Where you can die for freedom of speech
UPI reports that North Korea is showing signs of strain
With no signs of a revival of the country's tattered economy, cracks were starting to show in North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's dynastic control. Leaflets and posters against Kim's rule appeared in the nation.
In the face of growing cracks in the system, North Korea amended its criminal code last year increasing penalties for expressing criticism of the government and other "anti-state" crimes. The revision, the fifth since 1950, also calls for tougher regulation on new crimes caused by infiltration of outside information. North Korea also postponed its legislative session, which was due to open this month, in an apparent bid to tighten domestic control over the people by fanning a sense of crisis across the country.
In its New Year message, North Korea put top priority on preventing the influx of any capitalist culture into the closed society. Under the message, North Korean security agents have launched aggressive crackdown on "anti-socialist" behaviors in border areas since January. So far this year, North Korea has executed more than 60 citizens to warn its people against committing any "anti-republic" behaviors, such as illegal border crossing and information leakage, according to a Seoul-based relief group.
The report details dozens of public executions for criticising the government, or seeking a better life outside the workers' paradise, or not ratting our your grandparents for their capitalist roader mentality...
is watching... just over your shoulder!
Kofi lets us see him sweat
With a long-established career as a handmaiden of tyrants, accomplice to genocide, and abettor of terrorism, it is passing strange to hear Kofi Annan speaking as he did this week in Madrid
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Thursday for a world treaty on terrorism that would outlaw attacks targeting civilians and establish a framework for a collective response to the global threat... Annan was categorical in his address Thursday to terrorism experts and world leaders from 50 countries, including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
“The right to resist occupation ... cannot include the right to deliberately kill or maim civilians,” Annan told the conference on democracy, terrorism and security. The United Nations, he said, must proclaim “loud and clear that terrorism can never be accepted or justified in any cause whatsoever.”
I have a feeling that the reason for his change in tune may be that the Volcker Report has documentary evidence of Kojo (and/or Kofi himself) sucking long and lustily on Saddam's Oil-for-Food-and-Weapons-and-Palaces teat.
Bambi is a timid hypocrite
A few nice tidbits in the latest issue of the Economist, regarding Spain's first anniversary of the Atocha terror bombings
First is the quote from Spain's deputy prime minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega:
The government wants to honour all the victims of terrorism with sobriety and simplicity, especially all those people who lost their lives or were injured a year ago in an attack that deeply shocked Spaniards, filling our hearts with pain and fright.
Colour me shocked, shocked
to find fright in your dainty pacifistic heart, Sra Socialista.
The second is something to keep in mind the next time Bambi and his fellow forest creatures criticise the detention at Guantánamo Bay of terrorists caught on the battlefield
In terms of security, laws in place since 2003 to deal with ETA allow the state to imprison terrorist suspects for up to four years without trial.
(Emphasis added.)Tu quoque
Quote for the day
Wars are always unfortunate but it would be more unfortunate for the unjust to triumph over the just.
- St Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430)
Philosopher and Theologian
Quote for the day
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
- Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642)
Italian scientist and philosopher
Fat man makes hungry smurfs beg
CNN reported on the Dear Leader's followers aching bellies last month
The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) said recently it needs 500,000 tonnes of food, worth more than $200 million, to help feed 6.5 million hungry North Koreans this year...
The WPP and the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) say a quarter of North Korea's 23.7 million people will again need outside food aid in 2005...
The secretive state has more than a million men and women under arms -- one of the largest standing armies in the world -- and spends heavily on its weapons program...
If the 'Dear Leader' is the 'Greatest Genius of Mankind' who is an all-around wunderkind at science and the arts and so on, why can't he govern well enough to produce enough food for his people? In South Korea, the problem is the opposite: obesity
Some 10 to 15 percent of people under 20 are overweight (in South Korea).
According to 2001 figures, 30.6 percent of (South) Korean adults were overweight and 36.2 percent suffered from abdominal obesity. The figure in 2005 will be 2 to 3 percentage points greater than in 2001, medical experts predict.
To make the 'Dear Leader' feel less self-conscious about his diminutive 160 cm (5 feet 3 inch) height, his loyal subjects are shrinking
The World Food Program and UNICEF reported (in 2003) that chronic malnutrition (in North Korea) had left 42 percent of North Korean children stunted -- meaning their growth was seriously impaired, most likely permanently.
And physical stunting also means intellectual impairment
. From the LA Times last year
South Korean anthropologists who measured North Korean refugees here in Yanji, a city 15 miles from the North Korean border, found that most of the teenage boys stood less than 5 feet tall and weighed less than 100 pounds. In contrast, the average 17-year-old South Korean boy is 5-8, slightly shorter than an American boy of the same age.
The height disparities are stunning because Koreans were more or less the same size -- if anything, people in the North were slightly taller -- until the abrupt partitioning of the country after World War II. South Koreans, feasting on an increasingly Western-influenced diet, have been growing taller as their estranged countrymen have been shrinking through successive famines.
“They all looked like dwarfs,” said Kim Dong Kyu, a South Korean academic who has made two trips to North Korea. “When I saw those soldiers, they looked like middle school students. I thought if they had to sling an M-1 rifle over their shoulders, it would drag to the ground.”
To the extent that they ever get to meet South Koreans, the North Koreans are likewise shocked. When two diminutive North Korean soldiers, ages 19 and 23, accidentally drifted into South Korea on a boat, one reportedly was overheard saying they would never be able to marry South Korean women because they were “too big for us,” according to an account in the book “The Two Koreas,” by Don Oberdorfer.
Starting in the mid-1990s, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (who reportedly wears elevator shoes to enhance his 5-3 height) ordered people to do special exercises designed to make them taller. As a result, it is not uncommon to see students hanging from rings or parallel bars for as long as 30 minutes. Basketball is also promoted as a national sport to instill the yearning for height.
“Grow taller!” instruct banners hung in some schoolyards, defectors and aid workers say. ...
The North Korean military had so much difficulty finding tall enough recruits that it had to revoke its minimum height requirement of 5-3. Many soldiers today are less than 5 feet tall, defectors say...
There is virtually no height difference among adults older than 40, who came of age at a time when the North’s economy was on a par with that of the South. The trouble is most acute with those younger than 20, who were in peak growth years during the mid-1990s, when North Korea experienced a famine that is believed to have killed 2 million people -- 10 percent of the population.
(Emphasis added.)Kim Jong Il is the only fat man in the entire country.
While 2 million of his countrymen starved, he imported a sushi chef (story here), and an Italian pizza chef (here, here and here),
as well as sending people all over the world to procure the specialised ovens and luxury ingredients. That money could have been spent to import food, or fertiliser, or diesel fuel for the idle tractors, or pharmaceuticals...
The UN's twin crises
The Wall Street Journal editorial page
makes some pithy observations on the UN's current state
...Right now, the U.N. is beset by two great crises. The first is of efficacy. Over the past few years, the world has seen a depressing series of demonstrations of everything the U.N. can't do. It cannot prevent mass killing in Rwanda, Bosnia and now Darfur. It cannot competently (never mind ethically) administer an Oil for Food program. It cannot speedily deliver assistance to the victims of natural catastrophes. It cannot enforce its own Security Council resolutions. It cannot stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It cannot even define terrorism.
Up to a point, these failures can be blamed on inadequate resources--although so far that hasn't prevented the U.N. from spending more lavishly on its staff than the average American corporation. Up to a point, too, the failures are the fault of U.N. member states and not the organization itself.
But the deeper reason for these failures is that the U.N. is beset by a moral crisis. This league of nations makes no distinction, and takes no sides, between democrats and dictators, between the civilized and the barbaric. So we have such spectacles as the 2001 Durban Summit, which was meant to address racism and ended up espousing anti-Semitism. Or this year's sex-trafficking by U.N. peacekeepers. Or the long-running embarrassment of the Human Rights Commission, on which Cuba and Zimbabwe now sit. Thus the U.N. has become an institution with no moral capital, which is the underlying reason for its impotence...
To the UN, North Korea = Switzerland.
Reminiscent of Paul Johnson's column in Forbes
, posted here
Quote for the day
There never has been, there never will be successful compromise between good and evil.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 - 1945)
(from his State of the Union Address, January 1942)
Hola, Bambi! How is that whole appeasement thing working out for you?
Isn't the whole idea behind appeasement supposed to be that you give the bully what he wants and he will leave you alone?
Well, I guess that is the idea, but often the bully neglects to play along. Like in Spain for example, after some Islamofascists bombed several trains last 11 March, killing nearly 200 and injuring 1,500. Spanish voters scampered like frightened rabbits (Thumper?) and voted in as Prime Minister the socialist wimp José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (nicknamed 'Bambi' - I kid you not), who immediately ordered Spanish troops out of the Coalition of the Willing. Then Bambi enthusiastically pranced into the Axis of Weasels.
Did the Islamofascists play along with Bambi? Did they get what they wanted when Spanish troops left Iraq and thus they would no longer attack Spain? Bambi nervously hopes so.
But the evidence
says otherwise. ABC News reports
Fernando Reinares, the counterterrorism chief, said the militants most likely to have carried out such suicide attacks in Spain which would have been the first ever in Western Europe were seven men who blew themselves up April 3 as special forces moved in to arrest them.
"According to data collected so far, it can be deduced that those terrorists were probably planning suicide attacks in the months or weeks after" the train bombings, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500, Reinares told AP.
Reinares said the information suggested "their terrorist campaign was not going to end on March 11, but was going to go on and include suicide attacks at a later stage."
The seven men who died in Leganes, a town outside Madrid, included suspected ringleaders of the train strikes, which were claimed in videotapes by militants who said they acted on behalf of al-Qaida in revenge for Spain's troop presence in Iraq.
At least five men are fugitives in the case, including one who escaped from the apartment in Leganes. Reinares gave no indication these men are considered suicide-attack risks.
At least the Spanish police forces had the guts to take them down when they found the Islamofascist rat bastards.
Watch for Bambi to surrender to the Basques next.
Memo to staff: Continue mocking
In a story on Dan Rather's departure from CBS Evening News, USA Today delivers the best headline of the year (so far):
After Rather departs, 'News' ready to forge on
That can't be unintentional... can it?
Quote for the day
The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom is courage.
- Thucydides (471 B.C. - 400 B.C.)
Offensive Luddite offensive
It has not been a good week for Internet media enthusiasts and tech businesses:
All these clods are not likely to comfort themselves in the warm quilts of ultimate victory.
Keep sweeping, o you pathetic Canutes.
The UN's constitutional incapability to succeed
Britain's greatest living historian Paul Johnson sounds off
on the use of the UN:
The chief accusation against the United Nations used to be: "It's just a debating society." Would that it were! There's something to be said for a global forum in which all peoples can have their say and heads can be counted. Unfortunately the UN has expanded its role and now does everything from "peacekeeping" with multinational troops to administering aid programs and disaster relief.
And it does almost everything badly. It's impossible to point to a major operation the UN has undertaken that's been brought to a successful conclusion...
The Congo is only one of scores of failed UN missions in Africa alone. These failures don't seem to be taken very seriously by top UN bureaucrats. For example, Kofi Annan's predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who is criticized in the first report of the Iraq oil-for-food scandal, replied: "I am not saying I am not responsible in this case. There are a lot of things that I am responsible for that were ten times worse than this, such as the genocide in Rwanda."
That is the UN for you- not only incompetent, but also insolent.
The ongoing Oil-for-Food-and-Palaces-and-Weapons has a chance to get somewhere
because a first-class, strong personality-Paul Volcker, former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve-is in charge and because the UN investigation is being shadowed by five U.S. congressional inquiries and an investigation by a federal prosecutor in New York.
Keep the pressure on. Squeeze them til the pips squeak.
...Any state that can be legally defined as one can join the UN-it is a club having no rules of probity or morals. To be a member, a state does not have to be a democracy, nor must it accept the rule of law. It can be a hopelessly corrupt tyranny.
The UN gets the scrapings of the global barrel. The result is failure and graft. UN officials are not answerable to bodies like Congress or the U.K.'s Parliament, which would be sure to track down, expose and punish gross abuses and manifest failures. No senior UN official has ever gone to jail. It's rare for anyone to be sacked or removed. The top brass resist any kind of investigation, on principle. The oil-for-food inquiry is unique in that it has taken place at all and seems to be garnering results.
But will any punishment be meted out? Will any serious reforms be pushed through? Of course not...
Mr. Johnson pulls no punches and does not limit himself to the UN alone:
Other big international organizations show similar endemic weaknesses. The EU has a corrupt, inefficient and hugely expensive bureaucracy that gobbles up billions of euros that are never properly accounted for. It has successfully resisted any kind of real investigation into its misdeeds. It survives and flourishes in its wickedness because major component states, such as France, Italy and Germany, are themselves corrupt and have no desire to see Brussels become pure and honest. The only way to reduce corruption in Brussels is to give it less to do. The same principle applies to the UN.
I've long advocated that UN headquarters be moved from New York and relocated nearer the eye of the world's storms of war, famine, poverty, disease and misgovernment. This would eliminate the playboys and good-timers from UN delegations and the secretariat and attract the honest and serious-minded, perhaps even a few idealists. But until that day comes, we must ensure the UN does not get handed missions it has no chance of carrying out successfully. It can talk shop, yes. No harm in that. But take action, no.
Read the whole thing.
I reread it and can find nothing to disagree with. I especially like the idea of moving UN HQ to a place where their supposed calling is needed, like the Congo or Sudan or Pakistan or Colombia.
The UN cannot succeed. Criminality, incompetence, graft, and failure are baked right in.
Quote for the day
Shall I tell you what the real evil is? To cringe to the things that are called evils, to surrender to them our freedom, in defiance of which we ought to face any suffering.
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca (aka Seneca the Younger) (3 B.C.? - 65 A.D.)
Roman philosopher, dramatist and statesman
Canadian link in Oil-for-Food-and-Palaces-and-Weapons chain
I mentioned Ms Flechette, Kofi Annan's getaway car driver, here
The Volcker report referred to this Canadian humanitarian by title, but never by name. She intervened in the audits of the corrupt Oil-forFood at a critical moment, to prevent the UN Security Council from finding out the depths of the corruption.
Did they protect her because the Volcker team's top man is her former boss?
No Pasaran! has much much more about this partner-in-crime here
The UN corruption stinks bad enough to knock a buzzard off of a shitwagon.
Quote for the day
Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.
- Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948)
Indian political and spiritual leader