People living in western Europe and North America are bombarded with stories about north Korea – often centred around rumour, mysterious ‘intelligence’ sources, or the south Korean and US governments.
Most stories are nothing but rumours, spread to portray the DPRK as crazy and unpredictable, but now, more and more often, we are seeing major news sources such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, and the Independent being forced to apologise and write retractions after these blatant lies have been exposed.
This writer’s favourite example is a story published this year by Yonhap news agency (a south Korean news company) claiming that south Korea had ‘captured a spy drone’ from the north.
The ‘drone’ was examined by the south Korean military and, upon closer inspection, was revealed to be the door of a portable toilet and not, after all, a piece of sophisticated military hardware.
RT wrote a story in response titled ‘Truth flushed out:”Crashed drone” near Seoul is portable toilet door’.
Think about this for a second.
The USA can fly heavily-armed bombing or hi-tech surveillance drones over foreign countries with no objection from imperialist politicians and media. It can blow up weddings and kill scores of innocent people in countries where it has no jurisdiction without consequences. But if the DPRK is suspected of fling a single unarmed drone within its own borders then the world needs to be alerted to its ‘criminal’ activity.
The emperor can light entire villages on fire but the people are forbidden from lighting a single candle.
But not only did the ‘drone’ turn out to be the door of a portable toilet, but YTN (a south Korean news channel) superimposed an image of the ‘drone’ onto a photograph of Kim Jong-un.
Now we’ve established the level of desperation that the bourgeoisie media go to ridicule the DPRK, let’s have a brief look at some of the other ludicrous stories that have emerged in the last few years – this cavalcade of comedy is a gift that keeps on giving.
1. North Korea discovers a unicorn lair
In 2012, a story spread which asked us to believe that the DPRK was claiming to have discovered the lair of a unicorn and this was a conformation that the people there believe the creatures really exist.
In reality, DPRK archaeologists had reported the discovery of a rock with engravings that translated to “unicorn lair” and that this was an important archaeological site that referred to an ancient legend of a unicorn ridden by King Tongmyong – one of the founders of the kingdoms of Korea 2,000 years ago.
One of the first western media sources to report this was a media source called USnews, and the Guardian was among the many papers that repeated the story. It later printed a retraction, blaming the original on a mistranslation.
Guardian retraction: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/dec/05/north-korea
2. Execution by pack of dogs
Following the arrest of DPRK political official Jang Song-thaek on charges of corruption, the media went wild with stories that he had reportedly been fed to a pack of starving dogs.
The British Independent spread the story that Kim Jong-un’s uncle had been fed to a pack of hungry dogs, but later published a retraction admitting the story was satire.
According to the Independent, “The story was nonetheless reported by the English-language Singapore daily Straits Times, and from there quickly made headlines around the western world.”
Explanation on RT with George Galloway and Keith Bennet from the CPGB-ML:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7_GnhOSEyY&list
3. Executions for watching foreign films
This was another satire story that was shared by the Independent as fact.
The Independent said “Seoul’s Joong Ang Ilbo daily reported that the killings were carried out in seven separate cities on 3 November, with an alleged 10,000 people forced to attend one group execution held in a sports stadium in the eastern port city Wonsan.”
This story might seem solid on the front – that is, if we didn’t live in the information age, where a quick YouTube search for Pyongyang’s 13th International Film Festival can prove this story false.
The festival featured films from countries including France, Indonesia, China, Pakistan, Egypt, Russia and Switzerland (and a joint film was made by artists from Britain and the DPRK called Comrade Kim Goes Flying).
Germany won Best Actor for Daniel Brühl in a film called Der Ganz Grosse Traum des Konrad Koch, a movie about an English teacher in a German boarding school who upsets the strict rigged order of the school to teach the children football.
He also played parts in films such as The Fith Estate, Inglorious Bastards, 7 Days in Havana,Eva, and Goodbye Lenin.
Pyongyang 13th International Film Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCPZJ6plxR0
Daniel Brühl and his movie, Der Ganz Grosse Traum des Konrad Koch:http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/daniel-bruhl-kicks-german-soccer-25223
4. Kim Jong-un executed his girlfriend
The Chosun Ilbo published a story saying “Sources in China said singer Hyon Song-wol as well as Mun Kyong-jin, head of the Unhasu Orchestra, were arrested on 17 August for violating north Korean laws against pornography and were executed in public three days later.”
The article went on to say they were accused of videotaping themselves having sex and selling the videos. The tapes have apparently gone on sale in China as well.
The Huffington Post, Business Insider and the Telegraph repeated the story that Hyon Song-Wol had been executed.
However, after some time had passed the Telegraph published a retraction admitting that Ms Hyon had actually appeared alive and well on television.
Business Insider wrote that the reported ‘sex tape’ was actually a video of a woman dancing to Elvis Presley’s, Aloha Oe.
5. How Americans live
In 2013, a short film entitled How Americans Live spread on YouTube.
The film featured film scenes from the USA with an English narrator making over-the-top claims about how the people there were forced to eat snow for sustenance.
Spencer Ackerman of WIRED called the film evidence of a “north Korean propaganda video” while the Washington Post, in its ‘analysis’, declared that the video’s “message is consistent with north Korean propaganda“.
The film actually turned out to be satire posted by the British travel writer Alun Hill.
There are far too many such stories for us to dismantle them all, but these are just a sample of the most prominent.
If you would like to get behind the hostile imperialist propaganda barrage and understand a little more of the truth about the DPRK, we recommend this short interview with CPGB-ML member Keith Bennet on George Galloway’s RT programme Sputnik: