Sunday, December 11, 2005

Re: North Korea: Washington Times- you left something out

They publish a piece on North Korea...

Apart from the impressive subsidy -- $2.6 billion -- donated by South Korea, North Korea's other significant source of foreign income is an especially well-crafted "super" U.S. $100 bill produced at two factories in downtown Pyongyang.
My visit was timed to coincide with the Arirang, or mass performances, to celebrate the founding of North Korea's Communist Party. Some 100,000 performers danced, marched, tumbled, while masses of children held up snap cards that formed gargantuan pictures of great battles, and insistent images of Eternal President Kim Il-sung (the "Great Leader") and the "Dear Leader," Kim Jong-il. These "games" were like a Stalinist version of a Busby Berkeley 1930s Hollywood spectacle and part George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead."
The "Dear Leader" was supposed to have shown up at the Arirang performance as he did when then-U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright attended a similar event five years ago. Indeed, North Korean TV broadcasts that night showed Mr. Kim seated somewhere near our VIP boxes. But like much else in North Korea, it was fiction. Mr. Kim was not there, really; on TV, there he was in the box, two over from where I sat. He was there, but virtually.
The leadership's self-proclaimed near-divinity has elements of real absurdity. The North Korean papers claim, for instance, Mr. Kim shot 38 -- for 18 holes -- the first and last time he ever played golf. It is part of the weird miracles, lies and mass adulation the regime hopes will strengthen its grip on power.

As the American Prospect noted a few months back...

Several years ago, the communist dictator of North Korea decided to send a birthday gift to a special friend. The gift was a rare ginseng root, and the recipient, given the ideology of the sender, may seem at first blush to be a surprise: the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, self-proclaimed messiah and proud owner of Washington’s flagship right-wing newspaper, The Washington Times.

Their relationship, in fact, is based on more than the exchange of baubles. Moon once claimed that Kim Jong-Il has extended an invitation to reside permanently in his totalitarian paradise. “He tells me,” Moon once recalled in a sermon about Kim, “‘I will give you a comfortable place if you come here, and the people will appreciate you more here.’” ...

The Washington Times has played an essential role in Moon’s relations with the Kim dynasty, although the tone of its coverage alternates between promotional and hostile. Ironically, while Times editorial-page editor (and TV personality) Tony Blankley has published recent op-ed columns attacking the Clinton administration’s “perverse policy of appeasement” for giving “enticements and sweetheart deals” to North Korea, a secretive organization housed just one floor above the very office where he writes his editorials serves as the headquarters for Moon’s emissaries. However harshly The Washington Times may denounce North Korea, those emissaries and Moon himself have been providing attractive “enticements” and “deals” to Pyongyang for almost 15 years.

Indeed, Moon’s relationship with the North Korean regime continues to expand today. He maintains a deluxe hotel in Pyongyang and is pursuing other ventures. Although he lost a long and costly bidding war with Hyundai to develop tourism in North Korea, the South Korea–based car company ceded to Moon’s people the right to build an automobile factory in Nampo, a city outside the capital where he has invested $55 million so far. He has also mounted an advertising campaign that has placed the first commercial billboards on North Korean soil.

So the Moon empire is providing substantial assistance to what may well be the most dangerous and unstable regime in President Bush’s “axis of evil” -- and a government that many on the right consider an irreconcilable enemy of the United States -- while simultaneously attacking elected officials (almost exclusively Democrats) who question the president’s policies as weak and unpatriotic.

And that, as they say, is the rest of the story.

Really, a mouthpiece of a culty self-proclaimed Korean messiah reporting on another culty self-proclaimed Korean messiah.

You can't make this stuff up.

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