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Archive for November, 2008

Kim Jong Il of North Korea

The Real Dr Evil – Kim Jong II of North Korea a state of total disaster and corruption. the entire population is raped and brainwashed by the leader Kim Jong II. The Real Dr Evil was broadcast on BBC Two on Sunday, 20 July, 2003 at 1915 BST. North Korea was identified as part of the axis of evil by George Bush. Taking an archive based trip through North Korea’s recent history, we find out it’s probably a fair assessment. Includes great footage of Kim Jong Il, Kim Il Sung, private bodyguards training and Korean nuclear facilities.

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ith Saddam Hussein gone, North Korea’s Kim Jong-il is regarded as the world’s most dangerous man. Millions have died of famine and dissidents are sent to labour camps or executed. Now Kim says he has nuclear weapons and he’s prepared to sell them to whoever can afford his price. US President George Bush put North Korea on the Axis of Evil shortlist. Newsweek magazine dubbed Kim “Dr Evil”, a reference to the Hollywood character who plots to destroy the planet. Correspondent tracked down the director and his movie star wife kidnapped by Kim to make films in North Korea, his former bodyguard, American diplomats who negotiated with him, and an Italian businessman who finances his goldmines. We charted Kim’s progress from lazy student through terrorist mastermind to tough-talking nuclear brinksman. And we asked the question: is he really plotting to destroy the planet or is the nickname Dr Evil nothing more than a battle of words in the Cold War’s last frontier?

North Korean President Kim Jong-il, widely regarded as the world’s most dangerous man, was dubbed “Dr Evil” by Newsweek magazine in January this year. The reference was to a fictitious Hollywood film character who plots to destroy the planet, in the style of a James Bond villain. As well as being on the US “Axis of Evil” shortlist, Kim Jong-il’s regime may have nuclear material that it is willing to sell.

Kim Jong Il was born in 1942 and the leader of North Korea (1994- ). Kim Jong Il succeeded his father, Kim Il Sung, who had ruled North Korea since 1948. Kim Jong Il was born in Siberia near Khabarovsk, in what was then the Soviet Union near the border with Manchuria. During World War II (1939-1945) Kim’s father led a Communist guerrilla group fighting against Japanese forces in Manchuria. In 1945 Kim’s family returned to Korea, with his father being honored as a war hero. Kim Il Sung became premier of North Korea in 1948, after Korea was divided into two countries; a year later he became the top leader of North Korea’s Communist party, the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP). During the Korean War (1950-1953) Kim’s father placed him in safety in Northeast China. Kim attended Kim Il Sung University from 1960 to 1964, earning a degree in political economics, before going to work at the headquarters of the KWP.

In 1973 Kim was elected party secretary in charge of organization and propaganda. He was given high ranking in the Politburo, the party’s principal policymaking body, and achieved membership on the Central People’s Committee in 1980. From then on the state-controlled media increasingly referred to him as “Dear Leader.” In 1990 he was appointed to his father’s first state post as first vice chairman of the National Defense Commission. The following year he was named supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, a post held by his father since 1948. He was appointed to the rank of marshal, with his father as grand marshal, in 1992.

Prior to his death on July 8, 1994, Kim Il Sung officially designated his son as his successor, effecting the first hereditary transfer of power in a Communist state. After his death, North Korea observed an official mourning period that lasted for three years. During this period, Kim Jong Il was the country’s de facto leader. In October 1997 he was appointed general secretary of the KWP, effectively assuming formal leadership of the country. The following year North Korea revised its constitution to recognize the chair of the National Defense Commission, a post held by Kim Jong Il, as the country’s “highest office.”

Holidays in the Axis of Evil

Holidays in the Axis of Evil was a television documentary series shown on BBC Four in the United Kingdom, first broadcast in January 2003. In the series, reporter Ben Anderson travelled to all of the countries in U.S. President George W. Bush’s “Axis of evil”: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Syria. The Bush regime claims that North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and Cuba are part of an “axis of evil”. In a remarkable two-part travelogue, reporter Ben Anderson, armed with a hidden camera and a tourist map, visits all six rogue states and tries to find the reality of life in some of the most repressive regimes in the world. He spoke to us about this unusual vacation.

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xis of evil is a term coined by United States President George W. Bush in his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002 in order to describe governments that he accused of helping terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction. President Bush named Iran, Iraq, and North Korea in his speech. President Bush’s presidency has been marked by this notion as a justification for the War on Terror. In 2002, George W Bush named North Korea, Iraq, and Iran as the world’s most evil countries and called them “An Axis of Evil”. Very quickly, Syria, Libya and Cuba joined the exclusive club. They are all accused of harbouring terrorists and attempting to build or acquire weapons of mass destruction. But, there is another connection between the six countries – you can go on holiday there. Journalist, Ben Anderson, went on holiday through the Axis of Evil countries in an attempt to meet the enemy and find out what the locals feel about being branded as “evil”.

A decade before the 2002 State of the Union address, in August 1992, the political scientist Yossef Bodansky wrote a paper entitled “Tehran, Baghdad & Damascus: The New Axis Pact” while serving as the Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the US House of Representatives. Although he did not explicitly apply the epithet evil to his New Axis, Bodansky’s axis was otherwise very reminiscent of Frum’s axis. Bodansky felt that this new Axis was a very dangerous development. The gist of Bodansky’s argument was that Iran, Iraq and Syria had formed a “tripartite alliance” in the wake of the First Gulf War, and that this alliance posed an imminent threat that could only be dealt with by invading Iraq a second time and overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

The phrase was attributed to former Bush speechwriter David Frum, originally as the axis of hatred and then evil. Frum explained his rationale for creating the phrase axis of evil in his book The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush. Essentially, the story begins in late December 2001 when head speechwriter Mike Gerson gave Frum the assignment of articulating the case for dislodging the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in only a few sentences for the upcoming State of the Union address. Frum says he began by rereading President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “date which will live in infamy” speech given on December 8, 1941, after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. While Americans needed no convincing about going to war with Japan, Roosevelt saw the greater threat to the United States coming from Nazi Germany, and he had to make the case for fighting a two-ocean war.

Frum points in his book to a now often-overlooked sentence in Roosevelt’s speech which reads in part, “…we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.” Frum interprets Roosevelt’s oratory like this: “For FDR, Pearl Harbor was not only an attack—it was a warning of future and worse attacks from another, even more dangerous enemy.” Japan, a country with one-tenth of America’s industrial capacity, a dependence on imports for all its food, and already engaged in a war with China, was extremely reckless to attack the United States, a recklessness “that made the Axis such a menace to world peace”, Frum says. Saddam Hussein’s two wars, against Iran and Kuwait, were just as reckless, Frum believed, and therefore presented the same threat to world peace. In his book Frum relates that the more he compared the Axis powers of World War II to modern “terror states”, the more similarities he saw. “The Axis powers disliked and distrusted one another”, Frum writes. “Had the Axis somehow won the war, its members would quickly have turned on one another.” Iran, Iraq, al-Qaeda, and Hezbollah, despite quarrelling among themselves however, “all resented power of the West and Israel, and they all despised the humane values of democracy.” There, Frum saw the connection: “Together, the terror states and the terror organizations formed an axis of hatred against the United States.” Frum tells that he then sent off a memo with the above arguments and also cited some of the atrocities perpetrated by the Iraqi government. He expected his words to be chopped apart and altered beyond recognition, as is the fate of much presidential speechwriting, but his words were ultimately read by Bush nearly verbatim, though Bush changed the term axis of hatred to axis of evil. North Korea was added to the list, he says, because it was attempting to develop nuclear weapons, had a history of reckless aggression, and “needed to feel a stronger hand.”

Is there anybody out there?

The Ministry of Defence went to extraordinary lengths to cover up its true involvement in investigating UFOs, according to secret documents revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.

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he files show that officials attempted to expunge information from documents released to the Public Records Office under the “30-year rule” that would have revealed the extent of the MoD’s interest in UFO sightings.

In particular, the ministry wanted to cover up the operation of a secret unit dedicated to UFO investigations within the Defence Intelligence Staff. UFO conspiracy theorists have likened the unit, called DI55, to a sort of “Men in Black” agency for defending the Earth against invasion but the released documents show this is far from the truth. One 1995 memo from DI55 to the MoD’s public “UFO desk” said: “I have several books at home that describe our supposed role of ‘defender of the Earth against the alien menace’ – it is light years from the truth!”

The files were made public following FOI requests by David Clarke, a lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University and his colleague Andy Roberts.

“These documents don’t tell us anything about UFOs but they do show how desperate the MoD have been to conceal the interest which the intelligence services had in the subject,” said Dr Clarke.

The trail begins with a request, in 1976, from a UFO enthusiast called Julian Hennessy for access to the MoD’s records on UFO sightings. A note from the UFO desk to the MoD’s head of security on March 23 shows that officials intended to refuse him access on the grounds that the files contain confidential information and “very little of value to a serious scientific investigator”.

But the note continues: “This is not to say that the investigation is not taken seriously. The branches have their own methods – and [the public UFO desk] has no ‘need to know’ about them – but we are aware that DI55 for example sometimes makes extensive inquiries.

“It is undesirable that even a hint of this should become public and we are currently consulting the [Air Historical Branch] on ways of expurgating the official records against the time when they qualify for disclosure [at the Public Records Office].”

Hearing of the background to his fob off 30 years ago Mr Hennessy, who is a local magistrate, was not surprised. “Everything led me to believe there was a major cover up going on,” he said.”They didn’t want to let the public know just how interested they were in these phenomena.”

Attempts to alter the public record went on into the 90s. In a note dated April 28 1993 from DI55 to the public UFO desk the unnamed author argued the unit’s involvement should be excised from records due to be released under the 30-year rule. But the cat was already out of the bag. A clerical error in 1983 had meant that the distribution list was incorrectly left on a publicly released UFO-related document, so UFO enthusiasts were already asking questions.

“Since then they have obviously been bombarded by people saying who is this DI55, what do they do, what is the extent of their involvement,” said Dr Clarke.

Eventually, DI55 decided to allow its involvement to be made public. A note from DI55 to the public UFO desk on 5July 1995 said: “I see no reason for continuing to deny that the [Defence Intelligence Service] has an interest in UFOs. However, if the association is formally made public then the MoD will no doubt be pressured to state what the intelligence role/interest is. This could lead to disbelief and embarrassment since few people are likely to believe the truth that lack of funds and higher priorities have prevented any study of the thousands of reports received.”

At this point someone, presumably from the public UFO desk, has scribbled “ouch!” in the margin.

“The lengths they went to to remove any mention of the Defence Intelligence Staff’s central role in investigating sightings suggests they had something to hide,” said Dr Clarke. “But what they were hiding was not evidence of ET visits but embarrassment at the fact they were never allowed to spend public money on investigating the subject in any depth.” The full extent of DI55’s involvement has subsequently been made clear by a report released to Dr Clarke in May and reported in the Guardian. That threw up a 500-page document which brought together everything the unit knew about UFOs, or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) as the MoD prefers, including more than 10,000 sightings. It said the existence of UAPs was “indisputable”, but blamed the most vexing sighting on airborne “plasmas” formed during “more than one set of weather and electrically charged conditions”, or during meteor showers.

From : The Guardian

Alleluia, Behold the Bridegroom

One of Russia ’s leading choirs, the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir is actively involved in continuing the rich traditions of Russian and European vocal music. Founded in 1977, the choir is made up of professional musicians who have completed their studies at Russia ’s top musical institutions.

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“Alleluia, Behold the Bridegroom” for choir
Performed by the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir
Conducted by Nicolai Korniev

esides receiving numerous national awards, it has excelled in the international arena, winning prizes in Hungary in 1986 and in Germany and Italy in 1989. In 1994 the choir was awarded a Grammy for the best Choral Performance of the Vespers by Sergei Rachmaninov. On the back of these successes the choir has launched an extensive international touring career, and has received widespread critical acclaim in the United States, the United Kingdom and continental Europe.

The choir’s broad repertoire includes Renaissance music, Bach’s sacred compositions, nineteenth-century music and contemporary works, many of which were composed for the choir. In this way the choir has attracted the attention of many well-known conductors and soloists. Over the years such conductors as Gennady Roshdestvensky, Yury Simonov, Semyon Bychkov, Valery Gergiev, Mikhail Pletnev and Sir Georg Solti have worked with the ensemble. In 2000 the choir performed the world première of St John’s Passion by Sofia Gubaidulina. The choir participates in all the significant musical festivals in St. Petersburg . Valery Gergiev invited the choir to perform at the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg in the summer of 1994 for the first time.

Inside the Saudi Kingdom

BBC 2 has broadcast a programme on Saudi Arabia on 8th November. The programme will offer “a fascinating insight into the conflicts between tradition and modernity in one of the world’s most conservative and autocratic countries.”

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ionel Mill presents an insight into the life of Prince Saud bin abdul Mohsen, one of the members of the secretive Saudi royal family, examining the conflict between tradition and modernity in one of the world’s most autocratic countries.

After seven years negotiation Mill films the life of a Saudi Arabian prince, and the result, even superficial and sanitised as it has to be, is revealing. Though he follows the comparatively urbane Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen, Mill paints a picture of a way of ruling (tribal, religious, monarchistic, entirely male) that to a Western viewer seems old-fashioned almost to the point of absurdity.

“The West do not understand,” is the gist of Prince Saud’s comments on camera, and he’s right. You can almost smell the stultifying effects of prejudice and self-satisfaction in every scene, though there are beauties to the ancient way of life, too. How long it can last in the face of global change is another matter.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, KSA, is an Arab country and the largest country of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Jordan on the northwest, Iraq on the north and northeast, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the southeast, and Yemen on the south. The Persian Gulf lies to the northeast and the Red Sea to its west. It has an estimated population of 27.6 million, and its size is approximately 2,150,000 square km (830,000 square miles).

The Kingdom is sometimes called “The Land of The Two Holy Mosques” in reference to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam. In English, it is most commonly referred to as Saudi Arabia . The Kingdom was founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, whose efforts began in 1902 when he captured the Al-Saud’s ancestral home of Riyadh, and culminated in 1932 with the proclamation, and recognition of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading petroleum exporter. Petroleum exports fuel the Saudi economy. Oil accounts for more than 90 percent of exports and nearly 75 percent of government revenues, facilitating the creation of a welfare state, which the government has found difficult to fund during periods of low oil prices.

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