The Australian Contrast

Michael Kirby is a retired Australian High Court judge.  You may disagree with his politics and his decisions but you can’t question his intellect and integrity.

In 2013, Kirby Chaired the United Nations Human Rights Council inquiry into human rights in North Korea.  Kirby’s report tells of the horrible conditions in North Korea.

Alek Sigley is/was a student at the ANU.  He founded a business called Tongil Tours; a business to facilitate “educational” travel to North Korea.

Writing in, not surprisingly, the Guardian, Sigley recounts his 2 years spend studying at Kim Il-sung University Pyongyang.

According to Kirby:

The commission finds that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  In many instances, the violations found entailed crimes against humanity based on State policies.

The main perpetrators are officials of the State Security Department, the Ministry of People’s Security, the Korean People’s Army, the Office of the Public Prosecutor, the judiciary and the Workers’ Party of Korea, who are acting under the effective control of the central organs of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the National Defence Commission and the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

According to Sigley:

Despite heavy sanctions, Pyongyang has a small but growing consumer class, due in part to government policies to liberalise sections of the economy.

Dining out is an important manifestation of this new spending power. Among restaurants I have visited along with other foreign students is a trendy conveyor belt hot pot restaurant, where diners can choose from more than 50 ingredients – from shiitake mushrooms to macaroni – for their broth.

This restaurant is always packed at weekend lunchtimes, with the clientele sporting fashions that wouldn’t look out of place in Shanghai or Seoul. We’ve even spotted young people who’ve clearly had plastic surgery.

It seems concentration camps, human slavery and citizen starvation is ok with Mr Sigley, as long as you can get a nice lunch in Pyongyang.

Sigley also writes of a fellow student who has moved out of his dormatory and who he (Sigley) is no longer able to contact.  Perhaps the student was fed to the dogs or if she was female got some other special treatment.

Stalin is claimed to have coined the expression useful idiots.  Does anyone know what helpful moron in Korean is?

TAFKAS wonders what Otto Warmbier thought of the food options in Pyongyang – before he was effectively beaten to death by the North Koreans.

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34 Responses to The Australian Contrast

  1. stackja

    Never ending story.
    Stalin created Kim One.

  2. Behind Enemy Lines

    The Australian Contrast
    Posted on 3:57 pm, April 5, 2019 by The Artist Formerly Known As Spartacus
    Michael Kirby is a retired Australian High Court judge. You may disagree with his politics and his decisions but you can’t question his intellect and integrity.

    Not so fast there, TAFKAS.

  3. Overburdened

    Their game their rules.

    You don’t have to like it.

  4. Dr Fred Lenin

    Hes in good company ,George Bernard Shaw after his visit to Stalins Russia “I have seen the future and it works” , the deluded are still with us , is it wishful thinking ?

  5. Their game their rules.

    You don’t have to like it.

    you don’t have to celebrate or promote it either.

  6. Female prisoners in North Korean camps sexually assaulted and executed, their babies fed to dogs, report says

    That is about the most horrific thing imaginable.

  7. Overburdened

    In the meantime the NK citizens that were in a social position to be doing lunch with the fuckwit are ordinary citizens of the regime, going about their lives and generally meaning no harm, much the same as the people you see when you go shopping.

  8. Overburdened

    I cannot guarantee that this is true in fact.

    I can only comment on my observation of people in many different situations.

  9. Overburdened

    Tafkas

    Agree entirely hence my appellation for the author of the luncheon diary.

    The natural instinct is to see things as absolute so my observation is that that is how otherwise ordinary people such as me get swept up.

  10. That is about the most horrific thing imaginable.

    Read the whole Kirby report before you come to that conclusion.

  11. Overburdened

    Tafkas

    The issue is an elementary one.

    That is what happens in NK.

    It took a lot of human and social development for them to be as they are.

    I am not important enough to pass my judgement on it because no one gives a shit what l think.

    What I know is that in the unlikely event of me travelling to NK, I will do my best to abide by their social norms.

    I am confident that this does not mean I will be feeding babies to dogs.

  12. jupes

    IIRC Kirby did OK with the report but when asked about possible solutions thought it best to have a legal solution, as in an international criminal court or some such shit.

    He seemed to have missed the fact that there would be one other step required before the lawyers on the ICC can start their gravy train.

  13. Zatara

    Among restaurants I have visited along with other foreign students…..

    Next time he is in the library Sigley might want to look up ‘Potemkin Village‘ or North Korea’s ‘Peace Village’ (Kijŏng-dong).

    The village features a number of brightly-painted multi-story buildings and low-rise apartments (many constructed from poured-concrete), with almost all structures there apparently wired for and provided with electricity. The small town was oriented and positioned such that the bright-blue roofs and white side-walls of the various residential buildings built next to the massive pole flying the North Korean flag would be particularly-distinguishing features when viewed from the southern side across the border (the DMZ) between the two Koreas. Scrutiny with modern telescopic lenses and clearer and sharper images produced, however, has led to the conclusion amongst many that the village’s buildings are simply empty shells of concrete and steel which lack not only window-glass but even interior rooms and floors as well.

  14. Rafe Champion

    Has this idiot never heard about the Potemkin village ploy used in the USSR, China and Nazi Germany to entertain foreign guests with carefully controlled itineraries to display well fed folk-dancing peasants, happy factory workers, well stocked shops and the like?

  15. Zatara

    I was fortunate enough to cross over the Berlin Wall into East Berlin very shortly after reunification.

    The sides of the buildings facing West Berlin were all nicely repaired of their WWII damage. But the same buildings, 90 degrees further and just out of sight of the West were absolutely covered in bullet holes, shell holes, and gaping bomb damage. I’ve a few pictures taken on angles which show both the clean and damaged sides of the same rooms.

    The Left never changes, image over reality every time.

  16. Dr Fred Lenin

    Jupes ,typical lawtradespersons all bull and money-making advantage for them , nothing practical or constructive. Trumps sanctions are well deserved . As for feeding children to the dogs ,the west murders them just before birth and sell bits off them , not a lot of difference really. We are the compassionate society ,yeah right comrade .

  17. Overburdened

    RC

    Many places have facades.

    It’s unfortunate I won’t elaborate.

  18. Rafe Champion

    Overburdened

    There is a difference between putting a good look forward for visitors in countries where groups are free to agitate for reform and the kind of elaborate deception practiced on carefully controlled visitors behind the iron and bamboo curtains where dissent is death.
    Feel free to elaborate your point if you think there is anything in it.

  19. Overburdened

    You don’t know where I have been or why.

    It took a while to get that right.

  20. Des Deskperson

    ‘Stalin is claimed to have coined the expression useful idiots. Does anyone know what helpful moron in Korean is?’

    Call him am idiot if you like, but his tour company – Tongil Tours – seems to be doing alright arranging tours of the DPRK for rich but gullible ANU students.

    A little while back, I was talking to a young ANU student who had been with a group on what I believe was one of Sigley’s company’s tours to Pyongyang . He’s a leftie and he was trying to keep an open mind, but he was fully aware that the everything they saw and did in-country was completely controlled by the DPRK state apparatus.

    The Guardian article is, of course, a free plug for Sigley’s tours.

    And BTW, it wasn’t Shaw who claimed to have seen the future in the USSR. Shaw was notorious for visiting Moscow at the height of the Ukrainian famine and for proclaiming that it was all lies because he found there was plenty of food in Moscow.

  21. Overburdened

    DD
    This is true.

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good story

  22. a happy little debunker

    NK is one of the best examples of a low emission country!

  23. Ubique

    “I have seen the future and it works”

    It wasn’t Shaw who said this, but American journalist and useful idiot Lincoln Steffens upon his return to the US after a trip to Bolshevik Russia in 1919.

  24. Roger

    Call him am idiot if you like, but his tour company – Tongil Tours – seems to be doing alright arranging tours of the DPRK for rich but gullible ANU students.

    Any or all of them on some form of tax payer subsidy?

    The revolution is being subsidised with your taxes, comrades.

  25. BorisG

    under the new Kim, North Korea has enjoyed considerable liberalization of the economy.

    Still very repressive but this is a significant change.

  26. Perfidious Albino

    Any relation to Ernie? Now, there was an entertainers, entertainer…

  27. Zyconoclast

    Female prisoners in North Korean camps sexually assaulted and executed, their babies fed to dogs, report says

    That is about the most horrific thing imaginable.

    I suspect a baby for sale is more valuable to Kim and Co than as dog food.

  28. Rebel with cause

    Years of studying communism at university and this idiot can turn out barely passable propaganda. More proof that modern education is failing.

  29. Rebel with cause

    It’s telling that the height of culture in North Korea is emulating shitty fast food joints.

  30. Rabid Koala

    but you can’t question his intellect and integrity.

    What integrity? He spent his entire career undermining traditional Aussie society

  31. Old Lefty

    I remember when Kirby issued his report. Not even his authority could persuade Aunty ABC that there were more than ‘alleged’ human rights abuses in North Korea.

  32. What integrity? He spent his entire career undermining traditional Aussie society

    No, he was a good judge.

    Smith v The Queen, 1991 NSWLR 25 at 1, 14, 15 & 21. (Kirby P) is a good example, he was defending proportionality. His prose is quite good as well.

    He may not live up to Sir Owen Dixon, but the ALP has produced far worse judges than Kirby.

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