North Korea has belatedly weighed in on the U.S. National Security Agency surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden, releasing a video on Sunday that skewers “America’s illegal spying activity” and criticizes South Korea for supporting it.
The three-minute video -- which ran on the state-run media outlet Uriminzokkiri and was translated by Susan Ahn of NKNews.org -- includes stock footage of the NSA headquarters, portions of an interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and screenshots of the Snowden news story from the Guardian.com. It also features, in true Uriminzokkiri fashion, a lot of shadowy shots of people typing ominous lines of code on their computers and streams of green numbers superimposed over news and stock footage.
While the video has harsh words for Americans -- who "commit murder, wage war, or plunder wiretap" -- it's especially critical of South Korea's relationship with the United States. "Last year, WikiLeaks disclosed the fact that South Korea is swarming with pro-Americans," the narrator says, calling South Korea "a war[-waging] hypocrite with no military sovereignty! America’s fifty-first state that can’t move a step without the permission of America! A puppet government who is matchless under the sun!"
It's worth noting that South Korea is far from alone in defending the U.S. surveillance programs. Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid called them "not actually snooping," adding, "Some of the information they got out of their scrutiny, they were able to use it to prevent serious terrorist attacks in several countries." Russian President Vladimir Putin went out of his way to defend the NSA programs. As for North Korea's only ally, China has lambasted the NSA programs in state media, but the country also declined to shelter NSA leaker Snowden, perhaps as an implicit favor to the United States.
North Korean propaganda routinely paints South Korea's government as a puppet of American imperialism. The tactic is used to counter South Korea's potential appeal to North Korean citizens, whose standard of living and wealth are a fraction of their southern neighbors'. Pyongyang, no longer able to persuasively tell North Koreans that they live in the world's richest country, wants its citizens to see life in the South as miserable and shameful despite its wealth.
So, while Americans may see this video as aimed at them, in fact it's likely about furthering the North's argument that South Koreans live like servile "dogs" and should be pitied rather than envied. The United States and its surveillance programs are just a sideshow.
Here's the full translation:
Recent news on America’s illegal spying activity has angered countries around the world.
The United State’s NSA extended its spying activity to 38 embassies including its allies, Japan and South Korea, European offices in the U.N., and E.U. offices in Brussels, by collecting information through hacking into computers, the Guardian and Germany’s weekly newspaper Der Spiegel exposed.
Outrage grew across the European Union, and there has been a backlash from other countries against America. However, it is only the South Korean puppet government who has refused an explication, saying America’s illegal spying activity is just a "revealing article" where the context itself is ambiguous.
The funny thing is that South Korea is taking sides with its master by rationalizing the idea that any country’s intelligence agencies can collect clandestine information for its own national security. Regardless of whether or not the story can be confirmed, South Korea has to consider the United State’s situation, they say.
How humiliating and servile!
Only a puppet government would welcome American activities with open arms and applaud, even when they commit murder, wage war, or plunder wiretap.
Last year, WikiLeaks disclosed the fact that South Korea is swarming with pro-Americans, and providing information to the American government ranging from the National Assembly, government and military, to business sectors and the church.
The U.S. Embassy [in Seoul], therefore is able to know what agenda or document sits on the desk of the [South Korean] presidential office by the very next day.
Whether South Korea is being spied on or not, there are no secrets for the puppet government. South Korea’s finds itself in the midst [of a scandal], disclosing [a former] president’s classified documents — an unparalleled event in diplomatic history — there are no secrets and no need to argue with the master.
However, South Koreans frequently rage over our ‘cutting edge security threat’ whenever it gets the chance. A country like this only exists in somewhere like South Korea, where the country doesn’t know how to be angry or lose its temper in front of its master, America.
It instead can only show its unmanly smile, while raging against the same people by foaming at the mouth; they are indeed evil forces.
A war[-waging] hypocrite with no military sovereignty! America’s fifty-first state that can’t move a step without the permission of America! A puppet government who is matchless under the sun!
A professor in South Korea said “living as a Korean in the world is both humiliating and pathetic.”
“I don’t know how this happened, we have been ruined in front of America so much that we look like a taxidermied animals. South Korea is a scarecrow with nothing but its skin left. When looking at South Korea, a country that clings to and lives off America but still makes noise about economic growth, it reminds me of a quote from a poem:
“It is better to die than live like a dog or a pig.”