News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs.

1. Kim Jong-un Calls K-Pop a ‘Vicious Cancer’ in the New Culture War

2. Kim Jong-un’s Weight Loss Prompts Health Speculation

3.  Inside Room 39, The Shadowy North Korean Cabal That Allows The Country’s Leaders To Live In Luxury

4. North Korea Diverts Electricity From Provinces To Keep Pyongyang Powered

5. Report: FBI warned of ‘credible North Korea threat’ to Christopher Ahn

6. Kim Jong Un appears to have lost some weight — and that could have geopolitical consequences

7. South Korea Opposition Picks Harvard Graduate to Lead Push to Power

8. Lee Jun-seok wins surprise victory to head main opposition as youngest-ever leader

9. N. Korea stays mum on key party meeting set to be held early this month

10. Behold, North Korea has Asia’s hottest currency

11. N. Korean missiles pose increasing threat to U.S., allies: Secretary Austin

12. Kim Jong Un recasts party rulebook to forge own identity

13. Gov’t refrains from commenting on Kim Jong-un’s apparent weight loss

14. Recent inter-Korean ‘significant communication’ leads to rampant speculation

15. US will lead with diplomacy to mitigate NK behavior: US defense chief

16. Koreans begin to get Janssen vaccine amid rising hope of normal life

17. How North Korea is doing propaganda with universities in Berlin

18. McDonald’s Hit by Data Breach

 

1. Kim Jong-un Calls K-Pop a ‘Vicious Cancer’ in the New Culture War

The New York Times · by Choe Sang-Hun · June 10, 2021

Yes, we continue to read these stories. But they are useful for trying to understand the nature of the Kim family regime.

And I think this excerpt captures an important aspect of that nature:

But it may be too late to patch the cracks left behind during the 1990s. Mr. Jung, 58, remembers watching “Jealousy,” a K-drama about young love, when he was still in North Korea and feeling a culture shock. “On North Korean TV, it was all about the party and the leader,” he said. “You never saw such a natural display of human emotions like a man and woman kissing.”

 

2. Kim Jong-un’s Weight Loss Prompts Health Speculation

english.chosun.com · June 10, 2021

We are going to be speculating about this for some time to come. It will be interesting to see how he looks after his next prolonged absence. (I expect he will be out of sight for another more or so). Perhaps he has a nice spa and personal trainer.

 

3. Inside Room 39, The Shadowy North Korean Cabal That Allows The Country’s Leaders To Live In Luxury

allthatsinteresting.com · by Morgan Dunn · June 10, 2021

Room, Office, Department, Bureau.

Influencing, dealing with, countering, and exploiting this organization must be a priority line of effort in our strategy.

 

4. North Korea Diverts Electricity From Provinces To Keep Pyongyang Powered

eurasiareview.com · by Yong Gun Shin and Jeong Yon Park  · June 10, 2021

Just another indicator of the nature of the Kim family regime and its corrupt and incompetent methods for running the country. It also should provide us with some optimism and we must respect the Korean people living in the north for their resilience and ability to adapt and overcome the hardships in order to survive.

Excerpts: “The residents of Chunggang sacrificed much to build the power plant, according to the resident.

“It took 20 years of labor. We carried cement on our backs and blocked off the streams, but the plant only worked for the first few years before it stopped generating power,” the resident said.

“At the time the power plant was completed, they lifted restrictions on electricity use and every household in the town of Chunggang received a gift of an electric rice cooker from the Highest Dignity,” said the resident, using an honorific to refer to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The opening of the power plant and the gifts were touted as an example of Kim’s benevolence and love for the people, according to the resident.

“But it was the start of our suffering. It was already bad that corrupt officials submitted a false report to exaggerate their own achievements, but it was worse that the guy at the top is so ignorant of how we at the bottom are living, and he is only concerned about taking credit for everything,” said the resident.

As electricity is often unavailable in the people’s homes, the people have begun finding creative ways to access reliable power.

I will never forget talking to a retired South Korean Admiral who said there are two miracles in Korea, one on the Han and one on the Taedong.

Differences Between north and South

Survive and Thrive

  • -Two Miracles in Korea
  • – Miracle on the Han – development of Korea
  • – Only nation to go from major aid recipient to a major donor nation
  • – Grew out of the ashes of the Korean Civil War – political, economic, cultural development- Great Middle Power – 8-11th largest economy in the world
  • – Miracle on the Taedong
  • – After 7 decades the Korean people in the north continue to survive despite living in conditions of the worst human rights atrocities and crimes against humanity since WWII.
  • – Commonality among Korean people in the north and South
  • – When faced with hardship they will survive
  • – Neither north nor South had a history of democracy or free market economy
  • – When given an opportunity they will thrive – note the nearly 500 markets thriving in the north

This bodes well for eventual unification.

5. Report: FBI warned of ‘credible North Korea threat’ to Christopher Ahn

UPI · by Elizabeth Shim · June 10, 2021

I do think Christopher Ahn and Adrian Hong are both at risk of violent retaliation from north Korea. 

The regime has proven that its security services have the ability to conduct covert operations overseas such as the assassination of Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia. 

The regime is likely upset for three reasons. The group Free Jeoson is considered a threat to the regime. Second Ahn and Hong were involved in protecting Kim Jong-nam’s family. And lastly the Madrid incident is an embarrassment to the regime. 

Anyone who does not believe that Ahn is at risk does not understand the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kim family regime. 

 

Professor Lee​ from the Fletcher School tweeted below. Perhaps the Judge will make the right ruling.

Sung-Yoon Lee

@SungYoonLee1

Guess who said the following at the Christopher Ahn extradition hearing, LA District Court, May 25, 2021: “[B]ack in the day we prosecuted people for being members of underground railroads and then, you know, a hundred years later we were giving them medals.” #FreeJoseon

 

6. Kim Jong Un appears to have lost some weight — and that could have geopolitical consequences

The Washington Post · by Michael E. Miller · June 10, 2021

Whatever happens on the Korean peninsula will have global implications: whether war, instability, or regime collapse. Unfortunately, KJU is the center of gravity for all bad things that can happen.

 

7. South Korea Opposition Picks Harvard Graduate to Lead Push to Power

Bloomberg · by Jeong-Ho Lee · June 11, 2021

The rising star in the South.

 

8. Lee Jun-seok wins surprise victory to head main opposition as youngest-ever leader

en.yna.co.kr · by 박보람 · June 11, 2021

 

9. N. Korea stays mum on key party meeting set to be held early this month

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · June 11, 2021

Keeping us guessing.

 

10. Behold, North Korea has Asia’s hottest currency

asiatimes.com · by Bradley K. Martin · June 11, 2021

Interesting.

 

11. N. Korean missiles pose increasing threat to U.S., allies: Secretary Austin

en.yna.co.kr · by 변덕근 · June 11, 2021

The regime’s great force multiplied in war and in support of blackmail diplomacy and political warfare.

 

12. Kim Jong Un recasts party rulebook to forge own identity

asia.nikkei.com · June 10, 2021

I do not think we should overreact to the reports on party rule changes.

 

13. Gov’t refrains from commenting on Kim Jong-un’s apparent weight loss

The Korea Times · by Yoon Ja-young · June 11, 2021

I am sure there are some who fear upsetting KJU.

 

14. Recent inter-Korean ‘significant communication’ leads to rampant speculation

The Korea Times · by Kang Seung-woo · June 11, 2021

I am sure the discussions are being shared among allies. It would be interesting to get an assessment of these communications but of course they will be classified.

 

15. US will lead with diplomacy to mitigate NK behavior: US defense chief

koreaherald.com · by Kim So-hyun · June 11, 2021

And diplomacy must rest on the foundation of a strong ROK/US alliance and the military capability to deter, defend, and defeat.

 

16. Koreans begin to get Janssen vaccine amid rising hope of normal life

en.yna.co.kr · by 유청모 · June 10, 2021

 

17. How North Korea is doing propaganda with universities in Berlin

DW

My response to a journalist regarding this situation:

“Clearly this is north Korean propaganda to try to enhance the reputation of north Korea and the Kim family regime. It should be no surprise to us.

It is also no surprise that the universities that complain have received no answer from their “sister” universities and I doubt they will. They would need approval at the highest levels to remove the partner relationship and they are unlikely to seek such approval for fear of direct retaliation against them from the regime. I think all requests will continue to be ignored.

I think it is important for the foreign universities to inoculate themselves from this by calling attention to the situation and making sure the public, their governments, and the UN know that they are not sister universities. This will expose north Korean propaganda actions and help undermine the legitimacy of the Kim family regime, and hopefully protect the universities from allegations of scientific exchanges that are prohibited by sanctions.”

 

18. McDonald’s Hit by Data Breach

WSJ · by Heather Haddon

Now this is a real threat – don’t threaten McDonald’s. 🙂

 

—————

 

“The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”

– Solzhenitsyn

 

And he reiterated his disdain for the hearts and minds approach, as exemplified in the village resettlement programs. “I do not believe the Americans can bring pacification to Vietnam,” Dayan wrote in his last dispatch from the war zone. “The Americanization of the war can, from the military point of view, succeed, but the Americanization of the peace, of daily life, can only serve the Viet Cong with terrorist objectives and propagandist arguments against ‘American hegemony in Vietnam.’”

Or as Dayan put it in his book, Vietnam Diary, which was published in Israel in 1977, “the Americans are winning everything—except the war.”

 

“… insurgency and counterinsurgency… have enjoyed a level of military, academic, and journalistic notice unseen since the mid-1960s. Scholars and practitioners have recently reexamined 19th- and 20th-century counterinsurgency campaigns waged by the United States and the European colonial powers, much as their predecessors during the Kennedy administration mined the past relentlessly in the hope of uncovering the secrets of revolutionary guerrilla warfare. The professional military literature is awash with articles on how the armed services should prepare for what the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) refers to as “irregular warfare,” and scholars, after a long hiatus, have sought to deepen our understanding of the roles that insurgency, terrorism, and related forms of political violence play in the international security environment.”

– William Rosenau, “Subversion and Terrorism: Understanding and Countering the Threat”

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Cybersecurity, hacking, regulation | Homeland Security Newswire 06/11/2021 News & Commentary – National Security