Korea: The People Need To Hear The Sound Of Gunfire

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October 20, 2008:??During the recent harvest, troops were sent to all agricultural areas with orders to guard a special war reserve of food, even if this meant farmers would not have enough food to last them through the Winter. Farmers have been ordered to contribute to the war reserve before taking care of their own needs. In the past, this reserve was established during times when famine was the greatest, as a means of dealing with the worst cases of starvation. Before the troops arrived, many farmers went out at night and stole food from their own fields. Meanwhile, the North Korea media is reporting an increase in public executions of criminals. These are said to have been ordered by Kim Jong Il himself, who is supposed to have said that, "the people need to hear the sound of gunfire in order to restore discipline."??While everything seems normal up north (the usual levels of fear and desperation, that is), there is a sense that no one is in charge anymore. Last week, North Korea announced that there would be ??major news released today.

October 12, 2008:??North Korea announced that it will resume dismantling its nuclear weapons production facilities.

October 11, 2008:??The U.S. has removed North Korea from the terrorist watch list. In return, North Korea has agreed to the inspections that the United States demanded. It remains to be seen if the North Koreans will live up to their side of the agreement. Past performance is not encouraging. But for the moment, the U.S. and South Korea will provide food and energy aid, which will help prevent another major round of famine and starvation in the north.

October 10, 2008:??North Korean TV broadcast pictures of ill leader Kim Jong Il inspecting troops. But this video could have been taken anytime in the last year or so. There's still no definitive proof that Kim is back in control of things.

October 9, 2008:??North Korea banned all UN (IAEA) nuclear weapons inspectors from its Yongbyon nuclear complex. This is part of the game North Korea is playing to force the U.S. to take North Korea off the international terrorist watch list (so that North Korea can resume some of its illegal moneymaking activities.)

October 8, 2008:??South Korean military analysts believe that North Korea is working on designs for a nuclear warhead that can be used in a ballistic missile. This is a formidable engineering undertaking. North Korea is a small country, with a tiny engineering community capable of undertaking this kind of work. South Korea gets a lot of information these days from South Korean businessmen working up north, and apparently information was received indicating some of the key people and organizations capable of this kind of work, are now involved in a new secret project. All this is an inexact science, and often these pronouncements by South Korean military officials turn out to be wrong. In this case, it could take at least 5-10 years for North Korea to produce a working nuclear warhead for ballistic missiles.

October 7, 2008:??North Korea fired two short range missiles into the Yellow Sea, after issuing a warning order to shipping to stay clear of the probable landing zone. North Korea fires these missiles periodically, mainly ??for propaganda purposes, and as an alternative to dismantling missiles that have reached the end of their shelf life and are about to become unreliable.

October 6, 2008:??Israel accused North Korea of selling nuclear weapons technology to six Middle Eastern nations. Israeli officials did not name them. It is known that North Korean weapons technology was sold to Iran, Syria, Libya and Iraq. The two unnamed nations are apparently among those that Israel is now developing better relations with (like Saudi Arabia, which has always been in the market for the best weapons available, no matter what the price or provenance.)

October 4, 2008:??North Korea media announced that leader Kim Jong Il attended a sporting event a few days ago, but provided no compelling proof. This would have been the first time in nearly two months.

 

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