dprk evening briefing_28


Good evening.

It is 2:26 PM in Pyongyang right now.

Flipping through my copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica on the Korean War, the writer remarks that during the first retreat of the North Koreans, the levels of atrocities and vicious reactions were comparable to the Thirty Years War in Europe. This is a remarkable statement. It implies the state of the war was vicious, malicious, and without respect for law, far beyond the norm for a battlefield. The writer further noted that after the front had stabilized, the United States & allied forces (the UNC) essentially levelled major North Korean cities. In my opinion, this probably merits a full State Apology in the course to peace.  Apologies cost nothing, but can soothe hurts and feelings of injustice.

The writer also notes that the North Koreans impressed many South Koreans into the army and used many others as slave labor. This too merits a full State Apology in my opinion.

Anyway, on to the news.

Secretary of Defense Mattis reaffirms friendship with Australians.

The US commander in South Korea got decorated by the South Koreans.

The US Defense Department spokesperson says, "the US seeks only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula...".

The New York Times reports that Ukraine caught two North Korean spies a few years ago who were trying to steal rocket development materials.

38 North, a North Korean watch site, has a report on how the DPRK has been improving the lives of their citizens with disabilities. It makes me wonder what other lines of approachment might yield fruit. I think the stick approach favored by Trump, Obama, Bush, and possibly even Clinton are simply not yielding good results.

However, a defector notes in 2014 that he was treated badly due to his disability. I have a certain grain of salt about the more horrific things reported, because the lack of free press in North Korea gives a big leverage to gossip networks and does not allow accountability. Who knows what a game of Telephone would look like in that kind of situation?

38 North also observes the continued development of a submersible ballistic missile.

John Huntsman has been named the Ambassador to Russia by unanimous acclamation of the US Senate. Mr. Huntsman has a long and successful career under many Presidents and has served as Governor of Utah, as well as Ambassador to China under President Obama. He is a true adult in the room, and I am glad to see someone with his track record working on such a sensitive post.

IAEA notes that NK poses a new level of threat and has done significant progress in its nuclear program.

The US appreciates China stepping up sanctions. Note that this will put NK in a bind - if they start running low on food and other supplies, they risk destablization. How can NK move away from nuclear weaponization and save face? My understand is that is not compatible with Juche. Although, of course, the leader of NK, like other tyrants, can redefine philosophies to suit the needs of the moment.

South Korea's ambassador to Russia suggests that Russia should be playing a significant role in addressing the situation and working towards reunification. I bet Putin just loves hearing that! I imagine a unified Korea would have to shift considerably towards being neutral in the Great Power politics of this time as opposed to being a completely US ally. Otherwise China would be rather unhappy to have a "US Puppet State" or whatever the current nomenclature is on its border.

The Daily Mail (a right wing propaganda site in the UK), has gotten its hands on some images of paintings that they claim to be from North Korea depicting war atrocities in North Korea. (1) these pictures are horrific  (2) The Encyclopedia Britannica notes that there were a lot of atrocities then, and  includes the American soldiers among the perpetrators. So while these paintings may be inaccurate and horrific: it's likely at least reflective of _a_ reality. I've also included here a link to an Intercept article (The Intercept has a strong socialist bias and generally anti-American bias, they aren't good at context), which gives a few notes about the matter and some photos. To be clear: there were massive amounts of death during this war: roughly 3 million people died.

http://necrometrics.com/20c1m.htm#Ko (I advise reading the Atrocities section).

The US is looking to have more flybys, according to Twitter users translations of Korean language reports.  And it looks like North Korea isn't too keen on the idea (big shock there). So I expect a flyby, and an attempt to shoot a US aircraft down, I think.

It also looks like the weather is clear over the Korean Peninsula. So maybe we get another test launch this weekend.

Spherical geometry means that North Korean nukes aimed at the US might pass over Russia. That could be awkward for US attempts at missile defense...

Two reports!

A California county has put together a nuclear explosion response plan. Probably worth studying.

Whitehall (UK) has a report on a Korean War Scenario

Reportedly, Russia is doing some airborne drills near the NK border.

The majority view on the Twitter hashtags by the non-serious (i.e., the people who are just running their mouth) seems to be WAR WAR WAR. Also liberals caused it all.  But, they might be bots or propaganda accouts. Some pro-war bot activity is apparent! some more sophisticated than others. Weird things like accounts posing as both news and individuals. A lot of slurs on Obama as the cause of this crisis.

News Media Roundup (Remember Drudge and Breitbart are propaganda sites; Fox is heavily biased, as is The Intercept):

  • CNN: Front page! "Confused by Trump, North Korea contacts ex-US officials". The US is confused by Trump too! CNN notes that the coroner contradicts the building rightwing narrative around torture.  CNN has some writeups about life inside Pyongyang. 
  • MSNBC still running their NK tag, new segments from Rachel Maddow and Morning Joe
  • ABC has a few notes, nothing new.
  • FoxNews: Screaming about the 'antifa', no NK
  • Breitbart: Only 1 segment reporting on NK's claim that Trump was lying about Warmbier's torture (again, the coroner's claims are in coherence with NK's claim).
  • Drudge: running a few links, the ones I've already covered.
  • The Intercept has nothing visible
  • NY Times has a few notes on what we've already seen.


In summary, it looks like there's some expectation of activity soon; there's a bit of puffery in words. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes diplomacy, but the curtains are waving and you can see the figures doing things, but you don't quite see what yet. NK has not yet secured its place where it can feel unthreatened by the US, and the US has not publically allowed a scenario in their demands where nuclearization-but-agreement-to-not-use is a thing, so the situation remains unstable. 

Tags: #DPRK #trumpenwar #north korea #streaming notes