TBR News September 4, 2017

Sep 04 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., September 4, 2017:”The left-wing media and various similarly oriented political groups have been relentlessly attacking Trump since his triumph over the establishment’s choice of Clinton. Under the drumfire of the media Trump staggered about, trying to be the President and having a dismal time of it. Now, however, he has resonated tremendously in two areas. First, his immediate response to the Harvey hurricane and the damage it did to Houston was excellent. George W. lay drunk in his Texas ranchette during the whole of hurricane Katrina but Trump was immediately available and, even better, donated over a million dollars of his own money to relief funding. Second, instead of dropping bombs on a manic North Korea for threatening the United States with a nuclear attack, Trump asked countries doing business with that country to embargo their trade and force North Korea to negotiate. If, as expected, China waffled, he threatened to cut off all trade with any country who continued to supply North Korea with needed material. This obviated the necessity of dropping bombs on them and the hysterical screams from China are proof that he struck a raw nerve. Trump can do this with a stroke of his pen and the Chinese know it.”


Table of Contents

  • Mattis on North Korea: any threat to US will be met with ‘massive military response’
  • A closer look at which countries trade with North Korea
  • ‘Ultimate sanction’ – Will cutting off oil bring North Korea to its knees?
  • Unacceptable’: China slams Trump’s threat to end commerce with N. Korea’s trade partners
  • The Korean Crisis: A Way Out
  • Undercover in North Korea: “All Paths Lead to Catastrophe”
  • ‘Thousands of military contractor files allegedly left online, unsecure
  • Conversations with the Crow:


Mattis on North Korea: any threat to US will be met with ‘massive military response’

Speaking outside the White House, US defence secretary told Kim Jong-un to de-nuclearise the Korean peninsula

September 3, 2017

by Julian Borger in Washington, Joanna Walters in New York, and Justin McCurry in Tokyo


The US defence secretary warned North Korea that any threat to the US or its allies would be met with a “massive military response” on Sunday, as the Trump administration scrambled to respond to Pyongyang’s claim it has tested a powerful hydrogen bomb that can be loaded on to an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea,” said James Mattis, speaking outside the White House, but “we have many options to do so”.

He added: “We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack. And our commitment among the allies is ironclad: any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.”

And he told Kim Jong-un to “take heed of the United Nations security council’s unified voice” and de-nuclearise the Korean peninsula. The United Nations security council called a meeting for Monday.

Amid alarm from world leaders over North Korea’s claim that it can now, for the first time, put a nuclear warhead on an ICBM, Trump had earlier upped the ante with a series of provocative statements.

Asked outside church in Washington whether he planned to attack the isolated, hostile dictatorship, the US president replied: “We’ll see.”

He and the first lady were whisked back to the White House from St John’s Episcopal church in an SUV. Shortly afterwards, Trump tweeted: “I will be meeting General Kelly [John Kelly, chief of staff], General Mattis and other military leaders at the White House to discuss North Korea. Thank you.”

Earlier in the day, after news emerged overnight that North Korea was believed to have detonated a large hydrogen bomb in a test in the north of the country, deepening the biggest foreign policy challenge faced by his administration, Trump posted a series of tweets.

“North Korea has conducted a major nuclear test,” the president wrote. “Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.”

He added: “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”

And he also accused South Korea of favouring a policy of “appeasement”, telling Seoul that “will not work” because the North Koreans “only understand one thing!”

Early on Monday, South Korea’s military said its air forces and the army carried out a missile drill in response to North Korea’s nuclear test, adding the drills targeted the area where the test had been carried out.

The military training involved long-range air-to-surface missiles and ballistic missiles, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said in a statement. The drill was carried out by only the South Korean military but more are being prepared with the US forces in South Korea, the statement said.

Pyongyang said the test, its sixth since 2006, had been a “complete success” and involved a two-stage thermonuclear weapon of unprecedented strength.

There has been no independent verification of North Korea’s claims that it has achieved a key goal in its nuclear programme – the ability to miniaturise a warhead so that it can fit on a long-distance missile.

The regime has earlier released footage of what it said was a hydrogen bomb that would be loaded on to a new ICBM.

Pyongyang’s TV announcement, which was accompanied by patriotic music and images of North Korean landscape and military hardware, said the test had been ordered by the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

The explosion caused by a 6.3-magnitude earthquake felt in Yanji, China, about six miles (10km) from North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the north-east of the country.

South Korea’s meteorological administration estimated the blast yield at between 50 to 60 kilotons, or five to six times more powerful than North Korea’s fifth test in September last year.

Kim Young-woo, the head of South Korea’s parliamentary defence committee said later that the yield was as high as 100 kilotons. One kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNT.

The previous nuclear blast in North Korea is estimated by experts to have been about 10 kilotons.

Sunday’s test, the first since Trump took office in January, offers further evidence that North Korea is moving perilously close to developing a nuclear warhead capable of being fitted on to an ICBM that can strike the US mainland.

Since it conducted its first nuclear test just over a decade ago, the regime has strived to refine the design and reliability of its weapons, as well as increasing their yield.

Hydrogen bombs are far more powerful than the atomic weapons Pyongyang is believed to have tested so far.

Trump also tweeted again shortly after noon, in apparent support of a new policy initiative announced by his treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, earlier in the day, where he called for any countries that trade with North Korea to be barred from trading with the US.

Mnuchin, also a member of Trump’s national security council, said on Sunday that he wanted to cut off North Korea’s economy because of the test.

“It’s clear that this behavior is completely unacceptable,” he told Fox News. “We have already started with sanctions but I’m going to draft a sanctions package that I’m going to send to the president for his strong consideration, that anybody that wants to do trade or business with them [North Korea] would be prevented from doing trade or business with us. People need to cut off North Korea, economically.”

When asked if the US would take a much tougher stance with Chinese financial institutions and companies in that regard, Mnuchin said: “We are going to strongly consider everything at this point.”

He refused to comment on “classified things” such as whether the test was a hydrogen bomb, not just an atomic bomb, and whether the US believed that North Korea had now miniaturized its nuclear capability to the point where it could put a nuclear warhead on an ICBM.

“I can only say that the intelligence community has been doing an amazing job,” he said.

He said he had spoken to Trump about the issue that morning, but refused to clarify what the president meant when he said North Korea only understood “one thing”, or comment on the prospect of military action.

“The president has made it clear this is not the time for just talk, this is the time for action,” Mnuchin said. “Our objective will continue to be to de-nuclearize the peninsula … He will consider everything but we are not going to broadcast our actions. My focus right now is on additional economic sanctions. China has a lot of trade with them; there is a lot we can do to cut them off economically.”

China’s foreign ministry earlier said in a statement: “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has once again conducted a nuclear test in spite of widespread opposition from the international community. The Chinese government resolutely opposes and strongly condemns it.”

Before taking office, Trump declared North Korea would not be allowed to develop an ICBM capable of reaching the US mainland under his presidency.

After Pyongyang carried out two successful ICBM tests in July, Trump warned it would face “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it made any further threats.

North Korea has since threatened to fire a salvo of missiles into the seas around the US Pacific territory of Guam, and fired a ballistic missile over Japanese territory for the first time, ending US hopes that Trump’s threats had cowed Pyongyang into a pause in missile tests and a possible opening for talks.

Complicating matters, Trump seems to be considering asking aides to prepare for US withdrawal from a free trade agreement with South Korea, it was reported on Saturday. Mnuchin stressed that “no decision has been made”.

Jeff Flake, a member of the Senate foreign relations committee, said: “I do not think that that would be good in any circumstances; it’s particularly troubling right now.”

Asked about Trump’s tweeted response to the nuclear test, Flake told CNN: “I have good confidence in our national security team and those who are advising the president. He does not have experience in this kind of situation. I’m confident that the people around the president are giving him good advice and he will take it – I sure hope he does.”

The Republican senator added: “I’ve had my concerns about statements from the president about Nato and foreign policy. We want someone who is measured and sober and consistent. Allies want to have that and our enemies need to have that.”

Flake said that Trump’s notorious threat last month to meet North Korean aggression with “fire and fury” had not been not advisable.

“We have not slowed the advance of their nuclear program, but harsh rhetoric does not either,” he said. “Just about nothing we have done so far has slowed it down. It becomes a cliche to say there are no good options here, but there really are not. For those who believe we can simply strike and knock out their capability, they do not understand the situation there. But all options need to be on the table.”


A closer look at which countries trade with North Korea

US President Donald Trump has suggested that the United States could cease trading with any country that “does business” with North Korea. But which countries actually trade with the reclusive communist state?

September 4, 2017

by Arthur Sullivan


“The United States is considering stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.” So tweeted US President Donald Trump on Sunday, following the latest escalation of tensions between the two countries.

Precisely what Mr. Trump means by “doing business” is not entirely clear, but what if it means trade?

In terms of global trade, North Korea is not a big player. According to 2015 figures from the CIA World Factbook, it ranks well outside the top 100 both in terms of exports and imports. Yet the countries it trades with are big players – among the biggest, in fact.

China, the world’s largest export economy, shares a 1,420-kilometer (882-mile) border with North Korea and it is by a huge distance the communist state’s biggest trading partner. According to an extensive 2015 study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Observatory of Economic Complexity, China accounts for 83 percent of North Korean exports and 85 percent of its imports.

Were the US to cease all trade with China, it would have monumental implications for international trade and for the global economy. Only Canada and Mexico import more goods from the US than China (which accounts for 9.3 percent of US exports) while 21 percent of US imports come from China, making the two countries each other’s biggest trading partner.

Huge impact on trade flows

India is North Korea’s second-biggest trading partner, accounting for 3.1 percent of imports and 3.5 percent of exports. The world’s most populous democracy is the USA’s ninth-biggest trading partner, so a ceasing of trade between the US and India would have major implications too.

North Korea’s Asian neighbors make up the bulk of its remaining trade partners. In terms of exports, Pakistan (1.5 percent) and Saudi Arabia (0.89 percent) head a lengthy group of smaller export destinations while African nations such as Burkina Faso (1.2 percent) and Zambia (0.49 percent) also trade with North Korea. In terms of imports beyond those from China and India, North Korea receives goods from Russia (2.3 percent), Thailand (2.1 percent), the Philippines (1.5 percent) and Mexico (1.3 percent), ahead of a host of others.

While North Korea’s trade beyond that which it does with China retreats towards the miniscule, it conducts trade of some kind or another with well over 100 nations. Germany – the world’s third- biggest exporter – is among them, albeit on a tiny scale.

In 2015, Germany imported $3.4 million (2.9 million euros) worth of goods from North Korea, namely ferroalloys (a type of iron), wire rope and X-Ray equipment, and it exported $7.4 million worth of goods to the country, primarily packaged medications.

In total, North Korea exports $2.83 billion worth of goods and imports to the tune of $3.47 billion (2015 figures). Its major exports are coal and clothing, both of which comprise around a third of goods leaving the country. It imports a very wide variety of goods, ranging from broadcasting equipment to soybean oil.


‘Ultimate sanction’ – Will cutting off oil bring North Korea to its knees?

Halting exports of fuel to North Korea could bring the nation to a halt within

months, but can China and Russia be trusted to fully implement sanctions? And how would Pyongyang react?

September 4, 2017

by Julian Ryall Tokyo


Within hours of North Korea conducting its sixth and largest underground nuclear test on Sunday, the Japanese government called on the international community to step up the sanctions against Pyongyang, including the introduction of a ban on oil and other fuel products.

Such a ban would potentially halt North Korea’s tanks and other military vehicles and ground its air force. It would also bring a good proportion of the nation’s industry to a standstill, halt trains and agricultural vehicles needed to bring in crops, and make the coming winter feel even more bitterly cold than usual.

Sanctions to date have focused on North Korean exports of coal and minerals to earn hard currency to fund the regime’s missile and nuclear weapons programs, along with restrictions on Pyongyang’s international financial transactions, as well as transfers of banned technology and the luxury goods that are so enjoyed by the elite.

The sanctions, however, have so far failed to have the desired effect and Pyongyang now claims to have a high-yield hydrogen bomb and an intercontinental ballistic missile that would permit it to hit virtually any target in the continental United States.

The ‘ultimate sanction’

“Halting oil supplies to the North would be the ultimate sanction, but at this time of the year – with the people with full bellies and no need for heating fuel – it would take about three months for the situation to become serious,” Stephen Nagy, a senior associate professor of international relations at Tokyo’s International Christian University, told DW.

“There are reports that the oil situation in the North has already tightened, evidenced by their military aircraft not being so proactive in flights so as not to use up jet fuel,” he said.

Similarly, the government last month cancelled a civil air show in the city of Wonsan later in September. Although no official reason was given, analysts believe that the event was scrapped to conserve fuel supplies.

And while China has certainly slowed the flow of oil over the border into the North in recent years, Beijing has not cut supplies entirely.

More Russian oil

Similarly, Russia has not halted supplies of fuel and there have been recent reports that Moscow has actually increased its provision of fuel to Pyongyang in the first half of this year. According to a story in Japan’s Sankei Shimbun, Russia exported 4,304 tons of gasoline, diesel and other oil products in the January-June half, with an estimated value of $2.4 million (2.01 million euros).

Nagy agrees that convincing Russia to completely close its border to fuel deliveries to North Korea will be difficult – if not impossible – to achieve, due to geopolitical reasons.

“Moscow wants another zone of instability and is on a completely different page from the rest of the world on sanctions on Pyongyang,” he said. “They are seeking to create problems in the region for the US and they wish to destabilize security alliances for their own ends.”

Rah Jong-yil, a former head of South Korean intelligence who also served as South Korean ambassador to London and Tokyo, believes that Beijing will also have its own reasons to resist calls to halt oil shipments to the North.

No agreement

“I just do not believe they will agree to sanctions on fuel,” Rah told DW. “In the past they have claimed that they oppose North Korea developing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, but they have not taken the steps that would have stopped Pyongyang’s very rapid advances in these areas because they know there are advantages to themselves.”

“North Korea is trying to destabilize the region and decouple security alliances in Northeast Asia, and China and Russia are both very happy for that to happen because it would mean that the US might withdraw its forces,” he added.

Nevertheless, Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, on Sunday proposed an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to impose new sanctions, including a ban on oil products being provided to North Korea. Washington is understood to be in favor of the move.

A report in Saturday’s edition of the Tokyo Shimbun suggested that Pyongyang may have anticipated this move, however, with the newspaper quoting sources in North Korea as saying that Kim Jong Un set a goal of increasing the nation’s stockpiles of fuel to one million tons ahead of expected international sanctions.

There have been reports of fuel being rationed and prices rising, additional hints that the regime is attempting to protect its resources

North Korean reaction

Of even more concern will be Pyongyang’s reaction to any sanctions that truly threaten to bring the regime to the brink of collapse.

Kim Myong-chol, executive director of the Japan-based Center for North Korea-US Peace, an unofficial mouthpiece of the Pyongyang regime, was blunt when asked what an oil embargo would mean.

“It would mean war,” Kim told DW. “We would have no option but to consider such a move to be a declaration of war against North Korea and we would respond with the weapons at our disposal, which include intercontinental ballistic missiles and, now, hydrogen bombs.”


Unacceptable’: China slams Trump’s threat to end commerce with N. Korea’s trade partners

September 4, 2017


China has warned that Donald Trump’s threat to cut off trade with countries that deal with Pyongyang would be “unacceptable” and “unfair” to Beijing. It also stressed that Beijing cannot be the sole player in resolving the North Korean crisis.

“What is definitely unacceptable to us is that on the one hand we work so hard to peacefully resolve this issue and on the other hand our interests are subject to sanctions and jeopardized,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said during a Monday news briefing, as quoted by AP. “This is unfair.”

It comes after Trump warned on Sunday that the US is considering “stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

Trump’s comments came after North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday. Pyongyang claimed the test involved a hydrogen bomb which can be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to state news agency KCNA.

“The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP [Electromagnetic pulse] attack according to strategic goals,” the agency said.

China would be drastically affected if the US were to cut trade ties with it, as the United States imports goods worth about $40 billion a month.

Trump tweeted in July that trade between China and North Korea had grown almost 40 percent in the first quarter of 2017, expressing frustration with China.

His numbers appear to be based on data released by the Chinese government in April which showed that trade between Beijing and Pyongyang had indeed grown 37.4 percent during the first three months of the year, compared with the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, Julian Assange has also reacted to Trump’s threat to end trade with China, with the WikiLeaks founder tweeting that the US president would be “deposed immediately” if he followed through with the proposed idea.

Sanctions & pressure

When asked on Monday whether Beijing would support tougher UN sanctions including cutting off oil supplies to North Korea, Geng said that whatever happened would depend on discussions among UN Security Council members.

He added that China – one of five permanent Security Council members with the power to veto UN actions – would take part in a “responsible and reconstructive way.”

Geng also addressed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent remark that Beijing “has by far the greatest leverage” as Pyongyang’s main trading partner and needs to “step up now and bring this regime to its senses.”

“We keep stressing that we cannot solely rely on China to resolve this issue,” Geng said. “We need all parties to work in the same direction.”

China has previously noted that it is not solely responsible for ending the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

In July, Geng said that “certain people” had been “exaggerating and giving prominence to the so-called ‘China responsibility theory’,” in an apparent reference to Trump’s repeated calls for Beijing to put pressure on Pyongyang.

China has repeatedly called for all sides to avoid further provocations in the crisis, warning last week that tensions on the peninsula were at “tipping point” and “approaching a crisis.”

Beijing, along with Moscow, has proposed a ‘double-freeze’ plan which would see North Korea suspend its missile launches in exchange for a halt in joint US-South Korea military drills. That plan was promptly rejected by Washington, with State Department spokesperson Heather Neuert stating last month that the US is “allowed” to conduct exercises with its ally and “that’s just not going to change.”



The Korean Crisis: A Way Out

The ending of the US-Korea trade pact could pave the way for peace

September 4, 2017

by Justin Raimondo


The latest North Korea nuclear test coincides with leaks from the Trump administration that Washington is demanding renegotiation of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), and is preparing to withdraw from it – and therein lies a possible, albeit unintentional, resolution of the crisis on the peninsula.

The relationship between South Korea and the United States is unique in the history of empires. In the past, imperial powers have extracted resources from client states, protectorates, and outright colonies, setting up mercantilist arrangements that basically plundered their territories in the “Third World” for the benefit of domestic producers. The British empire is – or, rather, was – the exemplar of this system of exploitation.

Britain’s American cousins have stood this extractive system on its head. Instead of forcing open markets and granting monopoly status to domestic producers, the Americans have reversed the terms of exploitation. In exchange for allowing US troops to occupy their territory, America’s Asian protectorates have been granted tariff-free access to our markets. And despite the “free trade” label attached to these agreements, the playing field is anything but level: in the case of South Korea, for example, non-tariff barriers to trade – such as safety standards – have been allowed to stand, particularly in the case of automobiles and appliances. Similar disparities are encoded in our trade agreements with Japan.

And so the American empire is unique in world history in that, instead of economically exploiting its vassal states, it allows its vassals to protect their own industries behind trade barriers while they are given relatively free access to the US market. The result has been the hollowing out of the US industrial base, with once prosperous cities like Detroit in ruins. This isn’t “free trade” – it’s a trade policy distorted by militarism and imperialism.

Over 30,000 US troops now occupy the southern portion of the Korean peninsula. They have been there since the non-conclusion of the Korean war, which ended in a stalemate and an “armistice’ which continues to this day. We are still technically at war with the North.

The US presence in South Korea is increasingly resented by the populace. The reasons for this are rooted in history: in the past, the Americans served as backup for the succession of South Korean despots who ruled with an iron fist. With the emergence of democracy in the South, the US occupation has been increasingly controversial, with the more liberal elements – personified by the current South Korean president, Moon Jae-in – advocating rapprochement with the North and a loosening of ties to the US.

The so-called “Sunshine policy” – which was taken up by the South Koreans during the era of Kim Dae-jung, and was opposed by the administration of George W. Bush, and effectively sabotaged – resulted in an historic meeting between the leaders of the North and the South and the establishment of economic relations. President Moon won election by promising to renew this effort to reunify his sundered nation – and the demands by the US that the KORUS agreement be renegotiated may give him an opening to do so.

The Koreans are a proud and somewhat “xenophobic” people: they resent the presence of foreigner occupiers, and, given the history of US support for dictators like Syngman Rhee, Park Chung Hee, and Chun Doo Hwan, many see the US as a major part of the problem. In order to maintain the status quo, i.e. the US military occupation, successive South Korean regimes had to wrest economic concessions from Washington. After all, why should South Korean car manufacturers and farmers go along with having US troops on their soil without being bribed into passive acceptance?

Absent these bribes, the US occupation of South Korea is no longer operable, at least on the South Korean side. If the Trump administration severs the KORUS agreement, it will augur the decoupling of Seoul from Washington. And this is the key to peace on the peninsula.

The US military presence is the biggest obstacle to the resolution of the crisis, and, as the North ratchets up its nuclear program and prepares for what it sees as a coming military conflict with the US, that presence is increasingly problematic,. For as bombastic and seemingly intractable as Washington’s pronouncements on the subject may seem, US military leaders recognize that there is no military solution to the Korean conundrum. With the outbreak of hostilities, the entire population of Seoul – nearly ten million – would be put at risk. Millions would certainly perish. US casualties would be enormous. Such an outcome, no matter what the fate of the North Korean regime, is clearly unacceptable.

There is, in short, no military advantage in stationing US troops in South Korea: indeed, they are sitting ducks, fated to be sacrificed if war breaks out.

This has been true for some time: however, with the entry of the Trump administration onto the world stage, and the rapid development of North Korea’s military capacity, new factors are driving Seoul and Washington apart. President Trump’s nationalist proclivities when it comes to trade policy are unintentionally giving impetus to the decoupling trend. And the spectacle of North Korea standing up to the US – and China – is undoubtedly seen by many Koreans, no matter what their view of Kim Jong-un, as a source of national pride, while Trump’s increasingly belligerent pronouncements have not made him a popular figure. No one in the South wants war.

During the US presidential election, candidate Trump called the US guarantee of South Korea’s security into question: “[A]t some point,” he told the New York Times, “there is going to be a point at which we just can’t do this anymore. … at some point, we cannot be the policeman of the world.” He voiced the same complaint about Japan, whose relationship to the US limns US-Korea security and trade arrangements. While Trump’s advisors, who these days uphold the traditional Republican “police the globe” view of America’s role in the world, are up in arms over his threat to leave KORUS, his own “America First” nationalist views militate against maintaining the status quo – this despite his most recent outbursts.

The Korean standoff is the last of the cold war’s “frozen” conflicts: its persistence into the twenty-first century is a testament to the inflexibility of US foreign policy and the power of the War Party. But there is a cost to this unwillingness to adapt to the new reality: the possibility of a horrific war in which millions would perish.

If the KORUS agreement is severed, President Moon will be forced to re-engage with Pyongyang and fulfill his campaign promise to give the “Sunshine policy” a second chance. Left to themselves, Koreans on both sides of the 38th parallel will have to confront the issues that divide them, which are rooted in their own tumultuous history. In reality, this is the only path forward for South Korea.


Undercover in North Korea: “All Paths Lead to Catastrophe”

September 4 2017

by Jon Schwarz

The Intercept

The most alarming aspect of North Korea’s latest nuclear test, and the larger standoff with the U.S., is how little is known about how North Korea truly functions. For 65 years it’s been sealed off from the rest of the world to a degree hard to comprehend, especially at a time when people in Buenos Aires need just one click to share cat videos shot in Kuala Lumpur. Few outsiders have had intimate contact with North Korean society, and even fewer are in a position to talk about it.

One of the extremely rare exceptions is the novelist and journalist Suki Kim. Kim, who was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. at age thirteen, spent much of 2011 teaching English to children of North Korea’s elite at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

Kim had visited North Korea several times before and written about it for Harper’s Magazine and the New York Review of Books. Incredibly, however, neither Kim’s North Korean minders nor the Christian missionaries who founded and run PUST realized that she was there undercover to engage in some of the history’s riskiest investigative journalism.

Although all of PUST’s staff was kept under constant surveillance, Kim kept notes and documents on hidden USB sticks and her camera’s SIM card. If they had been discovered, she almost certainly would have been accused of espionage and faced imprisonment in the country’s terrifying labor camps. In fact, of the three Americans currently detained in North Korea, two were teachers at PUST. Moreover, the Pentagon has in fact used a Christian NGO as a front for genuine spying on North Korea.

But Kim was never caught, and returned to the U.S. to write her extraordinary 2014 book, “Without You, There Is No Us.” The title comes from the lyrics of an old North Korean song; the “you” is Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s father.

Kim’s book is particularly important for anyone who wants to understand what happens next with North Korea. Her experience made her extremely pessimistic about every aspect of the country, including the regime’s willingness to ever renounce its nuclear weapons program. North Korea functions, she believes, as a true cult, with all of the country’s pre-cult existence now passed out of human memory.

Most ominously, her students, all young men in their late teens or early twenties, were firmly embedded in the cult. With the Kim family autocracy now on its third generation, you’d expect the people who actually run North Korea to have abandoned whatever ideology they started with, and have degenerated into standard human corruption. But PUST’s enrollees, their children, did not go skiing in Gstaad on school breaks; they didn’t even appear to be able to travel anywhere in North Korea. Instead they studied the North Korea ideology of “Juche,” or worked on collective farms.

Unsurprisingly, then, Kim’s students were shockingly ignorant of the outside world. They didn’t recognize pictures of the Taj Mahal or Egyptian pyramids. One had heard that everyone on earth spoke Korean because it was recognized as the world’s most superior language. Another believed that the Korean dish naengmyeon was seen as the best food on earth. And all Kim’s pupils were soaked in a culture of lying, telling her preposterous falsehoods so often that she writes, “I could not help but think that they – my beloved students – were insane.” Nonetheless, they were still recognizably human and charmingly innocent, and for their part came to adore their teachers.

Overall, “Without You, There Is No Us” is simply excruciating sad. All of Korea has been the plaything of Japan, the U.S., the Soviet Union, and China, and like most Korean families, Kim’s has close relatives who ended up in North Korea when the country was separated and have never been seen again. Korea is now, Kim says, irrevocably ruptured:

It occurred to me that it was all futile, the fantasy of Korean unity, the five thousand years of Korean identity, because the unified nation was broken, irreparably, in 1945 when a group of politicians drew a random line across the map, separating families who would die without ever meeting again, with all their sorrow and anger and regret unrequited, their bodies turning to earth, becoming part of this land … behind the children of the elite who were now my children for a brief time, these lovely, lying children, I saw very clearly that there was no redemption here.

The Intercept spoke recently to Kim about her time in North Korea and the perceptive it gives her on the current crisis.

JON SCHWARZ: I found your book just overwhelmingly sorrowful. As an American, I can’t imagine being somewhere that’s been brutalized by not just one powerful country, but two or three or four. Then the government of North Korea, and to a lesser degree the government of South Korea, used that suffering to consolidate their own power. And then maybe saddest of all was to see these young men, your students, who were clearly still people, but inside a terrible system and on a path to doing terrible things to everybody else in North Korea.

SUKI KIM: Right, because there’s no other way of being in that country. We don’t have any other country like that. People so easily compare North Korea to Cuba or East Germany or even China. But none of them have been like North Korea – this amount of isolation, this amount of control. It encompasses every aspect of dictatorship-slash-cult.

What I was thinking about when I was living there is it’s almost too late to undo this. The young men I was living with had never known any other way.

The whole thing begins with the division of Korea in 1945. People think it began with the Korean War, but the Korean War only happened because of the 1945 division [of Korea by the U.S. and Soviet Union at the end of World War II]. What we’re seeing is Korea stuck in between.

JS: Essentially no Americans know what happened between 1945 and the start of the Korean War. And few Americans know what happened during the war. [Syngman Rhee, the U.S.-installed ultra-right wing South Korean dictator, massacred tens of thousands of South Koreans before North Korea invaded in 1950. Rhee’s government executed another 100,000 South Koreans in the war’s early months. Then the barbaric U.S. air war against North Korea killed perhaps one-fifth of its population.]

SK: This “mystery of North Korea” that people talk about all the time – people should be asking why Korea is divided and why there are American soldiers in South Korea. These questions are not being asked at all. Once you look at how this whole thing began it makes some sense why North Korea uses this hatred of the United States as a tool to justify and uphold the Great Leader myth. Great Leader has always been the savior and the rescuer who was protecting them from the imperialist American attack. That story is why North Korea has built their whole foundation not only on the Juche philosophy but hatred of the United States.

JS: Based on your experience, how do you perceive the nuclear issue with North Korea?

SK: Nothing will change because it’s an unworkable problem. It’s very dishonest to think this can be solved. North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons. Never.

The only way North Korea can be dealt with is if this regime is not the way it is. No agreements are ever honored because North Korea just doesn’t do that. It’s a land of lies. So why keep making agreements with someone who’s never going to honor those agreements?

And ultimately what all the countries surrounding North Korea want is a regime change. What they’re doing is pretending to have an agreement saying they do not want a regime change, but pursuing regime change anyway.

Despite it all you have to constantly do engagement efforts, throwing information in there. That’s the only option. There’s no other way North Korea will change. Nothing will ever change without the outside pouring some resources in there.

JS: What is the motivation of the people who actually call the shots in North Korea to hold onto the nuclear weapons?

SK: They don’t have anything else. There’s literally nothing else they can rely on. The fact they’re a nuclear power is the only reason anyone would be negotiating with them at this point. It’s their survival.

Regime change is what they fear. That’s what the whole country is built on.

JS: Even with a different kind of regime, it’s hard to argue that it would be rational for them to give up their nuclear weapons, after seeing what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.

SK: This is a very simple equation. There is no reason for them to give up nuclear weapons. Nothing will make them give them up.

JS: I’ve always believed that North Korea would never engage in a nuclear first strike just out of self-preservation. But your description of your students did honestly give me pause. It made me think the risk of miscalculation on their part is higher than I realized.

SK: It was paradoxical. They could be very smart, yet could be completely deluded about everything. I don’t see why that would be different in the people who run the country. The ones that foreigners get to meet, like diplomats, are sophisticated and can talk to you on your level. But at the same time they also have this other side where they have really been raised to think differently, their reality is skewed. North Korea is the center of the universe, the rest of the world kind of doesn’t exist. They’ve been living this way for 70 years, in a complete cult.

My students did not know what the internet was, in 2011. Computer majors, from the best schools in Pyongyang. The system really is that brutal, for everyone.

JS: Even their powerful parents seemed to have very little ability to make any decisions involving their children. They couldn’t have their children come home, they couldn’t come out and visit.

SK: You would expect that exceptions were always being made [for children of elites] but that just wasn’t true. They couldn’t call home. There was no way of communicating with their parents at all. There are literally no exceptions made. There is no power or agency.

I also found it shocking that they had not been anywhere within their own country. You would think that of all these elite kids that at least some would have seen the famous mountains [of North Korea]. None of them had.

That absoluteness is why North Korea is the way it is.

JS: What would you recommend if you could create the North Korea policy for the U.S. and other countries?

SK: It’s a problem that no one has been able to solve.

It’s not a system that they can moderate. The Great Leader can’t be moderated. You can’t be a little bit less god. The Great Leader system has to break.

But it’s impossible to imagine. I find it to be a completely bleak problem. People have been deprived of any tools that they need, education, information, sharing tools.

[Military] intervention is not going to work because it’s a nuclear power. I guess it has to happen in pouring information into North Korea in whatever capacity.

But then the population are abused victims of a cult ideology. Even if the Great Leader is gone, another form of dictatorship will take its place.

Every path is a catastrophe. This is why even defectors, when they flee, usually turn into devout fundamentalist Christians. I’d love to offer up solutions but everything leads to a dead end.

One thing that gave me a small bit of hope is the fact that Kim Jong-un is more reckless than the previous leader [his father Kim Jong-il]. To get your uncle and brother killed within a few years of riding to power, that doesn’t really bode well for a guy who’s only there because of his family name. His own bloodline is the only thing keeping him in that position. You shouldn’t be killing your own family members, that’s self-sabotage.

JS: Looking at history, it seems to me that normally what you’d expect is that eventually the royal family will get too nuts, the grandson will be too crazy, and the military and whatever economic powers there are are going to decide, well, we don’t need this guy anymore. So we’re going to get rid of this guy and then the military will run things. But that’s seems impossible in North Korea: You must have this family in charge, the military couldn’t say, oh by the way, the country’s now being run by some general.

SK: They already built the brand, Great Leader is the most powerful brand. That’s why the assassination of [Kim Jong-un’s older half-brother and the original heir to the Kim dynasty] Kim Jong-nam was really a stupid thing to do. Basically that assassination proved that this royal bloodline can be murdered. And that leaves the room open for that possibility. Because there are other bloodline figures for them to put in his place. He’s not the only one. So to kill [Jong-nam] set the precedent that this can happen.

JS: One small thing I found particularly appalling was the buddy system with your students, where everyone had a buddy and spent all their time with their buddy and seemed like the closest of friends – and then your buddy was switched and you never spent time with your old buddy again.

SK: The buddy system is just to keep up the system of surveillance. It doesn’t matter that these are 19-year-old boys making friends. That’s how much humanity is not acknowledged or respected whatsoever. There’s a North Korean song which compares each citizen to a bullet in this great weapon for the Great Leader. And that’s the way they live.

JS: I was also struck by your description of the degeneration of language in North Korea. [Kim writes that “Each time I visited the DPRK, I was shocked anew by their bastardization of the Korean language. Curses had taken root not only in their conversation and speeches but in their written language. They were everywhere – in poems, newspapers, in official Workers’ Party speeches, even in the lyrics of songs … It was like finding the words fuck and shit in a presidential speech or on the front page of the New York Times.”]

SK: Yes, I think the language does reflect the society. Of course, the whole system is built around the risk of an impending war. So that violence has changed the Korean language. Plus these guys are thugs, Kim Jong-un and all the rest of them, that’s their taste and it’s become the taste of the country.

JS: Authoritarians universally seem to have terrible taste.

SK: It’s interesting to be analyzing North Korea in this period of time in America because there are a lot of similarities. Look at Trump’s non-stop tweeting about “fake news” and how great he is. That’s very familiar, that’s what North Korea does. It’s just endless propaganda. All these buildings with all these slogans shouting at you all the time, constantly talking about how the enemies are lying all the time.

Those catchy one liners, how many words are there in a tweet? It’s very similar to those [North Korean] slogans.

This country right now, where you’re no longer able to tell what’s true or what’s a lie, starting from the top, that’s North Korea’s biggest problem. America should really look at that, there’s a lesson.

JS: Well, I felt bad after I read your book and I feel even worse now.

SK: To be honest, I wonder if tragedies have a time limit – not to fix them, but to make them less horrifying. And I feel like it’s just too late. If you wipe out humanity to this level, and have three generations of it … when you see the humanity of North Koreans is when the horror becomes that much greater. You see how humanity can be so distorted, and manipulated, and violated



‘Thousands of military contractor files allegedly left online, unsecure

September 2, 2017

by Joe Uchill

The Hill

Thousands of files containing personal information of military and intelligence personnel were allegedly left unsecured and available for public download on a misconfigured cloud server before being discovered earlier this year.

The files were from job applications to TigerSwan, a North Carolina-based private security firm, and date back to 2009. On Saturday, TigerSwan blamed a third-party recruitment firm named TalentPen that it said worked for the company during the timeframe in focus.

The files, largely resumes, mostly came from members of the military, but also included intelligence veterans, a police chief and a United Nations worker in the Middle East. The files included personal contact information, such as addresses, phone numbers and private email addresses.

Chris Vickery, a researcher at security firm Upguard, said he discovered the unsecured set of resumes on a public-facing Amazon cloud server in July that was not protected by any form of login. Typically, this is the result of misconfigured security settings.

“I hope we were the only people to find them,” he told The Hill.

While the files were discovered in July, they were not taken down until the end of August due to confusion over the source of the resumes.

In February, when TigerSwan canceled its contract with TalentPen, TigerSwan claims the recruiter used Amazon cloud services to transfer the resumes it had amassed to TigerSwan.

TigerSwan said that transfer was conducted using high-end encryption and TalentPen was supposed to immediately delete the files. But the files remained on the site and due to an apparent security setting misconfiguration, those files were not encrypted.

When Upguard contacted TigerSwan in July, TigerSwan said it believed Upguard was in error since TigerSwan does not store resumes on the Amazon cloud and since it believed TalentPen had both encrypted and deleted its copies.

At the end of August, Upguard contacted Amazon, which had TalentPen remove the files, but did not reveal to Upguard that TalentPen was the customer. TigerSwan claims TalentPen never notified them, either.

“TalentPen never notified us of their negligence with the resume files nor that they only recently removed the files,” TigerSwan said in a statement.

TigerSwan said it was unaware that TalentPen had made the error until The Hill contacted them for a story earlier this week and raised the possibility that a recruiter had left the files online. Until then, TigerSwan argued the files were not theirs.

“It was only when we reached out to [TalentPen] with the information on August 31st did they acknowledge their actions,” TigerSwan said in their statement.

TigerSwan provided screen shots of an email from its former account manager at TalentPen explaining that the company had dissolved earlier that year. However, that manager still had access to billing records for the Amazon cloud account and confirmed that the account showed “activity that seems consistent with the number of files and the size of the over-all[sic] number of files.”

TigerSwan is encouraging any applicants for positions who submitted resumes during its contract with TalentPen to contact the company to check if any personally identifiable information was left vulnerable.

Former TalentPen management did not respond to requests for comment.


Conversations with the Crow:


On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The  small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of  highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by  DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton  conspired to  secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files our of the agency. Crowley did the same thing  right before his own retirement , secretly removing thousands of pages  of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

One of Crowley’s first major assignments within the agency was to assist in the recruitment and management of prominent World War II Nazis, especially those with advanced intelligence experience. One of the CIA’s major recruitment coups was Heinrich Mueller, once head of Hitler’s Gestapo who had fled to Switzerland after the collapse of the Third Reich and worked as an anti-Communist expert for Masson of Swiss counterintelligence. Mueller was initially hired by Colonel James Critchfield of the CIA,  who was running the Gehlen Organization out of Pullach in southern Germany. Crowley eventually came to despise Critchfield but the colonel was totally unaware of this, to his later dismay.

Crowley’s real expertise within the agency was the Soviet KGB. One of his main jobs throughout his career was acting as the agency liaison with corporations like ITT, which the CIA often used as fronts for moving large amounts of cash off their books. He was deeply involved in the efforts by the U.S. to overthrow the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile, which eventually got him into legal problems with regard to investigations of the U.S. government’s grand jury where he has perjured himself in an agency cover-up

After his retirement, Crowley began to search for someone who might be able to write a competent history of his career. His first choice fell on British author John Costello (author of Ten Days to Destiny, The Pacific War and other works) but, discovering that Costello was a very aggressive homosexual, he dropped him and tentatively turned to Joseph Trento who had assisted Crowley and William Corson in writing a book on the KGB. When Crowley discovered that Trento had an ambiguous and probably cooperative relationship with the CIA, he began to distrust him and continued his search for an author.



Conversation No. 118

Date: Friday, December 19, 1997

Commenced: 11:09 AM CST

Concluded: 11:24 AM CST


GD: Well, another damned Christmas season is upon all of us. The gap-jawed ninnies waddling around the malls, the latest electronic noise-makers clutched in sweaty hands while the owners jabber endlessly to their equally moronic friends on the other end. Jesus H. Christ, you ought to listen to them, Robert, Babble, chatter, simper and squeal. Well, this electronic new age is upon us and I have it from a friend at NASDAC that a new and major con is about to be born. Are you interested?

RTC: Of course I am. Don’t forget that I was the man with the business connections for the Company.

GD: You ought to write a book on it.

RTC: Don’t tempt me.

GD: Well, they could augment your pension, believe me. Anyway, a circle of crooked stock brokers, who ought to be in Congress, have concocted a scheme based on the public’s fascination with the flashing lights and novelty of the electronic age. What they are going to do is this. They get some computer specialist, fresh out of MIT, to set up a company called, let’s say, ‘Batdung,.com’ which postulates that they raise bats and collect their crap for sale to people raising Venus Fly Catchers. Or another system called ‘Pelco.com’ that delivers goose livers to blind orphans. Anyway, they get this front to set up a legit corporation, say in Delaware, and then they get it up onto the board. The NYSE I mean.

RTC: Understood. And then?

GD: And then, they ring up a dozen or so of their rich clients and tell them that they want them to buy ‘Batdung.com’ at ten and they will sell out at twenty. And when huge purchases are recorded on the Board, why the gap-jawed twits rush out to buy ‘Batdung.com’ or ‘Pelco.com’ and the stock shoots up into the heavens. Meanwhile, the new teen-aged wonder who owns the name and an empty office, buys five new cars, a huge slate-topped desk and some huge and ugly new house with round windows somewhere. The stock goes up and up, slows down and then when it is obvious that there is nothing behind it, takes a dive. What do the crooks care? They took their fees from the rich enablers who got in and got out. Say they sold out at twenty and the stock went up to two hundred. One day at two hundred, the next at one ninety and the following day at fifty cents. Ah well, the wise ones have gotten out and gotten out, more or less like the early arrivals at a Reno brothel. Someone else has to take sloppy seconds and at the end, they all have the clap and the gleet. But the whorehouse owner makes all the money and the stockbrokers and their rich friends do very well. The patsy ends up losing his cars, his desk and his home and has to go back living with mother in a basement apartment he shares with the rats and cockroaches.

RTC: Serious?

GD: Oh, yes, very. This will take some time to ripen but it will take place and no one will be able to do anything about it. You know, the Republicans are waiting for Clinton to finish his term and they will do everything in their power to take the White House. Who will run? Probably Gore but who knows who else? The Republican right is yammering and yearning to get into power after the liberal Clinton and if they get in, look for some attempt to establish a permanent majority. I know a number of these people and they love to rub their hands and talk about the coming Days of Wrath and Mourning for the left wing Jews and fellow travelers on both coasts. The religious freaks will crawl out from under the dead cows or up out of the cesspits all across this land and add their squawkings to the cacophony. I think this country is heading into an abyss, Robert. We will eventually see a reprise of 1929 if the Republicans get into power or get both Houses. They will screw up the stock markets, the banks and the money markets and then down all will crash and these scumbags will crawl out of the rubble, clutching bags of money and headed for Aruba or Tel Aviv. Yes, and there are now tens of thousands of young kids that get out of high school with no prospect of a job because the blue collar jobs are all going to slave labor camps in Southeast Asia. Of course this kind of poverty and denial of what we all see as the American Dream can lead to all kinds of domestic problems.

RTC: Oh, you’re right on there, my boy. Reagan set up a virtual concentration camp system and special Army units so that if he had any problems domestically like Johnson had during the Vietnam war, they could sweep up all the protestors, their mothers and wives and jam them all into the new Dachaus.

GD: Do you have chapter and verse on this, Robert?

RTC: Could get it but why bother with it? If you put that in every newspaper in America, no one would believe you. Sure, I’ll look it up. Oh yes, they have plans waiting for another Vietnam rebellion, believe me. Reagan said, like the Jews, never again and if the public get their tit in the wringer, off they go with no problem and they can see their family through the barbed wire.

GD: Oh my, and then we can take a leaf from the holocaust nutties and start talking about mythic gas chambers and lampshades.

RTC: Oh God, let’s do not go there. I am so tired of hearing about that shit.

GD: Americans are far crueler than the Germans or Russians so I imagine that future historians, not like the decayed creeps you people use, historians will write about the neo fascism riding the GOP elephant. And over the cliff. Couple this with economic meddling and I will really think about permanently moving away.

RTC: There are many who would love to see you go, Gregory.

GD: And I would love to see them take long walks on short piers, Robert, and carrying heavy weights. Feed the sharks, why not?

RTC: Do sharks eat crap?

GD: No, but the bottom feeders like the crabs would stuff themselves. No, you can see this coming.  Maybe not right away but all the bits and pieces are there, Robert. Maybe not in your time but in mine…that is unless Wolfe comes up behind me and slugs me with his purse.

RTC: (Laughter) Do you also foresee pogroms?

GD: Of course. If the economy is artificially inflated and collapses, why scapegoats have to be found. The Mexicans, the Jews and…no, the fewer the better. I would say the blacks but there are too many of them. Probably the illegals. Yes. Mass imprisonment and deportations. Who will cut our lawns then?

RTC: Reagan foresaw closing the universities as hotbeds of anti-government actions there.

GD: Why not? The students can’t learn anything because the intellectual levels of our professors would shame a baboon. My God, I have encountered a few in my life and I swear my dogs are smarter. They say a little learning is a dangerous thing, don’t they?

RTC: So I’ve heard.

GD: Well then, let’s  let our young and unemployed live dangerously. They can go to school and then to the camps.

RTC: Does this blessed season of giving always motivate you to be so bloody negative?

GD: Oh yes, the mythic Jesus is about to be born in the cow barn and save us all. I love these preachers who get up in front of the TV cameras and squeal about the fictional Jesus. Why not the Celestial Easter Bunny?


(Concluded at 11:24 AM CST)

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