Should we believe South Korean news reports about North Korean executions?

Should we believe reports about marijuana-related illness and deaths?

Should we believe American reports about Iran’s nuclear ambitions?

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North Korea executions & South Korean Scandals

  • SMH 31 May
  • North Korea has executed its nuclear envoy to the United States as well as four Foreign Ministry officials who carried out negotiations for the Hanoi summit with US President Donald Trump in February, holding them responsible for its collapse, according to a South Korean newspaper, Chosun Ilbo
  • Kim Hyok-chol was executed at Mirim Airport in Pyongyang, along with four Foreign Ministry executives, in March after they were all charged with spying for the United States, the Chosun Ilbo reported, citing an unidentified North Korean source.
  • “He was accused of spying for the United States for poorly reporting on the negotiations without properly grasping US intentions,” the source was quoted as saying.
  • The Chosun Ilbo also reported that Kim Yong Chol, a top North Korean nuclear negotiator, had been sentenced to hard labor and ideological reeducation. Kim Yong Chol had been one of the most visible members of the North Korean negotiating team, even meeting with Trump at the White House.
  • The newspaper cited a single unnamed source “who knows about North Korea.”
  • However, a few days later, Kim Yong-chol was photographed accompanying Kim Jong-un to a Sunday art performance.
  • maybe the photograph was photoshopped? 
  • maybe he was pulled out of the labour camp for a photo op? but why? 
  • or maybe the source is full of shit
  • or maybe the newspaper made it up to make Kim look crazy
  • Not the first time this has happened. 
  • According to WaPo:
  • In 2013, South Korea’s intelligence service was the first to report the execution of Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who had been purged from the leadership ranks. Subsequent media reports — now believed to be false — said that he was killed by being fed to pack of wild dogs.
  • The Chosun Ilbo newspaper — which also had Friday’s purported scoop — reported in 2013 that Hyon Song Wol, a North Korean artist it described as Kim Jong Un’s “ex-girlfriend,” had been executed in public over accusations that she and other performers had sold pornographic videos. At least part of that story later proved to be demonstratively untrue: Hyon made a two-day visit to Seoul in January 2018, very much alive.
  • Chosun Ilbo has been arounds since 1920. 
  • Originally set up to fight against Japanese occupation of Korea 
  • CEO is Mr Bang Sang-hoon
  • His son was until recently CEO of Chosun TV. 
  • until his 10 year old daughter told her chauffeur she wanted to get him fired and wished he would die because he asked her to sit down in the car. 
  • And he WAS fired. 
  • But a recording of her abusing him was leaked and the son resigned from the TV station. 
  • The Korea Herald published the recording. 
  • Bang Sang-Hoon has also been named in the death of SoutH Korean actress Jang Ja-yeon
  • She was a big TV star who committed suicide in 2009. 
  • The investigation into her death was corrupt and a new investigation was opened in 2019
  • An alleged suicide note left by Jang describes how she was beaten by her agent, and forced to entertain and have sex with a string of VIPs, including directors, media executives and CEOs
  • Including Mr Bang Sang-hoon
  • Former police chief said the paper put huge pressure on him not to investigate
  • Part of the Burning Sun scandal
  • Broke this year 
  • Burning Sun is a nightclub in Gangam
  • Sex scandal involved several celebrities, including Korean idols in popular K-pop groups, and police officials
  • The allegations of sex crimes involved added to the country’s “epidemic” of what is called molka, a Korean word for the online distribution of unconsented sex videos taken of women
  • club’s alleged involvement in prostitution, drug trafficking and police corruption
  • Seungri of the band Big Bang, “Kings of K-pop”, one of the club’s executive directors, subsequently resigned from the entertainment industry, after being charged with sex bribery.
  • The scandal quickly encompassed allegations of rape and spy cams when singer and entertainer Jung Joon-young confessed to secretly filming himself having sex with women and sharing the videos, without their knowledge or consent.
  • South Korea has its share of weird scandals 
  • In 2016 its first female president Park Geun-hye was brought down in a corruption scandal 
  • And her involvement in a pseudo-Christian cult 
  • Her father was President in the 70s
  • He and his wife were both assassinated
  • After she was impeached, she was charged with bribery, abusing state power and leaking state secrets.
  • Got 25 years. 
  • The CEO of Samsung got caught up in it. 
  • In August 2017, Samsung’s de facto head, Lee Jae-yong, was jailed for five years for bribery and embezzlement.
  • Lee was convicted over payments of 43bn won ($36.4m; £30.3m) made to the cult leader, a woman, Choi Soon-sil, who was the President’s adviser.
  • She was sentenced to 20 years.  
  • So who stands to benefit from these NK stories? 
  • And if Kim / NK is genuinely crazy, why make up stories? 

Puff, puff … spew? Colorado hit with vomiting syndrome after legalising weed

  • Two main claims in this story
  • one is that ERs in Colorado are getting weed smokers coming in with “unremitting vomiting syndrome”
  • a guy I went to school with runs a hospital in Denver but I couldn’t get in touch with him in time 
  • Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)
  • Single hospital, not a wide study 
  • The observational nature of the study also can’t tell us if someone’s symptoms, including psychosis, were actually caused by cannabis use, only that the two things are linked.
  • Mostly to do with edibles
  • This of course doesn’t get much of a mention in the main stories 
  • But the findings do suggest that people’s unfamiliarity with edibles, which can take hours to fully kick in, can lead them to take more than they should and make them sick, the authors said.
  • It also talks about the death in a car accident of a woman called Amanda Hill
  • “by stoned driver Francisco Sanchez”.
  • “Motor vehicle crashes involving stoned drivers have doubled in Colorado since 2014.”

related:  “low levels of THC”

related: “high on cocaine” – where’s that in the other stories? 

IAEA Report Says Iran Continues To Comply With Nuclear Deal

  • Inspectors found that Iran’s stock of enriched uranium was well below the limit set by the deal,
  • Washington, which reimposed sanctions last year, has sharply tightened them since the start of May, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
  • Bolton wants to bomb Iran
  • As Vox reported on Monday, “Bolton has staffed up the NSC with people who share his views. Last week, he hired Richard Goldberg, a noted Iran hawk, to run the administration’s pressure campaign against the country.”
  • Iran is responsible for a significant portion of the world’s oil, and sanctions will reduce the amount they’re able to export. 
  • crude oil price up 50% since the start of the year 
  • Sanctions on VZ and Iran
  • US oil production up 
  • Trade wars driving them down 
  • trade war of the United States with China, the European Union and Mexico
  • Brent crude prices have dropped almost 20% from their 2018 peak as global supplies tighten following output curbs by OPEC and Russia, as well as a drop in Iranian exports, due to U.S. sanctions, and Venezuelan production.
  • So if countries can’t buy oil from VZ or Iran, where do they buy it? 
  • US or Saudi or Russia. 
  • Remember Sunni vs Shia 
  • President Rouhani wrote an article clearly stating Iran’s position about nuclear weapons:
  • We are committed not to work toward developing and producing a nuclear bomb. As enunciated in the fatwa issued by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, we strongly believe that the development, production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are contrary to Islamic norms. We never even contemplated the option of acquiring nuclear weapons, because we believe that such weapons could undermine our national-security interests; as a result, they have no place in Iran’s security doctrine. Even the perception that Iran may develop nuclear weapons is detrimental to our security and overall national interest.