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5 misconceptions about North Korea explained

Here is your list of misconceptions about North Korea, debunked, explained and clarified.




Yesterday, the North Korean Ambassador to the UN gave a tense press conference in which he issued a statement promising that his nation would exercise the full right to self-defence in the event of an attack from the US.

He also affirmed that in his view, the threats from the US justify North Korea’s weapons programmes as it has shown that such things are necessary in order to both deter and defend against an attack.

The ambassador went on to warn that nuclear war could break out in the Korean peninsula at any moment because of the current tensions. He did not however, ‘threaten to unleash nuclear war’ as some in the mainstream media have suggested.

The short statement can be seen in its entirety below:

With so much disinformation about North Korea being spread by both its detractors and supporters, it is important to clarify some common misconceptions.

1. North Korea Is Dangerous

The United States, South Korea and Japan certainly believe North Korea is dangerous but does this correspond to objective realities?

Since the armistice which brought hostilities on the North Korean peninsula to an end in 1953, North Korea has not been engaged in direct combat with any nation in any meaningful sense.

North Korea has however engaged in various attempted assassinations and kidnappings over the years. Some such assassination attempts have been proved, for example the 1983 attempted assassination of South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan in Rangoon. Others such as the recent killing of Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother in Malaysia, remains shrouded in mystery.

The closest North Korea has come to war, until the present, was in 1976. That year, North Korean personnel killed two US servicemen in the Demilitarised Zone separating the two Korean states, by hacking them to death with an axe. War nearly broke out, but was ultimately avoided. North Korea later admitted responsibility for the killings.

So is North Korea dangerous? In a military sense, no. In respect of targeted killings, most of which failed, one could say that North Korea is unpleasant, but not nearly as unpleasant for example as the CIA which has a far larger and more successful track record of orchestrating political killings and the deposing of world leaders.

When one compares the amount of wars the US has started or been involved in since 1953, there is no contest. According to this analysis, the US is vastly more dangerous to global stability than North Korea.

2. North Korea Does Not Have WMD

Many anti-war activists throughout the world, remember that in 2003, America and Britain invaded Iraq on the basis that it had weapons of mass destruction. This turned out to be a total lie and many said so at the time.

Today, many accuse Syria of having weapons of mass destruction, when in fact Syria has never had nuclear weapons and all of its chemical weapons were removed from the country in 2014 in an agreement overseen by both the US and Russia and welcomed by China. 

Unlike Iraq and Syria, North Korea has weapons of mass destruction. North Korea openly admits this.

In 2005, North Korea announced it had functional nuclear weapons and conducted its first nuclear test in 2006. This contrasts for example with Israel which is almost universally thought to possess nuclear weapons but has never officially admitted to having them nor has Israel ever signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Agreement (NPT).

North Korea threatened to pull out of the NPT in 1993 and eventually did so 10 years later.

3. North Korea was a Soviet and is a Chinese Ally 

After the end of hostilities in the Korean War (1953), neither China nor the Soviet Union became fully fledged allies of North Korea.

At times both countries even desired regime change in Pyongyang because of North Korea’s refusal to adopt either Maoist Chinese Communism nor Soviet style Marxist-Leninism.

North Korean founder Kim Il-Sung  coined his own communist ideology called Juche. It was yet another way of asserting North Korea’s status as a state that was independent of both its large superpower communist neighbours, China and the USSR.

In many ways, after the Sino-Soviet split of 1960, the Soviet Union was closer to North Korea than China was, although both countries continued to aid North Korea. China’s relationship with North Korea continued to deteriorate after Nixon ‘opened up China’ in the early 1970s.

Even so, North Korea was never a strong ally of the Soviet Union in East Asia, certainly not the way that North Vietnam and later a united Vietnam was.

In the final years of the Soviet Union, Moscow began cutting aid to the country. In the 1990s and 2000s China generally stepped up to fill this void.

Under Vladimir Putin, relations did begin to improve. A newly elected President Putin visited North Korea in the year 2000 and the visit was widely seen as successful. Still Moscow and Pyongyang cannot be considered allies nor even partners.

4. You Cannot Visit North Korea 

You can, unless specifically barred from entry, passport holders of any country, including the United States and Japan can go on one of the increasing numbers of guided tours for foreigners.

It isn’t possible to wander around on one’s own, but you can certainly see North Korea. Some have even illegally taken non-authorised photos. Of course certain authorised photo opportunities are widely available.

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5. North Korea Isn’t Free

This question is a matter of perspective. North Korea is among the most closed states in the world. Contact with the outside world is limited and the free speech enjoyed by Russians and Syrians living in government controlled areas does not exist.

Being wantonly idealistic, one could say that North Korea is a crime-free paradise, a shelter from a violent world where life is more mechanistic and safe than in many countries. The clean and crime free Pyongyang is world’s away from the violent crime and theft capitals of the west like Chicago, New York, London or Paris.

Being wantonly pessimistic, one could say that North Korea is a hermetic hell hole where Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t available, where intentional travel is restricted and where interacting on a global scale is simply not possible.

The truth is psychologically in-between. The aforementioned perspectives rely on fact but ultimately, it would probably be difficult for a non-North Korea to adjust to life in the country. I certainly could not live there, although I could easily live in Russia, government controlled Syria, the US or most major European cities without needing to altar my work or lifestyle to any significant degree.

But no one is asking people like me, or the majority of people reading this to live in North Korea. This is something people tend to ignore when excoriating the at times odd and at times alluring scenes which transpire in North Korea.

Moreover, it is impossible to have a rational debate about any society without first understanding it for what it is, rather than judging it based on the misconceptions and mythologies which have been built up around it.

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Thank you, Adam, another great article. You are rapidly restoring my faith in you. 😀


Hmm… let me think North Korea has developed WMD’s to defend itself. It hasn’t invaded another country under any pretext false or otherwise. Neither has it invaded other countries nor murdered civilians en-mass for it’s own geo-political ends. So no war crimes, no breaches of international law in how many years over 60? So let’s see who has invaded other countries for it’s own geo-political ends under false pretexts, murdered civilians en-mass, committed war crimes and breached international law recently. Hmm… well the US has, twice in the last 2 weeks, in Syria and then Afghanistan and is now threatening… Read more »


North Korea has the right to be the way it is. The US is responsible for the situation with their annual massive drills and permanent coercive rhetoric. Every US president has slammed North Korea in the last fifty years or more for the simple fact of being independent. I don’t give opinions on cultural facts. I know the U.S. and would not like living there. When Cuba was having terrible troubles after the demise of the S Union, North Korea was supplying weapons (rifles) to Cuba FREE, at no cost. They don’t bother anyone, they are not aggressors, they are… Read more »

Brad Isherwood
Brad Isherwood

South Korea has a Presidential election on May 9, after the impeachment and dismissal of incumbent Park Geun-hye. China has significant investments in South Korea.  US ,Japan, have interests on numerous levels. Trump may be beating the war drums to continue present status of all things Empire in South Korea.  During Teddy Roosevelt 1907-1909 Great White Fleet …..Korea was brought into US sphere of influence Via Japan. Korean leaders were told any political issues regarding The US would be sent thru Japanese political channels.  Lots of abuse and betrayal in this history. …. Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam experienced the… Read more »

Keith Smith
Keith Smith

read an article about missiles not being the issue, bioligical warfare is the real korean threat. Also are they testing rockets or missiles? NK needs satellites too. and may be pursuing a space program.

Dan Kuhn
Dan Kuhn

There is only one problem with North Korea and that is that it will not go down on it´s knees to the US Empire. It will not submit. This enrages the US. It is playing around the edges trying to work up the nerve to attack, but is frozen in fear of what might be the great destruction of the myth of it´s all powerful military taking another hiding from North Korea. The US has not and cannot win a war in Asia. The Generals know it and in moments of lucidity have admitted it. But having short memories and… Read more »

Keith Smith
Keith Smith

Is nice to see public opinion changing. i hate the way MSM portrays it

Suzanne Giraud
Suzanne Giraud

thank you so very much for the true story;
now if only I could, I’d move there in a flash

Le Ruse
Le Ruse

Now tell me ?? If you were Donald Trump & have received an unconditional ultimatum from Kim Jong Un, demanding that USA renounce all of it’s nuclear weapons ?? Stop all nuclear research ?? Demand a “regime change” in Washington & And threaten to send assassins to kill the President ?? So ?? How would you take it ?? Cry uncle ??



very difficult to go to China except to sell some rope and then you go back to the horrible place.
how did those poor NK survive without electricity
like people in the rest of the planet with no electricity i suppose
public executions like saudi arabia but it’s okay there
what a good thing the rest of the world is well fed like Yemen.
and have electricity 100% of the time.
why would somebody buy a TV if they only have electricity a couple of days a year?
did the goverment gave them for free?
what a load of BS


Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou



Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.



Via Zerohedge

An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”



Via Zerohedge

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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