Friday, October 27, 2006

OK, so the Nogeun-ri film is complete

Posted by Robert Koehler


WARNING: If you have anything around you that might damage your computer screen if thrown at it, I suggest you remove it before reading on.

Anyway, Yonhap reports that Lee Sang-woo has completed work on his film on the Nogeun-ri incident Want to learn more? OK:

After many news reports and documentaries about Nogeun-ri came out, director Lee Sang-woo felt obliged to make a fictional film to tell the story. He wanted to ask the U.S. government whether there was no other way than war, a question still relevant today.

“Writing the scenario, I asked myself what story I have to tell. This is not going to be about the incident, not the event, but it’s going to be about the people. It is going to tell the relationships that people had in the small community and how intimate and beautiful they were, and ask them (the U.S. military) if they knew what they were doing. They were destroying these beautiful human beings,” Lee said after shooting the film’s last scene in Sunchang, South Jeolla Province, early this week.

I don’t want to use one independent filmmaker’s take on history to be indicative of attitudes as a whole, but after the success of “Welcome to Dongmakgol,” one has to ask whether Koreans and Americans view their shared history in remotely the same way. This is particularly the case with younger Koreans whose collective memory of the Korean War and the role the United States played in it is being shaped by films like this and “Dongmakgol.”

This question is worth exploring, because this shared history is supposedly part of the reason we keep the Korea-U.S. alliance going. If U.S. intervention in Korea is increasingly viewed as a tragedy that destroyed families and communities and kept a nation divided, what reason does Washington have for maintaining the child of that intervention—the Korea-U.S. alliance—especially at a time when the two sides view their national interests in increasingly disparate ways?

BTW, I’m not arguing that topics such as Nogeun-ri or U.S. misdeeds should not be explored by filmmakers. As artists in a democratic society, Korean filmmakers have a duty to explore all aspects of Korea’s past and present. But as Lee clearly points out and as anyone who watched “Dongmakgol” could tell, the films do more than just examine painful incidents pertaining to U.S. history in Korea—they seek to deny any positive role the United States may have played in post-Liberation Korea by constructing fantasy worlds of happy villagers playing in the fields until they were brutally interrupted by the evil Americans and their warlike ways and exploitive capitalism. Even relatively even-handed “Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War” does little more than depict North and South as moral equivalents (with U.S. and UN contributions ignored completely)—there was no “good side” or “bad side,” and the question is never addressed whether the men chewed up on screen died for anything at all. With “Dongmakgol” drawing over 8 million viewers (5 million in its first four weeks), its historical viewpoint obviously resonates with a large segment of the general population. And it goes without saying that it does not bode well for the future of the alliance when the peoples involved no longer share a common memory of even the “foundation myth” of the alliance itself.

P.S.: I would also like to make clear that in no way, shape or form am I suggesting that Koreans emulate the disturbing levels of hero-worship and moral/patriotic simplicity of American war films. My favorite U.S. war film, for example, is Terrence Malick’s “A Thin Red Line,” which is morally ambiguous about the U.S. campaign in the Pacific, to say the least. But what we’re seeing here with “Dongmakgol,” the upcoming Nogeun-ri film and, to a lesser extent, “Tae Guk Gi” is equally simplistic stories that simply substitute ethnic nationalism for the flag-waving of American films. And that’s not a good thing.

Here We Go Again

Expect another anti-American hatefest film much like Welcome to Dongmakgol that drew record Korean audiences with it’s story of North and South Korean soldiers joining together to kill Americans in order to save a rural village during the Korean War.

As usual the Korean media gets the whole incident wrong from the start. A theme in recent Korean movies is that life in rural villages was some kind of idealistic paradise until the big, bad Americans come and ruined it. If anyone wants a good cinematic example of what life before, during, and after the Korean War was like in rural Korean villages than I encourage you to see the excellent Korean movieThe Taebak Mountains Watch this movie and then compare it to the crap that is Dongmakgol. The people in these villages were dirt poor and life was hard which made many of these villages agreeable towards communism and uprise against the South Korean government including villages in the No Gun-ri area.

Also the villagers were not evacuated by US soldiers and without a doubt they were not strafed by US aircraft during the No Gun-ri timeframe as the Yonhap article claims. Finally 500 people did not die at No Gun-ri, maybe 50 at best. How do I know all of this? Read my series of postings that I did last year on this very subject. The evidence is overwhelming about what really happened at No Gun-ri but when Pulitzer Prizes and millions of dollars in compensation money are at stake, who cares about the truth?

I have no doubt this Nogun-ri movie will just be as equally as crappy as Dongmakgol. There was definitely a tragedy that happened at Nogun-ri however the number of people killed and the motivations and the circumstances behind what happened are not what the leftists want you to believe. I did a whole series of postings on what happened at Nogun-ri and what really happened is actually quite clear once you get around all the lies and propaganda put out there by both the Korean and US media. I encourage everyone to interested in what really happened at Nogun-ri to check out my postings at the link below.

The Truth

If the filmmaker is basing his movie off the AP article than he is basing it on an article that has been proven to be fraudulent. He is making a movie based on what he wishes Nogun-ri to be instead of the actual reality.

This would be like making the Dr. Hwang movie based off what he people wish him to be, “The Pride of Asia” curing all these paralyzed people and ignoring the facts a few brave journalists uncovered to prove he is a fraud.

Time to End the Screen Quota

I generally write ”DOA” posts after an action by either government documents some new low in bilateral relations. The government isn’t responsible for the content of what Korea’s notoriously militant film industry makes, but it wasn’t responsible for the content of “Yoduk Story,” either. So on one hand, fictionalized movies about No Gun Ri or formaldehyde dumps get the protection of monopolistic screen quotas and government subsidies (and just in time for FTA talks, too!), but on the other, those who would make or finance a small-time musical about just one of North Korea’s concentration camps arethreatened with prosecution under the National Security Law.

Never mind that nobody has actually figured out exactly what happened atNo Gun Ri; the reporters already had their Pulitzers by the time we learned that some of their “eyewitnesses” weren’t even there. Either way, I’ll go out on a limb to suggest that this film’s scenes of bucolic village life won’t feature any North Korean infantry dressed in peasant clothing.

The only other point I would add is this: if those Chinese imperialists hadn’t intervened in Korea, why, the entire peninsula would be unified today. Yodok would be paved over with greenhouses and the streets of Chongjin would be packed with bongo loudspeaker trucks heaped with produce instead of dying kkotjaebi Why war indeed. The more I hear the question asked, the more I wonder myself. Overall, however, I increasingly see the U.S.-Korea alliance as a perfectly good idea that’s outlived much of its usefulness, at least as presently configured.

Another interesting perspective here. I saw “Typhoon,” and I didn’t dislike it as much as this reviewer did. My favorite part was the ridiculously Canadian accent of one actor, cast in the role of one of the film’s Yankee villains.

The film will be released in June 2007 here in Korea.

Soap Box time.....

I hated Welcome to Dongmakgol with a passion for many of the same reasons that were listed above. I thought that it was very anti-US Army and in no way showed the truth. I fear that next June it will be the same lies attempted to be shouted so loudly that they will become the truth and that the people who don't know any better will believe these lies.

Well it looks like I will have one heck of a film review for Twitch out of this one.

Oh BTY. I have been accepted as a writter for Twitch Sunday I will try and complete my first article about my trip to the Busan Film festival.

I will keep an eye out for all news related to this film.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Game 3 victory second round

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Game 4 victory second round

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What this is, is the end of games 3 4 of the second round of the KBO baseball playoffs

Daejeon 5-4 Game 3
Daejeon 4-0 Game 4

Daejeon is now in the Korean Baseball Championship.

As of today its

Samsung Lions 1 and Daejeon Eagles 1

game 3 and 4 were delayed until WEND and Thursday so, guess what I will be doing those days.

game 5-7 will be played in seoul, why? I HAVE NO IDEA EITHER!!!!

Don't think I will go to the games but I may change my mind.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

This is now the part of the year where we will get the contenders for Oscar 2006 Best Films of the year.

What this article will do is preview the films that you should or should not watch for this upcoming Oscar season.

For release in October 2006 (Us Dates, Korean dates unknown)

The Departed IMDB LINK The Departed

Plot Outline: Two men from opposite sides of the law are undercover within the Boston State Police department and the Irish Mafia, but violence and bloodshed boil when discoveries are made, and the moles are dispatched to find out their enemy's identities. This is a Remake of Infernal Affairs (Hong Kong: English title) The film is directed by Martin Scorsese and has an all star cast such as Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima

Flags of Our Fathers
Letters from Iwo Jima

What we have here is 2 different looks at the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima in Flags of Our Fathers we have The life stories of the six men who raised the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima, a turning point in WWII. In Letters from Iwo Jima we have, the story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it. With Clint Eastwood directing these 2 film, this should be a very interesting look at this battle.

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

Now I have already seen this film, I was given a Cannes copy of this film on DVD.

I have no idea what Sofia Coppola was going for in this film, It was horribly miscast as Kirsten Dunst as Marie and with the 2006 modern soundtrack in 1790 France, it just never worked. It was savagely attacked after its Cannes debut and should not be seen by anybody. Grade F



After her death, a mother (Maura) returns to her home town in order to fix the situations should couldn't resolve during her life. Of her family left in the town, her ghost slowly becomes a comfort to her daughters (Cruz, Dueñas), as well as her grandchild (Cobo).

Carmen Maura reunites with Pedro Almodóvar for the director's first comedy since, what, Kika? Not that we're complaining about his recent body of work, but it'll be nice to walk out of a theater after seeing this and not be totally bummed out. And we can't wait to see Penélope Cruz star in her first actual movie in years! Volver opened big in Almodóvar's native Spain, with nearly cross-the-board good reviews (the latter is a rare occurrence for the auteur), and scooped two prizes (Best Screenplay and Best Actress for the ensemble cast) at Cannes.

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause


Santa (Allen), aka Scott Calvin, is faced with double-duty: how to keep his new family happy, and how to stop Jack Frost from taking over Christmas.

I have no idea why they are doing a #3. This has not been a good year for Tim Allen, with the failures of Zoom and The Shaggy D.A,.A return to this could only hurt his star until the rumored Toy Stoy 3 return in 2008, to even have a chance of a comeback.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Release Date in Korea 12/06


Kazakhstani TV talking head Borat (Cohen) is dispatched to the United States to report on the greatest country in the world. With a documentary crew in tow, Borat becomes more interested in locating and marrying Pamela Anderson

It had a small release at the 11th Pusan International Film Festival and has a very strong Buzz about it. I was told basically if you like Sacha Baron Cohen then go see if, if you do not, please give it a look.

Flushed Away

Flushed Away

The story of an uptown rat that gets flushed down the toilet from his penthouse apartment, ending in the sewers of London, where he has to learn a whole new and different way of life

Aardman Animations (the studio behind Wallace & Grommit) handles their first CGI film, which was born out of their inability to get the Tortoise vs. Hare project off the ground. Reports from the underground, where three directors (including Aardman vets Bowers and Fell) are toiling away, indicate the CGI looks like classic Aardman stuff. Fingers crossed the Brit-friendly cast doesn't result in a Valiant-like reception at the box office.

Have you ever just had a bad idea about a movie that looks like its going to bomb big time? Every time I look at the facts for this film, it just has a huge failure on it, from clay to CGI


When I read that article the warnings about this film looks like were confirmed.

A Good Year

A Good Year

Englishman Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) inherits Le Griffon, a crumbling Provençal vineyard owned by his Uncle Henry (Albert Finney). Settling into the property, Max's prospects are shaken up by the arrival of Henry's long-lost daughter, Christie Roberts (Abbie Cornish), a wine brat from California with a surprise or two tucked away.

Will this be a comeback or will this be another failure like the Cinderella Man was. Crowe lately has developed a pain-in-the-but to work with. This film will either help his star or we will slowly start to see it fail over a long period of time.

Harsh Times

Harsh Times

HARSH TIMES stars Christian Bale as an ex-Army Ranger who finds himself slipping back into his old life of petty crime after a job offer from the LAPD evaporates. Freddy Rodriguez (SIX FEET UNDER) plays his best friend and Eva Longoria (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) plays Rodriguez's girlfriend. It marks the film directing debut for Ayer who has written such box office hits as TRAINING DAY, U-571 and THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

The preview looked interesting so we shall see about this film, the buzz is about Bale going psycho and everybody else dealing with it.

Casino Royale (Relaesed in Korea 12/06)

James Bond

After earning his license to kill, MI6 dispatches James Bond (Craig) to Madagascar to track a terrorist. The spy soon expands his search to include an entire terrorist cell, tipping off an adventure that leads him into a Montenegro casino, where his organization backs him in a marathon game against Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a banker to international terrorist organizations.

I saw the trailer and I was thinking, “Oh S&*^% they may have finally gotten it right.” The pick of Daniel Craig has met with some stiff complaints. To me, it ended, when Sean Connery gave his blessing to this selection. If the ultimate James Bond agrees with this pick then can anyone really argue about it.?

Fast Food Nation


A marketing executive (Greg Kinnear) for a fast food giant travels to the Colorado town that's home to feedlots and packing plant that fuels his business. His goal: to quietly investigate whether cow manure has found its way into his product. The film played during the Pusan Film Festival.

Richard Linklater's much-anticipated take on Eric Schlosser's best-seller underwhelmed at Cannes, where audiences cited a lack of cohesion and emotional resonance. We shall see on this one.

Happy Feet

Happy Feet

Warner Bros. bets that their formula of Madagascar meets March of the Penguins meets boy band choreography will yield one of the biggest animated hits of the year. We have to imagine that George Miller, who hasn't directed a film since Babe: Pig in the City isn't sleeping much these days. Meanwhile, Hugh Jackman transmogrifies from a rat to a penguin in the same month. He's so versatile! Okay, we're going to get back to puzzling over the title, as to its utter lameness or complete and total awesomeness; a reminder: your best friend can't prevent you from calling him/her "Happy Feet".

The Preview looked great and I have a good feel about this one so I am looking forward to this one but remember, in Korea it might be dubbed into Korean so check with the movie place first before you go.

Déjà Vu

Deja Vu

An ATF agent travels back in time to save a woman from being murdered, falling in love with her during the process.

I know, Ok it sound like “Time Cop”

It also has Tony Scott and Denzel Washington.

We shall see about this one.

The Fountain

The Fountain

As a 16th-century conquistador, Tom (Hugh Jackman) discovers the Tree of Life. He spends the next 1,000 years searching for a way to save his love, Izzi (Rachel Weisz), as he begins to develop an understanding of the mysteries that have plagued him for centuries.

This production rose and crashed around writer-director Darren Aronofsky so many times, we still feel as though we'll never be sitting in a theater, moments from the flicker of the first reel. After months with only a teaser poster, a couple stills, and an information-less official site, Venice announced they'd host the world premiere (Aronfsky turned down a non-competition slot at Cannes, saying it was full-on Palme d'Or eligibility or nothing). And then came the boos ... Or the reports of people booing the film, which bloated into prognostications of critical and commercial failure.

Well this will be a hit or a bomb, no middle ground for this one.

For Your Consideration


Three actors (Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, and Harry Shearer) learn their respective performances in the film "Home for Purim," a drama set in the mid-1940s American South, are generating award-season buzz. A documentary crew captures all the excitement.

A Christopher Guest film? I am so there!



Part fact and part fiction, the story of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy's assassination is told via the intertwining lives of people who were present at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel in the hours leading up to the event.
THE BUZZ: Trying swishing this phrase around in your mouth: "Academy Award nominated director Emilio Estevez."

I have had this once picked as a contender for best picture of the year. Everything that I read and seen about it points to it. Hopefully the film will live up to the hype.

The History Boys


Alan Bennett's play performed equally well in the UK and the US, and now a transatlantic coalition brings the screen version to the States with all the major talent aboard. Art house devotees love their tragedy with a little comedy, as does the Academy. Richard Griffiths as a Best Actor candidate? With this role, it could happen, please keep an eye on this one.

The Last King of Scotland


Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s A freshly graduated young doctor Nicolas from Scotland went to Uganda in 1970s hoping that he could offer his helping hands to the Ugandan people. Instead of serving the poor and needed, he met the charismatic Uganda dictator Idi Amin and his life is forever changed.

Forest Whitaker nails the role of Amin and the buzz is about an Oscar nomination for his role in this one.

The Nativity Story

The Nativity Story

A drama that focuses on the period in Mary and Joseph's life where they journeyed to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

Now this could be a very interesting selection for December 2006. I have not a clue how this one will play. I guess we're supposed to be shocked that the director of Thirteen is handling this take on Mary's life up until Jesus Christ's birth. Or that the talented, young Keisha Castle-Hughes was cast in the role. Initially none of this was any big deal, but now that Hughes is pregnant (and not yet 17), this could be one very interesting marketing campaign.



Imagine being Mel Gibson's publicist ... After flirting with the Antoine Fuqua project Under and Alone, Mel Gibson opted for another historical epic for his follow-up to The Passion of the Christ -- and he self-financed the project, too. Set in the pre-Hispanic era, Apocalypto will be in the Maya language (think back to Men with Guns) and it's not known whether Gibson will make more than a cameo in the film (he's in the teaser trailer for a second, sporting a huge beard, crazy eyes, and what looks to be a huge blunt). It's not hard to realize what Gibson's getting at, as he's been vocal about the dissolution of American society; it will be interesting, and obviously controversial, to see how he ties his film to his beliefs.

Will Mel Gibson’s legendary drunken outburst hurt this film? We will soon see.

The Good German

The Good German

An American journalist (Clooney) in post-war Berlin to find his former mistress (Blanchett) is lured into a mystery involving her missing husband and a soldier's washed-up body.

Easily one of the most hush hush A-list projects in years ... With no competition in the form of actors playing musical legends or literary geniuses, George Clooney might waltz off with the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of newsman Jake Geismar (though an African dictator does stand in his way). And Cate Blanchett could be this year's Rachel Weisz, unless her performance in Notes on a Scandal overshadows her work here. Actually, toss in a bye for Soderbergh and his screenwriter, the twice-nominated Paul Attanasio.

Well what’s next for George Clooney? Can he earn another Oscar nod for this one or will it be a pretender in a year of contenders.

The Pursuit of Happyness


Will Smith arrives for the holidays, just in time to bum you out (before lifting your spirits) with the true story of Christopher Gardener. Please note the mid-life drama did not work for Adam Sandler, though if anyone can shift genre and retain his audience, it's Smith. Italy's mass-appeal director Gabriele Muccino makes his English-language debut; Steve Conrad (The Weather Man) wrote the script.

Now this one I have no idea on, It has Will Smith in a non-Alien film. Will it be Spanglish or Hitch?



In his homeland of Alagaesia, a farm boy happens upon a dragon's egg -- a discovery that leads him on a predestined journey where he realized he's the one person who can defend his home against an evil king.

If you have seen posters of Eragon at the Daejeon CGV, this is the film.

As a 15-year-old boy, Christopher Paolini started working on a novel, fueled by his love of all things Tolkein. Eragon was published when Paolini was 17, and was a worldwide best-seller (Eldest, the second volume of his Inheritance Triology, was published in 2005, and as far as we know it has yet to be optioned). The novel was adapted by Lawrence Konner (Mighty Joe Young) and Peter Buchman (Jurassic Park III) and Stefen Fangmeier makes his directorial debut after serving as visual effects supervisor on such films as Saving Private Ryan, Twister, and Lemony Snicket

The film is worth a look but past that will it be compared farorably to Tolkein or will it be branded a rip-off?

Blood Diamond


If anything else, Edward Zwick's latest film will be remembered as the movie that helped introduce the term "conflict diamond" into popular culture. This film feels more like “The Beach” than anything else. All this over a diamond?



A romance, of sorts, blooms between an aging actor (Peter O'Toole) and the grand-niece (Jodie Whittaker) of his best friend (Leslie Phillips).

I have been a fan of O’Toole’s for years and a chance to see him in action again is definitely worth a look.

Rocky Balboa (Rocky 6)


'Rocky Balboa' examines one of America's greatest icons at a vulnerable period in his life--middle age. A former heavyweight boxing champion, known and renown throughout the world for going the distance, Rocky finds a new venture: giving back to his community. This is where he, once more, finds himself at the opposing side of opportunity, not unlike the one he has seen decades ago. Heavyweight champ Mason Dixon and his representation offer Rocky a shot for the title. For Balboa, it'll be one last hurrah he'll never forget.....but with his glory days far behind him can he withstand the inevitabilities of what's to come? A look at going full circle and wanting more, when life turns out how you least expect it and then some.

If George Forman can win the title at age 46 why not Rocky Balboa? A long time ago Slyvester Stallone actually made some good movies, Those days have long sinced passed but maybe he had to hit bottom before he could return, wuth this and the return of Rambo maybe he will return to his roots and become what he last shows me in “Cop Land”

The preview looked awesome so we shall see on this one.

Charlotte's Web


Wilbur the pig, fearful he'll end up the family dinner instead of the family pet, hatches a plan with resourceful spider Charlotte to save his bacon. Based on the acclaimed childrens' novel

Once again a remake of a childhood favorite film of mine and once again I wonder, why oh why are you remaking this film?

Night at the Museum


Ben Stiller in a Museum when the animals and wax figures come alive and with Robin Williams, this one will definitely be worth a look.

The Good Shepherd

The Good Sheppard/

Edward Wilson, the only witness to his father's suicide and member of the Skull and Bones Society while a student at Yale, is a morally upright young man who values honor and discretion, qualities that help him to be recruited for a career in the newly founded Central Intelligence Agency. While working there, his ideals gradually turn to suspicion influenced by the Cold War paranoia present within the office. Eventually, he becomes an influential veteran operative, while his distrust of everyone around him increases to no end. His dedication to his work does not come without a price though, leading him to sacrifice his ideals and eventually his family.

Matt Damon, Robert DeNiro and the return of Joe Pesci. I am so there for this one.

We Are Marshall

When a plane crash claims the lives of the Marshall University football team athletes and some of its fans, the team's new coach (Matthew McConaughey), his surviving players, and the school's dean (David Strathairn) try to keep the program alive.

THE BUZZ: Perhaps more personal than any inspirational sports picture that has come before it, Marshall is being closely watched by people who don't want it to be turned into anything different than what it was: a tragic event that brought a community together. That means no technical flash, and no trumped up romantic angle. Our interest was already piqued when the film was announced and fast-tracked for release in 2006; having Oscar nominee David Strathairn makes it a must-see for us. And so you know, the film's titled is derived from the school's primary cheer at athletic events. And if you care, it's not like director McG is looking to go legit with this film; looks like his next project will be Hot Wheels.

We Are Marshall

The University of Marshall’s Website about the airplane crash with other links to the newspaper and links to the movie.

Please click on to the fountain link and read the story behind it.

Children of Men


"Children of Men" envisages a world one generation from now that has fallen into anarchy on the heels of an infertility defect in the population. The world's youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set against a backdrop of London torn apart by violence and warring nationalistic sects, "Children of Men" follows an unlikely champion of Earth's survival: Theo (Owen), a disillusioned ex-activist turned bureaucrat, who is forced to face his own demons and protect the planet's last remaining hope.

I keep wondering about Clive Owen, Do I get the great role of him in Sin City or do I get the junk of Closer with him, either I like his movies or I hate them, I just have a bad feeling about this one.



All the drama you can shake your booty at! This long gestating, loosely veiled story of Diana Ross and the Supremes has attracted Hollywood's A-list and "American Idol" refugees alike. Like it or not, Beyoncé was born to play Deena Jones, just as "Idol"er Jennifer Hudson makes perfect sense as Effie White, the original lead singer who is replaced by Deena. Elsewhere, Usher was in talks to play songwriter C.C. White, but no deal could be reached, opening the door for the relatively unknown Keith Robinson. We think Robinson and Jamie Foxx, who plays manager Curtis Taylor Jr., are the ones to watch here, as their nuanced characters are the type of performances audiences and Oscar love. But who would have thought Eddie Murphy is emerging as the award hopeful? Broadway buffs, however, are holding their breath for JHud's cover of the showstopping ballad "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going.", which didn't make it on teaser trailers and has the potential to upstage Beyoncé. If that's possible.

This is one of the films that I have wanted to watch since it was announced. This could be a huge hit or a huge bomb, I would bet on the hit. It deserves to be seen.

Pan’s Labyrinth


The Plot: Relocated in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, young Ofelia (Baquero) discovers a stone labyrinth near her new home. Inside the structure, she encounters a mythical creature who tells her she's the princess who belongs to this underground world, but in order to return home, she must complete three dangerous tasks.

Guillermo Del Toro's Directing a film, need I say anymore, Hope it’s a good one.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer


Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born with no smell, develops a superior olfactory sense, which he uses to create the world's finest perfumes. His work, however, takes a dark turn as he searches for the ultimate scent.

Most expensive German movie ever made (as of 2006)

Well, it has “sleeper” written all over it, will it deliver? Overseas Box office has been strong but how will it do in the US is the question?

Factory Girl

Factory Girl

A biopic of Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick has been in the pipeline since, well... forever. (Forever being as far back as the late 70s.) At one time, Katie Holmes was cast as the doomed party girl, but then she met this older guy named Tom and, well... you know how that went. Miller was actually cast twice, dropped the first time because she wasn't a big enough name, and then she had this relationship crisis with this hot British guy named Jude and, well... you know how that went. Now a tabloid name, this is Miller's opportunity to prove that she's more than just a pretty face, and advance word is she could make the Best Actress list alongside grande dames Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep

With a back story of just this, this film deserves a look.

The Queen

The Queen

The Queen is an intimate behind the scenes glimpse at the interaction between HM Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair during their struggle, following the death of Diana, to reach a compromise between what was a private tragedy for the Royal family and the public's demand for an overt display of mourning.

The reviews have been good and the film deserves a good look at with Helen Mirren getting serious talk of Oscar for her performance of Queen Elizabeth II.



While researching his book In Cold Blood, writer Truman Capote (Jones) develops a close relationship with convicted murderers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith

If Capote had not been done last year and Phillip Thomas Semymore not won the Oscar for his acting then I might want to watch this film but twice in one year, didn’t WARNER Brothers learn form the Wyatt Earp mess 10 years earlier?

Deliver Us from Evil


The Plot: A documentary on Father Oliver O'Grady, a Northern California priest and admitted pedophile who was harbored by the Catholic Church for more than 30 years.

Lionsgate's looking to stir up some trouble by sending Amy Berg's documentary out without a rating. After the MPAA gave the film's trailer a redband rating (as in: good luck getting a theater to pick up your film), the distributor thought to try its chances with theater owners, who can opt to play either a film or its trailer. It might help you to know the general feeling here is Evil's an R-rated film, but if Lionsgate had submitted the film to the MPAA, they would have had to follow their advertising guidelines as well.

Man I hope this ones opens the hornets nest!



Three stories set in Morocco, Tunisia, Mexico and Japan. The story begins with a tragedy striking a married couple on vacation. Two children curious about just how far a bullet will travel set into a motion a tragedy that ripples across six families around the world

Huge Oscar Buzz for this one, I have not seen much about it but I will give it a look.

Catch a Fire

Catch A Fire

Arrested for a terrorist act he did not commit, Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke) embraces the anti-Apartheid movement he has long ignored. As a new member of the African National Congress, he volunteers for a dangerous one-man mission - a plan that causes his old advocate in the police department, Nic Vos (Tim Robbins), to hunt him down

I have no idea why but it just sounds interesting so please check it out.

Death of a President

Hated It

Years after the assassination of President George W. Bush in Chicago, an investigative documentary examines that as-yet-unsolved crime.

Well I watched it and the only thought was, This is so wrong! I was never a fan of the last US President, Bill Clinton, But in my wildest dreams would I ever do this. Please pass on this one at all cost. I just can not believe that it is actually getting a release in the USA. I was glad to hear that major Cinema chains are passing on this one.

Grade F

The last one is the one that I wanted to see at the Pusan Film Festival but the times and dates just flat out would not work for me.

Indigènes or Days of Glory.

Days of Glory

In the liberation of France during WWII, North African men were recruited and enlisted in the French army in the fight against the Nazis. Why do they do it? One reason is to escape poverty, and the holding on to the glimmer of hope that they can be accepted, when the war is over, as equals based on their fight for the "motherland". These soldiers, mujahedeens, fought hard, often being in the frontline, but always overlooked when it comes to recognition of basic military welfare and promotions, not that these rewards will cost an arm or a leg, nor are the fighters so hard up for them. All they're asking for was fair treatment, but all they got was discrimination.

The film won the best Actor To the male ensemble cast at CANNES, I REALLY WANT TO SEE THIS ONE.

This is a small look of what Is coming out during the fall 2006 season.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Lidle Had Passion for Flying, and for Speaking His Mind

Cory Lidle locker at Yankee Stadium was on the opposite side of the empty stall next to the trainer’s room. That is the locker that belonged to Thurman Munson, the Yankees’ captain who died in the crash of a plane he was piloting on Aug. 2, 1979.

The Detroit Tigers observing a moment of silence Wednesday night for the Yankees’ Cory Lidle.

Lidle cleaned out his locker on Sunday, the day after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs. As he chatted informally with reporters, Lidle talked about aviation, a favorite topic of his since he earned his pilot’s license in four and a half months last winter.

At one point, Lidle motioned across the room in the direction of Munson’s locker. He said that the full report of Munson’s accident was on the Web site of the National Transportation Safety Board. He also said he had read the report of the accident that killed John F. Kennedy Jr.

Lidle knew the risks of his hobby, but he never seemed to worry about them. When asked by The New York Times in September if he was ever scared in the air, Lidle seemed puzzled by the question.

“It’s fun,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me.”

Lidle was killed yesterday when his plane, a Cirrus SR20 that he bought last year for $187,000, crashed into a residential high-rise building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Lidle said in September that the plane was built in 2002 and had fewer than 400 hours in the air. He said he had 95 hours of solo flying time.

He said on Sunday that he was looking forward to practicing instrument training with his flight instructor this week before flying home to California.

As part of that trip, Lidle said he also planned to stop in Nashville. A Nashville radio station, 104.5 The Zone, reported yesterday that Lidle had booked a room at the Union Station hotel there for last night.

Flying was a recent passion of Lidle’s. Last season, on a trip to Arizona with the Philadelphia Phillies, he saw a former teammate, Tom Wilson, whose friend is a pilot. Lidle became intrigued by the idea.

“I always had a little bit of an interest, but never thought I’d do anything,” Lidle said. “I always thought it was a two-year process or something. Turns out it’s about a one-year process if you go at a normal rate.

“About a year ago, I started calling around, talked to a couple instructors, and I said, ‘Hey, here’s my deal. I learn fast, and this is going to be my No. 1 priority. If you think four and a half months is enough time, I’m going to do it. If not, I’ll just wait until I’m done playing baseball, because I don’t want to get halfway through it and then get into the season. I may be overwhelmed and I won’t go back to it.’ ”

Immediately after the Phillies’ season ended, Lidle met with a flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, in Pomona, Calif. He had his pilot’s license by February and seemed amazed at how easily he picked it up.

“It’s no problem,” Lidle said in September. “It’s easy.”

In a September interview, Stanger said Lidle was a model student. He said the only time Lidle seemed unsure of himself was when he became sick over New Mexico while Stanger was flying them from Texas to California.

“He was probably my best student,” Stanger said. “He learned very, very quickly, and a lot of it is desire. He had huge desire.

“Really, anyone can learn how to fly. If you can drive a bus, you can fly an airplane.”

Stanger said Lidle’s background as an athlete helped him as a pilot, specifically the competitive drive to accept a challenge and the ability to think clearly under pressure.

Lidle, though, said his experience as an athlete had no correlation to being a pilot. He spoke in matter-of-fact terms about the safety drills he went through with Stanger.

To simulate engine failure, Stanger would pull the throttle back to the idle position, letting the plane coast. To simulate bad weather, Stanger would have Lidle wear blinders so he could see only the instrument panel, then he would tilt the plane high or low and make Lidle recover.

If anything were to go wrong, Lidle said he was confident in his plane.

“It’s got some cool safety features on it,” he said. “The whole plane has a parachute on it. Ninety-nine percent of pilots that go up never have engine failure, and the 1 percent that do usually land it. But if you’re up in the air and something goes wrong, you pull that parachute, and the whole plane goes down slowly.”

Lidle said his wife, Melanie, and their 6-year-old son, Christopher, had flown with him in the plane, and in February he took a Bucks County Courier Times reporter for a flight.

After the Phillies traded Lidle to the Yankees on July 30, Lidle questioned whether his former teammates shared his desire to win. In September, he said he had not thought through his comments before making them; he had been outside in the heat, cleaning his plane.

Lidle’s comments rankled some of the Phillies, including pitcher Arthur Rhodes, who dismissed him as a “scab” in an interview with The New York Post. That was a reference to Lidle’s experience as a replacement player during the 1995 strike.

Lidle was a minor leaguer for the Milwaukee Brewers at the time, and he said he would have been released had he not been a replacement player. (One regret, he said, was that his name could never be in a video game because he was forbidden from joining the players’ union.)

Unlike his high school teammates, the future major leaguers Jason Giambi and Aaron Small, Lidle had not been drafted out of South Hills High School in West Covina, Calif. The Minnesota Twins signed him as a free agent in 1990, and he spent two years in their farm system before being released.

Lidle tended bar, working late nights, and the manager of a first-year independent team in Idaho, the Pocatello Posse, wanted him to try out. Lidle laughed last month as he recalled his indifference; he hit the snooze button one morning and missed the tryout.

Given another chance, Lidle performed well and made the team. The Posse folded after one year, but Lidle had earned his way back to a major league organization, the Brewers. By 1997 he was in the major leagues, pitching in relief for the Mets.

After arm surgery the next season, Lidle carved out a career as a serviceable, if unspectacular, starting pitcher, going 82-72 with a 4.57 earned run average. He became known for his outspoken nature, challenging the legitimacy of Barry Bonds’s home run records in an interview this season with The Philadelphia Daily News.

Lidle explained later that he did not know why Bonds should get a free pass from players when, to Lidle, it was obvious that Bonds had lied about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Lidle continued his frank talk almost until the day he died. On Sunday, he said he felt the Detroit Tigers had been more prepared than the Yankees for their playoff series. The next day, he called into the “Mike and the Mad Dog” radio show on WFAN to explain himself.

The hosts of the show, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, pressed Lidle on his comments, and Lidle emphasized that he had not intended to criticize Manager Joe Torre. Near the end of the interview, he offered the hosts an invitation.

“I’d like to meet you some time,” Lidle said, “and we can sit down and you guys can really get to know me.”

The Drudge Report has obtained an exclusive copy of a “scary” campaign advertisement created by Hollywood producer and director David Zucker that was intended to be used by GOP organizations in the closing weeks of the 2006 campaign.

However, the advertisement was deemed “too hot” by GOP strategists all across Washington, DC who have refused to use it!

In the ad, Zucker, producer of SCARY MOVIE 4, recreates former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s 2000 visit to North Korea. During the visit, Secretary Albright presented North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il with a basketball autographed by former NBA superstar Michael Jordan.

An actress playing Secretary Albright is shown presenting Kim Jong Il with the Michael Jordan basketball, painting the walls of Osama bin Laden’s Afghanistan cave and turning a blind eye to suicide bombers. In one scene her skirt rips as she changes the tire of a Middle Eastern dictator’s limousine.

One GOP strategist said “jaws dropped” when the ad was first viewed. “Nobody could believe Zucker thought any political organization could use this ad. It makes a point, but it’s way over the top.”

Zucker is the producer and director of comedies such as “Airplane” and “The Naked Gun.” In 2004, Zucker, a longtime Democrat, embraced the Republican Party based on concerns he had about national security issues and voted for President George W. Bush.

Every Time I watch this it just gets funnier.
Update. Insanity in Korea...

Gi Korea

It really was only a matter of time before Jimmy Carter surfaced again due to the latest North Korean crisis. Carter has surfaced this time in a New York Times editorial which like other editorials from those involved in the failed 1994 Agreed Framework blames Bush for everything going on with North Korea:

Responding to an invitation from President Kim Il-sung of North Korea, and with the approval of President Bill Clinton, I went to Pyongyang and negotiated an agreement under which North Korea would cease its nuclear program at Yongbyon and permit inspectors from the atomic agency to return to the site to assure that the spent fuel was not reprocessed. It was also agreed that direct talks would be held between the two Koreas.

The spent fuel (estimated to be adequate for a half-dozen bombs) continued to be monitored, and extensive bilateral discussions were held. The United States assured the North Koreans that there would be no military threat to them, that it would supply fuel oil to replace the lost nuclear power and that it would help build two modern atomic power plants, with their fuel rods and operation to be monitored by international inspectors. The summit talks resulted in South Korean President Kim Dae-jung earning the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for his successful efforts to ease tensions on the peninsula.

First of all in June 1994 Carter wrote a letter to Clinton that he was going to Pyongyang with or without Clinton's approval. On the advice of Al Gore, Clinton approved the visit if Carter would agree that he was only going as a private citizen and not a US Ambassador. When Carter visited Pyongyang and cut the deal with then North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung the father of the current leader Kim Jong-il, he informed his contact in the White House of the deal and then proceeded to give a CNN interview announcing the deal.

His White House contact walked into a on going policy meeting with President Clinton and his top advisors to inform Clinton of Carter's call. Clinton was about to give a go ahead on a military force build up in Korea along with increased sanctions that would ultimately lead to possibly a naval blockade if North Korea did not give up their nuclear program. Does this all sound familiar? It should because it is 1994 all over again today, we just need Carter to go to Pyongyang, and hopefully this time he will stay there.

Carter's announcement was a bombshell to the White House because somebody acting as a private citizen had taken control of US foreign policy and the White House appeared to be by standers. People in the meeting actually called Carter's actions of cutting a deal without White House approval as "near traitorous" and Clinton actually put out an order for people in the meeting to not engage in Carter bashing to media despite their private feelings.

Clinton's instincts initially was that the North Koreans could not be trusted and only understood force to get them to quit their nuclear program, however Carter's actions made it politically impossible for him to take action against North Korea when Carter publicly announced on CNN that he had prevented war by cutting a deal with Kim Il-sung. Attacking a country after publicly announcing that you cut a deal with them never goes over to well internationally or domestically for that matter and Clinton knew it and he was forced to deal.

Additionally the deal was cut with Kim Il-sung who Clinton and even I believe may have been acting in good faith at the time when he agreed to end his nuclear program and allow in IAEA inspectors if the US gave him aid and built two light water reactors. Kim Il-sung I think was beloved by his people enough that he would have been able to survive any reforms that would have opened up the country. Thus he saw this deal as opportunity to feed his people and provide them energy, which in turn allowed North Korea to then focus their limited resources on rebuilding a post-Soviet Union economy.

However, Kim Il-sung died a month later after striking the deal with Carter. Was this just coincidence or did Kim Jong-il have something to do with it? I for one wouldn't be surprised if Kim Jong-il and others in the military who wanted the nuclear bomb and resisted opening the country did away with Kim Il-sung and installed Kim Jong-il because he promised to implement the Songun (military first) policy which would ensure the elite status of the North Korean military within North Korean society.

Something else I found disingenuous about Carter's article was his claim that his 1994 deal led to the 2000 inter-Korean Summit between then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il. Carter made no mention of the fact that the summit only happened, not because of Carter's 1994 deal, but because of the $156 million dollar bribe that Kim Dae-jung authorized Hyundai to give to Kim Jong-il in order for the North Koreans to agree to host the summit.

The dishonesty only continues in Carter's editorial:

But beginning in 2002, the United States branded North Korea as part of an axis of evil, threatened military action, ended the shipments of fuel oil and the construction of nuclear power plants and refused to consider further bilateral talks. In their discussions with me at this time, North Korean spokesmen seemed convinced that the American positions posed a serious danger to their country and to its political regime.

Carter makes no mention of the fact that North Korea cheated on the 1994 Agreed Framework deal and continued a covert nuclear program, which the Bush Administration called them on and to everyones surprise, the North Koreans even admitted to.

The dishonesty in this article only gets worse:

Six-nation talks finally concluded in an agreement last September that called for North Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and for the United States and North Korea to respect each other’s sovereignty, exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize relations. Each side subsequently claimed that the other had violated the agreement. The United States imposed severe financial sanctions and Pyongyang adopted the deeply troubling nuclear option.

Carter leaves out some more critical information by forgetting to mention that the financial sanctions had nothing to do with the six party talks. The financial sanctions were due to North Korea's counterfeiting and money laundering of US currency. Ever wonder why the US$20 dollar bill keeps changing? It because of North Korean counterfeiting which Carter makes no mention of.

So what does Carter suggest to end the current stand off? Well implementing pretty much the 1994 Agreed Framework again:

The other option is to make an effort to put into effect the September denuclearization agreement, which the North Koreans still maintain is feasible. The simple framework for a step-by-step agreement exists, with the United States giving a firm and direct statement of no hostile intent, and moving toward normal relations if North Korea forgoes any further nuclear weapons program and remains at peace with its neighbors. Each element would have to be confirmed by mutual actions combined with unimpeded international inspections.

You have to give Carter credit for one thing, he is persistent in wanting to implement failed policies.

As you can see there were various factors that led to the failed 1994 Agreed Framework. Was it Clinton's fault? Even though the policy failed I don't see it as being Clinton's fault because due to the circumstances he had no choice but to cut the deal. This issue has taken on it's current political context solely because of next months elections. None of this rhetoric is helpful in actually resolving the crisis but since when have politicians cared more about solving issues over protecting their own political power?

So what do I think it going to happen? Kim Jong-il counted on sanctions before he decided to test his nuke and knew that the international community would condemn him including China and South Korea. Even though he would be condemned for the test, Kim Jong-il gambled that China and South Korea would still protect him from sanctions that would lead to the end of his regime like a naval blockade. I would love to see a naval blockade because I doubt the North Korean regime would last a year if a naval blockade is implemented. However, all signs are that the South Koreans and Chinese will not support a blockade and I find it unlikely the US would implement a blockade without a UN Security Council Resolution.

So what does this mean? Well it means that North Korea will get hit by increased sanctions, but China will keep the oil flowing and the South Koreans will keep the food and fertilizer coming in because neither country wants to deal with a collapse North Korea. China doesn't want a possible war or a humanitarian crisis to threaten their hosting of the 2008 Olympics and the South Koreans do not want to pay both the financial and social costs that reunifying with North Korea would cost plus the possibility of war would devestate the peninsula. Plus the North Koreans will be allowed to keep bringing in hard currency through their weapons sales, counterfeiting, and other illicit activities without a naval blockade, which means that the Kim Jong-il regime will survive with more time to develop and perfect their nuclear weapons, while our political leaders aided by the irresponsible US media continue to play politics and blame each other for the crisis, which is just what Kim Jong-il counted on.

Note some great reading on the 1994 Agreed Framework can be read in Don Oberdorfer's book, The Two Koreas.

Playing Politics Over the NK Crisis

Senator John McCain recently came out and criticized former President Clinton's failed 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea for leading to the current nuclear crisis. In fairness to Clinton I do believe diplomacy should be tried before starting a war and he tried diplomacy and failed due to the untrustworthiness of the North Koreans who went ahead and continued a covert nuclear program while simultaneously moving even more troops and equipment to the DMZ between North and South Korea. Clinton tried diplomacy which I think no one should fault him for and it didn't work. The Democrats accused McCain of playing politics, but what do the Democrats do in response? Continue playing politics themselves of course; with former Clinton Secretary of Defense William Perry writing this blame Bush editorial in the Washington Post:

North Korea's declared nuclear bomb test program will increase the incentives for other nations to go nuclear, will endanger security in the region and could ultimately result in nuclear terrorism. While this test is the culmination of North Korea's long-held aspiration to become a nuclear power, it also demonstrates the total failure of the Bush administration's policy toward that country. For almost six years this policy has been a strange combination of harsh rhetoric and inaction.

President Bush, early in his first term, dubbed North Korea a member of the "axis of evil" and made disparaging remarks about Kim Jong Il.

Continue reading "Playing Politics Over the NK Crisis "

I wonder if Perry prefers that Bush call Kim Jong-il the "Dear Leader" instead of the tyrant that he is?

Some of you may remember that Perry also wrote an editorial before the July NK missile tests in the Washington Post advocating a bombing campaign against the NK Taepodong missile before it could be tested. Perry like many former Clintonites are trying to rewrite history. Their policies were a failure then and their advice is a failure now.

Just think about if the US followed Perry's advice before July's missile test. A bombing campaign against NK would validate the very reason Kim Jong-il proclaims for needing both a ICBM and nuclear programs; to protect the country from US aggression not to mention possibly causing a second Korean War which the US would have clearly been the aggressor. Additionally the US would have never gathered the valuable intelligence of the failed test. The US didn't totally know the NK ICBM capabilities, now the US does. It is the same thing with the nuclear test. The US now knows that the NK nuclear program is not as advanced as the North Koreans would want you to believe. Plus the NK actions have driven a wedge between China and North Korea which a bombing campaign would have never done. If anything it would bring the two allies closer together against US aggression. Now this is not the case after the nuclear test because China is actually seriously considering backing a UN resolution that would allow a US naval blockade of North Korea. Do you think a bombing campaign would have brought this close cooperation with China about?

So what does Perry advocate in the wake of the nuclear test, when his bombing campaign policy would have been an obvious failure? Well I really don't know because the article is all blame Bush with no policy alternatives. Maybe he learned from his last article that blaming Bush is safer politics than actually providing alternative policy ideas.

Naval Blockade Coming to North Korea?

Looks like a UN resolution condemning North Korea is in the works that includes a very provactive naval blockade of North Korea to inspect all ships entering and exiting the country:

The United States circulated a draft resolution Monday to U.N. Security Council nations calling for stiff weapons sanctions and other restrictions on North Korea following its claim to have conducted a nuclear test.

The United States is suggesting international inspections of any cargo going into or out of the reclusive, communist country.

Washington also is proposing a U.N. embargo on any goods or materials that could be used in Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs.

Security Council members will resume closed-door discussions of the proposals Tuesday.

The council voted unanimously Monday for a statement opposing North Korea's reported test, but it is unclear whether the council will favor economic sanctions.

John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said he was "strongly encouraged by the mood of the council."

"No one even came close to defending it," Bolton said.

Japan also added its own proposals to deny North Korean ships and planes permission to enter other territories, to ban the import of any North Korean products and to ban travel by high-level North Korean officials.

The U.S. draft calls for an overall arms embargo, prohibitions on any financial transactions that might support missile activities, a freeze on any assets related to North Korea's weapons programs, measures to prevent counterfeiting by North Korea and a ban on luxury goods.

The draft also calls for North Korea to cease any missile and nuclear-related activity and return to the six party talks.

If the resolution passes with the implementation of a naval blockade and a full embargo of the country, both the South Koreans and the US better be prepared for a possible confict. I don't think the North Koreans would wage war from the start of the blockade but I would expect them to conduct smaller scale actions such as DMZ shootouts, West Sea naval clashes, or even terrorist style attacks in South Korea in order to pressure the South Koreans to get the blockade lifted. They will also simultaneously play up the humanitarian crisis of the sanctions to the global media and the global media will probably fall for it, it worked for Hezbollah why not North Korea too?

Over the course of an entire year I don't think the North Korean regime could survive a full embargo. When it reaches the point that the regime is on the verge of collapse what do they have to lose by going to war? If the embargo is implemented the US and it's allies better be prepared for possibly a bloody war. Is the US and South Korean publics ready for a bloody war or would they rather just appease the North Koreans, work out a deal, and get back to the status quo? The coming months will tell.

Another possibility is that a military coup happens in North Korea and Kim Jong-il is replaced. A new leader takes over, works out a face saving deal for all sides, and begins a real process towards reunification. Maybe US and South Korean intelligence knows something that the public doesn't. Then there is always the possibility China could take matters into their own hands and move in and occupy North Korea on their own accord.

Who knows but one thing you can count on is that North Korea will remain very unpredictable and the coming months would be very interesting.

Now Why am I not suprised by this next article at all?

Say What?

South Korean president refuses Abe's request for joint condemnation of North Korea

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun talked about his views on the history of Japan's wartime atrocities for 40 minutes during talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Seoul on Monday, forcing them to abandon a joint statement, entourage sources said.

Roh refused Abe's request to issue a joint statement condemning North Korea for its alleged nuclear test, according to the sources. The South Korean leader then talked for 40 minutes about his views on the history of Japan's atrocities during World War II and visits by Japanese politicians to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.

During the meeting, South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki-moon handed a memorandum to Roh, urging him to discuss a joint statement with Abe. The sources said this suggested there is a perception gap between the president's office and the ministry over the country's interpretation of history and its North Korea policy.

South Korean officials subsequently suggested that the two countries issue a joint statement on North Korea's alleged nuclear test and interpretation of history, a proposal rejected by Japan.

A Japan-China joint press release was completed one hour prior to its announcement following the summit talks between Abe and Chinese President Hu Jintao on Sunday.

Uri Party Blames US for North Norea

If you also watched the new “South Park” episode last night, you may still be laughing about it. I still am. It dealt with 9-11 conspiracy theories, and naturally, Eric Cartman acted as the surrogate for all that is irrational, prejudiced, and nasty (Kyle was the scapegoat, of course). I won’t spoil any of the plot twists, but there’s a scene in the beginning where Cartman, Kyle, and Stan are talking about 9-11. Stan says that only a retard would believe in the conspiracy theories. Cartman answers that 25% of the American people believe that 9-11 was a conspiracy. Can 25% of the American people really be retards?

Stan: Yes, Cartman, 25% of the American people are retards.

Kyle: Yeah, at least.

It helps you put this into some perspective.

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Alexander Vershbow said Wednesday it was unfair that his country had been criticized in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear test. On a visit to the Grand National Party, the ambassador said according to a recent press poll, 30 percent of Korean’s believe that the North’s test was the fault of the U.S. But Vershbow insisted the U.S. did everything it could at the six-party talks on the North’s nuclear program. Party spokesman Na Kyung-won quoted Vershbow as voicing disappointment that people did not look at the entire series of events.

How can I possibly describe my reaction to this? Let me find exactly the right word. I am …


Yes, relieved. Because if you compare that result to some of these results, we could have the makings of a tourist brochure: “South Korea – Now 20% Less Retarded!“ Unfortunately, there appears to be substantial overlap between that 30% and South Korea’s current government. The foundation of the ruling Uri Party is the idea that appeasing North Korea would improve its behavior. Now that the Sunshine Policy has just suffered the mother of all sunburns, Cartman Uri must find a scapegoat:

[F]ormer president Kim Dae-jung and the ruling Uri Party continued to work out their theory that the U.S. was to blame for the test. During a talk Wednesday at Chonnam National University, Kim said, “Under the Sunshine Policy, was North Korea engaged in nuclear development?

Where does DJ think North Korea got its bomb(s)? Botswana?

With the U.S. refusing to even talk while bullying North Korea, isn’t nuclear development the only option left (to North Korea) to ensure its survival.”

Why, yes, if you exclude instituting meaningful economic reforms, releasing the captive citizens of your neighbors, importing some food, getting out of the counterfeiting and dope rackets, complying with the NPT, letting in some food aid, and moving some of the guns away from the DMZ. Other than that, I suppose that’s your only option. The continuation of Moammar Khaddafy’s life term of office does present some problems for DJ’s theory, of course, but facts are simply inconvenient obstacles.

One Angry South Korean

WaPo describes the “chill” in North-South Korea relations in the aftermath of “The Test“:

“The joy I felt when I first signed up for the reunions was indescribable — such elation at the thought of seeing even one of my children again,” he said, slipping a bony finger under his watchmaker’s monocle to dry his tears. “But the North Koreans have robbed me of my chance. They have tricked us and deceived us, using our hearts to open our wallets. All they wanted was South Korean money, and now they’ve tested this thing, this bomb. They have what they wanted and I’ve lost hope of ever seeing my family again.”

Lee’s views echo the changing sentiments across South Korea in the wake of Monday’s purported test, which was something of a national wake-up call in a country where the perception of a North Korean threat had all but evaporated after years of detente.

One can only hope that this sentiment will persist.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Gi Korea
2nd test?
Alook from Japan

This is 4 looks at what the heck is going onin my world now. To say that I am scared would be an understatment. Pay close attention to all 4 and re-read the comment from Japundt about "At the end of World War II, Japan had relinquished its control on Korea and the two dominant victorious super powers, the Soviet Union and United States, swooped in for control." Very Intresting..

Once again a long read but one well worth it..

Most of all some are not even sure if this explosion was even a nuclear blast

“We have assessed that the explosion in North Korea was a sub-kiloton explosion,” said the intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. He added, “We don’t know, in fact, whether it was a nuclear explosion.” He spoke as intelligence analysts in Washington were in the early stages of assessing the explosion.

A one-kiloton blast would be extremely small for a nuclear weapon. But regardless of the size of the blast, the North Korean announcement reverberated throughout the world of diplomacy, and seemed likely to be felt in American domestic politics as well. There were suggestions, moreover, that the Communist state might be preparing a second test.

That's right folks there might be another test either today or in the coming days. Could this be a sign that their first test wasn't as successful as they claim?

France has been even bold enough to say that the test might have failed:

France estimated it as merely the equivalent of about 500 tons of TNT, and did not confirm that it was the result of a nuclear device, The Associated Press reported.

Russia tends to think the test was a success:

Russia’s defense minister, Mr. Ivanov, said that the Russian military had confirmed the test and estimated its force at somewhere between 5 and 15 kilotons — much larger than estimates from South Korea.

Predictably nations around the world have condemned the North Korean nuclear test. Even Venezuela condemned the nuclear test, however one country didn't:

Iran, which is already at odds with the United Nations Security Council over its own nuclear program, stood out from the general mood of condemnation. Its state-run radio today blamed pressure from the United States for North Korea’s decision to test, A.P. reported, calling it “a reaction to America’s threats and humiliations.

Pressure? Like enforcing our counterfeiting laws and allowing North Korea international aid so they can use their scarce resouces to build nuclear weapons? How would Iran like the North Koreans counterfeiting their money? I do think this test is not good for Iran because if quick and decisive action is taken on North Korea the global community may wrap Iran into any resolutions to come in stopping the development of nuclear weapons.

Here is what the US President George Bush had to say:

President Bush on Monday said North Korea's claim that it has tested a nuclear weapon is a threat to international peace and said the world "will respond."

"The transfer of nuclear weapons to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States," Bush said. "And we would hold North Korea fully accountable to the consequences of such action."
Bush said the U.S. was still trying to verify North Korea's claims that it had tested a nuclear weapon on Monday.

Here is what US Democrats had to say:

Senate Democrats quickly condemned North Korea, but they criticized the Bush administration as well.

The Democratic leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, assailed North Korea for its “reckless and counterproductive actions.” But he asserted that the Bush administration has been in a “state of denial” about North Korea, in part because the administration has been “distracted by Iraq and parayzed by internal divisions.” A comprehensive review of American policy toward North Korea is essential, the senator said.

Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said the administration had “wasted the last five-plus years sitting on the sidelines” and must now use its influence with China and South Korea to bring the North to the table. Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said the administration “must go into diplomatic overdrive” and work with its allies in the region. And Senator Charles Schumer of New York said that, in addition to undertaking a diplomatic offensive, the United States must develop nuclear-detection devices as soon as possible.

“North Korea going nuclear shows how much we need allies to succeed in the war on terror,” Mr. Schumer said.

"State of Denial" is new the Democratic catch phrase after the name of Bob Woodward's new book critical of the Bush Administration. I guess the "Culture of Corruption" catch phrase just wasn't cutting it anymore. So what review of policy do these Democrats want? Give Kim Jong-il his pay day that he has been demanding? That was tried in 1994 and didn't work. Then of course Senator Kennedy uses the other Democratic catch phrase, "work with our allies". If there is any issue that the US government has worked with allies on, it is this one. The US has consistently made it a policy to deal with North Korea in the context of the six party talks so that regional allies in the area were involved in resolving the crisis. Now the Democrats are coming out and saying we need to work with our allies when before they were blasting Bush about not holding bi-lateral talks with Kim Jong-il. Then Schumer talking about developing nuclear detection devices I can only assume he is referring to nuclear detection devices in all of the US ports so North Korea can't send a boat into New York and nuke it as absurd of a scenario that, that is.

So what should the US do? Well you can post your opinion and read many others over at the New York Times Blog The responses are definitely all over the place from people wanting to attack North Korea, which is easy to say when you wouldn't be the person crossing the DMZ to do it, others saying that Bush will nuke North Korea in order to win more votes for the Republicans, more saying that Bush created this nuclear crisis to win votes as well (that Karl Rove sure is clever), and a Korean commenter even complained that the Sea of Japan is really the East Sea. In a time of crisis you can always count on a VANKer to remind us what is really important.

N. Korea preparing second nuke test?

Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) is watching the area around Punggye-ri, Kilju-gun, Hamgyongbuk-do for a possible second North Korean nuclear test, reports Yonhap.

NIS believes this morning’s supposed nuke test took place in Kimchaek-si.

NIS chief Kim Seung-kyu told lawmakers on the National Assembly intelligence committee that his boys were closely watching the Punggye-ri area, where intelligence officials initially believed a test would take place.

One lawmaker said Kim warned that there was sufficient possibility the North would conduct additional tests.

Korea’s chief spook explained that the morning test took place not in Hwadae-gun, as initially reported, but near Sangpyeong-ni, a town some 15 km away from Kimchaek-si. Sangpyeong-ni is 51 km south of Punggye-ri and 48 km west of the North Korean missile base in Hwadae-gun. Or so an Uri Party lawmaker on the intelligence committee said Kim said.

Interestingly, Kim is reported to have said that this morning’s test area was under surveillance up till Sep. 7, but when no unusual signs were detected, NIS decided to concentrate on the Punggye-ri site. Also interesting is that he said the United States still believes this morning’s test took place at Punggye-ri, indicating that Korean and American intelligence officials differ in their analysis. Kim said more minute intelligence analysis was needed.

The NIS chief also noted that with the tremors posting a mere 3.58, the warhead tested this morning was presumed to be under 1 kt (a 1 kt device would cause tremors of over 4.0). He also said it would take 3-5 days to confirm the presence of radiation and, likewise, confirm whether the North actually did what they said they did, namely, successfully test a nuclear device.

From Japundt

It seems that today, Monday October the 9th 2006,Pyongyang has much to celebrate. Reports are coming in that indeed North Korean is now an active nuclear power.

If there is any nation on earth that knows first hand the dangers and effects of nuclear weapons,it certainly is Japan. And tonight, Tokyo has been forced to go back to the table and decide how to deal with the “nuke” kid on the block.

The Korean peninsula and Japan have a long bloody history that dates back to 1592 when Japanese military dictator Toyotomi Hideoshi first drew up plans to attack and tried to subsequently annex Korea which ended in failure for the Samurai lord.

From 1910 to 1945, the Japanese military now modernized and deadly successfully occupied Korea utilizing its resources to fund its budding Asiatic Empire. But once again, the sun would set and Korea would be freed from Japanese rule. At the end of World War II, Japan had relinquished its control on Korea and the two dominant victorious super powers, the Soviet Union and United States, swooped in for control. No agreement could be reached between the two cold war enemies and after a blood three year battle, Korea was split in two.

North Korean boasts the fifth largest army in the world with an estimated 1.8 million standing armed personnel. If ever there was a threat to modern post-war Japan, this would be it.

On May of 2004, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan released a statement saying “The Government of Japan will aim to normalize the relationship with North Korea in a manner that would contribute to the peace and stability of the Northeast Asian region, in close co-ordination with the United States of America and the Republic of Korea.” On September 17, 2002, Former Prime Minister Koizumi visited North Korea and held a summit meeting with Kim Jong-Il, Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea, and signed the “Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration”.

Today, all has once again changed and a new page of history is to be written. As Japan decides how to proceed with its now nuclear neighbour, it is certain that there will be difficult decisions made that will no doubt affect the world entire.

North Korea tested nuclear device.. and why now? These questions of course assume that North Korea did in fact test a nuclear weapon and didn’t just detonate a large amount of conventional explosives in order to simulate a successful nuclear test. This could be the case considering the well publicized failure of the Taepodong ICBM on 4 July.

However, North Korea had a combination of reasons for testing a nuclear weapon; The timing of it, as author Chuck Downs has pointed out (by phone on an MSNBC broadcast, 0105-0115 am EST 9 Oct), has to do with South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon’s nominated at the new UN Secretary General – North Korea is trying to steal the spotlight and highlight it’s importance and technical acumen. As it is autumn, it is unlikely that fuel and food aid will be cut right before winter sets in. Japanese Prime Minister Abe has also just visited Beijing and arrived in Seoul, which was a bonus.

This is not the first time North Korea has done this. In a failed attempt to upstage the South, Pyongyang hosted an elaborate Arirang Festival over the summer of 2002 and made a point of opening it up to foreigners at the same time South Korea was jointly hosting the World Cup with Japan.

The obvious reason is for deterrence of an attack or invasion from a U.S. seeking regime change. However, military action by the U.S. was already extremely unlikely as any such action would put Seoul, South Korea’s capital, in danger of being hit by the thousands of artillery pieces just north of the border and well within range. That’s aside from the U.S. being overextending in Iraq. So a nuclear deterrent is only another level of deterrence.

The not so obvious reason is that North Korea has been implementing a strategy of disengagement since 4 October 2002, when then U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly in Pyongyang meeting North Korean Deputy Foreign Minster Kang Seok-Ju. When confronted with U.S. evidence, Kang admitted that North Korea had secretly continued a nuclear-weapons development program.

After that the words “complete, verifiable, and irreversible” became a part of the U.S. negotiating lexicon concerning denuclearization, which caused a shift in North Korean strategy from Regime survival by Extortion of Concessions to Regime survival by Strategic Disengagement.

North Korea cannot accept engagement for two primary reasons. First, invasive inspections would make the regime look weak internally and risk control of the military. Second, inspections on the scale that would be required for any new package deal would likely bring in an unprecedented influx of foreigners, something North Korea does not want.

This is because the legitimacy of the regime is build on a cult mythology that would be in jeopardy if outside information were to reach the isolated and misinformed North Korea population. The exposure of the North Korean people to reality vis-à-vis the cult is an enormous vulnerability for the regime.

What can be done about North Korea now? Excluding military intervention, there are still some options left for applying pressure on North Korea.

U.S.: First, the U.S. could make the world economy choose between itself and North Korea, effectively shutting down all international financial transactions for North Korea. China and South Korea would be most effected. Second, the U.S. could pressure regional powers to enforce the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) against North Korea. The PSI prevents proliferation of WMD-related goods and technologies. Third, if the U.S. chose to push for near-term regime change, China’s access to the U.S. marketplace could be threatened if China continues to support the regime. This might include a deal where U.S. forces in Korea remain in South Korean territory below the 38th parallel once Korea reunifies.

Japan: Remittances from Japan are estimated to be in the tens of millions; that’s probably going to stop, and it will hurt the North Korean elite.

South Korea: Condition free aid may come to an end, although it may wait until Roh is out of office.

China: The key is China; only China controls the fuels and aid that literally keeps the North Korean regime from falling. But China will only use this leverage if the U.S. uses its leverage to force China. So not likely that China will be the deciding factor here.

Is This a Failure for the Bush Administration? In a word, no. North Korea had no intention in making a realistic deal from the outset, and has broken every nuclear-related agreement is has made with both the U.S. and South Korea. North Korea has steadfastly refused to come back to the Six-Party Talks since September last year, literally throwing away aid packages that could have helped it’s starving population.

Aside from invading North Korea there is no realistic action any U.S. administration could have done that would have stopped North Korea from producing nuclear weapons. The notion that another deal like the 1994 Agreed Framework could have stopped this is deceptively attractive, but nonetheless incorrect.

The only deal North Korea would accept is one that did not include “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization,” in other words, another deal where North Korea reaps concessions for stopping nuclear activity, but actually continues such activity, as it did with the 1994 agreement. It’s also worth noting that North Korea likely had nuclear weapons before Bush 43 was even elected.

Do you notice a few people have said that a repeat of 1994 is what(NK) They want and recall when John Kerry went after Bolton with this a few months ago

John Bolton

John Kerry: This has been going on for five years, Mr. Ambassador.

John Bolton: It's the nature of multilateral negotiations, Senator.

John Kerry: Why not engage in a bilateral one and get the job done? That's what the Clinton Administration did.

John Bolton: And, very poorly since the North Koreans violated the agreed framework almost from the time it was signed.

So we cant go back and if we go forward its war. Food for thought for today.

Monday, October 09, 2006


GI Korea

Not really, they are basically making the same old demands they always do: that they want bi-lateral talks with the US so they can get their pay day for saying they will give up nuclear weapons:

North Korea informed China it may drop its plan to test its first atomic bomb if the United States holds bilateral talks with the communist country, a former South Korean lawmaker said Sunday.

The North also denied speculation that its nuclear test was imminent and said the regime has not raised the alert level of the country's military, said Jang Sung-min, citing a telephone conversation with an unidentified Chinese diplomatic official.

North Korea warned the Chinese official, however, that it would accelerate its preparations for a nuclear test if the United States moves toward imposing sanctions or launching a military attack, Jang said, citing his contact.

The Chinese official was informed of North Korea's stance by North Korean officials Sunday afternoon, Jang said.

While this is going on, North Korea has also turned to their lackeys within South Korea to begin lobbying for the US to hold direct talks. Former President Kim Dae-jung who bribed for $156 million won the Nobel Peace Prize for his failed Sunshine Policy was on CNN's Talk Asia saying the US needs to hold bi-lateral talks:

South Korea's former President Kim Dae-jung said that the United States should give North Korea one more chance even though it is on the brink of a nuclear test.

In an interview with CNN's Talk Asia on Sunday, he urged the U.S. to engage in direct talks with North Korea so that the isolated country could give up its nuclear ambition and come back to the negotiation table.

``Even former U.S. President Ronald Reagan had dialogue with the Soviet Union, which he branded as an `evil empire,''' Kim told the U.S. 24-hour news channel. ``I can hardly understand why the U.S. does not hold talks with North Korea.''

First of all, North Korea is not the equivalent of the Soviet Union. NK is one of the world's poorest countries with a ruthless dictator who is trying to blackmail the US into giving him free aid. The US is treating this as a regional problem that will require a regional solution with the country's in the region. That is what the six party talks are for. What precedent is this going to set if the United States is expected to hold bi-lateral discussions with every two bit dictator in the world? Here is a chance for major powers in the region like China to step up and show the world their global leadership credentials.

This is basically 1994 all over again. North Korea needs a deal soon in order to keep the regime a float, but has no intentions of completely scrapping their nuclear weapons program. Kim Jong-il not only needs the weapons for international prestige, but also for protection from any international attempts at regime removal and to appease the generals in his military that keep him in power. If a deal is reached the North Koreans will just keep the program secret just like after the 1994 deal until they need more money again and 8 years down the road the US will be doing the same old song dance with these guys once again under a new US administration.

Kim Jong-il might also see the time as right now for a favorable deal because the Republicans are hurting at the polls with the elections coming up and major foreign policy success such as appearing striking a deal on the NK nuclear crisis may help the Republicans. I think this is just one of many factors driving this crisis but I would be really surprised if President Bush makes any big policy changes in regards to North Korea even if there are political consequences.


North Korea says nuclear test successful

North Korea said Monday it has performed its first-ever nuclear weapons test. U.S. and South Korean officials could not immediately confirm the report.

The South Korean seismic monitoring center confirmed that tremors felt at the time of the alleged test were not natural occurrence. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said information still needed to be analyzed to determine whether North Korea truly conducted the test.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said the underground test was performed successfully and there was no radioactive leakage from the site. South Korean intelligence officials said a seismic wave of magnitude-3.58 had been detected in North Hamkyung province, according to Yonhap. It said the test was conducted at 10:36 a.m. (9:36 p.m. EDT Sunday) in Hwaderi near Kilju city on the northeast coast, citing defense officials.

North Korean scientists "successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions," the KCNA report said, adding this was "a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great prosperous powerful socialist nation."

The director of South Korea's monitoring center that is watching for a test with sound and seismic detectors declined to immediately comment on the reported test. "We don't know whether it is a nuclear test or not," an official at the earthquake center at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources said on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitive nature of the issue.

The U.S. Geological Survey said it had detected no seismic activity in North Korea, although it was not clear whether a blast would be strong enough for its sensors. The North said last week it would conduct a test, sparking regional concern and frantic diplomatic efforts aimed at dissuading Pyongyang from such a move. North Korea has long claimed to have nuclear weapons, but had never before performed a known test to prove its arsenal.

"The nuclear test is a historic event that brought happiness to our military and people," KCNA said. "The nuclear test will contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and surrounding region."

On Sunday night, U.S. government officials said a wide range of agencies were looking into the report of the nuclear test, which officials were taking seriously. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has convened a meeting of security advisers over the issue, Yonhap reported, and intelligence over the test has been exchanged between concerned countries.

Kyodo News agency reported that the Japanese government has set up a taskforce in response to reports of the test. The North has refused for a year to attend international talks aimed at persuading it to disarm. The country pulled out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 2003 after U.S. officials accused it of a secret nuclear program, allegedly violating an earlier nuclear pact between Washington and Pyongyang.

Speculation over a possible North Korean test arose earlier this year after U.S. and Japanese reports cited suspicious activity at a suspected underground test site.

Don’t Panic! (Ok, worry a little bit.)

Here’s a handy-dandy Guide To The End (Or Not):

While generally nothing should happen now that the DPRK has tested an A-bomb (hell, nothing else they’ve done over the years has changed anything) let’s take a brief look at what an expat in Korea should look forward to before they decide to freak out.

Keep tabs on the American media

For many expats (esp. those of us who don’t know the language) Korea can be kind of a cocoon. You never know what the outside world is thinking about what is going on here unless you seek it out. Therefore, the next few days you should probably avail yourself of the American media to see if there is The Great Freakout on the part of the American mass media. There might be a week of hand-wringing that will climax with the Sunday chat shows where a final decision will be imparted by The Powers That Be. Within a week, we should have a sense of where that’s headed. How many talking heads focus on the potential blackmarket value of an a-bomb? How many talk about how Iran and the DPRK might join forces to become a “true” Axis of Evil?

The UN

American President Bush has said he plans to head to the UN if, well, if the DPRK does exactly what it just did. Things could start to get a little hot in these parts if he is able to successfully get sanctions placed on the DPRK in the coming days. Pay close attention to the exact wording of any resolutions. Can the US take proactive steps to enforce the embargo? Does it tacitly allow for a navel blockade?

The US Military & CNN

Another thing to keep an eye on is the US military…or more exactly, how CNN starts to deal with such things. Ever since the first Gulf War, CNN has had a tendency to be the wink & nod of the US military. If suddenly there are lots of prime time specials about starving North Korean children and or torture chambers, then you know that the US government is at least brooding about some sort of military action. This will be doubly so if there are all kinds of odd military movements in the area that CNN mentions in passing in a very casual-yet-threatening way.


This is significantly more difficult for someone like me to give anyone any advice on ’cause I’ve only been here two years and I can’t speak the language. But…as all this happens…is there a more obvious security / military presence on the streets? Are there more military copters in the air randomly?

I would suggest that any type of random civil defense practice on the part of the ROK government would definitely be the first concrete sign that somewhere other than Korea might be a good bet (unless, of course, you want to be a stringer for a Western news agency.)

The only military thing I could maybe — just maybe — see happening is some sort of limited middle-of-the-night attack on some DPRK military installations. Then we all would have to collectively hold our breath. But, honestly, I just think we’re in store for a lot of nervousness…then the “new normal” of a ICBM / A-bomb DPRK.

Welcome to the future, bitches!

Yonhap is reporting that it appears North Korea tested a nuclear device sometime Monday morning, and that the nations concerned have exchanged intelligence.

That’s all the report says. Undoubtedly, there will be more.

UPDATE 1: A little more detailed Yonhap report. A high-ranking South Korean intelligence official told Yonhap that it received intel that North Korea carried out a nuke test this morning, and that Seoul was now examining things.

President Roh has apparently called a snap meeting of security-related ministeries to discuss measures. Attending this meeting was UN General Secretary Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok, Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung and Cheong Wa Dae national security secretary Song Min-soon.

And here I was, thinking a nuke test wasn’t imminent.

BTW, the Grand National Party decided yesterday to call for Roh’s resignation in the event of a North Korean nuke test. Will be interesting to watch if the reports are accurate.

UPDATE 2: OK, I guess it’s official now—the KCNA is reporting a successful underground nuke test. You’ll be happy to know that amidst the chest thumping over this “historic” moment, the KCNA did assure us that no radioactivity leaked from the test site. Oh, and the test was conducted using 100 percent homegrown technology—mansei!

And for a bit more specific info about the earlier intel, it appears a 3.58-scale earthquake was detected around Hwadae, Hamkyongbuk-do at 10:36 a.m. Korea time.

The Korean Liberator

Acording to Fox News (broadcast), North Korea notified China that a test was going to occur, and China passed that warning on to the U.S. 20 minutes beforehand. The website notes that, “U.S. intelligence official cannot confirm what would be North Korea’s first-ever nuclear weapons test.”

A few brief thoughts until we can learn more about what happened.

First, that North Korea tested a nuke is not confirmed. The could have merely detonated a large amount of conventional explosives in deep (est. ~2km) mine to simulate a nuclear test; after all, the Taepodong 2 ICBM was an abject failure. It’s a possibility, but I doubt it as satellites will probably be able to differentiate between the two. Second, militarily I don’t see any action coming soon; Pakistan/India, but with more sanctions. Seoul didn’t even raise the military alert level. Third, mid-to-long term, UN sections are on the way that may finally topple the Kim regime; let’s hope so. Fourth, North Korea once again a) made China look the fool for conveying its offer not to test, and b) showed that it makes such offers in bad faith to begin with.

I think that this will eventually be shown to be an almost incredible FUBAR on the part of Kim Jong-il.

I don’t think that it’s reached the point of being considered ‘common knowledge’, but Kim just isn’t all that smart, really.

I recall Pyongyang’s similar mishandling of another situation - when Kim Jong-il admitted to Prime Minister Koizumi about having North Korean agents kidnap Japanese citizens on Japanese soil (and elsewhere) and smuggle them to North Korea to train North Korean spies on how to better infiltrate and undermine Japan.

Kim’s gameplan was that his admission to Prime Minister Koizumi on 17 Sep 2002 was going to be greeted with hosannas in Tokyo, diplomatic relations would be established, and that $10 billion in WWII reparation moneys would be shortly forthcoming. The operative word here being ‘$10 billion’ and ’shortly’ … like in ‘tomorrow’.

Wrong-o … with a capital ‘W’.

Kim (and his addlebrained advisors) completely misjudged the nature and depth of the feelings of the Japanese populace on this matter and were completely taken aback by the vehemence of their negative response.

I can still recall KCNA’s bitching about Tokyo’s not forking over the big bucks immediately after the ‘two nations’ big bosses had already agreed to it and can’t understand what the problem is’ … which, by the way, certainly seems to imply a clear lack of understanding of how democratic governments actually operate.

My views on the Kim Family Regime’s political sophistication at the international level (as reflected in my thinking then, ‘Geez! These guys are really stoopid!’) haven’t changed all that much since then … and, if nothing else, are certainly being confirmed by this latest antic.