North Korean state media are known for hyperbole, but even so, the official announcement of the execution of Jang Song Thaek is a step beyond. The state-run Korean Central News Agency released a long article detailing the alleged crimes and transgressions of Jang, a longtime senior regime official who was also the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un.
It really must be read to be believed. A typical line asserts, for example, that Jang "behaved so arrogantly and insolently as unwillingly standing up from his seat and half-heartedly clapping, touching off towering resentment of our service personnel and people." Here is how the release starts:
PYONGYANG, December 13 06:23 KST (KCNA) — Upon hearing the report on the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, the service personnel and people throughout the country broke into angry shouts that a stern judgment of the revolution should be meted out to the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional elements. Against the backdrop of these shouts rocking the country, a special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security was held on December 12 against traitor for all ages Jang Song Thaek.
The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state.
Though North Korea has had many political purges, the highly public nature of this one has been unprecedented since Pyongyang first revealed it on Dec. 8, when state TV showed uniformed troops escorting Jang out of a Politburo meeting. The over-the-top language of this release, although awfully easy for outsiders to laugh at, is an important component of the purge -- and a potentially significant hint of what's happening there and why. We'll have a fuller look at Jang's purge shortly, so do check back.
The full KCNA release is preserved here (state media has previously pulled pages related to Jang). The rest of the release follows:
The tribunal examined Jang's crimes.
All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of hearing and were admitted by him.
A decision of the special military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security of the DPRK was read out at the trial.
Every sentence of the decision served as sledge-hammer blow brought down by our angry service personnel and people on the head of Jang, an anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional element and despicable political careerist and trickster.
The accused is a traitor to the nation for all ages who perpetrated anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts in a bid to overthrow the leadership of our party and state and the socialist system.
Jang was appointed to responsible posts of the party and state thanks to the deep political trust of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il and received benevolence from them more than any others from long ago.
He held higher posts than before and received deeper trust from supreme leader Kim Jong Un, in particular.
The political trust and benevolence shown by the peerlessly great men of Mt. Paektu were something he hardly deserved.
It is an elementary obligation of a human being to repay trust with sense of obligation and benevolence with loyalty.
However, despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him.
From long ago, Jang had a dirty political ambition. He dared not raise his head when Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were alive. But, reading their faces, Jang had an axe to grind and involved himself in double-dealing. He began revealing his true colors, thinking that it was just the time for him to realize his wild ambition in the period of historic turn when the generation of the revolution was replaced.
Jang committed such an unpardonable thrice-cursed treason as overtly and covertly standing in the way of settling the issue of succession to the leadership with an axe to grind when a very important issue was under discussion to hold respected Kim Jong Un in high esteem as the only successor to Kim Jong Il in reflection of the unanimous desire and will of the entire party and army and all people.
When his cunning move proved futile and the decision that Kim Jong Un was elected vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea at the Third Conference of the WPK in reflection of the unanimous will of all party members, service personnel and people was proclaimed, making all participants break into enthusiastic cheers that shook the conference hall, he behaved so arrogantly and insolently as unwillingly standing up from his seat and half-heartedly clapping, touching off towering resentment of our service personnel and people.
Jang confessed that he behaved so at that time as a knee-jerk reaction as he thought that if Kim Jong Un's base and system for leading the army were consolidated, this would lay a stumbling block in the way of grabbing the power of the party and state.
When Kim Jong Il passed away so suddenly and untimely to our sorrow, he began working in real earnest to realize its long-cherished greed for power.
Abusing the honor of often accompanying Kim Jong Un during his field guidance, Jang tried hard to create illusion about him by projecting himself internally and externally as a special being on a par with the headquarters of the revolution.
In a bid to rally a group of reactionaries to be used by him for toppling the leadership of the party and state, he let the undesirable and alien elements including those who had been dismissed and relieved of their posts after being severely punished for disobeying the instructions of Kim Jong Il and kowtowing to him work in a department of the Central Committee of the WPK and organs under it in a crafty manner.
Jang did serious harm to the youth movement in our country, being part of the group of renegades and traitors in the field of youth work bribed by enemies. Even after they were disclosed and purged by the resolute measure of the party, he patronized those cat's paws and let them hold important posts of the party and state.