell me again, threats dont work….

Just caught this story from the Aussie news.

Aust urged to purchase oil for N Korea

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) says the Federal Government has been asked to help buy 200,000 tonnes of oil for North Korea, to assist with the six party nuclear disarmament agreement.”


I dont know about you but this shits me to tears. The regime in NK is involved in every shady deal under the sun, but were going to bribe them to stop….again…

Read the rest of this entry »

N. Korea Implodes Reactor. This is NOT due to efforts of Bush. The NorKor’s know Obama is The Messiah, Tiz a gift to lay at his feet.

BREAKING NEWS: Cooling tower at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear complex goes up in smoke a day after the country handed over its long-awaited nuclear declaration.

Fox News


Did U.N. Program Secretly Funnel Money to North Korea?

NEW YORK — Did the United Nations Development Program use an American charitable organization to secretly funnel nearly $2 million, and perhaps much more, to North Korea — over and above the millions in hard currency it is already known to have given the Kim Jong-il regime in violation of its own rules?UNDP documents seen by FOX News raise those questions, and others about the relationship between UNDP and the humanitarian group Mercy Corps, also known as Mercy Corps International. The documents show millions of dollars allocated to Mercy Corps International for North Korea seem to have escaped normal UNDP oversight.

WONDER what the U.N.’s cut was OR did they give a pittance and keep the larger portion, as is usual with that slimy organization?

Fox News

Philharmonic Agrees to Play in North Korea

They just can’t bring their instruments… :). Think those teeny cameras found in the cymbals, did it.

Seriously though…

Adding a cultural wrinkle to the diplomatic engagement between the United States and North Korea, the New York Philharmonic plans to visit Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in February, taking the legacy of Beethoven, Bach and Bernstein to one of the world’s most isolated nations.

The trip, at the invitation of North Korea, will be the first significant cultural visit by Americans to that country, and it comes as the United States is offering the possibility of warmer ties with a country that President Bush once consigned to the “axis of evil.”

“We haven’t even had Ping-Pong diplomacy with these people,” said Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, the Bush administration’s main diplomat for negotiations with North Korea and the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.


Gosh, hope they can come back.

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