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North Korea Steps Up Effort to Divide South Korea and U.S.
North Korea on Saturday escalated its attempt to create a rift between South Korea and the United States, as Washington sent mixed signals over whether it would tighten or relax sanctions on the North.

Ever since the summit meeting between the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and President Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, late last month abruptly ended without a deal, North Korea has ceaselessly urged South Korea to distance itself from the United States and to push ahead with joint economic projects that have been held back by American-led United Nations sanctions.

North Korea’s official trade has been devastated by international sanctions imposed since 2016. The country has tried to circumvent them by importing refined fuel or exporting coal through ship-to-ship transfers on the high seas, a move banned under United Nations sanctions. It has also sought to undermine the sanctions by boosting economic cooperation with South Korea.

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea remains eager to boost inter-Korean economic ties, raising fears at home and abroad that he may steer his government away from international efforts to enforce sanctions against the North. But in reality, Mr. Moon’s hands are tied unless the United States and North Korea reach an agreement on denuclearizing the North and Washington helps to ease sanctions.

On Saturday, DPRK Today, a North Korean government-run website, accused Mr. Moon’s government of reneging on its promise to improve inter-Korean ties and giving priority to “cooperation with a foreign force” over “cooperation among the Korean nation.”

“The South Korean authorities’ behavior is deeply deplorable,” it said. “The only things the South will get from cooperating with the U.S. will be a deepening subordination, humiliation and shame.”

North Korean state media has been issuing similar messages in recent days, even denigrating Mr. Moon’s efforts to mediate talks between his “American boss” and North Korea, and advising Mr. Moon’s government to throw its policy “in a garbage can.”

Mr. Moon suffered another slap in the face when the North abruptly withdrew its staff from a joint inter-Korean liaison office on Friday.

“The South’s authorities can’t do anything without approval or instruction from the United States, so how do they think they can be a mediator or facilitator?” the North Korean website Meari said on Friday. “They should know their place.”

Mr. Moon has dedicated his diplomatic resources to facilitating dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang, and has promoted building peace on the Korean Peninsula as his main policy goal. But his mediator’s role has run into a wall since the breakdown of the Hanoi meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim.
northkorea  southkorea  politics  diplomacy  government  nuclear  KimJongUn  DonaldTrump  sanctions 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Trump North Korea sanctions tweet sparks confusion - BBC News
US President Donald Trump has not ordered the withdrawal of recently imposed sanctions against North Korea, administration officials say.

Mr Trump caused confusion on Friday when he tweeted that "additional large-scale sanctions" would be withdrawn.

It was thought he was referring to the treasury's move to blacklist two China-based shipping companies suspected of illegally trading with North Korea.

But officials later said he was referring to future sanctions.

Citing unnamed administration officials, US media reported that Mr Trump was in fact cancelling measures that had yet to be announced and were scheduled for the coming days.
usa  diplomacy  government  DonaldTrump  deptoftreasury  sanctions  northkorea  nuclear 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Trump surprises his own aides by reversing North Korea sanctions
President Donald Trump on Friday declared he would reverse new sanctions on North Korea that his administration rolled out just a day before, deepening concerns that the ostensible leader of the free world is at odds with his own team as he makes American foreign policy in spontaneous 280-character bursts.

The sudden move left the White House groping for an explanation, telling reporters only that Trump “likes” North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

“It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea,” Trump tweeted. “I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”

In a follow-up statement explaining the reversal, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary."

Trump’s announcement surprised many of his senior aides, and even some Treasury Department officials were caught off guard, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It was the latest example of Trump operating on gut instinct with little care for the formal policy process. Past presidents sometimes spent weeks or even months running key policy proposals through a gauntlet of review by federal agencies and senior White House advisers. Trump has largely shunned that process, preferring to query a small group of informal advisers — or sometimes no one at all — before making rapid-fire decisions that reverberate around the world.

Even the administration's allies were baffled by the reversal. Mark Dubowitz, an influential critic of the Iran nuclear deal who is chief executive of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, tweeted, "I’ve been working on sanctions policy for 15+ years. Don’t recall ever seeing a president overrule a Treasury announcement AFTER it was announced."
usa  government  diplomacy  northkorea  sanctions  deptoftreasury  DonaldTrump  stupid  nuclear 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Trump Reverses Sanctions U.S. Imposed on North Korea Yesterday
President Trump undercut his own Treasury Department on Friday by announcing that he was rolling back North Korea sanctions that it imposed just a day ago.

The move, announced on Twitter, was a remarkable display of dissension within the Trump administration and showed how actively the White House is intervening in policies that are traditionally handled by career officials in the Treasury and State Departments. Mr. Trump appeared to confuse the day that the North Korea sanctions were announced, saying that it occurred on Friday rather than on Thursday.

“It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”

On Thursday, the Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies that it says have been helping the country evade international sanctions. The sanctions linked to North Korea were the first that the Treasury Department had imposed since late last year and came less than a month after a summit meeting between Mr. Trump and Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, collapsed in Hanoi, Vietnam, without a deal.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said the decision was a favor to Mr. Kim.

“President Trump likes Chairman Kim, and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” she said.

Tony Sayegh, a Treasury Department spokesman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mr. Trump’s tweet.

The department did issue a new round of sanctions on Thursday on Iran, targeting a research and development unit that it believes could be used to restart Tehran’s nuclear weapons program.
DonaldTrump  KimJongUn  nuclear  diplomacy  northkorea  usa  government 
march 2019 by jtyost2
North Korea may break off US talks and resume missile tests, official says - BBC News
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may break off denuclearisation talks with the US and resume missile and nuclear testing, a senior official says.

Vice Foreign Minister Choe Sun-hui told foreign diplomats the US threw away "a golden opportunity" at a recent summit between President Trump and Mr Kim.

North Korea had offered to dismantle its main Yongbyon nuclear complex.

But talks collapsed after Mr Trump refused to lift sanctions unless North Korea destroyed all its nuclear sites.
northkorea  usa  diplomacy  nuclear  DonaldTrump 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Pompeo presses Kim Jong-un to keep his word on nuclear tests - BBC News
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he expects North Korea's leader will live up to his commitment not to resume nuclear and missile tests.

Mr Pompeo said Kim Jong-un had promised US President Donald Trump in Vietnam that testing would not resume.

His comments follow a suggestion by North Korean-Vice Foreign Minister Choe Sun-hui that denuclearisation talks might end and testing could resume.

The US says sanctions will remain until Pyongyang destroys all nuclear sites.

Mr Pompeo told reporters on Friday that "on multiple occasions [Mr Kim] spoke directly to the president and made a commitment that he would not resume nuclear testing, nor would he resume missile testing" during their February summit.

"That's Chairman Kim's word," Mr Pompeo said. "We have every expectation that he will live up to that commitment."

Earlier, Ms Choe said US diplomats had thrown away "a golden opportunity" during the summit when North Korea offered to dismantle its main Yongbyon nuclear complex.

Talks in Hanoi collapsed when Mr Trump refused to lift any sanctions until North Korea was completely denuclearised.

But Mr Pompeo said he is "hopeful" that discussions will continue.

"I saw the remarks [Ms Choe] made - she left open the possibility negotiations would continue. It's the administration's desire that we continue to have conversations around this."
northkorea  nuclear  diplomacy  usa  DonaldTrump  stupid 
march 2019 by jtyost2
North Korea Threatens to Scuttle Talks With the U.S. and Resume Tests
North Korea threatened on Friday to suspend negotiations with the Trump administration over the North’s nuclear arms program and said its leader, Kim Jong-un, would soon decide whether to resume nuclear and missile tests.

Addressing diplomats and foreign correspondents at a news conference in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said that personal relations between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump were “still good and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful.”

But she said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, had created an “atmosphere of hostility and mistrust” that thwarted the top leaders’ negotiations in Hanoi last month.

After the Hanoi meeting ended without a deal, the North Korean leader had serious doubts about the merits of continuing negotiations with Mr. Trump, Ms. Choe said.

“We have neither the intention to compromise with the U.S. in any form nor much less the desire or plan to conduct this kind of negotiation,” said Ms. Choe, according a report from Pyongyang by The Associated Press, which has a bureau there.

She also said the North might end its self-imposed moratorium on tests of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
northkorea  nuclear  diplomacy  usa  government  KimJongUn  DonaldTrump 
march 2019 by jtyost2
North Korea Advertises Military Hardware on Twitter, YouTube, Defying Sanctions
Glocom, a front company for the government of North Korea that sells sanctioned equipment, isn’t giving up. In 2017, before YouTube quietly removed Glocom’s channel, the company was advertising missile navigation and other military products on the video platform.

But Glocom has returned. It setup a new channel, and also had a presence on Twitter, until Motherboard flagged Glocom’s accounts to social media companies.

The news not only signals the perseverance of parts of the North Korean’s money-making enterprises, but also a slice of the content moderation issues that tech platforms constantly face.

Glocom “is using them as platforms to market sanctions violating products,” Shea Cotton, research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and who has a particular focus on North Korea, told Motherboard in an email.

Glocom has previously pitched itself as a Malaysian company, but is in fact run by a North Korean intelligence agents, according to a United Nations report previously covered by Reuters. The products currently advertised on its website include radar systems, communications software, and military radio gear.
legal  business  regulation  government  sanctions  usa  northkorea  youtube  twitter  military 
march 2019 by jtyost2
North Koreans vote in 'no-choice' parliamentary elections
North Koreans are voting to elect the country's rubber-stamp parliament, the second such election since Kim Jong-un took power.

Voting for the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) is mandatory and there's no choice of candidates. Any kind of dissent is unheard of.

Turnout is always close to 100% and approval for the governing alliance is unanimous.

North Korea is an isolated state, ruled by the Kim family dynasty.

Citizens are required to show complete devotion to the family and its current leader.
northkorea  election  voting  communism 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Top Trump official may have just doomed US-North Korea talks - Vox
A top Trump administration official has all but admitted that the US stance toward North Korea talks is now a hardline one.

What this means, some analysts say, is that the American position will sink any chance for progress in US-North Korea negotiations over ending its nuclear program.

In a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, a senior State Department official made a stunning remark when asked if the Trump administration agrees on how to handle the complexities of talks with North Korea.

“Nobody in the administration advocates a step-by-step approach,” the official said. “In all cases, the expectation is a complete denuclearization of North Korea as a condition for all the other steps ... being taken.” In other words, for Pyongyang to receive any kind of benefits like sanctions relief, it has to dismantle its entire nuclear arsenal first.

That contrasts greatly with the administration’s past stance and immediately led experts to pan the comment — and the Trump administration’s negotiation strategy.

“Insisting on disarmament as a condition for peace will lead to exactly the opposite of disarmament and peace,” tweeted MIT nuclear expert Vipin Narang.

“Only through practical reciprocal steps will we get closer to denuclearization & peace and away from dangerous & irresponsible ‘fire & fury’ threats,” Arms Control Association Director Daryl Kimball also tweeted.

Here’s why analysts closely following the US-North Korea drama are so worried: Pyongyang for years has said that the only way it would consider giving up its nuclear weapons is through a step-by-step process where both sides offer reciprocal, commensurate concessions. By resolving smaller disagreements, like lifting sanctions in exchange for the closure of an important nuclear facility, over time the US and North Korea would eventually arrive at the grand prize: the end of Pyongyang’s nuclear threat.
northkorea  diplomacy  nuclear  military  usa 
march 2019 by jtyost2
North Korea Has Started Rebuilding Key Missile-Test Facilities, Analysts Say
The news of rebuilding at Tongchang-ri first emerged hours after Mr. Kim returned home on Tuesday from Hanoi.

Speaking to lawmakers behind closed doors at South Korea’s National Assembly on Tuesday, officials from its National Intelligence Service indicated that North Korea had been rebuilding the Tongchang-ri facilities even before the Hanoi summit, South Korean news media reported on Wednesday.

North Korea has not conducted any nuclear and missile tests since November 2017. Mr. Trump has cited that as a key achievement of his policy of imposing tough sanctions, which he said forced North Korea to return to the negotiating table.

“Based on commercial satellite imagery, efforts to rebuild these structures started sometime between February 16 and March 2, 2019,” 38 North, a website specializing in North Korea analysis, said in a report about the Tongchang-ri facilities on Tuesday.
northkorea  usa  military  technology  nuclear  diplomacy 
march 2019 by jtyost2
The chaotic Trump-Kim summit aftermath, explained
The aftermath of President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s unsuccessful summit in Vietnam last week has been nothing short of startling.

On Saturday, the American and South Korean military defense heads agreed to end two major military exercises between their countries — all in an effort to reduce tensions with North Korea. Indeed, it’s likely to delight Kim, who has long railed against the military drills as preparation for a US-led invasion of North Korea.

The next day, the New York Times reported that Pyongyang hacked more than 100 targets, including some in the US, while Trump and Kim were meeting in Vietnam. It goes to show that even as the two leaders are working to build a rapport, North Korea’s hackers operate unchecked.

Also on Sunday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton went on numerous news programs to discuss the Vietnam summit. While he defended the outcome, he revealed — shockingly — that he and Trump disagree on a key question: whether the US made a massive concession to Kim by holding high-profile summits with him.

And that evening, the president surprisingly tweeted that his inability to cut a deal with the dictator had more to do with his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony than with his flawed diplomacy, calling the Democrat-led spectacle “a new low in American politics.”

Put together, these latest developments show that the Trump administration’s North Korea policy is in chaos. If you missed any of it, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
northkorea  politics  usa  diplomacy  nuclear 
march 2019 by jtyost2
South Korea and US to end large-scale war games
The US and South Korea have confirmed plans to end large-scale joint military exercises amid efforts to thaw relations. Smaller-scale drills will continue, but…
usa  military  northkorea  southkorea  diplomacy  DonaldTrump 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Journalists questioned Kim Jong Un. For once, he answered.
Still, it was perhaps the first time Kim had ever answered questions from foreign journalists. And when it came time for Trump to face the media at a close-of-summit news conference, observers noticed that Trump called on reporters from government-linked outlets in Russian and China, as well as Fox News host Sean Hannity, a regular Trump booster on his nightly opinion show.

Kim's unexpected chattiness was also striking as it came amid ongoing squabbles over media access at the summit.
KimJongUn  journalism  politics  northkorea 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Trump’s Talks With Kim Jong-un Collapse, and Both Sides Point Fingers
Mr. Pompeo has been anxious about letting Mr. Trump have too much time alone with Mr. Kim, wary that the president would make snap concessions without proper consultation with his top national security advisers.

During Mr. Trump’s Thursday afternoon news conference after the collapse of the talks, the president said that he could have signed a deal, but that Mr. Pompeo was not satisfied with the terms. Mr. Pompeo has taken the lead in the diplomatic talks and is more skeptical of Mr. Kim’s intentions than Mr. Trump is.

John R. Bolton, the national security adviser who is a champion of sanctions on North Korea, was also on the trip, and took part in a morning meeting between the two sides after Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim talked in private.
usa  diplomacy  government  northkorea  politics  DonaldTrump  KimJongUn  humanrights  nuclear 
february 2019 by jtyost2
Kim Jong-un leaves North Korea for Vietnam by train
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has departed for Hanoi by train for talks with US President Donald Trump. He arrived at the Chinese border city of Dandong after…
northkorea  usa  diplomacy  vietnam 
february 2019 by jtyost2
BBC News - North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un 'to visit Russia'
Russia says North Korea's leader has accepted an invitation to Moscow in May, South Korea's Yonhap reports.

The news agency cites a written response from the Kremlin, but says it does not mention Kim Jong-un by name.

Yonhap quotes a Unification Ministry official as saying the reference to the leader could be ambiguous, as Kim Yong-nam is the nominal head of state.

Kim Jong-un has not made any overseas visits since taking power in North Korea in late 2011.

His first destination will been keenly watched for what it might indicate about his policies and strategy.
russia  northkorea  diplomacy 
january 2015 by jtyost2
Report: The US has been hacking the hackers in North Korea for years
When President Obama last month blamed North Korea for hacking into the network of Sony Pictures, a lot of computer security experts were skeptical. They said that the evidence the FBI released linking Pyongyang to the attacks was flimsy.

Why was the US so confident that North Korea was responsible? The New York Times suggests a reason: the National Security Agency had infiltrated North Korean networks long before the Sony hacks, and so was able to directly observe the activities of North Korean hackers. But they didn’t want to admit this publicly and tip off the North Korean regime.

The Times relies primarily on comments from anonymous sources with knowledge of US intelligence operations. It also references a newly leaked NSA document that was recently published by the German newspaper Spiegel.

According to the Times, the United States has been infiltrating the North Korean regime since 2010. Initially, the NSA focused on monitoring North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. But as the Hermit Kingdom has ramped up its overseas hacking operations — including an attack on South Korean banks in 2013, the NSA began to focus more on cyberattacks.

Still, the NSA wasn’t watching closely enough to warn Sony about North Korean attacks, which had reportedly been under way since September. The Obama administration only began investigating the attack after it was made public a few days before Thanksgiving.
northkorea  sony  legal  hacking  government  military  nsa 
january 2015 by jtyost2
BBC News - US 'tapped N Korea computers in 2010' report claims
The US knew North Korea was behind the Sony Pictures hack because it had secretly infiltrated the country's computer networks in 2010, according to the New York Times and Der Spiegel.

The newspapers cited US officials and leaked documents from the National Security Agency.

The New York Times said hidden software had alerted US intelligence services to North Korean hacking activity.

North Korea has consistently denied involvement in the security breach.

American investigators believe the hackers spent two months building up a map of Sony's systems before the hack took place, the papers say.

November's attack on the company saw the leak of sensitive documents including salary details and confidential emails between executives.

It also resulted in Sony film The Interview, a comedy about an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, being briefly shelved and then released online.

The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the intelligence community was fully aware of North Korean attempts to infiltrate US commercial networks, tracking them routinely.

"While no two situations are the same, it is our shared goal to prevent bad actors from exploiting, disrupting or damaging US commercial networks and cyber infrastructure," said spokesman Brian Hale.

When it becomes clear that cyber criminals have the ability and intent to do damage, we work cooperatively to defend networks."
usa  northkorea  sony  business  hacking  legal  TheInterview 
january 2015 by jtyost2
Prominent North Korean defector Shin Dong-hyuk admits parts of his story are inaccurate
Shin Dong-hyuk, the North Korean prison camp survivor who has become the symbol of human rights injustices suffered in that country, has changed key parts of the story of his ordeal.

Although the most horrific details, such as being lowered by a hook over a fire, still stand, Shin has admitted that many of the places and timings in his telling of his story were wrong, according to Blaine Harden, the author of “Escape from Camp 14,” the best-selling book about Shin’s life.

“From a human rights perspective, he was still brutally tortured, but he moved things around,” said Harden, a former Washington Post journalist who first wrote Shin’s story for The Post in 2008.

Shin, 32, has been one of the most prominent defectors from North Korea, trying to raise awareness about human rights abuses there. He also testified in front of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry, whose report has led to an international campaign to hold the totalitarian state’s leaders to account for decades of human rights violations.
ShinDong-hyuk  northkorea  legal  ethics  journalism  torture  crime  humanrights 
january 2015 by jtyost2
North Korea's Naenara Web Browser: It's Weirder Than We Thought | WhiteHat Security Blog
Ultimately the most interesting takeaway for me personally was what lengths North Korea goes to to limit what their people get to do, see and contribute to — Censorship at a browser and network level embodied in the OS called Red Star 3.0. It’s quite a feat of engineering. Creepy and cool. Download the Red Star OS here.
legal  software  civilrights  humanrights  privacy  northkorea 
january 2015 by jtyost2
Schneier on Security: Attack Attribution in Cyberspace
Cyberspace exacerbates this in two ways. First, it is very difficult to attribute attacks in cyberspace. Packets don't come with return addresses, and you can never be sure that what you think is the originating computer hasn't itself been hacked. Even worse, it's hard to tell the difference between attacks carried out by a couple of lone hackers and ones where a nation-state military is responsible. When we do know who did it, it's usually because a lone hacker admitted it or because there was a months-long forensic investigation.

Second, in cyberspace, it is much easier to attack than to defend. The primary defense we have against military attacks in cyberspace is counterattack and the threat of counterattack that leads to deterrence.

What this all means is that it's in the US's best interest to claim omniscient powers of attribution. More than anything else, those in charge want to signal to other countries that they cannot get away with attacking the US: If they try something, we will know. And we will retaliate, swiftly and effectively. This is also why the US has been cagey about whether it caused North Korea's Internet outage in late December.

It can be an effective bluff, but only if you get away with it. Otherwise, you lose credibility. The FBI is already starting to equivocate, saying others might have been involved in the attack, possibly hired by North Korea. If the real attackers surface and can demonstrate that they acted independently, it will be obvious that the FBI and NSA were overconfident in their attribution. Already, the FBI has lost significant credibility.

The only way out of this, with respect to the Sony hack and any other incident of cyber-aggression in which we're expected to support retaliatory action, is for the government to be much more forthcoming about its evidence. The secrecy of the NSA's sources and methods is going to have to take a backseat to the public's right to know. And in cyberspace, we're going to have to accept the uncomfortable fact that there's a lot we don't know.
nsa  security  privacy  government  hacking  ethics  TheInterview  sony  business  northkorea  usa  fbi 
january 2015 by jtyost2
BBC News - Sony Pictures hackers 'got sloppy', FBI says
The US is confident that North Korea was behind the Sony Pictures cyber-attack last year because the hackers "got sloppy", the FBI has said.

The bureau's director James Comey said the group posted material from servers used exclusively by the North Koreans.

November's attack on the company saw the leak of sensitive documents, and film The Interview briefly shelved.

Cyber security experts have been sceptical about the FBI's assertion North Korea was to blame.

After Sony's decision to temporarily cancel the film's release was described by US President Barack Obama as "a mistake", Sony later released the film in independent cinemas and also distributed it online.
northkorea  legal  usa  government  hacking  ethics  TheInterview  sony 
january 2015 by jtyost2
North Korea's insane rant against Sony and the US, translated into plain English
North Korea’s primary mode of communication with the outside world, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), has released a magazine-feature-length rant against Sony and the US that, even by North Korean standards, is just insane.

It includes an quasi-denial of responsibility for the Sony hack, strong hints that North Korea was in fact responsibility, a threat to attack the White House, and so much more. But like other North Korean statements in times of high tension, the missive is coded in the vernacular of North Korean propaganda, and otherwise difficult to parse because of the foaming-at-the-mouth prose. What the North Koreans say, in other words, is not always what they actually mean, and what they mean is not always true.
northkorea  diplomacy  hacking  TheInterview  politics 
january 2015 by jtyost2
Voice of Korea on the Sony hack
North Korea’s powerful National Defense Commission responded with its first statement on the Sony hack and accusations by the U.S. that it was responsible. The statement was read out on Voice of Korea, the country’s international shortwave radio service, and makes interesting listening.

It’s not exactly the same as the text statement that was carried on KCNA and appears to be a slightly different translation.

The most noticeable thing about the statement is how much the NDC appears to be picking up from cues in the U.S. media. Many of its arguments are similar to those being debated in public:

Killing a head of state, even in jest, is in bad taste
The accusation against North Korea is an assertion and isn’t based on solid technical facts
If a hacker used U.S. code, it couldn’t be concluded that it was carried out by the U.S.
northkorea  police  diplomacy  government  usa  sony  hacking  ethics  technology  TheInterview 
january 2015 by jtyost2
BBC News - Sony cyber-attack: North Korea faces new US sanctions
The US has imposed new sanctions on North Korea in response to a cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Friday allowing sanctions on three North Korean organisations and 10 individuals.

The White House said the move was a response to North Korea's "provocative, destabilising, and repressive actions".

US sanctions are already in place over North Korea's nuclear programme.

But Friday's actions are believed to be the first time the US has moved to punish any country for cyber-attacks on a US company.
sony  northkorea  politics  usa  government  sanctions  diplomacy  cybersecurity  legal  security  hacking 
january 2015 by jtyost2
A New Script: Clues In Sony Hack Point To Insiders | The Security Ledger
A strong counter-narrative to the official account of the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment has emerged in recent days, with the visage of the petulant North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, replaced by another, more familiar face: former Sony Pictures employees angry over their firing during a recent reorganization at the company.

Researchers from the security firm Norse allege that their investigation of the hack of Sony has uncovered evidence that leads, decisively, away from North Korea as the source of the attack. Instead, the company alleges that a group of six individuals is behind the hack, at least one a former Sony Pictures Entertainment employee who worked in a technical role and had extensive knowledge of the company’s network and operations.
sony  hacking  ethics  crime  legal  northkorea  TheInterview 
january 2015 by jtyost2
Schneier on Security: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?
I’m sure there are other possibilities that I haven’t thought of, and it wouldn’t surprise me if what’s really going on isn’t even on my list. North Korea’s offer to help with the investigation doesn’t clear matters up at all.

Tellingly, the FBI’s press release says that the bureau’s conclusion is only based “in part” on these clues. This leaves open the possibility that the government has classified evidence that North Korea is behind the attack. The NSA has been trying to eavesdrop on North Korea’s government communications since the Korean War, and it’s reasonable to assume that its analysts are in pretty deep. The agency might have intelligence on the planning process for the hack. It might, say, have phone calls discussing the project, weekly PowerPoint status reports, or even Kim Jong Un’s sign-off on the plan.

On the other hand, maybe not. I could have written the same thing about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of that country, and we all know how wrong the government was about that.

Allan Friedman, a research scientist at George Washington University’s Cyber Security Policy Research Institute, told me that, from a diplomatic perspective, it’s a smart strategy for the US to be overconfident in assigning blame for the cyberattacks. Beyond the politics of this particular attack, the long-term US interest is to discourage other nations from engaging in similar behavior. If the North Korean government continues denying its involvement, no matter what the truth is, and the real attackers have gone underground, then the US decision to claim omnipotent powers of attribution serves as a warning to others that they will get caught if they try something like this.

Sony also has a vested interest in the hack being the work of North Korea. The company is going to be on the receiving end of a dozen or more lawsuits — from employees, ex-employees, investors, partners, and so on. Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain opined that having this attack characterized as an act of terrorism or war, or the work of a foreign power, might earn the company some degree of immunity from these lawsuits.

I worry that this case echoes the “we have evidence — trust us” story that the Bush administration told in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. Identifying the origin of a cyberattack is very difficult, and when it is possible, the process of attributing responsibility can take months. While I am confident that there will be no US military retribution because of this, I think the best response is to calm down and be skeptical of tidy explanations until more is known.
northkorea  secular  hacking  TheInterview  legal  usa  government  sony  business 
january 2015 by jtyost2
BBC News - Sony hack: US mulls putting N Korea back on terror list
President Barack Obama has said the US is considering putting North Korea back on its list of terrorism sponsors after the hacking of Sony Pictures.

A decision would be taken after a review, he said, calling the attack an act of cyber-vandalism, not of war.

North Korea denies the attack over The Interview, which depicts the fictional killing of its leader Kim Jong-Un.

Sony cancelled the Christmas Day release after threats to cinemas. It is considering "a different platform".
diplomacy  government  northkorea  usa  barackobama  sony  hacking 
december 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - Sony hack: North Korea threatens US as row deepens
North Korea has threatened unspecified attacks on the US in an escalation of a war of words following the Sony Pictures cyber-attacks.

In a fiery statement, the North warned of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and "the whole US mainland".

North Korea denies US claims it is behind cyber-attacks linked to a film that features the fictional killing of its leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea has a long history of issuing threats against the US.

The latest statement comes days after the US formally accused the North of orchestrating a massive cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.

"The army and people of the DPRK [North Korea] are fully ready to stand in confrontation with the US in all war spaces including cyber warfare space," a long statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency said.
NorthKorea  usa  hacking  politics  diplomacy  sony  security  government 
december 2014 by jtyost2
The Sony hack was a ploy to keep Kim Jong Un safe from the UN — and it's working - Vox
As Americans obsessed over North Korea's role in the Sony hack, the United Nations moved quietly forward on referring North Korean leaders to the ICC. The UN Security Council, which ultimately decides whether that will happen, voted just last week to put North Korea's human rights report on its official schedule — an amazing accomplishment for the global human rights community, which has been pushing for this for years. That moves it one very big step closer to ICC indictments for Kim Jong Un and his cronies. China or Russia could still use their veto power to keep that from happening, and they well might, but North Korea sanctions and other punishments have gotten past them before.

North Korea is clearly and rightly worried that enough attention to its human rights abuses could be just what its critics need to shame China and Russia out of using their veto power to block the ICC referrals from happening. Hence, a massive geopolitical imbroglio over Sony and hacking, which isn't flattering for North Korea, but is much easier for China and Russia to shrug off. We, Americans, are playing right into that.

"This scandal seems to be following the usual course designed by North Korean propagandists," Suki Kim writes, "where the more serious and consequential story gets buried behind the sensational headlines that benefit no one more than the North Korea regime."

This is all just another reminder that the crazier North Korea looks, and the more we buy into that idea, the more we're helping Kim Jong Un get exactly what he wants.
humanrights  legal  northkorea  UnitedNations  InternationalCriminalCourt  government 
december 2014 by jtyost2
Sony hack: North Korea back online after internet outage - BBC News
Internet services have been restored in North Korea after an almost unprecedented internet outage following a cyber security row with the US.
Though there has been no comment from the authorities in Pyongyang, South Korean officials and US experts reported the restoration.
Some analysts say the country's web access was cut entirely for a time.
China meanwhile has denounced reports suggesting it was responsible for the North Korean online shutdown.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that such reports were "speculative" and had "no basis in reality".
"These reports themselves are extremely irresponsible, unprofessional and misleading," she added.
China's permanent representative to the United Nations has called for all sides to avoid an escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula after the UN Security Council put the North's human rights record on its agenda.
internet  northkorea  politics  technology  security  hacking 
december 2014 by jtyost2
7 of North Korean state media's craziest quotes about America - Vox
North Korea's state-run media loves to say inflammatory, outrageous things about the United States.

There's a reason North Korea propaganda sounds this way: the eternal, glorious struggle with the United States is a key part of the ideology the Kim regime sells to its people. But the truth is that, all the same, reading these overheated rants as an American can be pretty entertaining. Here are nine of the craziest things North Korea has said about America, culled from original English state media releases — and what they tell us about Pyongyang:
NorthKorea  politics  diplomacy  propaganda  communication 
december 2014 by jtyost2
Yes, North Korea has the internet. Here's what it looks like. - Vox
There have been some objections that whoever shut down North Korea's internet, whether it was the United States or someone else, has unfairly punished an entire country just for the bad behavior of its government.

The truth, though, is that the internet in North Korea is not a public good, nor even a good that the public is aware of. It is purely and solely used as a government tool, for serving such ends as propaganda and hacking, and as a luxury good for the elites who run the government. This is not necessarily to endorse shutting down the internet there as a good thing, but just to note that, like so many things in North Korea, the Kim Jong Un regime has distorted it into something that exists almost purely to cement his government's rule and to reward himself.
northkorea  internet  technology  civilrights  freedom  economics  censorship 
december 2014 by jtyost2
North Korea's internet appears to be under mass cyber attack - Vox
Internet connectivity between North Korea and the outside world, though never robust to begin with, is currently suffering one of its worst outages in recent memory, suggesting that the country may be enduring a mass cyber attack a few days after President Obama warned the US would launch a "proportional response" to North Korea's hack against Sony.

"I haven't seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in KP before," said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at the cybsecurity firm Dyn Research, according to Martyn Williams of the excellent blog North Korea Tech. Madory explained, "Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn't be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently."

While it's entirely possible that this is due to run-of-the-mill maintenance or technical issues, it's hard to miss that the outage comes just days after President Obama condemned North Korea as responsible for the massive cyberattack against Sony and pledged a "proportional" US response.

The outage also comes as China is investigating the accusations against North Korea over the Sony hack. North Korea's internet access is wired through China, which gives China more or less direct control over North Korea's access to the outside world.
northkorea  china  usa  internet  security  technology 
december 2014 by jtyost2
North Korea’s Internet link is flaky today
If you’ve been trying to connect to North Korean Internet sites in the last 24 hours, you might have been unsuccessful.

Connectivity between North Korea and the rest of the world has been spotty for much of the time, according to Dyn Research.

Look at the graph below. Each period of purple corresponds to an outage on North Korea’s Internet connection.

Is this related to all that’s been going on in the last few days? Possibly. North Korea’s Internet connection does suffer from periodic outages, so it could be something as mundane as network maintenance or a failing router.

On the other hand…

“I haven’t seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in KP before,” said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research. “Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently.”
NorthKorea  internet  technology  security 
december 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - US insists North Korea must take Sony hack blame
The US has rejected North Korea's claim that it was not responsible for a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.

North Korea strongly denies carrying out the attack and invited the US to take part in a joint investigation.

The National Security Council said North Korea should instead "admit culpability and compensate Sony".

After the attack and threats, Sony cancelled the release of a satirical film, The Interview, which depicts the fictional killing of Kim Jong-un.

The Interview had been due to open on Christmas Day. However, after anonymous threats against cinemas, Sony said it was considering releasing it "on a different platform".

The FBI said on Friday that North Korea had carried out last month's cyber-attack, in which script details and private emails were leaked.

The US defended its findings on Saturday, with US National Security spokesman Mark Stroh saying: "We are confident the North Korean government is responsible for this destructive attack."

"If the North Korean government wants to help, they can admit their culpability and compensate Sony for the damages this attack caused," he said.
northkorea  usa  sony  TheInterview  hacking  security  privacy  fbi 
december 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - Sony hack: White House views attack as security issue
A cyber attack on Sony Pictures that forced the cancellation of a major film release is being seen as a serious national security matter, the US says.

A White House spokesman said the US believed the hacking was the work of a "sophisticated actor" - but refused to confirm if North Korea was responsible.

Sony withdrew The Interview, a new comedy film about North Korea's leader, after threats from hackers.

Hackers have already released sensitive information stored on Sony computers.

They later issued a warning to members of the public planning to see The Interview.

Referring to the 11 September 2001 terror attacks, they said "the world will be full of fear" if the film was screened.
northkorea  legal  sony  business  usa  government  hacking  privacy  security 
december 2014 by jtyost2
North Korea thriller starring Steve Carell has been canceled
Deadline is reporting that New Regency has decided to cancel a “paranoid thriller” set in North Korea that was being developed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) and set to star Steve Carell. Production was set to begin in March.

According to sources speaking to Deadline, “under the current circumstances, it just makes no sense to move forward.” Those circumstances include a massive hack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment — allegedly because of its movie The Interview, a comedy wherein Seth Rogen and James Franco play journalists who are asked by the CIA to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Just today, America’s biggest theaters have opted not to show the film following threats of physical violence from the Sony hackers.
movie  northkorea  hacking  ethics  legal  government  business 
december 2014 by jtyost2
N Korea denies 'righteous' Sony hack
North Korean TV denied involvement but praised the attack on Sony - who produced a comedy film about the country’s leader Kim Jong-un

North Korea has denied hacking into the computer system at Sony Pictures in retaliation for a film depicting the country’s leader - but has praised the attack itself as a “righteous deed”.

The attack crippled computers at Sony and led to upcoming films and workers’ personal data being leaked online.

North Korea said its “supporters and sympathisers” may have carried out the hack - but said it was not involved.

It has described the film, The Interview, as an “act of terrorism”
sony  northkorea  hacking 
december 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - North Korea refuses to deny Sony Pictures cyber-attack
North Korea has refused to deny involvement in a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures that came ahead of the release of a film about leader Kim Jong-un.

Sony is investigating after its computers were attacked and unreleased films made available on the internet.

When asked if it was involved in the attack a spokesman for the North Korean government replied: "Wait and see."

In June, North Korea complained to the United Nations and the US over the comedy film The Interview.

In the movie, Seth Rogen and James Franco play two reporters who are granted an audience with Kim Jong-un. The CIA then enlists the pair to assassinate him.

North Korea described the film as an act of war and an "undisguised sponsoring of terrorism", and called on the US and the UN to block it.

California-based Sony Pictures' computer system went down last week and hackers then published a number of as-yet un-released films on online download sites.

Among the titles is a remake of the classic film Annie, which is not due for release until 19 December.

The Interview does not appear to have been leaked.
usa  northkorea  SonyPictures  security  technology  hacking 
december 2014 by jtyost2
New evidence points to North Korean involvement in Sony Pictures hack
As Sony Pictures employees still struggle to get back online, new evidence is emerging that suggests North Korea may be behind the hack. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that researchers investigating the hack have found the malicious code to be almost exactly the same as the code used in a March 2013 attack on a series of South Korean banks and broadcasters, an attack widely believed to have been conducted by North Korea.

North Korea has been intensely critical of Sony Pictures’ upcoming film The Interview, a comedy that follows a plot to assassinate the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Sony has already edited out some of the film’s more controversial points, including a scene in which Kim Jong-un’s face melts off in slow motion in a tribute to Raiders of the Lost Ark. North Korean officials responded to news of the film by saying, “a film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.”
NorthKorea  security  hacking 
december 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - North Korea frees detained US men Miller and Bae
Two Americans who were being held in detention in North Korea, Matthew Todd Miller and Kenneth Bae, have been released and are on their way home.

US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper travelled to North Korea and is accompanying the men back, the US has confirmed.

A third US citizen, Jeffrey Fowle, was freed last month and no Americans are now being held in North Korea.

US President Barack Obama said he was "grateful" for their safe return.

He said it was "a wonderful day" for the men and their families.
usa  northkorea  diplomacy  government  humanrights 
november 2014 by jtyost2
North Korea frees detained US man
Jeffrey Fowle, one of three US citizens detained in North Korea, has been released, US officials say.

State department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed that Mr Fowle was on his way home on Tuesday following negotiations.

She said the US was working to secure the release of two other US nationals, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae, who remain in detention in North Korea.

The US has accused North Korea of using the detained Americans as pawns in a diplomatic game.

Mr Fowle, 56, entered North Korea on 29 April and was detained in early June as he was leaving the country. He was charged with “anti-state” crimes.

He was reported to have left a Bible in the toilet of a restaurant in the northern port city of Chongjin but his family have insisted that he was not on a mission for his church.

Missionary activity is considered a crime in North Korea.
northkorea  legal  crime  diplomacy  usa  government  religion 
october 2014 by jtyost2
www.theatlantic.com
Kim Jong Un’s main public function, as the object of a totalitariancult of personality, has been to serve as the face of the regime. He is now unable to fulfill that role, for whatever reason, and the system is insufficiently evolved for an appearance by his wife, or his sister, to do anything except further stoke speculation. All the rumors over the last month may ultimately reveal very little about the North Korean system, which is already known for its secretive and unpredictable modes of operation.But it shows that we share with the North Korean people a tendency to excessively focus on the Kims to the detriment of knowing more about their immediate subordinates, let alone the roles they play in running the country. If North Korea’s young leader doesn’t make a public appearance for the October 10 “Party Foundation Day,” it would send a message: We may soon learn much more about the old officials we rarely notice as we pore over images of Kim Jong Un looking at things, and look right back at him.
politics  KimJongUn  northkorea 
october 2014 by jtyost2
North Korea bans WiFi at embassies
North Korea has banned the use of satellite Internet connections and WiFi networks by foreign embassies and international organizations unless they get government approval.

The switch, which came in mid August, gives credibility to an earlier report that unencrypted wireless networks at embassies were being used by North Korean citizens to gain uncensored access to the Internet.

Foreign missions and aid agencies were notified of the change in policy on August 20 in a communique from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the full text of which was published on Monday by NK News.

In it, the country’s State Radio Regulatory Department said unlicensed WiFi signals “produce some effect upon our surroundings.”

In early August, North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, a Seoul-based group run by North Korean defectors, said citizens in Pyongyang had been accessing the Internet through connections offered by “powerful” access points at embassies.
northkorea  politics  diplomacy  government  censorship  internet 
september 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - North Korea sets trial date for US man Matthew Miller
A US citizen detained in North Korea after allegedly tearing up his visa will be put on trial on 14 September, North Korean state media report.

Matthew Miller, 24, was arrested in April at North Korea's immigration. He is one of three Americans currently held in North Korea.

On Monday, Mr Miller and the two other men made a televised appeal for help from the US government.

North Korea has a history of using detainees as bargaining chips.

Mr Miller allegedly tore up his tourist visa on arrival in North Korea and tried to seek asylum, North Korean state media reported at the time.

KCNA news agency described the act as a "gross violation" of North Korean law.
legal  northkorea  diplomacy  government 
september 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - Release of three Americans in N Korea a 'top priority'
The White House has said securing the release of three American citizens detained in North Korea is a "top priority" and it's doing all it can.

The statement was made in response to a televised appeal by the Americans asking for help from the US government.

Kenneth Bae, 46, has been held in North Korea since 2012 and is currently in a labour camp outside Pyongyang.

Jeffrey Fowle, 56, and Matthew Miller, 24, are charged with violating North Korean law and are awaiting trial.

The three spoke to CNN and the Associated Press on Monday with North Korea officials present.

Each man was interviewed separately for five minutes in different hotel rooms in the capital Pyongyang.

All asked for a US representative to go to North Korea to make a direct appeal for their release.

"We have seen the reports of interviews with the three American citizens detained in North Korea," White House spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, said in a statement.

"Securing the release of US citizens is a top priority and we have followed these cases closely in the White House. We continue to do all we can to secure their earliest possible release," he said.

In his interview, Mr Bae said he had been hospitalised for health problems which included back pain, a sleep disorder and weight loss.
usa  northkorea  politics  diplomacy  government 
september 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - North Korea to put two detained US men on trial
North Korea says it will put two detained US men on trial, accusing them of "committing hostile acts".

Matthew Miller and Jeffrey Fowle had been investigated and would be brought before a court, the state news agency KCNA reported.

It said that suspicions about the two men had been confirmed by evidence and the pair's own statements, but gave no further details.

A US-Korean missionary, Kenneth Bae, is currently serving a 15-year sentence.

He was arrested in November 2012 and later convicted of trying to overthrow the North Korean government.

US attempts to secure his release have so far proved unsuccessful, despite fears over his health.
northkorea  politics  diplomacy  government  usa  legal 
july 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - N Korea 'develops Russian cruise missile'
A North Korean propaganda film has revealed footage of a newly developed cruise missile, according to experts.

The missile is believed to be similar to the Russian KH-35 missile, which came into service in 2003.

Cruise missiles are short-range weapons guided by on-board computers, used to attack specific targets. The majority of the North's known missiles are much larger, longer-range missiles.

The North is under UN sanctions over its weapons and nuclear programmes.

Pyongyang has carried out three nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013, and is thought to have enough nuclear material for a small number of bombs.

However, analysts say the North does not appear to have successfully manufactured a nuclear warhead small enough to be carried by its missiles.
northkorea  politics  diplomacy  government  military 
june 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - North Korea 'detains third American'
North Korea arrested an American tourist last month for inappropriate activities, its state media has said.

A report on the KCNA news agency said the man had entered North Korea on 29 April, but was detained as he was leaving the country.

The report said he has been questioned, but gave no more details. Japanese agency Kyodo said the tourist was held because he left a Bible at a hotel.

If confirmed, North Korea would now be holding three US citizens.

US-Korean missionary Kenneth Bae was arrested in November 2012 and is serving 15 years of hard labour after being convicted of trying to overthrow the government.

In late April, KCNA said an American named Matthew Todd Miller had been taken into custody on 10 April.

KCNA said he had torn up his tourist visa, shouting that he had "come to the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] after choosing it as a shelter".

North Korea uses the arrested Americans as diplomatic bargaining chips.

In the past, senior US figures including former president Bill Clinton have travelled to the country to ensure the release of American detainees.
northkorea  politics  diplomacy  usa 
june 2014 by jtyost2
Another good Kim Jong Un story dies as ‘executed’ girlfriend lives
When it comes to North Korea, it’s easy to conflate the real with the surreal. In this terrain, truth is scarce. Truth is ambiguous. Truth often does not matter.

On Aug. 29, 2013, the conservative South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo carried a striking story about Kim Jong Un and a woman he had purportedly had an affair with. Her name was Hyon Song-wol. She was a singer. And Kim had executed her.

The story, hinging on unnamed “sources in China,” claimed Hyon was killed because she and other well-known musicians had sold pornography of themselves having sex. They were also purportedly caught with “Bibles in their possession” and “treated as political dissidents.”

Sex. Murder. Suppression of Christianity. North Korea.

This story had legs.

That same day, the Wire, the Huffington Post, and the Telegraph pumped out aggregations beside images of an exultant Kim Jong Un and a demure Korean woman. The feeding frenzy had a half-life of several days, hitting its apogee when the Daily Dot uploaded a video of “three Korean women in leotards dancing along to tinny Western music.” The online publication mulled whether that video was indeed the alleged pornography that got Hyon axed.

Last weekend, however, Kim Jong Un’s now-executed porn star former lover rose from the dead to give a speech — in uniform, sans leotard — at a national artists’ meeting.
northkorea  journalism  media  ethics  politics 
may 2014 by jtyost2
China's secret plan for North Korea's collapse, revealed - Vox
China's top priority here seems to be preventing a war that could suck in China against the US, as happened in the 1950s' Korean War, even if that means tolerating the destruction of the North Korean state. You can also see that in the somewhat-creepy plans to put North Korean leaders in a controlled camp, where Beijing would guide their decision-making explicitly to prevent them from harming Chinese interests or worsening any conflict.

Again, Beijing is happy to continue propping up the North Korean government today. But if you're Kim Jong Un, it's hard to miss the takeaway: in the event that your government collapses, which scholars have been predicting since the early 1990s, your only ally in the world will not save you, will not save your country, and wants to put you in a camp to tell you what to do. That should be pretty scary for Kim.
china  usa  northkorea  southkorea  diplomacy  government  military 
may 2014 by jtyost2
UN Report on North Korea could be about the United States or South Korea
If a case is to be pressed to refer North Korea to the ICC, then referrals of the United States, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea to The Hague—to start—are long overdue. Until this oversight is rectified, it is impossible to regard the UN report—and the western media’s coverage of it—as anything but sops to the propaganda imperatives of US foreign policy.
unitednations  legal  humanrights  ethics  politics  northkorea  SouthKorea  USA  civilrights  torture 
february 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - US official pleads guilty to North Korea leaks
A US state department official has pleaded guilty to passing classified information on North Korea to an American journalist.

Stephen Kim, 46, now faces a 13-month sentence as part of a plea deal.

The case began after Fox News journalist James Rosen published a story in June 2009 about US intelligence on North Korea.

It is one in a series of recent prosecutions against unauthorised leaks from government sources.

The Obama administration has prosecuted more leakers than all previous US administrations combined.

Kim, who was a former senior adviser for intelligence to an assistant secretary of state, will be sentenced on 2 April if a judge accepts his plea.
legal  ethics  media  journalism  crime  usa  northkorea 
february 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - North Korea send American Kenneth Bae back to labour camp
A US citizen held for more than a year in North Korea has been moved back to a labour camp, US officials say.

State department officials and Mr Bae's sister were quoted as saying the 45-year-old had been returned from a hospital to the camp on 20 January.

Mr Bae, a Korean-American, was arrested in November 2012 and sentenced to 15 years' hard labour in May.

North Korea says he used his tourism business to form groups to overthrow the government.

He was taken to hospital last year after suffering dramatic weight loss. His family say he has several health complaints including diabetes and liver problems.
usa  KennethBae  diplomacy  northkorea  politics 
february 2014 by jtyost2
North Korea threatens to 'strike South Korea mercilessly'
North Korea sent a fax to South Korea on Thursday, threatening to “strike mercilessly without notice” after protests against the secretive regime this week in Seoul.

The message warned that North Korea would strike if “the provocation against our highest dignity is to be repeated in the downtown of Seoul.”
NorthKorea  diplomacy  southkorea  military  protest 
december 2013 by jtyost2
North Korea attempts to purge online memory of executed leader | Ars Technica
On Thursday, foreign policy watchers worldwide were stunned when North Korea announced the execution of Jang Song Taek, a top government official. Jang was the uncle of Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s young dictator, and also served as vice chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea.

However, beyond the whims of North Korea’s leader, the Hermit Kingdom appears to have now also taken the unusual step of attempting to remove all references to Jang Song Taek from state-controlled Internet outlets, primarily the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The KCNA website, which is hosted in Japan, appears to have suffered an outage briefly on Friday, and subsequently, past articles appeared scrubbed of mentions of Jang.

As IDG’s Martyn Williams reports:

When the site came back, articles that centered on Jang were gone and several hundred other articles that mentioned him in passing had been edited to remove references to him, said Frank Feinstein, a New Zealand-based researcher who runs the KCNA Watch service.
KCNA Watch scrapes the actual KCNA site and conducts basic analysis on it—its data shows that Jang appeared 126 times in 2011 alone.

Other sites like NK Watch carried the full KCNA story about Jang and his execution, which includes lines like:

However, despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him.
northkorea  internet  history  politics  government 
december 2013 by jtyost2
BBC News - North Korean leader's uncle executed for 'treachery'
The once-powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been executed after being purged for "acts of treachery", state media say.

Chang Song-thaek was dramatically removed from a Communist Party session by armed guards earlier this week.

It was the biggest upheaval since Mr Kim succeeded his father two years ago.

State news agency KCNA said Mr Chang had admitted at a military trial on Thursday to attempting to overthrow the state, and was executed immediately.

Mr Chang, who is thought to have mentored his nephew during the leadership transition from Kim Jong-il to his son Kim Jong-un in 2011, was "worse than a dog", said the agency.

He had admitted abusing his positions of responsibility to form a faction against the state and to harbouring his own political ambitions, it said in a lengthy and detailed report.

In the US, the White House said it could not independently verify the reports but had "no reason to doubt" them.

"If confirmed, this is another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime. We are following developments in North Korea closely and consulting with our allies and partners in the region," it said in a statement.
northkorea  politics 
december 2013 by jtyost2
North Korea powerbroker 'dismissed'
I’ve been using Touch ID since I got an iPhone 5s in mid-October. Generally speaking, I like it, and I find it faster than the old swipe-and-passcode method, but I’ve felt compelled to reteach it my fingerprints twice already. I know this sounds impossible, but its recognition of my prints seems to decay with time.

I rescanned my fingers this weekend, and Touch ID has been amazingly fast and accurate since then. Just as it was when I first got the 5s, and just as it was a few weeks later when I rescanned my fingers for the first time. Just before each rescan, though, I was so frustrated with Touch ID I felt like throwing the phone across the room.

Sometime in early November I turned Touch ID off and went back to my old settings: four-digit passcode, but no need to enter the code if the phone’s been off for less than an hour. I tried this for nearly a week before giving up. Forget about the times I had to enter my code—just having to swipe to unlock was more than I could stand. Even bad Touch ID was better than that.

So am I fooling myself, or is it possible that Touch ID’s recognition gets worse with time? I don’t know enough about how it works to hazard a guess, but if the software is continually updating its internal “picture” of my prints with each scan, decay is at least possible.1 We tend to think that gathering more data always increases our understanding, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Google, the Oliver Twist of data, has had to adjust its Page Rank system because it had been gamed by link farms to give high rankings to shitty websites with weak, derivative content (but lots of ads). Even better, though, is the story of the Google Translate API, which was shut down a couple of years ago, because the indiscriminate use of it had reduced the quality of the corpus Google used to learn from. In a nutshell:

Crummy Google translations were being posted to the web.
Google would then scoop up those translations and add them to its knowledge base.
Google’s translation engine got stupider.
EMpTy Pages, in the aforelinked post, called this “polluting its own drinking water.”

If Touch ID is polluting its own drinking water, I won’t be the one that finds out. There’s no way in hell I’m going to count its successes and failures and collect that data over a long enough period of time to draw any conclusions. But I’m going to be mighty suspicious if I feel like throwing my phone again by Christmas.
northkorea  politics  diplomacy  military  southkorea 
december 2013 by jtyost2
N Korea urged to release US citizens
US officials are urging North Korea to “let our citizens go free”, as reports say that an 85-year-old US veteran has been detained in the country.

Merrill Newman, a Korean War veteran, was taken off a plane by uniformed officers at the end of a guided tour in North Korea last month, his son said.

US officials have not specifically confirmed the case, but have called on North Korea to “resolve the issue”.

Another US citizen, Kenneth Bae, has been detained since last November.

Mr Newman visited North Korea with a friend in October, his son, Jeffrey Newman said on Thursday.

The guided tour was arranged with a travel agent “approved by the North Korean government for travel of foreigners”, he added.

Merrill Newman was taken off a plane on 26 October, the last day of his tour, as he was set to leave North Korea, Jeffrey Newman said.

The veteran appeared to have discussed his experience in the Korean War with North Korean officials the day before his detention, his son added.
northkorea  legal  diplomacy  usa  government  JohnKerry  MerrillNewman 
november 2013 by jtyost2
BBC News - US envoy due in North Korea to seek prisoner release
A senior US envoy is due to arrive in North Korea on Friday to request the release of a US man jailed in the communist state.

Robert King, the US special envoy for North Korean rights, is expected to ask for the release of Kenneth Bae, 45, on humanitarian grounds.

Mr Bae, a Korean-American, was given 15 years' hard labour in May for trying to overthrow the North Korean government.

Mr King is expected to spend two days in Pyongyang.

"We have not been told that anything is definite," the US envoy said as he stopped over in Tokyo on Wednesday. "We are going to make an appeal."

He said Mr Bae "has health problems and we are hopeful that we are going to be able to make progress on that".

Kenneth Bae's family say he is seriously ill and has been moved from a labour camp to a hospital. They say he has diabetes and an enlarged heart.
usa  diplomacy  legal  crime  KennethBae  northkorea  politics 
august 2013 by jtyost2
North Korea “makes” its first Android “hand phone…convenient for its users”
Every once in a while the weirdness of North Korea crosses our radar. The world’s pariah loves to engage in some good old-fashioned cyberattacks, steal footage from Call of Duty, or engage in GPS jamming. But this weekend, Kim Jong-un—or if you prefer, the Great Successor—apparently visited the “May 11 Factory” in Pyongyang to witness the production and manufacturing of North Korea’s first mobile phone.

The phone, named “Arirang” after a popular folk song, appears to be an Android phone of some kind. No word is yet available on what its precise specifications are.

“I’m sure it’s a real phone,” Martyn Williams, a tech journalist for IDG News Service, told Ars. Williams also runs North Korea Tech, one of the first websites to report the story. “It’s almost certainly on sale through Koryolink, but I doubt it’s made in the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, aka North Korea).”

Koryolink is the joint venture between North Korea’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and Orascom, an Egyptian mobile firm. Recently, Koryolink hit two million subscribers.

“North Korea has made such claims before, and on several occasions, they’ve been proved to be wrong—see the most recent tablet that turns out to come from China,” Williams added. “The country has little expertise in hardware manufacturing—its expertise is in software. And when China does manufacturing so well and so cheaply, why bother fussing with that side of things, especially with export controls in place?”

The Korean Central News Agency—the government’s propaganda service—also “reported” on this possible phone:

He [Kim Jong-un] praised them for developing an application program in Korean style which provides the best convenience to the users while strictly guaranteeing security.

After learning about the performance of a touch hand phone, he said that a hand phone is convenient for its user when that part of the phone is sensitive.

He noted that these hand phones will be very convenient for their users as their camera function has high pixels.
northkorea  googleandroid  software  hardware  technology  mobile 
august 2013 by jtyost2
This footage from North Korea is what Instagram Video was made for
Just what happens inside North Korea is a mystery to much of the world.

But thanks to phone-wielding travelers and journalists, we’ve gotten a remarkable look inside North Korea in recent times as photos and videos come to Instagram. A few months back, North Korea temporarily enabled 3G data connections for travellers. The Associated Press’s David Guttenfelder and Jean Lee sent the first few Instagrams over 3G at the time.

This week, the duo was back in the news after sharing some clips through Instagram’s new video-sharing tool. Those Guttenfelder uploaded from events marking 60 years since the Korean War armistice were particularly stunning.

Yet there are many others who’ve taken and shared photos and videos from Pyongyang and elsewhere in the country. How much of it is for show (depending on what the country allows foreigners to see) and how much of it is genuine is almost moot given how remarkable many of the images are. Drew Kelly has an excellent feed including many photos from his time teaching in Pyongyang. He’s currently back in the U.S., but is returning to North Korea next month.

Tour agency Uritours curates a feed of images taken as employees guide tourists round the country. Journalists such as Agence France-Presse photographer Ed Jones and NBC News’s Ann Curry have recently posted North Korea images as well.

A number of users have shared images and photos from the border with South Korea at the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The color of the ground changes at the boundary. Meanwhile, others have posted clips from inside tunnels apparently created for the north to launch a surprise attack on the south.

Skimming through tags like #northkorea and #pyongyang for posts from the last day or so alone reveals a remarkable look inside North Korea.
northkorea  photography  information  media  journalism  instagram 
august 2013 by jtyost2
BBC News - US blacklists Burmese General Thein Htay over arms
The US has blacklisted a senior Burmese army officer who it accuses of making arms deals with North Korea in defiance of UN resolutions.

The US Treasury said that Lieutenant-General Thein Htay had continued to purchase military equipment and material from North Korea.

It said that he had contributed revenue towards North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

The statement said the Burmese government was not being targeted.

It said that the government had taken positive steps to cut its military ties with North Korea.

In May the US extended targeted sanctions against Burma - also known as Myanmar - for another year but lifted a visa ban on officials.

The state department said at the time that the move rewarded progress and aimed to prevent backsliding on reform in Burma.

It cited human rights concerns and the continued detention of political prisoners as factors in extending the annual sanctions order.

The US statement on Tuesday did not identify the military goods involved. There has been no word from the concerned general.
usa  burma  myanmar  diplomacy  legal  sanctions  northkorea 
july 2013 by jtyost2
North Korea sentences US citizen to 15 years’ hard labour
North Korea says it has sentenced a US citizen to 15 years of hard labour. The announcement, from state news agency KCNA, said Pae Jun-ho, known in the US as Kenneth Bae, was tried on 30 April. He was held last year after entering North Korea as a tourist. Pyongyang said he was accused of anti-government crimes. The move comes amid high tensions between North Korea and the US, after Pyongyang’s third nuclear test.
NorthKorea  usa  diplomacy  legal  crime 
may 2013 by jtyost2
American tourist faces death penalty in North Korea | World news | guardian.co.uk
North Korea has announced that an American tourist is to be tried on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, a crime that carries a possible death penalty.

The case against Korean-American Kenneth Bae, who has been imprisoned in North Korea since early November, could further stoke tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

Responding to the development, the US State Department said the welfare of US citizens overseas remained a "critical priority" and that it was working with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang - which looks after American interests in North Korea - in regards to the case.

Bae, 44, was arrested in Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea's far north-eastern region bordering China and Russia, according to official state media.

The exact nature of his alleged crimes has not been disclosed, but North Korea accuses Bae, described as a tour operator, of seeking to overthrow North Korea's leadership.

"In the process of investigation he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK with hostility toward it," the state-run Korean Central News Agency said on Saturday. "His crimes were proved by evidence. He will soon be taken to the supreme court of the DPRK to face judgment."

South Korean rights workers said the authorities may have taken issue with some of Bae's photographs, including those of homeless North Korean children, Reuters reported.
northkorea  usa  politics  deathpenalty  diplomacy 
april 2013 by jtyost2
Treaty on global arms trade blocked
Iran, North Korea and Syria have blocked what would have been the first treaty to regulate the $70bn (£46bn) global trade in conventional arms. The draft would require states to ensure that conventional weapons are not transferred across borders if they are to be used in human rights abuses. Supporters were hoping to secure the backing of all 193 UN member states. They are now expected to take the draft to the UN General Assembly, where it will likely pass by a large majority. “This is not a failure, today is success deferred and deferred by not very long,” said the chief UK negotiator, Jo Adamson, who called the draft a “good, strong treaty”. Diplomats have worked for nearly a decade to agree on a set of principles to stop the unchecked flow of arms, and the BBC’s Nada Tawfik reports from New York that on Thursday many believed the treaty was close to achieving consensus. The treaty would prohibit states from exporting conventional weapons in violation of arms embargoes, or weapons that would be used for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or terrorism. It would also require states to prevent conventional weapons reaching the black market.
iran  NorthKorea  Syria  UnitedNations  politics  usa  firearms 
april 2013 by jtyost2
US in new N Korea missile warning
US Secretary of State John Kerry has said an anticipated missile launch by North Korea would be a “provocative act” and “huge mistake”. The North has moved two missiles to its east coast and South Korea is on alert. Speaking in Seoul, Mr Kerry reconfirmed the US’s commitment to protecting itself and its allies. But he played down a US report that the North has a nuclear warhead, saying it was “inaccurate” to suggest it has “a working and tested” device. Later, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Pyongyang had “not demonstrated the capability to deploy a nuclear-armed missile”. A declassified section of a report from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report had warned there was “moderate” confidence that Pyongyang had developed the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile.
usa  diplomacy  SouthKorea  NorthKorea  nuclear  military 
april 2013 by jtyost2
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