Foreign Policy

Remembering Kim Jong-Il's Victims

There are Koreans whose names and photos, though absent from the front pages, tell the real story.


The pictures accompanying the news of the leadership change in North Korea are those of the dead dictator, Kim Jong-Il, and his son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-Un.

But there are some other Koreans whose names and photos, though absent from the front pages, tell the real story.

Ri Hyon Ok was a 33-year-old mother of three who was publicly executed by the North Korean government on June 16, 2009, for the crime of giving away bibles. Her husband and children were banished to North Korea's vast political prison system the day after she was killed.

Son Jong Nam was tortured by North Korean authorities and imprisoned for three years, from 2001 to 2004. He lost 70 pounds while in captivity and emerged walking with a permanent limp. Arrested again in 2006 after police found bibles at his home, he was sentenced to death by firing squad.

Soon Ok Lee is a survivor of the Kaechon prison camp. She testified on April 30, 2003, at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Human Rights that women political prisoners in North Korea "were unconditionally forced to abort because the unborn baby was also considered a criminal by law." She testified, "Women in their 8th or 9th month of pregnancy had salt solutions injected into their wombs to induce abortion. In spite of these brutal efforts, some babies were born alive, in which case the prison guards mercilessly killed the infants by squeezing their necks in front of their mothers. The dead babies were taken away for biological tests. If a mother pleaded for the life of her baby, she was publicly executed under the charge of 'impure ideology.'"

Kang Chol Hwan is another survivor of the North Korean prison camps. He met with George W. Bush in the Oval Office in June 2005. He's spoken of how when one prisoner was hanged, "thousands of prisoners were made to form one line and passed by the hanged person and threw stones at the dead body, shouting, 'Let's get rid of the people's traitor.' And because of throwing so many stones by thousands of prisoners, the faces and muscles were all torn up. Some women with weak heart, they didn't obey and didn't throw the stone. Then the officers condemned them, saying your ideology is doubtful. And beat them."

And those are just a few whose names are known in the West. As the American special envoy for human rights in North Korea stated in a January 2009 report, "The names and stories of most of the approximately 200,000 political prisoners in North Korea are unknown outside of the country."

President Obama's press secretary reacted to the news of Kim Jong-Il's death with a statement about American commitment "to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies." Very nice, but our allies are already free. How about some freedom for the North Koreans, or a recognition that North Korea's "stability" isn't much consolation if you are about to be executed for having a bible in your home? Not to mention that the hundreds of North Korean experts reportedly helping Iran's nuclear missile program aren't exactly adding to "stability."

Jay Lefkowitz, who served from 2005 to 2009 as United States Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea, recommends making future food aid to North Korea conditional on Pyongyang's first denuclearizing and opening up North Korean society. Otherwise, we'd just be feeding the North Korean military and the guards in those political prisons.

Mr. Lefkowitz said to me about Kim Jong-Il's death: "This is a real opportunity."

Here's hoping that America and other powers with influence in the region seize the opportunity. The alternative is who-knows-how-many-more horribly grim tales from the North Korean gulag.

NEXT: 9/11 Changed Everything, Christopher Hitchens Edition

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  1. Truly a disgusting regime but little will probably change. The regime isn’t so much lead by the kim family as it is a collection of generals that have found the near deification of their ‘great leader’ a useful tool in subjugating the masses. Coupled with the Koreans general, firery spirit, it creates a truly terrifying situation.

    1. …continues.

      Agricultural city-Statism is brutal to the natural human animal.

      One of the first divisions-of-labor was the professional violence class, which NK seems to have much of. And they’ve got plenty of agricultural farmers too.

      Luckily Western social democracy has at least pushed against private ownership of a whole nation-State, like we see in NK, and advocated by Austrian religio-economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe in his The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order.

      Think Kim read that bullshit?

      1. HAH.

  2. Orwell’s worst nightmare, come to life.

    1. Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s worst nightmare of private ownership of a whole nation from his The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order.

      Do any Fibertarids still think Sweden and Canada are ‘BAD’ places? LOL

  3. Reason is pro-foreign-intervention now?

    I thought your buddy Ron Paul says to just let the Japanese and Chinese deal with them. I’ve not heard him say too much about conditional aid.

    1. I’m still wondering why we freed Iraq instead of North Korea. North Korea actually ~has~ WMD and we are still at war with them. Seems a no-brainer. Hmmm. A mythstery.

      1. Because North Korea is a buffer state to China, and the risk that China would have intervened was high enough to make such an action untenable.

      2. That’s because the United States NEVER hits anybody who can hit back.

        1. Sigh. So unlike every other sane country.

    2. We report…you decide.

    3. Buy a gun and go attack them if you want, stop bothering me.

      1. We need a coalition first. That makes invasion perfectly acceptable.

  4. And now, Fearless Leader is dead. Sic semper tyrannis, babycakes…

  5. At least they have access to healthcare…

  6. We should have never given these f*ckbags any kind of aid in the first place. They’re playing us all for a bunch of fools.

  7. Well, Paul has basically said we don’t need to be giving out foreign aid to anyone. We’re in debt enough that we can’t afford it.

  8. Seems like life in North Korea is a lot worse than life was under Saddam. Seems like the North Koreans need more “freeing” than the Iraqis did. We already have military on the peninsula. They have WMDs. Can’t figure out why we freed the Iraqis instead. Oh well.

    1. It was the oil and to protect the JOOOOS obviously.

      1. Let’s be serious. Oil has nothing to do with our strange fascination with both the Jews and the Arabs and the area they inhabit.

        The only thing ‘Merica loves more than Jews and Arabs is peace between Jews and Arabs.

        1. Obviously false, else we wouldn’t have given the jews the best track of land smack in the middle of arab lands to inhabit.

          Seriously, a fucking 2 year old could figure out how THAT would turn out.

          1. The UN gave them their land.

            And the Arabs need to get the fuck over it.

            1. Who got it from the British, who got it from the Ottomans. It’s just like the people who think Texas should be a part of Mexico. Texas had been a part of Mexico for only a couple decades. Why not give it back to the Spanish or the Native Americans? At a certain point you just have to accept the current boundaries and move on. The same applies to claims that “Palestinians” don’t exist, they do now so it needs to be accepted whatever you want to argue over the past.

          2. Who are “we” and who has given any land to the Jews in Palestine? They either purchased it or took it by force of arms; I can’t recall anyone giving them any land in ’48 (or later).

            1. UN “gave” it to the jews in 47, which led to the war in 48.

          3. Right. The land with no oil and little water, except for what was in swamps?

          4. Seriously. If anything, Israel should’ve been carved out of Germany.

        2. From Blackadder: “the prerequisite for any battle was that the enemy should under no circumstances carry guns”.

    2. A lot of people forget that there still were three more differences between NK and Iraq, however:

      1. There was a mandatory UN resolution authorizing the use of force if Iraq didn’t comply with sanctions. There are resolutions against NK too, but they aren’t mandatory, so they don’t authorize the use of force.

      2. No invasion of NK could happen without the blessing of SK, and they are unlikely to ever give it.

      3. NK is also positioned right between China and Russa, who could theoretically come to their defense, and that’s a nightmare no one wants to see.

      1. 4. Iraq is a Muslim country and there’s a widespread opinion among analysts and academics (going far beyond the neocons) that autocracies radicalize people.

    3. It is simple. It’s realpolitik. Even the worse case scenario in Iraq, complete and utter meltdown and civil war, would yeild an acceptable situation for the US. Remember divide and conquer? A worst case situation would pull the neighboring states of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and others into picking sides. They would then use precious resources ensuring their side would prevail rather than possibly use them to build up their strength to the point were they could possibly stand against the US.

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    Tasha keeps her toned body in perfect shape by swimming, she tells us that this is one of her favorite ways to relax.

    It is incredibly rare to see high-end international models like Tasha doing full nudes ? she is exclusive to Hegre-Art!

    With her ethereal beauty and stunning body Tasha definitely has the ‘wow’ factor!

    1. If you’re going to troll advertising nekked wimmenz, please at least provide a link..

      1. Seriously, I was ready to grab my dick and double click.

        1. People still need to double click links?

          1. Much more interesting, how did he manage to integrate the click functionality into his penis?

        1. 180cm and 55kg? Look at her ribs. Tasha needs to make herself a sammich for God’s sake.

  10. None of those nations want NK “free” they just want the regime reasonably pacified. What is China, Japan, or the US going to do with over 24 million people who are psychologically, intellectually and financially crippled beyond comprehension?

    The waiting game has failed the West. NK is a black hole of human misery. The powers that be are just trying to avoid being sucked into it, and the people of NK be damned.

    1. Edit: at this point, I doubt even a majority of South Koreans want unification.

    2. “Now we love those Koreans almost as much as we do Jews-N-Arabs. And those Koreans need freedom, too. But let’s not be hasty. Lot of complications here. The last thing we want to do is go off half-cocked and invade a sovereign nation, no matter how repressive. What would it look like if ‘Merica went and crossed that DMZ? Why, we would look like some sort of war-mongerin’ band of outlaws. Just let time take it’s course. International justice, friends, international justice. Abide by law. Good will out in the end.”

      This policy statement has been brought to you by Team Red and Team Blue, and the Committee Against War When Oil Is Not Involved.

      1. But what about us?

  11. Really, if the the fucking SOUTH Koreans don’t wanna free their brothers and sisters why the Hell should we bother?

    1. But… they have NUCULAR FUSIONS!!!!!111

      1. It’s terrible that they suffer but in any invasion we’d end up killing boatloads of civillians. Not to mention that thousands would still fight us. Sort of like Okinawa in 1945.

        1. They also have a strategic reserve – called China – that may or may not intervene. But either way China would prefer not to have anything happen, so shut up already or they’ll up the interest rates on that money you owes.

      2. Wait, they discovered the secret of 5 blade technology?

  12. If there’s a hell, Kim Jong-il’s in the darkest, most excruciating pit of agony and torture it has to offer, and he’s stuck there for eternity — and good fucking riddance.

    Google Images has some to say, too:…..anproj.jpg

    1. I’m perfectly happily with him just no longer existing.

    2. That picture of dead Hitler is not one of Hitler, but a butler who looked a lot like him who died near the bunker.

      Hitler was cremated almost immediately after his death and his corpse was not abandoned for Russian troops to take snaps.

      1. Yeah, I know, but the picture still seemed appropriate for the thread.

    3. Damn, they really fucked Il Duce up.

  13. Pages/Everyone Else/images/kim-jong-il-pimp.jpg

    How much ass must he have been getting?

      1. Which one is Dagny?

      1. Two minutes late 😛

  14. At lest 17 pages o’ stoopid comments:…..58586.html

    1. What, this place isn’t bad enough?

  15. Good lord just nuke the country already and end it. You can’t reform it and you can’t reunify it with the south. Why have any tolerance for this BS at all.

    1. We could always just cordon it off use it as a dumping ground for leftards. Send all the Occupy fuckwits to the promised land. Shame about the natives, but there’s nothing to be done for it. At least the Westerners might be good eating.

  16. Argh… at *least*, and 15 pages.

    Here’s one from another Kim Jong praiser:…..17320.html

    1. And it’s obvious to any observer how NK has prevented American aggression, right?
      Enough stupid there to last a loooong time.

      1. Stoopid is what stoopid does.

  17. Don’t forget Hans Brix.

    1. Passing on the “Nth”:
      “An “endless stream” of soldiers, working people and students visited a massive memorial of Kim Il-sung in central Pyongyang mourning the death of the “Dear Leader” until past midnight. “They are weeping bitterly out of self-reproach and regret that they failed to keep Kim Jong-il in good health,” KCNA said.”

      Who in hell would credit that statement as anything other than fantasy?
      It’s hard to imagine NK ‘citizens’ being that far removed from reality. The Koreans I’ve met seem about as bright as the same sample of, oh, Danish, Brazilians, etc. I can’t imagine a single one ‘lashing’ themselves over the loss on a tin-pot dictator.
      UNLESS their ration card or family was in danger…

      1. I’d buy it. Stockholm syndrome, religious impulse, whatever.

        1. Really? An entire country?
          I gotta believe, as in post-Mao China, there are a lot of folks just dying (maybe literally) to tear down the photos of that twit.

          1. Youd be surprised. Koreans are known to be a really intense lot. I mean you have guys stabbing themselves during protests and drawing and quartering pigs for fuck sake. They are an intense people, and history shows they had to be. You combine that with decades of turning a man into a demigod and I bet there a more than just a few that really believe. Not the entire country mind you, but enough.

      2. It just struck me how a country could be “Nth”. Then again, I failed algebra.

  18. Wouldn’t let me post the link a minute ago… let’s see if it works this way…

    1. Sweet. Found a loophole.


    Really? Grown men sobbing and pounding the concrete with their fists?

    Propaganda or some twisted fucking psychosis? If real, do you pity them or loath them? Tough call.

    1. Actually perfectly rational behaviour. I was raised in a Christian cult and I found that the people who make the loudest displays of piety tend to be the ones who secretly doubt. They are worried that they might slip up. If you put on a good enough show, you hope you’ll get a pass when the inevitable lapse in acceptable behaviour/thought/speech happens.

      1. Um, these people don’t “secretly” doubt their regime. They’re either totally brainwashed into thinking that their great father is deity, (meaning their tears are genuine, which is true for most of these weepers) or they’re forced to put on an act while hiding their true feelings.

        Say, did you read about NKers executed for reading bibles at home? Do you understand why slaves were forbidden to read certain scripture or sing gospel tunes about bondage in Egypt? Your “Christian cult” sounds pretty messed up, but these people don’t belong to it.

        Sung Tan Chuk Ha!

  20. That’s it? In Texas they call this Thursday.

    Wasn’t there some sort of famine? Did this dude do anything *really* bad?

  21. >Here’s hoping that America and other powers with influence in the region seize the opportunity.

    Like what? Bomb the shit out of them? We could have done that a week ago. No, NK is fine how it is – it must be.

  22. “…if you are about to be executed for having a bible in your home?”

    How about a certain type of plant?

    1. One of those plants will get you AND your dog shot by the American Gestapo.

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