Americans are rightfully concerned about ISIS’s rampage across the Middle East. But one thing that even ISIS has not yet accomplished is what the president, the director of the FBI, and the director of the NSA all insist Kim Jong-un's hackers did last year -- suppress the release of a major motion picture by threatening terrorist attacks on movie theaters across America.
And yet, incomprehensibly—and two months overdue—the State Department's recent Friday news dump of its annual "Country Reports on Terrorism" still clings to the tendentious, perennial boilerplate that North Korea "is not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean Air Lines flight in 1987." Coming so soon after North Korean threats drove The Interview from theaters, this statement puts the world on notice that the Obama Administration is unserious about protecting Americans' most fundamental liberties from terrorism by the world's worst despots.
North Korea was placed on the list for the 1987 bombing of Korean Air Lines Flight 858, an attack that killed 115 people. Both this atrocity and a 1983 bombing in Rangoon, which killed several ministers in the South Korean government, were the work of the Reconnaissance General Bureau of the Workers' Party of Korea. In 2007, near the end of his beleaguered presidency, President Bush agreed to remove North Korea from the list in exchange for Kim Jong-il’s promise to disarm.
Two nuclear tests later, the results of this bargain speak for themselves. But what of Pyongyang's promises about terrorism? Under U.S. law, and according to the precedents of the State Department's past "Country Reports," international terrorism includes both material support for terrorists and terrorist organizations, and also the use of a state's own clandestine agents to commit violent, politically motivated acts against noncombatants, across international boundaries, that are unlawful in the place where they are committed, with the intent to influence the conduct of a government or members of the civilian population.
North Korea has recently engaged in conduct that plainly meets both standards. Since 2008, at least three shipments of weapons, including artillery rockets and man-portable surface-to-air missiles, have been intercepted on their way from North Korea to Iran and its terrorist clients. North Korean agents are believed to have assassinated one South Korean human rights activist, and attempted to assassinate at least three others in China and South Korea, using syringes disguised as pens, and loaded with a powerful toxin, neostigmine bromide. In the last decade, three federal district court judges, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and at least two South Korean courts have held North Korea and its agents responsible for either supplying weapons and training to terrorists, or attempting to kidnap or assassinate dissidents and human rights activists.
One of these activists was the Rev. Kim Dong-shik, a permanent U.S. resident who lived in Illinois. In 2005, a South Korean court convicted a North Korean agent for Rev. Kim's abduction to North Korea, where he is believed to have died from starvation and torture. In a letter to North Korea's U.N. Ambassador, then-Senator Barack Obama, along with other members of Illinois's congressional delegation, likened Rev. Kim to Harriet Tubman and Raoul Wallenberg, and promised not to support North Korea's removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism until the North accounted for Rev. Kim's fate. But in 2008, Senator Obama discarded his promise to Rev. Kim's family and supported the rescission of North Korea's listing.
Since its removal from the list in 2008, North Korea has accelerated its campaign of assassinations against dissidents in China and South Korea.
The terror campaign has worked. For example, when a U.N. Commission of Inquiry was preparing its landmark 372-page report on North Korea's crimes against humanity, 240 North Korean refugees in South Korea only agreed to speak to the Commission on condition of anonymity, for fear of reprisal against themselves or their relatives in the North.
Despite its boasting a much ballyhooed Pyongyang bureau, the Associated Press filed its report on the supposed fire at the iconic Koryo Hotel in the North Korean capital last week from its. . .Tokyo bureau.
The Koryo Hotel is probably the most famous hotel in Pyongyang. (Granted, that’s a small pool.) It’s the usual spot where tourists stay on their unethical, ill-advised junkets to the country. And it’s apparently on fire.
Growing cooperation between Iran and North Korea suggests that Tehran may develop a nuclear weapon with support from Pyongyang despite ongoing negotiations with the P5+1. Accordingly, the United States must seek to prohibit any form of nuclear cooperation between the two regimes as part of a final nuclear agreement, and challenge their broader goal of undermining U.S. global leadership.
John Kerry is hoping to offer North Korea "a more legitimate entry road to the global community and to the norms of international behavior." The example the secretary of state has for the rogue regime? Iran.
There’s ominous (is there any other kind?) news from North Korea. South Korean intelligence has reported that Kim Jong-un has executed some fifteen of his top officials, including the vice minister of forestry. Granted, as satraps of the world’s cruelest regime, it’s hard to gin up much sympathy for the dead. But, unfortunately, it does indicate that the dauphin Kim is every bit as brutal as his father and grandfather were. They would be so proud.
A top intelligence official under President Obama, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, says that the chances Hillary Clinton's private emails were hacked is "very high." Flynn, who ran the Defense Intelligence Agency but is now retired, called it hackings "likely."
Flynn made the comments to Megyn Kelly last night on Fox News:
Seoul From the moment his dead-of-night emails, texts, and encrypted Wickr messages start flooding my inboxes like a storm surge, it’s clear that Thor Halvorssen, who keeps vampire hours, is not your average clock-punching do-goodnik.
Countries that choose to host North Korean embassies (the United States is, quite rightly, not among them) take a real risk. Not only is the regime that they serve a horror show, but many of the country’s “diplomats” are literally criminals. When not conducting “diplomacy,” they engage in money laundering, counterfeiting, and drug trafficking schemes.
The recent vicious attack on U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert (he was stabbed in the face in Seoul) is, in fact, not the first attack on an American ambassador in that country. The earlier attackers on Ambassador Donald Gregg’s residence in 1989, however, were radical students with anti-free trade motives. The 55 year-old who assaulted Ambassador Lippert, on the other hand, has ties to radical pro-Pyongyang organizations and has visited North Korea several times.
Kim Jong-un, seeking to escape international isolation, has found a willing partner in Russia’s Vladimir Putin and thereby revived Pyongyang’s Cold War art of pitting Moscow against Beijing, perfected by his grandfather Kim Il-sung. The collapse of the Soviet Union just prior to Kim Jong-un’s father’s ascent in 1994 ended the game for a time. But Kim Jong-il tilted a bit back toward Moscow after the arrival of Putin, and his son is doubling down.