The Counterpoint

November 17, 2004

North Korean coup?

THIS could potentially be a huge story, if what is being suggested is true.

The story may seem like a minor one on the surface, but we should note that taking down the portraits of Kim Jong-Il is not the same as taking down pictures of a president in America. Mr. Kim is much larger than that to the North Korean people; he is a God in human form. The Times notes that they could simply be finding new frames or cleaning the pictures, but I would suspect if that were true they would leave some hanging to assure the people that things are okay, lest they read too much into it. I would even buy the "new frames" excuse were it not for two other factors:

* The media has changed the title they use when referencing him.

* When was the last time he made a public appearance, or even spoke? A quick search of Google news doesn't reveal much, which is surprising considering the Bush re-election certainly infuriated him.

The Times story quotes an aid worker who suggests that this behavior is pretty common:

A Western aid worker in Pyongyang said by telephone Tuesday that traffic there was normal and that the airport was operating as usual.

"I have been in anywhere from 7 to 10 schools, hospitals and orphanages in the last 10 days, and there were portraits of the father and son in every one," he said of his visits to places outside the capital.
Though all of this information and these sources are sketchy at best, there are two reasons why I don't really believe the business-as-usual explanation:

* If it were common, how come this was never a story or an issue before? One would assume that the first time portraits were noticed to be missing it would have alerted the various news agencies.

* North Korea has been notoriously tight-lipped and strict about what goes on in their country. They seem to control the media and release of information very well, which is why I would not be surprised if they arranged for this aid worker to leak this to keep everyone in the dark until they are ready to go public.

Whether or not the United States assisted in this (if there really is any "this" to speak of) is beyond me; official policy towards North Korea is the pursuit of diplomacy, but it wouldn't be the first time that the United States government helped with a secret coup. What comes of this entire thing remains to be seen, but if Kim is gone then two out of the three members of President Bush's Axis of Evil have been taken care of.

Note: MediaPundit owns this story; go check them out for detailed analysis.

Update: Roger Simon has more.
Update 2: Power Line is now getting in on this story.

1 Comments:

At November 18, 2004 at 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Korea Times is reporting that in a later broadcast, all the honorifics were used. So there is inconsistency here. That COULD be a sign that something is going on, or it could be a sign that somebody goofed, and the mistake is not being repeated.
"Adding fuel to the speculation, Japan's Kyodo News Agency claimed that Pyongyang's state-run media has also dropped its glorifying description of Kim as the ``Dear Leader'' in recent dispatches. However, North Korean news monitored in Seoul indicated no change in Kim's honorific."
It is also very curious that other news services are not picking up on the publishing of anti regime notices in 50 locations. It is also curious who would have access to know about all 50 locations where such propaganda was published? since movements by all persons is severely restricted in North Korea.

 

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