Tuesday, August 27, 2013

10 Brutal North Korean Secrets

Good reminder on the brutality of the Kim Family Regime.

10 Brutal North Korean Secrets

If the Kim family had their way, the entire world would think North Korea was a beautiful paradise and that every one of its leaders was a blessing sent straight from heaven. Needless to say, North Korea’s media has a slight penchant for bias, and thanks to their strict tourism policy (anyone can visit as long as they’re already in the country), it’s difficult to get a firm grasp on what actually goes on inside the borders of this closed, totalitarian state. But thanks to a few daring undercover journalists who snuck in, along with gruesome reports from defected North Koreans who snuck out, we’re getting a better picture of how the cogs turn behind the veil of this great propaganda machine. And it’s not pretty.
10Labor Camps
Description: abor Camp
North Korea currently operates about 16 labor camps—massive compounds scattered across the mountainous terrain and enclosed by electrified barbed wire fences. It’s estimated that somewhere around 200,000 prisoners are held in these camps at any given time.
The prison cities are often compared to the Gulag camps of Soviet Russia—forced labor camps in which prisoners are held in brutal working conditions and executed for crimes as petty as stealing a few kernels of corn. Prisoners are usually a mix of defectors, traitors, and ex-politicians who ran afoul of the government—a fairly easy thing to do.
9Three Generations Of Punishment
North Korean law dictates a “three generations of punishment” policy: If you commit a crime, your children and grandchildren will carry the stains of your sin and be punished accordingly. That means that if your grandfather committed a crime, you get to bear the full brunt of his punishment. As mentioned above, this usually leads to entire lives spent inside prison camps. One of the worst offenses that a North Korean can commit is attempting to leave North Korea, which can justify either immediate execution or an extended sentence in one of their labor camps.
Criticizing the government, no matter how slightly, is also considered a treasonous offense. Simply learning about other cultures warrants a death sentence. Recent smuggling between the border of North Korea and China has allowed some people to get DVDs of Western movies—which are illegal. The North Korean National Security Agency has begun raiding villages in the north of the country by shutting off the electricity to a whole village then storming into houses and checking which DVDs are stuck in the DVD player.
8Insurance Fraud
Description: nsurance Fraud
The North Korean economy is, in all measurable aspects, completely failing. Exports are virtually nonexistent due to their reluctance to interact with foreign markets, as well as the fact that they struggle to feed everyone living within their own borders. The current population of North Korea is about 25 million, and the average GDP per person is about $500 (for comparison, in the US it hovers around $50,000).
To supplement their ailing economy and bring in more money, North Korea has been known to turn to international crime. One of these crimes is global insurance fraud: They’ve conned Western insurance companies out ofhundreds of millions of dollars. Brought to light in 2009, it turns out that the North Korean government had been taking out huge insurance policies on property and equipment, then claiming that it had been destroyed.
In 2005, several of the world’s largest insurance companies, including Lloyd’s of London, took North Korea to court over an alleged helicopter crash with a $58 million insurance policy. When North Korea’s state-run courts “reviewed” the case, they announced that it was a legitimate claim. The insurance companies settled because their contract was subject to North Korean law, which is a bit like playing “I win” with a toddler.
7Arms Dealing
Description: eplicas of a North Korean Scud-B missil
Insurance fraud aside, the United Nations has also accused North Korea of selling illegal weapons and nuclear technology to the highest bidder, which usually means countries in Africa and the Middle East. For example, in 2012, the UN seized a North Korean shipment heading to Syria which contained nearly 450 graphite cylinders meant for use in ballistic missiles. In 2009, shipments to both Iran and the Republic of Congo were caught in transit—one had 35 tons of missile components, and the other contained Soviet-era tanks.
According to UN sanctions, North Korea has been banned from trading or selling missile technology, but North Korea came right back out and said that it’s actually the sanctions that are illegal, and they can do whatever they want. It’s hardly a surprise then that North Korea’s arms trade isn’t slowing down at all. Like the insurance fraud, it’s a much needed source of revenue for the government—although according to Blaine Harden at the Washington Post, the majority of that money goes into Kim Jong Un’s personal stash rather than toward food for his people.
(Continued at the link below)

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