Tag Archives: North Korea

Kim Jong-Un: Earth Hour 2015 “Man of the Year”

In case you missed it, “Earth Hour” this year is/was Saturday 28 March between 8:30 PM and 9:30 PM in your time zone. That’s when people around the world turn off their lights for one hour to show concern for the Earth. The idea originated from the World Wildlife Fund.

Bouncing off Don Boudreaux, I would like to announce that Kim Jong-Un is the Earth Hour 2015 “Man of the Year.”

Kim Jong-Un, Earth Hour’s “Man of the Year” 2012-

I won’t read through his resume and accomplishments to make my case, I will point out this satellite photo showing the difference between the two Koreas.

North Korea, where every day is "Earth Hour."
North Korea, where every day is “Earth Hour.”

Not only is the dashing young dictator’s regime focused on keeping North Koreans in the dark more than just one hour a year, but he is now leading a government that is threatening to blow up other countries for various reasons. He has ordered his military to strike with “lightening speed”–apparently confusing lightening speed with lightening, and thinking that lightening can bring light to the country.

I suspect that he is a leading candidate to be Earth Hour’s Man of the Year next year, and probably every year after, as long as he is in power.

* * *

Prof. Boudreaux’s letter to World Wildlife Fund President Carter Roberts in 2010:

Earlier this week your organization sponsored another worldwide “Earth Hour,” an event in which people demonstrated their commitment to the environment by turning off their lights for one hour.

In light (no pun intended) of your dark view of industrial and
commercial activities, I recommend that the WWF create a special Lifetime Achievement Award for North Korea’s Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il.
As this nighttime photograph of the Korean peninsula
makes plain, the Dear Leader – like his father before him – works tirelessly to keep his nation’s carbon footprint to a bare minimum; in fact, if you look carefully you can see what is likely his, and only his, office light glimmering in Pyongyang.

North Koreans show their reverence for mother nature not with a mere Earth Hour but, rather, with an entire “Earth Lifetime.”

That’s true commitment!  Indeed, you might want to invite Mr. Kim to join your board.


Donald J. Boudreaux

I Believe North Korea (The Korea Times, May 26, 2010)

I (Still) Believe North Korea!

The Korea Times (May 26, 2010)
by Casey Lartigue, Jr.

I believe North Korea when it says the South started the Korean War in 1950. I didn’t believe former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin in 1994 when he released declassified documents revealing that North Korea started the war.

I believe North Korea didn’t send 31 commandos into Seoul in 1968 to kill Park Chung-hee. I believe North Korea didn’t send armed guerrillas onto the East Coast area of Uljin and Samcheok in 1968, or Heuksan in 1969, or Heukchon in 1970.

I believe the assassin who killed the South Korean first lady in 1974 wasn’t a North Korean agent. I believe several North Korean agents did not cross the border in October 1979. I believe the Earth moved and they only appeared to be in South Korea. I believe that three North Korean agents shot near the Han River in March 1980 were just out for a swim. I believe that North Korean agents shot to death in November 1980 in Hwanggando got lost while hiking. I believe that three North Korean agents shot to death in Namhae a few months later were part of a search party looking for those lost hikers.

I believe that three agents who infiltrated into Geumhwa in March 1981 were sleepwalking. I believe it is routine for North Korean agents to go to sleep in North Korea and magically wake up in South Korea the next morning, fully armed with grenades, machine guns and dreams of reunification.

I believe North Korea didn’t dig tunnels underground in the 1970s. I didn’t believe South Korean leaders when they showed the pictures of the tunnels to the world. I believe the mob of North Koreans who chopped up two U.S. army officers in 1976 did it in self-defense. I believe nine North Korean agents shot to death after their boat sank off the coast of Seosan in 1981 were lost fishermen. I believe that North Korean agents shot to death near the Imjin River in July 1981 and June 1983 were wayward scuba divers. I believe North Korea agents spotted along South Korea’s east coast in 1982 were tourists.

I believe that reports of North Korean soldiers entering the DMZ is South Korean and American propaganda to justify increased military spending. I believe the “imperialists and puppets” from the U.S., Japan and South Korea who are feeding starving North Koreans want war.

I believe North Koreans didn’t set off the bomb killing South Korean government officials in Rangoon in 1983. I believe the North Korean agent who killed three South Korean civilians in September 1984 was a South Korean agent. I believe that Kim Hyun-hee, who helped blow up a South Korean plane in 1987 (killing all 115 on board), is a forgetful woman who left her bomb on the plane.

I believe North Korean agents shot to death in May 1992 (three along the West Coast) and October 1995 (two in Buyeo) were bringing reunification messages. I believe that the North Korean government official who threatened to turn Seoul into a “sea of flames” meant to say a “country of happiness.” I believe defectors from North Korea are, as a spokesman said, “rats,” “criminals,” and “cowards.” I believe that only rats, criminals and cowards would leave if North Korea opened its border. I believe North Korea is protecting South Korea from rats, criminals and cowards.

I believed North Korea when it said that its submarines “drifted” to the South because of “engine trouble” in 1996 and 1997. I believe North Korea cannot prevent such incidents because North Korean subs naturally drift to the South when they have engine trouble. I believe the South uses a large magnet to attract drifting North Korean subs.

I believe the dead man discovered washed up on a beach wearing North Korean clothing and armed with North Korean weapons was an actor. I believe the South Korean tourist shot to death in 2008 on Mt. Kumgang in North Korea shot herself. I believe the Hyundai Asan employee held hostage in North Korea last year for criticizing North Korea was lost for four months. I believe North Korea acted in self defense in 2000 when it threatened to “blow up” the Chosun Ilbo newspaper for “slandering our Republic” for claiming the North started the War. I believe it is ridiculous to suspect North Korea had a role in the sinking of the Cheonan warship on March 26.

I believe all of this because I don’t believe that North Korea actually exists. I believe Boris Yeltsin had the secret documents to prove it.

CJL (originally published 1997, with the following responses for that 1997 version)


PART I: Attacks


Your piece is hypnotic (because repetitive). I creates a certain effect at the level of claims to truth (about good and evil). Was this your only strategy or are there others? I’d bee interested in knowing.


Yes I did write: “Your piece is hypnotic (because repetitive). I creates a certain effect at the level of claims to truth (about good and evil). Was this your only strategy or are there others? I’d bee interested in knowing.” And then I never heard anything from you.

My sense was (and still is actually after rereading “I Believe”) that you are  simply interested in levelling all possible ground for making any claims about the past (i.e. truth claims, knowledge, etc.). Hence my question: Was your article’s point simply rhetorical? Poetical? Or some kind of discursive strategy? Certainly, the article, as it stands, can’t be “interpreted” or really be said to mean anything.

I used to enjoy that kind of stuff (I even spent 3 years writing a 227 page thesis called, “Genealogy as a Practice of Freedom: Michel Foucault’s Historical Critique”). Then, after I got some distance from the university, I began to see just how limited in value it really is. It’s just noise; just deconstruction. No?


I believe you believe what you believe is believable.  Personally, I  believe your beliefs belie your believability.  Believe me, I believe you’ll be leaving an unbelievable bevy of beliefs for budding believers.  I believe you are nuts.  I’ll be taking my leave now.  Believe it or not.


who cares



And I see that we have been graced of late
by the wit and wisdom of Casey J. Lartigue, Jr.


I was in Seoul the past few weeks so am tardy replying to your post.  So you don’t remember me?    It’s possible.  Back then I used
to use my Harvard account.  Anyway, congratulations on your recently published rant on the Texas atrocity– the very notion of “hate crimes” offends you, but your indignation is of somewhat obscure origin.  Is it simply that any form of “special consideration” is degrading — neutrality uber alles!?

And what was all that about “von” and Nazis?  I am well aware that von Mises was an Austrian.  I have read some of his work; have you?  Or is he just part of the canon by which your creed demarcates itself, the anti-Marx, so to speak?  The Fuhrer was also an Austrian, though it scarcely matters. The “von” implies an aristocratic lineage, real or fabricated, nothing more.

Anyway, labelling is a vice only if it is inaccurate — and political
incorrectness is a virtue only if it is well-reasoned.


Part II: Neutral (or leaning negative)


Let me clear.
So what you cannot believe is North Korea is not real thing?




I am living around Migum Sub station, working at government running organization, Korea Land Corporation.  I am 35 years old and could be classified as a sort of conservative type in terms of unification prospective in this peninsular.

My job in [deleted] is very much concerned with North Korea Project.

You sounds like having much informations about NK. I am afraid, however, to ask, first of all,

Are you positive to communicate with you who looks so progressive is no problem under present Korean law?


Having grown up during the USSR-USA, bipolar, cold war I find it a little too easy to take sides.  Add to that the eight years I spent with the US Military in Korea, and it becomes difficult not to fight the cold war on when someone sees a post that doesn’t fit in with  my idea of reality.

When people start digging in on their side of the North-South issue, the stimulus for intellectual discussion dies, and the shooting starts.  Perhaps it is a smaller scale view of the North-South issue, the players involved, and the events that occurred on the peninsula since the big three decided the fate of Korea.

With the recent events that occurred in Korea, such as the IMF bailout, labor, unrest, change in ROK Government, various scandals, North Korea’s threat to resume it’s nuclear program, not to mention the impact on Korea from situations exhisting in other Asian countries, I think there is plenty to discuss that is not a rehash of the last 40 years.

Everyday there are articles and editorials in the myriad of English and Korean language online news sources that offer content for discussion.


Political commentary aside, there was a report in the LA Times on the  day after the incident that  quoted the captain of the fishing vessel as saying that the sub was underway when south Korean ships and a Lynx  helicopter fired on it. It is interesting that this report was substantially different from other press reports and included a great  many more details then other reports.

According to that report, the sub was traveling north under power after  clearing the net and that a south Korea ASW helicopter and a south Korean navy ship fired on it, after which it rolled over.

What is also interesting is that the report was available at:
http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/ASECTION/t000058272.1.html but is not  available now and does not show up in an search of their archive. If anyone managed to save a copy, please post it.

Whatever the case, south Korea had every right to fire on it. Even if it was outside the five mile limit, it was in what many countries consider their security zone and there is a “technical state of war” between the  DPRK and ROK(Don’t you just love that term. They are at war 1) However, being anything but truthful about the whole matter leaves the door open  to doubt everything that south Korean defense apparatus says or does.  When you undermine trust, you lose the first battle in the war.



 (or nice enough my mother would approve)


Great work!
Your writing on I believe is very impressive and shows your depth of
knowledge. Why  do you know  all of this so well?



Hello Mr. Lartigue,

An interesting essay you posted on the net entitled “I Believe.”  Indeed, I have read some of your articles printed in the Korea Times.

Have you been in Korea for a very long time?  I’ve been here since 1992, and I must say, you have taken a most ambitious position in your support of the South Korean government.  Now, mind you, I am an avid supporter of the South, but, after having been here for a number of years, not quite as supportive as you.

Please do not take the position that I am criticising you, for that is not my position at all.  I, obviously, enjoy living here (if I didn’t I would have returned to my homeland years ago).  However, I must say, I hope that your position is not based on a sense of infatuation (a realm that many newcomers endure).  Would you care to elaborate on this matter?

You are bright, thorough author.  I look forward to hearing from you.



Congratulations Casey.

Seriously.  Sarcastic or not, that was a great piece of wit and I truly
enjoyed it considering I spent many of my years in Korea living with those later, forgotten infiltrations and provocations many of which hardly made the back part of the NYT or Wash. Post.

Looking back it’s all smoke and mirrors.


Yes, Casey, very nice article, but as I’m sure you’re aware, many seem to be dedicated to the kind of relativist ‘fairness’ ethic that dictates we treat all sides in the political struggle as moral equivalents, especially when the ‘other’ side is a left-leaning totalitarian nation.

Oh, and I’m sure you inadvertently left this one out, Casey, but you also didn’t believe reports about the border squirmish where that North Korean soldier crushed the larynx of the prone, helpless US soldier with his boot heel, did you?  What, there are photographs of that?  Well, who are you going to believe, North Korea or your own eyes?


That was the best article that I have ever had the
pleasure to read!  Let [progressives] and the rest gag on it.


Wonderful. Thank You.


Oh, and just one more thing: I’m going to print your message out and post it on my wall so I can remember it when I log into [Websites deleted], etc. again, Thanks


Dear Editor (forwarded to me by the Korea Times):

The article “I believe,” in today’s paper by Casey J. Lartigue Jr. was
among the best and truest and most amazing I’ve read – anywhere.

[Personal information deleted.] Were I to be staying in Korea, I’d try
to get in touch with him myself and encourage him to apply for the US Foreign Service. I’ve been American Ambassador to four or five
countries (Africa and the Middle East). We need people like him. The
Foreign Service can always use brains – but at times it can use, even
more, a sense of humor!

I’d urge him to write to the Board of Examiners, Foreign Service,
Department of State, Washington, DC 20520 – and to apply for the
written exam the next time it is given.

Would it be possible for this letter to be forwarded to Mr. Lartigue?
I enclose a stamped envelope.

My thanks and congratulations to Mr. Lartigue


[Name deleted]



American slavery then, N. Korea today (The Korea Times, 2/25/15) by Casey Lartigue, Jr.

American slavery then, N. Korea today

by Casey Lartigue, Jr.

Speaking on Feb. 14 in Washington, D.C., along with North Korean refugee Cherie Yang, I noted parallels between the “men stealers and women whippers” of American slavery yesteryear and North Korea today (the event was co-hosted by the Atlas Network and the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association).

The American South violated basic human rights; allowed people to be enslaved, tortured and killed at will; broke up families; and kept slaves isolated and ignorant. The main difference with North Korea is the American South imported its victims.

The North Korean regime is even worse than the slave-holding South. Slavery defenders could argue then they weren’t doing anything out of the norm of history; North Korea has no such defense, it would be like the Ku Klux Klan taking over a country today.

One person who helped change it so that slavery was no longer the norm was Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery sometime around 1818 (births of slaves weren’t recorded), he was destined to be a “slave for life.” Instead, he became a leading abolitionist. After failing in his first bid for freedom, Douglass escaped from “a den of lions” in 1838. He still had to worry about black spies reporting him and white slave hunters kidnapping him.

Likewise, even after escaping, North Korean refugees get hounded by North Korean agents and Chinese police to repatriate them. Rescuers on the Underground Railroad who help North Koreans flee through China get jailed, beaten, and in some cases, allegedly murdered for breaking the law to help runaways, as all happened in the Old South.

Despite the threats, Douglass began speaking out, saying at an 1842 gathering of the American Anti-Slavery Society, “I appear this evening as a thief and a robber. I stole this head, these limbs, this body from my master, and ran off with them.” He traveled around the world arguing against slavery, as some North Korean refugees bravely do today about North Korea (I’m pleased to have introduced some refugees to opportunities). As refugee speakers sometimes get criticized by other refugees, Douglass was criticized by other blacks “who thought very badly of my wisdom in thus exposing and degrading myself.”

Refugees today have every aspect of their lives questioned by word-parsers and investigative reporters; the pro-slavery press regularly denounced Douglass (in modern times, they slaveholders would be rabid bloggers posting YouTube “expose” videos and polluting Wikipedia). Douglass silenced many critics who are now deservedly forgotten by history with his 1845 book, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave.” Abolitionist Wendell Phillips, reading the proposed manuscript, said he would “throw it into the fire” if he were Douglass. Other abolitionists warned the book “would turn (Douglass) over to the tormentors.”

Douglass fled to England to evade those tormentors. North Koreans outside of North Korea are considered to be “traitors” to the Kim regime, which is one reason reporters and researchers need to use common sense when challenging refugees who have ongoing privacy concerns and security threats from a psychotic regime. Douglass rightly withheld many details well until after slavery ended.

Friends purchased Douglass’ freedom in 1846On the 10th anniversary of his escape from slavery, he published an open letter to his former slaveowner, saying: “In leaving you, I took nothing but what belonged to me, and in no way lessened your means for obtaining an honest living. Your faculties remained yours, and mine became useful to their rightful owner.” He concluded the letter: “I’m your fellow man, but not your slave.”

Critics denounced Douglass as an “abolition agitator” and “intermeddler” who was “petted and flattered and used and paid by certain abolitionists.” Today, refugee speakers, NGOs and the “human rights racket” are blamed for “provoking” North Korea and get denounced as “puppets” who are seeking “fame and profit.” (Even Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was charged with trying to line her own pockets off the issue of slavery and there were more than 20 books, many by Southern women, quickly published as rebuttals).

Free states were denounced along with slave states, much as defenders of North Korea today highlight problems in the United States. Human rights advocates get criticized by professional talkers for not doing more to help North Koreans still in North Korea.

Douglass, the former slave who later became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, wrote: “True, as a means of destroying slavery, it was like an attempt to bail out the ocean with a teaspoon, but the thought that there was one less slave, and one more freeman ― having myself been a slave, and a fugitive slave ― brought to my heart unspeakable joy.”

A few weeks before his death in 1895, when asked by a young man for advice, Douglass replied simply: “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!” Yet another parallel ― my colleagues pushing for human rights in North Korea would agree.

The writer is the Asia Outreach Fellow with the Atlas Network and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at  CJL@post.harvard.edu



3 4

7 (4)2015-02-14 Douglass Atlas (11)

Advice for Kim Jong-un? (Korea Times, January 28, 2015) by Casey Lartigue, Jr.

Advice for Kim Jong-un?

By Casey Lartigue, Jr.

I was recently asked by an expert on North Korea what I would tell dictator Kim Jong-un if I had a chance to meet him.

My response: “Nothing.”

As I explained to my baffled colleague: “Do you think I could convince KFC to stop killing chickens? The mafia to stop committing crime? Kim Jong-un is in charge of a country, treating 24 million people like they are his personal property. His wonderful life depends on controlling, terrorizing, brainwashing and extracting wealth from North Koreans.”

And vice versa. There is nothing the third dictator of North Korea could tell me that could get me to support his system. If I did start lecturing him about the right of locomotion or respect for individual autonomy, he’d probably interrupt me to ask: “Which country are you in charge of where you make your magic happen?”

Like my colleague, North Korea experts may want to give the North Korean dictator a piece of their minds. While the talkers debate, I would suggest that the mere mortals among us who would like to engage in practical action in our lifetimes check out the call to action paper “Light Through the Darkness” issued by the George W. Bush Institute.

Victor Cha, Fellow in Human Freedom at the institute and author of the paper, outlines six main areas for “improving the human condition in North Korea,” recommending specific actions. They include breaking through North Korea’s information barriers, engaging and supporting U.S.-based escapees and raising global awareness. The paper makes specific recommendations for individuals, organizations, governments and non-experts. The many bullet points could keep NGOs looking to engage in practical action busy for years or decades to come.

A beautiful thing about Cha’s paper is that it encourages people to focus on actions, not words of wisdom for the North Korean dictator. When I listen to the experts talk about North Korea, they seem to be having life-and-death discussions over which policy is correct. With so many options available, it would be like having a heated argument to resolve the “apples versus oranges” debate while at a buffet.

That’s why Cha’s paper goes against the grain when it comes to North Korean issues. The approach of the paper is to let a thousand flowers bloom rather than to debate about a particular policy in isolation. Analysts will engage in endless verbal fisticuffs, for example, over whether air balloons being sent into North Korea can topple the regime. As a stand-alone action, no, it can’t, anymore than humanitarian assistance, tourism, increased engagement, a peace treaty or sanctions can. That kind of snapshot analysis, isolating just one part when there are many moving, would be like concluding that tires are ineffective because, by themselves, they can’t make a car move.

As Cha writes: “Thus, it is not a question of choice ― a new approach to North Korean human rights must operate on all tracks simultaneously to have the most effect.” Some can focus on the 24 million people in North Korea, some can focus on helping North Korean refugees on the run in China and other countries, and others can focus on helping North Korean resettle and adjust. It isn’t hypocrisy to focus one’s limited time and resources on just one. There doesn’t have to be agreement, in advance, about which policy or approach is correct when there is so much to do, different people have different skills to get things done and we can’t know in advance which will work (or who has the ability to make the “golden key” or “silver bullet” happen).

It is often said that there is a “marketplace of ideas.”Arguments can be useful, stimulating and invigorating, but we don’t have to wait for experts to come to agreement before doing what we can. There needs to be a separate “marketplace of action.”Anyone who wants to engage in action, but is not sure where to start, can check out Cha’s paper.

The experts will continue to debate which policy is correct, I know. I’d like to remind them of something objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand said when asked by a student: “What should be done about the poor?” Rand responded curtly: “If you want to help them, you won’t be stopped.”

It sounds harsh, but it is a point that needs to be made to various researchers and activists debating about what to do about North Korea, that they won’t be stopped, except by government in some cases, from putting legs and arms to their ideas. If they look through the Bush Institute report and find something practical they can do, I promise that when Kim Jong-un asks me for advice, I will tell him not to stop them.

The writer is director for international relations at Freedom Factory Co.in Seoul and the Asia Outreach Fellow with the Atlas Network in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at: CJL@post.harvard.edu

Original Korea Times link,

Casey Lartigue quoted by NK News

Casey Lartigue quoted (accurately) by NK News about the Bush Center’s recent Call to Action report about North Korea. I must be somebody important, considering who is quoted in the article: Greg Scarlatoi, Suzanne Scholte, Victor Cha, Lindsay Lloyd and Casey Lartigue.

* There is a “however” before my comments, but I strongly agree with Suzanne Scholte’s point that the proposals in the report need to be financed, not just talked about…

However, Casey Lartigue of the Seoul-based Freedom Factory think tank said that the report “presents numerous practical options for individuals, NGOs and governments to do something in their own way to help.”

“There are so many analysts and talkers who are so busy attacking each other that they don’t focus enough on actual action to help North Korean exiles as well as those still trapped in North Korea,” he said. “After this, no one will have an excuse to say they didn’t know what to do to help.”

Recently North Korea seized upon the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture – which documented instances of harsh interrogation techniques taking place under the administration of George W. Bush, the center’s namesake – in an effort to counter attention generated by the COI report.

Given this, Lartigue, whose organization promotes individual liberty, addressed whether the Bush Center’s role in the report was ultimately beneficial to the cause of North Korean human rights.

“… some may question if the Bush Center is an appropriate outlet for such a report, but the report itself shows why such a question is ludicrous,” said Lartigue. “It isn’t going to take just one organization, policy, action or idea to help liberate North Koreans. Analysts and activists have their own visions and policies, and they can present their ideas and activities, and find others who would like to collaborate with them or put their ideas into action.

“We don’t need a vote about who is entitled to act or speak.”