Buying Destruction

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


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Criminal activity is very much a way of life for the North Korean government. The government actually has a specific section called Bureau 39 that oversees the drug trafficking, counterfeiting of currency, money laundering and other criminal ventures. Defectors say that government trucks and facilities are used to transport opium and turn it into heroin for export. Diplomats regularly smuggle contraband. In 2003, Australia intercepted a North Korean ship trying to deliver 150 kilograms of heroin. The Australians were so fed up with North Korea’s sponsorship of drug trafficking that they blew up the seized ship in 2006.

It is estimated that the leaders of the country earn about $1 billion annually from this black market activity to help fund their lavish lifestyles while their people live in poverty. In addition, about 40 percent of North Korea’s exports are said to be arms sales. The regime makes at least $2 billion from sales to Iran alone. This illegal trade has already reached the United States. In 2007, it was discovered that a Chinese crime group had smuggled drugs, money, illegal cigarettes, and $1 million in weapons including machine guns and rocket launchers into the country from North Korea.

North Korea is increasingly unstable. Proof of this comes in the delicate succession process Kim Jong-Il has undertaken to transfer power to his youngest son. His sister has been given the rank of a four-star general and his brother-in-law has also been given power. As one expert explained, “The entire bureaucracy is just a personal staff for Kim Jong-Il.” At the same time, the information blockade imposed by the regime is coming apart and about 100 military defectors officially begun a campaign on September 9 to topple the regime, marking the start of it with the mock execution of Kim Jong-Il. They claim to have a total of 200 members that will begin operations to encourage dissent in the military.

Many officials are comfortable with the black market trade and can be expected to turn to it without regret when they find themselves with dwindling income and an uncertain future. For a large amount of these officials, any concern that they should have about the destruction such sales will cause has been neutralized by decades of anti-Western indoctrination. All the ingredients exist for North Korean weapons and expertise to reach the black market. And they exist in high quantity.

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    North Korea is our constant reminder that sociological evil comes in many colors…and that Islamic green is but one variety.

    Until we convince China to stop propping up the Kim dynasty, the Orwellian nightmare will continue. In a sane world, the international community would band together and strangle this regime via quarantine….but, it's not a sane world.

    China will keep the patient on life-support for as long as it serves a purpose. When China finally pulls the plug, it will be because conditions are ripe and that South Korea will be ready for its Faustian bargain: Neutralization of the North in exchange for tutelage inside China's orbit.

    Of course, the ultimate objective is Japan. China knows that a united Korea is the perennial dagger pointing at the Japanese jugular. That's when an aging, sclerotic Japan will itself cave and accept being a Chinese vassal as preferable to facing off against a united Korea.

    • hrayspitz

      North Korea is not being allowed to collapse because nobody, not the Chinese or the South Koreans, wants, or can afford, to clean up the mess.
      Personally, I think we SHOULD encourage North Korea to collapse and encourage the PRC to take it over.
      The expense of securing and rebuilding North Korea would leave them almost as broke as we are…

  • jacob

    AND WHAT IS THE ORGANIZATION GOOD ONLY FOR CONDEMNING ISRAEL 24/7/30/365 DOING ABOUT IT ??

    ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ! ! ! ! ! !

    THANKS FOR ASKING ANYWAY…..! ! !

  • Wesley69

    THE NUCLEAR GENIE IS OUT OF THE BOTTLE AND THERE IS NO GOING BACK!

    I can understand countries like Syria, Burma, maybe even Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey wanting the means to build a bomb, but organized crime???????? The world will enter a new phase of existence – nation -states, multinational corporations and criminal empires. Imagine if the narco-terrorists in Mexico could get their hands on a nuclear device, or the Somali pirates?

    Something needs to be done about North Korea, but how and what? Only with Chinese approval and/or action can the following take place.

    If it was reunified with South Korea and the entire country was demilitarized, China may agree to it.
    Making it part of China is also possible. South Korea would have China on its border. Powerful, dangerous, but certainly more stable
    North Korea stays as its and when something nuclear happens and fingers point to North Korea, it is nuked out of existence.

    There needs to be an end to this story that involves the end of this regime. The danger is if the story continues, cities may be turned to ash as mushroom clouds streak toward the heavens, thanks to Kim Jong-Il.

  • captaingrumpy

    While the world concentrates on North Korea, it leaves China alone. If a country tried to save the people of North Korea ,it would take all their money (Except if they had Bernanke).
    I can see no change until WMD is sold and seen to be sold.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Who has the money to buy WMD, certainly not Somalia, Mexican
    cartels probably and with islamist terrorists crawling all
    over South America, training and preparing for jihad against, US,
    we must wake up to the fact of a dawn of the dead scenario.
    That Iran and North Korea are in cahoots is enough to make
    even the most powerful super hero give pause to the potential
    for the unbelievable…………………………………………William

    • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

      YOU ARE SO RIGHT.

  • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

    Understand one fact population can and is being used as a weapon against the people of the USA.
    The system is about to come APART for many reasons with the help of people on the inside who own nothing to this system or its people many who are at the high places inside our government and who are in all things supporters of other's and other systems and other cultures and who are in fact enemies of this nation have the total control over this nation and want us all dead,dead,dead.

  • hijinx60

    One overlooked fact is that the United States is at war with North Korea. The Korean War was actually only "put on hold" with no side surrendering. Last year, Kim Jong-II declared that N. Korea was again at war with the US. Little was made of this in the media or Washington, but in reality Kim is right though no official fighting is taking place. It seems to have been taken as just a posturing position. However, we need to watch them closely, very very closely.

  • USMCSniper

    Obama has approved plans for the US to start direct talks with both North Korea in a significant shift in policy. The State Department said it would meet one-to-one with Pyongyang negotiators in an effort to persuade the North Koreams to abnadon their nuclear weapons program. "Ahh,… Nevvah happin GI"

  • American Patriot

    This article proves that organized criminals cannot be afforded the civil rights of the average street thug. All organized crime groups must be obliterated forthwith and without hesitation or mercy. Such evil wastes of protoplasm must be recycled into more worthy beings rather than be allowed to contribute to the deaths of millions of innocent people. While fair trials are still in order whenever possible, it is not wrong to stop organized crime from jeopardizing the lives of innocents, by any means necessary, when the criminals cannot be brought to justice by conventional means.