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  1. #1
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    Defector: Kim Jong-Un's Days Numbered

    Now, we've heard this talk before. NK's despot is weakening and his days are numbered. However, we've seen the "Arab Spring" and long-term leaders oustered, and Ukraine and such.

    It's possible. Tubby is gaining weight, and NK is having trouble keeping oustside information about the world from NK citizens.

    Mr. Thae is the highest ranking defector ever:



    North Korean Defector Says Kim Jong-Un’s Control Is Crumbling

    By CHOE SANG-HUNJAN. 25, 2017

    SEOUL, South Korea — The highest-ranking defector from North Korea in years said on Wednesday that the days of the country’s leadership were “numbered,” and that its attempts to control outside information were not working because of corruption and discontent.

    “I am sure that more defections of my colleagues will take place,
    since North Korea is already on a slippery slope,” the defector, Thae Yong-ho, said during a news conference in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. “The traditional structures of the North Korean system are crumbling.”

    Mr. Thae had been the North’s No. 2 diplomat in London until he fled to the South last summer with his family. South Korea has hailed his defection as a sign of growing disillusionment among North Korean elites with the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un. Since December, Mr. Thae has given a series of interviews to share his dire view of today’s North Korea.

    Mr. Thae’s diagnosis of Mr. Kim’s rule is hardly new. Defectors from the North, as well as some conservative analysts and policy makers in the South, widely share that view. Still, it signaled a drastic change of roles for Mr. Thae.


    Before his defection, he was a career diplomat, fluent in English, who had served in Britain, Denmark and Sweden,
    often delivering passionate speeches glorifying the Kim family that has ruled North Korea for seven decades. In the South, Mr. Thae, now affiliated with the Institute for National Security Strategy, a think tank arm of the National Intelligence Service, has vowed to spend the rest of his life trying to bring down the North Korean government.

    Mr. Thae said he had high expectations when Mr. Kim took power after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011. Schooled for several years in Switzerland, Mr. Kim was expected to help modernize his impoverished country. Instead, he resorted to a “reign of terror” by executing scores of officials, including his uncle Jang Song-thaek, whom he thought posed a challenge to his power, Mr. Thae said.

    The former diplomat said he had come up with a detailed plan for his defection, first ensuring that his two sons joined him and his wife in London. (North Korean diplomats are required to leave a child in the North, a measure intended to prevent their defection.) He declined to reveal details of his defection plan and the circumstances.

    While in London, his sons began asking questions, like why the North Korean government executed people in public without a proper trial, Mr. Thae said. Their English friends taunted them with questions, like why Mr. Kim had smoked a cigarette inside a nursery.

    The day Mr. Thae broached his plan for defection with his sons, he told them that he wanted to break the “chain of slavery” for them, he recalled. They wanted to know if they would have free access to the internet, books and movies in the South, he said.

    The best way to force change in the isolated North, he continued, is to disseminate outside information there to help ordinary citizens eventually rebel. South Korean TV dramas and movies smuggled from China are already popular in the North, he said.

    Another sign of Mr. Kim’s weakening control, Mr. Thae said, is evident at the unofficial markets in North Korea where women trade goods, mostly smuggled from China. The vendors used to be called “grasshoppers” because they would pack and flee whenever they saw the police approaching. Now, they are called “ticks” because they refuse to budge, demanding a right to make a living, Mr. Thae said.

    Such resistance, even if small in scale, is unprecedented, he added.


    The spread of outside news and market activities could eventually doom Mr. Kim because his government “can be held in place and maintained only by idolizing Kim Jong-un like a god,”
    Mr. Thae said. “If he tries to introduce a market-oriented economy to North Korean society, then there will be no place for Kim Jong-un in North Korea, and he knows that.”

    But the leader’s efforts to clamp down on information and products from outside North Korea have been unsuccessful because the police accept bribes in exchange for freeing smugglers and people caught watching banned movies and dramas.

    “Kim Jong-un’s days are numbered,” Mr. Thae said on Wednesday.

    After months of debriefing by the authorities in South Korea, Mr. Thae used meetings with the country’s politicians and the news media to suggest that North Korea was determined to be recognized as a nuclear power, just as India and Pakistan are.

    Last year, the North conducted two nuclear tests and launched more than 20 ballistic missiles, and it has openly vowed to develop the ability to hit the United States with a nuclear warhead.

    “It won’t happen,” Donald J. Trump, then president-elect, said at the time. During the election campaign, Mr. Trump had said he was willing to sit down with Mr. Kim and perhaps have a hamburger with him.

    On Wednesday, Mr. Thae warned against compromising with the North, arguing that sanctions were effective.
    In recent interviews with local news outlets, he said that North Korea had lost annual income worth tens of millions dollars, after Britain froze accounts last year held by its state-run insurance company as part of sanctions recommended by the United Nations. Until then, the company had claimed large insurance payments through fabricated documents, he said.

    Mr. Kim wanted to negotiate a compromise, under which the United States and South Korea would cancel their joint annual joint military exercises and lift sanctions on the North in return for a moratorium on North Korean missile and nuclear tests, Mr. Thae said.

    But such a deal would validate Mr. Kim’s argument that he had been forced to develop nuclear weapons as a reaction to American hostility, he said.

    “That is really a trap Kim Jong-un wants,” Mr. Thae said.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/w...ctor.html?_r=0

  2. #2
    Fresh Seaman CaptainNemo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Pizza View Post
    Another sign of Mr. Kim’s weakening control, Mr. Thae said, is evident at the unofficial markets in North Korea where women trade goods, mostly smuggled from China. The vendors used to be called “grasshoppers” because they would pack and flee whenever they saw the police approaching. Now, they are called “ticks” because they refuse to budge, demanding a right to make a living, Mr. Thae said.

    Such resistance, even if small in scale, is unprecedented, he added.
    That really is significant - when people have nothing left to live for, you have no leverage on them. I remember writing about this on a module about NKorea at a uni years ago... It's the economy stupid. The collapse could be spectacular - it will keep China, South Korea and the US busy!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQVmkDUkZT4

    we are all figments of our own imagination.

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    As long as the Ticks don't tell the police " That fat pig Kim does Fk all for us so we provide for ourselves "

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    the vendors arent moving because the threat to do something about it is impotent.

    great news indeed.

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    Sounds like any other country...

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainNemo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Pizza View Post
    Another sign of Mr. Kim’s weakening control, Mr. Thae said, is evident at the unofficial markets in North Korea where women trade goods, mostly smuggled from China. The vendors used to be called “grasshoppers” because they would pack and flee whenever they saw the police approaching. Now, they are called “ticks” because they refuse to budge, demanding a right to make a living, Mr. Thae said.

    Such resistance, even if small in scale, is unprecedented, he added.
    That really is significant - when people have nothing left to live for, you have no leverage on them. I remember writing about this on a module about NKorea at a uni years ago... It's the economy stupid. The collapse could be spectacular - it will keep China, South Korea and the US busy!
    It is significant for them. Once the fat bastard reads that he'll have them "re-educated".

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    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    I watched part of the interview and the guy was asked about what he misses most about London. I'm sure he was near to tears when he disclosed he missed his friends from his tennis club.

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    I found this article. It's 4 months old. To reiterate, yes, we've heard this "fall" stuff before, but perhaps the tipping point is near....?

    North Korea defector claims Kim Jong-un's reign will be 'shortest ever'
    Unidentified defector said he believed that the regime will fall within '10 years'

    Rose Troup Buchanan
    Tuesday 8 September 20150 comments
    North Korea defector claims Kim Jong-un's reign will be 'shortest ever' | The Independent

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    Some sources have been saying that Tubby is whacking a lot of people because of insecurity and fear of being assassinated.

    He knocked off 5 more. He used the Anti-Aircraft gun again.

    Is KJU jumping the shark?


    North Korea executes 5 with anti-aircraft gun


    In this Feb. 3, 2017 photo, a man watches a public TV screen showing a file image of North Korea's state security minister Kim Won Hong, who had been seen as close to leader Kim Jong Un, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. North Korea executed five senior security officials with anti-aircraft guns because they made false reports that enraged leader Kim Jong Un, South Koreas spy agency said Monday, Feb. 27. The spy agency told lawmakers that five North Korean officials in the department of recently purged Kim Won Hong were executed by anti-aircraft guns because of the false reports to Kim, South Korean lawmaker Lee Cheol Woo said. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)


    By L. Todd Wood - - Monday, February 27, 2017
    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un executed five security officials by anti-aircraft gun recently due to “false statements” which were given to the North’s leader and caused him to be enraged. The event was disclosed by the South Korean spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, and discussed in a private meeting with South Korean lawmakers, reported the Associated Press.

    The more likely explanation of the executions is that the North Korean dictator is feeling insecure in his position, hence the shootings and the execution of his half-brother by VX nerve gas in Kuala Lumpur. The security officials were members of recently purged state security chief Kim Won Hong. He was fired due to reports of corruption and torture in his agency.

    North Korea executes 5 with anti-aircraft gun - Washington Times

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  11. #11
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    Yes, it is. Good find. I've never heard of the "door."


    North Korean defector believes he can help topple regime by speaking out


    The following script is from “The North Korean Threat,” which aired on Feb. 19, 2017. Bill Whitaker is the correspondent. Guy Campanile and Andrew Bast, producers.

    In Thursday’s press conference, President Trump would not say how the United States will respond to the actions of North Korea’s dictator over the last week. Kim Jong-un tested a new type of missile. Then, his estranged brother was poisoned in a Malaysian airport. South Korea’s spy agency believes Kim ordered the hit. Kim has nuclear weapons and has promised to test an intercontinental ballistic missile. Such a weapon could eventually carry a nuclear warhead and threaten American cities. That possibility, and the missiles he has aimed at South Korea are so dangerous, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis went to Seoul on his first foreign trip.

    60 Minutes' odd journey to North Korean border
    We went just days later and saw how tense the situation has become. We got two important perspectives. We spoke to the commander of the 28,000 American troops there -- as well as the highest-ranking North Korean to defect in decades. He told us the missiles and murders are part of Kim’s raging obsession with the survival of his regime.

    Thae Yong-ho: I’ve been in Seoul for six months and to be honest I was never public until now.

    “In order to prevent more possible defections from North Korea, I think Kim Jong-un will do anything.” Thae Yong-ho. We went for an evening out in Seoul with Thae Yong-ho. He was North Korea’s deputy ambassador in London before he defected in August. A defection by someone of his rank is extremely rare. This was the first time he had walked about in public. Just off camera, six bodyguards watched his every move as we made our way down one of the busiest shopping streets in Asia. North Korea has assassinated defectors in Seoul.

    Thae Yong-ho: In order to prevent more possible defections from North Korea, I think Kim Jong-un will do anything.

    Bill Whitaker: Even kill you?

    Thae Yong-ho: Of course. Why not?


    The man who could order an assassination is Kim Jong-un. The dictator is the third member of the Kim family to rule North Korea. They have controlled the impoverished country with an iron-clad fist for 70 years. This was last week’s missile test. Kim devotes a quarter of his country’s economy to weapons like this and his million-man army – despite widespread food shortages.

    Thae Yong-ho: Kim Jong-un strongly believes that once he possesses ICBM, then he can easily scare off America.

    Bill Whitaker: Right now, how dangerous is North Korea to the stability of South Korea and as a threat to the United States?

    Thae Yong-ho: Kim Jong-un’s capability to wreak harm, not only to America but also South Korea and the world, should not be underestimated.

    During his five years in power Kim Jong-un has expanded North Korea’s nuclear arsenal – despite international sanctions that have brought his country’s economy to its knees. Electricity is scarce. From space – North Korea is a black hole. That’s it wedged between the shining lights of South Korea and China to the north. Thae said he was living a comfortable life here at the North Korean embassy in London before he fled with his wife and two grown sons. His job in London was to spread North Korean propaganda and report back on colleagues.

    Bill Whitaker: You all live together under one roof?

    Thae Yong-ho: Yes.

    Bill Whitaker: So you could keep an eye on each other?

    Thae Yong-ho: Keep an eye on each other, control each other, and even spy on each other.

    But Thae said he lost all faith in the regime when Kim Jong-un killed his own uncle in 2013 and executed dozens of perceived enemies – including diplomats.

    “All North Korean diplomats are forced to leave one of their children back in Pyongyang as a hostage.” Thae Yong-ho
    Bill Whitaker: I have seen tape of you giving speeches in London. You’re very convincing. You seem to be a true believer yourself.

    Thae Yong-ho: If I show any sign of hesitation, then I would be, you know, sent to—

    Bill Whitaker: What would happen to you?

    Thae Yong-ho: I would be sent to prison camps. So my whole family’s life will be jeopardized.

    Thae said there was one big obstacle to his defection.

    Thae Yong-ho: All North Korean diplomats are forced to leave one of their children back in Pyongyang as a hostage.

    Bill Whitaker: As a hostage?

    thae.jpg
    Thae Yong-ho, formerly North Korea’s deputy ambassador in London. CBS NEWS
    Thae Yong-ho: Yes.

    His break came when that policy unexpectedly changed and Thae’s oldest son was allowed to join the family in London. They all agreed to defect. He would not give us the details about his escape and who helped. But we know he was kept in a safe house by South Korean intelligence agents and questioned for more than three months. He said it was too dangerous for us to meet his family.

    Bill Whitaker: Now, I’ve been talking to you for a couple of days now. You come from a secretive place.

    Thae Yong-ho: Yes.

    Bill Whitaker: But I think you still have lots of secrets.

    Thae Yong-ho: Sure. Yes.

    Bill Whitaker: How do we know that what he is telling us is the truth, not just self-serving?

    Chung Min Lee: You know, when a defector makes a decision to jump ship, he is doing it at a huge cost, his co-workers or relatives, in-laws will be purged or killed.

    Chung Min Lee was South Korea’s ambassador for national security until last year. He said looks here can be deceiving --- the risk of war today is exceptionally high.

    Bill Whitaker: I think most Americans right now would sort of see this as a holdover from the Cold War. But it seems to be quite hot when you’re here.

    Chung Min Lee: That’s right. This is the only place on the entire planet where you have nearly a million forces on both sides standing, ready to fight a war in basically a nanosecond. And who is there right in the middle of this? It’s basically the U.S. forces.

    Lee helped shape Seoul’s policy toward North Korea. He went with us to Panmunjom -- the village in the two-and-a-half mile wide demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea. As we got closer, Seoul’s sprawl gave way to military checkpoints. The agreement that suspended the Korean War was signed here. But there’s still no peace treaty. The war began when the Communist North invaded in 1950 – 34,000 Americans were killed in what amounted to a stalemate.

    Chung Min Lee: So this is the longest war on paper since World War II. So we are still technically in a state of war.

    Today, both sides still stare each other down. That’s North Korea right there, that building just 100 yards away. We were told to avoid sudden movements that could be interpreted as threatening. It wasn’t long before North Korean soldiers took an interest in all the activity. So we went inside a negotiation hut that straddles the border.

    Bill Whitaker: What is right behind the door?




    60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker and Chung Min Lee, South Korea’s former ambassador for national security, inside a negotiation space at the Korean DMZ.

    Chung Min Lee: Right behind the door is, basically from there, this is North Korea. Once you go out, that’s it. We have no jurisdiction on that side of the door.

    Bill Whitaker: So if I were to walk out that door--

    Chung Min Lee: That’s it.


    “Right behind the door is, basically from there, this is North Korea. Once you go out, that’s it. We have no jurisdiction on that side of the door.”

    Bill Whitaker: I’m in the hands of North Korea?


    Chung Min Lee: That’s true.

    Bill Whitaker: Let’s stay on this side.



    When North Korea is behind the door

    It was all surreal. This part of the DMZ closest to Seoul had the feel of a Cold-War theme park -- complete with a fake village on the North Korean side built to impress the South. And in case you missed the point, loudspeakers blared propaganda -- marshal songs praising Kim Jong-un. A few miles away -- tourists crowded an observation deck, snapping photos with troops, cardboard cut-outs --- and the real ones. What the visitors could not see on the other side of those mountains are 10,000 artillery pieces the North Korean military has aimed at Seoul. All of which could reach the 28 million people in and around the South Korean capital. U.S war planners estimate 500,000 people could be killed in a second Korean War.

    Bill Whitaker: Is there any other metropolitan area on earth this vulnerable?

    James Slife: Certainly nothing that approaches Seoul in terms of the size, the density of the population. There’s nothing like it.

    U.S. Air Force General James Slife flew with us over the city. It’s just 30 miles from the DMZ. We landed at Osan Air Base where Korean airmen and their American colleagues monitor all activity north of the DMZ. For security, they shut off the giant video displays right before we came in. This facility is among the first to detect North Korean missile launches.

    Bill Whitaker: You’re, like, on a war footing all the time.

    James Slife: That’s right. This is truly one of those places where the best way to prevent a war is being ready for a war.

    The North’s latest missile test used a new type of solid fuel engine and was fired from a mobile launcher – making it quick to deploy and difficult for U.S. satellites to detect in real-time.

    James Slife: With the development of ballistic missiles, with the development of nuclear weapons, things here have a tension that you can feel in the air as you move around places like this.

    We wanted to talk to the general who leads U.S. forces in Korea and would command Korean troops in the event of a war. He asked to meet us at Guard Post Four. It’s a citadel on critical high ground at the end of a road lined with land mines. We were the first American news crew allowed in. This was no Cold-War theme park. Body armor was required and artillery was on standby in the event we came under fire. General Vincent Brooks has commanded U.S. forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    General Vincent Brooks, left, and 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker. CBS NEWS
    Bill Whitaker: I don’t think people at home know how tense this line is.

    Vincent Brooks: What it takes to go from the condition we’re in at this moment to hostilities again is literally the matter of a decision on North Korea’s side to say fire. And on top of this we have the missile capability that’s been developed, over 120 missiles fired just in the time of Kim Jong-un alone.

    “If North Korea uses nuclear weapons, it will be met with an effective and overwhelming response.” General Vincent Brooks
    Bill Whitaker: So now they’re talking about ICBMs that might be able to reach the West Coast of the United States. How do you stop them from taking that next step?

    Vincent Brooks: North Korea’s responsible for the direction that the region is going. It is responsible for the conditions of instability that are starting to arise. It has to take responsibility for that and stop.

    Bill Whitaker: His country is poor. His people are starving. What is it that he wants?

    Vincent Brooks: Survival--

    Bill Whitaker: Survival.

    Vincent Brooks: --and recognition.

    Kim Jung-un is now recognized as a global threat. U.S. intelligence estimates he has at least 10 nuclear weapons. If the U.S. decided it had no choice but to launch a pre-emptive strike on an ICBM test site, it could trigger the unthinkable.

    Vincent Brooks: If North Korea uses nuclear weapons, it will be met with an effective and overwhelming response. Now they can take it to the bank. We make that same point to our allies and partners, like the Republic of Korea and like Japan.

    Bill Whitaker: Effective and overwhelming response?

    Vincent Brooks: Effective and overwhelming response.

    Bill Whitaker: Wipe North Korea off the map?

    Vincent Brooks: Whatever overwhelms ya.

    That warning rang in our ears as we returned to Seoul and met one last time with defector Thae Yong-ho. We asked about his brother and sister, still in North Korea.

    Bill Whitaker: What do you think has happened to them?

    Thae Yong-ho: They will be sent to prison camps. That is what I am absolutely sure.

    Bill Whitaker: Does that weigh on you?

    Thae Yong-ho: Of course. Yes. I cannot get rid of that kind of nightmare after night of seeing my brother and sister in prison camps.

    Thae told us he believes he can help topple the North Korean regime by encouraging other defections and speaking out. During the campaign, President Trump called Kim Jong-un a “maniac.” His language has been much more careful since the latest missile test.

    © 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    North Korean defector believes he can help topple regime by speaking out - CBS News

  12. #12
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    There is another clip there where he interviews the commanding general. Its pretty intense.

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