Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 18, 2015

NYT And Kerry Use Retracted Propaganda Claim To Blame & Shame North Korea

The South Korean spy and propaganda agency makes an obviously ludicrous claim about something in North Korea. Hours later, after the nonsense made the news, it completely retracts it.

A few days later the U.S. cites the original false claim to put more blame and shame on North Korea. The NYT stenographers note the blame and shame but completely ignore that the false claim it is based on had been retracted.

NYT today: Kerry Calls for More Pressure on North Korea Over ‘Horrendous’ Acts

“The world is hearing increasingly more and more stories of grotesque, grisly, horrendous, public displays of executions on a whim and fancy by the leader against people who were close to him, sometimes on the flimsiest of excuses,” Mr. Kerry said, referring to Mr. Kim, during a news conference in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

Mr. Kerry made the comment in response to a recent report that Mr. Kim had ordered one of his top generals, the minister of the People’s Armed Forces, Hyon Yong-chol, executed with an antiaircraft gun for disloyalty. General Hyon was accused, among other crimes, of dozing off during a meeting Mr. Kim presided over, the National Intelligence Service of South Korea said last week.

UPI on May 13: North Korea defense chief was purged, maybe not executed, says Seoul's spy agency

South Korea's spy agency said it cannot confirm the execution of North Korea defense chief Hyon Yong Chol, hours after making the opposite claim to South Korean lawmakers.

South Korean lawmaker Kim Kwang-jin told ABC News that Seoul's National Intelligence Service had said in a closed briefing that Hyon was publicly executed for napping and "behaving disrespectfully."

The NIS also said Hyon was executed on April 29 or 30 through the use of anti-aircraft machine guns in an area 13 miles north of Pyongyang – as hundreds of high-ranking military personnel watched.
By late afternoon, the spy agency revised its statement, saying Hyon was purged, but maybe not executed.

The "execution by anti-air gun for napping" was a lie invented, like most "North Korean horror" fairy tales, by the South Korean spy service to push some selected lawmakers to up its budget. When those idiots then talked to the press, people asked why the "disgraced" and "brutally killed" North Korean general was still presented favorably on North Korean TV. The spy agency had to retract its claim.

South Koreans who will have noted the retraction will now have learned that Kerry is really the dumb buffoon they probably had already assumed he is. Stupid propaganda stunts like this one is one reason why U.S. foreign policy is no longer seen as a serious endeavor.

Note to State Department briefers: Most people on this planet ain't as shallow-brained as your secretary.

Posted by b on May 18, 2015 at 9:43 UTC | Permalink


big head but not much in it, ketchup maybe...

Posted by: b real | May 18 2015 11:26 utc | 1

Although Kerry is doubtless an airhead, I think the SNAFU says more about the quality of his staff at Department of State than it does about him. The degradation of the United States public service over the past 25 years is astonishing. All the bright people went into finance, leaving government to the ideologues and the drudges.

Posted by: Knut | May 18 2015 11:47 utc | 2

Saudi Arabia performs 84th beheading in 2015:

North Korea, bad. Saudi Arabia, no problem.

Posted by: ben | May 18 2015 13:35 utc | 3

Kerry doesn't care if he's blurting out more ridiculous lies. The mainstream media are highly unlikely to pull him up on it although they will gladly repeat the original accusations. The BBC repeated the accusations several times but there's no sign of a retraction and their propaganda has done its work. Yes you can depend The British Bullshit Company for "unbiased" news.

Posted by: Ffidel Bennett | May 18 2015 13:54 utc | 4

Thanks, b, for the clarification. I read the headlines and moved on thinking it was just another foolish act by the NK leader. From the headlines, the act looked horrendous and dehumanizing, fitting the stereotype projected on NK. In the meantime, 99.99999999 of those who won't read this note, will stay believing the guy was killed with flak, and the NK are crazy from the top down. The lies are one too many to keep track of all of them, an herculean task if we want to stay really informed.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | May 18 2015 14:01 utc | 5

All these media attacks and vicious squabbling resembles what occurs in a medieval village amongst the commoners. Or bodies that are sucking parasites on some larger organisational power (eg. Mafia.) Individual initiatives, power plays, spread of lies, gossip, temporary self-serving alliances, breach of law (or breaking informal yet shake hands trust), use of violence as coercion, blackmail, threats, and so on. In modern times, sanctions, sneaky NGOs, infiltrations, color revolutions, invasions, etc. The Global Village of McLuhan in its most ugly guise.

The ‘free market’ model, some call it capitalism, and its attendant emphasis on individualism, competition, and domination by those who come out on top, is breaking the world up into warring pieces and killing millions. Note that this ideology also has as an effect of making the US vulnerable to influence, to being subservient to those who offer cash, or adherence, fossil fuels, a subservient outpost, or anything really, power over their own ppl, etc. (Israel, KSA etc.) The only thing that counts is control and successful rapine.

Posted by: Noirette | May 18 2015 14:44 utc | 6

Hey now! What did the secretaries ever do to deserve such ignomy?

Posted by: Earl grey | May 18 2015 16:31 utc | 7

Couldn't help liking this quote:
"Mr. Kerry made the comment in response to a recent report that Mr. Kim had ordered one of his top generals, the minister of the People’s Armed Forces, Hyon Yong-chol, executed with an antiaircraft gun for disloyalty."

If the S Koreans wanted their made-up facts to sound convincing they should have said that Hyon Yong-chol fell asleep in a humicrib. In a maternity hospital. In Kuwait. And Mr Kim asked some Eye Racki soldiers to drag the minister out of the crib, by the feet, and smash his head against a wall.

That one worked really well for the Americans.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 18 2015 16:52 utc | 8

The 70 year hostility of the US government against Korean independence and against the DPRK since 1948 is challenged in the latest issue of the Amateur Computerist on the topic "DPRK: Out-of-the-Box Diplomacy": and

Posted by: jhauben | May 18 2015 17:48 utc | 9

In Oz, every major TV channel has at least one daily "news/analysis" program which takes one of two forms: a panel show with a nominal host and a few guest panelists, or a news desk type program with a host who calls in 'contributions' and makes amusing comments about each news item. The common thread running through all of these programs is that the host, and some panel members, are either established comedians or wannabe comedians.

Anyhow ... every program has been slipping (tired old, worn-out) North Korea jokes into the mix for more than a month. Since there's hardly ever any North Korea news in Oz MSM, NK becomes a topic because something in the news under discussion "reminded" the host/ guest/ panelist of something (childish/ mythical/ or just plain silly) amusing about Kim or NK.

It's been happening with such monotonous regularity that I wondered if NED, the State Dept, or the CIA, having already bought all the politicians in Oz, have decided to buy all the comedians?

I'm tempted to think that the Yankees are having "smear Cuba" withdrawal symptoms and NK is the replacement target, but I doubt that the Cubans are silly enough to imagine that they won't be betrayed by the Yankees currently cozying up to them. Or maybe vacuous smearing has become a way of life for the US and its satraps?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 18 2015 17:50 utc | 10

@5 Noriette,

Your claim that "The ‘free market’ model, some call it capitalism, and its attendant emphasis on individualism, competition, and domination by those who come out on top, is breaking the world up into warring pieces and killing millions." is a bit misguided.

The real tenets of the Western form of social organization are unfettered inheritance and accumulating private ownership of property. The faith based myth of capitalism is a gift to the plutocrats from the other faiths of the world. The global plutocrats have used the weakness of faith to keep mankind from evolving beyond the Enlightenment period for over 500 years now.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 18 2015 17:53 utc | 11

It's worth remembering that ever since the Yankees removed the South Korean leader who proposed and began implementing the Sunshine Policy (allowing South > North and North > South citizen visits on compassionate grounds, as a prelude to re-unification), there is no such thing as a South Korean Intel Service, or Government, or Foreign Policy. And the capital of South Korea alternates between Washington DC and the Pentagon on a daily basis.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 18 2015 18:14 utc | 12

Thanks for the cataloguing of ludocrios lies b.

Since it's the trillion time a ludicrous political lie has been told across the Empire and it's minion states with near zero counter reaction among the majority of the people, what's a trillion + 1?

It sure is a magnificently long record of success with zero reason to change now, with big thanks to the criminal unaccountability of the mass media.

If anyone believes the saying of ; fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me - then what about the idea of fooled a1000 times or 1 million times ? That then goes far beyond shame into wilful delusional and self lying cowardice among the people who believe.

And even if Kerry was dupe who slightly believed that story at any level, he's played it as it has worked countless times before. And if anyone in such a position gets called on telling lies, they have an infinity number of replacements where history starts again from zero with the next replacement.

Posted by: tom | May 18 2015 20:50 utc | 13

Does an antiaircraft gun kill you more dead than a firing squad or a hellfire missile?

Posted by: chuckvw | May 18 2015 21:20 utc | 14

' ... “The world is hearing increasingly more and more stories of grotesque, grisly, horrendous, public displays of executions on a whim and fancy by the leader against people who were close to him, sometimes on the flimsiest of excuses,” Mr. Kerry said, referring to Mr. Kim, during a news conference in Seoul, the capital of South Korea ...'

Did Mr Kerry not realise someone had given him the script to read for Ukraine or Saudi Arabia?

Posted by: Jen | May 18 2015 22:33 utc | 15

chuckvw at 13 -- just as dead, less of you to bury then a firing squad, more than with a Hellfire. It's the thought that counts, I believe the message is "don't even think about it."

Posted by: rufus magister | May 18 2015 22:48 utc | 16

I wonder if this 'story' is anything more than an attempt to divert attention from the important news this week about the fall of Ramadi and the humiliating defeat of the US/Iraq coalition and the largest victory for the IS in a year.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 18 2015 23:41 utc | 17

C'mon... Kerry most likely was reading from the script of a CIA black propaganda op. Portraying him as a buffoon is to mitigate the actions of the intelligence services. KCIA & CIA have acted hand in hand for decades, since CIA created their Korean counterpart out of the Japanese collaborationist police after WW2.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19 2015 0:23 utc | 18

"the humiliating defeat of the US/Iraq coalition and the largest victory for the IS in a year."

Oh god, I can practically hear you drooling over it, you fucking scumbag.

Posted by: guest77 | May 19 2015 0:43 utc | 19

The USA has been ridiculed several time, but it has a strong resiliency and loyal medias that would do all they can to make the humiliation minimized and forgotten.
The Americans have bad memory and a short attention span.

Posted by: Virgile | May 19 2015 0:44 utc | 20

Funny, I don't hear you fretting over the fact that these ruthless animals have killed 500 people in cold blood upon taking over the city, but you were pissing your pants over a single ISIS fighter being executed in Tikrit.

Islamic State militants searched door-to-door for policemen and pro-government fighters and threw bodies in the Euphrates River in a bloody purge Monday after capturing the strategic city of Ramadi... Some 500 civilians and soldiers died in the extremist killing spree since ... Friday, authorities said. (link)<.blockquote>

What a humanitarian you are, WayOutWest. Tell us how you're so concerned over civilian deaths again -- you know, that is if you are not too busy gloating over the victory of your favorite blood-stained psychopaths....

Posted by: guest77 | May 19 2015 0:52 utc | 21

ISIS are on a roll. They could soon be in Baghdad. Maybe it's time for the US to start supporting Assad and the Iraqi government. I guess Israel would be OK with that.

Posted by: dh | May 19 2015 1:26 utc | 22

The US is OK with ISIS. ISIS ensures 'panic' in the media and chaos in the region. What more could they ask for? And the Saudis/GCC are picking up the tab! They've died and gone to heaven!

Of course they haven't died at all. Only their victims have died 1,000,000+ in Iraq, 220,000 in Syria ... with Yemen just an appetizer, the training wheels for Saudi aggression.

The US is getting right up there with the Third Reich in terms of aggression. No Blitz in their Krieg since the shock & awe of a dozen years ago, but they're making up in the global reach of their new mode and proxy-delivered death, devastation, and destruction for what the NAZI's 'achieved' in depth closer to home.

Posted by: jfl | May 19 2015 2:03 utc | 23


The US has already wasted tens of billions of dollars on the Iraqi Army and even with uncontested Coalition airpower the IA drops their weapons and runs. The only thing the US could do now is introduce ground forces which is not likely to happen.

Assad will get nothing from the US not even safe passage after his defeat.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 19 2015 2:31 utc | 24

@23 Pretty much what I thought. Israel would actually like to see the crazies take over Damascus and Baghdad. All the anti-ISIS talk is a farce.

Posted by: dh | May 19 2015 2:38 utc | 25


I wonder if this 'story' is anything more than an attempt to divert attention from the important news this week about the fall of Ramadi and the humiliating defeat of the US/Iraq coalition and the largest victory for the IS in a year.

And you thought you had seen the lower depths Wayoutwest could stoop to, but he is full of surprises, and can easily metamorphose into the slimy matter on the surface of a septic tank. According to his twisted and distorted, ehem, "logic," b chose to debunk one more lie from the NYT, something b is forced to do on a regular basis, just to cover up the great "victory" of ISraIL over the "US/Iraq coalition." I never heard the US had formed a coalition to fight ISraIL, the last coalition formed was against Iraq, not with it. So, where does Wayoutwest gets this coalition from, but from his debauched pea brain? Of course, putting Iraq and the US on a coalition magnifies ISraIL purely temporary "victory." We all know ISraIL is a US/Mossad creation, why would the US create a coalition to fight its bastard children? Strategically, ISraIL has no future because it has no strategic goals and no roots on any country, no ideals to fight for and no morals other than killing; therefore, no matter how effective it can be militarily, and how many "victories" it can achieve in Iraq, Syria, or anywhere else, ISraIL will be defeated in the end. As for Wayoutwest slandering distortion of b's intentions when choosing a subject, it is useful only to give us the measure of his reptilian nature, slithering in the mud with the ISraIL maggots, gloating in their very transient so-called "victories." We have got quite a hasbara snake with us, that's the true nature of this despicable crawler.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | May 19 2015 2:56 utc | 26


I'm not sure what the Israelis think about this conflict except that as long as Arabs are fighting Arabs and Iranians they need not do anything and in fact there is little they could do to affect the outcome anyway. The long term consequences of these conflicts may not be a positive for them and at least one military leader there is saying they should support Hamas to counter the growing support for the IS.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 19 2015 3:34 utc | 27

@24 I'm sure they're hoping to turn chaos to their advantage. But it could backfire for sure. Imagine lots of powerful weapons aimed at Israel and nobody in charge.

Posted by: dh | May 19 2015 3:42 utc | 28

In the end, Iraq's ethnic divisions can be blamed for the defeat in Ramadi. Iraq PM, out of caution not to stir more ethnic tensions did not send Iranian-backed militias to fight ISIS, which are now blaming Anbar regional authorities for the loss of Ramadi to ISraIL. A very difficult situation for the Iraqi government, since Sunnis cannot be trusted completely, and Shiites awake fear in the Sunni communities given their past frictions. ISraIL knows very well these divisions and exploit them to the max in its advantage. Poor Iraq, so far from Allah, and so close to hell.

(...)Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the leadership of the Sunni province of Anbar had been reluctant to deploy Iranian-backed groups in Ramadi.

They favored developing local forces, but militia leaders said Monday the past few days had proved the government could not afford to do without the Popular Mobilization Units (Hashed al-Shaabi), an umbrella for resistance groups and volunteer fighters.

Hadi al-Ameri, a key figure in Hashed al-Shaabi and the leader of the Badr paramilitary group, argued Anbar’s leaders should have taken up his offer sooner.

Badr’s TV channel Al Ghadeer said Ameri “holds the political representatives of Anbar responsible for the fall of Ramadi because they objected to the participation of Hashed al-Shaabi in the defense of their own people.”

Various militias announced they had units already in Anbar — including around the cities of Fallujah and in Habbaniyah — ready to close in on Ramadi and engage the city’s new masters.(...)

Iraqi Shia Resistance Forces going full steam on Ramadi after ISIS take over

Posted by: Lone Wolf | May 19 2015 4:05 utc | 29

Can someone explain what is going on with the creepy, furtive flicking of John Kerry's tongue? I mean the way the tip of the man's tongue just darts out between his lips, at odd times, compulsively? This mannerism, its unsettling shift, has more than a touch of the reptilian about it.

It's probably what people call a "tell": a spasmodic, twitching indicator, nervously flashing out, whenever Kerry is testing public credulity with his enormous lies.

Posted by: Copeland | May 19 2015 4:19 utc | 30

To be fair to Kerry (if we must be) the "tongue" could be the side effect of some medication he's taking.

Or alternatively--as a pal of mine says--"it could be a demon trying to break its way out".

Posted by: Copeland | May 19 2015 4:42 utc | 31

@13 It's regarded as "barbaric" because a firing squad is DESIGNED to kill people, whereas an AA gun is "just" designed to shoot down an inanimate object.

So death by firing squad is A-OK.
And death by drone-launched missile is A-OK.
And death by heavy artillery fire is A-OK.

But death by flak gun is as "barbaric" as being strapped to a torpedo and launched from a ship.
Or as "barbaric" as being crunched under the tracks of an M-1A main battle tank.
Or as "barbaric" as being beheaded by a helicopter propeller, even if it is the same helicopter that launches 100% A-OK Hellfire Missiles (and, of course, such a beheading is "barbaric" in a way that a Saudi executioner's scimitar is not because - du'oh! - a scimitar is designed to separate your head from your shoulders).

I know, crazy world. But internally logical, even if way-out-whacky-land to an outside observer.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 19 2015 5:57 utc | 32

@30 Reminds me of an old joke that posits the possibility of a tapeworm burrowing its way into the brain-pan and taking over.

Apparently you look the dude in the eye and calmly say "I know you're in there", and if the guy starts acting all agitated rather than just looking puzzled then, yep, you know it's definitely in there.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 19 2015 6:02 utc | 33


The whole digital media world knows that #JohnMcCainArmed&FundedISIS, right after #JohnKerryArmed&FundedKIEV, the latter merc operation being the anodyne to the former's failure to consolidate its territories, and of course, the MH17 debacle.

This engineered Wahhabist CrISIS is just what the doctor ordered, as the KSA destroys (again) the emerging Iraqi crude oil production, that just 10 months ago appeared it might match barrel for barrel KSA output as soon as 2016, even as US fracking production appeared it might eliminate all foreign oil imports!


Now the ephemeral US oil fracking glut has peaked (e.g. increasing production, like QEn, was only a function of increased drilling, a flash-in-the-pan scam), as the US Gulf Coast is frantically building its sixth LNG export train to put some kind of floor under the US gas fracking glut, and Alberta is 'shut in' on KXL.

No, if there was no ISIS Gog-Magog entity, you can bet KSA and Houston would create one, then look at the wonderful knock-of effect CrISIS had breaking the Defense Sequestration, with a new $89 BILLION 'Special War Slush Fund'.

And 'bringing it home', now that this huge and unaudited mercenary fund exists, you'll hear a lot more 'horror stories' about Lil' Kim, the Pentagon has been flogging that 'PRNK to End World In Nuclear Fire Ball!' for fully 60 years, because it underwrites the entire 'Pivot to Asia', greatest arms production surge since Viet Nam, and with it, backfills all those millions of Pentagon pensions.

$250 BILLION a year, every year, goes 'unaccounted for' at the Pentagonal Church of Satan, ...more than all humanitarian aid funds since the Clinton Era combined. Think about that. The Pentagonal Church of Satan, whose only function is Death, 'loses track of' more billions in a single year, that all the humanitarian aid in the entire 21st Century, in all the world, combined, especially when you consider that 85% of US humanitarian aid is 'round-tripped' right back to WADC-NOVA.

How can anyone not have seen CrISIS coming, after Benghazi?

Posted by: NoReply | May 19 2015 10:38 utc | 34

Ffidel Bennett @ 3
It is rather hypocritical for the BBC (or the British government for that matter) to get upset by this method of execution since the British used it to execute revolting sepoys after the Indian mutiny in 1858. I should point out that the British used conventional artillery rather than triple-A because there weren't many aircraft around at the time.

Posted by: blowback | May 19 2015 11:48 utc | 35


All the historians reminded us last week of the Churchill/Roosevelt play-off : Germany against the Soviet Union for just as long - for just as many deaths, just as much devastation and destruction - as possible, and the ongoing replay of that 'brilliant' strategy unfolds in real time before our very eyes here in the Middle East ... and in North and North-West Africa ... and in Ukraine ... with the same two bastard players, the US/UK, behind it all again. And these bastards never even change their tactics. They don't need to. We zc's just plod along ...

Posted by: jfl | May 19 2015 12:17 utc | 36

psychohistorian at 10, i agree w. your criticism of my post. Under the expression some call it capitalism I attempted to stick in a lot of unstated stuff. Private property / inheritance, accumulation, is one of them; another is the control and grip of the financial sector, which neither of us mentioned. One of the results is that today in the OECD politics is subsumed to the ‘economy’, and the notion of ‘political economic analysis’ is AWOL. If you see what I mean.

Posted by: Noirette | May 19 2015 14:58 utc | 37

Talking about "civilized" ways to kill people, the pedophilic troglodyte Saudis have some job openings. We should encourage Wayoutwest to apply, he would be making better money there cutting heads, than as a hasbara for ISraIL posting drivel. No experience necessary. No worries about human rights or MSM coverage. A no-brainer job, perfect for WoW. You can send your application via ISraIL, with added recommendations from al-Baghdadi, Shin-Bet, and bouncer Lieberman. Enjoy.

Saudi Arabia Looks to Hire More Executioners to Cut Off More Heads

(...)To apply for a job as an executioner, a person doesn’t need any special qualifications other than the ability to swing the sword of death, decapitating people sentenced to death and amputating the limbs of those guilty of lesser crimes.

The official title of the executioners is “religious functionaries” and they are classified as civil servants of the Saudi Arabian government.

With the execution rate in Saudi Arabia soaring to record highs this year, the government has reportedly beheaded five foreigners convicted of murder and robbery.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia had its 85th beheading this year. In contrast, the heads of 88 people were chopped off throughout the whole of last year, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).(...)

Posted by: Lone Wolf | May 19 2015 15:19 utc | 38

Noirette @36,

I have written about the plutocrats control of finance elsewhere but not in my response to you, sorry. I stopped commenting at ALMOST naked capitalism because I was called crazy pants for continuing to write about private finance and the non sovereign nature of the US dollar and Western finance. Private finance is the not to be discussed sacrosanct tool of the global plutocrats that China and others are now challenging.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 19 2015 16:51 utc | 39

psychohistorian at 39, i get it. i didn't make the link between you there and you here. i read naked cap. once a week or so and occasionally post there (under another name.)

Posted by: Noirette | May 20 2015 14:23 utc | 40


The Plutocrats of the Plutocrats Republic of China are challenging the ' unfettered inheritance and accumulating private ownership of property' ?

Posted by: jfl | May 20 2015 14:36 utc | 41



Yes, I'm sure a blog focused on finance doesn't discuss finance. Eeyup.

Posted by: Jack | May 21 2015 11:38 utc | 42

The comments to this entry are closed.