Good reporting from the NYT: how North Korea smuggles goods in defiance of UN sanctions

March 18, 2020 • 1:15 pm

They’re trying to decide now whether to completely shut the University of Chicago campus, which of course worries me as I may lose access to my ducks—a complete disaster for both me and my mallards. So forgive me if posting is light and relatively brainless until this is resolved.

I meant to post this the other day, but it slipped between the cracks. It’s the kind of article that the New Woke Times should be publishing: solid investigative journalism, not woke puffpieces that have “Here’s what you need to know” as the subheader.

This piece (click on screenshots below), is a really engrossing investigation, combined with a video, about the circuitous ways North Korea evades UN sanctions using cryptocurrency, fake documents, circuitous routes of ships, shell companies, and the cooperation of China, Russia, and even South Korea (which probably had no idea what was going on). The object: to get luxury armored cars, worth half a million dollars apiece, into the DPRK. Those cars are used to ferry about the overfed leaders of the country, including Kim Jong-un. Be sure to watch the 5-minute video, which shows the shipping methods in detail; it’s mesmerizing.  And the same procedures are undoubtedly used to get other prohibited goods into North Korea, including material to help them make nukes.

A few words from the article:

The upcoming annual report from the United Nations Panel of Experts gives more detail on the smuggling of two armored Mercedes sedans that were shipped from the Netherlands to East Asia in 2018 and that were the subject of an investigation by The New York Times and the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in July.

The U.N. panel did its own investigation after the article and video appeared, and concluded that the cars were shipped from Europe after they were in the possession of two Italian companies — apparently the start of the supply chain, according to a draft of the report seen by The Times. The United Nations is expected to release the report this month.

. . . Over all, China and Russia have weakened the sanctions and are aiding the illegal smuggling, say American officials, analysts and the reports. In December, the two nations proposed to the United Nations an easing of sanctions.

American officials and analysts cite satellite images that show transfers involving North Korean ships in Chinese territorial waters as evidence of efforts to evade the sanctions.

. . .The holes in sanctions go well beyond the importing of luxury goods. North Korea is raising millions of dollars through the smuggling of commodities, the U.N. report says.

Last October, Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, a member of the United Nations Panel of Experts from 2014 to 2019, wrote on the 38 North website that the “maximum pressure” campaign on North Korea was “on its last legs.”


Be sure to watch this video (link here as well).

Kim Jong-un rides a horse!

January 3, 2020 • 11:45 am

I saw a photo of this, but didn’t know a video existed. It does (below), and was published by The Sun. And I’ll be damned if the pudgy little dictator doesn’t actually ride the horse!  According to reports, Kim Jong-chub rode the horse up Mount Paektu, a sacred mountain and a symbol of the DPRK’s “revolution.” As YouTube states,

North Korea’s state-run television KRT broadcast a new video of leader Kim Jong Un riding white horse at a sacred mountain with his aides in late 2019.

First Putin and now Kim Jong-un! Is this some way to proclaim virility and intransigence? I’m actually surprised they let him get on that horse, given that an accident would throw the State into turmoil. Could it be a double?

The cabin he looks at is the one in which Kim Jong-Il is said to have been born, though he wasn’t really. That’s a big myth.

Listen to the hyper-excited announcer, typical of North Korean television. The whole state would be a joke if it weren’t busy starving, oppressing, and killing its citizens.