News PM Punch — ‘Intrigues and Despicable Methods’

December 12, 2013

newsmanCloudy-gray skies mostly this afternoon on California’s north coast, though, on occasion a splash of sunshine. Still cold at 49 degrees with a supposed-chance of rain tonight.
On a warmer note, we’re forecast to be back in the 60s by Sunday.

An oversea story perked my interest amongst the skewed-news this PM, one from the barbaric-Orwellian nightmare of North Korea.

According to various news reports, the KCNA (North Korea’s only media) announced this morning, Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong-un, was executed for treason, along with a dark-hilarious litany of horrific crimes, like being “despicable human scum,” who tried to “overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state.”
A Shakespearean family-fantasy to the third power, or beyond.
A seemingly-good analysis of the uncle killing in the UK’s Globe and Mail — the frightful quote:

Although the high-level purges could indicate confidence, Victor Cha, a former senior White House adviser on Asia, said he sees signs of “a lot of churn in the system.”
“If he has to go as high as purging and then executing Jang, it tells you that everything’s not normal in the system,” said Cha, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think-tank in Washington.
“When you take out Jang, you’re not taking out just one person — you’re taking out scores if not hundreds of other people in the system. It’s got to have some ripple effect.”

In passing, The Economist also has a good piece on the crazy family, including this observation:

The purge of Mr Jang is extraordinary.
Take his seniority. Experts quarrel about how important he truly was, and exactly when he started to fall from grace.
But he is married to Kim Kyong Hui, the sister of Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un’s father and predecessor.
The couple were both Politburo members and had the rank of generals in the army.
And most observers agree that Mr Jang was central to securing the succession for Kim Jong Un, whose father elevated him above his elder brothers not long before his death in 2011.
Aidan Foster-Carter, an analyst of North Korea at Leeds University, notes that, at his brother-in-law’s funeral, Mr Jang was beside the hearse, right behind the new leader.

Now he be dead.

And the bright star in all this could once again be China.
From AFP:

But Leonid Petrov, a North Korea expert at Australia National University, said that any short-term uncertainty would be eclipsed by the regional benefits for China, which values stability above all and views North Korea as a bulwark against US military influence in Asia.
“(The goal for China) is to keep this area US-free, without US interference, and North Korea is a perfect kind of watchdog,” Petrov said.
“As soon as the United States and South Korea and Japan activate their security activities… North Korea starts barking, and China does not need to move a finger, because North Korea is doing the job of keeping joint US-South Korea-Japanese military preparations at bay,” he added.
“So, I think North Korea remains a very valuable ally for China despite all the trouble they cause them.”

So we shall see — North Korea even existing nowadays is just bizarre.

Also from overseas (via Reuters): Fifteen people on their way to a wedding in Yemen were killed in an air strike after their party was mistaken for an al Qaeda convoy, local security officials said on Thursday.
Although authorities didn’t name the delivery system, reportedly locals said it was a drone. Earlier this week, a US drone killed at least three people traveling in a car in eastern Yemen.

And speaking of drones, or in the US Navy, aquatic, submersible research “gliders,” they’re called. Whatever the name, these devices are still military hardware.
From Popular Mechanics:

Where the gliders can have the biggest impact are the places where the Navy can’t or isn’t allowed to go.
While he’s not at liberty to list them all, Bub points to places where the Navy currently has significant interest: “The Navy is in the western Pacific, the northern Indian Ocean, and the Navy spends time in the Mediterranean,” he says.
It’s in these places (perhaps even around the increasingly tense East China Sea) that gliders could slip in silently to gather intelligence.
“The gliders are clandestine,” Bub says.
“They spend very little time on the surface, they’re not generally detectable, and although they communicate through the Iridium satellite system, they’ve been encrypted.”
And Schofield says this type of clandestine mission could be done from far away.
Even though the gliders swim at less than a mile per hour, their propellerless propulsion and battery packs allow them to stay at sea for up to a year.
“And you can launch a glider pretty far away from a region of interest.
I could deploy one a hundred miles away from where I have it fly in,” Schofield says.

Add a dash of the NSA and home to roost.
And it’s in the evening again — and make room for bedtime. Surfing/reading the news outlets is a downer, must attend to Stewart and Colbert on Hulu.

(Illustration above found here).

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