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    North Korea Tag

    The speculation as to who the U.S. government thinks was behind the Sony hack is over. The FBI now is on record blaming North Korea, via NBC News:
    The FBI on Friday formally accused the North Korean government of the hacking attack that led Sony Pictures Entertainment to cancel the movie "The Interview." "North Korea's actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves," the bureau said in a statement. "Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior." U.S. officials had said privately earlier in the week that they suspected North Korea. The FBI said Friday that technical analysis had revealed links to North Korean-developed malware, including lines of code and encryption algorithms.
    Here is the full FBI statement (via Business Insider):

    It seems North Korea has been spending a lot of time monitoring American news channels. After being singled out by a scathing United Nations report, which declared the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea to have committed human rights violations "without any parallel in the contemporary world," North Korea decided it needed to make its own Human Rights report. The report revealed an elementary understanding of hot topics in American news, and ultimately concluded, "[t]he U.S. is the world's worst human right abuser and tundra of a human being's rights to existence." Coming out of the nation whose leader (allegedly) recently executed an alleged counterrevolutionary conspirator by FLAMETHROWER, the North Korean human rights report was somehow deemed to be less than credible. Still, it is interesting to see a dictator use American events in an effort to bolster his credibility as a man of the people. In traditional dictatorial fashion, the report was critical of the second amendment:

    When I saw this circulating on Twitter, I thought it had to be a hoax. And it still might be. But it's being fairly widely reported, with a Singaporean newspaper the primary English language source. Via The Strait Times, Jang's execution bodes ill for China:
    THE execution of Jang Song Thaek, the No. 2 man in North Korea, took Beijing by surprise and will adversely affect bilateral relations. Beijing's displeasure is expressed through the publication of a detailed account of Jang's brutal execution in Wen Wei Po, its official mouthpiece, in Hong Kong, on Dec 12. According to the report, unlike previous executions of political prisoners which were carried out by firing squads with machine guns, Jang was stripped naked and thrown into a cage, along with his five closest aides. Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called "quan jue", or execution by dogs. The report said the entire process lasted for an hour, with Mr Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader in North Korea, supervising it along with 300 senior officials. The horrifying report vividly depicted the brutality of the young North Korean leader. The fact that it appeared in a Beijing- controlled newspaper showed that China no longer cares about its relations with the Kim regime.

    Friday the 13th is an appropriate day to report that the North Koreans may have taken a lesson from Syria, which seemingly built up its chemical weapons supply "in plain sight." Satellite imagery shows that North Korea appears to have restarted a reactor capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium.

    North Korea Nuclear Plant Satellite

    White steam can be seen rising from a building near the hall housing steam turbines and electric generators at Yongbyon nuclear complex in an image taken on 31 August, said the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. ...The US-Korea Institute said the gas-graphite reactor was capable of producing 6kg of weapons-grade plutonium a year. It believes that the North already has 34-36kg, sufficient for around a dozen weapons.
    How will the Obama Administration respond? With a strongly worded message, of course!
    The United States scolded North Korea on Thursday over reports indicating the reclusive nation has restarted a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor, emphasizing that such a move would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions. ...."Suffice to say, if it was true, it would be a violation of the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and, of course, contrary to North Korea's commitments under its September 19, 2005, joint statement," said State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf.
    Its this kind of strong stance that has inspired neighboring Japan to build up its national defense, despite an economy still suffering from the impact of a deadly earthquake/tsunami combination in 2011. However, at least one South Korean thinks this Friday the 13th is very lucky:
    More than 40 years after he was abducted from a fishing boat and taken to North Korea, a South Korean fisherman has returned to his home in Seoul, state-run Yonhap news agency reported Friday, citing a government official.